September 21, 2023

🔒 Marti Wronski’s recreation altering profession with the Milwaukee Brewers

In November 2003, when Milwaukee Brewers govt Rick Schlesinger, then the workforce’s govt vice chairman of enterprise operations, first known as Marti Wronski to see if she was occupied with main the Brewers’ authorized division, she turned him down.

On the time, the Brewers’ $400 million baseball stadium – recognized then as Miller Park – was simply two years outdated, and the membership’s entrance workplace was in a rebuild mode coming off a management shakeup.

Wronksi had two kids below the age of 1 and was instructing part-time at Marquette College Legislation Faculty, following a five-year stint as a authorized affiliate at Milwaukee-based agency Foley & Lardner. She wasn’t within the Brewers’ position, however she provided to assist with the search.

When she instructed her husband, Andy Wronski, now head of Foley & Lardner’s Milwaukee workplace, he inspired her to name Schlesinger again and discover the chance.

Quick ahead 20 years and what began as an interim position with the Brewers – permitting Wronski to stay on the school at Marquette Legislation Faculty for a time – has as an alternative grow to be a profession in skilled sports activities. Wronski has been the workforce’s normal counsel and later senior vice chairman of administration. In December, she was promoted to chief working officer, which added enterprise analytics and technique to her present obligations overseeing the authorized, info know-how and human sources departments of the Brewers. It’s the title Schlesinger held with the Brewers from 2011 to 2018 till being named president of enterprise operations.

“It’s fascinating as a result of there’s I assume some pure evolution to it,” Wronski mentioned, reflecting on her tenure. “I’ve developed with the group.”

A number of components have stored her with the membership: the ever-changing nature {of professional} sports activities, her drive to fulfill the subsequent problem (nowadays it’s Main League Baseball’s current guidelines adjustments and post-pandemic shifts in shopper habits), and the family-oriented tradition of the workforce. The Wronskis’ 4 sons, now younger adults, grew up round what’s now American Household Subject, climbing on dugouts and crawling on the warning monitor.

A frontrunner who’s at all times on the transfer, Wronski continues to drive the small-market franchise ahead into a brand new period of professional sports activities.

Studying and listening

The early days of Wronski’s profession with the Brewers had been all about studying. Having by no means labored in skilled sports activities earlier than, she was much more aware of the enterprise aspect of the franchise than she was with the baseball aspect. She remembers sitting in conferences and jotting down baseball jargon to lookup later and pouring over the official MLB rulebook, “simply to ensure I had as a lot information as I might management,” she mentioned.

She sought out colleagues who had been prepared to take the time to clarify the nuances of the enterprise, and that laid the groundwork for constructing belief and relationships.

As Wronski set to work constructing her authorized workforce – from only one paralegal to now three legal professionals and a paralegal – and getting the membership’s authorized issues so as, she was mechanically uncovered to the inside workings of the franchise and have become fascinated with the synergies between the baseball aspect and the enterprise aspect.

“In case you’re doing all your job proper as in-house counsel, most discussions contact you or undergo you,” she mentioned. “I might simply take all of it in, and I began to be taught the priorities for the totally different departments, how they thought of their piece of the enterprise after which how the totally different items of the enterprise match collectively.”

Marti Wronski
Credit score: Valerie Hill

Tradition shift

Over the subsequent a number of years, Wronski had a entrance row seat to the wave of speedy change transferring by way of the professional sports activities business, with developments in know-how and broad adoption of analytics-based technique each on and off the sphere. And with that, the character and expectations of the expertise pool was altering, too.

A brand new era of employees was asking extra of employers. Relatively than bending over backwards for a job in professional sports activities – as had lengthy been the business norm, mentioned Wronski – workers had been elevating the bar for what it will take to draw them. The Brewers group was now competing for expertise amidst a a lot bigger area, and its operations and tradition would want to adapt to fulfill this problem. 

So, in 2017, Wronski was approached by Schlesinger and Brewers principal proprietor Mark Attanasio to guide a tradition shift throughout the group. On this position, she’d be chargeable for spearheading “operational processes and efficiencies required to develop and evolve the Brewers model,” the membership described not too long ago in asserting Wronski as one in every of 50 girls named to the Sports activities Enterprise Journal Recreation Changers Class of 2023.

5 years later, the group has made “nice progress,” mentioned Wronski, however change doesn’t occur in a single day.

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was again to sq. one as your entire group needed to primarily recreate the way it did enterprise for 2 seasons of scaled-back operations and fan capability. However the challenges of the previous three years have additionally known as consideration to extra alternatives for development, together with a heavier give attention to range, fairness and inclusion. Wronski is at the moment working to launch one other strategic planning initiative within the subsequent six months.

“We’re nonetheless placing these items collectively of who we’re. … I don’t suppose it ever ends, and I don’t suppose you’ll be able to ever take your foot off the pedal, otherwise you’re faking it,” she mentioned.

Paving the best way

Wronski’s promotion to COO final 12 months marked the primary time the Brewers entrance workplace had named a girl to that put up. Wronski will even be the highest-ranking feminine govt for the Brewers since Wendy Selig-Prieb led the franchise as president and CEO from 1998 to 2002 after which for 3 extra years as chairman. Selig-Prieb herself had a hand in hiring Wronski, so the presence of feminine management within the Brewers entrance workplace wasn’t an entire anomaly to her.

However the significance of being now one in every of solely two feminine COOs in Main League Baseball hit residence when Wronksi acquired quite a few letters of congratulations following the promotion announcement – from crayon drawings by younger ladies to phrases of encouragement by completed girls Wronski had at all times wished to fulfill. She’s since made it a precedence to be out there for panel discussions and conversations with different girls within the business and past.

“I noticed fairly shortly that I checked out my position as doing higher for the group, however they regarded to me for a little bit greater than that. … Once you’re put able of getting a possibility to do one thing proper and higher, you higher do it,” she mentioned, including her hope is that in the future there shall be no extra “firsts” left to have fun.