SBJ/Sept. 11-17, 2017/Game Changers

Renée Tirado, MLB

Photo by: ALEX TRAUTWIG / MLB PHOTOS

B
aseball’s leadership ranks both on and off the field, like those of many other sports, are often criticized for being too white and too male. But Renée Tirado, MLB vice president of talent and head of diversity and inclusion, is on the front lines seeking to make the sport look more like the rest of society.

Renée Tirado
MLB // Vice president, talent, and head of inclusion and diversity
Overseeing the league’s diversity and inclusion strategy, Tirado has played an integral role in helping MLB begin to expand its base of talent. Among her more recent efforts is the creation of a fellowship program aimed at recruiting diverse talent for entry-level positions at each of the 30 clubs.

“This isn’t about just changing numbers on a [Richard] Lapchick report, but truly developing the next generation of leaders for the sport,” Tirado said. “Soon enough, I do think we’re going to start to see the needle move in baseball.”

Tirado is still something of a newcomer to baseball, having been with MLB less than two years following stops at AIG, the U.S. Tennis Association and the National Basketball Retired Players Association. But she credited the commitment of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to go far beyond any sort of lip service or mere appearance to the cause of diversity and give her the authority and resources to create large-scale initiatives.

“I’ve been given a lot of room to do things that are really out of the box,” Tirado said. “Every company is having these kinds of conversations, but we are looking to truly walk the walk.”

— Eric Fisher



  • Where born: Brooklyn.
  • Education: University of Rochester, B.A. and M.S.; Rutgers University, J.D.
  • Attribute I look for when hiring: Creativity.
  • Networking tip I’ve learned: Listen and ask questions.
  • Best advice I’ve received for career development: Always look for opportunities that force you to step out of your comfort zone.
  •  Sports business industry can foster a healthier work-life balance by: Hiring more women in senior management.
  •  If I had it to do over again, I would: Say yes more.
  • Woman in sports business I’d most like to meet: Serena — one name only and because she’s the G.O.A.T., bar none male or female. I would welcome the opportunity to hear her insights on mental toughness, recovering from failure and her extraordinary ability to focus and win consistently with equal parts grace and swagger.
  • Is discussion about challenges women face working in sports necessary or played out? Both. Necessary because women remain grossly underrepresented in our industry even though the market is changing rapidly and making business decisions in a homogenous, group-think setting is a zero sum equation. Played out only because the narrative needs to evolve. It’s no longer about having or not having it all. It’s about the universal truth that we — women — are extraordinarily talented, add incredible value to the business and have natural leadership ability that remains untapped. Any questions?
  • Causes supported: Education, cancer research, City Arts.

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