Ryan Komagome on Being a Coach and Mentor

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When Ryan Komagome isn’t working as a Group Manager for Marketing Planning & Analytics at Adobe, he’s using his background and passion to volunteer as a basketball coach at South Bay Youth Sports, which provides a safe learning environment for at-risk kids in San Jose to play team sports. The league is especially vital for kids who don’t make their high school basketball teams but still love to play the game, helping them not only improve their basketball skills—but teaching them about opportunities and making positive life decisions.

“I got into coaching first at the high school level, and then in the summer I coached separately with a non-profit organization called South Bay Youth Sports Network. It’s open to all kids in east San Jose, California. We specifically try to recruit kids that don’t make their high school basketball team, but still have an affinity for basketball. We help them, through the relationship with basketball, to make better life decisions and to open up possibilities they may not have considered before.

One of the best highlights from coaching happened this past year. We had a kid on our team who is autistic. He made the team on his own merit. His team members rallied around him to make sure he was successful on the team. In the last game of the season, we had a packed gym chanting his name and he made the game-winning free throw. His mom came back to us after the game and said, ‘This is the best thing that has ever happened to me or my family.’”

Being a coach, Ryan says, allows him to work with people from all different backgrounds and understand diverse points of view — a skill that’s important on any team. And coaching basketball offers plenty of opportunities to put his experience in analytics to good use. Ryan looks to data to identify ways to improve his team, mirroring the analytics work he does at Adobe to analyze the effectiveness of marketing programs.

“Adobe’s a special place because I truly believe they support the professional growth and the individual growth of the person. Coaching basketball makes me a better manager because it forces me to think about other points of view. In a basketball team you have anywhere between 10-15 guys who come from many different backgrounds, and I think that’s the same way with any team—you’re going to have different points of view and to help them understand where they’re coming from is a big thing to make people successful.”

Watch the video below to learn more about Ryan’s inspiring volunteer work and why he represents what it means to be truly involved.

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