WISE Up: Celebrating women today and every day

MARCH 18, 2024

Takeaways from our Multiplier Summit and insights from our WISE Women of the Year.

WISE Women of the Year Honorees and Presenters

Luminaries at past WISE Women of the Year Awards

Dear WISE Community,


This newsletter is hitting your inbox as many of us, and I hope that includes you, gather in New York City for our WISE/R Symposium. We're learning how to speak more assertively, use analytics more effectively, monetize fan engagement, prioritize our own well-being, navigate male-dominated spaces, and leverage the rising heat of women's sports. Plus, let's not forget, we have the privilege of a front row seat to the masterclass given by this year's WISE Women of the Year. They will receive their awards tomorrow!


It's those four honorees and all their predecessors that I want to shine a light on today. It's not lost on us that our annual luncheon occurs during Women's History Month. Obviously, we believe that such national recognition is an important corrective to all those decades when "women's history" was hardly a notion. (Just look at all the female faces in obituary series). Honestly, though, we would be happy to host this event in any month; on the WISE calendar, every day is a day to celebrate and lift up women.


As you may have read in our previous newsletter, the Women of the Year Awards was one of the first events established by WISE. It was a way to acknowledge the success of women leaders on the business side of sports. But the event was also offered something much more: inspiration for peers and succeeding generations alike. That inspiration is very much in evidence again this year.


If you were not able to join us at either of these events, worry not — we'll send out a special version of this newsletter next Monday with recaps of the sessions, so you can be inspired, too. Until then, I salute every member of the WISE family for their contributions to our community, the industry and, yes, to history.



Kathleen Francis

Chair and President

One-Question Quiz
Women's History Edition

The name of the Midwest's first sports bar dedicated exclusively to women's sports — — pays homage to A League of Their Own, the 1992 Penny Marshall film about the All American Girls' Professional Baseball League. Which team won the league's inaugural championship? See answer at bottom.

WISE Takeaways:

Key Learnings from the Multiplier Summit

WISE Multiplier Summit

Former Florida Marlins GM Kim Ng, the keynote speaker, with WISE President Kathy Francis

We're still buzzing from the excitement of our third annual Multiplier Summit. Presented by FanDuel in partnership with the Wasserman Foundation, nearly 100 invite-only attendees gathered at the Boston Convention Center on the eve of the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference to connect with other WISE members and dive deep into the current state of sports analytics. We explored the real-world impact of new tools and analytics in a variety of settings. Here are five takeaways:

  1. Use analytics to align, not rule: Longtime MLB executive Kim Ng got the analytics bug while sitting in a box as an intern for the White Sox, to chart—by hand!—where balls were hit, then sorting them by pitcher-hitter matchup, pitch count, and situation. Still, as a GM, she knew data wasn't everything. "Analytics are guardrails, they will paint a very good picture for you, but sometimes we forget other important pieces of the puzzle," Ng said. "Like people—great player development staff or players who are adaptable and how you bring it all together. I do believe in chemistry."
  2. Question the way it's always been done: GE CMO Linda Boff shared that, upon stepping into her role a decade ago, she wasn't convinced that traditional TV upfronts were nimble enough, given how difficult it was to predict what shows would gain traction with audiences. "We got out of the upfronts and put almost all of our money in live sports, and we've never looked back," she said. Today, the company also has a full digital marketing strategy to complement that approach. Still, she says, "there is no place I'd rather be. Sports have always represented this great passion moment that we want to be part of as a brand."
  3. You gotta know 'em to grow 'em: This was a direct quote from Rams CMO Kat Frederick, who urged attendees to invest deeply in fan data—or "fanalytics." You'll gain insights into who is in your fanbase, their motivations, and any areas of friction in the customer experience. "We always say our greatest asset is our data because it gives us the roadmap to what we do next," Frederick said.
  4. Women are betting big on sports betting: Though sports fandom is broadly split 50-50 along gender lines, sports betting has yet to reach parity. Perhaps it's not far off, though. "Last year, more than 33% of our new users were women," said Jennifer Matthews, FanDuel Brand Marketing VP. As for where the wagers are going: "Men bet on women's sports. Women index very high in the NFL and the NBA."
  5. Last but not least — yes, you do have to make time to learn about AI: Harvard professor Hanspeter Pfister emphasized the importance of understanding how the language models used to train generative AI operate so that you can better understand how they are changing our industry. It's important knowledge for tasks like coding or translating and generating copy or videos, but it's even more critical for the legal and ethical challenges.

Let's Go! Women on the Move

Ashley Colley now: "Get Up!" Content Producer, ESPN; formerly: Associate Producer, ESPN


Darbie Kelley now: Brand Marketing Manager, Excel Sports Management; formerly: Account Manager, Bespoke Sports & Entertainment


Alexis Lee now: President of Business Operations, Portland Thorns FC formerly: Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Ilitch Sports and Entertainment (IS+E)


Jessica Lindell now: Vice President of Brand Partnerships, Improbable Media; formerly: Vice President and Head of Sales and Partnerships, Katie Couric Media


Karen Murphy now: Executive Vice President of Stadium Development and Chief Operating Officer, Chicago Bears; formerly: Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Strategy for the team


Meka White Morris now: Executive Vice President of Revenue & Chief Business Officer, Chicago Bears; formerly: Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer, Minnesota Twins


Interested in growing your own career?

Explore the , with new listings daily from leagues, teams, agencies and other exciting employers.


And if you have exciting career news, please send it to us at newsletter@wiseworks.org.

Worth the Click

That's so awesome!

(SBJ) and (SBJ)


That's exhausting!



That's so much money!

(Marketing Brew) (NPR) (Little Black Book)


That's a lot to remember!

(Pew Research) (Visual Capitalist)


That's curious!

(The Atlantic)


Wisdom from two of our honorees. We're thrilled to celebrate all four of our WISE Women of the Year this week!

Michele Kajiwara
Renee Chube Washington quote

Invest in Yourself:

Professional Development

April 24-May 29


We're empowering more women with the right skills at the right time. The ELCP is an interactive, virtual program specifically designed to propel female middle managers into the ranks of senior leadership.


Learn the broad-based business and leadership skills you need to expand your horizons and confidently position yourself for advancement. Classes meet on Wednesdays for six consecutive weeks. Register now.

One-Question Quiz Answer


The Racine (Wis.) Belles. The AAGPBL, forerunner of modern women's league sports in this country, existed from 1943 to 1954. It was created during World War II in an effort to maintain baseball's relevance while many star MLB players were fighting abroad.

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