Exclusive: Veronica Hernández Makes History as First Latina GM in Minor League Baseball
A career in baseball was never in the cards for Veronica Hernández when envisioning what her professional journey would look like.
Originating from Connecticut, Hernández grew up playing soccer and downhill skiing, but her only affiliation with baseball came from her godfather, who instilled loyalty in her for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Mets.
"Growing up, my godfather was a big Brooklyn Dodgers fan, so when they moved out of Brooklyn, he became a New York Mets fan. I mean, he's my godfather, so I [also] became a Mets fan, but not so much because of the team or because of the players, it is because of my godfather," she tells People Chica.
"I didn't know much about baseball. I didn't play softball or anything of that nature, but then after college, once I started working in baseball, that's when I started to understand the sport," she added.
After graduating from Ithaca College in New York with a degree in Sports Media, the Modesto Nuts GM applied for positions in soccer, never imagining she would one day become the first Latina General Manager in minor league baseball history.
"I graduated college in 2013 and I was applying to every sport underneath the sun except for baseball, and that wasn't on purpose," she explains. "It was just because typically in the spring, there's not too many job openings for baseball. Unfortunately, I didn't get any doors opened or anything for me."
On May 11, the daughter of Colombian immigrants was named general manager of the Modesto Nuts in California. The team is the Single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. However, despite her historic position, she doesn't consider herself a trailblazer.
"I wouldn't consider myself a trailblazer. Yes, I am in my position and I'm very grateful for this path that I get to create, but there are so many other Latinos in executive roles in baseball, so I just learn from everyone that I can," she says. "Doesn't matter gender or ethnicity or anything, if I can learn something from someone with experience, for someone that's brand new to the industry, I just want to absorb and understand."
She adds, "That mindset I think is so important [because you need] to be able to understand this new generation coming in working in baseball, and then also seeing where I can adapt and be better."
For her, the most important aspect of her success has been keeping a positive mindset and pushing past the glass ceiling. Her best advice for other women who want to break into the baseball industry and don't know how is to just take the chance and speak up.
"I don't think I ever really looked at a glass ceiling or a barrier or anything. I just made sure to do the best I can. Whatever my assignment was for the project I did the best that I could. If I had time, I would help out other departments or whomever that be," she says.
"I tried to absorb as much knowledge as I could and again, not seeing that barrier because that is the first step [to] holding you back, and if you just see nothing [in front of you], then it doesn't really feel like a barrier. You're breaking through it. You're just working hard and making sure you can get that job done and making that project successful," she concluded.