Minor League Baseball is set to host its third annual FIELD (Fostering Inclusion through Education and Leadership Development) Program at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL. The former spring training home of Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers will welcome the event from June 4-9.
Twenty-nine students and recent graduates will participate in this year’s event as part of Minor League Baseball’s Diversity Initiative. The FIELD Program was created to engage women and minority students who may be interested in pursuing a career in the business of professional baseball. The five-day program will expose participants to the baseball industry through a combination of professional development workshops, skill-specific training, networking sessions and hands-on learning opportunities.
“We’ve identified 29 young, talented leaders who are eager to break into sports and we have an agenda full of activities that will prepare them for the next step in their careers,” said Vincent Pierson, Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Minor League Baseball. “We have a lot to be excited about with this year’s FIELD program.”
The program’s move is significant, as Historic Dodgertown was the first racially-integrated Spring Training complex in the United States. The facility, which originally served as a World War II naval base, was transformed into a baseball campus and became the spring home of the Dodgers from 1948 through 2008. It is currently a multi-sport tournament venue which hosts the Florida State League’s annual Jackie Robinson Celebration Game. Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in 1946 as a member of the Montreal Royals in the International League, before his ground-breaking 10-year career with the Dodgers.
Highlighting the 2018 FIELD Program’s list of presenters is keynote speaker, Sam Ryan. Ryan currently covers the MLB postseason for Turner Sports and hosts shows on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio. Her experiences also include serving as an anchor/reporter for MLB Network and a sideline reporter for ABC Sports and ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball.
Minor League Baseball team executives featured as part of this year’s program are Martie Cordaro, President and General Manager of the Omaha Storm Chasers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League); Harold Craw, General Manager of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Class AA; Southern League); Breon Dennis, Vice President of Community Development for the Frisco RoughRiders (Class AA; Texas League); Leslie Martinez, Marketing and Promotions Manager for the Florida Fire Frogs (High A; Florida State League); Erin O’Donnell, Vice President of Marketing for the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League); Andrea Williams, Director of Community Relations for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp and Tiffany Young, Director of Community Partnerships for the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League).
Additional guest speakers and presenters for the event include Greg “Kool Papa” Bell, Founder and Presenter of the Five Tool Selling Workshop; Eri Cuevas, Human Resources Manager for the Texas Rangers; Kelvin Scott, Director of Human Resources for the Atlanta Braves; Tyra Suggs, Human Resources Generalist for the St. Louis Cardinals; Jordan Watters, Human Resources Coordinator for the Atlanta Braves and several Minor League Baseball league office staff members.
This year’s FIELD Program participants will gain hands-on experience with visits to the Daytona Tortugas’ Jackie Robinson Ballpark and Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, home to the Jupiter Hammerheads and Palm Beach Cardinals (High A; Florida State League). Attendees will hear from various club personnel at each facility, and will shadow key departments of each organization throughout their visits.
Career development and preparation will be a key focus for this year’s programming. Resume reviews and mock interviews by some of the baseball industry’s leading executives will ensure that participants know what is expected of them as they look to break into the business of baseball.
Participants in this year’s program represent 24 colleges and universities from across the country. In addition to the programming taking place at Historic Dodgertown, attendees are offered a pathway into professional baseball with an opportunity to expand their networks and compete for job openings at the 2018 Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities (PBEO) Job Fair. The event gives individuals seeking employment in the baseball industry the opportunity to meet face-to-face with club executives and interview onsite for a variety of available positions.
The FIELD Program Class of 2018 and their respective colleges or universities are as follows:
Earl Burl (University of North Texas), Andrew Calmet (University of Central Florida), Erika Cook (Stetson University), Hannah Craig (Georgia State University), Chelsea Fuqua (University of Alabama), Daniel Gonzalez (University of Alabama – Birmingham), Steven Goudeau (Florida A&M University), Joseph Graves (Georgia State University), Taylor Green (University of Florida), Rohan Gupta (Washington University – St. Louis), Tyshonda Hawkins (Florida A&M University), Nicholas Johnson (University of San Francisco), Hali Liggins (University of North Carolina – Charlotte), Nathalie Lopez (Nova Southeastern University), Kunaal Madhaven (New York University), Candace Martin (Alabama State University), Sierra Martinez (University of Wyoming), Jason Martinez (Virginia State University), Jalen Myrick (John Carroll University), Wynterra Pittman (Virginia State University), Paris Rainey (University of Central Florida), Khari Riles (University of Alabama – Birmingham), Autumn Sharp (Spring Arbor University), Laurie Silverstein (Syracuse University), Keyshawn Simpson (University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff), Kelsey Smith (University of South Florida), Isaiah Thomas (Iowa State University), Carolina Velloso (University of Maryland), T’Kaira Winston (Hampton University).