More than 1,000 women gathered in downtown Tampa on Friday morning for the inaugural Women's Conference of Florida, and a leading member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Glazer Family Foundation played a memorable part in the groundbreaking event. Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, the co-president of the Glazer Family Foundation and a driving force behind the Buccaneers' innovative Women of RED, took to the stage during the morning session and presented her personal vision behind the launch of RED and the impact it has made since its debut last August.
Noting that female fans account for nearly 50 percent of the entire NFL fan base, Kassewitz delivered a clear and direct message: the Buccaneers are dedicated to hearing the voice of their female fans and to providing authentic experiences that celebrate their collective fandom
"My vision in starting RED was to launch a true movement that highlights the importance of the female fan base in the NFL," Kassewitz said. "We wanted to hear a woman's voice. RED is founded on that…It's a voice that needs to be heard."
For Kassewitz, her NFL ties provide a unique perspective to the female fan's relationship with football, and serve as the catalyst behind the team's innovative approach to more closely connecting to its female fan base.
"The game changer here was that we created experiences that were high level, behind the scenes, and up close and personal with our players, coaches and key personnel," she stated.
RED was launched with two large-scale events that drew more than 4,000 participants and received rave reviews--fueling an even greater interest in the program heading into its second season. For Kassewitz, the initial reward has been the overwhelmingly positive reaction from the fans and the deeper connection that has been created with the team's fan base through authentic ways of including women.
"It's our goal to shine a spotlight on women and to recognize and show the tremendous appreciation that the Buccaneers have for our female fans," Kassewitz said.
Hillsborough County Commissioner and Women's Conference of Florida Chairwoman Sandy Murman praised Kassewitz and the Bucs for their vision and continued commitment to women.
"I'm one of the founders of the Women of RED that Darcie was so wonderful in putting together," Murman said. "That was something this community really needed. We have female sports fans here for the Bucs. We need to really engage them."
As was evident on Friday, both the Women of RED and the Women's Conference of Florida are making great strides with women.
"In the same way the Buccaneers are moving the needle, so is everyone here at this conference. Together, we can shine a spotlight on the power and the strength of all women," Kassewitz concluded.