In the Zone
“The passion that National Football League employees bring to their jobs is not at all unlike the passion of those who attend Dartmouth,” says Joanna Hunter ’06, the NFL’s director of communications. It’s easy to see: Spend some time with Hunter and her seven alumni colleagues at their Park Avenue offices and you’ll find they’re as crazy for their alma mater as they are nuts for football. “When I started here I jokingly said I thought there were more Harvard degrees here than at the Harvard Club,” says Robert Gulliver, Tu’97, who heads up human resources. “I’m glad to say that we now have more Dartmouth folks included in our ranks.” Here are the eight alumni working for the NFL.
Dan August ’07
Position: Head of Strategic Marketing and Planning
League Experience: Seven seasons
Duties: “A lot of it is trying to meld our social media strategy into our marketing campaigns.”
Quote: “I’ve always wanted to work in sports, so this is one of those rare opportunities where you get to work in something you are passionate about.”
Previously Played For: Morgan Stanley
All in the Family: He’s married to Joanna Hunter (see next page).
Best Job Perk: “Being able to take friends and family to the Super Bowl, like my best friend and former roommate Lucas Richardson ’07, a Broncos fan. He was in full Broncos garb. We had a few beers afterward to drown his sorrows.”
Edward Kim ’03
Position: Senior Manager of Club Finance
League Experience: Six seasons
Duties: “I’m the primary financial analyst here. I do a lot of analytics for the league and the clubs related to various strategic initiatives the league is pursuing, whether it be building a new stadium or creating a new franchise.”
Previously Played For: Several financial firms. “Before, I had no work-life balance. I pretty much worked the whole time. At the NFL it’s easier to manage and balance. It helps, considering I now have a family.”
Quote: “I really enjoy working with the people here. Everyone is talented and smart. We’re growing something. It wasn’t like that working for a hedge fund.”
Contact Sport: Justin Walsh ’03, who previously worked in club finance for the NFL, sent Kim the job posting when Walsh was departing for business school.
Favorite Team: “I love my Giants.”
Lisa Friel ’79
Position: Senior VP and Special Counsel, Investigations
League Experience: Rookie (five months)
Previously Played For: Led a sexual misconduct consulting and investigation division at T&M Protection Resources, which had the NFL as a client. Prior to that she was a New York City prosecutor for 28 years, most of them in the sex crimes unit.
Highlight Reel: Helped rewrite the NFL’s personal conduct policy last fall, which now calls for independent investigations into any allegation of employee misconduct (player or otherwise) that comes to the league’s attention, regardless of what legal action may also be taking place. “In setting a high standard for a better way to handle certain behaviors among our own employees, we hope other big companies will follow suit and thereby make a difference in the terrible sexual misconduct and domestic violence statistics in this country.”
Toughest Part of Job: “Doing investigations without subpoena power”
Not That Investigation: She was not involved in the Deflategate investigation. Would she have liked to have been? “No. No. No.”
Game On: “I’ve loved football since I was a kid. I’m the oldest of three daughters, the son my father never had. My basement is painted alternating shades of Giants red and Giants blue. I have four season tickets and three kids, and the four of us go all the time. Football is so much about memories and family.”
Remember When: “When I was a student the whole campus emptied out for football games. It was the center of our existence. We even traveled to the away games.”
Best Job Perk: Viewing a game from the owner’s box in Chicago
Cole Marcoux ’14
Position: Member of Junior Rotational Program, a two-year, paid, entry-level position that rotates members through a variety of departments
League Experience: One season
Previously Played For: The Big Green. Recruited as a quarterback, he switched to tight end.
Well-Connected: Former teammate Dan Rooney ’12, son of Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II and a former program participant, mentioned the program to Marcoux, who then applied. “I was interviewed by Joanna. Her being a Dartmouth alum could only help.”
Quote: “This couldn’t be a better opportunity for me. I’d play forever if I could, but as the odds of that seemed to dissipate, working here sounds better and better. I care about the game, and the NFL is something that meant a lot to me when I was growing up.”
Fondest Dartmouth Memory: My last game against Princeton, in the blizzard, a win that culminated an up-and-down college career in which I enjoyed tremendous relationships with teammates and coaches. I never felt an emotion like that.”
What He Could Tell Former Teammates: “I’m in the NFL—as long as they don’t ask where I’m playing.”
Favorite Team: Jets. “I’m always optimistic.”
Dawn Hudson ’79
Position: Chief Marketing Officer
League Experience: Rookie (11 months)
Quote: “I’m responsible for the reputation of the league and the brand of the NFL, which has not been the easiest thing to manage over the last year, and for growing our fan base. I want to make sure we grow the next generation of fans.”
Duties: Hudson oversees the team that handles the Super Bowl, draft and other events. “We’re the ones who moved the draft to Chicago,” she says, noting that she wants to continue making the draft even more of a “fan engagement experience.”
Highlight Reel: Hudson led a rewrite of the league’s values, selecting these four: integrity, respect, responsibility to team, and resilience.
Previously Played For: Hudson is a former CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America and former vice chairman of the Parthenon Group in Boston. She also served on the board of the Ladies Professional Golf Association for nine years.
Sundays Have Changed: Every fall Hudson’s husband—Bruce Beach ’72—would get out his little pillow with the words, “We interrupt this marriage for football season,” crocheted on it. Now the pillow is gone, and Hudson and her husband watch games together. “He’s so happy,” she says.
On Commissioner Roger Goodell: “Roger is an extremely personable, caring, warm person. It’s hard to be commissioner. When you’re big, well, America loves an underdog and wants to tear you down.”
Little Did She Know: After she accepted the job but before she started, news of the Ray Rice incident broke.
Favorite Team: None. “I want close games, high scoring and lots of action.”
Favorite Job Perk: Meeting former players, known in league circles as “Legends.” Hudson says she’s in awe of them and what they’ve done with their lives.
Alvaro Saralegui ’78
Position: Consultant, Fan Strategy and Marketing
League Experience: Seven seasons
Duties: Helps with marketing and outreach to Hispanic fans. “The growth of the Hispanic fan base in the NFL is in many ways fueling the growth of the league.” Last season 32 NFL games drew more than 1 million Hispanic TV viewers each. “Part of our job is to continue to push. Fifty years ago boxing was huge, but not today. We’re well aware of that.”
Previously Played For: Sports Illustrated, where he served as publisher and general manager
Contact Sport: Played football for Bronxville High School, as did Roger Goodell. Three years apart in school, Goodell was a teammate with Saralegui’s brothers and Saralegui played with Goodell’s brothers. Both stayed in touch through the years and both now live in Bronxville.
Major: History and economics
Athletic: He “stumbled into” playing rugby as a student along with other “small guys with big egos.”
Ties That Bind: His father, Jorge, graduated in the class of 1948; daughter Jackie is a member of the class of 2018.
Favorite Teams: “When we came from Cuba all of my four brothers were Packers fans. I had to be different just to mix it up. So I became a Colts fan. Having spent the bulk of my life in New York, I’m also a Giants fan.”
Best Job Perk: Super Bowl tickets. “Everybody in the sports world descends on the Super Bowl city, so it’s a great way to catch up with people.”
Robert Gulliver, Tu’97
Position: Executive VP of Human Resources
League Experience: Five seasons
College: Cornell, where he studied industrial and labor relations. “I’m much more loyal to Dartmouth than Cornell. My oldest daughter is now in high school, so I need to do my best to start spreading that loyalty.”
Good Sign: He has a Dartmouth mug on his desk.
Duties: Responsible for the “full range” of human resources needs for about 1,100 employees. He also provides advice to each of the league’s 32 teams.
Quote: “The exciting thing for me here is being part of helping to create a diverse and inclusive environment. Different backgrounds and perspectives help us connect with our fan base. Last year we had Michael Sam, the first openly gay player, and I think that set an example, not just in sports but more broadly in society.”
Favorite Team: Giants. “I’ve always been a football fan, but even more now because it’s a great connection point with my oldest daughter, who is 14 and also a Giants fan. Football is always something that we can find common ground to talk about.”
Best Job Perk: “Being able to attend and experience our games”
Joanna Hunter ’06
Position: Director of Communications
League Experience: Nine seasons
Duties: Responsible for communications that involve player health and safety and social responsibility initiatives and issues
Previously Played For: Major League Baseball, where she had an internship
Major: French (“Thanks to John Rassias”)
Quote: “I get into the storylines. When you’re on the PR side you want those close games. I’ve been fortunate that in the nine Super Bowls played while I’ve been here, all but one had nail-biting finishes. And that’s a really incredible experience to be part of.”
Relevant College Experience: Ski patrol. “We’ve had to deal with some crises here, but there is nothing quite like a crisis you experience on a ski slope. You’ve got to think on your feet.”
Little Did She Know: Classmate and Big Green quarterback Dan Shula ’06 tried “unsuccessfully” to teach her how to throw a spiral; several years later she was meeting in a room dubbed “The Don Shula Conference Room.” Shula, the legendary Miami Dolphins coach, is Dan’s grandfather. “I looked at the picture in there and thought the resemblance was uncanny.”
Cool Job Perk: Working closely on the Super Bowl halftime show she’s met Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry and other stars.
What She Won’t Reveal: Who’ll be performing at halftime of the next Super Bowl
What She Will Reveal: She and August are expecting a baby girl in October.