CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs have added an HR specialist to bolster their championship lineup — not on the field, but in the front office.
As the team’s new vice president of human resources, Ann Weiser is in charge of hiring and developing prospects to join the Cubs’ business roster, where jobs ranging from ticket seller to team historian are up for grabs.
The Cubs have about 300 full-time employees and hire more than 1,000 seasonal employees each spring as ushers, ticket takers and other workers to help manage the ballpark during baseball season. After the Cubs’ first World Series championship in more than a century, both full-time and seasonal applications are through the roof, Weiser said.
And the front office is growing — the Cubs have added more than 40 full-time positions already this year — making it wise for aspiring sports executives to get to know Weiser.
Weiser, 59, joined the Cubs in February after four years as an instructor at the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business. A California native, Weiser has been a longtime Chicago resident and Cubs fan, having worked for several Chicago-area companies.
Weiser recently sat down with the Chicago Tribune at the team’s modest one-story brick headquarters. In April, the front office will move into a gleaming six-story building developed by the team’s owner, the Ricketts family, as part of the $800 million renovation of 103-year-old Wrigley Field and its environs.
Q: What is your job description?
A: When most people think about HR they think about hiring and firing. We do lots of the first — lots of hiring — and haven’t done much on the firing side of things. It’s everything in between as well. It’s compensation, benefits, employee relations, training and development, culture development — all the things related to people and the organization.
Q: How big is the Cubs’ front office going to get?
A: This next year we’re going to learn a lot about what it’s going to take to manage and staff the new office building and the park at Wrigley, and then in 2018, what requirements we have to support the hotel. As each of these assets comes online, we’ll have a better understanding of what the staffing requirements are.
Q: What is the best pathway to landing a job with the Cubs?
A: We’re always looking for people a couple years out of college to work in our entry-level sales organization or service organization.
Q: How has winning the World Series affected applications?
A: We’ve already seen a change in terms of demand. People are very interested in working for a winning club. Although the Cubs have always had a wonderful cachet and brand and loyalty, certainly the banner of the World Series has raised our visibility with other potential candidates. When we post a job online, we get lots and lots of interested candidates.
Q: You’re hiring a team historian?
A: There is an opening for assistant director of archival services. We have a lot of people who have done it informally, but we’re looking to bring somebody on board to do that for us professionally.