Q & A with Amy Hever
Director, Players Trust
On her early education and college background
I went to Binghamton University in upstate NY where I majored in History and East Asian Studies.
After graduation, I was eager to enter the workforce right away and accepted a GM position with a German toy company based in Florida. It was an invaluable experience and gave me the opportunity to learn the ropes around how to run all aspects of a business. But there was something still missing for me. I wanted to do more to support and embrace our community and I decided my next career role would be in the social sector, and it happened to be in the arts and humanities. This experience was game changing for me. I knew this was the space I wanted to be in.
I spent well over 15 years in the non-profit space serving many different organizations and causes that I believed in from the American Red Cross to the Smithsonian Institution to youth development and health and human services organizations.
On her previous position with the Philadelphia 76ers
In my most recent role, I had the opportunity to impact the social sector in a different way through the unique niche of sport-based philanthropy or sport-based corporate social responsibility. As a life-long participant in sports and having a love of all things sports, this was a great marrying of my interests and passions. This was a newly created department for the team, combining their community relations efforts with their newly born foundation as well managing the private foundation of the late Wilt Chamberlain. We worked together to identify the team’s social “why”, and how we could realize a level of transformational and sustainable change in greater Philly, particularly in the lives of youth.
We were very intentional and strategic about our work engaging stakeholders at every level, from the community and nonprofit leaders, to the coaching staff and players, to the business side of the house to corporate partners, anybody who was in our business ecosystem. We found a meaningful way to pull them into our work we were doing in our communities.
On working on behalf of the MLBPA membership
It gives me an opportunity to work with a larger number of Players around different interest areas. It’s exciting to think about what impact and reach we can have. To me, success is how well we can engage and ignite the Players’ passions in the philanthropic work of the Trust, while realizing a level of palpable change in our society and their respective communities. And that goes well beyond a region, we’re talking national or internationally.
On her baseball fandom
I’m certainly a lifelong fan. I have very clear childhood memories attending games with my dad at Shea Stadium, as well as in Japan where we lived for a period of time.
Baseball has influenced my professional life as well in some interesting ways. I had an opportunity to play a couple of years in a fantasy camp with the Cardinals in South Florida around spring training. During my days with the Smithsonian, we also collaborated with Disney Pictures in cross-promoting the Million Dollar Arm picture back in 2014.
On her personal and baseball experience in Japan
There’s a different type of energy and cheers that you will hear throughout the games. It’s more akin to what you would see in World Soccer – where you have lots of chants, horns blowing, drums playing … a lot of different nuances to the game. I was a big Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers fan. I still have my autographed Randy Bass baseball.
On her desire to pursue a career in charitable and philanthropic work
It was something where I felt like I wanted to do more. I wanted to be a more direct part of the change. For me, whether the social platform was the arts and culture or disaster response, youth development or health care, I’ve covered a whole range of cause areas where I felt I could have an impact. Especially as I go through the track of my career, your passions and interests continue to evolve, and I feel like I have this endless curiosity. I want to experience as many things as I possibly can. I think that’s born out of my time growing up in Japan and attending an international school where I was exposed to so many different cultures. That was probably my earliest moment, probably a hint, that this was the type of work I wanted to get into.
On one of her goals to leverage the East Asian Player membership
I think the opportunity to engage Players from East Asia – and I hope I can find a meaningful way to engage them on the Trust side and maybe leverage that as a way to bring them closer to the Association.
I’ve been very fortunate to have served alongside many different Asian American leaders and causes. I’ve worked with the former White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, and my roles with the Smithsonian and the Morikami Museum. Government relations plays a big part of this work and I enjoy it. I’ve always found the tremendous value that it can bring to both sides, the communities that you’re serving as well as the business you’re representing.
I feel these experiences are transferable and can provide a pathway for our international players.
On her athletics career growing up
I was involved in sports as early as I can remember and sampled them all. When I was old enough to participate in my school teams I did everything – volleyball, basketball, softball, track and even tennis.
Sports has played such a significant part of my life and always will. I have learned and gained so much from being a part of a team. Right now, I am staying relatively active in tennis and hope to join a competitive recreational team before this summer is out. As we continue to navigate the pandemic, tennis is a great and pretty safe way to stay active, socialize and get out there and play.