When Lori Locust was hired by the Bucs, she was one of just a couple women in the NFL. Since the Susquehanna Township native became one of the first women to win a Super Bowl, the ranks of women in the league continue to grow.

The NFL credits some of this growth to the annual Women’s Careers in Football Forum, matching prospective women with NFL coaches and executives. The goal is to increase the number of women applying for jobs in football operations to encourage more teams to hire a diverse coaching staff.

The forum began in 2017 and takes place at the NFL Combine each year. So far the forum has presented 174 opportunities for women, resulting in 21 hirings around the league.

Last season, there were eight female coaches, and six made it to the playoffs. Locust and fellow Bucs coach Maral Javadifar were the first women to win a Super Bowl. The 2021 season featured a record-setting 12 women coaches in the league.

Callie BrownsonCleveland BrownsChief of Staff
Natalia DorantesWashington Football TeamCoordinator of Football Programs
Morgan FlemingCarolina PanthersExecutive Assistant
Sarah HoganAtlanta FalconsAssistant Director of Coaching Operations
Maral Javadifar *Tampa Bay BuccaneersAssistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
Jennifer KingWashington Football TeamAssistant Running Backs Coach
Lori Locust *Tampa Bay BuccaneersAssistant Defensive Line Coach
Megan McLaughlinBaltimore RavensDirector of Football Operations
Catherine Raiche #Catherine RaicheVP of Football Operations
Kathryn SmithBuffalo BillsSpecial Teams Quality Control Coach
Katie Sowers **Kansas City ChiefsCoaching Intern
Robyn WilkeyChicago BearsExecutive Assistant to the Head Coach
* first women to win a Super Bowl
** first woman to coach in a Super Bowl
# highest ranking woman in personnel in NFL history

In addition to women on the coaching staffs, women reached an all-time high of 38.2 percent of league office roles last season, according to Forbes.

In a conversation with abc27’s Allie Berube, Sam Rapoport explained the importance of the forum. Rapoport is the Senior Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the league. She focuses on filling the operations pipeline with diverse, qualified candidates for each of the league’s 32 teams.