Jimmie Lee Solomon, former executive vice president of Major League Baseball, will headline the second annual Keys to Manhood conference on Jan. 31. The event, free and open to any St. Petersburg College student, aims to help male students reach their full potential in school and in life.
Besides the keynote address from Solomon, students can participate in seminars on a variety of topics, including:
- Career Focus by SPC Career Services Department
- Opportunities, Opportunities, Everywhere by Professor Orlando Pizana
- Mo’ Money by financial planner Cassandra M. Smalley
- Juggling Everyday Life by SPC staff members Todd Smith and Marcus Brooks
- How to get an A in Class by Professor Buddy Farmer
- Dealing with Legal Obstacles by Judge James V. Pierce and attorney Ronald L. Nelson
- Top Communication Mistakes and How to Correct Them by Dr. Albert Farr
- Maximize your Veterans Benefits by Veterans Services Director Jeff Cavanagh
- Bring your “A” Game by staff member Darryl Henderson
- by Todd Romer, founder and president of Young Money Media
Keynote speaker Jimmie Lee Solomon’s passion is giving a voice to minority youths and creating a platform for social change. A double Ivy- League graduate, former Executive Vice President of Operations & Development for Major League Baseball, former partner at a national law firm, and manager and mentor to top-ranked professional athletes, he is the epitome of versatility and life experiences, catapulting his desire to provide the same opportunities for under-represented youths of the nation.
He knew that participating in athletics would leverage opportunity and mentorship, ultimately creating future role models and leaders, as it did him.
He believes that sports help create strong character in people— appreciating hard work and perseverance.
He was raised in a small farming community near Houston. Motivated by the desire to get an education and play sports, Solomon succeeded in getting accepted to Dartmouth College, where he ran track and played football before graduating in 1978.
After he earned a law degree from Harvard in 1981, he was driven by the goal of creating opportunities for young individuals. As partner at the Washington, D.C., firm of Baker and Hostetler, he proposed and started the sport representation arm of the law firm. His clients consisted of NFL and NBA athletes and he promoted socially responsible business practices in sports through this representation.
In 1991, Solomon was hired as the Executive Director of Minor League Operations at Major League Baseball in New York. There he mended broken bridges, brokered multimillion dollar deals between major and minor league owners and created marketing initiatives to earn Major League Baseball nearly $800-million in revenue. Additionally, he developed the MLB Civil Rights Game and created the MLB All-Star Futures Game.
When he moved to the position of Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations at MLB, Solomon was able to utilize his outstanding leadership skills to implement some of his most notable business achievements.
One on the top of the list, which transcended the social issue of the lack of diversity in baseball, was the envisioning and producing of the Major League Baseball Urban League Youth Academies. There are four in operation today, located in Compton, CA; Houston; New Orleans; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The year-round program focuses on men and women, and currently serves approximately 3,000 youths annually – all of whom are encouraged to participate in other aspects of baseball through the academies’ vocational offerings like grounds-keeping, umpiring, journalism, broadcasting, and front office administrative programs. Hundreds have gone on to receive scholarships to major universities.
The Keys to Manhood conference takes place at the Seminole Campus Conference Center and is presented by Transamerica.