Valerie Camillo, the president of business operations for the Philadelphia Flyers and Wells Fargo Center, has broken the glass ceiling in the NHL. She's the first female to hold the title in the league's history.
- Close out March so to end Women's History Month, and I've been really lucky this month to feature some amazing, and talented, and inspiring stories of women in sports. But Valerie Camillo, she may be the most impressive yet.
It may look like your regular Flyers team photo, but this one was different.
VALERIE CAMILLO: My first season, someone mentioned to me that the team photo was going to be the first photo for the Flyers that ever featured a female executive, and I thought, wow.
- So wearing her nice pair of stiletto heels, she headed down to the ice and realized that choice of shoes wasn't so practical.
- And I'm like, I'm going to die. I'm going to, like, wipe out in front of the entire team. This is going to be a very embarrassing moment, and Paul Holmgren, who was so kind to me, saw my dilemma, instantly saw my dilemma. He got up, and came over, and offered a hand.
- Yes, Valerie Camillo knew she broke the glass ceiling when the Flyers quite literally helped break the ice. In 2019, she took over the business operations for the team, becoming the first ever female president in the history of the NHL.
- It's an honor, and it's a blessing. And it's something that I want to do a phenomenal job at, so that I can be a standard bearer, and a success, and break down some of those mental barriers that some might have, and also, be an inspiration to young girls and young women coming up in their careers.
- Camillo understands what it's like to be the only woman at the table. Before the Flyers, she was the Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer for the Washington Nationals, a consultant to the NBA before that. So this position marks a hat trick of sorts.
CHUCK FLETCHER: She's very bright, very bright, very analytically inclined, great with numbers, so that part, the intelligence is off the charts. But just the team approach, the way she works with people, the way she collaborates and communicates, you know, she's a progressive leader.
- While women in management positions in pro sports are rare to begin with, hockey seems to lag behind them all. A survey taken in 2019 points out that, while females make up 40% of the fan base, they hold less than 5% of the jobs in hockey operations.
- And this is a business job. I didn't grow up playing hockey. There is nothing about my job that requires me to be an expert in identifying talent, or picking players, or any of those things. So this is a job that at highest levels can be a fit for any woman and should be a fit for any woman.
- You're starting to see some women take on positions. Not just at the top of the business side, but even in the hockey side. And it's been too slow for sure, but I think we're starting to see some progress.
- I'm a woman, and I'm in this awesome job. And I don't want to be one of the guys. Like when I was-- 20 years ago in my career, I felt that pressure to conform, and act like a guy, and do things that guys like to do, and sort of play a role. But who enjoys living like that? Like, to be your best, you have to be yourself.
- More from my interview with Valerie Camillo on our streaming apps on Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, and Android TV. How impressive. One of the ways that Valerie is not hiding who she is and being authentic, Brian, she wears dresses to work. Not suits, like the men. It's cold in hockey arenas, so she became the first ever executive to offer blankets in the president's suite. And they are a huge hit.
- Proudly being herself and kicking butt in the process. Jamie, thank you.