Posted by Pete DeLaunay
Rotarians welcomed Catie Griggs, Seattle Mariners,  President of Baseball Operations to the podium in conversation with Past Rotary President, Mark Wright, who has started a new position as Podcast Host at WORKP2P.  He introduced Catie Griggs as the only female president in Major League Baseball and a Mariners first.   “As a woman I am here to do a job and don’t waste a lot of time with that as I work with a variety of people gender and age notwithstanding about how to get the job done, but diversity as a valuable asset for any organization,” she began.  “Everyone has a blind spot so we want people who look at the world differently.”   She aspires to have the Mariners authentically connect with more members of the community.  As baseball operations president she is involved with every aspect of the game from scouting to coaching staff, major and minor league athletes, ballpark operations, marketing, broadcast and construction negotiations and human resources.  She aims to expand the Mariners brand and attract new audiences to T-Mobile Ballpark.
Her road to the Mariners head office included working as a strategy consultant in NYC, and gaining experience in human resources, finance, marketing, strategy and sales.  She landed with the Mariners following a successful stint with the Atlanta United soccer Club.  “Baseball’s history and the game itself has the opportunity to create some excitement such as when the team rallies and the stands come alive,” she says ,” as we find ways to engage people as fans”.    
She said there is more fun to come as the team focuses on the fan experience.  Plans include leveraging technology, speeding up concession lines and speeding up the game with the 15-scond pitch clock.The Mariners are moving away from the traditional demographic approach, by focusing on how to enhance the total game experience.  “The new MLB pitch clock is truly a game changer when our fans know that a 6:40 game is done by  9 p.m., “she said, “ and that coupled with a balanced schedule and clubhouse of young talented pitchers and utility players will result in more action faster.”   
In July,  MLB All Star Game week will take place in Seattle, thanks largely to the work of Catie and Seattle Sports Commission president, and Rotary president, Beth Knox. “All Star week is an opportunity to showcase T-Mobile ballpark and the city with a weeklong celebration and a place where the community can come together,” Catie said.   While playoff aspirations are in the headlights she says “A portion is luck, but we have a lot of young players to be contenders with a robust farm system and incredibly young talent as we shore up our roster with veterans.”   She admires the clubhouse sense of accountability quoting several coaches who simply say, “It doesn’t matter get better… tomorrow’s a new day, how do you get better?”
She concluded by saying she has been a baseball fan and played little league with boys as a child.  “We have so many assets in Seattle including our retractable roof and a market footprint that covers several states, giving us the opportunity to welcome visitors,” she says.  “Our surveys are encouraging and help us understand the passions and expectations of our fans.” 
President Beth opened the meeting promptly at !2:30, and introduced Don Murphy and Bill Center with the day’s opening song, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, accompanied by Jevon Powell and followed the day’s inspiration delivered by Marsha Mutisi.  She then introduced visiting Rotarians and guests and invited Mary Goldie as new Seattle Rotary Executive Director to the podium.  Mary values the relationships she has made and the history of Seattle Rotary. “I am exploring new ideas to attract new members and want to work smart to fully develop new programs and approaches,” she said.  She wants to get SRSF more closely aligned with the club, increase visibility of our club in the downtown corridor, and enhance programs. .
Joe Phillips introduced new member Jared Grose, Juniper Capital's Vice President of Business Development.  Jared’s bio can be found in the newsletter.John Steckler’s monthly spotlight shown on Seattle Rotarian Jan Levy,  who retired after 30 years as Executive Director of Leadership Tomorrow.  He described her early career from working as a tour assistant to the band Blood, Sweat & Tears to work in the arts, as a para legal and as administrative assistant to the CEO at Washington Mutual Savings Bank. Jan joined Seattle Rotary in 2013 and she has served on several committees.  This year she will celebrate her 75th birthday in Paris with her husband.
John Steckler announced several membership engagement activities including a Lebanese dinner,  March Madness with Young Rotary Leaders among others with details on the website.  Prince of Programs, Ken Grant, announced future meeting speakers that can also be found on the website.
President Beth concluded the meeting with a recap of the 88th Annual Sports Star of the Year Awards even -- the biggest night out in sports, and highlighted the  Sounders season opener win, Seahawks scouting new talent and a quote from Serena Williams “ A champion is not defined by their wins but how they recover when they fail.”

 Thanks to meeting reporter Pete DeLaunay for another fabulous report!
Media Sponsors