A simple glance around her office is testament to her multiplicity of accomplishments. With shelves adorned in awards, family photos and engraved metal footballs and a wall of windows overlooking two massive football fields, she is living proof that hard work and perseverance pays off.
Charlotte Jones Anderson, the talented and diligent Executive Vice-President of the Dallas Cowboys, holds herself with confidence and self-assurance veiled by a subtle sense of modesty and appreciation of just how far she has come.
A family woman, Anderson has three kids and has two brothers herself.
She said many would assume her position and status would make her naturally confident, but Anderson’s courage, however evident now, didn’t come with ease.
“I was never really the one who was that verbose in any kind of setting,” she said. “I don’t know what it was…a quiet confidence.”
A quiet confidence quickly morphed into the desire to step out of her comfort zone, challenging herself, she said.
“When you’re in that uncomfortable zone it makes you a little quiet. But at the same time it makes you more determined,” Anderson said.
She added that her assertiveness that came over time began with pushing herself constantly.
“I think every day I go to work the worst thing you could be is comfortable,” she said. “I think that danger can exist in that comfort…you always need to be a little uncomfortable because it drives you, it pushes you, it challenges you.”
Anderson is Jerry Jones’ only daughter. Despite growing up in a world dominated by men, she said her gender was never an important aspect of her family life.
“When I was growing up my father never saw gender,” she said. “Every day he would say, ‘You could be the president of the United States if you want to be!’”
With a father like Jerry Jones, Anderson said people sometimes assume everything was handed to her. But that wasn’t the case at all.
Twenty years ago, Anderson took her own initiative to use the Dallas Cowboys as a platform to give back. Her idea? A Thanksgiving show during halftime that would benefit the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army “needed a mouthpiece,” Anderson said after meeting a chairman for the charity.
“I’m sitting there talking to [the chairman] when I said, ‘Well, we’ve got the Thanksgiving show for at least for 65,000 people, which was Texas Stadium at the time,” she said. “And if we’re lucky maybe they’ll talk about it on air.”
With the idea now imprinted in her mind, the pieces began to fall into place. She asked for permission from NBC, and already had an entertainer to perform. But the real challenge was getting the NFL on board.
Anderson and her father traveled to New York to talk to executives about the show. The night before, Jerry Jones promised he would handle it – but that wasn’t the case.
The first words out of her father’s mouth, she said, were “‘Charlotte has something to ask you.’”
“I didn’t have time to be nervous,” she said. “I just started talking and it worked.”
Anderson said truthfully she had no idea how to produce a show, but after getting permission from the NFL, the show was a go. This year marks 20 years of success for Anderson’s production.
“The greatest part is not only accomplishing that but then getting better and better every year,” she said.
She said throughout all of the ups and downs of Cowboys craziness, her father has been a constant support.
“I’ve been so blessed that my family, my dad in particular, has always been the eternal optimist,” she said. “The glass is always half full.”
Anderson is proof that it is possible to take your ideas to the next level if you work hard enough and stay uncomfortable.
“I think my biggest piece of advice would be to stay true to yourself,” she said. “A lot of times women think they should be something that they’re not or something that someone else wants them to be, and I have found that authenticity carries far more weight, opens far more doors, and accomplishes far more than trying to fit into a mold.”
Anderson, who has been called the most powerful woman in the NFL, celebrates her successes every day and doesn’t take anything for granted.
“You learn to go through the challenges and you learn how to celebrate your successes,” she said. “Every day that I take a step forward.”
She now works at the brand new Cowboys headquarters, The Star, located in Frisco. The headquarters features two practice fields, an indoor football facility for Frisco high school students to use, and state-of-the-art equipment and practice space to take the team to the next level.
“For us this journey has been about tying a passion and a vision together and not being affected by the bumps in the road,” she said about the headquarters opening.
As Anderson walks across the practice field of The Star, her self-assurance shines with every step she takes. You would never think the woman who has accomplished so much has to force herself every day to face her fears and stay confident.
“I’m kind of comfortable being uncomfortable,” she said.
When asked about her children’s future plans, Anderson said she wants to be like her dad was to her: non-pressuring and accepting of any job they want to pursue.
“You know, I want my children to do what they're passionate about,” she said. “They have a passion for this and if it leads them through these doors, hopefully they'll be ready for the challenge.”
Anderson was certainly ready for the challenge, and she stays mentally prepared for anything life may throw at her, she said.
“I feel like there’s a great responsibility to make sure that I’m not the last one through these doors,” she said. “If you’re opening the door, you open it wide.”