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20 Questions Member Spotlight with Tom Galbraith

Jan. 30, 2018

Name: Tom Galbraith
Position/Institution: Director of Athletics / Simpson University
Number of years in your position: 2.5
Alma Mater(s): Simpson College (Iowa) (B.A.); North Dakota State (M.Ed.)
Hometown: Newell, Iowa
Institution Athletics Twitter Handle: @GoRedHawks

1) Why did you become involved in the NAIA-ADA?
I was asked to fill the open position representing the California Pacific Conference. I accepted the invitation because I knew this group of innovative and influential ADs from across the spectrum of the NAIA would be an effective learning atmosphere for me in my young career as an AD.

2) What is your favorite part about being a member of the NAIA-ADA?
Working at the macro level to have positive influence over the lives of young student-athletes, not just within their respective sport, but through all of the core values put forth by the NAIA.

3) What is the biggest challenge to working in a university environment?
Convincing others in an educational environment that athletics can serve as an integral part of the educational process.

4) What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?
Codifying the mission of Simpson Athletics to align itself with the mission and goals of Simpson University.

5) What is the most important skill you have developed in your career?
Communication and the ability to adapt to differing working environments and populations.

6) Who has been the most influential person in your career?
Ironically only because she has very little interest in athletics, my wife.

7) What is one item you cannot live without?

8) Who would you chose to switch places with for a day?

9) If you could plan a vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

10) What is your favorite sporting that event you have ever attended?
I didn’t attend the game, but I was in Chicago at Harry Caray’s for Game 7 of the 2016 World Series to celebrate with my fellow Cubs fans.

11) Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in collegiate athletics?
When it was evident that this career combined many of my loves in life, most notably sports and working with many different kinds of people.

12) In your mind, who in this industry can serve as a good role model?
Every head coach in every sport.

13) How has your involvement with the NAIA-ADA influenced your career?
I get to meet and make important decisions with some of the best minds in the industry. You can’t help but be positively influenced by those relationships.

14) What educational or business experiences best prepared you for a career as an Athletics Director?
Working on my doctorate in higher education administration helped me to better understand all the working elements of the university, rather than just athletics.

15) What challenges do you face when working with student-athletes?
Helping them understand that the future is now.

16) Would you please explain a professional success and how you implemented it?
I treat every day as if it is AD game day. Every day is either a win or a loss in whether I feel I was the best AD I could have been on that day. My current “winning percentage” is .835.

17) What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? What advice would you give to someone looking to become an NAIA Athletics Director?
Have no fear of failure. Only fear not attempting. Advice: Learn everything you can in every aspect of athletics, from all perspectives, to prepare to do the best you can each day.

18) What was your biggest professional blunder and how did you learned from it?
Combining the head coaching duties for two of our sports into one position, which led to one being favored over the other. I learned that I am not always right in evaluating the talents of personnel.

19) What percentage of your work-week is spent in your office?
60 percent.

20) What are you most looking forward to at the next NAIA or NACDA Convention?
Continuing existing relationships and building new ones with fellow colleagues in this profession.

About NAIA-ADA: The NAIA-ADA is comprised of athletics administrators from the nearly 250 institutions representing 21 conferences competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The purpose of the NAIA-ADA is to engage our Athletics Directors with meaningful collaboration, forums and national recognition; empower our Athletics Directors in their professional development and leadership roles in the NAIA; and promoteNAIA Athletics Directors' collective voice on issues affecting membership and college athletics on a national scale. For more information about the NAIA-ADA, please visit www.naiaada.com. The NAIA-ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 53rd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.