Did you miss the Children’s Media Career Symposium? Learn more about our amazing panelists and Guest Speakers below. Watch a recording of the event here!
(This video includes the first hour of the event with the keynote speakers address and the final hour of the event with the Q&A and all guest speakers. Breakout sessions were not recorded)
If you are considering a career in media or a career focused on children, this event is an opportunity to learn about the industry first hand, from the content creators, marketers, researchers and executives making the decisions.
The evening included breakout room panels and networking time. Panels of children’s media professionals discussed trends in children’s media and career opportunities within the industry, while sharing real-world experiences and advice with attendees.
The evening kicked off with a keynote address from Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle, best known for creating, writing and executive producing Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning global hit Disney Channel series “Kim Possible”. More recently they serve as executive producers of Disney XD’s “Big Hero 6 The Series”.
Amy Kraft – Director of Development and Children’s Programming at Pinna.
Amy Kraft is a children’s media veteran who has developed innovative and interactive entertainment with companies including Scholastic, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sesame Workshop, Spin Master, Microsoft, Kyowon, Barnes and Noble, and Leap Frog. She was cofounder of the children’s content company Monkey Bar Collective where her first work in kids’ podcasts was the game show ExtraBLURT. Amy is also a founding member of KIDMAP, the Kids’ Inclusive and Diverse Media Action Project.
David Kleeman – Senior Vice President, Global Trends at DUBIT International Strategist, analyst, author, speaker, connector
David Kleeman has led the children’s media industry in developing sustainable, kid-friendly practices for more than 30 years. He began this work as president of the American Center for Children and Media and is now Senior Vice President of Global Trends for Dubit, a strategy/research consultancy and digital studio.Kleeman is advisory board chair to the international children’s TV festival PRIX JEUNESSE, Board Vice President for the National Association for Media Literacy Education, and on the board of the Children’s Media Association. Kleeman travels worldwide seeking best practices in children’s entertainment and learning. He has spoken (and listened!) on six continents and writes extensively for varied audiences.
Shabnam Rezaei – Cofounder President of Big Bad Boo Studios.
Shabnam Rezaei started Big Bad Boo Studios to make quality cartoons. Shows include ’16 Hudson’ (TVO Kids), ‘Bravest Knight’ (Hulu), ‘Mixed Nutz’, ‘Lili & Lola’ and ‘1001 Nights’ (Teletoon), which air in 80 countries. Based in NYC and Vancouver, the company has an SVOD channel called Oznoz that serves cartoons in various languages. With a BS in Computer Science, a BA in German Literature from UPenn, and an MBA from NYU, Shabnam started her career on Wall Street. She was born in Iran, grew up in Austria and is raising her girls trilingual. Follow Shabnam on Twitter and Insta @shabnamrezaei. For more information on Big Bad Studios, visit @bigbadboostudios on Insta and @bigbadboo on Twitter. Internships at Big Bad Boo Studios are available at both the NYC and Vancouver offices for summer internships. Applications are accepted from April 24th – May 24th. Internships are paid. If interested, please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda Simensky is Vice President of Children’s
Programming at PBS, she collaborates with producers, co-production partners, PBS station programmers, and distributors throughout the development, production, post-production, and broadcast phases for PBS KIDS programming. Since joining PBS in 2003, Linda has worked with renowned producers to develop hit shows ranging from DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD and WILD KRATTS to ODD SQUAD and NATURE CAT. Linda is currently working on the PBS KIDS creativity-themed series, PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC with WGBH, LUNA AROUND THE WORLD with Joe Murray, and several pilots. Before joining PBS, Linda was Senior Vice President of Original Animation for Cartoon Network, where she oversaw development and series production of “The Powerpuff Girls,” among others. She began her career working for nine years at Nickelodeon, where she helped build the animation department and launch the popular series “Rugrats,” “Doug” and “The Ren & Stimpy Show.” Linda also teaches Animation History at the University of Pennsylvania.
Makeda Mays Green is the Vice President of Digital Consumer Insights at Nickelodeon. In this capacity, she conducts research across digital platforms, including mobile devices, game consoles and emerging technologies. Prior to her role at Nickelodeon, Makeda worked as the Director of Education and Research, Digital Media at Sesame Workshop (the creators of Sesame Street). She is the author of Makeda: Moving Up in Media, an autobiographical short that details her journey into the children’s media industry, and she is the proud mother of three young children.
Bisner is an integral force behind the successful acquisition of top children’s media content from around the world, as well as a future caster for all new business development on behalf of the company. Brenda has a proven expertise in the navigation of an ever-shifting children’s digital media landscape. She has the rare talent to spot trends and recognize brand potential along with an innate ability to optimize for their success. Brenda’s work with Kidoodle.TV will set a standard for a more safe and reliable online space to relieve parents and help protect and entertain kids from over 160 countries as they learn and grow into the best versions of themselves. Over her 21+ year career in the children’s media space, Brenda has developed, produced and sold live action, animation and reality series across multiple channel worldwide and executed on numerous Licensing & Merchandising deals. Working with companies such as Scholastic, Cookie Jar Entertainment, Tom Lynch Company, and more, Brenda has helped these major brands develop precise and thoughtful plans for today, while anticipating the future of the business for tomorrow. Discovering novel ways to bring great content to children in a SAFE way all around the globe is her goal, and she pursues it with passion.
Dr. Colleen Russo Johnson – Chief Scientist and Co-Founder of the OK Play App
Dr. Colleen Russo Johnson is the Chief Scientist and co-founder of the OK Play app, which encourages curiosity and kindness through creative play.
As a developmental psychologist with an expertise in children’s media and technology, Colleen serves as an adjunct professor at Ryerson University and co-founder of the Ryerson Children’s Media Lab. She is also a senior scholar for UCLA’s Center for Scholars and Storytellers, research advisor to Sinking Ship Entertainment, and co-author of the bestselling children’s books, Dino Dana: Dino Field Guide Volume 1 and Volume 2.
Colleen is passionate about applying best practices from science into tech and media products to enhance the lives of families everywhere, and conducting original research that moves the needle in positive ways. She holds a PhD from Vanderbilt University as a National Science Foundation graduate fellow. She now lives in Toronto with her husband J.J., two dogs, and two young children, Ripley & Rex.
Sal Perez is an Emmy Award-nominated Supervising Producer and VP for Sesame Street Productions at Sesame Workshop, a role that includes oversight of the domestic production of iconic children’s series Sesame Street, The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo, and all other U.S.-based production efforts for live-action content. He previously led studio and location production, live shows, and themed entertainment for international Sesame Street co-productions, as well as production for the Workshop’s U.S. Social Impact projects. Beyond Sesame Workshop, his production credits include the Mexican adaptation of Gossip Girl and the reality competition series Mexico’s Got Talent. Perez graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Film & TV Production. He is a first-generation Mexican-American.
Emmy Award-winners Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley are executive producers of Disney XD’s “Big Hero 6 The Series,” based on Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Academy Award-winning feature film.
McCorkle and Schooley are best known for creating, writing and executive producing Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning global hit Disney Channel series “Kim Possible.” They also executive produced both television movies based on the series: “Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time” and “Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama.”
Both McCorkle and Schooley have made successful careers out of adapting relatable movie characters and stories into hit series, including the Emmy Award-winning “Penguins of Madagascar,” “Monsters vs. Aliens,” “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command,” “Hercules” and “Aladdin.” They have also taken their talents to the big screen, earning screenwriter credits for “Hotel for Dogs” and “Sky High.” Additional writing credits include Disney’s “The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride,” “Aladdin and the King of Thieves,” “The Return of Jafar,” “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins,” “Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast” and “Great Minds Think for Themselves.”
The long-time writing and producing duo met while working as entertainment managers at Sesame Place, a “Sesame Street”-themed play park in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. They made their foray into Hollywood through the mailroom of DIC Entertainment where they quickly advanced to staff writing positions before shifting to Walt Disney Television Animation. Their novel entitled “Liar of Kuzdu” was published in 2007.
The Temple University graduates both hail from Pennsylvania – McCorkle is from Morrisville and Schooley was raised in Levittown – and currently reside in Los Angeles with their families. McCorkle enjoys collecting Legos with his son and owns 2 dogs and 2 cats. Schooley, also a multiple pet owner, is raising a seeing eye dog for Guide Dogs of America.