More than just basketball
How does a degree in energy resources engineering lead to a job with the biggest name in basketball? For Molly Hayes, BS ’14, it’s a combination of a lifelong devotion to sports and a background in engineering.
For nearly three years, Hayes worked with the NBA to develop and expand its international presence as senior director of its Venues Department. The position required assessing the building infrastructure of more than 35 venues across 17 countries and creating new standardized processes to evaluate non-NBA arenas and maintain the integrity of the game on a global scale.
“On any given day, I could be abroad scouting a potential arena for future NBA events, discussing the latest COVID-19 protocols with mechanical engineers, coordinating building infrastructure improvements with venue operators and other NBA departments, or all of the above,” said Hayes, who was a member of the Varsity Lightweight Rowing team as an undergraduate. “Stanford prepared me by honing both my engineering hard skills and my soft skills of critical thinking, time management and public speaking.”
In that role, she has made an impact on a global scale: She helped launch the latest professional sports league, Basketball Africa League (BAL). The effort involved evaluating more than 20 venues across seven African countries, as well as managing venue operations on-site in Rwanda for the inaugural season.
“The new league and newly formed NBA Africa entity are also investing back into the continent and deepening the league’s engagement with African players and fans through the launch of NBA Academies and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families, including gender equality and economic inclusion efforts,” said Hayes, who was recently named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2022 in the Sports category. “The NBA is more than just basketball.”
Hayes will soon be transitioning to a new role with NOVA Partners, where she will be managing design and construction of local Bay Area developments.