This is who we are.

Meet the people who make the magic happen.

While our individual areas of expertise are varied, Sparkland is, at its core, a collection of creators. We prioritize relationships built on mutual respect, steadfast trust, and powerful collaboration. 

Lauren Sparkman
Founder + Head of Ventures
Cathy Kightlinger
Director of Communications
Producer. Investor. Student of animation history. Obsessive professional wrestling fan.

Lauren Sparkman doesn’t fit neatly into a box. She does, however, have a history with a certain famous oval.

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Lauren’s childhood unfolded against the backdrop of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—one of the most storied sports venues in the world. From an early age, she took an active interest in the Hulman & Company family business, gaining insight into industries such as motorsports, hospitality, broadcast media, and manufacturing. Along the way, she cultivated a deep appreciation for the value of responsible stewardship, strong partnerships, and powerful storytelling.

Through both her stewardship role in Hulman & Company and in various personal projects, Lauren has built a dynamic and multifaceted skill set. She has worked as a producer on sporting events and broadcasts, helped build startup ventures, collaborated with arts and cultural organizations, and advised on economic and real estate development projects.

In 2018, she launched Citizenry Press: an arts-oriented development studio that combined her love of storytelling with her passion for supporting legacy-minded creatives. Citizenry Press developed exhibits, produced films, and collaborated on publishing projects. In many ways, it laid the groundwork for Sparkland.

As Sparkland’s Head of Ventures, Lauren leverages her social, financial, and creative capital to support and sustain enterprises and projects led by visionary creatives in a variety of industries. Her work takes her around the globe, as Sparkland’s roster of partners span the world. Still, Lauren remains strongly rooted in her hometown of Indianapolis. She serves on the boards of several local arts, cultural, and civic organizations, and, along with her husband, Jared, oversees an impact investing fund focused on elevating Central Indiana entrepreneurs.

Both philanthropically and commercially, Lauren is driven by a desire to help artists and entrepreneurs build sustainable careers that lead to lasting legacies. When not pursuing this goal, she is likely either traveling, spending time with her husband and their son, Leo, or sharpening her foreign language skills on Duolingo–something she has done every day for 1,300 consecutive days…and counting.
A top-notch storyteller? No doubt. Skilled media relations expert? One of the best. But Cathy’s defining quality may be her incurable, infectious optimism.

Cathy has never met a glass that wasn’t half full, or a crisis that wasn’t an opportunity. Her ability to spot the silver lining in every challenge makes her the perfect evangelist for Sparkland. She knows how to weave a good story, and has an uncanny ability to find beauty in the unlikeliest of places.

Make no mistake: Cathy can muster skepticism when it’s warranted. After more than 20 years working as a journalist, she has a knack for asking smart—and when necessary, tough—questions. This skill served her well during her five years as a communications manager for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and INDYCAR Series, and also came in handy during her stint as an advertising copywriter.

Cathy’s unique set of talents has landed her some colorful gigs. In 2022, she managed the VIP program for the Indianapolis stop of the The Jim Irsay Collection and, during the Indianapolis 500, she still helps with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s celebrity and influencer program.

When she’s not manning red carpets or spreading the good news about Sparkland, Cathy can be found at a rock concert, tending her garden, or hanging out with her partner, Keith, and their fluffy dog, Ringo.