New WNBA Commish Leads League Transformation

Posted: Updated:
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert chats with Fever President Allison Barber. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert chats with Fever President Allison Barber.
INDIANAPOLIS -

One month into the job, new WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert says she is ready to stir things up and use her business acumen to shore up the financial outlook for the professional basketball league. The former chief executive officer of accounting firm Deloitte was in Indianapolis for Inspiring Women Night at an Indiana Fever game this week.

“We need to capitalize and market this league so that we have a coolness factor so we can attract more fans, attract corporate sponsors, and drive revenue,” said Engelbert.

Engelbert worked 33 years at Deloitte, the last four as CEO. She was credited with leading a large transformation across the business by embracing new technologies. Engelbert wants to use that same mindset in the WNBA.

“I was a beneficiary of that in my formative years that helped me become a leader in a very male-dominated world.”

She was appointed WNBA commissioner in May to take a hard look at the league, see what needs to be transformed and how to broaden the revenue base. She started her new position in July.

“There's no doubt coming in with the business experience with transformation experience, with dealing with culture change all of those things. And we're currently in the bargaining negotiation.”

Engelbert took the reins while the league is in the middle of salary negotiations. She acknowledges pay disparity is an issue that needs to be addressed in a league started 23 years ago. But she says it’s not as easy as writing bigger checks.

“As you think about a transformation, there are three pillars, player experience, fan experience, and economics. And the economics will lead to higher player pay,” said Engelbert.

Engelbert played basketball for Lehigh University until 1986. Her coach was Muffet McGraw who moved to the University of Notre Dame in 1987.  McGraw was the special honoree at the Fever game which brought Engelbert to Indy. Engelbert says McGraw has helped lead women sports to an important moment in time.

“We have such a platform for women in sports at this moment, this movement around women's empowerment,” Engelbert explained. “The players are so socially minded and community conscious. I'm taking over at a great time in the conversation around women's leadership.”

  • Perspectives

    • Creating the Work Spaces that Draw Talent to Indianapolis

      The future economy will be driven by data, powered by robotics and heavily invested in the building blocks of nature – biotech and genetic engineering. That’s true of the economy nationwide, and it’s especially true here in Indianapolis, where dominant pharmaceutical and biotech companies are putting us at the cutting edge of the science-based economy. It all sounds larger than life. But the facilities that will house these industries will always be...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Allison and Stanley Chen provided the lead gift for the campaign. (Provided Photo/ISI)

      International School Launches Capital Campaign

      The International School of Indiana has publicly launched a capital campaign to establish a unified campus in Indianapolis. As part of the ONE ISI campaign, the school is looking to raise $6.5 million to build a new school building for pre-elementary and elementary students at the site of its middle and high schools. The public launch follows a 10-month silent phase of the campaign, during which ISI raised $5 million from more than two dozen donors. Currently, ISI's operations are...

    • Money magazine judges Fishers as 3rd best place to live in the U.S.

      Fishers Makes Top 10 List of 'Best Places to Live'

      Three communities in Indiana made the top 100 list of best places to live in the country, but only one made the top 10. Fishers was judged by Money magazine as the third best place to live in the United States, behind Clarksville, Tennessee and Round Rock, Texas.

    • Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch will be on hand for the announcement.

      Jobs Announcement Set for Indy

      City and state officials will Wednesday make a jobs announcement in downtown Indianapolis. Few details are available, however the Indiana Economic Development Corp. says leaders from an Indianapolis-based startup will be involved.

    • (photo courtesy of Dickinson Fleet Services)

      Dickinson Fleet Services Expands; Grows Talent Pool

      Indianapolis-based Dickinson Fleet Services is expanding its truck maintenance reach with the purchase of A1 Diesel Service of Hendersonville, Tennessee. Dickinson says this is its ninth acquisition since 2017 and the third in 2019. 

    • Photo courtesy of Bristol Parks

      Startup Plans to Add 250 Jobs By 2021

      A metal forming startup is seeking to use a facility in Bristol that has been empty since 2017 for a major manufacturing operation. The Elkhart Truth reports Brinco will invest $52 million in the project and add 250 jobs.