Women in Sports and Events
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WISE/R Symposium Explores the Power of You

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Photo credit: Nicole Pereira

On June 12, WISE welcomed some of the sports industry’s top female leaders to the stage for its 2018 WISE/R Symposium at TheTimesCenter in New York City. Among them were two featured speakers, an event first: Sallie Krawcheck, former Wall Street executive and author, and Cynthia Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks.

“It’s always good to hear that women in positions of power have or had the same fears and uncertainties as you,” said Clara Vazquez, a member of the South Florida chapter of WISE. “We may not have the same journey, but we have the same things attacking our productiveness and our ability to accomplish our goals. Thank god for the sisterhood!”

Insights and Connections

The nearly 300 attendees were treated to eight different sessions spanning a variety of topics — from women in operations to the art of crafting your personal story to the role of data and analytics in sports. Built into the daylong program were networking opportunities, including the chapter favorite Speed Mentoring Roundtables, also new this year, giving attendees a chance to build connections around dialogue on career-related topics. The day ended with a session featuring this year’s WISE Women of the Year honorees and each of them sharing advice to their younger selves.

“WISE/R Symposium is something I look forward to every year as a way to get more educated with what is going on in our industry,” said Paulina Rojek, a member of the NYC Metro chapter of WISE. “I relish the time I get to speak to highly influential women who sit at the decision-making table.”

Do You and Own Your Story

A common theme throughout the sessions was to be true to you. Krawcheck — whose book Own It: The Power of Women at Work sets out new rules for professional success — encouraged attendees to stop waiting for someone to give them power.

“We don’t need to be empowered; we have power,” she said. “Somehow, we were convinced we didn’t have the power.”   

Later in the day, Valerie Gordon, from Commander-in-She, tapped into the idea of inner strength and identity. Gordon explained the two universal truths of storytelling. The first: The details of our stories are what make us stand out; the finer the details, the more memorable we are. The second: We can initiate plot twists at any time. So, she asked the audience, are you in charge of your own story, or are you waiting for someone else to tell you what happens next?

A Winding Road

In her session with WISE national board chair and president Kathleen Francis, Cynthia Marshall talked about her plot twists, including recently joining the Mavericks as its CEO after 35-plus years in telecommunications. She stressed taking ownership of your career by creating an individual development plan, suggesting attendees take the time to sit with their supervisor to identify their strengths, evaluate where they aren’t as strong and explore what training opportunities are out there.

“WISE/R Symposium surpassed my expectations and is a unique conference,”said attendee Debbie King. “The focus on personal development, within the context of the sports world, is well worth the time.”