COO, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc
I’m a seasoned media executive with a passion for innovation. Whether technological or business related, disruptions can liberate thinking and planning in a way that forces us to disregard conventional wisdom & forge ahead with new ideas and strategies—for me, this is when business gets to be the most fun.
At Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, we look at the playing field in a new way; enabling our film, television, digital video and brand to connect directly with consumers through broadcast, cable & digital platforms. Playing with innovation is one of the most satisfying aspects of my work, stemming back to other roles I’ve held that were always at the edge of industry shifts: I was among the first employees at the company now known as SiriusXM who created A&E Television Networks’ digital business, launched a mobile App Store for Nokia, led a technology innovation development program at ESPN and supported the launch of WWE’s over the top product.
That said, I’d like to think of myself as more than just a media executive; I’ve got an MBA from UConn (and got to spend a semester studying at Peking University, albeit in English). When not working I enjoy spending time with my husband and daughters—all who share my passion for music, science and technology. I’ve paired my favorite hobbies (cooking and vegetable gardening) and have had some fun recently learning about fermenting. This summer I produced hot pepper sauces, sauerkraut, & the kind of sour pickles we used to be able to get on New York’s Lower East Side from big barrels.
How much and what sort of positive energy could I add as an executive working on a wide variety of amazing projects.
“Planning is everything. Plans, are nothing”
Work hard to be in the present moment with my full attention.
Bring out the best in people – both at work and at home.
When you feel overwhelmed with too many priorities, stop what you’re doing. Put your pencil (or phone) down. Take an hour to organize your thoughts, your notes and then make a plan that includes an actionable mix of top priorities and a few things easily achieved.
What do you love most about Your City?
My city is New York City. I love its diversity: the people, food, experiences, activities. I’m fortunate to live so close to the city I love most.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
This is a bit like being forced to choose a favorite child…my go-to breakfast is a New York classic: toasted sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese and lox. Lately my favorite restaurant is Purdy’s Farmer & Fish, near home. They grow their own produce and get the freshest fish and seafood daily. They also have an impressive selection of wines, including many from New York’s wineries.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Brewing coffee & waking up the family to get ready for the day, checking email, my meeting schedule (and weather report) and news from yesterday.
10:00 AM – My role as Chief Operating Officer of Chicken Soup for Soul Entertainment keeps me busy. We’re always working on a number of exciting projects, so if I’m not scheduled into meetings, I’ll screen videos from our production team. Currently, we have a team producing digital videos for distribution under our APlus brand, and we are also in production on four different TV series, including one in collaboration with Ashton Kutcher focused on helping millennials overcome financial burdens. This program is called Going from Broke; we hope it’s going to make a difference to many young people and are thrilled to be able to share it with audiences next year. Furthermore, we are constantly reviewing and discussing new concepts, as well as screening films we are considering acquiring via our Screen Media Ventures subsidiary.
12:00 PM – Favorite Power Lunch spot/meal? Admittedly I’ve got a weakness for street food (ramen, falafel, you name it), but what is fun about my job is that it involves making new industry connections and keeping up with my network. Lunches are a great time to focus on that, so I try to schedule at least one a week with someone I don’t often see. This also means discovering a lot of restaurants in midtown. My latest great find is a Turkish place on 3rd Ave called SipSak.
7:00 PM – Commuting home, catching up on the day’s emails and news, reviewing plans and proposals, and ratings and digital analytics around our content and digital products such as Popcornflix and Pivotshare …all while listening to music (this is a must).
11:00 PM – If I haven’t dozed off yet, typically I’m watching movies, TV comedies or Masterpiece Theater programs.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
“It takes a village” of drinks to get through my day. Coffee to start, at home, and more as I arrive in the office. But starting midmorning I switch to water for the rest of the day and depending on what’s for dinner and how the day went, I’ll either have a glass of wine or a gin & tonic. The latter is usually a Friday thing.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
I use Twitter to get news, but have made a concerted effort of late to cut down on time spent with social media. My favorite Instagram accounts besides @chickensoupsoul, @aplusapp, @popcornflixapp? I enjoy following my children’s accounts and I follow vegetable gardeners who photojournal their growing seasons all over the world.
What should everyone try at least once?
I have a personal philosophy about trying everything once, the good things twice. On a more practical level, everyone should travel to a completely new and different place at least once.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
My grandmother, a seasoned traveler, valued getting lost because of the serendipity you experience when out of your comfort zone. She did have a lousy sense of direction though, so this could have just been a cover. We did get lost in Barcelona once, and discovered a wonderful museum. Regardless of her rationale, she was right.