The Women of Inspiration (WOI) program speaks to WISE Seattle’s desire to leave a lasting impact on future generations of women in the sports and events industry. The focus of this yearly accolade is to honor and recognize a woman in our community that is doing something notable to support women while aligning with our chapter’s vision and core pillars. The winner of this award will receive a cash donation on behalf of WISE Seattle and their partners to the cause, non-profit or organization that coincides with why they were nominated. 

WISE Seattle is the local chapter of a national organization that works to encourage, empower, and educate women professionals in the sports and events industries through professional development, mentorship, and networking opportunities. 

2024 Nominations are NOW OPEN!

Important Dates:

7/12/24 - Nominations close

9/3/24 - Finalists announced/ voting begins

9/20/24 - Voting concludes

October 2024 - Winner Announced at 2024 Seattle Sports Commission Women in Leadership Breakfast

Congratulations To Our 2023 WISE Seattle Women Of Inspiration Winner And Finalists 

We are thrilled to announce Mel Harrow, Associate Athletic Director at the Bush School and Head Coach of UW Women's Hockey, as the recipient of the 2023 WISE Seattle Women of Inspiration Award!

The Women of Inspiration Award honors a female in our community who exemplifies the pillars upon which WISE Seattle was founded. This individual is making a positive impact on the business of sports and events while serving as a positive role model and mentor for other women.  

This prestigious honor was recently awarded to Mel at the Seattle Sports Commission Women's Leadership Breakfast.

Congratulations to all the incredible finalists who made this award so fiercely competitive: 

Jen Barnes - Owner, Rough & Tumble 
Tiffany Castro - Owner, West Coast Queen Of Diamonds
Marcie Morgan - Founder, Seven Seals Racing Team
Kat Sweet - Founder, Sweetlines 

These incredible women collectively saw an opportunity to fill a space where there was a gap.

We encourage you to follow their journey.

We can't wait to see what they do next!⁠ 

Let them be your reminder to take action and "Do It." ⁠

Read More About Our 2023 Winner And Finalists:

WINNER - Mel Harrow - Associate Athletic Director at the Bush School & Head Coach UW Women's Hockey

Mel grew up playing ice hockey in the greater Seattle area before going on to play college hockey at Buffalo State University. Growing up around ice hockey drove Mel toward a career in sport where she focuses on creating a positive environment for the next generation of athletes. Mel is currently the Associate Athletic Director for the Bush School and the Head Coach for the UW Women's Club hockey team

Mel’s core value is supporting and empowering the whole person through sports. She creates and implements athletic leadership programming to develop student-athletes to be leaders. Her passions lie in achieving gender equity in sport, sport for all, and ensuring all who identify as girls and women build confidence on and off the field. Mel has been driven to achieve this through her work with EmpowHER Hour workshops, sports sampling clinics, panel presentations, and increasing the number of women identifying athletes to access strength and conditioning training. Recently, Mel co-hosted a coaching education clinic to certify 85 WIAA coaches. 

The cash prize donation would go to progressing hockey to a more inclusive community by providing access (gear/scholarship funds) to the sport for underrepresented groups.

A little more about Mel Harrow

FINALIST - Jen Barnes - Founder & Owner Rough & Tumble Pub

Jen Barnes is the owner, founder and creator behind Rough & Tumble Pub, Washington’s home for women’s sports. Jen is a life-long athlete, tireless fan, perpetual optimist, and entrepreneur. Her latest venture is equal parts community public house and personal passion. A dynamic senior executive with 25+ years of experience building vibrant, award-winning companies, Jen started her first business in the food industry at the age of six and has spent the past two-plus decades leading teams and running companies across industry sectors. Today, she brings together her passion for both sports and gender equality together by investing in women's sports.

The cash prize would be used to support non-profit organization(s) with whom Rough & Tumble works, specifically with a focus on eliminating barriers to access and creating opportunities for young girl and non-binary youth athletes to remain in the athlete cycle through critical pre-teen and teen years when dropoff happens the most. We currently work with numerous non-profit groups in this sector and would target supporting those that are player-supported and/or led and where a significant donation would actively and positively impact access and playtime for this athlete demographic.

FINALIST - Tiffany Castro - Owner & Founder West Coast Queen of Diamonds

Tiffany Castro is a passionate advocate for young women through her love of softball. After the Navy brought her to the greater Seattle area, she has been elevating the level of play in Washington state as the West Coast Queen of Diamonds. In addition to coaching high school and college, she has supported several fastpitch organizations in attaining multiple championships and contending at the All American Games. Her collaborative leadership style models teamwork and empowers players to excel on and off the field. 

Tiffany’s greatest influence has been mentoring youth from marginalized communities. She would use the cash prize to purchase equipment and eliminate fees that often prevent players from full participation in the sport that changed her life.

FINALIST - Marcie Morgan - Founder of Seven Seals Racing Team & President USA Downhill Skateboarding Association

Marcie Morgan is the founder of Seven Seals Racing Team, an organization that supports girls, women and under-represented athletes in Gravity Sports Racing. In 2022, Marcie secured her placement on the Women’s USA Downhill Team, at the age of 42 and is currently ranked 2nd in the United States for Women’s Downhill Skating. Marcie is the mother of two wonderful sons, and has become a part of the first mother and son duo in downhill skating. 

In 2022, Marcie created a funding and athlete promotion campaign in order for the USA Team to compete in Argentina at the World Skate Games. The campaign raised over $30,000, which led to the envisioning of a non-profit organization that would continue to support the top athletes in the US. Subsequently, she co-founded the USA Downhill Skateboarding Association where she currently serves as President.

Because of her commitment to inspire more female participation in gravity sports, Marcie was recently invited to appear on a segment of Seattle's King 5 Evening Show. As part of her dedication to supporting the sport, she also became one of the founding members of the newly formed Women's International Downhill Skateboarding Association, which gives women the space they need to discuss the issues that directly impact them and to advocate for change to have a fair and equitable opportunity to represent their countries on the world stage.

The funds from this award would go toward reducing the barriers to entry for female athletes, including training workshops; scholarships; safety gear; and work towards building more partnerships, grants and sponsorships for female athletes, with a goal to focus on creating a pathway of progression for girls and women to get into the sport and work their way into Top Tier Racing.

FINALIST - Kat Sweet - Founder, Sweetlines Mountain Biking

A former professional downhill mountain bike racer and X-Games ski competitor, Sweet has a passion for introducing this exhilarating experience to everyone. Kat recognizes the importance of using camaraderie to build courage in her programs and push riders to the next level. Through the years, Sweet has produced events that mesh coaching with competition—such as the Sugar Showdown—and spends countless hours building and restoring mountain bike trails.

In 2003, Kat started a Trips for Kids chapter, taking kids mountain biking who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity (learning everything the hard way, the wrong way, and learning lots of life lessons along the way). She also worked as the youth program manager for the Cascade Bicycle Club for 8 years. In 2011 Sweet created her own mountain bike program, Sweetlines, whose vision is to shape generations of courageous humans. There are currently 550 kids coming through summer camps and 24 seasonal coaches. In 2014 Sweetlines introduced race teams, and now has 40 kids, 20 girls and 20 boys, racing downhill between the ages of 8-21. Kat is super excited to keep learning and growing in order to help her athletes perform their best and to help them better achieve their potential!

Growing up, Kat didn't have money to go to many summer camps, which is part of why she likes to give back. Sweetlines offers financial assistance for anyone who would like help and this year alone donated $4000 to help kids come to camp. The money from this award would really help the organization in continuing to support equity within the sport of mountain biking.

Media Coverage

Listen to an interview with WOI Committee Chair, Michelle Ludtka Furbush on the Bump & Stacy Show on Seattle Sports 710AM.

Women of Inspiration Program Partners

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