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Volume 23 No. 29
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Voices of Diversity: Vincent Pierson

Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Minor League Baseball
Photo: MiLB

Assess diversity across teams in 160 communities from Canada to South Florida: If you just say the word “diversity,” of course everyone thinks it’s a positive thing, right? Internally, we all kept saying “we need to do better,” but because we didn’t even know where we stood, there was no way to measure what “better” meant. So at the beginning of the three most recent seasons we fielded the workplace diversity report, a demographic survey of the approximately 3,500 full-time staff across the 160 clubs. We’ve had 100 percent participation rates every year. This report allows us to know the racial and gender makeup of our entire industry.

Converting your research into action: We started our FIELD program (Fostering Inclusion through Education and Leadership Development) in 2016 because we discovered there was an awareness gap, in terms of young people who want to work in sports and those who actually consider MiLB a real career opportunity. Last month, 29 students, mostly women and/or a racial minority, from 25 different colleges attended our five-day camp at Dodgertown. They got up early and got their hands dirty by seeing operations at a few ballparks in Florida, had résumé workshops, guest speakers, and stayed up late putting together marketing plans. We treated it like a homestand. By the end of the week, they knew if they could stomach this minor league baseball thing. FIELD allows us to be more intentional in how we populate our future employee pipeline.

Are your efforts working? There are now six female general managers, and three of them were named to that position in the past eight months. The percent of people that self-identified as a female and/or racial minority has increased in each of the past two years. Eighteen of FIELD’s alumni — all of whom are women or a racial minority — are working in professional baseball, or about a quarter of the program’s participants to date.