It's no surprise that a Black woman is the phenomenal agent behind getting Jalen Hurt a record-breaking $225 million Philadelphia Eagles contract. I mean, Nicole Lynn has been a force to be reckoned with for quite some time, and y'all know we, as Black women, have that special mojo (along with the tenacity, smarts, and hard work) to get ish done.
Yep, I said it. Toot. Toot.
When the news broke about Hurt becoming the highest-paid player in NFL history (another feat for a Black king that we should be shouting about from the mountaintops for centuries to come), it was refreshing to see Lynn actually get her flowers as a professional who paid her dues and boldly achieved excellence.
Let's take a look at a few lessons we can all learn about business, career advancement, and legacy from Lynn's journey to success:
1. Being strategic about the career path you choose is essential.
Lynn studied business management, earned a law degree, and worked on Wall Street before becoming the first woman to represent PlayersRep, an NFL agency. (By the way, that company was acquired by Lil' Wayne's Young Money APAA Sport's Agency. Yes, Young Moolah, baby.) She went on to thrive as one of the youngest sports agents in the game.
Her education and background working in the tough and high-stress world of financial services (in one of the most competitive and powerful markets in the world) surely prepped her for her current success in sports, and she was super-deliberate about that.
"Every educational and career decision I made has been extremely calculated with the same endgame in mind," Lynn told xoNecole in a 2019 interview. "I realize it can be rare for someone to almost always have known what they wanted to do in life, but that was the case for me."
2. When possible, allow adversity and challenges to fuel your drive to succeed.
According to her website, Lynn attributes her success to the mindset shift she experienced that was sparked by her time facing adversity as a child. "I knew I wanted to escape that life, and I had to work hard to do it. So I have always done just that. I owe every bit of success I've achieved to my extremely dedicated work ethic and my unwavering faith in God."
Many ambitious and successful Black women who are pioneers in their fields have shared their stories of overcoming adversity within both their personal and professional journeys, especially when they have to fight against sexism and racism in order to break glass ceilings.
"I know that I have worked extremely hard to get here and that I am just as capable as my male counterparts. For this reason, I went into this industry knowing that I didn't want to just exist," she told xoNecole. "I made it a goal of mine to break stereotypes and make history. When my client's name was called at the 2019 NFL Draft, two people's dreams came true. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be recognized as the first and I look forward to continuing to shift the perception of women in this industry."
3. Take time to learn from others in your network and industry—even if they don't look like you—in order to reach new career heights.
"I was preparing to be a financial adviser and then learned through our financial advisers that represented athletes," she told Sports Illustrated. When she ventured into working in sports full-time, legendary agent Ken Sarnoff was reportedly her mentor. In a male-dominated industry where super-agents represent 90% of NFL players, networking and learning from others, whether they look like you or not.
Sadly, equity has not been achieved for women in many industries, and while women have found comradery, sponsorship, and advocacy from other women, many who have moved up the ranks are mentored by men.
(I'm no millionaire superagent, but several of my most prolific and life-changing mentors who poured into me and actually advocated for me in ways that led to true advancement and career development were men, a bittersweet fact of life for ambitious women professionals.)
The main point of this: Connect with professionals not just because they are from the same culture or neighborhood or just because they identify as the same gender as you. Find ways to work with people who you can relate to, and who you can learn from. And in return, serve by offering your own talents and perspective to ensure growth and prosperity in what you do.
4. Adopt a holistic approach in doing the work you do so that you're truly a leader.
Lynn has been touted as a successful agent who goes beyond just brokering deals and gets into the holistic needs of her clients. “I'd say the job of an agent is to negotiate a contract for a player, get them on a team,” Lynn told Sports Illustrated. “That is it. That is what we are paid to do. I'm passionate about teaching financial literacy, teaching ‘adulting’ skills, and really getting these guys across the finish line, and in and out of a career in the NFL into the rest of their lives.”
The fact that she reportedly sees things beyond just the dollar signs when it comes to her clients says a lot about her vision and integrity. It's also something that can be advantageous when you're trying to build a legacy with what you do for a living versus just chasing checks. Caring about the people you work with and for, and taking a stance of service ensures that you'll not only build lasting relationships that go beyond the superficial but that you'll be remembered as someone who is a true leader.
Having vision and taking on the holistic approach in all that you do (whether it's related to projects, goals, or professional relationships) ensures you can see the big picture, add real value that stands the test of time, and be strategic.
Lynn's record-breaking success serves as a reminder we all need that hard work, intelligence, and vision are vital to be among the greats in one's industry and to reach our highest professional potential.
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As much as I talk about sex, this is a topic that I was excited to shed a spotlight on. Why? It’s simple, really. Despite how sexed — and sometimes it really does seem oversexed — that our culture and society may be, virgins are not extinct. Believe it or not, it’s been reported that around 27 percent of guys are still virgins when they first step foot on a college campus (as a freshman) and, globally, approximately 38 percent of people between the ages of 18-24 are still virgins too. And even though it’s not a ton of ‘em, there are still some virgins who are over 40 (I personally know three, although they declined to be interviewed for this article).
And even though it really does seem like, over the past 50-60 years or so, virginity has been looked at as something that should be ridiculed, side-eyed, or even flat-out dismissed, I don’t feel that way at all. Fourteen sex partners and many lessons later, I actually get that there are many perks that come with waiting. Not only that, but I’ve encountered enough virgins in my time to get that, like most things in life, virginity is not a monolith, there are tons of reasons why people choose not to have sex until later in life and, if there’s one thing that you can’t really “do over” (because no, there is no such thing as a “born-again virgin.” You lose your virginity ONCE) is “losing” your virginity (I prefer to say “giving.” You know where it is)— being careful and even uber-cautious about how and when your first time goes down is something that I very much so respect.
You don’t have to take my word for it, though. As someone who gave my “conscious virginity” (I am a survivor of molestation, which is why I put it that way) at 19, I wanted to hear from women of that age and older who still haven’t “partaken of the fruit” just yet. First, to give their journey a voice and second, to remind others who may not be so vocal about their own virginal sexual status that, no matter what social media may be yapping about, when it comes to the topic of virginity, they are certainly not alone — and there is definitely nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.
*Per usual, when it comes to these types of interviews that I conduct, middle names have been used.*
“It’s not like I planned to be this age and still a virgin. When I was in high school, I thought I would be married by now. I’m not, and that’s why I’m still a virgin. Does this mean I’m waiting until marriage? I am. I don’t see the point in giving some man my all without that level of commitment. I personally admire women who can because I don’t have the emotional strength or mental stamina to go through that kind of stress or pain — especially multiple times. I just think there is already enough to worry about in life than if I’m gonna get an STD, get pregnant by someone I don’t want to deal with for the rest of my life, or even if some man is going to call the next day.
"And before y’all even start — yes, I know that marriage comes with risks too. But if a man is willing to pledge his life to me and sign a legal contract to prove it just to get some, I’d rather go that route than some dude I met at a club or a guy who I dated for a couple of months, and it didn’t work out. To each their own, and this is the way that I choose to do it.”
“I’ve always been called an old soul. I don’t think that 22 is old, but it is old, these days, to be a virgin. Some people assume that I’m one for religious reasons. Really, it’s because I’m observant, and my sisters and friends who already gave it up usually had more drama in their lives than anything. I just want my first time to be with someone who, when I look back on it, I don’t have regrets. I’m not looking for the perfect guy, but damn, can he at least not ghost me, give me an orgasm, and keep the moment to himself instead of telling all of his boys? I don’t think that’s too much to ask — and if it is…oh well.”
“The question I get asked all of the time is if I’m saving it for marriage. I am. I used to say that I was waiting until I got engaged or at least fell in love, but I have friends who did that, and months after they had sex, the guys were gone. I know that marriage doesn’t guarantee anything, but I have some other friends who were virgins on their wedding night, and their lives just seem to be less intense.
“Not having sex has shown the true colors and real agendas of a lot of guys, so while it does get lonely, being this way makes it easier to see who is serious about a relationship and who just wants to get their d — k wet. Virginity can be the ultimate male marriage material predictor. At least it’s been that way for me.”
“I almost gave it up to my first love, and ‘he’ didn’t happen until college. The break-up damn near turned me into a basket case, so that proved to me that I’m not really for a sexual relationship. I think the best way to explain it is, until I know that I can emotionally handle giving myself to someone and it possibly not working out, I need to stay just where I’m at…and I’m just not there yet.”
“The timing of this is crazy because I almost lost my virginity last weekend. It’s a long story, but I was going to give it to a guy friend because I want my first time to be with someone who I trust. We didn’t go through with it because he said that he didn’t want to chance me regretting it and it ruining our friendship. I think it’s interesting that it seems that men value a woman’s virginity more than women do these days. Anyway, all I know is it won’t be just some random guy. If I don’t trust you with my heart, you will never be able to have my body. My standard will definitely be someone who was my friend first.”
“I’ve been too busy to give up my virginity. Sounds crazy, but it’s still the truth. I’ve always been very career-driven, so after getting my master’s, I decided to do a lot of traveling and then buy a home. It’s probably been over the past few months that my sexual status has even crossed my mind because dating just hasn’t been a priority.
“I guess you can say that having a full life is why I’m a virgin. When I can fit a man into my schedule, and I find him just as stimulating as what I currently have going on, I can almost assure you that my sexual status will change. Until then…stamps on the passport are my orgasms.”
“I’ve had plenty of oral sex — not giving, receiving. Some people say that, technically, I’m not a virgin anymore, but I guess I’ll speak for the women who fall into my special situation. The reason why I’ve never gone down on a guy is because I want that to be reserved for the one [who] I first have intercourse with. The reason why several have gone down on me? You know how guys are — they see virginity as a challenge and will go the distance to be the first. If they wanna try, who am I to stop them?
"As far as what I’m waiting on…I don’t really see it as ‘waiting.' I am open to it. I just haven’t been with someone who seems like he is who I should give it to. I think that the guy who never brings sex up will probably be the one who piques my interest. I’m already a challenge. I think I’m looking for someone who is one, too.”
“I’m a virgin because I’m focused. There are too many women at my school who are so distracted because of what some guy is doing or didn’t do — and I don’t have the time. I want to be able to have my master’s degree before my 23rd birthday, and I’m on the way to making that happen. I haven’t told anyone this, but the present I want to give myself is losing my virginity for graduation. I think an orgasm for all of my hard work makes sense. I know who I want the guy to be, too. He doesn’t know. Hope he doesn’t blow it. I’ll try to keep you posted.”
“All of the holy books value virginity, and that’s why you will never be able to convince me that there is not a serious spiritual breakdown in our society. What used to be respected is now a so-called social construct, and to me, that sounds like so many people are so hyper-sexed with no real reason or purpose that they want to take the ‘misery loves company’ approach — that because they weren’t taught to value virtue and virginity, they want as many other people as possible to follow suit. That will never be me. Until I meet the man who is deserving of being the first and only to enter into my body and spirit, I will remain a virgin and very proud of it.”
“I honestly don’t know why I’m still a virgin. Remember how you told me [Shellie] that after the first couple of years of abstinence, you got pickier and pickier? That’s the way I’ve been all of my life. I’m sure that sex is amazing, but it’s also complicated, physically kind of messy, and exposes you to a world of stuff that you don’t have to think about when you’re a virgin. I’m not scared to have sex, but I’m not in a rush. Look at me — I’m sure I’ll open these legs up one day, but I’m not checking off the calendar or anything. When I have room to explore the good and bad of sex, I’ll be more aggressive about it.”
There you have it — proof that there are at least ten virgins on the planet who aren’t still in high school. And what I like about each of them is there is both a confidence and focus outside of their sexual status that serves as a great reminder that sex is a part of who we are yet…it’s certainly not everything. And you know what? It never was designed to be.
So yes, kudos to them for having a personal type of conviction, for whatever the reason, and standing by it.
Virgins or not, it’s a reminder that we all should be firm in our standards about…something.
Amen? 1000 percent.
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