Our Team

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Jeff Benton

Co-Founder & CEO
Jeff Benton has more than 23 years of experience developing marketing, business growth and partnership programs for a diverse range of organizations—from professional sports teams and leagues to international networks of CEOs and business executives. Throughout his career, Benton has built relationships with corporate leaders with many of the world’s premier brands. Benton’s diverse background also includes running professional sporting events and overseeing programs that include professional athletes, coaches and entertainers. Benton is currently the President and Founder of Link Strategy Group, a Business Growth Firm that provides strategic marketing and business development services to a diverse group of clients. The firm is focused on working with companies that provide innovative solutions to the marketplace and that are characterized by their passionate leadership. Link Strategy Group utilizes its experience to help clients grow their revenue through a variety of methods. These include developing sales channels within Link’s extensive network, structuring co-marketing and strategic partnerships, establishing sponsorships, and executing strategic events ranging from CEO Roundtables to Conferences. The Link Strategy Group team has developed business growth programs directly for world-class organizations including AEG, YPO-WPO, Barclays, Inspirato, Jet Linx, SAP, Aon, NFL Players Association, Vistage, USTA, MLB.com Digital Academy, Xanterra, PGA TOUR and LPGA TOUR. Prominent events and programs that the Link Strategy Group team has either developed or implemented strategic marketing and partnership programs for include the YPO Global Leadership Conferences in Toronto, Sydney, Miami, Denver, Singapore, Istanbul and Los Angeles, SAP Studios, Vistage CEO Conference, Super Bowl Week, US Open Tennis, PGA TOUR Championship Management and NFL CEO Roundtables. Prior to founding Link Strategy Group, Benton created the worldwide alliance and sponsorship program for Young Presidents’ Organization, a network of more than 21,000 global business leaders who are dedicated to lifelong leadership. One of his primary responsibilities included the cultivation of strategic partnerships that would increase YPO’s value as an integral part of its members’ professional and personal lives. As a result of his efforts, the organization now boasts a collection of partnerships with some of the world’s leading brands that offer unparalleled benefit programs and opportunities exclusively to YPO’s members. Before joining YPO, Benton served as director of business development and strategic alliances for Exclusive Resorts, the world’s largest destination club. In this role, Benton led the club’s sports and entertainment division and was responsible for developing relationships with leading management agencies and sports entities, including the NFL Players Association and the NBA Players Association, as well as individual athletes, coaches and entertainers. Earlier in his career, Benton was managing director of sales and corporate partnerships for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and US Open. He also previously served as national sales director for the PGA TOUR, where he established corporate sponsorship programs and developed the Premier Partnership program. Benton served in similar capacities, and oversaw sales, marketing and public relations for the Colorado Rapids, a Major League Soccer team, and for RHB Ventures, a prominent sports and entertainment management firm. Over the years, Benton has received numerous awards and recognition for his marketing, events and sponsorship programs. Benton received his bachelor's degree from Emory University in Atlanta but currently lives in Santa Monica. Benton has a strong interest in professional and personal leadership and is currently developing programs for CEOs, professional athletes and young adults that teach them how to reach their full potential.  He served as the Chairman on the Challenge Denver Board and also served on the Challenge Day and Denver Sports Commission Boards. Benton was also member of Colorado Succeeds Advisory Board and member of Entrepreneurs' Organization in the Colorado Chapter.

Brett Weinroth

Managing Director, Link Consulting
Brett Weinroth is Managing Director of Link Strategy Group and leads the firm’s Washington, DC practice. He brings more than 20 years of experience generating top-line revenue growth and building strategic marketing partnerships in a wide range of industries and is focused on building Link’s naming rights, sponsorship and sports consulting business. Throughout his career, Weinroth has represented some of Octagon’s most visible clients and properties, led the global corporate sponsorship portfolio for the Worldwide Senior Tennis Tour, played a significant sales leadership role in the growth of Exclusive Resorts, the world’s premier luxury destination club, and worked for his hometown Philadelphia Eagles. Weinroth has developed unique integrated sponsorship, marketing and licensing programs with numerous Fortune 500 companies. Most recently he led Link’s efforts on behalf of DC United (MLS) that resulted in an historic multi-year presenting partnership with national defense conglomerate, Leidos. Weinroth is an active board member and past gala chairman for the Jr. Tennis Champions Center, a non-profit character development and leadership-building program in College Park, MD, and he has served on numerous charitable committees including NFL Players, Youth AIDS, Inova Health Systems, National Jewish Health, DC Special Olympics and the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Greater Philadelphia. Weinroth has served as an adjunct professor in the Sports Industry Management masters program at Georgetown University, advisory board member for the American University men’s tennis program and strategic advisor to numerous entrepreneurial ventures and start-ups. Weinroth received his bachelor’s degree from the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management, part of the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he was the first student manager for head basketball coach John Calipari. He currently resides in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife Leah, a journalist, and their two children, Trey and Nina.

Billy Goldberg

Managing Director, Sports & Entertainment
Billy Goldberg is Managing Director of Link Strategy Group, joining us from The Buckeye Group a company he founded that advises companies on developing new business and create revenue streams through meaningful strategic partnerships. A results-driven advisor, he brings imagination and drive, to envision and deliver relationships that spark growth and create enduring value. Billy’s hallmark is identifying a company’s “white space” – the unrealized areas of opportunity and growth – connecting the right partners and creating the optimal conditions for conversion. Clients have included The Miss America Organization, DirecTV, Converge Studios, Hecate Energy, CBL Properties, Fleisher Communications and Zero Gravity Colony. Billy’s work focuses on the intersections of finance, media, entertainment, technology and consumer products. In practice, he often serves as an extension of the C-Suite, crafting comprehensive sales strategies and delivering the sales engine to overhaul internal departments. With a deep network of key relationships, he has implemented growth strategies and structured deals for clients resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. As a licensed investment banker, he also brings the background and insights to understand and support complex deals. Prior to theThe Buckeye Group, Billy ran a the west coast for HighSchoolSports.net, securing new business with clients like Nike, Gatorade, Universal Pictures and The US Army National Guard that resulted in revenue growth of 400%. At Tennis Channel, Billy delivered Lexus, Land Rover and Paramount Pictures and managed existing agency and client relationships with Acura, Franklin Templeton and eHarmony. Billy was Vice President at Bank of America managing $200mm in assets. At William Morris, Billy represented writers and producers. Billy is an Board Member of Urban Fitness 911, and served as Co-chairman of Melissa’s House. He has spoken at colleges about success, leadership and management. Billy studied international business at Florida State University in London and received his bachelor of science in business administration from The Ohio State University. Billy is an avid cyclist, basketball player, and a man on a quest to see every NCAA FBS football team play before he turns 65. Billy lives with his family in Southern California.

Steve Levin

Managing Director, Link Conferences
Steve Levin is Managing Director of Link Conferences. With more than 20 years of experience in conference development, business management, marketing and business development, Steve specializes in identifying emerging trends, driving event strategy and working with global thought leaders and visionaries. Steve has created and managed global conferences for organizations including Microsoft, YPO, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cisco, AMD, Yara, Time, Fortune and others. Prior to LSG, Steve served as Director of the YPO EDGE, leading content strategy for the world’s largest gathering of chief executives that brings together more than 2,600 leaders from more than 90 countries. Before YPO, Steve led strategy and content development for Microsoft’s two premier CIO events – the Global Accounts Summit and Global CIO Summit. He also led Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, a global technology competition where university students used technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest problems. Prior to Microsoft, Steve was Senior Vice President at The Van Heyst Group where he led client relations, program development, sponsorship and business development for numerous clients and conferences including: World Congress on IT, African Green Revolution Conference, America’s Healthcare at Risk Summit, Federal CTO Summit, Fortune Brainstorm, Time & ABC News Summit on Obesity, AMD Global Vision Conference, and others. Steve has successfully launched more than ten products, six companies and numerous conference and product brands. Adept at developing and leveraging relationships with key executives and partners to accomplish mutual goals, he has expertise in working with thought leadership and high growth companies. Steve lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, two daughters and golden retriever and enjoys running, hiking, skiing, and stand-up paddleboarding when he can find flat water.

Hilary Vartanian

Managing Director
Hilary Vartanian is a global business development executive with a proven track record of creating new business opportunities for corporations and cultural organizations through brand sponsorships of events, conferences, thought leadership gatherings, galas, and government summits. She has strong C-Suite expertise across all industries. Ms. Vartanian has held corporate management positions at Time Inc., Meredith Corporation, Hearst Corporation and Conde Nast. She has led strategic partnership development for Fortune Conferences, Hightower Financial Annual APEX Forum, The Hamptons International Film Festival, TIGER 21, Latin Trade Group Sino Americas Forum, Gotham Awards, Cannes Film Festival, New York Film Festival, the Van Gogh Museum and more. She honed her skills as Vice President of Business Development for Fortune magazine where she led sponsorships for the Fortune Global Forum, Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, Brainstorm Tech, and other by-invitation-only Fortune 500 CEO events. Ms. Vartanian is the co-author of Peace Prayers (published by HarperCollins) proceeds of which benefit UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, and the Children’s Defense Fund. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado, Boulder and is active with the Camp Dudley and Packer Collegiate Institute Parents Associations. Ms. Vartanian has lived and worked on 5 continents and —when not on a plane— you will find her at SoulCycle with her pack or cheering on the New York Rangers with her son Alex and husband Andy.

Emma Calderon

Manager, Strategic Partnerships

Emma Calderon is the Manager of Strategic Partnerships for Link Strategy Group at the Denver office. Her focus is on generating strategic sponsorship and partnership initiatives for Link's clients. Through her leadership and strong research skills, Emma is able to deliver on clients' business development goals.

Previously, Emma worked for One Thousand Design, a Boulder start-up. She created a new marketing strategy for the company that encompassed social media, e-mail marketing, and partnership exploration with the purpose of generating new clients, specifically in the non-profit sector.

Emma earned her BSBA at the University of Denver in Marketing with a minor in Legal Studies. She is a California native and loves traveling, skiing and is a self-proclaimed foodie.


Sue Oberliesen

Project Manager
Sue Oberliesen is Project Manager with Link Strategy Group, focusing on business development, research and key client initiatives.  Sue has played an integral role in designing partnership strategy with multiple LSG clients, and manages processes that support ongoing business development and client reporting.  Sue’s background in executive search brings a unique and valuable approach to LSG’s client project management.  Sue is a lifelong learner, and motivated by challenging herself to continually grow personally and professionally. Prior to LSG, Sue was on the leadership team of a boutique executive search firm, managing operations and client process.  Sue has also held positions in Human Resources, Marketing, and started her career with an award-winning design firm focused on architecture and urban planning. Sue received her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a Masters in Landscape Architecture/Urban Design from University of Virginia.  Sue currently resides in Denver with her husband, two teenagers, (and her show dog “Princess Contessa”).  She enjoys spending time exploring the outdoors and hiking and skiing with her family.

Carol Kauder

Strategic Advisor
Carol Kauder works with major corporations and entrepreneurs to infuse the voice of the consumer into branding and innovation strategy. She combines skills honed as the director of insights for Radar Communications, specializing in ethnographic research, and as a branding and innovation strategist at Egg Strategy. Carol has a masters degree in journalism and spent seven years working in newspaper, magazine and public radio reporting before crossing over to market research in 2001, founding CLK Consulting in 2007. She brings to all her projects a journalistic sense of inquisitiveness and objectivity, and by doing so, creates a solid foundation for the consumer perspective to inspire and shape strategic action. She has enjoyed working with brands big and small, including Intel, HP, WD-40, General Mills, Capella University, Columbia Sportswear, Outdoor Research and Quicksilver. Living in Boulder, Colo., Carol embraces the Rocky Mountain lifestyle. She is a competitive cyclist on the road and track, and is an avid telemark skier.

Jonathan Ellerby

Strategic Advisor
Jonathan's consulting work shines in the areas of innovation, leadership development and change management. For more than 20 years, he has specialized in culture change, designing adult development programs, and the subject area of integrative health and wellbeing. Jonathan has been featured as an expert on the topics of holistic health, cross-cultural healing and heightened states of consciousness in films, print, television, and radio. He is the author of the international best-sellers "Return to the Sacred," and “Inspiration Deficit Disorder,” among other publications. Previously the Spiritual Program Director for the famed Canyon Ranch Resorts and the founding CEO for TAO Inspired Living, Mexico. Jonathan is also a coach and counsel for leading CEOs and award winning celebrities. His unique perspective has been sought after by numerous media outlets including the New York Times, the Yoga Journal, Larry King Live, the Martha Stewart Radio Show, and BetterTV to name only a few. Jonathan’s consulting work and innovation facilitation has been sought after by some the world’s most notable companies including Pepsico, Kraft, Nissan, Honda, the U.S.Navy, the U.S. Forest Service, the CEO Group, YPO Chapters, Miraval Resort, Baxter Pharmaceuticals, Canadian Correctional Systems, the Financial Planning Association and many more. Jonathan has also been a university lecturer and adjunct instructor at five universities, including the University of Arizona, where he was a regular guest instructor with the Andrew Weil Program for Integrative Medicine. With more than 2000 hours of presentations to his credit, Jonathan’s warm, insightful, adaptable and engaging talent for speaking and working with large audiences remains an important part of his work today. Jonathan’s PhD in comparative religion focused on systems of meaning and cross-cultural education. This and a life of extensive travels to study and live among more than 40 different cultural traditions around the world, enable Jonathan to bring uncommon, unique and inspiring perspectives to all that he does. Based in Boulder, Colorado, Jonathan is married, the father of two, serving as the Executive Director of the Althea Center for Engaged Spirituality in Denver, and as a Senior Consultant for Paragon Performance Evolution.