When she was younger, Kathleen Francis was pushed to play in the outfield on her family baseball team, because her brothers—all very talented pitchers—said they didn’t want her to get hurt. Little did they know that years later, she’d become a trailblazer in the sports world, making sure that women hold prime positions in boardrooms and businesses across the country.
As national board chair and president of Women In Sports and Events (WISE), Francis is making her impact in the C-Suites of some of the most respected organizations in the world. In her role, which she took over from founder Sue Rodin in 2011, Francis leads more than 25 national chapters of WISE, an organization that provides women with a range of resources and tools—from networking events to mentoring programs, scholarships and more—to hone their skills and ultimately become leaders in the sports business industry.
“We have focused on being the preeminent leadership development organization for women,” says Francis, who worked in marketing for Major League Baseball and was managing director of the United States Tennis Association before joining WISE.