Over the last five years, Las Vegas has emerged as a home for professional sports. Starting with the Las Vegas Golden Knights in 2017, the city became home to three pro teams, including the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA and the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. Later this year Las Vegas is hosting a Formula One race with the next Super Bowl scheduled for Feb. 11, 2024, at Allegiant Stadium.
So it’s fitting that Las Vegas will host a national advocacy group that helps women develop and refine careers in sports. The Las Vegas chapter of Women in Sports and Events (WISE), in partnership with Global Gaming Women, will host the Women of Inspiration Celebration, in Honor of Women’s History Month, March 9 at Allegiant Stadium.
Bronwen Gregg, the president of the Las Vegas chapter of WISE, thinks it’s especially important to recognize local women given the growth of sports in the city.
“Making sure that women are recognized and that their stories are being celebrated is so incredibly important,” Gregg says.
WISE was founded in 1993 by Sue Rodin, Ernestine Miller, Raleigh Mayer, Glenda Brown, and Sylvia Allen to provide career support for women in sports businesses. Their first event attracted 60 women in New York City, and the organization has since grown to include chapters in 24 cities across the U.S., and one in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Gregg, the gaming & casinos portfolio lead for the talent solutions firm Insight Global’s Las Vegas office, notes that the integration of sports and gambling has increased since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was repealed in 2018. Sports betting has spread exponentially across the country since then, and opportunities for women have increased – to a point.
More work is still needed to ensure qualified women are afforded opportunities to work in gaming and sports.
“It’s one of the missions of WISE to inspire women to go into these fields and let them know there is a path for them,” Gregg says. “That they can be accomplished professionals.”
Gregg adds that WISE’s mentorship program showcases professional development opportunities at the student level for young women interested in pursuing careers in gaming and sports industries.
Gregg still hears comments that denigrate or diminish females in the gaming industry. Even when a women’s team is successful, there’s still a disconnect between the burgeoning popularity of women’s sports and how those athletes are perceived and promoted. Gregg notices that Golden Knights and Raiders gear is available everywhere on the Las Vegas Strip. But though the Las Vegas Aces won the WNBA Championship in 2022, their T-shirts, jackets and other items are harder to find in shops.
“Those female athletes won our city’s first professional championship,” Gregg says. “They should be talked about more, celebrated. That recognition is deserved.”
Women of Inspiration Celebration, to be emceed by VSiN Network host Story Buonantony, will honor five women who work at the intersection of sports and gaming:
- Woman in Sports: Las Vegas Raiders Chief Sales Officer Qiava Martinez
- Woman in Gaming & Sports: Golden Hearts Games SVP & Head of Product Melanie Gross
- Woman in Gaming: Fontainebleau Las Vegas Chief Operating Officer Colleen Birch
- Woman to Watch: PokerPower President Erin Lydon
- Inspirational Woman of 2022: Las Vegas Aces President Nikki Fargas