Jen San Juan ’18 Hits It Out of the Park for Women in Professional Sports

Jen San Juan

Jen San Juan ’18 grew up with a love of baseball. A native of San Francisco, her love of the game began to take root alongside a family of die-hard San Francisco Giants fans. Little did she know that lifelong passion would guide her to a dream job in the Giants organization as manager of external affairs.

At age seven, she was playing in South San Francisco’s baseball league on her first team as the only girl. Tough-willed and determined, the obstacles of being a girl in a sport dominated by boys did not turn her away. Excelling at that sport even helped land her the cover of U.S. News and World Report when she was just eight years old.

“The stereotype is that girls play softball and boys play baseball,” said San Juan.

Jen San Juan in her baseball uniform on the the cover of U.S. News and World Report when she was just eight years old.

Reaching high school and contemplating her athletic path into college, San Juan said a decision became inevitable to switch to softball. Applying to colleges, San Juan faced fierce competition in the softball recruitment process. Several offers came through from other schools, but their softball teams were Division lll, and then Mercy’s offer came in for their Division ll softball team.

Far from her California home, moving to attend college was daunting, but San Juan was soon won over. “The main thing that led me was the scholarship at Mercy, in addition to the opportunities to be able to study business with a concentration in sport management and be near and in New York City,” said San Juan. Packing her bags, she set off for New York with a steady eye toward her dreams. “I didn’t have any family or friends out there, so it was tough, but I was very focused,” San Juan admits.

As an athlete enrolled in the Business Honors program, San Juan saw unlimited opportunity at Mercy. In her sophomore year, she made the difficult decision to stop playing on the team to dedicate time towards internships that could help her level up her experience in professional sports. “At that point being dialed-in to the importance of advancing my internship and work experience, it just made sense,” said San Juan.

She landed her first internship on the business development team of a startup called Krossover which focused on providing analytics based on video for sports teams and athletes. The experience sharpened her skillset and inspired her toward other opportunities at Mercy, one of which included studying in Greece spring semester of her junior year. Her biggest internship break would come while working in a frozen yogurt shop a short distance from the Westchester Campus. Spotting a customer with a Major League Baseball (MLB) shirt logo, she saw her chance. She told him about her interest and her previous experience, and a door opened to her next internship — this time with MLB. “I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time,” she said. Starting as a labor relations intern, she worked her way into supporting the youth department then working in the marketing and advertising department — an experience San Juan believed to be life-changing.

Today, as one of an increasing number of women working for professional sports franchises, San Juan feels very much like a trail for women is being blazed before her eyes. She is managing projects that include neighborhood and citywide engagement to expand the footprint and impact of San Francisco’s baseball team. San Juan is a key team member helping develop and launch Mission Rock, a mixed-use commercial and residential waterfront neighborhood just steps away from Oracle Park designed to further connect the baseball team with their community. The magnitude of her role at such a young age (she’s about to turn 28) is not lost on her. “I have a sense of pride and accomplishment as a first-generation college student particularly,” said San Juan. Her parents, Filipino immigrants, and three siblings were a major motivator all the way along her journey.

Still in touch with a few Mercy friends and teammates, she is quick to point out Mercy’s stamp on her career that remains in her heart. She fondly remembers many trips she made back and forth from the Westchester Campus into Manhattan and the sense that she was making steps toward her dream.

San Juan credits her alma mater and many professors with reminding her the impossible she desired was possible.

“If there's something you set your mind to, there's a path toward it - even if it's not a linear path," said San Juan.

This article is from the Maverick Magazine Fall 2023 issue. To read more, click here.