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Monday, February 28, 2011
Honoring women sports execs of the year

By Amanda Rykoff

At espnW, we celebrate great accomplishments of women athletes on the court or field every day. But today we'll take the time to recognize the achievements of women off the field in sports business, whether it's as a league or team executive or the head of the Super Bowl Host Committee. Today, Women in Sports And Events (WISE), an organization founded in 1993 as a resource for female sports business professionals, announced its 2011 Women Of the Year honorees, three women who deserve special recognition for their impressive accomplishments in their organizations and within the business of sports in general.

WISE's 2011 Women Of the Year are:
- Stacey Allaster, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Women's Tennis Association (WTA)
- Lisa Baird, Chief Marketing Officer, United States Olympic Committee (USOC)
- Wendy Lewis, Senior Vice President of Diversity & Strategic Alliances, Major League Baseball (MLB)

"As WISE celebrates its 17th year of honoring influential women in sports and events, the group of women in power positions is increasing making the selection process much more exciting," said Sue Rodin, founder and national president of WISE. "This year's honorees have made lasting contributions to their respective organizations, and the overall sports landscape, and we applaud them for their efforts, dedication and commitment to serving as an inspiration to other aspiring women."

Stacey Allaster, who joined the WTA in 2001 and became chairman and CEO in mid-2009, has been named by Forbes magazine as one of the "Most Powerful Women in Sports." Among her many accomplishments, Allaster helped the WTA achieve its longstanding goal to secure equal prize money for female tennis players at all four Grand Slams.

Lisa Baird, a Penn State graduate, became chief marketing officer of the USOC in January 2009 after serving as SVP of Marketing and Consumer Products for the NFL. In her two years since joining the USOC, Baird has signed nine new corporate partners and renewed seven others in an extremely challenging marketplace. Baird already has launched new marketing platforms, refreshed the USOC brand, re-launched the licensing business and worked to strengthen anti-ambush measures for the sports industry.

Wendy Lewis started working in baseball in 1987 with the Chicago Cubs and joined MLB's central office in 1995. Currently the Senior Vice President of Diversity and Strategic Alliance, Lewis implements MLB's Diversity Economic Impact Engagement initiative (DEIE), established the team that developed MLB's talent pipeline, The Executive Development Program (EDP), and manages the leadership of MLB's Diverse Business Partners' Program, the leading supplier diversity program in sports.

For more information on WISE or the WISE Women Of the Year, please visit the group's Web site at www.WISEworks.org.