SMODÈ MAGAZINE

Lesbian CEO/Hall of Fame Running Back on Conquering Social Norms in Sports…

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Odessa Jenkins, is the first black female owner of a nationally recognized sports league, the Women’s National Football Conference (WNFC), a professional women’s tackle football league with over 20 teams and 1,000 women and coaches in 17 states. An openly gay Black woman, Jenkins is taking on the challenges of the male-dominated.

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“Sport of heroes” and working to set the standard for young girls and women who aspire to play football. “Regardless of colour and sexual preference, as long as the product is entertaining and tells the story, then I feel like we’ve done our job”, says Jenkins. “Athletes have the influence to empower anyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”


Odessa has a career decorated with a Hall of Fame induction, a 2X National Champion, a USA Football Team captain, and a 2-time Gold Medalist. A sought-after national speaker who is guaranteed to inspire. See her recent appearance on iHeartradio’s Breakfast Club.
Jenkins is globally recognized as a leader in Women’s Tackle Football and was listed as one of the top 100 most powerful, influential women in sports by Sports Illustrated which featured such luminaries as Serena WilliamsDoris Burke & Megan Rapinoe. She is a market leader in relationship management with multiple years of Executive leadership in privately funded start-ups, joint ventures, and fortune 100 public companies. 


Launched in 2018, the WNFC has earned endorsements from leading producers of athletic wear and team merchandise such as Adidas, to begin the seeding efforts and help break down the barriers of funding for women entrepreneurs nationwide. In addition, Riddell, the leading manufacturer of sports equipment, has also signed on as a sponsor, marking the first time the brand has backed an all-women-led sport.

“Women have been playing the sport for 75 years, yet there’s never been a corporation formed for women’s tackle football, which I couldn’t believe,” says Jenkins. “There were charities and other kinds of businesses, but never a corporation.”