Cow Palace Ceo Lori Marshall Retires, Passes Baton

Lori Marshall

The Cow Palace Board of Directors has announced the retirement of CEO Lori Marshall after seven years of dedicated service to the Cow Palace and over 30 years serving the California fair industry. Marshall, the first female CEO in Cow Palace history, leaves the iconic arena having increased cash assets by over 1000% to $5.6 million and completing over $5 million in capital improvements to the facility. This work, made possible by her ability to create a cohesive team among all departments, led her to receive the Scholarship for Women in Leadership – Arena Sector from the International Association of Venue Management. When asked about her best memories and experiences while at the helm of the Cow Palace, she turns first to the Grand National and Jr. Livestock show. “Being able to coordinate and produce the Rodeo and Jr. Livestock show as the CEO, an event in which I participated showing livestock in my teen years, was an honor.” She also recalls her favorite events with great fondness, “A Taste of the NFL” and Salesforce’s “Dreamforce” tech conference, while noting the most gratifying part of her career to be the new relationships formed with community partners and clients. “I have absolutely treasured my time at the Cow Palace and I am proud of what we have accomplished.”

Allison Keaney, PhD

Taking the helm of the Cow Palace as the new CEO is Dr. Allison Keaney, a fifth generation San Francisco native. Keaney brings fair industry experience from her time as CEO of the Sonoma-Marin Fair and the Cloverdale Citrus Fair where she specialized in innovative programming for changing communities. Prior to that she served as the Community Education Specialist, 4-H for Marin County University of California Cooperative Extension and several years in the private sector in human resources, training and development, and strategic planning. She also holds a M.B.A. in Organizational Development and a PhD in Non-Profit Management and Leadership. “It is an honor, and a homecoming, to be entrusted with this historic venue” says Keaney. “I spent many childhood years visiting my great grandmother’s home in the Excelsior District of San Francisco and the Cow Palace was a part of the best memories, especially when Ringling Brothers (circus) was in town.” Keaney is looking forward to serving the evolving neighborhood and venue needs of the greater area. “We gather differently as a society,” she reflects “yet our treasured venues like the Cow Palace are flexible and can be responsive to those changing needs. I’m looking forward to exploring new possibilities.” Keaney will assume the CEO role on August 1st.

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