President Brad D. Smith, AD Christian Spears to headline PACnet ’23

Marshall University President Brad D. Smith and Director of Athletics Christian Spears will deliver a keynote address on “Lessons in Leadership” at PACnet ’23 in California Tuesday, Feb. 28.

The keynote address will be delivered as part of Paciolan’s four-day event in Huntington Beach, California.

“I am honored to receive an invitation to join the talented PACnet community for its 2023 ‘Lessons in Leadership’ conference,” Smith said. “I look forward to the opportunity to share insights I’ve learned from my own journey, but I’m also equally excited to learn fresh perspectives from the leaders I’ll be spending time with there.”

Spears said he is eager to share the message of Marshall University and its successful rise on the national scale while teaming with Smith for this keynote address.

“When you have a leader like Brad Smith as your president, you are going to have the opportunity to present nationally,” Spears said. “I’m so unbelievably thankful to be working for Brad, and I can absolutely validate the impact great leadership can have on an organization because of what I have seen from Brad over the past 10 months.

“PACnet will benefit immensely from his thoughts on driving an organization, getting to YES, how someone can contribute in a meaningful way and keeping those you work with informed and inspired. It’s going to be a great event in California, and we can’t wait to get out there.”

Smith became the 38th president of Marshall University in January 2022 and is the first alumnus to serve as leader since the university’s founding in 1837. Prior to his time at Marshall, Smith served as the CEO of Intuit for 11 years. Under his leadership, the company’s stock rose 500 percent as the company transformed from a North American desktop software company to a global cloud-based platform. In 2016, Smith was ranked among the top CEOs in the country by Fortune magazine, coming in at No. 6 on their list.

Spears arrived at Marshall in March 2022 from Pitt and immediately led Marshall on an upward path as it transitioned from Conference USA to the Sun Belt Conference. In his first 10 months as director of athletics at Marshall, Spears has directed fundraising initiatives totaling $25 million toward construction of an on-campus baseball stadium while re-instituting Men’s Indoor and Outdoor Track to the university’s athletics fabric after a 20-year hiatus. Recently, Spears also negotiated a new seven-year deal with Nike and implemented a revitalization effort to upgrade sports facilities with new courts, graphics and branding elements that enhance the student-athlete and fan experience.

Matt Roberts, founder of D1Ticker, will moderate the Feb. 28 session, which will discuss all aspects of building a pathway to success within the university and athletics settings. Those aspects include formulating a strategic vision, elevating organizations and nurturing a strong workplace culture.

Founded in 1980, Paciolan is a national leader in ticketing, fundraising, marketing, analytics and technology solutions. Paciolan powers more than 500 live entertainment organizations that sell over 120 million tickets per year.