With the Super Bowl approaching, we asked Wexner football fans to share their thoughts about a coach, team or players from whom they drew leadership lessons.  Whether you are a Patriots fan, an Eagles fan, or even a football fan at all, you may find inspiration in these stories.  We invite you to leave your comments as well in the box below.

Stuart Silver, WHP Alum (Philadelphia 2 and Boca Raton) — Delray Beach, FL
I am inspired by Chris Long, an Eagles Defensive End (and the son of former NFL player and current commentator Howie Long).  Chris was an All-American at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville (my alma mater) before playing in the NFL.  Repulsed by white supremacy marches which occurred in his hometown last August and wanting to combat hatred and bigotry, Chris donated the first six paychecks received from the Eagles this season to pay for high school scholarships in consultation with the local Boys & Girls Clubs.  He said:  “We want the community to be reflective of what the Charlottesville community is really about… supporting one another, social equality and building up those in our community who need it.”  Later in the season, Chris announced that he would donate his final 10 game checks to three different organizations devoted to educational equality in the three cities where he’s played football.  In sum, his contributions exceeded one million dollars.  He’s named his initiative “Pledge 10 for Tomorrow” and pledged an additional $50,000 to the city which raises the most for his project.

Stuart is a member of the Senior Management Team at the Federation in Boca Raton.  Before 2010 he was professionally engaged as a trial lawyer in Miami and Philadelphia.


Lysa Puma, WHP Member (Philadelphia 16) — Philadelphia, PA
I am on the board of the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance (PCA), an independent non-profit organization that promotes healing and justice for sexually abused children in Philadelphia.  For years, we have found that Corporate America and celebrities don’t want to be involved with our cause because they don’t want to be associated with sexual abuse, much less child sexual abuse.  Recently, three Eagles players decided that the cause needed attention.  Nick Foles, Trey Burton and Jordan Hicks donated $50,000 to PCA and have challenged their fans to match that donation, through individual $5 contributions at #Give5toPCA.  These players give money, time and their voices to a needy charity while being superstars on the field.  I couldn’t be prouder to be an Eagles fan.  Go Birds!

Lysa is a Legal Search Consultant at Puma Legal Placement, a search firm she started in 2013.  Prior to creating her own company, Lysa developed the attorney placement practice at Wise Counsel in NYC for 12 years.  She has been passionately involved in Philadelphia’s Reform Jewish community as a leader at Congregation Rodeph Shalom and a devoted Camp Harlam alumni and cheerleader. 


Stuart Rossman, WHP Alum (Boston 1) — Needham, MA
Ordinarily, it would be difficult to choose the preferred winner of the Super Bowl based on the age-old question of which outcome would be best for the Jews.  This time, however, the answer should be simple because, for the second year in a row, both competing teams are owned by philanthropic Jewish families (and in 2018, I would like to point out, both families have their roots in the Greater Boston area).  And as a bonus, the game will be played in the home stadium of a team owned by my old Cabinet chevra, Zygi and Mark Wilf.  So whether the Krafts or the Lurie/Smiths come out on top next Sunday it will be very good for the Jews.  But all things being equal, as far as I am concerned, I hope the PATS BLITZ FOR SIX! GO NEW ENGLAND!!

Stuart is a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center (“NCLC”) and has served as its Director of Litigation since 1999.   NCLC is a 49-year-old national nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to the representation of low-income and elderly consumers.


Shira Goodman, WHP Member (Philadelphia 16) — Philadelphia, PA
What’s so special about the Eagles this year is that every time there’s an injury, the team steps up, rallies around the substitute player and finds a way to win.  When QB Wentz went down late in the season, everyone else wrote Philadelphia off — not Wentz, though, and not the rest of the team.  This team has rallied around Nick Foles and the city has come together, taking on the insulting underdogs label as a rallying cry.  This team is full of leaders, on and off the field, who are inspiring the team to victory and working hard to make our City — through donations to schools and fighting for criminal justice reform — a better place.  Fly Eagles Fly!

Shira is a lifelong Philadelphian with a critical detour in Ann Arbor.  She leads a statewide gun violence prevention organization focused on education, outreach, coalition-building and advocacy for a safer PA.


Lorin Decker, WHP Alum (Philadelphia 16) — Elkins Park, PA
Carson Wentz is a true inspiration.  Even though his late-season injury has kept him sidelined as the Eagles have battled their way into the Super Bowl, this guy’s leadership has not diminished.  He has been a tremendous cheerleader for his fellow players, especially his back-up, Nick Foles, who is now charged with carrying the mantle of leadership forward for this team.  In a situation where there could be resentment for the level of support and accolades that Foles is achieving in his absence, Wentz has been there as one of Foles’ greatest supporters as well as a coach and adviser to him and the team.  His work ethic has not diminished either, as he still attends all practices and workouts and is often one of the first guys to show up each day as the team prepares for its greatest game.  Truly a leader by example, despite his inability to physically contribute as a player.  Go birds!!!

Lorin is a Mergers & Acquisitions Manager at E.I. Dupont de Nemours and Company, providing leadership and counsel to senior management and business units for global merger, acquisition and divestiture activities.


Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, WHP Alum (Philadelphia 2) — Ardmore, PA
Well, I totally have Eagles fever and fervor.  I am super impressed by Nick Foles.  Our backup quarterback who was described publicly as someone who could not lead the team, proved the journalists wrong.  Kind of a rising-from-the-ashes story.  Philadelphia is a team (or a set of teams) that often show promise and then leave the city moaning as they manage to squander potential victories.  Philadelphian’s are all kind of used to that scenario.  But this year is different.  And the unlikely Nick Foles not only thought he could — but did.  He showed us how to rise above the underdog stature as a man and a team.  We could not be happier.

Kathy is a fan of this Eagles team and will be cheering them on in the Super Bowl on Sunday.