Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Talented Women On Blue Wahoos Staff Recognized On National Women In Sports Day

Many of the female members of the Blue Wahoos talented staff gathered Wednesday on National Women In Sports Day. Left to right, Emily Mann, Hanna Lewis, Jessica Voigt, Kylie Dykes, Sierra Greimel, Mia Montenaro and Shannon Hannah. (Erik Bremer/Pensacola Blue Wahoos)
February 7, 2024

Emily Mann was a college student at Clemson, thinking of a career start in baseball, when she saw the news feed on her phone in November 2020 that Kim Ng was named general manager of the Miami Marlins. That transformational moment made Ng the first woman to hold the position

Emily Mann was a college student at Clemson, thinking of a career start in baseball, when she saw the news feed on her phone in November 2020 that Kim Ng was named general manager of the Miami Marlins.

That transformational moment made Ng the first woman to hold the position in Major League Baseball.

“That was a remarkable moment,” said Mann, now a group sales executive with the Blue Wahoos and the new community relations manager. “I remember where I was when it happened and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ this a real possibility for me to actually see a female in that position.”

Ng left the Marlins after the 2023 season and is pursuing other options. Under her executive leadership, the Marlins reached the playoffs in a full season for the first time in 20 years. In 2020, the team made it during abbreviated season due to the coronavirus.

Ng attained a feat that has inspired other women like Mann.

“That was the moment when I thought, this is a really big dream, but there is a chance I could do this,” Mann said.

She is one of 11 women in the Blue Wahoos stadium offices, who hold positions and are preparing to help the organization launch its 12th season in 2024.

They are a talented group of women, many of whom in supervisory positions, who help assure the Blue Wahoos produce year-round revenue and business success.

On the National Girls and Women In Sports Day, celebrated Wednesday, the Blue Wahoos were able to honor members of their female staff with an outfield portrait photo.

“I think the day is a fantastic recognition of the progress that has been made,” said Donna Kirby, the Blue Wahoos vice president, who has been with the team since its franchise inception in 2012. “And I think it’s a good start to where we want to get.

“With the end goal being that we don’t need a day to recognize women in sports… that is just an accepted way of life. And that women can do so many of jobs that have traditionally been assigned to men in these roles.”

Shannon Hannah, the Blue Wahoos event sales manager, who oversees all of the Blue Wahoos events apart from the baseball schedule, is now in her eighth year working for the team.

“I love the energy and the atmosphere and I think that women are more accepted than ever in these roles,” she said. “I think it’s the norm for women in sports now and that it’s not looked as taboo anymore. Our front office has more and more women – successful, professional, competent, excited group of women. And it’s great being part of it.

“It’s great for me to play it forward too. I was once a young girl trying to soak up everything I could.”

Mann, Kirby and Hannah are joined by chief financial officer Kathy Cadwell, event director Mia Montenaro, food and beverage managers Kylie Dykes and Annah Lewis, receptionist Pamela Ward, with sales intern Jessica Voigt, digital media trainee Sierra Greimel and part-time merchandise assistant Hannah Gardner.

In addition there are many women working as gameday staff for the Blue Wahoos.

“Going into college I would have never thought that I would be interning at the Blue Wahoos, or anywhere near athletics,” said Voigt, who is nearing graduation at the University of West Florida. “My best friend worked in athletics at UWF and I loved watching what she did, but I thought, ‘Hey, that’s not going to be me.

“I was thinking that I’m not sure what I will do, but it won’t be sports. But I am just so grateful to be here now. I knew that I loved being around people and talking to people and I realized that I loved working in teams.

“And here at the Blue Wahoos, it has been nothing less than perfect. I feel like everyone here works so well together and all with different personalities. And we all blend well together.”

Kirby admitted that “20 years ago, I would have never dreamed I would work in professional baseball.”

A California native, Kirby worked for the Walt Disney Company in Anaheim, Calif, along with Warner Brothers and NBC/Universal. In 2019 she moved to Pensacola, later learned about the Blue Wahoos and has held a variety of roles with the team, including measuring fan experience metrics and developing standard operating procedures for the company.

“Even though having grown up a baseball fan my entire life, it was just something that you would have sooner say I would land on the moon than work in baseball,” Kirby said. “So, to be given that opportunity and help grown the Pensacola Blue Wahoos into what they are today says a lot for the belief the team has had in me and other women coming up.”

Dykes has been with the Blue Wahoos food and beverage team, RS-3, for eight years. Lewis in starting her sixth year. Both grew up as baseball fans and both were raised in Pensacola.

“It has been awesome working here,” Lewis said. “I love it.”

Mann’s prior experience in baseball was working the Senior League Baseball World Series, held annually in her hometown of Easley, South Carolina. Her younger brother played baseball.

“I was able to see my brother and his friends grow up into grown men who are now super productive, because of baseball,” she said.

While only in her second month of an internship, Voigt has seen the impact it’s made with her young niece.

“She’s seven and she sees me working in sports and she is already wanting to do that,” Voigt said.