If you happen to know or work with someone who attended the 2022 WISE/R Symposium on March 8 in New York City, you might have noticed a slight difference in them afterward — a renewed sense of purpose, a reinvigorated outlook on life … added swag. To call this year's Symposium transformational might be overstating things — slightly — but there is no denying that the more than 200 attendees who came from all across the country returned home feeling inspired and ready to take on the world.
The daylong event provided WISE members with the opportunity to take a step back from the daily grind and spend some time focusing on their own personal and professional development. Listening to speakers from across the sports world and beyond, absorbing the wisdom shared by so many successful women, networking — in person! — with like-minded professionals, it all added up to an invaluable experience for everyone in attendance, whether it was their first time or they were a Symposium veteran.
"The WISE/R Symposium creates a sense of belongingness that allows women working in sports and events to know they are seen, heard, felt and most importantly, challenged and supported," said WISE Tampa Bay member Janelle Wells, an associate professor at the University of South Florida. "It's a unique shared experience where women can finally walk into a room and be in the majority."
A Common Thread
With sessions covering topics ranging from working in esports to how to effectively influence others, there was something for everyone at the Symposium. But even with an incredibly diverse array of offerings and panelists, common themes emerged.
"Using my voice — for self and other women/marginalized groups — is the main theme I took away as a whole from the entire day and particularly from the Women of the Year honorees," said WISE DFW member Heidi Simmons, the vice president of strategy and new concepts at Newbridge Marketing Group. "Their authenticity and vulnerability were both relatable and inspiring. I left energized and feeling fortunate, and connected to some really incredible women in the industry."
Brooklyn in the House
BSE Global — the parent company of Barclays Center — and the NBA's Brooklyn Nets were well represented, with 34 women attending the Symposium.
"As part of our BSE Global women's [employee resource group], our company really wants to support the women in our organization," said Nicole Pincus, vice president of partnership strategy. "We thought this would be a great opportunity to get them all out — especially after not being at events for so long — and learn and really bond together and network as well."
"Our goal is to really provide a safe space for all the women in the organization to come together, talk about certain challenges or situations that they might have, and to be able to lean on each other," added Christine Bowns, BSE Global vice president of premium hospitality. "We always talk about allyship. So, whenever we do certain events within the company, we make sure to bring everyone in the company together because allyship is just as important as the specific ERG itself."
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