Twin Cities Member Spotlights



Jessica Poole
Team President and Chief Operating Officer 
Minnesota Aurora FC 
Member Since Oct '23

  • What I find most valuable about being a WISE member: The connections with colleagues across the industry, both locally and nationally, is incredibly valuable to me both personally and professionally. I think anytime you are able to connect with likeminded people in your industry it gives you a boost and gets the creative juices flowing and being with this group always gives me an energy boost.
  • What major lesson did you learn in the past year? I really learned to trust my instincts. We all have the "gut feeling" we get sometimes about certain situations and circumstances and I tended to rationalize the feelings away but this year I really leaned into trusting my gut and taking leaps and well, it brought me to Minnesota!
  • What do you hope to accomplish next year (personally or professionally)? In the next year, I would like to continue to expand my professional network here in the Twin Cities. I know a few people here and there from my role with Minnesota Aurora FC and also my previous life in intercollegiate athletics but I really want to lean into going to events and connecting with people both in the sports industry and outside. 
  • Have you ever had a mentor and, if so, how have they helped you? Yes, I have had mentors throughout my life in both a personal and professional capacity and I have a personal "Board of Directors" that I rely on heavily to help me see things from various perspectives. I think the main thing my mentors have helped me with is seeing myself the way that they see me and also serving as my "blind spot". Having people who can push you and hold you accountable to yourself has been key for me on my journey. 
  • How do you encourage women around you? I'm a Black woman, solo mom, sports executive which in the sports industry is a bit of a unicorn so I want to make sure that I'm being a resource to those who could potentially come after me. I try to share the wins and the pain points, especially when it comes to being a mother in this industry. I want my example to be an authentic example to those around me and also those who are watching.
  • A book, podcast, or blog that has inspired my career is: I am a HUGE fan of podcasts and listen to many and could name so many that have inspired me but Gamechangers Podcast with Molly Fletcher is one that I find to be really amazing. She's an inspiration herself as a sports agent and her story of getting there is just awe inspiring but her podcast is a mixture of leaders in the sports industry, and business leaders and also practical tools for leaders. I listen to it often and I'm always inspired and learn something. She's also a Michigan native like me and although she's a Spartan and I'm a Wolverine, I don't hold it against her! 
  • In my free time you can find me: Hanging out with my almost 3-year old son William and his amigos and their families. We are incredibly fortunate that we have "Framily" here in the Twin Cities and we do lots of life together which has been so fun for my son and I! 

Andrea Graham
Co-Executive Director
Big Ten Men's & Women's Basketball Tournaments
Member Since Feb '23

  • Can you talk a bit about your career path; what led you to working in events originally, and then migrating into sporting events? Originally, way back, my career started in theater production and it translated very organically into the hospitality world and private events. I’m from Minnesota and after having moved around with the hotel company I was with at the time I decided I wanted to stick around. I took a job with Surly Brewing Co and helped them build their event program when they opened their destination brewery here. That included both the private event business model and building out all of their brand events and getting their brand in front of as many new audiences as possible. That’s how I connected with Wendy Blackshaw, now CEO at Minnesota Sports and Events, and we really clicked and hit it off. When I was ready to move on from the beer world I was talking to them and they said, “well actually we have the Women’s Final 4 coming up” and I said “well great, let’s do it”. So that was how I got into it, I’ve always been a sports fan so it was a natural transition. The main thing that changes across all these events is the scale. There’s so many moving components and details so it’s really just are you doing it for 100 people or 100,000 people.
  • What’s the scale for the current events you’re working on? The Big 10 Tournament really varies. In 2023 we blew all of their attendance records out of the water, which was our goal. Minnesota is great because Minnesotans love sports and we also really love and support women’s sports. It was awesome to get that fanbase out and rallying around all of those young athletes. Looking out to next year, Target Center caps out at around 20,000. In a dream world it would be great to sell out both the men’s and women’s tournaments. I think we’ll see a really strong showing and I wouldn’t not be surprised if we beat last year’s numbers for the women. It will be interesting to see whether folks who are used to traveling to Indiana or Chicago come up here for it.
  • What are the various parts of the business you oversee at Minnesota Sports and Events as the Co-Executive Director for the Big 10 Tournaments? My Co Executive-Director, Tyler Boike​, and I really split things down the middle and he is on operations and I oversee all ancillary events, run the Marketing Team, Fundraising, Community Legacy and really pull all the pieces and people together to make it happen. We have a really strong team that we’ve been building. We started at four staff and we’re getting closer to 20 people in the team working across all our projects, including the 2024 US Olympic Gymnastics Trials….The big difference for me now working in sports is having a really solid team to support, delegate and execute effectively. In the world of private local business you’re a one woman show so it’s been really great to get to take all the plans out of my head and put them out into the world.
  • What’s it like putting on two big events back-to-back? We have the women’s tournament here from March 6 - 10 and then the men’s is the next week, March 13 - 17, So it will be a very fast and furious two weeks with just one dark day. It will be go, go, go because the games are one after another and then all the ancillary events and youth programs. We’re also working on a huge community impact project, that will really impact both St Paul and Minneapolis, which is exciting, and leave a lasting legacy.
  • What sets MN apart for events like this? Every city is different, but here in Minnesota we put a lot of Minnesota influence and representation into what we’re helping to produce. Definitely the fans set us apart - they’re huge. One thing we try to really put out there in our bids is to show them the revenue they’re going to generate by coming here because money does drive decisions. Competing with some of those bigger markets we can still get them where they need to be financially and do that efficiently and bring this much extra. What kind of experience they want to give their fans and their athletes. 
  • What key metrics or goals do you try to deliver on to ensure an event is seen as a “success”, and hopefully comes back in the future? Every bid that comes over has different goals, priorities and what they need to execute. As the Big 10 grows, their city options change and they need more and more. Both Minneapolis and St Paul are set up nimbly and because they are so close we have resources on both sides of the river should these larger events continue to come here, as we saw with the Superbowl. I think events are looking to see how we can make a city splash for them - and make the city feel like theirs is a big part of it.
  • What are the key pillars of your leadership style that guide you as you work with your team? I believe in leading with empathy and honesty and meeting people where they’re at. Partnership is a key word for me and being supportive and arm in arm with your colleagues. I can’t do my job without everyone else, so we’re all in it together. Having a sense of community means that we’re stronger together so I try to lead that way and make connections between people so we can figure out answers. I like being honest and know that no one has all the answers so keep an open door policy.
  • Have you always aspired to lead people? I am an oldest child and a female so I think leadership is ingrained in me since birth! When I was studying theater my focus was directing, so right from the get go it was all about building casts and building shows. A core desire to create with others has really driven all of my work and so the more people I can have on my team the better!
  • Are there any leaders that have shaped your path or helped you learn along the way? Absolutely and I feel so fortunate to have been able to connect with incredibly strong women through every part of my career. Thanks to the women I’m working with right now I continue to learn so much every day. It’s the kind of learning and mentorship that’s hard, but it’s not defeating hard, it’s exciting and you’re tired because you have to use your brain a lot! It’s good learning and good change and involves trying new things and taking risks. Our president (Wendy Blackshaw) has been a huge influence on me in the past three years. I’ve learned so much from her on how to model, how to approach things, how to lead conversations and I feel so lucky….One thing I have learned from women coming after me and those leading the path is the importance of shared institutional knowledge and connections. There’s no value in gatekeeping and or devaluing someone else’s experiences. You only can do better by engaging all around. Always give people the time because you never know what that conversation will lead to.
  • Can you talk about your involvement in WISE? What do you hope fellow women in sports and events are able to get out of WISE? I really love WISE, it’s so fun to see it grow over the past few years with what Anne has done and now what Kara has taken on. It’s been really fun to connect with all these different women that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I was originally advising on the Events Committee now I’m shifting onto the Advisory Board to help from that angle and it’s fun to support and watch the upcoming leaders really get their feet wet.
  • Any words of advice for WISE members? Believe in yourself and your instincts - know when something is working and when it’s right. Be honest with yourself and with those around you about what’s going on because that’s how you can get help and learn and grow. You know what you're doing so take big chances!

Connor Lewis
Data Scientist & Head Coach
Sportradar & MN vixen
Member Since Feb '23

  • What I find most valuable about being a WISE member: Getting a glimpse into all the different types of professions that make up the sporting and entertainment industry. 
  • What major lesson did you learn in the past year? Listen. Learn. Lead. 
  • What do you hope to accomplish this year (personally or professionally)? This year I have been focusing on intangible goals in all facets of life: dealing with challenging situations,  having difficult conversations when needed, and understanding how the people around me work. 
  • Have you ever had a mentor and, if so, how have they helped you? Yes, many, although they might not all realize it. I'll talk specifically about one mentor. I was fortunate enough to meet her early on in my career and she opened up my eyes to the world of data science. She has encouraged me to take jobs that push my limits and talked candidly about negotiations and valuing myself properly.  
  • How do you encourage women around you? I encourage them to self-advocate and know their self-worth, provide a sounding board when needed, and celebrate their successes!
  • A book, podcast, or blog that has inspired my career is: Honestly, I don't have one. For me, inspiration comes from within and from the people around me doing amazing things! 
  • In my free time you can find me: Playing sports, traveling, reading, and spending time in nature. Currently, my main sport is Australian Rules Football. I play locally for the MN Freeze and nationally with the USA Freedom. Upcoming trips include Banff and New Zealand.

Ginna wasmund
Sales Account Manager
Member Since Dec '22

  • What I find most valuable about being a WISE member:  In addition to making new connections, I love hearing from such successful women on how they have broken down barriers and really have been pioneers in their field. I especially love when I can hear from a woman who is wildly successful and is also an amazing mom. Having a 4 year old myself, I still struggle trying to give my all to my family and to my job so seeing how other women balance it and crush it, gives me so much motivation.
  • What major lesson did you learn in the past year? If the past few years have taught me anything, it’s that I can only control what I can control. This phrase is not new to me but being able to accept it and embrace it has been a huge lesson. Actively reminding myself of this and practicing it whether it be in a professional setting or personal setting has been very impactful.
  • What do you hope to accomplish this year (personally or professionally)? I have been trying to focus on getting out of the office and making connections in the community, whether it’s joining an organization, attending a conference, exhibiting at an event, volunteering, or hosting events at our facility. Trying to get more involved in the “outside” world has been a big goal for me this year.
  • Have you ever had a mentor and, if so, how have they helped you? I’ve never had a professional mentor, but I’ve always consistently reached out to my mom as she is a former business owner. I grew up doing odd jobs in her office and she was a “Boss Lady” before that was even a term. Because she owned and operated her business for decades, she’s been an amazing resource should I have any questions about my career or need any advice on how to approach a situation or opportunity.
  • How do you encourage women around you? I think my mindset has really changed in the last few years. I used to feel this overwhelming sense of competition or comparison between myself and other colleagues or other women in the industry. When I started working at my last job, my counterpart was like my other half and that’s when my mindset shifted. It became more of a collaboration and a “how can we do this together?” “how can we succeed as a team?” type mindset. With other colleagues in the industry it became a sense of community of women just cheering each other on versus trying to be Queen of the mountain. I’ve carried that into my current role and I think it not only creates a much better culture but it helps me to be better and perform better.
  • A book, podcast, or blog that has inspired my career is: Simon Sinek is my guy! Every time he speaks I feel like I have a revelation. His view of the corporate workplace, mindset and life as a whole is just phenomenal. I really think everyone should have to listen to him speak!
  • In my free time you can find me: In my free time, you can find me with my daughter. I love being a girl mom and having a mini-me! I love taking her new places and just seeing her face light up in awe. She is such a light in a sometimes dark and scary world. Watching her and my husband play just melts my heart. I love throwing parties during the holidays. I am an event planner on the side so I don’t do anything super small. I love a good theme! Outside of that, I love playing volleyball and watching some trashy reality TV.

Ann Dunne
assistant GM
ASM Global, U.S. Bank Stadium
Member Since Nov 2022

  • Tell us about your career path and what made you interested in live event space?: It started at a young age, I was really bitten by the live event bug when I went to my first concert at 7 years old. It was the Olivia Newton John, Let’s Get Physical tour at the old St Paul Civic Center. My parents took me to a lot of concerts and sporting events when I was growing up and I just loved it. It felt like you were in the center of everything when you went to these events or games. When I was in college I was a cheerleader for the Minnesota Vikings and I just loved NBA Basketball, so I really focused on trying to get a job with the NBA when I got out of school. I was fortunate enough to get my first job working for the Timberwolves at Target Center in marketing and after that I worked in corporate events for many years. All of those experiences are a culmination of how I ended up here - working in sports, live entertainment and events. It gets you and that’s how I wound up where I am! It’s strange because there were a few times that I thought my career would take me to other places but the opportunities here kept presenting themselves, so I have been in this market my entire career, which in this industry I think that’s a tough thing to say.
  • Describe what you oversee in your current role and what the makeup of your team looks like. I’m really lucky because I get the flavor of the day and wear a lot of hats. My oversight includes booking all the non-Vikings events, Marketing, Communications, Private Event Sales, Premium Sales + Services, Ticket Operations, Event Management, HR and Administration. I don’t do all of those things by myself, I have a great team, but I have the opportunity to have oversight of all those areas. We’re sitting at a team of around 10 or 12 right now. I’ve got a team of directors and they have team members that report to them. We call it a small but mighty team!
  • Tell us about making the move to Assistant General Manager. It was definitely a big jump to go for the AGM role. I was in the live events and sports industry for the first seven years of my career and I moved into what I call ‘the other side’ and that was working in marketing, advertising, and media for almost 20 years. This job took me right back to my start when I was doing PR and marketing and working in the ticket office and doing all those things for the Target Center and for concerts. I said am I crazy to go back into this, but it did feel like the right move for me. -- I’ve been growing the whole time I’ve been here and I’m coming up on my fifth-year anniversary. When I started I wasn’t booking the building, our GM at that time was, and then he left and it was a natural progression for me to pick that up and learn that side of the business. There were a lot of days where I wondered whether I could do it, but I have a great team.
  • What gave you the belief and confidence to take on your role? I just think I was crazy a little bit. Especially with where I’m at with my career it's good to constantly be challenged. If you're comfortable, then you’re not really growing. For me it was about challenging myself and saying ‘go ahead and try it, you might enjoy getting back into the business you were in before’. --It takes a special person to work in our industry - time isn’t always your own, you miss personal things, you are dedicated, but for certain people it really works. I am one of those people and I really love providing the experience to our guests and making memories. 
  • Tell us more about the logistics for some of your bigger events like the Eras Tour. It seems like it would be pretty daunting because it is one of the biggest events, but some of the words of advice I gave to our team leading into the concert were ‘it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event and the biggest thing you’ve worked on so take it all in and enjoy every minute’. Really, it’s not any different to other concerts we host at the venue. They’re all big, they all have roughly the same number of people and we plan like it was any other type of show. For us the planning starts as soon as we know the show is coming to the stadium, which can be one to two years in advance.
  • How have you helped make Minneapolis and the US Bank Stadium a destination that artists want to come to? This all goes back to our staff and they excel at the experience portion of hosting events. It is important to everyone here that whoever comes into the building, whether it’s the artist, tour staff, guests, we want it to be the best experience they can possibly have. Our goal is always to have the tour staff say ‘that was our best stop yet’. That’s what keeps shows coming back and we’re starting to see that and the shows we’re booking is all due to the relationships and the experience that we’re providing. We have to build trust and the promoters have to feel like the most important person on the planet and know that you and your team are going to go above and beyond across all areas. That means getting the ticketing right, welcome gifts for the artist - there’s so many things that go into it. Our team all have a competitive nature and that’s how we work together to focus on that common goal. We want everything to be the best and we’re all on the same page with that.
  • Tell us more about your leadership principles. The number one thing is communication. We’re all a piece of the puzzle here and each is an expert in their own area, which when you bring all those things together, it’s what makes the magic happen. Second, trusting the team and making sure that they know that they have the ability to make decisions and have solutions. That really goes a long way I think.
  • As your career has grown, how have you seen your leadership style change and who has helped you develop that along the way? I’ve been really lucky to have some great role models and mentors that have invested in me. Hopefully I’m doing that now to pay that forward through mentoring and coaching others. For me, no matter where you’re at in your career, you should always be learning and at every stage. I’ve had people that I’ve really learned a lot from. Even as recently as a couple of years ago, our company merged with another and I was exposed to new leaders in that space and that was a great experience. 
  • What does being involved in WISE mean to you? It’s all about connections. Having been in the market for a long time I know a lot of people and it’s a good reminder and excuse to get together and reconnect. This is a great community where we can come together with others that understand what we do. It takes special people to work in our industry so it’s important to be together with them.
  • For people that want to advance in the events industry, are there specific values or skills that set people apart? Dedication and a lot of hard work, as well as a willingness to put your job ahead of personal needs. But it also can be a lot of fun so it doesn’t always feel like work. Even though we’re running around doing all kinds of stuff on an event day, at the end of the day we’re at a concert or an event. I can’t complain! -- I appreciate the opportunity to be able to share my experiences and hopefully it helps somebody else who’s out there who may want to get into some craziness in their life and get into this insane business that we’re all in.

Leila Riley, MPE-AA
Ph.D candidate, Sport management
University of Minnesota
Member Since Jul '22

  • What I find most valuable about being a member of WISE: I came from communities where there were not many women in sport and there weren't many opportunities to connect with them. I am so appreciative of this community of like-minded folks that I get to connect with on a regular basis. I'm really grateful for the meaningful connections that I've made through WISE!
  • What major lesson(s) did you learn in 2022? I think 2022 was a big year for being my authentic self. I like to joke that I am a recovering perfectionist, but I have been recognizing how that makes it difficult for me to show up as my authentic self. I celebrate the imperfections of others and have been working to show myself that same grace. 
  • What do you hope to accomplish this year (personally or professionally)?  Professionally, I'm very much hoping to have my dissertation very close to being finished by the end of the year. I think personally, my goal for this year is to reclaim some leisure in my life and just enjoy being in beautiful Minnesota!
  • What do you hope to accomplish this year (personally or professionally)?  Professionally, I'm very much hoping to have my dissertation very close to being finished by the end of the year. I think personally, my goal for this year is to reclaim some leisure in my life and just enjoy being in beautiful Minnesota!
  • Who is your mentor and how have they inspired you?  I've been lucky to have many mentors throughout my professional development. I'm incredibly grateful to my advisor/mentor Dr. Vicki Schull who has put in an incredible amount of work into me both emotionally and professionally. I'd be so lost in this program without her guidance. I also want to put out an honorable mention to Stephanie Davis who I've developed a very meaningful peer mentorship with.
  • How do you encourage women around you?  I think one of the ways I best encourage women around me is by sharing knowledge. If I have information about resources you need, you bet I'll share or find someone that knows. If I've hit hurdles that you're coming up to, I will share what I know so that hopefully your ride is less bumpy. I strive to be a good community member in this way.  
  • One of my favorite books, podcasts or blogs is: I am hooked on all things Brene Brown. I've read a few of her books, but I think Daring Greatly was very impactful for me as a leader. I'm not super into podcasts, but if I need something to listen to I do enjoy her Dare to Lead or Unlocking Us podcasts.
  • In my free time, you can find me: outdoors with my partner and my dog. We've really enjoyed coming to Minnesota and having so many new parks and hikes to explore.

Leticia Silva
SVP, Human Resources
Minnesota Twins
Member Since Apr '21

  • What I find most valuable about being a member of WISE: The sense of belonging that comes from being surrounded by so many inspiring women.
  • What major lesson(s) did you learn in 2022? The importance of prioritizing self-care. Facing the fact that I am never going to be “caught up” and that I need to take time for myself once in a while without feeling guilty about it (although this is still a work in progress 😊).
  • What do you hope to accomplish this year? Personal – to travel someplace new. Professional – I love to learn, so each year I look for new learning opportunities. In 2023, I plan to evaluate leadership coaching certificate programs and complete one in the calendar year
  • Who is your mentor and how have they inspired you? I am fortunate to have a number of mentors who share their knowledge, vulnerabilities, candid feedback and encouragement. The most inspiring aspect of these relationships is learning about other people’s journeys and challenges they faced along the way. Too often we have unrealistic perceptions of other people’s leadership journeys and when we experience challenges/failures on our own journeys we tend to internalize these experiences and fill our minds with self-doubt.
  • How do you encourage other women around you? By celebrating their WINS no matter how big or small. As women we tend to be so hard on ourselves which can be exhausting, it’s important to give ourselves credit once in a while! 
  • One of my favorite books, podcasts or blogs is: Anything from Brené Brown – Books, Podcasts, etc. If I had to choose one, it would be Dare to Lead.
  • In my free time I'm: Spending time with family and friends, in the winter someplace indoors and in the summer OUTDOORS in the sunshine. 

2018-2022 Spotlights

Cecilia Lettner
Dir, Inclusion & People Development
Minnesota Twins
Member Since Apr '21

  • What I find most valuable about being a member of WISE: I have honestly valued this network of women to connect with as I entered the sports & entertainment industry. In my short time I have enjoyed the opportunities to share our stories, learn together, and simply grow a supportive network.
  • What major lesson(s) did you learn last year? Take time to recognize the small wins. Remember it is okay to lean on and reach out to your networks for support. Take the time to listen to your own advice – we are the hardest on ourselves but we too deserve the grace we try to afford to others. Take a deep breath. Take that day off, sis!
  • What do you hope to accomplish this year? In 2022, I hope to make a positive impact personally and professionally. That may be by creating space for others, leading work or community initiatives, or simply holding conversations. It will take shape as the days continue, but that is one thing I hope to accomplish, creating a positive impact.
  • My first job was: My first job in high school was as the drive-thru queen at Arby’s. After college, I worked as a front desk receptionist at a local non-profit, the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.
  • Who is your mentor and how have they inspired you? Bernice Lamkin at Xcel Energy; she has been in my corner cheering me on, being a sounding board on projects I’ve lead, and inspired me through her own career growth as a black woman. Her words of reassurance and feedback ring through my mind on most days when my nerves or anxiety feel insurmountable.
  • How do you lift up other women around you? I find it really important to advocate for other women in meetings they may not also be at. Recommending to pull someone into a project or discussion while highlighting how beneficial it will be to have their input or viewpoint will be.
  • In my free time I'm: watching any one of our Minnesota sports teams, crocheting another scarf, or on a patio in the warmer months.

Savanna Townsend
HR Generalist
Premier Sport Psychology
Member Since May '21

  • What I find most valuable about being a member of WISE: The connections and learning opportunities with such inspirational and accomplished women.
  • The best career advice I've received: No matter who is in the room - do not be afraid to ask questions.
  • I'm currently intrigued by Book/Podcast/Blog/Journal: The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay
  • In my free time, I'm: Running, at the beach, fishing, or spending time with family & friends.
  • If I had a walk-up song, it would be: Brand New by Ben Rector
  • What is your biggest accomplishment this year? Being part of and contributing to the continuous growth processes of Premier Sport Psychology.
  • Name an athlete who inspires you: Coworker and former Olympic swimmer, David Plummer - His story is INCREDIBLY inspiring and I'm fortunate to work alongside him every day!

Monterae Carter
Foundation programs manager
Minnesota Vikings
Member Since Jun '18

  • What I find most valuable about being a member of WISE: I have truly valued being able to connect with women who have become mentors in my career.
  • The best career advice I've received: To bring my personality into my work and be my most authentic self.
  • I'm currently intrigued by Book/Podcast/Blog/Journal: Women at Work recommended to me by Anne Doepner
  • In my free time, I'm: Roller Skating and Crafting
  • If I had a walk-up song, it would be: I have a playlist that I listen to on the way to game day to get me in the fundraising mood. Money-Leikeli47
  • What is your biggest accomplishment this year? My biggest accomplishment this year is the Purple Turf Collection, a fundraiser for the Minnesota Vikings Foundation.
  • Name an athlete who inspires you: I have the honor to work with some of the Vikings former players. Alan Page is a pillar in this community and it has been privilege to get to know him.

Katie Amys
Partnership Activation Coordinator
Minnesota Wild
Member Since Nov '18

  • What I find most valuable about being a member of WISE: I truly find the networking and community aspect of WISE the most valuable.
  • The best career advice I've received: Do every part of your job well, even what you think are the boring parts.
  • I'm currently intrigued by Book/Podcast/Blog/Journal: A friend of mine started a great podcast, "Hot Coffee, Cold Beer," for those looking for career growth advice, specifically in sports. I'd highly recommend checking it out!
  • In my free time, I'm: Always on the go! I play multiple rec league sports (soccer, kickball, and volleyball), I'm a kickboxing trainer at Title Boxing, and I love spending time outdoors with my dog, Charlie, or just spending time with friends and family!
  • If I had a walk-up song, it would be: Stronger, Kanye West.
  • What are you working on? In addition to preparing for the season, I'm currently working on Winter Classic Host Committee Partnership events.
  • Name an athlete who inspires you: Growing up, I was a competitive figure skater and was always inspired by Michelle Kwan. A current athlete who inspires me: Simone Biles.

Amy Doherty
Asst. Director
MN State High School League
Member Since Jul '18

  • What I find most valuable about being a member of WISE: I have found it valuable to create a network of local women in the industry. After seeing and talking to some WISE members many times over the years, I appreciate knowing that I could pick up the phone and call any number of them for support, ideas, or as a connection to their organization. Of course, these types of connections do not just happen by signing up; it is important to attend events as often as possible.
  • The best career advice I've received: Maintain connections. After interning at the MSHSL in college, continuing to work at MSHSL events on weekends helped me to land my current position.
  • I'm currently intrigued by Book/Podcast/Blog/Journal: Most have likely read it by now, but I would recommend Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. I just started reading Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Pérez. Podcasts: Hidden Brain, The Ezra Klein Show, Code Switch, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Stuff You Should Know
  • In my free time, I'm: Reading on my porch or taking a walk (and in non-pandemic times, I love traveling to the Caribbean to scuba dive).
  • If I had a walk-up song, it would be: My Own Drum from the Vivo soundtrack.
  • What is your biggest accomplishment this year? Creating MSHSL athletics and fine arts events with ever-changing health and safety guidance was very challenging. We were forced to re-envision events from the ground up. This required an immense amount of planning. I’m sure others in the industry can relate!
  • Name an athlete who inspires you: Kathrine Switzer.

Vanessa Lambert
Bally Sports North
Member Since May '18

  • What I love about being on the WISE Twin Cities Board of Directors: I love being a part of a powerful group of women here in the Twin Cities who are supportive and advocate for one another. I’m also a firm believer in having mentors at any stage of your career that can help you both personally and professionally, and I want to help others find the right person to help them on their journey.
  • The best career advice I've received: My mom has always told me, “All they can say is no.” I feel like most women aren’t great at sticking up for themselves, asking for help, etc. So don’t be afraid to ask because most of the time, your co-workers or boss will say yes while the worst answer you’d get is a no, but it’s always worth a shot. 
  • Book/Podcast/Blog/Journal I'm currently intrigued by: I love any true-crime podcast, show, documentary, and probably have overdone it! I need some good summer reads but may re-read “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle because every person needs to read it at least once.
  • In my free time, I'm: I’m enjoying Minnesota summers (but not winters), spending time with friends, attempting to cook new recipes, reading, watching sports!
  • If I had a walk-up song, it would be: My walk-up song would be “Move B***h” by Ludacris. Totally inappropriate, but I’ve claimed it since I started working in sports in 2003. I’ll spare you my favorite line 😊
  • What is your biggest accomplishment this year? My biggest accomplishment this year (and all of my co-workers, for that matter) is reinventing how we do TV. Because of the pandemic, we haven’t traveled for games since March 2020. We’ve had to adapt and learn how to produce games locally while the teams are on the road. We are very reliant on the home team to provide us what we need back here in the Twin Cities.
  • Name an athlete who inspires you: Maya Moore. She’s won at every level of her career (high school, college, WNBA, EuroLeague, China, Olympics) but gave that up to focus on what’s important to her – advocating for others and justice reform in our country. 

Madge Makowske
Assoc. Athletic Director/Sr Woman Admin
St. Catherine University
Member Since Mar '18

  • What I find most valuable about being a member of WISE: WISE has been a valuable resource in meeting and interacting with strong women in the sports industry. The events are engaging and have helped me grow professionally.
  • The best career advice I've received: Show up everyday, be authentic and never stop learning.
  • I'm currently intrigued by Book/Podcast/Blog/Journal: I am currently reading Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle. Additionally, I have been very intrigued by the topics of mental health and social justice. I have watched a number of documentaries on athletes in these areas recently that are great. Michael Phelps - Weight of Gold, ESPN 30 for 30 - Maya Moore, Netflix - The Playbook: Coaches Rules for Life, and Netflix - The College Admissions Scandal.
  • In my free time, I'm: Soaking up the outdoors. Running, biking, hiking, dog walking, gardening, kayaking or just about anything that is an "ing".
  • If I had a walk-up song, it would be: This is a tough one to answer. I am an unassuming person, but like the attitude in all three of these songs depending on my mood. Confident - Demi Lovato, Run the World (Girls) - Beyonce, or Unstoppable - Sia.
  • What is your biggest accomplishment this year? The biggest accomplishment this year was helping to hold everything together in our department and to provide a meaningful experience for our student-athletes. The restrictions and guidelines were changing so fast. It was a whirlwind for sure.
  • Name an athlete who inspires you: Naomi Osaka and recently Simone Biles. I am so in awe of their maturity as young female athletes to speak openly or take a stance about mental health, often at the risk of losing money or sponsorships.

Kristin Gow
Sr. Delivery Manager
Second Spectrum
Member Since May '18

  • What I love about being on the WISE Twin Cities Board of Directors: Serving on the board has allowed me to build a close network of strong women across the sports industry. My fellow board members inspire me every day, and I have learned so much from them. I also love attending our events to meet new people and connect with our membership base.
  • The best career advice I've received: 1. Bring your authentic self to everything you do. 2. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want.
  • I'm currently intrigued by Book/Podcast/Blog/Journal: I'm kind of a money nerd. So I rotate between a few personal finance podcasts and audiobooks.
  • In my free time, I'm: drinking cold brew coffee, chasing after my kids, and exploring the Twin Cities with my family.
  • If I had a walk-up song, it would be: Don't Stop Believin' by Journey.
  • What are you working on? I'm working on being more intentional with my time to slow down, create balance and enjoy the little moments in life.
  • Name an athlete who inspires you: My daughters. Watching them try new sports, learn new skills, make friends, and gain confidence is one of my greatest joys in life.

Karah Lodge
Assoc. Director
MN Amateur Sports Commission 
Member Since Feb '18

  • What I love about being on the WISE Twin Cities Board of Directors: The opportunity to learn from women with varied experiences across the industry and the possibility of offering support in return.
  • The best career advice I've received: Talk to everyone! Relationships are key. 
  • Book/Podcast/Blog/Journal I'm currently intrigued by: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky
  • In my free time, I'm: updating and working on my home. 
  • If I had a walk-up song, it would be: Like This by Kelly Rowland and Eve
  • What are you working on? I am working on an online resource system that supports and connects amateur sports organizations and stakeholders in effort to make recreational opportunities more accessible, inclusive, and sustainable across the state. 
  • Name an athlete who inspires you: Maya Moore. 

Amy Rahja
Dir of Booking, Marketing & Sales
Target Center
Member Since APR '21

  • What I look forward to most about being a member of WISE: Meeting other women in the sports and events industry, especially in the Twin Cities. 
  • The best career advice I've received: Be open to change.
  • Book/Podcast/Blog/Journal I'm currently intrigued by: I just finished the WISE Emerging Leaders class, and they recommended “What the CEO Wants You to Know” by Ram Charan, so I’m currently reading this book. I’m also into any podcast that deals with true crime!
  • In my free time, I'm: Chasing after our two dogs, Lucy (shepherd mix) and Ari (husky).
  • If I had a walk-up song, it would be: Lose Yourself / Eminem (I’m from Detroit, so I have to pay homage to my hometown!)
  • What is your biggest accomplishment this year? I’m grateful that I survived our building being closed for a year due to the pandemic. I’m excited to be working on the Lynx season and our plans to reopen in July with our first non-NBA or WNBA event.
  • Name an athlete who inspires you: Kevin Love.

Emily Weinberg
Health Program Representative
MN Dept of health
Member Since Mar '20

  • What I love about being on the WISE Twin Cities Commit: I love being surrounded by like-minded and motivated people who are constantly working to become better versions of themselves, and are committed to ensuring that women in the sports and events industry are supported. 
  • The best career advice I've received: Not to underestimate what you are capable of - never sell yourself short.
  • Book/Podcast/Blog/Journal I'm currently intrigued by: The Unbiased Science Podcast, The Babesment podcast, and Dateline. I also just finished the book Medical Apartheid. Highly recommend.
  • In my free time, I'm: Usually at the gym, watching football, at the lake, or hanging out with friends and family.
  • If I had a walk-up song, it would be: Get Along - Kenny Chesney
  • What is your biggest accomplishment this year? Earning my Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification from the NSCA, as well as graduating with my Master's degree from Ohio State.
  • Name an athlete who inspires you: Tia Clair-Toomey

Kelsi Rahm
Financial Advisor
Morgan Stanley
Member Since Mar '21

  • What I look forward to most about being a member of WISE: Being a part of a new community of women who share similar ambition and toughness. I’m excited to be a part of a network that empowers girls and leads women to be the best they can be.
  • The best career advice I've received: Someone once told me they didn’t see me as leading my own practice, and although that isn’t career advice, it pushed me to work hard, put myself out there, and not let negative people hold me back… and the desire to prove that person wrong was definitely a motivating factor. 
  • Book/Podcast/Blog/Journal I'm currently intrigued by: 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, Caste, Make me Smart, and all stock market update podcasts I can listen to while walking my dogs.
  • In my free time, I'm: Busy. I don’t have a lot of free time.
  • If I had a walk-up song, it would be: Confident by Demi Lovato.
  • What are you working on this year? To continue to grow my business, help my 2 daughters enjoy their summer after a long, long school year, train my 1-year labradoodle to come when called, and run the TC Marathon without breaking my hip this fall.
  • Name an athlete who inspires you: Lindsey Vonn.