Let’s Talk Baseball, Let’s Talk Diversity
By Shantelle Stotts
JOMC Journal Contributor
In a world of different people from various backgrounds, cultures and beliefs, it only seems logical that these differences are reflected, particularly in baseball.
“Diversity of thought is key,” said William T. Rolack, Sr., senior director of workforce strategy, diversity and strategic alliances for Major League Baseball. “Diverse teams yield results over a homogenous team.”
Rolack recently spoke to NCA&T students an upcoming event that will highlight the importance of diversity amid America’s rapidly changing demographics. The Diversity Business Summit, a two-day event that will take place April 14-15 in New York, allows job seekers and entrepreneurs the to meet with the MLB’s Club at the major and minor league level.
Rolack said that he wants to see more African Americans in MLB because African Americans are disappearing from a sport that once symbolized close communities. To mend the gap, Rolack visits A&T and other HBCUs to share MLB opportunities available to African-American students.
“My role is to drive diversity in the office,” said Rolack. “Every position in baseball should have a diverse slate of candidates, meaning every organization, community or entity should be outreached to when we have a position open. If human resource leaders cannot find a diverse slate, they contact me and I contact organizations that can give me diverse candidates. And this is not for just executive positions; this is all positions including internships.”
Rolack also wants more HBCU graduates to become senior directors or senior vice presidents in the MLB.
“The opportunity and growth experiences are there it is just a matter of students understanding that baseball is another valuable option for their career,” said Rolack.
Rolack is a graduate of South Carolina State and has a master’s degree in business administration from Long Island University. He was named “40 Under Forty” by The Network Journal Magazine in 2007, and an honoree of The Long Island Business News in 2008. He is also a member of the National Urban League and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
“Because I am an HBCU graduate, I know that there is considerable hidden talent,” said Rolack. “I have also had much success with hiring HBCU graduates (who now have) human resources career. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I feel that it should have that breadth of talent from HBUCs as well.”
Rolack not only wants students to think in broader realms, but he also wants them to think “with affirmation.” He encouraged A&T’s to start saying “what they are going to do, not what they want to do, and to begin building their brand.
“The best part of touring HBUCs is meeting students who are serious about their craft, doing what they need to do to be the best, striving to really make a difference, and moving forward in their careers and what they plan to do after graduation,” Rolack added. “Understanding the legacy of why ‘we’ have attended HBCUs and the legacy of creating the best of the best… Having that base from an HBCU, building the confidence in this particular environment, and seeing that it is still a part of the legacy is very exciting to me.”
When: April 15, 2014
Where: New York, N.Y.
Special Effects: Jackie Robinson Day, April 15. Special screening of the movie, “42”
In Attendance: Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, and Jackie Robinson’s children, Davis and Sharon.
Extras: Registered participants can attend the Yankees vs. Cubs game where Robinson and Nelson Mandela will be honored.
More: To register for the 2014 MLB Diversity Business Summit go to www.mlb.com/diversitysummit.
Registration Deadline: March 15. For other internship opportunities go to www.MLB.com/careers