Alexander Group’s 2017 Strategy Forum


Keynote Speakers

Eric Johnson

EVP, Global Advertising Revenue & Sales Operations

Eric Johnson is the EVP of Global Advertising Revenue & Sales Operations. In this role, he leads the U.S. and international multimedia ad sales team efforts. Eric is responsible for all sales activity across all of ESPN’s businesses, including the ESPN television networks, ESPN Print and Digital Media, X Games, ESPN Syndication Events, ESPN Audio, ESPN Deportes, and espnW. Outside of the U.S., he works directly with ESPN’s sales offices in Buenos Aires, São Paulo, London, Singapore, Sydney and Miami, Fla., to drive revenue for ESPN’s international properties.

In 2008, Eric was named #25 on the Mediaweek 50, a list of “the most indispensable executives shaping the future of media,” and was CABLE-FAX’s 2010 VP & Above Sales Person of the Year (Honorable Mention). Additionally, under his leadership, ESPN’s multimedia sales teams have been honored by a 2012 Jack Myers survey that ranked ESPN’s #1 among TV sales organizations (tied with ABC). This follows a recognition in 2008 from min (Media Industry Newsletter), which named Eric’s team the “Multiplatform Sales Team of the Year.”

Currently, Johnson sits on the board of directors for IAB and MPA. He is also on the advisory board for VIDEONOMICS.

Eric’s tenure at ESPN began in 1999, where he served as an account executive for West Coast account television sales. In 2003, as a vice president of national ad sales, he took over management of the West Coast television sales team and served as senior vice president of multimedia sales, overseeing offices in Burbank and San Francisco, Calif. from 2006-2007.

Prior to joining ESPN, Johnson worked at TIME magazine in Los Angeles, following a term of service on the advertising agency side of the business. From 1992-1999, he worked as a media planning/strategist executive at Deustch LA; Grey Advertising; and Foote, Cone & Belding.

Mr. Johnson graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.


Sal Patalano

Chief Revenue Officer
Lenovo Software

Sal Patalano began his career as an associate director at the University of Miami where he co-founded the Microcomputer Institute in the School of Continuing Studies.

As a serial entrepreneur he founded his first IT company, which focused on developing and publishing software for Apple’s revolutionary Macintosh personal computer in 1983. After selling that company in 1988, he spent time as a consultant within the software distribution industry. Starting in 1990, Sal co-founded the first of several IT companies focused exclusively on the resale and integration of IBM software.

As one of IBM’s first software channel partners in the early 90s, his company delivered mainframe- and AS400-based solutions across multiple market segments and industries. Coinciding with IBM’s formation of Software Group in the mid-1990s, he went on to build, lead and sell a succession of successful system integration businesses prior to joining IBM as a professional hire in 2007. As a worldwide vice president he held sales, channel, operational and transformational roles.

In 2014, Patalano moved into a channel leadership role for CA Technologies as vice president global marketing, where he was responsible for all channel and business partner-marketing activities.

In his current role as chief revenue officer for Lenovo Software, Sal leads global sales and marketing and is chartered with building a high margin software and solution business within Lenovo.


Beth Ann Vaughn

Vice President, Worldwide SaaS Sales & GTM Transformation
IBM Cognitive Solutions

Beth Ann Vaughn is currently leading IBM’s SaaS transformation as VP, Worldwide SaaS Sales & Transformation in the Cognitive Solutions Unit. In this strategic role, she is driving the overall go-to-market strategy for IBM’s Software as a Service portfolio. This includes introducing new sales roles, compensation plans, incentives, tools, customer programs and business processes for the direct sales force.

Beth Ann also has oversight of IBM Software’s contracting process and maintaining the security & privacy posture for the portfolio. She also works with the product development, support and delivery teams to ensure that SaaS offerings are competitive and continuously bring exceptional business value to LOB clients.

Formerly, Beth Ann was director, worldwide sales execution & strategy for Industry Solutions, a $2B+ IBM Unit with over 2000 sales professionals. This was a chief of staff-type role for the vice president of IS sales and included running sales operations, enablement, incentives, and M&A (case development, planning and integration). Her M&A project experience included Coremetrics, Unica, i2 Group, Cúram, Emptoris, Tealeaf, DemandTec, Xtify, Deaja, StoredIQ, and Silver Pop.

Vaughn also led global Industry Software sales as a director in retail, CP and T&T from 2006 to 2010 with specific leadership responsibility for shaping industry business solutions and frameworks. The distribution sector grew from $1.0B to 1.4B during this time based on annualized revenue.

Throughout her career, Beth Ann has held a wide range of sales, marketing and leadership roles within IBM, the majority across various Fortune 100 Retail and Global Automotive accounts.

Vaughn earned her B.S. degree in mathematics from Michigan State University.


Executive Panelists

Adam Bleifeld

Senior Vice President of Sales

Adam Bleifeld has spent the majority of his career in a variety of sales and sales management roles.

He started his career in the media industry as the NY advertising director of Newsweek Magazine. Subsequently, he served as head of sales for WOBI – The World Business Forum.

For the past several years, Bleifeld has focused on digital software solution sales, initially as a client partner at Globant, a new breed of technology service provider delivering innovative software products and an improved digital customer experience to global audiences.

Currently, Adam serves as the senior vice president of sales for Softvision, a premier global provider of digital solutions, mobility, analytics, merchandise planning, in-store engagements and quality assurance for hundreds of companies worldwide.

Bleifeld’s specialties include generating new revenue paths, cloud-based software, SaaS, solution sales, custom IT solutions, experiential and innovative sales strategy, and business development.

Lee Brown

Chief Revenue Officer

Lee Brown is chief revenue officer of BuzzFeed where he leads all U.S. advertising revenue, client services and advertising operations.

Lee came to BuzzFeed from Tumblr and Groupon where he built their national sales organizations from scratch and secured a number of key accounts.

Before that, Brown spent 10 years at Yahoo, beginning as a senior account executive and advancing to vice president of East Coast sales. His regional sales team generated close to half of Yahoo’s North America media revenue from customers in every industry vertical and across search, video, mobile and social advertising.

Mr. Brown currently serves on the board of the Ad Council and is an occasional guest lecturer at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.


Melinda Lee Ferguson

Senior Vice President, North America Sales
CA Technologies

Melinda Lee Ferguson is SVP North America Sales at CA Technologies (CA). She is charged with leading the CA North America team to drive results with new CA customers leveraging CA solutions to deliver on the core demands of digital transformation in the application economy. As a member of CA’s senior leadership team based in New York, she has full profit and loss responsibility for all customer-facing aspects of CA Technologies’ Named/Growth business across North America.

Melinda joined CA in 1998 in Denver, Colorado and has over 18 years of experience in sales and senior sales leadership roles at CA Technologies. Just prior to her current role, Melinda was general manager and senior vice president of the United Kingdom and Ireland, based in London. In that role she was responsible for delivering results with both established and emerging customer markets across the U.K. Prior roles at CA Technologies included SVP – North America Customer Portfolio Management based in New York; and earlier, SVP and area general manager of the North Area for CA Technologies, responsible for leading the efforts of CA’s sales force in CA’s Greater North Sales Area based out of Chicago. Previously she held roles of Vice President of area sales for New York, VP of North America Infrastructure Management Solutions, and VP of Southeast Gulf Coast Region. Melinda also had several sales director and sales positions, and started her career at CA as a customer service representative.

During her tenure at CA, Melinda has been based in Denver, Houston, Atlanta, New York, Chicago and London—and is now back in New York.

In both the U.K. and the U.S. Melinda has been actively involved with organizations whose missions are to close the opportunity divide by providing young urban adults with skills, experience and support that will empower them to reach their potential, including The Prince’s Trust, Year Up, and Pencil. In addition, Melinda has been a strong supporter of Tech Girls Rock with the Boys and Girls Club of America, which helps girls discover and cultivate an interest in IT and ultimately STEM educational opportunities and careers. Melinda has also been an active participant in Springboard, a network of innovators, investors and influencers dedicated to building high-growth technology-oriented companies led by women.

Melinda graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor of Science in business.


Sean Giancola

Chief Revenue Officer
New York Post

As chief revenue officer, Sean leads the NY POST’s commercial business units, all operations (print, digital, revenue management, national sales, corporate development, marketing and pricing), cross/internal–divisional platforms, and partnerships. He oversees the company’s (and its affiliated divisions’) revenue-producing units, digital operations, finance and business development, as well as leading the company’s national advertising sales, marketing, strategy and new market expansion.

Giancola is a publishing and digital leader with 20+ years of integrated media and sales management experience across multiple categories and territories. He built successful sales teams, marketing organizations and business units focusing on delivering Fortune 1000 solution-based, cross-platform advertising programs for top clients.

Prior to joining the NY Post, Sean led multiple teams responsible for AOL’s sales efforts in key markets including NY, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta. These teams spanned across AOL’s portfolio of content marketing, native solutions, mobile, social, technology/programmatic and video products. During his tenure, Giancola built sub-category specific strategies teaming with cross-functional groups in sales, product, business development, marketing and research. His teams successfully leveraged all AOL assets including owned and operated sites, programmatic technologies and platforms, mobile, video, production and native formats.

Giancola received his B.S. in marketing from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.


Marty Hollerbach

Area Vice President – Eastern U.S. & Canada

Marty Hollerbach is an accomplished executive with 25+ years in sales and sales management positions in the technology industry. During his career, his focus was on significant increases in sales productivity, market penetration and new account development producing results that consistently exceeded annual business objectives.

In his current role, Marty leads a team of vice presidents and account executives for SAP’s cloud and commerce solutions covering Eastern U.S., Canada and specialized industries for North America.

Hollerbach was selected to lead the CEC (Customer Engagement & Commerce) Program which is the foundation for interesting things SAP is doing with their customers. In addition to impacting their customers’ clients through solutions that enable improved sales and service, SAP is offering proactive marketing efforts to its customers through marketing software for intelligent targeting and messaging. Lastly, commerce solution offerings allow customers to more effectively provide a platform that encourages internet commerce and minimizes cart abandonment.

Prior to SAP, Marty served as the VP of East Strategic Enterprise accounts for Salesforce where he led sales of platform Cloud software solutions throughout global enterprise client companies.

During a previous five-year tenure at Oracle, Hollerbach was the area vice president for global strategic accounts and area VP for the Central Region. At New World Systems (a privately held $100M ERP software provider), he grew new account and professional services revenue nationally as a VP of U.S. sales.

Prior to this, Marty served in various management roles, including vice president sales at Lucent Technologies, vice president of sales at Sequent Computer Systems, and vice president of sales at Unisys.

Marty’s specialized areas of expertise include successful turnaround of business operations, strategic planning, sales leadership, focused customer strategies and initiatives, and team building. He received his degree in marketing at Michigan State University.


Marta Martinez

Chief Revenue Officer
Intersection Co.
(Former SVP of Advertising – AOL)

In her current role, Marta Martinez drives revenue across Intersection as it scales its growing digital media portfolio (including LinkNYC, LinkUK and the MTA New York City Transit On-the-Go kiosks) to new solutions, products and markets globally.

Marta brings more than 15 years of leadership experience in digital advertising and media to her role. Prior to Intersection, Martinez enjoyed a long tenure at AOL in senior management roles including: global head of video sales, senior vice president of advertising and head of sales strategy & operations.

Previously, Marta served as an advisor of Innovid where she led and managed sales strategy and operations functions for AOL Advertising, including business operations and planning, design of innovative sales force effectiveness initiatives, and the development and packaging of advertising solutions for clients. At HAVAS–one of the top three global agency holding companies–she managed global business development as an executive vice president and as global senior vice president of partnerships & product development at HAVAS Digital. Marta led management teams on identifying and implementing strategic partnerships, organic investments and acquisitions.

Martinez is an industry veteran and has a wealth of experience in the interactive advertising space and a recognized perspective on industry innovation.

She served as chief marketing officer and as senior vice president of operations & business development at MediaMath–where she focused on helping media and data partners activate and monetize their assets via its TerminalOne™ platform. This made MediaMath accessible to dozens of agencies that have adopted the platform to power media trading efforts.

She also previously served as an AVP at Marchfirst in their Media, Entertainment and Technology practice and a management consultant at Cluster Consulting. There she led numerous engagements in the media, publishing and telecom industries across Europe. Prior to this she was a management consultant at the firm in the U.S. and Cluster in Europe, where her observations and insights were sought by clients including The Walt Disney Company, AT&T, Universal Studios, Aprilia, Planeta Publishing and the city of Bilbao.

Martinez served as a member of the board of advisors at Integral Ad Science, Inc. (also known as AdSafe Media Inc.)

Marta earned her MBA from Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University and Master of Science in business administration from ESADE in Barcelona.


Lisa Valentino

Chief Revenue Officer, Industry & Agency
Condé Nast

Lisa Valentino was named chief revenue officer, industry & agency of Condé Nast in January 2017. In this role, Valentino leads the company’s chief industry officers in an effort to accelerate Condé Nast’s revenue growth within industries, strengthen relationships with large agency partners to generate new models, and grow Condé Nast’s data and programmatic efforts.

Most recently, Valentino served as senior vice president, network sales and partnerships for Condé Nast, and chief revenue officer of Condé Nast Entertainment (CNé), a division of Condé Nast that focuses on the development, production, and distribution of original television, feature film and digital video offerings based on the company’s iconic media brands. Prior to joining Condé Nast, Valentino served as senior vice president, multimedia sales at ESPN. In that role, she managed over a billion dollars in revenue by selling multimedia programs across ESPN’s portfolio, which includes both domestic and international television, digital, live-event and print platform. Previously, Valentino served in a number of senior executive positions in ad sales at the company. Valentino joined ESPN from Yahoo!, where she managed video ad sales for several content verticals. Prior to Yahoo!, Valentino was a media buyer at Televest where she worked on the P&G account.

Valentino has been named to Advertising Age’s annual “Women to Watch” list, the “40 Under 40” list by Sports Business Journal and was recognized by CableFAX on their “Most Powerful Women in Cable” list. She holds various roles within the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Online Publishers Association.