By Hunter Carroll
With dreams of working in the National Football League, Elizabeth Toth spent her four years at Eastern Michigan University working with the football team. Her experience has led her to the NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum, and now the 2021 NFL Draft.
As a Cleveland resident, Toth always thought that she would stay in Ohio for college. She never envisioned herself traveling out of state for college, but when she found Eastern Michigan and was accepted into the university, she knew it was where she wanted to further her education.
When Toth got to campus, she became friends with various players on the football team and wanted to get involved. Since starting as a video intern with the football team during her freshman year, she has worked as an intern throughout various other departments, including recruiting, operations, and equipment.
Whether she was balancing her coursework, social life, or personal responsibilities, she always made sure to make time for the team.
“I’m the type of person to do more if my schedule allows it. It’s all about gaining experience, and I was spending all of my time with the team, and I got to know everyone really well,” Toth said. “I had to make so many tough decisions about hanging out with friends or working with the team. Football became something that I could cancel any plans for. If they needed me, I was there.”
Based on Toth’s work with the Eastern Michigan football team, Venessa Hutchinson, the senior manager of football development for the NFL, reached out to Toth over Linkedin in 2020 and asked to interview her. After that, she went through an application process for the NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum and eventually received an invite to the forum.
Even though this experience was conducted through Zoom, Toth was able to network with plenty of prominent figures in the NFL, including some women who she has looked up to for quite some time.
Toth got to participate in breakout sessions with some of her idols, including Dee Haslam, co-owner of the Cleveland Browns, Coach Lori Locust, an assistant defensive line coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Coach Callie Brownson, chief of staff for the Cleveland Browns.
As a life-long Browns fan, many of these speakers were extra special to Elizabeth, especially Brownson.
“Everything that she has done is truly amazing. I’ve been following her career since she first coached at Dartmouth. She’s truly an inspiration,” she said.
Toth was even able to ask Brownson for advice about being a woman and wanting to coach in the NFL without previous coaching experience. Brownson replied, “You just have to go for it, and you have to start somewhere. Everyone starts somewhere and it takes time but you can do it.”
Aside from the Women’s Careers in Football Forum, Toth recently volunteered at the 2021 NFL Draft in her hometown. She reached out to the NFL when the league officially announced that the draft would be happening in person, and eventually received an invitation to the event.
Throughout her three days at the draft, Toth was mainly responsible for assisting with the overall draft experience for fans.
On the first day, she helped with checking in other volunteers that were arriving for shifts later in the day. She also got to work as a photographer at the mock draft stage where fans could take pictures on the stage in their favorite team’s jerseys.
Toth received an outstanding award for her work on the first day because she was very outgoing and talkative, and the league wanted to recognize her for this.
The second day Toth worked with photography again and announced fans coming onto the stage and cheering for them to make their experience that much better. Over that five-hour shift on the second day, she received two more outstanding awards from her supervisors.
On the third and final day of the draft, Toth got to work with the games as part of the fan experience. This included various activities for fans to show off their skills, but Elizabeth was most excited for the 40-yard dash because it always had the most extensive line, and she got to be the announcer for the runners.
“It was so much fun. I was talking to the crowd and getting them to cheer for the runners. Once I was done, I had fans coming up to me saying how great I was and how much fun they had at the experience.”
Wrapping up her weekend at the draft, Elizabeth talked to her supervisor for the three days and was able to give her a business card.
“She said I was so great, and because of that, she was going to give my name to the company that helps them put on events,” Toth said.
With all of this experience not only with football as a whole, but with the NFL, Toth hopes to become an NFL scout in the near future.