The leading voice and resource for professional women in the business of sports.

WISE Through the Years: 1993–99

In celebration of WISE’s 25th anniversary, we take a trip down memory lane to how it all began. Women in Sports and Events was established in 1993 by five women looking to make an impact on the sports industry. Their plan was a success as women have gathered together at WISE meetings and special events ever since. In 1995, the first Woman of the Year Award Luncheon took place at Madison Square Garden. The annual event continues to grow and draws more than 600 attendees today.

A special thank you to our board and committee members and volunteers who have contributed countless hours of their time throughout our first 25 years, and to all of our valued members and partners across the country for their support.

WISE original logo

An informal gathering of women in sports business lays the foundation for what will become Women in Sports and Events. After sending flyers by mail to contacts in their Rolodexes, the organization’s five founding members — Sue Rodin, Ernestine Miller, Raleigh Mayer, Glenda Brown and Sylvia Allen — are unsure how many people will attend the New York City meeting. Sixty women turn out for the event. About WISE >>


WISE original logoRodin, Mayer and Miller (left to right) were later recognized at a WISE NYC Metro chapter event in 2016.

WISE's 25-Year Journey >>

Then and Now >>

If It Weren’t for WISE … >>

WWOY 1995

The first WISE Woman of the Year Award Luncheon inaugurates a tradition of recognizing outstanding women in the business of sports. Sara Levinson, head of NFL Properties, is the first honoree. Approximately 185 people attend the event at Madison Square Garden. Since its inception, the luncheon has been hosted annually in New York City.
About the Award >>


The first WISE chapter is founded in Washington DC.

WWOY 1996

The WISE Woman of the Year Award Luncheon moves to the Waldorf Astoria. Approximately 300 people attend.

The WISE logo color is updated, changing the white to purple.

WISE words, a print newsletter, is mailed to membership.

WISE chapters in Boston and the SF Bay Area make their debuts; the two chapters are later relaunched under new leadership.

WWOY 1998

WISE expands its annual Woman of the Year Award to three honorees. Val Ackerman, Robin Roberts and Elizabeth (Eli) Primrose-Smith make up the first expanded class.





WISE Chicago is founded and later relaunches under new leadership.

WISE logo

The WISE logo gets a makeover, with blue and red replacing the original colors of purple and white. It later wins an award and the colors are further refined to what it is today (pictured).


WWOY 1999

The WISE Women of the Year Awards Luncheon moves to the New York Marriott Marquis, where it remains through 2017. Approximately 400 people attend.