Edwards Named Churchill VP of Marketing

She had worked for six years at a handbag, travel, and accessories retailer.

Churchill Downs has named Monica Edwards to serve as vice president of marketing at the home of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

Edwards, 42, who will begin her duties at the historic Louisville track Nov. 5, arrives at Churchill following a six-year run as vice president of marketing and communications with Vera Bradley, a Fort Wayne, Ind.-based handbag, travel, and accessories retailer.

At Churchill, Edwards will oversee the development and implementation of marketing, branding, and social media strategies for live racing meets, entertainment, advertising, and promotion across all mediums. She also will serve as a primary liaison with Kentucky Derby broadcast partner NBC Sports and other media partners for the Derby, Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), Churchill Downs races, Downs After Dark night racing, and other entertainment efforts.

"Monica Edwards brings an impressive record of achievement, creativity, and innovation to her new duties and all will be important assets as she leads Churchill Downs’ efforts on the rapidly changing and evolving landscapes of marketing, promotion, and social media," said Churchill Downs racetrack president Kevin Flanery.

During her time with Vera Bradley, Edwards led the development and implementation of the company’s national consumer campaign and oversaw its role in co-branded events that included the Vera Bradley float in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., and celebrity gifting suites at the Tony and Daytime Emmy Awards and Sundance Film Festivals.

She was a key player in the international launch of the Vera Bradley brand and oversaw marketing and communications during the rapidly growing company’s initial public offering of stock.

Prior to her work with Vera Bradley, Edwards served as vice president of marketing for Drexel Heritage in High Point, N.C. While her position at Churchill Downs is her first in the horse industry, equine sports have long been a part of her life and she is an avid hunter/jumper rider.

Edwards is a native of Kingsport, Tenn., and a graduate of San Diego State University.