A Conversation With John Melleky
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A Conversation With John Melleky

With Fiesta® San Antonio kicking off this week, we are delighted to have John Melleky, Chief Executive Officer, tell us about this iconic event.
Before joining the Fiesta Commission, John was the Executive Director of the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists Foundation in Richmond, Va. He also founded 3fold consulting LLC, which provided event planning, association management and fundraising services for a variety of nonprofits.

While working with Veronica Whitehead & Co. as Operations Director, Melleky worked on conferences for Time Warner and MasterCard, and worked 10 years with the FORTUNE 500 Forum. He was also the Operations Director for Real Simple’s “Get Organized New York” Tag Sale in Central Park, which raised money for the New York City Fund for Public Schools.
Melleky volunteered for 17 years with the Richmond Christmas Parade, including serving as Chair from 2003 through 2007. Under his tenure, the 2007 Parade and Character Lunch were recognized with International Festivals and Events Association Southeastern Institute’s Silver Kaleidoscope Award.

John has a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Richmond and an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University and is a member of the International Festivals and Events Association and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. 

Fiesta® San Antonio is a two-week long festival held every April consisting of 100 events run by 100 different nonprofit organizations. With 3.6 million attendees, it is one of the largest annual festivals in the United States. The event has a long history, starting in 1891 to honor the heroes of the Battle of San Jacinto and The Alamo. John talks about how Fiesta® has capitalized on ‘accidental’ happenings to make the event unique, special and a large part of the city’s culture – and not just in April! He gives great insight into sponsorship cultivation and retention for events. 

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Key Episode Moments:

  1. 8:34 - Find out how Fiesta® has become so iconic and such a part of families’ lives, that they plan their vacations around it!
  2. 13:30 - Merchandise is very successful for Fiesta®, creating a year-round spirit that keeps Fiesta® relevant and in people’s minds. 
  3. 14:00 - The poster contest for the event builds excitement annually and creates a collectible item that starts the Fiesta® spirit and keeps it going throughout the year. 
  4. 18:18 - When thinking about change, the Fiesta® Board wanted to get the event known nationwide, so a large task has been building a national, and international, identity. 
  5. 20:35 - Be creative! Utilizing an advertising co-op works for Fiesta® because the small non-profits cannot afford to effectively advertise on their own, but collectively these small organizations can get big results. 
  6. 22:44 - Creating custom packages based on each sponsor’s goals and objectives is key to converting a sponsor into a long-term PARTNER! 
  7. 27:50 - Finding ideas for marketing can be as simple as checking out gift shops for merchandise as well as looking to other large and small events to see what is working for them. Take ideas and put your own twist on it to fit with your event.
  8. 30:10 - Having a robust website with an organized wealth of information and capabilities is key to helping people build their own Fiesta® experience and make the most of the event.

John's Organizations

International Festivals & Events Associations
Association of Fundraising Professionals
The Amplifier is brought to you by Saffire in cooperation with IAFE, IFEA, IAVM and WFA. For more information or feedback, please contact info@saffire.com.

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