It wasn't all that long ago that a Google search for women in football scouting or coaching positions wouldn't yield more than a handful of results, if any. Today, it's getting better.
And Kasia Omilian, one of the Colts' hard-working scouting assistants, hopes to not only continue to make an impact in the NFL, but also be an example for any other woman who believes they can establish themselves in football.
"I take pride in the fact that I'm a woman in football, but it doesn't become the ultimate image that I'm always looking at when I do my day to day," Omilian said. "And what's more special is the people, the guys in that draft room don't make me feel that way — like you are the only female in here. No, you have a voice too, you're in here. So that's a little bit how I view it.
"But the female community is very important to me and being a part of that is important to me, and being in a room full of scouts is important to me to say no, she can do it too. So for anyone coming after me, there's no hesitation."
As a scouting assistant, Omilian has a number of jobs – driving players from Indianapolis International Airport to the Indiana Farm Bureau Center for tryouts and workouts, putting together advance scouting reports, cross-checking schools for area scouts, managing draft boards and tags in the Colts' draft room and, of course, anything else that comes up. A big part of her role is to be in the draft room, which isn't always the case for scouting assistants around the NFL.
But not only is Omilian in the Colts' draft room for those critical meetings and discussions, she has a valued role in the process and feels empowered in it by general manager Chris Ballard.
"I think the biggest thing is I'm bringing into the draft room every single time who Kasia is and my value set, and that's very important to me," Omilian said. "And that's very important to anyone who is a scout or an evaluator or anyone in that room is that you have great conviction in the players we're speaking on and who you are within it, right, and not wavering."
Omilian began working in football as a freshman at the University of Washington splicing tape as a recruiting assistant for the Huskies. She interned in the Pittsburgh Steelers' football operations department in the summers of 2017 and 2018, and was brought on as a football operations intern with the Colts in 2019 and 2020.
Starting from the bottom – coordinating player travel, driving them to the facility, etc. – has been incredibly valuable for Omilian as she's earned more responsibilities over her years with the Colts.
"Seeing the whole process from the bottom is crucial, and I'm always going to be a big proponent of that," Omilian said. "And so I think this hunger, this desire to learn ties into the value set too, that's a big thing. Nothing is too big to take on or listen to or be a part of, even if I feel like I'm drinking out of a firehose.
"Daily, you feel that, but that's not intimidating to me. That's very exciting to me. And so I guess the hunger and the passion, but also the conviction — like who I am and what I value, I'm bringing to this team, but it's also a credit to (the Colts' football operations staff) for making me feel that way."
Omilian's scouting acumen and work ethic earned her a seat at the table in the NFL. Yes, she's a woman at that table. But she's not the only woman at that table in sports – she pointed to Philadelphia Eagles vice president of football operations Catherine Raîche and Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng as encouraging examples for her.
And Omilian can be an example, too, for any other woman who believes she belongs at that table.
"How I think about it sometimes is my job is not to convince anyone in that room that I am worth being here because I'm a female," Omilian said. "But it's more, I can have a seat in this room too, and I've never felt differently in this building.
"I think we all come in there with different life experiences, different viewpoints, different ways of seeing things that both complicate and make better what we're doing. We all come in there with some biases, but I have my own story and there are other guys in there who haven't played. I haven't played — I'm aware of that. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to learn and get better."