40 Under 40 The Class of 2017

Molly MacMunn

Special Events & Tourism Planner, Yankee Candle Village; Age 34

Molly MacMunn

Molly MacMunn

Molly MacMunn often finds it difficult to attend events.

That’s because staging events for Yankee Candle is what she does for a living. It’s not a job, really, but a passion. So when she’s merely attending a gathering, she’s usually not focused on enjoying herself; instead, she’s observing, taking mental notes, and gauging what works and what doesn’t, always with an eye toward making her next event better.

It will be the same at the Log Cabin on June 22 when she accepts her 40 Under Forty award, but she vows to allow herself to have a good time.

“Events can be hard for me because I’m always looking at things from a different perspective,” said MacMunn, who noted that events are big part of the experience at the Yankee Candle complex in South Deerfield. They occur year-round, but the pace picks up when the leaves start to turn, and it stays that way through the holidays.

“Early fall … that’s when we put our running shoes on,” said MacMunn, who must wear them almost all day those months, because she is now a marathoner — she’s competed in several to date — and member of a Deerfield-based running club called Wicked Early.

By running in the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis, Tenn., she has even managed to meld this new interest with yet another passion, giving back to the community — work that takes many forms, from staging events for Franklin County Young Professionals to judging the spelling bee at her daughter’s school.

In many ways, MacMunn said, it is her daughter Isabelle’s autism — or, more specifically, the manner in which many have helped her cope with this challenge — that has inspired her work within the community.

“I was a really young single mom, I was in college, I was working … I just felt lost,” she explained. “My sister, whom I’m very close to, said, ‘you’ll never be given more than you can handle, but that doesn’t mean you have to handle it alone.’ And I took that to heart.

“I found myself in a vulnerable position, and I relied on my community of friends and family,” she went on. “Now that my daughter is much older and I’m in a better place in my life, I feel there are many people who are given a lot to handle, and I would like to be part of the solution.”

Needless to say, she has succeeded in that quest.

—George O’Brien