Women in Sports and Events (WISE), the leading voice and resource for women in the business of sports, will host its 27th WISE Women of the Year Awards Luncheon at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City on March 15th honoring four recipients of its WISE Women of the Year award.
The 2023 recipients are: Andrea Brimmer, Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer, Ally Financial; Jill Gregory, EVP, General Manager, Sonoma Raceway; Hillary Mandel, Executive Vice President, Head of Americas, IMG Media and Carla Williams, Director of Athletics, University of Virginia. WISE members across North America had the opportunity to nominate women for their accomplishments and significant contribution to the business of sports, and the honorees were selected by the organization’s National Board.
“Each of these women exemplifies not only what it means to be a leader, but what it means to be a way- maker, paving the way for those who will follow their example,” said Kathleen Francis, National Board chair and president of WISE. “We look forward to celebrating Andrea, Jill, Hillary and Carla at our annual luncheon and the great work they do, creating opportunities for women.”
The 2023 WISE Women of the Year honorees are:
Andrea Brimmer, Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer, Ally Financial
In her role, Brimmer is responsible for leading all aspects of integrated marketing and brand transformation at Ally, driving unprecedented growth and disruptive consumer engagement. Brimmer’s passion for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion and using her platform to create good in the world led to Ally’s ground-breaking pledge to spend equally in advertising across women’s and men’s sports. Among her many honors, Brimmer was named a winner of the 2020 Adweek Brand Genius award, is a three-time honoree on the Forbes’ list of World’s Most Influential CMOs, is the only three-time winner of the Financial Communications Society Marketer of the Year award and was named to the 2022 Adweek Most Powerful Women in Sports list. Prior to joining Ally, Brimmer spent 20 years on the agency side in Detroit, where she led the Chevrolet account. She holds several board positions at organizations including eHealth, the Ad Council and the Professional Advisory Board of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree and played varsity collegiate soccer.
Jill Gregory, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Sonoma Raceway
As only the second female leader of a NASCAR sanctioned facility when appointed in 2021, Gregory came armed with extensive leadership skills honed by her experience serving as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Content Officer at NASCAR and the managing executive of the company’s Charlotte-based
operations. Under her leadership, the organization bolstered its overall marketing strategy to strengthen fan engagement and cultivate new fans among younger and more diverse audiences. In 2017, Gregory established the company’s first content strategy group to elevate strategic planning and enhance collaboration within NASCAR and the industry. Before joining NASCAR, Gregory was senior vice president of motorsports marketing for Bank of America. Earlier in her career, she was director of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series marketing program for Sprint Nextel. She currently serves on the board of Speedway Children’s Charities, and is a national Trustee of Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Hillary Mandel, Executive Vice President, Head of Americas, IMG Media
As Executive Vice President for IMG Media, part of the Endeavor-owned company IMG, Mandel leads sports media sales and distribution for the Americas. During her tenure at IMG, Mandel has advised, consulted, and negotiated for IMG’s portfolio of more than 200 premier content owners, professional sports leagues, teams, college conferences, and U.S. international federations on their media rights and strategy. Among her clients are The AELTC (Wimbledon Championships), Big 10 Conference, Big 12 Conference, NWSL, The R&A (Open Championship), Milwaukee Bucks, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Roland Garros, Conmebol, PGA of America, NYC Marathon, WNBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, and MLS and UFC. Mandel started her career at HBO in acquisitions, and went on to FOX TV affiliate KTVU, eventually moving to Golden Gate Productions which was acquired by TWI/IMG.
Carla Williams, Director of Athletics, University of Virginia
The first African-American woman to lead an athletic department at a Power Five School (ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12), Williams was appointed director of athletics at the University of Virginia in 2017. Upon her arrival, she instituted The Master Plan project for UVA’s Cavalier football program and UVA Olympic Sports to address “the
immediate needs to upgrade facilities.” She has served on the executive committees of both the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators, in 2015 being named one of the top 10 senior woman administrations in the NCAA by CollegeAD.org. Prior to UVA, Williams spent 13 years in athletic administration at the University of Georgia, rising to deputy director of athletics. She played professional basketball in Spain between graduation from UGA and returning for her Masters, serving as assistant coach for the Lady Bulldogs as they advanced to consecutive Final Fours in 1995 and 1996, and the 1996 national championship game.
In conjunction with the 27th Annual WISE Awards Luncheon, the WISE/R Symposium, a first of its kind to focus solely on the personal and professional development of women in the business of sports, will take place on March 14th, the day prior to the luncheon, at The TimesCenter in New York City. Launched in 2014, the day-long program takes a 360-degree view of working in sports and includes sessions featuring leaders across the industry who share their stories, discuss trends, provide actionable career strategies and dispel myths surrounding sports’ biggest jobs. Additional information about the 27th Annual WISE Awards Luncheon and the WISE/R Symposium can be found at WISEworks.org.
WISE — Women in Sports and Events — is the leading voice and resource for women in the business of sports. Its network of established industry leaders and professional development programs provides members with the practical tools and support necessary to reach their professional goals and accelerate their careers. A registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, WISE was founded in 1993 and has its headquarters in New York City with chapters across North America. WISE Chapters: Arizona, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, DFW, Greater Orlando, Greater Raleigh, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, NYC Metro, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, Seattle, SF Bay Area, South Florida, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Twin Cities, Utah, Washington DC.
For more information about WISE, please visit WISEworks.org.