Kiley Barnard Bizzle-Brown had just crossed the ten-yard line when she heard one of the boys in pursuit yell out in frustration. “Get her!” he screamed. “She can’t score, she’s a girl!” It was always the long ponytail that flowed out from under Kiley’s football helmet that gave her away. Sometimes it made her a target; something for the boys to go after to put her in her place. And other times, like in this case, her long hair was simply the last thing the boys would see before she reached the end zone for a touchdown.
It wasn’t easy for Kiley to earn her place on the Walnut Hills football team. It really wasn’t until her very first touchdown that the boys came to accept her. “I just remember my teammates running over to me slapping my helmet and my shoulder pads, congratulating me. It was awesome because I felt like I finally proved, at that moment, that I could do anything I put my mind to.”
Kiley was in middle school then, and the only girl on the football team. She played wide receiver mostly. It wasn’t completely uncommon for a girl to play middle school football then, but they usually kicked or punted, and were generally removed from the violence on the field. But not Kiley. She was right in the fray, and loved every minute of it.
And so did her father. In fact, the other thing Kiley heard on the field, apart from the occasional sound of a broken ego, was her father cheering from the crowd. An enthusiastic, “Go! Go! Go! Go!” was his usual chant from the stands when Kiley ran with the ball. It was a simple message that was always received, and would push her toward more than just a few touchdowns during her time on the team.
In high school, Kiley transitioned from football to basketball. Girls basketball to be clear. It should be noted that Kiley is not particularly tall. She’s maybe five-foot-six on her tippy-toes, but she played the center position and despite her elevation disadvantage, she still managed to lead the team in rebounds. This was mostly due to a tenacious boxing out strategy that gave her almost complete control over the court. She said there’s no doubt that football with the boys instilled a unique sense of physicality in her that was particularly noticeable on a girls sports team.
Kiley pushed her way around on the basketball court all the way through college, and then onto the sideline today as an assistant varsity basketball coach at Summit Country Day School in Hyde Park. Being on a team seems to just be a part of Kiley’s life. And that’s why Kiley fits in so well at Graydon. “It doesn’t feel like a law firm here,” Kiley said. “Graydon is very open; very personable. It’s more like a family. People work together and play nice. It’s just a really good atmosphere.”
Although earning her spot at Graydon involved a lot less tackling, Kiley is proud of the run she made to get there and thankful to all who supported her along the way. Sometimes, if a challenge presents itself, or if time is being crunched, Kiley can still hear her father cheering her on and telling her to, “Go!”
“I love to prove that I can break any stereotypes of me because I know if I work hard and put in the time and effort, I can succeed, especially with the support of my family and friends.”
Kiley Barnard Bizzle-Brown is a member of the Firm’s Corporate Counsel Practice Group, where her practice focuses on business law. In addition, Kiley has experience in securities regulations, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and start-up companies.
Prior to joining Graydon, Kiley served as an Associate Member and the Publishing Editor for the Immigration and Human Rights Law Review in law school. She also worked for the Ohio Innocence Project as a fellow where she reviewed and investigated claims of innocence. Additionally, she began her position as a board member of a 501(c)(3) non-profit called BeGreaterWith that helps instill confidence in young student athletes, ages k-6, by providing good quality uniforms and equipment to their sports teams.
Kiley earned her JD from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and a BA in Political Science from Berea College. Prior to entering law school, Kiley was a student athlete at Berea College where she competed on the women’s basketball team. Kiley has since continued that love for basketball as she spends her free time as the assistant coach for the girls high school varsity basketball team at her alma mater, The Summit Country Day School.
Kiley also enjoys reading a good fiction book, traveling out of the country to explore different cultures and customs, and spending time with family and friends. She currently lives in Colerain with her husband and their two dogs Simba and Nala.