NEW YORK, Feb. 29, 2012 -- Women in Sports & Events (WISE), the leading voice and resource for professional women in the business of sports and events, announced today the recipients of the 2012 WISE Women of the Year Awards. This year's honorees are:
* Gail Hunter, Senior Vice President of Events and Attractions, National Basketball Association
* Marla Miller, Senior Vice President, Special Events, Major League Baseball
* Kim Williams, Chief Operating Officer, NFL Network
The three distinguished women will be honored at the 18th annual WISE Women of the Year Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, June 19 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. The event will be hosted by Tracy Wolfson with CBS Sports. Additional hosts and presenters may be announced as they are confirmed.
"As WISE celebrates its 18th year of honoring influential women in sports and events, we are proud to continue the legacy of honoring women in key positions within our industry," said Kathleen Francis, national president of WISE. "Our three honorees have made lasting contributions to their respective organizations, and the overall sports landscape. We celebrate their efforts, dedication and commitment to serving as an inspiration to other aspiring women."
The honorees, which were voted on by the WISE membership, were selected based on the following criteria:
* Women who, in their careers, are visible leaders and continue to be an influential voice for women in the industry;
* Women who have broken down barriers and helped create connections and new opportunities for other women while continuing to be a respected resource in the field;
* Women who exemplify professional excellence and are role models for others.
The 2012 WISE Women of the Year Honorees
Gail Hunter, Senior Vice President of Events and Attractions
National Basketball Association
Hunter is responsible for managing the NBA and WNBA's domestic and international grassroots marketing programs. Events across the United States include NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Jam Session, NBA Jam Van, NBA Summer League, and NBA Nation. Hunter oversees the production, operations, sponsorship management, execution, public relations, marketing, and advertising for these events. During 2010-11 season, the international grassroots events portfolio grew to more than 200 events in 94 cities in 34 countries, including NBA Madness, community outreach programs, touring basketball festivals, camps and coaching clinics, and basketball tournaments. Hunter joined the NBA in 1999 as Senior Director of Events and Attractions. She was promoted in January of 2002 to Vice President. Before joining the NBA, Hunter was employed as Director of Corporate Marketing for the Seattle Mariners, where she was involved in corporate development and sponsorship sales, marketing, and ballpark planning for Safeco Field. Hunter served as Director of Promotional Events for Major League Baseball from 1991-98, where she developed and managed baseball's premier All-Star event, All-Star FanFest. Hunter earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre arts from the Fredonia campus of the State University of New York and earned her law degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Marla Miller, Senior Vice President, Special Events
Major League Baseball
Miller began her career at Major League Baseball in the licensing department where she rose to Senior Director of Licensed Apparel. She was named Vice President of Special Events in 1998, overseeing many of the League's largest initiatives, including the All-Star Game and World Series. As the first female named Senior Vice President at Major League Baseball, Miller has helped to expand the scope and audience of MLB's biggest events which included overseeing the first ever All-Star Summer during the 2008 All-Star Game in New York City. Highlights from the celebration included a free Bon Jovi concert in Central Park and the All-Star Game Red Carpet Parade presented by Chevrolet. These initiatives, as well as many of her contributions, have drastically increased the range and scope of MLB's events. In the last year alone, the 2011 All-Star Game and World Series were carried around the world by 47 broadcast outlets to 220 countries. Prior to MLB, Miller worked at Grey Advertising and at NFL Properties. She is active in many community and charitable organizations and serves as a Director on the Grand Central Partnership. Miller holds a BA in journalism from New York University.
Kim Williams, Chief Operating Officer
Williams is responsible for managing the National Football League's cable television assets. She played an integral role in the launch of NFL RedZone channel in 2009, which won a Sports Emmy nomination in the Outstanding New Approaches category. Her responsibilities include overseeing the NFL's facilities and studios in Culver City, California, operational home of NFL Network, NFL RedZone and NFL.com. Williams previously served as Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer for the NFL, and previously held the same position with NBC on the West Coast. She also served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for NBC Business Development. Prior to joining NBC, she worked with General Electric companies in several European countries. Williams is on the Global Advisory Council for the Women's Tennis Association and a board member for the Animal Cancer Foundation. She holds a BA from Connecticut College and an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management ("Thunderbird").
WISE (Women in Sports & Events) is the leading voice and resource for professional women in the sports and events industries. Through ongoing meetings, special events and mentoring programs, WISE aims to offer its members the opportunity to gain valuable industry insights and connections that can give them a competitive advantage in their current position and as they advance in their careers. Founded in 1993, WISE is a membership organization headquartered in New York City with chapters in Atlanta, the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, NYC-Metro, Pittsburgh and Washington, DC, as well as Syracuse University's WISE on Campus.