Meet the team behind

Arena Partners.


Executive Experience.

Personal Attention.

Arena Partners delivers the ideal mix of executive-level experience found at large firms with the personal attention of a boutique agency. With this combination, we lead brands through the entire journey from identifying and defining growth strategies through to the market-facing touchpoints that bring those strategies to life. Our team members each have unique professional backgrounds, that when brought together, deliver the ultimate combination of creative and practical execution tied to real business strategies and goals. Experienced, connected, creative and practical, Arena Partners is the nimble and lean boutique solution for organizations that want to reach their audiences in meaningful ways. We love what we do and we’d like to do it for you.

John Murray

President & CEO

John is driven to help organizations identify and execute opportunities for growth. This passion is what led him to start Arena Partners. It’s the brands that want to boldly jump into the Arena that he’s drawn to the most. Helping these brands tackle their biggest aspirations is where he excels. His experience and abilities enable him to successfully develop business-minded, results-driven strategies.

His diverse professional background includes five years military service in Marine Helicopter Squadron One, a stint as a commercial pilot, an MBA in Marketing & International Business, and serving Fortune 500 companies globally as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company and Accenture.

John took a 3-year break from the private sector to serve as Chief Bid Officer for the U.S. Bid for the 2016 Olympic Games; a pursuit that cemented his commitment to taking on bold challenges.

John is the co-founder and inaugural chair of the Chicago Sports Commission, sits on multiple nonprofit boards, and created & produced the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in Chicago’s history - attracting 3.5 million television viewers and generating 2.5 billion global media impressions for the city.

Taylor Raymond

Development Manager

Taylor joined Arena Partners in 2017 with a background in politics and business management. She maximizes fundraising efforts and develops project management processes to maximize a client’s potential.

She grew into a manager role and leads social media, brand and cause marketing in addition to her continued role leading the development and sponsorship efforts. As the Development Manager and Marketing Coordinator, Taylor oversees our partners’ campaign branding and development, as well as new business development.

Taylor graduated from Arcadia University where she received a degree in International Relations and worked as a research assistant for a published professor. While attending Arcadia she also worked as a Deputy Campaign Manager for a local State House race that unseated the longest serving politician in Pennsylvania House history.

Graeme Staunton


As the Brand’s representative and a seasoned Project & Cost Manager, Graeme finds joy in discovering efficiencies and opportunities to bring things to life in a way that saves the client time, money and stress. Graeme has a storied career to date. Born and raised in Ireland, before attending University and his first career move as a Contracts Manager for a Civil Engineering Contractor in England, it was at this juncture that Graeme embarked on a global journey.

Whilst building experiences across 6 continents, he became a Member of the Institute of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS) in Quantity Surveying, a LEED Accredited Professional and pursued a new career path with Faithful & Gould working across multiple sectors including Pharmaceuticals, Manufacturing, Industrial, Commercial and Retail.

It was building Flagships and Branded Event Spaces across the World for Nokia that he discovered his passion for customer-facing experiences delivering “wow” moments mixed with employing lean standards to reduce waste and add value. He now specializes in retail, hospitality and events working with owners to establish an increased market presence through managing high profile branded projects and events. The Brands he has worked for speak for themselves.

Sara Travis

Senior Manager and Associate Producer

Sara joined the Arena Partners team in 2015 where she focused on marketing research and supporting the company’s strategic sponsorship outreach. In her two years with the company, Sara quickly transitioned into a leadership position where she became a key team member in the production of Chi-Town Rising and oversees Arena Partners’ elite hospitality company, Exclusive Event Experiences. Most recently, Sara led the production management for the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Celebration and executive produced Special Olympics’ Global Day of Inclusion Festival at Soldier Field. With her “always on” approach, and willingness to take on all responsibilities with equal pride and commitment, Sara is extraordinarily capable at any task or event production need.

Sara is a 2015 graduate of Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, where she received a degree in marketing and captained the women’s varsity volleyball team.

Claire Schmig

Marketing and Events Associate

Claire is a Marketing and Events Associate at Arena Partners. She joined the team in 2018 where she focused on sponsorship and corporate partner management for the Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Celebration. Claire currently assists with event production, marketing, vendor management, and operations for Arena Partners and our elite hospitality company, Exclusive Event Experiences. Claire graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in Communication and Political Science. While attending Dayton, she spent 10 weeks in Washington, D.C. as a Communication Intern for a member of the United States House of Representatives.

Michael Walus

Project Manager

Michael has assisted with managing project controls for global re-branding project. He has also helped update and develop a cost database to input, process and maintain project costs, actual costs, and anticipated final costs. Furthermore, he has assisted with updating executives on a weekly basis with progress reports comparing current statuses versus projections.

We’re making moves. Check out some of our recent projects.