Growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas Charlotte Anderson-Jones never dreamt of being an NFL exec. But when her father bought the Dallas Cowboys after she graduated college, her career path changed forever.
She left her post in politics in Washington D.C. to help turn the football team around with all of the stakes against her. From finding ways to cut costs to developing charitable opportunities and growing the company’s fashion footprint she has tackled tons of aspects of the business to create the cult-favorite lifestyle brand it is today.
In our latest Fridays with Flea Style podcast episode we sit down with this inspiring business woman to learn about her early days building the football empire and some of the fumbles and big wins along the way. Read some highlights from our candid conversation — or listen to the entire podcast! — below.
Talk to us about the early Charlotte years!
I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. People usually ask me if football was important in my life then. My father was the coach of both of my brothers’ football teams. As a little girl, I would come to all the practices and games. I was introduced to the world of football at a very young age and cheering and football continued through high school and beyond. But my first passion was actually fashion. Through high school, I modeled and produced fashion shows; fashion has always been a huge passion of mine. For college I left to go study medicine in California and quickly realized that wasn’t the right trajectory of me. I graduated with a degree in human biology and an emphasis in organizational management – which I guess brings me to my position today. Right out of college, I asked my father for a loan to open a fashion store in Arkansas and he said no and told me to try politics. My mission was to go to DC and change the world but they were not moving at the same speed as my vision. It was an enlightening experience. While I was there, my father decided to buy the Dallas Cowboys. So many people disagreed because the Cowboys were doing poorly at the time but he had such a huge passion to be a part of it. He came to us as family and we fully supported him in his decision. We knew if anyone was going to will it to happen – he was. Quickly he came to me and asked for me to help him make it all work. I had no idea what I was doing, but I agreed.
When your dad brought you on, what was your job title? Jack of all trades?
A little bit! My father was in the oil and gas business so job titles and organizational charts were not his deal. You had to create your own structure. I guess you could say I started in special events. I helped with training camp, golf tournaments, galas… This is a family business. My younger brother was still in college at the time I started but my older brother and I worked together. He was clearly on football and business operations so I had to figure out where I fit in and how to carve out a spot that actually made sense. Of course cheerleading was immediately a piece of my role, which was why I had come down to help in the first place. Game day was another production I helped with. I love live production; I thrived on it. So I dove into the places that gave me energy.
What is your role today? Walk us through a day in your shoes.
Officially, I’m an Executive Vice President and our Chief Brand Officer. I’m also the president of our charitable operations and I’m also the Chairwoman of the NFL Foundation. And I’m also president of the cheerleaders. So everyday is very different. Everything I do is driven on how we create an experience with who we are. I actually hate the word “brand” – we used to say branding is something you do to cattle when you can’t tell one from the other. I’ve always believed we are very separate from everything else and we are very different in what we do.
Tell everyone a little about The Studio.
It’s so important for us to stay authentic to who we are. With The Studio, we finally get to do something in fashion. We’ve always been about a jersey, cap, t-shirt… that’s not everybody. How can we keep opening the door so that we are meeting all sizes and emotions in the offerings that we have? Curating with partners that are truly passionate about what they do – that’s what people gravitate to. It’s the story there that is so powerful. If you can partner with their story then the collective story is so much more powerful.
What is your favorite part about your job?
First of all, I love it. I’m so blessed to have something that I am truly passionate about. We really get to use all of the excitement and the platform and the magic and the energy that the team itself creates to do something significant with it. To use that visibility that surrounds the Dallas Cowboys and be able to go out into the community and partner with organizations that are doing the hard work to bring community together and giving people hope and a chance.
Last meal on earth:
Mexican food! I love white queso and guacamole.
Coffee or tea:
Coffee! A latte with 2-percent milk and three raw sugars, extra hot.
It’s random; usually super late.
Last movie you saw:
Bon Jovi or Bradley Cooper
Dream dinner guest:
Bora Bora or some place beautiful, remote and serene with no cell phone reception!
Don’t miss Charlotte’s entire podcast. It’s so good! Check it out along with other Fridays with Flea Style episodes on iTunes here.