Reffett Associates Recruits VP of HR for the Seattle Mariners

December 21, 2016 – Executive search firm Reffett Associates continues to work with the Seattle Mariners to fill executive roles. This time it has placed Lisa Winsby as the club’s new vice president of human resources. She succeeds Marianne Short, who has announced her retirement.

Seattle-based managing director, Marshall Reffett, led the search with assistance from Angel Rodriguez, a managing director in Dallas. The team was seeking an executive with experience in the entertainment, hospitality, and sports industries.

Ms. Winsby will oversee all aspects of personnel management, including employee recruitment, retention & training, benefits, payroll, and compliance for a fulltime staff of some 450 employees including those working internationally. She previously served as SVP of HR at the Bartell Drug Company in Seattle. Prior to joining Bartell, Ms. Winsby spent nine years with MTC, a federal contractor that provides academic, technical and social skills training and job placement for young adults.

“We couldn’t be happier to have found the best person for this role right in our own backyard,” said Mariners president and chief operating officer Kevin Mather. “Bartell and the Mariners may seem like two very different organizations, but both are focused on creating an atmosphere where employees are dedicated to a great guest experience. Lisa’s skills and her approach to this role align perfectly with the Seattle Mariners philosophy.”

“Bartells is an iconic local company with great people and those qualities are very important to me. The Mariners possess these same attributes with exceptional employees and an organization which serves as an iconic pillar of the Seattle community,” said Ms. Winsby. “These are the primary reasons I am excited to be joining the Mariners.”

“Over the years, the Mariners have been a stellar participant in building a stronger, vibrant Seattle,” said William Reffett, a managing partner at the search firm. “As they make the transition to fully local ownership, we are pleased to help them establish the building blocks of a dynamic high-performing organization.”

Having owned the Seattle Mariners since 1992, the Nintendo Corporation announced last April its intention to sell a majority ownership stake to First Avenue Entertainment LLP. Nintendo retained a 10 percent ownership interest in the Mariners, and the remainder of the ownership was sold to the members of the new group. Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln has been replaced by John Stanton, a former owner of the Seattle SuperSonics. Since 1999, their home ballpark has been Safeco Field.

The Mariners turned to Reffett Associates previously to find Trevor Gooby, its vice president of ballpark operations. The search was conducted by Mr. Reffett and executive recruiter Jennifer McCorey. Mr. Gooby has almost 20 years of baseball operations experience, working first with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and most recently with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

With offices in Seattle, Washington, D.C., Hartford and Dallas, Reffett Associates specializes in recruiting senior executives for a wide range of industries, including retail and consumer packaged goods, private equity, commercial & federal services, government sectors, and associations and non-profits. Its clients include ACON Investments, LLC, credit union BECU, Strack & Van Til, and the National Association of Black Accountants.

Teaming Up With Search Firms

Major league baseball continues to team with executive search firms to fill executive positions.

The Milwaukee Brewers tapped sports and entertainment-focused executive recruiter Turnkey Search to find its VP of finance and accounting Jamie Norton. He oversees the daily financial operations of the Brewers and Brewers Community Foundation, including financial reporting, budgeting, risk management, tax compliance, and payroll.

The Atlanta Braves organization turned to Millman Search Group to recruit a general manager for the mixed-use development property adjacent to SunTrust Park, home of the Braves.

However, not all of these relationships have had successful outcomes.

Just recently, MLB cut ties with Korn Ferry after the firm failed to bring minorities and women into baseball’s top front office and managerial positions. MLB and Korn Ferry forged their relationship 18 months ago in an effort to give minority and female candidates a better chance to land higher visibility positions within the baseball organization. The league at the time instructed Korn Ferry to put a special emphasis on helping some of the most underrepresented groups in the baseball hierarchy gain admission to its top jobs.

While that didn’t go as planned, the search firm is continuing its relationship with various teams across the league, and the baseball commissioner recently cited Korn Ferry as “a quality firm that does good work.” 

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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