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August 23, 2021

An Interview with Collette V. Smith, the NFL’s 1st African American Female Coach

Post By:
Christine Vergari
In-House Contributor
Private Banker
J.P. Morgan
Guest Contributor:

Bernstein is a leader in the sports and entertainment industries and is uniquely equipped to help these clients meet their financial goals.  Our Sports, Media and Entertainment Group was founded in 2012 to focus on the long-term investment strategies and wealth management needs of athletes, coaches, entertainers, artists, media executives, and entrepreneurs in these industries.  The group manages over $3.5 billion across our US regional offices.

Bernstein was recently invited to be one of the few select firms to serve in the National Football League Players Association’s Financial Advisor Program. The program was created in 2002 to help clients access services including financial planning, investing, tax planning and estate planning. It has been a tremendous opportunity for our firm, and for my interview series, Leading the Way.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with Collette V. Smith, NY Jets Coach and Founder and President of Believe N You, Inc.

Collette V. Smith is the NFL’s 1st African American Female Coach in the history of the National Football League by way of the NY Jets Franchise, coaching the Defensive Backs in 2017 during Training Camp. Collette is currently affiliated with the WFLA (Women’s Football League Association), the only Women’s Professional Football League that pays their players and fosters an environment for female athletes to sustain healthy lifestyles through playing, coaching and participating in American Football at the highest level for women. The League’s purpose, principles, and plans are rooted in developing the most pristine women’s football product in the world.

As the Founder and President of Believe N You, Inc., Colette has become a true Change Agent and has dedicated her life to empowering our youth, in particular girls and women, to believe that anything and everything is possible. Her cultural and gender specific loyalty is very important to her.  She emphasizes the importance of building positive self-esteem through team sports to at-risk teens and women in low-income, underserved and marginalized communities. She believes in Black Excellence, working towards giving our youth a fighting chance at winning and empowering them with the right tools to succeed in life both on and off the field so that they may become the strong, effective leaders of tomorrow.

Collette specializes in motivational speaking and has been invited to speak at Fortune 100 Companies, Corporations and Ivy League Institutions, including Columbia University where she spoke on the disparities faced by women in sports and the importance of empowering Black youth, girls and women so they may see their greatness and excel through adversity. 

She was the keynote speaker for The Islip Town Branch NAACP’s Legacy Gala in 2019, and the guest speaker at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s “House of Justice” Youth Huddle program’s live video broadcast. She also visits juvenile detention centers to bring hope and inspiration to those that need a second chance at life, by sharing her own struggles from hard knocks to triumph. 

Listen in on this compelling 4-part interview series with the inspirational and dynamic, Colette V. Smith.

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Interview One

As the first African American Female Coach in the History of the National Football League and Founder and President of Believe N You, Inc., Collette V. Smith is one woman who has broken through that glass ceiling and since doing so, continues to bring an important message to thousands of underprivileged children: if you believe in yourself, there is nothing you can't achieve. Click Here.

Interview Two

Collette V. Smith talks about her journey in adulthood, and the turning points that led to her coaching for the NY Jets. Click Here.

Interview Three

Collette V. Smith talks about her company, Believe N You, Inc., which she created to serve marginalized and underserved communities,, bringing the message of hope and determination to help more young children and women achieve greatness in the face of adversity. Click Here.

Interview Four

My favorite question to ask my interviewees is: What advice would you give your 25 year old self? Collette V. Smith gives me an especially powerful answer to this question. Click Here.

To learn more about Collette’s mission, including ways you can get involved and/or support, please contact her directly by e-mailing

If you have any questions about the NFLPA Financial Advisor Program, or any questions about your financial future, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly!