It’s time to vote for the 2019 VenuesNow Women of Influence Awards!

We’re pleased to announce the 30 women on this year’s ballot, outstanding leaders with extraordinary achievements in the live entertainment industry. As a valued subscriber, we kindly ask that you take a moment to cast your vote and help us determine this year’s class of honorees. 

Subscribers, you have been sent an invitation to vote via email.  Please use that email to vote.   Please note, voting is limited to one (1) entry per subscriber (additional voting will nullify your vote) and any votes submitted by non-subscribers will be invalid.
Select up to five (5) nominees from the list provided.

VenuesNow will honor this year’s inspiring leaders in our July issue as well as at IAVM VenueConnect in Chicago (July 21-24, 2019).

Please submit any questions to vote@venuesnow.com.

2019 Women of Influence Nominees:

Renee Alexander
Deputy general manager, Minnesota State Fair

Renee is a proven leader in the entertainment industry. As deputy general manager for the Minnesota State Fair, she is responsible for booking and producing entertainment for the 13,000-seat historic grandstand, which draws more than 150,000 concertgoers in just 12 days. Minnesota State Fair is the largest state fair in the United States by average daily attendance. Renee also provides oversight for the scheduling and production of five free stages and numerous attractions with an annual entertainment budget of $10 million. Alexander also leads the fair’s marketing, graphic design, web, education and ticketing departments. During her tenure, the Minnesota State Fair has grown to attract nearly 2 million visitors during its 12-day run. Renee currently serves as president of IEBA’s board of directors. IEBA members named her 2011 and 2017 Fair Buyer of the Year, and she accepted the Fair of the Year Award on behalf of the Minnesota State Fair in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Renee is an IAFE Certified Fair Executive and is a past chair of IAFE’s Annual Convention Program.

Maureen Anderson
President and CEO, International Ticketing Association

Maureen took over the helm of the International Ticketing Association two years ago. In that time she has been instrumental in moving the association and its membership forward. With her help they have solidified a Long Range Strategic Plan, and their annual conference in January broke attendance, sponsorship and revenue records. She is a tireless leader who continues to think outside the box and through her leadership we, the membership, are seeing the positive changes in our daily activities with the association. Maureen has also strengthened the “International” in our name by forging new relationships with the Ticketing Professional Conference and holding the first International Board Meeting in London in March. We are proud to be in her tribe and to have her be our leader. She is a Woman of Influence — she is a mover and a shaker — she is a force of nature.

Valeria Arzenton
CEO, Zed Entertainment Italy

Valeria is directly and personally involved in shaking up the Italian entertainment business, for instance by denouncing the abuse of power of some companies. As she cares for the emotional experience of every single customer and artist. In the last two years Valeria has revolutionized the concept of live show venues. As a result, every Zed Venue has its own personal style and appeals to a different target. “In our venues,” tells Valeria, “you can find special restrooms for babies and children, a kids area, comfortable seats for future mums, oversized chairs, butler services directly to your seats, special fresh meals for every sort of food intolerance, live music and live shows before and after the main event, the show’s translation into sign language (this service got recognition from the president of the Italian Republic himself) and many others.” These venues also have a big heart: Every night fundraising activities take place at Zed! Venues, and the donations go to several charity organizations. Venue roster as of April: Gran Teatro Geox (Padova), Kioene Arena (Padova), Summer Festival (Padova), Euganeo Stadium (Padova), Exhibition Center (Padova), Zoppas Arena (Conegliano), Gran Teatro Morato (Brescia), PalaGeorge (Montichiari), Grana Padano Arena (Mantova), Grana Padano Theatre (Mantova) and Palayamamay Busto Arsizio (Varese).

 

Nathalie Bellon-Szabo
CEO, Sodexo Sports & Leisure Worldwide

Nathalie is an industry visionary and the key figure who will drive the newly integrated Centerplate and Sodexo businesses forward in North America. Her leadership will be integral as the joint teams combine forces and enhance hospitality offerings for clients in sports, convention center, entertainment, zoo, aquarium and other types of venues, including Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, the home of the upcoming Super Bowl LIV in February. Nathalie has spent more than 30 years working in the culinary arts and commercial catering sector, and has worked for more than 20 years in a number of different roles for Sodexo Group, delivering exceptional food and guest experiences. As an active member of SWIFT (Sodexo Women’s Forum for Talents), she is also directly involved with promoting gender balance across the company. She began her career in 1987 in the commercial luxury dining business, before joining Sodexo Prestige in France as the director of sales in March 1996, becoming the head of the sector in 1999 and CEO of Sodexo Prestige in 2003. Nathalie also manages prestigious sites and brands in Paris, such as Lido de Paris, Eiffel Tower Restaurants, Lenôtre, Bateaux Parisiens and Yachts de Paris.

 

Jeannine Beson
General manager, Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, Live Nation

Jeannine Beson started as an intern with Live Nation (then Clear Channel) in Atlanta for the Music Midtown Festival 15 years ago and has been with Live Nation ever since. Throughout her tenure she opened the Uptown Amphitheatre and Fillmore Charlotte and held the positions of assistant and general manager of the Roxy Theatre; event manager at Lakewood Amphitheatre; and executive assistant to Wilson Rogers, senior vice president of the Southeast Region, and is currently the general manager of Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek. During the 2018 season she significantly grew the venue’s revenue growth, specifically with upsell programs such as Fast Lane, Premier Parking, VIP Club Access, etc. Jeannine is passionate about sustainability and reflected that. In 2018, the venue diverted 72% out of the landfill through composting and recycling. As a leader, she believes it’s important to set the example on sustainability initiatives; she only carries reusable water bottles, never uses a plastic straw and sorts the recycling and composting with her team after every show. This year she is introducing a backstage garden (with soil from the venue’s compost) and chicken coop to source their own food for artist catering. On top of her venue accomplishments, Jeannine Beson epitomizes what it means to be a general manager. She is passionate about what she does and the fans that walk into her amphitheater. She deeply cares about the fan’s experience and always tries to take their perspective when looking for ways to improve the venue. In a field predominantly dominated by men, Jeannine is a strong, resilient, inspiring woman. On top of running a 20,000+ capacity amphitheater, she manages a household and is the mother of two boys. She is a bad ass woman who inspires younger generations of females to follow in her footsteps.

Alison Birdwell
Vice president-central region, Aramark, Sports & Entertainment Division

A seasoned hospitality professional, throughout her Aramark career, Alison Birdwell has created a service and results-driven culture, marked by successfully executed special events such as Super Bowl XXXVIII and LI; NCAA Men’s Final Four 2011, 2016 and 2019; the Grand Prix of Houston; Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo; mega concerts such as U2 and Kenny Chesney; Hurricane Katrina relief efforts; the opening of Rogers Place, the new home of the Edmonton Oilers; the first Houston Texans playoff game in 2012; and the Houston Astros World Series games in 2017. In her current role as vice president-central region, Alison oversees a portfolio of premier venues across the Midwest, including NRG Park, U.S. Bank Stadium, Coors Field, Soldier Field, Kauffman Stadium, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Arrowhead Stadium, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Kansas City Convention Center, and the University of Iowa’s and University of Houston’s athletics facilities. Alison joined Aramark as GM at NRG Park in 2002, before being promoted to district manager, overseeing Aramark’s client partnerships throughout Texas. Alison is active in the Houston community and works closely with Aramark’s community service team, to provide volunteers and funding for a variety of events in the region.

Melissa Bubb-Clarke
Vice president, music and live entertainment, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (Scotiabank Arena)

With over 20 years of experience in the music industry, Melissa Bubb-Clarke has established herself as a dynamic, impassioned leader in her current role. Melissa’s leadership has been critical in creating a culture of cross collaboration amongst all business leaders within the organization to not only drive revenue opportunities, but improve the fan experience. Since stepping into her new role one year ago, Melissa has overseen the team of people who have delivered 80 shows and helped bring 900,000 fans to their feet for shows including UFC, Cirque du Soleil, Disney on Ice and multiple nights of Bruno Mars, Elton John, Pink, Drake and Mumford and Sons to name a few. On top of these incredible show counts, the live business also saw venue record nights in merchandise sales for Travis Scott and food and beverage for Eric Church. Alongside our strategic partner Live Nation Canada, Melissa has been pivotal in helping to bring two new premium music clubs to Toronto which have broken ground and are expected to open later this year. Melissa’s contributions to the music industry in Canada don’t stop with her day job; she is an active board member with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Unison Benevolent Fund and MusiCounts and proudly represents the music industry on the City of Toronto Music Advisory Council. Melissa’s proudest work, however, is that of mum to 11-year-old Anna and 9-year-old Oliver and wife to Johnny. Our team is fortunate to work with such an amazing leader like Melissa. Her inclusive, progressive, and nurturing leadership style make us all better employees and more importantly better people.

Lisa Cochran
Executive director, Boise State University-Taco Bell Arena

Cochran is a smart and savvy businessperson, with tenacity and natural strategic abilities. The business model she created for Taco Bell Arena 10 years ago increased commercial event revenue more than 300 percent in its first five years. She secured the prestigious Davis Cup Men’s Tennis Championship Tournament in 2013.

Stephanie Curran
CEO, Spokane Public Facilities District

Stephanie Curran took the reigns as CEO of the Spokane Public Facilities District in 2018 after rising to the top of a national search of 100 candidates. In her first year as CEO, she oversaw the building of the Spokane Sportsplex, the only venue of its type west of the Mississippi. She also completed a $20 million performing arts center renovation and successfully resolved a long-stalled hockey team negotiation. Curran has overcome many challenges as CEO, including an unexpected budget cut from the state which prompted her to head straight to the capital and wait in the lobby outside the House Chamber. When the Budget Chair stepped out, she stepped up to him with an offer to meet in the middle. He appreciated her measured approach and restored the full budget. Curran was recently named one of Spokane’s Top 20 Women Business Leaders. She is known for her ability to connect and find common ground when the stakes are high. As a leader, Curran works tirelessly to build a culture that finds power in collaboration and compassion where all employees know they are valued, seen and heard. Prior to being appointed CEO, Curran was the general manager of the district’s convention center. She got her start with the district in 1995 as a catering manager. She has said that she knew she was the right person to lead the district because of her long history of caring deeply about its staff, venues and patrons.

Patricia Ernstrom
Vice president, Levi’s Stadium Special Events, and executive director, Bay Area Host Committee, San Francisco 49ers

Patricia Ernstrom is a major player in bringing the most prominent major sporting events to the Silicon Valley, most recently serving as the first female host committee executive director of the prosperous 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi’s Stadium on Jan. 7. Building upon previous success in bringing major national and international events to her native South Bay — including Super Bowl 50, WrestleMania 31, and the NHL Stadium Series — Ernstrom made the 2019 CFP National Championship one of the most successful games on and off the field yet. San Jose and Santa Clara served as the event epicenter, with 100,000 visitors descending on Championship Campus and Championship Tailgate, including a sold-out crowd of 74,814. The game registered an overnight rating of 14.6, the highest on cable television in the last year, with viewership peaking at nearly 28 million viewers in the first half. The event generated 10,000+ employment opportunities, representing 375,000+ labor hours, while contracting across 17 hotels. Off the field, Ernstrom made the 2019 CFP National Championship one of the most philanthropic games ever, as the work of the Bay Area Host Committee and CFP Foundation led to a $1 million contribution for comprehensive educational support, impacting 1,000+ teachers and 55,000 students. With college football’s biggest game an overwhelming success to Levi’s Stadium and the Santa Clara and San Jose region, Ernstrom continues to work with the 49ers and the BAHC on bringing even bigger events to the Silicon Valley, including the 2026 FIFA World Cup bid.

Dayna Frank
Owner, First Avenue

In a world of corporate consolidation and the roll up of indies across the country, Dayna has persevered and maintained a strong presence in the Minneapolis market. Since 2009, Dayna has expanded First Avenue from a club into one of the best and largest independent promoters in the country. In the last few years, they have partnered with St. Paul officials to reopen and manage the 2,500-person Palace, bought the Fitzgerald from Minnesota Public Radio, bought the 650-person Fine Line Music Café in downtown Minneapolis, and have announced the future 7,000- to 10,000-capacity riverfront amphitheater at Upper Harbor Terminal. In the land of giants like Live Nation and AEG, Dayna has served as a continual source of inspiration for the independent music scene.

Stacey Harper
Production manager, Live Nation-Cleveland

I have known Stacey Harper since 1980-81 when she was one of the very first women production managers in rock ’n’ roll. While not the first woman to break through, she’s surely in the top 10 and has put together tours from clubs to stadiums for almost 40 years. I’ve watched her stature grow in the ’80s and become one of the premier promoter reps in North America to navigating the perils of the corporate changes in the live music industry. And here she is still at Live Nation Cleveland taking care of business in northeastern Ohio, as well as southern Ohio and elsewhere. She effortlessly navigates the technical side of show production and can still tie it up in a bow when it is time for the financial settlement with the artist. She gets the utmost respect from every artist production manager that I know and her competence would never be challenged. I marvel at her fortitude in quietly achieving these accomplishments over her career while constantly making time to try new things outside the business and explore new interests.

Marilyn Hauser
Senior vice president of programming, BSE Global

She led the booking efforts at Barclays Center, helping to maintain our place as a top five venue in the United States and earn a nomination for Pollstar’s Venue of the Year. She also helped Barclays Center achieve one of its most successful financial years since opening in 2012.  In addition, she supported the growth and advancement of women on the BSE Global Programming Team. Marilyn has been instrumental in creating exclusive content for the venue such as two sold-out New Year’s Eve Post Malone performances to close out 2018. She also continues to expand the venue’s programming, including hosting major esports tournaments such as ESL One and Overwatch and high-profile speakers such as Michelle Obama.

Jacque Holowaty
Vice president of client experience and ticketing, Spectra

Jacque Holowaty, Spectra’s vice president of client experience and ticketing, began her 15-year tenure with Spectra as assistant box office manager at Budweiser Events Center. After quickly advancing from box office jobs to management roles in the U.S. and Canada, she eventually joined Spectra’s corporate team as the company’s first vice president of ticketing. Recognizing Jacque’s unique ability to use her field experiences in a leadership capacity, Spectra added VP of client experience to her title in 2019. Jacque is also the mastermind behind Spectra-branded experiences for thousands of clients, guests and employees alike. She makes it her mission to create a company culture that is both personable and inclusive, introducing new programs wherever she anticipates a need: This year, she’s taken on everything from a new internal manifesto to refreshing client onboarding. This year, Jacque also struck several revenue-driving ticketing deals: signing a long-term contract with a new national partner, implementing a digital concierge messaging service, and introducing ticket insurance standards. In a role that optimizes operations through technology, Jacque spearheads innovative programs with a patently humanized touch. By prioritizing relationships first, Jacque makes decisions on behalf of Spectra that are truly in touch with the company’s values and the needs of everyone impacted by our services. Jacque is a case study in keeping perspective, with her motto being “work hard, but laugh harder.” She fosters a culture of inclusiveness by being herself, and uncannily displays spot-on instincts in the face of our constantly evolving industry.

Joyce Leveston
General manager, Boston’s Hynes Convention Center and Boston Convention & Exhibitions, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority

Joyce is responsible for the MCCA’s overall business operations teams and contract partners with a major focus on leadership, management and direction to further enhance the customer’s experience at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and Hynes Convention Center, as well as Lawn On D. Joyce is a strong and talented leader who brings her talent, knowledge, expertise and experience to her position. She is known for creating an environment that delivers service excellence to every customer. She is an excellent mentor and works actively to develop the members of her team, looking out especially for women and people of color in her efforts to ensure her team leaders reflect the diversity of her team members and the surrounding community. Prior to arriving in Boston, Joyce served as director of convention services at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., where she led a team of 14 and managed all aspects of convention services, event and facility operations, and coordination between the facility and its contract partners. Joyce has managed many signature events, such as the Presidential Inaugural Balls, the Nuclear Security Summit for President Barack Obama, the Republican National Convention, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference and the AIPAC Policy Conference. She has prior experience in key leadership roles in several Tier 1 convention markets, including the San Diego Convention Center, the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, and the Miami Beach Convention Center. At each stop, she took on additional responsibilities and earned the confidence of her peers within the organization while raising her professional profile through membership in multiple professional organizations. Leveston is a regular participant in industry task forces and has been a presenter at events both domestic and international.

Pam Matthews
Executive director, IEBA

Matthews 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. Today, she serves the live entertainment industry as executive director of one of its most influential trade organizations. Matthews toured as an accountant in the early ’80s and was part of the team that constructed and managed Starwood Amphitheatre in Nashville. In 1988, Matthews began her 12-year tenure with The Judds, which included the 1991 farewell tour, New Year’s Eve 1999 concert, and a 2000 reunion tour. Matthews was named general manager of Ryman Auditorium in 2000. During her eight years managing the historic venue, the Ryman rose to prominence as one of the top-grossing theaters in the world. IEBA chose Matthews to be its executive director in 2013. The 49-year-old organization has doubled its membership under Matthews’ leadership, and its annual conference is a must-attend for industry professionals. The IEBA Educational Outreach Fund has permanently endowed over $1 million in scholarships across the U.S. and awards $50,000 annually through these endowed funds and its other programs. Billboard ranked Matthews among its Top Women in Music. Matthews 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.

Sheena McCrate
CEO, St. John’s Sports & Entertainment Ltd.

Sheena is responsible for the major corporate and strategic decisions of St. John’s Sports & Entertainment Ltd., as well as management of the overall operations of two venues: Mile One Centre and the St. John’s Convention Centre. Mile One Centre is Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest entertainment venue. At full capacity the arena can seat 7,000 people and has hosted several national and international sporting and live entertainment events since opening in 2001. The newly renovated SJCC is the province’s largest convention center with 47,000 square feet of divisible meeting space. SJCC’s facilities include two large ballrooms, 10 meeting rooms, two event offices and an expansive lobby space. Mile One Centre and SJCC are linked via pedway, which enables SJSEL to attract and deliver multivenue events. In her role as CEO, Sheena leads by example and empowers and challenges employees to continuously improve and transform the business to achieve operational excellence. She is a skilled communicator and her action-oriented leadership style delivers measurable results year after year. In the past 12 months, Sheena has:

  • Transformed the operating model of the St. John’s Convention Centre following the expiration of a 15-year third-party management agreement.
  • After the loss of the Mile One Centre’s anchor tenant in 2017, Sheena successfully attracted a National Basketball League of Canada franchise to the city of St. John’s. Mile One Centre added a second anchor tenant, an ECHL franchise, in 2018. Mile One Centre now offers patrons a minimum of 56 games (20 basketball and 36 hockey regular-season games), in addition to multiple concerts and trade shows per year.
  • Championed the implementation of an asset management plan for SJSEL to improve service delivery, control cost for maintenance and repairs, and ensure legislative compliance.

Kate McMahon
Executive vice president, Messina Touring Group

Kate McMahon is a person who has been influential in both our office and in our industry. This past year she oversaw the marketing department during one of our busiest and most successful years, as well as marketing Kenny Chesney’s 2018 Trip Around the Sun tour, six George Strait shows at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, two Strait shows in Tulsa, one in Austin and a huge “super show” starring George Strait, Chris Stapleton and others at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, and another “super show” show in Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium).

Weezy Wingo Motzel
District general manager, Spectra

With a career spanning three decades in the food services and hospitality industry, Weezy exemplifies Southern hospitality in her role as district general manager for Spectra, overseeing accounts in Georgia and South Carolina. She oversees the food and beverage operations at eight high-profile convention centers and cultural institutions that specialize in full-service catering for large volume events. Her enthusiasm, expertise and kindness leave a lasting impression on everyone she works with and every guest she greets. In 2018, she won the distinctive designation of Spectra’s Food Services & Hospitality GM of the Year. In addition to her role as DGM, Weezy is the general manager overseeing all daily operations for Columbus Trade Center and Columbus Civic Center. In 2018, the venue hosted 727 events with 300,000 guests coming through the door, and she led her team of 50 to seamlessly execute everything down to the final garnish on each plate. In fact, her experience as a former restaurant owner prepared her for working alongside Spectra’s award-winning executive chef at Columbus (Ga.) Convention and Trade Center, Christopher Walters. Weezy truly loves what she does, and her leadership role allows her to share her passion with Spectra’s newer managers entering the industry. In the past year, two of her hourly team members were promoted to managers, and she looks forward to seeing their careers grow as hers has throughout the years. Weezy is a shining example of what it means to succeed while uplifting fellow team members.

Maureen M. Patton
Executive director, The Grand 1894 Opera House

Maureen M. Patton has served as the executive director of The Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, Texas, since 1981 and is a frequent panelist and speaker at arts conferences and a supporter for the historic theater movement. She is dedicated to making a difference in her community and is a tireless advocate for economic development and tourism for Galveston Island. Maureen currently serves as chairman of the Tourism Development Advisory Committee for the Galveston Park Board of Trustees, the executive committee of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce, the executive board of the Galveston Economic Development Partnership, and the Moody Gardens board of directors. She is also an active member of the Rotary Club of Galveston, the Alzheimer’s Association Walk and the Galveston Arts Council. In addition to promoting the arts in her community, she is on the board for The League of Historic American Theatres and is the executive committee chair for the Southwest Performing Arts Presenters, a panelist for the Texas Commission on the Arts and an active member of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. Maureen is dedicated to helping other venues in communities throughout the U.S., cheerfully sharing her knowledge of historic theatre rehabilitation and the wisdom gained from 38 years in theatre management. Maureen’s impact on the thousands of patrons who have visited The Grand for performances, dance recitals, graduations and important community events is even more apparent as we approach The Grand’s 125th Anniversary in 2020.

Beth Paul
General manager, Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Greenville Arena District

Under Beth Paul’s leadership, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena continues to positively impact the community through robust programming, strategic community outreach initiatives, and over $55 million economic impact from activities of the arena. The most recent roster of nationally touring artists who played or will play the Bon Secours Wellness Arena include Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Eric Church, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, New Kids on the Block, and Luke Combs, making The Well one of the most active arenas in the country. In addition to securing events for the arena, Paul is equally as passionate about community outreach and using the The Well as a platform to serve the community: STAGE (Serving Together: The Arena’s Giving Experience), the recently branded community outreach initiative, supports numerous nonprofit organizations throughout the Upstate through ticket donations, financial support, volunteerism and use of the arena. Most recently, she led the efforts to create and introduce an inclusive sensory suite at the arena for guests with disabilities to enjoy live entertainment with their families.

Michele “Mel” Raines
Senior vice president of arena operations, Pacers Sports & Entertainment

Over the past four-plus years of working with Mel, I have witnessed firsthand her taking Pacers Sports & Entertainment to the highest level both in terms of leadership and customer experience by focusing on industry best practices. In her role as senior vice president of arena operations, Mel is responsible for team and concert merchandising, food and beverage, booking, parking, custodial, central plant, security, front of house staff and all union contracts and is the main liaison with the Capital Improvement Board for PS&E. Additionally, Mel is leading the charge for the “Fieldhouse of the Future,” overseeing every aspect of a $360 million renovation to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to be completed during the summers of 2020, 2021, and 2022. In her spare time Mel is the president of the 2021 NBA All-Star Game Local Organizing Committee and is involved in several nonprofits in the Indianapolis area, including holding board appointments for Visit Indy and Second Helpings. Mel’s previous experience as vice president of operations for the 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee, chief of staff for Congresswoman Susan Brooks, managing operations for five Republican National Conventions, and White House Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney positioned her for a seamless transition to our industry and has, quite frankly, made it better.

Linda Recke
Regional vice president, Spectra

Linda is a powerhouse with an undeniable passion for the industry. As regional vice president within Spectra’s food services and hospitality division, she’s responsible for the operational excellence, financial accountability, strategic planning and client relations for 20 accounts within the eastern region. 2018 was a banner year for Linda, who successfully launched six new food services accounts, simultaneously, within nine months: SeatGeek Stadium, Regency Furniture Stadium, Wharf Café, Villanova Football, Villanova Finneran Pavilion and 76ers Fieldhouse. On top of that, she served as interim general manager at Talen Energy Stadium and trained staff at the newest Live Nation venue, The Met Philadelphia. Across three decades in the industry, she’s grown from a concessions worker to an RVP. Even now, you’ll see her behind the counter selling hot dogs during a busy game because she understands the importance of supporting her teams. She’s a leader with vision, resilience and purpose, inspiring her team members and holding herself to the highest standard. Integrity drives her, and she has been a mentor to countless managers at Spectra. She has created unforgettable moments for millions of fans at sporting events and concerts. A few of her most remarkable accomplishments in her career have been working high-profile sporting events and concerts including the World Series, MLB and MLS All-Star Games, Live Aid, Live 8, Woodstock 99, and the Welcome Home Parade and USO Concert for the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team from New Jersey, where the N.J. National Guard awarded her team with meritorious service medals and commendations.

Wendy Riggs
Vice president of operations, Walton Arts Center / AMP

Wendy has a multitude of accomplishments. But, for me personally it’s the knowledge she has and willingness to share that knowledge and experience. She is far and above one of the best leaders I have ever worked for or had the pleasure of knowing. She is kind, caring, and compassionate, while at the same time commanding respect and setting examples of the type of work she expects through her actions and dedication. Wendy has broken through many glass ceilings to excel as one of the top venue managers. Additionally, she mentors others and helps bring up through the ranks to excel in their positions at various venues across the country. In the past year, Wendy has taken on the expansion of the Walmart AMP in Rogers, Arkansas and helping to build relationships in the community that align with the Walton Arts Center mission. Wendy is an active leader in IAVM headlining and hosting various panels at VenueConnect and regional conferences. And in her spare time, Wendy is teaching venue management to a new generation of up and comers at Northwest Arkansas Community College.

Erin Schnieders
Senior vice president of venues, NBA

Erin Schnieders oversees all domestic and international league and team venue projects relating to arena development, design, construction, and operations for the NBA. In her role, she leads the league’s oversight of all NBA arena builds and renovation projects, ensuring a standard of excellence recognized throughout the sports industry. Schnieders is involved in the research and facilitation of new rules, technology, and league initiatives and serves as the key day-to-day resource and liaison between each NBA facility and the league office. Schnieders recently designed and launched an extensive arena database gathering thousands of verified points of information on all NBA arenas ranging from architecture, technology and security, creating a tool useful to both the league and all their arena members. Schnieders is also a tremendous resource, providing best practices and lessons learned to allow for the advancement of arena design and execution. This year, Schnieders’ role has expanded to include league oversight of the venues slated to host upcoming NBA global games and events, including support for arena infrastructure, crisis management and arena operations. She is a contributor to the upcoming launch of the Basketball Africa League and her team will be instrumental in making final selections for the venues that will host the inaugural season. In the U.S., her leadership helped lead to the completion of Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee as well as the final stages of the soon-to-be-completed Chase Center in San Francisco.

Terrye Seigel
President, Terrye Seigel Productions Inc.

Terrye Seigel has been in the music industry for over 30 years. Started her career in radio, her own band, and then vice president of entertainment of the third-largest concert promoter in the world (now Live Nation). As a single mom she moved to Nashville to learn all about country music and was managing producer of Opryland productions before opening her company which has been the exclusive talent buyer for the Academy of Country Music, “Casino of the Year” five times, nominated multiple times as ACM talent buyer of the year, nominated as IEBA talent buyer of the year, won talent buyer of the year at g2 global in 2017 and last year a venue only open for four years won amphitheater/arena of the year with Terrye as exclusive talent buyer. She has had several other venues she works with nominated as “Casino of the Year.” Terrye was also involved in producing award-winning events such as the grand opening of the Mall of America and of General Motors Place in Vancouver. At one time, she handled booking 34 stages across the country by herself!

Tricia Silliphant
Senior director, venue programming and live event management, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

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, and is currently on track to crest 100 events across MLSE properties in the current fiscal year. With Tricia leading the charge, Scotiabank Arena’s reputation has flourished, and it is currently the No. 1 arena in Canada and consistently finishes in the top 10 in the world (according to Billboard box scores). MLSE continues to host more and more world-class events, thanks to Tricia’s expertise, including marquee events such as a WBC title fight and Rotary International’s World Conference, as well as most internationally acclaimed acts currently touring.

Stephanie Stegall
Vice president, event sales and operations, Houston Astros

Stephanie continually strives to grow her department’s growth inside and outside of the office,  supporting personal and professional improvements from all aspects. She is respected and admired in the workplace and is a role model for all. She has grown the revenue of our department by 300% since joining and pushes for new and unique events inside our venue. She is a board member for the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau and pushes for unique opportunities for our city along with Minute Maid Park. Stephanie booked and executed unique events such as the Eagles with Chris Stapleton, StadiumLinks golf tournament, FIRST Robotics Championship and several conferences over the past 12 months. She has also obtained WWE Royal Rumble for the upcoming year that will take place in January.

Tammy Sweeney
General manager, Canalta Center, Medicine Hat, Alberta

In the past year, Tammy has taken on the role of general manager in a three-year-old venue in Western Canada with some challenges at hand — a struggling economy, a community that has yet to fully embrace the venue, and mixed history of success with shows. In a short year Tammy has built significant relationships with agents and promoters to bring new and varied shows to the venue. She has rebuilt the team to bring exciting new leaders to the community and the venue, which strengthens the overall relationship with the building. They have revitalized safety, guest service, community initiatives, partnerships and sponsorships, with strong financial and reputational results. Tammy not only embraces the “venue” success, but sees the venue as a key driver of economic impact in the city of Medicine Hat. She shares her skills as a director on four boards in the city and is very active in bringing citywide events to the city as well as helping other associations to put successful bids together for large-scale events. She runs the entertainment for the city’s foremost summer festival, Spectrum Festival. She is an advocate for locals supporting local talent and often supports live shows at all venues in town. Tammy knows that the leading the city’s largest venue extends far beyond the walls of the venue, and into the community to fully drive engagement and connection with the venue for years to come.

Rena Wasserman
Senior vice president of production and operations, Nederlander Concerts

You’ve seen her at hundreds of events throughout the year, you’ve been influenced by her knowledge as a general manager, a production manager, and development vice president, you’ve met her at industry conferences … who is she? She is Rena Wasserman, Nederlander Concerts senior vice president of production and operations and business development. Rena oversees 300 events annually across the country and seeks expansion initiatives for the company both locally and in new markets. Rena is a community leader and actively participates in several charitable organizations annually. For many years, she co-produced the Light Up the Blues Concert benefiting Autism Speaks, alongside Stephen and Kristen Stills, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. From 2005 to 2015, Rena was Nederlander Concerts general manager of the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, where she was awarded Facility Executive of the Year four times. Before joining Nederlander, Rena worked for The Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles under the direction of Bill Graham Presents.