WSMI Presents Karen Brodkin, Carolyn Peck at CSVS

SVG’s Women’s Sports Media Initiative, a networking group that aims to enhance the role of women in creation, production, and distribution of sports content, traveled to Atlanta last week for the College Sports Video Summit.

On June 6, more than 30 women representing university organizations, athletic departments, networks, and vendors gathered at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel to hear from Karen Brodkin, EVP of business and legal affairs for Fox Sports Media Group.

Brodkin oversees all business affairs and related legal matters on behalf of Fox Sports Media Group and its wide array of multiplatform sports assets distributed through TV, digital, mobile, Web, and broadband. Since joining Fox Sports in 1998, she has been instrumental in completing deals ranging from complex media-rights acquisitions to production, programming, and talent agreements.

Speaking to an audience of women ranging from students to fellow executives, Brodkin detailed her own experience in the sports industry. She spoke about forging relationships, developing trust, and maintaining it over time. Women, she said, know how to form thriving relationships and should channel this innate ability into their professional lives; after all, at the end of the day, it matters with whom you’re doing business.

Brodkin, who has a 4-year-old son, praised women who balance professional and personal responsibilities and called her decision to be a mother and follow her career “profoundly rewarding.”

On June 7, WSMI presented ESPN analyst Carolyn Peck, the Day 2 Keynote Speaker. Peck has been an analyst for both college and professional basketball since 2001, contributing to studio shows and games across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and ESPNEWS.

One of the most successful and accomplished figures in women’s basketball, Peck began her keynote address by paying tribute to another successful and recognizable woman in sports media: Jayne Kennedy, a sportscaster on The NFL Today in 1978.

“I loved her,” said Peck. “When I first saw her come on TV, not only was she beautiful, [but] she was smart; she could hang talking NFL football. I said, ‘I want to do that.’ And so you think about when you’re a little kid, what you want to be when you grow up; I wanted to be Jayne Kennedy.”

After playing basketball at Vanderbilt from 1985 to 1988, Peck served as an assistant coach for the University of Kentucky (1995-96), the University of Tennessee (1993-95), and USA Basketball (1997 and 2004). She considers her time at Tennessee, serving under legendary head coach Pat Summitt, instrumental to her future career in sports media.

“What I learned from Pat was invaluable, especially when it came to coaching but also when it came to marketing and using the media,” Peck explained. “The one thing that Pat Summitt always said is that Tennessee will be the standard that everybody else will measure themselves to. She always welcomed in the media. Whenever the television wanted to mike her in the locker room, she would do it. She would have them coming in, and she was as real then as if the cameras weren’t there. She understood. She got it. The lifeline of your program is recruiting. Well, who can better recruit for you than television?”

Peck won the 1999 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship as head coach of the Purdue Boilermakers, becoming the first African-American coach in women’s basketball to do so, before transitioning to the professional ranks and, eventually, to television. She has contributed as a game and studio analyst for ESPN’s coverage of the WNBA and women’s college basketball, including the NCAA tournament.

Concluding her keynote address, Peck left the audience with a piece of her parents’ advice that has proved true in her life.

“You’re only discriminated against if you choose to be,” she said. “So, if you hold it against yourself and say, well, because I’m a woman I can’t do it, you’re holding yourself back. If there’s something that you want to do, if you don’t try it, you got no shot. But if you do, you just might get to where you want to be.”

SVG sponsors WSMI meetings, lunch-and-learns, and speaker events on a quarterly basis nationwide, with members invited to listen, learn, exchange ideas and best practices, and meet other women in the industry.

For more information on the Women’s Sports Media Initiative, e-mail WSMI Associate Director Karen Hogan at karen@sportsvideo.org.

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