Outside the Ring: Monica Sears
Once a publicist, Monica Sears rose, with steady steps and a sharp mind, to Vice President of Operations for Golden Boy Promotions…
Sports and Philanthropy: A series of articles dedicated to those who’ve given their all and still give more. Each article will feature a different community champion; no belts, no medals, no ratings… just good people passing it on.
Power! Boxing! Women! These three words are not generally strung together in a sentence. Both in and out of the ring, boxing has long been known as a testosterone rich endeavor, unwelcoming to the few women who’ve dared to try. Times are changing. And alongside a growing number of prominent women athletes there is an equally admirable group of women taking influential roles in the sport. Long before this evolution began, a young woman with a passion and feel for the arena surfaced in an unlikely place and position. More so, she established herself as a decision maker and motivating force in the sport. Once a publicist, Monica Sears rose, with steady steps and a sharp mind, to Vice President of Operations for Golden Boy Promotions (GBP). And in doing so, became a role model for other women who shared her dream.
So in the old days, before Rhonda graced The Ring, or Laila held a mike, or Anne trained a champ, there was a promoter named Oscar and a woman named Monica. And the rest, as Monica says, “is history.”
Power, Boxing, Woman… Can you put these together in a sentence?
Behind the scenes in BOXING, you will find an army of POWERful WOMEN working to put these shows together.
What is your background?
I grew up in San Diego and then moved to Los Angeles where I attended the University of Southern California (USC) and double majored in Public Relations and Spanish. I worked for Brener Zwikel & Associates (BZA) a sports PR agency before joining Golden Boy Promotions (GBP) in January of 2007.
What brought you to boxing?
While I worked at BZA, I was recruited by GBP to work as the Public Relations Coordinator. During my recruiting/interview process, I met with Oscar De La Hoya and he interviewed me the entire time speaking in Spanish. After meeting and speaking with him, I was hooked and accepted the job. The rest is history.
What are the obstacles you’ve faced?
It is no secret that sports in general, but in particular boxing, have always been “male dominated” businesses. I grew a thick skin fast and realized quickly to stay focused, work hard, be diligent in anything I do and let my hard work speak for itself in the “man’s world.”
The most annoying part of your job?
The most annoying part of the job is when a fight gets cancelled. It is the worst feeling for everyone involved, especially the fighters, to have to cancel an event and undo all of the hard work you have put into promoting an event.
The best part of your job?
The absolute best part of my job is knowing that at the end of an event, big or small, we are providing entertainment and memories for people. It is extremely satisfying to see things grow from the start all the way through to the finish.
Who’s inspired you?
I am inspired by Oscar and all of the obstacles he has overcome both professionally and personally and how he just keeps fighting. He comes to the office with a smile on his face and a focus to survive and I love that attitude. He brings the best out in people and refuses to give up and that “fighter mentality” is incredible to witness in the workplace.
Your job is demanding. What keeps you going?
Since I have been at GBP for almost 10 years, this is a big question because it has changed over the years. Since I have met Nicholas, who is now my fiancé, it is definitely him and the life and future that we are making together that keeps me going. I know at the end of the day, I have a life outside of work and that gets me through the tough times. Throughout my entire career and life, my parents Mark and Lucia have always been by my side and are my biggest supporters.
A fight you’d like to sit ringside for?
Any fight, I love the young fighters who are fighting to make a name for themselves and the mega fights just have a special buzz in the air that gives me the chills. I love it all.
A fight you’ve seen that amazed you?
I don’t have a specific fight that I’m amazed by, honestly all of the fights amaze me because the sport is so incredibly tactical and each time out these guys are putting their lives on the line. That to me is amazing.
Tell me about the philanthropy your group does?
The Oscar De La Hoya Foundation serves the East Los Angeles community through the Oscar De La Hoya Animo Charter High School, the Cecilia Gonzalez De La Hoya Cancer Center and the Neo-Natal Care Center at the White Memorial Hospital. We raise funds throughout the year at various events including the annual Golf Tournament, Thanksgiving Turkey Drive, Christmas Toy Drive and more.
Why is this important?
It is important because there are so many less fortunate people that need help, and it feels amazing to be able to give back to the community and bring joy to people.
Any honors, awards?
I received the Luminary Award from the Raging Babe Brunch on November 21, 2015. It is a society of women in boxing that gathers to help promote and bond the women in this sport. I have always worked behind the scenes and behind the camera, so being acknowledged or even approached for an interview like this is very humbling to me and I appreciate it very much.
Is there one specific boxer in your group who goes out of their way to give back?
Too many to name, I would not want to single someone out because we have a stable of really exceptional men and athletes that are well rounded and give back to their communities.
What are your goals?
I want to continue to learn and grow within the industry and help give the fans the best fights on the biggest platforms possible.
If you could change something about the sport, what would it be?
I think empowering women is something that needs to continue to grow and change in the sport. Often people think that it’s a “man’s world” but if you look closer, you can see the women are the ones grinding behind the scenes to make things happen just as much as men are. There should be more women executives and recognition for the jobs we do and I think that goes very unnoticed in this sport.
How important is marketing in making or breaking a career?
I think it’s extremely important because the fighters that have a promoter behind them to help market their career will undoubtedly get bigger and better opportunities. There are many great fighters out there that don’t get the exposure necessary to gain mainstream attention because they are not marketed the correct way. It is a struggle to break into the mainstream sports world and have “crossover” appeal outside of boxing fans, and marketing and PR are the key to doing this.
A message to the media?
Thank you for all of your support of GBP and our events. Media is a very important part of promoting fights and I’m thankful I started my career in PR so I understand the complexities of media and have developed many great relationships and friendships throughout.
Do you have any advice for women who want to be “Monica Sears”?
I think the key to success is to work hard, stay determined and focused on your dreams. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to with hard work and dedication. I always think interning and volunteering are very important to finding what you want to do in life. Go to the gyms, go to the fights, look into job opportunities at the television networks, venues, sponsors, etc. and think outside of the box to get your foot in the door. Lastly, to stay true to yourself and do not compromise your values and morals to try and get ahead in this sport.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who is a team player and always went above and beyond to get the job done. I really want to inspire and motivate the team that I work with and make each of them work to the best of their abilities. I hope people know I have a tough skin and appearance at times but I have a big heart and very giving when you get to know me.
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