Feeney symposium unites women in baseball

December 9th, 2020

Last month, Marlins general manager Kim Ng broke a significant gender barrier in becoming the first woman hired to lead a Major League front office. During her introductory news conference at Marlins Park, Ng said she hoped her rise would help create more pathways for women to break into leadership roles throughout MLB.

“There’s an adage, ‘You can’t be it if you can’t see it,’” Ng said. “I suggest to them, ‘Now you can see it.’ And so I look forward to hearing all of their stories and just how inspired they are to now pursue a job in sports, a job in baseball and to reach for the stars.”

MLB continued to push forward its efforts to promote gender equity and develop a new generation of female leaders by hosting the fourth annual Katharine Feeney Leadership Symposium during the virtual Winter Meetings this week. Nearly 40 women at the manager level across the Commissioner’s Office, MLB Network and all 30 MLB clubs were invited to attend the two-day event, which aims to give participants the skills to grow and thrive within this male-dominated industry.

“When we do this, it's not just in our words, but in our actions, to continue to equip you and arm you with all of the resources that we have available to help you help us drive the change that we want to see across Major League Baseball,” said Justin Reyes, MLB vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, during his closing remarks to participants Tuesday. “You are the next generation of leaders that will influence the game, that will shape the game, that will change our perceptions, and in turn, the world’s perceptions of baseball moving forward.”

This year’s symposium, which is named after the late MLB executive Katy Feeney, was conducted virtually over Zoom and consisted of presentations and sessions led by Stanford Graduate School of Business professors Sarah Soule and Shelley Correll. The programming covered a variety of topics, including how to navigate the double binds that can often serve as roadblocks for women in the workplace, steps for how to remedy the gender negotiation gap and advice on fostering collaboration and exchange among colleagues.

Soule also emphasized the importance of creating networks that can provide the support and mentorship needed to spur career advancement.

“My goal is for this group to develop really strong ties, just as our other cohorts of women from MLB have done,” Soule said. “But we also want you to think about not just the network you all can build amongst yourselves, but also how you can be sponsors to one another by allowing access to your network.”