Unstoppable: Anthony Robles discusses resiliency, how to overcome obstacles

May 4, 2020

On April 30, the Arizona State University Alumni Association and Sun Devil Athletics hosted a live webinar featuring NCAA wrestling champion and ASU alumnus Anthony Robles. 

The webinar was attended by more than 400 viewers live and was co-moderated by ASU wrestling head coach Zeke Jones and Madison Kerley, FOX Sports Southwest social media specialist and member of ASU’s 2017 NCAA Championship women’s golf team. Anthony Robles NCAA wrestling champion and ASU alum Anthony Robles joined the ASU Alumni Association and Sun Devil Athletics for a live webinar on April 30. Download Full Image

Robles, who was born with only one leg, is also an ESPN sports commentator, holder of a mark recognized by Guinness World Records, author of "Unstoppable" and motivational speaker. He spoke about resilience during difficult times and how he endures challenges with a positive outlook. 

So, what are his tips on how to develop resilience? First, Robles began by defining resilienceThe definition is cited from extramadness.com as “the ability to become strong, healthy or successful again after something bad happens.”

Tip 1: Dominate your brain with positive thinking. This started for Robles at an early age when he was 14, underweight in wrestling, working with coaches who had never coached someone with one leg before and learning how to wrestle for the first time. Many people would have given up, but he had a support system that taught him to shift his mindset and, as he calls it, focus on his 2 to 1 ratio. For every negative thought that enters your brain, you must replace it with two positive thoughts to begin changing your mindset.

Tip 2: Check your focus. There will always be things in life that you cannot control, so focus on what you can control, and remember your strengths.

Tip 3: Mind your health. This is important every day, but it is even more important now as many people are quarantined at home. By taking care of your body, you are also taking care of your mental health. This means focusing on eating better and exercising on a daily basis.

Tip 4: Get comfortable being uncomfortable. One of his favorite quotes is, “There’s no growth in a comfort zone and there’s no comfort in a growth zone.” Robles suggests writing down your goals and posting them in a spot where you will see them every day. By doing this, you will be reminded and hold yourself accountable to take action toward achieving your goals.

The webinar included live questions from viewers on an array of topics, from his go-to comfort food during quarantine to the next goals on which he is working. The insights shared by these three ASU NCAA champions — Robles, Jones and Kerley — made the webinar feel like listening to a group of friends connecting rather than an official interview.

Robles’s tips for resilience are a breath of fresh air during this challenging time, but also a good reminder for daily life moving forward in order to pursue your goals. 

View the webinar

Morgan Harrison

Director of strategic communications , ASU Alumni Association


ASU management professor named a Best 40 Under 40 Professor of 2020

May 4, 2020

With thousands of Google Scholar citations and dozens of nominations singing his praises, 37-year-old Assistant Professor of management and entrepreneurship Edward "Ned" Wellman, who has been at the W. P. Carey School of Business since 2013, rose to the top of Poets and Quants Best 40 Under 40 Professors of 2020.

Wellman’s negotiations class, which he teaches to full-time and evening MBA students, has been a particular hit among the MBAs at W. P. Carey. But perhaps more importantly, Wellman is more than a teacher — he's an advocate, according to at least one nominator. Ned Wellman Assistant Professor Edward "Ned" Wellman. Download Full Image

“Professor Wellman is an advocate for his students in every sense,” the nominator said. “In his negotiations course, he runs a class structured around active learning and experience. We navigated many different types of negotiation scenarios to prepare us for as many real situations we may experience as possible. As I was working on starting a small business for my summer internship, the most difficult negotiation I encountered was a virtual mirror of a case we studied in class. Having prior experience in this situation made it possible for me to remain calm, stay focused on my goals and reservation points and, ultimately, complete the negotiation successfully. Professor Wellman was also available throughout the summer to offer advice and support. When I later received a job offer, Professor Wellman took the time to review my offer with me and suggested strategies for negotiating my terms. Professor Wellman is invested in our success and is dedicated to ensuring that we have a meaningful and impactful MBA experience.”

"We have great students here at ASU. I am continually inspired by them," Wellman said. "What I enjoy most about teaching is that I feel like I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and I appreciate it when they share their views and experiences related to the topics we are covering in class.

"At the moment, my biggest challenge is figuring out how to best engage with students virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic," Wellman added. "I'd never taught online, and I had to move two classes online at short notice. I have been pleasantly surprised at how much interaction and action learning is possible teaching remotely, but there was definitely a steep learning curve for me."

Starting in fall 2020, Wellman will be teaching leadership development to the full-time MBA students and taking over as faculty director of the business school’s executive mentoring program for full-time MBAs. 

When Wellman isn't teaching, he's studying leadership. 

"One project of mine that I'm excited about looks at how formal leadership roles are distributed in teams," he said. "The traditional assumption is that it's most effective for teams to use pyramid-shaped formal leadership structures, with one or a few leaders and everyone else having lower levels of authority. My co-authors and I found that these structures are only effective when team members can easily assess one another’s preferences about how to proceed on their tasks — for instance, when the team works on a stable, repetitive task."

His research shows that when work is more varied and ambiguous, a pyramid is actually one of the least effective ways to structure formal leadership, and other approaches — for instance, an inverse-pyramid shaped leadership structure — seem to be more effective.

Wellman conducted this research with some colleagues at ASU and it is currently in press at the Academy of Management Journal.

"I think our work has important implications for how the members of organizations think about assigning people to leadership positions," Wellman said.

“In one of the most collaborative and approachable MBA programs in the U.S., Professor Wellman was one of the easiest to build a connection with," a student wrote in their nomination. "He was just genuine and personable — his course content and teaching style was effective and tangible. I can say his class was one of the most impactful on my career moving forward. He also took his research experience and applied it to classroom discussion, helping us students to better understand new developments in management theory.”

The W. P. Carey School is also celebrating this year’s Teaching Award winners, which includes some new categories for the year.

"This speaks to our focus on innovative approaches to business education while also staying true to the university’s charter to measure ourselves on who we include and how our students succeed," Dean Amy Hillman said.

2019–20 Teaching Award Winners

"Entrepreneurial Approach to Learning" Teaching Innovation Award
Bart Hobijn (economics)
Melissa Samuelson (accountancy)

"Business is Personal" Inclusive Teaching Award
Matt Sopha (information systems)
Kelvin Wong (economics)

"Rethinking Business Education" Outstanding Online Teaching Award
Kate Eaton (marketing)
Jeffrey Englin (agribusiness)

Huizingh Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher Award
John Dietrich (marketing)
Robert Wiedmer (supply chain management)

Huizingh Award for Undergraduate Service to Students
Adegoke Oke (supply chain management)

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award
Donald Goldman (accountancy)
Donald Lange (management and entrepreneurship)
Margaret Luciano (management and entrepreneurship)

John W. Teets Outstanding Teaching Awards
Undergraduate Teaching — Christopher Neck (management and entrepreneurship)
Undergraduate TA — Jorge Mesias Moreno (economics)
Graduate — Eugene Schneller (supply chain management)

Also check out the new Dean’s List for Teaching Impact, which highlights a larger group of W. P. Carey faculty committed to excellence in the classroom. 

Shay Moser

Managing Editor, W. P. Carey School of Business