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Baseball - 01. March 2011.

Baseball's Julia Janssen Director of Marketing for the Lansing Lugnuts



                 By Norm Coleman

Julia Janssen is the Director of Marketing for the Lansing Lugnuts located in
Lansing, Michigan. They have been Affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays since
2005. They are in the Midwest League.

WOMEN SPORT REPORT:  When did you discover your love for baseball? How did you wind up on your team?

Julia Janssen: I've always loved baseball and softball. I played softball as early as kindergarden and I've been a huge Chicago Cubs fan my entire life. I can't remember a summer in my life that didn't revolve around baseball. I never considered working in baseball until I was in college at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, Iowa.                                                                                                                   

I stumbled across the Cedar Rapids Kernels in Cedar Rapids, Iowa during a volunteer project. Being a Journalism major, I contacted their radio broadcaster and set-up a job shadow opportunity to learn more about the broadcasting side of baseball. I loved every second I spent at the job shadow and couldn't believe this could be a real career. After an internship the following summer with the Kernels, I spent a short season in Casper, Wyoming and saw an opening with the Lugnuts online. It was the perfect fit for me and I couldn't be happier.

WSR: What are your responsibilities for your team?

Janssen: I am the Director of Marketing for the Lansing Lugnuts. Our Marketing department handles everything from advertising, in-game promotions, guest services, community relations, website, email marketing, and radio broadcasts. I oversee all these areas as the Director, but I primarily focus on in-game promotions and our advertising efforts. I organize all the entertainment during a game - from what songs play during the game to the graphics on the scoreboards.

WSR: What is it about your job, your profession you love the most?

Janssen: Working in baseball is incredibly rewarding for me. Fans come to the ballpark to relax and enjoy themselves with people they care about, and we get to make a great night for them. Having the opportunity to watch a kid's face light up from meeting our mascot or hearing the crowd roar with laughter is amazing. Plus, on a professional side, I am always challenged creatively with endless options. I haven't stopped learning since I started with the Lugnuts in 2007!

WSR: What is the most difficult part of your job?

Janssen: The hours are always the most difficult part of working in baseball. During the season we’ll work Monday- Friday 8:30am – 5:30pm. If there is a night game, then you work from 8:30am until the game is over and the stands are clear (usually 11pm). It can be draining, but the crowd is what keeps me motivated during games.

WSR: When did you get interested in baseball?  Who influenced you?

Janssen:  I was always a fan of baseball, but I never considered it as a career until I was in college and I job shadowed with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. I watched the staff work for one day and I just instantly fell in love with the excitement and energy. I remember driving back to Iowa City after the job shadow and feeling like I was floating because I was so excited about what I saw.                                                   

WSR: Who was your mentor in baseball?

Janssen: My biggest influence on my baseball career has been John Rodgers, the former broadcaster for the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He was the person that I job shadowed that day and he still encourages me to grow in my career to this day.
 He helped me make choices about my next move and is so supportive and proud of everything I have accomplished.

 WSR: Did you play sports in High School? College?

Janssen:  I played softball from Kindergarden through 8th grade and then got sick of playing baseball. I played badminton in high school competitively. When I went to college, I was recruited for the women’s rowing team at Iowa. It was a great experience to be a NCAA Division I athlete. I learned so much more about the inside operations of sports being an athlete at Iowa.

 WSR: Where were you raised?

Janssen: I was born and raised in Wheaton, Illinois – about thirty minutes west of Chicago. I went to Wheaton Warrenville South High School and graduated in 2002.

 WSR: Did you attend college?

Janssen: Yes, I went to the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. I double majored in Journalism/Mass Communications and Health/Sport Studies. When I finished my senior year, I did a lot with sports broadcasting and writing. It was a perfect fit for me.
WSR: Which woman in baseball do you admire the most?  If you could ask her one question, what would that be?

Janssen: I can’t say that I have a woman I admire the most. I love hearing stories about women working in baseball, like the female PA announcers or GMs, but I don’t focus on the women more than the men.

WSR: What is the most outstanding memory you have working for the Lugnuts?

Janssen: One of my favorite moments was from the 4th of July last summer. It was  a picture-perfect game and we were shooting the fireworks after the game. The fireworks and music coordinated and when Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be An American” song was playing, the fireworks made a giant American flag. In the middle of the fireworks show, everyone in the stadium stood up and went crazy cheering. It gave me goosebumps to create a moment that was so special for that many people.
WSR: What advice would you give a young woman considering a career in baseball.?

Janssen: I would tell a woman the same thing I’d tell a man. Get your foot in the door at any team and start working. You have to make sure you enjoy working the hours before you commit yourself to this career. I honestly don’t have experiences where I felt like I needed to do something differently because I was a woman to further my career in baseball.

WSR: What makes you successful at your job?

Janssen: I’m successful because I love my job. I can get through some big challenges or long homestands  purely because I love what I’m doing here. I care about this team and what we mean to the city of Lansing. That’s my driving factor and it pushes me to keep doing better everyday.

WSR: What was the biggest obstacle you overcame to get into baseball?

 Janssen: I feel like finding my first long-term permanent position was the hardest part about getting into baseball. I would see so many opportunities that sounded great, but there is so much competition for any baseball job, it was frustrating. When I was hired with the Lugnuts I was thrilled to finally have a position that matched me so well.  

WSR: What is it a about job, profession you love the most?

Janssen: Working in baseball is incredibly rewarding for me. Fans come to the ballpark to relax and enjoy themselves with people they care about, and we get to make a great night for them. Having the opportunity to watch a kid's face light up from meeting our mascot or hearing the crowd roar with laughter is amazing. Plus, on a professional side, I am always challenged creatively with endless options. I haven't stopped learning since I started with the Lugnuts in 2007!

WSR:  What is your mascots name?  Any humorous stories about him?

Janssen: Big Lug is our mascot - and yes, plenty of humorous stories with him! I'll never forget the day Big Lug ran up one of our giant inflatable slides in the kids playground. Once he got to the top, he was too heavy for the slide and collapsed the entire twenty- foot  slide! Kids were dying with laughter because Big Lug was devastated he couldn't make it down the slide.

WSR: What is your favorite baseball book and why did you enjoy reading it?

Janssen: I’ve read several adult baseball books, but honestly my favorites are the baseball books for children. We use them for our reading program and I love a good book that teaches historical lessons. My favorite children’s baseball book is Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen by Marissa Moss.

WSR: What is the most unusual promotion you have seen with your team?

Janssen: We did an “As Seen on TV” Night this past season. We featured terrible As Seen on TV products like the shake weight and Snuggies. There was even a Snuggie fashion show. It was odd, but lots of fun.

WSR: Do you follow other sports? Aside from your team, what teams do you follow?

Janssen: I’m a big Chicago fan – I always watch the Bears and the Blackhawks! For baseball, I follow the Cubs but I enjoy seeing any former minor league player I’ve worked with make it to the pros.

WSR: What is your favorite baseball uniform?

Janssen: The Boston Red Sox uniform has always been sharp looking to me.

WSR: What is the most creative part of yourself?

Janssen: I love merging creativity and technology. Lately I’ve been working a lot on ideas to help our fans engage with the team through social media outlets and the latest technology like mobile apps.

WSR: Are you married?

Janssen: No. Just me and my puppy Maris like Roger Maris. (a),  a Saluki Mix.

WSR: What do you do for relaxation after work?

Janssen: I go to the gym as much as I can. Nothing helps me de-stress better after a long day than a good workout. I also love spending time with my boyfriend and playing with my dog.

WSR: Do you have a favorite quote or motto?

Janssen: Be true to your work, your word, and your friends.

WSR: Should baseball employ instant replay (not counting ball & strikes)?

Janssen: No. It will slow the game down too much.

WSR: What kind of music do you like?

Janssen: I have almost two opposite kinds of music I love – country and latin. I could listen to country music all day long. I like latin music for the gym and to go out dancing.

WSR: Do you have a nickname?

Janssen: I have all kinds of nicknames around the stadium – Goolia (Julia Goolia), Jules, Wheels.

WSR: What is your biggest pet peeve?

Janssen: Typos in printed materials like menus or signage. It especially bothers me when businesses go crazy with unnecessary quotations.

WSR: Do you travel? What is your favorite American city?

Janssen: Yes! I spend way too much of my money on travel. Chicago is my favorite American city, but I’m biased since I grew up there. I don’t get to live there now so my trips home are special. Nothing beats a Chicago hot dog or pizza and a walk down the Magnificent Mile.

Outside of my hometown, I traveled Michigan this summer and it was amazing! Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island are spectacular!

WSR: What are your long-term goals?

Janssen: To always feel productive and happy in my career. It’s important to me to feel like I’m still learning and being challenged.

WSR: What do you do during the off season?

Janssen: I get ready for the next season! Winter Baseball Meetings, marketing plans, budgets, and hiring new employees.

WSR: Who are the two or three Major League players you like to watch? Why?

Janssen: I love watching Carlos Zambrano  (b) because he wears his emotion on his sleeve. I used to watch Greg Maddux  (c) pitch because I was amazed by his control.

WSR: What is your greatest accomplishment since you have been with the Lugnuts?

Lanssen: I’ve been on a mission to bring the Lugnuts into the social media world since I started here in 2007. It’s been a big accomplishment to launch everything and have the results we do. Now we’re pushing further with mobile applications and interactions.

(a)    Roger Maris  - Roger Eugene Maris (September 10, 1934 – December 14, 1985) was an American Major League Baseball right fielder. During the 1961 season, Maris hit 61 home runs for the New York Yankees, breaking Babe Ruth's single-season record of 60 home runs (set in 1927), a record that would stand for 37 years.

(b)    Carlos Zambrano – A right-handed pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, born June 1, 1981.

       c) Greg Maddax - Gregory Alan "Greg" Maddux  nicknamed "Mad Dog" and "The Professor", is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. He was the first pitcher in major league history to win the Cy Young Award for four consecutive years (1992–1995).

Norm Coleman is a sports writer, actor and retired professional photographer. He lives in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Normcoleman36@hotmail.com          www.tycobb367.com

Director of Marketing
Lansing Lugnuts
Class "A" Midwest League
Toronto Blue Jays Affiliate
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