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Vikings Women Encourages, Motivates Through 'InspiHer' Event

On Tuesday afternoon the Vikings hosted an InspiHER event at the TCO Performance Center.

By Kabrione Coleman, For

EAGAN, Minn. – Last week, the Women of the Vikings hosted 150 women at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center for a night of fellowship, networking and inspiring stories.

This event was a way to bring fans, friends, and wives and girlfriends of players and coaches together to talk about their successes, their failures and anything in between.

Tami Hedrick, Director of Vikings Women and MVC Head Coach, spearheaded the "InspiHER" event with the goal of inspiring its attendees.

The night started with a panel of four Vikings Women advisory board members: Amy Becker, VP, General Counsel and Secretary of Donaldson Company; Barbara Butts-Williams, Executive Dean of Capella University; and Sheila Oliver, VP/General Manager of KMSP/WFTC Fox 9. 

These women shared how they were able to achieve success and navigate their way to the top of their careers as a woman.

"I was a risk taker and didn't take 'no' for an answer," Oliver said. "When I think back on what was successful before and what I know is now, it's knowing what the expectations are in your own role, and then over-delivering those expectations."

Through messages of inspiration and motivation, the panel connected with the audience.

"You have to empower yourself," Becker said. "You have to find your voice. You have to find your power, and you have to own it. Part of the thing I love about the Vikings and what I have seen through this organization is really everybody has a voice, everybody has a perspective, and when you gather all those in a room and you really listen to people, you can come to the best answer and resolution."

Before the event began, each guest received an InspiHer gift bag with a notepad, a pen and a signed copy of Winning Her Business, written by Bridget Brennan.

Brennan has spent most of her career studying women in the economy and their buying power. She enlightened the audience on the power of the female consumer, stating that "women are the world's most powerful consumer, driving between 70 and 80 percent of all consumer spending."

She also shared a few points from her new book and recognized the Vikings, as well as Innovative Office Solutions, for being a part of her case studies.

Brennan shared, "This book is filled with all types of different examples of companies that are doing really interesting things to earn the business of women. There are two organizations in the book that are present with us tonight. The Vikings are my very first case study in the book, and Innovative Office Solutions is another case study." 

The second panel of the evening was made up of wives of current Vikings players and coaches: Jordan Rudolph, married to Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph; Lauren McDermott, married to Vikings long snapper Kevin McDermott; Stephanie Ham, married to Vikings fullback C.J. Ham; and Michelle Stefanski, married to Vikings Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski.

These women shared personal stories about their home life and how they are able to keep their families grounded with such hectic schedules.

"The guys really aren't home that often," Rudolph said. "We have three kids. We have twin girls that are 2-and-a-half and a little boy that is 3 months old, so we are a little chaotic. I just try to keep a schedule. I keep my kids on a schedule, I keep Kyle and I on a schedule and we share a calendar." 

This panel gave the audience a chance to learn more about the passions of the wives and the accomplishments they have made and are continuing to strive for.

"I am currently pursuing a doctorate of physical therapy through South College in Knoxville, Tennessee," Ham explained. "It's a hybrid program. It's online for a part of it, and then I travel down to Tennessee once every three months for about 18 days to do lab emersions. It's very hands-on, and its eight hours a day for 18 days straight."

To close out the evening, Vikings Director of Brand/Creative Erin Swartz left the group with four lessons she has learned along the way of making mistakes throughout her career.

"Never assume intent, business is a team sport, there is more than one seat at the table and sometimes your perceived weaknesses are often your biggest strengths," Swartz said.

The mission of Vikings Women is to connect, impact and empower, and the women that attended InspiHer left the event feeling all three.