The Rising 25 Class of 2019, presented by AB InBev, represents some of the brightest young professionals in the sports industry. Over the next several weeks, we’re proud to introduce you to this year’s winners and highlight some of their achievements to date.
Today, meet Paige Hegedus: manager for special events & affiliate programming at Minor League Baseball. A native of Houston and a graduate of the University of Arkansas, Hegedus began attending networking events early on in college to set herself down the path of working in sports. By her own admission, however, there were early lessons to be learned.
“I started out attending different networking events, specifically the Major League Baseball Diversity Summit in Houston in 2013. It was a complete failure for me,” she humbly states. “I didn’t know what I was doing, didn’t have a resume, but I loved meeting people and understanding what the industry was on the business side. After that I knew I would be better prepared.”
Hegedus attended the Summit again in 2016 in Phoenix focused on interviews and networking. That encouraged her to apply for a special events internship that summer, which she was eventually hired for.
“I started the interview process and just fell in love with the office culture and was ready to move down to Saint Petersburg, Florida. After six months, they offered me full-time,” Hegedus says of her early days with MiLB.
READ MORE: Meet the Rising 25: Olivia Witherite of MASN
Hegedus accepted a position as special events coordinator where she remained for two years before being promoted to manager of special events & affiliate programming earlier this year. During her time as special events coordinator, Hegedus created and executed an event known as Coffee and Connections as part of the MiLB Innovators Summit. The event was aimed at providing networking opportunities for women in professional baseball. Hegedus takes great pride in this accomplishment.
“In 2017 we could only squeeze in about an hour of networking time,” she remembers. “We had a positive response to the event and a lot of people didn’t think it was going to be successful and we kind of proved them wrong. Moving into 2018, I was allowed to expand it to two hours and actually had programming with keynote speakers, an interactive workshop with our director of diversity Vince Pierson, and round table discussions. It was just fun and people really responded very well to it. I think we really opened some eyes on what we can continue to do to move the needle in regards to women executives in baseball.”
Hegedus contributes her success up to this point to her strong work ethic, which was instilled in her by her mother and father.
“I grew up with very hardworking parents who showed me that fun doesn’t start till the job’s done,” Hegedus states. “Going through college and working full-time and being a full-time student, doing internships, I think that just translated very well moving into the sports industry.”
Hegedus also found herself able to advance her career by being open to new things and continuing to look for the perfect opportunity. Her advice to current college and high school students is to do the same.
“Just be open minded, she says. “The first job after college isn’t necessarily going to be your forever job. So if you’re hesitant to take that internship, you never know where it’s going. Take a chance on yourself, invest in yourself and know that hard work really does pay off in the end.”
Meet the full class of 2019 here.