Riley Parker and Brittany Shoughi were excited to enroll in ‘Current Issues in Sports’ their freshman year. In a course that discusses the state of organized athletic activity in the United States, Parker looked around the classroom and noticed that there were very few women around her.
After class, the duo met at DAC Coffeehouse where Parker shared her vision for WISE (Women In Sports and Entertainment) with Shoughi.
“Riley said to me ‘let’s take this idea and make it big,’” Shoughi recalled.
Parker then went on to share the idea with her father, who helped her map out a business plan.
“As women in sports, they already say it’s going to be hard to find a job,” she said. “This is the glass ceiling that we have to break through — what’s better than doing that together?”
WISE is a newly SGI-recognized organization on campus that aims to unify and prepare women who aspire to work in the sports and entertainment industries. WISE seeks to equip members with the skill set required to overcome the hurdles they’ll encounter and foster unity among students. This is not to be confused with Women in Sports and Events, which sports the same acronym.
For their informational general body meeting, about 20 students were present to learn more about what the organization has to offer. Men and women alike witnessed the unveiling of WISE’s plans for establishing themselves on campus.
“I feel like we’re in a field where women are underrepresented and there’s not many organizations that cater to women in sports,” Parker, president and co-founder said. “There’s Women on Wall Street, there’s Feminists Unite.”
Networking ensued subsequently as prospective members signed up with their emails to receive updates and WISE-related news.
Parker, a sports management major, credits her ambition in part to her experience as a manager of the Women’s Basketball team.
“A lot of the coaches of the women’s team are men,” she said. “There were about eight managers and only two of them were women. Even though it was an all-women team, it was dominated by men.”
She also credits WISE’s inception to an instance in one of her classes where she and the only other female students were grouped together for a class project on the WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association).
Parker has future ambitions to be a sports agent.
Shoughi, the vice president and co-founder of WISE, is a TV & Film student with minors in sports management and business administration. She aspires to be a sports broadcaster.
Their current goals for the organization are to branch out into other universities.
“I’m really looking to work with Temple [University], because I know a lot of people in the marketing department,” Shoughi said. “I also want WISE to be more involved in the sports department [on campus].”
One of Parker’s main goals is to expand WISE’s presence on campus.
“We want to make sure that WISE stays on campus, stays active and stays known.”
Sports management student Zoe Stanley is looking forward to joining WISE.
“As part of this demographic that’s largely underrepresented in sports, media, and entertainment, I’m excited to see WISE at SJU. It’s important for women to uplift each other in and out of the office and creating such an network at SJU will definitely be beneficial for years to come,” Stanley said.
Parker encourages interested students to connect with WISE on Instagram.
“If you have a passion for anything sports and entertainment related, we accept anybody.”