WISE Up: How to show up for yourself — starting with WISE/R

MARCH 4, 2024

Below: What WISE's founder did when faced with pay inequity

WWOY Sizzle Video

Don't miss 2024's premier event, honoring our WISE Women of the Year!

Dear WISE community,


As you can imagine, we spend months preparing for the and — curating topics, finding speakers, selecting honorees — but truthfully, one of my favorite parts of these events has nothing to do with what we've planned. Rather, it's the moments between sessions or after the awards presentation when I get to watch women from all corners of our industry catching up with old friends, or even stepping outside their comfort zone to meet someone new.


At WISE, our mission is to empower you with the tools to reach your goals and create the career you want. Today, I want to emphasize that word: "empower." Too often, we wait for others to acknowledge our potential. But what about your power? To get where you want to go, you need to be the one who sees your potential, the one who advocates for yourself. You have to advocate for yourself, for what you need to grow and develop.


As you'll read in her interview below, that's what Sue Rodin and her fellow founders did in 1993 when they snail-mailed flyers to all the contacts in their Rolodexes, inviting them to the first informal gathering of women in the sports business. Sixty guests turned up for what would one day become WISE. And now, 31 years later, look at where we are and what this community has become.


My takeaway: You are it! The power to show up for yourself — and for others — is yours. I expect we'll hear much more about this theme when the 2024 WISE Women of the Year offer their masterclass at WISE/R.


If you are attending — and it's ! — I can't wait to see you there. Don't worry; if you're deep in conversation with someone you've just met I won't interrupt.



Kathleen Francis

Chair and President

One-Question Quiz: Moneymaker Edition

In 2023, seven of the 10 played tennis, with Coco Gauff topping the list ($22.7 million in winnings and endorsements). Which sports did the other three play? See answer below.

The WISE Interview

WISE Founder Sue Rodin

Sue Roddin

WISE Founder Sue Rodin

In advance of our annual symposium and awards luncheon two weeks from now, we chatted with the woman who started it all. Sue Rodin founded WISE some three decades ago, and the organization — not to mention the industry — has come a long way since. Here, Sue, who is president of the sports marketing agency Stars & Strategies, reflects on the birth of WISE, the power of networking, her hopes for the future of the industry and more.


On filling a gap:

"I was working at a small sports marketing agency in the summer of '93 when I learned a male colleague was being paid far more than I was earning. I didn't know where to go for advice and it struck me that there was no organization for women in the sports industry. I called a few friends and we decided to see if there was interest in creating an informal networking group. This was before email, so we pulled out our Rolodexes, printed flyers and sent letters in the mail. Sixty people showed up, and we sat in a circle, introduced ourselves and connected over shared experiences. It was immediately clear that we'd identified a need."


On leading the charge:

"About six months in, someone asked us about establishing chapters in Cleveland and Washington, D.C. It grew organically from there. I had never seen myself as a trailblazer, but I felt a sense of mission to elevate women in the business of sports. Obviously, though, I didn't do it alone. It took a village of good, smart people."


On taking risks:

"When I was dealing with that pay equity issue, someone asked, 'Why don't you go out on your own?' It planted a seed. Years later, after seeing the success of the Atlanta 1996 Olympic women's basketball team, I thought there might be an opportunity to specialize in women's sports marketing management, so I started Stars & Strategies. Worst-case scenario, I figured I could always find another traditional job! My affiliation with WISE helped my business — it gave me a platform and I met so many women at the pinnacle of success. I encourage every WISE member to do the same: raise your hand, take advantage."


On always moving forward:

"I wish there had been WISE/R when I was younger. I had to learn the sports business by reading, reaching out and going to industry conferences. We started the symposium 10 years ago, and I'm amazed at the range of topics we've covered since, from communication to negotiation to new opportunities. I still find it all so useful. I firmly believe you're never too old to be curious or too senior to learn."


On getting plugged in:

"You never know where networking can lead. I was a teacher who dreamed of working in sports. My first job in the industry came out of a chance Visiting Day encounter at my kid's camp! I'm a Leo, so I'm very outgoing. My advice if you're attending an event: When you see someone standing alone, go over and introduce yourself. If you arrived with a group — as comfortable as that is! — break up and mingle. Talk to the person sitting next to you, get their information and actually stay in touch. Be persistent, yet professional: Ask about following up, then do it."


On making the right kind of noise:

"A year in, we held the first WISE Women of the Year Awards luncheon to get attention, highlight accomplished women and raise money. Those objectives remain, but the women we honor are doing amazing things, and by celebrating them we hope to inspire others. I've had attendees say to me, 'I want to win that award someday.' So it's working. It really is a moving event."


On what's next (🤞🤞🏼🤞🏽🤞🏾🤞🏿):

"We've made progress, and there's certainly lots to applaud. But there remains much to be done. I look forward to the day when it will no longer be front-page news when a woman earns a major C-suite role or some other position of power in sports. In my perfect world, that is simply a non-story."


For more from Sue, don't miss her upcoming interview in the March 11 issue of Sports Business Journal.

Sue with Lydia Murphy-Stephans and Robin Roberts at an early WISE Women of the Year Awards

Sue with Lydia Murphy-Stephans and Robin Roberts at an early WISE Women of the Year event

Let's Go! WISE Women on the Move

Alisia Anderson now: Vice President of Ballpark Operations, Seattle Mariners; formerly: Senior Director of Venue Strategy & Events for the team.

Meghan Burgoon now: Senior Director, ESPN BET Content Integration; formerly: Senior Director of Content, Fantasy & Sports for ESPN.

Kris Dent now: Chief Operating Officer, Billie Jean King Cup; formerly: ITF Senior Executive Director of Major Events & Strategic Projects.

Beth Hancock now: Basketball Administration Manager, Portland Trail Blazers; formerly: Player & Family Service Manager for the organization.

Jennifer King now: Assistant Running Backs Coach for the Chicago Bears; formerly: Assistant Running Backs Coach for the Washington Commanders.

Kerstin Lutz now: Chief Executive Officer, Billie Jean King Cup; formerly: Team Marketing AG Managing Director of Business Development.

Monica Marmolejo now: Vice President of Finance for Seattle Mariners; formerly: Senior Director of Finance and Controller for the team.

Ashley Nendick now: Chief Financial Officer of Skydance Sports; formerly: Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance & Strategy for the company.

Pamela Quadros now: Vice President, Partnerships Seattle Sports Commission; formerly: Vice President, Multimedia & Sales Puget Sound Business Journal.

Desiree Reed-Francois now: Athletic Director, University of Arizona; formerly: Athletic Director, University of Missouri.

Marjorie Williams now: Senior Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs for Skydance Sports; formerly: Entertainment Attorney at Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole LLP.


Send us your exciting job news

Worth the Click

Keep it up: (The Gist)

Keep the faith: (New York Magazine)

Keep it coming: (New York Times)

Keep it simple: (SBJ)

Keep us posted: (The Atlantic)

Keep it real: (SBJ)

Keep the ball rolling: (USA Today)



A taste of what you'll hear from the 2024 WISE Women of the Year honorees. to join the celebration on March 19 in New York City!

Ayala Deutsch Quote
Ayala Deutsch Quote

From the

Inspired by the accomplished women featured in our newsletter? Exciting new opportunities with teams, leagues, agencies and more are posted daily. See the latest open positions .

Mark Your Calendar: National Events

Don't miss the opportunity for growth and connection at our two signature events! Hurry, registration closes on Friday, March 8.

WISE/R Symposium 2024 (NYC): March 18

Today is the last day to register for the WISE/R Symposium. Bond with fellow WISE members while gaining invaluable tools and insights from in-depth professional development sessions. Learn to:

  • Communicate like a pro.
  • Make a plan to thrive.
  • Put analytics to work.
  • Speak up for success.

Plus, hear about the mainstreaming of women's sports and lessons from our WISE Women of the Year honorees. See the schedule . !

WISE Women of the Year Awards (NYC): March 19

Join us as we honor four inspiring women in the industry: Ayala Deutsch, executive vice president and deputy general counsel, NBA; Kate Johnson, director and head of global sports and entertainment marketing, Google; Michele Kajiwara, senior vice president, premium and events business, Crypto.com Arena and Peacock Theater; and Renee Chube Washington, chief operating officer, USA Track & Field.


Experience the magic in the room. !

One-Question Quiz Answer

Freestyle skiing (Eileen Gu, 3rd on the list, $20 million); gymnastics (Simone Biles, 9th, $8.5 million); golf (Nelly Korda, 10th, $7.9 million). Another fun fact: In 1982, tennis legend Martina Navratilova became the first female athlete to surpass $1 million in yearly winnings.

We'd Love to Hear From You! Ideas for WISE Up? New job? Just want to say hello? Email us.