Head of Broadcast and Retrans Content Strategy and Partnerships Verizon Consumer Group
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Victoria Bieler is the principal negotiator for all partnerships with national broadcast/ cable portfolios and broadcast affiliates. She works with external and internal partners to establish new business opportunities across Verizon’s Consumer, Business and Media Groups. Earlier, she was on Viacom’s content distribution team and was an equity research analyst at Credit Suisse. She lives in New York with husband Sam.
LIKES MOST ABOUT JOB: “The variety. The Consumer Content and Partnerships team is charged with connecting customers with the choice of content and experiences they love on the best network. That means thinking about how our customers consume content and working cross-functionally to deliver those best-in-class outcomes.”
LIKES LEAST ABOUT JOB: “Admittedly, working through the winter holidays and on New Year’s Eve. It’s part of the job, but I’m selfishly hopeful that one day, the holidays for my team and me will be for spending lots of time with family and friends, not negotiating. At least, not negotiating for work.”
BIGGEST MENTORS: “I am very lucky to be in a group … with world-class leaders in my direct reporting chain. There is so much to learn from [Verizon Consumer Group EVP and CEO] Ronan Dunne and [Verizon Wireless SVP, consumer marketing and products] Frank Boulben. Most importantly, I have an opportunity to be mentored by my boss, [head of content strategy, acquisition and promotion] Erin McPherson, on a daily basis. She is a visionary in the content space and a dynamic leader.”
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Someone once told me ‘it’s all about the people’ in assessing a new job, hiring a new employee, or in your personal life. The people you spend your time with have the biggest impact on your satisfaction, be it job-related or personal.”
Senior VP and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer WarnerMedia News and Sports
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Based in CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, Johnita Due reports to Jeff Zucker, chairman, WarnerMedia News and Sports and president, CNN Worldwide. Previously, she served as VP and assistant general counsel of CNN, joining in 2003. From 2005-2013, Due served as CNN’s chief diversity adviser and chaired its award-winning Diversity Council. Prior to joining CNN, Due was associate general counsel for The McGraw-Hill Cos. Due earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Sussex in England and her law degree from Cornell Law School.
LIKES MOST ABOUT JOB: “I most enjoy that I have the opportunity to collaborate with teams and departments across the organization, from HR and recruiting to marketing and PR to research and sales to editorial and programming.”
LIKES LEAST ABOUT JOB: “I know that many of our efforts, which focus on diversity behind the scenes and creating a culture of internal mobility and advancement, will take time to be impactful and will not be immediately demonstrable or apparent to all employees. The challenge is to retain the confidence of staff that we all are doing what we can to make a difference in this area even if the results are not as immediately noticeable as our on air diversity efforts.”
BIGGEST MENTORS: “My late mother, Patricia Stephens Due, was a huge influence on me. She led the first jail-in of the nation during the Civil Rights Movement as a 20-year old college student at FAMU in Tallahassee.”
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Something that I often tell employees that I was told once was that when you leave a job, make sure you are running toward something and not running away from something.”
VP & Executive Producer ESPN Films and Original Content
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Libby Geist oversees development, production, distribution, branding and strategy for all projects under the ESPN Films umbrella, as well as original series and studio shows on ESPN+, ESPN’s direct-to-consumer streaming service. Projects under Geist include the acclaimed 30 for 30 series, Detail and the 30 for 30 Podcasts. Geist, a three-time Peabody Award winner, has spent her entire career in documentary film, from production to development and now as an executive producer. She continues to push ESPN’s storytelling to new heights as one of the company’s leaders in long-form. Geist lives in New York with her husband and two little boys.
LIKES MOST ABOUT JOB: “I know how lucky I am to love my job. I work with some of the best storytellers in the world, produce projects that get attention and accolades and I oversee a brand that I’m incredibly proud of.”
LIKES LEAST ABOUT JOB: “Working at a big company can mean lots of meetings. It is easy to get stuck on that treadmill, so I make every effort to prioritize the work that my team is doing and to keep us focused on the creative side of things.”
BIGGEST MENTORS: “I have worked under [ESPN executive VP, content] Connor Schell for more than 10 years and have learned so much from him every step of the way. I feel as though I’ve grown up at ESPN and he has played a major role in charting my path.”
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Leaders are thermostats, not thermometers! Creating a positive, creative environment fosters a happy team and better work. No matter what might go wrong, picking up and reminding the team that we can do anything together is the kind of leader I want to be.”
VP, U.S. Sales East Telestream
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Diana Horowitz leads the sales team and oversees all of Telestream’s business and customer relationships in the strategically important U.S. East region. She comes to the digital video system provider with an extensive media background. Previously, she was regional director for media and entertainment at Tavant; executive director of sales for IBM Watson Media; global client director and director of VOD sales at Comcast Technology Solutions; and led digital advertising sales in the Northeast at Scripps Networks Interactive (now Discovery) for Food Network and Cooking Channel. She started her career at The New York Times Co., holding ad-sales leadership roles in both New York and Paris. She originally hails from Manhattan, where she resides with her husband, Alain.
LIKES MOST ABOUT JOB: “I love the media business, and this role allows me to stay connected with the people and companies driving the industry forward — and partnering together with them to find solutions for their challenges and innovate for the future.”
LIKES LEAST ABOUT JOB: “I am fortunate in loving all aspects of my role — leading a team, partnering with customers, working with cross-functional teams to develop strategy. If anything I would just add a few more hours to every day to get everything done!”
BIGGEST MENTORS: “I like to say that I ‘grew up’ at The New York Times, and I learned so much from the amazing leaders who I had the privilege to work with there. To this I would add the amazing ad sales leadership at Scripps Networks Interactive (now at Discovery), who taught me everything I know about television!”
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “From my Dad: To treat everyone you interact with, regardless of their job title, with respect, courtesy and integrity, in business as in life.”
Executive VP and General Counsel Starz
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Based in Santa Monica, California, Audrey Lee is responsible for developing the strategic direction of business and legal affairs for Starz, including distribution, content acquisition, production, litigation, employment matters and legal and regulatory compliance worldwide. She has more than 20 years of legal and business experience, with a background in M&A and corporate transactions, deep entertainment knowledge and a thorough understanding of international business issues. Lee most recently was executive VP and deputy general counsel for Lionsgate, where she supported senior management on M&A and film financing activities and overseeing legal affairs for Lionsgate’s subscription VOD channels, digital studios division, location-based entertainment, merchandising and gaming businesses. She was also senior VP, legal affairs at Sony Pictures Entertainment. She began her career at Latham & Watkins LLP, where she focused on mergers and acquisitions, securities and intellectual property licensing.
LIKES MOST ABOUT JOB: “The people at Starz and the variety of the work.”
LIKES LEAST ABOUT JOB: “When I can’t find a creative way to get to yes.”
BIGGEST MENTORS: “My parents. They immigrated here from China before I was born, with no money, no job and without speaking the language. With a lot of hard work and determination, they made a life for their family, sent three kids to college and my dad became one of the most senior scientists at Boeing, leading the design of the electrical system for the space station before he retired.”
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Always keep learning new things and taking on new responsibilities and be nice to people while you’re doing it.”
Senior VP, Marketing Crown Media Family Networks
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Danielle Mullin leads all marketing campaigns and strategic brand development for Crown Media’s portfolio of businesses, including Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Hallmark Drama; subscription VOD service Hallmark Movies Now; Hallmark Publishing and the podcast Hallmark Channels Bubbly Sesh. Since joining the company in 2017, Mullin has delivered compelling, high-impact campaigns and was quickly elevated from VP, consumer marketing to senior VP, marketing. Mullin joined Crown Media from WGN America and was VP of marketing for Freeform. She earned a master's degree in creative writing from Emerson College and a bachelor of arts in English and psychology from Boston College.
LIKES MOST ABOUT JOB: “I am a true fan of the Hallmark brand. It’s a pleasure to work on marketing content that makes people feel good, especially during times like these when there is a lot of divisiveness and negativity in the world.”
LIKES LEAST ABOUT JOB: “I’m constantly challenged to keep up with the evolving media landscape and advanced targeting capabilities, but I love the fact that there is something new to learn nearly every day.”
BIGGEST MENTORS: “I’ve had a variety of mentors throughout my career both in the entertainment industry and in areas completely removed from television. I have always appreciated the advice and guidance I have received and try to pay it forward by mentoring those just entering the field.”
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “The best advice I’ve ever received came from my Dad — find something you love to do and find a way to make a difference in the world. If you can find a career that checks both boxes, you’ll be good!”
President Fox Business
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Lauren Petterson joined Fox News Channel in 2008 and since September 2019 has been president of Fox Business, in addition to overseeing talent development for both Fox News and Fox Business. Prior to her promotion, she was senior VP of morning programming and talent development for Fox News, where she oversaw the entire Fox & Friends weekday and weekend franchise. Fox & Friends has been the No. 1 morning program in cable news for more than 17 years. Petterson also has been an executive producer of news programming at WCBS New York and WPIX New York. She began her television career at WNYT Albany, New York, and later became an associate producer at News 12 Long Island and a production assistant/associate producer for WNBC’s signature afternoon program Live at Five. She is a magna cum laude graduate of SUNY Albany with a bachelor of arts degree in communications.
LIKES MOST ABOUT JOB: “The viewers. I consider it a privilege to communicate what we know. And I love that the viewers want to share that learning. It’s consequential and humbling at the same time.”
LIKES LEAST ABOUT JOB: “Long meetings that can be replaced by a short phone call.”
BIGGEST MENTORS: “My mother. She’s a single mom who raised four kids while working three jobs. She taught me to do the hard work. To say yes to the scary stuff. And to know your worth.”
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “When you’ve done well and moved on, do not shut the door behind you. Make sure you reach back to give others a chance to succeed.”
MARCELLA MILLIET SCIORRA
Partner, Strategic Marketing Sciorra Media Group
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: For more than 20 years, Marcella Milliet Sciorra has held leadership roles at media and advertising companies. Most recently, she was VP of ad sales and product marketing at Spectrum Reach, a division of Charter Communications. Previously, she was senior marketing director in the distribution group at NBCUniversal and group account director at Colangelo-SM. As principal of Sciorra Media Group, she is a strategic adviser to video entertainment and advanced advertising companies. Originally from Brazil, Sciorra holds a bachelor's from the University of Santa Ursula and from Hunter College in New York. She lives in Palisades, New York, with her husband Nick, son Oliver and daughter (and newly licensed driver) Julia.
LIKES MOST ABOUT JOB: “I love how our industry is always changing — always evolving. I’ve had a chance to bring several complex and simple ideas to life, revolutionizing the way we do business, throughout my career. Specifically as a leader, what I like most about my job is building high-performance teams, nurturing and growing talent and building an inclusive culture.”
LIKES LEAST ABOUT JOB: “The least favorite part of my job in corporate America has been the fact that pace of change is not fast enough; it’s very difficult to be nimble.”
BIGGEST MENTORS: “Margo Vallone was my boss in two different jobs at the beginning of my career: Alcone Marketing Group & GEM Group. She saw potential in me before I was even aware of it.”
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Invest in your team — talent is your most valuable resource. Build an inclusive culture, encourage diversity of thoughts, gender, ethnicity and beliefs. Foster learning opportunities for your team. Encourage them to take risks, celebrating failures and wins. Be generous with your time and knowledge. Provide timely, honest and actionable feedback.”
President & CEO Analytic Partners
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: For nearly 20 years, Nancy Smith used customized analytics and data to build a stronger business case and drive increased return on investment (ROI). In 2000, she founded Analytic Partners to further the use of data to drive planning and business intelligence. Prior to starting AP, she worked at ASI (now Ipsos ASI) and Clairol (now Procter & Gamble), where she managed marketing insights projects, teams and vendors. She has an MBA from the University at Buffalo School of Management.
LIKES MOST ABOUT JOB: “I love working with highly motivated and dedicated people. The marketplace is so dynamic, fast-moving and diverse, and that makes business challenging and exciting. I find that the best qualities of people really shine through when dynamic business ecosystems create opportunities for individuals and teams to stretch and strengthen their capabilities.”
LIKES LEAST ABOUT JOB: “Anything overly bureaucratic: Slowdowns for paperwork, office lease negotiations, flying to China to get my photo taken with a bank manager in order to open a business bank account. (Yes, that really happened!).”
BIGGEST MENTORS: “My most memorable mentor was my first boss in the field of analytics, George Williams. George was respectfully called ‘The Wizard’ by his colleagues for his mastery of numbers, his memory and his statistical prowess. In addition to sharing with me his accumulated wisdom from decades of business analytics experience, George taught me much about managing people.”
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Don’t focus on money, titles and promotions. Focus on doing satisfying work, and doing it better than everyone else. Money, titles and promotions will naturally flow from doing satisfying work really well.”
Director of Media & Entertainment Partnerships, Google
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Julie Sterling is responsible for Google’s largest video and programmatic partnerships. She and her team work with top media companies to provide innovative solutions that deliver revenue growth using the Ad Manager suite. She also facilitates cross-functional partner alignment with other product areas including Google Play, Cloud, Android, YouTube and more. Previously, she managed Google’s Automotive and CPG team as well as strategic partnerships for Google Ad Manager across multiple verticals. Before that, Sterling worked for Kantar Media. She earned a bachelor’s degree in international business from Rochester Institute of Technology and lives in South Orange, New Jersey, with her wife and two sons.
LIKES MOST ABOUT JOB: “There’s a number of reasons I love my job, but it all comes down to the people I work with, the companies I partner with and the technology we create at Google. As a leader within Google, I feel honored to be given the opportunity to build teams, coach and mentor.”
LIKES LEAST ABOUT JOB: “Partners and their businesses are all changing very fast and I think most would agree it’s the most significant transformation that the media and entertainment industry has gone through in recent history. Many partners are using this change as an opportunity to grow and adapt their business with the future in mind, but seeing the human impact when there is so much uncertainty has been hard.”
BIGGEST MENTORS: “Mentors in my life started with my family and I’m grateful for my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and now my wife Beth who have all taught me the importance of hard work, treating people with respect, and having a strong sense of faith.”
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “ ‘Don’t just point out issues, make positive change from within.’ — my aunt, Sister Eileen Daly, SSJ.”
Chief Marketing Officer IBM Watson Media and Weather
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: Randi Stipes oversees marketing activities across IBM Watson Media, Watson Advertising, and IBM’s solo consumer portfolio, The Weather Co. With two decades of experience, she translates IBM’s artificial intelligence expertise into a trusted voice that guides brands towards insights-driven, crossplatform strategies.
WHAT SHE’S DOING: Stipes empowers players across the media landscape to adopt emerging technology for more impactful, engaging and agile storytelling. Leveraging her marketing expertise, she has helped transition major media and entertainment companies into data-driven storytellers. From helping sports broadcasters increase fan engagement to maximizing advertising ROI, she sets an example for the next generation of media stakeholders to be tech-savvy marketers. For instance, IBM Watson Media has powered AI initiatives for tentpole sports events such as the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2019 Masters golf tournament and the 2018 FIFA World Cup — streamlining production workflows, capturing fans’ attention with AI-generated highlights and solidifying the marriage of emerging tech and engaging sports broadcast experiences.
FUTURE GOALS: Her vision for The Weather Co. (specifically its flagship solution, Max Engage) opens the door to a new era of broadcasting that reimagines our expectations of how broadcasters and media companies can leverage weather and traffic data to enhance consumer experiences.
BACKGROUND: Prior to IBM, Stipes was managing editor for UPS.com, helping relaunch and scale its digital presence. She has held numerous other positions, all focused on helping traditional media and publishing companies lean into the digital era. She serves on IBM Watson Media and Weather’s Executive Leadership Team and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis.
Chief Financial Officer and Head of Production Operations, Lifestyle Networks, NBCUniversal
WHY WE’RE WATCHING: As chief financial officer and head of production operations, lifestyle networks, Holly Tang is responsible for financial oversight of Bravo, E!, Oxygen and Universal Kids. She identifies growth drivers and new revenue streams for the networks and plays a vital role in defining and building strategic initiatives. Tang also oversees all aspects of production operations and management for the four brands. Based in New York, she reports to Frances Berwick, president, lifestyle networks, NBCUniversal. Prior to joining NBCU, Tang was director of finance at Comedy Central. Previously, she held various positions at MTV Networks. Tang began her career at Morgan Stanley. She graduated magna cum laude from Smith College with a bachelor of arts degree in economics and mathematics and has an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.
LIKES MOST ABOUT JOB: “The people. I’m lucky that I work in an area of our business where women in leadership roles is the norm. I also work for a company that cares about diversity and equal opportunity. Representation does matter!”
LIKES LEAST ABOUT JOB: “Too many meetings! I actually consider myself an introvert but when I’m at work most of my days are spent talking to people. By the time I get home, I need to recharge, decompress … and not talk.”
BIGGEST MENTORS: “My boss, Frances Berwick. She is more than a mentor and boss, she’s been my advocate and supporter. There is so much about her that I admire, but I know she’d be embarrassed if I said any more. But for those who know her, you know what I’m talking about.”
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: “Don’t pay attention to the noise, just stay focused on your work and on doing a good job.”