Whether you’re an avid athlete or have never touched a piece of sports equipment, the annual WIN (Women’s Intersport Network) for KC Women’s Sports Awards Celebration — celebrating women in sports — will leave you encouraged, inspired, and probably in need of a tissue (or five)!
“If you’re sitting in the room, you’re going to take away something that inspires you,” says Maria Maffry, the Chief Business Development Officer at BNIM Architects. “And you’re probably going to cry!”
Maffry, along with Whitney Bartelli, the President and Chief Marketing Officer at Bank Midwest, are co-chairing the 2020 WIN for KC Women’s Sports Awards Celebration. The highly anticipated event which will welcome two-time WNBA MVP, Elena Delle Donne, as a featured guest, gives Maffry and Bartelli the chance to support a cause that’s been a driving force in their lives.
“This organization and the women it celebrates have inspired me on so many levels, both personally and professionally,” says Maria Maffry, the Chief Business Development Officer at BNIM Architects. “In particular, it motivated me to participate in a duathlon and a marathon, which I’m not sure I would have considered before my involvement with WIN for KC. It is truly impossible to walk away from this event unchanged.”
“I grew up participating in sports, so WIN for KC’s mission about empowering young girls and women through sports resonated with me,” Bartelli says. “I learned so many lessons from sports—resilience, pushing myself mentally and physically, learning how to be a gracious winner and loser, strategy, teamwork—all of those things you learn in sports you can transfer to life.”
Understanding and embracing those life lessons is an integral part of the message conveyed during the WIN for KC Women’s Sports Awards Celebration. During the event, which begins at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 7, 2020, six local individuals or groups will be recognized with awards for their contributions and achievements in sports and fitness.
To set the tone for the inspiration to come, the event kicks off with the March of Champions, during which Kansas and Missouri female high-school state champions parade through the Kansas City Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom in celebration of their achievements.
“It’s amazing to see the athletes march through the ballroom and up to the stage,” Bartelli says. “It adds to the uplifting feeling of the luncheon.”
That feeling continues through the awards presentation and to the conversation with the featured guest, an integral part of the celebration each year, which has become the largest luncheon in the country celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Nationally — and often internationally — renowned athletes have a chance to come to Kansas City and tell their own stories of determination, perseverance, success, and lessons learned.
Last year, for example, WIN for KC welcomed record-breaking gymnast Simone Biles. This coming year, one of the most dominant players in the WNBA, Elena Delle Donne, will take the stage. Delle Donne led her team to the WNBA Championship in 2019 and is a six-time WNBA All-Star and four-time member of the All-WNBA First Team.
“She’s written a book and we’re looking into doing some fun things with it at the luncheon,” Bartelli says.
“We’re always approaching it from what can we add to the program?” Maffry says. “It’s such a great event, but what can we contribute? Our mission is to help get attendance to advance the work that WIN for KC does. How do we leverage our community relationships and partnerships to help this cause? The event sells itself. They raise the bar every year.”
Maffry and Bartelli are co-chairs for a one-year term. Maffry describes the WIN for KC Women’s Sports Awards Celebration as an “easy lift,” meaning that the event is established, so the majority of the planning and logistical details are already in place.
That’s when Maffry and Bartelli tap another shared trait—their competitiveness—to leave their mark on the luncheon.
Adds Bartelli, “Our mission is to help get attendance to advance the work that WIN for KC does. How do we leverage our community relationships and partnerships to help this cause? The event sells itself. They raise the bar every year.”
One of the (many) appealing factors of the WIN for KC Women’s Sports Awards Celebration is that it makes an impact and offers takeaways for everyone. Maffry and Bartelli are prime examples: longtime athletes who have renewed their commitment to fitness to lead by example and further deepen their years-long friendship.
“We’ve teamed up on a new fitness regimen,” Bartelli says. “We both do our own workouts independently, but it’s been a fun way to focus on fitness together. We want to walk the walk.”
Attend the WIN for KC Women’s Sports Awards Celebration and you might just leave with not only inspiration, but also a new connection that leads to the sort of friendship shared by Maffry and Bartelli.
“Planning this event is such an honor. It has been meaningful and fun to work together, building on our camaraderie and shared passion for our community to further the mission of WIN for KC.” Maffry says.
To purchase tickets to the 26th Annual WIN for KC Women’s Sports Awards Celebration, visit www.winforkc.org.