Astros Chief’s Career Path Embodies Perseverance

Published on October 27, 2010

Astros President Goes to Bat for Breaking Gender, Minority Barriers in the Workplace

Houston Astros President of Business Operations Pam Gardner spoke at the October BCAA Networking Breakfast, giving insight on her path to success and being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

The second installment of the Fall 2010 Bauer College Alumni Association Monthly Networking Breakfast series, held on Oct. 21 at Houston City Club, featured Pam Gardner, president of business operations for the Houston Astros.

BCAA past president Trey Wilkinson (BBA ’92, MBA ’02) introduced Gardner to the packed audience as a “trailblazer,” not only for her accomplishments in her current position and for being the first woman named to the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame, but also as a nod to how she overcame challenges to become successful.

Gardner shared the story of her journey to the top and the lessons she’s learned along the way, growing up in a small town and the first in her family to go to college. She paid for her education herself, working the graveyard shift at a local paper mill. The experience, Gardner said, taught her lessons in leadership that eventually shaped her own leadership style.

“Good leaders must always find a way of getting the job done,” she said. The ability to do so comes from having good people on a team, she added. “You don’t always need to know all the answers, but you need to know someone who does.”

Gardner credited the strong sense of teamwork within the Astros as one of the reasons she has remained with the club for over 22 years. Of this time, Gardner has served as president for the past 10 years. Being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated position has not always been easy, she said. She stressed the need for a change and shared her hope of seeing more women and minorities taking on this role, citing the strength that diversity lends to an organization.

The monthly networking breakfasts presented by James E. Bashaw & Co. give alumni and students the opportunity to connect with the city’s top leaders.

Addressing another aspect of diversity, Gardner talked about a new challenge facing business leaders today. For the first time in history, there are four different generations within the workplace. Gardner talked about the different characteristics and motivations of each generational cohort, and the need for business leaders today to focus on effectively integrating them.

The breakfast itself was a snapshot of this generational spread with current Bauer students and alumni in attendance. Just as Gardner explained, the motivations of the groups were different. Junior Anh Tran was interested to “find out about Gardner’s personal experiences and hear her her tips for success” while alumnus Stan Warren came “for the camaraderie and the chance to catch-up with friends.”

“I was really interested to hear Pam Gardner’s personal experience as a woman in such a high-ranking position,” marketing junior Anh Tran said.

The monthly networking breakfasts are also a draw for UH Bauer’s sizeable alumni population in and around Houston. “I like the sense of camaraderie at these breakfasts,” said Stan Warren (BBA ’74), CFO of Rock Solid Images. “It’s a great chance to see friends and catch up with everyone.”

Presented by James E. Bashaw & Co., the BCAA monthly networking breakfasts are excellent networking opportunities that regularly attract strong attendance, with top leaders as speakers. The next BCAA breakfast will be held on Nov. 18 at Houston City Club, featuring KTRH radio host Michael Berry. For more information and to register, click here.

By Sarayu Sundar