Minor League Baseball has placed diversity and inclusion at the forefront of its growth strategy. We strive to create an industry where all identities are represented, welcomed, valued and empowered to enhance our league's culture, creativity, innovation and comprehensive service to the communities we occupy. We strive to be the most fun and inclusive league in all of sports and entertainment.
While conversations regarding diversity and inclusion happen daily in the Minor League Baseball office and among our 160 clubs, we recognize the need to do more to elevate the voices and stories of those who currently work in our industry. There is something uniquely powerful about sitting face-to-face with someone and listening to his or her experience.
The goal of this series is to spotlight the people, programs and stories in the baseball industry that champion diversity and inclusion and advance the mission of Minor League Baseball's diversity initiative. This week we profiled Hartford Yard Goats director of community relations Tiffany Young.
Tiffany Young, the Hartford Yard Goats' director of community relations and director of the Hartford Yard Goats Foundation, has embraced her opportunity to serve as a agent of change in her community since joining the team ahead of its relocation from New Britain to Hartford in 2015. She has championed the Yard Goats community efforts and has been at the forefront of some of their most innovative practices, and she has helped redefine what a community ambassador can accomplish in her role.
"Taking the Yard Goats job was definitely a scary decision, but I always like and welcome a challenge. The sports industry was new to me, but I felt it was the space where I could best be an agent of change."
Young at the 2018 Baseball Winter Meetings, where she received the first MiLB Presidential Citation Award for excellence in Diversity and Inclusion
Seeking to establish her ballpark as a community hub, Young helped create a home for growth far beyond the sport of baseball. She credits her think-outside-the-box mentality and strong senior leadership for her success in building programs that are inclusive of a vast portion of the Hartford community.
In her three short years with the Yard Goats, Young has helped develop programs such as the Yard Goats Young Ambassadors Program, which was developed to provide teenagers in the Hartford area an opportunity to develop business and leadership skills.
"Through our programs, we hold a unique opportunity to bring together young people from various cultural, socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds from all over the state. This is about building a better Hartford and a better community."
She's also launched programs to welcome everyone to Dunkin Donuts Park, including cooking classes, art classes, dance classes and a variety of other unexpected programing. With a brand new ballpark and a clean slate of potential connections in a new city, she lets her creativity fly. She doesn't stray from using the new ballpark for programs that go beyond baseball.
Young speaking at the Hartford Yard Goats 2018 Hot Stove Dinner on making a difference in the community and the future goals of the organization and foundation
"As an advocate for the arts and someone who understands the difference it can make in a young person's life, it was important for me to give students a voice creatively while partnering with local professional stage companies. Our community room and multi-purpose lounge have been transformed into theaters to provide life changing opportunities for many students to perform for the first time. The dance team came with much of the same passion."
Minor League Baseball clubs play an important role in the makeup of their communities. Players will often pass through Hartford for only a short period of time on their way to the majors, but if strong relationships are established between the team and the community, each club holds the ability to maintain relevancy in its market. What Young has managed to accomplish in her time in Hartford helps brand the Yard Goats as a community-centric organization, one that transcends the sport on display in its ballpark for half the year.
Young speaking on the importance of community engagement and strategy at Worcester State University
In 2018, Young's work was recognized by Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O'Conner, as she was the first recipient of the Presidential Citation for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion. Aside from her work in the community, she's also been an advocate for change for MiLB nationally by serving on Minor League Baseball's Diversity Advisory Committee.
"It has been challenging to operate in this space. I just drive on with the hope that I can continue to create change. It is always my hope that my voice, my efforts and my work will continue to create opportunity for others, especially women of color and other underrepresented groups of people."