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Volume 21 No. 1
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WISE selects Francis as chairwoman as Rodin takes advisory role

Sports industry veteran Kathy Francis has been selected as the new chairwoman of the nonprofit group Women in Sports and Events, assuming responsibilities from WISE founder Sue Rodin, who launched the organization in 1993.

Rodin will continue to work with WISE in an advisory capacity and will hold the title chair emerita.

An official announcement of the change is expected this week.

“I’m stepping aside, not stepping down,” Rodin said. She added that she will continue to work in what she calls her “day job,” operating sports marketing and management firm Stars & Strategies, which she started in 1996.

Francis takes on the voluntary position at WISE in addition to her work as founder and president of New York-based Oasis Sports Ventures, a marketing company she launched in 2010. It aims to develop grassroots and amateur sports competitions for children, young adults and families.

Prior to launching Oasis, Francis was managing director of marketing and development for the U.S. Tennis Association. She was senior vice president of marketing, sales and communications for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority between 2002 and 2005. Before that, she worked for MLB, where she was vice president of marketing from 1998 to 2001.

Francis’ experience with WISE includes having been a member of the group’s board of directors from 1995 to 1997. In 2001, she was recognized as one of WISE’s Women of the Year. Most recently, she served as a mentor in the WISE Within mentoring program.

Francis cited the creation of new professional development opportunities among her goals for WISE. She said she hopes WISE Within, for example, can help bring women of all levels together and benefit every businesswoman.

“Senior-level women get called upon to do a lot of different things, and because there is just a smaller group, they are pulled in a lot of different directions,” Francis said. “I think their experiences can be shared with each other, with women of the same level, but they can also mentor others and do a better job of sponsoring other women in the industry.”

Since its founding in New York in 1993, WISE has grown to have 10 offices nationwide and more than 1,000 members. The group provides networking and support services for women working in the sports and event industries.

The Griffin Network assisted WISE in its executive search.

Molly Hogan is a staff writer for sister publication SportsBusiness Daily.