Michael Kassan takes chairman’s role with Possible event’s organizer; Deb Wahl and John Costello join as well
MediaLink founder and CEO Michael Kassan has long made a strong imprint on major tentpole events and conferences. He was instrumental in taking CES to another level with the marketing and media content of the C-Space, and he injected Cannes Lions with media-side thought leadership that hadn’t historically been present along the Croisette.
Kassan is now rolling up his sleeves a bit further by becoming chairman of Beyond Ordinary Events (BOE), the organization behind the inaugural Possible conference back in April. A joint venture between MMA Global and several private investors, Possible brought together a bouillabaisse of marketing, ad-tech, media and culture knowledge.
“I’m confident that with this new energy and the success of the first event, we will be able to build an institutional event that has legs,” Kassan told Digiday. “I believe that the lessons learned from year one, and the support that we got from the advertising, marketing and media community really speaks volumes to the gap in the market that this conference really filled and can continue to fill.”
Christian Muche, co-founder and CEO of Possible and also a BOE board member, is in the process of starting a second round of funding for next year’s event, which is set to take place April 15-17, 2024, again at the Fontainbleau Hotel in Miami Beach.
“I couldn’t imagine having a better partner to develop ideas and opportunities, discuss and listen to him and create the most promising future for Possible, our clients and audience as well as our investors,” said Muche. “It also sends a strong message into the market that companies and executives can trust us.”
The highlight of Possible’s inaugural event (full disclosure: Digiday was a media partner of the event) was an appearance by Tesla and Twitter boss Elon Musk, who was interviewed by NBCUniversal ad sales chief at the time, Linda Yaccarino — who shortly thereafter left NBCU to become Twitter’s new CEO.
Beyond Ordinary Events’ prior chair was MMA Global CEO Greg Stuart, who retains a seat on the board. Kassan, Muche and Stuart are being joined on the BOE board by two marketing veterans: former General Motors CMO Deborah Wahl and former Dunkin CMO John Costello.
“It’s so exciting to have major CMOs of Deborah and John’s stature join with Michael and the rest of the BOE board to really fulfill the vision that the MMA Global Board originally had to develop the best-ever marketing event for marketers for the good of the marketing industry,” said Stuart.
Matt Barash, senior vp of Americas and global publishing with Index Exchange, was a skeptic about Possible’s value before he headed to Miami in April— but after attending, he admitted the experience was well worth it. “The content made headlines globally, attendees were both influential and diverse and came from all facets of the marketing, tech and media world,” said Barash. “It absolutely set a new standard for the event business.”
He said he also feels Kassan’s helming of the BOE board makes a lot of sense, given Possible’s potential. “He is the connective tissue between marketers, media and tech. Now Possible will give him a new sandbox to play in and a whole new arena to pair marketers and tech companies in a way only he can,” said Barash. “He brings credibility, the golden rolodex, star power and charm to the table. The spotlight will only shine brighter from here.”
Will Kassan ever own Cannes Lions? He’s not saying, but perhaps Possible represents the perfect stepping stone to getting there. And with Ascential, Cannes Lions’ owner, essentially putting it up for sale, that time could come.
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