Todd Porch epitomizes the servant leadership aspects of Daniels’ EMBA program
As frank as Todd Porch is about his longstanding aversion to an MBA, he’s just as quick to acknowledge the 180-degree reversal in his mindset that his time at Daniels brought about.
“On the first day of the Executive MBA program, I stood up and said ‘I’ve spent the last 30 years convincing myself I don’t need this,’” he said. “If I were to stand up in front of that class today, I would say it’s been one of the most valuable experiences of my life and I’ll take what I’ve learned with me in every aspect of my life.”
On March 13, Porch will receive his EMBA along with about 100 fellow Daniels graduate students. The 18-month EMBA curriculum features one full day of classes a week, as well as a Team Sail weekend and a Global Travel Experience, which for the recent cohort featured a visit to Mongolia.
A Comcast vice president who leads the organization’s advertising operations, Porch previously spent 14 years with Yahoo! and eight years with Sprint. Yet, he appreciates the profound impact that his time back in class has had upon his leadership capacity, including:
His awareness as a leader: “I now take every element into consideration from a personal or professional perspective and strive to always show up as a leader and facilitate the development of other leaders.”
The value of emotional intelligence: “Having an EQ as a leader is as important as delivering metric-based results. Having that balance in a leadership perspective is vital, especially given the business environment and culture of today.”
Porch added that the EMBA provides a sense of validation for his lengthy corporate career, which actually propelled Porch to Daniels years before he reentered the academic realm.
In 2014, he knocked on the door of Kerry Plemmons, professor of the practice, and pitched a case leadership program for Comcast.
Porch sold Plemmons, a fellow veteran of the corporate world, on the concept of building better equipped, more empathetic and more effective leaders at his company through a nine-month program known as Comcast Denver Leadership Academy. Currently in its sixth cohort, the program starts with three days of experiential learning at The Nature Place in Florissant and features regular visits from leaders at top corporations grappling with leadership challenges in real time.
“Todd’s vision is so much bigger than the average executive—he’s always thinking about how to create opportunities for the people around him,” Plemmons said. “He’s always thinking about what to do for his fellow man, whether that’s a fellow student in the EMBA program, an executive at Comcast or a professor like me. He truly is altruistic.”
The goodwill didn’t subside when a transfer moved Porch to the U.K., either. In addition to regularly jetting back to Denver to keep in touch with Academy participants between 2016-18, he extended an invitation to a group of Daniels accounting students who went abroad for a first-hand look at international issues. Earlier, he had facilitated Comcast’ sponsorship of Daniels’ Ideation Challenge, the half-day orientation program for graduate students that started in 2016.
“Ever since he connected with Daniels, Todd has helped us deliver valuable student experiences,” said Kate Dillon, director of external relations at Daniels. “It didn’t matter whether he was in London or Denver, he just wanted to make sure he was helping facilitate those connections. He’s just a great partner.”
Beyond receiving his degree this month, Porch anticipates continuing to refine his newly honed servant leadership skills, in part through teaching courses at Daniels. He’s also looking forward to supporting his three daughters as they advance through the teenage years and “need a dad who’s engaged, meaningful and present.”
Ultimately, he has no doubts that the lessons learned over the last 18 months will resonate for years to come.
“I feel very fortunate to have been a part of this program and I’m humbled by the investment others have made in me through the experience,” Porch said. “I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude and gratefulness for all who went through the process with me and those who led it.”