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WISE Arizona 2023 Women of the Year Nominees Need Your Votes!

  

It's that time of year again, WISE Arizona members - time to vote for your Women of Inspiration! This year we are offering a number of categories, so you can recognize several women who inspire you. Learn about the nominees below and hear directly from those who know and nominted them!


Voting ends AUGUST 23.


The WISE Arizona Women of Inspiration nominees are...


Emerging Events Executive of the Year


Daneeque Chamberlain - Senior Event Manager at State Farm Stadium


Daneeque has worked in sports & events for 7 years at Chase Field, Phoenix Convention Center, Fiesta Bowl and State Farm Stadium. She has managed a variety of events from baseball and football to special events including Gold Cup Soccer and the opening nights of the Taylor Swift Eras Tour. In addition, she previously coached youth volleyball.  Daneeque is a leader within her organization and continues to support women who are starting in their careers. She leads by example and works to provide opportunities for others.


Karli Mullis - Senior Sales Event Coordinator at State Farm Stadium


Karli has had a major impact on the Event Sales Department team’s success. Last year alone she built a designated LinkedIn page for private events (attracting an audience of over 600 followers), developed and launched an outbound strategy for proms and homecomings, and independently generated six figures of new revenue in private events. She has also streamlined the scheduling and communications process for internal training and has developed proficiency as a power user in Infor, our new booking and calendar management system.


Karli always has an incredible attitude in the office. She is always willing to go above and beyond her game day and event day duties to assist other departments. She consistently helps our Guest Services team to ensure fans have the best experience possible at the stadium. 


Marlo McKinley - Director, Event Management and Production at Footprint Center for Phoenix Suns & Mercury


We all know what a time commitment it is to work in Sports, Entertainment and Events, but Marlo is arguably one of the busiest gals at the Phoenix Suns organization. 


Most of us arena employees are pulling 24-hour workdays, but for Marlo, they are standard. She arrives at the arena at all hours of the night to ensure that the events at Footprint Center are executed at a high level. Without Marlo’s proactive approach to collaboration, we’d be lost. 


Marlo manages her heavy workload while also finding time to volunteer her time, especially for causes that empower women. I lead the Women’s Employee Resource Group at the Suns and Marlo is one of the most engaged members. She is consistently the first one to lend her talents to speak on panels, provide mentorship, and show up for others. Marlo’s positive impact, not just on women, but on all of her colleagues at the Phoenix Suns is unmatched.


Megan Duffy - Director of Facility Operations at Footprint Center for Phoenix Suns and Mercury


Megan took over as the Director of Facility Operations 8 months ago and has managed an extremely busy event schedule of sports and special events.


Megan is a leader in every sense of the word, she has a great working relationship with all of her coworkers & those who report to her and she is efficient at managing facility operations.


Rylee Grafil - Sales Manager at Warehouse 215


Rylee began her career in event management at The Arizona Science Center right after college, working alongside our current Vice President, Maria Mwangi. In 2019, Rylee moved to Nashville, TN and worked at the Corporate Headquarters of Warby Parker as a Client Billing Specialist.


Rylee is currently responsible for incoming lead management and acts as a client liaison. Her involvement is essential at the early stage of event management. Rylee works hand in hand with our off-site marketing team in NYC and acts as a bridge between our partners on site and off site. 


Rylee stepped into her role on one of the biggest client weeks we had.  She did not skip a beat and by the end of her first week, we did not know how we functioned as a team without her.  She is our gatekeeper and does diligent research on each client, so we are well informed at each tour.  With the mass amounts of nonprofit requests we get, she is careful to present each one to us for donation and tries to find a way to accommodate each one in some type of way.  


Emerging Sports Executive of the Year 


Brielle Carter - Senior Manager at Ability360


Brielle has been in the events industry for over 10 years.  She has a positive impact on all that she comes into contact with including both running events and her patrons at Ability360 Sports and Fitness Center.   She is a constant in exemplary customer service for all that she does.  She is also an inspiration and provides amazing energy to any and all she does with the organization.


Diana Padilla - Associate Head Athletic Trainer at Arizona State University


Diana has been a loyal Sun Devil since 2007.  She has served as a mentor, advocate, and role model for many female certified athletic trainers (ATC’s) to include both co-workers and athletic training students from multiple institutions.  She is passionate about her work with student-athletes and as an ATC.  Diana always puts the wellbeing of the student-athletes first.  She has developed great relationships with the student-athletes she has worked with over the years as both a health care provider and as a female role model.  Throughout her career she has been active at the national levels of Athletic Training, National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) level, and Pac-12 level and is, therefore, very collaborative with other professionals in medical and athletic related areas.  Due to her commitment to her student-athletes and the field of athletic training she was named the 2016 NATA College/University Assistant Athletic Trainer of the year.  Diana is incredibly hard working and does not stop until the job/task is completed.


Regarding her current role as an Associate Head Athletic Trainer with Sun Devil Athletics, she was the primary host/organizer of this area for the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships over the past 3 years, as these tournaments were played locally.  She is very organized, which made the Championship experience great for all the participating student-athletes. Diana is a total team player and enjoys working with others to get the job done.


Kaitlyn Verfuerth, MS, CTRS, PLY - Program Manager-Outdoor Programs and Athletics at Ability360


Kaitlyn shows us all every day what a WISE woman is.  When I started at Ability360, Kaitlyn was working on her masters, training to go to the Paralympics and growing a newly formed tennis program at Ability360.  In the past 2.5 years I have seen her grow the tennis program to the point that there are now new players hopefully competing in the next Paralympics from AZ.  She stepped up to start and coach a women's wheelchair basketball team to empower women of all abilities to get involved in the sport.   


When Kaitlyn came on board for the tennis program, she handed over the growing program and has now moved up to become the program manager of an outdoor sports program she started.  The program has had over 500 participants of all abilities involved in her programing in just over one year.  I have seen how Kaitlyn has shown girls and women of all abilities that nothing can stop you from doing anything you set your mind to.  


When coming back from a national tournament a player said that Kaitlyn changed her life.  During that trip she learned so much from watching Kaitlyn advocate, teach and live her life to the fullest.  Kaitlyn is always the WISE woman, working hard to promote sport for women of all abilities in participation and business.  That any woman no matter what their circumstance can make a difference through sport.


Entrepreneur of the Year


Lyndsey Fry - President, Arizona Kachinas, Radio Color Analyst, Owner & Director, Lyndsey Fry Hockey


Lyndsey is the definition of how to exemplify the spirit of WISE in the workplace. Lyndsey is the 1st female radio color analyst in the NHL, she founded the Arizona Kachina girls hockey program which is the fastest growing girls hockey program in the USA and the best practice for how to launch a girls league across the NHL. She continually seeks opportunities to raise women up and provide opportunities and guidance.


Melissa Scott - Founder at Modefywear


Melissa started her career as an Olympic coach for rowing. She coached athletes from the Middle East and wore a hijab out of consideration. Since she is deaf, the hijab didn't work for her so she designed one that would work with hearing aids and glasses. That was the start of Modefywear. She realized she had hit a huge need when over 200 athletes from various sports asked her for the same hijab so they could train with their Airpods, earpieces, etc. From there, she decided to design from head to toe for all women who dress modestly. 


Her brand, Modefywear, has been in the Tokyo Olympics, is the only brand that is designed for Muslim, Jewish, and Pentecostal/Mormon women. Her hijab is the world's first hijab for the digital era and the only one with a patent. She is a pioneer in deaf-wear, baptismal-wear, and digital-wear.  She was a board member for WISE Cleveland in the mid-2000s. She's a referee for US Rowing and US Cycling. She sponsors deaf athletes and in Arizona she sponsors athletes who dress modestly.


Susan Wilcox - Founder and CEO of PIVOT Culinary


Susan has had to conquer all the odds breaking into the sports world with her catering company for sports teams.  She has a tried-and-true product making it easy for her sales staff to stand behind.  PIVOT Culinary has become an industry leader in a record amount of time, thanks to the dedication, vision and commitment of Susan to her craft.  


Susan is a champion of women and is not afraid to take on daunting tasks.  She uses her culinary skills and passion to fuel her team and herself into next level projects and business adventures.  Susan’s commitment to being an innovator has fueled her career and her success.   


Events Executive of the Year


Devney Majerle - President & CEO at Downtown Phoenix, Inc


The name Devney Majerle is synonymous with community building, mentorship, and leadership in the business of sports. Devney is a visionary leader whose passion for sports and unwavering commitment to mentorship and empowerment have transformed the landscape of downtown Phoenix and positioned our region as a hub for sporting mega-events.  As the President and CEO of Downtown Phoenix Inc., the community-building organization for downtown Phoenix, Devney works to facilitate collaboration, cultivate connections, and contribute to both the growth and vitality of our community. She leads her team to building a stronger, more inclusive city core that generates positive perceptions, memorable experiences and a sense of pride downtown. Much of this success is achieved through the attraction, support, and execution of events that enhance the reputation and liveliness of downtown Phoenix. 


A tireless advocate, Devney has been behind countless efforts to secure the hosting rights for prestigious events such as multiple Super Bowls, NBA All Star Games, and NCAA tournaments. Devney has also led her team to masterfully support every aspect of mega events downtown to ensure a seamless and unforgettable experience for athletes, spectators, and volunteers alike. Beyond Devney’s accomplishments in both leadership and the business of sports, it is her unwavering dedication to mentorship that sets her apart. 
Recognizing that the true essence of leadership lies in empowering others, Devney has invested countless hours in nurturing young talents and guiding future leaders to reach their full potential. Her approach to leadership is defined by humility and empathy, blazing a trail for women to participate in the business of sports, creating space for all voices, and channeling the wisdom and strength of the community to deliver win-win results. Devney’s collaborative spirit has not only earned her respect among peers but has also fostered a sense of camaraderie and empowerment that echoes throughout the community.


Emily Holden - Senior Director of Game and Event Operations, Fiesta Bowl


Emily is always there to support others who need help and to lead events.  She is a skilled events professional with outstanding experience in the sports industry.  Emily is a champion of women and will ensure she is mentoring and training those around her to contribute to their success.  


In her years with the Phoenix Suns and now the Fiesta Bowl, Emily has created a career full of wins with numerous large events being pulled off without a hitch.  Emily is one of those professionals where you assign the task and walk away, knowing it will be executed beyond what you expected and will be flawless in flow and energy.  


Emily recently championed a mental health awareness event for WISE AZ and it was well attended and participants walked away informed and enlightened by the event.  She has a spirit of service and excellence and is truly deserving of this recognition.


Erin Schneiderman, M.Ed, CSEP - Director of the Special Event Management Program and Clinical Assistant Professor at Arizona State University


Erin has an innate ability to bring her best to everything she is involved in.  She provides amazing opportunities for her students and always has them top of her mind.  I have worked with her as an event professional and have experienced her as a professor with her students. Watching her coach, mentor and foster a new generation of brilliant minds is inspiring.  She is my go-to for interns and student workers because I know that they have been educated by one of the best in the industry.  


Erin’s passion and enthusiasm for real-world hands-on experiences for her students is part of what makes her an excellent champion for their futures.  She creates opportunities through her vast network and brings events to the next level by allowing students to flourish under her guidance.  Erin is deserving of this award because she is empowering the next generation of event professionals to want to continue to explore event planning and hospitality as a career.  Erin is an inspiration to her students and has the knowledge, drive and tenacity to keep them motivated.  


Maureen Harkness - Vice President at Cre8ive Event Rentals


I have been inspired by Maureen over the past year while working on various events.  She is a strong woman with a big personality and a heart of gold.  She has escalated women in her company and has empowered her staff to be creative while guiding them along the way.  She has been very generous to nonprofit clients while producing large events such as the Waste Management Open and concerts in large arenas. The excellence of her staff and company are a direct reflection of her leadership.


Maureen is a dynamic leader who brings top level thinking to organizations as she fosters strategy and results.  She is an industry powerhouse who has the vision and creativity to propel her staff and those around her into delivering successful events and endeavors.  Maureen and her talents are evident in her long standing career and accomplishments and she is most deserving of this award.    


Melissa Wasson - Assistant General Manager at ASM Global State Farm Stadium


Melissa Wasson is a strong, selfless leader always looking to ensure her staff enjoy the work they do and get the most they can from it. She serves our staff by putting them first and has continued to show that working for the stadium isn’t just working events but becoming part of something bigger. 


Melissa handles a lot of the finance operations for the stadium, but she also handles contracts for major events like concerts and dirt shows. She manages the guest and employee experience programs that keep the people coming to State Farm Stadium happy to be there, plus so much more. Melissa’s heart to serve all our employees like her own family, is a role model all stadium staff strive to emulate.


Sports Executive of the Year


Andrea Lore - Associate Athletic Director - Academic & Student Development / Sun Devil Athletics at ASU


Through dedication and perseverance, Andrea has been climbing the corporate ladder within Sun Devil Athletics for over 20 years, seizing every opportunity along the way to enhance her skills. Starting from a part-time tutorial position in the industry, she now serves as the Associate Athletic Director for Academic and Student Development (OSAD) as well as a sport administrator with oversight of certain varsity programs. Andrea has become a role model for many of her staff members who seek guidance and direction. She does this by purposefully cultivating a very diverse and inclusive work environment where her staff thrives. She has a high level of emotional intelligence and cares deeply for her colleagues and developing leaders both in her staff and the student-athlete body. From one of her staff members: “I would not be where I am today without the intentional and direct support of Andrea Lore.”
 
Andrea embodies the essence of WISE in the workplace through her exceptional leadership. As a dynamic and driven leader, she fearlessly takes on any challenge, believing that no task is too daunting. She seamlessly juggles multiple responsibilities to fulfill requests of others, while valuing the insights and input of her entire team.
 
Andrea actively empowers those around her, is very accommodating, values a balanced life, supports flexible scheduling, and creates a nurturing atmosphere for growth and learning. She encourages the next generation of women to aim for leadership roles and mentors aspiring professionals. She is always supportive and finds a way to provide professional development opportunities. She takes a genuine interest in her staff members' additional interests, providing dynamic support to help them achieve their personal goals and life matters. Her selflessness and remarkable listening skills make her a beacon of support and counsel for everyone.  Andrea demonstrates empathetic and inclusive excellence and innovation. She constantly affords peers opportunities to creatively collaborate in the OSAD working space alongside staff and student-athletes. She is a keen problem solver and inventive thinker. Andrea has vast institutional knowledge and experience which she willingly offers to her peers enabling them to efficiently perform their job responsibilities.
 
Andrea constantly looks for ways to improve the connections between student-athletes and her staff.  The outstanding team she has built is now helping more than 650 student-athletes break academic-related records and reach or surpass their academic goals! Some of these accomplishments include matching an all-time high Graduation Success Rate (GSR) for student-athletes of 92% (while eight teams posted a 100% GSR in the fall of 2022), increasing the GSR by 23% since this statistic was introduced by the NCAA in 2005, holding the number 1 spot in multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) in the Pac-12 Conference for two years running (this includes data from the pandemic when she and her team had to be very creative to ensure student progress and success), and watching 79 student-athletes on 11 different teams be named to the Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll for the Spring of 2023.  
 
As a female leader in a heavily male-prevalent industry, Andrea directs by example, courageously making bold decisions that have consistently yielded positive outcomes for both her staff and Sun Devil student-athletes. She challenges her team to think outside the box, encourages everyone to speak up when something doesn't feel right, and inspires constructive change. In terms of fostering team building, leadership development, and academic success Andrea stands out as one of the best in the industry.


Bridget Binsbacher - Executive Director Cactus League Baseball Assoc at Cactus League


Bridget has been a champion of Cactus League since she joined the team.  She has brought her talents and dedication to the organization and continues to shine.  Bridget has served WISE AZ as a mentor and connector since the founding of our Arizona chapter. She is a champion of women and of the organization.  


Bridget is an exceptional person to have in your network.  Through her leadership experience and love of the valley, she is great at connecting women with tools, resources and opportunities.  She is a driven and respected leader who continues to inspire.  


Brittany Mack - Director, Partnership Activation / Sun Devil Athletics Corporate Partnership/Pac-12 MMR at ASU


Brittany encompasses everything it means to be an inspiring woman in sports, professionally and personally. As the leader of our partnership activation and service team, Brittany exemplifies our partnership philosophies and works tirelessly to over deliver for all our Sun Devil corporate partners. Last year, Brittany led our team in delivering 100% of contractual elements or similar make good benefits while striving to provide value-added opportunities with all our partners. She manages a team of 3, however, she leads them in collaboration efforts with all other departments within Sun Devil Athletics. Additionally, Brittany leads by example in maintaining oversight of the top 10 corporate partners of Sun Devil Athletics, working closely with brands like Coca-Cola, Adidas, Mayo Clinic, Coors Light, and Arizona Ford Dealers, to ensure their Sun Devil Partnerships come to life. This past year, she collaborated activation efforts with her team and the Oak View Group for all our new partners in Mullett Arena during the inaugural year of our new on-campus, multi-purpose ice hockey arena and Mountain America Community Iceplex. Brittany continues to hire and train young aspiring sports professionals, both women and men, by sharing her wisdom and experiences along with industry best practices. 


Personally, Brittany is the proud mother of two boys, 8 and 6 years of age, respectfully. With a healthy work-life balance, she is deeply involved in her boys’ academic development at school and physical development through sports. You can often find Brittany with her boys at Sun Devil Athletics events or dropping them off to attend a Sun Devil sport youth camp. She balances the fast paced, high pressure, work to meet deadlines and environment of college sports, but does not miss her boys’ school functions or sporting events. 


Brittany somehow found time on the weekends to write, illustrate, and publish a children’s book, The ABCs of Basketball. She even worked through the maze of collegiate trademarks and licensing to publish special editions using university intellectual property, marks, and logos. She developed special editions of her book to include, The ABCs of Marquette Basketball, The ABCs of Michigan Women’s Basketball, The ABC’s of Michigan Men’s Basketball, The ABC’s of Michigan Football, The ABCs of Michigan Softball, and The ABCs of Michigan Baseball. 


Above all, Brittany epitomizes sports because she is a great teammate and leader on our team, and she is the captain, leader, teammate, and mother of her team at home.


Latasha Causey - President at Phoenix Raceway-NASCAR


Latasha is an incredible role model for young women everywhere! In 2022 Latasha became the first female Black track president in NASCAR history and the second woman to hold the position at Phoenix Raceway. Latasha has made such a huge impact on Phoenix Raceway and NASCAR immediately as she has brought a wealth of knowledge of community relations and continues to make strides in our business development leading the team to sell out her first race as Track President in Spring 2023. She inspires each of us every day and has put her full trust and dedication into her team. She creates a fun and fulfilling environment I am proud to work for!


Nikki Balich - Executive Director at Arizona Sports & Entertainment Commission


Nikki is a mover and shaker in the industry.  She has often served as a resource for WISE AZ by sharing our message with her vast network with enthusiasm for the WISE mission. I have met young interns who speak highly of the respect that she has given them when working with AZSPEC which is a true sign of a leader who has the power to inspire.  Nikki has profoundly impacted sports and our great state through her dedication to bring people and events together in Arizona.  Nikki’s efforts create a ripple effect and benefits for players, teams, leagues, local economies and the state.  


Nikki is always on the move and she keeps a super fast pace.  She is not one to sit by and let things happen but rather she is a driver and force which can move mountains. When you are in the wake of Nikki, you know it because there is positivity and productivity happening right in front of you.  Nikki is forward thinking so there is no telling what is up next but you can be assured it will be about sports and events in AZ!     


Sandy Hatfield Clubb - President at The PICTOR Group


When I think of Sandy, I think of Girl Power!  In the eight years that I have had the privilege of working with and being mentored by Sandy Hatfield Clubb, I have developed an aspiration to become as passionate about helping women be successful in the workplace, as she. Sandy makes a positive impact on the sports community through her day-to-day work, which involves helping those within the sports industry tap into their true potential.  Sandy has fought hard for where she is, having faced great adversity in her journey, and yet she still pours into the development of other people.  Sandy is a leader and role model for all young professional women working in sports and events. 


WISE Arizona Member of the Year


Alison Martin - Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships at Arizona Coyotes


Ali is an incredible woman who serves as a positive mentor for other women in our Club. She is the first supporter of all things related to women and probably doesn't get the credit she deserves. Having a woman cheer you on at work is something a lot of us don't have so it's refreshing to know that Ali is in our corner.


Johanna Martin-Wagner - Owner & Media Training Professional at Love My Team


Johanna has a heart of service and has provided countless hours of love and dedication to WISE AZ since its inception.  Johanna gives 100% to everything she does and is always the person to jump into a project, give advice, lead the charge, and connect you with her endless network.  As a former WISE AZ Board member, she was at every event and was the person always keeping us on track or reminding us of some rule or protocol.  Her sense of humor and can-do spirit paved the way for the success of our AZ chapter.  


As the former Membership Chair for WISE AZ, Johanna gave countless presentations about what WISE is all about and the benefits of joining.  She helped our chapter grow by using her enthusiasm and knowledge of WISE signature events to help us plan and execute the events.  She gave her time and energy to be present and be a constant advocate for WISE and its mission.


When Johanna left our local chapter to assist the WISE national organization, a great sense of dread was felt in terms of how in the world we would be able to walk in her shoes.  We are fortunate and grateful for all of Johanna's contributions and commitment over the years.  She made our WISE AZ Board stronger and more empowered through her wisdom and kindness.  We are even luckier she is not able to resist us and comes to our rescue when we need her guidance.  


Knola Westbrooks - Special Assistant to Athletics Administration at ASU Athletics


Since moving to Arizona, Knola has embraced WISE AZ and has been a constant face in the crowd at events.  This year, Knola has registered and attended all 3 of our signature events; including Speed Mentoring; Power Play and We Are WISE Arizona. She is the only non-board member that has attended all three events! 


Knola always has a smile on her face at events and is very welcoming. We had a great conversation at We Are WISE Arizona and I believe she exemplifies what it means to be a WISE Arizona member.  


Mary Claire Danilevics - Event Operations Manager at The Destination Manager


Mary Claire learned about WISE while in college and joined the WISE AZ chapter when she moved back to Arizona.  Mary Claire leaped into membership by being part of the very first mentoring program and joining the membership and events committees.  Mary Claire has worked to share the message of WISE throughout her network and to grow the organization through her work and with her support of the Women of Inspiration event in 2021.  She also took part in the WISE Within program, so she can speak about the benefits of WISE on many fronts.


As a busy events professional, Mary Claire still finds time to attend WISE events and assist in every area she can. Mary Claire exemplifies what it means to be a WISE Arizona member and role model in the sports and events industry.  Mary Claire has tenacity and a creative spirit which is an enormous boost for the committees and events she supports.  She is the first one to show up and can be counted on by consistently demonstrating her commitment to excellence and the empowerment of women in our valley.  


WOI voting is restricted to members of WISE Arizona. Members will receive a link to the ballot in their email. If you are a current member, and have not received the email, please let us know: info@wiseearizona.org

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