Interview: Jackson Miranda, White Sox Manager of Cultural Affairs

“For the second consecutive year, Ketel One Vodka has launched its galvanizing campaign, Modern Hispanic Gentleman (MHG), a series of networking events celebrating the efforts of three local, socially conscious caballeros who embody the refined sophistication and substance of the Ketel One brand. As part of its unique tradition, Ketel One Vodka recognizes genuine líderes who have chosen to make a positive impact in their communities by empowering societal change.”

Gozamos had a chance to speak to Jackson Miranda, who shared his experience as Honoree of the Ketel One Vodka Modern Hispanic Gentleman, his charity work with Clara’s House and his day-to-day activities as Manager of Cultural Affairs for the Chicago White Sox. Mr. Miranda is without question extraordinary and incredibly busy, but most importantly, down to earth.

Gozamos: What does it mean to you to be honored as Ketel One’s Modern Hispanic Gentleman?
Jackson Miranda: It’s great! It’s an honor to be recognized for the work you do helping others and in doing so bringing recognition and awareness to your charity.
Share with me a little about your involvement with Clara’s House.

JM: I was very fortunate to have a very close friend of mine, Robin Robinson, who has long been involved with the organization, mentioned it to me. It was something I immediately felt a bond to, and I knew I wanted to do anything I could to help Clara’s House. The organization helps battered children and women. My involvement with the charity extends to bringing awareness, assisting in fundraising as well as putting together events that will bring donations; and in doing so, giving Clara’s House the voice it deserves.

What about being Latino makes you the most proud?
JM: Being half Dominican and half Puerto Rican, I would say our culture and family values. We Latinos are very intertwined with our families and family bond is very important. I am very close to my mother and family; they are the most important people in my life. Of course, not everyone feels the same, but I am proud that our culture embraces family closeness and being there for each other.

How likely do you think we’ll see a Latino President in our lifetime?
JM: I think with each election we (Latinos) are putting ourselves in place to see it happen in our lifetime. It’s coming. The Latino vote is huge. Also, Latinos are becoming a powerful voice in this nation, and I believe we will soon be in a position to elect a Latino President.

What is one piece of advice you would give men of culture to succeed in the current tenor of society?
JM: Get involved in something that’s close to your heart, something you care about. When you do something you love and with a mind-set of longevity, you succeed.

Are you currently living your life to all of your expectations?
JM: I would love to say that I am; I am just like everyone else. There are still things I would like to improve on. All-in-all, I am in a good place. Professionally, I am in the happiest state I think I can be. Fortunate.

Walk me through a day of working for the Chicago White Sox.
JM: My day pretty much begins with working with our Latino players. For instance, we go in early and start batting practice, and during practice I work translating and instructing the players.  Most of our coaches are non-Spanish speaking and the players I work with are non-English speaking, so that’s part of it. Also, I help get the players involved with community service; it’s an act that is true to their hearts and they want to get involved. In short, I work with them in adjusting to American society, media relations and things of that nature. I help them find a comfort level in the changes that come with coming from their native land into an American culture. It’s very hands-on, in and out of the ballpark.

You’re almost like a confidant to these guys, guiding them through the culture shocks and changes that come with being a professional ball player.
JM: Yes, it’s funny you say that. I’ve built great relationships with these guys. It’s to the point where we communicate even off-season. For example, one of the player’s wife was going into labor and he called me; I then  ran to the hospital and was there with him from 1:30 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. when the baby arrived. These are the types of relationships you built that will carry on forever. It’s a great feeling; I am very fortunate.

Congratulations on being honored and I commend you for your successes and for the positive representation you give our culture.
JM: Thank you very much.


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