Chairman & CEO
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
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.
Senior Vice President, International Distribution
Caroline Tyre is a 20-year industry veteran with expertise across global content sales, acquisitions and programming as well as licensing and consumer products. She has held pivotal management positions at major media companies, including TELETOON, where she spent five years as director of programming, Entertainment One, DHX Media, Spin Master, and the CBC. Prior to joining Genius Brands, Tyre served as Vice President, Sales & Acquisitions for AuxMode, a global MCN with 2000+ channels worldwide that generates approximately 2+billion views/month. She has worked with some of the biggest children’s media brands, including Paw Patrol, Masha & the Bear, How To Train Your Dragon, The Powerpuff Girls, Popples and more. Tyre received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from McMaster University.
General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Business Affairs
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.
Vice President, Business Development
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.
Vice President of Marketing
Prior to joining Genius Brands, Buono-Sikorski served as Vice President of Brand Marketing at Brandable, Inc., where she led the brand strategy and product development activities within the toy, home, and personal care categories, during which time the company experienced triple digit year-over-year growth. She also served as Director of Brand Marketing and Global Development at Bandai America, overseeing product marketing and development for Power Rangers toys, which exceeded $100 million in annual sales. Previously, Buono-Sikorski served as Senior Brand Manager at MGA Entertainment where she developed the brand identity for Little Tikes Baby from inception. She also served as a Global Brand Manager at Spin Master contributing to the growth of Paw Patrol, with Spin Master becoming a top ranked growth company in the preschool category. Earlier in her career, Buono-Sikorski held various roles at Toys’R’Us and Jones Apparel Group.