WISE Within Mentor Program

Mentor Tributes

Mentor written on a chalkboard

Photo credit: geralt / Pixabay.com

Mentor: Jamie Wolfe


Words cannot express how grateful I am to have had Jamie as my mentor during the 2020 WISE Within program. The knowledge gained and encouragement received were unparalleled to any mentorship program I have ever been a part of. All of that was all due to Jamie’s efforts to learn about me and my learning style and pushing me to figure out exactly where I wanted to go.

— Daisy Mendoza, WISE DFW

Mentor: Brooke Faw

BeSpoke Sports Marketing/CLT WW Mentor

Brooke has the unlimited capacity to always be a friend and actively help everyone around her. She will always take the time to listen and provide suggestions in the most encouraging fashion — a true supporter of women all around her. What I find the most impressive about her mentoring style is her ability to listen to details and provide relevant solutions to situations, challenges or potential opportunities. She remembers every little detail and genuinely, wholeheartedly lifts up everyone around her. Thank you!

— Janet Bolin, WISE Charlotte

Mentor: LaTonya Story

LPS Consulting PR

Ten years ago, LaTonya tweeted that she was on the hunt for an intern. I was a fresh college grad with my eyes set on making my way into the sports industry, so I decided to reach out to her. We finally met up in a crowded Lenox Mall and as the old saying goes, "the rest is history." Over the last decade, LaTonya has been a constant source of support, opportunity and inspiration. Both a sounding board and a cheerleader, LaTonya's ability to connect and create relationships is amazing. The way that she conducts business on behalf of her clients and partners is incredible. She is not only committed to women's empowerment and advancement, but to the edification of humankind. Through her, I have been given wonderful opportunities and incredible exposure. Just to be associated with her is a blessing. I'm grateful for her mentorship and her friendship, her spirit and her resilience. I continue to be amazed by her work and look forward to the next 10 years as she continues to expand her business. Thank you for being you, LaTonya!

— MeShae Prophet, WISE Los Angeles

Mentor: Mark Mignini

Mark, thank you for being a mentor and friend. Starting at CDI in 2018, several folks stepped in to shed light on different aspects of the industry, but none possessed your tireless patience for questions. Thank you for encouraging my curiosity and your time spent brainstorming and explaining. Your calm, "make it happen" perspective promotes a positive and fun environment that you are known for among our peers. Thanks for making TV well and making it fun; you're awesome!

— Mary Elizabeth Denehy, WISE National

Mentor: Christie Feliz

HOU WISE Within Mentor

Christie, thank you for being someone I can lead on this past year and being willing to share your past experiences/best practices. You have a wealth of knowledge, and I was lucky to be paired with you for the WISE Within Program. You have such integrity and are a true inspiration. I'm truly grateful fo your encouragement and support. Thank you for investing your time in me.

— Joelle Hardin, HOU WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Amy Potter

Head of U.S. Sponsorships at BMO Harris/CHI WISE Within Mentor

Joining WISE's Chicago chapter after moving from LA was one of the best decisions I made. I've met so many strong, supportive women through this organization. Getting Amy as my WISE Within mentor was icing on the cake! Amy's experience as a successful seller/negotiator and now as a buyer on the brand side leads to an unlimited bank of wisdom. Her willingness to share that wisdom along with her vivacious personality makes every get-together better than the last. Amy was also a past WISE Chicago President and recently helped launch WISE's Toronto chapter — cheers to Amy!

— Kim Hoey, CHI WISE Within mentee

Mentor: Courtney Ries

TC Speed Mentoring Mentor

Courtney, it was nice to meet you and hear your journey outside of the traditional sports realm. Thanks for sharing and providing authentic advice and leadership.

— Addie Black, TC Speed Mentoring Mentee

Mentor: Katie Mattis

SVP Corporate Partnership Sales and Activation at Minnesota United FC / TC Speed Mentoring Mentor

Katie, I valued how you seized your personal power and conviction. It was affirming to hear you share how you lead and build a workplace culture where candor, self-advocacy and respect are modeled and embraced. Thank you for sharing your reflections from working as a consultant to within top leadership at an organization. Thank you for sharing your time and insight!

— Jen Dobossy, TC Speed Mentoring Mentee

Mentor: Katie Lavin

THANK YOU for being my mentor!! Our WISE Within program was six years ago and not only have you consistently been there to help me to this day through challenging professional situations — long after the program was over — but we've developed a great friendship as well. It means so much to me to have gotten the chance to know you over the years. I hope I've been able to give something back to you as well and I look forward to many more years of friendship!

— Courtney Dornstein, Los Angeles WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Chris Zaber

NY Mets

Thanks for being a good mentor and for guiding me on the right path. I will always be thankful to you!

— Kayla Nedza, NYC Metro WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Alisha Greenberg

Rounding Third, LLC

I first spoke to Alisha two years ago as I approached graduation. Immediately she was enthusiastic about my interests and experience, and made me feel like I was on the right track, despite my own doubts. Even though we've only met once in person and mostly communicate via email and phone, she has continually offered advice and support, making connections to people and opportunities. No conversation or favor seems too big or too small, even though she holds leadership roles in various capacities, owns a business and is a mom living in DC. I know there are MANY others she has had a similar impact on - I am not the only one!! She's a go-getter, leader in her field and naturally raises others up. I strive to be like her in so many ways. Thanks for all you do and inspire, Alisha!

— Tori Ramataboee, WISE Detroit

Mentor: Anita Sehgal

Houston Astros / HOU Speed Mentoring Mentor

Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to meet with our WISE chapter at Rice. I enjoyed learning about your career path in marketing and communications. You have truly made an impact on my life — it's amazing to see how far you've come. I noticed you are on the Sports, Sponsorship and Sales Advisory Board for Baylor University, my alma mater. I wish I had the opportunity to major in S3, I'm sure I would've gain great insight from you in college. On the other hand, I'm thankful for the insight last week. Thank you for being a woman of inspiration.

— Dolores Lozano, HOU Speed Mentoring Mentee

Mentor: Amy Palcic

Houston Texans / HOU Speed Mentoring Mentor

Thank you for taking time out of your action-packed schedule to meet with our WISE Houston Chapter. I learned so much more about PR from the session. Being the NFL's only female director of media relations seems tough, but you pull it off very well. I enjoyed learning about your experience with the Cleveland Browns and appreciate your insight on moving away. I'm truly thankful for the opportunity to talk to you, because I aspire to be in a head PR position one day. Again, I sincerely appreciate your time — it's motivating to see successful women in the business.

- Dolores Lozano, HOU Speed Mentoring Mentee

Mentor: Kelley Wohlenberg

Live Nation / HOU Speed Mentoring Mentor

Thank you so much for joining our WISE chapter for a mentoring session at Rice. I enjoyed learning about your position with Live Nation. You have stories for days - I will never forget your "Future" story … so many giggles.

— Dolores Lozano, HOU Speed Mentoring Mentee

Mentor: Leah Mastaglio

NRG Park / HOU Speed Mentoring Mentor

Thank you so much for sharing your advice with our WISE Chapter. I truly enjoyed learning more about event and operational activity at NRG.

— Dolores Lozano, HOU Speed Mentoring Mentee

Mentor: Denise L. White

EAG Group / LA Speed Mentoring Mentor

Even though it was only for a couple of minutes, I appreciate Denise sharing her personal story at the LA Speed Mentoring Roundtables event. I felt that through her own journey I was able to connect with her. I appreciate her kind words of encouragement and tough personality to "kick ass."

— Emerald Leiataua, LA Speed Mentoring Mentee

Mentor: Dawn Keen

Houston Rockets / HOU Speed Mentoring Mentor

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with our WISE chapter at Rice University. I sincerely appreciate the guidance and support — it's amazing to have such amazing, successful women as role models.

— Dolores Lozano, HOU Speed Mentoring Mentee

Mentor: Yvette Casares Willis

Houston Dynamo / HOU Speed Mentoring Mentor

Thank you so much for dedicating your time last week to meet with our WISE Chapter. I appreciate your guidance and passion for helping others.

— Dolores Lozano, HOU Speed Mentoring Mentee

Mentor: Cathy Jerome

Miami Dolphins/DC WISE Within Mentor

Cathy Jerome is the type of leader who genuinely cares about helping others. I can vividly remember my first phone call with her. We had never spoken or met, yet somehow I felt like I had known Cathy for years. The wisdom and honest advice that she gave me, really helped to put things into perspective. She has been so wonderful to help me visualize my career path and help me feel confident in my abilities to grow within the sports world. I am so grateful to have met Cathy and I look forward to strengthening our relationship! Thanks, Cathy!

— Morgan Hamlin, DC WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Buffy Filippell

TeamWork Online

Buffy is one of the more remarkable women I have had the pleasure of knowing in the sports industry. She has known me since I was first hired into the sports industry through a Teamwork Online job fair and has continued to shed guidance on my career as a mentor and friend. She is someone who I can speak to personally and professionally, and has helped me tremendously continue to strive towards my goals. She brings advice from vast experience in the industry, insights from building her own successful company, and relatable experiences from her own life. Thank you Buffy for your ongoing support, advice, and guidance!

— Andrea Pagnanelli, WISE LA

Mentor: Sharon Byers

American Cancer Society / ATL WISE Within Mentor

Sharon and I met through another mentoring program just as I was beginning my first job out of school. Not only have I had an incredibly accomplished woman to look up to as I transitioned into the workforce, I have someone who spends time with me a few mornings each month to answer my questions and share lessons from her own career. Thank you Sharon for making such a strong impact in a few short months.

— Arin Segal, WISE NYC Metro

Mentor: James Smith

Indianapolis Colts

There are not enough words to express my appreciation for the most amazingly supportive mentor ever! Jay, I know you would say that I was already strong enough to get through the past 10 years of ups and downs without you, but your unwavering support has been monumental! I appreciate you, I thank you and I look forward to continuing to make you proud! Happy "Thank Your Mentor" Day!!!

— Jana N. Brooks, WISE DC

Mentor: Bridget Burke

IMG / ATL WISE Within Mentor

I would like to send my mentor tribute to Bridget Burke from the Atlanta WISE chapter. After being paired with her in the WISE Mentor program, I instantly saw a lot of myself in her past and present. She was so encouraging and relatable. She made me feel so comfortable from day one so that I could have open and trustworthy conversation with her. I will forever be grateful for her advice and now friendship!

— Maegan Moguel, ATL WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Art Berke

NYC Metro WISE Within Mentor

The year of my mentorship was one of the most pivotal of my life. I couldn't be happier with the results, and I owe a lot of that to the advice and support of my mentor, Art Berke. We had a great time meeting up, doing fun activities such as touring the NYC Public Library. Our conversations were sincere and helpful. Art asked the important questions, and helped me focus on what really matters. He always listened carefully and responded thoughtfully. As a result I was encouraged to be honest and open, which made our talks more productive. I called Art when bad news left me feeling hopeless, and I called him to celebrate when I finally got the good news I'd been waiting for. He was the wealth of knowledge and support that I had been seeking, and I hope we always remain in touch.

— Erin Casey Pellegrino, NYC Metro WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Sarah Sidders

VP of Adventous at Contemporary Service Corporation

I met Sarah we I first started working for CSC. She has been a great influence in my success with our company. her determination to continue and make ADVENTOUS a success is unparalleled. I am so lucky to have met her and have her as a mentor and friend. I look forward to working with her for many years to come. Thank you Sarah for all your help while I grow and learn.

— Celine Elzinga, WISE DC

Mentor: Tina Thornton


I met Tina through a WISE National mentorship program in 1997. We have stayed in contact throughout the years and she continues to support me in my career. I recently started my own consulting company and Tina has been a true ally in helping me see this dream develop! I am so grateful to have her as my mentor!

— Diana Cutaia, WISE BOS

Mentor: Sabrina Jenkins

Atlanta Braves / ATL WISE Within Mentor

Sabrina has greeted me with open arms since the first day I met her. She is always eager to help me in my professional development as well as with my personal life. She is very knowledgeable about the industry and a great mentor to learn from. I am truly blessed to have Sabrina as a mentor. This is a mentorship that will last beyond the WISE Within program. Thank you WISE and Sabrina for the wonderful opportunities.

— Airlia Perez, ATL WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Marsha Marchionna

CHI WISE Within Mentor

Although she has only been my mentor for a short time, Marsha has already provided me with a wealth of knowledge about the ins and outs of the sports industry. Her advice, experience, and genuine enthusiasm and kindness leave me wondering how I lucked out in having her be my assigned mentor! I look forward to learning more from her over the coming months, and am so happy I decided to sign up to be a mentee.

— Diana Schonfeld, CHI WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Krista Massey

Sun Trust / ATL WISE Within Mentor

I always love talking to my mentor Krista Massey. Her words are always encouraging and I appreciate her straight-forward personality. She has so much knowledge about the industry and I look forward to learning more from her and devoloping this relationship!

— Adeola Sokunbi, ATL WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Brandi Sutley

ATL WISE Within Mentor

Thank you Brandi, for being an inspiring strong woman. I admire you more than you know.

— Paris Freeman, ATL WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Brian K. Allman

Monte De Oro Winery & Vineyards / LA WISE Within Mentor

Brian has been a producer, winery owner, among other "outside of the box" careers. As I am exploring my new journey as a student, I too, am an "outside of the box" person, so we are a perfect match! He has been helping me find my voice as we are mapping out a game plan, so I have a strong networking direction for my future career in sports. With his help, I am gaining a direction and focus and discovering an avenue that I am finding exciting and fits my talents and interest. He is an amazing person and mentor! He is very creative, smart and a wonderful communicator who understands how to plant the proper seed that fits who you are. and adds just enough direction so you know how to care for the seed so it can grow and flourish! I am very grateful to Brian and WISE for being so wise to match us together!

— Trisha Koury-Stoops, LA WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Carol Ashby

ATL WISE Within Mentor

Carol Ashby is a phenomenal mentor. She has the patience and wisdom of a mother yet the spirited gentle touch of a friend. The wisdom she shares during our sessions is profound. She guides me in discovering solutions as she carefully listens to my issues. She is generous with her advice and makes it practical by sharing personal experiences. I am grateful for her presence in my life. She has helped me to be a better executive and a more patient person.

— Teela Spiller, ATL WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Elizabeth Buck


Elizabeth and I worked together for three years at Great Lakes Brewing Company. She was my General Manager while I was the Banquet Manager. Elizabeth is the one person that stands out who helped me develop both my career and my personal goals. She has a great balance as a manager that incorporates having fun with getting the job done. She also lives a healthy lifestyle by eating right and teaching yoga. Both Elizabeth and I have moved on from our days at Great Lakes Brewing Company. Although we live over 4,500 miles from each other, she inspires me every day. She is a great mentor and friend.

— Michelle Hill, CLE WISE Within Mentor

Mentor: Deborah Larkin

Executive Director, USTA Serves

The Gift That Keeps Giving ... Early in my career, I had the fortune and honor to meet a woman who would become both a role model and mentor throughout my career. I was a couple of years into my first job out of grad school when I needed money to fix my car. I asked my boss, the Women's Sports Foundation's Executive Director, Deborah Larkin, for an advance on my salary but she gave me a personal loan instead. We agreed upon a date that I would pay her back and a day later I had fixed my brakes and was able to pay my rent with a little cushion, courtesy of Deborah's generosity. Six months later, I walked into Deborah's office and gave her a check with the exact amount of the loan. Deborah took my check but ripped it up as she looked me in the eye. "Just make sure you do the same for someone else one day," she said. The money notwithstanding, Deborah's gift has inspired me to give back by supporting and guiding our future leaders. I aspire every day to live up to Deborah's lessons and her request and pay it forward.

— Jenifer Miller, NYC Metro WISE Within Mentor

Mentor: Donna Orender

Orender Unlimited / NYC Metro WISE Within Mentor

The WISE Within mentor program gave me the opportunity interact with one of the industry's trailblazers, Donna Orender. Donna not only provided me with great insight into the industry, but also insight into achieving balance in your life while still pursuing your career "dreams." I was fortunate to be able to learn from her experiences and took many of her insights into consideration when making my most recent career move to Little League.

— Liz DiLullo Brown, NYC Metro WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Amanda Petrak

CLE WISE Within Mentor

Thank you so much for being such a positive role model to me. I simply love your positive attitude. Thank you for really going above and beyond to support me with your ongoing support and advice. I truly admire you and feel lucky to have you as my mentor. You rock.

— Katie Spotz, CLE WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Michelle Qualls

CLE WISE Within Mentor

I would like to thank my mentor, Michelle, for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions and concerns about the job market in Cleveland. Even when the NBA came out of their lockdown and she was on a tight deadline at work, she took the time to meet with me to discuss my job situation. I am so happy that I joined this program and I'm even happier that Michelle is my mentor.

— Jana Laird, CLE WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Jon Achar


Jon Achar has been my Mentor for the past few years. I met him through a structured Mentoring Program and it was the perfect match. I have learned so much from Jon. He is a senior executive at ESPN, he has shared his experiences/vision with me to help me along the way. The guidance that he has provided to me has been invaluable. I hope that everyone is as lucky as me. My Mentoring experience has been so successful because it's a two way relationship. Jon shares his experiences and allows me to share my experiences with him. He is a true star!!

— Elisa Padilla, WISE NYC Metro

Mentor: Professor Peter Carfagna

Harvard Law School

After reviewing my application for an internship in the sports industry, Professor Peter Carfagna asked me what my dream job would be. I replied that I would like to work with a baseball team. A few months later, he had placed me with the Boston Red Sox. Throughout my time in law school, Professor Carfagna guided me through academic and career decisions, and always pushed me to take risks and seek out a career that I would love. His mentoring was invaluable not only to my academic success, but also to my confidence in myself.

— Megha Parekh, WISE NYC Metro

Mentor: Anna Slive Harwood

IMG College / ATL WISE Within Mentor

What a neat idea and great opportunity for us to thank our mentors! Anna Slive Harwood was my mentor three years ago when I was "fresh" in my career. Anna was instrumental in providing me with knowledgeable advice and support. Anna did an incredible job of bringing out my strengths and helped me bestow confidence in myself and in my abilities. I can't thank her enough for her time, efforts and support. Anna is true leader in the college sports realm and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to have her as a mentor. I can confidently say that Anna is not only my mentor but also a true friend. Thank you Anna, for your guidance, support and friendship.

— Bridget Burke, ATL WISE Within Mentee Alumna

Mentor: Gail Hunter

NBA / NYC Metro WISE Within Mentor

Gail and I met at a critical time in my career when I was experiencing a "career crisis." I joke that poor Gail didn't know what she was getting herself into. But not only did she help me get through it with the greatest of support, she has continued to be there for me both personally and professionally. She has become a trusted confidante, advisor and dear friend. To have someone like Gail in your life is an invaluable thing. A mentor is a resource you may not even know you are missing until you have a need for one. Gail, if I haven't said it before, thank you for your continued support and friendship!

— Jennifer O'Sullivan, NYC Metro WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Courtney Mahoney

CHI WISE Within Mentor

Courtney has been an ideal mentor for me. Being in the same industry doesn't always mean someone can relate but she does. Her insight and strength as a sounding board has helped immensely and I feel much more confident in being able to make the right decisions for a potential change professionally. Courtney is always available and can be relied upon to not just provide feedback but valuable and objective feedback, which is hard to find. WISE Within definitely works!

— Jorie Sax, CHI WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: DJ Maragos

Comcast SportsNet / CHI WISE Within Mentor

I was fortunate enough to have been paired up with DJ Maragos as my mentor in the WISE Chicago Chapter's WISE Within program in 2010. From the moment we were introduced, I knew that it was the start of a wonderful relationship. Whether it was a phone call, e-mail, or lunch meeting, she made time for me. Though I know how busy she can be, I never felt like anything but the most important person she would talk to that day. DJ provided so much guidance to me, in the midst of a turning point in my career, and I will be forever grateful for this. Since the WISE Within program came to a close, I have moved thousands of miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. Despite this, DJ and I have continued our relationship, and I hope to learn from her for many more years to come. Thank you, DJ.

— Kathleen Brown, CHI WISE Within Mentee

Mentor: Leah Tuffanelli

SF WISE Within Mentor

Leah Tuffanelli is the consummate mentor. She not only offers professional advice, but she is also a very warm and friendly person. It is always nice to connect with professional women who enrich your life with their experience.

— Stephanie Handler, SF WISE Within Mentee