Congratulations to the 2019 VenuesNow Women of Influence Award recipients!
These outstanding leaders have been selected for their extraordinary achievements in the live entertainment industry.
VenuesNow will honor this year’s inspiring leaders in our July issue as well as at a private reception July 23 during IAVM VenueConnect in Chicago .
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.
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.
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).
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 facilities operations, Pacers Sports & Entertainment
Mel Raines has taken 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.
Senior vice president, production & operations, business development, 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.