From the Boardroom to the Gridiron: Joe Moglia’s Leadership Lessons for Success
While Moglia was at the helm of TD Ameritrade, the company grew its market capitalization from $700 million to $10 billion and delivered six consecutive years of record earnings — despite the financial crisis. And in three seasons at Coastal Carolina, Moglia has led the football team to the Big South Championships every single year.
So what are his secrets of success?
Aimed at seasoned business executives and aspiring leaders alike, this speech offers insight from Moglia's extensive career as a leader in two of the most competitive industries. He discusses the four pillars of success that have always guided him, and shows audiences how to look at challenges with a new perspective.
From Dychman Street to the gridiron. From Wall Street back to College Game Day. Joe Moglia’s story is, at the outset, your classic search for the American Dream. Born to immigrant parents in an impoverished Manhattan-area neighborhood, Moglia’s odds were stacked against him from the start. But, as the allure of gang life and lawlessness captured other young men around him, Moglia turned instead to a different outlet—a distraction that would keep him off the streets, in his books and focused on a goal to create a better life for himself.
That outlet was sports—football, specifically.
While working his way through Fordham University, Moglia put his athletic abilities, analytic mindset and budding charisma to work—taking on a coaching position to help pay the bills at home for his own growing family. That position turned into a 16-year career, through which Moglia turned around two high school programs; led units that set defensive and kicking records (Lafayette); led defensive units for teams that won two Ivy League Championships (Dartmouth) and authored The Perimeter Attack Offense: Key to Winning Football, as well as numerous articles for national coaching journals.
It was a career he loved—a pursuit for which he had tremendous passion—but in the early 1980’s, with four children to feed, clothe and educatE, Moglia put that passion aside to focus on responsibility. He wanted more than to simply pay the bills. He wanted to build a legacy for his family—so that his children would have every opportunity to pursue their own passions and make a difference in their lives.
That’s when Wall Street called.
At 35, Moglia entered a training program at Merrill Lynch. In a class of “25 MBA’s and one football coach,” Moglia excelled. His training turned into a full-time sales position, and over 17 years, he continued to move up in the organization. By 1988 he was the company’s Number One Producer in the World, and by 2001 he was responsible for Global Fixed Income Institutional Sales, the Municipal Division, Investment Products, the Insurance Company, and the 401(k) and Middle Market businesses. He also served on the Executive Committee for both the Institutional and Private Client businesses.
The only thing left was the role of CEO, and he found it at an online brokerage firm, TD Ameritrade. From 2001 to 2008, under Moglia’s leadership, TD Ameritrade grew its market capitalization from $700 million to $10 billion; became a global leader in trading among individual (retail) investors; delivered six consecutive years of record earnings, despite the advent of the financial crisis in 2007-2008; and led consolidation across the industry, acquiring nine firms, the two largest being Datek Online Holdings (2002) and TD Waterhouse Group Inc. (2006)
His success was remarkable, but after 24 years on Wall Street, Moglia could not help but think about his first passion—his first career —and the one accomplishment he had yet to achieve: that of becoming a head football coach. With opportunities in both business and media, Moglia stepped down as CEO of TD Ameritrade, accepting the role of Chairman of the Board, and returned to coaching, joining the staff at the University of Nebraska as the Executive Advisor to the Head Football Coach in 2009. Over the next two seasons, Moglia helped coach teams that won divisional championships (2009, 2010); led the Big XII Conference in defense (2009, 2010); ranked in the top 10 nationally in defense (2009, 2010); and led the nation in scoring defense and defensive pass efficiency (2009)
In 2011 Moglia accepted the position of president and head coach for the Omaha Nighthawks, part of the United Football League. Midway through his second season with the team, the league, under severe financial pressure, folded, leaving Moglia looking for his next opportunity.
He found it at Coastal Carolina University. Over the last three seasons, Moglia’s teams have amassed a 32-10 record, a 13-3 conference record, and a 4-3 NCAA Playoffs record, including the team’s first playoff win in school history in his inaugural 2012 season. His 2014 squad was consistently ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation throughout the season. Additionally, Moglia has been a finalist for the Liberty Mutual FCS National Coach of the Year (2012, 2013); Big South Conference Football Coach of the Year (2012, 2014); AFCA FCS Region 2 Coach of the Year (2014); finalist for the Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year (2012, 2013, 2014); and named Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year in 2015.
Moglia has been honored throughout his diverse career for his contributions to business and community. He is the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, Columbus Citizens Foundation Leadership Award, National Italian American Foundation Special Achievement Award in Business, American Institute for Stuttering Lifetime Achievement Award, National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, Man of the Year, Omaha (Neb.) Business Hall of Fame, Fordham Preparatory School hall of Honor and Archmere Academy Sports Hall of Fame.
Moglia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Fordham University (1971) and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Delaware (1974).