WWOY 25 Years

2003 WISE Women of the Year

LeslieAnne Wade, Dockery Clark and Deborah Yow

2003 WISE Women of the Year honorees LeslieAnne Wade, Dockery Clark and Deborah Yow.
Photo credit: Matt Peyton

WISE Honors Industry Leaders

It was another star-studded and inspirational luncheon when the 2003 WISE Women of the Year were honored for their accomplishments. This year’s honorees, Dockery ClarkLeslieAnne Wade and Deborah Yow, represent diverse aspects of the sports business, but share a determination and focus that helped propel each of them to the top of their chosen professions.

LeslieAnne Wade

VP Communications, CBS Sports

She is a problem-solver, strategist and so good at her job that TV basketball analyst Billy Packer says, “When there’s a real problem, there is no one at CBS who wouldn’t want LeslieAnne at the table.” Managing problems is one of the things that LeslieAnne Wade, Vice President of Communications at CBS Sports, loves best about her work. “I enjoy the triage. Every day I walk into my office and I don’t know until I get there what is going to happen.”

The importance of networking: “As I was building my career, I contacted every single person I could. If you make the effort, people will remember you. Stay in touch with people — ­congratulate them on a new job, or if they won a game. Let them get to know you for even a few minutes. Not all of them will directly influence your job search, but they can all help you make connections.”

The need to focus: “It is important at some point in your career to focus on a specific area of expertise and build your credentials in that area.”

Being a woman in sports: “It is important to recognize that you are a woman in sports, but I seldom think about it or focus on it. It is far more important to look at the best in your field, male or female, and take your cues from them.”

Dockery Clark

Senior VP, Bank of America, Olympic and Sports Event Marketing

Dockery [Clark] landed at Bank of America 10 years ago when “I just sat on their doorstep until they hired me.” Bank of America had announced their Olympic partnership in December of 1993 and Dockery knew that there would be opportunities for her. Even though she didn’t know much about the banking business, she knew sports marketing.

Most compelling life lessons: “That I need to take care of myself and have a better balance between my work life and personal life. I used to work 80 hours a week. I have finally figured out that I can’t do it all, so I shut the door and go home. And I don’t lose sleep over it.”

Greatest passion: “My family. I have nine nieces and nephews and seven godchildren — and they don’t really care at all about what I do for a living.”

Key pieces of advice: “Don’t be afraid to lean on those who can help you. So often it is not what you know, but whom you know. Don’t be afraid to take credit for your work. Just believe in yourself and don’t give up. Finally, for little girls everywhere — it is unacceptable to accept anything but the best!”

Deborah Yow

Athletic Director, University of Maryland

Only the second woman to be named Athletic Director at a major university, Deborah Yow faced some formidable challenges when she took over the athletic department at the University of Maryland in 1994. Not the least of those was $51 million of debt and a budget that hadn’t been balanced in 10 years.

Most satisfying accomplishment: “Marrying my husband. He has been my number one supporter and mentor.”

Passion: “Helping other people figure out how to meet their potential.”

Career advice: “Understand why you want to achieve a particular goal and be sure it is worth the effort. The earlier in your career you can think through these things, the greater is your likelihood of success.”

Beth Rasin wrote about the 2003 WISE Women of the Year Awards Luncheon for WISE words, the Women in Sports and Events newsletter, Issue 29, Fall 2003. Excerpts from the article are republished to celebrate the 25th WISE Women of the Year Awards Luncheon in 2019.