Observation Assessment #1:

Type of Observation: Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft Community Outreach Meeting

Mentor: Leah Davies, Community Relations and Alumni Affairs Coordinator

Location: AT&T Stadium

Date: 2/8/18

Time: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.


On February 8th, I had the privilege of attending and observing the Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft Community Outreach Meeting. This was an incredible experience for me, as I got to see public relations in action. The purpose of the meeting was to announce DeMarcus Ware as the Cowboys’ community outreach ambassador for the 2018 Draft, and to connect Arlington ISD schools with the Cowboys through new community service efforts.

This meeting, above all else, allowed me to see for myself the role of PR professionals in a corporate setting. I was able to discern that the Cowboys PR staff was truly the driving force behind this entire community outreach initiative with Draft, as they came up with the very efforts to be implemented. During the meeting, PR department heads Emily Cruz-Robbins and Whitney Faulkner got on stage, proposed their two original programs, and gave a detailed step by step plan of how they would like the Arlington ISD football programs to implement them. One program, called the Student-Athlete Mentorship Program, encourages AISD high school football teams to reach out to their feeder middle school teams and teach not only lessons on athletic performance, but also on character. The other, called Community Quarterback, encourages the same high and middle school teams to complete a community service project of their choice together, which Cowboys representatives will attend and film on their Draft Day of Service (the day before Draft begins). I could tell that these programs were well thought out by the PR staff, and that they were geared towards emphasizing the Cowboys’ heart for service and inspiring the next generation of potential NFL players. These programs accomplished every goal of PR that I had researched during this year’s first semester—they actively engaged the public in conversation about the organization, they work towards fostering positive relationships, and they send a clear message about the organization’s values and priorities.

Other than being the primary part of planning behind the scenes, the Cowboys PR department also serves as the go-to reference for the media in attendance. The PR department, as I have previously stated, serves as a liaison between the organization, the press, and the people. They decide what gets publicized and where they want the most attention focused in order to communicate what the organization would like communicated. I saw this concept come into play when the media began conducting interviews with Charlotte Jones-Anderson, the Cowboys’ Chief Brand Officer, and DeMarcus Ware; the PR staff directed the media and even filmed content of their own to later turn into internal content (produced by the Cowboys themselves). The PR department actually played a much larger role than I expected; they were essentially in charge of ensuring that all aspects of the event represented the Cowboys well and ran smoothly. This taught me that PR professionals not only have specific detail-oriented jobs, such as creating content, but also need to simultaneously look at the big picture and at how the organization is being portrayed to the average eye.