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No Seat at the Table? Create Your Own! How NFL Agent Chelsea Townsend Made It Happen

No Seat at the Table? Create Your Own! How NFL Agent Chelsea Townsend Made It Happen

Conscious from a very young age, NFL agent, CEO & Founder of C-Town Sports Agency Chelsea Townsend always knew she wanted to be a lawyer. She also knew that she really loved sports, and would want to be surrounded by them for the rest of her life. FBI STYLE sat down with Chelsea Townsend to bring you her story.

Growing up surrounded by sports, Townsend knew she had a passion for the industry, but what she didn’t know was what being a NFL agent entailed. Growing up she never saw any female agents around that she could look up to or that looked like her. So looking at the sports industry as more than just a hobby, but as a career was something she had to navigate on her own. Townsend expressed, “it changed for me in highschool, that’s when I first became aware of Sports Law, still not quite an agent but I became more familiar with it”. Immediately after highschool, going into her undergrad is when she knew 100% she was going to become a NFL agent, specifically. From that moment on, “it was just tunnel vision and I knew that one way or another it was going to happen” she said. Ever since then, Townsend’s drive has been unwavering, and she is now a certified NFL agent after years of working so hard and remaining focused on the goal she set for herself.

Upon completing her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she continued on to Law school, where she successfully obtained her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Elon University School of Law. Townsend uses her J.D. in a non-traditional way. Although in her job there is a focus on contract and negotiation work, day to day she finds herself really using “the discipline, the language and the attention to detail that you learn in law school”. She continued by sharing that “law school in itself is three years of complete transformation”, and that problem solving was the number one skill that law school had taught her.

Coming out of law school, Townsend spoke about her struggles of getting an agency to give her a chance, as the new agent. In her 3rd year of law school, she began sending out her resumes and transcripts, trying to secure a job. Although proactive, she quickly realized that in sending out those emails she was just a “prospective agent”.Townsend continued to explain that “a lot of people aren’t really looking at those because of how many steps come between graduating and actually becoming a certified agent”.

From December 2018 all the way up until August 2019, she had been reaching out trying to get her foot in the door, but was met with no response or automated emails. After passing the NFLPA Agent Exam, she shared her accomplishment on the networking platform LinkedIn and to her surprise it went viral. Shockingly enough, it was after that, agencies and employers began to reach out to her with job opportunities–but it wasn’t genuine interest. Townsend described it as companies then realizing “how could they fill the diversity narrative, fill in her story and make profit off it”. Following that eye-opening realization, and after much deliberation with family and friends,Townsend came to the “do or do situation”, and that was, creating her own agency, known today as C-Town Sports Agency. An agency built on advocating and taking care of their clients all throughout their football career, and beyond.

Chelsea Townsend, CEO & Founder of C-Town Sports Agency

Being in such a male dominated industry, Townsend spoke on why she chose to become an agent and what she thinks it will take to see more women in the NFL, sports in general and in more positions of power.

In regards to the NFL being such a male dominated industry, Townsend confidently stated, “it was never a threat to me, but more of a enjoy it for now because I am coming and we [present and upcoming female agents] are coming!”. She went on to express how “everyone else in the world seems to think that being a woman is a weakness, [when] it is in fact the strongest thing me or any other female agent brings to the table”. When looking at the characteristics of a lot of women, being caring is almost always mentioned, so why not use that to your advantage when taking care of your clients. Adding to that, being a Black woman is like the cherry on top, as Townsend went on to say that “the one thing a Black woman does best is make a way when there seems to be no way,” and that is simply what she continues to do, day in and day out.

Townsend strongly believes in the principle, “each one teach one” and this is what motivates her to keep going and help others. She can always be seen advocating for and supporting those around her. Townsend is known for helping whenever and wherever she can, whether it be answering questions sent in by her followers on social media, supporting other women in sports, responding for interviews and so much more!

Some of the encouraging words and advice Chelsea Townsend shares on social media

When asked why this principle is so important to her she responded “it is up to us, it is up to us to give other women positions”. She continued to express how if not for the women who are actually in the industry helping those trying to come up, there might never be any change at all. She also said, “I don’t want to be the person that became so successful, grew this mega agency but I didn’t take care of my people, the people that look like me, whether that be females or Black people, that would just not sit well with me”. In such a male dominated industry, where it is extremely difficult to get acquainted, she wants to be a source of help and encouragement for others to draw from.

C-Town Sports Agency is bound for success one way or another! “I want C-Town Sports to grow into a greenhouse for aspiring agents, particularly aspiring female, aspiring Black agents”. Townsend’s vision is for people who want to become agents to be able to have a place they call home, a place where they can learn and ultimately be successful. She continued, “don’t be shocked within the next 5 years and see that we’ve added 10 agents to our staff who are different shades of Brown or are all women!”. Of course there are professional goals the agency hopes to reach within the next 5 years such as signing ‘x’ amount of clients or bringing in a specific amount of revenue for the year. But Townsend strongly believes that she was called by God to this position to be a vessel for others, so she is confident that as she fulfills His purpose for her, everything else will line up.

She recently held an online Zoom event called LAWHers, which featured a panel of successful women in law. The purpose of the event was to help individuals navigate choosing the right Law school, studying for the LSAT, finishing law school, passing the bar exam, non-traditional uses of a J.D. and so much more. Not only that but this year, C-Town Sports Agency had their very first class of interns who were selected in June 2020. C-Town Sports now sits at a full team of 13 staff members including Townsend, this number also includes the 6 new interns.

Some lasting advice that Townsend shared for upcoming lawyers, agents and sports professionals was “it’s going to be hard, but that’s what makes it taste so much better”. She expressed the importance of not sugar coating things and providing individuals with a false sense of reality. The first step is acknowledging that it will be hard and then moving on. With that being said, her biggest piece of advice was “if you want it, go get it!”. She also mentioned that, “this is not the job where you will be able to passively find a job on Indeed, or send out 1 or 2 emails and land a job, you have to attend events and follow people who look like you that are in a position you want to be in”. Within the sports industry specifically, it is all about making connections, and building your network in order to succeed. You have to be ready to take the first step and never give up.

NFL agent Chelsea Townsend is a trailblazer in the sports industry and a huge advocate for women in sports. Remember the name because she’s here to stay!

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