Sports - National Viewpoint

Sports - National Viewpoint

At a time when the lives of many have been dramatically disrupted and work, education, and society’s functions are in a state of constant transition, this new series from ThinkND will explore this point in history and how the work happening on Notre Dame’s campus and beyond relates to and impacts the United States and the world at large. "Sports" virtual events will be the following Thursdays:  

  • October 22, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern: National Viewpoint
  • October 29, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern: Global Viewpoint
  To join the live events, register here.

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Featured Speakers:

  • Allison Barber, Ph.D., President and COO of the Indiana Fever, Indiana’s WNBA franchise
  • Raul Fernandez, Owner & Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment
  • Chris Stevens, Co-Founding Director, Inspired Leadership Initiative at the University of Notre Dame, and Professor at the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame
  • Stan Wilcox ’81, Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, NCAA

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Allison Barber

Allison Barber

Allison Barber, Ph.D., is the President and COO of the Indiana Fever, Indiana’s WNBA franchise.

With a career that spans from a schoolhouse to the White House and now to the Fieldhouse, Allison Barber has a successful record of building brands and maximizing impact.  From grade school teacher in Merrillville, Indiana, to communications strategist in the White House and United States Department of Defense; and as the first chancellor and chief fundraiser for Western Governor’s University (WGU) Indiana, Allison has dedicated herself to creating pathways to help individuals reach their potential. 

Now, as the President and COO of the Indiana Fever, she has set her sights on building and inspiring Fever fans in all 92 counties of Indiana.  Barber understands the power of playing sports, a college athlete who lettered in tennis and softball, she values the positive impact sports can have on both children and adults.   

Barber holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Tennessee Temple University; a M.S. in Elementary Education from Indiana University; and a Ph.D. In Leadership from Tennessee Temple University. She is the recipient of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service awarded by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and was recognized as a Woman of Influence by the Indianapolis Business Journal.

In March 2019, she was presented with Indiana’s highest honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash, presented by Governor Eric Holcomb. Barber is a state lead volunteer for the American Red Cross and serves on the boards of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Indiana Destination Development Corp., and the Elizabeth Dole Hidden Heroes Foundation.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”


Learn more about Allison Barber’s journey in this article by the Dana Hunsinger Benbow, IndyStar, “From the Pentagon to Saddam Hussein’s palace to Fever president, this is Allison Barber’s life.

Raul Fernandez

Raul Fernandez

Raul Fernandez is the Owner & Vice Chairman of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, a private partnership which owns some of Washington DC’s major sports franchises including the WNBA’s 2019 Champion Washington Mystics, the NHL’s 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals, the Washington Wizards, and Wizards District Gaming NBA 2K team.

The partnership also owns and operates DC’s premier sports and entertainment complex, Capital One Arena. As a hands-on and active member of the Monumental Sports & Entertainment leadership, Mr. Fernandez is involved in multiple aspects of the business including global sponsorship and technology innovation. He serves on the NBA Board of Governors as an Alternate Governor.

Concurrently, he is also a Senior Advisor and Limited Partner to General Atlantic Partners, a growth equity firm with more than $35 billion under management. As investor, business executive and philanthropist, Mr. Fernandez’s esteemed career spans a cross-section of industries from technology and retail to sports and entertainment. Investing his expertise and resources in emerging and established B2B and B2C companies, Mr. Fernandez is active in a multitude of sectors that intersect technology with lifestyle industries.

Raul Fernandez

Chris Stevens '74 (Moderator)

Presented by Chris Stevens

Chris Stevens ’74

Chris Stevens ’74 teaches undergrads, one-year MBAs, Executive MBAs, and in ESTEEM as part of the Management Department and oversees the Inspired Leadership Initiative as its Co-Founding Director. He is a former Irish basketball player and past member of the Notre Dame Monogram Club Board of Directors. He is one of the three original developers of the Keurig Premium Coffee System and developed the brand, sales, distribution, and marketing strategies. He was also responsible for all aspects of Keurig’s corporate social responsibility practices as part of its commitment to donate at least five percent of pre-tax profits to environmental and social causes.

In the fall of 2012, Chris joined the Mendoza College of Business as a professional specialist teaching undergraduate courses. After retiring from Keurig in 2013, he began teaching M.B.A. courses in business problem-solving, change management, and entrepreneurship at Notre Dame’s South Bend and Chicago campuses. In 2017, he joined Mendoza as a full-time faculty member.

Learn more about Stevens’ work here:

Stan Wilcox '81

Stan Wilcox ’81

Stan Wilcox ’81 is the NCAA’s second executive vice president of regulatory affairs. Reporting directly to President Mark Emmert, he is tasked with addressing all matters related to regulatory strategies consistent with the needs of the membership as well as oversight of academic and membership affairs, the Eligibility Center, and enforcement.

He leads a team of individuals responsible for investigating potential violations involving member schools to uphold integrity and fair play among the NCAA membership. He also oversees legislative interpretations, waiver requests, and academic and amateurism certification. Wilcox comes to the NCAA from Florida State University where he served as the director of athletics from 2013 to 2016 before being promoted to vice president. During his successful five-year tenure, the Seminoles won the school’s third football national championship in 2013, the University’s first-ever women’s soccer national championship in 2014 and the school’s first-ever NCAA title in softball in 2018. Prior to his time at Florida State, he served in senior positions at Duke, Notre Dame, and the Big East Conference.

Wilcox has held several national leadership positions including membership on the NCAA Football Oversight Committee and, LEAD1 Board of Directors. He helped to create the Minority Opportunity Athletics Association and subsequently served as a member of its board. From 2003 to 2005 he was president of the Black Coaches Association (BCA).

The North Babylon, N.Y. native graduated from Notre Dame in 1981 with a degree in economics. At Notre Dame, he helped the men’s basketball program to a four-year 92-26 record and four NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 1978 Final Four. In 1988, Wilcox earned a juris doctor from the Brooklyn Law School and is a member of the New York State Bar Association.

“Live each day as though you will die tomorrow and live each day as though you will live forever.”

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