Michael Mac Donald
Jimmy V is known as a world-class coach. While I remember him for that, I also remember him as a truly great salesman.
I saw his incredible skill first hand as a graduate assistant coach at Iona College in 1976. And I will never forget it. In my first meeting with him he told me he was going to win a national championship. Seven years later he did it.
For a 23-year-old grad student sitting in Jimmy’s office, experiencing his vision and passion was as motivating as seeing him win on the court.
I learned many things in those years with Jimmy V: the power of putting family and friends first; the impact of treating people with dignity and respect; the importance of good coaching in athletics and management; and, yes, the virtue of being a strong salesman.
Even during his early days at Iona, Jimmy served both as chief coach and chief salesman. He was in demand as a motivational speaker at national basketball camps. But he never gave a predictable pitch. No, Jimmy would show up in a helicopter. He’d drag in a stuffed white rat on a skateboard. Then he’d tell the crowd that there are two kinds of players in the world — the uppity, selfish ones and the “rat people” who are tough, aggressive and work together to win as a team.
You knew what side you wanted to be on. He made the sale every time.
With that inspiration, I went on to a career in sales, joining Xerox in 1977. One of the reasons I joined Xerox was its reputation as a socially responsible company. After 29 years, that’s still one of the reasons I’m proud to work at Xerox. So when I had the opportunity to help bring a business perspective to The V Foundation, I jumped at it.
The V Foundation continues to ensure that Jimmy’s heart, mind and soul live on. It raises millions for cancer research. It unabashedly sells the need to fight this devastating disease. And it’s making a difference.
Jimmy V invited me into his extended family early in life. Through The V Foundation, I get to continue to be part of it.
Michael C. Mac Donald is president of global accounts and marketing operations for Xerox Corporation, Stamford, Conn. He is responsible for directing the company’s largest global accounts, improving the customer experience, marketing, e-marketing, xerox.com, advertising, worldwide public relations, and marketing communications. Mac Donald joined Xerox in 1977 as a district sales manager and has been promoted to increasingly responsible positions in sales and marketing. Mac Donald is on the board of The V Foundation as well as Rochester Institute of Technology, Medifast, US LEC, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce and Rutgers University.