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WISE Celebrates Women's History Month with Power Play Panel featuring BIG EAST Commissioner Val Ackerman in Spirited Discussion Moderated by WABC's Laura Behnke

Val Ackerman, commissioner of the BIG EAST Conference, along with three other executives from the conference, spoke on March 26 at the "Power Play: Up and Close with the Women from the BIG EAST Conference" hosted by WISE (Women in Sports and Events)
    NEW YORK, NY, March 29, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- WISE (Women in Sports and Events) NYC Metro Chapter presented its Fifth Annual "Power Play" panel on March 26 in recognition of Women's History Month. Dave and Buster's at Times Square was the venue for "Power Play: Up Close with Women from the BIG EAST Conference," featuring an all-female, all-star lineup of senior executives. The well-attended, spirited discussion included: Val Ackerman, Commissioner of the BIG EAST Conference; Amber Cox, Associate Commissioner of the BIG EAST for Women's Basketball; Ann Crandall, Chief Marketing Officer of the BIG EAST; and Kimberly Keenan-Kirkpatrick, Associate Athletics Director for Compliance at Seton Hall. The moderator was Laura Behnke, Channel 7's Eyewitness News/Weekend Sports Anchor.

WISE was represented by NYC Metro Chapter President Van Adams; National Board Chair Kathleen Francis, and a number of board members from both the national and chapter level.

"Power Play is a meaningful way to celebrate Women's History Month each year, bringing the success of leading female sports executives to the forefront and championing the goals of WISE," said Adams. "While all of our panel discussions are geared to providing attendees at all professional levels with new insight into the business of sports, Power Play is unique in showcasing major sports institutions with multiple women in senior positions, and highlighting the accomplishments of talented women working together in a supportive environment."

The leading ladies discussed their current job responsibilities, shared insights on career paths, and spoke to industry trends. Previous WISE "Power Play" panels have included: the women of ESPN (2010), the women of MLB (2011), the women of golf (2012), and the women of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee (2013).

Here's a sampling of what the WISE Big East panelists had to say:

Val Ackerman - "I am also a student athlete, it certainly has been relevant for me, especially now because it feels full circle. I played women's basketball at the collegiate level at a time when women's sports were just post Title IX, but Title IX wasn't really what it is today in terms of programs you see, but it was very impactful to be a student athlete and have that experience."

Kimberly Keenan Kirkpatrick - "We are taking the conference to a new level, building a brand."

Amber Cox - "There is a great opportunity at the collegiate level to build a brand of women's basketball. And connect the dots and follow the success that the WNBA has had."

Val Ackerman - "Most students will not be professional athletes ...They are going to school to get an education, to get ready for life and sports is a component of that education so it's up to us to maximize that."

On Women in Male-dominated field and on Women's Basketball
Ann Wells Crandall - "I want to prove it to them that I can do it." (On being a female in a male dominated work place.)

Amber Cox - "In women's basketball there are a lot of naysayers."
After losing big women's teams like UConn, Rutgers and Louisville "What we do have is 10 great schools that are really motivated to be relevant on the national stage."
"It is a matter of exposing people to the product" (when talking about how women's basketball is good but people do not know because they have never seen it.)
"Donors to the athletic department were enjoying women's basketball after seeing a game for the first time"
"It was about working really hard. I followed my passion and doing what I loved and I didn't look around and see if anyone was saying 'What is this woman doing here?' I just continued to move ahead and do what I believed was the right thing to do." (On working in a male dominated field)

Val Ackerman - "Using 'being a woman' as a crutch is not the way to go"
"To be good at what you do, to have a skill, to have a point of entry."
"You have to have some skill that you can sell, you have to be able to work really hard."
"You have to be opportunistic and create your own breaks."
"Your career isn't a straight line."

Ann Wells Crandall - "I think you have to take a gamble; you have to trust the opportunity is a good and that you'll make the most of it. "

Val Ackerman- "I am happy with ten. The group is more aligned, I think because they are the same size." (On the new BIG EAST)
"We have good coverage but there are sporting events of ours that are not making it on to national air, and so we are trying to make out what we need to do to get those events covered.

"I think there are things we can be doing as a conference where we take the BIG EAST name and extend that to non-sports initiatives. Those are the kinds of things to work on this year. "

About WISE NYC Metro Chapter
Women in Sports and Events (WISE) is a professional non-profit organization founded in 1993 in New York City. WISE is the voice and resource of women in the business of sports and events. There are WISE 10 chapters throughout the U.S. The NYC Metro Chapter, established in 2007, has a membership of more than 300 women, and a few men, of various levels of management and industry disciplines.

The NYC Metro chapter holds workshops, panels, and networking events year-round. WISE's annual signature industry event is the national Women of the Year Awards. Past honorees have included: Christine Brennan, Sports Columnist, USA Today; Pat Summitt, Head Women's Basketball Coach, University of Tennessee; Roxanne Jones, Founding Editor, ESPN the Magazine; Rita Benson LeBlanc, Owner and Executive Vice President, New Orleans; Robin Roberts, Journalist/On-Air Host, ABC/GMA; and many others.

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