NFL executive Dasha Smith, a 1998 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, will serve as the school’s commencement speaker for the Class of 2024 in May.

Smith is executive vice president and chief administrative officer for the NFL. In this role, Smith is a member of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s executive operating committee and manages all NFL administration, including people operations and strategy; diversity, equity and inclusion; technology, data and analytics; strategy and business intelligence; and social responsibility and philanthropy.

When asked to reflect on her career during an NFL Women’s Forum, Smith remarked, “I couldn’t even imagine having a career in football when I was coming up the ranks, and so this is so awesome [that] this can not only be a dream but be a reality for so many people.”

Before joining the NFL in 2019, she was executive vice president and global chief people officer for Sony Music Entertainment, where she oversaw global human resources across more than 60 countries. Smith was previously managing director at global alternative investment firm GCM Grosvenor, and she worked as Time Inc.’s global head of employee relations, and chief labor and employment counsel.

Smith is a co-chair of the Law School’s Honor the Future capital campaign and serves on the Law School Foundation’s Board of Trustees. She also serves on the boards of Cohen & Steers, CAPTRUST and Beautycounter, as well as several nonprofit educational and arts organizations. She earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Georgetown University.

The Student Bar Association is responsible for inviting the Law School’s commencement speaker each year. SBA Vice President Kennedy Williams ’24 said Smith has been an inspirational leader.

“Dasha’s pedigree shows that she can make a mark and a space for herself anywhere,” Williams added. “As a Black woman, I know how it feels to work and exist in spaces where very few people look like you. After working in the executive offices of companies like WarnerMedia, Sony Music and the NFL, Dasha showed me that there can always be room for me.”

In 2016, Smith welcomed the Class of 2019 to the Law School as the orientation speaker.

“Dasha’s accomplishments and leadership are a model for our students of how wide-ranging, impressive, and exciting their careers can be,” Dean Risa Goluboff said. “Dasha has inspired me since I first got to know her almost a decade ago, and I have no doubt she will inspire our students as they begin their own professional journeys.” 

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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