Nina Johnson-Pitt named Senior Strategy Executive, Dan Velte Named Senior Operations Executive
In November 2020, the Little League® International Board of Directors began implementing a plan to evaluate and strengthen the organizational structure of Little League International, with the appointment of Patrick W. Wilson as Chief Operating Officer. To continue these efforts, a new operational and regional leadership alignment, focused on supporting local Little League programs, has been established.
Dan Velte has been elevated to Senior Operations Executive, overseeing the Little League International and Regional operations, along with a series of additional changes to provide structure and support to the United States regional offices and district operations.
To advance Little League’s strategic and league development initiatives, Nina Johnson-Pitt has been elevated to the newly created position of Senior Strategy Executive. Ms. Johnson-Pitt will work across all departments 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.
“As we look at our organizational structure and future growth, Little League’s primary focus is providing the support and direction for our volunteers as we work together to embrace our player-centric goal to provide meaningful and memorable Little League opportunities for all children,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “Working with Pat Wilson in his role as Chief Operating Officer, we’re pleased that Dan and Nina have been elevated to embrace our continuing efforts to strengthen our operations and volunteer support, as well as guide our strategic plan of action to grow the Little League program around the world.”
Little League® International and Regional Operations
Under the leadership of Mr. Velte, the Little League International regional operations staff will provide direct support and direction to the more than one million Little League volunteers around the world. Mr. Velte joined Little League in 2001. In his new position he will oversee the day-to-day operations of Little League’s nine regional centers serving more than 80 countries. He will also work with Little League’s operations staff dedicated to supporting educational and training efforts, the Little League Softball® program, the Little League Urban Initiative, volunteer umpire and coach development, and more.
“One of the things that makes Little League such a unique organization is the passion of our volunteers and our commitment to providing them with direction and guidance to enhance baseball and softball experiences for children around the world,” said Mr. Velte. “I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues, our volunteers, and our community leaders in more than 80 countries, to embrace the challenges our leagues face and bring the steadfast support that is unmatched in all of youth sports.”
To enhance Little League’s regional operations, new Managing Director positions have been established to oversee regional operations in the United States. Embracing technology solutions and communications opportunities with its volunteers, the professional staff at each of Little League’s Regional Headquarters will continue to provide direct assistance on local league issues, tournament guidance, and support for volunteers.
East and Central Regions
Corey M. Wright has been elevated to Regional Operations Managing Director, East and Central. Mr. Wright, will work directly with the to-be-named East Region Director to support the league operations of the 12 states in the East Region. Guiding the 13 states in the Central Region, under Mr. Wright’s leadership, will be newly named Central Region Director, Ashlea Nash (formerly Central Region Assistant Director).
Southeast and Southwest Regions
Jennifer Colvin has been elevated to Regional Operations Managing Director, Southeast and Southwest. Ms. Colvin will oversee Matt Weber, who has been promoted to Southeast Region Director, in their support of the eight states in the region. Angela Garcia will continue in her position as Southwest Region Director, guiding the region’s volunteers across seven states.
Supporting the 11 states that represent the largest geographic area of any U.S. region, April Meehleder has been promoted to Regional Operations Managing Director, West, with support from Assistant Directors Aaron Torres and Andrew Cortez.
“Little League has a legacy that spans generations, and what makes that legacy so meaningful is that it is rooted in the success of future generations,” said Mr. Wilson. “Dan and Nina have been instrumental in many of our organization’s successes over the years and will lead a talented, dedicated team. As we look to provide new ways to educate, inform, and grow our program in support of our baseball and softball players around the world, this new organizational structure will provide our volunteers with support and direction to continue to enhance the Little League experience.”
Strategic and League Development Initiatives
The Little League International strategic plan focuses on a player-centric approach to all facets of the organization, Ms. Johnson-Pitt, formerly Central Region Director, will be embracing the new role of Senior Strategy Executive. Ms. Johnson-Pitt first joined Little League as the region’s Assistant Director in 2006. In addition to working across all departments to shepherd Little League’s strategic plan, she will also oversee Little League’s League Development Initiatives, headed up by Sam Ranck, Little League Director of League Development and Challenger Division.
“The Little League experience is about so much more than the plays that happen between two lines. It’s about teamwork, sportsmanship, and building better, stronger individuals and communities,” said Ms. Johnson-Pitt.
“We know there are many challenges facing all of youth sports, and Little League, as the world’s largest and most respected youth sports organization, is uniquely positioned to embrace these challenges and enact change to support our players, families, and volunteers. Together with our volunteers and staff, I am eager to bring our strategic initiatives to life as we look to progressively evolve the Little League program.”
Rallying around One Team. One Little League., initial phases of the strategic plan including 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, finding innovative ways to bring new communities around the world into the Little League program, and the announced expansion of the Little League Baseball and Softball World Series events in 2022. The plan will continue to be adapted to meet the challenges our leagues and volunteers face throughout the coronavirus pandemic. More information on the strategic plan can be found at LittleLeague.org/Strategic-Plan.