Deborah Johnson, mother of former Oakland Raiders defensive end Jay Richardson, was just crowned the new spokesperson for the Campbell’s Soup Heart Health campaign. Both Jay and Deborah have made it their mission to use their own success to help fledgling athletes and sports moms across the nation. In this candid interview, they share why their recipe for success includes family support, a clear plan, and a healthy dose of good manners. On being the new face of Campbell’s Soup, Deborah says, “It’s so exciting to know I’m going to be able to impact so many people. It’s been my dream to be the voice of sports parents everywhere. There are 44 million children under the age of 18 who play organized sports. I’m going to use this opportunity to help moms from little league to the big leagues.” Jay added, “I’m really proud of my mom. I’m happy that she is making her own space and doing her own thing. I’m proud of who she wants to be as an NFL mom and what she’s going to do as the spokeswoman for heart health…” Speaking of her own hearth health, Deborah said, “I won the Dr. Oz Ultimate Health Challenge but this wasn’t just about weight loss. Heart disease runs rampant in my family. So this was about getting healthy. Who knew that my son playing ball would allow me to get in shape and advance my career? Being on Dr. Oz has also opened up a world of speaking opportunities for me.” Deborah’s Recipe for Raising 3 Boys Boundaries: It’s important to have boundaries with your children. Being their mom and not their friend made a difference. Sideline help: Having a great support system is important. You can’t rear children by yourself. Prayer: I couldn’t have done this without the Lord’s help. I’m an ordained minister so there is lots of prayer in this family. “The Jay Richardson Foundation is a life skills camp instead of a traditional football camp,” says Jay. “My mom gave me the idea. 98% of kids won’t make it to the NFL and I wanted them to know that. So we brought in Lawyers, Business Professionals, and Entrepreneurs to work with the kids to teach them what their options are outside of sports.” Deborah explains, “I thought how can we make this different? What do kids really need? So that’s how we built the program. The number one attended workshop for the camp was etiquette. We even taught the boys how to ask a girl out on a date and talk to her parents.” “The kids came to the camp ‘thinking football is my only shot,'” Jay said, “but left wanting to be investment bankers and CEO’s.” Deborah’s Top Tips on Manners for Young Men 1. Treat others with respect. You can go very far in life by being respectful. 2. Have a decent outgoing message on your voicemail. When an agent calls and they get something obscene or profane it doesn’t put you in the best light and it can cost you a scholarship. Jay’s Top Tips on Manners for Young Men 1. Be on time. Punctuality is an important part of our business world. 2. Look people in the eye and shake hands firmly when you speak to them. It’s just a sign of respect. 3. Finish every job you start. Anything you start, make sure you finish it and get it done the right way. If you do that, you’ll always have a chance at being successful. For more stories by Elain Swann, click for here. (Photo Credit: Eric Wagner)
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