Women in Spotlight: Jamie Hersch
As an artist, there are some people I admire solely because of their bright audacity to be unconventional. I've found that the women who inspire me the most and keep me motivated to keep creating art are those who choose the path regarded socially as too hard, or not for them. As a studio host on both the NHL and MLB networks, Jamie- a stunningly beautiful and tall woman- pushes against the notion that women can't or should't belong in an sports environment that, by nature, tends to have more masculine energy and personality. With a role in a world such as sports, a devoted work ethic is a requirement and in my opinion, often overlooked and under-appreciated. At night you can find her hosting the NHL highlight show called, "On The Fly," as well as the "Quick Pitch," on the MLB channel. A great perk for someone who love everything sports, Jamie also travels often to cover big events such as the playoffs and All-Star games. As a woman in a world socially deemed only for men, and what was a beginning point of enjoyment for her growing up has now become a full blown career that is hard not to deeply respect, even though I sometimes still need someone to occasionally explain the rules of baseball and football to me. I'm just kidding, I always need the rules of sports explained.
I first met Jamie through the first women I ever featured, the witty and ambitious music muse Lindsay, and thus far the series I created to empower women has become what I had secretly hoped- women recommending other women and empowering and recognizing the strength and wisdom of each other.
What was the inspiration for pursuing a career in the world of sports and how did you navigate the path that led you to where you are now?
I’ve always loved sports, going way back to when I was in elementary school and spent my Sundays cheering for the Minnesota Vikings with my dad. I always looked up to Michelle Tafoya, a famous NFL sideline reporter, and I thought it would be amazing to be like her and cover sports for a living. I went to USC specifically to study sports journalism and after college, I landed my first job as a reporter in Madison, Wisconsin. I was my own photographer, my own editor, my own producer, and lugged around about 50 lbs. of gear with the camera, tripod, mic bag, etc., shooting all the video while also doing the interviews and trying not to look like a sweaty mess on-camera. It was a ton of work for very little pay, but I had so much fun and made the best friends at that job, and I am so grateful to have had that experience.
Those opportunities led me to NHL Network, which became a part of MLB Network back in 2015. It was a natural fit for me, since I love both hockey and baseball, and I couldn’t be happier that I’ve found what I see as the perfect job for me right now.
What is the process like for you when you are going into your day?
I work very late nights, sometimes until 3am, because my show doesn’t finish until well after all the games do. Since there is no time limit in baseball, games can stretch on until dawn, particularly since some don’t even start until after 10pm Eastern time. My process begins much earlier in the day, when I read up on the games for later that night and work with the producers to decide which stories are the biggest stories of the day. We’ll email back and forth until later in the evening, when we meet and go through the order of the show. I feel like a princess getting my makeup done, putting on a fun dress and heels, and then it’s showtime!
What, most recently, is a project you are most proud of and why?
A few years ago, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Kuwait to bring hockey to some Minnesota Air National Guard service men and women on a tour of duty there. A group of former NHL players with Minnesota ties went to spend a few days with the troops and I was there to report on the week, do interviews and share the stories of these brave men and women. We played outdoor floor hockey on “rinks” they built themselves and got to see what life is like on an Air Force base in the Middle East. I’ll never forget their stories.
What do you envision as professional success and how is it tied to your personal beliefs?
I believe professional success is doing something meaningful that you genuinely enjoy doing. Sports mean so much to so many different people. They are a pastime, but also a source of pride, community, joy, heartache, suspense, tension and passion.
What is your work environment like as a woman in a male dominated industry?
MLB/NHL Network is a fantastic work environment with more women than you might expect in the world of sports. We have women at all levels: management, producers, directors, on-air talent, stage managers, audio technicians… While there are certainly far more men than women, I have never felt like my voice is any less important than a male colleague’s. I am a big part of the decision-making process as far as what goes into our show, I write my own on-camera scripts, and my coworkers have always treated me with the utmost respect.
What is a ritual that you feel like you need to do in order to stay motivated and excited about your work on TV?
It’s very easy to stay motivated and excited about my work because it’s different every day. I usually host a nightly highlight show, so the big stories change every night. One night we might be focused on a player making his big return from an injury, and other night we might have two great teams facing off in a rivalry matchup. While the late-night hours can be a bit of a grind, I am reminded every night how fun and how special it is to be able to call what I do “work” - since it’s just watching sports and coming up with fun ways to tell our viewers what happened that night.
Who has been a positive female influence in your life that contributes to your own personal evolution?
I mentioned Michele Tafoya earlier, and she’s certainly been someone I’ve tried to emulate in my career. But my mom is also another key female figure who has always taught me what it means to work hard and to have faith that everything will work out. My business is a crazy one, full of personal triumphs and disappointments. She has helped me stay level-headed through the successes and positively persistent through the setbacks.