The independent news organization of Duke University

Coach K teams with Duke alumni to launch digital leadership development platform PowerForward

<p>Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is now the face of the tech startup PowerForward.&nbsp;</p>

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is now the face of the tech startup PowerForward. 

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is busy on the recruiting trail and getting his team ready for the 2016-17 season, but the five-time national champion is hoping to spread his leadership message beyond the basketball court.

Krzyzewski and a team of powerful Duke alumni announced the launch of PowerForward, a digital leadership development platform, Monday afternoon. The platform provides subscribers with interactive video content from the Blue Devil head coach and other leaders to enhance team building. The entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency is incubating the company and Chrissie Gorman, Trinity '06 and a former consultant for Bain & Company, is its CEO.

“Since my time at West Point, leadership has been a core passion of mine and something I’ve taught my teams at Duke and USA Basketball. PowerForward captures the essence of many core leadership principles I’ve shared with my players for decades and applies it to business teams,” Krzyzewski said in a release. “What energized me about PowerForward is the ability to share my own storytelling and values-driven approach with an entirely new audience off the court in the corporate and start-up communities.”

The Duke ties to PowerForward go beyond the CEO.

Several of the strategic partners—Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, Oaktree Co-Chairman Bruce Karsh and Bain Capital Managing Director Steve Pagliuca—have major connections to the University.

Cue, Trinity '86, works closely with Apple CEO Tim Cook—a Fuqua School of Business alum—and took in Duke's 2015 game against Utah at Madison Square Garden courtside next to "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon and Kevin White, Duke's vice president and director of athletics.  

“Coach K’s legendary leadership has created many champions both on and off the court,” Cue said in the release. “Now with PowerForward, a much broader base of people can be inspired by his incredible perspective and teachings.”

Karsh, Trinity '77, served on the University's Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2015 and has made significant donations back to Duke. In 2008, he and his wife Martha donated $20 million to fund financial aid for international undergraduate students, and in 2011, they gave $50 million for undergraduate financial aid. 

Pagliuca has more direct ties to Krzyzewski and the basketball team, as his son Nick is a senior walk-on with the Blue Devils this season and has played in 24 games during his career. Nick's older brother, Joe, was also a four-year walk-on at Duke from 2004 to 2007. Steve Pagliuca is a co-owner of the Boston Celtics.

Pagliuca is not the only prominent sports franchise involved with PowerForward, though, as Peter Guber, chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, is also a strategic partner. Guber is a co-owner of the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles FC. 

“As someone who has run companies and sports franchises, I have seen first-hand the parallels between what you learn on the court and apply to the boardroom,” Guber said in the release. “But this isn’t a rah-rah ‘Let’s win one for the team’ pep talk, but specific leadership lessons that translate seamlessly, yet can shift the entire paradigm of corporate leadership needed to inspire today’s ‘disruptive’ workforce.”


Share and discuss “Coach K teams with Duke alumni to launch digital leadership development platform PowerForward” on social media.