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TrueGold Communications, Co-founder & PGA European Tour

Michael Cole

As the former London 2012 Marketing and Communications Director for BT Global Services, Michael was responsible for activating BT Global Services’ highly successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games marketing campaign worldwide, as well as being responsible for operational and crisis communications across BT’s highly acclaimed London 2012 Delivery programme, as the official Communications Services partner for London 2012.  Michael led BT to being awarded a number of industry accolades and helped secure BT’s position into the Global 100 brands for the first time in its history. Michael remains a regular speaker at international sporting conferences discussing the role of sponsors and the impact of technology on major sporting events and businesses. He now runs his own consulting firm, TrueGold Communications, and is actively engaged in future major sporting events including PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020, Pan American Games 2019 and PGA European Tour / Ryder Cup where he continues to work in an advisory capacity for the Organising Committees and a number of the international sponsors.

SPORTO Interview
Twitter: @michaelgcole
Michael Cole at LinkedIn
Toyota Serbia, PR & Communication Manager

Aleksandra Graovac

Aleksandra Graovac is a PR and Communication specialist with extensive professional experience in the automotive industry. She has been a part of Toyota's marketing and communication team in the Adriatic region for nearly 20 years. As PR manager at Toyota Serbia, she has worked on various projects, sponsorships, exhibitions and events. Aleksandra is in charge of Toyota´s partnerships with the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee in the region.

Twitter: @agraovac
Aleksandra Graovac at LinkedIn
Coca-Cola, Franchise Manager Slovenia

Anja Vačun

Anja Vačun is a franchise manager for Slovenia at The Coca-Cola Company, which is the world's largest beverage company with more than 500 brands and is present in 200 countries. She finished her study at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Ljubljana as a Master of Science in the field of marketing and marketing communication. She started her career in event management, continued in management consulting and then focused on marketing. Anja has wide experience in introducing and building brands including digital advertising. She has been working at Coca-Cola since 2008. At the moment she is responsible for delivering the business targets for Slovene market and marketing of the brand portfolio. She also takes care of the new strategic direction of the company and sponsorship with the Olympic Committee of Slovenia.

Anja Vačun at LinkedIn
Super Bowl 2017 Host Committee, Head of Digital

Jeramie McPeek

An award-winning thought leader, speaker and digital consultant, Jeramie McPeek has more than two decades of experience telling stories and achieving business objectives through traditional print, online, social and mobile channels. After spending the past 24 years with the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, most recently as VP of Digital & Brand Strategy, McPeek left the NBA to launch his own consulting business in October 2016. At Houston Super Bowl Host Committee McPeek was in the role of Head of Digital. McPeek previously also worked on campaigns for the Arizona Super Bowl and the NFL Players Association as well as the Pope’s visit to the U.S. in 2015, and has had more than a thousand articles published in national magazines over the past 20 years. Named one of the country’s top 30 online sports marketers in 2014, he has been a keynote speaker at more than 20 conferences throughout the USA, Europe and Australia. McPeek graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University in 1995, and lives in Phoenix with his wife and two children.

SPORTO Interview
Twitter: @Jeramie
Jeramie McPeek at LinkedIn
Gingernut Thinking, Founder & Chief Nut

Fredda Hurwitz

Fredda Hurwitz is an experienced brand strategist, inspirational leader and a renowned sponsorship practitioner who recently founded her own London-based globally focused consultancy Gingernut Thinking after spending almost eight years at Havas Sports & Entertainment, since 2015 in the role of Global Chief Strategy Officer. Her long foray into marketing and sponsorship in sports started with NHL International, the World League of American Football, then Redmandarin and Octagon, before leaving a big mark in Havas S&E. She has worked on a diverse group of brands throughout her career including American Express, Barclays, Coca-Cola, FIFA, HSBC Premier, the International Olympic Committee, MINI, NBA, Novartis, VISA, and Yahoo! amongst others, and has been working on large-scale, international sponsorship programmes, brand experiences and integrated marketing programmes from World Cup 98 to American Express' sponsorship of the Rolling Stones Bigger Bang Tour, to Wimbledon, to Milan Fashion Week to London 2012 sponsor programmes. Fredda Hurwitz helps her clients rise above the noise by creating strategically sound brand experiences that inspire, connect and leave lasting impressions and is prepared to share her insight on conferences around the world.

SPORTO Interview
Twitter: @FreddaHurwitz
Fredda Hurwitz at LinkedIn
TBC Global, Founder

Jon Burkhart

Jon Burkhart is an award-winning keynote speaker, content strategist and copywriter. He helps brands and teams be more curious so they can get and keep attention. Jon is best known for co-authoring Newsjacking: The Urgent Genius of Real-time Advertising and co-founding Urgent Genius, the world’s first blog dedicated to real-time creativity, in 2010. He is the founder of marketing consultancy TBC Global. Jon speaks regularly at South By Southwest Interactive (SXSW) and serves on their programming committee. As an interactive workshop leader and MC, he also brings the insights and fun to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and SEAT (Sports and Entertainment Alliance in Technology) conferences. Jon's first job: The US Soccer Federation.

SPORTO Article
Jon Burkhart at LinkedIn
NBA, Senior Communications Director EMEA

Maik Matischak

Maik Matischak began as NBA EMEA Senior Communications Director in 2014. Based in the NBA's EMEA headquarters in London, he manages the communication strategy and leads the execution of all public relations activities for the league in the region. Matischak came to the NBA from Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., an American multinational semiconductor company, where he led EMEA-wide PR activities for the consumer segment. Previously, he held the role of Senior International PR Manager for EA SPORTS in Geneva, Switzerland. Matischak also served as PR Director of NFL Europe franchise the Berlin Thunder, and subsequently as Director of Communications with NFL Europa in Frankfurt, Germany. 

SPORTO Interview
Maik Matischak at LinkedIn
AIB, Head of Digital and Innovation

Mark Brennan

Mark Brennan is currently leading the digital marketing and innovation team at AIB, transforming how the financial sector uses digital communications to best serve their customers by delivering world-class digital for the AIB and EBS brands while also creating Ireland’s most digitally capable marketing function. Digital part of the multi-award-winning sponsorship of Gaelic football #TheToughest has been the core of their activation. Mark is a passionate digital marketer who has developed the digital strategy for brands like AIB, Guinness and Volkswagen but also crucially he has delivered exceptionally crafted, truly innovative and most of all effective marketing communication campaigns off the back of these strategies.

SPORTO Article
Twitter: @markbrennan_
Mark Brennan at LinkedIn
AIB, Group Brands Director

Mark Doyle

Mark Doyle is currently leading the Brand Engagement team at AIB which is one of Ireland's leading financial institutions. Over the last three years, he has led the development of groundbreaking and award-winning marketing programs and campaigns for AIB and EBS, for example the innovative #TheToughest campaign, a sponsorship of the Gaelic football. In 2016, Mark became AIB Group Brands Director with responsibility for the AIB, EBS, First Trust & Allied Irish (Great Britain) brands charged with putting transformational marketing at the heart of AIB's business strategy and developing customer connection programmes that break with convention and differentiate the brand. Mark Doyle is a marketing leader with 20 years of experience in developing and delivering impact and profit-driven business solutions within industry-leading organizations such as AIB, eir, Diageo, Northern Foods and Pernod Richard.

SPORTO Article
Twitter: @markdoylemark
Mark Doyle at LinkedIn
LottoNL–Jumbo, cyclist

Primož Roglič

Primož Roglič is a former FIS Grand Prix and Continental Cup ski jumper (also junior world team champion) turned professional cyclist. He started training cycling in 2012 and signed his first professional contract in 2013 (KK Adria Mobil). This year, Primož became first Slovenian with a stage victory on Tour de France and he also earned his first medal at the UCI Road World Championships 2017, being second in the time trial competition.

Twitter: @rogla
Ativa Esporte, General Manager

Guilherme Guimarães

Guilherme Guimarães is a sports marketing consultant and lecturer. He runs Ativa Esporte, with clients such as Coca-Cola, Facebook, Caixa, among others, and has spoken at several events on the intersection between technology and sports. As the former Director of Sports for Twitter Brazil, British Council, and Geo Eventos, he has worked on major sports projects, such as the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, NBA games etc. Graduated in Advertising and Journalism (UFMG) with an MSc in Sport Management (Sheffield University). He is also an author of academic papers and articles.

SPORTO Article
Twitter: @GuiGuimaraes
Guilherme Guimarães at LinkedIn
Strive Sponsorship, Founder

Malph Minns

Malph Minns has 360-degree international sponsorship experience having worked brand, rights holder and agency side for over 11 years. He has advised brands such as Guinness, British Airways, Barclays, Ordnance Survey and 888.com on their sponsorship strategies, activation plans and evaluation, across both sport and entertainment sponsorships. He also has extensive experience creating and delivering value to partners as a rights holder through successful commercial and collaborative partnership management strategies, having built and managed Team Sky’s commercial partnership management programme from 2010-2014. During his time with Team Sky, he helped define, influence and report sponsorship return on investment for brands including Sky UK/Italy/Germany, 21st Century Fox, Jaguar, Gatorade and Oakley. He occasionally talks at industry events, but only if he thinks he can offer a fresh perspective and valuable insights to others. He’s interested in sharing the ‘why’ and ‘how’, not just the ‘what’ that can be read about anywhere.

SPORTO Interview
Malph Minns at LinkedIn
UEFA, Event Manager

Pierre Lienhard

Pierre Lienhard is a sports marketing professional with more than two decades of experience in the field of professional and grassroots sports as well as in the development of sports. In 2015 Pierre joined UEFA as a project leader for the UEFA U21 Championships and the UEFA Futsal EURO. When he lived in the USA, he worked as an event and sponsorship consultant for the Ambassador of Switzerland and co-authored a book about ‘Legacy – Sustainability and CSR at Mega Sport Events’. Prior to that, Pierre served as Senior Manager Sponsoring & Events at the Swiss Football Association and worked in different managerial positions for high profile events such as with the UEFA Champions League, the EURO 2004, the Olympic games 2004 and the project for the development and peace-building campaign of the UN year of sport & education in 2005 with the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Twitter: @pierrelienhard
Pierre Lienhard at LinkedIn
UEFA, Senior Futsal Competitions Manager

Laurent Morel

Laurent Morel started at UEFA in 2001, after graduating in Sociology at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, following a short semi-professional football career (FC Lausanne-Sports) and a job in the airline industry (Swissair). 45-year old Swiss citizen, Laurent manages the development and the organisation of all UEFA Futsal competitions and has been leading a groundbreaking growth of the European Futsal activity for more than fifteen years. His vast experience in the world’s fastest-growing indoor sport makes him a recognized expert in the field. Laurent has been giving lectures to renowned Football Associations to help them either embracing or fostering the discipline. With the recent opening of a youth and a women’s futsal continental competition, and the revamping of the club competition into the UEFA Futsal Champions’ League as of next season, he takes care of strategic aspects like brand identity, competition positioning, promotion, communication and designs all event operations, draw ceremonies and bidding process.

Laurent Morel at LinkedIn
Croatian Handball Federation, Men's EHF EURO 2018 Communication Director

Anita Šikić

Anita Šikić is the Assistant Marketing Director and the Men’s EHF EURO 2018 Communication Director at the Croatian Handball Federation. She started her career as an interpreter and, among other things, she worked with the organizing committees of various major sporting events. She worked at the Croatian Athletics Federation as a Project Manager and the Head of Office of one of the biggest track and field events in the region – the IAAF World Challenge Zagreb – Hanžeković Memorial – for eight years. Since 2015, she has been in charge of coordination, communication and executive affairs within the Croatian Handball Federation and at the Men’s EHF EURO 2018.

Anita Šikič at LinkedIn
Gorenje, Head of handball sponsorship project

Edita Gabrič

Edita Gabrič is a Senior Marketing Specialist at Gorenje Group and now the Head of handball sponsorship project (Gorenje & EHF). She started her career as the Assistant Manager at Dedalus d.o.o. and afterward became an online Sales Manager at Pro Plus d.o.o., one of the biggest media companies in Slovenia, preparing marketing strategies, provide support for digital marketing and advising customers about existing marketing channels. Before coming to Gorenje she was Head of Marketing and PR at NAMA d.d. As part of Marketing Communications Team at Gorenje Group she is currently responsible for sponsorship activation of Gorenje`s partnership with European handball family.

Edita Gabrič at LinkedIn

SAP, Head of Business Development Sports

Achim Ittner

Achim Ittner is a Head of Business Development Sports at SAP and has almost 20 years of experience in the technology company, which is partnering with some of the biggest global sporting brands – Manchester City FC, Bayern Munich, San Francisco 49ers, New York Yankees, NHL, NBA, WTA and others – to showcase the company’s technological expertise. Ittner has provided expertise for numerous sporting brands and often appears on events for sports industry as a speaker: showcasing the impact of big data and the digital transformation of the industry. 

SPORTO Article
Twitter: @Achim_Ittner
Achim Ittner at LinkedIn
Interbrand, Creative Director (Juventus rebranding)

Paolo Insinga

Paolo is the award-winning Creative Director of Interbrand in Italy and is responsible for the creative output. From the initial strategic thinking, going through concept and design development, Paolo challenges the creative team to find the most appropriate solutions to grow businesses through branding. Paolo’s fifteen years working experience encompasses multidisciplinary branding projects for a broad range of industries, both for the Italian and the international market. His team envisions and delivers the experience, expression and storytelling that define brands in the real world. Paolo led the team that crafted the award-winning rebranding project for Juventus. 

SPORTO Interview (Interbrand, Manfredi Ricca)
Twitter: @PaoloInsinga
Paolo Insinga at LinkedIn