Major League Baseball announced this week that once again this year, it will host a selection of activities during the Baseball Winter Meetings designed to continue the considerable cultural growth of diversity and inclusion throughout the sport. These programs will take place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego, Friday, December 6 through Wednesday, December 11. They include initiatives to elevate women into the pipeline of on-field operations roles, a competitive leadership program designed to foster the development of existing women baseball employees, and the annual business supplier summit that has fast-tracked spending between MLB & MLB Clubs with diverse-owned businesses.
“We are excited to once again present our Diversity & Inclusion as a key component of the Winter Meetings,” said Corey Smith, Sr. Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Major League Baseball. “We debuted our Supplier Diversity Program in 1998, and since then, we have fostered and nurtured a pipeline of diverse talent and businesses that has proven to be successful for Major League Baseball, our Clubs and our affiliates. We continue to proudly operate the longest-running Supplier Diversity Program in all major sports, and we look forward to continue connecting businesses with underrepresented groups across the United States and beyond.”
The D&I events taking place during this year’s Winter Meetings are as follows:
Take The Field
For the second consecutive year, MLB will host Take The Field, a Winter Meetings program specifically designed to provide women who are interested in careers in coaching, scouting and player development the opportunity for engagement with Club personnel through panels, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities. The event, intended for those who have an existing intimate knowledge of baseball, will be led by coaches, scouts, and front office personnel who will facilitate sessions, provide insight, and be accessible for questions and conversations with participants. Additionally, attendees will participate in professional development sessions such as mock interviews.
Katy Feeney Leadership Symposium
Moving into its third consecutive year, the Katy Feeney Leadership Symposium focuses on career advancement for existing women executives in baseball. Over the last several years, 76 women have participated in the Kate Feeney Leadership Program, coming from various facets of the business including Baseball Operations, Marketing, Community Relations, Human Resources, Legal and Communications.
The event, administered by the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Education Program, is held in honor of Katy Feeney, who was an influential baseball executive throughout her 40-year career. The invitation-only guest list includes women from all 30 MLB Clubs, MLB’s Central Office and MLB Network.
Workforce Diversity Best Practices
During this year’s annual Winter Meetings, MLB will debut its brand-new ‘Workforce Diversity Best Practices’ program, which will see Human Resource representatives from all 30 Clubs participate in sessions geared towards diversity in the workplace.
Diversity & Inclusion ‘UNFILTERED SERIES’
For the third consecutive year, MLB’s Diversity & Inclusion department will host the UNFILTERED SERIES, which will provide general Winter Meetings attendees with opportunities to learn from diverse representation within Baseball. MLB Network’s Fran Charles will lead the ‘Diversity at the Top’ conversation, which will feature diverse and high-ranking Baseball executives, including Raquel Ferreira (Boston Red Sox), Billy Owens (Oakland A’s), Jean Afterman (New York Yankees), and Shiraz Rehman (Texas Rangers). ESPN’s Eduardo Perez will lead the ‘GM Chronicles with Farhan Zaidi (San Francisco Giants)’ as he shares his journey and insights from his career in baseball.
Supplier Diversity Summit
The Supplier Diversity Summit will return to the Winter Meetings for the fourth consecutive year. The Summit will include a one-hour panel discussion followed by speed networking rounds providing diverse-owned businesses (inclusive of those owned by people of color, women, veterans, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and disabled persons) the opportunity to pitch their business to representatives from MLB and MLB Clubs. Created in 1998, the program is an economically-driven business initiative designed to cultivate new and existing partnerships with diverse-owned businesses, by increasing opportunities for them to participate in the procurement activities of MLB. It is the longest running Diversity Supplier Program in major sports. To date, MLB has spent nearly $2 billion with diverse businesses since this initiative began.
Diversity Pipeline Program
The Diversity Pipeline Program was introduced by Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. in January of 2016 as a joint effort between MLB and its 30 Clubs to identify, hire and grow the pool of qualified women and persons of color in baseball operations, front office, and on-field roles. The Diversity Pipeline Program is led by Tyrone Brooks, Senior Director of the Diversity Pipeline Program at MLB, and supported by an advisory board of members of various MLB Clubs and the Office of Commissioner. Through the Diversity Pipeline Program over 140 hires have taken place since the inception of the program. In addition to assisting teams with their staffing needs, the program provides experiential learning and networking opportunities for potential candidates to enter the industry. As part of the Baseball Winter Meetings, MLB hosts a Diversity Pipeline Program Career Networking Reception, which is heavily attended by job seekers and club personnel.