As I enter my 22nd year in the front office of a Major League Baseball club, it has dawned on me how much the organization has changed since I was hired in the early ’90s. Although I’m happy to say the number of leadership roles for women has increased, progress as it relates to the high-executive roles has not been as extensive.
I come from a long line of extremely strong and independent women, who were my mentors growing up. They instilled in me the “you can do anything if you put your mind to it” attitude, which has stayed with me throughout my life.
Coming out of college, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. How to get there was another challenge. I didn’t know a professional person in the sports industry — not one! All I knew was that I wanted to merge my degree in marketing with sports. A year out of college, I got the call to “The Show” as they say in the baseball world. The opportunity to work for a major league club became a dream come true.
My first boss immediately became a mentor without even knowing it. I learned so much from him. He was always available if I had questions and truly promoted people based on their work productivity. Under his leadership, I was promoted three times.
As I’ve gained knowledge within the industry, my mentors have increased, not decreased. And, I have found that it’s an asset to have other women to discuss maneuvering through the front-office roads of a male-dominated industry. They have offered up great anecdotes that have been critical to my growth and the way I’ve learned to handle adversity on the job.
As I return the favor by taking on mentees, I am humbled that so many young professionals, both women and men, would call on me to help them as they start the journey into their chosen career paths. I continue to think back on all the things I was taught as a young girl growing up and as a businesswoman today, and I am forever grateful for the people that have paved the way to my success.
To have access to a program such as WISE Within is a gift for women, and we should all take advantage of it. I truly believe we, as women, have to be each other’s biggest cheerleaders as we push to remove the proverbial glass ceiling.