On the latest episode of From the Cockpit, Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins joins the podcast to discuss leadership during these times of uncertainty with Magellan Jets President Anthony Tivnan and Chief Operating Officer Todd Weeber. Additionally, Martins chats about the Magic’s important philanthropic endeavors, as well as the NBA’s planned return. Click the link below to listen to the full episode.
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The COVID-19 pandemic came at a pretty bad time for the Orlando Magic, who were surging in the NBA’s Eastern Conference before the shutdown. “We were in the midst of rolling,” Magic CEO Alex Martins says on the Magellan Jets podcast. “At the time that all this hit, we were playing our best basketball of the season.”
In addition to a derailed season, the organization’s operations had to figure out new policies and procedures for working from home while navigating the challenges brought on by the situation. Martins knew that the moment required a tremendous amount of leadership and empathy in order to help guide his team through these uncertain times.
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Leading Through Adversity
“It is about leadership and it’s about making sure the organization has its direction and feels comfortable,” Martins says. “And you’re comforting, in particular, your employees who are anxious and worried and, certainly, concerned about everything, their families, their health, their lives and their jobs.”
With a focus on leading with safety, Martins and his fellow senior leaders created an internal COVID-19 task force. This team developed everything from office communications and work from home logistics to researching back to office plans and, eventually, what it would take to have fans in arenas again.
Throughout, Martins has kept an open dialogue with staff and fans. Since communication is so critical, the Magic CEO reveals that the organization has a virtual town hall meeting every three weeks with staff. Additionally, the team has virtual events with fans as well to keep them engaged and informed.
Unfortunately, another aspect that’s been hit hard is the Magic’s philanthropic efforts. Martins says it’s been tough for the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation, an organization Magellan Jets is proud to support, which helps at-risk youth in central Florida.
Since many fundraisers have been canceled which support the foundation, such as the 2nd annual Orlando Magic Wine Festival and Auction back in March, things haven’t been easy.
“Our charity is being challenged more than ever,” Martins says.
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Getting Back to Basketball
As the world begins to reopen, things are looking brighter. The Magic may even get a chance to return to their winning ways soon with the NBA’s tentative return plan.
According to Martins, who’s been apart of the league’s restart committee, safety is the top priority should play resume. “No matter what we do, this has to be a safe and healthy environment for everyone involved,” he says.
That commitment to safety is why the league’s return will be set at a neutral campus site at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. According Martins, players and a limited number of people from each organization will reside in three hotel properties. As an added precaution, interactions will be strictly limited with outsiders and staff.
“Ultimately, from a safety standpoint that’s the model that we landed on because we felt that it was safest to bring everybody to one location,” says the Magic CEO, “to be able to test everyone on a daily basis, really, to ensure that everyone is going to be safe.”
In addition, families won’t be allowed to visit until after the first round of playoffs. They must also follow strict testing and isolation procedures. “All of these measures are really being taken as we get ready to restart to ensure that the health and the safety of our players and coaches and staff,” says Martins.