#GWG50 Staff Spotlight: Nina Johnson-Pitt, Senior Strategy Executive

Nina Johnson-Pitt Staff Spotlight Graphic

Now in her 18th year with Little League®, Nina Johnson-Pitt has served in a variety of different ways for the organization, from the grassroots level to her current role spearheading the strategic efforts of the world’s largest youth baseball and softball organization. During the early part of her career as Central Region Assistant Director and Central Region Director, Ms. Johnson-Pitt had an impactful role in all the operational aspects of the program. Since December 2020, she has stepped up to the plate in her new role as Senior Strategy Executive, with the primary mission of leading the long-term strategic planning of the organization and continuing to evolve the Little League program to provide an unmatched youth sports experience for families around the world.

In addition to working across all departments to shepherd Little League’s strategic plan, Ms. Johnson-Pitt also oversees the organization’s League Development Initiatives.

Rallying around One Team. One Little League., initial phases of the strategic plan included the launch of Little League’s new mission and logo; establishing new playing opportunities through initiatives including Little League Sandlot Fun Days; and growing opportunities for female participants through partnerships like Athletes Unlimited. Additional pillars of the strategic plan include providing new financial support opportunities for local Little League programs, enhancing coaching resources with an emphasis at the youngest levels of play, and developing innovative ways to bring new communities around the world into the Little League program. Now, guided by its newly launched Organizational Identity, Little League is poised and ready for an exciting future.

Highlight some daily priorities and goals in your role as Little League Senior Strategy Executive?

At a macro level, each day I work to ensure that Little League priorities are aligned to keep us relevant now and into the future. To drive that, I use research efforts to develop processes for data collection and analysis that provide the leadership team and staff with current, accurate data to inform organizational decision-making. This includes surveys, focus groups, trend monitoring and keeping up with industry data and information. At a more grassroots level, our strategic focus centers around access, experience, and retention. We are always looking for ways to eliminate barriers to entry and create as many opportunities as possible for kids and families to experience community-based programming that is rooted in positive youth development.

How do the values and organizational identity of Little League influence your professional approach and motivate the current generation of girls/women to participate in our program?

I like to start with our purpose, which is simple: ‘To positively impact youth and communities.’  In every conversation I have, I try to keep that as my center. While we haven’t always lived up to the inclusive vision we have now, we continue on the journey to ensure that all people feel included and like they are a part of the diverse Little League community that exists today.  We know that there are still many factors that limit participation for girls, including gender role beliefs, cost, and lack of role models. We hope that females in our program recognize our commitment to leveling the playing field and sign on to be a part of our journey to impact positive change for current and future Little Leaguers.

Speaking as a Little League parent yourself, what is your message that encourages younger parents/legal guardians to choose to enter their child/children into the program? How do you motivate adults to engage the program as local/district volunteers?

Parents and caretakers have so many options when it comes to activities for their children, and it can sometimes be incredibly overwhelming to decide what the best programs are. Parents and caretakers can trust that Little League is focused on positive youth development for all kids. We believe in the power of youth baseball and softball to teach life lessons that build stronger individuals and communities. That’s our mission and all of our decision making is rooted in it.  Volunteers are the heart of the Little League program and when parents and caretakers are active and engaged, the entire community benefits. Many parents and caretakers start as coaches and then realize the larger impact they can have as league administrators. Since Little League provides so many great resources and best practices, there’s always easy access to a support network, providing a great framework for an impactful, affordable community-based program.

Why did you choose to enter your daughter in youth sports and how has youth sports influenced their childhood?

I wholeheartedly believe in the benefits of sports-based youth development, and as a girl mom, I know it’s even more impactful for girls. There are huge psychological, social/emotional, and mental wellness benefits that result from participating in a sports program that provides appropriate structure, has delineated clear rules, expectations, and responsibilities for youth, parents, coaches, and officials. I have always encouraged my girls to try any sport in which they are interested. We’ve done soccer, basketball, softball, equestrian, and cheer. I’ve watched my girls gain confidence and strength. They’ve learned how to both win and lose gracefully and keep each in the proper perspective. They’ve navigated how to work with others and their differences for the benefit of the team. They’ve made friends and learned about time management. They’ve learned that things aren’t always fair, but to stay focused on what is in their control. They also know that their worth is not dependent on how they perform on any given day. I genuinely believe that all of these skills will set them up for success in whatever path they choose. Sports are an ideal way to learn valuable, transferable skills in a fun, supportive environment.

What do you foresee will be the legacy of Little League’s Girls with Game 50 Anniversary celebration?

I don’t look at legacy as one great moment; I look at it as the things we do every single day. I hope that we become so intentional with our GWG50 work in 2024, that it just becomes second nature and that we can eventually stop having the conversation because we have incorporated these actions into our everyday work. I hope we remain committed to ensuring that every opportunity is equitable, and as a result we see our program thrive in ALL communities, giving every family access to the benefits of Little League.


This is the second in a series of Little League International Staff Spotlights that will focus on the Women In Little League (WILL) as part of the overall Girls with Game 50 Celebration (LittleLeague.org/GWG50). The #GWG50 celebration is proudly supported by DICK’S Sporting Goods, a long-time Little League partner that is committed to creating opportunities for girls and women in sports and will be activating around key events and milestones this year.