At the second annual SABR/IWBC Women in Baseball Conference on Sunday, September 13, 2020, our panel discussion, Being a Black Woman is My Superpower, discussed life working as a Black woman in baseball.
Panelists included Lonnie Murray, the first and currently only black female player agent certified by the MLB Players Association and President/CEO of Sports Management Partners; Maacah Scott, Assistant General Counsel for the Chicago White Sox; and Jacara “Jay” Ware, Senior Coordinator of Marketing & Advertising for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Here are some highlights:
On having serious conversations in the workplace
- Murray: “A woman asked … how to safely approach Black people and have a safe conversation. … When we’re talking about the way we go about our business and our ability to just hone in on multiple issues at one time and go after it, some people may find us to be ‘unapproachable’ or see it as a barrier to communicate or conversation. Or when they tip-toe around a topic, whether it’s work related, whether it’s all of the issues that are going on in today’s world, they’ve spent so much time tip-toeing around the approach to have dialogue.”
On the strength of having a diverse workplace
- Scott: “When you’re bringing your authentic self, being a minority, whether it being a woman or being a woman of color, when you bring your entire self to an organization, those things are your superpowers. Because you’re so used to being faced with challenges, that you’re a good problem-solver. You’re going to be able to adapt. You’re going to analyze problems differently from different perspectives. You’re not going to shy away from those challenges, because you have continuously faced challenges.”
- Ware: “We come from a background of women, not just working hard, 10 times harder than (our) male counterparts, but as a Black female, working 20 times harder than other females in the industry to try and get things done. I feel like being a Black woman, coming from our background, and me being the second oldest of my siblings, I’m just going to get it done, personally.”
On being underestimated in the baseball industry
- Scott: “A lot of times I’m mistaken for either an assistant or some other role. It’s being underestimated, it’s being misunderstood, it’s all these different things. But sometimes I use these challenges to my advantage.”
- Murray: “I would suggest and ask that, instead of changing the narrative around ‘Angry Black Woman’ — (let’s) recognize that it is the superpower. There is a strength to that, it’s not an angry thing, it’s a ‘Let me help you get this done.’ … That’s not angry, that’s getting after it.”
On the need for more allies to fight for equality
- Ware: “We need the males that are in there fighting for women and equality to help us and back us. So, without them honestly, it’s going to (make it) 10 times harder to fight on our own. … We need more allies, both men and women.”
For more coverage of the 2020 SABR/IWBC Women in Baseball Conference, click here.
Transcription assistance by Zachary Larsen.
Originally published: September 23, 2020. Last Updated: September 23, 2020.