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Meet the Speakers: More Speakers Announced for Dublin

Now in its eighth year, TheStadiumBusiness Summit has become the world’s leading meeting for stadia owners, operators and developers to gather each year and discuss the future of the industry.

It seems only fitting, therefore, that we enlist the industry’s finest to join our speaker lineup for the next Summit on 22-23 June at Croke Park, Dublin.

Last month we announced the first 8 speakers who will take to the stage in Dublin, and today we are thrilled to release the next 8 disruptors joining the lineup…


Tanya Dreesen, Vice President, Partnership Activation & Special Projects, Minnesota Vikings, USA

Tanya Dreesen is currently in her 9th season as a prominent member of the Minnesota Vikings. As Vice President of Partnership Activation and Special Projects, she collaborates on team and U.S. Bank Stadium presentations, and community relationships. She is responsible for the team that activates all sponsorships, including naming rights and new Founding Partnerships.

Tanya provides support on critical new team initiatives such as the International Series games in London, the successful 2018 Super Bowl LII bid and the latest new 200-acre practice facility design and construction. Tanya led the development and curation of U.S. Bank Stadium’s art collection, as well as the buildout of the Vikings Voyage experiential fan destination and the design of the stadium’s iconic Legacy Ship sculpture. She also oversaw a revenue-producing fan paver program and is charged with integrating all sponsor branding throughout the stadium.

Prior to joining the Vikings, Tanya served as Vice President of Marketing and Major Accounts for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News, activating Founding Partner roles for the Colorado Rockies and exclusive category sponsorships of the Denver Broncos, Colorado Wild and Denver Nuggets. Prior to Denver, Tanya led the Major Accounts Advertising Department for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Tanya began her career at The Toronto Sun as a member of the special projects team, which marketed and supported the launch of the Toronto Raptors NBA team. She was then recruited to a director position with Canada’s largest daily newspaper, The Toronto Star, where she led sponsorships for events, art and sports partnerships, including the Toronto Blue Jays, across all media properties.

Tanya graduated with honors with a speciality in Advertising/Marketing from Canada’s Sheridan College. She was a three-time medalist in the Edmonton World Master Games for Rowing and has competed at the World Rowing (FISA) International level in Boston and Montreal Canada.



Karen Eyre-White, Chief Executive, Sports Ground Safety Authority, United Kingdom

In addition to fulfilling a statutory duty to regulate safety at 94 football grounds within the UK, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority sets spectator standards that are adopted around the world. The SGSA provides consulting, inspection and training services to governments, international sporting bodies, organising committees and individual venues who want to design, build, and manage sporting venues that demonstrate world-class safety standards.

Karen has a broad range of experience delivering Government priorities in both policy and operational environments. Prior to joining the SGSA Karen led immigration teams at the Home Office and has held a number of positions at the Department for Transport including developing transport plans for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As well as taking to the SBS17 stage in Dublin, Karen is also serving on the international Judging Panel for TheStadiumBusiness Awards 2017.


Julianne Savage, Community & Public Affairs, Croke Park, Ireland

Born & raised in Drumcondra – just a stone’s throw away from the stadium, Croke Park’s Community & Public Affairs Officer, Julianne Savage knows & loves the area she now represents in her role.  The locality around Croke Park is home to approximately 67,000 people who all live within 1.5km of the stadium. With local schools boasting enrolments of children from up to thirty-five different countries across the world, Croke Park’s community area is not just home to many proud generations of ‘Northsiders’ but also to many of Dublin city’s newest residents. Bringing nearly two decades of international communications and engagement experience to the position in Croke Park, community relations have been transformed in the stadium since Julianne’s appointment in late 2013.

The creation of new community gain initiatives and the introduction of the Croke Park Community Team in 2014, an event day team which comprises entirely of local residents, heralded a new ethos within the stadium for building stronger community relations.

Levels of constructive engagement between the stadium and the local community have increased significantly over the last three years and the recent announcement of the stadium’s role to partner with Dublin City Council to regenerate one of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods closest to the stadium, re-affirms the stadium’s long-term vision for, and commitment to, its local community area.

Martha Smithers, Sustainability & Deputy Stadium Safety Officer , Croke Park Stadium, Ireland

Martha has been promoting, developing and facilitating sustainability in Croke Park since 2013. In that short period of time, she has built an impressive record of sustainability achievements in one of Europe’s largest stadiums whilst at the same time shaping the future vision for sustainability within the GAA. Martha holds an honours degree in Chemicals Sciences and a Masters in Environmental, Health and Safety Management.

Croke Park: home of Gaelic Games & mecca to GAA fans across the world, welcomes over 1.5 million visitors each year is a long-established leader in sustainability. Having already become one of the first stadiums in Ireland & the UK to secure both ISO14001 and ISO 20121 standards in 2012, Croke Park become the first stadium in the world to become certificated to ISO 14001:2015 in April 2016.


Patrick Nelson, CEO, Irish Football Association, United Kingdom

Patrick has been CEO of the Irish Football Association since August 2009. In that time the Association has developed well on a number of fronts, particularly improving in the areas of governance, strategy and structure, and of course qualifying for UEFA Euro 2016 after a gap of 30 years.

In this role, Patrick was also responsible for the £38 million rebuild of the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, which opened in October 2016.

Patrick is also a director of the Association’s subsidiary stadium management company and a trustee of its charitable arm, the IFA Foundation. Prior to joining the Association, Patrick was CEO at both Macclesfield Town and Notts County Football Clubs. Before moving into the football industry, Patrick worked in the global payment cards industry for many years, with roles at Capital One, MasterCard and American Express.


Wayne Doran, Director, Time Target, New Zealand/UK

Wayne has a wide range of industry knowledge gathered from 25 years’ experience in business across multiple industries. Starting his first business at age 22, Wayne has been an director of businesses including Export Manufacturing, Wholesale Distribution, Multisite Retailing, IT Product Services, Stadia WFM, across New Zealand, Australia, Asia Pacific, United Kingdom and Europe.

Having built 5 successful start-up businesses, Wayne has developed a hands on approach to business development, growing highly skilled teams while creating long term business relationships.



Mark Brooks, Commercial Manager, Stena Line Belfast Giants, United Kingdom

The 2016/17 Season will be the 16th year of Mark’s involvement behind the scenes with the Stena Line Belfast Giants. He has a Bachelors Degree in Marketing from Ulster University having graduated with Honours.

Mark leads all of the Giants Commercial partnerships as well as all Communications and manages content on the official website and social media channels.

Andy Simons, Director, KSS Design Group, UK

Andy is a founder director of KSS and major creative force within the practice giving lead design direction on a number of KSS’ major projects. His main role is to ensure the clients’ needs are met and to lead the strategic and operational guidance to the client and consultant team.

He consistently leads several of KSS’ major projects in the sports sector and is a global ambassador for KSS at conferences. He brings enormous experience and analytical depth to every project he is involved in, and is widely respected by clients and consultants alike.

Meet our speakers, amongst 400+ stadia leaders and be part of the world’s leading stadia meeting. Register here.

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