We are so ready to play ball!

In just a few short days, the 2019 Phillies will take to the field for the first time this season at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia. To say we are excited is an understatement.

Our roster has changed dramatically this offseason, and there is a lot of buzz surrounding this highly-anticipated team. Not only did we acquire super slugger Bryce Harper, but also four more All-Stars with outfielder Andrew McCutchen, shortstop Jean Segura, catcher JT Realmuto and pitcher David Robertson — all who are joining the likes of Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera, Aaron Nola and Roman Quinn.

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It’s a powerful lineup, but not just for our postseason potential. What strikes me the most is watching how the players share that instant connection of being a member of the Phillies family, as well as the Philadelphia community. That sense of pride and belonging, along with immediate inclusivity – no matter the race, orientation or ethnic background – should be celebrated as a sign of the strides that Major League Baseball has made when it comes to diversity in this great game.

With this, it’s hard to believe that 72 years have passed since the dawn of diversity on the baseball diamond was first pioneered by Jackie Robinson. This movement, of course, began because of Jackie and his core belief in the importance of opportunity for all – and not just on the playing field, but in all assets of life. That same spirit is one that continues to be supported wholeheartedly by Major League Baseball, and the Phillies alike, both striving to promote and enhance an inclusive environment that proactively leverages the diversity of our workforce.

Today, Jackie’s legacy is celebrated each year throughout Major League Baseball. Of course, this year’s tributes on April 15 will be even more special, as Jackie would have turned 100 this past January. Fittingly, MLB is honoring the birth of the game’s most important pioneer with special events not just on Jackie Robinson Day, but all year long within the broadest communities possible.

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Jackie Robinson Tribute thegrio.com
Jackie Robinson Tribute (Photo: Kenny Johnson)


The Vibe of Inclusivity

As the Phillies Manager of Community Engagement, I have had the honor and privilege of representing the organization in the community. Investing in these relationships is the lifeblood of having a successful organization, and a philosophy at our club that we continue to embrace.

With this, we are mindful and committed to reaching out to all communities, with our ballpark remaining an open invitation to everyone who loves the game. It’s an ideology that is incorporated into our best business practices, as we create opportunities to deliver world-class fan experiences while celebrating our diverse communities and continuing that constant vibe of inclusivity.

Throughout the course of the season, we are proud to host a series of fan engagement nights at our ballpark that are dedicated to celebrating the cultural traditions and values across the region’s many diverse communities. Events such as the Phillies’ Asian Pacific Celebration, African American Heritage Celebration, Jewish Heritage Celebration, Pride Night, Goya Latino Family Celebration and Italian Heritage Celebration, among others, are all created in partnership with the diverse communities these events represent.

After all, we are better when we share and collaborate – as that helps all brands of businesses involved.

Philadelphia is Our First Name

At the Philadelphia Phillies, we truly believe that it’s important to be a good business partner. Our organization was built and continues to be built on the basis of friendship and relationships, and that is why we remain committed to investing in our communities. As our Chairman David Montgomery has always said, Philadelphia is our first name – not the Phillies – for a reason.

That building-relationships approach to business is also why we actively engage with and support local diverse chambers of commerce and their memberships, including the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA/NJ/DE, the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia and the Independence Business Alliance, among others.

Our outreach extends to reserving space and participating in a variety of diverse community festivals throughout the region, including the JASGP Cherry Blossom Festival, the Odunde Festival and the annual Concilio’s Hispanic Fiesta at Penn’s Landing, among others. The organization is proud to support these great events, which includes appearances by the Phillie Phanatic, ballgirls and other special Phillies guests.

We also reach out to diverse neighborhoods with the goal of utilizing baseball as part of community building efforts. As part of Major League Baseball’s “Play Ball” initiative and the Phillies RBI Program, we actively engage and support youth baseball and softball players in diverse areas throughout the inner city all year long.

This is an important investment to the future of the game, in making sure that the opportunity to play ball is available to everyone.

 

Finding Talent That is Diverse & Inclusive to Meritocracy

The promotion and support of an inclusive environment continues to be part of our everyday business.

Part of what this means is that we work hard to make sure our vendors and professional service providers represent diverse communities. In doing this, we actively participate in Major League Baseball events dedicated to diversity in hiring and purchasing, including those hosted during the Baseball Winter Meetings. We have also participated each year at Major League Baseball’s Diversity Business Summit until its final year. Our outreach continues with participation in Major League Baseball’s Diversity Fellowship Program, where we currently host a fellow within our organization.

In addition, we are in a constant search for a diverse pool of job candidates in filling openings within the organization. These open positions across each department and at every level of administration are made available to a diverse population.

We also work to maintain a talent pipeline by actively engaging diverse students at a variety of career fairs and events hosted by colleges in the area, including local HBCUs.  The pipeline goes even further at our Phillies College Series networking events, where students throughout the Delaware Valley get the chance to go behind-the-scenes in the business of baseball throughout the season.

With inclusivity, diversity and community in mind – and the spirit of the core values of Jackie Robinson – we are  proud to support events like the Diversity & Inclusion Conference in Philadelphia. The March 25-26 conference is a great opportunity to continue our work to be the best organization we can be – both on and off the field.

We look forward to meeting everyone as we come together to promote and support an inclusive environment across all areas of businesses.

Go Phils!

Kenny Johnson
Kenny Johnson, Manager of Community Engagement for the Phillies (Photo: Courtesy of the Philadelphia Phillies

The post Celebrating diverse opportunities with the Phillies, on and off the field appeared first on theGrio.

Celebrating diverse opportunities with the Phillies, on and off the field

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