On Coaching

In celebration of national coach's day, an overview of the role that coaches play in our lives, and how important they’ve been to us at Leland.

Posted August 22, 2022

Today, October 6th, is National Coach’s Day. In this spirit of the holiday, a quick post on the role coaches play in our lives, and how important they’ve been to us at Leland.

The first true coach I ever had was Toby Clark, who coached my high school tennis team. Toby was short, tough, and had calves the size of watermelons. He was the sort of coach who hit balls at you if you were goofing around on the court, but who always had your back when you were down in a match. I was never that good at tennis, but Toby taught me to play hard and fight for every point.

After graduating from Stanford, I took a job at Anheuser-Busch, where I ended up on the Budweiser marketing team. There, my boss was Lori Shambro, who taught me how to distinguish between creative that you liked and creative that was good for the brand. Despite her keen eye for marketing, her greatest gift was the making her team feel special. We still keep in touch.

Finally, when I returned to Stanford, I found two more coaches: Adam Johnson, the author, who taught me how to write a story, and Glenn Kramon, the former New York Times Editor, who taught me edit one. Adam and I spent hours talking about stories in his office; Glenn and I chatted endlessly on what made a good editorial piece. Working with the two of them cemented my understanding that everyone, no matter who they are, has a story to tell.

It’s partly because of Toby, Lori, Adam, and Glenn that I am where I am today. From them, I learned persistence, creative instincts, and how to tell a good story. There’s a reason why stories are baked into Leland’s DNA, why each of our coaches shares a short article each time they join us — it’s because of the coaches who’ve influenced my life, and who have now influenced the lives of those in the Leland community. I’m grateful to my coaches, look forward to meeting new ones, and hope to some day pay it forward and coach a new generation of individuals in turn.

So, on this National Coach’s Day, a heartfelt thank you to the coaches in my life, and to all the coaches on the Leland platform who make this company so special. Each of you has had coaches who have shaped your life; imagine the lives you’ll shape through Leland. And we’re just getting started.


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