2018 Sponsorship Summit

Driving successful partnerships through new opportunities, strategies and experiences


Dawn Turner

Director - Marketing and Brand Management

Oklahoma City Thunder

Dawn Turner joined the Oklahoma City Thunder organization in 2014 as director, marketing & brand management, where she guides all Thunder marketing, advertising, retail and promotional initiatives, with an emphasis on enhancing programs that engage fans in all areas of the Thunder experience. Her role also includes oversight of the team’s graphic design department, licensing and positioning of the Thunder brand and identity. Prior to joining the Thunder, Turner spent more than seven years handling entertainment and sports marketing for American Airlines. While at American her primary responsibilities included overseeing all entertainment properties including American Airlines Center in Dallas, American Airlines Arena in Miami, several sports teams across the major leagues and product integration for TV and major motion pictures. Before her time at American, Turner served as director of corporate communications & community relations for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks where she was responsible for the business side of the club’s public relations efforts, including marketing, sponsorship, ticket sales, the team’s Web site, mavs.com, and the Mark Cuban Foundation’s Fallen Patriot Fund, as well as the team’s community relations programs and the Dallas Mavericks Foundation. She got her career start with the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA Tour) where she served as media director and handled media relations and events at tournament sites. Born and raised in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Turner obtained her bachelor’s degree in sports medicine from The University of Akron in 1996 and her master’s degree in sport administration from Kent State University in 1998. Turner currently resides in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband, Kevin, daughter, Siri, and son, Finn.

Vickie Saunders


The Sponsorship Consultants

As founder of The Sponsorship Consultants, Vickie has been at the forefront of changing the landscape of sport focused sponsorship globally. Her unique methodology ensures organisations are guided by their vision and values, and that their sponsorship arrangements support commercial, cultural and community objectives. Vickie works all both sides of the sponsorship table with government agencies, Olympic committees, brands such as ASICS, Shimano, Deloitte and a range of local and national businesses, as well as with sponsorship seekers such as the Australian Parachute Federation, Aspire Academy, events and small businesses. Vickie supports her clients to establish strategy and implement plans that often involve multiple stakeholders and a range of objectives. Vickie travels the world working with clients on a diverse range of projects and regularly speaks at events including the Asia Pacific Economic Forum (APEC), US Olympic Committee Summit, and the Australian Sports Commission Summit.

Milly Helmsley

Project Manager

Haier Big Hoot Auckland 2018

Milly Hemsley is a business consultant with a wealth of experience in marketing, event management, sponsorship, project management and business development. Over the past 25+ years she has worked in the banking, IT, telecommunications, event management and charity sectors for both corporates and SMEs, including work for ASB, NZ Post and Cable & Wireless (UK). Milly’s last role was as a Project Manager for the Child Cancer Foundation, managing the biggest free public art trail to swoop in to Auckland in 2018. The Haier Big Hoot art trail featured over 100 giant owl sculptures designed by artists and Auckland schools. Each large owl had been turned into a bespoke piece of art by a Kiwi or international artist, with works by Dick Frizzell, Jeff Thompson, Flox, Peata Larkin, Grace Wright, and more. The artist owls were auctioned at the end of the trail to raise vital funds for the Child Cancer Foundation to support children with cancer and their families raising over $380,000.

Mildie Meyer-Els

Mildie Meyer-Els is a sponsorship and activation consultant and contractor. She has extensive experience in sponsorship, events and brand activation. She recently finished a high profile sponsorship role at Barfoot & Thompson after 7 years in the role. Highlights during this time included several projects for the Starship Foundation, the World Masters Games 2017, Fast 5 netball tournament and many more. Having worked on sponsorships ranging from small to large budgets, she understands how to make the most of opportunities regardless of the budget. Money should not be an obstacle to a job done well. Mildie has presented on sponsorship at several conferences, and is passionate about the power sponsorships and events can bring to a brand.
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