Van Adams, President. An entrepreneur and small business owner, Van is the President of the VanAdams Sports Group. She is an award-winning marketing professional with expertise in events, consulting, and talent relations with proficiency in digital platforms, niche markets and several aspects of business management and program development. Over the last decade, she has represented a number of iconic sports celebrities and executed marketing campaigns for their personal celebrity and/or business ventures. Since becoming an entrepreneur, Van has produced upscale hospitality events for athlete and corporate clients in Super Bowl, MLB, and NBA All-Star cities across the nation. She was a Business Connect participant with the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, a program providing increased opportunities for local small business owners to conduct Super Bowl business. Additionally, she was a keynote speaker and featured panelist as a marketing expert for the program. As an advocate for women in business,
Van is the creator and producer of Gathering on the Greens®, an initiative that provides businesswomen an opportunity to learn how to play golf. Van is a Top 25 Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners award recipient and was one of 17 participants in the inaugural Women in Sports and Events (WISE) and Tuck Executive Education at Dartmouth’s Executive Leadership Institute. In addition, Van is an adjunct professor of sports marketing, contributing writer and guest speaker for various industry outlets.
Connect with Van on LinkedIN, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Nachamah Jacobovits, Vice President, Communications Chair. Nachamah heads a strategic marketing and communications consultancy focusing mainly on the financial services field, in which she has held a number of senior executive positions. Most recently, she headed public relations in the Americas for Newedge, a leading global brokerage firm. Prior to that, she was Vice President of Corporate Communications for Fimat USA and Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for the New York Mercantile Exchange. While at the Exchange, she introduced a sports marketing program that included a five-year title sponsorship of the annual interleague series between the Mets and Yankees – the first corporate sponsorship of a regular season series in MLB history; the introduction of a live ticker feed of energy prices during Astros games and activated events at Minute Maid Field and a title sponsorship of the 2004 MLB All-Star Futures game.To her credit, Nachamah has organized events ranging from a September 11th memorial service for an audience of 3,000 including the governor and mayor of New York to ground-breakings and product launches. Prior to joining the NYC Metro Board of Directors, Nachamah volunteered on WISE national and NYC Metro communications committees.Connect with Nachamah on LinkedIn
Ryan Kirwan, Secretary. Ryan Kirwan is the current Associate Director for Athletic Events and Annual Fund at Fordham University. A graduate of Virginia Tech, with a dual degree in Communication and English, Ryan began her career in Minor League Baseball as the Special Events and Media Assistant for the Salem Red Sox after graduation. A year later, Ryan accepted the Public Affairs and Special Events Manager with the Savannah Sand Gnats, Class A Affiliate of the New York Mets. Ryan spent four years with Savannah which included a promotion to the Vice President of Public Affairs. A native New Yorker, after living in Georgia for four years she returned to the city to further pursue her career goals, including working towards her Masters in Business. Ryan became a member of the WISE NYC Metro Chapter in June 2014 and more recently was a member of the Women of Inspiration Planning Committee in the fall of 2015. Whenever able to escape from her busy schedule, you’ll find her in Section 203 of Yankee Stadium. She also enjoys cycling, reading, and reaching her personal goal of traveling the globe!
Christine Vicari, Treasurer. Christine currently serves as the Vice President of Labor Finance at the National Football League’s headquarters in New York City. She is an accomplished Finance executive with a 15+ year career specializing financial strategy and risk assessment. Over her 11 years at the National Football League, Christine has been a part of the Internal Audit group and also Labor Finance. In her Labor Finance role, Christine was an integral member of the team that was responsible for the design and negotiation of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement financial structure. Christine now leads the Labor Finance group, which oversees the league economics and strategy that factors into the calculation of the Salary Cap. In addition to her financial role in the company, Christine is a member of the Compliance Team, whose primary responsibility is enforcing the Commissioners code of conduct. Her background in audit and risk assessment has proven to be a valuable addition to the group. Prior to the National Football League, Christine worked for Arthur Andersen, where she was part of the enterprise division, which focused primarily on auditing technology clients. Christine is from New Jersey and is a graduate of Boston College Carroll School of Management. During her time at Boston College, Christine was a member of the Big East Champion Softball Team where she earned 1st team All Conference and Regional All American honors.
Pamela Rappaport, Partnerships Chair. Pam is currently a Director in the Global Partnerships division at WME | IMG where she is responsible for leveraging partnerships with a variety of domestic and global brands across various platforms including music, Olympics and the NBA. With over 10 years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry, prior to WME | IMG, Pam worked within the Consulting Group at Wasserman Media Group on various golf-related properties and projects. Pam started her career on the media side, both at MLB Network and CBS Sports where she worked on across NFL, NCAA and MLB broadcasts, which included AFC Championships, March Madness and Super Bowl XLIV. Pam holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Television, and Video from Hofstra University. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania she is an extremely passionate fan of all things black and gold, especially the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Shivani Banker, Membership Chair. Shivani Banker is currently the Community Development Manager at Tough Mudder Inc., where she builds, maintains, and retains relationships with numerous community partners located within the cities that host Tough Mudder events, while collaborating with external stakeholders to extract additional value to support each event at the local level. Shivani began as the Community Development Associate and received promotions within her department in 2016 and 2017 to Senior Community Development Associate and Community Development Manager, respectively. Shivani began her career as a Sales Representative for the Columbus Blue Jackets in Columbus, Ohio. Upon exceeding sales and renewal targets for the season, Shivani’s passion for event management and live events led her to pursue a new role within the organization as the Ticket Sales and Events Coordinator, executing event operations for all home games at Nationwide Arena as well as the 2015 NHL Honda All-Star Game. Shivani is a graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in Communications and Business Institutions. Shivani is a native of Dearborn, Michigan, and enjoys all things Detroit, sports, and the outdoors. Connect with Shivani on LinkedIN.
Stephanie La Raja, Special Events Chair. Stephanie currently serves as the Head of Field Marketing for Citi Bike, operated by Motivate. Previously she worked for Rodale Inc’s Runner’s World and Bicycling magazines for 11 years, producing over 100 events and led large-scale sports marketing, celebrity and hospitality programs for global companies such as Nissan, Kraft, Foot Locker, and Gatorade. Stephanie became a member of WISE in 2013, and played a key role in the inaugural Women of Inspiration Awards event. During 2016, Stephanie accepted the role of Special Events Chair for the WISE NYC Metro Chapter where she and her committee produce the Women of Inspiration Awards and Summer Kick Off signature events. Follow Stephanie on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
Nicole Smart, Membership, Development Chair. Nicole is the Associate Director, Leadership Development at the NCAA where she administers the NCAA Postgraduate Internship Program, the Emerging Leaders Seminar, as well as the Divisions II and III Pathway Program. Previously, Nicole was a member of the legal labor department at the National Football League where she specialized in facilitating the player grievance procedure under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and co‐managed the department’s law clerk program. With more than 12 years of experience, Nicole has held both legal and administrative roles at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison’s Legal Personnel department and in the Global Human Resources department at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Nicole currently serves as the VP of Development for the U Want Game organization whose mission is to help improve and build upon the personal and professional life skills among high school student athletes. She is also served as committee leader for the NYU Alumni Women’s Initiative and Vice President (’06 ‐’07) for the New York Chapter of the National Association of Black Sports Professionals. An alumna of NYU, Nicole earned a Masters degree in Industrial And Labor Relations from Cornell University.
Na’eema Thompson,WISE Within Mentoring Chair. Na’eema is a Senior Marketing Associate, Strategic Sponsorships & Tickets with JP Morgan where she is involved with planning and fulfillment for client events/entertainment and on site facilitation of 15+ annual CEO level events. Previously, Naeema was with the events department at the National Basketball Association where she worked on the NBA Nation Tour, a fan experience taking place in 8 cities across the country; the Gilt City events group activating retail events; and was a member of the Special Events Department at Major League Baseball where she focused on logistics and operational details for jewel events such as All-Star Week, World Series, and the Civil Rights Game. While at MLB, she assisted with the fulfillment of client requests and corporate sponsor activation needs surrounding these events, and also coordinates hotel and hospitality needs for business partners, licensees, broadcast partners, and several ad hoc business meetings. In addition, Na’eema managed hospitality events for the MLB Fan Cave. Na’eema is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and began her career with Goldman Sachs as a recruiting coordinator. Prior to joining the NYC Metro Board of Directors, Na’eema volunteered with WISE national, was a participant in the WISE Within Mentoring program and served on NYC Metro Chapter events and membership committees. Connect with Na’eema on LinkedIN.
Patricia Bifulco, Events Chair. Patty is the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA. Before joining Laureus, Patty served as Co-Program Activation Leader and Events Director helping espnW launch espnW Campus Conversations, an initiative to reach and inspire female student-athletes across the country. Prior to, Patty built the majority of her career in the agency/client service sector, most recently as Senior Vice President at Hill+Knowlton Strategies Inc. There she was responsible for strategic planning, counsel, revenue growth and team leadership for a portfolio of client accounts in diverse industry sectors, including health/wellness/fitness, retail, CPG and travel/hospitality. One of Patty’s signature assignments was launching and directing the U.S. leg of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s United Against Malaria global campaign leveraging FIFA World Cup; she coordinated global colleagues, clients, and partner coalitions, on multiple program activations. Patty is the recipient of two Silver Anvil Awards for Excellence in Marketing Consumer Products and Services (the communication industry’s Oscar), as well as the Bullseye Award for Collaboration from her client, Target. Patty holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Northeastern University, a Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing/Corporate Public Relations from Northwestern University, and a Women’s Executive Leadership Institute Certificate from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.