Former NFL star and Walter Payton Man of the Year Finalist Jason Belser joined the Benjamin community on November 29 as this year’s Stanton Leadership Lecture Speaker.
The series, founded by former Board Chair Dan Stanton, has introduced the school community to distinguished speakers in a variety of fields.
“As an educational community, we know how important it is for our students to hear from a variety of speakers about their paths to success,” said Head of School Dave Faus during introductory remarks in Benjamin Hall.
Made possible by the Glasband family, Belser spent the day with both the upper and middle school communities sharing career highlights, words of wisdom, and important life lessons.
Belser encouraged students to get “the CASH,” an acronym he lives by after hearing the mantra from a coach when he was an NFL rookie. These guiding principles include character, attitude, skills, and habits.
He also told students interested in playing professional sports to get ready to work harder than they ever thought possible.
“It becomes a lifestyle. You have to be willing to intentionally neglect what everyone else is doing. It’s one of the best but most stressful jobs and ultimately you don’t get to determine how long you stay,” he said.
For Belser, his stay was 11 seasons with the NFL before joining the staff at the Players Association, where he and his team were tasked with combing through thousands of resumes.
“Everyone wants to work in sports. Students from Ivy Leagues, top colleges across the country . . . we were looking for people we could trust. If you can’t be trusted, you can’t be employed,” said Belser.
Belser said the overall concussion protocol he helped implement during his tenure with the Players Association is one of his proudest accomplishments during his time with the organization.
“We realized the game was not as safe as it needed to be and we started researching the helmets. That was the first epiphany of where we needed to go. They were archaic at best,” he said.
Belser said players also took money out of their salaries that was utilized for research and development to build better helmets.
Belser concluded his talk by reminding students to surround themselves with kind people.
“Keep your circle tight. My circle is tight. My best friend is sitting right down here,” said Belser pointing to the front row of the audience in Benjamin Hall where his former Colts teammate Eddie was seated.
“From him, I met this gentleman,” Belser said, referring to Board Member Eric Glasband on stage.
“From him, I met people I never thought I would have the opportunity to meet. All from different backgrounds, we all came from different places. Regardless of how successful someone is, what matters is that they’re kind. I want to surround myself with kind people,” he said.
Athletic Director Ryan Smith ‘93 said it was an honor and privilege to have someone with Jason’s incredible background speak to the Benjamin community.
“Mr. Belser’s emphasis on being kind, hard working, and resilient is in line with our Benjamin values and a great message to reinforce,” he said.