July 2021 …. Editor’s note: DePaul Healthy Trailblazer Journal recently interviewed Kenny Johnson, community engagement manager for the Philadelphia Phillies, about his job, the pandemic, and the Phillies. His answers have been edited and shortened.
Q. What motivated you to work with baseball and the Phillies?
A. When I first started there, I was not much older than you. I was 17. My brother’s friend worked there and told me that the Phillies were looking for young folks to work behind the scenes. I thought it would be a fun summer job. I had seen one or two baseball games. I came back year after year in the summer while I went to college. I didn’t know I wanted to work in baseball. I went to school for accounting.
What motivated me to work with the Phillies is that I enjoy the people I work with. They are community-minded. They are not just selling tickets. I really enjoy the atmosphere at the ballpark.
Q. What exactly are your responsibilities?
A. I am primarily responsible for finding different ways to connect the Phillies with the community. I try to find ways the Phillies can support community events and needs as well as bring folks to the ballpark.
Q. What did you learn about yourself during the pandemic?
A. A big thing I learned is that I miss meeting folks and seeing folks in person. Virtual meetings are not as engaging as in person. But I am happy to have technology to talk face-to-face. I have learned how to take advantage of technology and still connect with folks. You have to reach out and see how people are doing. A lot of people have had a tough time.
Q. What did you learn about the Phillies during the pandemic?
A. I learned the Phillies are a very strong and resilient organization. Last season it was tough on the organization. We weren’t able to play all the games during the season. We normally start in April, but last year we started in July. We only played 60 games, and we weren’t able to have fans in the ballpark.
Q. Were there any silver linings for you during the pandemic?
A. While I enjoy getting out into the community, sometimes the traffic is tough. A silver lining is that I have been able to spend a lot more time at home with my family.
Q. What are you looking forward to after the pandemic?
A. I like going to festivals. I have missed seeing the Phillie Phanatic and other people in person.
Q. What qualifies someone for your job?
A. To be hired full time, you should at least be a college graduate. A big thing is to represent yourself well. Be the best version of yourself. Communication skills are helpful. Working with the Phillies or anywhere else, always be yourself and be the best version of yourself.