Chapter President’s Corner: Van Adams
What inspired you to launch and lead the chapter?
With 13 professional sports teams, a large collection of minor league, community, and college athletic programs and venues, countless print, broadcast, and internet media outlets, and thousands of advertisers, brands, and sponsors, the NYC region’s sports industry employs professional women in a much broader range of roles than perhaps in any other metropolitan area. This creates unique opportunities for our chapter members to hear from experts on a variety of sports-related topics. I wanted to see WISE NYC Metro take advantage of these opportunities by creating a diverse spectrum of content for chapter programming that would offer members a richer experience. There is no shortage of industry events and panels in the NYC market. I was keenly aware that whatever content we delivered needed to be meaningful, relevant, timely, and more closely address the growing needs of an evolving membership demographic and in the sports industry.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being chapter president?
There have been many, but seeing programming concepts that began as “crazy ideas" in my head flourish in NYC and go on to become national programs implemented by WISE chapters throughout the country ranks pretty high. It’s rewarding to see the positive impact the programs have on other women in the broader WISE community. It speaks to the fundamental principle that at our core, more often than not, women in sports business face very similar challenges. I also enjoy receiving feedback from members who share their “WISE works" experiences — connections they make at our events that lead to a new job, advice they follow from a speed mentoring roundtable or WISE Within mentor that led them to their “ah-ha!” moment, new avenues they explore after being inspired by one of our guest speakers, stories of how they’ve developed the self confidence to ask for the opportunities they deserve.
What impact has WISE NYC Metro had on the local community?
It can be a challenge to make a deep impact in a metropolitan area as large as New York. However, in addition to supporting and creating opportunities for professional growth for young women starting out in sports business, the NYC Metro Chapter makes a concerted effort to have an impact at the grassroots level beyond sports. We’ve collected toys at our holiday events for local women and children’s shelter and Toys for Tots; we’ve partnered with the American Heart Association Go Red for Women campaign to raise awareness of women's heart health issues; we’ve supported Dress for Success by donating gently used professional accessories for women re-entering the workforce and we’ve hosted students from the Business of Sports School (BOSS), a New York City Career and Technical Education school, preparing students for 21st century standards.
List three adjectives that best describe WISE NYC Metro.
Diverse. Dynamic. Progressive.
Current Chapter President
Founding Chapter President
Melissa Brody Garden
Founding Board Members
Melissa Brody Garden, Van Adams, Donna Providenti, Patricia Bifulco, Patience Ramsey, Ellen Fong and Alexandra Sklansky
Most Popular Event
Power Play: Up Close With… has been our most popular event for a long time, but our Women of Inspiration Awards has been coming on strong, with Speed Mentoring Roundtables as another worthy contender.
Most Interesting/Highly Attended Speaker/Topic
The Power Play: Up Close With… series has always been our most highly attended event.
Approximate Number of Events Per Year
Event Price Range
Most events are $25 for members; $50 for nonmembers.
Average Event Attendance
Do you offer WISE Within?
Do you offer Speed Mentoring Roundtables?
Do you have an annual event exclusive to your chapter?
We have six signature events, including three events exclusive to our chapter, where we developed everything from concept to implementation. The Power Play: Up Close With… event was started in New York, it's not our fault if everybody copied us!
Women of Inspiration Honorees
- 2015: Suzanne Smith, producer and director, CBS Sports; Elisa Padilla, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center; Karen Davis-Farage, president and co-owner, Pole Position Raceway
- 2016: Lisa Murray, worldwide executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Octagon; Wendy Hilliard, founder, Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation; Alison Overholt, editor-in-chief, ESPN, the Magazine and espnW
- 2017: Bonnie Bernstein, veteran broadcaster and founder, Walk Swiftly Productions; Susan Cohig, senior vice president, National Hockey League Business Affairs & Integrated Marketing; Amy Scheer, chief commercial officer, New York Red Bulls
- 2018: Tina Cervasio, lead sports anchor/reporter and host of Sports Xtra, FOX5 NY; Allison Stangeby, vice president corporate and community relations, New York Football Giants; Renée E. Tirado, Esq., chief diversity and inclusion officer, Major League Baseball
Connect with WISE NYC Metro