OCTOBER 2 – 4, 2024 | CHICAGO

Anne Ristau

EVP of Consulting


Anne Ristau is the Executive Vice President of Consulting at Navigate, a data-driven consulting firm in sports and entertainment. With deep experience in both management consulting and sponsorship, Anne oversees client engagements with many of the biggest brands in sports and entertainment, ensuring that partnerships and programs deliver on business and brand objectives.

Prior to Navigate, Anne led Global Sponsorships for two Fortune 500 companies, Dell Technologies and EMC Corporation.  In these roles, Anne was responsible for strategy development, integrated activation and sponsorship measurement.

Anne received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BBA from the University of Michigan. She currently serves on Michigan’s Sport Management Advisory Board.

Bennie Johnson

Chief Executive Officer

American Marketing Association

Bennie F. Johnson is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Marketing Association (AMA). AMA is the largest community-based marketing association in the world, trusted by marketing and sales professionals to help them discover industry trends. AMA’s community of local chapters spans more than 70 cities and 320 college campuses throughout North America. AMA is home to award-winning content, PCM® professional certification, five premiere academic journals, and industry-leading live and virtual training events.

He most recently served as the Executive Director of AIGA, the largest professional association for design. AIGA grows the power of design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, business driver and catalyst for positive impact. While at AIGA, Bennie hosted the acclaimed Design Adjacent podcast and the design leadership fireside chat series from 2020 to 2022.

Currently, he serves on the Board of Overseers for Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, as a Trustee of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art and is a former Board Chair of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. Bennie is also a special advisor to the People’s Graphic Design Archive. Additionally, he was recently named to the Board of the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.

Bennie thrives on the connections between marketing, technology, education and innovation. With experience in strategic and consumer marketing, brand management and innovation management, he is drawn to opportunities that allow him to lead and create new modes for business engagement. He has broad experience growing brands, businesses and organizations with a special focus on venture launch and brand relaunch business environments.

Bennie graduated from Yale University with a B.A. and from Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies with a M.S., Strategic Communications.

Caitlin Garling

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Director, Corporate Partnerships

Caitlin Garling is an experienced program manager with a demonstrated history of working in depth with raising funds for nonprofits including but not limited to donors and corporate sponsors. Caitlin spent the first years of her career at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard. J Solove Research Institute and Critical Care Tower assisting in Facilities Planning & Operations and Donor Relations.

In just 2 short years at the zoo, Caitlin has made her way into a leadership role leading the teams that create and foster relationships with our corporate sponsors. Caitlin’s enthusiasm for the organization’s mission, charismatic attitude with our partners and ability to collaborate with her peers has made her a well-respected and integral part of the team.

Caitlin’s creative ideas and problem solving continue to evolve the work with our corporate sponsors and how they are viewed and utilized within the organization. Her continued efforts make the program a win- win for all involved- our partners, staff and most importantly, our guests!

Charece Williams Gee

VP, NA Sports, Entertainment & Influencer Marketing and Partnerships


Building and cultivating relationships, delivering fresh perspectives, leading with humility and compassion, and the mind of a champion are the traits that have guided Charece Williams Gee and have shaped her reputation as a visionary leader and culture shifter.

Charece has successfully built a career as a brand & sports marketer, currently serving as Brand Director, Consumer & Entertainment Marketing at PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA).  She draws on her relationships with creative agency executives, NBA & WNBA league, teams and athlete representatives, and internal PBNA stakeholders to create breakthrough ideas. Gee’s career at PBNA started in Portfolio promotions in conjunction with marquee events for the Super Bowl as well as the NBA before expanding her role to include portfolio and packaging innovation.

With 15+ post MBA experience on the brand, nonprofit, and agency side of sports, she also serves as a champion of diversity and inclusion. After taking the reins as Head of Basketball at PepsiCo, Charece spearheaded the signing of A’ja Wilson as the first WNBA endorser for Mountain Dew and made the brand the first ever sponsor for the WNBA 3-point Contest within the same season. Charece also serves on the National Advisory Board for MOSAIC, PepsiCo’s Black Employee Resource Group, helping to increase the representation and advancement of Black talent. Her accomplishments at PepsiCo were recognized in 2018 when she won the prestigious Harvey C. Russell Award, presented annually by PepsiCo’s CEO.

Charece’s fresh perspective has provided invaluable contributions on consumer campaigns that have positively impacted PBNA’s bottom line. In 2020, she was responsible for the first change to the NBA 3-point Contest in 30 years, when she conceived the Mountain Dew Zone ahead of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game. This new innovation resulted in over 5 billion impressions and increased overall share of voice for the brand by 50%. She followed this game-changing endeavor by developing Mountain Dew’s first-ever Women’s History Month campaign featuring three female professional athletes; an amazing feat for a brand historically focused on millennial male consumers.

Charece has been heralded for her tenacity and vision, her ability to sell in new ideas, and ability to push each company she has worked with to new heights.  Throughout her career, Charece has held leadership positions in marketing, strategy, and business development at Wasserman, ESPN, and National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA). While at the NBRPA, she initiated key changes to the bylaws that opened the association and its benefits to former WNBA players for the first time in its 20-year history. For all these reasons Forbes recently profiled Charece as a trailblazer who uses her Superpowers to empower women in sports.

A community leader, Charece serves on the Board of Advisors for both Hacker U and the DeVos Sports Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida, where she holds an M.B.A and Master of Sports Business Management. Additionally, she serves as a mentor for WEEN, a nonprofit seeking to develop the next generation of black women leaders in sports and entertainment.

A graduate of North Carolina State University, where she was Captain and MVP of the volleyball team, Charece has a championship mindset which she brings to every situation, earning numerous awards and recognition throughout her career. Of note, She was presented the She-Mogul Award by WISE Atlanta during the 2019 Sports Power Brunch during Super Bowl week. That same year Charece was honored as a recipient of the 40 under 40 Award by The Network Journal and the Rising Star Award from The Shadow League. In 2020, Charece was awarded the “Societal Spark” Bevvie Award, given during the PBNA Annual Marketing Awards program and new in 2021, she was awarded Crain’s NY Best in Marketing & PR.

Dan Griffis

President of Global Partnerships

Oakview Group

As President of Global Partnerships for OVG, Dan currently leads all revenue across the company including OVG’s arena development projects of Seattle, NYC, Austin, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Savannah, Phoenix, Baltimore and Manchester (UK). Dan, a former senior marketing executive at Target Corporation, helped start OVG in October of 2015 with Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff and has since built one of the highest performing teams in the industry – a team that recently won the SBJ Sports Business Award for best in Sales, Consulting and Client Service in 2021. In the last 24 months, OVG Global Partnerships has sold over $4.2B in COI including an unprecedented Naming Rights to 18 venues – including Climate Pledge (Amazon) Arena, UBS Arena, Co-op Live, Caesars Superdome, Subaru Park, Enmarket Arena, Starbucks Community Iceplex and Moody Center. In addition to naming rights, OVG GP has successfully sold NBA Jersey Patches, League partnerships, founding, presenting and arena level team sponsorships, award show sponsorship, museum/arts sponsorships, …etc. Before OVG, Dan was the “Curator of Pop Culture” for the Target brand for many years running marketing across fashion, sports, entertainment, CSR, electronics, grocery and home. He also spent a decade as the head of marketing and sales for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and started his career at KPMG as a management consultant and profitability expert. Dan earned a dual degree with honors in history and economics from The College of Wooster and an MBA with high distinction from the University of Michigan. Dan is also proud to serve on the Sport Management Advisory Board (SMAB) at the University of Michigan and the Board of Directors at Grambling State University. Dan currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife (Janna) and three children (Riley, Holden and Eliza).

David Eads

Pasadena Tournament of Roses

Chief Executive Officer

David Eads joined the Tournament of Roses® as Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer in February, 2017. The Tournament of Roses is a non-profit, volunteer organization that brings people together through the Rose Parade® and Rose Bowl Game® creating America’s New Year Celebration®. Eads leads a year-round staff of 35 professionals and provides a strategic vision in community relations, finance, marketing
and communications, membership services, parade and game operations, procurement and facilities, and strategic partnerships.

Together with the staff, Eads supports the 935 volunteer members of the Tournament of Roses Association. He works with the Executive Committee and members to fulfill the mission of the Tournament by creating premiere events and providing meaningful experiences to enrich the lives of people and organizations.

Before joining the Tournament, David held senior executive roles at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce since 2000, overseeing public policy, membership development, programs and events, marketing and communications, global initiatives, leadership programs, facilities management, finance, IT, administration and human resources.

Prior to his move to Los Angeles in 2000, Eads served as the executive vice president of the Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau in Wichita, Kansas. During his 13 years with the Bureau, Eads managed and directed the sales and marketing programs of the Bureau, coordinated the development of the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission, and opened the city’s first visitor information center.

Eads earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in marketing and his M.B.A. from Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas.

Dedra DeLilli

Group Mgr, Head of Sponsorship Marketing

Toyota North America

Dedra joined Toyota in 2017, shortly after Toyota became a TOP (“The Olympic Partner”) sponsor. She led the Global and Domestic Olympic and Paralympic partnership with accountability for marketing strategy, creative development, events, and execution of work across all marketing channels. She was also responsible for managing and activating their 17 National Governing Body, and Team Toyota athlete partnerships.

In 2021, Dedra’s role expanded as Toyota moved to a more centralized sponsorship structure. In addition to the Olympics/Paralympics, Dedra’s team is responsible for developing strategy, producing content, managing athletes and events, and executing all aspects of Toyota’s sponsorship portfolio across several verticals: sports, culinary, music, lifestyle, and more. She also oversees the Auto Shows Team, responsible for leading multiple marquee consumer and dealer-facing events.

Prior to Toyota, she served as the Director of Social Media & Corporate Sponsorships at TD Ameritrade for over 10 years. She was responsible for building both teams from the ground up. She led all aspects of TD Ameritrade’s social media efforts and was instrumental in bringing the NFL partnership to the organization, while leading all components of the USOC and NFL partnerships.

Before her role at TD Ameritrade, she spent time at both Citibank, N.A, and Kipany Productions in marketing and advertising roles.

Dedra holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Marketing from the University of Maine, where she also played NCAA D1 field hockey. She and her husband, Rob reside in Frisco, TX but she remains a hopeless Giants, Yankees, and (NY) Rangers fan.

Diana Mayhew

President & CEO

National Cherry Blossom Festival

Diana Mayhew became Executive Director of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in 2000, and has been President of the National Cherry Blossom Festival since 2007. Under her leadership, the Festival has grown from an all-volunteer, seasonal organization to a fully staffed, year-round 501(c)(3) not-for-profit.  Her success as a “connector” has led to developing strong partnerships with business, media, government and industry leaders; resulting in the Festival’s growth in programming, funding, and staff support.   Today, the strengthened brand of the Festival receives local, national and international recognition, attracting more than one million visitors to Washington, DC each year and generating over $150 million for the nation’s capital annually. Diana is a 25-year veteran of Washington’s hospitality industry.  Her previous experience includes serving as the Marketing Director of Odyssey Cruises and the Spirit of Washington, where she first became involved with the Festival as a volunteer herself.  Diana Mayhew is a member of Leadership Greater Washington, the Destination DC Marketing Advisory Committee, and the Woman’s Leadership Group of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington. Diana and her husband, Carey, longtime residents of suburban Maryland, have four children.

Diana Mayhew joined the National Cherry Blossom Festival in 2000 as its first full-time paid staff member, growing the organization from a seasonal, all-volunteer organization to a year-round, fully staffed nonprofit. She led the three-year run-up to the festival’s 2012 centennial, raising more than $5 million in cash and in-kind contributions, luring 1.5 million people and generating hundreds of millions of dollars for the region’s economy.

Gail Lowney Alofsin

Dir. of Corporate Partnerships & Community Relations

Newport International Boat Show

As an Author, Keynote Speaker, Workshop Leader and University Professor, Gail shares her brand of positivity and living life to the fullest. Her energetic, engaging, educational and inspirational presentations, focused on leadership, time management and career excellence have been shared throughout the nation and internationally at corporations, universities, conferences, workshops and webinars.

As a sales and marketing executive and thought leader, Gail is passionate about her career at Newport Harbor Corporation (NHC) which commenced in March 1988. Her current position is Director of Corporate Partnerships & Community Relations. Her main responsibility is procuring and retaining corporate sponsors for NHC properties inclusive of the Newport International Boat Show and Castle Hill Inn. Clients include: Volvo, Sebago, Helly Hansen, Celebrity Cruise Lines, Sobieski Vodka, Hendrick’s Gin, Harbortown Wine, Dodge Ram, Seabags, in addition to Community Relations for NHC.

Gerry Tabio

President & Founder

Creative Resources Group

Gerry Tabio founded the company Creative Resources Group in 1990 and has since trained thousands of sales leaders to adopt and facilitate a creative process to control their business and create sustained revenue growth. The Creative Resources Process emerged out of the pursuit to develop a repeatable process to generate marketing ideas that create value for media companies and results for their advertising clients.

Jeff Hansen

VP / Strategic Partnerships


Jeff Hansen is a marketing professional and business strategist currently leading Microsoft’s global strategic partnerships discipline. Jeff’s team establishes and executes partnerships in the most relevant areas of culture, with timely stories that speak to what’s happening in the worlds of art, fashion, music, sports, and social causes. At the heart of their partnership strategy is product truth – creative use of Microsoft technologies to create solutions and experiences that are meaningful, tangible, and inspiring.

Jeff is a Pacific Northwest native where he currently resides in Bellevue with his wife and dog “Buddy”.  Outside of work and family, Jeff’s passion is in issues related to public education where he is an active philanthropist and board member.  He is an advisory board member for the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Oregon, a Seattle Sports Commission commissioner, past board member and President of the Bellevue Schools Foundation, a former Social Venture Partner, and a frequent guest speaker at various universities. Jeff is an avid reader, a hacker chef and enjoys almost any form of exercise where his current activities include boxing and tennis.

Kevin Griffin

Songwriter, Producer, & Performer

Kevin Griffin is an award-winning songwriter, producer, and performer whose songs have sold in excess of eighty million copies and been streamed over a billion times. He is best known as the singer and founding member of the platinum-selling rock band, Better Than Ezra. He has written numerous #1’s and had songs performed by artists such as Taylor Swift, Train, Sugarland, Dierks Bentley, Christina Perri, Hunter Hayes, James Blunt, and many more. He is a co-founder and partner in Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival located in Franklin, Tennessee, and has served as a writer-in-residence at NYU’s Clive Davis School of Music. In the spring of 2023, Griffin released his debut book, The Greatest Song: Spark Creativity, Ignite Your Career, and Transform Your Life which reached top-selling lists for both the hard copy and the audiobook. Griffin lectures internationally on creativity to groups and companies ranging from Live Nation, Google, Spotify and Disney to Nike, YPO/WPO and Salesforce.

Michael Kithcart

Founder & CEO

MWK Consulting

Michael Wynne Kithcart is a high-performance leadership coach, consultant, speaker, and host of the Champions of RISK podcast. Her Wynning Your Way™ method provides an approach for sustainable, next level growth to thrive in business and in life.

Her 25-year career of leading, coaching and developing people and businesses is incorporated into her training and coaching sessions to expand perspective as well as deliver proven, researched options for optimum results. She has held positions as a Non-Profit Executive, VP of Sales, Director of Market Business Units, and has trained or coached hundreds of professionals as a corporate and executive coach.

Michael’s experience spans several industries in both private and public sectors. Her work with CEOs, senior leadership teams, sales teams and boards of directors has resulted in not only stronger collaboration and performance, but also significant revenue growth. She brings a high-performance approach to her coaching, ensuring that each leader builds upon strengths while developing teams and resources to complement them.

Her sessions are infused with brain-setting, high-performance principles, personal development, and business acumen to help high achievers become high performing leaders by shifting thinking, energy, and actions in a way that better serves them and the people around them.

Mike Minnella

Director, Sponsorship & Business Development


Mike Minnella is currently the Director of Business Development for the NFL where he is responsible for driving revenue for the National Football League through new sponsorship opportunities. Mike has been with the NFL for over 4 years driving some of the NFL largest partnerships that include Rocket Mortgage, UberEats, Subway, Diageo, Little Caesars, E.J., & Gallo & TCL.

Mike has over a decade of experience in the sports industry driving multi-million-dollar partnerships for some of the most visible sports and entertainment properties. Mike’s career path in the sports industry demonstrates his expertise in sales, strategy, and marketing, particularly in developing and executing plans to unlock revenue growth for leading sports organizations.

Mike’s professional experience is well-rounded — having consistently produced at the highest level across teams, agencies, and leagues. Mike has worked for various sports organizations, including BSE Global (Barclays Center, Brooklyn Nets, NY Islanders), as well as Legends where he was responsible for business development for large venue projects such as Sofi Stadium & Allegiant Air Stadium.

Mike strongly believes in paying it forward to pave the way for the next generation of Sports executives. He plays an active role with his former alum where he is a member of the St. John’s University, Division of Sport Management Advisory Board.


Mindy Scheier

Founder & CEO

Runway of Dreams Foundation & Gamut Management

Mindy Scheier is the founder of Runway of Dreams Foundation, which was established in 2014. The foundation is the first of its kind, dedicated to empowering people with disabilities to have confidence and self-expression through fashion and beauty inclusion. Mindy’s vision is to create a world where adaptive clothing is a standard, rather than a niche, and where people with disabilities are fully included in the fashion industry.
Runway of Dreams raises awareness, educates consumers, advocates for industry change, develops the next generation of design innovators, and provides access to fashionable adaptive apparel. Mindy’s innovative work in the Adaptive space has earned her recognition from the New York Stock Exchange to People magazine’s “Heroes Among Us: Making the Fashion Industry More Inclusive,” where she was invited to ring the bell in honor of her efforts to raise awareness and drive change for people with disabilities.

Mindy is also the Founder/CEO of GAMUT Management. GAMUT is a trailblazing consulting company and talent community that exists to lead brands towards doing better, more inclusive business, helping to engage with and develop new products for PWDs. GAMUT works with various clients, including Adidas, Victoria’s Secret, Footlocker, and Kohls. Her dedication to the industry and ability to stay ahead of the curve has made her a sought-after expert in the Adaptive space. Her TED Talk and various TV appearances, including ABC’s The View, Good Morning America and the TODAY Show, have inspired many with her message of empowerment and drive for positive change. Through her work, Mindy has demonstrated that passion, innovation, and creativity are the keys to success in any field. Her achievements continue to inspire and influence the world today, and her efforts to promote inclusion and accessibility have made a significant impact on the lives of people with disabilities.

Peter Lewis

Chief Partnerships Officer


Peter Lewis is the Chief Partnerships Officer at SXSW—a premier destination for discovery, that brings together some of the most innovative and creative minds from around the world. He is responsible for all commercial alignments at SXSW, and oversees a team dedicated to helping corporations, governments, and nonprofits benefit from its unique, forward-thinking community.

Peter is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, a lifelong Cubs fan, and a proud father of two rambunctious toddlers.

Sally Beamer

Managing Partner

Creative Resources Group

Sally Beamer learned very early in her sales career that every client is unique, and that the best way for her to succeed was to focus her energies on helping her clients grow their business. From the moment Sally joined Creative Resources, she brought that real-world perspective into the Creative Resources System. Sally’s extensive background as a successful sales person, Sales Manager and General Manager helped her develop a finely tuned sense of empathy for the managers who are ultimately expected to adopt and execute new systems.

Whether she is consulting with one of the clients for whom she has direct responsibility, or advising the other members of the Creative Resources consulting team, Sally’s approach is always to understand what the individual sales leader is attempting to accomplish and then create a custom plan to help them get there.

Tony Wells

Former Verizon Chief Media Officer & 4X CMO