Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss is among the 2018 VenuesNow Women of Influence winners. (Los Angeles Lakers)
The votes are in, and Jeanie Buss, Donna DiBenedetto, Evelyn Ingram, Dot Lischick and Lynda Reinhart are the five extraordinary women in the live events industry who have been selected by their peers as 2018 VenuesNow Women of Influence. They join an illustrious group of 42 previous winners who have had a positive impact on this industry.
Donna DiBenedetto. (Courtesy AEG)
The awards program began in 2007 and has continued every year since, with profiles of and tributes to the 2018 winners to be published in our July magazine. The awards will be presented during our Women of Influence reception at the International Association of Venue Managers convention in Toronto on July 24.
As always happens, this year’s winners come from all walks of venue life, from Buss, who owns the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA and once managed the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., to DiBenedetto on the East Coast, who is director of touring, AEG Presents, New York.
When Brian Sipes, GM for SMG at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., nominated DiBenedetto, he noted she “has been instrumental in the touring success of some of the biggest tours in history including Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood, the many years of American Idol tours, and the current multi-year 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.”
Indeed, one of those “venue managers across the country” and also in the Class of 2018 — Dot Lischick, GM of the Broadmoor World Arena and Pikes Peak Performing Arts Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. — perked up at the name. “Donna D. and I are twins; we trade our twin stories,” said Lischick, who has worked with AEG Presents and DiBenedetto for years. Lischick was chosen because of her powerful, no-nonsense soup-to-nuts management of the Colorado Springs venues, from design and construction to serving the community.
Representing the university side of the business is Reinhart, director of the University of Florida’s Stephen C. O’Connell Center, home to six NCAA Division I teams. Reinhart has spent her career in Gainesville, working at the venue as a student in 1994 and joining full time in 1998. Her duties recently saw her overseeing a $65 million renovation of the arena. Given her university setting and penchant for mentoring, Reinhart has been very involved on IAVM’s Body of Knowledge Task Force and was instrumental in developing a standardized facility management curriculum and college textbook.
Ingram, VP of sales for EventBooking, has served several associations and corporations in this industry, which led to her selection as a Woman of Influence. Notified of the award and asked about highlights in her career in this industry, Ingram did not hesitate. “The highlight is meeting with peers at conferences. That’s the most valuable aspect to anything I’ve done — the relationships. Every occasion to get together with my peers is exceptional.”
VenuesNow invites you all to join us in honoring the 2018 Women of Influence and those who went before. Past winners include:
• Kim Damron, President, Paciolan, Irvine, Calif.
• Donna Julian, Senior Vice President of Arena & Events Ops & GM Spectrum Center, Charlotte, N.C.
• Michele Montague, Assistant General Manager & Vice President, Events Verizon Center, Washington
• Marla Ostroff, EVP of Arts and Theatre and Strategic Accounts Ticketmaster, New York City
• Debra Rathwell, Senior Vice President, AEG Live, New York
• Sandra Dunn, General Manager, DCU Center/SMG, Worcester, Mass.
• Ali Harnell, Senior VP / AEG Live – Nashville
• Michele L. Swann, General Manager/CEO of Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority, Atlanta
• Carol Pollock, Hoyt Sherman Place/VenuWorks (Posthumous) WOI and first Hall of Famer
• Leslee Stewart, General Manager, Paramount Theatre, Oakland, Calif.
• Kerry Painter, Assistant General Manager, Cox Business Center, Tulsa, Okla.
• Karen Totaro, General Manager, Atlantic City Convention Center, 1st Vice Chair IAVM
• Jan Addison, Deputy General Manager, Orange County Convention Center
• Lynn Carlotto, General Manager, Rogers K-Rock Centre
• Wesley Cullen, General Manager, Coliseo de Puerto Rico
• Susan Rosenbluth, Senior VP, AEG Live/Goldenvoice
• Cheryl Swanson, Executive Director, Alerus Center
• Adina Erwin, Fox Theatre, Atlanta
• Maureen Ginty, SMG
• Kim Stone, AmericanAirlines Arena and The Heat Group, Miami
• Susette Hunter, Birmingham-Jefferson (Ala.) Convention Complex
• Cyndee Pennington, Pensacola (Fla.) Civic Center
• Vanessa Kromer, Nederlander Concerts, Hollywood, Calif.
• JoAnn Armstrong, Honda Center, Anaheim, Calif.
• Sydney Greenblatt, Sydney Greenblatt Event Marketing
• Sally Roach, Township Auditorium, Columbia, S.C.
• Liza Cartmell, Aramark
• Tammy Koolbeck, VenuWorks
• Christy Castillo, Staples Center and Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live
• Nicole Feld, Feld Entertainment
• Sandie Aaron, SMG
• Patti-Anne Tarlton, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment
• Jane Kleinberger, Paciolan
• Claire Rothman, The Forum, Inglewood, Calif.
• Peggy Daidakis, Baltimore Convention Center
• Brenda Tinnen, Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.
• Shura Lindgren, St. Charles (Mo.) Convention Center
• Donna Dowless, XOXO Media Group
• Robyn Williams, Portland (Ore.) Center for the Performing Arts
• Carol Wallace, San Diego Convention Center
• Kim Bedier, Comcast Arena, Everett, Wash.
• Barbara Hubbard, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces