Thursday, June 13, 2013

By Ellen Bell, Staff Writer - 

Molly Jolly gets asked the same question all the time.

"How did you get such a cool job?"

As Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration, Jolly oversees financial matters for the Angels. It may seem that working in professional sports requires specialized talents. But the steps that brought her to the front office of a major league baseball team are the same ones needed for success at any job: finding your passion, making a plan, and gathering as many skills and experiences along the way. 

When Jolly was a kid in Florida, going to Miami Dolphins games with her dad, she couldn't have known that she would one day work for a professional sports franchise. Instead, she started on a typical career path, majoring in economics and accounting and working in a traditional corporate environment. 

Her job at the Atlantic Ritchfield Company (ARCO) led her to Anchorage, Alaska where she was an inventory accountant and financial analyst for their exploratory drilling operation. While in Alaska, Jolly became interested in the business operations of the local minor league hockey team. This attraction to the financial side of professional sports set her on a course that would lead to her future career.

“I had run the gamut of the oil experience,” said Jolly. “I was looking for a change.”

She brought her dream of a new career in the entertainment/sports industry with her to  Los Angeles, where she earned her MBA in Business Administration at UCLA.  For her thesis project she wrote a business plan for buying a minor league hockey team. This  led to consulting work with the Long Beach Ice Dogs. It was about this time when The Disney Company was looking for a Director of Finance for both the Anaheim Ducks and the Angels. 

The right job came along at just the right time.

Success may have seemed like an overnight stroke of good luck, but it was really a result of years of business experience and an intentional plan to join the industry of her choice. 

“It was a combination of moving in the right direction and then having enough momentum to make it happen when the opportunity came along.”

Today, Molly Jolly is responsible for the financial and administrative side of the Angels Organization, which includes everything from financial reporting and budgeting to ticketing operations and human resources. From her side of things, working in the front office of a major league baseball team is no different than any other corporation.

“Baseball is a business,” said Jolly. “Having a broad tool kit of transportable skills is more important than knowing the difference between an ball and a strike.”

Being a woman makes little difference when it comes to business opportunities in the professional sports industry. 

“In the Angels organization, we need people with a wide variety of skills,” Jolly explains. “Regardless of gender or sports experience. We look for people who are good at what they do.”

During home games, she can be found at Angels Stadium, making sure that all is going smoothly. Being on duty during the game is part of the job description in professional sports. But every once and awhile, Jolly likes to takes a break and enjoy the same experience as the fans. Once on her birthday, she told her husband that she wanted to sit in the stands, eat a hot dog and watch the game like everyone else. 

“Nobody knew who I was. I could just relax and enjoy the game like all the other fans.”

Look for my next 'Women of Angels Baseball' segment on Monday, June 17th as I uncover yet another influential woman behind Angels Baseball. 

Love to hear what you think!

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