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Savvy Anderson graces Jerry's Cowboys

by Wally Hall | September 23, 2014 at 2:31 a.m.

Looks like Jane, plays like Tarzan.

Charlotte Jones Anderson looks and carries herself like a runway model, but almost every day she goes toe-to-toe and nose-t0-nose with corporate America as the Dallas Cowboys' executive vice president and chief brand officer.

Anderson came home Monday to speak to the Little Rock Touchdown Club luncheon in front of a crowd that required extra tables be set up.

It was obvious from start to finish she is proud of her roots that run deep into Arkansas, and the two assistants she brought with her, Meredith Counce of Fayetteville and Holly Hilburn of Little Rock, were just a little of the proof.

Anderson was the first female speaker in the almost 11-year history of the LRTDC, and she knocked it out of the park, which was no surprise.

At least 100 of those who attended were females, including a ninth-grade teacher and now principal at Little Rock Central, Nancy Roussseau, but it would take the rest of this column to list all the friends and admirers who showed up to support Anderson.

Before addressing the group, she took a few minutes to explain how concerned NFL owners are about domestic violence and the way the Ray Rice findings were handled, and she's close enough to her dad Jerry Jones to know how deep that concern is.

There are 32 NFL teams and dozens upon dozens of executives, but Jones is one of three female NFL executives. But it was easy to see she transcends the world of male and female. She is just a smart, sharp businessman who more than holds her own in the world of professional football.

She told the story of how her dad lured her away -- temporarily -- from a job in Washington D.C. to help stop the bleeding after he bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989.

The Cowboys were losing $1 million a month at the time.

Anderson came in, looked at the books and worked to move training camp from California to Texas for 11 years, a move that saved hundreds of thousands of dollars before the Cowboys settled on alternating it between San Antonio and Oxnard, Calif.

She took on other efforts that were losing money, and when she had them all fixed she told her dad she was going back to D.C.

Jones, always the uncanny businessman, asked her to stay.

She explained she knew nothing about the business of professional football, and his answer, "Neither do I, but I need people around me I can trust," brought her to Dallas permanently.

Anderson immediately started updating and upgrading the Cowboys brand, and, yes, she is over the cheerleaders. But that is just one of numerous duties, and when Dallas made the NFC Championship Game in 1993, it was her idea to have a pep rally to send the team off to San Francisco.

It was free on a first-come, first-served basis. They sold out of food and beverages halfway through the pep rally.

The Cowboys went on to beat the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl that year and the next and then won it again in 1996 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Those were glorious years," Anderson said and then added with a laugh, "and too long ago."

Jones turned to Anderson for help in improving the Cowboys' off-field image and she wasted no time getting meetings with the presidents of Frito Lay, NBC Sports Programming and the NFL. She convinced everyone to donate $15 million of advertising air time for a halftime show at the Cowboys annual Thanksgiving game to kick off the Salvation Army's red bucket program.

In 2010 she became chairman of the Salvation Army's advisory board, the first woman to hold that position, and Monday she was the first woman to speak at the LRTDC and she looked like Jane and played like Tarzan.

Sports on 09/23/2014

Print Headline: Savvy Anderson graces Jerry's Cowboys

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