Red Sox celebrate BHM with career panel for young Black scholars

February 17th, 2023

In celebration of Black History Month, the Boston Red Sox Foundation recently held a career panel with Fenway Sports Management Black Employee Resource Group. This online event was hosted for Red Sox Scholars (grades 8-12) where they could interact with various Black ERG members from Boston’s organization.

Miles Shipp, a research analyst on the strategy and growth team on the FSM side, talked about what this month means to him.

“To me, Black History Month -- yes, it’s a celebration of the legends, icons, groundbreakers. But it is also a reminder to us, the future leaders, future innovators, you and me, that our work is far from done,” Shipp said during the virtual session. “It is a reminder that there is always going to be more opportunity for growth in our communities.

“This month, while it is about history, I think it is really important to remember that it is about our now and learning from our history and [learning] how we can continue to make change in the future and continue developing a better groundwork for the next generation.”

Every year, the Red Sox Scholars Program gives out a $10,000 scholarship to 12 Boston Public School seventh graders.

According to the program's mission statement: The Foundation then provides academic, professional, and social support to the students for the next nine years to ensure they graduate from college with as little debt as possible and are prepared to enter the workforce.

All of the panelists shared their unique career paths that brought them to where they are today, answered questions from Red Sox Scholars and discussed the importance of mentorship and representation.

Jae Holland, director of fan services and entertainment for the Red Sox, talked about the importance of adaptability and flexibility.

“Make sure that you are overly prepared, but also make sure that you are able to adjust and adapt. Because just as prepared as you are, there may be a situation where someone is going to throw a wrench in your plan,”  Holland said.

Additionally, the panelists emphasized the importance of networking, being your authentic self and overcoming “imposter syndrome.”

“You get somewhere because you truly earned it,” said Kiana Swepson, development and marketing coordinator for the Red Sox Foundation. “A way I try to fight my imposter syndrome is for me to celebrate my accomplishments, no matter how big or how small. Always remember to be proud of yourself.”

The panelists also focused on sharing the crucial part of continuing to grow and learn after starting a job. Holland shared the keys to attaining personal goals.

“Remain hungry to learn and gain knowledge. That right there alone will help you propel to circles that you didn’t think were possible," Holland said. "Always maintain that hunger to learn and want to do more and learn more and you will become unstoppable.”

As the next generation of young Black people look into starting careers in baseball, the Black ERG across Major League Baseball continues to provide event opportunities to form a community for people of color.

Julio Jeune, senior event services manager with the Red Sox family park events team, talked about staying true to yourself, regardless of what other people might think.

“Be your authentic self. The reason why you are in that room is because of the person that you are,” Jeune said.

Anna Laible, 17, hosts a podcast called Speak Up Sports, and writes as a Kid Reporter for Sports Illustrated Kids.