Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Victoria's WCL team names its first GM

Sometimes you can tell right away that a good decision has been made. You don’t need to wait to see what happens, hear what others have to say about it... you just get that feeling. Tuesday morning at RAP was one of those moments. John McLean stood before the Victoria sports scene and announced that the position of General Manager for Victoria’s new WCL team has be filled by... Holly Jones.

Who?

Not a big-name sports celebrity, not a famous washed-out ex-jock with a taste for the social scene, but a marketing professional. A proven successful veteran of not only the WCL where she was instrumental in establishing the Corvallis Knights - a team near the top of the league in both skill and attendance, but with a resume that includes the likes of the NBA front office, and JetBlue Airways.

She lists volleyball and tennis as her favourite sports growing up, not baseball. And really, does it matter? On most minor league teams, and absolutely in the WCL, the on-field management is done by the bench boss, not the front office. Holly’s job here in Victoria is not managing players, but it's her sweet spot. It’s marketing. It’s community attachment. It’s promotions and getting fans in the door. It’s getting the team out into the community and making them part of the city. It's growing a team from the ground up, building solid relationships with the business and fan base of Victoria, and establishing a brand name.
Ho Jo, Victoria. Victoria, Ho Jo.

And that brings me back to that feeling of it just being right.  She’s not Holly Jones - big city marketing suit from New York, landed here to sell fridges to the northerners. She’s Ho Jo. She’s an Oregon Duck. She’s a West Coast girl you would swear you grew up with. She’s down home, has family in Langford, bought a house in Oak Bay. She's already made Victoria her home and she's here to stay.

She has a bubbly personality that makes you smile, makes you want to be part of the team. Listening to her go through the media scrum, she’s practiced, she knows her stuff, but she presents herself as someone you want to see succeed because she’s one of us. She doesn’t have to fit in, it's like she’s already here.

And that my friends, is what sells here in Victoria. It’s clear that the ownership team of John McLean and Dwight Willett have done their homework again, and my guess is Victoria is going to fall in love with Holly Jones faster than you can say “Play Ball”!

4 comments:

  1. This is a great hire by team owners John McLean and Dwight Willett. There are a few Negative Nellies out there who say the team will be here for a year and gone, but I firmly believe our WCL team will be in Victoria for the long haul.

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  2. Hey, JetBlue in New York here. You have landed a star in Holly. We really miss her already and wish you and your team every success!

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  3. Nice commentary. Good feelings from here as well about Holly and the franchise in general. After all, the Seals and Capitals didn't fail, the LEAGUES did with laughably unsustainable business models. I like the WCL thing, it's regional, high-level amateur, by bus and also locals identify with young hungry players (see WHL for example) rather than low level minor pro.

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  4. Holly is definitely the right person for this job. She knows the league, knows marketing and knows PR. They've hired a coach who knows baseball. They'll do very well with the WCL business model rather than the old Golden League, set up for failure model. Good hire and good business decisions being made in Victoria!

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