Here’s how Arizona business leaders give back through coaching

Above: Erik Powell, director of new construction for Stevens-Leinweber Construction, has coached his son’s youth football and baseball teams for the past six years and his daughter’s soccer team for two. Lifestyle | 21 Apr |

Life is full of challenges, and one of the biggest ­— yet most rewarding — challenges is being a coach. Coaching at any level takes a lot of time, effort, patience and understanding of how different people learn differently. These same traits are valuable for Arizona commercial real estate leaders in the workplace.


READ ALSO: $250M Legacy Sports Park breaks ground in Mesa


AZRE Magazine found three commercial real estate professionals who are also active coaches in their communities and asked them what rewards they get from coaching and how Arizona coaching helps them in their professional life.

Amy Dooley

Associate, interior designer for SmithGroup

Dooley has been coaching young athletes in the Arcadia Little League for four years, starting with T-ball when her oldest son was 5. She also has coached soccer with Phoenix Rising Youth Soccer for two years. Dooley enjoyed all sports throughout elementary and middle school, competing in softball, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, basketball and swimming. In high school, she excelled in track and field as a sprinter at Rockford High School in Michigan.

What rewards do you get from coaching?

“At first, I wasn’t sure I would be good at it. I volunteered to be an assistant coach with my friend, and head coach, and since then we have been co-coaching together, we make a great team! What I love most is being able to interact with not only my kids, but all the kids on our team at a whole different level than what I can as a parent. I can be a mentor, I can give them encouragement, and I can help them achieve goals.”

How does your coaching experience help you in your professional life?

“At the beginning of each new season there is always a learning curve to figure out how best to work with our team, so they are all working together and listening to their coaches. Some kids are easier than others and there are always a few that are extra challenging. This is the same with my professional career. Just like kids, adults all have their own unique personalities and to work well together you need to find ways to connect on their level. Working with the kids has helped me to focus on and sharpen those skill sets.”

Perry A. Gabuzzi

Director of brokerage services for Plaza Companies

Gabuzzi has been coaching for 10 years and has coached football, basketball and baseball. He has coached at the youth and up to the junior college level, working one season as a defensive assistant coach at Scottsdale Community College. He most recently coached a 14U youth tackle football team and is looking forward to more years of coaching as he has two younger sons who will begin to play team sports in a couple years. Gabuzzi was an athlete as a youngster, playing basketball, football, baseball and soccer with his brothers. During high school, he gravitated towards music, but as he got older, he was pulled towards coaching.

What rewards do you get from coaching?

“It’s extremely rewarding to work with kids and help them to develop mentally, physically, socially and emotionally and team sports is the absolutely best platform for this type of development. Watching the growth that occurs, both individually and as a team, over the course of a season, or in the case of most of the kids I coached, over the years, is the absolute most rewarding aspect of being involved as a coach.

How does your coaching experience help you in your professional life?

“Coaching directly translates to my day-to-day as a commercial real estate advisor. Communication, accountability, goal setting, planning and preparation, and execution of strategy are integral parts of each and every day of my life.

Erik Powell

Director of new construction for Stevens-Leinweber Construction, Inc.

Powell has coached his son’s youth football and baseball teams for the past six years and his daughter’s soccer team for two. He grew up playing baseball and soccer and played four years of high school soccer at Brophy College Prep, winning one state title and playing in the finals another year.

What rewards do you get from coaching?

“Seeing my kids and their teammates grow from year to year is the most awarding part of coaching. There are other advantages as well … the kids bring back my youth and my desire to compete, and getting out on the field is a nice break from the daily grind. I’ve also coached with people who have become some of my best friends.

But the greatest reward is the coaching. I’ve coached amazing kids, and been able to spend time with my own kids that I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise. I particularly enjoy being able to teach life lessons through sports — which are always more important than the sports themselves.

How does your coaching experience help you in your professional life? 

It’s actually unreal how many commercial real estate colleagues I

run into at youth sporting events. Some are coaches but most are parents cheering on their own kids. More than anything, the coaching keeps me grounded. I see how hard my players work (sometimes how hard we make them work …) and it energizes me to do the same with my career.”

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