Alumnae Spotlight September 2016
Jamie Taylor ’02
Jamie Taylor always has loved the game of golf. Having known from a young age that golf was her passion and her desired profession, Jamie spent her youth dedicating herself to the sport and improving her game. The lack of a golf team at Laurel was no deterrent; Jamie took it upon herself to start a Varsity golf team in 2000 and captained it until her graduation—leading to a full collegiate scholarship to Gannon University. After receiving a BS in Business Management, as well as an MBA from Gannon, Jamie went on to pursue a profession in the world of golf. She has gone from a program leader to an instructor to a head golf professional, receiving her LPGA Class A Membership in 2013. Currently the Event Coordinator for the LPGA Foundation, she spends her days envisioning, creating and executing golf clinics for girls across the country and around the world. She loves not only immersing herself within the sport, but being able to give back to communities and introduce the game of golf to girls from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Jamie entered Laurel in the Sixth Grade. In Upper School, she played volleyball, tennis, basketball and, of course, golf and was the President of the United Cultural Society and the Vice President of Student Government her Senior year. She is a proud member of the Green Team.
What was your favorite class at Laurel?
My favorite class was Spanish. I love learning new languages and about other cultures. I loved that Senora Harrison made us speak Spanish during our entire class period. Senoras Harrison, Hardy and Villaseca gave us such a great foundation that I was able to teach my college Spanish class when the teacher struggled to convey some of the fundamentals to my classmates!
What do you think makes a Laurel education distinct?
Laurel gave me the confidence to speak up in the classroom. Before Laurel, when I attended public school, we had to raise our hand and wait for the teacher to call on us. When I came to Laurel, open dialogue was encouraged. And now as an adult, I have no problems speaking up in a room full of top executives. Laurel also encouraged us to be independent women, not having to fit a mold. As an African American woman in the golf industry, I do not have many role models that look like me. So for me to get into the industry, I was able to have the confidence to apply for jobs that were not easy to obtain because of the confidence that Laurel instilled in me.
What do you feel is the greatest strength of an all-girls school?
The best thing about going to school in an all-girl environment was being able to be myself. Women are nurturing creatures. So I was able to be comfortable with myself and not be criticized for it. I also was empowered by my classmates who excelled in so many areas. Laurel does a great job recognizing girls for their accomplishments at all ages, and that was motivation for me to want to excel.
What drew you to Gannon University after Laurel?
There were many things that drew me to Gannon—having a female golf coach; attending a university with small classroom sizes; not having to walk more than four blocks to get to classes; and having a college president who took pride in knowing the entire student body by first name. But, the initial draw to Gannon was that the chairs in the admissions office were just like the ones in Laurel’s admissions office. That little reminder of a familiar place was the icing on the cake!
Did you always know you wanted to be involved with the LPGA?
I knew that I wanted to be a golf professional since the age of 12. One of the biggest benefits is that I can teach golf anywhere in the world as an LPGA member. Many countries seek us out because we are highly regarded. The LPGA Headquarters was not a place I considered employment, only because I thought living in Florida would be unbearable! But fortunately, I get to work indoors when I am in town. I still get to travel around the world and teach and that has always been my dream.
What does your job entail?
I am responsible for organizing golf events for the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Program. I typically have many phone meetings with tournament directors or golf course managers to talk about logistics on how we can execute a clinic at their facility. Then I have to come up with what the event will look like, recruit other female teaching professionals to assist, and set up the registration for the event. On-site, I set-up and facilitate the clinic with my co-workers and do a lot of posting on social media. My favorite part is after each event, our team gets together and discusses the highs and lows so that we can make the next event even better. We are a unique team because we are one of the few all-female departments at the LPGA.
What do you love most about the sport of golf?
I love the challenge and that no round of golf is the same. I am extremely competitive, so having to play against myself and the golf course is exciting! I also enjoy being outside and seeing nature in various forms. It’s like walking in the park while hitting a little white ball.
Describe one of your greatest challenges.
When I was laid off from my first job with the First Tee of Ventura County in Ventura, CA, after four months, I almost left the golf industry. I was not sure how to recover and ended up going back home and re-evaluating what I wanted to do with my life. I even worked a temporary job at an engineering company as a marketing assistant. Fortunately, some of my Laurel friends encouraged me to continue teaching, which led to running a golf camp for the Cleveland Metroparks, three months later. That job led to a full-time position as a head golf professional, only ten months after coming home. I had that job for seven years and was able to get my LPGA Class A membership certification paid for through that job.
How do you think Laurel has influenced your life since graduation?
I can say that my college experience was much easier than Laurel academically. Laurel prepared me to be very organized and have good time management skills. It was easy to seek help when I struggled in a subject because I was comfortable asking for help when I was at Laurel. Above and beyond college, my steady friendships with Laurel alums have allowed me to make professional connections. Laurel has supported me during my career, even to the point of having alums take a golf clinic with me.
What advice would you give to current Laurel girls?
I would tell any Laurel girl to live a limitless life. I have gone through some scary moments and have lived to see some great outcomes. Do not let anyone prohibit you from pursuing your dreams. And start pursuing them now! Do not let your adolescence prohibit you from already starting to work towards your adult goals.
What do you do for fun?
I like to travel to foreign places whenever possible, to try new foods and to have new experiences. I get bored easily, so I am always looking for new ways to enjoy life.
What has been the most surprising life lesson you have learned?
The best lesson so far is that I can learn from anyone. I have had the pleasure of teaching golf to people as young as 3 and as old as 95. Each student I encounter teaches me new ways to think or do things. It is so exciting when a person takes in information in a new way. It keeps me fresh and gives some innovative ways to teach!