By: Joe Barca, @BarkyCat
Front Office Sports is pleased to have spoken with Molly Gallatin, Senior Manager of Publicity and Media Services for the LPGA. Molly has been in and out of the sports industry since 2002, finally ending up with the LPGA Tour in 2014. She was nice enough to take us through her journey from Media Relations Intern for the Minnesota Twins to Senior Manager of Publicity and Media Services for the LPGA Tour.
Molly’s journey began at Marquette University where she studied and received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Minor in Studio Arts. Ironically, Molly didn’t envision a sports career in her future.
“I played sports my entire life. Growing up, I played with the boys in little league baseball and was a pitcher. I was the only girl in the league and was the number one overall draft pick one year. I always played sports and loved it. When I went to college, I had offers in all three sports, but I didn’t play. I was burnt out. I got away from it and played club [sports]. I thought I would go work in an agency somewhere, somehow. When I left college, it was right place, right time. I went to Minneapolis School of Advertising for about a semester and fell into an internship with the Minnesota Twins. It took off from there.”
Molly became a Media Relations Intern in 2002, the same year the Twins experienced a historic season.
“For the Minnesota Twins, that was a huge year for us. At the time, we had Big Papi [David Ortiz] on our team, Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones in the outfield and a ton of young stars. It was a great team with Johan [Santana] really breaking out as a starter that year as well. We had a great year and a really good run. It was the first time the Twins had made the playoffs since 1991 and because we had such a small staff, I was able to do a lot. We made it to the ALCS and I got a ton of valuable experience. Based on that, they brought me back for a second year. After my second year, they hired me full-time.”
From 2004 to 2012, Molly worked full-time for the Twins, first as the Baseball Communications Coordinator then as the Manager of Publications and Media Services. Despite being around for six division championships, she elected to make a career change.
“I left the Twins at the end of the 2012 season. Based on my background, I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to go back to an agency setting in an advertising or PR agency. To accelerate that process, I went to a small agency I knew through a friend of a friend. I wanted to get a lot of experience there. I thought I would love it and I was trying to become a well-rounded professional. I realized right away, although it was a great job, it was not what got me up in the morning and excited.”
The LPGA was always on Molly’s mind, however. Thankfully, Molly kept in contact with a colleague she met while working for the Minnesota Twins. This woman was a beat writer for the Twins, but had left in 2010 to join the LPGA. This gave Molly a leg up.
“She left that position right after the 2010 season and started to work at the LPGA. We kept in contact and when a job popped open, I jumped on it.”
One thing that drew Molly to the LGPA was its international experience.
“What I’m learning is that it’s different when you work for a team versus when you work for a league. With a team, you focus on one area. You deal with local media, then extend out to national media. One of the reasons I wanted to make a change and move to somewhere like the LPGA is because I worked the World Baseball Classic in 2009. It got me thinking about the global stage. I wanted to work on a global stage and while the Twins gave me phenomenal experience in the national audience, getting experience working with politicians and business leaders in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Beijing is an opportunity that a lot of people don’t think of when they think of women’s sports.”
As the Senior Manager of Publicity and Media Services, Molly’s duty is help push the message of the LPGA.
“Our tagline is, ‘See Why It’s Different Out Here.’ It’s something that works for us.”
Molly and her team also arrange a number of different media tours involving high profile media outlets in the New York area. Those outlets then promote the LPGA’s different programs and players to a market not all that familiar with golf or the LPGA.
“As we travel the world, we try to push those specific tournaments. If we go to China, we try to get the players to the Great Wall of China. Just make it seem like the LPGA is a part of that community.”
Because her work is international, Molly has gotten the opportunity to work with some world powerhouses.
“We work with our sponsors and that was something I was excited about. It’s not just that you’re working in the golf industry, you’re working with huge corporations such as Wal-Mart, HSBC, UL, CME Group, KPMG, and Honda. You’re engrained in their business and are exposed to a lot of opportunities to work with really professional, educated and talented individuals.”
Molly believes that the best part of her job, and the reason she joined the LPGA, is the excitement of the experience.
“For instance, flying into Beijing and seeing how popular we are. At a tournament in Malaysia, we had dinner with the Queen of Malaysia. Seeing the crowds and how people absolutely lose their minds for us in Korea. While we do get tremendous crowds in the United States, it doesn’t compare to what we get overseas. The support there is amazing.”
Along with sharing her experiences, Molly offered some advice for students/young professionals who are trying to make it in her industry.
“I worked my butt off in the beginning. I would sit court side at Timberwolves games and help with visiting TV stats. I did supplement my income while I was an intern, but at the same time it showed people that I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I would just go to the Minnesota Wild games and hang out in the press box to talk to people. Try to get in there and become personable, especially if you want to work in sports PR. You need to be someone people look at as a good representative of that organization and team. Someone who people genuinely want to be around. With PR, you need to be in the right place at the right time, but you’re not going to do that staying within your comfort zone. You need to try new things.”
We would like to thank Molly for her time and insight and we wish her the best in all her future endeavors!
This interview is another edition of “Winning Edge Wednesday” in congruence with our partnership with the Winning Edge Leadership Academy. Every Wednesday we will be featuring the story of a woman or minority working in the sports business industry.If you know of a professional you would like featured, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.