Wonder Women of Streaming 2019: Women to Watch

Meet a dozen executives playing vital roles in the content industry's ongoing transformation
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Andreen

Andreen

SCILLA ANDREEN
CEO and Co-Founder, IndieFlix

WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Scilla Andreen is an award-winning producer and director as well as the CEO and co-founder of IndieFlix, a global subscription, streaming and screening service that focuses on content for a purpose. She launched IndieFlix in 2005 as a DVD on-demand platform to serve independent filmmakers, amassing more than 10,000 titles from 85 countries and securing worldwide rights on a revenue-share basis. In 2007, she transitioned the library to streaming delivery, and in 2016 she successfully pivoted the streaming service to be edutainment-focused. IndieFlix now offers over 5,000 curated shorts, features, documentaries and TV series. She also created IndieFlix Originals, producing and streaming IndieFlix original content.

LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “As a CEO of a global streaming service and film director of social impact films, I love that I get to create content for a purpose and distribute it into the world. I also love the travel and the people I get to meet. Love my job!”

LIKES LEAST ABOUT HER JOB: “I spend the entire day working with the teams and I end up doing my work late at night, on weekends and holidays, so finding balance can at times be challenging. I also don’t love fundraising but when we need it, I go do it.”

MAJOR MENTORS: “I always say my Chinese grandmother, because she truly is the queen bee and taught me so much. But I also want to say my mother because she stepped out of the way and let me find myself. Many times it was really hard but she never intervened and I am incredibly strong and independent because of her.”

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “When things don’t work out it’s a sure sign there’s a better path.”

Anthony

Anthony

STACIE ANTHONY
Editor-in-Chief, STIRR, Sinclair Broadcast Group

WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Stacie Anthony was hired in March 2018 to lead the editorial team at STIRR. In less than a year, she hired a full staff, developed the brand, ingested over 40 linear channels and thousands of on-demand hours from programming partners and successfully launched STIRR on Jan. 16. Under her editorial leadership, STIRR is already regarded as a top direct-to-consumer OTT service.

LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “I’ve been involved with several new product launches throughout my career and absolutely love that element of my job because of the strategy and collaboration it requires. It’s incredible to build something from scratch, build a team, and see a good idea materialize into an excellent product that solves problems for consumers. That’s the joy of working in the streaming space — we’re inventing and perfecting solutions that reflect how audiences want to consume content.”

LIKES LEAST ABOUT HER JOB: “It is challenging to keep pace with consumer viewing trends and communicate the influence traditional linear and broadcast still has in the industry. We have to be flexible and constantly pivot, which sometimes adds more work for the team, but overall it’s exciting to work in a rapidly evolving industry.”

MAJOR MENTORS: “Laura Corn, the author and one of the largest independent book publishers. She took me in at age 26 and taught me everything about publishing, distribution, and sales, all while helping me hone my craft as a writer and editor.”

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Toughen up, buttercup. Back in my writing days, I worked with an amazing managing editor, Lisa Ingrassia. She once told me to ‘toughen up, buttercup,’ and that mantra has trickled into how I manage my team today.”

Clarke-Hall

Clarke-Hall

ANDREA CLARKE-HALL
Vice President, Business Development, Tubi

WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Andrea Clarke-Hall is responsible for negotiating Tubi’s content-acquisition deals, building a content library of more than 12,000 titles and most recently launching Tubi’s partnership with NBCUniversal. She also leads Tubi’s app-distribution deals, including its deal with Comcast Xfinity, where Tubi was the third streaming app available on the cable service after Netflix and YouTube. Prior to joining Tubi, Clarke-Hall managed global business development for Sony Pictures’ Crackle. She also served as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y., for six years, where she litigated and tried major racketeering and economic fraud cases.

LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “I love that it’s very entrepreneurial and I am able to have a huge impact on growing the business. I am lucky to work for a CEO [Farhad Massoudi] who encourages risk taking and trusts me to do what is right for Tubi. It’s incredibly fun to be part of a team that is building the future of streaming!

LIKES LEAST ABOUT HER JOB: “Since Tubi is a startup, I have the luxury of moving very quickly with little red tape. However, much of my job involves dealing with large, multinational corporations, and it can be frustrating dealing with the slow timelines and bureaucracy.”

BIGGEST MENTORS: “I was personally mentored by Tubi’s co-founder, Tom Hicks, a business-development genius. Tom taught me the importance of moving fast, prioritizing the deal points that matter most, and focusing on aggressive growth. After less than two years under his tutelage, Tom handed me the keys to his BD team.”

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Never take a job for the money, but for what you can learn.”

VANESSA DENNIS
Director, Product, PBS NewsHour

WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Vanessa Dennis is PBS NewsHour’s wonder woman in live streaming, playing a pivotal role in helping the organization become one of the biggest producers of live news streams across the internet. Whether she’s troubleshooting new captioning technologies, developing ultra-fast workflows for streaming breaking news or traveling to stream news and events from remote locations with shaky connectivity, she has always has a solution. She was an early proponent of live streaming at the program and advocated building an infrastructure to support video that now enables it to reach hundreds of millions of live streaming views per year. Beyond her contributions to daily success on streaming platforms, she keeps PBS NewsHour staff on top of the latest technologies, orchestrating tests, creating new workflows and constantly improving its suite of streaming products. She is also an ambassador for live streaming to other colleagues in public media, regularly helping to train other organizations about best practices, technologies and experiences, to strengthen local producers on streaming platforms around the nation.

Vanessa Dennis

Vanessa Dennis

LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “I enjoy getting to play a role in helping to shape public media for the future and help PBS News- Hour continue to reach new audiences.”

LIKES LEAST ABOUT HER JOB: “I’m passionate about my job and it can be hard to mentally escape that at times.”

MAJOR MENTORS: “I’ve worked at the intersection of editorial, design and technology, and I’ve had a few bosses who weren’t afraid to cross back and forth between those fields. They showed me it was possible for designers and technologists to have heavyweight editorial chops, too.”

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Do the job you want, not the job you have.”

Exarhos

Exarhos

TINA EXARHOS
Chief Content Officer, NowThis

WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Tina Exarhos is chief content officer for NowThis, the leading socially distributed news brand, responsible for program development and production and content partnerships. Since joining NowThis in 2016, she has been at the helm of the brand’s evolution to becoming the top news source for millennials, overseeing the expansion into original series, deeper investigative reports, new verticals and brand partnerships. Prior to joining NowThis, she was chief marketing officer of MTV, overseeing all marketing and creative development for the network. She spent nearly 30 years at MTV.

LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “I am so lucky to be part of a group of passionate, young and innovative journalists and creators who are shining a light on the most important issues of the day.”

LIKES LEAST ABOUT HER JOB: “It’s a complete myth that young people don’t care about news. We have huge audiences who are avid consumers and deeply engaged in the world around them. Yet too many people still discount them or don’t understand their value. It’s my hope that NowThis can continue to play a strong role in demonstrating the importance young people have in shaping our political discourse and holding power to account.”

MAJOR MENTORS: “My former bosses Judy McGrath and Carole Robinson have always been committed to lifting as they climb.”

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “My dad taught me how to read The New York Times on an NYC subway. He showed me how to fold the paper in a way that didn’t interfere with other people’s space. I didn’t realize at the time that he was teaching me to read the N.Y. Times every day. He couldn’t have imagined that one day I could get all the news on my phone in my pocket. Always be reading. Always be learning.”

Hulley

Hulley

VANESSA HULLEY
Vice President, Marketing & Strategy, Endeavor Streaming

WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Vanessa Hulley oversees a global marketing, customer acquisition and media buying team focusing on direct-to-consumer marketing strategy and enterprise level marketing technology integrations. Endeavor Streaming powers leading properties’ digital services, including the National Football League, National Basketball Association, English Football League and Eleven Sports, alongside owned and operated services like UFC Fight Pass and Professional Bull Riding’s Ride Pass. She previously worked on the Endeavor Properties business, which is comprised of more than 200 live events.

LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “I enjoy the opportunity to deliver compelling content directly to consumers. I also love the feedback loop between consumer, product and content. My job allows me to be customer obsessed and work with some of the biggest content creators in the world.”

LIKES LEAST ABOUT HER JOB: “I am lucky to work on a streaming business within a content organization. There are so many creative concepts and new business ideas within the organization. I wish I could test and bring to market all of the ideas that come across my desk in real time, but sometimes have to manage the pipeline against the calendar.”

BIGGEST MENTORS: “In my professional life, I am inspired by DeJuan Wilson, who joined Endeavor from Soundcloud and brought with him a ton of audio streaming experience. My ultimate mentor is my godmother, Caroline Thompson, who is a film writer and director. In 2008 she hired me to lead marketing at my first streaming job, a company called ‘Small and Creep Films!’ ”

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “I have heard a ton! Some of the key ones: ‘lean into your strengths,’ ‘anyone can be a leader,’ ‘practice empathy,’ ‘keep enough I-quit money on hand so you can leave a job you hate’ and always ‘hire people smarter than you and spend your time cultivating talent in your organizations.’ ”

Kuessner

Kuessner

AMY KUESSNER
Senior Vice President, Content Partnerships, Pluto TV

WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Amy Kuessner is responsible for acquiring content, curating unique programming and developing channel strategy for the Viacom-owned free streaming television service. During her tenure, she has closed more than 100 deals with major Hollywood studios, TV networks, production companies and more. Prior to Pluto TV, she held marketing and business development roles at companies including NBC, Liberty Media, Sony, TBS and DirecTV.

LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “I love being able to apply my expertise as an integral player in a company that is redefining the entertainment landscape. I relish the challenge of being on the front line and representing the business with new and existing content partners, in an area that is ever-evolving. It has allowed me the opportunity to expand my scope to develop strategic and creative promotional, content and revenue opportunities.”

LIKES LEAST ABOUT HER JOB: “There is not much I don’t like about my job. If I had to, I would simply say that the challenge of keeping up with the pace of our accelerated growth can be trying at times. However, I am someone who thrives off of pressure and so it circles back to my first point, that I love my job.”

MAJOR MENTORS: “I am fortunate to have two mentors that I get to work with and learn from each and every day. Tom Ryan would be embarrassed to know, but I truly admire this humble and fearless CEO. With my chief business officer, Jeff Shultz, whereas I am the yin, Jeff is the yang. Jeff doesn’t know he is my secret mentor … but that gentleman has abilities that I continue to strive for in my own professional career.”

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Anyone who comes in contact with your business or employees deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.”

McNamara

McNamara

CROI McNAMARA
Senior Vice President, Programming, Condé Nast Entertainment

WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Croi McNamara knows digital entertainment and how to effectively program content across each platform. As the senior vice president of video programming at Condé Nast Entertainment, she oversees all digital video content for 20 brands averaging over 1 billion video views a month across a network of 60 partners, 2,300 websites and more than 32 million YouTube subscribers alone. Her unique role involves creating viral videos for a diversity of Condé Nast’s iconic family of brands, which include Vogue, GQ, Glamour, Vanity Fair and Wired. She also oversees programming across all platforms, including Wired and Bon Appétit’s recently launched over-the-top channels.

LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “I’m lucky to work at a company that understands the value of video across multiple mediums. We’ve been given the resources and opportunity to innovate with a best-in-class team of video creators for a market that demands our quality content. With this innovation, we’ve been able to grow fast and excel as a premium creative provider. Our success stems from our content getting longer and more premium, which is so exciting to me considering my television background.”

LIKES LEAST ABOUT HER JOB: “This fast-paced industry keeps us on our toes so we’re always pivoting quickly and efficiently, which can be tiring at times. But it’s an exciting challenge to every day look forward and think, ‘What’s next?’ ”

MAJOR MENTORS: “One person that I have been thinking about a lot is an early boss and mentor, Christine Weber. At the time, Christine was an executive at Discovery Studios and she always challenged me to be the best collaborator and creative I could be, while always remaining kind and compassionate.”

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Whatever you do, have grit and determination.”

Moothart

Moothart

LIZ MOOTHART
Senior Director of Marketing, Crunchyroll and VRV

WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Liz Moothart manages the marketing strategy for anime brand Crunchyroll and VRV, the fandom-focused streaming platform featuring premium SVOD channels. Her user acquisition and retention strategies have helped Crunchyroll grow to more than 2 million subscribers. She created and developed all launch marketing for the VRV platform in 2016, and she developed the “Childhooding with VRV” launch campaign for NickSplat, which celebrates Nickelodeon cartoons from the ’90s and beyond. She joined from Hulu and eHarmony, where she was focused on growth marketing for both subscription services.

LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “My team and the fans we serve! I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with many brilliant and ambitious people who have made my time at Crunchyroll and VRV fun. Additionally, we aim to serve passionate communities and this really comes through in how our fans connect in such a deep and meaningful way to our brands and the content we provide.”

LIKES LEAST ABOUT HER JOB: “I’ve seen my company go through many phases, from a small (70 person) start-up when I joined to now a part of one of the biggest media companies in the U.S. (WarnerMedia Entertainment). The pace of change, rapid growth and constant new challenges to tackle have been draining at times … but ultimately, this has been a reflection of our continued success and the career opportunities I’ve been presented with.”

MAJOR MENTORS: “My mother, who is a model of grace and resilience, taught me to live without fear. My former boss Arlen Marmel (Ellation, Hulu) bet on me time and time again and taught me to yearn for greatness while enjoying the journey.”

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “ ‘Done is better than perfect’ — Sheryl Sandberg. This motto has helped me pursue things that I might not otherwise for fear that I won’t achieve perfection.”

Randolph

Randolph

THAI RANDOLPH
Executive Vice President and General Manager, Laugh Out Loud

WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Thai Randolph has spent her career at the intersection of content, consumers and commerce. She has a track record of developing brands, audience and revenue for such big names as WPP, Publicis, Sony, Facebook and Kevin Hart. In 2018, Randolph was named to Ad Age’s 40 Under 40 and Cynopsis’s It List. As executive VP and GM for Laugh Out Loud, she manages day-to-day business strategy, operations and P&L management for Kevin Hart’s comedy brand and multiplatform network. Previously, as senior VP, marketing and monetization, she oversaw audience development, brand strategy and ad sales, working with advertisers such as Lyft and P&G on content series including Kevin Hart: Lyft Legend and Cold as Balls, which collectively tallied more than 225 million views and multiple Streamy and Cynopsis Model D nominations; Lyft Legend won a Streamy for best branded content series.

LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “At Laugh Out Loud, we’re building a next-gen comedic content company at a time when the landscape is rapidly shifting. It’s an incredibly exciting time in the industry and I love being at the center of this innovation — piloting new business models, experimenting with new formats and helping to shape the future of content consumption and distribution.”

LIKES LEAST ABOUT HER JOB: “I’ve always considered myself pretty quick-witted … but when surrounded by comedians, landing the best punchline is nearly impossible.”

MAJOR MENTORS: “Kevin Hart, LOL’s CEO, is definitely among my biggest mentors. His work ethic, positive outlook and business savvy are not only inspiring, but contagious.”

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Early on in my career, one of my managers advised me to focus on impact over activity. I’m constantly calibrating to make sure I’m not just busy, but impactful.”

Rosado

Rosado

ROMINA ROSADO
Senior Vice President, Digital Media, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises

WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Romina Rosado leads the development and execution of all digital programs across Noticias Telemundo and Digital News. She is experienced in content creation, audience building and driving monetization across linear and digital platforms. Most recently, she was senior VP of global content at NBCUniversal-owned E! in Los Angeles, where she oversaw all content, newsgathering, audience development, and product for the news division. Prior to that, she was executive producer at Us Weekly.

LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “At Telemundo, we are not only riding the wave of the digital transformation, but also of the demographic revolution. There are 60 million Hispanics in the U.S. with a median age of 27 — and next year, for the first time, the majority of under 18-year-olds will be non-white. Programming to this audience and creating a content ecosystem that ensures they interact with Telemundo on any platform is a challenge I love.”

LIKES LEAST ABOUT HER JOB: “The 24/7 nature of the work — especially when it comes to our current news cycle — and the unending flood of emails and meeting invites!”

MAJOR MENTORS: “Throughout my career, I have been blessed with both formal and informal mentors — from my first boss, a serial entrepreneur who taught me how to build a business from the ground up and that it’s perfectly OK to be different (and to have an accent), to Jen Neal, the CMO at E!, who taught me to be more strategic and thoughtful.”

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Don’t play small ball — be it in your career or personal life. Not everything that is urgent is important, and not everything that is important is urgent. Figure out the difference and regularly question where you are spending your energy. And never stop reading for pleasure.”

Wickham

Wickham

YAZMIN WICKHAM
Senior Director, Digital Platform Management, Katz Networks

WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Yazmin Wickham is responsible for identifying digital opportunities and implementing strategies to improve user interfaces and customer retention for Atlanta-based Katz Networks properties. She also onboards new platforms for all Katz Networks websites and apps, which include Bounce, Brown Sugar, Laff, Grit, Escape, The List and Court TV. She helped build the Brown Sugar app and website. Prior to her current role, she spent 19 years as the owner of YazminMedia, creating innovative online solutions for B2C clients. A military veteran, Wickham received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army as a Specialist First Class.

LIKES MOST ABOUT HER JOB: “In the four years I’ve worked here, I’ve had the opportunity to roll up my sleeves to deliver on unique roles, all while building my skill set, learning new areas of business and leading/collaborating with diverse multicultural teams across all departments to achieve amazing results. That aspect of doing so many different things and being able to pull them together to deliver a solution is the thing I love most about this job.

LIKES LEAST ABOUT HER JOB: “The drive time!”

MAJOR MENTORS: Cheryle Harrison, general manager of Bounce and executive VP, ad sales operations, Katz Broadcasting. “As I spent years running my own business, my value system is very different than the one found in the corporate world. She has guided me and helped me find my footing in this space … and most importantly, without compromising who I am and what I bring to the table.”

BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “One of the phrases I heard often in the Army was: ‘There is no I in TEAM.’ It’s something that has always been a big part of how I approach most things, if able.”

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