Alumnus of the Month: February 2010
Todd Uterstaedt '93
What is your edge (strength)?
My faith helps me to focus.
What at Hofstra gave you your edge?
Upon reflection, it strikes me that the many opportunities for leadership development at Hofstra really helped prepare me for my career as a military officer, corporate leader, and business owner.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
What was your major?
What was your favorite class?
CRSR 117, Peer Counseling With College Students. I was a resident assistant (RA) in the residence hall designated for first year students during my senior year, and CRSR 117 was a required course for that position. It was absolutely fascinating. I learned a great deal about coaching, mentoring, and development from that class, my time as an RA, and my time as the Hofstra Army ROTC cadet battalion commander.
What is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
While I was the cadet battalion commander for the Army ROTC unit on campus, I attended the Ranger Challenge Event where our juniors competed against area schools in several grueling events. The spirit, tenacity, determination, and esprit de corps of those cadets was truly inspiring. Many of them, to this day, are still in the Army bravely serving our country.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I am the co-founder, CEO and leader of an international executive coaching firm headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Through my experience as a military officer and corporate vice president of a global company, I realized that I had certain strengths that fit nicely with helping senior managers and senior leaders enhance profitability through one-on-one and team-based coaching engagements.
Who in your field do you most admire?
Dr. Roger Birkman – World War II pilot who survived being shot down over Europe. Noted psychologist who positively impacted organizations throughout the world. Devoted and caring husband, father, and grandfather. For me, he epitomizes the American spirit of selfless service and virtuous work that strengthens the fabric of our society.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
Second lieutenant in a Combat Engineer Battalion close to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in South Korea. I learned the enduring quality of friendships forged under fire, the multiplying effect of teamwork, and how much I really don’t know about a lot of things … life really is about continuous learning and development.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
Enjoy and make use of all the tools, experiences, and knowledge that Hofstra offers to uncover that critical intersection of your personal passions, your personal strengths and your unique talents. Then use that knowledge to help, innovate, create, and inspire in all that you do before, during, and after graduation – don’t waste a single moment.
How do you balance work and life?
I am fortunate to have a wonderful wife and two special children who inspire me and ground me.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Continuing to lead Baker & Daboll, LLC, having our firm internationally known for the excellent quality of leaders it has helped develop and, hopefully, having a positive impact on the coaching profession by establishing Baker & Daboll’s “homes for coaches” located in most major cities throughout America.
What is the single most rewarding experience in your career thus far?
Beyond being a father, it would have to be observing one of my clients transition from being the target of derision, ridicule, and concern to a respected, valued, and admired executive leader in the span of one year.
Do you have a favorite quote or saying that has kept you motivated through the years?
Never give up!
How did your time spent in the military prepare you for the transition into the corporate world?
I was very fortunate to have a variety of unique experiences and the opportunity to travel the world. I also had the honor of knowing some great peers, mentors, and commanders who shared their knowledge, gave me feedback, and took an active interest in my success. My military experience helped me build the solid foundation on which I have charted my own journey and now help others succeed as they chart theirs.
What is most challenging about working with high-profile clients such as the president and CEO of a $5.8 billion multinational company?
Having the wisdom and understanding to ask the right questions, at the right time, in the right manner so as to catalyze the growth and development that lead to their personal and the organization’s overall success.
What made you choose to take on the responsibility of starting your own executive coaching company?
My co-founder, Kyle Steele, and I served in the military together, and we wanted to create an organization that reflected our values and allowed us to leverage our strengths. We had a joint passion to develop something of enduring value for our families, and do what we love. When we met our colleagues and now partners, Vivian Kist and Amy Katz, we realized the shared responsibility of starting and running our own firm was further enhanced and more enjoyable.
Ask former Army Intelligence Officer Todd Uterstaedt '93 which characteristics are most important for success in the corporate world and he will respond that they are similar to the characteristics for success in the military world, honor, integrity, respect, focus and dedication. As co-founder and chief executive officer of Baker & Daboll, he has coached CEOs, presidents, CFOs, COOs, leaders and managers on how to be better leaders.
Before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in communication arts in 1993, Todd took advantage of the many leadership development opportunities available at Hofstra. His involvement in ROTC and his time spent as an RA were the groundwork for his career as a military officer and later the leader of an international executive coaching firm.
Todd used his experience as second lieutenant in a combat engineer battalion to learn about the importance of teamwork and loyalty. It was Todd's experience in South Korea that left him humbled and eager to learn more, a quality that stays with him today. Todd lives by the phrase "Never Give Up," and this is undoubtedly the mantra that has led to his many successes. He uses his leadership and communication skills to transform some of the country's foremost business leaders, and he hopes to gain international recognition in the years to come.
Todd is married and lives with his wife and two children in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio.