February 1, 2018 (Atlanta) - For as long as she can remember, Anna Matthews '16 has always been an Atlanta Braves fan. Growing up, her family would tune in every week to watch and cheer for the Braves. Her father and current Belhaven Security guard, Charlie Matthews, remembers her initial decision to work for the team she loved. We were all watching a Braves game one night, and Anna looked at us and announced that one day she was going to work for the Braves. She was 9 years old at the time. We had a good laugh about it, but she was serious.
Several years later and with two Belhaven degrees in hand, her dream finally came true. Her father saw a job opening for the Braves and encouraged her to apply for it as she was finishing her M.B.A. at Belhaven.
Her hard work and skill caught the eye of management and she was offered a job as a guest services trainee and moved to Atlanta. Then, a few months later, she was promoted to a full-time position as guest services coordinator.
Matthews' job as guest services coordinator is all encompassing. Essentially, think of it as the biggest Braves fan helping many other biggest Braves fans. She helps with interviewing, hiring, and the orientation process for game day staff. She helps facilitate the Batting Practice Experience, on-field parades, Kids Run the Bases, and post-game Friday Night Fireworks. She manages game day staff for all premium and hospitality areas throughout the ballpark.
Sometimes, she even gets to attend away games. In July, she traveled to Philadelphia, Penn. to host fans at a Braves vs. Phillies game on their VIP Road Trip. But more importantly, she gets to nurture a love for the team and the game of baseball.
It felt like draft day when I was "called up" to the major leagues from Belhaven, Matthews said excitedly. Working for the Atlanta Braves is absolutely my dream job. My favorite aspect of my job is the people. My co-workers have become my family in Georgia, and I love getting to meet Braves' fans each day and hear their amazing stories.
Her love for the team runs deep and rooting for the Braves was a way of life for her and her family. One of her favorite memories was when the Atlanta Braves came to Mississippi to play the minor league team in a Future Stars game. My parents and I got to Trustmark Park before the gates opened so we could be some of the first guests in the park, reflected Anna. When we went in I immediately saw Bobby Cox, Hall of Fame Atlanta Braves Manager, in front of our seats. I froze in place when I realized I didn't have anything for him to autograph. That's when my dad stepped in and let me borrow his hat so I wouldn't be empty handed when I spoke to him. The coolest part is now that I work in the front office for the Atlanta Braves, I get to see Bobby all the time!
Charlie and his wife visit Anna as much as they possibly can. They can attend any and all Braves games for free. Instead of watching the games on television, they can now watch in person, as a family.