Bonny Bernat is a Boston fan living in the Winston-Salem area. While she cheers for the Boston Red Sox, she loves bringing sporting events to her community as the Senior Sports and Event Sales Manager at Visit Winston-Salem.
Bonny works on prospecting and proposal development. It’s something Bonny has to do every day to fight for sporting events.
“I have found that if I can get a prospective event organizer to Winston-Salem, we stand a really good chance of securing the event,” Bonny said. “I also think our servicing of events is strong; we do not operate with a sports commission so we have to provide as many of the same services that we can, within our limits, to compete with those cities who do.”
Building relationships is something Bonny finds important in this industry. It makes for fun experiences.
“It always circles back to the relationships and friends I’ve had the fortune of forming,” Bonny added. “Our indus...
Each year, Sports ETA honors organizations and individuals in the sports events and tourism industry to celebrate their accomplishments and achievements.Every member should consider submitting for an award because we all do amazing work throughout the year. Submitting for an award acknowledges the hard work you have put into your events and allows you to be recognized by your peers at symposium as being among the top leaders in the industry.
Sports ETA as well as the awards committee understand that the acknowledgement for the winners at one luncheon isn’t enough. We are working on showcasing our award winners not only at symposium more, but throughout the year in various ways. This allows peers and Sports ETA members to understand the great work happening with each organization and to motivate them to submit and win the next year. Winners in each category will be given the following benefits:
Playbook article featuring each ...
Branding can take you to two very different places.
You own some cows
You own an idea, product, or company
Although the first could be a bullish conversation.....we'll spend some time talking about how it impacts your business, team, product or idea.
Branding in the marketing sense has several major distinctions but here are a few of the key points:
Branding communicates the consistency of your product and the customer experience
Branding is essential for good advertising in today's digital noise
Branding encourages employee price, satisfaction, and morale
Branding allows you to communicate why you stand out from the competition
Branding helps you generate more customers
Branding if done right can help increase your company's value
Most importantly Branding It creates trust and loyalty with the customer
Within sports, a segment that has such a strong media component, we ofte...
“Never settle for things. We should do what we are most passionate about and enjoy doing. When that happens you are not working, you are sharing your passion with others.”
Wisdom from Sports ETA mentor Kindra Fry who is living out her passion for sports as the President and CEO of Experience Bryan College Station and Executive Director for Bryan College Station Sports + Events.
In this role, Kindra works with communities to provide resources her staff needs to market and sell Bryan College Station as a premier destination for sports events and other conventions and meetings. Besides her extensive knowledge of working with community leaders and organizations, Kindra has experience as an event owner and in destination marketing organizations.
One of Kindra’s favorite aspects of her job is watching spectators come into her community and truly enjoy being there. Or watching up-and-coming NCAA DI athletes before they make it big. But her favorite sports memories c...
Meet Derek Bombeck, a devoted family man who enjoys weekend camping trips and hunting. Derek loves to travel around the globe, recently checking off Budapest, Hungary where he attended the World Wrestling Championship with his dad. Derek is one of our dedicated Sports ETA mentors.
Derek is the Sales Development Manager for the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau in Nebraska. He is responsible for marketing Lincoln as a premier sports tourist destination by recruiting new regional, national, and international sporting events. Derek also is in charge of the retention of current sporting events. He is satisfied knowing the greater impact his work can bring to help the city thrive.
Derek has an extensive background in event management and coordination. He served as the Director of Events for Nebraska Athletics for a decade. He fondest memory was seeing the Huskers compete in the NCAA Volleyball Championships the year he was Tournament Director.
Derek encourages his mentees to m...
Being new to this industry is intimidating, right? You have seasoned vets who seem to know everyone and then there is you – brand new and ready to make connections. But how? Here are a couple of tips and tricks I hope will help as you navigate being a “newbie” in this industry!
Go to the Sports ETA 4S Summit. Aside from the fact that you get to learn from some of the greatest leaders in our industry, this event is also one of the best opportunities to meet people. It’s smaller than the Symposium and is a completely education-based conference, making it your best opportunity for networking with colleagues. This is your chance to learn best practices and pick the brains of people who have walked in your shoes.
ASK THE QUESTION. This industry is built on relationships between clients and peers. With that being said, we can be each other’s greatest resource. You are learning the industry and it’...
From volunteering her time on the Sports ETA Mentoring Committee to serving on our board and attending the first-ever Women’s Summit in Columbus, Ohio, Meaghan Hughes is a dedicated member of Sports ETA.
Meaghan started off as a receptionist at the Ann Arbor Sports Commission and has risen in the ranks to be the Associate Director. She is now responsible for a variety of divisions including strategic planning, sales, social media, and managing Simpleview.
Meaghan said one of her favorite experiences was when the 2014 NHL Winter Classic came to Ann Arbor and her office hosted a New Year’s Eve “The Puck Drops Here” event. She says it’s something she would never have been able to be a part of if it wasn’t for her great job.
As someone who started her career in the sports industry at a younger age, Meaghan likes to mentor those who are just starting off.
“I started working here [Ann Arbor Sports Commission] when I was 23 and understand ...
She’s a Steelers fan that cheers on her team from Binghamton, New York. When her Steelers are not on the field, she enjoys being outdoors, attending live performances and volunteering for animal rescues. Meet one of our Sports ETA mentors Judi Hess.
Judi is the Director of Visit Binghamton. She is responsible for tourism promotion of Greater Binghamton including serving as the primary tourism liaison with elected officials, budget management, strategic planning, marketing program oversight, and managing all aspects of day to day operations of the Convention & Visitors Bureau. You can say Judi has many roles she takes on each day.
“Being a part of a small bureau, I get to wear many hats,” Judi said. “Because of that, I feel very comfortable mentoring in sales, marketing, social media, and branding.”
Judi suggests three things to anyone in this industry:
Put yourself out there
Never stop learning
Did you know Sports ETA offers mentoring to members, new and old? The Mentoring and Engagement Committee is here to help all Sports ETA members. We will be spotlighting each mentor to help you get to know them a little better - you may even find that you connect with one of them. This way, when you need a mentor in the future, you already have one in mind.
Meet Hank Pivarnik, CSEE. He recently retired from Hilton as the Director of Sports Sales after 30+ years of service. In that role, Hank oversaw sales relationships between Hilton brands and customers from MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, and NHL. In addition to sales relationships with USOPC, several NGB’S, sports broadcasting and sports housing entities.
While there was plenty of hard work along the way, Hank really enjoyed the times when he was able to work with Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks at NBA Cares service day during an NBA AllStar weekend. And his work with the Denver Broncos, which gave him a game b...
How to use your mentor.
Your fellow Sports ETA members, especially those on the mentoring committee, each come with unique perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds to our industry’s association. The best part of the diversity of membership is access to these leaders in sports tourism and what you can learn from them. It is not just about having someone to help guide new members through their first experiences, but also an opportunity to get creative and learn. Some of the most pivotal things I've learned in this industry weren’t taught to me in school or any formal education session, but from my colleagues, their experiences and of course my own.
I would encourage anyone to lean on those members of the mentoring committee, whether your assigned mentor or another member of the committee you already know, as a resource to bounce ideas off, seek career guidance, learn from their missteps and successes alike. Someone outside your dest...