Speaker Biographies

Silicon Beach @ USC
Town & Gown Ballroom | University of Southern California | October 14, 2016

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2016 Event Program here.


Jay Tucker, founder, Silicon Beach @USCJAY TUCKER
Chief Marketing Officer
Institute for Communication Technology Management
USC Marshall School of Business
& founder, Silicon Beach @USC

Jay Tucker is a marketer, educator, and technology leader with over 20 years of experience in the technology, academic and entertainment sectors. CTM is the world’s leading Institute at the intersection of technology and content, offering its members cutting-edge global research and business strategy, executive education and leadership forums for the digital industry. CTM’s corporate partners include the City of Los Angeles, AT&T, Verizon, Yahoo!, Cisco, Nokia, Pepsi, Warner Bros., Telus, Fox and Disney. At CTM, Jay is responsible for communicating the Institute’s vision, thought leadership, educational offerings and major events to consortium members and the larger community. Tucker also handles CTM’s forums and programs, including the semi-annual Executive Roundtable.

In fall 2012, Jay launched Silicon Beach @ USC (http://siliconbeachusc.com), a two-day event featuring a venture competition and a conference focused on innovation, investment, and new ventures related to technology and digital content. In 2010, Jay re-launched the Advanced Management Program, CTM’s flagship five-day educational experience for rising leaders. Jay also helped to co-author the strategic plan for the Marshall School of Business.

Previously, Jay spent over 10 years building out network infrastructure, developing websites, managing IT support and teaching students and educators to use interactive media. He has taught courses on technology management, technology convergence, digital media, and media literacy to professionals at corporations and non-profit organizations. Jay also speaks at academic and industry events, covering digital technologies and media, technology start-ups and other topics.

Jay holds an MBA in Marketing & Media Management from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, an MA in Instructional and Learning Technologies from Columbia University, and a dual Bachelors degree from Stanford University in Political Science and African & Afro-American Studies. He resides in Santa Monica, CA.




Chathri Ali, Product Marketing, ReChargeChathri Ali, Director of Product Marketing, ReCharge

Chathri Ali currently heads up product marketing at ReCharge, a payments startup focused on recurring billing for Shopify merchants. She joined in August 2016 to lead marketing and communications efforts for the company. Prior to ReCharge, Chathri held marketing and business development roles across various industries including hospitality, consumer products, and public relations. Chathri holds a MBA from the Merage School of Business at UCI and a B.S. in Business Administration from the Marshall School of Business at USC.


BindiBelangerBindi Belanger, Executive Program Director, Ticketmaster

Bindi Belanger is currently an Executive Program Director at Ticketmaster, based in Hollywood, CA. In her role, Bindi partners with leaders in Technical Operations and Engineering teams to define strategy for new technology implementations and ensure successful delivery of key programs. Prior to Ticketmaster, Bindi served in various project, program and portfolio management roles at DIRECTV, NBC Universal, United Health Group and The Walt Disney Company. Bindi holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from USC’s Marshall School of Business.

Audrey Bellis, founder, Startup DTLAAudrey Bellis, founder, StartUp DTLA

Audrey is a first generation Latina actively building the tech community in downtown as the founder of StartUp DTLA and as a cofounder of the fashion tech accelerator: Grid110. She also supports female tech entrepreneurs, executives, & creatives through Diversity & Inclusion programs as the founder of #WorthyWomen.

Mayor Garcetti’s office honored her as 1 of 5 “Inspiring Latina’s of LA”, TechOutLA named her “a key player in the Eastside/DTLA tech movement. and Pershing Square Renew called her “The voice of Downtown.”

She has been published by The Huffington Post, Metro UK, GOOD Magazine, Morocco World News, and Times of Israel.

She has previously mentored at StartUp Weekend, led Community & Development for Indie Desk and Rhubarb Studios building both to capacity in under 6months, and changed the way publishers engage with comment sections as VP of Marketing for Meddle.it. Audrey has served her community on the Advisory Board for Catholic Charities LA since 2011 and the Emerging Leaders for United Way since 2013.


2016-tiana-laurenceTiana Laurence, Co-founder & CMO, Factom Inc.

Tiana Laurence is the Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Factom Inc., a blockchain technology company that solves real world business problems by providing an unalterable record keeping system.

Her passion is growing great companies. A serial entrepreneur, Tiana started her first business at the young age of 16. Prior to Factom, Tiana sold her company, Digital Aptitude, a marketing agency where she handled multi-million dollar accounts and led a team that sold over $34M in bitcoin miners in 2013 and 2014.

Tiana sits on the board for the Nayariva Foundation, whose mission is to empower women entrepreneurs around the world. She has also spent time volunteering with Rotary, Young Entrepreneurs Business Week, and The Portland State Entrepreneurs Club.

Tiana has a BA in Business and Leadership from Portland State University.


2016-Samantha-PaxsonSamantha Paxson, Chief Marketing Officer, CO-OP Financial Services

As Chief Marketing Officer for CO-OP Financial Services, Samantha Paxson is the architect of the company’s go-to-market strategy, managing the ways CO-OP’s brand experience is delivered through message, product and value chain. She is also the founder of THINK by CO-OP, an innovation content platform empowering the evolution of mission-driven financial services.

Paxson focuses on the intersection of technology, creativity, purpose and experience to continually evolve the organization and meet the needs of the market. She believes in intraprenuership:  innovating on the space between functional areas, where business truly happens. Brokering tight relationships, processes and overall approach between strategy, product, sales, marketing and technology teams has helped make CO-OP one of the most admired and transformative financial tech companies. Known for brand growth, Paxson helped boost and secure a 15 point Net Promoter Score (NPS) hike, transformed the marketing function to be content- and digitally-driven, created the largest industry following for her organization on Twitter and Facebook, introduced the User Experience (UX) function to product and operations teams, and increased engagement and lead generation by 72 percent in one year.

Her work has been covered in Huffington Post, Inc, Entreprenuer, U.S. News & World Report, Women Worldwide and the Amazon Best Seller, “How to Launch a Brand.” She has been a featured speaker at events ranging from PayThink, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), THINK and the University of Southern California (USC). She has negotiated brand partnerships with aligned organizations like Yoobi, IDEO and consultancies with THINK contributors.

Her background includes working in international public relations and managing accounts in the technology, automotive, hospitality, action sports and the financial services space. Paxson is a graduate of USC with a degree in Journalism and Social Sciences. She is also an advisor to the OpenIDEO Challenge on “Financial Empowerment”, a board member of USC Credit Union and a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) committee member on Marketing Awareness.

Candice LuCandice Lu, Co-founder, On Prem Solution Parnters

Candice Lu is one of the founders of OnPrem Solution Partners, a media and entertainment technology and consulting firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Austin. OnPrem has grown from its 4 founders to 130 team members in a little over 3 years, with clients such as all the major studios, broadcasters, music publishers, gaming companies, and consumer products firms.

Candice has worked in the media and entertainment industry for nearly 20 years, 15 of which have been dedicated to management and IT consulting. She consulted at Arthur Andersen, Strategic Vision Consulting, and Cognizant prior to OnPrem.

She has a B.A. in Economics from UCLA, and an MBA from USC in Strategy and Entertainment.

John StewartJohn Stewart, Principal,  OnPrem Solution Partners

John Stewart is a Principal at OnPrem Solution Partners, a media and entertainment technology and consulting firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Austin. OnPrem has grown from its founders to 130+ team members in a little over 3 years, with clients such as all the major studios, broadcasters, music publishers, gaming companies, and consumer products firms.

John has worked in the media and entertainment industry for nearly 10 years. While holding executive posts at both NBC Universal and 20th Century Fox prior to OnPrem, John focused his efforts on technology strategy & business operations across distribution windows.  He has extensive experience implementing business strategies globally.

John has a B.S. in Engineering from Penn State University, and an MBA from USC in Strategy.


Stephen Felisan, Edmunds.comStephen Felisan, CIO, Edmunds.com
Stephen joined Edmunds.com in 2005 and has played an important role in applying technology in the reinvention of key operational units within the enterprise and has directed many of company’s enabling initiatives including continuous delivery, automation, virtualization, programmatic display advertising and cloud computing. As Chief Information Officer, Stephen Felisan is responsible for Edmunds.com’s Software Engineering, Technical Operations, enterprise Information Systems and Data Operations groups. Stephen has over 20 years of technology leadership experience with Internet-based organizations. He holds a BS degree in Microbiology & Molecular Genetics from UCLA.


Mark Goldin, CTO, Cornerstone OnDemandMark Goldin, CTO, Cornerstone OnDemand

Mark Goldin is the Chief Technology Officer for Cornerstone OnDemand. In this role, Mark is responsible for building and directing the company’s global technology strategy, which will allow the organization to best scale in the midst of rapid growth. Goldin oversees application architecture, development, quality assurance and technology operations while leading a world-class team of engineers to assure Cornerstone’s continued excellence in providing innovative and feature-rich talent management software.

Prior to joining Cornerstone, Mark was the Chief Operations and Technology Officer at Green Dot Corporation where he oversaw application development, IT infrastructure, supply chain and logistics, and call center operations with a team that helped grow valuation by greater than a factor of 10 in just three years. Goldin has also held CTO positions at Thomson Elite (where he conceived, founded and ran SaaS pioneer Elite.com) and DestinationRx.


Ted Ross, CIO, City of LATed Ross, GM, Information Technology Agency & CIO, City of Los Angeles

Ted Ross is CIO for the City of Los Angeles and General Manager for the Information Technology Agency (ITA).  His department delivers enterprise IT services to over 48,000 employees across 38 City departments and digital services to almost 4 million residents across 469 square miles.  Comprised of 485 dedicated employees with an $92 Million annual operating budget, his department supports more than 150 City applications, a 24/7 Data Center, City Data & Voice Communications, the 3-1-1 Call Center, Public Safety Microwave & Radio Communications, and the LA CityView Channel 35 TV Station.  Before joining ITA, Ted managed the successful citywide Financial Management System ERP Project with the Office of the Controller and IT systems for Los Angeles World Airports.  He has over 20 years of private and public sector technology experience, earning various awards and IT credentials along the way.
Matt Crowley, Crowley & AssociatesMatt Crowley, author, Winning the Game: How to Successfully Sell Your Business

Matthew Crowley is a venture lawyer, with a practice focused on assisting entrepreneurs in creating new businesses and achieving their goals for growth. Crowley regularly represents startups, with startup clients representing at least 70% of his practice.

Crowley began his career in San Francisco at the height of the dotcom boom, practicing law with corporate finance groups including Pillsbury Madison & Sutro (now Pillsbury Winthrop) and Morrison & Foerster. After eight years of private practice, Crowley moved into senior management with Evoke Software in 2001, serving as vice president and general counsel. In 2004, Crowley joined the management team at Technicolor Home Entertainment Services in Camarillo, California, a division with revenues of $2 billion annually. In 2006, Crowley established Crowley Corporate Legal Strategy to offer corporate legal services to entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses.


Billy Bey, AT&TBilly Bey, Sr. Director Strategy & Business Development, AT&T

Billy Bey is a Senior Director of Business Development for AT&T Entertainment Group (“EG”). In this role, Bey and his team are responsible for sourcing, evaluating, and executing new strategic business opportunities for EG. Potential partnerships will span the areas of product features, distribution platforms (devices) with strategic partners, technology and advertising. The team also serves as a business partner to AT&T Corporate Development on M&A and equity investment opportunities for EG.

Prior to joining EG, Bey was a Senior Director of Corporate Development at DIRECTV, where he evaluated new and adjacent markets to assess the attractiveness and strategic fit with the existing product portfolio. Bey also coordinated the DIRECTV deal team on acquisitions, investments, strategic opportunities, and on the sale of the company to AT&T.

Before joining DIRECTV, Bey was a Director of Corporate Finance at Yahoo!, where he was in charge of assessing strategic partnerships in the areas of online advertising (display, search and toolbar), media and co-branded portal deals. Before joining Yahoo! in 2009, Bey was a Vice President in investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he participated in over 20 client engagements aggregating over $20 billion in value.

Bey received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the College of William & Mary prior to completing his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law and his MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. He has been CPA certified and was registered with the New York State Bar Association.


Todd Greene, Penske MediaTodd Greene, General Counsel & Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Penske Media Corporation (PMC)

Todd Greene is the General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Penske Media Corporation (PMC). Todd joined PMC in 2014 and is responsible for all legal, compliance, risk management and human resources functions for PMC and its operating companies. Todd has more than 20 years of experience working with companies on a wide range of legal, regulatory, business development and human resource issues.  He has extensive experience with general corporate, M&A, labor and employment and intellectual property matters.

Prior to joining PMC, Todd served as Chief Legal Officer and SVP-Human Resources for Oversee.net, an innovative, technology-focused online advertising and marketing company with operating companies in the domain services, travel, retail and consumer finance verticals.  While at Oversee, Todd was honored by the Daily Journal in 2014 as a Top In House Counsel in California and in 2012 the Los Angeles Business Journal honored Todd by awarding him its Corporate Counsel Award in the Private Companies with Less than $1 Billion in Annual Revenue category.

Before moving to Oversee, Todd was a partner in the Los Angeles office of Bingham McCutchen LLP where he focused on M&A transactions, venture capital and debt financings and general corporate work.  Prior to joining Bingham, Todd worked at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and Kaye Scholer LLP in New York City.  Todd has a B.S. from Cornell University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Denise HazimeDenise Hazime, Controller, VIWO (acquired by New Media)

Denise H. Hazime: Serial Entrepreneur – Changing the World, One Cloud at a time.

Denise Hazime is a financial and operations management executive who has managed the growth lifecycle of two businesses, each culminating in sale exit strategy. As an entrepreneur at heart, she has launched several businesses – both large and small – whenever an opportunity presents itself and the market displays a need.

Hazime is currently the Director of Operations for Prodoscore, the Fitbit for the workspace. Prodoscore visualizes employee activity spent while working in Google for Work and other business applications including: mail, calendar, docs, hangouts, CRM and phones. This activity is then aggregated to produce a unique employee productivity score. Consistent, accurate productivity measurement identifies opportunities for sales execution improvement.

Hazime is also part of the founding management team at VIWO, where she established the financial reporting system and controls necessary to accurately track results, mitigate risk, and ensure reported results complied with generally accepted accounting principles. As an original Google Apps Reseller, she ensured adequate financial controls were in place to grow this early cloud solution provider to be Google’s largest and highest rated small business partner – a company that helped to migrate over 5,000 organizations to the cloud. In April 2016, VIWO was acquired by New Media, a publicly traded company

Hazime earned her bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University and holds a JD from the University of Detroit’s Mercy School of Law.

2016-shari-yocumShari Yocum, Partner/Principal, EY

Shari Yocum is a Principal in Ernst & Young LLP’s People Advisory Services Practice. With more than twenty years of experience, Shari has successfully advised global companies on complex mergers & acquisitions, large corporate change initiatives, and HR transformations. Shari is often cited in industry publications on Human Resources Strategy and Post-Merger Integration issues. She contributes to a number of well-known business publications, and has published a number of her own articles. Shari speaks regularly at industry conferences.

Prior to joining Ernst & Young LLP, Shari co-founded Tasman Consulting LLC (2010), a Silicon Valley-based M&A human capital advisory offering a broad range of human resource integration consulting services, from due diligence and pre- announce planning, through to post close across virtually all deal types, both in the United States and across borders. Tasman’s team joined Ernst & Young LLP in April 2016.

Prior to forming Tasman, Shari was an executive at Cisco Systems, where she led their HR Mergers and Acquisitions organization, providing leadership and guidance in over US$10 billion of Cisco acquisition investment. Having managed over 50 acquisitions, Shari held a key role in building the next generation of integration strategy.

Prior to joining Cisco, Shari worked for PricewaterHouseCoopers and several Fortune 500 companies, including Nortel and Management Systems Associates.

At both PricewaterHouseCoopers and MSA, Shari was part of their highly technical Management Consulting organization and focused on the healthcare vertical providing system implementation and business process re-engineering.

Shari co-founded the original HR M&A forum in 2000 and later the Silicon Valley Human resources Mergers & Acquisitions Community of Practice in 2013. She is based in San Francisco, California.


Fabian GeyrhalterFabian Geyrhalter, Principal, FINIEN

Fabian Geyrhalter is the Founder and Principal of FINIEN, a consultancy specialized in turning ventures into brands.

Geyrhalter has been published internationally by the likes of The Washington Post, Graphis and The Huffington Post. He has written about branding for publications including Mashable and Entrepreneur and is a columnist for Inc. An active jury member of the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts and winner of numerous design awards, including 23 American Graphic Design Awards, Geyrhalter is often invited to judge international design competitions. He served as an adjunct professor at USC and Art Center College of Design and is an Advisory Board Member of the Santa Monica College. Geyrhalter is a frequent speaker and mentor to entrepreneurs worldwide, a “Global 100″​ mentor at the Founder Institute and author of the #1 best selling book “How to Launch a Brand.” He is further serving as consulting Executive Creative Strategist at Urban Insight, a leading technology consulting firm, managing the intersection of brand vision and creative digital strategy.

At the age of 21, he became Creative Director at Insyght, developing corporate identity and collateral projects for pharmaceutical industry giants like Pfizer and Lilly. He later served as Creative Lead at Genex, an Adweek Top 50 Interactive Agency, overseeing the emerging online media account for the luxury automotive brand Acura.

For 12 years he has been running the highly successful branding and graphic design agency Geyrhalter & Co, working for clients such as The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Goodwill, Brandman University, W Hotels, CO-OP Financial Services, USC, Evolution Juice, The City Of Los Angeles and John Varvatos.

Geyrhalter was born in Vienna, Austria and is a graduate of Art Center College of Design.
Delilah Panio, SheEODelilah Panio, Founder and Chief Dasher, Stiletto Dash & L.A. Lead, SheEO Radical Generosity

I love helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams… just like I am!

As the founder of Stiletto Dash, I am passionate about helping women build their dream companies and achieve economic independence through entrepreneurship. Through my one-on-one consulting and soon to be launched online courses, I work with clients on their business planning and getting investor-ready.

I am the L.A. Lead for SheEO’s Radical Generosity program, an amazing and innovative new model to finance, support and celebrate female entrepreneurs that calls upon 1000 women per city to commit $1,000 to provide low interest loans to 10 local women-led ventures. I am also a Co-Founder of We Are Enough, a non-profit that educates women on why and how to invest in women-owned businesses. As well, I am active in the LA entrepreneur community, including as the Co-Chair of Women in LAVA (Los Angeles Venture Association) and coach for local pitch competitions.

My background is as a capital markets expert with 10 years in business development at the Toronto Stock Exchange, including as the Director, Business Development & Strategy. I have advised many companies on the going public process and can provide an understanding of private and public financing options in Canada and the United States.

I hold a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelors of Art (English) and recently completed a certification as a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner.

My volunteer efforts are primarily focused on empowering women and girls and I have been honored to contribute to organizations such as Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles, Girl Up, Plan Canada, Access Community Capital Fund, and Toronto International Microfinance Summit.


Shepard_Brian_600x600Brian K. Shepard, DMA, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Professor of Audio Design Practice, USC Iovine and Young Academy

Brian Shepard is a technologist, author, musician, composer, and professional tinkerer. He is also Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Audio Design Practice of the USC Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.

For more than twenty years, Brian’s research has focused on the technological skills and tools necessary to prepare students for life as twenty-first century musicians. In 1999, he conducted the very first demonstration of a private music lesson using uncompressed audio and video over Internet2 and continues to research the uses of high-performance networks for musical purposes. For his research in this area, he has twice been honored by Internet2 with their IDEA Award. In 2009, he released ECHODamp, the only audio mixing and echo-control software application specifically designed for musical videoconferences and in use at more than 100 cultural and educational institutions around the world. His book Refining Sound: A Practical Guide to Synthesis and Synthesizers is published by Oxford University Press.

Jon Kraft, founder, PandoraJon Kraft, founder, Pandora

Jon Kraft was a Co-founder and former CEO of Pandora. His key interests today include his Glendale-based early stage business accelerator called LiftOff (www.liftoffllc.com) that he co-founded, and a rapidly growing start-up focused on helping children discover their passion in life called Thrively (www.thrively.com ). Jon has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur in software and consumer digital media. Earlier in his career, Jon was Chief Operating Officer and a member of the founding team at UberMedia, Idealab’s prominent Internet start-up and currently the world’s leading independent developer of mobile social apps. Before that, he was co-founder and Chief Operating Officer for Big Stage Entertainment, Inc., an advanced avatar platform company recognized by Forbes in 2009 as one of America’s 20 Most Promising Companies and sold to Image Metrix (IMGX:OTC) in 2010. Jon was also a co-founder of Stanford Technology Group, an innovator in the relational OLAP market, funded by Sequoia and Hummer Winblad, and acquired by Informix Corporation in 1995. Jon served four years as Chairman of the Technology Council of Southern California, and seven years as a Board member of the Beverly Hills Basketball League. Jon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University


Dr. Lance ElliottDr. Lance Elliot, Serial entrepreneur and Global VP of Information Technology, Daymon Retail Services

Lance B. Eliot, MBA, PhD, is a serial entrepreneur, having launched, run, and sold three high-tech businesses, and an angel investor and adviser to start-ups. He serves as a mentor for several incubators in Southern California and Silicon Valley, and used to host the popular Technotrends radio show. Author or co-author of three books and over 200 articles, he has made appearances on CNN, and has been a frequent speaker at industry conferences.  Dr. Eliot serves on several boards and committees at the University of Southern California (USC), including the Board of the Marshall Alumni Association (MAA) for Los Angeles and Orange County, has served as a judge for the Mark Stevens Center for Innovation pitch competition, and a mentor for several USC incubators.  A former professor at the University of Southern California (USC), he founded and led an innovative research lab on Artificial Intelligence in Business. He was elected to the Board of the Southern California of the Academy of the Sciences (SCAS), and has served on the International Board of the Society for Information Management (SIM), a prestigious association of over 3,000 CIO’s/CTO’s worldwide.  He has performed extensive community service, including serving as Senior Science Adviser to the Vice Chair of the United States Congressional Committee on Science & Technology. Dr. Eliot holds a PhD from USC, MBA, and Bachelor’s in Computer Science.


David RingDavid Ring, founder, David Ring Media and former Executive VP, Global Digital Business, Universal Music Group

David Ring provides business strategy for high growth companies including online video and audio, cloud-based digital entertainment ecosystems, interactive experiences, machine learning, back office systems, and other digital media technologies. He was formerly Executive Vice President for the Universal Group’s Global Digital Business.

David Ring has spent over 20 years as an industry leading, creative, digital media executive. David has worked closely and successfully with hundreds of technology companies on their digital initiatives — from initial product conception to ongoing operations and customer growth. David has extensive experience in handling complex business development deals, legal transactions, and contract negotiations. Throughout his career he has enjoyed tremendous success with integrating and growing digital media platforms into industry practices. He is also known for building, coaching, and motivating loyal, cross-functional teams that exceed expectations. Selected career accomplishments include:

• Generated new, multi-billion dollar revenue streams through foreseeing game-changing industry trends and pioneering creative and innovative deal structures around them.
• Built long-term, successful partnerships with a wide range of global Fortune 500 companies by constructing and securing highly effective, often intricate groundbreaking deals.
• Crafted mutually beneficial agreements for partners through a deep understanding of customers, service providers, music and technology industry perspectives and requirements.
• Created the first on-demand, online music streaming service at Jimmy & Doug’s Farmclub.com.

David Ring holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a JD from the UCLA School of Law.


John Attanasio, FeldsparJohn Attanasio, Co-founder, Feldspar Studios

John is Co-Founder of Feldspar Studios which is an animation network for the mobile generation.  Prior to launching Feldspar, he was Vice President of Global Marketing & Innovation at Warner Bros. where he and his team developed and executed franchise campaigns for some of the largest entertainment properties in history including Harry Potter, Lego, The Dark Knight and The Hobbit.

He has designed and launched multiple digital media transformation initiatives including the Innovation Incubator (i2) at Warner Bros. and was an advisor for several Media Camp startups as part of the company’s tech accelerator.  John has done extensive work in the digital content space and has digital distribution expertise in both mature and emerging markets.  He also supports the advancement of creativity and commerce through advisory roles with several entertainment industry accelerators and business programs.

John has successfully led marketing, business development and innovation teams at Warner Bros., DreamWorks, Nabisco and E&J Gallo.  He received a BA from Loyola Marymount University and an MBA from the USC Marshall School of Business.


AmberJLawsonAmber J. Lawson, Founder & CEO, Good Amplified

Amber J. Lawson is the founder, CEO of Good Amplified, the only YouTube MCN exclusively servicing non-profits. Good Amplified helps non-profits build millennial audiences creating donor retention & revenue though content. She served as Executive Producer of Banff World Media Festival Brand & Digital Programming and Digital Parliament – a new format bringing together digital decision makers to create solutions to industry issues. Lawson was awarded 2015 Cynopsis Women in Digital Entrepreneur of the Year & 2015 Top 50 Women in Digital for her work as cofounder & CEO of The Emmy & Streamy Nominated and IAWTV best live event Winner, Comedy Gives Back, leveraging comedy across multiple platforms in order to raise money for charities, a global digital telethon, in partnership with YouTube, SXSW, Yahoo!, Team Coco, IFC and Dailymotion.

Lawson is a branded content development, programming and distribution executive. She is known as a super connector in the industry. Lawson is also a multiplatform storytelling strategist with a flair for platform appropriate high-quality long & short form entertainment. She possesses hands-on knowledge of the digital media content business including business planning, interactive and social network integration, activation, and monetization across platforms.

Lawson is a founding partner of Storytech. She served as Head of Video Programming & Originals at AOL and led the US acquisitions and development efforts for pioneering video platform Babelgum.com overseeing their international comedy business. She is the chairman of the Membership Working Group of Interactive Media Peer Group of The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, an active member of the New Media Council at the Producers Guild of America. Lawson serves on the advisory board Open Slate, TIFF NOW, Fanatical, Pwrd By, Co-President of LOCA & is 2014 Raytown Hall of Fame Inductee.

grant michaelsonGrant Michaelson, Vice President, Business Affairs and New Media, ABC Entertainment

Grant Michaelson is Vice President, Business Affairs, ABC Entertainment. In this position, he is responsible for negotiating digital deals with studios and alternative/reality packagers, as well as handling business affairs for ABC.com, ABC Entertainment Marketing and Promotions, content offerings on ABC mobile and VOD, network merchandising and product integration.

Previously, Mr. Michaelson was Director, Business Affairs, CBS Entertainment, where he negotiated deals to acquire or license television programming for all genres including drama, comedy, alternative, late-night and specials. In addition, he negotiated development, format, executive producer and host/talent agreements for alternative programming, and agreements for new media content for existing programming as well as original online and wireless content. Before his stint at CBS, Mr. Michaelson was Senior Counsel, Legal Affairs, ABC Entertainment.

Mr. Michaelson received his law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Mass Communications from University of California, Berkeley.


2016-Derek SmithDerek Smith, Principal, Entertainment, Media, & Communications Advisory Practice, PwC

Derek Smith is a Principal with PwC ‘s US Advisory Entertainment, Media & Communications Practice where he is committed to designing innovative business solutions that integrate technology with business strategy to drive growth for startups to Fortune 500 corporations. He has more than 25 years of experience leading and delivering solutions that achieve operational excellence and industry leadership.

Previously, Smith was a Senior Vice President at 20th Century Fox where he led Operations Strategy & Technology. At Fox, he was responsible for driving operational improvements across the enterprise and creating process efficiencies and cost savings throughout multiple business units — Theatrical, Home Entertainment, Television, and Studio Operations.

Prior to his time at Fox, Smith served as a management and technology consultant where he focused on the Media and Entertainment Industry. He received his bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical engineering from University of Illinois, and his MBA from Tulane University.

melva benoitMelva Benoit, Founder, The Marian Dupree Group

As founder and president of The Marian Dupree Group, Melva leads initiatives that provide keys to solving clients’ problems and help 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 passion for consumer research, strategy and content creation. Melva has led initiatives that delivered strategic direction in product and marketing strategy, content creation 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.


Akhil-HeadshotAkhil Anumolu, Manager – Digital Retail Strategy, Optimization, & Personalization, Delta Airlines

Akhil Anumolu began a career in analytics at Symantec directly after graduation from college. For more than two years he helped to build the optimization & analytics program for the consumer eCommerce site focused on the Norton Anti-Virus brand. Following his dream to pursue a start-up, he then worked for a year at the children’s toy start-up Wonder Workshop, guiding their digital efforts from inception to a record breaking crowdfunding campaign. Following his start-up effort, Akhil returned to Symantec and led web development, analytics, and optimization for the paid search marketing team for almost two more years before joining Delta Air Lines to manage the eCommerce Optimization & Personalization teams.

In January 2016, Akhil was awarded the Digital Analytics Rising Star Award by the Digital Analytics Association. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems.


Astrid Raimondo, R&R PartnersAstrid Raimondo, Corporate Director of Digital & Cross Cultural Strategy, R&R Partners

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of digital brand engagement and diversity in today’s diverse and light-speed marketplace. Consumers judge a brand nearly instantly based on passing glances at a tweet or Facebook page, and even brands that manage this well are just one misstep away from a crisis. Astrid’s years of guiding brands through this ever-shifting demographic and technological changes, make her an invaluable member of R&R Partners. Astrid is responsible for the strategic vision and oversight of all digital and strategy in R&R’s Los Angeles office.  She is also the lead for R&R’s total market approach across the network. She has worked on brands like Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority, Kia Motors and Microsoft and has also launched brands from Latin America to the United States such as Grupo Posadas and Grupo Modelo.


2016-Ben-ConwayBen Conway, Chief Operating Officer, Co-founder, VNTANA

Ben Conway is an experienced entrepreneur who utilizes his global mindset to lead VNTANA’s strategy and business development. He co-founded VNTANA in 2012 with the goal around connecting people and experiences across the world. Since then VNTANA has built the world’s only scalable, affordable and interactive hologram systems, which have been used by major brands including Microsoft, Pepsi and Mercedes-Benz. An avid traveler, with over 35 countries visited, Conway combines his passion to empower others, business acumen and VNTANA’s technology to create unforgettable experiences that can be shared globally and in-person instead of behind your phone screen. Prior to co-founding VNTANA he ran a profitable business whose roots began in China, having previously gained valuable experience in the financial industry doing business development at a Fortune 250 Company. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a BS in entrepreneurship.


zpoag headshotZach Poag, VP, Strategic Operations – The Garage, Rubicon Project

Since 2009, Zach has been at the forefront of the emerging space of “programmatic advertising” and was pivotal in launching the real-time bidding (RTB) protocol for Rubicon Project, a technology company that led the automation of advertising. For the past 2 years, Zach has worked in Rubicon Project’s innovation center, The Garage, launching 3 startups including a RTB based developer platform, as well as products that improve the advertising experience for the consumer. (I think we should add this because it shows how you are well-suited for the panel)

Previously, Zach co-founded Hoodies & Goodies, an early online marketplace for streetwear clothing. He has an MBA from UCLA Anderson. Zach earned his CPA from the State of New York while at PwC’s NYC office, where he worked in their banking and capital markets practice. Zach is passionate about the process of creating and bringing to market disruptive technologies, particularly in the consumer space.

2016-Dan-SmithDaniel Smith, Founder, jimmyCASE

Three years ago Daniel Smith was an executive at Playboy, Vice President of Digital Content, developing new digital video sites and living every junior high school boy’s career dream.  “After a successful career in Hollywood (Playboy, Fox, American Gladiators), my inner ‘Herbie The Dentist’ took over and I realized that I really wanted to be an engineer/entrepreneur.”

Cut to 2016 and Dan has built a successful company (jimmyCASE.co) with products sold through major retailers (Fred Segal, AT&T) and a profitable online business that reaches customers worldwide with sales of 20,000 iPhone wallet cases to date.   Dan’s 2nd Kickstarter launches September 27, 2016 (slim wallets at slimJIMMY.co).

Dan has a BS from Wharton and an MBA from UCLA.  dan@thejimmyCASE.com

Gordon Bellamy, USC School for Cinematic ArtsGordon Bellamy, Visiting Scholar, USC School for Cinematic Arts

Bellamy has played key business and product leadership roles at Tencent, Electronic Arts, as a designer on Madden NFL Football, and MTV. He served as Executive Director of both the game industry’s trade organization, the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences and the International Game Developers Association.  He holds a BA in Engineering from Harvard College.


Jay-KootJay Koottarappallil, CEO and Co-Founder, WhiteMoon Dreams

After leaving years of schooling in the completely unrelated fields of biochemistry, english, sculpture and modern dance, Jay Koottarappallil, along with his illustrious team, heads up WhiteMoon Dreams, a game developer in downtown Los Angeles building multiple VR (and non-VR) console and PC titles. Coming from a background of art, programming, team building and troublemaking, Jay has worked professionally in the game industry for the last 20 years with or at developers/publishers such as Insomniac Games, Looking Glass Studios, Tencent, Electronic Arts and many more.

Passionate about entrepreneurship, video games, model robot building and just about anything you can eat, Jay brings decades of industry trench development and business experience to the discussion as well as a host of random odd thoughts.


Jonathan Pearce, Intellectual Property Attorney, Jon Pearce

Mr. Pearce counsels clients on intellectual property matters related to interactive entertainment, virtual reality, mobile gaming, social networking, digital video systems, satellite systems, multi-function printing devices and consumer products ranging from hand-held spray bottles to mobile phone cases.

Mr. Pearce has counseled industry-leading interactive entertainment and virtual reality companies in addition to industry-disrupting startups in fields as diverse as Internet marketing and cosmetics.
His experience includes litigation, patent prosecution, trademark prosecution, licensing, technology transactions and adversarial proceedings before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He received his computer science and business degree, master of business administration, and law degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Andrew Stalbow, CEO, SeriouslyAndrew Stalbow, co-founder & CEO, Seriously

Andrew Stalbow is co-founder and CEO at Seriously, a company creating mobile games designed to be developed into entertainment properties. Seriously’s content development is based in Helsinki, Finland while the company’s business development and marketing functions are based in Venice, California. Seriously’s first property Best Fiends was released in October 2014 and since then, the game has been downloaded over 40 million times with up to 2.1 million daily active players.

Formerly Executive Vice President, Strategic Partnerships at Rovio Entertainment, Andrew oversaw the company’s commercial strategy and biggest partnership deals. Highlights at Rovio include the partnership with Lucasfilm for ‘Angry Birds Star Wars’
and building a video distribution channel within Rovio’s 1.7 billion game downloads which has generated up to 250 million monthly views.

Prior to Rovio, Stalbow ran 20th Century Fox’s mobile division where he built new distribution channels for the studio’s film and television properties worldwide. Highlights include working with the creative team at Gracie Films, and negotiating with Electronic Arts, to launch ‘The Simpsons Tapped Out’, a top grossing mobile game, and making James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ movie available as a pre-load as part of a launch marketing program for Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone.


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