Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Emmy Award-winning Andy Heyward has made more episodes of kid’s television than any other producer. After graduating from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in 1975, he joined Hanna-Barbera as a writer and story editor. During his five years with Hanna-Barbera, he was involved in the development and writing of numerous series including Scooby Doo, Flintstones, Jetsons, Smurfs, Yogi Bear and Scooby’s All Star Laff-A-Lympics. In 1980 he moved to France where he joined DIC Audiovisual, a production company specializing in children’s animated programming. In 1982, he co-created Inspector Gadget and during the following years he has produced over 5,000 episodes of award-winning children’s programs, most of which shows and brands are household names, including Inspector Gadget, The Real Ghostbusters, Alvin and the Chipmunks, G.I. Joe, Hello Kitty, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Captain Planet, Teddy Ruxpin, Sailor Moon, Madeline, Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego, Liberty's Kids, and dozens more. In 1994, he convened the National PTA, National Education Association, UCLA and producers from throughout the industry to draft the first voluntary set of program guidelines for children’s television. In 1996, he hosted the first meeting between then FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and children’s television producers.
Today under Genius Brands International, Heyward produces and licenses brands ranging from Stan Lee Comics, to Baby Genius, to Warren Buffett's Secret Millionaires Club, to Thomas Edison's Secret Lab, to SpacePop for the global market. He has also been the largest producer of FCC mandated educational informational programming for children, and has produced hundreds of PSAs promoting child safety, health, exercise, and nutrition. In collaboration with Warren Buffett, he produces the short film which opens the annual Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders meeting, and he co-authored a book with Warren Buffett promoting financial literacy for kids. Genius Brands is currently producing Rainbow Rangers for Nickelodeon and Mattel Toys, as well as Llama Llama for Netflix, starring Jennifer Garner, now in its second season. Heyward is also the author of Go Go Gadget – The Creation of Inspector Gadget.
Andy's notable work in children's programming has earned him multiple industry awards, and his charitable efforts off-screen have resulted in numerous recognitions. Some of his awards include two Emmys, nine Emmy nominations, two Humanitas Awards, two Cable Ace Awards, five Golden Reel Awards, three Environmental Media Awards, a New York Television Festival Award and a National Education Association Award, among others. He was inducted into the KidScreen Hall of Fame, and won the Studio of the Year at Italy’s Cartoons on the Bay International Festival of Television Animation in 2006 (co-awarded to Roy Disney).
Heyward is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). He was the 2010 UCLA College of Humanities Commencement speaker and is currently a Mentor in the UCLA mentoring program. He is active in many community activities, including serving on the Board of Directors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Dekic brings nearly 20 years of entertainment industry and financial markets experience, including corporate strategy, investment banking, investment management and corporate finance at The Walt Disney Company, and before that, Goldman Sachs. At The Walt Disney Company, she held posts in Corporate Strategy, Strategic Planning and Business Development, where she was involved in a number of high-profile projects and strategic initiatives for the company. Prior to joining Disney, Ms. Dekic served as a Vice President in the Investment Management division at Goldman Sachs in New York, on the U.S. Fundamental Equity Portfolio Management team overseeing nearly $30 billion of assets under management. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Houlihan Lokey’s Investment Banking Technology, Media & Telecom (TMT) Group, where she was responsible for business development and execution across the sector, including media and entertainment, digital media, streaming technologies, animation and video games. Ms. Dekic holds a B.A. from Amherst College and an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School.
Executive Chairman Kartoon Channel!
Throughout her formidable career, Margaret Loesch has held senior roles with numerous leading companies as both a creative and business executive. In 1990, she became the founding President and CEO of Fox Kids Networks Worldwide, growing the channels across all metrics, where it was eventually sold to the Walt Disney Company for $5.5 billion. During this time, she launched a multitude of hit series, including the billion-dollar brand Power Rangers, growing Fox Kids into the top children’s program service on television.
Prior to Fox Kids, Loesch served as President & CEO of Marvel Productions. Previously, she was President of The Jim Henson Company, and the Founding President & CEO of the U.S. Hallmark Channel and Crown Media U.S. Most recently, Loesch served as President of the HUB, which was a joint venture between Hasbro Toys and Discovery Communications, where she had oversight of all business and creative areas of the network. In addition to Power Rangers, her resume includes launching some of the most successful animated children’s properties in the world, such as Batman, Spider-Man, Steven Spielberg’s Animaniacs, Transformers, My Little Pony, X-Men, Muppet Babies, and Fraggle Rock.
Chief Creative Officer Kartoon Channel!
David Neuman’s 30-year career spans television, film, and digital media, where among other executive roles, he was President of Walt Disney Television and Touchstone Television where he oversaw hits such as The Wonderful World of Disney, Boy Meets World, Ellen, and the then #1 sitcom on television, Home Improvement. As VP of Comedy at NBC, Neuman oversaw iconic series, such as Cheers, Family Ties, Golden Girls, and Alf, where during his tenure, NBC series received over 100 Emmy Awards. He has also served as Chief Programming Officer for CNN, a TV and film producer at 20th Century Fox, and founding exec/head of content at three landmark startups: Channel One, Digital Entertainment Network, and Current TV. Along the way, Neuman was instrumental in launching the careers of Anderson Cooper, Lisa Ling, and Jason Silva, among many others.
Chief Operating Officer
Michael Jaffa served as Head of Business Affairs at DreamWorks Animation Television and was responsible for all studio business and legal affairs matters, including the negotiation and drafting of hundreds of development, production, acquisition, talent, digital and music agreements. Previously, he was the Vice President of Legal & Business Affairs for Hasbro Studios, working directly with Hasbro Studios' President, CFO, and General Manager to help create programs and launch strategy for a new studio and related network. Michael has also represented various clients, including Sony Pictures Animation and MGM Studios. Michael received a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
President of Kartoon Channel!
Ollwerther joins Genius Brands from Measure, the nation's leading Drone as a Service® company. As Vice President of Media, Ollwerther grew the Arts & Entertainment division from its inception and worked with leading media companies and advertisers like ABC, CBS, ESPN, Red Bull Media House, Coach, Prada, Maker's Mark, and Nissan.
As a trailblazer in an emerging industry, Ollwerther focused on leveraging drones as a tool for artistic expression and informational use, including major franchise films to live concerts and events. Among other accomplishments, he pioneered live broadcasting via drone for news and sports and spearheaded the first live drone network broadcasts in America, and helped bring drone light shows to life. Working with clients across the country and around the world, Ollwerther has an extensive credit list of collaborations with brands and advertising agencies to create unforgettable experiences. Prior to joining Measure, Ollwerther was the COO of a national drone service company based in NYC.
Chief Brand Officer
After she successfully launched the Star Wars brand at LEGO Systems Inc., Phelan was recruited directly to Lucasfilm Ltd. where she led the global consumer products & promotional licensing business for the multi-billion-dollar Star Wars franchise in over 60 countries worldwide. She then joined Pixar Animation Studios, reporting directly to Steve Jobs, where she launched, in concert with Disney Consumer Products, the original Cars consumer product program, which became a top tier, blockbuster franchise totaling more than $8B in retail sales. Following Pixar, Phelan spent seven years at DreamWorks Animation as head of consumer products and licensing, driving the development of franchise management plans for the studio’s film and television properties, including Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon & others. At DreamWorks, she managed the retail consumer products business and doubled the consumer products revenue in just three years. Most recently, she served as President of Global Franchise Management at Lionsgate Entertainment, where under her leadership, the studio created brand extensions spanning location-based and live entertainment venues, consumer products, licensed merchandise, brand partnerships and an array of promotional ventures for such blockbuster franchises as The Hunger Games and Twilight.
Executive Vice President, Finance and Accounting
Robert Denton has spent the past six years in the role of CFO/Controller for Atlys Inc., a next-gen media technology company. His entertainment experience includes assisting with the restructuring of corporate financing for Gold Circle Films, a theatrical motion picture production and distribution company, as its interim chief financial officer; five years as CFO of DIC Entertainment Corp., the global brand management, production and distribution company specializing in family entertainment with annual sales of $85 million. Other previously held executive positions include Chief Operating Officer at Artisan Home Entertainment; Vice President of Finance for LIVE Home Video and VP, Chief Accounting Officer of LIVE Entertainment. He got his professional start with Ernst & Young's Century City office most recently as a Senior Manager.
Denton, a graduate of California State University, Northridge, with a BS degree in Business Administration-Accounting, Denton is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of California as well as a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Senior Vice President, Head of Worldwide Consumer Products
Lloyd Mintz is a seasoned industry executive with more than 20 years of experience in licensing, merchandising and new business development and is widely respected for his expertise in leveraging brand equity through licensing. He works with retailers and licensees to build comprehensive global consumer products’ programs for each of the company’s brands. Prior to GBI, Lloyd managed his own consultancy during which time he negotiated more than 150 licensing agreements and generated over $700MM in cumulative retail sales on behalf of clients across a range of brand owners and manufacturers. Most recently, he worked as Executive Vice President of Licensing for NYC-based Galaxy Brands that owned the AND1 and AVIA athletic brands. Previously, Lloyd worked at Hasbro, Inc. as the Vice President of Domestic Corporate Licensing where he pioneered the effort to license Hasbro’s classic game brands, such as Monopoly, to slot machine manufacturers. He began his licensing industry career at Disney Consumer Products where he oversaw Disney’s largest licensee, Mattel, Inc., and their development of toy programs for classic properties such as Lion King, Winnie the Pooh, and Aladdin. Lloyd graduated from Wesleyan University and earned his M.B.A. from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
Vice President, International Distribution
Jessica Brinder is a proven sales executive with roots in kids and family content. Jessica currently serves as the newly created role of VP, International Distribution overseeing all global content sales and strategy for Genius Brands, including Rainbow Rangers, Llama Llama and upcoming series Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten.
Jessica previously worked as VP, Business Development at California producer and animation studio, Kickstart Entertainment (Ready Jet Go, StarBeam). She also served as Senior Manager, Global Distribution at Corus-owned kids-prodco Nelvana (Esme & Roy, Max & Ruby), where she managed distribution to the US, LATAM and Canada and oversaw its global VOD sales business.