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2 women leading the sports and business sides of the Miami Marlins are making history

Two women are making history at sports' highest level, leading both the business and sports side of a major men's franchise for the first time in history.

Kim Ng is the general manager of the Miami Marlins, and Caroline O'Connor is president of business operations – and they serve as an inspiration to others.  

"These young girls, young women, who see us, I think it's really inspirational for them, and I think it shows them the sky is the limit," said Ng.

The women are part of an industry that lags behind others in gender representation. A 2022 report, which gave Major League Baseball a C+ for gender hiring, showed women held less than a third of the league's central office jobs. But overall, last season saw improvements with 33 women in major and minor league coaching roles – the most in history.

Ng, now in her third season as general manager, knows representation matters. 

"Prior to my getting here, they had three women apply for analytics internship out of 300. After I was hired that next year it went up to 30," Ng said.

Ng believes she wouldn't be there if it wasn't for Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding.

"But it had to happen. Things like that have to happen in order for there to be change," she said.

When changing a game as old as baseball, there can be growing pains.

Ng said when a woman's in charge, versus a man, "the leader takes a lot more crap."

"But again, you try and work through that, and it just takes longer, I think for a woman as a leader … to earn the respect -- that for-- that a lot of times for a guy is just given," she said.

O'Connor – a multi-sport athlete in high school – came from a business background and joined the Marlins in 2017. She rose through the ranks, and last year became just the second woman to serve as president of a major league team. 

She said she remembers every day what a unique opportunity it is for a business person.

"I firmly believe the reason Kim and I are here is because we're both very hard workers -- and that's our tendency," O'Connor said. 

Baseball has been a part of Ng's life since she was a kid. She became a college softball player at the University of Chicago and got her start in the big leagues as a 21-year-old intern for the White Sox. She would go on to hold front-office jobs for the Yankees and Dodgers. 

And after 15 years of applying for the job of general manager, the Marlins finally gave Ng her shot. 

"Should I have gotten the job earlier? Perhaps," she said." But, you know, I think through it all … it's just the luck of the draw sometimes, right? And …  that's life."

She said she feels the pressure of breaking barriers for women, as well as for Asian Americans. 

"The pressure comes in different forms," she said. "You know, when I read letters each day from young women or young girls, you just keep thinking that you can't fail." 

O'Connor said it's really important to hear the stories of fans and talk to people – "have people see us in our roles as much as possible" so that young children can look up to them. 

For Ng and O'Connor, the main focus is being a valuable member of the organization and earning respect day by day by showing a willingness to get involved and work just as hard as everyone else. 

"You know, you're willing to roll your sleeves up like anybody else. You're willing to get dirty like anybody else, and when people see that, it's inspiring to know that, you know, you might be here, but you're just one of them," Ng said. "And I think, you know, that's all people wanna know is that you're with them, you know, that you're side by side, and you will fight that fight with them every day."

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