Since he was 20 years old, Richard Peddie dreamed about being president of an NBA basketball team.
In November of 1996 his dream became reality when he was offered the job of president of the Toronto Raptors.
In 1998, the Toronto Maple Leafs bought the Raptors and Richard became President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment or MLSE.
Richard ran MLSE for 14 years and for 6 of those years, I worked there as Event Accountant in the Live Entertainment department, or as we liked to say, the E in MLSE.
What I remember most about Richard was that he always seemed very approachable. He was always very appreciative of our work in Live Entertainment, and probably the biggest fan of the company band, which I was lucky enough to be part of for 6 years.
I got to play on stage at the Air Canada Centre several times, and one time I even got to do a live performance with Alan Frew from the band Glass Tiger. I doubt that any of this would have happened if Richard didn’t approve.
Richard taught me the importance of having a vision and values in business but also in the rest of your life as well. Knowing my core values helps me feel confident about big decisions I make.
And I believe it’s important that when you’re applying for a job that you make sure that at least a few of your top values align with those of the company.
Since retiring from MLSE, Richard has written two books.
Dream Job is his autobiography and takes you through his journey in detail.
21 Leadership Lessons is his second book and though at first you might think it is a book reserved for business leaders, after reading it I realized how applicable these lessons are to everyone.
I wanted to have Richard on the show because I believe his lessons about values, leadership, integrity, and yes even thank you cards, are important for everyone to hear, and can be applied to your personal life as well as your career.
Today, at 71, Richard is a passionate city builder and philanthropist. He is active on Twitter and regularly writes posts on his website forabettertoronto.ca.
I feel very fortunate to know Richard and grateful that he agreed to host me in his home for this interview.