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Jennifer Aaker

Behavioral Psychologist Author General Atlantic Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business

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Dr. Jennifer Aaker

General Atlantic Professor of Marketing

Stanford Graduate School of Business

http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/faculty/jennifer-lynn-aaker

 jaaker@stanford.edu  | @aaker

 


Jennifer Aaker - General Atlantic Professor of Marketing
A social psychologist, Jennifer Aaker is the General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Her research focuses on the psychology of time, money and happiness — specifically how people choose to spend their time and money, and when and why those choices are associated with lasting value. She also empirically explores how small acts can create significant change, and how those effects can be fueled by digital and social media.  Noted for her early work on the dimensions of brand personality, Aaker’s current research is rooted in the psychology of choice and the shifting meaning of happiness. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the Society for Consumer Psychology and the Stanford Distinguished Teaching Award.

 

Aaker teaches courses at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (“d.school”) such as “Building Innovative Brands” (with Chris Flink, IDEO), The Innovation Playbook, Designing Story in a Digital World, and Rethinking Purpose. She co-authored the award-winning book “The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Impact” with her husband (to whom she is surprisingly still happily married), and has served on the Advisory Board of early stage startups and companies, from ADAY to Google X. 

 

TALK DESCRIPTIONS:

 

Power of Story

Studies show that we are wired to remember stories much more than data, facts and figures. Stories galvanize They fuel stakeholder buy-in by painting a clear picture of what is and what could be for everyone - from employees, to investors, to customers.  Further, when the stakeholder becomes part of the story, they are more likely to act. Story is equally important for leaders, whose signature stories – both business and personal - impact recruiting, retention, and growth of the company.  Critically, your stories are written by your actions, not your words. In this talk, Dr. Aaker will (a) demonstrate how leaders use signature stories to build high performing teams and companies and (b) help you use time – in the day, month and year -  to make your stories become real. We will look at what actions you are taking, what stories they tell, and how you can change what you are doing to have the results you want.  .  

 

Power of Purpose

We assume happiness is stable, an endpoint to achieve or a goal to “chase.”  It’s not.  Recent research suggests that the meaning of happiness changes every 3-4 years, and raising the question - if happiness is not an optimal life goal, how might we rethink our approach to life and work.  Research suggests it is better to aim for meaning, anchored on purpose. In this talk, Aaker will raise the question: How do we live lives that are at once happy and purposeful? A seemingly simple question, but one made more challenging as one seeks to create a meaningful career and life.  In this talk, Dr. Aaker draws on new research to suggest ways to reframe happiness, and discusses insights from social psychological research to illuminate how we might design brands, organizations, careers and lives that cultivate meaning. Those who will most effectively lead in the future are the people and organizations that redefine success, moving it away from simple profit maximization. They do this by anchoring on an inspired mission, something that can create purpose in people’s lives, or simply creating a context where people with purpose can thrive. 

 

Using Humor in Business

We acknowledge that there is some darkness in the world, in our organizations, in our personal health and in the health of our families. Research shows that humor is a multiplier and can actually improve our resilience and our ability to tackle the dark times. Humor helps us stay fast, competitive, and smart. Humor hones intelligence in a way that other positive emotions don’t. Humor is at the cornerstone of intelligence and fun. It makes us action oriented (not sedate). It is a tool to be more powerful and influential, so that we may make the change we want to see and be seen. It raises the stakes, and if you can perform at that level (and be guided by purpose), you can make change AND bring people along the way.

 

Rethinking Time

Many people complain that they don’t have enough time. They have too many goals and not enough time to do them so goals start to compete with each other. Dr. Aaker asks if you can reframe time such that you can achieve multiple goals at the same time. She draws on new behavioral research to suggest ways to reframe time, align your goals and execute on them by creating "multipliers" (defined as one activity that fulfill multiple goals).  She also shares the science behind productivity and introduces four habits to boost productivity: (a) time-shifting, (b) carving out areas of incompetence, (c) procrastinating strategically, and (d) creating time for passion projects. Finally, she shares her insights around creating sticky memories and savoring moments in time so you can feel “time affluent” and happier.

Scaling Empathy
Successful global brands put humanistic purpose at the center of their goals, building products quickly around stories, and are guided by a sense of empathy.  Empathy can be a critical resource for companies, but is often not well understood.  Yet the companies that cultivate such empathy systematically, both for their employees and customers, have an advantage because they are able to nimbly build a larger story, one that is meaningful to stakeholders.  In this talk, Dr. Aaker, the author of the best-selling book, The Dragonfly Effect, will discuss the behavioral science underlying the power of empathy and illuminate how companies can build a big story by diving into four key principles: (1) Focus; (2) Grab attention; (3) Engage and (4) Enable action.    Finally, Dr. Aaker will share the latest empirical and case-based studies to discuss how companies can leverage empathy - at scale.

 

Creating a Culture of Innovation

Excellence in leading innovation has far less to do with innovative ideas; it has everything to do with how that leader creates a culture where innovation and creativity thrives.   In this talk, Dr. Aaker discusses how leading organizations leverage design thinking to become ever more experimental and nimble, creating an engine of innovation.  She discussed behavioral insights that focus on (a) creating a culture of optimism, (b) leading with purpose, (c) designing with empathy and (d) leveraging stories.   Using provocative real-world examples, Dr. Aaker engages audience in a participatory experiential design thinking exercise to conceive of and visualize their own creative proposals for how their designers can interact in innovative, brand-enhancing new ways. In the end of this session, teams will ultimately pitch their design concepts to each other for feedback, consideration and potential real-world implementation.

Andrew Barge

Head of Sports Broadcast Partnerships, US

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Andrew Barge, Head of Sports Broadcast Partnerships, US

Andrew leads partnerships with sports broadcast networks in the United States for Twitter, including ESPN, Turner Sports, FOX, and NBC, as well as emerging digital media publishers. He's responsible for facilitating premium content partnerships that drive reach and revenue for Twitter's portfolio of US-based sports publishers. Before joining Twitter in 2014, Andrew spent six years in the consumer marketing group at ESPN, where he specialized in marketing ESPN Films and original entertainment (“30 for 30”; the ESPYs), mobile product launches, league programming (NFL, NASCAR), and action sports events. Follow him on Twitter at @abarge.

Jason Bernstein

Vice President, Content Strategy and Distribution

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Jason Bernstein is the Vice President of Content Strategy & Distribution at Intersport. He is responsible for developing the company’s multi-media platforms through live events, TV programming, mobile, social and digital content by maintaining and growing the company’s existing television partners while adding a group of digital publishing partners to achieve an entirely new level of content distribution.

At Intersport, he has been able to build from scratch a go-to market program that establishes a unifying approach and strategy to content distribution that, in 2018 alone, has led the creation of a first-of-its-kind live stream broadcast on Twitter called #TheDebut, and the partnership with Twitter to distribute all of the pool play & quarterfinal coverage for the inaugural Dos Equis 3X3U National Championship live on Twitter, in addition to delivering the event’s semifinals and final on ESPN2.

Prior to Intersport, Jason Bernstein was managing director for Hawk-Eye Innovations North America (a Sony company) where he oversaw the implementation of all U.S.-based agreements, including the growth and development of new business and technology advancements for clients in North America.

Prior to joining Sony, Bernstein led & managed content acquisition and scheduling strategy for ESPN’s tennis business, including the landmark Wimbledon and US Open acquisitions for the network. He also managed digital media programming content acquisition, scheduling and distribution for ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, ESPN3, and its authenticated networks service WatchESPN.  

Bernstein is also the architect of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest as a made-for-TV event, bringing it to television for the first time in 2004.

Joao Chueiri

Vice President, Consumer Connections

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Joao Chueiri

VP, Consumer Connections at Anheuser-Busch InBev

 

Seasoned marketing leader having worked with global brands across many different industries and geographies. 8 years in advertising (Saatchi & Saatchi, JWT, McCann). 7 years at Nike. Currently Consumer Connections VP at AB-InBev in NYC.

Andrew Cohen

Vice President, Global Brand and Creative

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Andrew Cohen
Vice President, Global Brand and Creative, Visa Inc.
As Vice President, Global Brand and Creative, Andrew Cohen is responsible for stewarding the Visa brand globally, ensuring it drives value for Visa Inc. and its clients, maintains relevance amongst consumers, and evolves to meet the changing dynamics of the payments category. Andrew is helping to define the customer experience with the Visa brand in a world where cardless transactions are growing on a daily basis. Andrew also is responsible for developing the global marketing campaigns to support Visa’s sponsorships of the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.
Prior to that, Andrew led Visa’s integrated global marketing communications team for the Olympics where he was responsible for growing Visa’s brand and consumer’s preference and usage of Visa products
Andrew’s leadership and management of Visa’s 2014 Olympics campaign delivered exceptional results including Visa being identified as the company that “reigned, in the Twittersphere,” “dominated social Olympic brand engagement,” and was one of the “biggest winners amongst OIympic sponsors.” Additionally, Andrew helped Visa deliver unprecedented Winter Olympic activation by Visa clients and the largest onsite infrastructure at a Winter Olympics, supporting the drive to achieve Visa’s business objectives.
Previously, Andrew was responsible for the portfolio of Visa’s U.S. based sponsorships, including the NFL, NASCAR, and the USOC. Additionally, Andrew helped create the Visa Signature Access platform, Visa’s affluent event marketing program, including the category’s first ongoing film benefit partnership program with Fandango.
Before joining Visa USA in 2004, Andrew spent the previous ten years at Momentum Worldwide where he developed event and sponsorship strategies for clients including American Express, AOL, AT&T, Microsoft and Nortel Networks.
Andrew resides in San Francisco with his wife and three daughters. He received a B.S. in Marketing and Management from Cornell University.

Kevin Cote

Head, Sports Partnerships, Teams and Athletes

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Kevin Cote

Facebook Sports Partnerships – Teams & Athletes

Kevin Cote manages sports partnerships with teams and athletes at Facebook. In this role, Cote works closely with partners to help them reach new audiences, experiment with innovative forms of distribution and achieve their business objectives. This consultation covers best practices across Facebook’s family of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus. Prior to Facebook, Cote spent 11 seasons with the Golden State Warriors, where he led the organization’s digital, mobile and social media efforts.

Shannon Dan

Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy

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Shannon Dan’s Biography

In her 12th year at Intersport, Shannon leads its rapidly expanding Content Marketing practice, an Award-winning business focused on telling brand stories across any platform – television, web, mobile and social. Under her leadership, Intersport's Content Division has won an Emmy, Webby, and multiple Telly and Cynopsis Awards.

 

Shannon was recently recognized as a Forty Under 40 Award Winner by Sports Business Journal and a Top Women in Digital and "It List" honoree by Cynopsis Media.

 

During her tenure, Shannon has overseen the production and distribution of 30,000 digital videos that generated 3.5 billion views and launched Intersport’s Social Media group, which is now a core capability of the organization.

 

Shannon has developed and executed multi-platform branded content programs for leading marketers, including KPMG, State Farm, Denny's, American Family Insurance, Sprint, Diet Pepsi, Chase, Quicken Loans, Bud Light, Mercedes-Benz, Zales and others.

 

A graduate of St. Bonaventure University and former college basketball player, Shannon came to Intersport after spending five years in Public Relations at the NBA.

Andy Dolich

Dolich Consulting

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ANDY DOLICH

Andy Dolich brings over five decades of leadership in the sports industry including executive positions in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, pro soccer and lacrosse. The Ohio University Sports Management graduate was Executive Vice-President of the Oakland A’s during their run of success in the 1980’s and 90’s, President of Business Operations for the Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and COO of the San Francisco 49ers. Dolich runs a sports business consulting practice in Northern California. Clients have included: IMG College, TBT(The Basketball Tournament on ESPN) 3Ball, a 3X3 basketball league launching in the summer of 2018, Stadium Links Golf, Immersive reality company, Vhere and the FCFL-Fan Controlled Football League. He teaches sports business at Stanford’s School of Continuing Studies. He is co-author of the new book, “20 Secrets to Success for NCAA Student Athletes who Won’t Go Pro.”

Jayar Donlan

Executive Vice President, Digital & Social Content

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Jayar Donlan is a seasoned digital and technology professional. After starting at WWE as Vice President, Social Media in April of 2013, Donlan was promoted to Executive Vice President, Digital and Social Content, overseeing a team of 90 that is responsible for digital content, video, design and social media reporting directly to WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. Jayar has played a key role in developing WWE into one of the most-followed and influential brands in the world. Under Jayar’s leadership, the social media team has grown and flourished, helping WWE increase its social footprint to a total of more than 850 million combined followers and making WWE the No. 1 sports channel on YouTube.

During his tenure, WWE’s digital and social media teams have been honored with more than 100 awards or nominations. Last year, Jayar was recognized on Ad Age’s 40 Under 40 list and the Leaders In Sport 40 Under 40 list. This year, he was named Digital Executive of the Year by Cynopsis Sports.

Jayar is a member of the board of directors for Boys & Girls Club Stamford. He leverages his professional experience to help Boys & Girls Club achieve their mission to enable all youth, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.

Prior to joining WWE, Donlan was Vice President of Analytics at MXM Social and served as a member of the MXM Social Leadership team, helping shape strategy for a number of entertainment and sports clients, including NBC, Disney and Sony. Jayar is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Dan Fiden

President

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Dan Fiden is president of prominent North American esports organization, Cloud9 Esports, Inc. Dan previously served as a member of Cloud9’s Board of Directors, having led Cloud9’s seed investment round through FunPlus Ventures — an investment vehicle affiliated with mobile game publisher FunPlus, which was sold to Century Games / Shanda for over $1BN.

Before becoming a member of Cloud9’s executive team, Dan served as Chief Strategy Officer for FunPlus, which he joined after having invested in that company’s first funding round. Dan founded Signia Venture Partners, where he focused on early stage game ecosystem investing. Prior to Signia, he held a number of roles in the game industry, including CEO of Wild Needle (sold to Zynga), US General Manager at social game company Playfish (sold to EA), served as a member of the advisory board at the Game Developers Conference, and as Creative Director on the You Don’t Know Jack series of games at independent developer Jellyvision (now Jackbox Games.)

Dan began his career as a roast beef sandwich and frozen custard server at Anderson’s in Buffalo, New York.

Tom Fox

President

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Tom Fox

Marketing and Sports Industry Veteran

 

Tom Fox joined the San Jose Earthquake in July of 2017 as President, responsible for all football and business related activities. 

 

Tom has over 30 years of experience in brand management and sports marketing.  His career has included stops at Gatorade where he worked for 13 years and ultimately led the brands’ Sports Marketing efforts globally. He also spent time with the NBA, where he opened the League’s first offices in Asia, Nike, leading both Asia Pacific and US Sports Marketing, and Wasserman as Principal in Business Development. 

 

Prior to joining the Earthquakes, Tom was the CEO of Aston Villa FC in the English Premier League for two seasons, starting in 2014, and had originally relocated to London in 2009 to work for Arsenal FC in the newly created role of Chief Commercial Officer.

 

Tom currently sits on the board of Stat Sports, a wearable sports tracking company specializing in enhancing human performance.

Mark Foxton

Director, Sports Marketing

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Mark Foxton

Director, Sports Marketing

Levi’s Brand

 

 

Mark Foxton joined Levi Strauss in 2014.  He currently leads Levi’s Sports Marketing team, overseeing its current property relationships including Levi’s Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers, the San Francisco Giants, the Golden State Warriors, the New York Yankees and the Green Bay Packers. Mr. Foxton is responsible for developing and implementing strategies for the brand as they look to expand within the sports lifestyle landscape.  He has also been instrumental in the global launch of the Levi’s NFL, NBA and MLB licensed apparel collections.

 

For their work on the launch of Levi’s Stadium, Mr. Foxton and his team received the Worldwide Koshland Award, which is the highest honor employees can receive and recognizes the most outstanding performance worldwide, as decided by the company’s senior leaders.   Mr. Foxton and his team have also received multiple Excellence Awards, which annually honors “best in class” employees and teams who champion the company’s vision, while contributing to the strategic and annual operating plans. 

 

A seasoned sports and entertainment marketing executive, Mr. Foxton has spent more than two decades building, negotiating and activating multi-million dollar, multi-platform partnerships for industry leading leagues, teams and rights holders including the NBA, Soccer United Marketing, Madison Square Garden, the San Francisco 49ers, San Jose Sharks and Live Nation.  Foxton has also served as an adjunct professor for the University of San Francisco’s Master of Sports Marketing program.

 

Mr. Foxton received his AB from Stanford University.  He currently resides in San Anselmo, CA with his wife and two children.

Michael Goldstein

Vice President, Global Marketing and Sponsorships

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In 2012, Michael joined Mastercard as a Vice President & Business Leader, Global Sponsorships. He has since been promoted to Vice President & Senior Business Leader, Global Sponsorships. He oversees Mastercard’s global golf and rugby platforms, which are highlighted by The Open Championship and Rugby World Cup partnerships.  He also focuses on UEFA Champions League activation, global sponsorship strategy, property evaluation and research, and the overall use of sponsorship assets worldwide.

 

Prior to Mastercard, Michael was with LG Electronics, where he oversaw its NCAA corporate sponsorship across multiple business units, including all Men’s and Women’s Championships.  He also managed co-marketing strategic partnerships in the gaming and entertainment space that were leveraged via retail promotions.

 

Before LG, Michael was with Octagon, where he consulted Fortune 100 companies, including Mastercard, on where and how to drive business via sponsorships in the sports and entertainment world. 

 

Earlier in his career, Michael worked in television production at ESPN on shows such as Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter.  He holds an MBA and MS in Sport Management from UMass-Amherst and a BA in Psychology from the University of Rochester. He currently resides in Scarsdale, NY, with his wife Lindsey and two children, Zoe and Levi.

Chris Lee

Vice President, Sponsorships

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Christopher Lee

U.S. Bank

Vice President, Head of Sponsorships

 

Christopher Lee has enjoyed a successful 15+ year career in the sports sponsorship industry. A well-respected industry leader, Lee is one of the few brand-side sponsorship experts that can activate a three-pronged approach to sponsorship marketing - applying a strategic sponsorship framework and evaluation process, integrating sales and business revenue driving opportunities, and incorporating strong consumer-facing social and experiential marketing programs.

 

Lee joined U.S. Bank in 2016 to lead its sponsorship marketing team. He was brought in to assess, evaluate and revamp the way that sponsorships were procured and activated by the company, in order to strategically and seamlessly incorporate sponsorships into a fully integrated brand marketing strategy. Lee recently completed a very successful activation of the Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium.

 

Prior to joining U.S. Bank, Lee was the Director of Brand Partnerships and Social Engagement at San Francisco-based Esurance. At both the bank and the insurance firm, Lee successfully developed and implemented national sponsorship brand strategies for both brands, taking fragmented local market approaches and developing nationally recognized sponsorship portfolios.

 

His efforts and expertise have proven successful and drawn accolades. In 2016 his efforts around Esurance’s Major League Baseball (MLB) national rights partnership and title sponsorship of the All-Digital Esurance MLB All-Star Ballot were recognized with the Marketers that Matter Award for Digital Innovation. More importantly, his work drove results for the business.

 

Earlier in his career, while at the pre-championship Golden State Warriors, Chris was an integral member of the sponsorship sales and marketing team. During his tenure he built successful partnerships with major brands, including Verizon, Symantec, Visa, Ross Stores, Autotrader, Clorox, 24 Hour Fitness and more.

 

Lee received his bachelor’s degree in Communications at San Diego State University, and a master’s degree in Sports Management at the University of San Francisco. He lives in the East Bay with his wife and young daughter.

Hunter Leigh

Head, Esports

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Hunter Leigh has recently joined the Golden State Warriors as Head of Esports, overseeing the Golden Guardians League of Legends team, and Warriors Gaming Squad NBA2K team.  In this role, he is responsible for all day to day operations of the existing Esports teams along with strategy and corporate development for future Esports ventures.  Prior to joining the Warriors he was Head of Esports Operations for Yahoo Esports and Product Lead on the North American League Championship Series at Riot Games.  He is an Esports industry veteran having work for teams, media, and formal leagues, and has seen the industries growth first hand.  Prior to working in Esports, he was active in the tech and social gaming space in the San Francisco area.

Sam Li

Head, Content Acquisition and Strategic Partnership

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Sam Li is the Head of Content Acquisition and Strategic Partnerships for Sina Sports where he is responsible for domestic and international sports rights acquisition; strategic partnerships with rights holders, teams and individual athletes; and international sponsorships and marketing.  He was previously an Associate Vice President with the National Basketball Association.  Sam has a Juris Doctor degree from University of Michigan Law School and dual bachelor degrees from University of California, Los Angeles.

Sandra Lopez

Vice President

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Sandra E. Lopez
Vice President, Intel Sports

 

Sandra E. Lopez is vice president/GM for Intel Sports helping to lead business, marketing, and market development efforts. Her team is responsible for partnering with the sports industry to transform how sports are played and watched. This includes defining business and partner strategies in order to achieve Intel Sport’s growth and profit objectives as well as managing overall go-to-market activities with the business partners and customers. 

 

Previously, she was within Intel’s New Technology Group, leading and managing the Fashion wearable business.  In this role, Lopez was a vocal advocate for the convergence between fashion and technology. Prior to her current position, she was director of strategic partnerships for fashion and fitness, with responsibility for defining and carrying out Intel’s business strategy for wearables technology. Earlier in her Intel career, Lopez held various roles within corporate marketing, including director of new business marketing and director of consumer marketing. In the latter role, she led Intel’s brand repositioning work to earn an Intel Achievement Award in 2010. She also earned industry honors. In 2013, she won a Marketers That Matter award, a program that recognizes top marketing executives in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2015, she was named among the Top 10 Latina Executives by LATINA Style Inc.

 

Before joining Intel in 2005, Lopez worked at Adobe Systems Inc., Macromedia, Computer Associates International Inc. and several other technology companies.

 

Lopez holds a bachelor’s of science degree in economics and textiles and clothing from the University of California at Davis. In addition, she attended the Stanford Intel Accelerator Program.  She is an active member of several Intel organizations focused on both women and Latino advancements, including Intel’s Hispanic Leadership Council and Pay It Forward Program. As part of contributing to the community, she is focused on building the next generation of female leaders. 

 

 

Twitter: @nycsf

Kurt Melcher

Executive Director, Esports

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Kurt Melcher Biography

Kurt Melcher is the Executive Director of Esports at Intersport, a Chicago-based Marketing and Media Solutions Company. Previously an athletic administrator for 15 years, Melcher recognizes the core educational elements involved in traditional sports and believes the same hold true for esports. Through his efforts and vision, Robert Morris University became the first university to recognize esports as part of the athletic department and offer athletic scholarships to gamers, helping to legitimize the world of collegiate esports. Most recently, Melcher and Intersport’s Esports Group was contracted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to further its exploration of the collegiate esports landscape.

 

A prominent esports evangelist, Mr. Melcher has been featured in a number of prominent news sources including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Time Magazine, ESPN, NPR, HBO Real Sports and in the documentary film All Work All Play.

Frank Nakano

Managing Director, Sports and Entertainment

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Frank Nakano

Managing Director, Sports & Entertainment Marketing
JPMorgan Chase

Frank joined the Sports and Entertainment team at JP Morgan Chase in October 2011.  This newly created group is responsible for aligning the Chase brand with sports and entertainment properties on behalf of multiple lines of business across the retail and wholesale businesses. The team maintains a particular focus on the business outcomes of sponsorship and ability to position Chase among culturally relevant brands. JPMorgan Chase was named Sponsor of the Year in 2017 by the Sports Business Journal.

Primary relationships include the US Open, the Madison Square Garden Company, JP Morgan Corporate Challenge, StartUp Week, Atom Ticketing, Chase Field, Amelie Arena / Tampa Bay Lightning and the newly announced Chase Center set to open in ’19 in San Francisco. The relationship with MSG includes a historic Marquee partnership with sports teams and venues owned by the MSG Company including Radio City Music Hall, Chicago Theater, Beacon Theatre and the Forum in Los Angeles.

Prior to joining JPMC, Frank was Vice President of Marketing Partnerships at the National Basketball Association managing development and relationships with national brands including Nike, HP, Cisco, Taco Bell, Southwest Airlines and others in addition to overseeing the League’s partnership strategy and sales of the US National Team program in lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

He has also served as the Vice President at Momentum Worldwide working as agency partner for American Express and Verizon Wireless and 9 years with the National Hockey League in the International Business Development Group.

Frank graduated from Colgate University, currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and two daughters while dreaming about life teaching surfing in Hawaii and running a ramen truck.

Elizabeth OBrien

Program Director, Sports and Entertainment Partnerships

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Elizabeth O'Brien brings her zeal for transforming the business of live sports and entertainment to her role leading marketing programs for IBM’s Global Sports & Entertainment Partnerships Group.  Elizabeth is responsible for helping IBM’s partners elevate and amplify moments of cultural significance by manifesting IBM innovation, including AI/Cognitive technology (Watson), and Cloud. Her portfolio includes iconic properties including The Masters, Wimbledon, the US Open, a partnership with Pebble Beach, ESPN Fantasy Football and the Tony Awards.

A 15-year veteran of IBM, Elizabeth is passionate about the IBM solutions that create measurable impact through extraordinary experiences for fans, coaches, athletes and media. Elizabeth has a BA in History and French from Middlebury College and an MPS in Interactive Telecommunications from NYU.

Felix Palau

Senior Vice President

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Felix Palau, Senior Vice President for Heineken USA

Felix Palau serves as Senior Vice President for Heineken USA and is the first non-Dutch executive to hold the role. Previously, Palau was Vice President for Tecate and Tecate Light, part of the Heineken USA portfolio of Mexican brands.  Palau is credited for leading efforts that resulted in a huge turnaround for the brand, and is currently focused on expanding the Tecate franchise nationally – overseeing all marketing activity for the brand. Tecate has seen record growth, while achieving cultural relevance through its successful “Born Bold” campaign.

Prior to moving to the Tecate marketing team, Palau served as Heineken Brand Vice President of the Americas. There, he was a key member of the leadership team and was responsible for designing and ensuring the deployment of the brand strategy across more than 45 markets leading to a solid improvement in the region.

Previously, he was International Marketing VP for Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma (FEMSA Cerveza) where he spent 15 years holding several managing positions ranging from Brand Vice President to Portfolio Strategy Vice President. Palau is one of youngest executives to achieve an executive marketing position at Heineken.

Evan Parker

Managing Director, Series Marketing & Content Strategy

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Evan Parker

Managing Director, Content Strategy

 

Evan Parker is Managing Director of Content Strategy for NASCAR, where he oversees all content creation and distribution functions, including social media, digital video, editorial, creative design and partner engagement.

The NASCAR content group, formed in 2017 with Parker at the helm, plans and executes content strategy across the company to engage fans, drive consumption, generate revenue and support industry initiatives.  

Parker had an integral role in the new department’s creation, serving as chairman of the company’s first Content Committee, established to align all content-creating business units, elevate strategic planning and enhance collaboration within NASCAR.

Now, Parker guides the overall strategy for editorial and video content on NASCAR.com, a massive platform through which millions of fans engage with the sport. The site eclipsed one-billion page views for the fourth-consecutive year in 2017.

In NASCAR Social Media, Parker oversees an award-winning team that produces and distributes content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. In 2017, social engagement across NASCAR platforms increased 32-percent year-over-year.

Parker continues to lead NASCAR Creative Design (NCD), managing an internal agency responsible for all creative and graphic design work – from social media content to brand mark development to digital advertising. In 2016, NCD was instrumental in developing the company’s first new logo in 40 years.

Prior to his current role, Parker managed series marketing for NASCAR. In 2016, he was appointed the lead role in onboarding Monster Energy – the sport’s third premier series sponsor in more than 70 years – and managing the new partnership.

He also managed all facets of NASCAR’s partnerships with entitlement partners Comcast (XFINITY) and Camping World, and key marketing initiatives related to the national series.

Parker joined NASCAR in June 2011 as Director of Entertainment Marketing and Content Strategy. Based in Los Angeles, he worked with Hollywood executives and producers to integrate NASCAR into television shows and films.

In 2015, Parker was promoted to Senior Director, Brand Platforms and relocated to Charlotte, where he developed NASCAR’s annual marketing calendar and managed industry-wide, tentpole marketing initiatives, including Season Launch, NASCAR Playoffs, NASCAR Salutes and Race to Green.

In 2005, Parker began his career working for Edelman, a leading global public relations and marketing firm, where he supported the global Xbox business. He helped launch the Xbox 360 and managed communications around Xbox Live.

Beginning in 2009, Parker was promoted to Director of Sports and Entertainment Marketing, creating partnerships, content and marketing programs for Edelman clients including Clorox, Wrigley and AstraZeneca.

Parker holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Maryland. He resides in Charlotte, N.C., with his fiancé, Maggie.

Jason Pearl

Senior Vice President, Partnerships and Business Development

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Jason E. Pearl                     
Senior vice president, partnerships & Business Development

Jason Pearl, in his 26th season with the Giants, is responsible for corporate partnerships and business development programs for the team and other related events at AT&T Park.  The San Rafael, CA native started his career with the Giants in the ticket office in 1993 before moving to the marketing department with a focus on corporate sponsorships in 1994.  Jason played an integral role in developing the naming rights agreement with AT&T and the creation of the Winner’s Circle sponsorship model as part of the funding strategy to build the privately financed ballpark.  Jason also oversees the organization’s Hispanic marketing, broadcast and outreach efforts, and the business relationship with the team’s flagship radio station, KNBR. Pearl is part of the Giants executive team responsible for the Mission Rock development with a focus on creating business partnership opportunities for the 28 acre project. Jason has been a longtime supporter of the non-profit social enterprise, Juma Ventures, and currently serves on Juma’s National Board of Directors. A 1991 graduate of Cornell University, Jason lives in San Francisco with his wife, Nikki, daughter, Ella, son, Ruben and their two dogs, Redmond and Juniper.

Nicole Pike

Global Research and Product Lead

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Nicole Pike, Managing Director, Nielsen Esports

Nicole Pike is Managing Director of Nielsen’s global esports business. Her mission is to not only help clients understand why esports is an important trend to activate against, but also how to strategically invest themselves while remaining authentic to their own audience and the passionate esports fan base.

She has built career with Nielsen consulting with key players in the gaming and esports industries, bringing insights and actionability to their strategy around fan engagement, sponsorship, and new product launches. With her expertise, endemic gaming companies, brands, broadcasters, and more have successfully entered and excelled in the fast-paced gaming marketplace.

Nicole led Nielsen’s jump into the rapidly expanding global esports market, coordinating experts and products across the well-established Nielsen Games and Nielsen Sports verticals to form the new Nielsen Esports division. Under her leadership, Nielsen has developed a tailored practice area for clients looking to understand the fans, sponsorship opportunities, and future trends in the ever-evolving esports space.

Shawn Quill

Executive Director, Sports Marketing and Sponsorships

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Shawn Quill

KPMG

Director of Sports Marketing & Sponsorships

 

Shawn has built an innovative sports marketing activation model at KPMG, strategically integrating sponsorship assets into KPMG’s business to drive measurable results in brand impact, revenue generation and relationship development with senior business executives.

 

KPMG’s national golf platform includes player endorsements with three-time Masters Champion Phil Mickelson, top-ranked American LPGA champion Stacy Lewis, a title sponsorship of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, national PGA & LPGA tournament hospitality programs, and other strategic investments.

 

A highly-motivated and dynamic marketer, Shawn leads teams including Player Activation, Digital and Social Media, Advertising, Cause Marketing, Direct Marketing, Event Hospitality and Account Relationships.

 

Shawn holds a Masters in International Communications from American University and a Bachelor of Arts from Dickinson College. He resides in Oakland, NJ with his wife and four young children.

Brendan Ripp

Executive Vice President, Sales and Partnerships

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Brendan Ripp EVP, National Geographic Partners FOX Networks Group 
 
Brendan Ripp is EVP, National Geographic Partners, FOX Networks Group. In this role, Brendan oversees National Geographic Partners' brand revenue across all platforms including National Geographic Linear TV, OTT, as well as digital, social, mobile and print. Ripp, joined the company in November of 2016 to lead the National Geographic Advertising Sales and Client Solutions' teams. 
 
Brendan most recently served as President of Technology, Telecommunications & Finance, Sales and Marketing for Time Inc. In this role, he focused exclusively on these categories as part of Time Inc.’s new advertising sales go-to-market strategy. 
 
Before Time Inc’s vertical restructure in Q1 ’16, Brendan served as Group Publisher of the Sports Illustrated Group which also includes SI, SI.com SI for Kids, Fansided.com GOLF and Golf.com. He led the development of nearly two dozen brand extensions including a new film production unit, a college sports vertical, consumer events and most recently the launch of SI Overtime, a branded content studio. 
 
At Sports Illustrated Brendan shepherded the brand through unprecedented growth and diversification across all platforms, as well as new marketing and live-event initiatives. During his tenure, Sports Illustrated debuted four franchises and designed a groundbreaking OTT sports video network, 120 Sports. In collaboration with leagues and media companies, 120 Sports achieved record digital growth in audience and was named a 2014 Top 25 app by Apple. Brendan also served on the board of 120 Sports and SI Play, a business launched in 2015 that is devoted to youth and amateur sports.  
 
Prior to Sports Illustrated, Brendan attained success serving in leadership positions at Fortune, Time and Money. All three brands achieved consistent revenue gains and financial performance milestones while each brand expanded its consumer footprint through innovation and cross-brand collaboration. At Fortune, as Vice President of Advertising Sales, Brendan drove revenue growth and the continued expansion of Fortune’s robust conference business, which hosted its most successful Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu, China. Also, the 2013 Fortune 500 issue was the largest since 2008 and had the best ad performance of any Fortune issue since 2004. At Time, where he was Publisher, Brendan was responsible for growing Time’s business across new media platforms and for fostering Time’s reputation as a leading advertising solutions partner. In April 2010, Brendan helped launch Time’s iPad app, the first iPad app for Time Warner, which was followed by the hugely successful Life Photo App. As Publisher of Money he was instrumental in launching multi-platform, cross-title partnerships with This Old House and Real Simple.  
 
Brendan began his Time Inc. career in 2000 as a Junior Sales Representative for Time, and over the next decade rose through the organization, becoming the publication’s youngest Publisher (at 33) since founding editor Henry R. Luce. Before joining Time Inc., Brendan worked in JWT’s Global Account Management group, developing and coordinating television, print, digital and outdoor advertising campaigns that ran in more than 20 countries. 
 
Brendan graduated from Gettysburg College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in international business management and economics. In 2014, Gettysburg College President Janet Riggs presented Brendan with the 2014 Young Alumni Achievement Award. He is a board member for several organizations, including the National Board of Directors of the American Advertising Federation, Concern Worldwide, International Advertising Association (IAA) and the Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment Advisory Board. Brendan is a member of the NY Ad Club, Financial Communications Society and Gettysburg College’s Campaign Executive Committee.

Manny Rodriguez

Chief Marketing and Experience Officer

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Manny Rodriguez

Chief Marketing & Experience Officer

UCHealth

 

Manny Rodriguez is the chief marketing and experience officer for UCHealth, a nationally recognized Colorado health system comprised of leading community hospitals and the region’s top academic medical center. Mr. Rodriguez joined UCHealth in June 2015 and is responsible for overseeing brand, marketing, advertising, sponsorships, public relations and patient experience. 

A seasoned marketing executive with proven success, Mr. Rodriguez is an expert in brand positioning and building, consumer marketing, community marketing, and sports and entertainment marketing. At UCHealth, Rodriguez established sponsorships with the Denver Broncos, Colorado Rockies, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Mammoth. He launched a new brand for UCHealth, positioning the health system as patient-centered and innovative.

 

As Chief Experience Officer, Mr. Rodriguez focuses on enhancing the service and care that patients and family members experience in every interaction with UCHealth. He works closely with multiple departments at UCHealth and deploys innovative technologies and partnerships to enhance experience throughout the continuum of care.

 

Before joining UCHealth, Mr. Rodriguez served as senior vice president of marketing for Santander Bank where he oversaw the company’s brand, advertising and sponsorship teams. He built and launched a new brand for Santander in the United States. Mr. Rodriguez has also served as vice president of sponsorships, events and charitable giving for NRG Energy where he helped build one of the largest sponsorship portfolios in the energy industry. He has also served as vice president of marketing for Reliant Energy where he managed brand strategy, as well as external and internal marketing efforts.

 

Mr. Rodriguez has extensive background in healthcare marketing with more than 19 years in the pharmaceutical industry. He has held marketing positions with Johnson & Johnson, Schering-Plough, Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squib and Forest Laboratories.

 

Actively involved in the Denver community, Mr. Rodriguez is a member of the board of trustees with Boy Scouts of America-Denver Council, President of the CMO Club Denver Chapter, Denver Sports Advisory Committee, Deputy Chair of the 2026 World Cup Host City Bid Committee and he serves on the Board of the Storm Soccer Club. Previously, he has served on the boards of Ace Fitness, Houston Express and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A leukemia survivor, Mr. Rodriguez does public/motivational speaking to raise awareness – and funds – for leukemia research and causes.

 

Mr. Rodriguez earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Seton Hall University and a master’s degree in international business from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Kristen Salvatore

VP, Commercial Director of Esports

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Kristen Salvatore is the VP Commercial Director of Esports at Twitch, where she is responsible for the company's sales strategies around competitive gaming. A 12-year games industry veteran, Kristen also served as VP of Marketing at Nexon, App Store Manager of Games at Apple, and Director of Brand Strategy at BioWare where she honed her expertise in video game marketing. Kristen holds an MA in Communication and Education from Columbia University.

Brent Schoeb

Vice President, Corporate Partnerships

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Brent Schoeb currently serves as the Vice President of Corporate Partnerships (Sales & Services) with the San Francisco 49ers overseeing the day-to-day operations of both the partnership sales and partnership services teams. Schoeb is charged with selling, cultivating and activating corporate partnerships for the 49ers. His team also sells/services partnerships for other events at Levi’s® Stadium, providing corporate prospects with a portfolio of non-NFL related opportunities. Currently, the 49ers rank as one of the top teams in the NFL in corporate partnership revenue and have partnered with some of the most recognizable brands in the world. This is Schoeb’s second stint with the 49ers, his first coming in 2010 where he led the Corporate Partnership Sales team in new business development including selling the first 49ers season presenting partnership.

Previously, Schoeb was the Director of Corporate Partnerships for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (including the Indy 500) and Manager of Corporate Partnerships for the NBA Memphis Grizzlies. During his tenure with the Grizzlies, Schoeb authenticated brands creatively and earned an activation NBA Best Practice.

Schoeb currently serves as a Steering Committee member for the National Sports Forum.

A Minnesota native, he is a graduate of St. Cloud State University and later completed his MBA and Masters of Sports Administration from Ohio University.

Schoeb resides with his wife, Jessica, and daughter, Taetum, in San Jose, California.

Ari Segal

President & COO, Immortals

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Ari Segal is President and COO of Immortals, LLC, a global esports organization based in Los Angeles. Immortals, founded in 2015, has raised strategic investment from AEG, Lionsgate, the Milken Family, Steve Kaplan, and other Los Angeles technology and media entities. The franchise participates in several leading esports titles including CS:GO, DOTA2, and Super Smash Brothers under its Immortals brand, and Clash Royale and Arena of Valor in its newly created Immortals Mobile division. It has one of two Los Angeles slots in Overwatch League, the LA Valiant. Segal oversees all of the organization’s business operations and is a non-voting Board Adviser on Immortals’ Board of Directors.

Segal previously served as COO for the Arizona Coyotes (NHL), where he led the club to its highest ever single-season ticket sales and total revenue. He was also Special Assistant to the CEO of the Anaheim Ducks (NHL) and led the launch of the San Diego Gulls, the Ducks’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, where he served as the Gulls’ first President of Business Operations. Following their inaugural season, the Gulls were awarded the first ever AHL President's Award for Business Excellence. Segal previously worked at McKinsey & Company and on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers and CCMP Capital Advisors. He earned a J.D. and an MBA from Stanford University, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar, and a B.A. with Distinction from the University of Virginia. He is a licensed attorney and member of the New York State Bar Association. 

Michael Smith

Head, Gatorade Digital Strategy

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Michael Smith is Gatorade’s Head of Digital Strategy. In this role, he oversees the brand’s consumer experience on digital platforms, including Gatorade’s social channels, digital advertising efforts and e-commerce initiatives. Michael leads a team that brings the Gatorade brand to life digitally, meeting today’s athletes where they consume information and form communities. The team’s award-winning work has also delivered a positive increase in brand equity.

 

Michael has held a variety of marketing roles at Gatorade since 2011, working across brand management, advertising and social media strategy, as well as product innovation. Prior to joining PepsiCo, he held a variety of roles on the agency side of the industry, working on a number of large brands.

 

Michael received his MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business and his undergraduate degree from Yale University.

Andy Steen

Head, Strategic Marketing

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Andy Steen, Head, Strategic Marketing and Global Sponsorships, Avaya

Andrea "Andy" Steen specializes in leading internal and external strategic communication initiatives with an expertise in managing and developing high-performing communication teams and social, digital, mobile-led business solutions. She also leads Avaya’s Sports Marketing Team. Follow her at @andydances.

Shizuka Suzuki

Assistant Vice President, Corporate Sponsorships

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Shizuka (Shiz) Suzuki

Assistant Vice President – Corporate Sponsorships, AT&T Global Marketing Organization

 

Shiz is known as a tenacious, results driven leader who has a consistent track record of leading teams and building the AT&T brand while pushing the envelope of innovation.

 

She currently leads the Sponsorship team at AT&T, which includes industry-leading partnerships across numerous sports and entertainment verticals. These include AT&T Stadium and the Dallas Cowboys, Jordan Spieth, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the AT&T Byron Nelson, NCAA, College Football Playoffs, Major League Soccer, Red Bull Racing and Tribeca Film Festival to name a few.

                                                                                     

Prior to her current role in Sponsorships, Shiz held a wide range of roles across the corporation—a true testament to her business acumen, adaptability and leadership skills. She’s been on the front lines managing call centers and out in the field leading construction crews—consistently outperforming peer groups in productivity and accuracy. She was instrumental on the delivery of the company’s first web-based cloud product as well as designing industry leading offers in the pricing and analytics organization for the largest corporate clients.

 

More recently, Shiz was the chief of staff to the SVP of Brand, Advertising, Media and Sponsorships which included executive support, overseeing overall operations and organizational budgets.  Shiz also led large scale corporate workforce and workplace transformation efforts. 

 

In a previous role, Shiz has also supported the Chairman and CEO of AT&T, which included production of multi-location and live broadcast of major events ranging from leadership conferences, all-employee town halls to merger announcements, press tours and the Annual AT&T Shareholders’ Meeting.

 

She has received numerous accolades including the Asian MBA Global Emerging Leaders Award, the Women of Color STEM Magazine’s Technology Rising Stars award, AT&T Best of the Best Awards, and the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Shiz holds a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science from UCLA and an MBA from Pepperdine University.  She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband Peter, and rescue dog, Bella.  She enjoys wine tasting, international cuisines and traveling. 

Rob Temple

Senior Vice President, ESPN Sports Marketing

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Rob Temple

SVP, Sports Marketing

ESPN

 

As senior vice president of Sports Marketing, Rob Temple oversees the insights-driven marketing, sales and activation of ESPN’s sports properties, through the utilization of ESPN’s premier multimedia platforms.

During his 14-year tenure, Temple has maximized the revenue potential of ESPN’s extensive range of sports, including the NBA, NFL, MLB, NASCAR, X Games and many others. Temple and his team have also been closely aligned with the tremendous growth of ESPN’s college sports portfolio over the last decade, and have been instrumental in developing a range of industry-leading partnerships for major clients related to the company’s college sports programming. Additionally, he played a leading role in developing a sponsorship architecture for the College Football Playoff, setting a new benchmark for sponsor integration and activation.

Prior to arriving at ESPN, Temple’s 20-year career in sports media and marketing included both domestic and international experience across such leading sports properties as:  the Olympic Games, NCAA Championships/Final Four, SEC, motor sports, FIFA properties, Rugby Union, Tennis, Aussie Rules Football, cricket, golf and thoroughbred horse racing.

Temple spent five years in Sydney, Australia (1996-2001), as the General Manager of Olympic and Sports Sales and Marketing for The Seven Network. He led the network’s highly successful marketing and sales efforts for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Temple graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1988 with a bachelor of arts in political science. He is based in ESPN’s New York office.

Justin Toman

Senior Director, Sports Marketing

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Justin Toman is Pepsi’s Head of Sports Marketing & Partnerships. He oversees all of the company’s sports investments and marketing including all league, team, media and athlete partnerships with the task of delivering PepsiCo’s long term sports strategy and break-through sports marketing platforms across all beverage brands.

 

Justin joined PepsiCo in 2007 and held several brand marketing roles including Mountain Dew and Pepsi before joining the Sports Marketing team. Since leading the sports agenda for Pepsi, he has delivered some of the company’s most successful marketing platforms including the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show and oversees one of the largest rosters of sports partnerships in the industry.

 

In 2017 he was honored as one of Sports Business Journal’s ‘Forty Under 40’. 

 

Prior to PepsiCo, Justin worked at the University of Michigan Athletic Department. He holds three degrees from Michigan and won three NCAA titles in gymnastics. He also beat Tom Brady for Michigan’s Athlete of the Year honors in 1999.

Chris Uettwiller

CEO

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Chris Uettwiller is CEO and Executive Producer at Dirty Robber, an Academy Award-nominated production and entertainment company recognized for its fearless storytelling and award-winning work in film, branded content, and advertising. The company was nominated for an Academy Award in 2013 for its short film, “Buzkashi Boys” and more recently, produced the “Tom Vs. Time” series for Facebook Watch and “Breaking2” an award-winning film documenting Nike’s effort to break the 2-hour marathon barrier. Dirty Robber has received numerous honors from The One Show, The Webbys, Cannes Lions and AICP for their work in partnership with Nike, Comcast, Showtime and others.

 

Chris is also partner at Coyote Post, an award-winning motion picture post-production company, specializing in editorial, motion graphics, VFX and Color for features, commercials and music videos.

 

Chris and his two children live in Silver Lake, CA.

Travis Wannlund

Senior Director of Esports

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Travis is the Senior Director of Esports at Red Bull, where he oversees esports athletes, events, and strategic partnerships, and where he helps to shape the vision for marketing within esports and gaming. Prior to joining Red Bull, Travis was the Global Head of Content Marketing at Razer, where his team was responsible for all social marketing, content production, and talent sponsorships of esports teams and influencers. Travis is a lifelong gamer, and has a passion for growing and serving the gaming community. When he’s not playing the Switch with his son, he enjoys hiking, motorsports, and travel.

Rick Welts

President & COO

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Rick Welts

President & Chief Operating Officer

Golden State Warriors

One of the most respected business executives in the NBA, with over 40 years of experience in the league, Rick Welts is currently in his fifth season as president and chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors. In this role, he oversees all business-related operations for the Warriors, including the team’s proposed development of a privately financed sports and entertainment center in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood, reporting to the organization’s Co-Managing Partners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.

Under Welts’ direction, the organization has established several franchise benchmarks from a business standpoint in recent years, as the Warriors brand continues to grow in stature following Golden State’s 2014-15 NBA championship season. The organization has won numerous awards across all facets of the business in recent years, including in May 2014 when the Warriors were named “Sports Team of the Year” by the Sports Business Journal/Daily, with Welts accepting the award on behalf of the organization at the Seventh Annual Sports Business Awards in New York City.

Welts, 62, owns an impressive and all-encompassing résumé that includes a myriad of different capacities spanning virtually every level of an NBA operation. Prior to joining the Warriors in October 2011, he spent nine years with the Phoenix Suns, serving the organization as president and chief executive officer for the last two seasons. Welts’ responsibilities in Phoenix included the supervision of all business operations for the Suns, while also overseeing the team’s interest in the management of the US Airways Center and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. The Mercury won the WNBA Championship in 2007 and 2009.

Prior to joining the Suns, Welts enjoyed a successful 17-year (1982-1999) stint at the NBA league office in New York, where he ascended through the ranks to eventually become the league’s third-in-command as the executive vice president, chief marketing officer and president of NBA Properties. In addition to his overall contributions to the revitalization of the league’s image and popularity, his notable accomplishments at the NBA include the creation of NBA All-Star Weekend in 1984 – a model that subsequently became a fixture in both MLB and the NHL – along with the creation of the marketing program for USA Basketball for the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team.” Along with Val Ackerman, Welts was named “Marketer of the Year” by Brandweek in 1998 for his role in launching the WNBA. During his time at the NBA office, he supervised a wide-range of departments, including corporate sponsorship and media sales, consumer products, international business activities, media relations, community relations, team services, special events and creative services. Welts also played a prominent role in the organization of preseason games in international cities and the eventual opening of international NBA offices in Australia, Asia, Europe, Mexico and Canada.

A native of Seattle, Washington, Welts began his NBA career in 1969, at the age of 16, as a ball boy with the Seattle SuperSonics. He spent 10 years with his hometown team serving a number of roles, including as the team’s director of public relations during back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals (1978 and 1979) and the SuperSonics’ lone NBA Championship in 1979. In 2006, he was the recipient of the annual Splaver/McHugh “Tribute to Excellence Award,” which is given annually by the NBA Public Relations Directors’ Association to a current or former member of the NBA PR family who has demonstrated an outstanding level of performance and service during their NBA career.

After leaving the SuperSonics, the University of Washington product spent the following three years (1980-1982) at Bob Walsh & Associates, a sports marketing firm in the Seattle area. His non-NBA résumé also includes serving as president of Fox Sports Enterprises (1999-2000).

In May of 2011, in a front page story in the New York Times, Welts became the highest ranking executive in men’s professional team sports to publicly acknowledge he is gay. He was presented with a United States Tennis Association 2011 ICON Award at the US Open in New York City, an award that recognizes and celebrates those who have had a positive impact on diversity and inclusion in the sports industry and society. In October 2011, he was honored with GLSEN’s (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Respect Award, which honors those who have made a difference in the areas of diversity and inclusion. In September 2014, he was honored by GLAAD, the nation’s LGBT media advocacy organization, with the Davidson/Valentini Award, which is presented to an LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality for the LGBT community. He also served as the celebrity Grand Marshall of San Francisco’s Pride Parade in 2015.

Welts currently serves as a board member of San Francisco Travel, the Bay Area Council and the Warriors Community Foundation. He is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Direct Elect Committee and the NBA’s Team Advisory Committee.

DeAngelo Williams

Former NFL Running Back

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DeAngelo Williams is a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played college football at Memphis and was drafted 27th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. DeAngelo played for the Panthers for 9 seasons (2006-2014) and just finished his first season with the Steelers in 2015.

During the 2015 regular season, DeAngelo led the NFL with 11 rushing TD's. On September 20, 2015 against the San Francisco 49ers, DeAngelo tied a Steelers’ single-game record for rushing touchdowns (3), the first to do so since Willie Parker in 2008.

In 2006 off the field, DeAngelo Williams established the DeAngelo Williams Foundation. The DeAngelo Williams Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop and seek initiatives to support the eradication of breast cancer through preventative care and research.

Also as one of the NFL's spokesmen for Breast Cancer Awareness, DeAngelo was responsible for allowing players to wear pink cleats starting back in 2009.