"The Sport Management resource for volunteers in sports"

Readers Interview: Janet J. Haughton (Baseball)

In order to create an online platform to exchange information between our readers, we’ve started with weekly interviews with our readers.

They all work in sports, and therefore have experience to share with all of us.


 

Name:        JANET JOHNSON HAUGHTON

Country:    JAMAICA

Function within your sport organization: ADMINISTRATOR & SPONSOR

Current profession/ job: FINANCIAL ANALYST/REGULATOR

Most practiced sports in your country:FOOTBALL – men / NETBALL – women

 

1. How did you come involved in your sport organization, and what kind of tasks/functions do you have?

I got involved by talking to others who could wield some influence, about getting the sport of baseball off the ground in Jamaica, particularly since this sport could naturally feed off the Jamaican reputation for sprinting prowess at this time, and if developed properly, has the potential to become a huge industry in Jamaica.  With no positive response, I decided to take up the mantle and established BASEBALL DEVELOPMENT JAMAICA INITIATIVE in 2008, as the vehicle to be used to develop baseball in Jamaica from amateur ranks straight through to the professional levels for both players and officials.

2. What is the biggest challenge you currently have?

Financial support is critically missing, and is especially needed to buy equipment which must be imported since the sport is not popular.

3. People often underestimate being a volunteer working in sports management. What do you think is the most important aspect in sports management for volunteers?

All management skills are important and are similarly brought to bear in sports.  Proper planning, organizing, and co-ordinating is critical. Also important is understanding how the sport that you are involved in operates, being willing to work in groups, and having humility so that you will be flexible to the requests that may be made of you in order to fit in seamlessly in support of improving the administration of the sport so that it grows and attracts a wider audience of players, officials, supporters, and sponsors.

 4. Does your sport organization make use of facebook, social media and websites ?

We have a website which is just being developed: www.baseballdevelopmentja.com

5. Do you have any favorite sport management resources (books, films, magazines or websites?)

No.  I read widely particularly on current affairs with sports as a focus, and attend targeted, specific seminars on sports.

6. What do you think are the most important characteristics for a volunteer responsible for sports administration?

Commitment, dedication, thorough, responsible, reliable

7.  How do companies and potential sponsors see your sport? And how does this affect your approach towards them?

The sport is not popular in Jamaica, and so it is a hard-sell for potential sponsors to come on board in support.  As it is, ‘success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan’.  The approach has been to carefully select targeted companies based on perceived similarities in the targeted audience, and to provide more insights to future possibilities with being first on board with sponsorship.  Some traction for the sport is developing at this time, to the extent that the national sports agency is currently rolling out a pilot project, the college for sports is establishing a baseball diamond, the education ministry is developing a policy for inclusion in school curricula, and the previously dormant national association is being revitalized with the support of Baseball Development Jamaica Initiative.  Our approach to sponsors is therefore becoming more dynamic at this time.

8. What do you consider as biggest threat for your sport, and why?

The biggest threat for this sport which is in a fledging state, is the lack of equipment which is an outcome of limited funds, and no access to funds in a continuous stream.

9. Where do you see your sport in 10 years? Will you still be part of the organization?

This sport will be played throughout the island, and poised to become the sport of choice for Jamaicans.

 10. What else would you like to share with our online readers?

The sole aim of Baseball Development Jamaica Initiative is to position baseball as the sport of choice for Jamaicans within fifteen years, with diamonds in every community, and two major facilities.  This organization provides services including event management, organizational re-structuring and development, tournament co-ordination, training & certification & technical support, and client management.  For those who want to contact us, just EMAIL us.

“WE MAKE HITS HAPPEN”

3 Comments

  1. I really hope you find the funding you need.
    Have you done fundraising for equitment costs?
    Keep going it is always tough in the beginning but it will catch on. Good luck!

    • Thanks for the encouragement. For each team to have basic equipment, the spend is projected at U$1500 excluding customs duty, etc., and though we’re using sweat equity, with very little start-up money and no critical mass in support as yet, fund-raising efforts have not yet started. In the meantime, we are presenting proposals to see where mutual interests may lie with potential sponsors. Operationally, we have clusters of teams so different teams use the same equipment on different days, so this is a definite limiting element to our expansive plans.
      BDJI has made a committment to see this effort through to a successful end, and we do work very closely in a supportive way with the national association so our expectations are high. Just look out for Jamaica excelling in baseball in the next few years!!
      Thanks again!!

  2. Jamaica has proven in different areas already that with (longterm) determination, everything is possible.
    Just look at it (getting funds) as running a marathon. Too many people want to run a sprint, and give up within a few months after getting turned down initially by companies.
    It takes time, and you need to build trust to get sponsors to invest in you and your team!