<span style="">New York City - Women in Sports and Events (WISE), the leading voice and resource for professional women in the sports and events industry, announced today the honorees for the 2008 WISE Women of the Year Award. The award recipients are Rita Benson LeBlanc, owner/executive vice president of the New Orleans Saints; Pam Oliver, NFL reporter on FOX; and Molly Solomon, coordinating producer, NBC Olympics.
The three women will be honored at the 14th Annual WISE Women of the Year Awards Luncheon to be held in New York City at the Marriott Marquis on Tuesday, June 3, 2008. CBS sports reporter Tracy Wolfson will serve as the emcee.
"These outstanding women have not only made a number of significant contributions to their respective industries, but have broken barriers to do so," said Sue Rodin, founder and president of WISE. "They have been tremendous role models to the next generation of women in this business, while serving as a resource and increasing the opportunities for others along the way."
The honorees were chosen by a vote by the WISE membership nationwide. Criteria for the honorees include leadership in their field, service as a voice and resource for women in the industry, and general professionalism and performance on and off the field that have significantly affected the business of sports.
Credentials for this year's honorees include:
Rita Benson LeBlanc
LeBlanc oversees the business and administrative operations for the Saints, including sales, marketing, community and youth programs, game entertainment, and stadium operations. She led a record selling sales and marketing effort for 2006 with a season ticket sellout for the reopening of the Superdome, followed by another sellout in 2007. LeBlanc also chairs the NFL Employees Benefit committee and has made the rebuilding of New Orleans a business and personal priority.
Since joining the NFL on FOX in 1995, Oliver has established herself as one of the premier sports reporters on network television. Oliver contributes feature stories and sideline reports for FOX NFL SUNDAY and reports from the NFL on FOX's top game alongside Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Prior to joining FOX Sports, Oliver served as a sports reporter at ESPN, covering Monday Night football, the NFL Playoffs, the NBA Finals, and Dream Team II at the 1995 World Championships of Basketball. She also worked as a reporter for KHOU in Houston, WTVT in Tampa, WIVB in Buffalo, WAAY in Huntsville, Ala., WALB in Albany, Ga., and WFSU in Tallahassee, Fla.
In her role, Solomon is involved in every facet of production and planning of NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games, including program development, operational planning and hiring and assigning on-air-talent and production staff. During the 2004 games in Athens, she oversaw all aspects of the 415 hours of Olympic cable coverage on MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo and USA and will continue these responsibilities in Beijing in 2008. In 2006, she won a Prime Time Emmy award as a producer of the Opening Ceremony in Torino.
Headquartered in New York City, WISE was founded in 1993 and currently has seven chapters across the country including Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco/Bay Area, and Washington, D.C.
For information about joining WISE or becoming a sponsor, please visit www.WISEworks.org.