Joe Moglia completely reinvented himself. Twice… He went from college football coach to CEO of Ameritrade and then BACK to football (his first love).
He was at the top of the corporate ladder. And decided to climb down for a coaching internship in Nebraska.
I almost didn’t understand why someone would put themselves through so much anguish. I needed Joe Moglia to walk me through his career path.
“You went from coaching to Wall Street and then back to coaching… So there were two times in your life when you had to cross a bridge and convince people on the other side of the bridge that you belong on that side?”
He spent 16 years coaching. And he would’ve kept going. Except moving up also meant moving away from his family.
“I literally thought I would go months and months without ever seeing my kids.”
So he decided to do something.
He said, “Turning down that job was the toughest career decision I’ve ever made in my life.”
“Did you cry?” I asked.
“I don’t remember if I cried. It wasn’t that I was trying to be ‘Father of The Year’ or altruistic…”
He said it had more to do with what he could and couldn’t live with.
“I didn’t think I could do my job as a coach if I couldn’t live up to my responsibilities as a father. I could’ve live with that. And if I couldn’t live with that, then I wouldn’t have been the coach I wanted to be. So why would I go down a path I’m not going to feel good about?”
“So how did you get to Wall Street?”
He told me about his education. “I went to Fordham University. And majored in economics.” He said he’d coached at two different schools. And started reaching out to people who graduated from those schools.
“I literally went through alumni books,” he said. He called total strangers. And gave them his one minute pitch, which included two things:
A. His background
B. And potential value (i.e. what he could do for the company if they hired him)
Joe called over 200 strangers. And got 199+ “no’s.”
It would’ve been easy to tell Joe “no.” He wasn’t in the field. He wasn’t young. He wasn’t groomed for finance.
And people want to see the right label. People want to say, “He’s a coach”, “He’s an audio engineer”, “He’s a writer”, “He’s a this. He’s a that.” We always want to put labels on each other even though we’re capable of doing more than one thing.
Joe knew that his skills were transferable. He just needed to find someone else who knew it, too.
He’d tell employers, “You’re hiring someone who’s willing to start all over. I just need someone who will believe in me enough to give me a shot.”
“And then Merrill Lynch gave me the opportunity,” Joe said. “They put me in their institutional MBA training class.”
And it worked. Joe worked with Merrill Lynch for 17 years. And after that he became the CEO of Ameritrade.
Then it gets weird again.
He reinvents AGAIN. Leaves Wall Street… and goes back to his first love: football. Except, this time, he’s an intern.
It had been 24 years since he turned down the job at the University of Miami.
His career was coming full circle.
And now, he’s the Head Football Coach for Coastal Carolina AND the Chairman of the Board at TD Ameritrade.
It’s a double reinvention. And maybe, even, a full mutation.
Links and Resources
Coach Yourself to Success: Winning the Investment Game by Joe Moglia
United Football League