2016-2019 Alliance for Sport Business Advisory Board
Special Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer at Orlando Magic
Kayla Chesanek is special assistant to the chief operating officer at the Orlando Magic. She manages special projects for ticket sales, premium sales, client services, ticket operations, corporate partnership, marketing, arena operations and retail. Before the Magic, she was a client engagement consultant for Bill Sutton & Associates working with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Dolphins.
Chesanek graduated from University of South Florida with bachelor degrees in marketing and business administration and master degrees in business administration and sport & entertainment management.
Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing at Tampa Bay Lightning
Jarrod Dillon serves as executive vice president of sales and marketing since being named to the position on January 26 of 2015. Dillon reports directly to the CEO and oversees all of the Lightning’s ticket sales and service, marketing, retail, ticket office and business analytics operations.
An accomplished sales and marketing executive with a successful track record and vast experience in corporate partnerships, marketing and all aspects of ticket sales and service, Dillon joined the Lightning from the San Diego Padres where he served as vice president of ticket sales and service (2009-2013), and vice president of corporate partnerships (2013-2015).
Dillon has also worked in a variety of ticket sales roles with the Oakland Raiders (2006-2009), and San Francisco Giants (2002 to 2006).A four-year varsity football player at the University of Oregon, Dillon earned Bachelor’s degrees in English and History in 2000. He went on to receive his MBA with an emphasis in sports marketing from Sonoma State University in 2003.
Senior Manager, Partnership Activation - New York Mets
Kelly Higgins joined the New York Mets as a Senior Manager of Partnership Activation in August of 2015. In this role, she manages the activation and renewal strategy for the Mets largest corporate partners.
Prior to joining the Mets, Kelly was a Sponsorship Consultant at the National Basketball Association within the Team Marketing and Business Operations Department (TMBO). TMBO acts as a liaison between the NBA league office and all NBA, WNBA, and NBA Development League teams while ultimately serving as a consultant to teams on all revenue generating areas of the business - ticket sales and service, sponsorship, marketing and digital, data analytics, game experience and customer relationship management.
Kelly began her career in Minor League Baseball working for the New York Mets Organization in her hometown of Port St. Lucie, FL. While attending graduate school at the University of Central Florida, Kelly served as a graduate assistant to industry consultant Dr. Bill Sutton and worked with the Orlando Magic Organization.
Kelly received her undergraduate degree in Sports Management from Florida Southern College. She later attended the University of Central Florida’s DeVos Sports Business Management program where she earned a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Masters in Sports Business.
Senior Director, Consulting Wasserman Media Group
Danielle Smith is a Senior Director in the Brands group of Wasserman. She currently leads all strategy and negotiations for American Express Sports, including the NBA league, 7 NBA teams, 4 NHL teams, the USGA and the USTA. Prior to Wasserman, Smith was Senior Director of Cause-Related Marketing at The V Foundation for Cancer Research, and held a previous position at Wasserman as a sports marketing consultant for Nokia and Nationwide Insurance.
Smith holds her MBA/MSBM from the DeVos Program at the University of Central Florida, and her BS in Marketing from the University of Maryland. She resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with husband Chris and son Tyler.
President of Greensboro Swarm, NBDL
Steve Swetoha was hired this year as the President of the Greensboro Swarm, of the NBDL which is owned by the NBA Charlotte Hornets. Swetoha is responsible for all aspects of the business operations which includes ticket sales, corporate sales, marketing, promotions, game entertainment, broadcasting, communications, community relations, social media and customer retention.
Swetoha has over 25 years of sports marketing, ticket sales, corporate sales management and business operations. Swetoha has experience in the NFL, NBA, NHL WNBA and college athletic in various titles ranging from President, Chief Revenue Officer, Senior Vice President of Sales and Retention, Vice President of Business Operations, Director of Sales and Executive Director. Swetoha has worked for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Charlotte Bobcats/Sting, Jacksonville Jaguars and Orlando Magic/Miracle, Tulsa Shock and Atlantic Coast Conference.
Prior to accepting the opportunity in Charlotte, Swetoha was the President and Chief Revenue Officer of the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA for 5 seasons.
Swetoha is a proud alum of Robert Morris University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree with a concentration in Sport Management. In 2010, Swetoha was elected to the Robert Morris Sport Management Hall of Fame Class. Swetoha also earned his Master’s Degree in Sports Leadership at Duquesne University.
Swetoha has been an active member in the community and was on various boards that included the Community Foodbank of Eastern Oklahoma, Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice, American Diabetes Association and Susan G. Komen. Swetoha also served on the advisory board of the Tulsa Sports Commission and Tulsa Metropolitan Urban League. Swetoha has served as the Honorary Chair for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Pink Stiletto Gala, as well as the Tulsa Metropolitan Urban League’s annual gala and was a member of the steering committee for the annual Boys and Girls Club Metro Tulsa Golf Tournament. In 2014, Swetoha was named one of Susan G. Komen’s Pink Tie Guys for the city of Tulsa. Swetoha is a member of Leadership Tulsa Class of 46.
Swetoha is married to Susan Shepherd and have a daughter, Sophia, who is 11 and a son, Matthew who is 19 and is a freshmen at the University of North Dakota.
Minor League Baseball Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer
Wright is tasked with growing the Minor League Baseball brand by overseeing all advertising, media, marketing, promotion, research, and business development efforts. In addition, Wright oversees the MiLB Project Brand initiative, designed to maximize enterprise value through integrated national and regional partnerships leveraging the power and overall scale of the 160 member clubs.
Wright joined Minor League Baseball in 2016 following more than a decade at Major League Soccer (MLS) and Soccer United Marketing (SUM), most recently as its Senior Vice President, Global Sponsorship. He oversaw new business efforts for the premier soccer properties in North America (including Major League Soccer, U.S. Soccer Federation and the Mexican National Team). Wright also managed a Partnership Marketing team tasked with day-to-day management, growth and retention of more than 40 MLS/SUM partners. Prior to leading global sponsorship efforts for MLS/SUM, Wright was Director of Fan Development, managing a department dedicated to connecting Major League Soccer to participants and key influencers within America's soccer community. From developing MLS' inaugural online fantasy game to creating a portfolio of diverse-minded initiatives, he was responsible for targeting key consumer segments through strategic development of League-wide grassroots programs, marketing partnerships and national affiliations.
In recent years, Wright has also been an adjunct professor and regular contributor to the New York University Graduate Sports Business program. A 2012 SportsBusiness Journal Forty Under 40 Award recipient, Wright earned a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from Indiana University and a Master of Science in sports management from the University of Massachusetts. Wright resides in St. Petersburg, Florida, with his wife, Jaren, and two kids, Braeden and Riley.