NFL, Diversity, Entrepreneurs

NFL Increases Diversity Through Black-Owned Job-Search Firm, Renaissance Search & Consulting

Addressing the lack of diversity in leadership in the NFL, Herb Courtney founded the Black-owned Renaissance Search & Consulting in 2020.

In a quest to address the lack of diversity in leadership roles in the NFL and sports industry, Herb Courtney, a former professional basketball player, founded /black-owned Renaissance Search & Consulting (RSC) in 2020.

Courtney established RSC with a mission to bring positive change to industries that traditionally excluded many individuals.

“A lot of times, there’s a lot of great candidates out there that don’t have access,” he told The Athletic.

Over the years, RSC has evolved to represent corporations, colleges, and professional sports teams, becoming the only Black-owned search firm known to work with the NFL. Collaborating with teams such as the Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, and Los Angeles Rams, RSC aims to diversify the candidate pool, emphasizing the importance of a fair and detailed selection process.

Kevin Demoff, President of the Los Angeles Rams, commended RSC’s commitment to diversity, stating,

“Casting a wider net is how you ensure you find the best fit (for a role),” said Kevin Demoff, president of the Los Angeles Rams. “Having truly diverse search firms like Renaissance helps push the other firms even closer to those ideals.”

RSC has demonstrated success in placing candidates of diverse backgrounds into a wide array of jobs. According to data provided to The Athletic, 63% have been people of color and 40% women.

RSC’s involvement in NFL hiring primarily covers business roles, serving as a two-way street between NFL teams and diverse candidates. While search firms don’t make final hiring decisions, they significantly influence candidate pools, striving for equity. Courtney envisions RSC breaking into football operations, aiming to impact the NFL’s often-scrutinized hiring process positively.

As NFL teams increasingly recognize the need for equitable searches, RSC’s approach involves comprehensive pre-position groundwork.

Before job positions become available, the firm immerses itself in the team’s culture, builds relationships, and gathers insights, ensuring a tailored understanding of the organization’s needs. When formal searches commence, RSC takes on the role of the primary recruiter, creating job descriptions, conducting outreach, and filtering applicants.

The NFL, historically less influenced by search firms, has seen a shift in recent years, with a growing acceptance of their role. Courtney, aware of the significance of his position as a Black-owned search firm, aims to influence hiring practices positively.

“It really hasn’t been done in terms of being commonplace, and so I don’t take that lightly,” Courtney said.

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