Major League Baseball Exec Wendy Lewis Has Tips To Help With Your Job Search!
If you play your cards right, you could potentially score a position with one of Major League Baseball’s 30 organizations! And don’t worry, you don’t need to be a baseball fan to do so. Wendy Lewis, MLB’s SVP of Diversity and Strategic Alliances, gives us the scoop on how to woo the hiring managers and key decision-makers at MLB’s 2014 Diversity Business Summit — a job fair for minority employment seekers, vendors, and entrepreneurs.
The two-day event, taking place on April 14 and 15 in New York City, gives women and men of color a unique opportunity for networking and forming strategic relationships for the betterment of one’s career and goal aspirations. Attendees have landed positions as recruitment interns, sales consultants, membership services coordinators, and more. And Lewis’ says if you want to optimize your experience at the trade fair, you’ll have to be ready for anything.
One tip? “Do your homework,” Lewis pleads. Don’t walk up in the Summit without reading a few news clips on what’s going on in the MLB. Plus, it’ll make conversation flow a lot easier. Here, Lewis reveals the recipe for success at the Summit and even discusses how she — a single mom with three kids — nabbed a coveted high-ranking position at the MLB.
Madame Noire (MN): What’s the ultimate goal of the 2014 Diversity Summit?
Wendy Lewis (WL): The ultimate goal of the Diversity Summit is for people to see that this is the ultimate engagement model. The Summit produces new employment and new procurement [for people of color]… at a much faster and impactful rate than ever before. We want everybody on [the day after the Business Summit] to feel like it was one of the best experiences they’ve ever had.
MN: How should attendees present themselves to create an optimal experience at the 2014 Diversity Summit?
WL: Be prepared to run into anybody! There’ll be folks who might be there that you might not expect! [We might have] other Major League sports teams as our guests. We have a number of Fortune 500 companies who will be there, some will be our sponsors, others not. You just might be sitting next to someone who has a business opportunity for you — and you don’t even know it. Some of the people who have been hired as a result of the Summit ended up were offered a position they never saw coming.
MN: Got any tips and tricks for those who are interested in attending?
WL: Since the Yankees are co-hosting the event, do a little reading to find out how the Yankees are doing, how they’re going through with training, and find out about their new player Mashiro Tanaka. So if you do have the opportunity to meet the Yankees face-to-face, you have a little bit more to talk about other than “I want a job” or “I want a contract.” It’s all about being prepared!
MN: How has MLB’s Diversity Committee evolved over the years?
WL: I know for a fact we have made a difference. I know we have more people of color and women who are our suppliers, vendors, and they provide business services throughout baseball. I know for a fact that more [minorities] are working here, at all levels of baseball, as a result of our advocacy.
MN: Do you need to have an interest in baseball to attend?
WL: It’s really for anyone. I strongly encourage people who aren’t sure about sports — or maybe never thought about it — to attend. Anyone who attends will learn so much more; they’ll know, indefinitely, whether or not [working with the MLB] is a good fit. I haven’t met anyone who’s regretted going.
MN: So tell us how you moved up the ranks to your position as Senior Vice President.
WL: It’s always about moving up the ladder. I’ve taken advantage of opportunities; I had to be open to making big moves. Life doesn’t go quite as neat or as convenient as we’d like it to be, so in some cases, I had to take risks. I was always taught to work as hard at the job that you’re in as the next one you want.
I was working with kids as a camp counselor until I finally got into professional ranks and that [mindset] got me working in baseball. My baseball opportunity came about because I had a background in human resources and sales. It wasn’t because I knew a lot about baseball or because I played or liked sports. Employers look for individuals who have a tenacity to grow and show results…You need to be willing to be innovative, take risks, and work hard; that’s what has been a catalyst for [my] movement forward.
MN: You’re a single mom with three daughters. How do you achieve work-life balance?
WL: When you get into management and professional positions, you’re working all the time – even when your body is not physically in the workplace. That really does become a balancing act whether you’re married with children or single with children.
People might not agree with me on this but I don’t believe in thinking that you can “have it all.” I remember making some very hard decisions – making sure that at a certain time, in the workplace, I had to go [home to my family]. And other times, my children had to deal with the hardship of knowing that mom won’t be able to make a tennis match or mom is going to miss something because I have to work. I can’t make everyone happy all the time. My kids have had to sometimes hold their own and [sometimes] my workplace has to respect that family comes first.
The 3rd annual 2014 Diversity Summit will be held on April 14-15th at the Manhattan Hotel and The New Yorker. Click here to register and attend!