After nine years in the NFL, Davidson became the director of football administration for the New York Jets. In this role, she manages the team’s salary cap, negotiates player contracts and oversees compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and league personnel rules.
With this appointment in 2015, Davidson became one of the highest-ranking women to work in an NFL front office.
“This work allows me to marry the areas I’ve always been drawn toward—math, critical thinking, law and football,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing to see our work on display 16 weeks a year. It’s a measuring stick to see what we need to do better in the future.”
In addition to the education she received as an economics major at Davidson, followed by her law school experience at Cornell, Jackie points to the honor code as a key aspect of her education that has stayed with her through the years.
“When I tell people about the honor code, they look at me in disbelief,” she said. “I practiced integrity on a daily basis during college, and because that is a part of who I am, I try to continue and practice it every day.”
Davidson is a huge believer in the liberal arts, and she thinks people who criticize a college’s lack of a business school are being short sighted.
“I think schools today tend to specialize too much,” she said. “A liberal arts education produces a well-rounded individual. I wasn’t prepared for one job, but I was taught how to think, process and react — skills that are more helpful during career path changes. Many of the things I learned during economics classes can be applied to work that has very little to do with economics.”
Davidson was especially influenced by two professors — Latin professor Jeanne Neumann and the late Kelly Chaston from the economics department, who was also Davidson’s adviser. The faculty, students and staff created a community that Jackie says mirrors the environment she finds herself in today.
“I’ve tried to take the community from college and extend that to my work,” she said. “On a campus and on a football team, everyone has different roles and responsibilities. We’re all pulling in the same direction, and it doesn’t matter who holds which title; we’re all a part of something bigger.”
How are we cultivating more game changers like Jackie Davidson?
Learn about the campaign priorities.
Recommend a Game Changer
Do you know a member of the Davidson community — alumnus or alumna, faculty or staff member, current student — who has championed positive change — in family, community or world? If so, we invite you to nominate a game changer. Davidson will follow up to tell the story.