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One of the most consistently powerful types of events that remind us of our humanness – the need for community, the essence of our physicality – are sporting events. They are numerous. They are fanatical. And they are completely shut down. This has caused major disruption to a multitude of industries, including television, marketing and tourism. In a world where the energy created by the closeness of a group, of fans, of competitors is not allowed, what is the path forward? This discussion among sporting event experts will look at the toughest questions facing not just small companies, not just major corporations, but entire cities as well when it comes to bringing back to life the world of sports and the communities built around them.
- Establish forecasts of how and when the return of sports will take place
- Look at what the “new logistics” are for mass gatherings and competitions
- See how cities and sponsor organizations will need to rethink the selling of sports
Kevin White, CSEP
Kevin has been a storyteller his entire life. That love of capturing attention and engaging people is what brought him to work with global organizations on their marketing and development efforts for nearly a quarter-century.
In 2011 he founded XPL, an award-winning experiential agency that delivers bold, powerful live events that transform audiences around the world. Clients include institutions such as Harvard Business School, non-profits such as The Special Olympics, governmental units such as the US Department of State, and corporations such as Bugatti. Each brings a diverse set of needs that they entrust Kevin and his team to fulfill.
In addition to serving as an instructor for several Event Leadership Institute professional development courses —including Pandemic Meeting & Event Design and Pandemic On-Site Protocol Training — Kevin has undergone training from the World Health Organization (WHO) on mass gatherings and has also received the Event Safety Access certification from the Event Safety Alliance.
Kevin’s commitment to his industry is demonstrated by his willingness to give back. He has been a professor at New York University and was selected by his peers to serve as the international president of the International Live Events Association (ILEA) in 2014-1015. He is currently working on his first book on innovation in experiential design and recently launched a series of entrepreneurial-based retreats worldwide under the brand, The Table.
Sara Grauf oversees event strategy and services for the Giant’s organization. She played an integral role in the production of the organization’s three World Series celebrations and managed the first-ever commercial spectator program for the America’s Cup. Grauf recently led the organization’s effort to secure and produce the 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup, which the Giants hosted at Oracle Park in July of 2018. In 2010, Grauf initiated the Giant Race, which has evolved into an annual health and wellness initiative for the club, operating in four cities and drawing 20,000 participants to the San Francisco events. In addition to her event responsibilities, Grauf oversees the club’s spring training operations and is engaged in open space design and programming for the Mission Rock development.
Grauf began her career with the Giants 20 years ago, interning for the club’s community relations department while attending the University of California, Berkeley. Grauf is Past President of the International Live Events Association, a member of the Board of Directors for Leadership San Francisco and serves on the board of Experience Scottsdale and the marketing committee for San Francisco Travel.
Grauf lives in Walnut Creek with her husband, Dietmar and son, Kyle.
Rory Davis has 10+ years of experience spanning professional and collegiate sports, events, and gaming. Rory has a history of steering successful initiatives primarily via sales and marketing strategy and implementation with the San Francisco Giants, University of San Francisco Athletics, and Ubisoft Entertainment. Hired in April of 2019, Rory’s primary responsibility is to secure new sports and entertainment related business for San Francisco Bay Area venues and hotels that drive economic impact, create jobs, and generate positive media exposure. The San Francisco native has played a role in events such as Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, 2020 PGA Championship, Topgolf Crush, sold-out concerts at Oracle Park, and San Francisco SailGP.
Rory graduated from UC Santa Barbara with degrees in Business Economics and Sport Management and currently resides in San Francisco with his wife, Michelle.
Kyle Meyers, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at Silverback, brings 15 years of endurance sports and event management experience, with a background in business development, strategic planning and project management. He began his career with Lakeshore Athletic Services in Chicago and quickly stepped into leadership roles supporting IRONMAN, Rock N Roll Marathon Series, The Color Run and numerous other national event series. Now based in San Francisco, Kyle plays a role in most major Bay Area endurance events; currently serving as the Production Director for Bay to Breakers, The San Francisco Marathon, Berkeley Half Marathon, The San Francisco Giant Race and SailGP San Francisco. The Silverback team is expanding their custom design and fabrication services for experiential marketing campaigns nationwide while still continuing to grow in the endurance space.
Kyle lives at Ocean Beach with his wife, Meagan, 4mo old daughter Charlotte and their French Bulldog, Penny.