I’d like to tell you it was all purposeful from the time I was young, but actually I had a bit of a roundabout route where I simply grasped opportunities as they arose. The short history is that after a few years of my own collegiate sporting career and then working with my family construction firm in New Jersey, the 1980’s recession drove me back to school, and I signed up for a degree in psychology.
As you do in psych courses, I examined my own life, and I realized that in my own limited athletic career I had been prevented from being a much better performer mostly by my mental game. So I got further into sports psychology and did my master's/Ph.D. at Temple University in Philadelphia. My thesis on restrictive environmental therapy caught the attention of the Australian Institute of Sport. My newlywed wife and I went to Australia for a six-month research project in 1990 and ended up staying through my appointment as head psychologist to four Olympics—Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens
The work was very high profile and challenging: Helping many of the Australian teams perform including the very successful Australian swim team, who became number one in the world. Even as a small country of only 25 million people Australia has always performed well on the international stage. My role was to assist the athletes, coaches and teams to overcome mental and emotional barriers and perform at their best in the moments that count the most. Those same behaviors, practices and mindsets can be learned. So, there is a very strong applicability outside of sport.
I left the Institute in 2001 and built up a consulting business, including serving as the COO of a national law firm. I sold my firm to Rogen Si, a global leadership and talent consultancy, where I became a partner. We moved back to the U.S. so my sons could play baseball (we are American, after all!), and after a few years we sold again to T-Tech, a public company focused on the customer experience. My earn out was complete in 2016 and I actually considered retirement. But then AlixPartners called me and here I am, very happily helping to grow and mature our global transformative leadership practice.