Senior Vice President, Corporate Partnerships
Sandy Marek is Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for Shedd Aquarium, Chicago’s most-visited science and cultural organization and a national leader in animal care, conservation education and research. She provides strategic leadership and oversight of the aquarium’s comprehensive corporate relations and giving division, including its team of talented professionals which stewards over $3 million of mission-fulfilling support annually.
A member of Shedd’s executive leadership team, Marek has held several senior management positions throughout her 18-year tenure at the aquarium. She is highly respected for her strong collaborative approach, ability to capitalize on marketplace opportunities that create profitable partnerships, initiatives, and strategic nimbleness to leverage changing trends in order to relevantly evolve Shedd’s programs and offerings.
Most notably, Marek built the organization’s corporate sponsorship program from the ground-up, cultivating new relationships with major donors, venture philanthropists and leading national and global brands that led to strong program currently in place today.
Previously, she also led Shedd’s teams focused on building and expanding the vital funding needed from foundations, government sources and major gifts which allow the aquarium to advance its efforts, and facilitated the cultivation and growth of Shedd’s 30,000-household Membership community. In her earlier years, Marek spearheaded some of the aquarium’s first cause marketing and annual fund campaigns as well as various promotions and sales efforts.
Before joining Shedd Aquarium, Marek was Director of Logistics for national charity events company Pallotta TeamWorks where she directed event details for a 300-mile, three-day bike ride that raised more than $5 million for Chicago-area AIDS beneficiaries. She also worked in Los Angeles in public relations and marketing, representing comedians such as Louie Anderson, Steven Wright and the Smother Brothers for Bender Goldman, and began her career in Scottsdale, Arizona, in marketing at Orange Tree Golf Resort.
Marek is a member of the Executives’ Club of Chicago, Association of Fund Raising Professionals (AFP) and the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association (GNMAA). Recognized for her leadership experience in negotiation, program design and strategic planning and partnership development, she has also served as a speaker or participant for various IEG and AAM program offerings.
Marek received Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and sociology from University of Arizona in Tucson. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two children, and enjoys golf, tennis and boating.