Heat's Eric Woolworth Reflects On Franchise's Culture Of Diversity, Inclusion
Heat President of Business Operations Eric Woolworth posted an essay on HEAT.com "reflecting on the culture" that has been built around the organization. Woolworth wrote, "Our fans and our crowd, in our perfect world, should reflect the make-up of our community. ... In order for that to happen, our employee base must also be reflective of our community." He noted the Heat "did not set out to create a diverse work force for the sake of diversity." Woolworth: "Inclusion was on our radar screen only insofar as wanting to make sure we had appropriate outreach into all of the different neighborhoods that make up Miami's melting pot of cultures. We set no quotas. We talked only of the business purpose of wanting to BE Miami so Miami would want to BE with us." Woolworth noted the Heat Group has one of the "most diverse staffs in our industry; the full-time workforce I am responsible for is 70% minority and 33% women (when you extend the group out to include our part-time workforce, those numbers rise to 86% and 40% respectively)." More Woolworth: "I have had a couple of discussions with my staff about these issues since the election. And it really isn't about politics." He added, "But there is a call to action here. A call to celebrate the values that you stand for no matter the political environment; and central to our value system at the Miami HEAT is the notion that everyone is welcome here no matter where you come from, what you look like, what language you speak, what your preferences are, what religion you practice, who you voted for, or who you associate with" (NBA.com, 2/27).
AHEAD OF THE GAME: Appearing on ESPN's "SportsCenter" this morning Woolworth said of the organization's diversity, "We've sort of staked out a little bit of a leadership position in this area, not only in our industry I think, but here in Miami which is really a melting pot of cultures." He said, "We're a majority Hispanic community. We've got a very vibrant and active African-American community, a very active LGBT community. We’ve always wanted all those people to feel comfortable coming to Heat games and all AmericanAirlines Arena events." Woolworth said the response to his essay has been a "little overwhelming frankly," including a "big response on Facebook and a lot of chat on our website, which it's living in both places." Woolworth: "It's been actually a little bit emotional for me. We've gotten a lot a lot of support from people here in Miami, but really from all over the world" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 2/28).