If It Weren't for WISE...

By Ernestine Miller | Women's Sports Historian, Self

Ernestine Miller with Jean Afterman at a WISE NYC event

Ernestine Miller (left) with 2010 WISE Women of the Year honoree Jean Afterman of the New York Yankees.

When you have a passion and a purpose, amazing results are possible. Women in Sports and Events is that amazing result for me and countless others who have given their time and believe in women getting ahead, from members of the board to our WISE Within mentors to volunteers at our events. Since its inception in 1993, WISE has been about giving women a chance to meet each other, and from that, so much has followed: support, networking, mentorship and career advancement.

Advocates in Your Corner

In my life, WISE's mission of empowering women through peer support has proven true. The friendships and professional relationships I've formed have added immense value to my life, and in reflecting on the organization's 25 years, I can't help but wonder: Who might I have never known if it weren't for WISE? I've met some of my closest professional contacts and dearest friends thanks to my involvement.

Over the years, I've navigated new opportunities and celebrated career triumphs and industry progress with this wonderful national network. It has been a great joy, and I feel such pride watching young women I've encouraged to join soar to new professional heights. Not every day is a good day, though. As much as we strive for stability in our careers, the industry and workplace can be unpredictable; we face career crises. Self-doubt creeps in, and we don't always feel like we're going to come through. When that happens, we need a mentor and supportive friend, someone to say, "This is going to pass." Because all of us have experienced rough patches, we are each other's best advocates."

A Worthwhile Return

From WISE's earliest years, I have advised women, first and foremost, to believe in themselves when faced with challenges or doubt. A close second when it comes to dispensing advice has been more of a promise: If you get involved in WISE and you give something, you'll get something back. At every event and meeting, strike up a conversation with someone new and then make the effort to get together one-on-one outside of WISE. That's how you build a valuable network.

Watching WISE grow from a small breakfast meeting of New York women into a national support system has been gratifying, and my involvement with the organization and interest in connecting female professional contacts.

While the number of members grows nationwide and there are more female professionals in sports business than ever, women are just breaking the surface of what they can and will accomplish in this still male-dominated industry. WISE has made an impact - and will continue to - in helping women advance into leadership roles. Passion and purpose are at the very foundation of WISE, and the combination will keep propelling us forward.

Headshot of Ernestine Miller

About Ernestine Miller

Ernestine Miller is a founding member of WISE and has remained active in the organization's growth and development as a member of the board of directors. Over the years, Miller has worked on several committees, as well as the Annual WISE Women of the Year Awards Luncheon. Miller was the first president of WISE Washington, DC.

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