When the National Foundation of Women Legislators recently held its 2017 conference in Minneapolis, a group of women from the Vikings who work on the business and football sides of the organization were invited to participate in a panel and were also recognized for their achievements during an event at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Vikings have three female vice presidents in addition to multiple department heads and staff members who make up the Women of the Vikings.
Vice President of Legal and Human Resources Karin Nelsen, Chief of Staff Tina Holmes, Director of Football Administration Anne Doepner and Coordinator of College Scouting Kelly Kleine were able to attend and participate.
"It's an incredible honor, and I don't take that lightly," Nelsen said. "I am so proud to represent the organization. I'm proud to be included with the women from the Vikings who were honored."
Holmes said this type of discussion "really helps change the trajectory of women in the workplace and helps change the path not only of current leaders but for future leaders that want to have an opportunity in the sports industry."
Nelsen said the group from the Vikings hoped to inspire and motivate attendees to succeed in any industry.
The discussion was part of a series of workshops and activities designed to empower female elected officials.
The NFWL was founded in 1938 and has served as a forum for elected women across the country to be empowered through information and experience. The NFWL includes women on the city, county and state levels.
According to the NFWL, the number of women serving in state legislatures has quintupled since 1971, and nearly 25 percent of the 7,383 seats nationwide are held by women. There also are 20 women serving in the U.S. Senate and 84 in the House of Representatives.
Doepner said speaking to the group was "special" because of a mutual understanding, despite the differences in career fields.
"We all come into this experience feeling the same way and knowing the same challenges we all face in different areas of our professional careers," Doepner said. "For me, it's really comfortable and feels good to interact with them, knowing we come from the same place."
Kleine said the invitation and recognition was sincerely appreciated.
"They have done amazing things in their communities all over the country," Kleine said. "For them to invite us, we're just trying to work in football and do our jobs, and they're changing their communities, so it's really humbling and an honor to be invited here."
Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren and Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Lester Bagley also took pride in attending the event.
"It was very special to be here and see some of our women in the Vikings organization be honored by the National Foundation of Women Legislators," Warren said. "It reiterates the importance of having a diverse workforce and really how special our women employees are. They're very talented in their disciplines, and I'm humbled and honored to stand beside them and work with them hand-in-hand to build a world championship-caliber franchise on the field and in the community."