Wendy Selig-Prieb serves as the President and CEO of the Milwaukee Brewers. Remarkably, she is the only female CEO in the majors. In 1994 and 1995, Selig-Prieb joined the 12-member negotiating committee, becoming the first female to represent Major League Baseball in labor negotiations with the Players Association.
Selig-Prieb was no stranger to the Brewers when she took control of the team in 1998. As the daughter of former Brewers owner, Allan H. “Bud” Selig, she grew up at the ballpark. There she learned the game of baseball and the business of baseball.
She has been around the game all her life as the Brewers came to Milwaukee when she was just 10 years old.
Although she grew up the daughter of the franchise owner, the aspiration to be involved in the sports industry was not always her master plan. “I always thought that somewhere in the future I would get involved [in the sports industry], but there was no timetable or direction,” Selig-Prieb said.
She got her start with the Brewers in 1982, upon graduating magna cum laude from Tufts University. She originally sold radio advertising in the Brewers Broadcast Department, before becoming an Executive Trainee in the Baseball Commissioner’s officer for two years.
After her two-year stint in the Commissioner’s office, Selig-Prieb went back to school and earned a Juris Doctor, again magna cum laude, from Marquette University. In 1990, after two years as a corporate lawyer in Milwaukee, Selig-Prieb rejoined the Brewers organization as the team’s General Counsel. As counsel, she learned every side of the club, from negotiating player contracts to reading sponsorship agreements.
For Selig-Prieb, sports have been something she has always enjoyed. Even as the only female CEO in baseball, she says that her gender has never caused her grief.
When you look at the front office side, while I am the only female CEO, there are women involved in every facet of our business—broadcasting, public relations, community relations, marketing, and baseball operations, said Selig-Prieb. “Baseball has done a particularly good job providing opportunities for women and minorities.”
There was always a strong focus on education in her family. Her grandmother was a schoolteacher and her parents put the focus on education. They instilled a belief that hard work and the proper training would result in success. That’s the same advice she would give young people trying to break into the sports industry. She often hears from people who are passionate baseball fans expecting that alone to lead to a career in sports. While she notes that is important, it is not true. Whether its education or work experiences, whatever it takes to make you qualified is ultimately whats essential, she adds. “To be most qualified, focus on education and learn good marketing skills.”
In addition, she notes that to be good at something means you have to have a real passion. Passion is what gets you through all the issues, problems and challenges that you face in a career. Selig-Prieb has a passion for baseball. Ive always felt incredibly comfortable in what Im doing, it is what I grew-up around and what I know best, she said.