The team behind the Play For Life Cultural Alliance have extensive experience in cross-media development/production and cause-related marketing.

Ian Spero: Founder
Ian is an authority in brand development through experiential and partnership marketing.

For two decades Ian ran Spero Communications, creating new concepts in consumer engagement on behalf of the likes of American Airlines, BT, L’Oreal, News International and Toshiba, and developing proprietary digital platforms, such as ‘AA Vodafone Roadwatch’, which facilitated the provision of real-time traffic news through commercial radio and mobile networks, and BigTime 4PLAY®, a unique music preview system, enabling publishers to leverage previously unreleased content from major artists like Oasis, the Killers and Brian Wilson to drive sales and promote loyalty.

In 2006, Ian’s story took on a new dimension when he was asked to support the construction of a new cancer care centre in London. Ian’s RockCouture® concept resulted in a host of great names from the creative industries transforming electric guitars into remarkable works of art. Following critically acclaimed exhibitions in Dublin, Paris, and London the RockCouture guitars were auctioned to support Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres and other important charitable causes.

Unfortunately this experience coincided with Ian’s mother being diagnosed with terminal cancer, which exposed Ian to the world of palliative or comfort care, for which funding and research evidence is extremely limited.

Inspired by the extraordinary efforts of the healthcare professionals he encountered, Ian decided to capitalise upon his knowledge, experience and connections to establish Spero Social Ventures which aims to facilitate cultural and media partnerships that support the efforts of pioneering non-profits working in healthcare and education, to enable the development of ground-breaking initiatives designed to meet the needs of disadvantaged young people most in need. For further information see Play For Life.


Alissa Pollack: Co-Founder
Alissa is Executive Vice President of Integrated Music Marketing for Clear Channel Communications, a global media and entertainment company specialising in providing mobile and on-demand entertainment and information services for local communities through outdoor, radio and digital platforms.

Clear Channel believe that companies are measured on the basis of the overall value that they contribute to society; and operating companies and their individual units are actively encouraged to get close to the communities they serve. It is with this ethos at heart that Alissa and Clear Channel have supported the work of the Play For Life Cultural Alliance.

Alissa, who also sits on the board of a number of health and education related charities, is adapt at balancing a long standing and passionate commitment to good causes with her day job, where she is responsible for the company’s artist integration programme, world premieres, and marketing content across Clear Channel’s multiple platforms.


Bob Emmer: Co-founder
Bob has over thirty years of music and entertainment industry experience, and is a principal, co-founder and COO of Shout! Factory, a diversified entertainment company devoted to producing and marketing the very best of pop culture.

Prior to this, Bob was EVP at Rhino Records, with responsibilities encompassing its recording, video and film divisions. Following the acquisition of Rhino by the Warner Music Group, he became SVP, Business Affairs for the Warner music company.

Bob also worked as SVP at Alive Enterprises, where he was involved in managing the careers of major recording artists including Alice Cooper, Blondie, Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass, and was Executive Producer/Creator of NBC’s late night music programme ‘Rock ‘n Roll Tonite’.

Bob is a member of the California Bar Association and has taught several university courses on the music industry. He also serves on the board of directors of several charities, including the Executive Committee of City Of Hope’s Music & Entertainment Industry Group, and advises on the development of the Play For Life Cultural Alliance, especially its American projects.


Chris Cooke: Co-Founder
Chris is co-founder and Managing Director of the UnLimited Media Group, a London-based content company that owns media, and provides creative, training and consulting services to the music, media and communication industries.

Through UnLimited, Chris publishes the Complete Music Update, the biggest news provider to the UK music industry, and heads up the CMU Insights training and consulting business, which also programmes the convention side of The Great Escape, Europe’s leading festival for new music and the UK’s premiere music industry conference. He regularly comments on the music sector for other media, most notably the BBC.

Chris also publishes ThreeWeeks, the longest established media at the Edinburgh Festival, the world’s biggest cultural event. Each summer ThreeWeeks offers unique training opportunities to future media talent while championing the most exciting new names in theatre, comedy and culture at large. Chris has also helped develop the award winning Taylor Bennett Foundation initiative, which is making the British PR industry more diverse through a unique work-based training programme.

Chris leads on the editorial, training and digital sides of many Play For Life projects.


Anne-Marie Carton: Co-Founder
Originally trained in HR and communication at La Sorbonne-CELSA in Paris, Anne-Marie has extensive knowledge of the marketing and communication industries in Europe.

Following two years as Director for Bata Communication France, Anne-Marie was invited to join the start-up team at Disneyland Paris where she coordinated marketing, promotions and special events. After five successful years with Disney, she joined Spero Communications and headed up the company’s Paris office, where she directed a series of marketing partnerships for the likes of Warner Music, Kraft Foods, Accor Hotels, Galeries Lafayette, Harrods, Toshiba and L’Oreal.

Anne-Marie project managed the RockCouture® customised guitar programme in Paris, Dublin and London, overseeing the selection and engagement of participating artists. She also managed the project’s retail, brand and creative partnerships, and coordinated on and offline communications.

Anne-Marie has since participated in other projects led by Spero Social Ventures – including the United World Schools/Creative Skills For Life project in Cambodia – and as such is a key member of the Play For Life Cultural Alliance.