The success of an informal gathering of female sports business professionals in 1993 validated the need for an organized effort to provide career services and support to women in the industry. The result was WISE, and while that first meeting took place in New York City, the organization’s reach has expanded thanks to the dedication of teams of women spearheading the launch of chapters across North America. In 1995, the first WISE chapter was founded in Washington, DC. Today, there are 28 chapters, including nine that were approved over the last two years and have launched or are preparing to launch: DFW, Greater Orlando, Indianapolis, Memphis, Milwaukee, Portland and Seattle and the reactivated South Florida and Detroit chapters.
“Over the years, chapters have grown into robust epicenters for women in sports business,” says Van Adams, WISE national chapter liaison and WISE NYC Metro president.
Adams sees chapter expansion as an indicator of industry growth and attributes the increasingly unified experience she’s witnessed around chapters to advances in technology and, more importantly, to more female industry leaders taking on leadership roles locally within WISE.
“This is important because when more women with decision-making authority are willing to lend their voices, it helps the collective advance their careers, which ultimately advances the WISE mission.”
— Van Adams
Relationship building and knowledge sharing among industry peers are important components to creating career momentum, which is why chapters are integral to the WISE mission of empowering women to achieve their professional goals. WISE chapters, which elect their own board, continually connect members of their local sports business communities via events and programs. Simultaneously, their members benefit from the organization’s national network and offerings, including online tools at WISEworks.org, leadership development training and mentorship opportunities. Close collaboration between WISE National and its chapters ensures that the same high-level of programming and signature events are available to members regardless of the market in which they work.
As a WISE Utah co-founder and advisory board member, Molly Mazzolini has experienced firsthand the strength and opportunity in uniting behind the WISE mission. Since helping to establish the chapter in 2017, she’s seen members of the industry come together to exchange ideas, collaborate and build professional development programming that speaks to the specific needs of those in their market.
“It really is bigger than us as individuals. Coming together collectively with this really great energy and spirit allows us to give even more than we ever could have imagined.”
— Molly Mazzolini
“Twenty-plus chapters in alignment with the WISE mission and working toward the same purpose is a powerful influence,” adds Adams.
Learn more about WISE’s 28 chapters.