The UCLA Anderson Pulse Entertainment, Sports & Technology Conference brings together leading executives to share insights and perspective on the current trends, opportunities and challenges impacting the entertainment, sports and technology industries.
The 2021 Pulse Conference was held the week of February 22-26, 2021.
How the past year will shape the future of media, entertainment and sports
2021 Pulse Conference
Hosted by the Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment & Sports (MEMES) at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, the Pulse Conference showcases influential executives and innovators in media, technology and sports. The 2021 conference will take place virtually and will explore how the pivots, inventions and learnings of 2020 will shape the entertainment, media and sports ecosystem over the next five years and beyond. We will also provide unique mentoring and networking opportunities, announce the winners of our annual entertainment case competition (hosted in partnership with Paramount) and share a featured conversation with the winners of our 2021 Game- Changer Award.
Join us as we discuss emerging consumer experiences, the impact of direct-to-consumer (D2C) and the shift to streaming, the evolution of brand partnerships, diversity and inclusion, and more.
The animation summit is a semi-annual summit in two creative hubs of the world: LA and Berlin. Hosted by UCLA, Baby Giant Hollyberg and Truffle Time, the conference's focus is to broaden the understanding of animation as an asset class. Additionally, the summit serves as a non-sales, industry exchange about the issues affecting animation and the potential impact animation can play in shaping the world's challenges.
GARY B. BETTMAN Commissioner, National Hockey League
Gary Bettman has served the National Hockey League as Commissioner since February 1, 1993 and has guided the world’s top professional hockey league through more than two decades of growth and advancement on and off the ice. Record revenues, record attendance and numerous fan-friendly and community-minded initiatives are just a few examples of the ways Commissioner Bettman has brought the NHL to a broader audience, through more media platforms, than any time in League history. In recognition of his many contributions to the game, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2018.
By negotiating a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement with the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and long-term, multi-billion-dollar national broadcast rights agreements in the United States (NBC Sports) and Canada (Rogers Communications) plus an innovative digital rights agreement with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), Commissioner Bettman has fostered unprecedented economic stability for the League’s Member Clubs. League revenues have increased more than tenfold during Commissioner Bettman’s tenure and franchise values have increased exponentially.
Amid the global pandemic, Commissioner Bettman worked with the NHLPA to extend the CBA – guaranteeing extended labor peace – and to craft a Return to Play plan that enabled the NHL to safely return to the ice, complete the 2019-20 season and award the Stanley Cup.
On the ice, the NHL’s competitive balance may be unrivaled in professional sports – thanks to the strongest Collective Bargaining Agreement in sports and the implementation of rules designed to accentuate the speed, skill and creativity of the players.
A calendar of innovative signature events – including iconic outdoor games (the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the Coors Light NHL Stadium Series and the Heritage Classic) – has driven fan engagement and sponsor participation to unprecedented levels. These achievements were recognized with three Sports Business Awards accorded by the Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily in 2014, with Commissioner Bettman being named Sports Executive of the Year; the NHL being named Sports League of the Year, and the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic – which attracted a crowd of over 105,000 to the University of Michigan’s “Big House” stadium on New Year’s Day – being named Sports Event of the Year.
Advancements in the game under Commissioner Bettman include the implementation of overtime and the ‘shootout,’ which eliminate tied games during the regular season. The League’s implementation of the two-referee system revolutionized hockey officiating around the world. Other innovations include the development and advancement of video review (since replicated by the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association), emergency on-ice trauma care and elevation in the study of injuries.
In addition, Commissioner Bettman created the first Department of Player Safety in pro sports. The Department is entrusted with the continued consideration of suggesting proposed changes to rules and equipment that will make the game safer for the players. The NHL also was the first sports League to explain player supplementary discipline rulings in videos available to all through the League’s digital outlets – an advancement that has been hailed throughout the sports world.
Commissioner Bettman also has focused attention on the League’s international makeup and appeal. NHL players stocked the rosters at five consecutive Olympic Winter Games, beginning in 1998 at Nagano, Japan, and the World Cup of Hockey tournament returned to the NHL calendar in September, 2016. As a further testament to the League’s international appeal, NHL games are televised in more than 160 countries and covered on NHL.com in seven languages – Czech, Finnish, French, German, Russian, Slovak and Swedish – in addition to English.
In keeping with the Commissioner’s commitment to serving fans, the NHL Network provides viewers in the U.S. with original programming from the League’s signature events as well as “NHL Now,” a daily NHL talk/interview show; “NHL Tonight” and “NHL On The Fly,” which provide game highlights and analysis every night of the season.
Charity, community service and diversity also have been at the forefront of Commissioner Bettman’s tenure. Hockey Fights Cancer has raised millions in support of cancer research and awareness. Mr. Bettman also prioritized grass-roots initiatives that bring hockey to youngsters. These programs include “Hockey is for Everyone,” a part of the NHL Foundation, the NHL’s charitable and community relations organization and a major component of the League’s youth hockey programming. In furtherance of “Hockey Is For Everyone,” the NHL joined the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to fund a full four-year college scholarship for outstanding scholar-athletes from its inner-city hockey programs for at-risk youth.
In addition, the NHL in 2013 signed an historic partnership agreement with the “You Can Play Project” which is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. In 2014, the League received the International Role Model Award from the Equality Forum, a non-profit organization, the mission of which is to advance national and international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights through education.
NHL Green, another of Commissioner Bettman’s initiatives, has been recognized widely for its support of environmental causes. NHL Green received the prestigious 2011 Sport for the Environment Award from the global Beyond Sport organization. The League also was celebrated for the establishment and success of the NHLFood Recovery Program, which recovers prepared but untouched food from all 30 NHL facilities, providing hundreds of thousands of meals to local shelters across North America while diverting hundreds of tons of food waste from landfill. NHL Green was named winner of the 2013 Communitas Award for Leadership in Ethical and Environmental Responsibility. NHL Green also released the 2014 NHL Environmental Sustainability Report, the first of its kind by a major professional sports League, which highlighted the numerous programs, benchmarks, and successes that have increased the League’s overall sustainability. In 2014, the Green Sports Alliance, a non-profit organization with a mission to help sports teams, venues and Leagues enhance their environmental performance, honored the NHL with its Environmental Leadership Award.
A native of Queens, NY, Mr. Bettman also served 12 years with the National Basketball Association. Prior to that, he worked in the Proskauer Rose Goetz & Mendelsohn law firm.
Commissioner Bettman graduated from Cornell University and the New York University School of Law. He and his wife, Shelli, have three children -- Lauren, Jordan, and Brittany – and five grandchildren.
Bonin Bough is one of the foremost-awarded marketing executives in the world, the host of CNBC’s Cleveland Hustles, and the author of Txt Me (646) 759-1837.
As one of the youngest-c-suite executives at a Fortune 50 Company, he has worked for billion-dollar CPG brands including Mondelez and PepsiCo before starting Bonin Ventures - a growth accelerator that helps businesses of all shapes and sizes achieve revenue growth faster than they ever believed possible.
Bonin has been responsible for some of the most successful organization transformations, and the rapid growth of some of the world's most-loved billion-dollar brands including Oreo, Cadbury's, Pepsi, Gatorade and Frito-Lay. Most recently, as the Chief Growth Officer of SheaMoisture, he helped grow the business by close to 50% in 12 months leading to the company being acquired by Unilever for close to $1 billion dollars.
During his time as Chief Media Officer at Mondelez International, Bonin managed over $3 Billion dollars in media spend, making him the seventh largest media buyer in the world. Highlights from his tenure include shifting the organization from just-3% to over-32% digital spend - adding $2 Billion in top line net revenue and $300m in bottom line savings. He helped brands like Sour Patch Kids become the fastest growing candy brand in the world. When he added eCommerce to his role, he grew online sales from $65m - $265m in the 18 months that he ran it. Before that he led digital globally for PepsiCo and built two global digital agencies prior to that one for IPG.
Found consistently at the forefront of thinking and execution in innovation, Bonin is recognized as one of business’ hottest rising stars and one of the industries top mobile marketers. He has been inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement. He can also be found in lists such as Fortune’s “40 under 40”, Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, Ebony’s Power 100 and The Internationalist’s Internationalists of the Year.
In early 2020, Bonin joined Triller, a global social media sensation, as the Chief Growth Officer, overseeing all revenue and marketing initiatives for the disruptive platform.
Francisco Aquilini ('94)
Center for MEMES Board of Director
Managing Director, Aquilini Investment Group
Owner, Vancouver Canucks
Vice President of Strategy and Ticketing, Los Angeles Rams
Dan August has been with the Los Angeles Rams for five season and in the NFL for thirteen seasons.
Dan serves as the Vice President of Strategy and Ticketing for the Rams. He is involved in key strategic initiatives and oversees ticketing and various aspects of the gameday experience. .Dan and his team focus on creating a premium guest experience for the Rams’ Season Ticket Members and other guests on gamedays.
Prior to joining the Rams, Dan worked in the NFL’s League Office in New York City for eight years. His first six years were spent in Finance and in his final two years he served as the Head of Strategic Marketing and Planning.
Before entering the NFL, Dan was an investment banking analyst for one year at Morgan Stanley in New York City.
Dan received his B.A. in Economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
After a successful 12-year career in the banking and finance industry in New Zealand, Bareman started her career in football administration in 2009 working for the Samoan Football Federation, where she also played for the national team.
Following two years of rebuilding the financial management of the association, Sarai took over as Chief Executive Officer and continued to grow and develop the sport of football in the country. In July 2014, she moved to New Zealand to take up the position of Deputy General Secretary at the Oceania Football Confederation where she continued working diligently towards the growth of football in the wider Pacific before moving to FIFA.
Sarai joined FIFA in November 2016 to lead the newly established Women’s Football Division as the first-ever Chief Women’s Football Officer. As the sole female member of the 2016 FIFA Reform Committee, she advocated in favour of concrete requirements to secure the presence of more women in leadership positions and more resources for women’s football. She has now become one of those leaders herself in a position to promote and drive the implementation of those measures.
Since taking up her role with FIFA Sarai has overseen the launch of organisations first ever global strategy for women’s football, the delivery of the highly successful FIFA Women’s World Cup in France 2019 and the implementation of new, tailor-made development programmes to support FIFA’s 211 Member Associations in developing the women’s game.
Chief Brand Strategist Global Strategic Sports Alliances American Cancer Society
Sherí Barros is an award-winning brand marketing executive with a body of work spanning almost 20 years across some of the most recognized sports entertainment brands. She currently serves as the Global Strategic Director of Sports Alliances for the American Cancer Society and works alongside the National Football League to lead one of the most impactful cause marketing partnerships in pro sports: the NFL’s Crucial Catch initiative to fight cancer. Her career includes management of the marketing department for Spurs Sports & Entertainment; Vice President of Marketing for privately-held media, sports & entertainment agency, Cooper Holdings, where she led corporate clients’ sponsorship portfolios across the U.S. within the NBA, MLS, International Soccer, Action Sports, WWE, and worked alongside leading entertainment agencies: Creative Artists Agency and United Entertainment Group. Ms. Barros’ expertise has been solicited as a Chief Brand Strategist & Consultant. In 2019, Sherí was named an inaugural jury member of the Cannes Lions ‘Entertainment for Sport’ awards, one of the most prestigious global marketing awards in the world. She has served as an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at New York University, and guest lectures for UCLA’s Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment & Sports (MEMES). Ms. Barros received her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, and master’s degree from the University of North Texas.
Kathryn Bertine is an author, athlete, activist and documentary filmmaker. As a professional cyclist, she raced five years on the pro circuit for UCI World Tour teams. Off the bike, she is a journalist and author of four nonfiction books, All the Sundays Yet to Come, As Good As Gold, The Road Less Taken and STAND: A memoir on activism. A manual for progress. From 2006 though 2012, Bertine was a columnist, author and senior editor for ESPN.
As an advocate for equality in women’s sports, Bertine and her activism team, Le Tour Entier, succeeded in petitioning the Tour de France for women’s inclusion and constructing La Course by Tour de France in 2014. Her award-winning documentary film, HALF THE ROAD: The passion, pitfalls and power of women’s professional cycling debuted in 2014 and is still screened worldwide today. In 2017, she founded and now serves as CEO for Homestretch Foundation, a nonprofit which provides free housing to female professional athletes struggling with the gender pay gap, (and fights to change the system). Bertine holds a BA from Colgate University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. A native of Bronxville, NY she lives in Tucson, AZ. You can follow her on Twitter &Facebook at @kathrynbertine @halftheroad @HomestretchFdn, Insta @kathryn_bertine and www.kathrynbertine.com
As vice president of development for WE t v, Ashley McFarlin Buie oversees new and developing projects for the network and serves as an executive producer on the popular series, Beyond the Pole. With over twenty years in the industry, Buie has garnered a strong reputation for crafting layered, elevated stories of larger-than-life characters that are relatable, real and wildly entertaining. She founded Bird’s Eye Entertainment, Inc., and has worked on a multitude of shows with various television networks including Bravo, Discovery, OWN, Oxygen, CNN, MTV, The Travel Channel, and VH1, producing popular series such as, Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Potomac (season one), The First Family of Hip Hop, and Southern Charm New Orleans (season one). She also produced VH1’s Love and Hip-Hop spin-off series Meet The Mackies, as well as VH1’s hit Girls Cruise, starring Lil’ Kim, Chilli, and Mya.
Buie began her career as a production assistant at CNN. Buie has served as an Adjunct Professor at Montclair State University, a guest lecturer at Yale and Clark Atlanta Universities; and as Co-Director of a non-profit teen empowerment organization based in Harlem: The Power of You Teens, Inc. She has also published a book of daily devotionals, The Truth: Wrapped In Love.
Buie received her B.A. in Mass Communications from Howard University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Katrina Conn leads Teradata’s Customer Experience organization. She champions the use of data and digital strategies, empowering brands to drive innovations that connect global audiences to personal experiences that scale for growth. Katrina has a distinguished track record of helping companies drive top-line results, grow market share, and increase brand equity, by guiding business leaders in their digital transformation from reactive and predictive, to prescriptive engagement that meet changing customer demands. Prior to joining Teradata, Katrina has held several leadership roles as SVP of Strategic Services, VP of Marketing Services, and Principal Consultant at IgnitionOne, Responsys Oracle, and several other data and marketing technology providers. Recognized and requested as a thought leader in digital transformation, marketing and CX, Katrina has presented at conferences, worldwide, including Forrester, Dreamforce, Gartner and others.
Senior Director of Integrated Digital Marketing & Media Converse
Simone Deocares-Lengyel joined Converse in 2017, bringing over 15 years of youth marketing, video game, and entertainment experience to the brand’s Global Brand Marketing team. As Senior Director of Integrated Digital Marketing & Media, Simone leads Media and Digital Brand globally. In this role, she is responsible for driving the strategy and execution of digital marketing journeys, working to elevate Converse’s digital presence across an integrated marketplace.
Since starting at Converse, Simone has connected with key media platforms and partners to reach the brand’s core creative, basketball, and skate communities across YouTube, Insta/Facebook, Snap, TikTok, and the broader digital ecosystem. She has also helped develop storytelling opportunities for the brand, leading product journey with digital creators, launching in-game activations in NBA2K, and driving the Overtime Takeover during the re-introduction of Converse Basketball.
Prior to her time at Converse, Simone led media strategies and partnerships on some of the highest grossing video game franchises of all time and was awarded the 2015 Online Marketing Media and Advertising “All Marketing: All Mobile Campaign” for her innovation in immersive mobile ads for Activision's newly released game, Destiny, “Best Entertainment Social Media Campaign” from The Web Marketing Association - IAC Awards in 2017, “Best Use of Facebook” and “Most Innovative Use of Social” from The Drum Social Buzz Awards in 2016.
Originally from San Francisco, Simone graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in Business Management Economics with a concentration in Marketing.
Mark holds an MBA and MA in Sports Administration as well as a Diploma in University Teaching from the University of New Brunswick (Canada). He currently serving as the Director of the Sport Management Program and Professor at Concordia University Irvine. Mark has also served as a Sports Business Lecturer at UCLA Anderson’s Center for Media, Entertainment and Sports since 2011, and as an academic advisor to educational technology company and UCLA Anderson Academic partner, Athleta-Ed. He is also course developer and professor for the MBA program in Hockey Business at the Business of Hockey Institute for Athabasca University in Edmonton. In 2016, Mark had the privilege of acting as the Lead Instructor for UCLA Extension’s Custom Programs in Sports & Entertainment Marketing in Shanghai, China and served in a similar capacity for Jiaotong University of Shanghai in 2018. Mark currently serves as an advisor to IMPACT Internship LLC.
In addition to his professional academic work, Mark also boasts a wealth of consulting experience through his consulting company, MARK ONE Sports & Entertainment, whose clients have included Athleta-Ed, Edwards Technologies International, Panasonic, Business of Hockey Institute, California Center, BaAM Productions, Concordia University Irvine and UC Irvine.
Mark has in-depth experience at all levels of Sports & Entertainment with significant expertise in fan/guest engagement technologies and large-scale event management and marketing. He speaks regularly on numerous topics related to the business of sports, hi-lighted by the 2019 Keynote presentation on the NCAA College Admissions Scandal, 2019 Future of Sports Conference with the LA Chargers, 2019, PrimeTime Sports Management Conference (Toronto), 2018 Keynote Presentation for Sport BC AGM, 2017 UCLA Anderson Big Data Conference, 2015 Gravity Summit & UCLA Sports Technology Panel, 2014 SATE Conference in Themed Entertainment, 2014 LA Dodgers/LA Chamber of Commerce panel on Sports Technology, and the 2014 Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce Panel on the “Art of Negotiation in Sport.”
Through his extensive industry work, Mark has developed a deep professional network of leaders throughout all levels of sports & entertainment, many of whom appear annually during his Sports Business program at UCLA Anderson. He also serves on the international board of advisors for the European-based IBJA Sports Alliance Group.
Mark served Head Coach of the Men’s Ice Hockey program at UCLA from 2010-2017 and won the 2017 PAC 8 Conference Championship, 2013 & 2017 Crosstown Cup and 2017 Los Angeles Kings College Cup. He was also selected as one of two finalists for the PAC 8 Coach of the Year Award for 2012 and was selected as Head Coach of the PAC-8 Selects at the ACHA National Championships in Philadelphia in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Mark served a two-year term as the Associate Executive Director of the PAC 8 Men’s Hockey Conference. Prior to his move to Los Angeles in 2010, Mark served as Head Coach for the University of New Brunswick Women’s Varsity Hockey program from 2004-2007 and holds 2 USports Canada National Silver Medals and 2 Atlantic University Sport Championships as an Assistant Coach with the University of New Brunswick Men’s Ice Hockey program (1999-2004).
Over his career, Shawn has played a key role in helping multiple companies successfully exit. He has raised millions in venture funding and created over $1 billion in value for investors. Today, Shawn Gunn is CEO and Co-Founder of PLLAY Labs, an Artificial Intelligence driven wagering and data analytics platform for video gamers.
Previously, Shawn was Founder & CEO of PERSONA, a personal data security and monetization ecosystem (co-invested with Nokia). Prior to PERSONA, Shawn sharpened his deal making skills at Traffic.com (TRFC), where he helped grow the venture backed startup to a $180M acquisition by NAVTEQ (NVT). Shawn then became Global Head of Monetization for NAVTEQ, which led to a $8 billion purchase by Nokia (NOK). Shawn went on to build the first globalized mobile advertising network at Nokia, which was acquired by Microsoft (MSFT).
Shawn has been featured in mainstream media as a leading technology entrepreneur in VentureBeat, Fortune, Black Enterprise, Forbes and Reuters. He received his BS from Florida A&M University and lives with his family in Los Angeles, CA.
Bernetta is a California-licensed attorney within the Business & Legal Affairs Department at ViacomCBS. Bernetta is responsible for the structuring and negotiation of contractual arrangements for digital, new media, live events and unscripted television programming; including, ‘2020 Election: Senator Harris Interview with HBCU Students Special,’ ‘Kobe Bryant Memorial Special,’ ‘2020 BET Awards,’ and the ‘2020 Hip Hop Awards.’ She also counsels creative executives and production staff in all aspects of development and production, including pre-publication review of series episodes, vetting of creative pitches for legal risk, and advising regarding intellectual property and privacy matters. Prior to ViacomCBS, Bernetta served as an attorney at Korn Ferry, NBCUniversal, and the entertainment law firm, Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano.
Torrie brings a diverse background of federal legal experience, as well as contract management experience in the aerospace industry with Northrop Grumman Corporation, and teaching Contracts Law at Abraham Lincoln University. Torrie began her legal career in 2001 with the U.S. General Services Administration, in Washington, D.C. as a member of the General Law and Real Property Divisions, litigating Title VII matters before the EEOC, serving as legal counsel for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act matters, as well as a litigator of government contract appeals.
In 2007, Torrie relocated to the Los Angeles area to explore her passion in the entertainment and sports industries. During this time, she garnered marketing and community relations experience through internships with the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Anaheim Arsenal, and also launched her first entertainment venture, Rebirth Management and Consulting Group, through which she spearheaded the independent publishing and marketing efforts of the book, “Dreamer in the Fields: My Life as a Child Migrant Farm Worker (2010)” by John Hill, retired Chief of Staff to former County Supervisor, Yvonne Burke.
In 2020, she returned to the GSA and serves as an Assistant Regional Counsel with the San Francisco regional office, primarily advising the Federal Acquisition Service on procurement matters. In 2021, she launched her next entrepreneurial venture, Life After Sports and Entertainment Group, LLC.
Torrie earned her J.D. from Albany Law School, a M.A. in Sport Management from the University of San Francisco, and a B.A. in Political Science from Syracuse University. She is currently pursing her Executive MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Vice President, Major Events Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission
Karina Herold is Vice President, Major Events of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission (LASEC), a non-profit organization officially designated by Los Angeles Tourism to attract, secure and support high-profile sports and entertainment events in Los Angeles.
Herold oversees operations, special events, legacy programming and community engagement for upcoming high-profile events including the Super Bowl and the College Football National Championship.
Herold previously served as the Sports & Entertainment Sales Director at LASEC from 2008 - 2011. She was responsible for attracting major sporting and entertainment events to the Los Angeles area by fostering relationships with area colleges and universities and appropriate governing bodies and leagues. Herold worked closely with the LA Tourism sales team as a designated liaison between venues, hotels, and the client. Her other responsibilities included managing new business development, corporate and community partnerships, and marketing including LASEC's website and social media strategy.
Before re-joining LASEC in 2020, Herold served as the Deputy Director of Athletics at Pepperdine Universityand was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the athletics department including external operations (corporate partnerships, ticket sales, marketing, promotions, fan experience, branding, communications, and events), facilities operations, business operations and compliance as well as the student-facing units of academic support, leadership development, sports medicine, sports performance, mental health and diversity, equity and inclusion. Herold was a member of the Athletics Student Care Team and co-chaired Pepperdine University’s Diversity Council. Herold served as the Tournament Manager for the NCAA Men’s Basketball West Region Championship at STAPLES Center hosted by Pepperdine University in 2013, 2015, and 2018, as well as the 2020 event canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Herold oversaw five sports,including women’s indoor volleyball, women’s beach volleyball, men’s volleyball, women’s tennis and men’s tennis. As the department’s senior woman administrator (SWA), Herold served as one of Pepperdine’s representatives on the West Coast Conference’s Executive Council.
Herold currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Southeast Ventura County YMCA Association. In 2016, Herold was named the Division I Administrator of the Year by Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA). The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at UMass Amherst named Herold an Alumni-on-the-Rise Award winner in 2017.
Herold graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Sport Management and the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development where she was a member of the women’s basketball team.
Equipped with over 10 years of experience connecting people to artists and their music, Gaby Herrera is a seasoned, proactive and multi-cultural executive with expertise in artist management, marketing and record label operations.
She began her career in the music business at record label giant, Sony Music Latin, where she orchestrated release strategies for multiple Latin superstars as a key member of their marketing team. Her efforts resulted in global hit records and Multi-Platinum sales status for multiple albums & singles in different regions across the world.
In 2016, she transitioned into artist management at DAS Communications, where she began managing the career of multi-platinum Latin superstar, Prince Royce.
Gaby recently founded a boutique artist management firm, Intempo Entertainment.
She has a Master’s in Strategic Marketing Management and her curriculum includes studies in diverse areas such as entertainment & media, public relations and sales. Gaby is part of the Latin executive committee for “She Is The Music”, a nonprofit founded by Alicia Keys that works to uplift women in all areas of the global music industry.
Gaby is from the Dominican Republic. She's a world traveler, a foodie and is passionate about all-things-music.
Executive Vice President of Communications FOX Sports
Terri Hines is the Executive Vice President, Communications for FOX Sports, the sports television arm of the FOX Corporation. She joined the company in December 2016 and serves as chief spokesperson responsible for leading the development of all communications, brand and social responsibility strategies for the #1 brand in live sports entertainment. As a member of the senior management team, she leads strategic direction and corporate positioning; is a senior advisor on diversity and inclusion matters; and drives brand awareness that promotes, enhances and protects the FOX Sports brand. She is a member of the communications leadership team for the FOX Corporation and serves as Executive Sponsor of its employee resource group, FOX Noir.
A leader in marketing and communications, prior to FOX, Hines spent 10 successful years at NIKE Inc. where she held leadership roles in both the Converse and Jordan Brand divisions and also spent another decade at Nissan North America during her career journey. A noted brand builder, culture creator, and communications professional, Hines has been an invited speaker by Cannes Lions, CES, The Female Quotient, ColorComm and AllBright; and an invited guest lecturer at several universities including the University of Southern California, Stanford University, University of Oregon and her alma mater, Florida A&M University. She has also received distinguished honors over her career.
A native of Washington DC, Hines earned her Master of Arts degree in Communications from American University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University. Passionate about mentoring, children’s causes, health & wellness and the arts, she is a member of the Board of Advisors for The Rape Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors for The LAGRANT Foundation, a founding member of AllBright and a member of the Corporate Working Group for the UCLA Anderson School Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment and Sports (MEMES).
Candace "Hoe-khett" Hokett is one Market Research professional to watch! Her background is in both Marketing and Fashion from Howard University's School of Business, right here in DC. Today, Candace is a Culture Shaper, Story Teller, Community Builder and a Fashion Entrepreneur based in NYC. Throughout her 8+ years in the industry, she has built a specialty for qualitative research methodologies, multicultural research and content marketing research, from her background at Macy's. BET, a Viacom Network, and most recently, Refinery29. She now owns her own integrated marketing services firm, CHH consulting where her clientele (Refinery29, BET, TULA, The Phluid Project, and more) work with Candace to conduct everything from Qual projects to social media management.
Her recent support for new entrepreneurs, has fueled her own passion to elevate her fashion career. Not only is Candace an NYC Tailor and Custom Suiting Designer but she has recently added Celebrity STYLIST to her resume, this year as she is the creative eye behind America's new NETFLIX "IT COUPLE" Lauren Speed and Cameron Hamilton from the reality show, Love is Blind. Follow her recent styling work at @cxstyles on Instagram to support.
Cheryl Idell serves as Executive Vice President, Chief Research Officer for WarnerMedia Entertainment & Direct-To-Consumer, responsible for overseeing the functional areas of research across WarnerMedia Entertainment, centralizing expertise in viewership, content and strategic market research, insights and analytics, as well as leading product research. She was named to this position in January 2020.
Idell has extensive experience in the world of research. Prior to joining WarnerMedia, she served as a measurement consultant for Quibi. She also served as Head of Entertainment Measurement at Snap Inc., where she was responsible for driving sales growth for all Entertainment marketers advertising on Snapchat, and later served as Head of U.S. Vertical Measurement, where she lead Snapchat’s measurement strategy and the resulting execution across all of the company’s U.S. advertiser clients.
Previously, Idell worked at Mindshare where she led the strategic direction of Mindshare West Coast and worked with clients across a diverse array of sectors. Under Idell, Mindshare West Coast was awarded 2017 Office of the Year, recognizing the team’s new business efforts, organic growth, leadership development and its contribution to the Mindshare North American network.
Idell served as Executive Vice President, Client Solutions at Nielson, where she focused on driving the company’s revenue growth through development of media analytics and research products, solutions, strategies, and practices. In this role, she managed all aspects of Disney and Nielsen relationship, including development of innovative solutions using Nielsen tools, such as Digital Ad Ratings, Nielsen Buyer Insights, Nielsen Catalina Solutions, and Digital TV Ratings. She also oversaw a dedicated client service and sales team providing ongoing client training and support, advised Disney in use of cross-platform ratings and integration of new tools for annual up-front strategy and led a 200+ person global research business Nielsen Content (NETV & NRG) offering best-in-class tracking, pilot/ad testing, and customer research/consulting for TV studios, movie studios, and digital content distributors. She spearheaded the development of Nielsen's Media Analytics practice, first cross-platform reporting solutions, Local TV ratings product suite and first set-top-box data integration and acquisition strategy.
Idell served as Executive Vice President, Media & Marketing Planning for 20th Century Fox from 2004-2008, where she provided oversight for the studio’s $750M media investment and agency relationships, defined the communication strategy and managed media planning and buying across traditional and digital media for all theatrical and home entertainment releases. In this role, she developed media strategies for franchise, award-winning, and niche targeted films, including XMen, Live Free or Die Hard, The Simpsons Movie, Borat, Omen, Dodgeball, The Devil Wears Prada and Master & Commander. Idell is responsible for creating groundbreaking and innovative digital media campaigns incorporating behavioral targeting and social media strategies with high profile video placements.
Prior to this, she served as President of IAG Research (now Nielson TV Brand Effect), where she played a central role in company’s startup and growth as a founding member of launch team. She headed development of research products, strategy, and methods focused on viewer response measurement, managed advertising/agency relationships and acted as key liaison to advertising industry, and built relationships with key companies, such as Unilever, General Motors, Coca-Cola, and Nabisco. She created IAG’s vertical lines of business with launch of research practices for CPG, QSR, entertainment, automotive, and pharmaceutical categories.
Idell also served as Executive Vice President at Initiative Media, where she ensured the integration of latest research systems, communications planning tools and proprietary consumer insights for client accounts nationwide.
Idell holds a B.S. in Communication & Media Studies from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business.
Founder, CEO & Lead Instructor IMPACT Learning Institute
After a 20+ year career in the NBA, including serving as NBA Entertainment’s Director of Live Programming and Entertainment and helping to start the WNBA, Felisa started her own live event production company, 10 Fold Entertainment. Guided by a passion for creating memorable live moments and a philosophy of doing everything tenfold, Felisa and her team have partnered with some of the biggest names in Sports, Entertainment, and Media to produce a variety of successful events using their unique blend of expertise to excite audiences and exceed expectations at every stop. After leaving the NBA, Felisa wanted to make an impact beyond the world of sports. She has since worked with charities such as Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Straight But Not Narrow to produce fundraising and awareness events, moderated and participated in panels with industry experts to help further positive and creative discussions, and built a strong relationship with the UCLA Anderson School of Management, teaching students, hiring and training interns, and influencing the next generation of rockstars in their fields. Through her experience hiring interns from, and teaching at, UCLA Anderson, Felisa saw an opportunity to create her own program to further help students, IMPACT Learning Institute. IMPACT is a professional development training and internship placement program for college undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates that are interested in pursuing careers in the highly-competitive Sports, Media, and Entertainment industries.
Eric Johnson (B.A. '91)
CEO WON Worldwide
Ryann Lauckner (EMBA '21)
President & Chief Strategy Officer Asylum Entertainment Group
Ryann Lauckner is President & Chief Strategy Officer at Asylum Entertainment Group, an LA-based entertainment production group focused on founding and funding creative companies and partnerships across the content spectrum. Asylum and the companies under its banner – The Content Group, Breaklight Pictures, Big City TV, 72 Steps, Clovis Entertainment, Story Street, and Audity – employ unique financial, creative, and community metrics to ensure that the producers, developers, writers, and talent who partner with them are real creative and financial stakeholders in their work.
Ryann began her career in reality competition, rising through the ranks as a freelance producer on series like Big Brother, Hell’s Kitchen, and The Bachelorette before shifting into docufollow series like Addicted. She became an executive in 2012 when she joined Asylum Entertainment as VP of Current Productions. In her eight years at Asylum, Ryann’s focus has shifted from project-based creative and economics to company structure, business, and team dynamics. Today she leads Asylum’s business development, strategy, and operations departments.
Director General FIBA Media and Marketing Services (FMMS)
Frank Leenders (born in The Netherlands, 1968) has more than 25 years of experience in international sports marketing at the highest level.
He started his professional career with ISL Marketing during the FIFA World Cup 1990 and subsequently joined start-up company TEAM Marketing in 1992, where he was part of the launch and development of the UEFA Champions League - an international benchmark project - since its very first season (1992-93).
He moved to Rome to join pay Television Sky Italia in 2001, where he was Director of Sports Rights Acquisitions, responsible for the acquisition of all sports related Television rights.
In 2002 he returned to TEAM, where he became Managing Director and was appointed to the Board of Directors in 2005. Following his departure at the end of 2010, he co-founded the independent sports marketing firm Value-Experience.
In 2012, he supported the design and development of a dedicated media and marketing unit for FIBA, the international Basketball Federation in Geneva, Switzerland and is the Director General of this entity: FIBA Media and Marketing Services SA.
As a non-executive board member, Frank also supports and invests in several companies (start-up and scale-up), which operate at the intersection of sports, media and marketing.
Frank holds a degree in Economics from the University of St. Gallen (CH). He also earned an MBA degree from Bocconi University in Milano (I), where he now lectures and was elected Topic Leader Sport of the Alumni Association.
Agent, Personal Appearance Department
William Morris Endeavor (WME)
Richard Lom is an agent in the Personal Appearance Department at William Morris Endeavor (WME). Focusing on Latin music, Lom has been with WME since 2015. His background is in Latin touring in the U.S. as he was VP of Entertainment and Touring for a major Hispanic media company prior to joining WME.
Lom represents some of the most influential artists in today’s Latin & Reggaeton scenes which includes J Balvin, Caifanes, Nicky Jam, Cazzu, Juanes, Prince Royce, Farruko, Bomba Estereo, and Vicente Garcia, just to name a few. In addition to his own roster, Lom is responsible for overseeing all bookings of WME contemporary clients touring in Brazil, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, as well as all WME Latin clients touring throughout the United States. Richard is a proud father of 4 year old twins and resides with his wife in Westchester, NY.
Jesus Malverde Gonzales
President & Co-Founder, Sonus Agency Former SVP, Brands & Partnerships, Universal Music Group
With a 15-year trajectory, Jesus "Malverde" Gonzalez is widely recognized as a Latin music industry thought leader in the Strategic Partnerships and Culture Lifestyle Marketing space. A former Universal Recording artist himself, he has leveraged his firsthand insights and passion for music and entertainment in his journey from creative to senior label executive. Now with the launch of his consultancy, Sonus Agency, he aims to bring cultural fluency to brands, agencies, artists and non-profits trying to connect the dots between music, fashion, film, tech, and philanthropy in the LatinX space.
Kelly Merryman joined YouTube in 2015 and serves as Vice President of Content Partnerships. In this role, Kelly leads YouTube's global partnership strategy and management for content creators across the Americas.
Prior to YouTube, Kelly served as Vice President, Content Acquisition at Netflix from 2007-2014. Her efforts were instrumental in driving the company's international expansion across markets including Canada, France, Germany, Latin America, UK, and the Benelux and Nordic Regions.
Kelly also held positions in digital distribution and business development at Sony Pictures, and spent time at both Bain & Company and Audax Group, a private equity firm in Boston.
Kelly is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Harvard Business School. She serves on the board of CoachArt, a California-based non-profit that provides coaching sessions in the arts and athletics to chronically ill children and their siblings. Kelly also serves on the board of New Classrooms, a nonprofit on a mission to personalize education by redesigning how a classroom works.
Michaela is a market research professional with more than 20 years of international hands-on market research experience in industries such as Internet subscription services, entertainment, travel, software, online personals, offline and online retailing, automotive, CPG, restaurants, health insurance, and consulting services. She is currently the president of Relevant Insights, LLC, a full-service market research agency located in North Texas.
Michaela has conducted more than 300 studies including brand tracking, new product concept testing, market segmentation, customer satisfaction, A&U, pricing research, advertising effectiveness, and UX research.
Michaela has working experience from both the client side and the supplier side in the U.S. and abroad. Before founding Relevant Insights, LLC in 2007, she managed the research team at Blockbuster Online, led the research team at Match.com and was responsible for sales forecasting at Pro-Line International, the ethnic hair product division of Alberto Culver. Her agency experience comes from working as a marketing science analyst at M/A/R/C Research, as a market research manager at Research International Sweden, and as a media research manager at the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television for several years.
Michaela holds a MS in Marketing Research from The University of Texas at Arlington, a MS in Marketing, Advertising & PR from Stockholm University, and a BS and MS in Psychology from Havana University. She also holds an Insights Professional Certification (IPC), issued by the Insights Association (IA), and a UX Master Certification with specialty in User Research and Interaction Design from the Nielsen Norman Group. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Swedish
Michaela has written for the Dallas Business Journal on market research and customer insights matters of interest to entrepreneurs and small businesses. She has published articles in Quirks’ Marketing Research Review, MRA’s Alert! Magazine, and PPAI’s Promotional Products Business Magazine. She also writes a blog about market research that has received praise for providing useful and educational market research articles. Her blog has been featured in Quirks’ Marketing Review website, Alltop, and the Next Generation Market Research website. She is considered among the top influencers in the market research field by her market research peers.
Head of Baseball Marketing, PR & Digital Strategy REP1 Sports
Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations UCLA
Josh Rebholz is the Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations at UCLA, one of the nation’s most successful intercollegiate athletic programs with 25 varsity sports and nearly 700 student-athletes.
In this role, Rebholz assists in the day-to-day operations of the UCLA Athletics Department and is the sport administrator for UCLA football, an oversight position for the program that includes budgeting, scheduling, negotiating contracts and compliance. Rebholz also oversees all facets of external relations, revenue generation and constituent experience for UCLA Athletics, motivating a team of approximately 60 individuals charged to generate nearly $100 million annually in revenue.
In 2017, along with prominent UCLA alumnus Casey Wasserman and former UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman, Rebholz served on the search committee that named former NFL and college head coach Chip Kelly as the Bruins' 17th head football coach. In 2019, along with prominent UCLA alumnus Bob Myers, Rebholz served on the search committee that named Mick Cronin as the Bruins' 14th head men’s basketball coach.
Since his arrival to Westwood in August of 2011, there has been an increase in major annual donors who donate $25,000 or more annually to UCLA from 16 to more than 260 individuals, and in 2014 UCLA Athletics broke an all-time fundraising record, raising $80M in just one fiscal year. In addition the Wooden Athletic Fund, the annual fund for UCLA Athletics, has reached record levels of support, including generating an all-time high of more than $15M in unrestricted annual gifts as well as an increase of 4,000 new annual donors reaching more than 8,000, most in UCLA's history. Endowed Scholarship support has also increased dramatically under Rebholz where UCLA Athletics' scholarship endowment has grown from $25 million to more than $50 million.
In 2020, as part of the $5 billion seven-year Centennial Campaign for UCLA, Rebholz lead a team who raised more than $326 million in philanthropic support, surpassing UCLA Athletics’ original goal of $260 million by more than $60 million. During that campaign 30 gifts of $1 million or more were secured, nine gifts of $5 million or more were secured, and more than 17,000 people donated to UCLA Athletics.
Ticket sales have increased under Rebholz’s leadership, where UCLA lead the Pac-12 Conference in attendance in 2014 at 76,650 fans per game, an all-time UCLA Football record, while 2014 saw the largest season ticket sales and student season ticket sales in school history. In 2016-17, UCLA Men's Basketball averaged 11,183 fans, highest single-season home attendance average since 1995-96, and had 8 sell-outs, most in "new" Pauley history. UCLA Gymnastics saw their average attendance increase every year over the past four years, including a school dual meet record of 12,576 in 2017.
In addition to oversight of UCLA Football and Athletics’ External Relations, Rebholz is the department's liaison with Learfield IMG College, UCLA's corporate and media rights holder, the Rose Bowl Operating Committee as well as works closely with the official shoe and apparel provider for UCLA Athletics. Rebholz was a key member of the department’s negotiating team that was able to secure the department’s record WME IMG and Under Armour contracts, both the largest in the nation in their respective areas when signed.
Rebholz works closely with UCLA Vice-Chancellor of External Affairs Rhea Turteltaub as he serves on the executive team of the UCLA Foundation. He has been involved in campus developments such as the renaming of the UCLA Athletics complex the Jackie Robinson Athletics & Recreation Complex, the student seating location enhancement in both Pauley Pavilion and the Rose Bowl, the Scholarship Seating Program, the creation of Bruin Blue magazine, engagement of notable former student-athletes Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Troy Aikman, UCLA's branding of the Rose Bowl, and the planning and design of the Wasserman Football Center, Mo Ostin Basketball Center, Mapes Beach, Betsy and Rafer Johnson Track, Katz Family Scoreboard at LATC, and the planned Mo Ostin Academic Center for Student-Athletes where Rebholz secured the lead gifts for each.
Prior to coming to UCLA, Rebholz served as the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development & Revenue Enhancement at the University of Wyoming, under the direction of Director of Athletics Tom Burman. Prior to joining Wyoming, Rebholz was a member of the athletic development staff at the University of Missouri, where he worked under the direction of Director of Athletics Mike Alden. Rebholz began his intercollegiate athletics career serving as the Director of Donor Relations at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, being hired by Burman who was then the Director of Athletics at Portland State.
Rebholz served as the only two-term President for the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) as well as he was a participant in the NCAA's exclusive Pathway Program and received UCLA’s Management Development Certificate, designed to help management-level employees strengthen effectiveness in their current roles and prepare for future leadership opportunities. In 2014, Rebholz was named a finalist for NAADD's National Athletics Fundraiser of the Year award. In 2019, Rebholz was named to the Los Angeles Advisory Board of Team Impact, which influences the lives of children suffering from chronic or life-threatening illnesses by partnering them with an intercollegiate athletic team to increase confidence and reduce depression and anxiety. Rebholz also was elected to serve on the LEAD1 Name, Image and Likeness working group as well as the PAC-12’s football working group, external working group, and men’s basketball working group.
A former member of the Weber State football team and a native of Scottsdale, AZ, Rebholz earned a bachelor's degree in integrated studies from Weber State University in Ogden, UT. Rebholz's Uncle, R.C. Johnson, retired in 2013 after more than 30 years as an Athletic Director, most recently as the Director of Athletics at the University of Memphis. Rebholz lives in the West Los Angeles neighborhood with his wife, Jessica, their two daughters, Peyton and Charlie and their son, Jack.
Group Vice President, Ad Sales & Client Partnerships for Inclusion Audiences OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network/ Discovery
Sheereen M. Russell is a seasoned media executive and currently Group Vice President of Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships for Inclusion Audiences for both OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and the larger Discovery portfolio. In her current role, Ms. Russell is responsible for driving sales, educating marketers, and developing content and data-based solutions to engage brands and consumers across OWN’ and Discovery’s portfolio of cable, social and digital platforms.
In 2020 Ms. Russell was named to the board of the New York Women in Communications as Vice President of Memberships, joined the Ad Age Diversity Council, spearheaded OWN’s partnership with the ANA’s SeeHer initiative to expand positive representation for Black women in media, was a 2020 ANA Multicultural Awards Judge, and was named to the Cablefax 2020 Diversity List. In 2019, Ms. Russell was recognized as one of Ad Age’s “Women to Watch” list for her commitment to inclusive brand narratives and representation of Black audiences and accurate portrayals in all content. In 2018 NAMIC identified Ms. Russell as a “Next Generation Leader”.
Prior to OWN, Ms. Russell had a successful decade long tenure at Viacom, where she rose through the ranks and became VP of Brand Sales at Viacom—building innovative solutions for key advertisers within MTV’s portfolio of live on-air awards shows, experiential tentpoles, premium programming and digital platforms. She was awarded the 2013 Presidential Award at Viacom for her revenue driving performance and team leadership.
Ms. Russell made the leap to Viacom from Time Warner/Time Inc. in 2006 after serving as the National Sales and Marketing Director at Sports Illustrated. While at Sports Illustrated, she was instrumental in developing and launching a college sports magazine, Sports Illustrated on Campus. She designed and spearheaded a successful influencer panel to offer national marketers both custom marketing and insights around college millennials.
Ms. Russell began her media and entertainment career as a Publicist for Time magazine.
Raised in Osaka, Japan, by a Japanese mother and British father, Ema grew up navigating between Japanese and Western cultures. After graduating from New York University, she became the assistant to documentary mogul Sam Pollard. As an editor, her work has been shown on outlets such as HBO, PBS, CNN, and numerous festivals around the world. She also has directed TV documentaries for NHK and Al Jazeera English.
In 2017, Ema’s first feature documentary, MONKEY BUSINESS: THE ADVENTURES OF CURIOUS GEORGE’S CREATORS was released worldwide by The Orchard, after raising over $186,000 on Kickstarter. It premiered at the LA Film Festival and won the Audience Award at the Nantucket Film Festival.
In 2019, Ema’s second feature documentary about the phenomenon of high school baseball in Japan, KOSHIEN: JAPAN’S FIELD OF DREAMS, premiered at DOC NYC. In 2020, the film aired on ESPN, and was released theatrically in Japan. Ema edits her own work, and uses her unique storytelling perspective as an insider and outsider in Japan and in the US. She currently splits her base between Tokyo and New York.
Martha is a highly-experienced executive having worked in both the public and private sectors developing and implementing large scale political, communications and community engagement strategies.
Ms. Saucedo is responsible for leading AEG’s external affairs division, including corporate communications, public and community affairs, government affairs, and its’ charitable and philanthropic efforts. She is responsible for developing the organization’s priorities with respect to local communities. In addition, she oversees AEG’s philanthropic initiatives as well as the AEG Community Foundation, established to provide funding to non-profit organizations that work to improve educational and recreational opportunities for children.
Martha implemented the landmark L.A. LIVE “Community Benefits Agreement”, providing funding in key areas such as affordable housing as well as parks and recreation development to the communities surrounding LA LIVE. In addition, she has been responsible for development and implementation of community engagement strategies around large private-public developments such as the Dignity Health Sports Park on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills. She also serves as co-chair of AEG’s Women’s Leadership Council.
Prior to joining AEG, Ms. Saucedo worked on behalf of Mattel, Inc managing relationships with local, state and federal elected officials. She was responsible for advising senior management on pending legislation with potential impact to the company as well as maintaining key relationships with both business and community-based organizations.
Ms. Saucedo also has significant experience working in the public sector, having worked for former U.S. House of Representative Member, Xavier Becerra. In this position, Martha was responsible for monitoring and analyzing policy changes affecting local transportation, housing, and healthcare issues in the district office.
Martha is a past Chair of the Central City Association Board of Directors, a 400-member business advocacy organization dedicated to the economic vitality of Downtown Los Angeles. She is a current member of the Board of Trustees for the California Science Center Foundation and serves as Treasurer of the UCLA Alumni Association Board of Directors. She previously served on the California Hospital Medical Center Community Advisory Board as well as on the Board of Directors for Friends of the Expo Center
She was selected by the Sports Business Journal as a “40 Under 40” award recipient, presented to the most promising young executives in the sports industry. Coro Southern California awarded her with the “Community Builder” award and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) honored her with the Deborah Award, presented to women whose professional leadership and civic contributions exemplify the ideals of the ADL. A native of Southern California, Martha received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is currently an MBA candidate, class of 2021 at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Across continents, countries, languages and industries, Irina Shames has operated within the world’s leading media companies, building their fundamental mechanisms of revenue and profit. Her hands-on leadership—with its proclivity for strategy, sales, and growth—helps businesses of all sizes discover and cement their key revenue channels.
Originally from Uzbekistan, Irina has held strategic revenue-driving posts in organizations from Berlin to London, and New York to LA. With an Executive MBA from ESCP Europe, she is multilingual, multifunctional, and a proven business innovator.
Throughout her career, she has been integral to both domestic and international multiplatform revenue growth for multiple prominent global media companies, such as CNN, Viacom, Liongate, WPP, Kevin Hart’s digital platform, as well as took emerging startups to market.
More recently, she’s turned to the horizon of new media as SVP, Strategy and Revenue at 3BLACKDOT, a leading player in the gaming landscape. While navigating the sector’s ever-emerging trends, Irina brings her extensive entertainment experience into gaming content, growing revenues and spearheading the company’s commercial growth.
Outside of the corporate world, Irina is a passionate educator. She’s a Digital Marketing instructor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, where she molds the next generation of industry-leading marketers. She’s also on the Board of Advisors at UC Irvine, is a conference and keynote speaker.
Rachel Shapiro was born, raised and schooled in Gainesville, Florida, home of Tom Petty, the sweetest iced tea and the fighting Florida Gators.
After graduating from college with a television production degree, Rachel moved to NYC and snagged an executive assistant job at MTV.com in their ad sales department with hopes of getting a foot in the door at MTV Networks. In the wake of 9/11, as jobs became scarce, Rachel opted for a different path and followed one of her mentors to ELLE Magazine where she cut her teeth in ad sales marketing, specializing in advertorial work, proposal writing and client events. From there, she went on to work in similar roles, at ESPN the Magazine, Blender Magazine, InStyle Magazine and ultimately at Complex Magazine in 2008.
She began her twelve year-long run at Complex as Associate Director of the Ad Sales Marketing team and ascended to SVP of the Brand Partnerships Studio, where she oversaw the strategy, partner solutions, design, production and experiential teams. Her team launched multimillion dollar branded content campaigns for partners as diverse as PepsiCo, Champs Sports, Jack Daniels, Puma, and Verizon. One of her proudest moments was co-producing the first ever ComplexCon, Complex’s cultural Super Bowl, an event that in its inaugural year welcomed 35,000 consumers to experience their "digital obsessions IRL."
In October 2020, Rachel had the rare opportunity to grow and evolve as a marketer within Complex and transitioned to her current role as SVP, Marketing Strategy. She now spearheads cross functional efforts to deliver against objectives for company tent poles and brand moments and develops launch and always on strategies of major B2B and B2C initiatives.
Rachel misses dining out in NYC’s amazing restaurants terribly, has binged almost every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race in lockdown and is a proud Mom to 1-year-old daughter Wavy, who loves crashing Zoom meetings and knows how to Unmute.
Brett Schneider is a native New Yorker living in Los Angeles with 10+ years of experience building brands and executing global creative campaigns.
Brett started his career at Translation where he helped introduce Brooklyn to the Nets, reestablished the McDonald's All American Games as the premier all-star game for HS basketball players, and grew State Farm’s brand awareness and favorability among Young Adults.
After Translation, Brett spent time at Deutsch, Droga5 and Barton F. Graf where he led the Outlook.com rebrand, won the 2014 Super Bowl with Newcastle's #IfWeMadeIt campaign, and worked with GoDaddy to re-position themselves as the brand who champions the Small Business Owner.
In 2015, Brett moved to Los Angeles for 72andSunny where he managed Activision - Call of Duty and SYFY Network, which gave him an opportunity to not only work on large-scale, integrated creative campaigns, but to also experiment with new formats, such as a podcast series produced for SYFY's 25th anniversary.
Most recently, Brett joined Complex as Senior Director, Brand Partnerships maintaining the tech and consumer electronics list across Complex's network of brands: First We Feast, Sole Collector, Pigeons & Planes, and Complex.
Brett lives in Brentwood with his wife, Malory and their dog, Winnie. In his spare time enjoys live music, reading, traveling, art, tennis, golf, and running.
Rachel Souder-Arguedas (’17) is a technologist and innovation leader with experience ranging from national security programs to media and entertainment.
Rachel spent the early years of her career as a systems engineer supporting the Department of Homeland Security in Washington D.C. and the U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany. Later, moving to Los Angeles, she joined Sony Pictures Entertainment where she managed IT projects with a focus on the company’s business intelligence and data analytics capabilities. She completed a dual degree executive MBA program from UCLA Anderson and the National University of Singapore. Most recently, she was the Executive Director of Sony Pictures’ corporate innovation program, focused on empowering employees to develop ideas that directly impact the business.
A passionate advocate for women in technology and diversity and inclusion, in 2014 Rachel co-founded the Los Angeles-based media and entertainment technology trade group, Women in Technology: Hollywood.
Rachel is a world traveler, fitness enthusiast, and lover of fashion, film, and theater.
Debbie Spander ('95)
Senior Vice President of Media and Coaching Wasserman Media Group
Debbie Spander is an innovative and accomplished sports and entertainment executive with multifaceted experience in business and law. She is a skilled negotiator who has closed over $2 billion in deals, with expertise in traditional and new media, distribution and branding.
Debbie joined Wasserman Media Group in 2012 to launch its broadcasting division. She currently serves as Senior Vice President of Media and Coaching, where she drives revenue representing high profile talent, coaches and executives. Through her understanding of the rapid changes in the media industry Debbie positions clients to benefit from the convergence of media and technology. She has grown division revenues 900% in eight years.
Debbie has strong relationships with key decision-makers throughout the NBA, college athletics and the media. She is skilled at protecting her clients’ business and legal rights and getting them maximum value.
Debbie is one of nine founding members of Wasserman’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She has been responsible for helping select and roll out unconscious bias training for 1,100 employees worldwide and for launching an employee mentorship program. During 2020 Debbie has been instrumental in creating and hosting racial justice, voting rights and women’s rights town halls and follow-up discussion sessions across the United States and EMEA.
Debbie began her media career at Fox Sports Networks, where, as Director and then Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs, she was the lead negotiator and lawyer for all national telecast licenses, including the ground-breaking $1.2B NASCAR telecast rights agreement. She also helped create Pac-10 Properties and re-launch the Pac-10 (now Pac-12) basketball tournament, and structured and negotiated tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship and marketing agreements for Fox Cable Integrated Sales and Marketing.
As Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs at MTV Entertainment (now Viacom Networks), Debbie oversaw MTV Entertainment Sports and Digital business and legal affairs. She helped oversee the acquisition and integration of Atom Films and IFilm, led deals for content production, development and syndication across multiple media and helped create new revenue streams in digital. As a member of MTV Networks Legal Council, Debbie helped ensure compliance with anti-bribery and corruption and reporting statutes.
Debbie serves on the Board of Directors at the Sports Lawyers Association, where she has chaired the Conference Committee, Membership Committee and Outreach Committee. In 2016, Debbie was named to SportsBusiness Journal’s Game Changers list and Multichannel News’Women in the Game. She also sits on the Board of Directors at Westcoast Sports, a charity which funds after school programs for underserved youth, and on the Board of Directors of West Coast Sports Medicine Foundation. Debbie serves on the advisory board of the UCLA Adult Congenital Heart Clinic and the Arizona State University Sports Law and Business Program. She is a frequent speaker at sports business and media conferences.
Debbie received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University, with Honors and Distinction, and her Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband Marc Isenberg and daughter Rebecca.
In January 2020 she was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Co-Founder & Creative Director Prometheus Digital Studio
Damion Taylor is the Co-founder of Prometheus Digital Studio, a media consultancy with production capabilities that specializes in helping media companies and brands utilize data for optimizing online strategy, operations and creative development.
He began his career as a scientist, but early on transitioned into Marketing focused on the convergence of media, technology and data. After attending graduate school at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business. Damion has spent the last 15 years working with media companies and brands of all sizes to leverage data and insights for mitigating creative risk and developing digital strategies that can be operationalized.
Damion's approach hinges upon the practical application of data to creative development and business operations to quantifiably mitigate risk and positively impact the bottom line. His approach can be summarized as:
"Create for the audience. Then leverage technology and process to do it faster, better and/or cheaper."
Damion currently holds a B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of California San Diego and M.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza School of Business.
Jay Tucker (’09) is a marketer, educator, and technology leader with more than 20 years of experience in the technology, academic, and entertainment sectors. At UCLA’s Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment and Sports (MEMES), Tucker is responsible for the center’s vision, thought leadership, educational offerings, and major events. In his role, he has built courses, partnerships, and conferences focused on technology and innovation within the entertainment sector.
In 2018, Jay launched a partnered initiative with Howard University that provides internships, tuition, and housing support to Howard students that enroll in UCLA’s summer courses focused on the business of entertainment and sports. Jay also drove the launch of a new online course that covers the sports business with an emphasis on providing athletes with a better understanding of the economic opportunities available to them.
Jay is also a seasoned technology leader, and he is passionate about helping executives and entrepreneurs embrace disruption, drive innovation, and build powerful solutions. He has taught courses on technology management, digital media, and media literacy to professionals at corporations and nonprofit organizations. He also serves as an advisor to early stage ventures and nonprofit organizations.
Vice President, Marketing and Communications
STAPLES Center and Microsoft Theater
Cara Vanderhook is a seventeen-year venue industry executive who began her career with STAPLES Center and AEG as an intern in 2003. That internship led to eventually joining AEG full time in 2005 as a Communications Coordinator.
Continuing to move up the ranks in 2007, Vanderhook was hired as the Manager of Communications and Marketing for STAPLES Center and Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, in which she played a pivotal role in the grand opening of Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE (now Microsoft Theater) in October 2007. In August 2011, she was promoted to Director of Communications and Social Media for both venues, which involves handling day to day media relations, managing their social media efforts, website content, and venue photography and archiving and working closely with the numerous promoters and our tenant teams. Most recently in August 2017, Vanderhook was named Vice President, Marketing & Communications for STAPLES Center and Microsoft Theater.
Vanderhook has been apart of some incredible events over her over fourteen years with AEG, that includes the four NBA Finals, two Stanley Cup Championships, 2017 NHL All-Star Game, 2011 & 2018 NBA All-Star Game, the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships, sixteen GRAMMY Awards as well as summer X Games competitions, WWE, UFC, boxing, Michael Jackson Public Memorial Service in 2009, over 500 concerts, Disney on Ice, American Music Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, ESPYS and BET Awards.
Vanderhook graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies in May 2003. She continued her studies at California State University, Long Beach as part of the university’s Sports Management Program and received her master’s degree in February 2005.
She is from Fountain Valley, California and currently resides in Huntington Beach, California.
Alex has worked in the sports sector for over 15 years, working for agencies and rights holders. His agency experience includes helping national governing bodies in the UK capitalise on the commercial opportunities around the London 2012 Olympics. This included work for British Athletics, British Cycling and British Triathlon.
He left CSM in 2013 to join Arsenal Football Club where he lead the Partnership Development Team for 6 years helping to significantly grow revenues for the Club from partnerships, pre-season tours & friendlies. During his time at the Club he was also responsible for overseeing the establishment of a permanent office in Singapore and worked extensively across the region.
In July 2019 Alex joined Real Madrid C.F. and is now the Global Head of Partnerships. Based in Madrid the partnerships team is focused on creating and delivering world class marketing & business partnerships for the Club and its partners.
Ted is a professional sports marketing executive at Wasserman with revenue responsibility, including experience in business operations as Director of Corporate Partnerships of the Los Angeles Avengers AFL football team, Senior Director of Business Development, and currently Vice President Talent Marketing for Wasserman.
Ted is a Sports marketing expert with recognized ability to develop and execute creative sales and marketing strategies for sponsorships sales, athlete endorsements and appearances, ticket sales, and game day events.
Ted has experience selling the Arena Football League, MLB, AVP, NFL, MMA, naming rights, Bay to Breakers, the Electric Run, and professional athlete endorsements and appearances.
On any given day, Ted works with Wasserman clients like Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Klay Thompson, Russell Westbrook, Kike Hernandez and Marshawn Lynch.
Ted attended James Madison University where he studied Sport Management and also attended specialized Sports Marketing programs at the University of Kentucky and Game Face Academy in Portland
Cay Young was named the LA Sparks Vice President of Corporate Partnerships on Jan. 1, 2019. In the role, Young oversees all sales, renewals, marketing and activations related to Sparks sponsorships and community partnerships.
Since overseeing the department, the LA Sparks have led the WNBA in sponsorship revenue in 2019 and 2020, and saw a 58% increase in YOY revenue from 2018 to 2019. She’s negotiated, managed and executed the four largest deals in team history under the current ownership group. Those deals include Equitrust Life Insurance, the team’s marquee jersey partner, Anthem Blue Cross, and the LA County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) and Department of Mental Health (DMH).
The 2019 partnership with DMVA and DMH was called Spark The True You, a year-long campaign focused on supporting female veterans. The near seven-figure deal was one of the largest partnerships in WNBA history. Spark The True You played a significant role in the LA Sparks winning the 2019 WNBA Business Franchise of the Year Award along with the 2019 WNBA Marketing Performance of the Year Award.
Young first joined the organization in 2016 as a Partnerships Coordinator and quickly advanced through year-over-year revenue generation, serving as a Partnerships Manager, Director and now Vice President. In addition to her current position, Young is a member of the Sparks leadership team, and has played an instrumental role in the growth of the organization. She has championed and pioneered community programs including Driven2Hoop, a financial literacy campaign as well as the team’s mental health and wellness campaigns.
Young was recognized for her efforts when she was named a 2020 Los Angeles Business Journal Rising Star Finalist.
Prior to joining the Sparks, Young served as Director of Sponsorship, Admin & Marketing for Angelstone Tournaments. She also founded Equestrian Sport Management, a marketing agency for equestrian athletes and venues. Her firm brought in over $5 million in annual revenue. Young herself was an equestrian athlete, competing full-time on the international circuit.
Young graduated with a BA in political science from Miami University (Ohio). She also sits on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Fire Foundation. Young resides in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Day One - February 22, 2021
8:30 - 9:15 a.m.
Annimation Summit Welcome and Opening Presentation
Keynote by Heiko Nemmert
Colinne S. Bartel, Owner, AC Innovation GmbH
Jay Tucker (’09), Executive Director, Center for MEMES
Panel: Distribution Markets, Trends and Challenges
Moderator: Jay Tucker (’09), Executive Director, Center for MEMES
Jason Grode, Manager and Founder, Grodehouse
Solveig Langeland, Principal Founder and Managing Director, Sola Media
10:30 - 10:45 a.m.
10:45 - 11:45 a.m.
Panel: Environmental Animation, Educating the Next Generation
Moderator: Colinne S. Bartel, Owner, AC Innovation GmbH
Hosted by the Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment & Sports (MEMES) at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, the Pulse conference is the ultimate forum for strategic discussion, game-changing insights and career-altering networking opportunities. The 2020 theme was Monetizing the Global Audience. We explored how the increasingly global market for media, entertainment and sports has transformed the industry by creating new opportunities for innovation, new consumer experiences and new business models. Presenters focused on a number of topics, including:
Delivering Direct to the Global Consumer: Growing Streaming Platforms Beyond the United States
The Power of the Global Franchise: Monetizing Sequels, Franchises, Blockbusters and IP in the Global Filmed Entertainment Market
The Power of Brands and Partnerships
The Rise of the Latin Consumer in Music, TV and Film
Gaming and eSports: What We Can Learn from Asia and Beyond
Winning Overseas: Bringing Major World Sporting Events to U.S. Markets
The annual event attracts roughly 500 students, business professionals and entrepreneurs, and benefits from the participation of influential business leaders and legends in the entertainment industry. Past presenters include Jeffrey Katzenberg, founder of Quibi and co-founder of DreamWorks SKG; Susanne Daniels, global head of original content at YouTube; John Penotti, producer of Crazy Rich Asians; Jerry Bruckheimer, award-winning television and film producer; Kevin Lin, chief operating officer of Twitch; and Debra L. Lee, former chairman and CEO of BET Holdings Inc. (More on Pulse)