The 2nd annual Women in Baseball conference sponsored by SABR and the International Women’s Baseball Center, and hosted by Rockford University took place this weekend. The theme of this year’s conference was Celebrating African American Women in Baseball. The conference featured keynote addresses from professionals such as Lauren Meyer, the Director of The Other Boys of Summer; presentations on Black women baseball pioneers such as Tillie Ford, the Dolly Vardens, the 1st African American Women’s Baseball Team, etc.
One panel that stood out to me was the Being a Black Woman is my Superpower panel that featured the 1st and currently only Black female MLBPA Certified Player Agent Lonnie Murray, President & CEO of Sports Management Partners; Maacah Scott the Assistant General Counsel of the Chicago White Sox; and Jacara Ware, MBA the Senior Coordinator, Marketing & Advertising for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The 3 women discussed topics that ranged from authenticity to the angry Black Woman stereotype that many Black Women face when being direct and assertive in the work place.
When asked about authenticity and how has it helped you to get to where you are, Maacah talked about how she wasn’t authentic in an interview and it cost her a job and that you should bring your entire self to the role; Lonnie explained how she didn’t have examples to follow when she got started in the industry because she was one of few minorities at the field, and not one of the player moms. She talked about how she would dress down and slick her hair back and finally released her personality. Jacara talked about how the human resource director of the Arizona Diamondbacks set the tone for her being completely authentic in the work place.
The panelists also talked about challenges overcome: Lonnie talked about whether or not people give you credibility or having that instant sense of belonging were challenges for her. Jacara explained how her face is very expressive and tells everything that she’s thinking and how she has to work on watching her tone in meetings, not attacking anyone, being genuine, and how she delivers in meetings. Maacah spoke about being mistaken for an assistant or other role and being underestimated as an attorney because when most people think of an attorney they visualize an older white male.
All panelists expressed the need for allies and that allies should be diverse as well.
When asked about what advice you would give your younger self, Lonnie said “own it girl, mistakes and all will make you greater later”; Jacara would tell her younger self to continue to learn, don’t be a know it all, grind harder, and listen; Maacah would tell her younger self to not be afraid to reach out to people and don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help.
The conversation came to an end with the panelists answering the question:What do we mean by super power (Being a Black Woman is my Superpower being the title of the panel)? How has your super power allowed you to drive forward personal and professional change?
Jacara noted that she just does it like Nike. Being a woman working 10x harder than a male counterpart and as a Black woman working 20x harder than any other female in the industry trying to get things done. Maacah stated when you bring your entire self, those things are your superpower. Be a good problem solver, adapt, and analyze differently. As Black women we are continuously faced with challenges because of all the challenges faced daily, work challenges are some of the smallest we experience as Black women. Lonnie said what some would see as an angry Black woman, what she saw in Jacara and Maacah when meeting them in work settings were strength, intelligence, and swagger. The 2 young professionals were giving direct answers, getting stuff done, and they were not angry they were getting after it.