PCA has been fortunate to have Deloitte as a strong partner since 2007. Here is PCA Founder Jim Thompson's interview of two key Deloitte executives who fuel our partnership: Mark Edmunds and Teresa Briggs.
Jim Thompson: Why are you excited about Deloitte’s Partnership with PCA?
Mark Edmunds: In the fall of 2006 I met with Jim Balassone at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, and he told me, “There’s this guy you need to meet—Jim Thompson—who started Positive Coaching Alliance. You will love what they are doing.” You and I met shortly after that, and from our first meeting I saw the huge impact PCA could have on kids—kids being coached the right way rather than the wrong way. I’ve been a huge supporter ever since.
JT: Mark, I met with one of your young associates a while back, and he said that you had mentioned PCA to him in his first meeting with you. In fact, he said mostly what you talked to him about was PCA!
ME: I talk about PCA all the time. If you Google me, you will find a lot of YouTube videos of me talking about PCA!
Teresa Briggs: Mark’s passion for PCA carried over to me and created a spark in me also. I have a 14-year-old son, and I know from personal experience how important the right kind of coach can be in a child’s life.
JT: Teresa, you shared a PCA Moment regarding your son at our National Awards Dinner when you spoke. Can you talk about that?
TB: Cole was applying to high schools and asked his lacrosse coach, who is a pretty quiet guy but very perceptive, for a letter of recommendation. He gave me a sealed envelope with his recommendation for Cole, and when I read it I was so touched. It was the most insightful perspective of him—more than any of his teachers could have provided, about how he is a leader and always shows up and completes the job.
As I thought about how to make my talk personal, reading part of the letter seemed like a way to articulate the importance of a coach in a child’s life. I hadn’t shown it to Cole until I read it that night. I had to practice it until I could do the talk without crying—can’t do that at the PCA Banquet!
JT: And it was so cool that when you finished your talk Dusty Baker stood up and went over to shake Cole’s hand.
TB: Yes, when I stepped down I saw Dusty had his arm around Cole giving him advice. That was wonderful.
JT: Apart from your personal passion for PCA, why do you think PCA is a good nonprofit partner for Deloitte?
ME: Deloitte’s success depends upon hiring really good people. All of our competitors also want to hire smart people from the best colleges, but we are particularly looking for people with great character who will fit within our organizational culture. Like PCA, Deloitte does not have a win-at-all-cost culture.
I’m really competitive, Jim, but not at all cost. I want to be trusted by our clients—that’s way more important than money. Money comes from doing business the right way.
TB: A big benefit to Deloitte is that our people get to engage with PCA.
We have a lot of nonprofit partners, but because we have a lot of employees who are sports parents and youth coaches, PCA is personal. It’s about our kids.
We also have Deloitte professionals who are incorporating PCA principles into their work leadership.
JT: How has sports played a role in your life or the lives of your children?
TB: I played softball from the time I could hold a bat. Then did gymnastics and ran track, initially the 100-meter hurdles but at 5’-2” that didn’t last. I was a sprinter—100, 200, 400 relay. My track coach was one of the most influential adults in my life. In college I played just about every sport on the “Bombers” in intramurals at the University of Arizona, where I was also a cheerleader.
ME: I saw what sports did for my son, Phil, who is 28 now. It changed his life. He played lacrosse at De La Salle High School and had an incredible coach, Bob O’Meara, who was a national finalist for PCA’s Double-Goal Coach Award several years ago. Bob coached the right way. When they lost to St. Ignatius, he had the players take off their helmets to congratulate the SI players, and on the team website, he wrote about how great SI was. I realized that is the kind of person I want to hire at Deloitte!
JT: Mark, tell our readers about your other son’s decision regarding lacrosse.
ME: Dylan, who is now 20, was a talented lacrosse player. As a sophomore on the JV team he won the “Big Man Award” for winning 75% of his face-offs. He enjoyed lacrosse but he loved music.
It was a hard decision for him to walk away from lacrosse, but the jazz band at his high school was a big deal and he wanted to focus on that. He’s now at Berklee College of Music, finest college of music in the country—he plays electric bass.
JT: That decision was hard for him but maybe even harder for you?
ME: Yes, I knew I would miss seeing him play lacrosse but I supported him following his passion. I realized, “This is what he loves.” And as much as I love watching him play sports, I also love watching him play music.
JT: It seems like one reason our two organizations are so well aligned is that coaching is important in both. Do you agree?
TB: Absolutely. My sports experience helps me coach my team at Deloitte every day. I have 8,000 people in my region and 25 direct reports. We use a matrix style of management so we have to use lots of influence because often you don’t have authority you can call on. Matrix management is challenging—sometimes people wonder, “Who’s my boss?” when they have more than one supervisor. But with a big multi-location organization you can’t avoid a matrix approach. The world has changed—it requires more complex organizations, and positive coaching is an important part of making a matrix model work.
I have 13 other regional leaders reporting to me—from Las Vegas to Honolulu to San Diego to Seattle. I find it fulfilling to help these senior leaders achieve their goals. This is probably my last big job, and I have found that when you get out of your own career track and focus on other people’s careers, coaching is all there is. That’s what it all comes down to: advocating for them, spotting opportunities for them that they wouldn’t necessarily see on their own.
JT: Mark, you often talk about how Deloitte and PCA are changing the world together. Can you say more about that?
ME: I really believe PCA has found the perfect classroom for teaching character. I love that PCA is supported by good solid research on how to get better performance from people. This is a competitive world so it’s important for kids to learn to compete, but PCA helps them understand that win-at-all-cost is not the way to be as a human in this world.
JT: What are you most proud about in our partnership?
ME: That we have used the Deloitte platform to help PCA spread nationally. There are Deloitte partners in most of the PCA Chapters around the U.S. My wife Michelle and I believe in this so much that we have made personal donations in addition to Deloitte’s contributions to grow the Triple-Impact Competitor program, which started in the Bay Area and is now nationwide.
It is so moving to hear high school kids talk at the scholarship breakfast about their dreams and aspirations, and to hear coaches speak at the annual awards dinner what they’re doing to change the world.
JT: Mark and Teresa, Deloitte has been such a great partner for PCA. Thank you for your personal commitment to helping change the world through Positive Coaching!