Celebrating Black history and business excellence in Birmingham.

New York Life | July 10, 2024

On June 17, New York Life hosted more than 100 small business owners at the Negro Southern League Museum for a fireside chat and panel discussion focused on sports, business, and building financial security.

Event speakers in Birmingham

Why Birmingham?: Swing for Success: Driving Growth for Black Business Owners & Entrepreneurs was one of the first among many events connected to MLB at Rickwood Field – Major League Baseball’s tribute to the Negro Leagues and the life and legacy of Willie Mays, who got his start as a teenager with the Birmingham Black Barons. 

“When we learned about the opportunity to partner with MLB at Rickwood Field, we knew we wanted to develop an event that would engage fans, highlight New York Life’s unique approach to holistic advice and guidance, and positively impact the community,” said New York Life Vice President of Media and Channels Zerlina Jackson. “New York Life has been part of the Birmingham community since 1902, so supporting local Black business owners with valuable financial tools and strategies supports our broader mission to bridge the racial wealth gap through impactful investments and dedicated community initiatives

Bridging sports and business: The event kicked off with a fireside chat featuring Birmingham Baron’s play-by-play announcer Curt Bloom and MLB legend Dexter Fowler. The conversation spanned Fowler’s professional baseball career, his transition to business, and the value of trusted advice.

Following Fowler’s insights, Central Alabama General Office Managing Partner Stacey Graham invited Leilani Rivers, Advanced Planning Consultant; Danielle Hines, Founder & CEO of CREED63; and Nan Baldwin, VP of Chamber Operations at the Birmingham Business Alliance, to the stage where they discussed personal experiences as well as financial tools and strategies for small business owners.

“This event is part of New York Life's ongoing commitment to supporting the Black community by equipping Black business owners and entrepreneurs here in Birmingham with essential financial tools and strategies for success,” said Graham. “This engaging discussion allowed the speakers and attendees to learn from personal experiences and expert advice and walk away with tools and resources to support our collective goal to advance economic growth and bridge the racial wealth gap for the Black community in Birmingham.”

Watch highlights of our Swing for Success event at the Negro Southern League Museum in Birmingham, AL.

Rounding the bases: Beyond hosting Swing for Success, New York Life employees and agents volunteered at MLB’s Play BALL youth clinic, hosted by students from historically black colleges and universities, at the MLB game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants on June 20. New York Life was also featured prominently in the Rickwood Field stadium with period-appropriate signage.


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Media contact

Sara Sefcovic
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-4499