2020 SMS Speakers & Trainers

Paula Beadle

Caravel Marketing // Sponsorship Mastery

Paula is the CEO of Caravel Marketing – a national consulting company specializing in sponsorship marketing. She is an industry trailblazer with decades of marketing and sales experience in sponsorship, media, sports, events and entertainment. Paula is also the founder of Sponsorship Mastery – an annual summit and webinar series dedicated to improving individual and organizational sponsorship performance.

Paula is a results-driven leader known for developing smart strategies, fostering bold ideas, increasing revenue, and creatively connecting the right partners. She has had the good fortune of helping many prestigious organizations including: Seafair, Seattle Center, Special Olympics 2018 USA Games and Special Olympics, WA Department of Transportation, Washington State Fair, and the University of Washington.

During her career, Paula has held leadership positions with Washington Mutual, Clear Channel Communications and the Minnesota Vikings – where her passion was cultivated for facilitating strategic planning, creative thinking and sales training sessions.

Amber Burda

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Amber Burda moved back to the Houston area after studying hospitality administration at Stephen F. Austin State University.  She proceeded to work in the fast pace event industry as an Event Coordinator, for SMG, at NRG Park.   Passionate about events and helping one company succeed at sales in the fair and rodeo business, the move to Mattress Firm, Inc. was a natural fit.  Burda spent over six years with the Houston-based specialty bedding retailer managing and growing relationships with over 300 events across the country.  In January 2017 she was named the Executive Director of Sponsorships, Business and Corporate Development at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™.  She is responsible for the creation, design, development, negotiation and execution of all official Rodeo sponsorships.  Burda and her husband, Greg, live in Santa Fe, Texas, with their 6-year-old son and 19-month-old daughter.

Lauren Burkle

MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture)

Lauren Burkle is the Director of Sales and Service at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), where she oversees tickets, groups, memberships, sponsorships, private events, the food and beverage program, retail, and guest services. Since joining the MoPOP team in 2017, she has helped achieve record-setting revenue goals across all areas, including increasing sponsorship revenue by 95 percent. Prior to MoPOP, Lauren was the Director of Partnership Marketing for the Portland Trail Blazers, where she was also an integral player in bringing the Moda Center naming rights partnership to life. Six years there gave her a tremendous amount of sponsorship experience and, between working at both organizations, she has a unique perspective on both for-profit and non-profit sponsorship programs.

Malia Carlson

Motif Seattle

Experience seeker, TikTok dance enthusiast, karaoke obsessor, Malia believes in the power of cultivating authentic relationships. In the business of people, you need to care for people in order for them to be their best selves which ultimately ends up translating to achieved goals, increased production, and overall happiness. Director of Group Sales at Motif Seattle with a degree in Public Relations from Washington State University #GoCougs. Forever fueled by Frolik Cajun Chips and Monorail Oat Milk Lattes!

Britt Carlson Oase

Special Olympics Oregon

Britt is a master of building partnerships at the highest levels and currently serves as the CEO for Special Olympics Oregon. Previously, her work in professional sports marketing and sponsorship spanned two decades with the Minnesota Vikings, Timberwolves and Lynx. She then served as the senior director of partnerships for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, raising $53.3 million in corporate partnerships.

Darlene Corkrun

Virginia Mason

Darlene S. Corkrum, MPH, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Virginia Mason Medical Center, is also a Pacific Northwest native. Darlene has been working to promote and support the health and well-being of all members of our community for many years. She has tirelessly contributed to many organizations and currently serves as a board member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, serves as a Commissioner on the Seattle Sports Commission, and serves on the board and Executive Committee of The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.  Effective July 1, 2017 Darlene assumed the President, Board of Trustees for the Seattle Rainier Club, a position she held through June 30, 2018.

Darlene is also a major sports fan, cheering on the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Storm, Seattle Seawolves and the new Seattle Kraken! Not content to sit on the sidelines, Darlene is an avid distance runner, having completed her 30th overall marathon in Boston on Monday (Patriots Day), April 15, 2019. As a result of completing the Boston Marathon, Darlene has now completed all of the 6 ABBOTT WORLD MARATHON MAJORS, (Berlin, Tokyo, London, NYC, Chicago, Boston) a goal she set to achieve and has accomplished!

Eric Corning


With over 25 years experience, Eric Corning has produced high-profile, public events for Seattle and the greater Puget Sound Region.   Eric first joined Seafair as a summer intern in 1993 and quickly became a force in the events community.  He has produced over 20 Seafair Festivals including the Seafair Summer 4th Fireworks Show, the Seafair Torchlight Parade, and Seafair Weekend featuring the US Navy Blue Angels.  He was also a leader producing the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games and the 2014 Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Victory Parade.  A graduate of the University of Washington, Eric his wife Kelli live in Shoreline, WA.

Jeff Curtis

Portland Rose Festival Foundation

Jeff Curtis is the Chief Executive Officer of the Portland Rose Festival Foundation, a nonprofit organization that produces one of the world’s top special events, the Portland Rose Festival.  A graduate of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, Jeff has served as the festival’s CEO since 2004. During Jeff‘s tenure, the Rose Festival has enjoyed many notable successes including: Leading the organization’s strategic direction, which has resulted in the organization financial stability and growth in its financial “reserves,” being named Portland’s Official Festival in 2010 and being honored by winning numerous industry awards and accolades.

Sarah Fejfar

Live Event Academy

Sarah Fejfar is an entrepreneur, the founder of Live Event Academy, and a “Best in Class” event planner with over 16 years of industry experience.  Sarah helps influencers start or scale profitable events in their businesses.  She loves adventure and currently resides with her husband and 8-year old daughter in Portland, OR.

Ron Gailey

MDI Research

Ron Gailey began his research career doing research in the financial sector, initially with Zions Bank. He joined Washington Mutual Bank in Seattle and soon became the research director. Ron enjoyed 15 dynamic years as WAMU used research to expand across the US. With the financial collapse of 2008 he left banking to become the Director of Insights for Coca-Cola in Asia, located in Hong Kong and then in Thailand. Ron left Coke in 2016 to start up Mobile Digital Insights in the Americas. MDI is a smaller, boutique research agency that works virtually. They work across many sectors including financial, consumer good, fast food and medical, with clients like M&T Bank, Coca-Cola, KFC, T-Mobile, AARP, BD Medical, Kelloggs and others.

Tamika Hillman


Tamika Hillman is currently a Senior Sponsorship Manager at T-Mobile US.  T-Mobile’s HQ Sports and Entertainment Sponsorship team is the group behind signature programs and partnerships like Major League Baseball, Little League, Live Nation, Activision l Blizzard, four naming rights partnerships, Artist Partnerships, Un-carrier events and much more.

In her role, Tamika leads a team responsible for the enterprise wide localization strategy of T-Mobile’s national Sports, Entertainment and Gaming portfolio. Additionally, Tamika manages the T-Mobile Arena naming rights partnership in Las Vegas, NV along with the sponsorship portfolios that support T-Mobile’s Multicultural, DE&I and Emerging Market efforts. Previously, Tamika led National Partner Marketing & Strategic Alliances at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s Corporate HQ in Orlando, FL and held various Sales and Marketing roles at Live Nation and House of Blues.

Marques Jackson

Miami Dolphins & Hard Rock Stadium

Marques is a senior level Marketing/Sales executive who is currently Head of Partnership Marketing and Business Solutions for the Miami Dolphins. He previously help oversee Sports & Entertainment Marketing and Strategy for the NFL, College, MLB, NBA, and Soccer partnerships for MillerCoors portfolio of brands. Prior to joining MillerCoors, Marques held various Brand, Field, and Sports Marketing roles at The Coca-Cola Company, Reebok International and The Washington Redskins. Marques received a Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of William & Mary, and Masters of Business Administration from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College.

Michael Kithcart

MWK Coaching

Michael is a certified high performance and business coach to entrepreneurs and sales leaders committed to next level results, and serves as a strategy and revenue consultant at Caravel Marketing. She combines psychology, neuroscience, business acumen and a break it down to get it done approach to move leaders and teams from stuck to unstoppable.

Throughout her career, Michael has transformed organizations, created new departments, organized startups and enhanced the effectiveness of individuals and teams. Previous roles have included chief operations officer, chief strategy officer, vice president of sales, marketing strategist, and business consultant.

Michael’s international development and women’s empowerment interests have provided opportunities for her to consult and conduct fieldwork to support social entrepreneurs in Haiti, Africa, India and Nepal. She’s also the creator of the Champions of RISK podcast which examines the many aspects of risk so we can all move through uncertainty with more strength and courage together.

Rob Leslie

Visit Seattle

Rob Leslie has served as the Director of Partnership & Destination Services at Visit Seattle for the past five years.   Rob oversees marketing benefits and annual revenue of 900+ partner businesses that support Visit Seattle’s effort in marketing the region for meetings and leisure travel.  In addition, he’s responsible for growth and development of Visit Seattle’s strategic partnerships with Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, CityPASS, Expedia, and Airbnb.  Prior to joining Visit Seattle, Rob held account management roles with the agencies Cole & Weber and BDA. He also spent five years in New York City developing strategic partnerships at Tennis Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

Kris Mathis


Kris started SponsorPitch.com to address a core business problem he noticed while starting and working in the sponsorship division of a global marketing and PR agency. Being on the receiving end of many sponsorship proposals for his clients, Kris realized that sponsorship sellers were absent a turnkey and time-efficient way to find targeted sponsorship-specific prospects. SponsorPitch is a fully automated online recommendation platform for the $50+ billion business of sponsorships, employing proprietary recommendation algorithms, alerts and analytics powered by the industry’s largest deal database to help nearly 60,000 members find the right partners faster. Kris has been featured in numerous business and trade publications including Forbes, Advertising Age, Bloomberg TV, MarketWatch, BizBash, Sports Business Daily and others.

Scott McNearney


Scott McNearney is the head of sponsorship/partnership development, customized brand integration and high-profile cross-conference marketing programs for the SXSW Conference and Festivals (largely know as SXSW Music, Film & Interactive). For more than 19 years, Mr. McNearney has successfully led the concepting and execution of hundreds of uniquely integrated brand programs at SXSW. Working effectively with companies such as digital technology platforms, CPG’s, music innovation brands, airlines, digital content providers, mobility solutions/automaker companies, etc, Mr. McNearney and his teams have created a vast range of unique campaigns that have left lasting and undeniably positive impacts on the world’s forward most thinkers. Consistently and effectively connecting brands with the most influential cutting-edge creative works in an authentic mutually beneficial way has brought Mr. McNearney to the forefront of the creative brand development industry. Brand concert events developed with McNearney’s expertise include talent ranging from Jay-Z and Prince to Lady Gaga and Snoop Dogg.

Prior to SXSW, Mr. McNearney successfully produced hundreds of branded lifestyle events—for multiple major and emerging brands—with KBA Marketing based in Chicago (a Draft Worldwide agency).  Mr. McNearney has more than two decades of proven experience in promotional, experiential and creative breakthrough work. Mr. McNearney’s ongoing creative evolution continues to place him at the front of the pack in the forward-thinking marketing space.

Pat Merna

Indianapolis 500

Patrick is a 30+ year sports industry professional who has had a wide variety of experience in college athletics, the NBA, motorsports property and league, and most recently the non-profit event world at the 500 Festival in Indianapolis.  His experience includes marketing, corporate partner service & activation, and sales.  Career corporate partnership highlights include part of the team and the opening of FedExForum with the Memphis Grizzlies, six years with the largest single day attended sporting event with the IMS and the Indianapolis 500, and overseeing the sales of the 500 Festival with its celebration of the race and community programs and initiatives.  Patrick has a B.S. in University Studies from the University of New Mexico 99, where he also was the Head Student Assistant for Men’s Basketball.  He is engaged to his fiancé Lorry with a September 3rd wedding date and family includes their cat Fanny and Goldie Leo.

Jen Mueller

Sports Reporter // Talk Sporty to Me

Jen Mueller, America’s Expert Talker is rarely at a loss for words.  She pursued a career in sports broadcasting after repeated comments of “talks too much” from teachers and family members. An 18-year sports broadcasting veteran, Jen currently serves as the Seattle Seahawks sideline radio reporter.  She is also part of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team on ROOT Sports. In addition to her work on the sidelines, Jen launched Talk Sporty to Me in 2009.  She provides a unique twist on business communication based on her time in locker rooms and expertise in 1-on-1 conversations. Jen is the author of three books. The most recent book, The Influential Conversationalist, was published October 2017. Jen graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2000 with degrees in Broadcasting Journalism and Public Policy.

Kristina Pantalone

Boston Marathon // B.A.A

Kristina Pantalone (“KP”) serves as the Marketing and Sponsorship Manager at the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), organizers of the prestigious Boston Marathon and annual community road races. For the past five and a half years Kristina has been the face of the B.A.A.’s corporate partnership marketing initiatives, developing the strategic planning across B.A.A. corporate partner programs. She currently leads the solicitation of new partnerships and uses her creativity to design and execute marketing opportunities, both traditional and experiential.  Her ultimate goal is always to enhance the top-of-class experience associated with B.A.A. events. Prior to joining the B.A.A., Kristina managed and executed sponsorship activations for Fenway Sports Management on behalf of their client, Boston College Athletics.  Kristina began her career in sports with the Boston Red Sox working in the production department supporting game day entertainment and Red Sox Productions’ New England Emmy Award winning television programs. Some of the professional (and personal!) highlights of her sports career have included two World Series championships, a NCAA championship, NCAA bowl game victories, championship parades, and thousands of W’s for her hometown teams. Now she looks forward each year to cheering for thousands of athletes as they cross their finish lines.

Trinity Parker

Symetra Life Insurance Company

Trinity Parker is senior vice president, Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs, for Symetra Life Insurance Company. A member of the Senior Leadership Team, she leads Symetra’s overall marketing/brand and communications strategy and has responsibility for the company’s relationships with key industry and community constituencies. In 2019, Ms. Parker led the company’s efforts to secure sponsorships with both the WNBA Seattle Storm and the NHL Seattle Kraken and Seattle Arena.

Ms. Parker serves as a member of the board for a number of civic and community organizations, including the Western Washington University Foundation, Kids Quest Children’s Museum and the Bellevue Downtown Association. She also serves on the Corporate Advisory Board for the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA), the largest LGBTQ business organization in the United States.

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Trinity enjoys being on the water – boating, paddle boarding and kayaking and recreating outside with her family.

Ingrid Russell-Narcisse

Seattle Mariners

In her role as Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships, Ingrid Russell-Narcisse has spent the past 20 plus years developing and forging partnerships with and between global brands for the Seattle Mariners.  She has served on the  BECU Foundation Scholarship committee, since 2016 which provides college scholarships to over 80 local students each year. She served on the Big W Athletic board at the University of Washington and the Title IX recognition committee that honored and awarded post graduate awards to all the Women who represented the University of Washington in athletic competition prior to Title IX, She is currently serving on the newly formed Boundless Futures Advisory Board at the University of Washington , creating post graduate opportunities and support  for student athletes – Ingrid was a ‘walk-on’ turned scholarship athlete on the Women’s Basketball team playing on teams that won two league Championship titles reaching the sweet 16. Ingrid was named the first Husky Award Winner in 1988, is an avid golfer and youth mentor!

Tony Schiller

Paragon Marketing

Tony mastered the art of marketing partnerships after a decade of working for professional basketball and hockey teams, a live entertainment venue and a concert promoter. He then transitioned into the agency world where he helped launch HALO Sports. As a founding partner of Paragon Marketing Group in Chicago, he builds strategic consulting relationships and lifestyle-focused strategies for clients.

Megan Sheffield


Megan is a Sr. Partnerships Manager at Amazon, heading up branding and partnerships for the Sports & Outdoor Retail categories. She started her career in sports with the Portland Fire and Trailblazers before moving to the Seattle Sonics. She transitioned from the team side to the brand side and spent 8 years with Xbox before starting her journey at Amazon. Megan focuses on digitally led brand partnerships for a breadth of categories from yoga to hunting, and everything in between.

Gerry Tabio

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.

Lesa Ukman

ProSocial Valuation // Lesa Ukman Partnerships

Lesa Ukman is a thought-leading entrepreneur, writer and speaker renowned as a pioneer in assigning value to marketing collaborations. She has propelled sponsorship from a promotional sideline to a vital discipline by creating the methodology to value and measure investments in sports, arts, entertainment and nonprofits. Her analytics have been adopted throughout the world.

While working for the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office of Special Events in 1980, Lesa devised the first-ever public/private partnership programs, which still serve as the blueprint for municipal marketing.

Driven by the then-radical idea that businesses that partner with the things people love—sports, music, festivals and nonprofit causes—vastly outperform competitors, she founded IEG (sponsorship.com) in 1982. Her ideas caught the imagination of the business world, giving rise to an industry now worth more than $85 billion. In 2006 she sold IEG to WPP, the world’s largest advertising, marketing and communications services group.

Lesa is an avid champion of the industry and a keen observer of sponsorship’s broader impact on society. This includes expanding the notion of ROI to incorporate social as well as financial outcomes. For over three decades she has piloted the annual IEG Conference, which remains a must-attend event for professionals seeking to make the most of their sponsorship relationships.

She coined the term “Corporate Social Opportunity” to supplant “Corporate Social Responsibility”, reflecting her belief that value is created when “doing good” is embedded in a company’s DNA rather than limited to departments designated for philanthropy or community affairs.

Lesa is also a professor at Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies, where she teaches Sponsorship, Sports & Entertainment Marketing.

In May 2016, Lesa launched a new venture, Lesa Ukman Partnerships. Its first offering is the ProSocial Valuation Service® (prosocialvaluation.com), an innovative methodology to bring social capital into partnership valuation. This situates sponsorship relationships in our current dynamic environment—a marketplace in which purpose, passion and community are in high demand. Unlike ROI analytics, which calculate financial return for the sponsor, her new service will measure the social value generated by partnership activations.

Jeff Webster

OVG // Seattle Kraken // Climate Pledge Arena

Jeff Webster joined Oak View Group in March of 2019 as the Vice President of Corporate Partnerships with a focus on building out and overseeing the team responsible for growing the sponsorship portfolio of the Seattle Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena. Before joining OVG the Seattle Kraken, Jeff served as Senior Director of Global Partnerships at Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), where he created best in class partnerships for the LA Kings, STAPLES Center, LA Live, the LA Galaxy and music properties such as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival among others. His career has also included time in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and in motorsports with NASCAR in Daytona Beach. Jeff is originally from Seattle and is proud to have returned home to bring the NHL’s 32nd franchise to the Pacific Northwest.