Molly Jaeger-Begent ’65
Molly Jaeger-Begent ’65 ran a construction company with her husband for over 30 years before opening her own nonprofit art gallery in Ramona, California called 2Create Gallery. She spoke with us about the switch from construction to art, her time at Colby-Sawyer, and what advice she has for current students.
What did you major in at Colby-Sawyer, and how did it prepare you for your future career path?
Well, I am pretty sure they no longer have an associate’s degree in secretarial science. This might surprise Colby-Sawyer female students today, but my parents (who loved me dearly) explained that the only thing women could do to make a living was be a teacher or a secretary. I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher, so off I went to Colby Junior College to major in secretarial science. Actually, since I wanted to move around a lot when I was younger, that degree allowed me total freedom, since I knew no matter where I landed I could get a job. And learning how to be organized was a skill that has helped me my entire life, so I have always been grateful for the skills I learned and I loved the school!
In what ways is running a construction company different from owning a non-profit art gallery, and are they similar in any way?
The difference in a construction company versus a gallery is the kind of people you deal with. Construction is a fast-paced, intense and often male-driven environment in many ways, while an art gallery is full of people who either love art or love doing art. My husband and I would have liked to have been artists when we were young, but we liked to eat, so we switched things around and made money first and now make art and support art in our community. Both areas are interesting and challenging!
What inspired you to open your own non-profit art gallery? What do you enjoy most about it?
We sold our construction company just as the recession was getting hard to deal with. We owned the company for over 30 years and the idea was always to do art when we retired. However, I also love being an entrepreneur and loved art and things just evolved. In addition, I am not the kind of person who can sit around and read books forever. I enjoy supporting others, being involved and organizing things, so owning a nonprofit gallery is a lot of fun and a great way to give back by supporting the creative arts in our area.
What advice do you have for current college students, especially those interested in a future working in the art world or in owning their own business?
The art world, as well as owning a business, is (and always has been) tough and they’re actually not so different. My advice to anyone is to never give up no matter what you are interested in doing. I have learned more from my mistakes and/or watching others make mistakes than anything else. A mistake just gives you the knowledge to know how to do it correctly the next time, the next time and the next time until you get it right. Do the best you can, always look for opportunities, look at life in “the glass half full” mode and you will surprised where life will lead you.
What are some of your favorite memories from your time at Colby-Sawyer?
I loved learning how to ski. I am from Ohio and thought all those fall photos were a picture of a corner of a pasture and then I experienced a fall in New Hampshire…unbelievable and the entire state was gorgeous! I loved all the wonderful traditions the school had, which made my time there very special. Must admit though I did NOT like the cold which is probably why I finally landed in southern California!