She's a trendsetting member of the Detroit Lions' front office, and as a woman of color, she's vying for better "representation" for both women and people of color in leading roles within NFL front offices.
This is the story of Lions scouting operations manager Jessica Larmony, an individual whose aim is to affect change at the highest level.
"Representation matters. I'm a woman of color, and if I can open up spaces and champion for other women and for other People of Color, that's important to me," Larmony said. "I've been blessed to have many opportunities and to have people champion for me. So, it is not only my honor, but also my duty to help do that for other women and People of Color that come after me."
Larmony was born in Saint Martin, a small, French, West Indian island in the Caribbean, and immigrated to the United States with her parents when she was five. They settled in New Jersey, where she played soccer growing up, with aspirations of playing at the collegiate level.
Larmony, however, suffered a torn ACL during her senior year of high school, which put an end to her chances of playing at the next level.
Prior to the injury, she had decided to attend Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., and she followed through with that commitment even after she knew a college soccer career was no longer in the cards.
When Larmony got to Rutgers, she was just looking for a job when one of her floormates, who had a student-level position in the recruiting department for the football team, helped her land a job with the team.
During Larmony's time as an undergrad, she provided assistance to Greg Schiano, then in his first stint as Rutgers head coach, and the Scarlet Knights football program with official and unofficial visits and other events for recruits.
After graduating from the university in 2009, she didn't exactly have aspirations for getting right back into football. She was interested in taking some time off to travel and—as she put it—to do "the whole eat, pray, love thing."
But then Schiano came calling and offered her the opportunity to serve as a recruiting and operations assistant with the program. It involved overseeing all the recruiting events put on by the team for its prospects.
While at Rutgers, Larmony had the chance to get to know Minnesota Golden Gophers head man P.J. Fleck. Fleck, at the time, served as the Scarlet Knights' wide receivers coach, a job which he held for two seasons (2010-11).
Making that connection with Fleck ended up having an immense impact on Larmony's career in football.
"He [Fleck] would always tell me throughout my time at Rutgers, 'Larmony, when I become a head coach, I'm going to take you with me,'" she said. "It was one of those things, where you know, you just take it in jest and take it in stride. But, you never know when someone will honor their word."
Fleck did prove to be a man of his word, as he hired Larmony when he took over as the head coach at Western Michigan University in 2013.
"I was one of his first calls, either his third or fourth call, after he hired all his coordinators," Larmony said. "He called me very early on in the process, and said, 'Hey, I need you to come here. I want you to help me, and need you to help me take this to the next level.'"
She became the director of internal football operations and later the director of football operations for Fleck and the Broncos, a role which entailed dealing with not only the players but also community outreach, gameday operations and the business side of things.
She was initially a "little reluctant" to take the position.
"It was a big jump, going from growing up in New Jersey to taking a leap into Michigan, which I had never really spent much time in," she said.
When she took over the director of football operations job, she was one of only three women with the position at the Division I (FBS) level.
Along with Fleck, Western Michigan athletic director Kathy Beauregard played a pivotal role in her professional development.
"She [Beauregard] helped me not only with my professional goals, as she also took an interest in me as a person. She'd make sure to check in with me and see how I was doing in my development and see if I needed anything," Larmony said. "She provided me with just the utmost mentorship, and she was just absolutely wonderful."
She added, "Having another woman in that space with me was amazing, because there weren't a lot of women who you could look to for support or for necessarily what this looks like when you're kind of blazing the trail. So, having her be a guiding force for me was so critical, and she did a great job of implementing women in whatever roles she could within her own staff and with programs such as tennis and softball."
Larmony enjoyed her time at Western Michigan. Yet, she knew that working at the college level wouldn't satisfy her forever. She had bigger aspirations—to one day work for an NFL franchise.
Fast forward to 2016 when a position opened up with the Lions. It was for the team's community relations coordinator job: a role which would allow her to immerse herself within the Detroit community.
After talking with Beauregard about the opportunity, Larmony decided it was the right job for her.
She served in the role for two seasons.
"The Detroit community is amazing," Larmony said. "It's such a special place. There are so many needs that you can help fulfill, and having a first-hand view of it was really cool."
Since 2018, she has served as the organization's scouting operations manager.
It's a role which requires her to provide direct support to Lions general manager Brad Holmes as well as the franchise's executive staff. As part of the position, she also serves as an intermediary between Detroit's collegiate and pro sides of scouting, handling all the logistics and operations for when the team "on boards" new players.
During the season, the job typically consists of Larmony "filling roster holes" and ensuring that players get their contracts signed and sent over to the league office.
She also provides assistance to the Lions' director of team operations Gina Newell. Newell handles all aspects of team travel, including the planning, lodging and transportation needs of the organization.
Then, once the offseason rolls around, Larmony turns her attention toward helping the team prepare for the NFL Draft.
It's a time-consuming process that involves input from the entire scouting department.
But, as Larmony explained, she believes the Lions are in good hands with Holmes and the organization's scouts.
"His [Holmes'] vision and what he's bringing to the table right now is next level," Larmony said. "And, working with our existing scouts, who are hitting the road, it makes it a lot more seamless, just because they're already out there. They've been doing the work year-round. And then, our in-house guys have just been grinding, as well. So, it's just an ultimate culmination of compiling all that information and seeing ultimately who we desire."
Larmony prides herself on working hard and being able to get the job done, no matter what is asked of her.
She believes that is what has gotten her to where she is today with the Lions.
"When I put my mind to something, I'm going to bust my butt and get it done," Larmony said. "And that's ultimately what matters because it's a results-driven industry. So, if you're getting your work done, it shouldn't matter what you look like."
If she has it her way, her career in the NFL is just getting started, too.
Her dream job: A senior executive role in a front office.
"I've been very blessed to be able to have individuals that have set the tone of the room before I came in. So, they knew what to expect," she said. "I think for some people, it can be a little bit jarring. But, I'm a woman. I'm capable. I'm here. And so, they kind of take that veil off. And like, 'Hey, she's here to work for us. She's on our team. So, let's all just get to work.'"
The story of Jessica Larmony is just beginning to be written.