NEW YORK, NY, November 19, 2015 – The NYC Metro Chapter of WISE (Women In Sports and Events) today announced that on December 8 at the PlayStation Theater it will recognize CBS Sports Producer/Director Suzanne Smith; Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer for the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center Elisa Padilla and Karen Davis-Farage, president and co-owner of Pole Position Raceway as its inaugural Women of Inspiration.
Slated to become an annual event, the Women of Inspiration celebration is part of an effort by WISE chapters across the country to recognize women who have achieved leadership positions in the sports and events industries while serving as role models and mentors for other women. The NYC Metro Chapter will also pay tribute to the five women who met over breakfast in 1993 – WISE founder Sue Rodin; long-time National Board member and historian Ernestine Miller; Sylvia Allen; Glenda Brown and Raleigh Mayer — to brainstorm ways to bring together women working in the sports industry. Their discussion resulted in the formation of WISE as a national organization which has grown to 12 chapters in major U.S. sports hubs across the country.
The program will be emceed by WABC meteorologist Amy Freeze and will also include a sports-related fashion show in which “models” will walk the runway representing each of the Metropolitan area’s professional sports teams in a style showcase with fashions provided by G-III Sports by Carl Banks, as well as Fafa Khan, an international female DJ with an eclectic musical style who has spun alongside Wale, Drake, Timbaland and many more, throughout clubs and festivals around the world for clients such as Belvedere, Moet & Chandon and Virgin Radio.
Freeze, one of only a few women to earn the prestigious Certified Broadcast Meteorologist accreditation from the American Meteorological Society, was also the first female sideline reporter for Major League Soccer. Her work has earned her several Emmy Awards, including for “Best Weathercaster,” “Outstanding Host” and her weather special, “Surviving Severe Weather.” She is an avid runner, who has completed marathons in Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania, California and New York. She’s also a certified SCUBA diver and has taken a swim with the dozen or so 300lb sharks that reside at the New Jersey State Aquarium. She also covered the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and Atlanta.
WISE NYC Metro Chapter President Van Adams said, “Narrowing down the selection for Women of Inspiration from the New York area presented a surprising challenge in an industry that was historically male-dominated, demonstrating just how far we have come since the foundation of WISE 22 years ago. We were fortunate to be able to draw from a wide pool of strong candidates, who have not only blazed trails, but continue to mentor and promote other women along the way. We are proud that these three women epitomize the standard we intend to set for this award – demonstrating and exemplifying initiative, diversity, entrepreneurship, hard work, and support for other women.”
A six-time Emmy-award winner, Smith is in her 32nd year with the CBS Television Network. Currently the only woman either producing or directing the NFL for any network, she also serves as coordinating producer and director of We Need to Talk, the first nationally televised all-female sports show, airing on CBS Sports Network. She also has directed college basketball, including the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship since 1994 and is a member of the Network’s golf production team for the Masters®. She directed the NBA Playoffs for Turner Sports; the WNBA for the Oxygen Network; the Live Academy Awards Special for WE Entertainment; a holiday special for Martha Stewart, and “Pavarotti in the Park,” a live concert in Central Park and documentary. She formed the “Girls Nite” group, a network of professional women who work in the television and communications industry.
Padilla played a key role in establishing brand identity for Barclays Center and its five franchises and is leading the marketing efforts for its sixth franchise, the New York Islanders. She joined the Nets in 2010 as a director, was named vice president in 2012, senior vice president in 2014, and was promoted to her current role in 2015. Prior to joining the Nets, Padilla worked with high profile sports and entertainment companies such as AT&T, HBO Sports, Nickelodeon, the NBA and the New York Knicks. While at AT&T, she developed marketing plans that resulted in solid customer acquisition and retail distribution expansion in key highly Hispanic traffic areas and spearheaded marketing efforts for the opening of the first AT&T store in New York City’s Chinatown. At the NBA, Padilla developed the marketing plan for the 2002 NBA All-Star Jam Session, which sold out for the first time. She also served on the WISE national board and taught Sports Marketing at New York University, where she was an adjunct faculty member for five years.
Following a career of executive positions in the software industry, Davis-Farage, along with her husband Eyal Farage, licensed the right to bring Pole Position Raceway to the east – opening the first Pole Position Raceway indoor, electric karting facility in 2010 in Jersey City, NJ, followed by Syracuse in 2012, Buffalo in 2013 and Long Island and Rochester in 2014. In five years, the business has amassed more than 200 employees, raced hundreds of thousands of people and hosted countless events including for Fortune 1000 companies. In 2014, she received the Arline Simpson Leadership Award from the Meadowlands Regional Chamber and was the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders Women’s History Month Honoree. Pole Position has also raised and contributed more than $200,000 to community causes. She is a board member of the Meadowlands Region Chamber & Convention & Tourism Bureau, a member of the Hudson County Chamber, Syracuse Convention and Visitor Bureaus for Cheektowaga, New York Convention and Visitor Bureau, Visit Buffalo/Niagara and Visit Rochester and active in Meeting Planners International and International Special Events Society.
WISE is the leading voice and resource for professional women in the business of sports. Through ongoing meetings, special events and mentoring programs, WISE offers its members the opportunity to gain valuable insights and connections that can provide 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, San Diego, South Florida, Houston and Washington, DC.
For more information on the Women of Inspiration celebration and to purchase tickets, visit www.wisenyc.org