TEAM WORK—Chaz Kellem, Pittsburgh Pirates manager of diversity initiatives, center, shares a moment with former Pirate pitcher Grant Jackson and the Pirate Parrot during their recent Diversity Networking Reception. (Photo by Diane I. Daniels)
Spring is upon us and it’s time for hotdogs, peanuts and baseball.
April first kicked off the Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 baseball season. A season filled with hopes passion and pride. But to Chaz Kellem it is a time and season to continue building and supporting diversity for the organization.
Kellem has spent eight season with the Pirates. the last five as manager of diversity initiatives. It’s a job he understands and takes very seriously. Recently hosting the annual Pirates Diversity Networking Reception, he says community relations and diversity is important to the Pirates organization.
Pleased with the crowd of more than 150 entrepreneurs, professional and non-profit executives, Kellem says it is important for the organization to be in the forefront and to be involved within the total community. “A community which includes the Black, Latino, Asian, disabled, lesbian, gay and bisexual transgender population,” he pointed out. “Together we are stronger. The fact is that no matter what, without each other, the uniqueness of each other, we would not be able to flourish.”
The Pirates Diversity Program is a part of the team’s community relations initiative falling under Pirates Charities. Considered the catalyst that brings the Pirates front office, coaches, players, corporate partners, community leaders and fans together, Pirates Charities, a non-profit charitable organization was established in 2006. Kellem says the initiative makes a meaningful impact in the communities. The Pirates Diversity Networking Reception he says is one way to bring groups together to meet each other and to learn about our programs. “Forming strong partnerships is important to the Pirates Organization.”
As the manager of diversity initiatives Kellem describes his duties as being responsible for managing the ball club’s interaction with various minority constituencies. A primary focus, he says is the development and engagement of targeted minority communities in various opportunities that will increase minority participation within the organization.
Enjoying his job, Kellem says he feels he is accomplishing his mission because diversity has become his life. “I love diversity and as I live it, enjoy it, and learn from it, I understand it.” Diagnosed with a rare bone disorder at birth, he knows what discrimination is like. Not letting his disability or the use of a wheel chair to limit or define his life or activities, Kellem is an Edinboro University graduate and has a Master’s Degree from Robert Morris University. He is a member of several boards of directors of non-profit organizations and is the co-owner of Unbreakable Drive which is designed to inform people about the possibilities that life can bring when people have passion, determination, and motivation to succeed. Its mission is to change lives every day by leading by example, showing up, and making change. Kellem also enjoys public speaking on topics including motivation, self-advocacy, teamwork, diversity leadership, self-respect, breaking barriers and determination.
In their 127 season as a member of Major League Baseball, originating as the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, the Pirates have won five championships and played in four stadiums. Playing in PNC Park since 2001, the facility last month was ranked as the top ballpark to visit by TripAdvisor, which is considered the world’s largest travel site. Designed by HOK Architects of Kansas City who also designed Heinz Field and the Consol Energy Arena, Kellem says PNC Park is considered one of the country’s most accessible Major League sporting facilities. Pleased with the stadium’s amenities and layout, he pointed out that concessions and restrooms are fully accessible, that every level has rotunda areas providing adequate space for wheelchairs and that there is wheelchair-accessible seating in all areas of the ballpark as well as power sources.
After a 79-83 season last year, Kellem says the Pirate organization is excited and looking forward to 2013. His department is planning the Heritage Weekend for May 31 to June 2 and he says they look forward to all of this years’ diversity activities.
“We plan to continue working with the Josh Gibson Foundation as well as celebrating Jackie Robinson Day with Major League Baseball,” he said. “I want to continue to build relationships and to demonstrate the organizations’ commitment to strengthening community relations by way of our diversity and sustainability focused initiatives.”