Hannah Gordon - Caring and Sharp

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“If you’re not ready to love, you’re not ready to lead.” This is Hannah Gordon - the San Francisco 49ers general counsel’s – personal motto. She has spent  8 seasons protecting the red and gold team. From overseeing the team’s and stadium management company’s legal, risk management, and external affairs functions to managing community relations departments, this ladybadass is making her mark in the world of professional sports.

Hannah frequently speaks on leadership (how to lead with empathy, coaching-style leadership, leading diverse teams), thriving in challenging environments, sports business, developments in the law, and how to succeed as a woman in a male-dominated industry. She said she was nervous to manage people (especially as a woman), because of the negative stereotypes female bosses receive. Ultimately, she realized being a good boss meant acting as a mentor and teacher, two things she is extremely qualified to do. Although she is often the only woman in many of her meetings, she never once felt like she was there because of her gender. She worked hard for her seat at the table, and she isn’t going anywhere.

This ladybadass is pushing for a level playing field for the 49ers, as both a team and an organization. She has played a significant role in ensuring women and people of color receive more opportunities in the world of professional sports. Currently, the 49ers is the only NFL team to take the equal pay pledge, something Hannah was involved in. Her influence is not just on gender inequalities though. “To me, it is not about opportunities for women alone. The real question is: Is there a fellow human being who does not have a voice, and what is my responsibility to use my voice for him/her?” Her diversity and inclusion initiatives recognize that it takes different perspectives on any team to have intellectual diversity. Only then can a team reach its full potential.

In 2015, Hannah was named to the Legal 500’s GC Powerlist – U.S. Rising Stars, and in 2017 she received the Silicon Valley Business Journal and San Francisco Business Times’ Corporate Counsel Diversity Champion of the Year award, and was named a Game Changer by Sports Business Journal. We agree that she is definitely impacting the sports industry.

Hannah is motivated by her responsibility to the people she leads, and a desire to reach her fullest potential. “I do not want to be the best female lawyer in the NFL, but the best lawyer in the NFL.” This ladybadass’s compassion, drive, and intelligence are changing the game.