WISE National board chair and president Kathy Francis (center) with the Master Class panel (left to right): moderator Caroline Clarke, Kim Ng, Doris Burke, Stacey Allaster, Amy Latimer, Gail Hunter, Kathy Carter and Buffy Filippell.
On June 21, more than two dozen female executives and thought leaders gathered to talk sports business and professional development, providing insight into the industry landscape and how to better navigate it, during the 2017 WISE/R Symposium at TheTimesCenter in New York City.
“I loved hearing from all the different women about their life experiences and career paths,” said attendee Jillian Lloyd. “I was reminded that it’s not easy and that we all need a network of strong women around us to achieve our goals and find strength when we need it most.”
The symposium’s eight sessions covered a variety of topics — including human resources as a strategic partner, executive presence, and women in the fields of sports television production and sales — and featured such high-level executives as Stacey Allaster, chief executive of professional tennis at the United States Tennis Association; Kim Ng, senior vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball; and Gail Hunter, vice president of public affairs and event management for the Golden State Warriors.
Johanna Faries, vice president of marketing and fan development for the National Football League, spoke during the “REAL Leadership: Executive Education” session about women’s reluctance to take a timeout and invest in themselves. As a participant in the WISE Executive Leadership Institute, a leadership development program, Faries did just that for six days, attending classes, doing homework and working with other women in the industry to become better leaders.
“However you can define educational training, and however you can tap into that, I strongly advocate for that,” she told attendees. “Learning should never stop, especially if we want to continue to break barriers in a very dynamic industry.”
For WISE NYC Metro member Alexa Fletcher, the diversity of session topics and panelists helped dispel the “one path to success” belief she once held.
“I’ve always thought to myself, ‘I’m going to have this position, then this position, then this position,’” she said. “The reality is that a career is moving up, down and side to side, and it’s great to see other women who have done that and succeeded.”
Building a Network
The symposium culminated with the “REAL Insight: Master Class” session, featuring WISE Women of the Year sharing letters they were asked to write to their younger selves. In addition to the eight sessions, there were opportunities throughout the day for attendees to network with one another and, through the newly launched WISE Office Hours, one-on-one with panelists.
“I experienced just about every emotion throughout the day and did not take my eyes away from the stage once,” said attendee Emily Campeas. “It was a feeling like no other to mix and mingle with incredible women whom I have looked up to as I begin to launch my career. I left with a new sense of self.”