Montclair Magazine Holiday 2021 - Page 25

the NFL , says his last two years in the NFL “ were probably some of my best years because of people like Ashley .” The former wide receiver now runs a waste management business in Houston called Shep Boys Waste Management , one of the few Black-owned businesses in the Houston area of its kind , according to Shepard .
Having Lynn accessible during Shepard ’ s football career was invaluable , he says . Lynn and others like her , including former Giant and director of player development David Tyree , helped him tap his potential by workshopping through ideas with him . They also offered him the resources needed to expand his knowledge to become a small business owner . For Shepard , it was important to go back to his home state of Texas and establish a minority-owned business that would employ people from his community . Lynn understood that , he says .
“ With her , the biggest thing that helped me was the open-door policy . Her door was always open ,” Shepard says . “ If Ashley didn ’ t know the exact


answer , if she didn ’ t know how to help you , she was going to be a great listening ear , and she ’ s going to do her best tofigure out how she can best utilize her resources to help answer whatever questions that I had for her .”
Lynn is also relatable for players in away others may not be . She grew up around football , is a single mother and a woman of color .
“ People who are in Ashley ’ s role , sometimes they don ’ t do well because they don ’ t have the experience . They don ’ tunderstand what itistodeal with minority individuals ,” Shepard says . “ Being that Ashley is a Black woman , she understands a lot of things going on in the Black community . She understands a lot of things that these young Black males are facing . She ’ s able to get into these locker rooms , to crack the walls and to really see what these guys need and how to help them best – you know , be the best fathers , athletes . Be the best professional they can be .”
For now , Lynn is eager for the next football season to start at MetLife Stadium . After the 2020 COVID season kept alot of her ideas for player engagement on hold , she is now ready for as normal ayear as possible .
This fall will also mark her first as a director for the Giants – a goal she long aspired to reaching . “ I think now it ’ s time to come up with anew dream , anew goal – but Ireally like where Iamnow ," she says ." Also , getting some more women of color , any women in this role , you know ? The more the merrier .” ■ Staff writer Art Stapleton contributed to this story .
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