Football & Family, A Winning Combination – Gina Lehe

A Profile article on Gina Lehe, the Senior Director of Communications & Brand Management for the College Football Playoff

Written by Adrian Beecher

“How did we do that? How did we get it all get done?” thought Gina Lehe as she walked into her home for the first time in about a week, with her one-month-old little girl Adriana and her husband Adam. Typical words for a new mother, but in Gina’s case she was thinking about this year’s 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship game, an event that was viewed by a record 33 million people.


Referred to by some of her colleagues as Super Woman, Gina is the Senior Director of Communications and Branding for the College Football Playoff. As the first woman hired by the College Football Playoff, she brought plenty of experience to the table with over 17 years of working within the college football bowl industry.


“She just is able to do things that I do not think the average person can do.” said Stephanie Montano who first met Gina in 2007, when talking about her in reference to Super Woman, “When people would ask me how she was doing my response would be, if anybody can do it, its Gina.”


Stephanie was brought in to help with the College Football Playoff this year and worked with Gina in coordination with the Rose Bowl Game from 2008 until the final BCS National Championship Game in 2014. “ Seeing how she was day in and day out, she always put a lot of effort into everything and I think that in turn made me really appreciate that, but also incorporate that into my life.”


In the rush of Championship week her schedule is hectic to say the least, with helping with media requests from over a thousand media members, to organizing and coordinating a tightly maintained routine that is meet with press conferences, practices, interviews and gameday. Sometimes she’s unable to step back and take it all in as she explains, “I want everything to go perfectly and sometimes to a fault, I don’t always enjoy every moment along the way because I’m just so worried about it being perfect.”


Now add a new born baby into the mix of all this and most anyone would loose their bearings. But not Gina, as she explained to me, “ It was all part of the plan”. In that plan, included having Adriana present at the Media Hotel during National Championship week, it was important to Gina and her husband that she be there for the experience and the memories.


With her mother & father in-law being present at the hotel throughout the week it seemed to help ease some of the stress. But as I observed Gina throughout the week in Dallas, it was easy to see that she was a master at multitasking. Ensuring everything was a go for a press conference one moment, then answering questions from a line of media the next always making herself available to anyone that needed her, all the while answering phone calls and emails in a constant routine.


“She’s Beast,” said Lauren Lanier of Gina, “ Everything she does is a mixture of passion, intensity, drive & motivation. She’s a force of nature that very, very few people will ever experience… There’s no one like Gina.”


23-year-old Lanier has worked under Gina as the Communications Coordinator for the CFP since April of 2014, “She reminds me that she has high expectations and she wants everything done and done well, but its great because through all of that she reminds me that it’s a learning experience.”


It’s a job that lasts all year, which for Gina is one of the most exciting parts about her position, “I love the challenge, I love the people and I love the fact that I spend a year to plan for the culmination of one days events and its just very, very fulfilling to come into the stadium on gameday and see everything work its way together and all the planning and preparation that you’ve done. There’s nothing like it.”


As the sun sets on another College Football season and the schedules press the reset button, be at rest knowing that Gina and the College Football Playoff staff are hard at work already, planning how to make next year “Bigger and better” as Gina puts it.



Photo Credit: Kid Scoop News

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