Diversity summit returns next week in Arizona

Diversity summit returns next week in Arizona

PHOENIX -- The Major League Baseball Diversity and Business Summit, an employment trade fair, gives those in attendance exclusive access to representatives and executives from throughout the baseball world -- including all 30 teams, MLB Advanced Media, MLB Network and Minor League teams.

The event, co-hosted by Major League Baseball and the Arizona Diamondbacks, will take place Tuesday and Wednesday at Chase Field in Phoenix and at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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This is the first year the event will take place during Spring Training, a scheduling feature that should enhance the experience of the guests.

"Being able to view and celebrate the game at Salt River is extra special," said Wendy Lewis, MLB's senior vice president of diversity and strategic alliances. "Folks will get the Spring Training ambiance, but also the history of Talking Stick in terms of it being Native American-owned and its relationship with the D-backs and Rockies. Tribal land will fit in perfectly with the summit itself."

The first summit was in 2012, followed by two more, then a year of planning took place. Commissioner Rob Manfred, Lewis and a committee of stakeholders collaborated on ways to advance the effort, coming up with several new ideas for 2016. One of the biggest of those ideas will be front and center the day before the summit officially begins.

On Monday, there will be a day exclusively for veterans.

"We've always had a commitment to veterans, but I've never felt we've done it as successfully when it comes to the summit," Lewis said. "So we worked with a group and decided let's do something where we really structure it toward them."

More than 200 veterans will participate in panels, get a tour of Chase Field and take part in an MLB Umpire Camp later in the day.

"Those veterans will be really treated to a hands-on approach of the summit," Lewis said. "I felt these men and women really should have our time and attention."

The rest of the summit features several other noteworthy events, including a conversation about diversity between Manfred and Harold Reynolds.

Reynolds will later moderate a panel about diversity from the players' perspective. That panel will feature former players Luis Gonzalez, LaTroy Hawkins, MLB vice president of social responsibility and inclusion Billy Bean and MLB ambassador for inclusion Curtis Pride.

D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall, along with other leaders in the industry, will lead a discussion about the importance of diversity on the business side of things.

Over 1,000 people are expected to attend the two-day event, which will also feature a job fair on the final day.

"We're really excited, it's very different than other ones," Lewis said. "It'll make it great experience for everybody."

Registration for the general portion of the summit is available at MLB.com/diversitysummit.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.