UC Davis alumna speaks to students about career
NBC Bay Area sports reporter Amy Gutierrez, better known as Amy G., returned to her alma mater, UC Davis, to talk with students about her life and career on Friday, Oct. 27. Gutierrez is a sideline reporter and covers the San Francisco Giants. She is also the author of the Smarty Marty children’s book series and owns a social media business that helps Petaluma business owners navigate their social media accounts.
In the Art Annex, students of all majors, some decked out in their San Francisco Giants gear, had an open discussion with Gutierrez about how she got to where she is today. Gutierrez gave advice and shared personal stories as she spoke.
“I came to see Amy G. because I am from San Francisco and I grew up there my whole life, so I have been an SF Giants fan for a really long time,” said Deborah Kagan, a third-year communication major. “I always see Amy G. on their social media platforms, as well as the news, and I think what she does is really cool. Being a communications major, seeing the many opportunities out there is interesting to me because I can shape my career in the direction I pick. Amy G.’s career path was so great to learn about.”
The event didn’t just attract communications or athletics-related majors with an interest in following Gutierrez’s footsteps. Gutierrez also drew in students who admired her because she is one of the faces of the San Francisco Giants.
“When I heard that Amy G. was coming, I was so excited.” said Ruth Garcia-Espino, a second-year political science major. “I always see her from a distance at the Giants games and the only time she was close to my seat, she was live on camera so I didn’t bother calling her over. My family and I are huge Giants fans and we have followed the team for years. I actually found out through my mother, who is an alumna, that she was coming. I quickly adjusted my schedule and put the date on my calendar.”
Gutierrez graduated from UC Davis in 1995 with a B.A. in communication. A Bay Area native, Gutierrez chose to attend UC Davis because it reminded her of home. At UC Davis, she had the opportunity cultivate her passion for television. She participated in the UCDC program and interned for CNN in Washington, D.C.
“I just really liked how I felt when I was here,” Gutierrez said. “I had the opportunity to play volleyball here, and honestly at that time, I did think about television. My mom will tell you how I used to play pretend news anchor in my room.”
Gutierrez just finished her 10th season and 11th year as an ingame reporter for NBC Sports Bay Area, but getting to this point in her career did not come easy — or quickly.
Before receiving an offer from Larry Baer, the chief executive officer of the San Francisco Giants, to cover the team, Gutierrez had worked retail, moved multiple times and worked for KFTY Santa Rosa, NBC, Fox News L.A., and then NBC Sports Bay Area, all in producer roles. Her new position as an ingame reporter allowed Gutierrez to combine all of her skills.
Gutierrez reminisced about her favorite interviews to date.
“For so many years, I have said Jonathan Sánchez’s 2009 no-hitter [was my favorite interview],” Gutierrez said. “It was my favorite for so long because of the elements surrounding it. Most people do not know that Jonathan Sánchez was given that start as a final try to see if they were going to keep in the rotation; he was having a horrible season. His father flew in from Puerto Rico. He had never seen his son play in a Major League game and then watched him throw a no-hitter. And he ended up being an absolute hero. That moment launched his forever success as a Giant and it was my first milestone interview.”
“But I think I’ve trumped [the Jonathan Sánchez interview] with Matt Cain this year,” Gutierrez said. “[It] was one of the most emotional interviews I’ve ever conducted. Matt does not show emotion often, so to watch him be that vulnerable and tender about how he felt about the perfect game and the people around him… I thought he was exceptional in his reflection about that game.”
Gutierrez also addressed issues that women face in the sports broadcasting field.
“[There is] the pressure to be perfect in your delivery,” Gutierrez said. “I do not have the room for error. There is not a margin of error for me. I have enough respect now that if I mess up, I mess up, but it’s social media that crushes you. If I make the same mistake as a man, if I say the wrong name, I am crushed. That’s the issue we’re still tackling. That is where I would like to see it be more equal.”
She also discussed the issues that many professional women face: being a working mother. Because of the long hours that her career demands, Gutierrez prioritizes being there for her children and chose to write her series of “Smarty Marty” books as a way to stay connected to her family and children, who inspired the characters in the books.
“My philosophy on balance as a working mother is you better really love what you do,” Gutierrez said. “Because you have to leave the most precious people in your life to go do it. And there is nothing worse than them holding your leg when you’re trying to get to work. [But they] saw that I loved what I do. It is being present, being in the moment.”
The struggles and issues that a lot of women, Gutierrez said, face in the workplace resonated with the students and faculty at the event.
“She is so inspiring to me because she is a woman in a career where men dominate,” Garcia-Espino said. “Not only that, but she is also a wife and mother off of the field. With Amy G. being an alumni of UC Davis and in a career that is so fulfilling, this makes me feel like with hard work I can aspire to achieve my dreams even if I am a woman.”
Gutierrez ended the event by answering the question that is currently at the forefront of every baseball fan’s mind: who is going to win the 2017 World Series?
“I actually think the Dodgers are going to win,” Gutierrez said, much to the displeasure of the Giants fans in the room. “But I would like Houston to win for their community. It’s going to be a great series.”
Written by: Liz Jacobson — firstname.lastname@example.org