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WISE National | Board of Directors

  • Kate Rhodes - Governance Committee

    krhodes@proskauer.com

     

    Kate Rhodes is an associate in the Labor Department of Proskauer Rose LLP, where she has worked on many sports-related matters, primarily collective bargaining agreement negotiations and disputes involving professional sports leagues.  Rhodes graduated magna cum laude from Tulane University Law School, where she was also a member of the Order of the Coif and served as the Notes and Comments Editor for the Sports Lawyers Journal.  She received her B.A. from the University Chicago, where she played Varsity Softball and was President of the Women’s Athletic Association.  She joined the WISE Board  in January 2014.

  • Kathleen Francis - Chairman and President

    info@wiseworks.com

    President, Oasis Sports Ventures, LLC

    Oasis Sports Ventures is a new start-up marketing and development company specializing in providing quality amateur sports programs and competitions for youth, young adults and families that encourages physical activity, social engagement and achievement. The first property to be pilot-tested in 2012 is the National Family Tennis Championships.

    Most recently, Kathy served as Managing Director, Marketing and Development responsible for implementing the USTA’s marketing initiatives to grow tennis participation and frequency of play, nationally.

    Prior to the USTA, Francis served as SVP of Sales, Marketing and Communications at the NJSEA and was charged with attracting entertainment and generating revenues for Giants Stadium (now MetLife Stadium), Continental Airlines Arena (now Izod Arena), the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park Racetracks.

    Francis also spent 11 years at Major League Baseball where she oversaw the League’s consumer marketing efforts. She created national advertising campaigns and yearlong platforms honoring the “All Century Team,” Jackie Robinson’s and Hank Aaron’s anniversaries. She reintroduced youth skills competitions, developed a four-on-four competition and oversaw the expansion of RBI - an inner cities program.

    Honors include WISE Women of the Year in Sports Award, SBJ “Top 40 under 40” Sports Executives, 1999 and 2000 “Top 25 Women Executives in Sports”, “Ebony Outstanding Women Awards”, “2000 Boys & Girls Clubs of America Champion for Youth Award.”

    In November 2011, Francis was named Chair and President of WISE (Women in Sports and Events), the leading voice and resource for professional women in the business of sports and events. A native of New Orleans, LA, she holds BS from Xavier University of Louisiana and a MBA in Marketing and General Management from Rutgers University.


     

  • Sue Rodin - Founder and Chair Emerita

    sue@leaddogmarketing.com

    Founder, Stars & Strategies 

    Sue Rodin has been a force in sports for more than two decades. In 1996 Rodin founded Stars & Strategies, which provides strategic sports marketing for corporate clients and is the exclusive marketing representative for various on-air personalities and elite female athletes. Prior to launching her company, Rodin served as in-house consultant for Avon Products' 1996 Olympic Games sponsorship and licensing programs, and was previously vice-president, director of promotion at National Media Group, Inc., a sports marketing agency in New York.  Rodin is founder and chair emerita of WISE (Women in Sports and Events), the leading voice for women in the industries of sports and events.  Rodin has been honored many times including in 2011, Rodin was featured in the SportsBusiness Journal’s inaugural “Game Changers: Women in Sports Business” special section.

    In 2009, The James H. Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon named Rodin its Sports Business Woman of the Year at the annual Women in Sports Business Symposium.  Rodin was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2003 to the New York City Sports Commission's Sports Development Corporation.  In addition to being a frequent guest lecturer and speaker, she is a frequent contributor to trade and consumer publications and has appeared on ESPN's “Outside The Lines,” CNN, “NBC Nightly News,” Fox Sports, “Rivera Live,” and other media outlets.

    A graduate of Ohio State University, Rodin earned a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

     

  • Bess Brodsky - Vice President | Executive Committee

    bessbrodsky@gmail.com

     

    Bess Brodsky is a senior sports and entertainment industry professional with 25 years of experience working in sponsorship, partnership marketing, sales and promotions for companies including Madison Square Garden, MSG Network, ESPN, The New York Times, the Sports Museum of America, US Soccer, Radio City Music Hall and the Radio City Rockettes.   Bess currently holds the position of President of BB Consulting, a marketing consulting company focusing on branding, marketing, sponsorship management and career development.  In addition, Bess has been working as a career counselor with a variety of clients in the sports and entertainment business. 

    Bess has a special expertise in understanding the science behind strategic partnerships and solution based marketing to drive tangible results.  She has worked with advertising, media- buying and marketing agencies, overseeing annual budgets of $10M+.  In addition, she has played a key role in pitching and securing hundreds of marketing partnerships and sponsorships with top companies such as JPMorgan Chase, American Express, Coca-Cola, Nike, Pepsi, Delta, McDonald’s, Panasonic, Starbucks, Audi, Toys R Us and American Airlines.

    Bess has a B.A. from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a J.D. from New England School of Law.  Bess is Vice President of the National Board of WISE, Women in Sports and Events and serves on the Advisory Board for B.O.S.S., the Business of Sports School, a NYC Public School dedicated to the business of sports.  Bess speaks Italian, participates in sprint triathlons and is an avid tennis player.

     

     

     

  • Jenifer Miller - Vice President | Executive Committee

    jenimiller13@me.com

    Jen Miller is a catalyst for strategic marketing and business transformation, regarded for her expertise in counseling employee teams and executive management in best practices and ways to adapt to – and accept - new management, marketing and communication initiatives. In a newly created role within the auto industry, Jen is the Head of Brand Transformation and Consumer Experience for a Ford Lincoln dealership and currently spearheads a reinvention initiative on behalf of Lincoln Motor Company to change the car buying experience at the local level ... from the inside out. In a challenging work environment, where the status quo has prevailed for decades, Jen creates strategic marketing initiatives and navigates teams through their crucial transition (i.e., deployment of low-technology, data and CRM conversions, re-branding campaign, and a re-definition of a corporate partnership program as a new avenue to sales growth), helping employees adjust to the changes through leadership meetings, internal communications, video and digital media and department rep forums. Results include strong buy-in at the team level that produces effective roll-out and acceptance of new practices. For nine years, Jen has operated a business consulting company working with Fortune 500 companies, small to mid-size businesses and non-profit organizations on long and short-term projects for companies such as AT&T, CNN, Accenture, New York Life Investment, Turner Professional Development Center, Turner Classic Movies, MATTER Edelman Sports & Entertainment Marketing, iN DEMAND and The Women’s Sports Foundation. As the VP/Board of Directors and Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee for Women in Sports and Events (WISE), Jen leads a strategic planning initiative and spearheaded the organization’s first leadership transition. Jen began her career in sports marketing where she developed, managed and executed more than 250 sports and special events campaigns through integrated marketing and communication platforms, PR initiatives, consumer promotions, retail tie-ins and grassroots activities designed to grow and develop properties and brands on behalf of Synergy Sports, Contemporary Marketing Group, Nike, World Cup ’94 and the Women’s Sports Foundation. Backed with an MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Jen publishes articles about youth sports and was selected to write a blog for Working Mother magazine on “Tips for Being a Great Sports Parent.” Jen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she was a two-time captain of the nationally ranked women’s soccer team. A youth coach for more than 25 years, Jen most recently coached a girls travel soccer team. Jen lives in New Jersey with her husband and three children.

  • Megha Parekh - Secretary | Governance Committee Co-Chair

    mparekh@jd09.law.harvard.edu

    Vice President and General Counsel, Jacksonville Jaguars

    Megha Parekh currently serves as Vice President and General Counsel of the Jacksonville Jaguars.  She has been working with the team since March 2013.  Prior to that, she spent over three years as an associate in the corporate sports group at Proskauer, working primarily on acquisitions and financings for leagues and teams.  She was named as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in the sports category in December 2012.  Parekh graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2009 and from Harvard College in 2006.  She has served on the national board of WISE since February 2010.      

     

  • Maggie Hightower - Treasurer | Finance Committee Chair

    MJHightower@hotmail.com

    Accounting Manager, LeadDog Marketing Group

    BBA Iona College 2006

    MBA Mount Saint Mary College 2007

    Started Career at Ernst & Young in the Financial Services Group. Have been working at LeadDog Marketing Group since 2009, currently Accounting Manager.  Analysis, planning, reporting and accounting of overall organization and resource analysis.

     

     

  • Martha Rose - Director | Governance Committee Co-Chair

    mrose@proskauer.com

    Law Clerk, Proskauer Rose, LLP.

    Martha Rose is a law clerk in the Corporate Department of Proskauer Rose, LLP, where she works on a variety of sports-related matters.   Martha graduated from Columbia Law School in 2012, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and cum laude from Colgate University in 2007.  She joined the WISE Board in February 2013.

     

  • Courtney Carter - Director | Business Development Committee Co-Chair

    WISEBIZDEV@gmail.com

    Director, ESPN Sports Management/CreativeWorks

    Currently serving as a Director of Sports Management/CreativeWorks for ESPN, Courtney helps drive advertising solutions for Grantland.com, ESPN Films, Major League Baseball and creates long form branded content for ESPN advertisers. In her previous role in Co-Marketing/CreativeWorks at ESPN the launching of StubHub and ESPN’s partnership and creation of The Hall of Fans (www.thehalloffans.com);  Jose Cuervo Tradicional’s ONE NATION Hispanic Heritage Month bi-cultural/lingual platform as well as other programs with PEPSI, Infiniti, Nissan - only to name a few.  Starting out, she sold corporate partnerships with the NY Knicks, Rangers and Liberty - then took her talents to her passion, the sport of soccer.   At Soccer United Marketing/Major League Soccer Courtney helped lead the business development efforts for soccer in America - which included MLS, US Soccer, the Mexican National Team, CONCACAF Gold Cup and Champions League and helping launch Women's Professional Soccer.   She herself has continued her competitive soccer playing career past Oregon State University and has explored her interest in film/TV production and creation, most recently producing the award winning short film “Hearts Gamble.”   She serves her community by volunteering and serving on her high school's alumni board in addition to her role on the National Board for Women In Sports & Events.

      

  • Erin Weinberg - Director | Communications Chair

    eweinberg29@gmail.com

    Principal, Weinberg Communications

    Erin S. Weinberg is a seasoned marketing communications professional with over two decades of high-level experience creating and managing award-winning marketing communications campaigns for some of the world’s most recognized brands and serving as a trusted counselor to senior management of leading corporations. Weinberg currently heads up Weinberg Communications, an independent marketing and communications consultancy providing strategic direction and counsel, professional development and executive training to corporate and agency clients. Until recently, Weinberg was a Managing Partner and co-owner at Taylor Global, Inc., a leading independent marketing communications agency based in New York. She was one of five senior partners comprising the management group that re-branded and re-defined the agency in 2004 with a new business model and aggressive growth plan. In addition, she was one of two senior partners leading business development responsible for identifying and securing all new client partners since 2006. During her career, Weinberg has worked with some of the world’s most recognizable brands including MasterCard, Kleenex, Staples, P&G, Hyatt, T. Rowe Price and General Mills. She is regarded as an expert in leveraging corporate sponsorships, most notably Olympic assets, and has implemented dozens of activation platforms at virtually every Olympic Games since 1992. Weinberg has earned various industry awards including four Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvils. Currently, Weinberg resides in the New York area with her husband and two children.  

     

  • Ernestine Miller - Director

    erniemil@aol.com

    Ernestine Miller is a founding member of WISE and has remained active in the organization since its inception in 1993. She is a women's sports historian and is the author of several books on the subject.  Miller has served as an advisor to several museums and other organizations for exhibitions on the subject of women's sports.  She is also involved with baseball and is the author of, The Babe Book:  Baseball's Greatest Legend Remembered.  In addition, she has written several articles on baseball for various magazines.  Miller is a member on the steering committee for the New York chapter of SABR (Society of American Baseball Research) and has been the coordinator of and moderator for the annual meeting from 2008-2013.  

     

     

  • Kristi Atkins - Director | WISE Atlanta Chapter President

    katkins@aimmarketingsolutions.com

    CEO, aim Marketing Soultions

    Kristi Atkins found a|i|m Marketing Solutions (a|i|m) in 2004.  As a female owned and WBENC certified company, is a sports and entertainment marketing agency that represents fortune 500 brands such as SunTrust Banks, UPS, Domino’s Pizza, Chevy, etc. The agency continues to expand its business and diversify its portfolio.

    Prior to forming a|i|m, Kristi was a Vice President at The GEM Group. As a founding member of GEM, she was responsible for business development and management of client business.  Clients included:  UPS, Bank of America, Compaq, General Mills, Sears, Domino’s Pizza, GM Racing, ING and SunTrust Banks.

    Kristi spent the first 6 years of her agency career with Advantage International (now Octagon).  While at Advantage, she managed the Sara Lee Olympic account (Champion, L’eggs and Hanes brands), the global sponsorships for MasterCard International and Girl Scouts of America. Kristi has extensive expertise in Olympics, motorsports, golf and soccer.  This experience includes: sponsorship identification, strategy development, sponsorship negotiation, asset integration and tracking of sponsorship effectiveness.

    Kristi is on the national board for Women In Sports and Events (WISE) and is the president of the Atlanta chapter.  She has been recognized for several accomplishments in her field which has largely been dominated by men.  Some these include:  2007 Top 100 Female Owned Company in Georgia, 2010 NAPW Woman of the Year in the Sports Industry, 2011 Enterprising Woman of the Year.

    Kristi is a graduate of the University of Georgia and resides in Peachtree City, GA with her husband Jonathan. 

     

  • Mindy Spire - Director | Business Development Committee Co-Chair

    mspire@sociabledesign.com

    Mindy joined Time Inc.’s Branded Solutions team in February 2010. In this highly pivotal role, she leads the creative strategy and execution of multi-media, content-based, consumer centric experiences for Time Inc.’s largest advertising clients. Additionally, she serves as a corporate liaison— consulting the company’s powerhouse media brands (Fortune, SI, EW, People, etc.) and their partners on custom “big idea” marketing solutions, compelling storytelling, emerging media technologies, and sponsorship packaging.

    Previously, Mindy served as the Director of Sales Development for World Wrestling Entertainment’s WWE.com. In what was a newly created position, she was charged with identifying and defining business growth opportunities for WWE properties by creating a go-to market strategy for WWE.com, developing an annual calendar of franchise marketing programs and tentpole events ( such as the “Rock the Ring” music platform, Diva Search, Biggest Fan contest,  and Pay Per View events such as Wrestlemania and Summer Slam), ad product marketing and packaging (including social, video, mobile and Pay Per View extensions.) She also implemented and managed the site’s marketing and client services operations.  Under Mindy’s leadership, her team tripled in revenue growth from the previous year’s earnings.

    In addition to her day-to-day site responsibilities, Mindy was also hand selected to be a part of a senior management task force assigned to rebrand and reposition WWE into a family-focused, multi-media entertainment company.  And in recognition of her determination and innovation, the company honored Mindy with its “WWE & Me” award for outstanding achievement and teamwork, which quickly followed with being named a “Rising Woman in New Media” during NYC’s Internet Week, specifically citing her ground-breaking work in branded entertainment and native advertising.

    For over 12 years, Mindy has demonstrated an intrinsic ability to build and grow businesses, marked by her signature combination of contagious energy, clear belief in teamwork and a genuine desire to deliver best-in-class work.  She can be counted on to draw on her holistic vision, online and offline experiences, and solutions-orientated attitude to drive business initiatives from ideation to execution.  

    Her previous positions include roles in sales development and integrated marketing at Rodale’s Runner’s World Media Group and Conde Nast’s Golf Digest Properties, consumer events and sponsorship activation for Nike, and co-founder of a talent agency and events business for entrepreneurs called The Seedling Group. 

    Mindy frequently contributes to charitable efforts around her passions for education, sports, and technology. Most notably, she spent many summers coaching softball at the Harlem R.B.I. and serves on the National Board of Directors for Women in Sports & Events (WISE) responsible for its financial solvency and revenue generation.  

     

  • Rebecca Shaw Whitener - Director | Digital Committee Chair

    rebecca.shaw10@gmail.com

    Director Business Development, MLB Advanced Media 

    Rebecca Shaw currently serves as Director of Business Development for MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball. MLBAM manages the official league site, MLB.com, and each of the 30 individual Club sites to create the most comprehensive MLB resource on the Internet. In her role, Shaw is responsible for negotiating new digital medium partnerships and expanding MLBAM’s portfolio of interactive media licensing activities. Shaw joined MLBAM in February 2006 after previously holding positions with the Family Cup Tennis Tournament, Puma North America and Red Bull North America. A graduate of the College of Charleston, where she obtained a BS in Education with dual minors in Psychology and Media and played Division I volleyball, Shaw is an active volunteer in the NYC committee and is a member of the WISE National Board leading the Digital Committee.

     

  • Sophia Kuo - Director | Career Resources Chair, National Membership Chair

    careerwise@wiseworks.org

    After holding executive marketing and operations positions in the travel industry, Sophia transitioned to the sports industry in 2002. An independent consultant, her areas of expertise include marketing, strategy and creative services. For more than seven years, she worked on various assignments in marketing and events at ABC Sports / ESPN.

    Sophia currently leads the development and execution of WISE’s national career resources and membership initiatives, and is responsible for their overarching strategy, marketing, programming and digital content development.

    From 2007-2012, Sophia oversaw the WISE Within mentor program. She helped develop and launch the pilot program and then served on the NYC Metro chapter board, chairing the chapter’s WISE Within committee. She was appointed national program director in 2009 to direct the national rollout and support local chapters. Named to the WISE National Board of Directors in 2010, Sophia chaired the WISE Within National Committee and was responsible for the program’s strategy and growth.