2023 Schedule

Wednesday, September 27

8:00AM – 10:30AM

Sponsorship Mastery Academy: An Immersive, Interactive Learning Experience 

Special Pre-Summit Sponsorship Sales Training Session Hosted by SponsorPitch

Whether you are an industry newcomer or a seasoned pro, a rights-holder, sponsor, or agency, this session is a valuable learning experience. Summit attendees are invited to attend this interactive, fast-paced 2 ½-hour Sponsorship Mastery Academy training session. From high-performance mindset to a step-by-step sponsorship sales process, we will dive into the “how” and share strategies that will help you accomplish your goals faster and easier. Don’t miss this interactive pre-Summit learning experience hosted by our friends at SponsorPitch.  

This 4-part session highlights the keys to sponsorship success including:  

  1. Setting Goals and Applying High Performance Habits 
  2. Preparing for Success (A Plan, A Sales Process, Data)  
  3. Presenting Like a Pro  
  4. Crafting the Perfect Proposal  

Registration on the official Summit app is required to attend this session since attendance is limited to 100. 

11:00AM – 12:00PM

Opening Reception and Registration

Enjoy a mocktini at the opening reception and meet speakers and fellow attendees.  

12:00PM – 12:45


12:45PM – 1:15PM

GPS: Unlocking the Power of Personal Purpose

Afdhel Aziz, Chief Purpose Officer at Conspiracy of Love

Purpose is the driving force behind developing true authentic partnerships and it starts with you. Are you curious about your Personal Purpose? Join us for this inspiring talk that helps you find that spark of individual purpose, and helps you understand how it ladders up to your organization’s overarching mission.

Purpose coach and expert Afdhel Aziz will share lessons from his forthcoming book about how to find Purpose in your life and work, and help you apply the revolutionary GPS Model and ask, ‘What are my Gifts (my corporate super-powers)? What are my Passions (those causes and issues that keep me fired up?) And, how can I be of Service (to each other, to my organization, and the world)?


Creating Lasting Memories: Embracing the Magic of Family-Friendly Venues

Mark Giovino, CEO & Founding Partner at Allionce Group
Christine Boisen, Sponsorship Manager at Phoenix Zoo
Jennifer Schuder, Senior Vice President of Marketing at State Fair of Texas
Lindsay Yates, Director, Corporate & Foundation Relations at Aquarium of the Pacific

Join us for an engaging session focused on the power of family-friendly venues in the evolving sponsorship landscape. In this session, we will explore the secrets to creating immersive experiences that captivate both parents and children, while building long-lasting brand love for sponsors.

In today’s world, families seek shared experiences that provide enjoyment, education, and opportunities for bonding. As a result, family-friendly venues have gained significant importance. Discover how to leverage this trend and create unforgettable experiences that leave a lasting impression on families.

Learn the strategies, insights, and best practices for designing immersive experiences that resonate with both parents and children. Learn how to align your sponsorship activations with the values and interests of families, creating a positive and memorable brand association.

Brewing Success: How Molson Coors and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Lassoed a Four-Decade Love Story

Amber Burda, Senior Director, Sponsorship, Business and Corporate Development at Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Adam Dettman, Head of Partnerships-North America at Molson Coors Beverage Co.  

Saddle Up for a Wild Ride at the Sponsorship Mastery Summit with Amber Burda, Chief Revenue Officer at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and Adam Dettman, Head of Partnerships, North America, Molson Coors Beverage Co.! Get ready to unearth the hidden treasures behind a partnership that’s lasted longer than your favorite pair of cowboy boots – almost four decades and counting! In this session, you’ll ride shotgun on their adventure through the ever-shifting terrain of sports and entertainment sponsorships, where they’ve weathered storms, tamed wild consumer preferences, and kept their lassos firmly tied to a partnership that’s as sturdy as a rodeo bull.

Lessons from the Rising Tide of Soccer Sponsorships and the World Cup Wave

Jon Stainer, Global GM at Nielsen Sports
Dan Gaiman, Vice President, Partnership Development at U.S. Soccer Federation
Dan Keats, Director of Sponsorships & Consumer Engagement at Allstate
Beth Knox, President & CEO, Seattle Sports Commission

Join industry leaders at the forefront of the action for a captivating discussion that delves into the ever-evolving world of sports sponsorships, with a special focus on the seismic shift expected from the next World Cup. As sports like soccer continue their meteoric rise in popularity, the sponsorship landscape has never been more promising.  

This session will offer valuable insights into the evolution of sports sponsorships, spanning from local community initiatives to groundbreaking global partnerships. 

Learn how the upcoming global sports event is poised to transform the sponsorship arena, presenting fresh opportunities for brands seeking to connect with diverse audiences on an international scale. Whether you’re a sponsor or a rights-holder, everyone in the sponsorship industry will gain strategic insights from our expert panelists about the crucial role that sports, particularly soccer, will play in the sponsorship landscape. Discover how to navigate this thrilling journey to maximize your sponsorship potential. 


Creating, Integrating and Executing Partnerships through a DEI Lens

Tony Wells, Former Verizon Chief Media Officer and 4X CMO

Our industry was hit hard by the crises that upended life and work over the last few years, from the global health pandemic to a long-overdue reckoning with racial injustice and inequity, an economic downturn, and an ongoing mental health crisis. But how do we apply the lessons learned to create and execute partnerships with DEI in our sights and why it’s critically important to our success.

As we look optimistically towards the future, there are some lessons we’ve learned that should be extended to how we create and execute partnerships.  As the focus on transparency, accountability and progress on DEI goals continues, partnerships will need to have a stronger alignment with DEI values and strategies. Corporate partners will want to see internal strategies aligned with external partnerships. Tony will share how to view your sponsorships through a DEI lens, strategies to adopt, tactics to put into action and how to lead the effort.


Bringing Mission and Values to Life: Local Partnerships, Campaigns, and Social Impact

June Ashley, Senior Manager Partnerships at Starbucks

Discover how June brings Starbucks’ mission and values to life through strategic partnerships and impactful campaigns. Gain valuable insights into her approach to creating social impact and driving meaningful change in her community.

During this session, June will share inspiring examples of her company’s local partnerships, highlighting the campaigns that have made a significant difference and resonated with her target audience. Learn how she leverages sponsorship and collaboration to amplify Starbucks’ mission and values, fostering kindness and social impact.

4:00PM – 5:00PM

Women in Sports and Events: Uniting, Advancing, and Paving the Way for the Future

Kathleen Francis, President at WISE
Amy Potter, Director of North American Sponsorships at BMO
Ashley Facchini, Director of Partnership Development at Chicago Cubs
Gina Scott, VP, Group Licensing & Partner Services at NFL Players Association
Megan Donovan, VP of Partnership Marketing at Chicago Bulls

An inspiring and empowering session led by Kathleen Francis, this panel brings together influential and accomplished WISE members and who are leading the industry and inspiring others to follow. During this session, panelists will share their remarkable career paths, highlighting how women are making their mark in the industry and leading future growth. Gain insights and practical advice from industry trailblazers as they discuss how women in the industry can unite, support one another, and pave the way for the next generation of female leaders.

Thursday, September 28

8:00AM – 9:30AM

Breakfast Buffet, Networking Roundtables, 1:1 Coaching Sessions

Talking SponsorSHIP Roundtables: industry leaders facilitate conversations on the biggest topics in the industry. Ask your toughest questions, solve real-time challenges and share your insights. Be part of the conversation!

Coaching Sessions: attendees will have an opportunity to register for 15-minute 1-on-1 coaching sessions with Summit speakers and SMA Board Members. One more way to gain valuable insights to your toughest questions and biggest challenges at the Summit. Attendees will be able to register for a coaching slot on the official Summit app.

9:45AM – 10:45AM

The Game-Changing Power of Data and Metrics

Rajiv Khanna, SVP, Partnerships at SponsorUnited
Matt Artin, VP Partnership Insights at Golden State Warriors
Marques Jackson, Sr. Dir, Corp. Partnerships & Media at Miami Dolphins & Hard Rock Stadium
James Ho, Executive Director of Customer Success at Zoomph
Jas Le-Compte, Senior Manager, Sports & Entertainment at Rakuten

Get ready for an electrifying session as we delve into a hot industry topic facilitated by Rajiv Khanna. This session will provide invaluable insights on measuring success, sponsorship valuation, and metrics. Join us for a riveting discussion featuring some of the industry’s most influential leaders.

In this power-packed session, these industry all-stars will reveal their winning strategies and unveil the secrets behind their sponsorship triumphs. From pricing strategies to metrics that truly matter, you’ll learn how to harness the immense potential of apply data and metrics to your sponsorships.


Navigating the Future of Collegiate Sponsorships at the Intersection of Technology, Media, and NIL

Moderator: Jim Andrews, Founder & CEO at A-Mark Partnership Strategies
Ishveen Jolly, Founder & CEO at OpenSponsorship
Jessi Sanchez, SVP of Consulting & Valuation at Playfly Sports
Steve Tseng, Executive Vice President at Pac-12 Networks

In this session, we delve into the dynamic world of college sponsorships from athletics to upper campus and explore how technology is driving a transformative shift in how sponsorships are bought and sold while connecting brands, universities and athletes like never before.

In this thought-provoking panel discussion, our experts will share their insights on the profound impact of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) regulations on college sports, shedding light on what it means for teams, sponsors, and student-athletes. We’ll uncover the strategies and opportunities arising from this groundbreaking change, providing valuable takeaways for everyone involved in collegiate sports sponsorships.

But that’s not all – our panelists will also dive deep into the innovative ways technology, data, and media are being harnessed to forge meaningful partnerships between brands and universities.

Breaking Boundaries: Redefining Success, Unleashing Your Potential

Michael Kithcart, High Performance Leadership Coach

Limiting thoughts and beliefs keep overstretched achievers playing small. What if you could redefine what success means to you now and start feeling more energized, accomplished, and fulfilled? This fast-paced, interactive session will help you make small shifts in your internal environment that support reaching your external goals so you can win in business and life.

In this interactive session you will learn how mindset is more powerful than skillset and why you need both and you will leave with quick wins that you can apply immediately to support your career and life goals.

Beyond Altruism: Tapping into the Power of Corporate Sponsorship in Museums

Bruce Erley, President & CEO at Creative Strategies Group
Chiara Robinson, Director of Institutional Giving at Denver Art Museum
Emily Krueger, Advancement Officer, Corporate Partnerships at The Henry Ford
Octavia Hooks, Director of Development at Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago

Join us for an engaging panel discussion, as we delve into the evolving landscape of museum funding. Museums have traditionally relied on private philanthropy, but now cutting-edge museum development teams are exploring new avenues to secure corporate sponsorship packages that align with their partners’ marketing and communications objectives.

In this session, we are honored to have esteemed panelists from renowned institutions. They will share their sponsorship-driven insights and advice, providing valuable perspectives applicable to all venue properties.

12:00PM – 12:45PM


12:45PM – 1:15PM

A Global Perspective on the Evolving Sponsorship Industry

Elizabeth Lindsey, President Brands and Properties at Wasserman

As a true believer in the power and potential of the sponsorship industry, Elizabeth Lindsey brings a dynamic perspective to the Summit stage. With Wasserman’s global reach and involvement in diverse sponsorships across sports, music and culture, Elizabeth offers an unparalleled vantage point of the industry’s landscape.

In her keynote, Elizabeth will share invaluable insights gained from working at all four corners of the globe, collaborating with various sponsorship platforms, brands, and properties. Armed with this breadth of experience, she aims to educate and inspire attendees by highlighting successful approaches and cautionary tales – guiding us on what works and what to avoid in the realm of sponsorships.

1:30PM – 2:15PM

Making Music Festival Sponsorships Matter: Developing Gold-Standard Activations and Making Meaningful Sponsorship Impacts

Moderator:  Laurie B. Kirby, Founder, Fest Forums
Scott McNearney, SVP Global Development, The Recording Academy
Michael Pfluegl, VP of Strategic Partnerships, Danny Wimmer Presents
Katie Dorflinger, Brand Partnerships & Festival Producer, C3 Presents

Get ready for an in-depth exploration of how world-renown music festivals work with sponsor brands to bring authentic integrations that add value to the festival experience. Sponsorship revenue opportunities have evolved in recent years and the event landscape is more competitive than ever. Gain valuable insights into increasing brand impact and revenue in the music festival and events space.

Our expert panel of industry leaders will share their experiences and knowledge on navigating the changing sponsorship landscape for festivals and entertainment events. Learn about the latest strategies, innovative approaches, and emerging trends that have reshaped the dynamic world of music sponsorships.


Social Good through Sponsorship Marketing

Jeff Hansen, Vice President / Strategic Partnerships at Microsoft

Discover the visionary approach tech giant Microsoft applies to sponsorship marketing, where partnerships go beyond technology and extend their reach into the realm of social good.

Join us as we delve into the innovative strategies and insights that have enabled Microsoft to seamlessly interweave social impact across diverse categories, from sports to music and fashion. Jeff Hansen will explain how Microsoft leverages the power of sponsorship marketing to not only fuel technological advancements but also drive positive change and uplift communities worldwide.


How Sponsorship Ignites Business and Community Growth

Lesa Ukman, Founder at ProSocial Valuation

This is the TED Talk Lesa Ukman, has always wanted to give. In this session, Lesa will shed light on the unparalleled effectiveness of sponsorship in building businesses and communities across sports, arts, entertainment, and cause initiatives. Whether you represent a brand or a rights-holder seeking to gain support for sponsorship internally, Lesa will provide you with invaluable takeaways to create a culture of sponsorship and establish it as a vital strategy.

Drawing from her vast expertise and experience, Lesa will share compelling insights on how sponsorship can drive meaningful impact, not only for businesses but also for the communities they serve. Discover the unique ability of sponsorship to create powerful connections, amplify brand presence, and foster positive change.

3:45PM – 4:30PM

A Partnership That Went Bananas

Jared Orton, President at Savannah Bananas
Megan Sheffield, Director Brand Partnerships at Zappos

This session is sure to be Bananas. Get ready to be inspired as two dynamic industry leaders share their firsthand experiences and insights on crafting an extraordinary experiential sports partnership.

During this session, Jared Orton, will take us behind the scenes of the viral sensation the team has created, and their groundbreaking partnership with Zappos.com. Discover how they transformed a traditional sports experience into an unforgettable, fan-centric extravaganza that resonated with audiences far and wide.

Megan Sheffield, will reveal the strategic thinking and innovative approaches that made this partnership a resounding success in the retail industry. Learn how Zappos.com leveraged their brand’s values and customer-centric approach to create an immersive and unforgettable fan experience.

5:30PM – 7:00PM

Excellence Awards & Soiree

Join us for the sponsorship industry celebration of the year! The Sponsorship Excellence Awards is the most important (and the shortest) industry awards show. This is the party you don’t want to miss! Appetizers and cocktails will be served.  

Friday, September 29

8:00AM – 9:30AM

Breakfast Buffet, Networking Roundtables, 1:1 Coaching Sessions

Talking SponsorSHIP Roundtables: industry leaders facilitate conversations on the biggest topics in the industry. Ask your toughest questions, solve real-time challenges and share your insights. Be part of the conversation!

Coaching Sessions: attendees will have an opportunity to register for 15-minute 1-on-1 coaching sessions with Summit speakers and SMA Board Members. One more way to gain valuable insights to your toughest questions and biggest challenges at the Summit. Attendees will be able to register for a coaching slot on the official Summit app.

11:00AM – 12:00PM

Sponsorship in Action Tour: Wrigley Stadium

Get ready for a behind-the-scenes journey like no other, as we bring you an exclusive Sponsorship in Action tour of the legendary Wrigley Field! Alex Seyferth, the powerhouse VP of Partnerships, and Ashley Facchini, the dynamic Director of Partnership Development from the Chicago Cubs will be your tour guides. Prepare to dive deep into the inner workings of one of the nation’s most successful partnership programs.