Founder and President, The Marian Dupree Group, Inc
As founder and president of The Marian Dupree Group, Melva leads initiatives that solve problems and help her clients grow their businesses. She advises senior management of start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. Melva is highly regarded for being both intellectually curious and realistically pragmatic; cultivating and maintaining key stakeholder relationships; identifying talent, empowering teams; and driving a high-performance culture.
Melva has held senior executive research positions in television broadcast and cable networks and digital. She has led initiatives that delivered strategic direction in content creation, product strategy, marketing and advertising for major media, entertainment, and consumer brands including Disney, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, NBC, FOX and Nickelodeon.
Melva was included in the 2007 class of Broadcasting and Cable’s Women to Watch. In 2012, she received the Next Generation Market Research Innovation Award in Thought Leadership for her work in Social Media Measurement.
Melva currently is Executive Professor, Digital, Media and Innovation at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Schoool of Business and Management in Malibu, California.
Melva resides in the Los Angeles area with her husband and two daughters.
Executive Producer/Showrunner,“11.22.63” on Hulu
A television writer, producer and playwright, Bridget Carpenter created the event series “11.22.63,” based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, which debuted on Hulu on President’s Day, 2016.
Prior to “11.22.63,” Carpenter wrote and co-executive produced all five seasons of the Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning series “Friday Night Lights.” She also was a co-executive producer on “Parenthood,” and most recently, was executive producer/showrunner of Sundance Channel’s drama series “The Red Road.”
Carpenter’s plays have been produced by Steppenwolf, the Public Theater, Berkeley Repertory Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and many other theaters across the country. She is currently writing Disney’s musical adaptation of “Freaky Friday” with Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, which will premiere in 2016 at the Signature Theatre.
Carpenter received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Princess Grace Award, the Kesselring Prize and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She also received Emmy and WGA nominations for “Friday Night Lights.” Her plays “Fall,” “Up” and “The Faculty Room” have been published by Samuel French.
Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Business Operations, Television Academy
Heather Cochran is Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Business Operations at the Television Academy.
A senior management professional with more than 15 years’ experience in strategic planning and project management, Cochran previously oversaw planning and operations for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ $400MM film museum, including the project’s master planning, economic feasibility, public approvals and strategic communications, as well as most operational functions.
Cochran first came to California in 2000 as the Director of Business Development for the trade publisher Cahners (now Reed Business Information) in the Entertainment, Media, and Communications division. In that role, she evaluated new markets and potential acquisitions and alliances, and performed valuations and analysis of competitors, partners, and future growth. Later, as Director of Development for Variety.com, she analyzed market trends to produce Variety and Variety.com’s wireless strategy.
Cochran received her MBA from the Wharton School of Business, with a focus on operations and information management. She has a BA in literature and economics from Wellesley College. She is also the author of two published novels, Mean Season, and The Return of Jonah Gray.
CEO, Co-Founder, VNTANA
Ashley Crowder leverages her engineering background to guide VNTANA’s overall direction and technology development. She co-founded VNTANA in 2012 with the goal of allowing people to be in multiple venues at the same time. Since then VNTANA has created the first scalable and interactive hologram system, which has been used by major brands including Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz and Pepsi. Prior to co-founding VNTANA she graduated from USC with a bachelors and masters in engineering and gained valuable manufacturing experience at Gulfstream, Northrop Grumman and BP. She also gained experience in event production at MTV Networks in Los Angeles and INCA Productions in London, planning events to be executed in multiple countries.
Ashley has been a speaker at TEDx Venice, the World Economic Forum’s Global Growth Companies & Technology Pioneers event in San Francisco, CA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, The Montgomery Summit, Siemer Summit, Digital LA, and others. This Spring, Ashley will be featured as one of USC’s leading engineering CEOs of 2016. Ashley is a part of the Microsoft Early Developer Program along with the Microsoft Bizspark Plus program.
Bonnie E. Eskenazi
Partner, Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP
Bonnie Eskenazi is one of the foremost entertainment litigators in Los Angeles. Recently recognized by Variety as one of its “Women of Impact” within the Entertainment Industry, and by The Recorder as California’s Entertainment Lawyer of the Year, Ms. Eskenazi represents plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of litigation matters, including entertainment, copyright, defamation and general business disputes.
Ms. Eskenazi is also listed on The Hollywood Reporter’s list of “Power Lawyers.” She is named by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of “California’s Top 75 Women Litigators,” by the Los Angeles Business Journal as “The Best of the Bar,” by Los Angeles Magazine as a “Super Lawyer” and by Chambers & Partners as one of America’s leading media and entertainment lawyers. Ms. Eskenazi also carries the highest peer-review rating, “AV,” by Martindale-Hubbell. Ms. Eskenazi is a trial lawyer and civil litigator, and also handles certain entertainment transactional work. She also lecturers at Stanford and Harvard Law Schools.
Ms. Eskenazi is one of only a handful of women trial lawyers in Los Angeles whose practice focuses on entertainment industry disputes. She has handled disputes involving royalty disputes, defamation, first amendment, breach of contract, tort, fraud, copyright infringement, trademark, trade secret and talent agency/personal management claims to name a few.
VNTANA – Natascha is a driven marketing and communications executive with a depth of experience developing strategies for both B2B and B2C clients in the emerging technology, consumer electronics, mobile and SaaS industries. As Chief Marketing Officer of VNTANA, the world’s only scalable and interactive hologram system, Natascha develops and oversees the company’s branding, marketing and communications strategy.
Natascha obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Emory University, having started off her career as an International A ssignment Editor at CNN. Most recently, she worked with startups in Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, London and China to scale through a variety of tools that embraced the latest technology and effective social media tactics. She has a successful track record of identifying and sourcing strategic partnerships, having worked with leading brands, celebrities, athletes, artists, non-profits and corporations. Natascha serves on the Executive Council for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, the Leadership Council for Digital Marketing Committee at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and is a founding team member of Entrepreneur Impact Day. Previously she served on the Emory Alumni Association Board and the Public Relations Society of America Los Angeles Board.
Founder, Melinc.com and Keynotes & Cocktails: Women of the West and Women of NY
Melissa Grego is a journalist, editor and conference producer with expertise in TV, media and entertainment and a keen interest in connecting and empowering professional women.
She was the first female Editor-in- Chief of TV industry publication Broadcasting & Cable. While at B&C, she created, launched and produced the off-the- record Keynotes & Cocktails: Women of NY and Women of the West conferences, which she acquired from B&C in 2015 and is now presenting through her company Melinc (mel-link).
Grego founded Melinc in 2015 with a mission to promote gender equality in the media, entertainment and technology community through the production of editorial content, conferences and networking initiatives. She continues to collaborate with B&C and its parent company NewBay Media as a B&C contributor and as executive producer of NewBay’s Next TV Summit & Expo a high-level, future-focused conference series providing insights into the impact of new video devices, delivery systems and consumer expectations in the OTT era.
Earlier in her career, Grego held leadership positions at The Hollywood Reporter and TelevisionWeek and was a staff reporter covering TV at Variety. She has provided perspective about TV and media on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, NPR, ABC News, Yahoo, “Access Hollywood” and “The Insider” and was a special correspondent for “Extra.” She’s a frequent moderator of Q&As and panels on TV, media and entertainment, as well as women-in- business topics. Twitter: @melissagrego LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/melissagrego
Sarah Harden is President of Otter Media, The Chernin Group’s (TCG) venture with AT&T which manages, invests in and operates businesses in the media, entertainment and consumer internet industries. Prior to Otter Media, Harden joined TCG as Executive Vice President in September 2013 where she played key roles in TCG’s majority stake acquisition of Crunchyroll, a leading global subscription and ad-supported video platform for Japanese anime; the formation of Otter Media with AT&T; and Otter Media’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Fullscreen, a leading global youth media company.
Prior to TCG Harden was Group Director, Partnerships and Development, Asia, at News Corporation where she was responsible for overseeing News’ joint ventures, investments and growth initiatives in Asia. Before moving to Asia, Harden spent four years in the role of Senior Vice President of Business Development for Fox Networks Group in Los Angeles; spent time at Ascent Media identifying and driving new business initiatives in the US, UK and Asia and was a co-founder at venture-backed Linkscape software in San Francisco.
Harden began her career as a Senior Associate with The Boston Consulting Group in Melbourne, Australia. She is a graduate of University of Melbourne (Bachelor of Arts, Hons) and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School where she graduated as a Baker Scholar. Harden currently sits on the boards at Crunchyroll and Fullscreen.
Chief Marketing Officer, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises
Jacqueline Hernández was appointed Chief Marketing Officer, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, in May 2014. In this role, she works across the NBCUniversal portfolio to integrate Telemundo and NBC UNIVERSO. In addition, Hernández is responsible for leading strategic partnerships across all NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises platforms.
A seasoned executive with more than 20 years of media experience across television, online and print, Hernández joined Telemundo as Chief Operating Officer in 2008. As COO, she was responsible for all domestic revenue overseeing ad sales, as well as the digital and cable divisions. Hernández played a key role in shaping the growth of Telemundo, leading the successful rebranding of the network in 2012 and directing the expansion of its digital business. In addition, she oversaw mun2, Telemundo’s Hispanic cable network, pioneering its celebrity reality genre and helping to position it for a transformation to a high demand network.
In 2011, Hernández was instrumental in launching Hispanics at NBCU, NBCUniversal’s high-profile Hispanic-targeted sales and marketing initiative.
Prior to joining Telemundo, Hernández served as Publisher of PEOPLE en Español, the largest-selling Hispanic magazine in the U.S., and Publisher of Teen PEOPLE. She also held key sales and marketing leadership roles at Turner Broadcasting’s CNN International as well as TIME Magazine.
Throughout her successful career, Hernández has received several distinguished accolades. In 2012, she was selected as one of Ad Age’s “100 Most Influential Women” and The Hollywood Reporter 2012 & 2013 “Women in Entertainment Power 100.” She was featured in CableFAX’s 2013 “Cable’s Top Power Players.”
Hernández is involved with various community organizations including sitting on the board of the Advertising Education Foundation, as well as The Ballet Hispanico.
Hernández received her M.B.A. from Baruch College and her undergraduate degree from Tufts University. She lives in NYC with her husband Jack.
Amy Hill is half of the award winning directing duo known as Riess | Hill, based in Los Angeles. Amy has a strong vision and focus on documentary style commercial directing and production and has created traditional spots and integrated campaigns for such noted brands as Chase, Pepsi, Keybank, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, The Salvation Army, and Eharmony. Amy is known to create content that highlights a prowess for capturing emotions that ring true, stir the soul and attain touching poignancy.
A graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Amy and her partner Chris Riess have collectively been nominated for the coveted DGA Best Commercial Direction award and have been garnered both Effies and Clios for their work.
Amy has an incredible capacity for storytelling that touches the span of pathos and comedy and she is committed to using real people as actors in her projects. She has been instrumental in work on behalf of the family of Matthew Shepard, St. Jude Hospital and numerous brands with global impact, including Gillette and its Venus product, Lexus, Fidelity and Ford Motor Company.
Amy is a wife and mom of two and is currently working on a new documentary project and two books.
VP, Content Acquisition, Hulu
Lisa serves as the Vice President of Content Acquisition for Hulu where she is responsible for content strategy, content licensing, and business development. Since joining Hulu, Lisa has been instrumental in bringing exclusive programming to Hulu from studios and networks including FX, AMC, Viacom, Turner, CW, CBS, Sony, Lionsgate, and others. She has led acquisition efforts that have made Hulu the exclusive home to top U.S. series such as Seinfeld, Empire, Blindspot, Fear the Walking Dead, Fargo, South Park, The Strain, CSI, and Inside Amy Schumer. Her team also handles licensing of film (including Hulu’s deals with EPIX and IFC Films) and kids content (Adventuretime, Doc McStuffins, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and many more).
Prior to joining Hulu’s acquisitions team in 2010, Lisa worked in creative at Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Hop, Dr. Seuss’ Lorax), and in McKinsey & Company’s New York Office where she worked in the Media & Entertainment, Technology, and Telecom Practices. Lisa graduated from Yale University with a degree in Psychology and resides in Los Angeles with her husband Chris Westlake, a composer.
Founder and Global CEO, Business Chicks
At just 36, international entrepreneur Emma Isaacs has achieved more than most people twice her age. She’s the global CEO of Business Chicks, Australia’s largest community for women, and the newest and brightest network of its kind to launch in the USA. She has raised over $12 million for a variety of charities; is a serial property investor, and has still found time to become a mother to four children under six.
Superwoman? Maybe. A courageous entrepreneur? Definitely. Emma can take something good and turn it into something spectacular. Starting her career at 18, she acquired a small recruitment company which, with Emma at the helm, went on to be named ‘Australia’s Favorite Recruiter’ for three consecutive years and in 2005 won the Small Business of the Year.
After eight years, Emma felt the entrepreneurial urge to try something new. She was invited to a small event run by a nascent group called Business Chicks, where she learnt that BC was up for sale. So at the age of 25 Emma took a leap of faith and bought it.
Fast-forward ten years and Emma has grown the small Business Chicks group of 250 members into a hugely successful and inspirational global community of over 39,000. Business Chicks hosts over 150 events annually, including game-changing experiences with Sir Richard Branson at his home on Necker Island; publishes a quarterly magazine called Latte and facilitates thousands of new connections each week through its online platform.
Emma has spent time with some of the world’s greatest business visionaries, entrepreneurial minds and cultural mavericks including Dr Bréne Brown, Diane von Furstenberg, Sir Bob Geldof, Seth Godin, Jamie Oliver, Rachel Zoe and Arianna Huffington.
As a passionate philanthropist Emma wants to make a difference. She sits on the board of The Hunger Project, is a past President of the Entrepreneurs Organization and has held numerous ambassadorships.
Emma blogs at emmaisaacs.com and through the Huffington Post and is an acclaimed sort after keynote speaker and media commentator who has been featured in The New York Post, Business Review Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, InStyle and Marie Claire. She is a regular commentator on Australian national TV programs including Sunrise, Today Tonight, Sky Business News and The Today Show.
Marcy G. Kaplan
Senior VP of TV Production, Lionsgate
As Senior Vice President of Television Production, Marcy G. Kaplan works closely with numerous broadcast, pay and basic cable networks, and streaming services to bring to life a variety of programs, including the Emmy-nominated series Orange Is the New Black for Netflix, the Golden Globe-nominated Nurse Jackie for Showtime, as well as Feed the Beast for AMC, Sex, Lies and Handwriting for ABC, and the highly-anticipated Dear White People for Netflix.
Ms. Kaplan is involved in all aspects of production, ranging from working with creative teams in development to budgeting and scheduling, as well as physical production.
As a production executive, Ms. Kaplan has an excellent reputation for collaborating with her creative teams to ensure the production budget is allocated in such a way that the quality can be seen on the screen. Prior to joining Lionsgate in 2013, Ms. Kaplan served as a producer on House M.D. (Fox) for eight years. She also worked as co-producer on the television how Century City (CBS), Felicity (ABC) and Gideon’s Crossing (ABC), as well as on numerous television movies and features.
Executive VP & General Manager, Discovery Digital Networks
As Executive Vice President & General Manager of Discovery Digital Networks at Discovery Communications, Suzanne Kolb oversees the company’s award-winning portfolio of 70+ web-native series under the Seeker and SourceFed brands, original digital development, Discovery VR and social partnerships.
Prior to joining Discovery Communications, Kolb was President of E! Entertainment where she oversaw the global pop culture brands ongoing growth across platforms. Under her leadership, E! evolved to a more topical, trendsetting destination, with year-round original programming in more than 160 countries and a thriving digital presence. While at E!, Kolb launched hit franchises Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Chelsea Lately, Botched and Total Divas and greenlit the network’s first original scripted series, The Royals. Kolb joined E! in 2005 as Senior Vice President, Marketing for E! Networks, was subsequently elevated to Chief Marketing Officer for E! & The Style Network and General Manager of E! Online and later became President of Marketing, News and Online for E! and The Style Network.
Earlier in her career, Kolb served as Executive Vice President of Marketing at The WB Television Network. During her time at The WB, she developed groundbreaking marketing campaigns and advertising partnerships for signature series such as Dawson’s Creek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Smallville, Gilmore Girls and Pokémon. Kolb started her career in New York at Grey Entertainment as an account and creative executive.
An active member of her community, Kolb serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Los Angeles. She previously participated in The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Mentorship program in collaboration with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Additionally, while at The Style Network, Kolb spearheaded both a multi-faceted partnership with Dress for Success and an Emmy Award-winning campaign for breast cancer prevention.
Kolb resides in Los Angeles with her daughter and splits her time between Discovery Digital Networks’ Los Angeles and San Francisco offices.
Senior VP & COO, Media General
Deborah McDermott, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for Media General, Inc. is one of the most prominent, experienced and well respected broadcasting professionals in the television industry. What makes Ms. McDermott so effective as a senior executive is the fact that she has been involved in literally all aspects of the broadcasting business and has played a leading role in some of the biggest mergers and acquisitions in the history of the industry.
Today, Ms. McDermott oversees all Broadcasting and Station Digital for Media General, one of the nation’s largest multimedia companies with a $2.2 B market cap that covers 23% of U.S. households and 43% of the U.S. Internet audience and operates or services 71 television stations in 48 markets. She also has responsibility for Bitesize Studio, a cutting edge digital enterprise based in Hollywood, California that produces and owns the national entertainment program “Hollywood Today Live.”
Ms. McDermott’s track record in the broadcasting industry is exceptional. She has been leading broadcasting organizations since 1996 when she was Vice President and General Manager of WKRN-TV with oversight as well for WATE-TV. In 1996 she became Executive Vice President-Operations for Young Broadcasting, and, following that, a member of the Board of Directors of Young and then President and CEO of the Company. Following the acquisition of Young Broadcasting by Media General, Ms. McDermott was appointed Senior Vice President of Broadcast Markets for the Company and then rose to her current position in December 2014.
But to truly understand Ms. McDermott’s value it is important to recount the major transactional roles she has played in landmark deals. She doubled Young’s size through M&A activities and was integral to the Company’s public offering. She spearheaded the acquisitions of KCAL-TV in Los Angeles and KRON-TV in San Francisco, two of the largest individual station acquisitions. She led Young Broadcasting through its merger with Media General in 2013, and, subsequently, headed internal diligence efforts and the integration team related to the LIN Media acquisition. In all cases it was her intimate understanding of every aspect of the broadcasting structure and operations that proved to be of enormous value. And, in each case the results of her initiatives proved to enhance the acquiring Company’s growth, revenues, profit margins and station’s capabilities in both the traditional and digital areas.
Ms. McDermott’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In 2013, she was inducted into the prestigious Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, joining a group of the most exceptional people in the history of television. Ms. McDermott has served as Chair of the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE), the Chair of the ABC Affiliate Board of Governors and has been a member of the Boards of the National Association of Broadcasters, Television Bureau of Advertising, Country Music Association and Maximum Service Telecasters.
Showrunner/Executive Producer, “Criminal Minds” and “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders”
Erica Messer is the showrunner and executive producer of CBS’ long-running hit drama “Criminal Minds,” along with “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders,” which she created. Both series will be returning to CBS for the 2016-17 season.
Messer has been with “Criminal Minds” since the show premiered in 2005, and rose through the ranks to showrunner. Prior to that, she served as a writer on such series as “Alias,” “The OC,” and “Charmed.”
Messer began her career as an assistant in the drama department at Fox, before moving on to “Party of Five,” where she learned the ins-and-outs of how a television show runs by assisting Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman.
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Messer spent the latter half of her childhood in Maryland, and attended Florida State University and Salisbury University.
Owner / President / Executive Producer, Vibe Creative
Ann began her entertainment career in film and commercial production prior to entering the marketing world. She started her marketing career at Trailer Park, Inc., joining the company at its inception and growing with them through their first five years in the business.Ann then joined Intralink where she spent eight years producing on some of the biggest campaigns in movie marketing history before launching Vibe Creative in 2008.
At the beginning of 2016, Ann became the sole owner of Vibe, emerging as the only woman in Hollywood to have her own trailer house.
In marketing movies and television, she excels at taking the vision of a marketing executive or filmmaker and implementing their project in to a full advertising campaign and/or developing a completely new, fresh and bold way to brand a campaign. She loves the challenge of finding new and exciting ways to sell entertainment and discover what it takes to get people to seek out media, whether on television, streaming on a device or lining up at the theaters on opening weekend.
In leading any successful marketing campaign, Ann’s philosophy continues to be, “I am only as good as my team, and my team is only as good as its leader.”
Originally from Wichita, Kansas, Ann attended Kansas State University. After college she moved to Chicago where she began her professional career.
CEO, Media Storm
Christina Norman serves as CEO of the Water Cooler Group (WCG), an integrated marketing holding company. The Company’s portfolio of agencies include Media Storm, the second largest independent media agency in the US as well as Juba+ , 3Degrees and Ninety9X providing strategy and ideation, content development and syndication, data analytics and social media from offices in New York, Connecticut and Los Angeles. Water Cooler Group currently partners with entertainment brands STARZ, WGN America, WeTV, Freeform and CMT and counts industry leaders Celebrity Cruises, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Mohegan Sun and others among their client roster.
Previously, she served as CEO of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, managing all creative, strategy and operations for the network. Christina came to OWN from Viacom Media Networks, where she spent 17 years heading some of the world’s biggest media brands. As President of MTV: Music Television she provided leadership, strategy and management for MTV, MTV2, mtvU, mtv.com. She championed and launched MTV Tr3s, a channel celebrating Latino culture and music.
During her tenure as President of VH1, she garnered widespread praise for rejuvenating the brand, helming a diverse programming slate and leading the network to record viewership levels. Prior to that, she served in a variety of creative positions at MTV, rising through the network’s On-Air promotion department lead all Marketing and On- Air Promotion, directing the marketing and brand identity for the MTV branded channels and promotion for MTV series and events including the Movie Awards and the Video Music Awards.
Additionally, Christina has consulted for media brands including The Huffington Post and produces original programming through her company, Gemini Entertainment. Christina has been recognized with a variety of industry honors. She has been named one of Multichannel News’ “Wonder Women,” included in Cable Fax’s Most Powerful Women in Cable and 100 Power List, and The Hollywood Reporter “Power100 Women in Entertainment.” She received a National Public Service award by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for MTV’s “Fight For Your Rights: Protect Yourself” campaign. She serves on the Boards of BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn and The Joyful Heart Foundation.
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications
Shannon Olivas, SVP of Corporate Communications, is responsible for devising and implementing the communications strategies and overseeing domestic and international public relations efforts on behalf of Skydance Media and its properties. Before joining Skydance Media, Olivas served as Vice President of Corporate Communications for The Honest Company, prior to which she spent seven years in Corporate Communications and Investor Relations at DreamWorks Animation. She previously worked at leading strategic corporate and financial communications firm, Sard Verbinnen & Co, where DreamWorks Animation was her client. Olivas holds a B.A. degree with honors from Syracuse University.
Co-Head of Drama, HBO Drama Series
Francesca Orsi is co-head, HBO Drama Series, for Home Box Office, responsible for developing and overseeing the production of original drama series. She was named to this position in June 2016.
Orsi currently oversees the series Vinyl and The Leftovers along with the upcoming HBO miniseries Big Little Lies. Her recent projects include Terence Winter’s Emmy®-winning Boardwalk Empire, Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominated drama Big Love and the acclaimed comedy Getting On. In the past, she was involved with the Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning dramas True Blood, In Treatment and Tell Me You Love Me.
Orsi joined HBO in 2003 as an executive assistant to the head of Drama. She was named a creative associate in 2005 and rose through the ranks from manager, HBO Entertainment (now HBO Programming) and later director, Development, HBO Entertainment in 2008; to vice president, HBO Entertainment, in 2011 and most recently senior vice president, HBO Programming in 2014.
Prior to HBO, she worked as an agent trainee at Paradigm, and the then William Morris Agency.
She earned a M.F.A. in Film & Teleplay Writing at the University of Southern California.
Executive Producer, The Vampire Diaries and The Originals on The CW
Julie Plec skillfully juggles multiple series, as a writer, producer and director. In addition to executive producing “The Vampire Diaries,” which she co-developed, she created and executive produces “The Originals,” which was inspired by and features characters from “The Vampire Diaries.” Both series have been picked up by the CW for additional seasons next year. Plec also developed and executive produced “Containment,” which aired as a limited series on the CW last season.
Plec got her start as a television writer and co-executive producer for the series “Kyle XY,” which she produced for the show’s three-year run. Other television credits include “Dawson’s Creek” and “The Tomorrow People,” which she collaborated on with executive producers Greg Berlanti and Phil Klemmer.
Past feature credits include “Scream 2” and “Scream 3,” Greg Berlanti’s “Broken Hearts Club,” and Wes Craven’s “Cursed” and “The Breed.”
Animal Rights Activist and Director of TV Development, All Def Pictures
Simone Reyes was the breakout star of Oxygen’s reality tv show “Running Russell Simmons” and became an overnight hero in the animal rights community. She has been entertainment mogul Russell Simmons right hand woman since high school and has often been affectionately referred to as the “Boss” by Simmons himself. Simone boldly shed her clothes for PETA’s “Rather Go Naked” demonstrations and Stray Cat Alliance and has used her voice in countless media outlets to speak out in support of animal liberation. Vegan Lifestyle Magazine put Simone of their cover, calling her The Gloria Steinem of the Animal Rights Movement. She is a well known speaker on animal rights at events such as TedX, The Seed in NYC, WorldFest and the National Animal Rights Conference along side the founding leaders in the animal rights movement. Simone is a 20+ year vegan and has been a grassroots animal rights activist for most of her adult life.
PETA ‘s Animal Rahat Sanctuary in India was officially given a new name “Simone’s Place” in honor of Simone’s tireless dedication to the animal rights cause. Recently, Simone traveled to Taiji, Japan as a Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian to report on and document the atrocities of the dolphin drives. She shared her experiences there in various media outlets including HLN/Jane Velez Mitchell’s show. She, along with Russell Simmons penned an open letter to Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and President Obama urging them to consider attaching the plight of the dolphins who migrate through Japan to the passing of the Trans Pacific Partnership- this letter was signed by dozens of celebrities including Cher, Oliver Stone, Charlize Theron, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Cameron Diaz, Reverend Jesse Jackson and countless others. She has also been honored by Mercy For Animals for the work she has done to put the plight of farm animals in the public’s consciousness. She has been has been featured in print and online at Star Magazine, OK magazine, Inked Magazine, Our Hen House, peta.com , Supreme Master TV , Veg News Magazine, Vegetarian Times and countless other publications/blogs and has appeared on television shows/movies including Extra, Entertainment Tonight, Dogs In The City, MTV News, Sky vs. Sky, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The L Word, The L Word Special, The Wendy Williams Show, and most recently Simone played herself on HBO’s”Enlightened”. Simone appeared along side of Moby and No Doubt’s Tony Kanal in Mercy For Animals successful campaign to stop Ag Gag Bills from passing. Simone’s image can currently be seen on billboards in Los Angeles and Sacramento directed at stopping the trapping of bobcats for fur via the group Social Compassion In Legislation, of which she is an active board member. She is working closely with legislatures to stop the shipment of baby chicks in the mail and has filmed a celebrity driven PSA to help push for a law banning this. She is a regular contributor to websites Global Grind, Hello Giggles and One Green Planet. Simone uses her voice to inspire, motivate, mobilize and guide people who care about the treatment of animals but don’t know where to begin to create real change for them. She lives in Los Angels with her senior rescued blind Japanese Chin, Hubbell Yoda who is usually strapped into her sunshine powered Tesla stopping if they see an animal in need.
Emmy Award-Winning Journalist, TV Host, Author, Producer and Philanthropist
SVP Development and Production, New Form Digital
Melissa Schneider is the head of series and current scripted development, while overseeing all aspects of series and pilot production for New Form Digital. With an extensive background in both digital and traditional media, Schneider bridges the gap by working closely with digital and established talent to develop episodic and serialized stories that will resonate with audiences on emerging digital platforms.
In little over a year at New Form, she has developed and launched 25 pilots, with 18 series orders launching over 2015/2016. She executive produced Oscar’s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures, a co-production with The Jim Henson Creature Shop, featuring Chris Kendall, Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart, Hannah Hart, PewdiePie, Patrick Stewart and Alfred Molina. Prior to joining New Form, Schneider was SVP of creative development at the Collective Digital Studios (CDS) and spearheaded the YouTube strategy and programming for Mashable’s YouTube channel, in addition to working closely with CDS’s top digital talent (Hannah Hart, Lilly Singh, Elliott Morgan), to create original scripted IP. Before that, Schneider worked for Jeffery Katzenberg and Charles Segars as the executive in charge of production at Dreamworks Animation’s exclusive series with YouTube, YouTube Nation. While there, Schneider built a top-of- the-line studio and oversaw daily production operations for over 40 full time employees and worked closely with the DreamWorks and YouTube creative teams to execute the project’s vision.
Previously, Schneider was the director of development and production at My Damn Channel, where she created and oversaw the first daily live comedy show on YouTube, My Damn Channel Live, hosted by Grace Helbig, with over 200 episodes. And as the director of production at Digital Broadcasting Group, Schneider specialized in branded entertainment for the digital space, working with top tier brands such as McDonald’s, Toyota, Heineken, Dentine, and Dell. Schneider has been developing and producing content for the digital space since 2009 and her work has been nominated and won Streamys, Webbys and IAWTV awards. She started her career as a writer’s assistant for The Sopranos, working for David Chase, Terence Winter, Matthew Weiner and Ilene Landress. Schneider is an alum of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is based in LA.
Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel, Pilgrim Media Group
As Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel for Pilgrim Media Group, Gretchen Stockdale oversees all legal needs of the company, particularly those related to the development and production of its programs. In addition, she supervises the company’s operational, employment, intellectual property, litigation and corporate matters.
With more than 1000 employees working on a current slate of 32 shows across 15 networks and streaming outlets, both scripted and unscripted, and with more than 100 more projects in active development, Pilgrim is recognized as one of the most prolific production companies in non-fiction television. Notable series and franchises include Fast N’ Loud, Street Outlaws, Misfit Garage and upcoming series The Wheel for Discovery; My Big Fat Fabulous Life for TLC; two-time NAACP Award-winner Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s for OWN; Ghost Brothers for Destination America; Ghost Hunters for Syfy; Bring It! and Step It Up! for Lifetime; The Ultimate Fighter for Fox Sports 1; David Tutera’s CELEBrations for WE tv; and Wicked Tuna for National Geographic Channel.
Since joining Pilgrim in 2008, Stockdale has been instrumental in building the company’s infrastructure and internal governance protocols to allow for its growth – which includes an equity investment made by Lionsgate in 2015 – and expansion into the scripted arena (Recovery Road for Freeform, and the original movies Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy, Stalkers and Abducted: The Carlina White Story for Lifetime), and the creation of its digital studio and platform, 1620 Media (The Runner, with Executive Producers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, for go90 premieres summer 2016).
Prior to Pilgrim, Stockdale was an associate at Hill, Farrer, & Burrill in Los Angeles, where she practiced general business litigation. She served on the editorial board of Los Angeles Lawyer magazine for four years, and was named a “Southern California Super Lawyer – Rising Star” by Los Angeles Magazine in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. In 2010 she was named a finalist in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Rising Star” Corporate Counsel awards and in 2011 was recognized by Variety as one of “The Best and The Brightest” in entertainment law. Stockdale is a member of the Order of the Coif, graduating with honors from Loyola of Los Angeles law school where she served as Executive Editor of the Law Review, on the Willem C. Vis International Arbitration Moot Court team and as a Henry C. Yuen Scholar in Law and Technology.
Advisor and Former Chairman, CBS Entertainment
Nina Tassler was named Chairman, CBS Entertainment, in February 2014. After leading CBS Entertainment to great heights since 2004, Tassler announced in September she will step down at the end of 2015, and continue in an advisory role through at least 2017.
Under Tassler’s leadership, CBS has been America’s #1 Network for 12 of the past 13 years with a broad range of popular and critical hits, including THE BIG BANG THEORY, THE GOOD WIFE and BLUE BLOODS. Previously, as Executive Vice President, Drama Series Development, she developed the highly rated and commercially successful CSI and NCIS franchises.
During her tenure, Tassler and her team have expanded CBS’s year-round programming strategy with event summer series, strengthened CBS’s top-rated lineup with a balance of dramas, game shows and the Emmy Award-nominated talk show THE TALK, and led the Network’s late night programming transition with THE LATE SHOW with STEPHEN COLBERT and THE LATE LATE SHOW with JAMES CORDEN.
Tassler serves on the Board of Jewish Family Services, is a member of the Ambassador Council of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and serves on the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Executive Committee and on the Board of Directors of the Academy Foundation. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for Boston University and the Board of the Paley Center for Media.
Executive Chairman and Chief Media Officer, Interlude
Nancy Tellem is the Executive Chairman and Chief Media Officer of Interlude, a media and technology company at the forefront of interactive online video storytelling. Interlude is reimagining video for a generation that wants to do more than just watch passively by creating amazing experiences that are both playful and thought provoking.
Until October of 2014, Tellem was President of Xbox Entertainment Studios where she oversaw Microsoft’s TV strategy and created a studio focused on the development and production of interactive programming.
From 1997 to 2012, Tellem was President of the CBS Network Television Entertainment Group. She oversaw both CBS Entertainment Network and CBS Studios. As President, she evaluated business and strategic opportunities: content partnerships, new production models, developing technologies and emerging media. She also oversaw all programming, development, production, business and legal operations and the network’s prime-time, daytime and late-night lineups. Not only did she help revive the network by championing “Survivor”, “CSI” and “Everybody Loves Raymond”, but she played an important role in the Company’s early efforts to expand its content and distribution across digital and mobile platforms. Before CBS, Tellem was the Executive Vice President of Business and Financial Affairs for Warner Bros where she shepherded in such hits as “ER” and “Friends.”
In 2006, Tellem was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame for her contributions to the electronic arts. Two years later Forbes ranked her 32nd on its list “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” Simultaneously, Entertainment Weekly named her the third-smartest person in TV for quickly restoring CBS’s entire primetime lineup after the 100-day writers’ strike. The National Association of Television Program Executives awarded Tellem a Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award in recognition of her “extraordinary passion, leadership, independence and vision in the process of creating TV programming.”
Tellem holds board and advisory positions at numerous digital and media-related companies, including Dot &Bo, Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer and Media. She earned her B.A. from the University of California Berkeley, and received her J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of Law. Tellem is married to sports agent Arn Tellem, the vice chairman of Wasserman Media Group. The couple has three sons.
Executive Vice President of Marketing, DanceOn
Betty Tran is an award-winning marketing leader with 10 years of experience in the rapidly expanding world of digital and mobile entertainment.
Most recently, Betty served as Executive Vice President of Marketing and Media for Insomniac Events, a division of Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. Betty was responsible for the buying and creation of all media, spearheaded the development of the company’s online presence, leading to a 25 percent increase in ticket sales, and overseeing internal and external corporate communications.
Prior to Insomniac, Betty served as VP of Brand and Integrated Marketing at global video entertainment network Machinima. During her tenure, she led the company’s successful brand redevelopment, cultivated partnerships and business relationships to build profitable, multimillion dollar sales packages to major brands including Honda, and launched Machinima’s inaugural activations at Comic-Con and E3.
She joined Machinima following her post as VP of Interactive Marketing at Evolve Media, where she expanded the company’s marketing team, raised the marketing budget by 50 percent and implemented new media strategies that increased revenue by nearly 45 percent.
When she’s not traveling for business, she spends quality time with her three children and trains in traditional boxing. Betty graduated Magna Cum Laude from University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Film and B.S. in Anthropology.
ASC – Director of Photography
Lisa Wiegand, ASC is a Detroit native, LA-based, Director of Photography working in dramatic series, features and documentaries.
Most recently, Lisa lensed the second season of John Ridley’s Emmy Award winning, “American Crime” for ABC starring Timothy Hutton, Felicity Huffman, Lily Taylor, Regina King, and Andre Benjamin. Shot in Austin, TX in 2015, season two has been highly critically acclaimed and aired its controversial finale in March of 2016.
From its pilot in early 2012 to the end of season 3, Lisa was the Director of Photography on Dick Wolf’s NBC drama “Chicago Fire,” While shooting their 23 episodes per season, Lisa shot backdoor pilots for both “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Med” which are now both part of NBC’s Chicago empire. “Chicago Fire” was featured in both American Cinematographer as well as ICG Magazine, both articles featuring details on the use of real fire instead of computer generated effects.
Wiegand relishes opportunities to shoot in her hometown of Detroit. In the summer of 2015, she was excited to shoot the pilot for “Detroiters”, a Comedy Central series which has garnered a series order. And back in 2011, ABC’s police department procedural, “Detroit 1-8-7,” brought Lisa home to shoot 18 episodes starring Michael Imperioli. Her inventive and energetic camera-style was featured in a feature article in ICG Magazine.
In late 2012 and Lisa was the DP on the musical comedy series,”Wedding Band” for TBS starring Brian Austin Green. Earlier in 2012 Lisa was busy in Atlanta shooting the first season of “Necessary Roughness” starring Callie Thorne for USA network.
Lisa was the DP of Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” for FOX in 2009. Lisa had been a camera operator on one episode of the first season and was so well liked by Joss and Jed Whedon, as well as the series directing producer, David Solomon, that she was asked to come back and DP season two of the sci-fi action show. Her work on revamping the look of the show was featured in American Cinematographer. Before “Dollhouse”, Lisa had been shooting second unit for FOX’s hit show “24”.
Prior to entering the television arena, Lisa shot indie features, documentaries and reality shows for 10 years. “Adventures of Power“, “Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade” and Omer Fast’s “The Casting” were three of her films that premiered at the Sundance Festival from 2007 thru 2009. “Archies Final Project” (aka. “My Suicide”) was also extremely successful on the indie festival circuit and is a feature film that explores the tragedy of teenage suicide. Many of the low budget comedies and action films from Lisa’s early career are still featured as late night cable programming.
Lisa came to Los Angeles to pursue cinematography in 1993. Lisa attended graduate programs in cinematography at both UCLA and AFI. Her student body of work was awarded an Excellence in Cinematography award from the ASC in 1998. During the years directly after Lisa’s graduation, she was an adjunct cinematography professor at UCLA, AFI and Loyola Marymount University. Lisa’s dedication to the craft of cinematography lead her to be invited by the American Society of Cinematographers to join their ranks in 2014.
Lisa recently signed on to return to Chicago and direct the photography on Dick Wolf’s new addition to his franchise, “Chicago Justice”.
President, Digital, Brand & Audience Development,
Endemol Shine North America
Vivi Zigler serves as President, Digital, Brand & Audience Development, Endemol Shine North America, since March 2015. Zigler originally joined Shine America in August 2012 as President, Shine 360° & Digital.
Zigler now oversees all brand, marketing, research and digital activity for Endemol Shine North America, including its premium content network Endemol Shine Beyond USA. Under Zigler, six different disciplines unite to define and enhance the brands of Endemol Shine TV series and the premium content of Endemol Shine Beyond.
Zigler and her team work closely with the company’s network and platform partners to grow and engage audiences, as well as develop commercial business opportunities. Current Endemol Shine North America series include “MasterChef,” “MasterChef Junior,” “Big Brother,” “Hell on Wheels,” “Kingdom,” “Hunted,” “Billion Dollar Buyer” and “The Biggest Loser.”
Zigler and the Endemol Shine Beyond team recently oversaw the launch of ICON, the first worldwide premium lifestyle network. ICON, which is led creatively by digital pioneer and entrepreneur Michelle Phan, launched simultaneously in the U.S. and UK in March 2015. She also recently oversaw the launch of Endemol Shine Beyond USA’s new SMASHER Network, a digital-first eSports and gaming network.Prior to the close of the Endemol Shine joint venture in January 2015, Zigler had served as President, Shine 360° & Digital, Shine America. She initially joined Shine America in August 2012, where she oversaw all brand partnerships, licensing, digital, research, marketing and live experiences for the company.
Zigler previously spent 19 years with NBCUniversal in a variety of top roles, including President, NBCUniversal Digital Entertainment. She was responsible for leading the NBCUniversal Digital Entertainment team, as well as the NBCUniversal Consumer Products Group. Zigler also served as Executive Vice President, Current Programs, NBC Entertainment and Senior Vice President of Marketing & Advertising Services for the NBC Agency. Zigler has won five Emmy Awards during her career, including the Interactive Emmy in 2008 for the hit NBC series “Heroes” and twice for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” She was recently honored by Variety in its 2015 Women’s Impact special and she was named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company and was on The Hollywood Reporter’s Digital Power 50 list. In 2004, Zigler was named Marketer of the Year by Ad Age for her successful launch efforts behind Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”
Prior to 2005, she held several top executive positions within NBCUniversal, including Executive Vice President, Current Programs, NBC Entertainment, where she oversaw the production of NBC’s slate of comedy and drama series. Previously Zigler was Senior Vice President of Marketing & Advertising Services for The NBC Agency and Senior Vice President, Marketing, Bravo. Zigler also formerly served as Senior Vice President, Advertising Services for The NBC Agency and Vice President, Affiliate Advertising & Promotion Services, NBC Entertainment, where she was responsible for leading the Marketing & Advertising Services department of The NBC Agency.
Before joining NBC, Zigler was Director of Marketing & Advertising at KING 5 television in Seattle, Washington, where she oversaw all promotion, graphic design, press and publicity, public affairs and community relations for the NBC affiliate station. Prior to that, Zigler held several positions at KSBY-TV in San Luis Obispo, California, including three years as Station Manager.
Zigler received her Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. She currently resides in the Los Angeles area with her husband Ken.