Interviewing for a General Manager’s job of a Major League Baseball team is a serious commitment. Kim Ng did it over and over, at least five times at four different organisations before being hired by Miami Marlins in late 2020.
Who interviews for the same job they’ve been publicly turned down for repeatedly over the span of 15 years? Who sticks with it? How much do you really have to want it?
That’s KIM NG for you.
Speaking from her office in Miami, Ng, 52, describes the position as a “dream.” But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t excruciating each time she lost the job to a similarly qualified man.
“At times I was a little bit confused about why the general manager-ship wasn’t coming to me,” Ng says diplomatically. “I think at the end of the day, you keep the faith, and you just keep plugging away because, really, there’s no choice.
The Big Picture: Kim Ng started her MLB career as an intern and has over 30 years of experience in professional baseball.
- She worked as assistant director of baseball operations for the Chicago White Sox (1990-96), assistant general manager for the New York Yankees (1998-2001) and vice president and assistant general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers (2002-2001). Before joining the Marlins, she spent nine years as MLB senior vice president.
What’s the role of a GM anyways?
A general manager is the person on a baseball team responsible for building the team. S/he is usually tasked with player recruitment, development, trades, and overall management of the team. They are also responsible for hiring staff to support the team, including all managers and coaches.
“I do have something to prove; I take that very seriously,” she said in a phone interview from the Marlins’ training complex. “But I didn’t want this job because I would be the first. I wanted the job because I thought I could do the job well, and it’s something that I’ve wanted for a long time. So now that I have it, I’ve got to do it well, period.”
Empowerment was a major theme of her childhood.
Tennis stars Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova were inspirations, Ng said, largely for what they embodied. King fought for equality, she said, and Navratilova “changed the idea of what it looked like to be a female athlete.”
It’s likely that Ng is the most overqualified person to ever become a first-time general manager in baseball.
An old adage : If you can see it, you can be it.
For 15 years, Ng put herself out for jobs where there was no woman to look upto as a role model. She is responsible not just for herself and her own success, but also for the perception of women in highly powerful sporting roles.
She is now perceived as a role model for thousands of women looking to break the glass ceilings. She is someone who strives to be the best she can be at all things she does.