Growing up in Texas, Jen Mueller always had a passion for sports. Whether it was an impromptu game of Wiffle Ball or basketball in her family’s backyard, competing in just about any varsity league in high school, or simply enjoying a Houston Oilers or Astros game on television, Mueller always had sports on the brain. But she never thought about making a career out of her passions, rather she aspired to be a third-grade teacher.
“My high school guidance counselor pointed out that I liked to talk a lot in front of people, and asked if I had ever thought about broadcasting,” the 39-year-old Issaquah resident recalled. “It wasn’t anything that had crossed my mind … but I thought if I was going to do it, it had to be sports (broadcasting) — nothing else made sense.”
After college, Mueller moved to the Pacific Northwest and traded her Oilers (now known as the Tennessee Titans) gear for Seahawks blue and green close to a decade ago, working as a sideline reporter for Mariners Television and Seahawks Radio. At the time, Mueller didn’t have much of an affinity for the Seattle chapter of the National Football League, but she said that quickly changed.
“Those are my guys; I’ve known them since they were rookies,” she said of her coworkers, the Seahawks players.
Knowing “the guys” is of utmost importance to performing Mueller’s job. She estimates 90 percent of her job is researching (the Seahawks and their opponents) and fostering working relationships with the players so she can communicate effectively with them on game day — she is literally part of the team.
“You build a relationship that comes through in the way that you ask questions and the way that they trust you to ask those questions,” she said. “It isn’t just anyone — it’s Doug (Baldwin), it’s Kam (Chancellor), it’s Sherm (Richard Sherman) — you do get a chance to know them and build that trust.”
When a player sees 5-foot, 4-inch Mueller get eclipsed by a gaggle of taller camera-toting reporters, she said they make sure she is settled before continuing the interview. Like any good coworkers would do, the players will hold doors open for her when her arms are full, they will check in with her if she seems to be having a rough day, and she said they sometimes help her out if she (rarely) lobs an awkwardly phrased question.
“I asked Doug Baldwin the worst question in the world the very first time we did an interview together,” she recalled. “I don’t even remember what the question was; I just rambled and babbled — and Doug picked it up and answered it as if it was the best question in the entire world.”
In 2009, Mueller founded Talk Sporty to Me, a business that empowers professionals to leverage sports fandom in conversations. Her speaking engagements and her books (Talk Sporty to Me, Game Time, and The Influential Conversationalist) help many local business leaders.
Next, see how this sports-loving journalist and entrepreneur spends her day.
I love mornings. I set coffee to brew while I run out to the gym for a sprint spin class, and it’s ready when I get back home.
Back from the gym, I get 10 minutes of quiet time with the sports page and a cup of coffee before the day officially begins.
I head downstairs with my breakfast to work on blog posts for Talk Sporty to Me. I also return work emails and follow up on upcoming speaking engagements.
I know I’ll be eating in my car at some point today, so I take a few moments to cut and pack healthy snacks for the road.
I settle into my desk at ROOT Sports Northwest. I enjoy this space because I’ve tried to keep the memorabilia under control. My workspace is very organized.
The Wednesday press conference with Pete Carroll during the season gives me a basis for my game prep for the following Sunday.
I grab a late lunch and eat during my meeting with members of the Seahawks broadcast team.
With the latest Seahawks information top of mind following the weekly press conference, it’s time to tape the weekly Seahawks Insiders podcast.
I touch up my hair and makeup before I head outside to shoot a weekly segment for Seahawks.com.
Seahawks practice is over, which means I have time to sit down and work on my game preparation and research so I’m ready for anything come game day.
Back home and still multitasking. Tonight, it’s barley risotto with andouille sausage and sweet potatoes — and wine; usually, there’s wine.
Work never ends when you’re an entrepreneur. I’m getting copies of my new book, The Influential Conversationalist, ready to send to a few corporate clients.