IC2014 NYC Speakers
Suroosh Alvi is cofounder of VICE Media, a critically-acclaimed journalist, and an executive producer of film. Originally launched in 1994 as a punk magazine, VICE has expanded and diversified to include a network of online video channels, a television production studio, a record label, an in-house creative services agency and a book publishing division. Today VICE is the industry leader in producing and distributing premium web content, featuring over 60 original video series, covering news to travel to music to arts to fashion, and has a network of correspondents and bureaus spanning the globe. In 2002, Alvi established VICE Music, the company's record label which has partnered with such leading artists as Justice, Action Bronson, Snoop Lion, The Black Lips and Death From Above 1979. In 2011, Alvi launched a strategic partnership between VICE Music and Warner Bros. Records, expanding its presence in the music industry. In 2007, Alvi co-directed and executive produced the VICE Film, Heavy Metal in Baghdad - an original documentary that follows the Iraqi heavy metal band Acrassicauda from the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003 to the present day. In 2012, Alvi traveled to Jamaica to produce the feature length film, REINCARNATED, featuring Snoop Lion. As a journalist, Alvi has covered stories from around the world, reporting from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip. Alvi most recently hosted segments for VICE’s Emmy Award-winning series VICE on HBO. Alvi attended college at McGill University in Montreal where he studied Philosophy. Alvi now resides in New York City.
Chief Operating Officer
Jake Avnet is the Chief Operating Officer at INDIGENOUS MEDIA, a next generation digital studio focused on producing original content for digital and emerging platforms worldwide, as well as developing and operating multi-platform content brands. INDIGENOUS is best known for WIGS, the digital drama channel offering over 180 episodes of scripted content, including 15 high-end original series, 7 short films and 10 documentaries, all starring female leads. WIGS has been referred to as “the HBO of the internet”, and the programming has garnered more than 1.7M+ total subscribers, and 92M+ total multi-platforms views. Popular series on the WIGS channel include Blue, about a mother with a secret life, starring Julia Stiles; Lauren, a narrative about the complications stemming from a military rape, starring Troian Bellisario and Jennifer Beals; Serena, a story of lust, temptation and forbidden love, starring Jennifer Garner and Alfred Molina; Jan, about a young woman whose first job goes awry, starring Virginia Madsen, Stephen Moyer and Caitlin Gerard; and Susanna, starring Maggie Grace and Anna Paquin, which addressed post-partum depression. WIGS inked a unique "programming, marketing, and distribution partnership" with FOX Broadcasting in February of 2013, and has been widely recognized by organizations including The Webbys, Streamy’s, IAWTV, and Writers Guild of America, among others. Prior to this, Jake Avnet was an early adopter in the digital content space, producing viral web content, music videos and web series for companies such as Warner Brothers, FOX and the Sundance Film Festival. He has been on the forefront of migrating major writers, directors and actors from traditional media into the online space. Avnet has also produced television pilots for TNT, Warner Horizon Television, FOX and 20th Century Fox Television. He was recently named one of Hollywood's New Leaders by Variety.
Director, Writer, Producer, and Founder
Jon Avnet has directed, written, and produced more than 70 motion pictures, television movies, and Broadway plays over the last 30 years, winning most of the major awards: Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, Peabodys, DGA, the Humantis, and the AFI's Franklin Shaffner Medal. Mr. Avnet was the executive producer of Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman (winner of the Oscar for Best Actress) and directed by Darren Aronofsky. Black Swan received five Oscar nominations in total (including Best Picture) as well as multiple nominations and wins from the PGA, WGA, SAG, BAFTA, AFI, and the Golden Globes. It grossed 326 million dollars theatrical worldwide. Mr. Avnet is best known for writing, directing and producing Fried Green Tomatoes, which garnered multiple Academy Awards for writing and for Jessica Tandy, who co-starred with Kathy Bates and Mary Louise Parker. Fried Green Tomatoes was one of the top grossing films in the year of its release. He also produced Risky Business with his partner Steve Tisch, also a major commercial success, which launched the career of Tom Cruise. In television, Avnet produced (with Steve Tisch) The Burning Bed, starring Farrah Fawcett, which garnered eight Emmy nominations and was the highest-rated television movie ever aired on NBC. Currently, Mr. Avnet has been directing episodes for every season of FX's Justified, starring Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins. Justified recently received a Peabody award and Margo Martindale won an Emmy for her performance, as well. Mr. Avnet, in conjunction with Rodrigo Garcia (Albert Nobbs, In Treatment, Big Love) and Jake Avnet, have closed a financing for their new company Indigenous Media which will produce original content for digital and emerging platforms globally as well as develop new multi-platform content brands. Funding for this new venture came from WPP, the world’s leading communications services group and ITV, the largest commercial broadcast network in the UK. Indigenous Media will be the parent company for the existing digital scripted channel WIGS, which Avnet/Garcia/Avnet launched in May of 2012. Funded by YouTube for its first two seasons, WIGS now operates in partnership with the FOX Broadcasting network and is available on multiple platforms. WIGS has produced nearly 35 hours of premium scripted content in a three year span, and has won most of the major awards for internet productions and has been nominated for WGA awards (twice) and other traditional media awards. WIGS series feature such actors as Julia Stiles, Jennifer Beals, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, Anna Paquin, Maggie Grace and Alfred Molina, and writers/directors Marta Kauffman, Betty Thomas, Lesli Linka Glatter, Paul Brickman, and Neil LaBute. It is currently available at youtube.com/wigs, watchwigs.com and Hulu.com. Mr. Avnet previously directed Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Righteous Kill, released in September 2008. He also directed and executive produced The Starter Wife, a six-hour limited series for the USA Network starring Debra Messing, Joe Mantegna, and Judy Davis (won best supporting actress Emmy for her performance.) Based on the novel by Gigi Levangie Grazer, it aired May 2007 as the highest-rated limited cable series that year and received ten Emmy nominations as well as DGA and PGA nominations for Mr. Avnet. It became a series for the USA network in 2008. In 2004, Avnet produced and co-financed with Aurelio DeLaurentiis Paramount's Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow starring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie. In 2001, Avnet directed, co-wrote with Paul Brickman, and produced the critically-praised miniseries Uprising for NBC, starring Leelee Sobieski, Hank Azaria, David Schwimmer, Jon Voight, and Donald Sutherland, for which he received a DGA Nomination for Best Director. Prior to that, Avnet directed and produced Red Corner starring Richard Gere, and Up Close and Personal starring Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer. His first directing outing (which he also co-wrote and produced) was the TV movie Between Two Women, starring Colleen Dewhurst and Farrah Fawcett, which earned Dewhurst an Emmy for her performance. Along with Jordan Kerner, Avnet produced Less Than Zero, When a Man Loves a Woman, Miami Rhapsody, The Mighty Ducks films and George of the Jungle, to name a few, as well as Mama Flora's Family, based on the Alex Haley novel. On Broadway, his plays have received 35 nominations and 12 Tony awards. He produced with Bill Haber the Tony Award winning Spamalot and The History Boys. He also produced The Pillowman, Inherit the Wind, starring Christopher Plummer, The Seafarer by Connor McPherson, and the Mike Nichols-directed Country Girl, starring Morgan Freeman and Frances McDormand. Mr. Avnet attended the University of Pennsylvania, received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and was awarded a fellowship in directing to the American Film Institute. Today, Mr. Avnet is Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors at the American Film Institute, where he has been a guiding force for over 20 years (and Chairman for eight years). . In June 2013, Mr. Avnet received an honorary doctorate in communications from the American Film Institute. In addition, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Directors Guild of America, The DGA Western Directors Council and the DGA Pension and Health Plan Committee. Mr. Avnet is on the Board of Overseers of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania and participates as a mentor in the Director's Lab at Sundance and its sister program Emergence in France. He also lectures on film and holocaust studies at numerous universities worldwide and has supported a diverse range of charitable organizations. With his wife Barbara, he has three children, Alexandra, Jacob and Lily and two grandchildren, Isabella Rose and Henry.
Chairman and CEO
Jim runs all aspects of Vox Media, one of the fastest growing online publishers, focused on the sports, personal technology and gaming categories. Vox has enjoyed remarkable growth by delivering the most valuable digital storytelling, online communities, advertising and audiences. SB Nation, its sports brand, boasts over 30mm users per month across 300 individually branded, fan-centric sports communities, each covering a specific professional or college team, league or sport. In November 2011, Vox Media launched The Verge, which has quickly established itself as a category leader and the fastest growing site that covers technology. In October 2012, Vox launched Polygon, a site dedicated to news and community for fans of gaming, anchored by an all-star roster of writers. All Vox Media sites are built upon its world-class proprietary publishing platform, Chorus. The company enjoys support from leading investors including Accel Partners, Comcast Interactive Capital and Khosla Ventures. A veteran of the online industry, Jim developed and led dozens of the most popular websites on the internet including AOL, Mapquest, Moviefone, AOL Music, TMZ and Engadget as an Executive Vice President at AOL. Mr. Bankoff also oversaw AOL’s industry-leading instant messaging services, AIM and ICQ, and social networking and community applications including Blogsmith and Netscape. His accomplishments have earned him wide recognition, most notably the first Emmy ever awarded to a webcast, for his role as Executive Producer of the Live 8 concerts online.
Anchor and Global Markets Editor
FOX Business Network — FOX News Channel
Maria Bartiromo joined FOX Business Network (FBN) as Global Markets Editor in January 2014. She is the anchor of Opening Bell with Maria Bartiromo on FBN (9-11 AM/ET) and anchors Sunday Morning Futures, the most watched Sunday morning program on cable (10 AM/ET) on FOX News Channel (FNC). Bartiromo has covered business and the economy for more than 25 years and was one of the building blocks of business cable network CNBC. During her 20-year tenure as the face of CNBC, she launched the network’s morning program, Squawk Box; anchored The Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo; and was the anchor and managing editor of the nationally syndicated On the Money with Maria Bartiromo, formerly The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo. Bartiromo has been a pioneer in her industry. In 1995, she became the first journalist to report live from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on a daily basis. She joined CNBC in 1993 after five years as a producer, writer and assignment editor with CNN Business News, where she wrote and produced some of CNN's top business programs. She has received numerous prestigious awards, including two Emmys and a Gracie Award. Her first Emmy was for her 2008 News and Documentary coverage of the 2007-2008 financial collapse and her “Bailout Talks Collapse” coverage was broadcast on NBC Nightly News. She later won a second Emmy for her 2009 documentary, “nside the Mind of Google, which aired globally on CNBC. Bartiromo won a Gracie Award for “Greenspan: Power, Money & the American Dream,” also broadcast globally on CNBC. In 2009, the Financial Times named her one of the “50 Faces That Shaped the Decade,” and she was the first female journalist to be inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame Class of 2011. Bartiromo is the author of several books, including The Weekend That Changed Wall Street, published by Portfolio / Penguin, and The 10 Laws of Enduring Success, published by Random House; both were released in 2010. Bartiromo writes a monthly column for USA Today. She has also written weekly columns for Business Week and Milano Finanza magazines, as well as monthly columns for Individual Investor, Ticker and Reader’s Digest magazines. She has been published in the Financial Times, Newsweek, Town and Country, Registered Rep and the New York Post. Bartiromo is a member of the Board of Trustees of New York University, the Board of Directors of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of New York and the Board of Directors of The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). She graduated from New York University, where she studied journalism and economics. She also served as an adjunct professor at NYU Stern School of Business for the fall semesters of 2010 through 2013. She has become part of pop culture during her career, having had cameos in several motion picture movies, playing herself in Wall Street Two with Michael Douglas and Arbitrage with Richard Gere, among others. In 1999, Joey Ramone of the Ramones rock band wrote a song about her, titled “Maria Bartiromo,” which was on his final album.
Jim Berk is Chief Executive Officer of Participant Media, a global entertainment company founded in 2004 that focuses on socially relevant film, television, publishing and digital media. Berk is responsible for leading the company’s overall strategy and day-to-day operations, advocacy, strategic investments and acquisitions. Participant has been involved in more than 55 films including An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting For Superman, The Help, Contagion and Lincoln. Since Berk joined in 2006, Participant has expanded its film slate; created a Spanish-language film label; launched a TV network, Pivot; launched and grown Participant's web site, TakePart.com; and acquired a portfolio of media investments. During Berk’s tenure, Participant expanded into a multi-platform media company. In 2009, Participant launched TakePart.com, a social action website and the hub of an extensive network of cause-related sites that now reaches approximately 10 million monthly visitors with socially relevant content and integrated calls to action. In 2013, the company launched a television network dedicated to reaching an audience of Millennials with content that sparks conversation and inspires change. Under Berk’s leadership, Participant’s Social Action efforts have expanded in successful collaborations with hundreds of non-governmental organizations, government entities, schools, and more to launch campaigns around social issues associated with each of the company’s film and television properties. Berk has led Participant’s strategic investments including a 2007 equity investment in Summit Entertainment, which was subsequently acquired by Lionsgate in 2012. In 2008, Participant teamed with Imagenation Abu Dhabi to create a fund to finance a slate of feature films. In 2012, Participant acquired an equity position in Cineflix Media, a television production and distribution company, and struck a multi-year agreement with Latin American production companies, to establish Participant PanAmerica to deliver films for the Spanish-language market. He also led and investment in Me to We, a Toronto-based social enterprise. Prior to joining Participant Media, Berk was Chairman and CEO of Gryphon Colleges Corporation, where he was responsible for the formation of a private company operating for-profit, post-education schools. Before Gryphon, Berk served as President and CEO and Board Director for Fairfield Communities, Inc., America’s largest independent vacation ownership and resort company. He oversaw all aspects of the publicly traded company’s operations including new resort development, sales and marketing, financial operations, consumer financing and resort management services as well as strategy, branding and mergers and acquisitions. Berk previously served as President and CEO of Hard Rock Cafe International, a global entertainment and leisure company in which Hard Rock Cafe is the core business. Berk focused on food quality, increased service standards, refurbished the estate and modernized retail operations while expanding to 104 Cafes in 29 countries. During his tenure he led the creation of a music label, critically acclaimed, weekly music TV series, live music venues, hotels and the NBA City. Berk also served as CEO of the Hard Rock Foundation, which provided education, social action grants and thousands of hours of employee volunteer services to local charities and schools. He was served as a member of the Executive Board and a Divisional Managing Director of Hard Rock Café’s parent company, Rank Group Plc. Prior to joining Hard Rock, Berk was the founding executive of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Foundation. Creating a non-profit, entertainment production company, he produced live concerts, festivals, television programs and records, and led the creation of national programming including GRAMMY Showcase, GRAMMY in the Schools, GRAMMY Festivals and GRAMMY Records. Berk was the youngest principal in the history of the 725-school Los Angeles Unified School District, when he was appointed Principal of the Alexander Hamilton High Schools Complex in 1990. During his tenure, he increased the funding base, attendance improved from 72 to 94 percent and state assessment scores moved from the 34th to 81st percentile. Prior to becoming principal, Berk founded the Hamilton Academy of Music in Los Angeles, creating the largest comprehensive performing arts magnet in the western United States. Berk instituted an interdisciplinary curriculum that linked academic studies with the arts that resulted in 96 percent of graduating seniors continuing on to higher education. His first job upon graduation – at the age of 21 – was as a music teacher at a public high school. There, at Carson High, he reopened the music department and built the program to one of the largest music programs in California. Berk currently serves on the Boards of Evolution Media Partners, Me to We, Cineflix Media, the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and the USC Rossier School of Education.
Head of Drama
Danish Broadcasting Corporation
Piv Bernth is Head of Drama at Danish Broadcasting Corporation. Originally educated as a director at The Royal National Theatre in Copenhagen, Piv directed many plays, musicals, and theatrical revues at theatres around Denmark and Sweden before joining Danish Broadcasting, DR as a director in 1986. She worked as a producer at DR since 1998, and has since produced the International Emmy Award-winning series Nikolaj and Julie and the internationally acclaimed The Killing I-III, which received a BAFTA Award and three International Emmy Award nominations. In October 2011, she was appointed Head of Drama at DR Fiction, and is the executive producer on the celebrated series The Bridge, Borgen, and The Legacy.
Jeremy Bird is a founding partner of 270 Strategies, a next-generation grassroots consulting firm supporting campaigns, companies, and causes in the US and across the globe. Bird served most recently as the National Field Director for the 2012 re-election campaign of President Barack Obama, where he had primary responsibility for building a nationwide army of staff and volunteer organizers. Dubbed the campaign’s “Field General” by Rolling Stone magazine, Bird was listed among “The Obama Campaign’s Real Heroes” and has been cited as “a former Harvard divinity student who took to political organizing as though it were his higher calling.” He is credited with helping establish a ground game and turnout machine that in 2012 “reproduced – through brute force, dedication and will – a turnout in the swing states that in some cases bested the campaign's remarkable performance of four years ago.” This year, Bird was recognized among Fortune magazine's "40 under 40" — a list highlighting "the year's most important young innovators, risk-takers, and rule-breakers in business.
CNBC Media and Entertainment
Julia Boorstin joined CNBC in May 2006 as a general assignment reporter. Later that year, she became CNBC's media and entertainment reporter working from CNBC's Los Angeles Bureau. Boorstin covers media with a special focus on the intersection of media and technology. In addition, Boorstin reported a documentary on the future of television for the network, Stay Tuned… The Future of TV. Boorstin joined CNBC from Fortune Magazine, where she was a business writer and reporter since 2000, covering a wide range of stories on everything from media companies to retail and business trends. During her time at Fortune, Boorstin was also a contributor to "Street Life," a live market wrap-up segment on CNN Headline News. In 2003, 2004, and 2006, The Journalist and Financial Reporting Newsletter named Boorstin to the "TJFR 30 under 30" list of the most promising business journalists under thirty years old. Boorstin has also worked for the State Department's delegation to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and for vice president Gore's domestic policy office. She graduated with honors from Princeton University with a B.A. in history. She was also an editor of The Daily Princetonian. She invites followers on twitter at @jboorstin.
Nielsten Strategic Initiatives
Appointed to this role in November 2010, John’s is responsible for leading the company’s innovation and new business opportunities across online and e-commerce. For two years prior to this role, John was CEO of Nielsen’s Online division where he led the company’s global internet measurement business. During his tenure as CEO, John established strategic relationships with industry leaders such as Facebook, and continued Nielsen’s growth in key international markets. Prior to his Online role, John served as Chief Marketing Officer for Nielsen. Before Nielsen, John was Chief Marketing Officer for AOL, and before that, he served as Vice President Marketing at AT&T / Cingular where he lead the company’s consumer growth segments and new media programs. For 10 years, John was employed by the Procter & Gamble Company where he pioneered online marketing and e-commerce activities on the Pampers brand. Earlier in his career, John worked for the Chicago Tribune Company. He received a BA and MBA from the University of Chicago.
Joanna Coles was named editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan in September 2012. With 62 international editions in addition to the U.S. flagship, Cosmo is the world’s largest women’s magazine reaching 18 million readers in the U.S. each month and more than 100 million worldwide. Coles has spent the past two years reinvigorating Cosmopolitan, reclaiming its stake in the culture as the ultimate, empowering monthly guide for young women leading full lives, as it was under the editorship of the late Helen Gurley Brown. She partnered with Facebook COO and “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg to launch Cosmo Careers, and expanded the magazine’s sphere of influence featuring new guest contributors including Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States, and Stacey Snider, CEO of DreamWorks. Advertisers and readers alike responded: ad pages shot up 6.2% in 2013, while subscription sales grew 20%. Under Coles’ direction, Cosmo will launch a live conference series this fall in partnership with William Morris Endeavor and a branded TV series is in development. Previously, Coles had been editor-in-chief of Marie Claire since 2006, where she transformed the brand, pushing the editorial direction, which boosted both circulation and advertising to new heights. Coles orchestrated Marie Claire’s partnership with Lifetime's Emmy-winning show Project Runway and served as the on-air mentor on the spinoff series Project Runway All-Stars. During her tenure at Hearst Magazines, parent company to Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, Coles has been widely recognized for her leadership in the world of journalism. She has been named one of the most powerful magazine editors by Forbes, and earned the coveted title of Adweek’s “Editor of the Year” in both 2011 and 2013. She has additionally been honored by Advertising Age and Adweek for “Magazine of the Year.” Coles was the recipient of New York Women in Communications’ Matrix Award and was named by Politico as one of 50 influencers to watch in 2013. Most recently, she was featured on the Adweek 50 list, which honors the most influential people in media, marketing and technology. Under her direction, Cosmo won its first-ever National Magazine Award earlier this year and a Planned Parenthood Maggie Award for Media Excellence. Coles arrived in the U.S. in 1997 as The Guardian's New York bureau chief, and went on to become the New York columnist for The Times of London. She resides in Manhattan with her husband, author and PEN American president Peter Godwin, and their two sons.
Katie Couric (@katiecouric) is the Global Anchor for Yahoo News, award winning journalist and TV personality, well-known cancer advocate and New York Times best-selling author. In November 2013, Couric joined Yahoo as Global Anchor, where she helps develop Yahoo News’ coverage, report on live events, and anchor groundbreaking interviews with major newsmakers. Couric is an executive producer and narrator of Fed Up, a documentary about the alarming spread of childhood obesity, which will be released in spring 2014. In September 2006, Couric joined CBSNews and became the first female solo anchor of an evening news broadcast after a 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC’s Today Show. Couric is a cofounder of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), cofounder of the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA) with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and Lilly Tartikoff, and co-founder of the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health. Born in Arlington, Virginia, Katie graduated with honors from the University of Virginia in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a focus on American Studies. She lives in New York with her husband, John Molner.
Food & Wine
Dana Cowin, Food & Wine’s editor in chief since 1995, is one of America's foremost authorities on food, wine, style and design. Cowin oversees the Food & Wine brand, including a monthly magazine with a circulation of 925,000; digital products including the website foodandwine.com as well as the digital-only FWx for millennials, mobile applications, tablet editions and a books division, which publishes Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes, the Food & Wine Wine Guide, Food & Wine Cocktails and several other titles. She holds the title of Chief Talent Scout for Chefs Club USA, a restaurant group that features the dishes of Food & Wine Best New Chefs. Under her leadership, the award-winning magazine has attracted an audience of more than eight million readers in print who have a passionate, adventurous approach to cooking, drinking, entertaining, eating out and traveling. The brand's reach in social media has grown to more than three million. And the traffic to the website, foodandwine.com has grown almost 300% since 2011. In 2014, Cowin published her first cookbook, Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen: Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and Over 100 Delicious Recipes (Ecco Press). It was named one of the 10 most notable cookbooks of the fall by Publisher's Weekly. She shares her eating and drinking adventures on Twitter and Instagram @fwscout. Before joining Food & Wine, Cowin was managing editor of Mademoiselle, managing editor of HG and an associate editor of Vogue. Cowin is a member of the board of the American Society of Magazine Editors. She is on the board of directors of City Harvest, a New York City hunger-relief organization, where she founded the annual "Skip Lunch Fight Hunger" campaign. She is also on the board of directors of Hot Bread Kitchen, which helps train and support foreign-born and low-income individuals looking to work in food service. She is graduate of Brown University and a trustee of the Allen-Stevenson School in Manhattan. Cowin can be seen frequently on national television, including regular appearances on Bravo's Top Chef. Among numerous accolades, Cowin has been named to the James Beard Foundation Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America. Cowin lives in Manhattan with her husband and their two children.
Stephen J. Davis
Hasbro Studios and Global Entertainmentand Licensing, Hasbro, Inc.
Stephen J. Davis serves as president of Hasbro Studios, the Los Angeles-based TV development and production division of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS). There, he leads a team responsible for reimagining, reinventing and reigniting the world-class brands of Hasbro, where he oversees the development, production and distribution of more than 400 half-hours of original kids and family programming, ranging from animation to live action to game shows. Most recently, Davis was CEO of Family Entertainment Group LLC, which, under his direction, was engaged in the development, production, revitalization and distribution of family entertainment content for the traditional and digital space. Previously, he served as President of Mobile and Online Media at NASDAQ-listed digital media company InfoSpace and as President of Granada America, a unit of one of Europe's leading producers and broadcasters of quality television programming. Earlier, Davis led Carlton America, a leading worldwide producer and distributor of television programming and formats that later merged with Granada, as President and CEO. There, he also served as a director and member of the senior management team of Carlton International Media Ltd., a program distribution, DVD and book publishing company. He came to Carlton from Hamdon Entertainment, a joint venture between Carlton and Studio Hamburg (NDR, as President and CEO, leading the company's global TV movie production and distribution businesses. At the Griffin Group, the entertainment and investment company of entertainer and entrepreneur Griffin, Davis was VP of Entertainment and Media Development. Davis serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of The National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) and held two terms as its co-chairman. He is a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of PCI: Media Impact, a leading NGO addressing social and health issues through media; is a member of the Board of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society (HRTS), the Los Angeles Board of Governors of The Paley Center for Media; the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; serves on the Advisory Council of the School of Communications/Radio, Film and Television at University of Texas at Austin; and is a trustee of Wilshire Boulevard Temple. Additionally, he is an active member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), as well as a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS).
Peter Del Vecho
Walt Disney Animation Studios' Frozen
Peter Del Vecho was most recently the producer of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen, for which he received the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature, along with his fellow filmmakers, directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee. Del Vecho joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1995 and came to the studio with a wealth of production experience in theater. Having worked at numerous theaters in New York and on the East Coast, Del Vecho eventually joined the renowned Guthrie Theater before leaving in 1995 as the associate producing director. It was his passion for a collaborative artistic environment that brought him to Disney. Del Vecho was the production manager of Hercules, and the associate producer of the 2002 animated film Treasure Planet, which received an Oscar® nomination for best animated feature. As associate producer of the 2005 animation adventure Chicken Little, Del Vecho was creatively involved in the production of the studio’s first full-length 3D animated feature. Del Vecho produced the animated musical comedy The Princess and the Frog, which hit theaters in 2009 and received three Oscar® nominations, including best animated feature. He also guided WDAS back to the Hundred Acre Wood as the producer of 2011’s big-screen adventure Winnie the Pooh. For his work on the animated feature, Frozen, Del Vecho received both an Academy Award for Outstanding Animated Feature as well as a Producer’s Guild Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures. Frozen also received an Academy Award for Best Original Song (“Let It Go”), as well as a Golden Globe, BAFTA Award, five Annie Award including Best Feature and the Critics’ Choice Award. Del Vecho, married to wife Jane, is father to twin 17 year-olds, Gregory and Georgina. The Boston native holds an FAA Sport Pilot certificate and flies his own weight shift trike in and around the Los Angeles area.
Cofounder and CEO,
Sharad Devarajan is cofounder & CEO of Graphic India, a company he launched with The Chernin Group/CA Media last year. In the same way the West has created superheroes or Japan launched anime, Graphic India is leading the character entertainment revolution from India. The Company uses digital content and animation to launch character franchises targeting the 550 million Indian youth under the age of 25 and India’s 850-million person mobile market as they leapfrog directly to smartphones & tablets. Devarajan recently directed and produced Graphic’s animated TV film, “CHAKRA THE INVINCIBLE,” a new Indian superhero created by icon, Stan Lee, which premiered on Cartoon Network India. Chakra was recently featured on Rovio’s ToonsTV through Angry Birds, where it received over 25 million views from audiences around the world. He is also cofounder of Liquid Comics, a digital content company that develops multi-platform content and a producer on a number of theatrical live-action film and TV projects in development including the film adaptations of The Leaves with Summit Entertainment; Ramayan 3392AD with Mandalay; Dinosaurs Versus Aliens, with filmmaker Barry Sonnenfeld; The Sadhu with producer Mark Canton; and Titans, with Chernin Entertainment and creator J. Michael Straczynski. In 2004, Devarajan worked with Marvel to reinvent Spider-Man as an Indian boy growing up in Mumbai, transforming “Peter Parker” into “Pavitr Prabhakar”. Unlike traditional translations of western characters into foreign markets, “Spider-Man: India” was heralded as one of the industry’s first “trans-creations.” He a graduate and Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia Business School where he teaches, Media Marketing and Entrepreneurship.
President and CEO
Hearst Magazines International
Duncan Edwards is the President and CEO of Hearst Magazines International, an EVP of Hearst Magazines and Vice Chairman of the National Magazine Company (NatMag), Hearst’s publishing business in the U.K. He is also a Director of The Hearst Corporation. Edwards is responsible for Hearst’s magazine activities outside of the USA which includes operations in nearly 60 countries comprising wholly owned businesses, Joint Ventures and licenses. From 2005 to 2009, he was the Chief Executive of NatMag. He joined NatMag in 1989 and served in various executive roles, including publisher of Company magazine, director of business development and managing director. Edwards spent the early part of his career at Media Week Ltd. He holds a dual honors degree in Geography and Politics from Sheffield University, is married with two boys and lives and works in New York.
Co-Chief Executive Officer
Rodrigo Garcia is the Co-Chief Executive Officer of INDIGENOUS MEDIA, a next generation digital studio focused on producing original content for digital and emerging platforms worldwide, as well as developing and operating multi-platform content brands. He is also the Co-Creator of WIGS, the digital drama channel offering over 180 episodes of scripted content, including 15 high-end original series, 7 short films and 10 documentaries, all starring female leads. Rodrigo wrote and directed the WIGS series Blue, starring Julia Stiles; and Christine, starring America Ferrera; as well as the shorts Serena, starring Jennifer Garner and Alfred Molina and Celia, starring Allison Janney and Dakota Fanning. Garcia has directed a variety of independent films, including the award-winning Nine Lives; the three-time Academy Award-nominated feature Albert Nobbs, starring Glenn Close; Ten Tiny Love Stories; and Mother and Child, starring Annette Bening, Naomi Watts and Samuel L. Jackson. In 2000, his first film as a writer and director, Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, won the Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Among his television credits are the cable series In Treatment, on which he served as executive producer and showrunner for the first season and received a Writers Guild of America Award in the New Series category. Other TV credits include Six Feet Under, Carnivle and Big Love, for which he wrote the pilot episode and was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.
Third Hour NBC's TODAY; MSNBC's Morning Joe
Willie Geist is co-host of the 9 o’clock hour of NBC’s TODAY and co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. He is also a regular contributor to NBC News’ programs and to the NBC Sports Group, where he reports for NBC Olympics and NBC Sports Network. Geist was formerly the host of MSNBC’s Way Too Early with Willie Geist, a program he created in 2009. He has been a co-host of Morning Joe since the show’s debut in 2007. Geist joined MSNBC in 2005 as a senior producer and has since served as a contributor to a number of NBC News programs, including TODAY, Nightly News with Brian Williams and Rock Center with Brian Williams. Geist also anchored NBC Sports Network’s coverage of the 2012 London Olympic Games and TODAY’s coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Geist came to MSNBC from the world of sports television. He was a producer and writer for the debate show I, Max on Fox Sports Net. Before that, Geist was an editor and producer for CNN/Sports Illustrated, a 24-hour sports network based in Atlanta. He later became a field producer and reporter for CNN Sports, where he covered the Super Bowl, the NCAA Final Four, the Masters and the United States Lawnmower Racing circuit. Geist authored the 2010 New York Times bestseller American Freak Show and is co-author of Loaded! Become a Millionaire Overnight and Lose 20 Pounds in 2 Weeks or Your Money Back!, a satire of the self-help genre. His latest book Good Talk, Dad was published by Hachette Book Group in May 2014. Geist graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville where he was contributing editor of the school newspaper, The Vanderbilt Hustler. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children. Geist is on Twitter @WillieGeist.
Yahoo News and Finance
Bianna Golodryga is anchor for Yahoo News and Finance. Prior to joining Yahoo in August of 2014, she served as the co-anchor of "Good Morning America's" weekend edition. She was named co-anchor in April 2010, and under her leadership, GMA Weekend moved into the #1 rated Saturday morning network news show. Golodryga has interviewed President Clinton, chief executive officers, former Secretaries of State and Treasury, financial titans including Warren Buffett, box office and music celebrities, and was the first U.S. journalist to interview Dzhokhar Tsarnaev - the father of the Boston bombers - in his native Russian tongue. Golodryga joined ABC News in July 2007, initially covering the economy and business beat before being promoted to GMA Weekend anchor. She reported extensively on the automobile, housing and credit crises, and the financial crisis. She was also responsible for the network's digital media and social networking coverage during the 2008 Presidential election. Golodryga began her career in television news in 2001 as a bureau producer from the New York Stock Exchange for the cable news channel, CNBC. In 2004 she became a segment producer for "The Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo," the nation's most watched financial news program, producing interviews with the world's top corporate and political leaders. Golodryga graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she received a bachelor's degree in Russian/East European and Eurasian Studies and a minor in economics. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is fluent in Russian.
Managing Director, Media and Technology Analyst
Rich Greenfield is managing director and media and technology analyst at BTIG since 2010 and is the cocreator of the BTIG Research blog (www.btigresearch.com). Prior to BTIG, Greenfield was a managing director and media analyst, covering media and cable/satellite industries at Pali Capital. Prior to that, he spent four years at Fulcrum Global Partners as a media analyst. Greenfield started his career at Goldman Sachs & Co. in 1995, where he spent eight years covering entertainment, cable system, and leisure industries. Greenfield lives in NYC with his wife and three daughters. Twitter: @RichBTIG
CEO and Chief Curator
Mr. Hirschhorn is CEO of The ReDEF Group, a digital content curation company. Previously, Mr. Hirschhorn served as Co-President of Myspace Inc., an affiliate of News Corp. and as President of Sling Media, Inc. He has also served as Chief Digital Officer of MTV Networks. Mr. Hirschhorn currently is on the board of directors of MGM and CFY. Mr. Hirschhorn holds a B.S. in International Business and Marketing from New York University's Stern School of Business.
Cofounder and Editor-in-Chief
Jake Horowitz is the editor-in-chief and cofounder of Mic (formerly PolicyMic), a leading news and media company for young people. With seven coverage areas, Mic tells stories that help an entire generation stay informed and make sense of the world. He manages the editorial team, leads content strategy, and oversees audience growth. Under Jake’s leadership, Mic’s audience has grown to 19 million unique monthly readers, an increase of more than 750% over the last 18 months. Prior to cofounding Mic, Jake lived and worked on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict, researched democracy and governance issues in Morocco, worked for the Carnegie Endowment in Beirut, and helped Change.org inspire people to take action. A graduate of Stanford University, where he studied Middle East history and politics, Jake lives in Brooklyn and is an avid biker.
Founder and CEO
Founder, host, and CEO of Techonomy, David Kirkpatrick is a journalist, commentator about technology, and author of the bestselling book “The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World,” published in 32 countries. He spent 25 years at Fortune, where he founded and hosted the Brainstorm and Brainstorm Tech conferences. In addition to writing for Techonomy, he contributes to Forbes and Vanity Fair and is a contributing editor at Bloomberg Television. Kirkpatrick is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Steven is an entrepreneur, advisor, and executive with 20 years of experience in media, technology and international business. Steven is a co-founder of Tastemade, a global community of food lovers -- and was a featured speaker at Google Zeitgeist in 2013. Prior to founding Tastemade, Steven was part of the founding team of Demand Media (NYSE: DMD) and Executive Vice President of the Studios division, a platform and community which became one of the leading producers of original content on the Internet. Previously, Steven worked as VP of Business Development & Strategy for Yahoo!. As one of the Yahoo! Media Group's early employees in Hollywood, Steven managed content and advertising relationships with major media and tech companies. Prior to Yahoo!, Steven was a Vice President with eTour Inc, a fast growing start-up in Atlanta. Steven also served as VP of Internet Marketing and other executive roles with 20th Century Fox International in Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Los Angeles. He began his career at a boutique market research and consulting company, Macro International, as a Project Manager in Poland and Russia. Steven attended the University of Maine earning a degree in Business Administration. He also studied at the Ecole Superieure des Affaires in Grenoble, France. In 1992, Steven was one of 50 Americans selected for the Congress-Bundestag Exchange For Young Professionals which included studies at the Free University in Berlin, Germany and work at the Treuhandanstalt, the agency that privatized East German enterprises. He served as an advisor to Bluefin Labs just prior to its acquisition by Twitter.com. Steven lives in Santa Monica, California with his wife Sal, and children, Oliver & Lola.
Cookbook Author and Host
Emmy nominated Padma Lakshmi is known internationally as an award-winning author, food expert, model, and actress. Lakshmi recently wrapped filming her eleventh season as host of Bravo’s Emmy award winning Top Chef. Lakshmi was born in India and grew up in America. She graduated from Clark University with a Bachelors degree in Theater Arts and American Literature. Known as India’s first supermodel, she began her career as a fashion model, working in Europe and the US. She established herself as a food expert early on in her career, having hosted two successful cooking shows and writing a best-selling cookbook Easy Exotic, for which she won the International Versailles Event for best cookbook by a first time author. She followed its success with her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet, which has over 150 recipes from around the world alongside intriguing personal memoirs. In addition to her own books, she has also written for such publications as American Vogue, Gourmet, Parade and British and American Harper's Bazaar as well as being a syndicated columnist for the New York Times. Her debut home décor line, The Padma Collection, hit floors last fall in Bloomingdale’s stores nationwide with tabletop dishware, stemware and hand-blown glass décor pieces. She has also created Padma’s Easy Exotic, a collection of culinary products including organic frozen rice; fine teas and teapots; high-quality natural spice blends, roasting rubs and sea salts; as well as hard goods. In 2009, Lakshmi cofounded the Endometriosis Foundation of America alongside world-renowned Advanced Gynecological Surgeon Tamer Seckin. Opening up about her own harrowing journey with the little-known disease, she has brought hope to millions of women suffering in silence and made enormous strides in spreading awareness and garnering funding for research and teen health education. She has been recognized by the New York State senate for her efforts in women's health and also helped to launch the first research center in the US for gynopathology at MIT.
Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film, and as a political and social activist and philanthropist. Mr. Lear began his television writing career in 1950 when he and his partner, Ed Simmons, were signed to write for the The Ford Star Revue, starring Jack Haley. After only four shows, they were hired away by Jerry Lewis to write for the Martin and Lewis Colgate Comedy Hour, which they continued to write until 1953. Mr. Lear then began writing on his own for comedy shows including The Martha Raye Show, The George Gobel Show, and The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show. In 1958, Mr. Lear teamed with director Bud Yorkin to form Tandem Productions. Together they produced several feature films, with Mr. Lear taking on roles as executive producer, writer, and director. He was nominated in 1967 for an Academy Award for his script for Divorce American Style. In 1970, CBS signed with Tandem to produce All in the Family, which first aired on January 12, 1971 and ran for nine seasons. It earned four Emmy Awards for Best Comedy series as well as the Peabody Award in 1977. All in the Family was followed by a succession of other television hit shows including Maude, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, Good Times, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Concerned about the growing influence of radical religious evangelists, Mr. Lear decided to leave television in 1980 and formed People For the American Way, a non-profit organization designed to speak out for Bill of Rights guarantees and to monitor violations of constitutional freedoms. People For remains an influential and effective voice for freedom. In 1982, he produced a two-hour television special I Love Liberty, with a cast of stars and an audience filling the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Mr. Lear’s business career continued in 1984 when he and his business partners created T.A.T. Communications, later known as Embassy Communications, which was sold in 1985. Mr. Lear then created and is currently chairman of Act III Communications, a multimedia holding company with interests in the recording, motion picture, broadcasting, publishing, and licensing industries, including Concord Music Group and Village Roadshow Pictures Group. In addition to People for the American Way, Mr. Lear has founded other nonprofit organizations, including the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication (2000-present), a multidisciplinary research and public policy center dedicated to exploring the convergence of entertainment, commerce and society; the Business Enterprise Trust (1989-2000) to spotlight exemplary social innovations in American business; and with his wife, Lyn, co-founded the Environmental Media Association (1989-present), to mobilize the entertainment industry to become more environmentally responsible. In 1999, President Clinton bestowed the National Medal of Arts on Mr. Lear, noting that “Norman Lear has held up a mirror to American society and changed the way we look at it.” He has the distinction of being among the first seven television pioneers inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame (1984). In addition to his awards for All in the Family, he has been honored by the International Platform Association (1977), the Writers Guild of America (1977) and many other professional and civic organizations. In 2001, Lyn and Norman Lear created the Declaration of Independence Road Trip, a four-year educational initiative and national multimedia tour of one of the surviving original copies of the Declaration, which they purchased to share with the American people. As part of the project, Mr. Lear launched Declare Yourself, a nonpartisan youth voter initiative that registered well over four million new young voters in the 2004, 2006, and 2008 elections. At the Presidential Inauguration in 2009, Declare Yourself premiered BornAgainAmerican.org, featuring an inspiring music video that has been viewed by millions across the country. It is part of an on-going drive to promote active and thoughtful citizenship, as embodied in the Declaration of Independence, which continues to tour. Mr. Lear is married to Lyn Davis Lear and resides in Los Angeles, California. He has six children: Ellen, Kate, Maggie, Benjamin, Brianna, Madeline and four grandchildren: Daniel, Noah, Griffin, Zoe.
Debra L. Lee
Chairman and CEO
Debra L. Lee is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BET Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB) and the leading provider of entertainment for the African-American audience and consumers of Black culture globally. Ms. Lee oversees one of the most influential multiplatform media companies in the world, including several cable television networks, digital offerings, and a home entertainment business. BET Networks is committed to providing its audience with quality entertainment that speaks to where they are in their lives and where they want to go. Under her leadership, Ms. Lee has led the company’s successful reinvigorated brand and successful programming vision that has created hits such as Real Husbands of Hollywood, Being Mary Jane, The Game on BET, Black Girls Rock!, BET Honors, Sunday Best and many more – resulting in consistent increases in viewership and revenue. Ms. Lee’s vision for BET’s reinvigorated approach is built on supporting families, embracing and encouraging their dreams, and focusing on the issues that are important to them. In September 2009, Ms. Lee managed the launch of Centric, the 24-hour music and entertainment network featuring the artists, music, series, movies and reality programming that reflects the lifestyle and sophistication of today’s African-American and multi-cultural adult. She also oversees the company’s current growth initiatives, including international distribution of the brand in Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to her being named Chairman and CEO, Ms. Lee was President and Chief Operating Officer of BET Networks for almost 10 years, during which she guided the company to consistent increases in viewership, revenue, and earnings. She first joined BET as Vice President and General Counsel in 1986 after serving more than five years as an attorney with Washington, D.C.-based Steptoe & Johnson, a corporate law firm. Prior to that, she served as a law clerk to the late Honorable Barrington Parker of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment, Ms. Lee’s achievements in a 25-plus year career at BET Networks have earned her numerous accolades from across the cable industry, as well as recognition as one of this country’s most respected business executives. Ms. Lee was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, the Washington Business Hall of Fame, and was honored with the Distinguished Leadership Vanguard Award by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. She serves on the corporate board of directors of Revlon, Marriott and Washington Gas & Light. Her business acumen and strategic approach to management make Ms. Lee a popular speaker and lecturer on a range of business topics. Affiliated with a number of professional, civic and cultural organizations, Ms. Lee is a member of the national board of directors for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Economic Club of Washington and the Kennedy Center’s Community & Friends Board. She also serves on the boards of The Paley Center for Media, the Ad Council and the Grammy Foundation. She was appointed by the White House to the President’s Management Advisory Board and is a member emeritus of the Federal Communications Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diversity for Communications in the Digital Age. Ms. Lee earned her juris doctorate at Harvard Law School, while simultaneously earning a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government. She graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis in Asian politics. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for Brown University and was awarded with a Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) from Brown University in May, 2014. Ms. Lee resides in Washington, D.C. with her two children.
Showrunner and Executive Producer
NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Warren Leight's play Side Man won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Play, and was a 1999 Pulitzer Prize Finalist. Other plays include No Foreigners Beyond This Point (Drama Desk nomination) published by Samuel French, Home Front, Fame Takes a Holiday, Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine (ATCA nomination), The Loop, and the book to the musical Mayor (Drama Desk nomination). Two collections of one-acts, Dark, No Sugar, and Stray Cats, have been published by DPS. Leight is an enthusiastic supporter of the 24-hour Play Festival, where he has contributed a number of one acts. His one act Mars Has Never Been This Close was recently published in their anthology, Twenty-Four by Twenty-Four. Warren is the showrunner and Executive Producer of the NBC drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Formerly, he has been the showrunner and an Executive Producer of HBO's Emmynominated In Treatment, for which he won the Peabody Award, as well as the FX drama Lights Out, and the Edgar-winning Law and Order: Criminal Intent. He wrote and directed The Night We Never Met, co-wrote the documentary Before the Nickelodeon (New York Film Festival) and has authored many screenplays. Warren was the former President of The Writer’s Guild of America, East, and is a current member of the Dramatists’ Guild councils. Warren was raised in New York City. He is a graduate of Stanford University. He lives with his wife and daughters in New York.
Alex Mahon joined Shine Group in 2006 as Managing Director of Shine TV from UK producer talkbackTHAMES where she was COO. She subsequently became COO, Shine Group and was made CEO in September 2012. Alex was previously Global Director of Commercial Development and Strategy at FremantleMedia working on company strategy, mergers and acquisition and joint ventures. Her TV career began with RTL Group overseeing content and broadcasting operations across Europe. Before this she was a strategic consultant to internet start-ups and has a Physics PhD. Alex is a Non-executive Director of the Edinburgh International Television and of Ocado PLC (FTSE 250) and Appeal Chairman of the Healing Foundation. Comprised of 27 companies across 11 territories, Shine Group produces some of the world’s most critically acclaimed and commercially successful programming including MasterChef, The Bridge, Broadchurch and Biggest Loser. Shine is focused on effecting truer ethnic, gender and socio-economic representation in television, through its social enterprise The Hatch, and cross industry partnerships.
Chief Executive Officer
Joe Marchese is the founder and chief executive officer of true[X] media, which has created the commercial-break for interactive media. Part media and advertising executive, all entrepreneur, Marchese’s passion is innovating media businesses…and running, politics, sports, his dog, and his wife (in no particular order, of course). Known as a pioneer with an extensive expertise in engagement advertising, he has evolved true[X] media from an idea to the market-leading advertising company it is today. true[X] works with the world’s largest publishers, content creators, agencies, and brands to solve the problem of adverting in an on-demand and interactive world. Along the way, he has raised over $44 Million in capital from top venture capital firms such as Redpoint and Norwest Ventures. As svp marketing and digital at the cable network Fuse, Marchese lead the channel’s development as a cable leader in multi-platform content, and spearheaded original partnerships with Twitter and YouTube that changed the way the network approached content creation and syndication. Always forward thinking and provocative, Marchese believes that interactive storytelling will save advertising, and is focused on perfecting what he calls "the commercial break for new media." He speaks frequently at conferences and in the press on trends and issues that affect the new media and advertising landscape, and has been featured in MediaPost, AdAge, AdWeek among numerous others.
Manager, Media & Direct Marketing
Nissan North America
As Manager of Media & Direct Marketing for Nissan North America, Jeremy Meadows is responsible for managing Nissan cross-channel media planning and direct marketing for Nissan trucks, crossovers, and sport utility vehicles. He also manages integrated brand programs, such as: Nissan Heisman House (with ESPN and the Heisman Trust) and GT Academy (with Sony Computer Entertainment America). Prior to joining Nissan in 2011, Jeremy spent 15 years at advertising agencies, including: Critical Mass, McCann Erickson, BBDO, D’Arcy, and Ross Roy Communications. He has experience in the areas of media planning, account management, customer relationship marketing, events, promotions, and brand identity. In his career he has managed successful programs for Nissan LEAF, Saab Automobile USA, XM Radio, Buick, Dodge, and Chrysler. Jeremy, his wife, and two boys are Michigan natives, but now call Tennessee home. He volunteers with Boy Scouts of America and youth basketball programs.
Anchor, AM Tonight
Alicia Menendez anchors AM Tonight on Fusion, a nightly program airing weeknights at 9:00 p.m., ET. Sex. Politics. Paychecks. These are the things that get us up in the morning – or keep us in bed. Five nights a week, Alicia Menendez brings honest, personal commentary to the issues young America deals with everyday: the highs and lows with sex, the struggles with money and power. She delivers a signature brand of witty and relatable analysis and commentary, leading a thought-provoking conversation with celebrities, newsmakers, journalists, experts and engaging panel discussions with voices from across the country. The Washington Post dubbed her “Ms. Millennial” in 2013. Before joining Fusion in June 2013, Menendez was a host and producer on the Internet-based video streaming network HuffPost Live. She interviewed a wide-range of celebrities and newsmakers, from John Leguizamo, Joan Rivers, and Tom Brokaw, to Alex Jones, Dr. Oz and Jazz, a 12-year-old transgender activist. Menendez co-anchored 5 hours of breaking news coverage during the hunt for the alleged Boston bombers and 6 hours of live coverage on Election Night 2012. Menendez has also produced and co-hosted a one-hour political talk show, Power Play, for SiriusXM/National Latino Broadcasting. Before starting her career in media, Menendez worked to increase political participation among women, minority communities and young Americans. Originally from Union City, NJ, Menendez graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She currently lives in Miami, FL.
Jonathan Miller is a partner at Advancit Capital abd Chairman of Indigenous Media. He was the chief digital officer and chairman and CEO, Digital Media Group for News Corporation, a role in which he drove the company’s overall digital strategy in conjunction with various operational heads, while also directly overseeing all of News Corp.’s standalone digital businesses. He also acted as News Corp.’s principal executive for Hulu. Previously, Jon was chairman and CEO of AOL, where he led the company to a record annual profit growth of 21 percent, and increased online advertising growth—the centerpiece of its new business model—by 46 percent in 2006. He also led AOL’s investment in Kayak which was sold to Priceline. Earlier in his career, Jon was CEO and president of USA Information and Services—now IACI and Expedia—and also served as managing director of Nickelodeon International, a unit of Viacom's MTV Networks. From 1987–93, he was vice president, programming and cogeneral manager of NBA Entertainment, where he was responsible for league-wide brand management and programming. Jon has also been an active investor for many years. Jon was a founding partner of Velocity Interactive Group, an investment firm focusing on digital media and the consumer Internet space. He is a cofounder of Fuel Media Commerce, which focused on early stage investments. Jon is on the board of Trip Advisor (audit), Shutterstock (nominating and governance), Open X (chair), and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. In addition, he serves as a nonprofit director/trustee for the American Film Institute, BBC Global News, International Emmy Association, Independent Film Project, and The Paley Center for Media. Jon has been awarded the Inaugural Pioneer Prize, Producers Guild of America, 2005; the Inaugural Vanguard Award, International Emmy Association, 2006; the Digital Power Player of the Year, Hollywood Reporter, 2009; and the Monaco Media Festival, Interactive Pioneer Award, 2010. Jon holds a BA with honors from Harvard College.
Executive Vice Chair
The Paley Center for Media
Pat Mitchell’s diverse background in media includes work as a journalist, network correspondent, producer and executive. Throughout her career she has focused on the power of media and storytelling as an agent of social change; specifically, to celebrate and raise awareness of the work, ideas and aspirations of women and girls. She was the first woman to launch, produce and host her own nationally syndicated Emmy winning talk program Woman to Woman. As an independent producer she has documented women’s history as well as women on the frontlines of war, poverty and peacemaking. As President and Executive Producer in charge of original productions for Ted Turner’s cable networks, her documentaries and specials received thirty-seven Emmy Awards, five Peabody Awards, and two Academy Award nominations. Pat Mitchell became the first woman President and CEO of PBS, and served as President and CEO of the Paley Center for Media where she led the institution through an exciting rebranding effort and strengthened its public and industry programs and optimizing the convening power of a global constituency of media and technology leaders to explore the impact and influence of media. Among the new initiatives she launched at Paley, a series called Women@Paley which includes co-producing and co-hosting TEDWomen in partnership with the TED organization and producing/hosting SHE'S MAKING MEDIA, a series of interviews with outstanding women in media, arts and entertainment, broadcast on PBS. Mitchell is a founding member of VDAY, a global movement to end violence against women, a board member of Acumen Fund and a corporate director of AOL. She has been honored numerous times for her achievements, including the Women's Media Center Lifetime Achievement Award, given every year in her name.
Keshet Media Group
Named the #1 Most Influential Person in Israeli Culture by Israel’s top national Newspaper Haaretz in 2013, Avi Nir is the Chief Executive Officer of the Keshet Media Group and has led the company’s charge to secure and maintain its position as the leading broadcaster in Israel averaging a weekly primetime share of more than 40 percent. As well as delivering high quality content for his home audience, Nir and his team are now bringing his passion for excellence in television to the world by selling, co-developing and producing sophisticated shows for the international market. Under Nir, privately owned Keshet has become a top content supplier overseas enjoying global success with its high quality shows and with Nir actively engaged in many international adaptations. Notably, Nir serves as an Executive Producer on Showtime’s Emmy and Golden Globe-winning drama Homeland, for which he was personally awarded an Emmy when the show was named Outstanding Drama Series in 2012. Prisoners of War, Keshet’s original Israeli show upon which Homeland is based, has sold to more than 20 territories internationally. Through Keshet International, the company’s global production and distribution arm headed CEO Alon Shtruzman, the company has established local production outposts in major territories: Keshet UK; Keshet Australia; Keshet Canada and Keshet DCP in the US; and introduced Keshet’s quality content throughout the world. There are currently several Keshet properties in various stages of production in the US such as the dramas Allegiance (Universal Television for NBC, internationally known as M.I.C.E.), Tyrant (Fox 21 for FX) DIG (Universal Cable Productions for USA Networks), False Flag (Fox International Channels) and family sitcom Your Family or Mine (Sony Pictures television for TBS). Keshet's has also enjoyed great success with its trailblazing interactive talent show format Rising Star which has sold to more than 25 territories since its launch in October 2013, making it the fastest-selling talent format on record (source: The WIT). In April 2014, the company introduced the explosive gameshow BOOM! which sold to 5 territories, including FOX in the US, within a week of its launch. Nir serves as a Director on the Board of The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, working with the rest of the Executive Committee to steer the design and execution of the Academy’s programs. Nir and Keshet host INTV, an annual high-profile international conference focused on innovation in television, held in Jerusalem. Nir has also initiated many of the company’s successful new media operations, establishing Keshet as a pioneer of cutting edge digital, dual screen and cross-platform tools and products. He launched Keshet’s online portal, Mako, which ranked in the top 3 websites in Israel within just one year. He further diversified Keshet’s portfolio with the acquisition of popular music platform Channel 24 in 2009. Nir has led Keshet in establishing successful joint ventures and the in-house production company Bip, as well as a number of e-commerce and lifestyle websites. After joining the company in 1993, Nir quickly rose up through its ranks, serving as VP of Marketing and Sales from 1995 to 1999, then heading Keshet’s core business as VP of Programming. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2002 and was later named "Executive of the Year" and "Television Personality of the Decade" respectively by Israel's top financial magazines, The Marker and Globes. In 1994, Nir co-authored the influential media-business book Advertising in Television: The Media, the Message, the Money. Born in Jerusalem, Nir received his MA and MBA from the Tel Aviv University Graduate School of Business, where he was awarded the Sigal Prize for excellence in marketing research. He also taught in the University’s Faculty of Management, as well as its Department of Film and Television.
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is an Academy Award and Emmy Award winning documentary ï¬lmmaker. Sharmeen has made over a dozen award-winning ï¬lms in over 10 countries around the world. Her films include Children of the Taliban (with Dan Edge), The Lost Generation (about Iraqi exiles) and Afghanistan Unveiled. Her work has taken her around the world, where she has filmed and worked with refugees, women's advocacy groups and human rights defenders. By bringing their voices to the outside world, she has often helped them bring about a critical change in their community. In 2012, Time magazine included her in the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most inuential people in the world. Obaid-Chinoy helped found the Citizens Archive of Pakistan, a nonprofit, volunteer organization that fosters and promotes community-wide interest in the culture and history of Pakistan. Citizens Archive works with thousands of children, teaching critical thinking skills and instilling a sense of pride about their history and identity.
Katherine L. Oliver
Katherine Oliver is a principal partner at Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consultancy firm founded by Michael Bloomberg to provide strategic advice and technical know-how to cities worldwide. Katherine oversees the media and technology practice, helping cities harness the power of media and technology to improve government services, public communications and advising them how to attract and promote businesses in this sector to support economic growth. Prior to joining Bloomberg Associates, Katherine served as the Commissioner of the New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment under Mayor Bloomberg from 2002-2013. While there she transformed the local entertainment industry into a $7.1 billion a year business supporting 130,000 jobs. Before her government service, Katherine played a key role in Bloomberg L.P., where as General Manager of Bloomberg Radio & Television, she launched and built the company’s global media operations.
Founder and CEO
Jonah Peretti is founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, the media company for the social age that provides a pioneering mix of breaking news, entertainment and shareable content. After cofounding The Huffington Post in 2005, Peretti launched BuzzFeed in 2006 as an experimental lab that focused on tracking viral content and making things people wanted to share. Under Peretti’s leadership, BuzzFeed has grown to over 400 people worldwide, more than 130M monthly unique visitors with editors creating shareable entertaining lists and reporters covering everything from to politics to longform features and international news. BuzzFeed has also pioneered social content marketing to build shareable campaigns for the world’s leading brands. Before BuzzFeed, Peretti experimented with viral projects and studied how information and ideas spread through the web. Peretti is a graduate of the MIT Media Lab and has taught at NYU and the Parsons School of Design. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and twins.
Chairman and CEO
Home Box Office, Inc.
Richard Plepler is Chairman and CEO of Home Box Office, Inc., responsible for the overall management of the world’s most successful pay-TV service, which provides the two television networks – HBO and Cinemax – to over 127 million subscribers worldwide. He was named to this position in January 2013. Renowned worldwide, the HBO and Cinemax services offer the most popular subscription video-on-demand products, HBO On Demand® and Cinemax On Demand® as well as HBO GO® and MAX GO®, HD feeds and multiplex channels. Internationally, HBO branded television networks, along with the subscription video-on-demand products HBO On Demand and HBO GO, bring HBO services to over 70 countries. HBO programming is sold into over 150 countries globally. Under his leadership, HBO's original productions continue to raise the bar with some of the most innovative, honored and critically respected programming on television including two of HBO’s newest shows, the comedy Silicon Valley and the topical talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. True Detective, which debuted in early 2014, became the most-watched freshman series in HBO’s history. Now In its fourth season, Game of Thrones is a global juggernaut, watched by nearly 18 million viewers per episode in the U.S. alone. As co-president from 2007 to 2012, Plepler, in partnership with Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming, greenlit some of HBO’s most acclaimed and successful series including True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom and Game of Thrones, which rank among the top programs in the network’s history, as well as first season Emmy® Awards for Girls and Veep. Additional award-winning programs include the miniseries Mildred Pierce, starring Kate Winslet, and The Pacific; HBO Films’ Behind the Candelabra, Too Big to Fail, and Game Change. Plepler and Lombardo also shepherded Cinemax's first foray into primetime originals with the popular action series Strike Back. Plepler is a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations, where he serves on the President’s Advisory Board, and The Trilateral Commission. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Asia Society and the New York Public Library, and is on the National Advisory Board of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University and the Museum of the Moving Image. In 2013, he was inducted into Broadcasting and Cable magazine’s Hall of Fame. In 2014, The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the world's largest and most prestigious annual awards and celebration of creative excellence in advertising and communications, named Plepler Media Person of the Year. Plepler resides in New York City with his wife Lisa and daughter Eden.
Dan Rose is the Vice President of Partnerships at Facebook. Dan is globally responsible for Facebook’s mobile partnerships, platform developer relations, business development, M&A and community operations. Dan joined Facebook in 2006 after seven years at Amazon.com where he held various positions in business development and general management, including his last role where he helped incubate and develop the Amazon Kindle. Dan earned a bachelor’s degree at Harvard University and attended the University of Michigan Business School for one year before joining Amazon. Dan currently sits on the board of REDF.
Michael I. Roth
Chairman and CEO
Michael I. Roth is Chairman and CEO of Interpublic (NYSE: IPG), one of the world's largest organizations of advertising and marketing services companies. Before serving in his current role, Roth was a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Since assuming leadership of Interpublic in 2005, Roth has righted the company’s financial course and moved to make it an industry leader by defining new models that provide value to clients in a rapidly-changing media and marketing environment. Before his current role, Roth was Chairman and CEO of The MONY Group Inc., a financial services holding company that provides a wide range of protection, asset accumulation and retail brokerage products and services through its member companies. Under Roth's leadership, The MONY Group diversified its business mix, broadened its distribution channels and enhanced its ability to compete in today's financial services marketplace. Roth is a member of the Board of Directors for Pitney Bowes Inc., the Ad Council and Ryman Hospitality Properties. He sits on the Leadership Committee of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; the Board of Directors of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy and The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA). In addition, he is a Director of The Baruch College Fund and The Partnership for New York City. He is also a member of the Business Roundtable. A certified public accountant, Roth holds an L.L.M. degree from New York University Law School and a J.D. from Boston University Law School. He is a 1967 graduate of the City College of New York.
Head of Worldwide Studios
Jason Rubin joined Oculus in June 2014 as Head of Worldwide Studios and is responsible for Oculus’ content initiatives. Rubin is a game director and co-founder of Naughty Dog, developer of the Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter series. The titles he directed became de facto PlayStation mascots, sold over 40 million units worldwide, and led to the acquisition of Naughty Dog by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2001. Rubin left Sony in 2004 and has since created and written two comic book series, co-founded and sold a media mashup startup Flektor to Fox Entertainment, and consulted in the video game industry. In 2012 he joined THQ, Inc., a video game publisher, as President to lead the company through a restructuring and eventual sale.
Felix Salmon is the award-winning senior editor at Fusion, and has been blogging since 1999. He previously worked as the finance blogger for Reuters and for Conde Nast's Portfolio.com. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Wired, the New York Times, New York magazine, and Euromoney magazine. A graduate of the University of Glasgow, he has worked in the United States since 1997.
President and Chief Executive Officer
AMC Networks Inc.
One of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and visionary executives, Josh Sapan sets strategy and is responsible for the overall management of AMC Networks, which owns and operates several leading entertainment brands, AMC, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and IFC Films/Sundance Selects. The company also operates an international programming business, AMC Networks International. Named CEO in 1995, Mr. Sapan led the company’s successful spin-off from Cablevision Systems Corporation in June 2011, when AMC Networks began trading as a separate public company on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Lauded by Fast Company magazine as one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business,” Sapan’s record of delivering must-have content to passionate audiences, coupled with his championing of breakthrough distribution models, has transformed cable television and changed the way people watch TV. The recipient of the 2012 Paley Prize for Innovation and Excellence, Sapan is credited with building some of television’s most influential entertainment brands and shows that are at the center of what’s been widely referred to as a new “Golden Age” of television; shows including: AMC’s The Walking Dead, Mad Men and Breaking Bad; SundanceTV’s Rectify and Top of the Lake; and IFC’s Portlandia. Vanity Fair recognized him in its 2013 New Establishment Issue as one of the “Impresarios of Cable’s Golden Age.” In addition to spearheading AMC’s evolution from a classic movie channel into one of the most acclaimed and successful television networks, Sapan has developed IFC, SundanceTV and WE tv into offerings with groundbreaking content for targeted audiences. Under his leadership, IFC has become a home for original comedies and leading comedic talent, including its breakout hit Portlandia – winner of Emmy®, Peabody and Writer’s Guild Awards – and projects from Will Ferrell (The Spoils of Babylon) and Ben Stiller & Bob Odenkirk (The Birthday Boys); WE tv has emerged as a leading destination for women with Braxton Family Values, Mary Mary and its first-ever original scripted series, The Divide; and SundanceTV, following its acquisition by the company in 2008, began its transformation into a home for original programming including the acclaimed scripted drama Rectify, the Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning miniseries “Top of the Lake” and scripted drama, The Red Road. Sapan has been instrumental in bringing independent film to wide audiences through the independent film distribution labels IFC Films and Sundance Selects. He pioneered a strategy of same-day theatrical and video-on-demand release which has fundamentally altered how independent films are distributed and is a model that is now widely used throughout the movie industry. Sapan also spearheaded the development of the Bravo network. Launched in 1980, the network made arts and culture an essential part of the television landscape. Sapan’s oversight of Bravo’s growth included the creation of such notable programs as Inside the Actors Studio and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The network was sold to NBC in 2002. Inducted into the Cable Center Hall of Fame and the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, Sapan has been recognized with a wide range of honors including, The Media Institute’s Freedom of Speech Award, for his contributions to the advancement and protection of free speech. Sapan has also received the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s (NCTA) Vanguard Award for Programmers and its Vanguard Award for Marketing; CTAM’s Grand TAM Award and Chairman’s Award; the Association of Cable Communicators’ (ACC) President’s Award; a PROMAX Brand Builder Award; the T. Howard Foundation’s Executive Leadership Award; and many others. Sapan serves on numerous boards, including those of The Cable Center, the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) Educational Foundation, the International Radio and Television Society (IRTS), the Museum of the Moving Image, the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), People for the American Way, WNYC Radio, and The New School University. Sapan is the author of “The Big Picture: America in Panorama” (Princeton Architectural Press), a collection of panoramic photos from the 20th century, with an introduction by writer and critic Luc Sante and captions from celebrated public figures including Yogi Berra, Arianna Huffington, Bob Kerrey, Anna Quindlen and Martha Stewart. He also has the world’s largest collection of antique lightning rods, a selection of which are currently on display at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
Chief Content Officer
One of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2013, Ted Sarandos has led content acquisition for Netflix since 2000. With more than 20 years experience in the home entertainment business, Ted is recognized as a key innovator in the acquisition and distribution of films and television programs. From its roots as a U.S. DVD subscription rental company, Netflix is now the world’s leading Internet television network with more than 50 million members in more than 41 countries. With the 2013 releases of House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, Arrested Development, Orange is the New Black, Turbo F.A.S.T., Derek, and Lilyhammer, Ted has led the transformation of Netflix into an original content powerhouse that is changing the rules of how serialized television is produced, released and distributed globally. In its first two years of releasing original series, documentary films and comedy specials, Netflix has been recognized by the film and TV industries with 45 Emmy nominations and 10 Emmy wins; an Oscar nomination; 6 Golden Globe nominations and a win; 2 Peabody Awards; 2 AFI Awards and recognition from all of the major guilds. Ted has also been producer or executive producer of several award winning and critically acclaimed documentaries and independent films, including the Emmy nominated Outrage, and Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends. He is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and serves on the board of Exploring The Arts, a non-profit focused on arts in schools. He also serves on the Film Advisory Board for Tribeca and Los Angeles Film Festival, is an American Cinematheque board member and is an Executive Committee Member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Ted is married to U.S. Ambassador Nicole Avant (ret.) and has two children, Sarah and Tony Sarandos.
Vice President and Executive Producer
ESPN Films and Original Content
Connor Schell, Vice president and Executive Producer, ESPN Films and Original Content, oversees all development and production for ESPN Films and ESPN’s digital storytelling franchises, as well as oversight of the annual award show, The ESPYS. Schell also oversees the ESPN/Tribeca Sports Film Festival, ESPN’s Home Entertainment group, and the programming strategy for the ESPN Classic network. He is the Executive Producer and co-creator of the 30 for 30 series, 30 for 30 Shorts (through a collaboration with Grantland.com), and the upcoming 30 for 30: Soccer Stories. He also serves as the Executive Producer of the SEC Storied series and Nine for IX Shorts. Past projects include 30 for 30 vol. 1 and Nine for IX. In his time at ESPN, Schell has produced more than 60 feature length documentary films. Schell also served as an Executive Producer of the Walt Disney studio film Million Dollar Arm, along with Grantland.com’s Bill Simmons. The Emmy-nominated 30 for 30 series earned a Peabody Award in 2010, along with a Producers Guild Award for Outstanding Sports Program and an IDA Documentary Award for Best Continuing Series in 2010. The ESPN Films program Black Magic also received a Peabody Award in 2008, and The 16th Man (one of the 30 for 30 Vol I Films) received the prestigious Television Academy Honors Award in 2010. In 2013, 30 for 30 Shorts won the Webby Award for Best Documentary Series, and Ghosts of Ole Miss won an Edward R. Murrow Unity Award. In 2012, Schell was named one of Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” as well as Multichannel News’ “40 Under 40”, both identifying the most promising young executives in sports business. Before being promoted to his current position, Schell was the Executive Producer of the 30 for 30 series from 2007-2011, which he helped to create. Previously, he was Senior Director, Program Development, ESPN Original Entertainment where he handled the general development of documentaries and scripted/unscripted series and before that he was Director, Programming Strategy. Schell earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Harvard University and a Masters in Business Administration with a focus in Media and Entertainment from Columbia University. He lives in New York with his wife and children.
“The Sports Guy” Bill Simmons is a columnist, author, and podcaster whose prolific writings, rants and insights have become the voice for a generation of American sports fans. Simmons is the Editor-in-Chief of Grantland.com, the sports and pop culture website he created, which includes a mix of original columns, long-form features, and blog posts by an accomplished and diverse lineup of the Internet’s leading writers and editors. Grantland.com, which launched in June 2011, is also home to every Simmons column and podcast published on ESPN.com. A pioneer of sports writing on the Internet, Simmons is the most popular writer on ESPN.com, where his columns, podcasts and other content have been featured on the site’s Page 2: The Sports Guy’s World. With a signature style that reflects sports and pop-culture from the view of a deeply-engaged sports fan, Simmons’ informative and entertaining columns are read by millions each month, and his podcast, The B.S. Report, is the No. 1 sports podcast on iTunes, with more than 42 million downloads last year. He is also highly popular on Twitter, with more than 1.3 million followers. Simmons is the author of the New York Times No. 1 best-selling book The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy, and Now I Can Die In Peace: How The Sports Guy Found Salvation Thanks to the World Champion (Twice!) Red Sox. Simmons also consults on original programs and projects for ESPN. He is a special contributor to ESPN’s news magazine E:60, and he is an executive producer of ESPN’s critically acclaimed documentary series 30 for 30. Simmons began writing for ESPN.com in 2001, and for seven years starting in 2002 he was the lead columnist for ESPN The Magazine. Simmons also served as a writer for the Jimmy Kimmel Live show on ABC from 2002 to 2004. Before joining ESPN.com, Simmons hosted his own Web site, BostonSportsGuy.com, which began as a page on AOL’s Digital City Boston in 1997. He has also written for the Boston Herald and Boston Phoenix. Simmons received a Masters Degree in Journalism from Boston University and a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross. He lives in Los Angeles.
National Basketball Association
David Stern completed his three-decade tenure as NBA commissioner on February 1, 2014. As commissioner, Mr. Stern built the model for professional sports in league operations, public service, global marketing and digital technology. He oversaw the NBA’s extraordinary growth with seven new franchises, a more than 30-fold increase in revenues, a dramatic expansion of national television exposure and the launch of two leagues, the Women’s National Basketball Association and the NBA Development League. He implemented the first anti-drug agreement in professional sports and introduced the salary cap system and revenue sharing to the NBA. The NBA experienced tremendous global growth during Mr. Stern’s tenure, and that growth continues today: The NBA has 12 offices outside the United States; its games and programming are televised and streamed in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages; and it offers fans 17 international online destinations. The NBA was the first U.S. professional sports league to stage regular-season games outside North America, and the league has played nearly 150 international preseason and regular-season games to date. Mr. Stern also oversaw the launch of the leagues’ digital assets, including NBA.com, WNBA.com, and NBADLeague.com; social media platforms; NBA LEAGUE PASS; NBA TV; and mobile applications, all of which reach hundreds of millions of fans every day. An intense commitment to social responsibility both in the United States and around the world marked Mr. Stern's tenure as commissioner. Under his leadership, the league launched NBA Cares, a global social responsibility program that builds on the NBA's mission of addressing important social issues in the United States and around the world. NBA Cares supports a host of community outreach initiatives, including a myriad of internationally recognized youth-serving programs that focus on education, youth and family development, and health and wellness. Mr. Stern was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014. He is a 2013 recipient of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, awarded by Harvard University in recognition of contributions to African and African-American culture, and a recipient of the Yale Legend in Leadership Award, awarded by the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute to celebrate contemporary business leaders who have made transformational contributions across sectors. He is the chair emeritus of the Trustees of Columbia University and serves or has served on the boards of Beth Israel Medical Center, the Rutgers University Foundation, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, The Paley Center for Media, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. A native of New York City, Mr. Stern is a graduate of Rutgers University and Columbia Law School.
Brian Terkelsen is CEO of MediaVest USA. Among his successes since becoming CEO in 2012, Brian has added $1.5 billion in billings in new business and organic growth. This includes American Honda Motor Company, Mondelz, Tri-State Honda, Travelers Insurance, and Converse. In 2013 MediaVest was named Agency of the Year by Adweek. Previously, Brian served as Global President, LiquidThread, SMG’s digitally-led content creation unit. As a result of his leadership, SMG is the only media agency to have won Cannes Lions in the Branded Content category. In 2012, SMG won a Gold Lion for LiquidThread’s work with Kraft Wheat Thins and “The Colbert Report,” and in 2013, SMG won a Silver Lion for Pedigree and “Annie: From Shelter to Stage.” Brian’s reputation for innovation has resulted in numerous accolades including Advertising Age’s Media Maven in 2008 and Adweek’s Media ‘All Star’ honor in 2011. In 2003, Brian joined SMG to build the agency’s branded content practice connectivetissue, which evolved into LiquidThread in 2010. Under Brian’s tenure, LiquidThread grew five-fold globally and delivered award-winning programs including CoverGirl in America’s Next Top Model, the M&M’s characters’ in Entertainment Tonight, new shows such as Blush: The Search for the Next Great Makeup Artist with Max Factor and The Thread Star Style and Celebrity Trends webisodes. Brian was also instrumental in SMG’s BermanBraun content deal that provides the agency with first looks for new sites, formats, and ideas. A familiar face in Hollywood and entrepreneur, Brian has been in the entertainment marketing industry since 1992, when he co-founded Eco-Challenge Lifestyles, Inc with Mark Burnett, serving as an Executive Producer for numerous productions of Eco-Challenge on MTV, ESPN and Discovery.
Arzuhan Doan Yalçnda
Doan TV Holding A.S.
Arzuhan Doan Yalçnda started her professional life at Milpa in 1990 to initiate a mail order business in cooperation with the German firm, Quelle. In 1994 she took part in the establishment of Alternatifbank and served as director on its Board till she became the executive committee member of Milliyet Magazine Group in 1995. In 1993, Kanal D, one of the first private broadcasting companies in Turkey established and she joined to the company in 1996. Yalçnda started efforts in 1999 to establish a joint news channel with the Time Warner Group, which produced CNN Turk Channel the next year. Between 1999 and 2005, she aimed to build a diversified, integrated and pioneer broadcasting business. As part of that vision Doan TV Holding established as the parent company of broadcasting assets and she became the President of the company. In 2007, Doan Yalçnda was elected as the first female Chairperson of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD), member of Business Europe. She chaired the Association from 2007 to 2010. She was the 3rd female chairperson in Business Europe history while she was the first in TUSIAD since 1971. Between 2010 and 2012, Yalçnda served as the Chairperson of Doan Holding. She has been the Chairperson of Doan TV Holding since January 2012. Doan TV Holding is the largest broadcasting group in Turkey operating the leading mainstream entertainment channel KANAL D, news channel CNN Turk, DTH digital platform D-SMART, drama production company D Production, music production company DMC, three national radios and many thematic channels. As a Young Global Leader selected by the World Economic Forum, Ms. Yalçnda founded "Women's Initiative for Turkey in the EU" and named as the voluntary ambassador. She is a founding member of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey and Aydn Doan Foundation. Doan Yalcindag is the member of Board of Trustees in the Turkish Education Volunteers Foundation, the Turkish-American Businessmen Association and the Turkish Third Sector Foundation while she has been also serving as Board member of Istanbul Modern Art Museum. She is also on the International Advisory Council of Expo 2015 Milano and was awarded the title of Commander of Italy’s Star Order in 2009.
Political Satirist and Host
Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World hosted the popular TV show Al-Bernameg, which was the first of its kind political satire show in the Middle East region. Originally an online 5-minute show, Al-Bernameg became the most watched show in the history of Egyptian TV with an average of 40 million viewers every week, in addition to over 2 million subscribers on its official YouTube channel and 184 million views. The B+ show started as a 5-minute webisodes on YouTube in 2011, gaining five million views in only three months. Nine webisodes later, Egyptian channel ONTV offered Youssef to create a weekly political satire TV show Al-Bernameg which translates to “The Show." Al-Bernameg received wide acclaim around the world with coverage in some of the biggest media outlets, topping it off with Youssef’s appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in June 2012 for an extended interview. In November 2012, Al-Bernameg moved from ONTV's smallest studio to Radio Theater in Cairo’s downtown. The second season, which premiered in November 2012 on CBC network, was the first live audience show in the Middle East. The show gained tremendous success through its humorous yet bold criticism of the ruling regime and President Morsi, representing the Muslim Brotherhood. Soon after the show started airing, complaints were filed against Youssef, accusing him of insulting Islam, President Morsi and disrupting public order and peace. Youssef was issued an arrest warrant in March 2013 and turned himself in the next day where he was questioned for five hours and released on bail. But the complaints continued, in addition to the recurring direct threats and insults to Youssef by many “Islamist” preachers and media figures, putting more pressure on him and his team. In recognition of his success, Youssef was named among Time magazine's most influential list for 2013 - under the “Pioneers” category. In April 2013, Youssef was hosted on The Daily Show by Jon Stewart for the second time and returned the invite, in June 2013, by hosting Jon Stewart on Al-Bernameg in Cairo marking the season’s peak. After a four-month break, Youssef appeared on air in October 2013, with a show that stirred a lot of controversy and criticism. In response to the popular criticism and discontent the show has caused, CBC, the show’s broadcaster, distanced itself from the show and its creators, and decided to stop airing it on its channels. Meanwhile, more than 120 complaints against Youssef and the show were filed at the General Prosecutor’s office, accusing him of insulting the Armed Forces, President Adly Mansour and describing the June 30 revolution as a military coup, in addition to disrupting public order and peace. The General prosecutor has transferred some of the complaints for investigation, which remain subject to the prosecutor’s decision and judgment to this moment. In November 2013, Youssef was named one of four recipients by the Committee to Protect Journalists for the International Press Freedom Award. Al-Bernameg reappeared on MBC Masr satellite channel on February 7, 2014, achieving unprecedented weekly viewership ratings for 11 consecutive weeks. The attacks on Youssef and his show continued. This included lawsuits, public smearing, putting his theater under siege and even jamming the satellite signal of his show during airing. The culprit remains officially unknown to this day. In June 2014, Al-Bernameg team held a press conference where Youssef announced the termination of the show due to pressure on both the show and the airing channel. Although the real cause was ambiguous and never stated directly, Youssef cited fear for his personal safety and his family’s safety as strong reasons for him to stop. Youssef majored in cardiothoracic surgery, passed the United States Medical License Exam (USMLE) and is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS).