Powerful Women in Sports: Achieving Success in a Male-Dominated Industry

In celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, UB Center for the Advancement of Sport, Buffalo Sports & Entertainment Law Society, UB’s Office of Inclusive Excellence, The UB Gender Institute, and the UB Law Alumni Association present a Sports Law Round Table on Tuesday, February 1st from 12 noon to 1pm via Zoom. You can register for the virtual event by scanning the barcode on the image at the top of the article or you can go to law.buffalo.edu/women-in-sports

The idea to host a panel for National Girls and Women in Sports Day came following some research that Professor Drew and I did this summer. The analysis showed that the major sports leagues have less than 25% women employed in their front office positions. We wanted to change that. So we decided that we would bring together a panel of women breaking through the glass ceiling in the industry to inspire women looking to pursue a career in sports.

We have an amazing panel of women who are truly trailblazers in the industry. Our panelists include Cheryl Meyers Buth, Esq., an agent for National Basketball Association players, Caren Cook, Esq. ’90, Deputy General Counsel for Legal and Business Affairs at the Atlanta Hawks, Lisa Friel, Esq., Senior Vice President for Investigations at the National Football League, Jennifer Bullano Ridgley, Vice President of Communications Pittsburgh Penguins, and Tara VanDerveer, Stanford University Women’s Basketball Coach.

Cheryl Meyers Buth, a Western New York native, is the founding member of MEYERS BUTH LAW GROUP pllc. Ms. Buth practices criminal defense, civil litigation and is a certified agent for the National Basketball Association. Jennifer Bullano-Ridgley serves as the Vice President of Communications for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ms. Bullano Ridgley has been selected to the Sports Business Journal’s 2021 Class of “Game Changers: Women in Sports Business” as well as named a “Women of Influence” Award winner by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Caren Cook is Deputy General Counsel of Legal and Business Affairs at the Atlanta Hawks. Cook attended Hofstra University for her undergraduate education and received her Juris Doctor from University of Buffalo School of Law. Lisa Friel joined the NFL in April 2015 as Special Counsel for Investigations following her role as Vice President of the Sexual Misconduct Consulting & Investigations division for T&M Resources and a distinguished 28-year career as a Manhattan prosecutor. Ms. Friel earned a B.A. in history from Dartmouth College, graduating cum laude. At the University of Virginia School of Law, she finished in the top seven percent of her class and was awarded the Order of the Coif upon receiving her Juris Doctor. Tara VanDerveer is a Boston native who grew up in upstate New York. Ms. VanDerveer is a graduate of Buffalo Seminary. Ms. VanDerveer played women’s basketball at Indiana University. Ms. VanDerveer is the all-time winningest coach in women’s college basketball. She has been a collegiate head coach for 42 years.

Prof. Helen “Nellie” Drew founded the Center for the Advancement of Sport at the University of Buffalo several years ago to foster cross-disciplinary education, research and policy initiatives.   The Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Law Society, which is part of the Center for the Advancement of Sport, presents several Sports Law Round Tables each semester. These are events hosted by law students in their capstone year of the Sports Law Specialization.  This event will be hosted by third year law students Darby Daly and Marissa Egloff.

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