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.
"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
Co-Chief Executive Officer
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
Tackle Kids Cancer
"In 2015, we asked Bendigo to take a fresh look at our marketing strategies, and help us build our organization’s brand through Sports Marketing and Corporate Partnerships. Jeff and his team delivered the strategy for our “Northwest Healthy” initiative, then built upon it through marketing and business alliances including the Seattle Sounders, Mariners and Coca-Cola, making a measurable impact that resonated with consumers, our partners, and our employees well beyond our traditional service areas. Bendigo also led our participation in the Seattle Seahawks 2017 “NFL Crucial Catch - Intercept Cancer” program as part of our strategic alliance with Virginia Mason, and continues to support our efforts by forging new innovative partnerships with great brands here in the Pacific Northwest."
Senior VP / Chief Strategy Officer
CHI Franciscan Health
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.
Stacy joined Bendigo to create our west coast office. She resides in Seattle focusing on work for CHI Franciscan Health and Cedars Sinai.
Stacy has worked in sports since 2000, most recently with Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer in corporate partnerships. She excels at connecting local and national brands with best-in-class sports properties to elevate both through activation, exposure, and earned media. Stacy’s sports marketing experience includes work in Major League Soccer (Sounders FC and Columbus Crew), NCAA at the University of Washington Athletic Department and in the NBA with the Seattle Sonics.
When Stacy isn’t at a sporting event, she spends her time outdoors with her family or with her two Bernese Mountain Dogs, Tag and Chase. She shows, trains and breeds Bernese with having the success of owning the #1 Bernese Mountain Dog who won at the famous Westminster Kennel Club dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2017.
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.
After honing his skills in experiential and digital marketing and brand partnerships at jobs both oversees and in NYC, Mike joined the Bendigo team in 2013, leading the charge as our clients expanded into a digital world. Mike LaPorta brings almost a decade of experiential marketing, paired with his natural high energy and “can do” outlook, he served as the lead for a number of our clients.
Prior to his time at Bendigo, Mike worked on LivingSocial’s “Experiences” team, after spending several years growing a small niche tourism concept into one of the leading youth tour operators in Europe.
Mike is currently serving as an oversees ambassador of Bendigo, currently on a yearlong world tour, while working remotely on select projects.
Bendigo saw the need for a research tool dedicated to the convergence of Sports and Healthcare, so they teamed up with Turnkey Intelligence, one of the sports industry's leading research organizations to develop, "Strata".
American Healthcare Leader, a print and digital publication for leading healthcare executives, recently ran a story on Bendigo's Strata Research platform.
Bendigo had the pleasure of attending and being a product sponsor at the 2017 Healthcare Marketing and Physicians Strategy Summit, held in Austin, TX, this past May. Bendigo was not only the bag sponsor of the event, but was also asked to participate in the Forum's quarterly issue of their Healthcare Strategy Alert publication. Bendigo's CEO, Jeff Sofka, speaks to the best practices for hospitals navigating the world of sports partnerships.
Strategic Healthcare Marketing, an online and print news source for health care executives, recently featured Bendigo, CEO, Jeff Sofka, sharing how one hospital supported their community health programs through their fitness and wellness center.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Tackle Kids Cancer partnered with the New York Red Bulls to take over the match versus Philadelphia Union on September 17, 2017. For the opening ceremony, 22 patients, their siblings and friends escorted the players onto the pitch while 3 giant gold "Tackle Kids Cancer" banners were held by patient's family members and Hackensack University Medical Center employees. Dr. Burt Appel from the children's hospital was also present to perform the opening coin toss. Throughout the match, there were gold goalie nets, gold cleats, and the players wore gold patches while stadium staff wore gold "Tackle Kids Cancer" shirts for Childhood Cancer.
In 2016, New York Giants Quarterback Eli manning and Tackle Kids Cancer launched Eli's Challenge, an initiative in which Manning generously matches grassroots donations to TKC up to $100,000. Last year, Eli's Challenge energized the TKC community, motivating hundreds of groups to join the fight against pediatric cancer. With Manning's $100,000 match, more than $250,000 was raised to advance education, research and discovery in the search for a cure against this life-threatening disease. Manning and Tackle Kids Cancer recently honored its outstanding community group partners at the TKC All Stars Awards Show. Hosted by NBC4's Bruce Beck, hundreds of TKC supporters who fundraised for us, joined current and former sports legends, including Eli Manning, NY Giants Legend Shaun O'Hara, Knicks Legend John Starks, and New York Red Bulls Goalie Luis Robles.
In 2016, Eli Manning became the first Giants player to be honored as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. He was co-awarded this honor alongside Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald. Eli's has been Tackle Kids Cancer's most valuable player form the creation of Eli's Challenge driving community support, to spending time with Hackensack Meridian Health's patients while they are in the hospital. His continued commitment helped raise over 5 million dollars for the organization.
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-
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.