The 2020 recipients are Susan Cohig, EVP Club Business Affairs, National Hockey League; Rosalyn Durant, SVP, College Networks, Programming, ESPN; Elizabeth Lindsey, President of Brands and Properties, Wasserman; and JoAnn Neale, President and Chief Administrative Officer, Major League Soccer. WISE members across the country voted to select these honorees for their accomplishments and significant contribution to the business of sports.
The 2020 Women of the Year honorees are:
Susan Cohig, Executive Vice President, Club Business Affairs / National Hockey League
Susan Cohig works across all business areas of the NHL to support club and league business and policy priorities. She plays a central role in engaging with team leadership and managing associated business support, including the sharing and implementation of best practices. Cohig is responsible for producing and managing the annual NHL Club Business Meetings, where league and team executives analyze business issues and opportunities. She is also instrumental in the onboarding of NHL expansion franchises and spearheads efforts associated with the NHL’s women’s hockey initiative, using the league’s assets to elevate and support the women’s game.
Prior to joining the NHL in 1996, Cohig was with Ascent Entertainment, overseeing the sales and servicing of corporate partner relationships of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and the NBA’s Denver Nuggets. Cohig was named a 2019 Notable Women in the Business of Sports honoree by Crain’s New York Business, a 2017 WISE NYC Metro Women of Inspiration honoree, and a 2013 Sports Business Journal Game Changer, among other honors.
Rosalyn Durant, SVP, College Networks, Programming / ESPN
Rosalyn Durant currently oversees and sets strategic direction for ESPNU, the SEC Network, Longhorn Network and ACC Network. Earlier this month, she was named senior vice president of operations for Disney Springs, ESPN Wide World of Sports and Waterparks for the Walt Disney World Resort and joins Disney after 20 years at ESPN, where she began her career as an affiliate sales and marketing intern. During her time at ESPN, she also served as vice president of college sports programming and acquisitions.
Durant has been on Cablefax’s Most Influential Minorities/Multi-Ethnic Executives list every year since 2013 and its Most Powerful Women list since 2017. She was named a Sports Business Journal Forty Under 40 honoree in 2015 and a Sports Business Journal Game Changer in 2011. She is on the executive committee for the board of directors of the T. Howard Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to increasing diversity in the multimedia and entertainment industry.
Elizabeth Lindsey, President, Brands and Properties / Wasserman
Elizabeth Lindsey oversees Wasserman’s brands and properties business, leading a team of more than 600 professionals globally. Instrumental in the direction of Wasserman’s corporate strategy, Lindsey, who joined Wasserman in 2007, helps guide the agency’s decision-making around acquisition and international expansion, among other initiatives, and serves as a senior adviser to the chairman and chief executive officer. She is also the senior leader overseeing The Collective, Wasserman’s platform for raising the profile of and opportunities for women in sports, a passion area of Lindsey’s since launching a ladies-only networking group a decade ago.
Previous roles include managing partner of Wasserman’s brands and properties division and senior vice president of OnSport, which was acquired by Wasserman in 2007. She also managed sports and entertainment relationships for the telecommunications firm Nortel for 10-plus years. Lindsey was named one of Adweek’s Most Powerful Women in Sports in 2018 and a Sports Business Journal Forty Under 40 honoree in 2010. She serves on the board of directors for Make-A-Wish of Eastern North Carolina.
JoAnn Neale, President and Chief Administrative Officer / Major League Soccer
JoAnn Neale oversees human resources, social responsibility, player engagement, technology and administration for MLS and leads the league’s long-term business planning and annual planning processes. She spearheads the overall strategy of MLS WORKS, the league’s social responsibility platform, and created the player engagement department, which delivers programs to support player education and engagement and assist with off-field career development and transition.
Prior to joining MLS, Neale spent four years as an attorney at the law firms of Latham & Watkins and Duval & Stachenfeld, focusing on corporate finance and real estate transactions. Neale, a member of the U.S. Soccer Foundation board of directors, was named a Sports Business Journal Game Changer in 2012 and was recognized as one of Adweek’s 2019 Most Powerful Women in Sports, Crain’s New York Business’ 2019 Notable Women in the Business of Sports, and City & State ’s 2018 Responsible 100 corporate citizens and leaders. She was also honored by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women for her leadership in providing opportunities through sport to underserved girls.
In conjunction with the 26th 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 June 9th , 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 strategies to making an impact and dispel myths about the best jobs for women. Additional information about the 26th 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 provide 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. For more information, please visit WISEworks.org.
WISE Chapters: Arizona, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, DFW, Detroit, Greater Orlando, Greater Raleigh, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, Milwaukee, NYC Metro, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, Seattle, SF Bay Area, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Twin Cities, Utah, Washington DC.
For more information on WISE, please visit WISEworks.org.