Molly Fletcher’s success as a sports agent came not only from her formidable negotiating skills, but also from her ability to foster relationships.
She spent nearly 20 years representing such heavies as TV sportscaster Ernie Johnson Jr., PGA-winning golfer Matt Kuchar, the NBA’s LA Clippers’ coach Anton “Doc” Rivers, MLB sportscaster and former player John Smoltz; former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann, and even the young basketball coach Tom Izzo.
CNN dubbed her “the female Jerry Maguire.” And businesses began asking her to share some of what she’d gleaned during her days bargaining with the front office.
So in 2010, Fletcher traded one dream career for another, founding the Molly Fletcher Company and using her skills to help others find success. The transition between careers came naturally, she said. “I always had a passion for developing relationships.”
After graduating from MSU, where she was captain of the women’s tennis team her senior year, Fletcher put her negotiation skills right to use. She made a deal to teach tennis at a high-end Atlanta apartment complex in exchange for free rent. Then she set about making contacts that would launch her career as an agent.
“My parents thought I’d be back in a few years,” the East Lansing native recalled.
Instead, Atlanta remains home base as Fletcher travels to give some 60 keynote speeches a year on such topics as negotiation, leadership, team development and methods women can use to shatter glass ceilings. She might advise clients, as she has her Facebook followers, that “transparent and authentic conversation can solve most everything except health issues” and encourage them to “get fired up about your future because you are going to spend the rest of your life there!”
Her company designs individualized sessions, combining educational components with facilitated discussion and interactive, hands-on activities. An online learning portal helps companies follow up with their staff after the sessions. “There’s only so much impact you can have in an hour,” Fletcher said.
A variety of well-known companies and organizations call on her services, including: The Home Depot, Porsche, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and even Michigan State University. “Molly has a way of connecting and explaining how to build strong, powerful relationships no matter what business you are in,” said Richard E. Tanner, group vice president for SunTrust Investment Services.
Fletcher credits early mentor Sandi Smith, MSU professor of communication, for inspiring her. “Molly was always highly motivated and very energetic,” Smith said. “She’s the living definition of charisma.”
For more insight into Fletcher’s world, check out her books: A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating, The Business of Being the Best and—from the Spartan who did it twice—The 5 Best Tools to Find Your Dream Career.