NEW YORK, NY, November 22 , 2015 – The NYC Metro Chapter of WISE (Women In Sports and Events) today announced that on Monday, December 6, it will recognize Octagon Worldwide EVP and Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Murray; Wendy Hilliard, founder of the Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation and Alison Overholt, editor-in-chief of ESPN, the Magazine and espnW, as its 2016 Women of Inspiration.
The Women of Inspiration celebration, which will be held from 6 to 8 PM at an exclusive midtown location, 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 event will also kick-off the 2017 celebration of the New York Metro Chapter’s 10th anniversary. The Roaring 20s themed party will include an interactive game table sponsored by Citi Bike.
WISE NYC Metro Chapter President Van Adams said, “With so many sports-related businesses in the area, we were fortunate to have a plethora of worthy candidates for this award and are proud that these three women embody the standard for our Women of Inspiration – exemplary leadership, active support of other women, tenacity, entrepreneurship, and hard work. The industry segments they represent – philanthropy, media, and agency – are illustrative of the diversity of our membership and indicative of the opportunities that exist for women to excel in the sports arena.”
Murray oversees marketing and communications for Octagon globally and leads the firm’s marketing best practices development and deployment. She is responsible for driving cross-border growth of existing clients while leveraging her expertise across the largest global sports properties including the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup. Murray’s leadership extends across the entire Octagon Sports and Entertainment Network, where she is the key driver of multi-agency integration and shared best practices. Her continued work drives business growth and efficiencies across the sports, music and entertainment enterprise that encompasses Octagon, FRUKT and Rogers & Cowan. She has been named to the Sporting News annual “Power 100” list, SportsBusiness Journal’s top 20 most influential women in the industry and was named to the inaugural Game Changers class by SBJ. She continues to help foster talent by sharing her experiences as a female executive in the sports and entertainment industry, delivering keynote addresses for the Sports Marketing Association and SINC, and most recently at PGA Tour’s Executive Women’s Day.
Hilliard was the first African American to represent the United States on the Rhythmic Gymnastics National Team a record nine times; serving twice as National Team Captain. She competed in three world championships and the 1984 Olympic trials and was a four-time US National Team Coach, in addition to coaching 1996 Olympian, Aliane Baquerot Wilson. She’s a Master of Sport, an honor for developing an Olympic athlete. Hilliard was the athlete representative for gymnastics to the US Olympic Committee and served on the Executive Committee of USA Gymnastics for over ten years. She was inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2008 and was also the first African American and gymnast to become the President of the Women’s Sports Foundation. The Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation has provided free gymnastics for more than 15,000 urban youth in NYC since 1996. In 2011, she was awarded the US Olympic Committee Rings of Gold for her work helping children develop their Olympic dreams. She has been a TV commentator for many sports and gymnastics events, including the Olympic Games for NBC Sports and performed on numerous television shows and tours with the world’s top gymnasts as well as on Broadway. She was director of sports for NYC2012, NYC’s bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with responsibilities that included overseeing all sports and athlete matters. She was instrumental in bringing several international events to NYC including the Freestyle Wrestling World Championships held at Madison Square Garden, the Archery World Championships, the Fencing World Cup and was the lead in developing the NYC Triathlon. In 2006, she designed, programmed and directed the Gymnastics Center for Aviator Sports and Recreation; a multi- million/multi-sport complex in Brooklyn, NY. Hilliard currently serves on the boards of the Armory Foundation, Special Olympics Urban Initiative and the NYC Sports Commission. She was a founding member of the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, WISE, and Antigravity, an international performance company.
Alison Overholt returned to ESPN as Editor-in-Chief of espnW, in April 2014. In February 2016, she added the responsibility of Editor-in-Chief of ESPN The Magazine, for which she will continue to drive collaborative, innovative approaches to storytelling, with oversight of producing ESPN’s multiplatform enterprise content. She previously spent five years at ESPN, joining the company in 2005 as general editor, sports business and lifestyle. In 2007, she was elevated to senior editor, special projects, overseeing its enterprise and investigative team, as well as managing the publication’s Olympics and X Games coverage. In 2009, Overholt was part of ESPN’s early efforts to research and develop a sports media offering for women and was espnW’s founding editor. She began her career as a writer and editor at Fast Company magazine, and her writing has also appeared in Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, O: The Oprah Magazine, MORE, Working Mother, Cosmopolitan, Inc., Sports Illustrated: Women and Fitness. In 2011, she launched her own digital content strategy company, 183Ink, LLC, working with organizations including Hearst Publishing, NASDAQ OMX, The Robin Hood Foundation, Trinity Wall Street, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the New York City Economic Development Corporation to develop apps, craft digital and social media content strategies, and manage digital redesigns. Overholt has also served as an adjunct professor at New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management since 2012. She was twice named to the TJFR/News Bios 30 Under 30 Rising Stars list (2003 and 2004), and received the AAJA National Print Journalism Award (2005, Unlimited Subject Matter) for her writing in Fast Company. Overholt was the editor on ESPN stories that earned the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award (2007) and both magazine and internet category wins from the New York Press Club Awards for Journalism (2010). She was a member of the ASME National Magazine Award-winning team for General Excellence in 2006.