Co-CEO, Bad Robot
Katie McGrath is Co-CEO of Bad Robot Productions. She oversees the company’s corporate culture, philanthropy, communications and ancillary businesses. Prior to joining Bad Robot, McGrath was a founding Partner at First Tuesday Media, a political media firm based in Los Angeles. Earlier, she served as Director of Communications at MTV Networks and Vice President at the strategic communications consulting firm Robinson Lerer Sawyer Miller. McGrath began her professional career in Washington, D.C. as a legislative assistant to Senator Edward M. Kennedy and currently serves on the boards of Pro Publica, Time’s Up and ARRAY Alliance. McGrath and her husband, J.J. Abrams, and three children live in Los Angeles.
Managing Director and Chief Diversity Officer, The Carlyle Group
Kara Helander is a Managing Director and Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer. She is based in Washington, DC.
Prior to joining Carlyle, Ms. Helander was a Managing Director at BlackRock where she led the firm’s global inclusion and diversity, and philanthropy initiatives. Harvard Business School profiled those efforts she directed in the case study, “BlackRock: Diversity as a Driver of Success”. More recently, Ms. Helander consulted with organizations to develop corporate social responsibility and diversity strategies. She founded the Science of Diversity and Inclusion (SODI), a coalition of top companies and behavioral scientists working to design and test new approaches to accelerate diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Ms. Helander also led CSR at Barclay’s Global Investors (BGI). Prior to BGI, she launched and led the Western Region for Catalyst in Silicon Valley.
She serves on the Board of Directors of Leading Educators.
Ms. Helander received her M.B.A. from The Wharton School and her B.A. from Vanderbilt University.
Christine Simmons (B.S. ’98)
COO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Born and raised in Southern California, Christine Simmons is a true California girl. In January of 2019, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named Christine Simmons to the position of Chief Operating Officer reporting directly to CEO Dawn Hudson. Simmons is responsible for the day-to-day management and enhancement of the Academy’s internal organization and infrastructure, with focus on the Academy Foundation, comprised of the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy Film Archive, its educational programs and the Science and Technology Council. She will join leadership in collaborative efforts to fulfill and further the Academy mission, that is to recognize and uphold excellence in the motion picture arts and sciences, inspire imagination, and connect the world through the medium of motion pictures.
A proud UCLA graduate, she serves as Alumni Regent on the UC Board of Regents, where she serves on the following committees: Finance and Capital Strategies, Diversity Advisory Committee to the CIO, Vice Chair - Public Engagement and Development, Investments & Basic Needs. She is immediate Past President and current Director on the Board of the UCLA Alumni Association. She is a member of the UCLA Foundation Board of Directors and Treasurer of the Alumni Associations of the UC. She is on the Advisory Council for Next Play Capital, Shared HarvestFund. Her dedication to excellence and passion for giving back has earned her a number of honors including: Simmons was named to the University of California President’s list of 2017 Remarkable Women of UC and the LA Business Journal’s 2016, 2017 & 2018 list of 500 most influential people in Los Angeles and a 2017 WISE LA Woman of Inspiration Award. She also volunteers for Better Futures for Thomazeau, a small, grassroots nonprofit that provides aide and is currently building a vocational school in Haiti.