As former NFL and sports marketing agency execs who unexpectedly found themselves building and managing a major health care system brand, we’ve been energized by the natural convergence of health care and sports, and have dedicated Bendigo to bringing the two worlds together. We’re developing and executing strategies in support of top health care systems, building their partnerships with top sports properties, and helping them build their brands and businesses.
As Founder and Principal of Bendigo Co., Jeff Sofka has had the privilege of serving some of the world’s greatest companies, driving brand asset development, management and execution. Jeff has generated hundreds of $Millions in new revenue and share value as a Senior Marketing Executive for the following industry leading companies:
Jeff enjoys spending time with his family and playing music with his 80s tribute band “Martha Quinn College.” He has created and produced many local music events including Ridgewood Unplugged, which have raised more than $75,000 for a range of charities.
Mike LaPorta enhances the brands of Bendigo Co.’s top clients through strategic event marketing, sponsorship activation, and increased digital presence.
Mike has developed experiential and digital marketing strategies for international companies such as LivingSocial and Bus2alps (Europe’s #1 student tour operator). These tactics generated exponential growth in revenue and brand awareness for both companies.
Mike enjoys being outdoors, spending his time hiking, camping, playing in numerous NYC Co-Ed sports leagues, and snowboarding. Mike also is a travel junky, having visited over 60 countries across 6 continents (come on Antarctica!).
Lisa Donofrio recently joined the team to manage Bendigo Co.’s newest asset, Strata Powered by Turnkey Intelligence, a research platform which measures the convergence of sports and healthcare related industries.
Lisa spent over 18 years in the financial services industry, developing and activating key strategic partnerships with top financial institutions and their investments across professional sports and entertainment. Through the integration of marketing programs, branding, and research, she supported their credit card portfolios to increase revenue and profitability. After having her second child, Lisa left the banking world and launched a successful event planning business in Manhattan, where she managed both events and long term clients, generating significant revenue growth each year.
After living and working in NYC for over 20 years, Lisa’s family recently made the move to the NJ suburbs, where she is raising her two daughters with her husband. When not racing to various sports activities on the weekend, Lisa enjoys boxing and yoga. Lisa is also very active with JDRF in support of her oldest daughter, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age seven. In just six years, Lisa and her family have raised over $135K, via yearly JDRF Walks, to support type 1 diabetes research.
Aleyna Yamaguchi is a Seattle native transplanted to the east coast to fulfill her passion of working in the sports industry by supporting the enhancement of Bendigo Co.'s clients. A recent Master of Jurisprudence graduate from the University of Washington School of Law, Aleyna has expanded her experience by working in an NFL accredited agency (Focus Sports Agency), assisting agents to get their football players signed to teams such as, the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and Denver Broncos. While supporting the players in the agency, Aleyna also supported her home team by working for the Seattle Seahawks, providing high-class service under the Fan Development Department.
As a former competitive gymnast, Aleyna enjoys being active and spends her time running, hiking, and boxing. When she is not spending her free time out and about, she always loves to travel - visiting Italy, France and other European countries as often as she can.
"We made the right call trusting Bendigo with the critical task of leading the rebrand of Hackensack University Medical Center and its burgeoning Health Network. By 2011 we had already evolved from a respected community hospital into a world-class research and academic institution at the center of a new Health Network - but needed a new brand positioning to personify and amplify our accomplishments and trajectory. Bendigo moved their practice “in-house”, assembling and leading the strategic and creative teams and crystallizing the vision for the new identity, uniting our executive team, board members, physicians, outside agencies and business partners, delivering a bold and game-changing rebrand that put our organization on a path for unprecedented growth and brand leadership."
ROBERT C. GARRETT
President & CEO
Hackensack Meridian Health Network
"The HackensackUMC Foundation had a vision to transform our fundraising partnership with the New York Giants, and we turned to Jeff and his team to help us bring it to life. Bendigo signed on as Agency of Record for the project and helped us create www.TackleKidsCancer.org, taking a leadership role with the many agencies, media partners, sponsors and partners who helped make the program a success. Bendigo was liaison between the Giants, HackensackUMC and the Foundation, and helped us create, launch and flawlessly roll-out the new cause marketing program in record time, on budget, and raising more than $1,000,000 for the campaign in our first four months. The program was built to last and will continue to generate needed funds for the Children’s Cancer Institute at HackensackUMC until we finally tackle kids’ cancer."
EVP & Chief Development Officer
On January 24th, Eli Manning was announced as a Walter Payton Man of the Year finalist during the AFC Championship game (32 rating). Eli’s involvement with the Tackle Kids Cancer program, was a key driving force for his nomination as a finalist. The announcement was re-broadcast during the NFC Championship game, exposing 99 million viewers to Tackle Kids Cancer over these two games alone. The announcement has since been picked up by the Associated Press, ESPN, NBC Sports, in additional to tens of millions of impressions on social media.
To view the full coverage, click here.
As the healthcare industry has been rapidly shifting marketing plans to focus on new media and larger partnerships, non-hospital focused partnerships, the existing tools to evaluate ROI and brand lift for hospitals have lacked up to date tools and metrics to calculate valuable information, like the “transfer of trust” from a pro sports team to a hospital in the mind of consumers.
Struggling to find a proper solution for our clients, we teamed up with Turnkey Intelligence, one of the industry leaders in sponsorship evaluation to develop create Bendigo Strata Powered by Turnkey Intelligence. Strata is a unique tool to evaluate hospital partnership deals. This tool will help hospitals as they emerge into the sports industry, allowing our clients, and other networks optimize and maximize the tangible and intangible assets obtained through these partnerships.
The New York Giants are ready to tackle at all times, and so will the kids at the Joseph M. Sanzari building within HackensackUMC. The Giants have partnered with Tackle Kids Cancer to help raise money for pediatric cancer research.
Read the full article here.