Vote for the 2018 Women of Influence Awards by May 25

  • by VT Staff
  • Published: May 15, 2018

It's time to vote for the 2018 Venues Now Women of Influence Awards. We will be honoring this year's inspiring leaders during IAVM VenueConnect in Toronto, July 22-25, 2018.

Vote now to make your voice heard. The voting deadline is Friday, May 25, 2018.

These individuals have been nominated for their newsworthy achievement and outstanding leadership. We will showcase the winners in our July issue. 
Subscribers please login online, select FIVE nominees. Votes submitted by non-subscribers will not be valid. You may also submit votes to 


By voting online or submitting votes to, you agree to join our mailing list.



Marcie Allen, President and Founder, MAC Presents
Marcie has built strong partnerships and events for a long list of music legends, from Eminem to Garth Brooks, and has helped build careers for new artists. She negotiated a two-part global deal on behalf of Khalid with Forever 21 in spring 2017, which quickly begat a partnership with Citi that included a "Today Show" integration, exclusive card member presales to his American Teen Tour and an intimate Grammy Week party; a partnership with Southwest Airlines spanning a private concert, original content and a coming in-flight surprise for his fans; and a headlining performance at Nielsen’s annual Pre-Grammy Party. Marcie is helping educate future leaders, including working on behalf of Garth Brooks to negotiate the deal behind the first concert performance at the heralded Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, supporting the event by hosting all 30-plus students from NYU Steinhardt's Business Structure of the Music Industry class, one of two courses she's been teaching at NYU since 2013. Marcie was also instrumental in brokering the deal between Citi and Billy Joel for his 2018 Madison Square Garden residency.

Maureen Andersen, President and CEO, International Ticketing Association
Since joining INTIX as president/CEO in November 2016, Maureen has played a key role in creating a stronger and united voice for ticketing professionals around the world, including those who work in performing arts, professional sports, college athletics, concerts, fairs, museums and more. In addition to expanding the learning and professional development opportunities available through the annual INTIX conference, Maureen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, regional meetups, seminars, workshops, colleges and universities. She also recently spearheaded the creation of the INTIX Access content hub, which serves as an influential information channel to ignite and sustain success for INTIX members and the industry at large. Maureen has deep industry history, having spent 37 years with diverse organizations/venues/vendors including AudienceView, Shorenstein Hays Nederlander Theatres, Paciolan and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Mary Bensel, Executive Director, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota, Fla.
Mary came to the Van Wezel in December 2007. Under her leadership the hall, which is city-owned, went from a projected city subsidy of $1.8 million to earning a surplus of over $1.3 million last season and operates on an unrivaled 94% to 6% earned/nonearned income ratio. She credits this to her hardworking staff, creative and diverse booking, target marketing for each production and tighter fiscal controls. Under Mary’s leadership the hall has made a number of capital improvements including the Sunset Terrace, new seating in the hall, new sound system, Hearing Loop, new orchestra pit lift, new orchestra shell, renovated restrooms and new carpet throughout the building. Mary is on the Strategic Planning Committee to build a new performing arts center on the Bayfront.

Megan Brennan, Vice President of Marketing, Ruth Eckerd Hall Inc., Clearwater, Fla.
Megan has been with Ruth Eckerd Hall for 11 years and in February 2015 was promoted to vice president of marketing. She oversees a staff of 13 employees and a marketing budget of $1.5 million to promote concerts and performances at the 2,200-seat Ruth Eckerd Hall, the 750-seat Capitol Theatre in downtown Clearwater and the 200-seat Murray Theatre, as well as events that are produced by Ruth Eckerd Hall On The Road and presented at area venues. Megan oversees the marketing for the Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts, the arts education school located at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The 2016-17 season set a record with $18,479,017 in gross ticket sales representing 414 ticketed events, including 88 sold-out performances and 285,022 in paid attendance. The venue is a nonprofit that helps provide arts education to over 40,000 students annually.

Melissa Bubb-Clarke, Head of Music Partnerships, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and Live Nation Canada, Toronto
With over 20 years of experience in the music industry, Melissa has established herself as a dynamic, impassioned leader in her current role. Melissa’s leadership has been critical in creating a fundamentally new approach to partnerships in the music space, with a focus on lifestyle strategy. At the core of her work is her incredible ability to understand prospective and current partners’ businesses and subsequent objectives, which deliver on national marketing programs that continue to exceed expectations. Melissa and her team had a record-breaking year in 2017, which saw a 55.5 percent year-over-year growth in the space, and saw landmark deals with blue chip partners in the financial (RBC), beer (Labatt), and automotive (Mercedes) categories. Melissa’s contributions also include roles as an active board member with the Unison Benevolent Fund, MusiCounts and city of Toronto Music Advisory Council.

Jennifer R. Bushong, Vice President of Marketing Partnerships, Town Toyota Center, Wenatchee, Wash.
Jennifer has managed the marketing and sales efforts at Town Toyota Center since 2012 and in 2015 was promoted to vice president, overseeing all aspects of corporate sponsorships, marketing strategies and communications. She is instrumental in managing over $3.1 million of revenue and constantly creates innovative events to maximize revenue opportunities in a small market. Recently, she has played major roles in retaining a seven-figure naming-rights contract and negotiating a new naming-rights partner in Wenatchee’s secondary rink. Jennifer created the Winter Ice Gala (in its sixth year) and Dog Days Family Show, both driven by corporate involvement and helping sustain jobs at the arena. She also established an Arena Youth Enrichment Fund, which has provided over 7,500 students an opportunity to attend concerts, arts or skating endeavors who could not otherwise afford to do so. Gala guests have pledged over $80,000 as part of Jennifer’s creation.

Jeanie Buss, Owner, Los Angeles Lakers
In terms of influential people, there are few who can match the impact Jeanie has made on the sports and entertainment industry. As an NBA team owner, she has been an integral part of the league’s evolution into one of the best pro leagues in the world. Her many contributions at the NBA include taking a leadership role on the committee that negotiated the most recent labor deal, agreed to in late 2016, which has brought stability and ushered in a new era of labor peace and collaboration with the players. Her impact in LA is vast and well-recognized. Jeanie recently played a big role on the city’s Olympic bid committee, which successfully brought the 2028 Olympics to LA. During her career, Jeanie has been a supporter of professional sports opportunities for women as owner of the LA Strings TeamTennis franchise, the LA Sparks of the WNBA and the Women of Wrestling. She also served as general manager of the Great Western Forum. She has been recognized nationally for her impact on sports.

Janis Carren, Director of Strategy and Partnerships and Acting CEO of VenuesWest, Perth, Australia
Janis joined VenuesWest in June 2008 and has been a member of the executive team since that time. She is a strategic thinker and influencer, and her experience in terms of advising and supporting boards in the delivery of planning, communications, marketing, policy, research and organizational change projects have been part of the organization’s considerable growth and success. Janis is responsible for overseeing 13 venues, including Optus Stadium. She possesses a results-based leadership approach, and some of her significant achievements at VenuesWest include new strategic plans, three organizational reviews, and analyzing management model arrangements for two venues and subsequently securing additional funds for the transition of business from Cabinet. Most significantly, Janis has been solely responsible for the rollout of VenuesWest’s “Digital Transformation,” which is the introduction of several new digital systems including a new electronic documents and records management system and a customer relationship management and marketing automation system.

Kendra Clark, General Manager of SMG-Stockton (Calif.), Stockton Arena, Stockton Ballpark, Bob Hope Theatre and Oak Park Ice Arena.
Kendra recently saw a couple years of work bear fruit when the Sacramento Kings announced they would move their G League team to Stockton Arena for the 2018-19 season. In the extremely competitive Northern California market, she leads a team that continuously strives to increase entertainment options in well-maintained facilities for a diverse community. The city of Stockton continues to dig out of bankruptcy, and Kendra’s team has stepped up to take over operations of the city’s marina, which allows the community to realize managerial efficiencies. Her willingness to listen and work with many stakeholders to seek creative solutions has influenced many around her.

Cheryl Cohen, Regional Director of Marketing, SMG, and Director of Marketing and Booking, Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence, R.I.
A native of Rhode Island, Cheryl joined the management team of the Dunkin' Donuts Center in 2002 as the director of marketing. Her career spans over 28 years in the entertainment industry. She began in the field of marketing at the Warwick Musical Theatre in Rhode Island. It was during her tenure there that she developed significant relationships with the local media. Cheryl was responsible for all marketing aspects at both the Warwick Musical Theatre, as well as its concert promotion company in Arizona. Prior to joining the Dunkin' Donuts Center, Cheryl was a senior marketing representative for World Wrestling Entertainment. As a regional director of marketing for SMG, Cheryl oversees marketing directors in over 20 SMG arenas from Canada to Miami. Cheryl is a member of IAVM and is also very involved in several local nonprofit fundraising projects, including the RI Hospitality Association and Women & Infants Hospital, and sits on the board of the RI Sports Commission and Moses Brown School.

Donna DiBenedetto, Director of Touring, AEG Presents, New York City
Donna has been instrumental in the success of some of the biggest tours in history, including Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood, the many years of American Idol tours, and the current multiyear farewell tour of Elton John, which has sold out every announced date as of press time. Donna has been a leader in the industry working with hundreds of venue managers across the country while confirming tour dates of all genres and capacities. Her ingenuity and leadership within AEG Presents and her track record of success make her a pioneer in today’s live event industry.
Mandy Gutmann, Vice President of Communications, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment
Mandy leads the business communications efforts for BSE properties, including Barclays Center; the Brooklyn Nets and their NBA G League team, the Long Island Nets; and NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. She also manages media relations for concerts, college basketball, boxing and other special events, encompassing all aspects of corporate, crisis, entertainment, community and internal communications. Since joining the company in 2012, Gutmann has played an integral role in the launch of the Brooklyn Nets brand after the team’s move from New Jersey, the grand opening of Barclays Center in 2012, and the reopening of NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island following its $180 million renovation. In her seventh year with BSE, Gutmann has continued to tell the company’s story globally, including most recently spearheading the announcement for the record-breaking 49 percent sale of the Brooklyn Nets. She is also leading communications efforts for Webster Hall and Brooklyn Paramount Theatre, which will both reopen in 2019.

Jacquelyn Holowaty, Vice President of Client Experience and Ticketing, Spectra, Philadelphia
As Spectra’s newly minted vice president of client experience and ticketing, Jacquelyn is the authority on client and customer experience for the company’s Venue Management and Food Services & Hospitality accounts. With specializations in onboarding new clients, box office and ticketing, and operational support, she works closely with Spectra-managed venues across the nation to integrate ticketing technology and design revenue-generating, innovative concepts to ensure strong results for clients and memorable experiences for their customers. Her leadership is evidenced by the $2.7 million in additional revenue for promoters and clients reported across 53 Spectra accounts with ticketing operations in one year. What’s more, as a devoted mentor, she’s also been integral in helping turn five part-time staff positions into full-time box office managers, two of which have become regional box office managers for Spectra. Prior to joining Spectra’s corporate office, Jacque was instrumental in the opening and onboarding of four Spectra-run venues: Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo.; South Okanagan Events Centre and Abbotsford Centre in British Columbia; and PPL Center in Allentown, Pa.

Evelyn Ingram, Vice President of Sales, EventBooking, Knoxville, Tenn.
Evelyn has served as vice president of sales for EventBooking, a venue software company, for over 14 years. In that time, she has become highly involved in the IAVM, VMA and many other venue-related associations — seeking to serve venue professionals within the industry to the best of her ability. In addition to her IAVM membership, which spans over 10 years, she also serves on the Allied Committee and Membership Committee. Evelyn is the embodiment of exemplary dedication to venue professionals. She is willing to contribute any of her wisdom or insight to the many individuals working within the 900 venues EventBooking serves, but more than that, she is keen to listen, so as to serve more efficiently and earnestly.

Danielle Lazor, Vice President of Design, Development and Retail Operations, Aramark Sports & Entertainment
Danielle epitomizes the definition of leadership. Throughout her career, she has raised the bar for delivering memorable guest experiences. She has become a trusted and valued client partner for her hospitality marketplace insights, innovative thinking and strategic programming. Since joining Aramark in 1998, Danielle’s top priority has always been to put the guests’ needs front and center. Danielle uses her expertise to shape the complete consumer experience for Aramark’s Sports & Entertainment portfolio, via field marketing, innovative design, business development and retail operations. Her Design + Development department comprises the “right brain” of Aramark’s innovation engine. She also oversees Aramark’s nationwide portfolio of retail merchandise locations, including cultural attractions, sports and entertainment venues and special events. Among her many recent accomplishments: Won multiyear retail contracts for NFL Special Events (Super Bowl, draft, combine) and USTA U.S. Open; drove industry first innovation, such as Launch Test Kitchen, Zoom Foods, John Dough Pizza Co. and Jane Dough; and developed signature revenue-generating menu programs, such as Share Your Stak, Taco Trio, and signature mason jar cocktail concepts across the Aramark portfolio.

Dot Lischick, Broadmoor World Arena and Pikes Peak Center, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Dot was the first employee of Broadmoor World Arena, helping with design and construction of the arena where she began working in 1996. Now she is the general manager of both the World Arena and the Pikes Peak Center theater. She is making a difference for Colorado Springs, creating good memories and playing a civic role in the community, including hosting more than 20 graduations. Co-workers and cllents tend to describe her with one word: confident. She is also on the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce in Colorado Springs and has been an officer and major force in the IAVM.

Lindsay Martens, Auditorium Manager for the San Mateo (Calif.) Union High School District
Though small by comparison, the district has six theaters and two performing arts centers, and Lindsay oversees the operations, staffing, marketing and maintenance of them all. She manages a full-time staff of three and a part-time staff of eight. With this limited staff, she is able to provide the needed lighting, audio and video support for events at all six high schools as well as public rentals. As a school you would expect that there would not be many rentals, but the PACs are two of the largest venues between San Francisco and San Jose. Lindsay is able to deliver a high-quality venue to a very demanding community, and she does it very professionally. Last month, San Mateo hosted a speaker series with Anderson Cooper. At the last minute, CNN wanted him to do his live show from the venue. Lindsay worked out all the details in a matter of hours. This may not seem like something difficult in a large venue, but this was at San Mateo High School. Lindsay is a very organized, skilled and compassionate woman of influence.

Pam Matthews, Executive Director, IEBA, Nashville, Tenn.
Pam is a proven industry leader with nearly four decades of experience in the entertainment business. She began her career at age 15 as a runner for Mid-South Concerts in Memphis, Tenn. Today, she serves the live entertainment industry as executive director of one of its most influential trade organizations. Pam toured as an accountant in the early ’80s and was part of the team that constructed and managed Starwood Amphitheatre in Nashville. In 1988, Pam began her 12-year tenure with The Judds, which included the 1991 farewell tour and a 2000 reunion tour. She was named general manager of Ryman Auditorium in 2000. During her seven years managing the historic venue, the Ryman rose to prominence as one of the top-grossing theaters in the world. Pam was named executive director of the International Entertainment Buyers Association in 2013. The 48-year-old organization has doubled its membership under her leadership, and its annual conference has sold out the past three years. She has served on the board of directors of the Opry Trust Fund, Nashville Downtown Partnership, and Leadership Music, and on the Music City Music Council’s Leadership Forum.

Jamie Morningstar, Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service, Milwaukee Bucks
As senior vice president of ticket sales and service – a position she was promoted to earlier this year – Jamie oversees the largest full-time department at the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and is accountable for the team’s service and premium business. In her role, she’s been accountable for over $40 million of sales and is leading the charge behind the ticket sales strategy for the team’s new world-class, downtown arena. Heading into the Bucks’ first season in the new arena in 2018-19, Jamie has led the sales team to incredibly successful results by selling more than 1,800 new full season ticket memberships, as well as nearly selling out the venue’s suites. Since joining the Bucks in 2013 as vice president of ticket sales and service, Jamie and her team have doubled plan sales revenue and have increased the number of seats sold by 50 percent.

Moira O’Connor, Director of Operations, Soldier Field, Chicago.
Moira achieved the director position in a very short time period. Still in her mid-20s … Moira started out managing one of Chicago’s smaller venues, caught the attention of her superiors and quickly rose through the ranks. Today, Moira is responsible for all repairs and maintenance, capital, event management and facility cleaning. While taking on her daily responsibilities, Moira went back to law school at night and recently passed the bar in Illinois.

Kathleen E. O’Leary, CEO, Wisconsin State Fair Park, West Allis
Kathleen has served as CEO of Wisconsin State Fair Park since October 2016. WSFP hosts hundreds of events each year, including the 11-day Wisconsin State Fair, which welcomes more than 1 million guests annually. The event is celebrating 167 years of tradition in 2018, and Kathleen is the first woman to hold the position of CEO. She has worked for WSFP for 21 years in various positions, including chief operating officer and director of marketing and sponsorships, where she was responsible for growing sponsorship revenue from $400,000 to more than $2.5 million. As CEO, Kathleen oversees a staff of nearly 50 full-time employees, along with approximately 1,700 part-time and seasonal employees. She was named a Milwaukee Business Journal Woman of Influence in 2017. She has served on several boards and committees throughout her tenure at State Fair Park, including the International Association of Fairs and Expositions, the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce, Visit Milwaukee, and the Governor’s Council on Tourism Marketing.

Sue Oxarart, SMG Marketing and Communications Director, Southern California/Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, Calif.
In 2016, Sue took on the position of marketing and communications director for several venues managed by SMG Worldwide. Her experience and background with each individual venue over that last 20 years provided the history and know-how to balance all the “to do” lists. With one person at the helm, the synergy of all venues and events comes together. Her marketing team cross-trains so there is never a gap in the production. In addition to creating and implementing the overall marketing plan, Sue maintains a hands-on approach and is involved in the day-to-day operations to ensure success. Whether booking entertainment for special events, taking the lead on a whole new décor for the arena star dressing room or creating a box office event for an on-sale in less than 12 hours, Sue has a positive, we-can-make-this-happen attitude. She is a mentor, encourages her team and co-workers daily, and finds time to be involved in the local community. Sue began her own marketing career over 32 years ago.

Beth Paul, General Manager, Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville, S.C.
Beth has been the general manager of Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C., for three years and, prior to her current role, served as the director of finance. Under Beth’s leadership, the arena’s operating profit has increased over 120 percent, suite and sponsorship revenue is at an all-time high, and the arena is now able to self-fund its debt obligations and a large portion of its long-term CIP plan. Annual events continue to increase year-over-year, largely due to Beth’s relationships in the industry. In addition to booking over 125 commercial events per year, Beth’s strategic objectives are to maximize economic impact on Greenville, improve the quality of life in Greenville, and use the arena and its resources to execute community outreach initiatives that serve some of Greenville’s critical social needs.

Pam Plageman, Regional Vice President, Spectra/General Manager, Duke Energy Center, Cincinnati
For 30 years, Pam has developed a reputation for consistently exceeding financial and budgetary goals for high volume, upscale catering and concession clients. Overseeing 16 venues in Spectra’s Central Division, Pam is the expert in forging mutually beneficial relationships, strategically implementing citywide initiatives, and providing exceptional guest experiences to ensure business growth. Pam has partnered with the Cincinnati Convention & Visitors Bureau to institute an annual citywide program that resulted in growing F&B revenue by more than $16 million across a 10-year period at Duke Energy Center. She has built strong relationships with the industry’s most prominent convention management teams, unions and association administrators. She also regularly mentors and trains her team to take ownership of rebooking business for future years.

Sherry Powell, Chief Marketing Officer, The Florida Orchestra
Leadership, collaboration and results define Sherry during her 38-year career in entertainment marketing.  As the chief marketing officer of The Florida Orchestra, she spends much of her time at the Mahaffey Theater, the orchestra’s home concert venue in St. Petersburg. It’s the same place she worked as a circus promoter nearly four decades ago, when the show’s debut performances were televised from the Bayfront Center annually. In 1979 Sherry joined Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, the year it purchased Ice Follies and Holiday on Ice (now Disney on Ice). As the second female regional marketing director ever hired by The Greatest Show on Earth, she spent two years traveling throughout the United States alone, requiring her to be self-motivated, extremely organized and tough as nails. By 1986, she opened Powell Marketing Services in Tampa Bay, and in 1993, she turned her focus to group sales, opening Red Hot Tickets. Sherry handled all of the group sales business the first three seasons the Ice Palace (now Amalie Arena) was open in Tampa. In 1997 Sherry became the director of marketing for the Florida State Fair Authority in Tampa. Committed to her field, she became a Certified Fair Executive, chaired the IAFE Advertising and PR Committee, and served on the board of the Florida Festivals and Events Association. At the orchestra, her creative innovation led to the programming of new genres and musical series – including rock, video game music, movie scores and happy hour concerts, resulting in a 45 percent growth in overall attendance.

Mel Raines, Senior Vice President of Facilities, Indiana Pacers / Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
Whether it’s running the operations of Super Bowl XLVI, Republican National Conventions, a U.S. congressional office, or working side by side with the vice president of the United States, Mel has major league event and operational experience. In her current position, Mel has overseen a $26.5 million refresh of the almost 20-year-old Bankers Life Fieldhouse. She led the charge to secure the 2021 NBA All-Star game for Indianapolis. She has also overseen the Pacers Sports & Entertainment Elevate program, raising the bar for fan experience. From a management perspective, Mel has commanded the transformation of the facilities division. With the retirement within her first two years of four VPs with combined experience of over 120 years, she has formed an outstanding new team of dynamic individuals recruited from both inside and outside the arena management industry. Mel has been with PS&E since 2015, since serving as the senior vice president of facilities for the home of the NBA Indiana Pacers, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where she oversees all of the operational activities at the venue. Prior to her role with PS&E, Mel served as the vice president of event operations and government relations for the 2012 Super Bowl hosted in Indianapolis.  Mel also played key roles in the organization and staging of 5 RNCs and served on the staff of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Lynda Reinhart, Director of the University of Florida’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville
Lynda began working at the venue, home to six NCAA Division I athletic teams, as a student in 1994, joined full time in 1998, and was named director in July 2007, recently overseeing a $65 million renovation of the facility. Lynda holds a B.S. in business administration and M.S. in recreational studies from UF. The O’Connell Center leadership development program continues to infuse the industry with young talent and future leaders. An active member of IAVM since 1997, her involvement on the Body of Knowledge Task Force was instrumental in developing a standardized facility management curriculum and college textbook. Lynda is a member of the Florida Facility Managers Association, Rotary Club of Gainesville and Gainesville Sports Commission, and previously served as FFMA board member, FFMA Scholarship Committee chair, and president of the sports commission. Lynda is currently vice president for FFMA and director for arenas on the IAVM board of directors and chair for IAVM’s Member Engagement Committee. She’s a member of the executive committee for both organizations.

Ellen Schwartz, Assistant General Manager for AEG, Los Angeles Convention Center
Ellen has over 40 years of experience in the trade show, events and convention center industry. Prior to AEG, Ellen held the senior director of sales and marketing position at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center and was the director of sales at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The Berkeley alum has been with the LACC since its 2013 management transition. Within three years, AEG surpassed its five-year goal of building a $2.1 million financial reserve. Ellen’s efforts directly contributed to this milestone; by completion of fiscal year 2017, AEG Facilities added $7.1 million to the reserve and reported an outstanding $10.2 million operating surplus. Ellen solidified the LACC’s partnership with the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, resulting in a 17 percent increase in occupancy since 2013 (currently at a record-breaking 74 percent). Ellen oversees the LACC sales and marketing team, event services, food and beverage, telecommunications, website and audio/visual services, and manages all filming bookings. Ellen’s leadership is integral to the LACC’s success. Her vision, business acumen, knowledge of the industry, and ability to motivate others positively impacts the facility and its employees.

Tricia Silliphant, Senior Director of Music and Live Events, Air Canada Centre (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment), Toronto
Tricia is the backbone of the live entertainment business at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. Her drive, enthusiasm and skill has grown the live entertainment calendar year over year. She has grown the reputation of the business both internally as well as within the industry. Due to the shows she books, year over year the building hosts more and more events, including marquee events such as the NBA All-Star Game, World Cup of Hockey and World Juniors, as well as internationally acclaimed touring acts.

Ashlee Stokely, Director of Event Services, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
There are many reasons why Bridgestone Arena has achieved remarkable success over the past two event seasons, and Ashlee Stokely has played a significant role in driving the business forward to reach these milestones. If you were to poll the stakeholders who work with the venue on a daily basis — promoters, staff, team tenants, city officials, media, production crew, patrons, etc. — Ashlee’s name will inevitably come up in conversation. Ashlee is passionate about her work, she cares deeply about the people that she works with and, perhaps most importantly, Ashlee is motivated by the influence that Bridgestone Arena has on the city of Nashville as well as the international sport and entertainment industry. Industry professionals who have had the opportunity to work with Ashlee leave Nashville with a greater understanding of what it means to exemplify and consistently deliver customer service excellence. Working long event-days is the industry standard, and Ashlee is able to leverage her influence to maximize the positive experiences of everyone around her.

Tammy Sweeney, General Manager for SMG, Canalta Centre, Medicine Hat, Alberta
Tammy Sweeney was hired as general manager for the Canalta Centre in January. While it has been a short while, Tammy’s dedication to building a positive culture among the staff, her ability to create community relationships, and her judgment have greatly influenced the development of a fresh, new strategic plan for the year. A 12-year veteran of facility management in the hospitality industry, Tammy has spent the majority of her professional career in Ontario, including a senior management position at Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where she was part of the opening team. Tammy’s professional experience includes leadership positions at Niagara Casinos in Niagara Falls from 2006 to 2010. Most recently, she has served as CEO of the Women in Leadership and Business Conference, providing oversight and management of the national conference. She has worked with leaders for over 20 years to help them build stronger teams and stronger organizations. Tammy is strong, fierce and full of incredible ideas.

Dolly Vogt, Regional General Manager for SMG in Richmond, Va.
Dolly oversees the Richmond Coliseum, Altria Theater, Dominion Energy Performing Arts Center and Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, all in Richmond, and the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, N.C.  In addition, Dolly is overseeing major new facility development projects in both Richmond and McLean, Va., for SMG. Dolly brings over 30 years of experience to the entertainment and venue management business. She started in sales at Ritz-Carlton before becoming general manager for Lakewood Amphitheatre in Atlanta.  From there, she became director of the highly successful Music Midtown Festival in Atlanta working with Alex Cooley and Peter Conlon. She left Atlanta in October 2001 and joined SMG to be GM of the soon-to-be-opened Koka Booth Amphitheatre. She also served as senior director of marketing for the Santander Arena and Performing Arts Center in Reading, Pa. Dolly has recently been recognized as one of the “Power Players” in the Richmond arts and entertainment community, ranked No. 3 by Style Weekly Magazine. Dolly has been a mentor for others in the venue management business including Dwight Johnson (FedEx Forum, Memphis), Becky Colwell (Greek Theatre, LA), and Liz McDonald (Koka Booth Amphitheatre).

Rena Wasserman, Senior Vice President of Production and Operations, Nederlander Concerts, Los Angeles
Rena oversees the company’s award-winning venues as well as business development. She also focuses on expansion initiatives for the company and business opportunities both locally and in new markets. Rena is a community leader and actively participates in several charitable organizations. For the past four years she has co-produced the Light Up the Blues Concert benefiting Autism Speaks alongside Stephen and Kristen Stills. The annual benefit continually sells out and raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. From 2005 to 2015, Rena was the general manager for the award-winning Greek Theatre in Los Angeles under Nederlander’s stewardship. Prior to joining Nederlander, Rena worked for 20 years at The Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles under the direction of Bill Graham Presents.


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  • by VT Staff
  • Published: May 15, 2018