Coming Up Roses: Jens Weiden ’03 as CEO/GM of the Rose Bowl
It’s the No. 1 venue for college sports, has hosted five Super Bowls, the World Cup, and Olympic soccer. His role means working public and private partners to ensure the century-old stadium continues to stand the test of time.
Jens Weiden ’03 is CEO/GM of the Rose Bowl stadium which hosts the iconic Rose Bowl Game played each year on New Year’s Day.
“The Rose Bowl Game is my favorite event of the year,” said Weiden. "Everybody comes in happy—think about it, it’s a start of a new year so everyone has a clean slate. It is a long and fun day. There is something special about the promise that the year, and the game, can be anything you want.”
Sports Illustrated has named the Rose Bowl Stadium the number one venue in college sports and one of the Top 20 Venues of the 20th century. The stadium has hosted five NFL Super Bowls, the World Cup, Olympic soccer, and numerous other memorable events in its history.
Weiden was named to the CEO/GM role in 2022 after nine years as the Chief Revenue Officer.
His prominent and visible role means working with various public and private partners to ensure the historic landmark continues to stand the test of time.
“It’s pretty amazing that a building that’s 100 years old is as busy as it’s ever been,” he said. “Our job is to make sure it turns 200. It’s just an iconic place, and it’s really fun to be associated with it.”
“Saint Mary’s prepares you for the fact that the world is a lot smaller than you think. A lot of the people that you meet every day, you’re going to come across again.”
At Saint Mary's
Originally from northern Idaho, Weiden was recruited to play collegiate baseball. “My mom gets credit in making sure I had my eyes a little bit higher on the horizon,” he said. “Saint Mary’s is one of the schools I went to go visit and applied and got a partial academic scholarship and had the offer to walk on. And that was the best decision I probably made in when it comes to my career. Because my mom was right, you know, I wasn't going to play in the big leagues anywhere. And so being at the right school was so much more important than playing baseball.”
While at Saint Mary’s, Weiden played baseball and rugby and met his wife, Raelene ’03. His time at Saint Mary’s prepared him for his career, particularly conversations in Seminar and a dynamic skillset he gained from his classes and all-around experience.
At the time Weiden was working at the golf shop in Tilden Park and his business professor allowed him to use his work experience as part of his academic classwork. “For example, we had employees that got incentives for selling certain items,” Weiden said. “And we had a program where we paid it out in cash versus on their paycheck so that they saw how much money they could make. And I remember [my professor] was awesome about letting me come in and talk to the class about this program.”
Business Lessons from Moraga
After graduating with a Communication degree, Weiden worked in marketing for Giants Enterprises and 24 Hour Fitness before joining the historic and iconic stadium as Chief Revenue Officer and eventually CEO/GM. He acknowledges his visible and public role is similar to his time at Saint Mary's.
“Saint Mary’s prepares you for the fact that the world is a lot smaller than you think. A lot of the people that you meet every day, you’re going to come across again. If they have a really good idea of who you are, and respect for the way that you conduct yourself.
“It's those relationships. You have to conduct yourself like you're going to come across people again. You don’t have to be fake, and avoid conflict, but you do need to understand that your temperament is important. People you interact with may not always agree with your decisions, but you will get much more done if you are respected and trusted based on your personal track record.”
Bryan Navarro ’10 is Director of Digital Media in the office of Alumni Engagement & Events. If you have a story about an alumna/us that you'd like to share, please contact contact him.