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Monday, April 24th 2017

The L. Robert Payne Lecture Series

Bringing Outstanding Entrepreneurs to SDSU

Stance founder to knock the socks off students in L. Robert Payne Lecture Series, Ron Fowler Athletic Auditorium

John Wilson presented to students and faculty at this years annual L. Robert Payne Lecture Series. John is the co-founder, president, and COO of Stance. Stance is a sock and underwear company that is known for their unique designs and comfort. However, John’s successful career did not start here. It began in the surf industry. From an early age he worked at Clairemont Surf Shop and was employed there for seven years. He worked there until graduating from San Diego State University in 1993 with a BA in Marketing. From there, John was hired right out of college to be the Southern California Sales Rep for Oakley, a position he held from 1993-1996. He then became Oakley’s National Sales Manager in 1996 and held that position for three years. In 1999, John joined Reef as Vice President of Sales. He then became President of Reef in 2006 and held that position until 2009. After leaving Reef John went on to co-found Stance, and currently holds the position of President and COO.

Watch this year's speaker John Wilson

More About Stance

Six years in, Stance still makes socks and recently launched underwear. Despite having a legion of avid fans it isn't (yet) a household name, but the company has attracted $86 million in funding, including a $50 million series C in March. These initial investments were made from celebrities like Will Smith and Dwyane Wade, and in April Stance became theNBA's official on-court sock. In a startup world crazy with competition to find a niche, Stance's founders realized theirs was hiding in plain sight.

John Wilson joins a significant line of past lecturers which include:

  • Kurt Listug, CEO of Taylor Guitars
  • Thom McElroy, Co-founder of Volcom
  • Jeff Church, Co-founder of NIKA water
  • Jim Sinegal, Co-Founder and CEO of Costco
  • Tina Nova, Co-Founder, President, CEO and Director of Genoptix, Inc
  • Norm Brinker, former Chairman of Brinker International
  • John Moores, Founder of Peregrine Systems & Chairman of the Padres
  • John Sarkisian, Co-Founder, Pat & Oscar's Restaurants
  • Dr. Irwin Jacobs, Chairman & CEO of QUALCOMM
  • Robert J. Nugent, former Chairman & CEO of Jack in the Box
  • Russell Lewis, Founder and CEO of Rhino Linings
  • Dr. Robert Beyster, Founder of SAIC
  • Ron Fowler, Chairman and CEO of Liquid Investments, Inc.


For more information, please contact:
Kathryn Boyles at

Competition makes you stronger. If our top competitor didn't exist, we would have to make them up.
~ Jim Sinegal, SDSU'59

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