Variety highlights the women who made an impact on the media landscape in the past year, with special notice of the “Up Next” class who look to level up.
Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller
Exec VP, HBO Documentary and Family
Exec VP, HBO Documentary and Family
As co-heads of the HBO docs division for five years, Abraham and Heller’s 50-plus titles in 2021 included watercooler hits like “Allen v. Farrow,” “Nuclear Family” and Bill Simmons’ Music Box series. This year they are behind Sundance hits “The Janes,” “Phoenix Rising,” “The Princess” and most recently Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio’s “George Carlin’s American Dream.” “Ideally you feel and think about things in a new way after seeing these films and series,” says Abraham. While they have more competitors than ever before, Heller is enjoying the current documentary boom. “The newfound broad appeal means it’s easier to convince the world that documentaries can be as dramatic, life changing and culture shifting as any form of storytelling.”
“The subjects of our documentaries, without whom I wouldn’t have a job, and who are incredibly brave and generous,” says Abraham.
“EDITORS!! Our films are discovered in real life but found in the edit room,” says Heller.
Senior VP, Senior Relationship Manager, Entertainment Banking
City National Bank
As an entertainment relationship manager for City National Bank, Ali operates a wide range of financial services for many top entertainers and business managers, from mortgages, tour financing, wealth management and planning, and music catalog sales. In the past two years, she expanded her client base and helped drive $30 million-plus in PPP loans and $35 million-plus in mortgages as clients took advantage of the hot housing market. “We are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead in the entertainment industry. While the industry is still adjusting to what a ‘new normal’ looks like, we have many clients preparing for new tours, productions, and more,” she says.
Curtain-raiser: “On a personal level, I am excited to go back to concerts and Broadway — and I am certain many others feel the same way.”
The Women of ASCAP
Exec VP & Chief Legal and Business Affairs Officer
Exec VP & Chief Marketing Officer
ASCAP Senior VP of Membership; Executive Director, ASCAP Foundation
Exec VP, Licensing
The country’s oldest performing-rights organization has undergone a major modernization campaign since Matthews took the helm in 2015. In addition to generating an all-time high licensing revenue of $1.3 billion and $1.2 billion in royalties in 2021, Matthews has delivered a 5% compound annual growth rate in revenue since 2015, thanks to top members such as Olivia Rodrigo, Paul McCartney, Adam Levine, Dua Lipa, Justin Bieber, Willow and Jayden Smith, Migos and Janelle Monáe. Kim lobbied for COVID-19 relief for music creators and Kim and Ruyle closed multi-million dollar long-term agreements with major licensees across streaming, cable, broadcast TV and more, while Iossa led her team in reimagining ASCAP’s member events on virtual platforms, including its seven award shows and annual conference, as well as launching its Fight for Change (diversity) and ASCAP Citizen (voter registration) initiatives. George-Middleton oversees ASCAP’s rhythm & soul and symphonic and concert membership departments and has taken on the role of executive director of the ASCAP Foundation and is extending its philanthropic music education and talent development programs.
VP, Entertainment Marketing
As the leading strategist of the music vertical for Wasserman’s brands and properties division, Bailin knows the power of creating memorable moments for music fans. Through her work, she has secured A-list talent including Megan Thee Stallion, Jack Harlow and Normani for AT&T’s sports activations, and negotiated American Express’ partnerships with festivals and promoters around the world. Last year, she was a key part of the company’s integration of Wasserman Music.
What’s next? Bailin is looking to expand into the web3 space, which she calls “an extraordinary opportunity to deliver innovative music experiences that meaningfully connect with fans.”
Senior VP, Marketing
Bass is behind the marketing campaigns of some of 2022’s biggest music stars, including Megan Thee Stallion and Gunna. In January, Bass led the initiative for Gunna’s No. 1 album “DS4EVER” and single “Pushin P,” which went viral on TikTok and was amplified by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Smokey Robinson.
Growth surge: Bass’ proudest accomplishment of the past year has been her own personal growth. “In the past 12 months, I’ve been the most decisive I’ve ever been in my life,” Bass says. “The decisions I made in the last year have led to some of my most proud career moments.”
Chairman, Entertainment Networks
NBCUniversal Television and Streaming
NBC ended the fall 2021 season No. 1 in the 18-49 demo and No. 1 in total viewers; Bravo reclaimed its No. 1 spot among women 18-49; Oxygen held the No. 1 position for length of tune-in for a second consecutive year; and E! took No. 1 honors for the most social cable reality network with 33 million+ interactions across major social-media platforms. That’s a lot of number ones for Berwick’s first year as chairman. Syfy, USA and Universal Kids had good years as well. With so much success, it’s little surprise that Berwick’s division accounts for more than half of NBCU’s overall cash flow.
Unsung heroes? “Our operations, IT and production management colleagues — we couldn’t have worked so efficiently, achieved so much and created thousands of hours of content over the past two years without everything they’ve done.”
Lead Manager, Influencer & Sponsored Content DirecTV
Billups launched the always-on influencer program with 19 creators who integrated brand messaging into their channels regularly throughout the year. Additional focus has been on creating opportunities, representation and equitable pay for creators of color with highlights that include launching L.A.’s first creator house for Black creators, the Crib Around the Corner, which led to millions of impressions in DirecTV’s first TikTok ad campaign and an Adweek Creator Visionary Award for Creator House of the Year. She replicated the success with Familia Fuego, the first content house for Latin comedy creators resulting in major press placements and additional collaborations.
Unsung heroes? “The other fellow badass WOC out there taking space at intimidating tables and pulling chairs up for the people behind them.”
Ayodele Casel, Ellenore Scott
Scott was the genius behind choreographing the first-ever TikTok musical “Ratatouille,” which raised more than $2 million for the Actors Fund. While Ayodele Casel is behind the tap choreography. While Scott is behind the moves of the highly anticipated revivals of “Funny Girl” and “Mr. Saturday Night,” starring Billy Crystal, Casel’s inspirations are the tap-dancing trailblazing Black women of the 1930s-1950s: Lois Bright, Louise Madison, Juanita Pitts, Edwina “Salt” Evelyn and Jewel “Pepper” Welch. “Their perseverance, heart, and artistic excellence in the face of racism, sexism, homophobia and being continually overlooked has infused my life with a purpose to bring their stories to the forefront.”
Facing challenges: Scott says, “Choreographing two Broadway shows at the same time is nearly impossible. I was only able to do that because I had two amazing associate choreographers by my side, Jeffrey Gugliotti and Jeffrey Alkins. I knew if I was not in the room they would fight for me and implement changes that would best fit my aesthetic and vision.”
Exec VP, Content and Creative
Ambassador Theatre Group
Caskey and Ambassador Theatre Group have focused successfully on live entertainment. Despite the pandemic, she, producing partner of 20 years Mike Isaacson and the team got back on track quickly. “David Byrne’s American Utopia” was one of the earliest shows to return to Broadway, with Byrne even creating a pared-down version of the show as a means of remaining open when Omicron hit. “American Utopia” wound up earning an Emmy nomination and a Special Tony Award. She also launched “Plaza Suite” on Broadway with Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick after years of being in the making.
Biggest challenge ahead? Retaining the perspective that came from the pandemic.
Sherrese Clarke Soares
Founder & CEO
HarbourView Equity Partners
Clarke Soares launched HarbourView Equity Partner in 2021 with $1 billion in backing from Apollo Global Management, looking to invest in music copyrights and other media assets, because, as she says, “content is queen.” She’s a Black woman in the mostly white male private equity world, and has hired a diverse team. Her goal? “We aim to be one of the largest, if not the largest asset management firm acquirer of premium music catalogs. … We are partners to the creative economy, artists, labels and publishers. We deeply value each part of the ecosystem with zero desire to compete operationally. We are excited to be the forever home of repertoire we acquire in partnership with artists, songwriters, labels and publishers in the process.”
Challenges ahead: “I have two personal challenges ahead: Parenting and self care.”
DeBose made history this year as the first queer woman of color to win an acting Oscar, for her vibrant performance as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” “If I’m the first of anything, I won’t be the last,” De Bose says. “I’m hoping that we can continue to have the opportunity to bring forth dynamic characters with the fullness of their identities, not what society deems them to be.” Overnight, the role has turned DeBose, previously best known for her work on the stage in musicals such as “Hamilton” and “The Donna Summer Musical,” into a global star.
Unsung heroes? “I’ve been very open about the fact that my mother is my hero, but I would say many teachers from my formative years are the unsung heroes. I’m a product of public arts education. Both my academic and arts teachers were incredibly influential in not only my education, but the forming of who I am as an artist and a human.”
Anne del Castillo
Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment
Del Castillo knows better than most how challenging COVID was for New York City, and not just because she was doing this interview while home with a mild case. Everyone in her agency suddenly had to become experts in crisis management, trying to help people who were not used to needing government assistance, much less, grants, loans, gear and protocol guidance. “We were learning about all this while at the same time providing resources and advocating for everyone in the entertainment economy,” Del Castillo says.
Unsung heroes? “The city’s civil servants are so underappreciated — they kept the city working and at great sacrifice during the pandemic. On a personal level, I’d say my mother, who came from the Philippines and raised me while a single mom, and my son who’s very understanding about demands of my job.”
Nina L. Diaz
Chief Creative Officer, Unscripted Entertainment and Adult Animation, Paramount +
CCO/President of Content, MTV Entertainment Group
MTV Entertainment Group
Although she’s continuing her duties with MTV’s Entertainment Group, in August Diaz added Paramount + duties to her title. Leveraging what she’s learned from her linear successes into streaming, she’s already expanding MTVE programming — including the “Drag Race” franchise — to Paramount +. In addition to prioritizing mental health storylines, Diaz played a part in creating the Mental Health Storytelling Coalition, a group of industry leaders and mental health professionals.
What are the biggest challenges you see ahead? “There is so much opportunity ahead with the ever-expanding universe of content. Along with it is a huge responsibility to be a conduit of change. The challenge is how to stay ahead of that giant curve and create new exciting pathways that are genre defining and culture shifting. It’s also an opportunity for even greater representation which creates the best storytelling.”
Arthouse Music Publishing and Records/Briidge
Eleven-time Grammy Award-nominated producer DioGuardi co-founded
the publisher/record label Arthouse records two decades ago, home to three- time Grammy Award nominated artist Ingrid Andress, songwriter-artist Jon Bellion and current chart topper Gayle, who has scored a hit with “abcdefu.” Arthouse is a powerhouse, with equity in tunes by Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber and more. She also gives back through her nonprofits Phoenix Rising Music Program, Inspired Nation and new platform, Briidge (an app connecting creators via skill set, location and personality).
Challenge ahead: “The launch of the music-creator collaboration platform Briidge, and being a part of the democratization of the music industry. I love that creators are beginning to see the walls between them come down. This will lead to a strong community full of shared information and inspiration. And it’s always a challenge to help the creators I represent be recognized for their incredible talent.”
VP, Global Sports Video
Even as the world felt stuck in neutral during the pandemic, Donoghue and Amazon were busy expanding its universe, most notably with deals for Premier League soccer, baseball, tennis and an exclusive Thursday Night Football deal with the NFL. “I’m really proud we’ve established Amazon as a viable, even preferred home for marquee rights,” Donoghue says. She says the NFL games will give fans new chances for “choose your own adventures” interactivity with statistics and graphics while watching. On a personal note, she says, “as someone who grew up in the Bronx, launching our deal with the New York Yankees was particularly impactful for me.”
Unsung hero? “My mom, who emigrated from Ireland and always reminded me to focus on helping others.”
Ellis found fulfillment personally and professionally when she left the coasts behind for Mississippi. She began speaking out politically, starting with efforts to remove the Confederate flag in her home state. She has now made her name playing strong Black women, from gospel music’s Mattie Moss Clark to civil-rights leader Fannie Lou Hammer to one of the mothers of the Central Park Five in “When They See Us.” That role earned her an Emmy nod as did her performance in “Lovecraft Country.” And then, of course, Ellis was Oscar-nominated as well, for her portrayal of Oracene Price in “King Richard.”
Amy Entelis, Courtney Sexton
Exec VP Talent & Development
For close to a decade, Entelis and Sexton have worked together to create and build an award-winning library of more than 50 feature and short documentary films, including “RBG,” “John Lewis: Good Trouble,” “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain,” “Three Identical Strangers” and most recently Daniel Roher’s “Navalny,” which they boarded during the film’s early stages. “Roher’s team had already secured access to Navalny when they called us,” says Entelis. “We both thought that they had the most incredible access to someone the world is so fascinated with, so within seconds we knew that we wanted to be part of that project.” While the duo appreciates political fare, they are not beholden to the genre. Case in point: Ethan Hawke’s “The Last Movie Stars” about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward and Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down,” which chronicles the former Arizona congresswomen’s long road to recovery after being shot.
What content were you addicted to last year?
Entelis: “ ‘Call My Agent,’ ‘Hacks’ and every episode of ‘Seinfeld.’”
Sexton: “Better Things,” “Yellowstone,” “Broadchurch,” “Smartless”
Actor, Singer, Comedian
A star of Manhattan’s alternative cabaret scene, Everett was a hit with audiences outside New York on “The Amy Schumer Show,” and resonated in “Patti Cake$,” displaying her acting chops and amazing pipes. Now, with her HBO Max series, “Somebody Somewhere,” she gets to wrap in everything she does well: singing, comedy, bawdy humor, fine character acting and a generous give and take with her talented castmates about a fortysomething woman trying to figure out her life. “I wanted to just say something that was specific to my experience because I think that is the best way I know how to relate to telling a story. … I feel like the best of my life didn’t start until my 40s.”
Unsung hero? Her dog, Poppy. “Just the capacity for love that she shared with me, it’s forever affected me and I know it sounds treacly, but it’s really fuckin’ true.”
President, Brands & Ventures HYBE America and Executive VP Brands SB Projects
Ferree brokered the TimBiebs partnership between Justin Bieber and Canadian restaurant chain Tim Horton, a huge boost for the company. She also brought Ariana Grande’s r.e.m beauty to Ulta. Recently promoted to president, Ferree will continue to create game-changing endorsement and branded deals, sponsorships, ad campaigns, as well as development of consumer products for SB Projects, Big Machine label Group and HYBE America, with philanthropy built into all her ventures.
Important support system: “My siblings,” says Ferree. “Every day they provide me with energy, inspiration, humor and love. They keep me in tune, focused and most importantly, grounded.”
Jen Flanz, Jill Katz
Exec Producer, Writer and Showrunner
“The Daily Show With Trevor Noah”
Flanz is a 20-year-plus “Daily Show” team veteran whose work has earned her seven Primetime Emmys and three Peabody awards. Katz, also a multiple Emmy winner, has been with the show for more than 16 years. With the pandemic they pivoted the show to Noah’s apartment, to a small set in a building on Times Square and then back to its original home on 11th Avenue finally with a live audience in place once more. Accomplishments include taking the show on the road to more than a dozen cities, establishing its short form Emmy-winning series “Between the Scenes,” launching a pop-up monument exhibit called Heroes of the Freedomsurrection, which pays “tribute” to the Jan. 6 insurrectionists, and growing the brand’s network of popular podcasts.
Biggest challenge ahead?
For Flanz, it’s “covering midterms” and housebreaking her dog.
For Katz, “Pushing myself and our team to get used to new normals.”
A two-time Tony winner, the singer, dancer and actor returned to the Broadway stage in 2021 for her 12th production, this time playing Marian Paroo in a revival of “The Music Man,” starring opposite Hugh Jackman. She also wrapped production on Darren Star’s hit “Younger,” which ran for seven seasons with Foster starring in all 84 episodes. In her free time, she creates artwork and sells it online and at exhibits, collaborating with artist Julien Havard — her dresser for more than 20 years whom she views as one of her heroes, along with her best friends. “[They’re] the people you can tell anything and everything to,” Foster says.
Biggest challenge ahead? “Navigating a career and motherhood. Finding that balance.”
Elaine Frontain Bryant
Exec VP, Head of Programming
Bryant knows what the A&E audience wants, and delivered a mix of true crime, documentaries and favorites such as “Hoarders” and “Intervention.” The “Biography” franchise rebooted with “WWE Legends” to become A&E’s top series of 2021, and the network had its most successful launch in five years with its “Secrets of Playboy” docuseries earlier this year. Bryant’s expansion of the home category created a powerful new sales block. Perhaps most important is Bryant’s dedication to A&E’s ongoing partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, both on air and via social media.
Biggest challenge ahead? “Programming for a cable brand is definitely facing strong headwinds. But we have some tricks up our sleeves!”
Co-President, Black Music
This year marks Gaba’s 20th anniversary at Atlantic, where, through various roles, she has brought her long-term vision to artist development, encompassing creative partnerships and a sustainable approach. Among the artists who have experienced her forward-thinking and parity-focused philosophy are Cardi B, Jack Harlow, Lil Uzi Vert, Gucci Mane, Burna Boy and FKA Twigs.
Unsung heroes? Her husband and two sons. “My husband has been my biggest champion and a major part of the support system that’s made a lot of my accomplishments possible. My professional world can be so crazy sometimes. My family keeps me grounded and sane.”
With two Emmys under her belt for her role as Ruth Langmore in Netflix’s “Ozark” and a top spot on the contenders list for the final season, Garner had one of her busiest years in 2021. In addition to the Jason Bateman-led series, she also took on the role of scammer Anna Delvey in Shonda Rhimes’ “Inventing Anna.” For both roles, the New York native had to take on extremely challenging accents, something she seamlessly accomplished. Still, she’s reminding herself of what’s important, noting that the biggest challenge ahead is “to remember to continue to be present given the ongoing state of the world and the challenging last few years we have lived through.”
What content were you addicted to last year? “‘Squid Game,’ ‘Succession’ and … anything on Bravo!”
Exec VP, Head of U.S. Content
Ghiazza joined Audible in 2019 and ascended to her current position during the pandemic; under her leadership, Audible’s original content has grown and listening grew 25% in 2021. “A lot of plans were touch and go during the pandemic, especially for theaters. We worked with groups like the Williamstown Theater to make audio productions of plays they had intended to do live so they’d have the opportunity to keep creating,” Ghiazza says. “We also created a ‘recording booth in a box’ that we sent to creators to use in their closets and bathrooms during the pandemic.”
Listening to? “We have a ‘words and music’ format and last year we had a program, ‘Beginner’s Mind, With Yo-Yo Ma.’ I grew up playing cello but I didn’t really know him as a storyteller, and it was such a beautiful uplifting story and it was married to the music and was so inspiring I listened to it a couple times.
Chief Programming Officer, Streaming
Paramount’s streaming services are thriving with Giles at the helm. Paramount + ended 2021 with 32.8 million subscribers, and the numbers are expected to grow now that the streamer is available in Latin America, Australia and the Nordic region. Paramount+’s expansive and diverse offerings range from “iCarly” and “Paw Patrol: The Movie” to “1883,” “Piccard” and “The Gilded Age.” And it’s Giles who oversees content across all genres. Thanks to her efforts, the ever-growing Paramount+ library already boasts more than 40,000 episodes and thousands of films.
Biggest challenge ahead? “There is so much great content, it will be increasingly challenging to navigate viewer choice and break through. The winners will harness the power of strong content and powerful franchises to create both lean back and lean in moments and I’m confident in our strategy to do so.”
Partner, Co-Head of Theater
Another big year for the theater talent powerhouse and her clients included Justin Peck’s raves for choreographing Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story”; Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen’s “Somebody Somewhere” premiered on HBO and was renewed for a second season.; Erica Saleh’s series “One of Us Is Lying” premiered on Peacock and was also renewed for a second season; director Danya Taymor’s “Pass Over” reopened on Broadway; and Noah Haidle made his Broadway debut with “Birthday Candles.” She was instrumental in the David Byrne “American Utopia” deal with HBO, and signed playwright Will Eno. She has just been made the point agent for all theater for Seuss Enterprises. “We need to build bridges between titans of this industry, and their wisdom and experience, and our Gen Z colleagues, and their passion and innovation. I’m a natural bridge — and facilitating connection is one of my favorite aspects of representation.”
What content were you addicted to last year? “‘Fire Emblem Three Houses’ on my Switch.
With the launch of TuneCore’s “Social Platforms,” which places independent creators into the music libraries of social-media platforms including TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Reels, Gleeson has been instrumental in leveling the playing field by enabling indie artists to connect with fans, viral moments and “to monetize those interactions,” she says. Deals with YouTube (YouTube Shorts), Facebook (Independent Artist Program) and Spotify (Discovery Mode) expanded opportunities for creators. Last year, she created and launched TuneCore Rewards and TuneCore Certified, two education and recognition programs for artists. A fierce advocate for gender equality, Gleeson commissioned the MIDiA Research study Be the Change: Women Making Music 2021.
Biggest challenge ahead? “These days we are looking at web3, NFTs, gaming and fandom as further avenues of revenue for our artists. The challenge for TuneCore will be to find ways to automate these services so that independent music creators can easily access and monetize them.”
President, ABC News
Last year, Godwin made history by becoming the first Black woman to lead a major broadcast network’s news division. She oversees editorial and business operations for broadcast, digital, streaming and audio news across the ABC News organization. “To lead a major news organization when the world is hungry for information about everything that is important to humanity is quite an extraordinary and humbling experience,” she says. “The importance of our profession has never been more evident than right now.” Since January 2020, an average of 20 million viewers have tuned in monthly to ABC News Live, the network’s streaming news channel, an increase of 142% year over year.
Biggest challenge ahead? “Continue to build a bridge between linear broadcasting and our streaming and digital future. We want ABC News to reach audiences wherever they are, whenever they want and on whatever device they are on. My goal is for ABC News to be No. 1 and dominate and in all of those places.
Director, writer, actor
After years of success as an actor, Gyllenhaal took on two new roles with “Lost Daughter”: director and screenwriter. She earned an Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay. “Making the film clarified for me what it feels like when I’m really listening to myself,” she says. “There were little tugs that I came to pay attention to when something was off — even if everyone was saying it was fine, I listened to it. Going forward, I’ll be listening to that part of myself more.”
Unsung hero? “My acting teacher Penny Allen, who died after the pilot of ‘The Deuce’ [in which Gyllenhaal starred and produced], was really brilliant. I think about her every day when I’m working or thinking about work, she’s a huge part of why I am where I am.”
Kimberley D. Harris
Exec VP, Comcast Corp.
General Counsel, NBCUniversal
Harris balances her two roles with apparent ease. As NBCUniversal’s general counsel, she handles international and regulatory affairs for Comcast while supporting the company’s worldwide businesses. And as an exec VP for Comcast Corp., Harris serves as a legal adviser to the senior management team while overseeing the legal functions of all NBCUniversal divisions. In May 2021, Harris was named to the board of directors at Goldman Sachs. Despite her busy schedule, she tries to carve out a little time to catch up on her TV viewing — a wise move considering her day jobs.
What content were you addicted to last year? “There were too many great shows to mention! But ‘Yellowstone,’ and ‘One of Us Is Lying’ (on Peacock) and ‘Bridgerton’ (on that other service) were some favorites.”
Exec VP, Late Night
NBCUniversal Television and Streaming
If there’s a queen of Late Night, Hockmeyer would wear the crown. “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night With Seth Meyers” continue to perform well, and “Saturday Night Live” raked in eight Emmys in 2021. But Hockmeyer’s domain expands beyond NBC. She also leads late-night programming for NBCU’s cable and streaming platforms. Earlier this year, she ordered a second season of Peacock’s “The Amber Ruffin Show.” Not only has Hockmeyer’s vision kept NBCU at the forefront of late-night TV, the shows she oversees dominate national conversations across entertainment, political, and pop culture topics.
What content were you addicted to last year? “‘Succession.’ I love the complicated family dynamics. Kieran Culkin’s character is just genius.”
Carletta Higginson, Vivien Lewit
Global Head of Music Publishing, YouTube
Global Head of Artists, YouTube
Higginson and Lewit prioritize YouTube’s racial-justice initiatives along with securing hundreds of licensing deals and partnerships for global artists. Higginson helped launch YT Music and Premium along with 2021’s YouTube Shorts, with projects aimed at creatively supporting songwriters, producers and publishers; and is one of the executive chairs of YouTube’s Black Voices Fund. Lewit also aided the launch of YT Shorts as lead executive for the global launch, securing partnerships with artists including BTS, the Weeknd and Doja Cat. She’s also executive lead on YouTube’s Black Voices Fund for Music and YouTube’s DEI initiatives.
Biggest challenge ahead?
Higginson: “The last couple of years we’ve seen an outburst of support for these initiatives due to the protests sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others. I take it as my personal responsibility to make sure that this push is sustained in the long run and permanently changes the way this industry conducts business.”
Lewit: “I most often see challenges as opportunities. New technologies that have the potential to transform artist and fan connectivity, how content is shared and consumed, present what could be a new paradigm in the music industry.”
Exec VP, Consumer and Digital Platforms
Despite COVID challenges, Hirsch and her team successfully delivered the second virtual DC FanDome to 66 million fans around the world — a 300% increase — and expanded the one-day event into a multi-month experience. With support from the wider WarnerMedia Technology and Operations group, FanDome also integrated an NFT program to drive innovation and find new ways to connect with fans on a global level — all from a blockchain perspective.
What content were you addicted to last year? “I’m a content junkie, so this is a tough question to answer — but ‘Euphoria,’ ‘Peacemaker,’ ‘Better Things’ and ‘Somebody Somewhere’ top the list.”
Daisy Hoffman, Mallory Smith
A specialist in dance music, Hoffman oversees artists that sold almost 120,000 tickets in 2021. Working with an all-female team, Hoffman booked her talent for residences in high-profile Las Vegas venues. She also had her roster on the lineups of every notable festival. Smith worked her formidable brand partnerships skills to amplify her artists’ voices, particularly to Black and LGBTQ+ audiences, while retaining their art and integrity.
Smith: “Educating larger brands on how the most sustainable partnerships are becoming talent-led.”
Hoffman: “Women of the music industry need to actively seek out ways to create opportunities for both our peers and our female clients. We as agents need to continue to push promoters and labels to promote equality.”
In February, Jones marked her first full year as president of MSNBC — and as the first Black executive to lead a major television news network. In that time, she has rebranded the network’s live, breaking news coverage as “MSNBC Reports” and expanded to streaming with the MSNBC hub on Peacock. Jones also brought on Amanda Spain as MSNBC Film’s new VP of longform acquisitions to seek out diverse nonfiction content and expand the network’s commitment to airing engaging and informative documentaries. On the programming side, Jones’ biggest challenge may be filling “The Rachel Maddow Show” timeslot Tuesday-Friday when Maddow moves to Mondays only.
Challenges ahead? “The mental health impact the last few years has created. Our children, families and our colleagues are forever changed after two years and counting of lives lost and normalcy shattered due to the pandemic.”
Consumer Products and Experiences, Paramount
Kaufman oversees more than $5.5 billion in worldwide retail revenue, licensing, merchandising and experiences that include gaming, Broadway, themed entertainment and live events for all of Paramount’s brands and franchises. She also oversees its NFTs. Kaufman has secured successful co-branded collaborations with notables including JoJo Siwa and Jeremy Scott/Moschino. She’s launched multiple direct-to-consumer shops connected to popular franchises and brands including “Star Trek” and “South Park.” Her campaign for “Paw Patrol: The Movie” secured the most tie-ins of any Paramount film to date. Kaufman is also responsible for brand intentionality around DEI initiatives.
Unsung heroes? The behind-the-scenes support employees at Paramount
In 2007, Khosrowshahi established Reservoir Media, the first female-founded publicly traded independent music company in the U.S. Now 100 employees strong, Reservoir owns and manages more than 140,000 copyrights and 36,000 master recordings. In addition to her role at Reservoir, Khosrowshahi serves as a director on the board of the National Music Publishers’ Assn., working to secure fair compensation and rights for songwriters.
Biggest challenge ahead? If she could change one thing in the industry, it would be “an end to the litigation and negotiation of songwriter compensation models, and the establishment of a fair and widely recognized formula that values songwriters and their work.”
Global Head of Business Affairs
Downtown Music Publishing
Koramblyum is forging forward in her newly created role as global head of business affairs overseeing all of the company’s legal and business affairs for a heavyweight roster of artists including the estates of George Gershwin, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Fiona Apple, John Prine, Ryan Tedder/OneRepublic, Niall Horan and Hunter Hayes. Already an MVP in the company, she served as senior member of the legal and business affairs team for the music publisher’s parent company, Downtown Music Holdings, overseeing several high-profile transactions, including agreements with Wu-Tang Clan and the estate of Miles Davis. She’s also on the Advisory Board for Women in Music.
Unsung heroes? “Songwriters, who often don’t get the type of recognition that they deserve. For example, there is a Grammy Award for best artist and best producer, but there is no Grammy for best songwriter. It’s wildly unjust if you think about it because every artist recognizes that they don’t have anything if they don’t have the foundation of an incredibly written and memorable song.”
President, Home & Food Content and Streaming
Warner Bros. Discovery
Latman took the reins of some of the most valuable programming for Warner Bros. Discovery, establishing an overall strategy for highly valuable brands HGTV and Food Network, which rank as top 10 cable networks among adults 25-54 and women 25-54 every night of the week. The key to series development? “Knowing the audience and what they want. Knowing what they expect when they come to us. We want to give them what they want while stretching the brand promise and bringing in different voices and unexpected storytelling elements with each new show,” she says.
Favorite binge-watching: All the scripted content with juicy female characters — from “The Flight Attendant” to “Killing Eve” and “Mare of Easttown” to “Hacks.” Plus, of course, “Ted Lasso”!
Global Head of Electronic Music
LaFera’s time in music management with her powerhouse company, Little Empire Music, has put her in good stead at WME where she leads an international team of top agents in electronic music, representing marquee talent such as Kygo, Steve Aoki, Tokimonsta, Martin Garrix, Sofi Tukker, Black Coffee and Peggy Gou. She also works alongside WME’s digital and crossover departments the agency’s web3 efforts. A mentor at Women of Endeavor and a leader at She Is the Music Dance Group, LaFera’s work has always been about diversity and parity for women.
Next hurdle? LaFera counts “getting to equality and booking women on music festival lineups” among the biggest challenges ahead.
Chief Brand Officer
As CBO, McMahon leads the company’s global brand strength and growth, overseeing marketing, creative services and global sales and partnerships. While she sometimes still plays a character in front of the camera, her focus is behind the scenes — and shining the light on the female performers as the driving force behind WWE’s Women’s Evolution. This year, she over saw WrestleMania 38, which took place live across two nights and became WWE’s highest-grossing and most-attended event in company history with more than 150,000 fans.
Biggest challenge ahead? “Navigating the digital transition from web 2.0 to web3, blockchain, the continued advancement of AI and what that looks like across business and our society in general
National Geographic Content
With award-winning and critically acclaimed franchises including “Genius,” “Life Below Zero” and, “Secrets of Whales,” as well as the Academy Award-winning “Free Solo,” Monroe has transformed Nat Geo into a home for high-quality scripted and unscripted fare alike. Talent on both sides of the camera — from Leonardo DiCaprio and Jeff Goldblum to James Cameron, Ron Howard and Darren Aronofsky — are eager to work with Monroe in bringing meaningful stories to life because she allows creative voices the freedom to tell their stories. She’s also in charge of bringing Nat Geo content to Disney+’s 172 million households around the globe.
What content were you addicted to last year? “I really upped my podcast listening game over the past year! I’m particularly addicted to Peter Kafka’s “Recode Media,” “Work Life” with Adam Grant, “Masters of Scale” with Reid Hoffman, and of course, Variety’s “Strictly Business!”
The Women of Neon
VP, Audience Engagement & Impact, Co-Head Super
In just five years, Neon has garnered five Academy Awards, most notably for 2019’s “Parasite,” which became the first non-English language film to win an Oscar in the best picture category. Earlier this year the company garnered six Academy Award nominations overall, for “The Worst Person in the World,” “Spencer” and the documentary “Flee.” “Every film we work on has a very strong point of view and not just thematically, but from an artistic standpoint,” says Zisa. Despite a shifting theatrical landscape, Federoff’s confidence in Neon films’ performance at the box office hasn’t swayed due to COVID. “Our films offer both exceptional storytelling and a unique cinematic experience,” she says. “Those are two things that people will leave their houses and go to a theater for.” Heusel adds, “With our films we are trying to expand audiences’ view of what cinema can be.”
What content are you addicted to?
Heusel: “Severance” and “Station Eleven”
Federoff: “Turning Red”
Zisa: “Inventing Anna,” “The Tinder Swindler” and “Bad Vegan”
MTV Documentary Films
When MTV recruited Nevins to launch and run the MTV Documentary Films banner in 2019 the first property that the renowned HBO alum acquired was the short doc “St. Louis Superman.” Eight months later the film was nominated for an Academy Award. It marked MTV’s first Oscar nomination in 15 years. Since then, the fledgling nonfiction unit has received two additional Oscar noms, a Peabody Award, two Emmy nominations and one Emmy win for “76 Days.” In February, Nevins won a bidding war for the worldwide rights to Ondi Timoner’s Sundance hit “Last Flight Home.” “When I was at HBO, I could buy a spectrum of films and take guesses on a lot of things,” says Nevins. “I was working on 40 films a year. Now let’s say I’m working on 10 or 12. That’s a very different job. Each deal I make is very calculated and complex.”
Biggest challenge ahead? “Staying alive.”
Executive, Music Brand Partnerships
Newhart oversees East Coast business for the global Music Brand Partnerships division, which has closed more than 500 deals for clients since the start of the pandemic as a branding agent for the Jonas Brothers, Lauryn Hill, Anitta and more. She also helped bring Latin star Karol G into the U.S. mainstream, securing her as Smirnoff’s global brand ambassador — who also sponsored Karol’s first US tour, “Bichota.” Newhart also secured Young Thug as a Giuseppe Zanotti ambassador and set him up for an Adobe campaign that led to a deal extension. Additionally, she sits as communications chair for UTA Women’s Interest Group and as a member of La Femme Majeure, an event series dedicated to supporting women in music.
Biggest challenge ahead? “With the robust return of live events and the simultaneous emergence of virtual media like the metaverse, brands and artists must work together to develop partnerships that cater to this new hybrid model of in-person connection and digital experiences.”
Playwright, Screenwriter, Producer
Nottage recently curated a multi-media installation called “The Watering Hole” at the Signature Theatre, which featured the work of 17 artists of color. She also executive produced the short documentary “Takeover” that’s currently streaming on the New York Times Op-Docs site and brought two projects to Broadway simultaneously: “MJ the Musical” and “Clydes.” Her work “Intimate Apparel” launched at the Lincoln Center during this time as well. She’s the first and only woman to have earned the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice. Nottage particularly loves “conversations that force [her] to interrogate, challenge and shift [her] own perspective.”
Unsung heroes? Husband Tony Gerber and collaborators Kate Whoriskey, Miranda Haymon, Christopher Wheeldon and Bart She
Chief Content & Advertising Business Officer
Overseeing Spotify’s global content and distribution operations, including original content as well as industry and creator relationships, Ostroff aims to make it a home for global creators. Last year, she secured Spotify’s first Bookcast featuring “Run Rose Run,” from Dolly Parton and James Patterson; oversaw the Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment deal for the Batman Unburied podcast; and launched the Frequency brand, which features Black creators. Ostroff also spearheaded deals with Michelle and Barack Obama’s Higher Ground Audio, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Archewell Audio, WB/DC and Kim Kardashian. “Our mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity, so elevating creators from all different backgrounds is central to our identity.”
Content addiction? “I was addicted to shows like ‘WeCrashed,’ ‘Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber,’ and ‘The Dropout.’ Being able to experience the highs and lows of each of these founders while they built their companies was wildly entertaining.”
Lylette Pizarro McLean
Founder and Co-Managing Partner
Influence Media Partners
McLean has overseen $300 million worth of spending on acquiring the copyrights by artists including the Stereotypes, who have worked extensively with Bruno Mars; Skyler Stonestreet, who worked with Ariana Grande; and Jessie Reyez, who teamed with Calvin Harris. She’s buying up the rights to future work from creatives and entrepreneurs. McLean also heads IMP’s partnership with Warner Music Group and BlackRock, which will invest $750 million in culturally significant songs. McLean enjoys “crafting unique ideas that are innovative in the way we think about music partnerships and long term value.”
Biggest challenge ahead? “Adapting to the after-effects of the pandemic for years to come on social, emotional and physical levels.”
The Gersh Agency
The pandemic taught Price that you can go home again. As a “systems-oriented person,” Price, whose client list includes Elizabeth Olsen, Sam Rockwell, Richard Jenkins, Melanie Lynskey and Tom McCarthy, had to acclimate to working from home, making “a conscious effort to organize a lot of Zooms, to email and call my clients and let them know I’ve got their backs.”
What content have you been addicted to? “This is embarrassing, but I watched every show on HGTV, everything that had to do with redoing people’s homes. It was escapist TV, modified by me always having the news on.”
Author, Model, Actress
With her debut book, “My Body,” author-model-actor-businesswoman-new-mom Ratajkowski sparked a conversation about women’s rights, misogyny, beauty standards and more in nuanced, thoughtful essays, a risky endeavor in a world that rewards the loudest “hot takes.” “I just didn’t want this book to be that, because that’s not the way I see the world anymore,” she says. The book hit the New York Times bestseller list. “It’s really unnerving. I think that I would much rather exist in a world where there were superheroes and villains and everything was good and bad and easily determined but that has not been my experience in life.” She’s taken on writing assignments and is setting plans for “things that kind of will continue the conversation within the book that I’m really excited about.”
Hooked on: “TikTok. I think TikTok is having a more interesting discourse around feminism than people who are publishing books right now. It gives me a cultural connection that feels rich and fun and just interesting.”
Chair, Paramount Global; Chairperson, CEO and President, National Amusements; Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Advancit Capital
This list alumna says she never thought she’d end “up working in the family business.” Redstone is proud of the team at Paramount, where she strives to continue securing successful partnerships across the entertainment industry on behalf of the brand and cheering everyone on at their combined successes. Redstone oversees the leadership team, whose recent accomplishments include the Paramount-owned No. 1 cable series “Yellowstone” and maintaining CBS as the most-watched daytime and late night network with the top two dramas, top six comedies and the No. 1 news program. Paramount+ exceeded expectations with 84% revenue growth and 56 million subscribers in the last year.
Biggest challenge ahead? “Navigating the political and economic environment around the world both as individuals and corporations.”
Rhimes has been in this business long enough to know how to make a hit series — i.e., “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” — and did it again when writing her first project for Netflix, the hit series about con artist Anna Delvey, “Inventing Anna,” starring Anna Chlumsky and Julia Garner. Additionally, she serves as producer on “Bridgerton,” working alongside creator Chris Van Dusen on the record-breaking series for the streaming service. Rhimes also oversees Shondaland Prods., which includes 11 shows, a podcast division and a digital content website.
Unsung heroes? “Teachers. Anyone involved in educating children during these times including teachers at underfunded schools, specialists supporting the needs of kids who learn differently and educators and administrators doing the best they can in the face of archaic policies that damage students’ growth. Heroes. Every last one.”
Exec VP, Programming — Specials, Late-Night and Unscripted Series
During Rosenstein’s tenure she has programmed seminal shows and specials including “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” “Real Time With Bill Maher” and “David Byrne’s American Utopia.” Last year, Rosenstein’s unique slate won five Emmys and in 2020 HBO earned its first Emmy nomination for a reality series with “We’re Here,” which Rosenstein has renewed for a third season. Recently she launched “Pause With Sam Jay” and “Game Theory With Bomani Jones.” Rosenstein says the throughline that connects her programming is “finding provocative voices that look at the world from a fresh perspective. I love working with the smartest, funniest people, and helping them develop a format that matches their talent.”
Unsung heroes? “My two kids. I watched them go through two tough years of the pandemic and they never lost their motivation or their work ethic. I think they’ve come out on the other side even stronger.”
Rutledge may be the first woman to serve as American Express’ chief marketing officer, but in her first four years in the post, she’s devised a slew of innovative benefits and experiences for cardholders, many of which span the sports and entertainment spaces. From AMEX’s “Unstaged” livestream series — including performances from Maroon 5, Lizzo and Dua Lipa — to the company’s first-ever NFT with SZA, Rutledge has found ways to bring the 172-year-old brand to the forefront of contemporary entertainment. In 2021, the company, along with AMEX ambassador Lin-Manuel Miranda, gave back with the CODE (RED) COVID-relief initiative.
Biggest challenges ahead? “I see challenges as opportunities. For me, my focus is how we can all operate efficiently with purpose and empathy. It’s about empowering the next generation of talent and helping marketers hone their craft and be ambitious for themselves, as well as for others.”
Agent, Audio Division
Since joining UTA in late 2018, Schenkman has been a key player in upping the agency’s podcast game, including recently helping to land seven-figure ad deals for Mandii B and Bridget Kelly’s “See, the Thing Is” with Gumball and Mandy Matney and David Moses’ “Murdaugh Murders” with AdLarge. She also cut a distribution deal between Novel and Wondery for “Harsh Reality: The Story of Miriam Rivera,” which hit No. 1 on the podcast charts.
Biggest challenge? Breaking through in a noisy market. “There are only 24 hours in a day and there are currently over 2 million podcasts to listen to.”
CEO, Fox News Media
Since becoming CEO in 2018, Scott has led a total reorganization of the management structure, and innovated the Fox News brand, which now encompasses eight linear and digital platforms and services, including the newly launched Fox Weather. Spearheaded Fox News Channel’s inaugural late- night program, “Gutfeld!,” and the continued expansion of Fox News Intl., which now reaches nearly 45 countries worldwide across South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Streamer Fox Nation’s subscriber base jumped 40% this past year following new programming initiatives such as “Fox News Primetime All the Time” and “Tucker Carlson Originals.”
Unsung heroes? “All journalists covering the war in Ukraine, especially Pierre Zakrzewski, Oleksandra ‘Sasha’ Kuvshynova, Benjamin Hall and the countless reporters and photographers who have truly served the world by capturing the brutal reality of this war. A free press has a duty to shine light on the truth and the act of doing so came at a heartbreaking price for Pierre and Sasha.”
Before starting her own entertainment law practice, Shihadeh was a partner at the Davis Firm, where she negotiated deals for clients including recording artists, producers, songwriters and management companies. During her first year of business at Shihadeh Law, she formed More Hits Publishing on behalf of producer J White Did It (Megan Thee Stallion), negotiated El Guincho’s ((Rosalia, J Balvin) new label agreement between Sony Music Latin and his own Nuevo Rico, and struck a publishing deal for Andrew Bolooki (Lil Nas X) with Sony.
The key to her success? “Do good work, go above and beyond what people expect of you, and finally, don’t take no for an answer.”
Smith-Cameron feels a strong sense of ownership over Gerri, her character on HBO’s “Succession.” Gerri was originally written as a smaller, male part, but when Smith-Cameron was cast, she came into her own as a dynamic figure in the workplace of Waystar Royco, and easily the most prominent non-Roy family member in the ensemble. The part has significantly boosted the profile of Smith-Cameron, previously best known for her work on the stage, and the actor says she’s been deeply moved by the response fans have had toward Gerri, who has become a relatable figure for many women in business. The fans she’s gained from the show can see her soon in this year’s “Vengeance,” the first film she has made since first joining “Succession” in 2018.
What content were you addicted to last year? “ ‘Severance.’ Oh my God it’s so good. I was really in awe of that and just mad that it’s over. I’m so glad it was picked up for Season 2.”
Women of Sony Music
Exec VP, Intl. Marketing, U.S. Repertoire
Senior VP, Artist Initiatives and Business Administration
Tiffany R. Warren
Executive Vice President, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Thomas has helped spearhead many artist campaigns, overseeing a global department that consists of marketing & promo, digital/streaming in markets across the U.K., Europe, Latin America, Australasia & Africa. Under Warren’s leadership, SMG has created partnerships with organizations like GLAAD, MLT Black Equity at Work and LeanIn.org. Warren also advises global leaders through inclusion and unconscious bias education sessions in partnership with SMG’s employee business networks, labels and task forces. Working closely with music creators, Moultrie oversees worldwide artist transparency support via efforts such as Artists Forward, which prioritizes comprehensive support for musicians in all aspects of their career development. She also handles Sony Music’s Artist Assistance program, which provides talent with access to career advice and mental health offerings.
Biggest challenge ahead?
Thomas: “Navigating our new world — we’ve gotten used to being less social and to a virtual existence — and with the world opening up, we must find ways to truly connect and amplify our artists’ stories in a way that cuts through the noise.”
Moultrie: “To constantly be connecting with the creative community to learn what we need to provide, and determining the easiest and most artist-friendly way to present the information and then ensure that the artists and [and their teams] that drive our business are aware of all that we are doing for them and enabling them to easily access whatever assistance they need.”
Warren: “Removing the fear of change and systemic roadblocks to increasing representation and equity within the music industry. We have a long way to go and we have to persevere and maintain momentum.”
Women of the Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit
Mary J. Blige
Performer, Actor, Producer, Entrepreneur
Producer, Blue Butterfly
Founder, the Ayars Agency
Mari Arionne Davies
VP, Booking & Talent, Live Nation Urban
The awesome foursome combined forces to create the inaugural Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit for a Mothers Day weekend event featuring Blige, Chaka Khan, XSCape, Ella Mai and more. The Atlanta-based festival, presented by Blige and Pepsi in partnership with Live Nation, focuses on music, wellness, tech, beauty and financial literacy. The brainchild of Blige, Jackson and Ayars with support from Davies at Live Nation, the festival will give a stage and voice to the performers and decision-makers behind the scenes with a spotlight on Atlanta’s local, minority and female-owned businesses on-site.
Blige: “My sister. She is fiercely loyal and always there for me … she is my biggest supporter and keeps the energy positive.”
Ayars: There are so many women in my life who’ve helped and supported me both personally and professionally — but in this moment, Nicole Jackson is the first person I think of when I hear unsung hero. The effects of her support, encouragement, and tough love has been insurmountable. My friend Chaka Pilgrim, my sister Jurina, and my mom would be included as well.”
Davies: “My support team — both professionally and personally. My work family who I spend more time with than anyone else! My friends, my therapist, my reverend and my dad.”
Jackson: “My mom, Gail Prioleau, who supports me no matter what the ask. Jametta Chandler-Moore, who rode with me through one of the toughest times in my life. Chaka Pilgrim, who gave me my start in the music industry coming straight from South Carolina with no experience. Ashaunna Ayars, who always challenges me to be the best me that I can be. Last but not least my girls from college [Sheri, Kita & Hillary] who have been my cheerleaders since we met.”
Uh is a former employment discrimination attorney who believes that “storytelling is the great work of advocacy and advocacy informs how I agent, especially for marginalized voices.” She works with talent including Lupita Nyong’o, Simu Liu, Cecily Strong and Suzan-Lori Parks. Uh started at CAA six months before the pandemic and says while she “felt lucky to have had time in the office to get my bearings before the world turned upside down,” she was especially grateful that she was able to use the last few years to “realign myself with the work I want to do.”
Unsung heroes? “My parents immigrated to the U.S. from South Korea and ran a convenience store in Florida. Their sacrifices are directly related to me being able to do what I love. They were the earliest example for me about the entrepreneurial spirit and modeled for me what it meant to take pride in what you do and be unapologetic about who you are and to lift people up around you.”
NBC News Chief White House Correspondent, Co-Anchor of “Weekend Today”
Welker was named chief White House correspondent along with Peter Alexander in 2021. “There’s no question that each administration is different and has a different approach with the press corps and different challenges,” says Welker. “But my job remains the same no matter who is in the oval office, to hold those in power accountable.” In 2020 Welker joined “Weekend Today” as co-anchor alongside Alexander. That same year Welker moderated the final presidential debate between Trump and Biden. “I wasn’t focused on any backlash or criticism,” she remembers. “I knew that in order to be prepared I had to block out everything else.” Welker is a member of the National Assn. of Black Journalists.
Biggest challenge ahead? “Life during the pandemic these past two years has really put a lot into perspective for so many of us. I hope to keep that renewed sense of the most meaningful things in life — my family, my colleagues, and the important work we do every day — while navigating the new normal ahead.”
Vice Chair, Music Industry
Loeb & Loeb
An esteemed entertainment lawyer whose focus is on the music industry, White has negotiated multimillion-dollar record deals and struck agreements related to publishing, touring, marketing, licensing, merchandising and more. She has negotiated talent and music licensing deals for Uber and Citibank, and represented Christina Aguilera for her Nintendo endorsement deal and 2022 Spanish-language record “La Fuerza.” Becoming a dominant presence in the Asian entertainment market, White also helped K-pop sensation BTS land a meal on McDonald’s menus in 86 countries and score a global record distribution pact with Universal Music Group.
Carolyn Williams, Camille Yorrick
Exec VP, Visual Content Production
Appointed exec VP in 2021, Williams has collaborated with RCA’s executive leadership team on brand management, community building, operations, marketing and co-leading the creative and content development teams. She was instrumental in the success of H.E.R.’s and Jazmine Sullivan’s smash albums. Yorrick oversees the label’s creative and visual strategy, tapping into her talent for strong creative partnership to maximize brand value. This includes television and award show performances by Doja Cat and Tate McRae.
Family first: “Nothing I have accomplished in my career would be possible without their unwavering support,” says Williams of her family.
“My parents are no longer here, but I’m reminded every day of their impact on me. They were immigrants from Guyana, who worked every day. That work ethic was my model,” notes Yorrick.
Exec VP, Head of Programming
Under Winter’s care, Lifetime and LMN continue broadening their appeal by adding more diverse programming without sacrificing the entertainment value and quality longtime viewers expect. This year alone, more than 21 million people tuned in for the “Janet Jackson” documentary. Meanwhile, “Single Black Female” — starring Amber Riley, Janet Hubert and Raven Goodwin — currently holds the record of Lifetime’s top original movie of the year. Further proof that Winter is on the right track: “List of a Lifetime” was nominated for a Critics Choice Award, and “Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia” won an Image Award for direction and a Women’s Image Network Award for its star, Danielle Brooks.
Unsung heroes? “My hero is David Winter. Whether as a husband, father, friend or business owner, he is all in. He’s so invested and present for others that when he has a free minute, he doesn’t know what to do with it. I am incredibly lucky to have him as my lifelong partner.”
Jennifer C. Witz
Chief Executive Officer
Since taking over as the first female CEO at SiriusXM in 2021, Witz led the company to nearly $9 billion in revenue with 32 million paid subscribers, $1.54 billion in advertising and $348 million in podcast and off-platform revenue. Witz expanded the SXM App with new streaming offerings outside the car. The launches of branded channels, such as with TikTok, the SiriusXM Small Stage series, “Artist Takeover With U2” and podcast deals struck with Crooked Media, Audiochuck and its founder, Ashley Flowers, are expected to attract younger listeners and improved churn. Witz also called for Juneteenth to be recognized as a company-wide holiday, and oversaw established programming content honoring AAPIHM, Black Music Month, Black History Month, Women’s History Month and more across SiriusXM and Pandora.
Biggest challenge ahead? “Making sure that not just now but in five years, we are giving listeners the best choices in all of audio — across music, talk, sports and comedy. And doing it while delivering value for our shareholders and ensuring the well-being of our employees, especially as we navigate the uncertainty of the economy.”
Chairman, Global Advertising & Partnerships
Known for her innovative approach to ad sales, Yaccarino has nimbly shifted NBCU’s approach to the marketplace and ushered in a new era defined by audiences and ad-supported streaming. Under her watch, NBCU’s One Platform — an all-audience transactional model introduced in 2020 — gained 90% adoption among clients, and led Yaccarino to hold ONE21, an unprecedented global gathering where she challenged NBCU’s partners to help make its One Platform a marketplace where everyone thrives. She also secured more than $500 million in commitments for Peacock just one year after its launch.
Media Personality and Entrepreneur, co-host of “The Breakfast Club”
As the co-host of Power 105’s “The Breakfast Club” for more than 10 years, Yee has her finger on the pulse of pop culture. But it’s her entrepreneurial spirit that puts her at the top of the game, having opened Coffee Uplifts People, a majority Black-owned coffee company, in 2021. She’s also a community pillar as the first-ever global ambassador for diversity, inclusion and engagement for BSE and New York Public Library. Through all of her work, Yee seeks to empower other women.
Fight the power: “We’re told we have to look a certain way, that we’re in competition with each other, that we have to accept the disrespect. I want more of us to hold positions of power and control our own narratives.”