RBI teams meet with inspiring pro sports women

Roundtable discussion offered opportunity for stories, advice, support

August 15th, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- With a group of Houston Astros RBI softball players gathered around her, listening intently, Chelsea Lowman passionately implored the athletes to chase their dreams.

"Whatever you're passionate about right now, don't lose that as an adult," said Lowman, Senior Coordinator of Community Relations for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx.

On Tuesday afternoon, Lowman, along with seven other women who have forged successful careers in the world of professional sports, gathered to share their stories and provide advice. As part of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series, the group of speakers met with teams participating in the tournament in a roundtable format and fielded questions from players, all age 13-18.

They're hoping that by doing so, they will be able to assist the next generation in breaking through in their own career paths.

"I love meeting athletes like this," said Lea B. Olsen, a Minnesota-based sports broadcaster who played basketball at the University of Minnesota. "It's a really super-rare opportunity to have groups of young women traveling around the country while they're learning so many different things. I like to just remind them of the skillsets they are learning that can help them beyond sports, for their entire lives."

In order to give the athletes more face-to-face time and the ability to ask questions, the speakers met and chatted with each team for 15 minutes at a time before rotating to the next team.

"Talking to young women is always really inspiring to me," Lowman said. "They had some really great questions. They weren't always business related. So that was kind of neat to hear even some of their personal questions. Just about work-life balance, how I got to where I am. … They were all great questions for developing young ladies."

Lowman hoped to not only provide a rough outline for how she has achieved career success, but also give networking tips and advice that she wishes somebody had given her when she was in high school.

"I didn't have anyone tell me that," Lowman said. "I'm thankful that I have a personality that's kind of go-getter. But that was definitely something that I wanted to share with them. I'm here today because I reached out to one person when I was 19, and she took a chance on me. Now, here I am."

The RBI program is an MLB youth initiative designed to provide young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball. The program is in its 26th year, and this year's softball tournament, hosted by the Twins, is the 24th iteration.

The roundtable lasted 90 minutes, and players had the chance to meet with professionals from a number of different areas of the pro sports world. Afterward, players and coaches headed off to Target Field to watch the Twins take on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Anne Doepner, Director of Football Administration for the Minnesota Vikings, and MLB Coordinator of Business Communications Kerline Batista both discussed their career paths.

Brit Minder, coordinator of amateur scouting for the Minnesota Twins, and Brea Hinegardner, the Twins' digital content manager, gave insight into different facets of the professional baseball world.

Laura Day, Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer for the Twins, is in her 22nd year working with the Twins and oversees the club's revenue generating efforts. She praised RBI's efforts to help players meet with women who have a myriad of experiences in different fields.

"Having the opportunity to give back and share my knowledge of what works and what doesn't -- I only wish I could have had that when I was their age," Day said.