Not many people have the honor of throwing out the first pitch at a major league baseball game. To make the occasion sweeter than a box of Cracker Jacks and cotton candy, how about having your little princess join you on the mound?
James Burroughs, Chief Inclusion Officer for the state of Minnesota, had the honor of throwing out the first pitch at the Minnesota Twins baseball game in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. It became an extraordinarily memorable moment when Burroughs’ little girl Teresa had her day at Target Field.
Rolling out caught up with James Burroughs after his major league moment to find out what Father’s Day meant to him.
What is your vision for Teresa’s future?
My vision for Teresa’s future is that she is able to have dreams that have no limits and the ability to do anything she wants to do. My goal is to help her understand that there are no rules and no limits based on gender, physical ability/health, ethnicity and race and that no one will ever limit your expectations for success. In the end, my vision is that my daughter is happy and healthy and has a very well grounded spiritual foundation.
What does legacy mean to you?
It is the responsibility of others to define my legacy if they so choose. I simply want to live a life that serves others and gives others the best opportunities for success. I just want to be the best servant leader and father I can be and others can determine my legacy when the time comes.
What does fatherhood mean to you?
Fatherhood is the most important thing in life. I am the proud father, daddy, of Teresa Ann Burroughs who recently turned 6 years old. The best part of being a father is giving unconditional love to my daughter and receiving unconditional love in return. My daughter was born 1 pound, 12 ounces and spent the first 66 days in the hospital. While in the hospital the young boy next to her in the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] passed away. My daughter also has sickle cell anemia and as a result at times has pain episodes that can cause extended hospitalization and blood transfusions. Teresa is a fighter and a warrior. Once God blessed our family with Teresa being able to leave the hospital and not being returned to heaven, I committed myself to being the best Dad a little girl could have. My culture of fatherhood is to love her, respect her, make her smile, laugh, encourage her, make her fearless, educate her and empower her. Teresa is the epitome of Black girl magic. It is my job to encourage her to make that Black girl magic shine.
How does experience teach?
Experience teaches you nothing unless you make a conscious decision to learn from it. This decision must be demonstrated by a change in attitude, beliefs and behaviors for the experience to teach you anything. It is true that the more you learn, the more you learn about what you don’t know. It is important to realize that experience supports growth and maturity that not only benefits you personally, but it also benefits those that see how you respond to your experiences.
How important is it to build a network?
A network is built through the development of authentic relationships. It may begin with an exchange of linked in profiles or business cards, but it should always be further developed by a mutual respect and sharing that is beneficial to both people. My network is one of my greatest assets. People always tell me that I know everybody. While that is not completely true, I have been able to cultivate a strong network throughout my career. This network has helped me and others in making career moves, business moves, social moves and building a very successful brand. I encourage all of my mentees to continue to develop their respective networks and always be willing to assist others to do the same. I have learned that most opportunities are enhanced through networks. Having the skills, talents and abilities is one thing, but knowing people in the right places who can advocate on your behalf is just as important. These people are typically developed through networking.