The 500 Festival has hired Francene Costello as director, foundation and special projects. She will oversee fundraising initiatives and development, manage the celebrity program, manage corporate hospitality, and provide programming support to enhance events. Costello previously spent 16 years at the United States Tennis Association and the U.S. Open in New York City. During her tenure at the USTA, she produced all live musical performances and ceremonies on court including 9/11 tributes, renaming of the tennis facility and inductions of former champions into the hall of fame. She worked with the USTA Foundation on their opening night gala and pro-am event during the tournament. Costello also created the first ever U.S. Open Concert, transformed a portion of Times Square into a tennis court and led the charge to create a child anthem singer program with auditions at Radio City Music Hall. Cassidy Howell has been named program and event coordinator for the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo, Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and the 500 Festival vending program. She is a graduate of IUPUI with a Certificate in Events Management. After graduation, Howell completed an internship with the 500 Festival as a program and events intern with a focus on the IPL 500 Festival Parade. Following her internship with the 500 Festival, she completed a Professional Internship with the Walt Disney Company in Youth Events Sales. She worked with youth programs including Disney Performing Arts and Festival Disney. Jeff Yoder has been appointed digital media coordinator. In this position, he will serve as the primary creator of social media and web content for 500Festival.com and IndyMini.com, as well as other communication pieces. Yoder is a 2014 graduate of Taylor University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Sport Management and Public Relations. He began his career with Indiana Sports Corp as a communications intern before earning the role of communications assistant where he handled ISC’s social media and web content in 2014-2015. Yoder has assisted in media operations at numerous ISC and Indianapolis-based events, including three Big Ten Football Championships, the 2015 NCAA Men’s Final Four, and 2016 NCAA Women’s Final Four. Most recently, Yoder earned his Master’s Degree in Sports Journalism from IUPUI in 2016 while serving as a graduate assistant in sports information for the Jaguars’ athletic department. He also acts as the seasonal beat writer for the Indiana Fever of the WNBA in a part-time role. Lauren Coyle has been promoted to event and program manager. After starting with the 500 Festival as an intern, Coyle joined the staff full-time in 2014. As the manager of the 500 Festival Education and KidsFit programs, she has guided record-setting growth of the education initiatives in back-to-back years. The Education Program, presented by IU Health, will reach more than 26,000 4th grade students in 2017 while more than 14,000 students will participate in the KidsFit Program.
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