My Passion Caitlin Hanley, Chicago White Sox community relations
For love of the game—and the city
Caitlin Hanley’s office is buried beneath the box seats at Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. Working every day in a giant baseball stadium on the South Side is unusual, but not without its perks. Employees can access the weight room in the visitor’s clubhouse during the offseason, for one, saving on gym fees. And when the weather cooperates, Hanley takes her lunch into the bleachers and eats beneath a towering pinwheel scoreboard.
She finds an empty park calming, even meditative. “It’s also super exciting when people start arriving for games,” she says, “and you can hear the music and the announcements from your desk.”
Hanley grew up hardball obsessed in Indianapolis, where her family held season tickets for the minor league Indianapolis Indians. During the summer, when she wasn’t playing ball herself, Hanley took odd jobs for the club, as a ticket taker and batgirl. She attended Loyola University Chicago's Quinlan School of Business to study sport management with a minor in Spanish (“the language of modern baseball,” she notes), and the school’s location—in one of the country’s biggest sports towns—was a major drawing point.
When an internship opened with the White Sox community relations department after her graduation, in 2010, she took a swing and connected. A few years and a few entry-level sports gigs later, she landed a permanent role as a White Sox community relations manager—Hanley’s big league call-up. She’s stuck with the team for four seasons (and counting).
“It’s a pretty surreal moment for our diehard fans to see their favorite players out in their neighborhood. To provide those experiences is really special.”— Caitlin Hanley (BBA ’10)
Running the 5,000-member White Sox Volunteer Corps is one of Hanley’s primary projects. Under Hanley’s watch, civic-minded Sox fans participate in more than 50 community events each year: packing meals for the hungry, rehabbing neighborhood schools, staffing animal shelters. Hanley also organizes the Sox Split 50/50 Raffle program, which raises money for the team’s philanthropic arm. (Last year, the Sox distributed grants to 39 Chicagoland nonprofits and donated $2.2 million in charity funds.)
Doing good in the world by leveraging people’s connection to their beloved team perfectly blends her passion for both baseball and Jesuit values. “It’s a pretty surreal moment for our diehard fans to see their favorite players out in their neighborhood,” she says. “To provide those experiences is really special.”
Hanley tries not to live and die with every Sox at-bat, like she might have as a kid in the stands; surviving the highs and lows of a 162-game season requires patience. But she’s enthused about her employer’s potential, three years into an often-painful rebuilding process. Is a playoff appearance around the corner?
“Exciting things, in my opinion, are happening on the field. We can see improvements,” she says. “That excitement, it trickles through the office.”