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Browns host inaugural "GCC Leadership Conference" in partnership with the Greater Cleveland Conference 

Student-athletes from the GCC spent the afternoon at Cleveland Browns Stadium, learning the importance of leadership, diversity, equity and inclusion through sport

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Over 130 student-athletes and administrators representing the Greater Cleveland Conference gathered at Cleveland Browns Stadium on March 12 as part of the conference's first "GCC Leadership Conference."

The Greater Cleveland Conference is made up of seven member schools including Brunswick, Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Medina, Mentor, Shaker Heights and Strongsville. As part of the conference, each member high school nominated rising student-athletes who exemplify leadership on and off the playing field to attend the event.

To help further the vision of the Greater Cleveland Conference, the Browns elected to host the event as well as provide insight into the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion practices as an organization.

Chief Communications Officer Peter John-Baptiste kicked off the event by welcoming the group and sharing the rich history of DEI within the Cleveland sports landscape. Narratives of past Browns legends, current team composition and how the organization brings together an array of backgrounds echoed throughout the room.

During the 2022 season, the Browns were recognized as leaders in the NFL with the inaugural "John B. Wooten Award" by the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a nonprofit organization comprised of scouts, coaches and front office personnel in the NFL, as well as other sports professionals committed to equal opportunity in the industry. The award, named after the two-time Pro Bowler and NFL Executive, honors NFL teams that embody workplace diversity, equity and inclusion across their hierarchy.

Greater Cleveland Conference DEI Workshop on March 12, 2024 in the Kardiac Club at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The Browns have implemented numerous programs to fill both the business and football operations sectors of the organization with multiple fellowships and minority hires to foster organizational growth.

At the forefront of these efforts, GM Andrew Berry is currently one of eleven Black GMs across the NFL. Launched in 2020, the Browns #BeTheSolution platform has helped create new opportunities through programs such as the "Bill Willis Coaching Fellowship" to help champion equity across Northeast Ohio and within the organization. Current coaching staff members including Ashton Grant, Nyema "Nemo" Washington and Callie Brownson all have helped make an immediate impact on and off the field.

Outside of the football space, the Browns have annually hosted four fellows on the business side of the organization as part of the Haslam Sports Group Diversity and Opportunity Fellowship Program. Since 2021, the program has offered an immersive opportunity to high-potential, diverse recent college graduates to gain hands-on experience in the sports industry.

The importance of diverse leadership and inclusion was shared throughout the morning.

Event participants spent time listening to prominent keynote speakers from around the community, sharing their unique experiences while growing up in Northeast Ohio. Speakers included Jensen Lewis (Cleveland Guardians), Dr. Larry Burnley (Shaker Heights High School), Jared Wilson (Shaker Heights High School), Damion Creel (Euclid High School) and more.

Students had the opportunity to not only hear real-life accounts of leadership and diversity best practices but had the chance to engage with unfamiliar faces. The leaders of the Greater Cleveland Conference helped organize students in groups with members from different schools and backgrounds to help further the mission of the day. Shaker Heights City School Athletic Director Michael Babinec championed the purpose of the inaugural event.

"The event supports each school's commitment to education-based athletic programming," Babinec said. "Meaningful collaboration and peer engagement between conference schools help to foster relationships in and out of the athletic arena. We would like to thank the Cleveland Browns for their partnership and support of the Greater Cleveland Conference and this important event."

The Cleveland Browns are committed to championing youth football, education and social justice in our community and throughout Ohio. To learn more about the Browns year-round commitment to social justice equity, visit

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