Bucs host 'Women in Sports' event for RBI program

March 19th, 2022

Mya Quarles is a junior at Obama Academy in Pittsburgh who plays center field on the school’s softball team. Her connection to the diamond began when she joined a T-ball league at age three, and her passion for the game is boundless.

“I’ve played baseball basically my whole life with my brother, and I turned that into slow-pitch softball in eighth grade and then in ninth grade, which is fast-pitch,” Quarles said. “The best part about the game for me is when someone hits one really hard to center field and I have to run for it, and then I catch it and hear everybody cheering.”

Sure, what’s not to love about that?

Quarles also has designs on becoming a sports commentator someday. To reach that goal, she plans to study communications and media at Howard University in Washington, D.C., or perhaps locally at either the University of Pittsburgh or Point Park University.

“I want to be a sports commentator, but not one of the people reporting from down on the field,” Quarles said with conviction. “I want to be up in the booth talking about the game while it’s going on.”

On Saturday at PNC Park, Quarles was among a select group of girls from the Pirates’ Reviving Baseball in Inner-Cities (RBI) program who participated in a “Women in Sports” event that featured more than a dozen female members of the Pirates’ front office. The two-hour session included a panel discussion led by Jacque Skowvron, executive director of Pirates charities and community engagement, and a networking session over lunch. Both were designed to help the RBI softball players better understand career opportunities that are available within the Pirates organization and throughout the sports industry.

Among the other members of the Pirates’ front office who participated were director of corporate partnership activation Katie Shockey, director of premium partnership experience Erinn Sander, business manager for baseball operations Sarah Steinberg and director of facility operations and strategy Jackie Riggleman.

Topics of discussion included the dynamics of teamwork that are critical for both athletes and people in the business world, the value of internships and mentors, the challenges women face in an industry that’s evolving but still dominated by men, respect and appreciation for others, not being afraid to fail and the importance of learning to communicate effectively.

“Being here and connecting with the women from the Pirates who spoke, you can feel that they really do care and that they want to give you good advice that will help you throughout your career and your life,” Quarles said.

The event concluded with a community service project that saw the RBI softball players and Pirates officials working hand in hand to pack bags that were immediately donated to the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. Bags for women included items such as a thermal mug, an adult coloring book, colored pencils, various hygiene products, bottled water and snacks. Bags for kids included a Pirate plush and bucket hat, coloring books and crayons, a toothbrush and toothpaste, juice boxes and snacks.

“With March being Women’s History Month, we really wanted to take the opportunity not only to give back to women in our community, but also help young women who are the next generation of our community,” Skowvron said. “So, we focused on RBI softball players and invited 18 of them to join us here today so they could meet and network with the women of the Pirates. In addition, they got to join us in a community service project.”

“The Pirates have always been interested in our mission of assisting survivors of domestic violence and their children,” said Kristin Brown, chief development officer for the Women’s Center and Shelter. “Throughout the years, they’ve given financial support and in-kind support in the form of gifts for adults and children. As you can imagine, many of the survivors come to us without much, so donations like those that we’re receiving today really help to support those that we serve.”