Teresa Resch was hired by the NBA's Toronto Raptors in 2013 soon after Masai Ujiri took charge of the team. At the time, she was one of the only women working for the Raptors — a fact that would soon change as Toronto outpaced many of its sports organization peers in its executive hiring process.
Resch, the vice president of basketball operations for the Raptors and a native of Lakefield, Minn. — about three hours southwest of the Twin Cities — joined Friday's Daily Delivery podcast to discuss a number of subjects.
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Some highlights of the interview:
*On the Raptors temporarily relocating to Tampa this season because of Canada's stricter COVID-19 protocols and the challenges that has presented to Toronto — which brings a 14-15 record into Target Center on Friday for a game against the Timberwolves:
"If you think about, if you've ever moved, relocating your life and your family. It's exactly the same thing except we're talking about the entire organization. … I think everybody knew going into this season that it was not going to be normal. That it was going to be anything but that. All the way leading up to the compressed offseason. … I think we'll never truly know the impact that it's had. A lot of it is kind of this unsettled-ness that you feel. Everybody reacts to it differently. When you're in the moment of it, you aren't even quite sure what variables are really affecting you. We all know it's very, very different and we know that change is hard but uncertainty is almost more difficult than anything. Trying to navigate those things has been challenging not only for a basketball team but honestly for all of society."
*On her role with the Raptors: "Honestly the job title doesn't describe what I do. I've been here eight seasons and I think it's taken eight seasons to figure out how to describe what I do. I'm basically the chief of staff for our president of our team (Ujiri). My 30 second pitch is that my job, my responsibility, is to ensure that everyone connected to the Toronto Raptors has the resources available to compete at a championship level. It can be the players, the coaching staff, as well as the business side. … It's very all-encompassing. I'm definitely a generalist amongst some really, really elite level experts in their area groups. I kind of connect the dots between those groups.
*On the importance of hiring women in key roles in sports and how the Raptors have succeeded in doing that: "I feel that the fact that we have so many women that play a role in this environment has helped us as an organization in many, many ways. Number one is all the women that work for the Raptors are really, really good at their jobs. … Then I think secondly it just becomes part of the norm. When you see a woman walking into a training room, you don't act differently because they're part of the organization, they're part of the culture. Everyone expects them to be there because that's their job. I think that unfortunately it's still the case in a lot of work environments where a woman is a lot of times 'the only' and then they're treated differently and singled out because of that. And it's really hard to overcome those things when you're 'the only.' So it's helped that we have many women in all facets of the organization playing impactful roles."
*On the success Toronto has had turning unheralded players like Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam into key contributors on a team that has won a championship and remains competitive: "We've done a good job of picking players who are going to work and get better, honestly. I don't think there are many players out there who have worked as hard or have been as committed and passionate in their approach as those two players. I think what we've done, though, is develop an environment and pathway to grow and be their best selves. … To make the most of the opportunity."
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