The 14th Annual WISE Women of the Year Awards Luncheon was held Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
The WISE Women of the Year Award is a prestigious honor that recognizes three extraordinary women who have made a significant impact on the business of sports and events. The 2008 nominees, along with their bios are posted below.
The WISE Board of Directors reviewed all nominees and recommended these candidates while considering the following criteria:
- women who in their careers are visible leaders and continue to be a voice for women in the industry
- women who have broken down barriers, helped create new opportunities and serve as a resource for other women
- women who exemplify professional excellence and are role models for others
We look forward to seeing you at the 2008 WISE Women of the Year Luncheon!
Lesa France Kennedy
Rita Benson LeBlanc
Michelle D. Wilson
Jackie W. Woodward
Executive Vice President, Soccer United Marketing
Carter oversees all sponsorship, advertising sales and partnership marketing activities for Major League Soccer’s commercial subsidiary. Under her tenure has overseen the addition of more than 30 new partners since July, 2006. Carter serves as the U.S. representative on FIFA’s Standing Committee for Women’s Football and the FIFA Women’s World Cup. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, she started on the nationally ranked soccer team.
Group Head/Senior Vice President, Global Sponsorship, MasterCard Worldwide
During her 17 years at MasterCard, Hughes has directed teams responsible for managing and leveraging a robust portfolio of global sponsorships including working in Europe for eight years. In her current position she sets global sponsorship strategy and guides regional sponsorship practices. She is also directly responsible for the U.S. Sponsorship Group. Hughes is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Lesa France Kennedy
President, International Speedway Corporation
Kennedy has served as President since 2003 and is a member of the Board of Directors. She was instrumental in the conception, design and development of DAYTONA USA a 50,000 square foot complex at Daytona International Speedway. She also serves on the Board of Directors of NASCAR. In April, 2005 Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal named Kennedy as one of the top 20 high profile sports executives. She is a graduate of Duke University.
Senior Vice President Marketing, ESPN
Since December 2005 Lacy has overseen the marketing of all ESPN brands and businesses, encompassing television, publishing, radio, the Internet, wireless and consumer products. She played a key role in campaigns that launched Monday Night Football on ESPN and in creative spots for This is SportsCenter. Prior she spent nine years at the Pepsi-Cola Company and led all marketing for Pepsi North America’s entire carbonated beverage portfolio.
Rita Benson LeBlanc
Owner/Executive Vice President, New Orleans Saints
In her role for the Saints NFL franchise LeBlanc oversees the business and administrative operations including sales, marketing, community and youth programs, game entertainment and stadium operations. She led a record selling sales and marketing effort for 2006 with a season ticket sellout for the reopening of the Superdome, followed by another sellout in 2007. LeBlanc also chairs the NFL Employees Benefit committee and has made the rebuilding of New Orleans a business and personal priority.
Vice President, Strategic Planning, Recruitment & Diversity, Major League Baseball
Lewis directs the recruitment and workforce strategy for MLB’s Central Office and its 30 member Clubs. She is also the leader and strategist for MLB’s Diverse Business Partners Program, an initiative established to cultivate new and existing partnerships with minority-owned and women-owned businesses. With a BA degree from the University of Wisconsin, Lewis received her MBA at Northwestern. She is the mother of three daughters and also has two granddaughters.
Vice Chairman and President, Los Angeles Dodgers
As the highest ranking female executive in baseball McCourt oversees the strategic planning and development for the franchise. She is also active in the local business community serving on the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as being a visiting professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management teaching “The Pursuit of Leadership: A Female Perspective.” McCourt resides in LA with her husband and four sons.
Reporter, FOX NFL Sunday / NFL on FOX
In her current position Oliver contributes feature stories, sideline reports and interviews for NFL Sunday for the week’s top game. Since joining FOX in 1995 she has been on of the most visible reporters on the network. Prior, Oliver served as a sports reporter at ESPN covering the NFL Playoffs and the NFC Championship game. She is married and resides in Atlanta.
Coordinating Producer, NBC Olympics
In her role, Solomon is involved in every facet of production and planning, including program development, operational planning and the hiring and assigning of on-air-talent and production staff. During the 2004 games in Athens she oversaw all aspects of the 415 hours of Olympic cable coverage on MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo and USA and will continue these responsibilities in Beijing in 2008. In 2006 she won a Prime Time Emmy award as a producer of the Opening Ceremony in Torino. Solomon is married and the mother of four year old triplets.
Senior Vice President, Corporate Marketing, FedEx Services
Under Tucker’s supervision the division is responsible for developing marketing strategy, product innovation and development, retail product and promotion, business alliances, sponsorship, customer experience marketing and brand management and advertising. She oversaw the FedEx Super Bowl spot “Stick” which won a Primetime Emmy award. Tucker also instituted several employee growth programs including a diversity council, mentoring and an awards and recognitions program. She earned a B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Memphis.
Color Commentator, New York Yankees, WCBS-AM radio
An award winning journalist, Waldman will begin her 22nd season either covering or broadcasting for the Yankees. She was the first woman to hold a full-time position as a Major League broadcaster and has risen to the top of her field. In 1987, she became the first female voice heard on WFAN, the first All- Sports Radio station in the country and was a mainstay on WFAN for 15 years. For over two decades Waldman has overcome all the obstacles of being a female sports broadcaster. A native of Boston she holds a degree in economics from Simmons College.
Michelle D. Wilson
Chief Marketing Officer, Pro Tennis, The United States Tennis Association (USTA) Wilson oversees all advertising, promotion, branding and special events/entertainment for USTA corporate initiatives and professional tennis, including the US Open, US Open Services, USTA Pro Circuits, U.S. Davis Cup, U.S. Fed Cup and the Olympics. Prior, she was VP of Marketing at XFL, the start-up football league and held marketing positions at the NBA and Nabisco. Wilson received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard. She lives in Stamford with her husband.
Vice President, Media and Marketing Services, Miller Brewing Company
In her role Woodward supervises a staff of 45 in two offices, 10 agencies and a budget of $450 million. She led a marketing effort for Miller High Life(double-digit growth), Miller Lite (turned around negative sales) and Miller Chill. She was a key leader in changing management efforts and introducing new compensation models amount many other administrative improvements. From 2001-2006, Woodward was Corporate Vice President, Global Marketing for McDonald’s Corporation.