500 Festival Announces 2017 Additions and Promotions

500 Festival Announces 2017 Additions and Promotions

Tue, 2017-01-24

Festival Adds Three to Full-Time Staff, Promotes One

INDIANAPOLIS (January 24, 2017) – The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and celebrating the legacy of the Indianapolis 500, today announces the following new hires and promotions:


Francene Costello joins the 500 Festival as Director, Foundation and Special Projects. Costello will oversee the Foundation’s fundraising initiatives and development, manage the celebrity program, manage corporate hospitality, and provide programming support to enhance events.

A Connecticut native, Costello comes to the 500 Festival with 16 years of experience at the United States Tennis Association and the US Open in New York City. During her tenure at the USTA, she produced all live musical performances and ceremonies on court including 9/11 tributes, renaming of the tennis facility and inductions of former champions into the hall of fame. She worked with the USTA Foundation on their opening night gala and pro-am event during the tournament. She also created the first ever US Open Concert, transformed a portion of Times Square into a tennis court and led the charge to create a child anthem singer program with auditions at Radio City Music Hall.


Cassidy Howell joins the 500 Festival as Program and Event Coordinator for the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo, Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and the 500 Festival vending program.

Howell is a graduate of Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI) with a Certificate in Events Management. After graduation, Howell completed an internship with the 500 Festival as a Program and Events Intern with a focus on the IPL 500 Festival Parade. Following her internship with the 500 Festival, she completed a Professional Internship with the Walt Disney Company in Youth Events Sales. She worked with youth programs including Disney Performing Arts and Festival Disney.


Jeff Yoder joins the 500 Festival in the role of Digital Media Coordinator. In this position, Yoder will serve as the primary creator of social media and web content for 500Festival.com and IndyMini.com, as well as other communication pieces.  

Yoder is a 2014 graduate of Taylor University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Sport Management and Public Relations. He began his career with Indiana Sports Corp as a communications intern before earning the role of communications assistant where he handled ISC’s social media and web content in 2014-2015. Yoder has assisted in media operations at numerous ISC and Indianapolis-based events, including three Big Ten Football Championships, the 2015 NCAA Men’s Final Four, and 2016 NCAA Women’s Final Four. Most recently, Yoder earned his Master’s Degree in Sports Journalism from IUPUI in 2016 while serving as a graduate assistant in sports information for the Jaguars’ athletic department. He also acts as the seasonal beat writer for the Indiana Fever of the WNBA in a part-time role.


Lauren Coyle has also been promoted to Event and Program Manager. After starting with the 500 Festival as an intern, Coyle joined the staff full-time in 2014. As the manager of the 500 Festival Education and KidsFit programs, she has guided record-setting growth of the education initiatives in back-to-back years. The Education Program, presented by IU Health, will reach over 26,000 4th grade students in 2017 while over 14,000 students will participate in the KidsFit Program. 


“We are thrilled to add these three individuals to our team and to reward Lauren with a well-deserved promotion,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO, 500 Festival. “Each person comes with a different background and different perspective, but all demonstrated a genuine interest in fulfilling our mission and the opportunity to work alongside our amazing team. I’m excited we could find such great additions as we continue advancing our mission to positively impact our community.”


About the 500 Festival

Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces more than 50 life-enriching events and programs while celebrating the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and fostering positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. One of the largest festivals in the nation, each year more than half a million people attend an event or program produced by the 500 Festival. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $400 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, please visit www.500festival.com, follow us on Twitter @500festival, or on Facebook.



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