Diverse Business Partners Reception big hit at All-Star Game
by Casey Perkal
Mayor Francis Slay (Mayor of St. Louis) and Wendy Lewis (MLB)
Once again, this year's Diverse Business Partners (DBP) Reception in St. Louis proved to be a success. Each year, Major League Baseball invites its diverse business partners to a night of celebration--a toast to the companies and individuals who have helped the sport remain America's favorite pastime. The guests included a wealth of entrepreneurs; many based in the St. Louis area. However, some traveled much greater distances in order to attend the honorary event. The mayor of St. Louis, Francis Slay, was in attendance and was kind enough to say a few words.
Wendy Lewis, Senior VP, Diversity and Strategic Alliances for Major League Baseball, also spoke at the reception, and felt that "MLB's Diverse Business Partners reception was a great success! The event was well attended by many of the MWBE suppliers selected to provide goods and services for a variety of commodities for the St. Louis All-Star event. We also had the privilege of hosting other guests including St. Louis Cardinals and MLB executives, several city officials, and a very welcomed visit and keynote delivered by Mayor Slay."
In addition to the speeches, Jeremiah Allen and his band pleased the crowd, playing two 30-minute sets. Much like last year's event in New York City, the party brought together a unique combination of successful women and minority business-owners. The event created an opportunity for business owners working in the same community, to get to know one another and celebrate the achievements of their Minority/Women Business Enterprises (M/WBEs).
Overall, the All-Star Game, and its festivities, provided both entertainment and a fresh economic boost to the city of St. Louis. Mayor Slay, following the All-Star Week, had these remarks, "The baseball players did not leave town with the only impressive statistics. Hundreds of thousands of people, converging upon downtown St. Louis during All-Star Week, produced some pretty important big numbers of their own: a record turnout for Fan Fest, great local television viewership, strong sales at hotels and bars, positive bumps for retailers and airlines, and a portfolio of positive mentions of St. Louis on national and international broadcasts."
(left-right) A'Rica Hill, Personal Touches by Jeanetta; Clayton Judge, MLB; Jean McClendon, Friends-A Meeting Place; Jeanetta Hill, Personal Touches by Jeanetta; Anjanette Brooks, St. Louis Minority Business Council; Diana Everett, Success Promotions; and Glen Franklin, Franklin Graphics
Jean McClendon echoed the Mayor's sentiment, believing that this week was exactly what the doctor ordered for her business. With her company, Friends-A Meeting Place, being chosen as the host for the DBP Reception, McClendon felt that the event "was probably the highlight of our business' existence. Friends, along with the entire region, will benefit from the economic impact for many months to come." McClendon's company was one of many Women-owned Business Enterprises (WBE), and Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MBE) that contributed substantially to the success of both the party, and the game itself.
Jeanetta Hill, who founded the company, Personal Touches by Jeanetta Inc, provided decorations throughout the city of St. Louis, in order to showcase the All-Star events. "We had an opportunity to decorate for Major League Baseball. That afforded us an opportunity to have a face-to-face meeting with the St. Louis staff. This was a great networking experience."
For small businesses, networking is an important step in maintaining growth. Having the opportunity to partner with MLB can help a company develop new clients for the future.
The city of St. Louis was an ideal choice for hosting the All-Star Game; thanks to its rich baseball history, with memories of legends like Stan Musial, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson forever engrained in the soil. Both first-time visitors and citizens of the St. Louis metro area were swept away by the impact of the game.
McClendon felt that the All-Star Game "was monumental and very important to the St. Louis area, because it showcased our city to the entire world in such a positive light. I was especially moved by the red carpet parade, and by the Hall of Fame players being featured before the game. As native, dyed in the wool, St. Louisans, I think that all of us in Cardinal Nation shared some very proud moments during All- Star Week."
While many moments were likely proud, not everything, at least on the baseball field, pleased the people of St. Louis. The hometown favorite, Albert Pujols, lost the Homerun Derby to division rival, Prince Fielder, of the Milwaukee Brewers, and the National League fell short in the All-Star Game. Nonetheless, the week was both a financial and social success.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.