By WISE National

A women giving a speech at a WISE event

Photo credit: Nicole Pereira.

On Nov. 18, 2019, Crain's New York Business honored 61 Women in their inaugural class of Notable Women in the Business of Sports stating, "With their wisdom, talent, grit and efforts, they have blazed new trails in the world of sports business - a world still dominated by men, but a world where women are making significant inroads."

"I am honored to be included with such amazing, dynamic women," said Kathleen Francis, WISE national board chair and president and 2001 WISE Women of the Year Honoree. "This represents a sampling of the women continuing to make positive change in our industry. I am enthusiastic that we will continue to see more and more women entering and advancing into leadership roles."

A veteran of the industry, Francis assumed her WISE role in 2011, charged with growing the organization and experiencing its voice and research. She has overseen the launch of educational programs such as the WISE Education Leadership Institute and WISE/R Symposium as well as 17 new chapters across North America. 

Over her career, Francis has created and executed multifaceted sports marketing strategies that work at the grassroots level for not-for-profits and major corporations, including Major League Baseball, Meadowlands Sports Complex and the United states Tennis Association. She is founder and president of Oasis Sports Venture, a marketing and grassroots development agency. Among her many accolades, SportsBusiness Journal named Francis one of its Forty Under 40 sports executives and for two consecutive years honored her as one of its Top 25 Women Sports Executives. 

Others on the Crain's list include WISE Women of the Year honorees Val Ackerman (1998 and 2014), Jean Afterman (2010), Stacey Allaster (211), Renie Anderson (2016), Kim Ng (2000), Michelle Roberts (2019), Suzanne Smith (2019), WISE NYC Metro chapter president Van Adams and treasurer Christine Vicari, as well as several WISE Executive Leadership Institute alumnae.