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Deborah Herrington, Suites and Catering Manager, Mississippi Braves

WOMEN SPORT REPORT: What are your responsibilities for your team?

DEBORAH HERRINGTON: I am the Suites and Catering Manager for the Mississippi Braves. I handle all Suites on the upper level of our ballpark, as well as all Group Catering within our facility during games. VIP Service as well as Birthdays are also my department, same as coordinating Special Events for our facility

WSR: When did you get interested in baseball? Who influenced you the most?

DEBORAH: I got interested while in College watching the Florida Gators play baseball. I had more fun watching the baseball games than the football games. I then got started with the Mississippi Braves in February of 2005 when the team relocated from Greenville, South Carolina.

WSR: Where you working with the Braves in Greenville at that time?

DEBORAH: No, I joined the team when they moved to Pearl, Mississippi in 2005.

WSR: Where were you raised?

DEBORAH: I am an Air Force Brat – I was born in Baltimore, Maryland. I have lived in a number of States and the Panama Canal Zone before attending Choctawhatchee High School in Ft Walton Beach, Florida and College at University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. My father, Dr. Lawrence L. Clark is a Retired Air Force Colonel and my mother, Teddi now reside in Gainesville, Florida. I currently live in Brandon, Mississippi.

WSR: What did you major in at Florida U?

DEBORAH: I majored in Health Education, with an emphasis in School and Community and Patient Education.

WSR: What do you love the most about your job?

DEBORAH: I love the people I work with and the Suite Holders I serve. Everyday is different and of course I get to watch some baseball.

WSR: What vocation were you planning to go into while in College?

DEBORAH: I started out as a Nursing Major and then went to Health Education instead. I worked in and out of the Health Education profession for several years including the Program and Communication Director for the March of Dimes Mississippi Chapter for five years, but always had that Food and Beverage work experience as well.  

WSR: How did you get your first job in baseball?

DEBORAH: I was waiting tables when the job with the Braves came about.  I got the job through a close friend who also works with the Mississippi Braves as the Restaurant Manager. He knew they were looking for Suites and Catering Manager and he knew my background and experience. He also knew that I was looking for a more professional position so one thing led to another and I got the job.

WSR: What was your first job as a youngster?

DEBORAH: My first job was in college.  I worked the graveyard shift at McDonalds because I had to pay for the Sorority and clothes somehow!!

WSR: As a special events coordinator, what was the most unusual event you ever had?

DEBORAH: Weddings at a Ballpark always strike me as unusual but we have had a few. Some folks like getting married at home plate. We have also had some wedding receptions at the park.  I guess I am more conventional when it comes to things like that.

WSR: A group of thirty people want to celebrate and rent a Suite. What would you advise in so far as catering goes? What do you offer?

DEBORAH: For a group that size we have two options. One is a Party Terrace on our Suite Level that seats thirty to fifty people. Tickets with food packages are the options we offer in this area.  We also have a Super Suite that holds about sixteen people and has the option of our Catering Menu for food and beverage purchases.  Group tickets in our seating bowl are also available if the group wants to come to the ballpark but does not want a catering package but wants to order from our numerous concessions stands located throughout our ballpark.

WSR: Do you ever get any complaints from your clients about the food? If so, how do you handle it?

DEBORAH: My staff and I do our best to provide the guest with whatever they need to make them happy. Excellent customer service is a number one priority and providing the best in Customer Service to our Suite Holders from the time they enter the ballpark until the time they leave is what we strive to achieve each and every game.

WSR: Did you play sports in High School or College? Are you active in sports now?

DEBORAH: I did not play sports in High School or College and the only sports I am active in now is watching our Mississippi Braves and of course the Atlanta Braves!!!

WSR: How do you relax after a game?

DEBORAH: I go home to my family, read, watch some TV and then lights out.  We work long hours so that downtime either after games or between home stands is precious.

WSR: Aside from the Braves, what teams do you follow?  Do you enjoy other sports?

DEBORAH: I follow the Atlanta Braves, of course.  I am an avid College Football Fan especially my University of Florida Gators.

WSR: Are you married? Have any children?

DEBORAH: I have been married to Jeff Herrington, for twenty-five years. He is the Manager of O’Charleys Restaurant in Pearl, MS. I have two children – Kimberly, 23 and Christopher 19

WSR: What is one of the funniest things you have seen with your team?

DEBORAH: There was a lot of champagne and a huge party when we won the 2008 Southern League Championship. Lots of funny things happened that night. This is the first time I had been involved with professional sports and the first time I had been to a celebration like this.  Everyone there from players to staff to fans danced and joked into the wee hours of the morning. It is something I will never forget. At least until we get to repeat the experience with another Championship win..

WSR: Do you enjoy cooking at home? What dish does your family love the most?

DEBORAH: Yes I enjoy cooking at home. My family is not picky but they do like my lasagna and twice baked potatoes the best.

WSR: What is the most creative part of yourself?

DEBORAH: My heart. I am driven by my heart, lead with my heart and make decisions from the heart. All my creativity comes from that.

WSR: Do you have a favorite quote or motto?

DEBORAH: Live Love and Laugh.

WSR: What kind of music do you like? Do you have a favorite band?  

DEBORAH: Country Music is my genre, George Strait is my favorite performer and any and all of his songs are the best.

WSR: What is your biggest pet peeve?

DEBORAH: Disorganization and lack of attention to detail

WSR: What woman do you admire the most?
DEBORAH: Jackie Kennedy. I think she was an extremely elegant woman who thrived in the face of adversity and loss her entire life.  She always put her children first and was an excellent mother and businesswoman.

WSR: What are your long-term goals?

DEBORAH: At this point in my life my long-term goal is to be happy and love what I do each and every day.

WSR: What do you do during the off-season?
DEBORAH: Relax, relax, relax and then start planning for the next season

WSR: Do the Braves have a mascot?

DEBORAH: Yes, Trusty, Pearl and Jackson. Named for Trustmark Park, Pearl, Mississippi and Jackson, Mississippi.

WSR: Who are the two or three Major League players you like to watch?

DEBORAH: Brian McCann, Jason Heyward and Tommy Hanson.  All are former Mississippi Braves and it is fun to watch how far they have gone and continue to go with the Atlanta Braves.

WSR: What are some of your favorite things?

DEBORAH: Reading, spending time with family and friends and beach vacations.

WSR: What is your greatest accomplishment since you have been with the Braves?

DEBORAH: My greatest accomplishments are the friends I have made and the bonds I have built.  My employees are all my friends as are the staff members and my two amazing bosses. With friends and colleagues like I have, accomplishments are easy.

WSR: What advise would you give a young person considering a career in baseball?

IDEBORAH: If you love baseball, are a team player in every sense of the word and don’t mind hard work then go for it.  It’s a decision I have never regretted and a job I truly love.

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          [email protected]             www.tycobb367.com

Norm Coleman is a writer, actor and photographer. He lives in Half Moon Bay, California.


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