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Lindsay Labas is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at 500 Festival, Inc. Lindsay started with the 500 Festival in September 2022, and prior to that, she worked with Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation as their Marketing Director for 14 years. Lindsay said she’s always “had a passion for helping others and having a role where I make an impact on the community,” so it makes perfect sense that she has chosen to join the 500 Festival team.
The 500 Festival is a non-profit community organization that was created in 1957 to “organize civic events celebrating the greatest race in the world,” the Indianapolis 500.
We caught up with Lindsay to find out how her first season with the 500 Festival is going, and what advice she has for women who are interested in getting into the marketing field.
You are the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at 500 Festival, Inc. Can you tell us more about what your job entails?
In my role as VP of Marketing and Communications with the 500 Festival, I develop comprehensive integrated marking plans and strategies for each of our programs and events, identify opportunities for growth and increase ticket sales/registrations, and work directly with media on personal interest stories, interviews, and broadcasts. I have the honor to work with an in-house marketing team on enhancing our communications to our participants, ticket buyers, and interest lists through a multitude of platforms.
This is your first year with the 500 Festival during the month of May. What has it been like so far this year getting ready for all of the festivities?
We are a small but mighty team here at the 500 Festival. Some of the highs throughout the Month of May have been seeing all the hard work come to fruition on event days. While I’ve only been here since September, many on this team have had two years with only virtual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeing their faces – as well as all our participants and volunteers – light up as the events occur has been memorable.
Are there any new 500 Festival events or activities that people should be aware of this year?
There are no new offerings this year, but different from the past two years, all our events are back in-person.
We have two more events remaining in May – The American Legion 500 Festival Memorial Service (May 26 at 4:00 p.m.) and the AES 500 Festival Parade (May 28 at 11:45 a.m.). Tickets are still available for the Parade and may be purchased at 500Festival.com/Parade.
Stay tuned to 500festival.com and our social platforms for information on our other events throughout the year.
What aspect of the 500 Festival are you most excited about this year, and why?
My favorite event thus far has been the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. As a runner myself, I had all the feels that day, both from the event side, as well as knowing what the runners and walkers were feeling that day. I am so proud of each and every participant that set out to accomplish their goals that they trained so hard for. Seeing the participants cross that finish line was so emotional for me.
This feeling then rolled into the Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase Kids’ Day & Rookie Run. It was incredible seeing roughly 35,000 families enjoying a free day on Monument Circle, and roughly 1,000 youth participating in the Rookie Run.
It’s hard to sum up in just a few sentences the impact the 500 Festival has on this community.
What advice would you give other women who would like to work in event-related marketing?
Give it a try! Being a marketer in the event industry is fulfilling and rewarding. Marketing roles have the benefit of being both behind-the-scenes – planning, brainstorming, and developing – and in the forefront – engaging with attendees, interviewing with media, and experiencing everything. Not only do you get to see the number of people that attend your events, but you have the opportunity to engage directly with them as they experience your brand first-hand. What better a way to hear, see, and learn from your audience than up front?
Also, don’t be afraid to network now before you get into the industry. I’d encourage you to attend events to see which type you have a passion for. It’s okay to start up a conversation with event organizers and hear from them what they like about the industry. Meeting new people now and being involved in the event industry may help create new opportunity for you in the future.
Stephanie Groves is the Executive Editor of Indy Maven.