Advisory Circle

Kathleen Abernathy


Kathleen Abernathy recently returned to Wilkinson Barker Knauer as Special Counsel following her corporate retirement. In 2006, following her term as a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, she was elected to the Board of Directors of Frontier Communications. In 2010 she joined the company as Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice President, Regulatory and Governmental Affairs. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of ISO New England. Most recently she was selected by the FCC to participate on an Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment. Prior to her term as an FCC Commissioner, she taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law.

Joan Blades


Joan Blades is a co-founder of an open source effort to rebuild respectful civil discourse across ideological, cultural and party lines while embracing our core-shared values. She is also a co-founder of  and She is a co-author of The Custom-Fit Workplace, winner of a Nautilus book award in 2011 and The Motherhood Manifesto, which won the Ernesta Drinker Ballard Book Prize in 2007. A mediator (attorney) by training and inclination, she is a nature lover, artist and true believer in the power of citizens and our need to rebuild respectful civil discourse while embracing our core shared values.

Cynthia Cleveland


Ms. Cleveland is an expert in developing, translating and monetizing intellectual property rights into major global consumer brands and new businesses across diverse industries. A 5-time CEO-President, Cynthia has led companies ranging from Fortune 500s to private for profit companies to start-ups. Companies Cynthia has led have generated over $4 billion in worldwide sales across consumer product, entertainment, and publishing brands. Her career has spanned well-known companies including Universal Studios, Mattel Toys, Teleflora Gifts and Carnation Foods. She advocates for diversity especially supporting more women in business leadership.

Priscilla Cohen


Priscilla Cohen is the Senior Executive Producer at Wondros, a full-service production company with a focus on content that fosters social responsibility.  Prior to her work at Wondros, Cohen worked with Frank Oppenheimer at the San Francisco Exploratorium, at The Magic Theater in San Francisco and was a member of the Padua Hills Playwrights Festival. She became a film Executive at companies including Miramax, Geffen Pictures and Robert Redford’s Wildwood Productions, where she was integral to the development of Oscar winners A River Runs Through It and The Cider House Rules, as well as Interview with the Vampire. She was the Executive Producer on the award-winning short film “Get Happy” and the film, “Within the Whirlwind.” Cohen received the Emmy Award for the music video “Yes We Can” inspired by Barack Obama’s historic run for president.

Denise Denson


Denise Denson was most recently Executive Vice President, Global Content Strategy for Viacom, reporting to the Chairman and CEO of Viacom. Denise was named to Multichannel News’ list of Wonder Women in 2013 and to CableFAX’s Sales Hall of Fame in 2012. She has consistently been recognized on CableFAX’s lists of Top Women and Top Executives in Cable. She is a former national board member of Women in Cable Telecommunications, T. Howard Foundation, and Cable and Television Association for Marketing (CTAM).

Mame Hunt


Mame Hunt is in her 16th year as an Associate Artist with the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, where she has worked as a dramaturg with the summer lab and at the Ucross residency program. She has a history of producing socially relevant new works at the Magic Theatre and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival where she held the position of Artistic Director. She has shepherded similar projects as Dramaturg at the Intiman Theatre and the Hedgebrook/Women Playwrights Festival, among others, and taught at Cornish College of the Arts and Georgetown University.

Shelby Jiggetts-Tivony


Shelby Jiggetts-Tivony is VP Creative & Advanced Development for Disney Parks Live Entertainment – a division of the Walt Disney Co. Prior to coming to Disney she held literary staff positions at the New York Shakespeare Festival – Joseph Papp Public Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater and Crossroads Theatre.

Michael Miller


Michael Miller’s career in the entertainment business includes over 20 years in non-profit leadership on both coasts, general managing numerous tours and producing events internationally. Most recently he led two organizations in successful turnarounds, and both are now thriving. He currently works as a theatrical consultant, serves on several boards, and collaborates on a variety of projects with his wife, Mary Curtis.

Randa Minkarah


Ms. Minkarah is an executive with a career spanning over 15 years within the advertising and media industries. She has successfully led strategic planning, budgeting, operations, developing new revenue streams and executing upon multiplatform initiatives for both traditional and digital media properties. Ms. Minkarah is Co-founder and COO at Transform Inc., previously serving as Senior Vice President of Revenue and Business Development for Fisher Communications (FSCI), Inc., a Fortune 1000 company. She serves on the board of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington as its Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee as well as board member at large for TheFilmSchool, Seattle. Additionally, she serves on the board of the Women’s Funding Alliance and as a member of the Finance Committee.

Barak Kassar


Barak is the BK in BKW. Prior to co-founding BKW, Barak founded INBOXTV, a pioneering online video entertainment company, was VP Marketing and Business Development for (acquired by CNET/CBS); Senior Marketing Manager at Wink Communications (acquired by Liberty Media) and Marketing Manager at Ferris Research. Barak is quoted frequently on digital brand building and communications in trade and global  business media and has presented at industry forums including the US National Association of Broadcasters and TED Global. Barak also serves on the advisory boards of TextMarks, Education Funding Partners and Weekend Sherpa.

Cora M. Oriel


Cora M Oriel is President of the Asian Journal Publications, Inc. Cora has been active in the Fiilipino community and received numerous awards and distinctions include the Search to Involve Pilipino Americans Business Achievement Award, the Historic Filipino town Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurship Award, the Los Angeles Filipino Association of City Employees Heritage Achievement Award and the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus Award for Excellence in Journalism.

Laura Poppiti


Laura Poppiti has worked at small to mid-size nonprofit arts and arts education nonprofit organizations in various fundraising capacities—including capital campaigns, annual fund development, grantwriting, membership programs, and special events—for more than a decade. As the Center for Cultural Innovation’s Grants Program Director, Laura manages all grantmaking programs for artists, arts administrators, and cultural anchors in California, in addition to overseeing the Bay Area office’s workshops, events, and operations. Prior to the Center for Cultural Innovation, Laura worked at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco where she served as the Development Director and led the organization’s individual and institutional fundraising efforts. In San Francisco, she has also held roles at The Imagine Bus Project, SF Camerawork, and Museum of Performance & Design. She received her M.A. from San Francisco Art Institute in Exhibition & Museum Studies, and her B.A. in History from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Ellen Schned


Ellen Schned specializes in Content Distribution, Government Relations and Public Affairs. She serves as CEO of EJS Entertainment, Los Angeles.

Melinda White


Melinda is the CEO of Transit Wireless in NYC, building and operating fiber networks used for transit communications.  She’s been honored by The NY Chapter of NOW as a “Woman of Power and Influence” (2012), by Fierce Telecom as a “Woman in Wireline to Watch” (2014) and has been recognized as a Portland “Orchid Influential Woman Leader” (2015).