Meet Meg. The curly-haired beauty featured in our newest brand illustration and better half to Indianapolis Colts cornerback, Vontae Davis. Meg sat down with our editors to discuss hidden talents, WAG Life, and how being a lawyer impacts her relationship with an athlete. Can you say #girlboss!?
Despite what you see on TV and on the blogs, most of the women in the NFL are educated, dedicated and driven. They run their husband’s foundations, their own businesses and they hold down their families like I’ve never seen before. They aren’t all stay at home moms either. There are some women that work full time and others (like myself) who chose not to move with their men and instead make the decision to continue their education. When my now husband first began his NFL journey, we were uncertain of his longevity and his future. He went undrafted and after a season ending injury during his senior year- it wasn’t until 8 months after the draft that he got the call to play again. At the time, it didn't feel like it was in my best interest to move with him so I stayed in Texas.
Staying in Texas was a hard decision- a decision that I made for three straight seasons. During those three seasons; I worked full time, had a baby, earned a Masters degree and got married. And after every major life change, I still made the decision to stay (where I was). There were people who called me selfish and said that I would “miss out on being an NFL wife” and that “men of this caliber want their women to stay home.” They speculated about his fidelity and the strength of our relationship and because of this, I often felt anxious and uncertain.
It was never easy but, we trusted each other and knew ourselves. We both had dreams and goals before we met one other and respected the other enough to pursue those goals together and apart. I often wanted to miss those early morning flights home after a late night playoff game—but in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t.
I’ve met many women around the league who work full time, went to graduate school, law school and even medical school. These women are teachers, reporters and photographers. Many do not make those moves across the country for 1-year deals or uncertain contracts. Some live in their home towns until after training camp to be sure their man is on the final roster. But, in the end we are all sacrificing something to make sure our families are "set" for the future and that is whether you are a stay at home mom or a career women. There is not one "cookie cutter" way to be a supportive wife and mother and because of THAT, we should never feel guilty.
A few weeks ago I graduated from the University of Miami with my Master’s in Business Administration. This is my 3rd degree. Yes I know it sounds a bit ridiculous, but I’m what some people call a career student. I thrive on studying my days away, then complaining and counting down the days to freedom from homework, group projects and exams. I don’t know why I continue to torture myself but for some reason I keep going back. You would think that after earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a master’s from Texas Tech in Mass Communications I would have had enough of school, but when an opportunity to pursue my MBA degree came along I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to complete more education. Executive MBA for Artist and Athletes:
The Executive MBA for Artist and Athletes at the University of Miami is a program designed to help professional athletes and their significant other or business partner earn their Master’s in Business Administration in an 18-month long program. The program is completed in six 2-week sessions during the offseason and three online classes during the season. To be honest I had no idea what to expect and I was nervous about doing the program since I was only one of two women joining the incoming class. I knew I would have my husband by my side and the classes would be challenging, but I wasn’t sure how a group of football players would be in the classroom. Upon starting class I quickly learned my classmates were a fun group of guys that were extremely focused and had a strong work ethic.
Perception Not Equal To Reality:
Being surrounded by such a driven group of individuals made me realize the media often portrays our guys in a negative light. All of my classmates were the complete opposite of how we often see football players characterized. The reality is most of them had established businesses and non-profits prior to joining the program and were working towards building legacies that would sustain their success well beyond football. Several of my classmates were and are some of the top players in the league and had reached what some would call the highest height of achievement by making it to the NFL, and yet they still chose to pursue higher education. These aren’t the images we often see so I’m glad I have this platform to show that these guys are more than just football players. They are great fathers, businessmen and leaders who continue to strive for more than the glory of the game and they deserve to be recognized for their contributions on and of the field.
Being in a class of football players I was reminded of how blessed I am to be a part of such a great league but the reality is the NFL is "not for long." The NFL has afforded many of us with the opportunity to build great networks and to travel and experience things that some people only dream of. Although the ride is often fun, it goes by so fast. I realized the best lesson that I can take away from completing the program didn’t come from my professors or my textbooks, but from the very men I sat next to every day. Their work ethic taught me to go after my passions and dreams, to keep learning and networking and to take advantage of all the resources this league has afforded my husband and I.
My husband is going into his sixth season and I must admit in the beginning of his career it felt like football would last forever. Now that we are much closer to retirement than we are to rookie season the reality has set in to enjoy it while it lasts but to also get prepared for the day when it will all be over. For many of us women this may be a little more difficult trying to juggle being a wife or a girlfriend, having families and being supportive to our men, but that’s ok. It’s never too late to start fresh just as long as you start. One of greatest gifts we can give everyone around us is to not give up on our dreams and goals no matter what. For some that means picking up that hobby or dream that was set aside temporarily, for others that means trying something new or challenging or maybe going back to school to earn a degree or two. Whatever it may be I strongly encourage you to take advantage of today. We do not know what tomorrow will bring but we have the ability and power to impact tomorrow by what we do today.
My MBA program taught me a lot about business but so much more about mastering life. Never stop learning, never stop growing and don’t be afraid to take risks. I hope my journey encourages you just a little to jump in head first and do whatever your hearts desire and if you're already doing so kudos to you!
For more information about Executive MBA for Artists and Athletes program feel free to email Jennifer at Jennifer@miamiemba2.com for more information.
This week's WAG Feature Wednesday is of Ms. Adrianne Holt. Adrianne has the kind of genuine and gentle spirit that is rare to find these days. She is a mother of one, businesswoman, and the significant other of Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle, Pat Sims. Adrianne and I first connected a few months ago through the Praying Women NFL chat group after I mentioned my website. She was the first one to reach out in support of my mission (thank you!). I was so excited to interview Adrianne and learn more about her learning center Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy and personal experiences in the NFL.
NFL WAG Stats
Name: Adrianne Holt
Boyfriend: Pat Sims
Significant other is Active or Retired: Active
Years Played in the NFL: 2008 -2012 Cincinnati Bengals, 2013-2014 Oakland Raiders, 2015 - Present Cincinnati Bengals
Cities You've Lived in with NFL: Cincinnati, Oakland
Favorite Food: Chicken, Salmon and Steak! I just love to eat and trying new things
Music Playlist: I listen to all types of music! Rap, R&B, Pop, Gospel
Hobbies: I love dancing (meaning I love to engage in the act of dancing and watch others dance lyrical, jazz, ballet, and hip hop). I enjoy cooking! Pat and I take pride in cooking and trying new recipes, especially when we view a new dish on The Food Network. I enjoy hosting family events and throwing themed parties. I also enjoy taking photos and scrapbooking in my spare time because I cherish life's priceless moments and memories.
Interesting Facts: I'm a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. I danced and cheered during my primary, secondary, and college years. I was always selected as a captain at each level, which constitutes leadership amongst my peers. My tenure as a cheerleader and dancer enabled me to work well with others, which is a strong skill I possess.
I have had the honor of teaching Martin Luther King Jr.'s granddaughter and Allen Iverson’s daughter. - Adrianne Holt
LM: The Bengals are undefeated thus far in the season. Congrats! What's it like to attend a game these days. How are the Bengals fans?
AH: I absolutely love it. We were with the Bengals from 2008 to 2012, went to Oakland Raiders for two seasons and now we're back in Cinci. I was very excited about coming back. The fans in Cincinnati are amazing and so supportive.
LM: Nice! Who Dey! Lets talk about you now. Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
AH: I was born in Decatur, Georgia and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia. I went to elementary, middle, and high school there. I attended South Carolina State University for college and studied Early Childhood Education. Once I graduated from SCSU, I returned to Atlanta. My first job after college was working at The Suzuki School, a private preschool. It’s very well-known in Atlanta because many celebrities take their children there. I have had the honor of teaching Martin Luther King Jr.'s granddaughter and Allen Iverson’s daughter. Sandra Bullock's stepdaughter also attended the school.
Once I was pregnant with my son, I decided to go into business for myself and focus on raising him. I moved to Ohio with Pat so we could raise our son together. I started brainstorming ideas for opening up my own learning center. I finally received the guidance I was seeking with a business coach.
LM: How did you find your business coach?
AH: I was introduced to Ms. Roxanne Hammond via Pat's mother. His parents knew of my dream and thought she would be the perfect person to connect with. One of her services involves assisting professional athletes and their significant others with a gameplan for life after professional sports. I connected with her and I absolutely love her! She also has another division that serves youth and young adults by helping them develop a game plan to accomplish their personal educational and career goals.
Visit Game Plan Scholars here.
LM: How did you and Pat meet?
AH: We actually met in Miami in 2011. He’s from Ft. Lauderdale and I was in Miami with friends. A mutual friend introduced us and the rest is history. Interestingly enough, we both have the same vision. I desired to open a school and he wanted to invest in schools. I am very adamant about doing it on my own. I had an NFL fundraiser last month where he donated 25 Bengals game tickets and autographed footballs. Pat is also donating game tickets for various games. Pat supports my dreams and we're working together on the school but at the end of the day, this is my vision.
LM: You recently started a new business. Tell us about Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy and how it came about?
AH: It’s always been a dream of mine to open up a learning center. I’ve always been very passionate about children. Having the opportunity to turn my lifelong dream into a reality is just amazing. Our vision at Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy is to provide a premiere education for young children.
Most preschools learn through play and don’t allow children to explore beyond conventional ways. Through years of training and schooling, I've learned that young children can learn anything at any age. It’s never too early to introduce anything to them! Children understand way more than what adults realize. Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy will focus on an enrichment program (culinary arts, sports, foreign language, performing arts) along with education.
We want to incorporate a special program for families in which a parent is a professional athlete. I have struggled with having a young child and living in this lifestyle. Since I studied Early Childhood Education, I know the importance of it. I have had problems with traveling back and forth to different cities. Some pro athlete careers are stable where a player may be with a team for a long time or move for six months out of the year and return home for six months. For the players in between teams and constantly moving with different contracts, those with children face additional problems with schools. Most schools don't accommodate travel schedules. We have to pay for childcare and tuition whether we’re here or not. I want to solve this problem by working out a deal to accodomate the travel schedule of professional athlete families.
Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy will provide high-quality childcare for an affordable price. We want to cater the curriculum to the unique learning style of each child. There will be low child to teacher ratios. We will also have a strong partnership with parents (parent partnership program) so the adults are on the same page. What we do at school should also be done at home in order to foster a great learning relationship.
Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy is scheduled to open its first location in Smyrna, Georgia in the summer of 2016.
The website is currently under construction but you can follow the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/borntobeleaders and social media accounts for updates.
BORN TO BE LEADERS LEARNING ACADEMY FUNDRAISER IN GEORGIA!
Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy is hosting a family game-day fundraiser on November 14, 2015 at Tolleson Park in Smyrna, Georgia. Geared for all ages, this fun-filled day will include: food, drinks, arts & crafts, video game trucks and inflatables! There will be something for everyone! Winners of the video game tournament and sports challenges will have the opportunity to step into the Born To Be Leaders Learning Academy cash cube for a chance to win professional sports tickets, gas and grocery cards, free daycare coupons and/or holiday cash! Contact Adrianne for more details.
LM: What is your ultimate goal for Born To Be Leaders?
AH: Our mission statement embodies my goals:
To empower young children to become natural-born leaders at an early age by providing all students with skills, knowledge and values to succeed throughout their educational career.
We are starting off small but eventually want to start a chain of Born To Be Leaders Learning Academies.
LM: What do you believe are the pros and cons of being in a relationship with a NFL player?
AH: Pros – I absolutely love the opportunity to attend the games and watch my significant other do something he loves. For those who have children, it's nice to see your child cheering and excited to see their dad perform to the best of his ability every Sunday. I'm proud to watch him because I think playing in the NFL is very courageous! Traveling, meeting other families and developing new relationships is another positive.
Cons – It’s sad when you get used to a city and your friends and family are in a city and then you have to move and start all over. At the end of the day, you get to meet new people so it’s a pro and a con. Living in two cities simultaneously can be quite “stressful” with moving back and forth (especially with children). The holidays can be interesting. Our home is in Atlanta but the majority of the time we spend Christmas wherever Pat is playing and ship the Christmas gifts back home. Your significant other is also gone a lot so it can feel like you are a single mother at times! You have to explain to your child that daddy is at work, traveling or going off to camp. That’s not for everyone! The last con I'll mention is the risk of injury. As a wife or girlfriend, you're excited to see your man out there but you’re nervous at the same time because you don’t want them to get hurt. Anything can happen within a second! It's a bundle of emotions. You’re excited, you’re cheering, and you’re nervous!
LM: What is your love advice to NFL WAGS?
AH: Love advice? Keep God first in your relationship. Communication is key. Try to understand one another and be supportive. Make your significant other feel like they don’t have to look for anything else outside of your relationship. Keep it close knit. Overall, just have fun!
Pat is actually very funny! He’s a defensive tackle, but once you get to know him you can’t help but love him. He’s very generous and he’ll tell it like it is. I can’t help but laugh some times. We have our serious moments and we have our playful moments. We love to have fun by watching movies and TV shows, cooking, traveling, and enjoying each other's company.
What would you like people to know about you
AH: Overall, I’m just a very sweet and genuine person. Not to toot my own horn or anything but I’m probably one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. I always try to make sure others are okay. Sometimes when others meet me they might say, “Are you being real? Because most people aren’t this nice.” It’s just who I am! I love to have fun and I’m all for supporting and empowering others. At the end of the day, education is key. When you have a strong background in education, the sky is the limit! I just feel it's very important in life for your future endeavors!
LM: Anything else you would like to add?
AH: I honestly would like to team up with the NFL and other professional sports organizations. I'm all about independence and women establishing their own. Use this opportunity with the NFL as a stepping stone. Don’t fall behind the shadows and lose your identity. I have noticed that some women in this lifestyle fall behind. I would really like to start a committee or foundation one day for women of professional athletes. We all understand the lifestyle and what comes with it. We have to be a strong support system for everyone. You have to know who you are in order to be in this lifestyle and handle what comes with it. As women, we have to be there for each other and uplift one another. Don’t forget your goals and dreams as well.
I love, love, love what you’re doing. It’s sickening to see what reality TV portrays us to be. We're not about the arguing and fighting. I support you 100% in your mission.
Follow Adrianne on Instagram at: @classy_a92