Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 26 No. 114
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Weekend Plans With American Cancer Society's Sharon Byers

This year marks the 27th year of the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer program, and one of the most recognizable elements of the campaign is “Suits & Sneakers Week,” which concludes Sunday. More than 350 NCAA coaches this week traded in their dress shoes for sneakers to raise awareness, and ACS Chief Development, Marketing & Communications Officer SHARON BYERS has led efforts to make sure all aspects of the promotion run smoothly. Byers recently took time out of her schedule to walk THE DAILY through ACS’ relationship with the National Association of Basketball Coaches and what’s on tap for her this weekend as “Suits & Sneakers Week” wraps up.

GIVING A VOICE: We are the charity of choice for the NABC. Our amazing coaches have raised over $125M for cancer research, education and prevention through the Coaches vs. Cancer platform. That’s everybody from our legendary D-I coaches all the way down to our high school coaches. This year, we have over 200 high school coaches doing various fundraising activities for us. Revenue is definitely what fuels the American Cancer Society so that we can execute our mission. But what’s even more important with our relationship with the NABC, as well as Coaches vs. Cancer and the Suits & Sneakers platform, is really having that unique, authentic voice to talk to fans, kids, anyone that’s listening, to hear what’s needed in the fight against cancer. The dedication and authenticity that our coaches continue to provide the ACS is so important. Outside the U.S. government, the ACS is the number one funder of cancer research. We’ve given almost $4.6B to cancer research, and programs like Coaches vs. Cancer are critical for us.

A new promotion with Vineyard Vines will see proceeds benefit the ACS Coaches vs. Cancer platform
Photo: SHARON BYERS
A new promotion with Vineyard Vines will see proceeds benefit the ACS Coaches vs. Cancer platform
Photo: SHARON BYERS
A new promotion with Vineyard Vines will see proceeds benefit the ACS Coaches vs. Cancer platform
Photo: SHARON BYERS

SHOWING THEIR SUPPORT: We have a special promotion this week with Vineyard Vines, who have created some pretty cool and interesting ties for us. We will receive 30% of the proceeds from each sale, and that will benefit Coaches vs. Cancer. Our coaches this whole week have been showing their excitement, and they’ve woven into their interviews the amazing work that they’ve done for us. ESPN this week honored HOLLY ROWE, a cancer survivor, during the Oklahoma-Baylor game, and it was a very cool expression of the power behind Coaches vs. Cancer.

GLUED TO THE SCREENS: I’ll brief with my team on the various games this weekend and some of the talking points that we want some of the coaches to talk about in their interviews. If a coach did an interview, we’re giving feedback and advice to them on what things to focus on for next time. Our coaches always want to make sure that they’re doing the best they can to promote ACS and our mission, so we are living on our phones and in constant contact with them. Our team will watch the broadcasts to see what exposure we’re getting and look for any social opportunities that we can engage with our fans on, whether it’s related to cancer or not, just to get out there with an authentic voice. We’ve got some confidential influencers that we’ll be talking to Friday and Saturday on some of the areas that we want them to start engaging their followers and circles about Coaches vs. Cancer. Parallel to that, we also have an amazing relationship with the wives of many of our coaches. They are pretty active on social media, so we’ve got some different things that we’ll be engaging in with them.

Know of someone who should be featured in Weekend Plans? Shoot a note over to lsmith@sportsbusinessdaily.com.