CEO and Board Member/True Religion
Chelsea A. Grayson the CEO and a board member of True Religion. She is also a member of the board of directors of Vireo Health (CSE: VREO), a leading multi-state cannabis company, where she chairs the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee and is a member of the Audit Committee. She is a former member of the board of directors of Delta Dental, where she was a member of the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee. Prior to taking on the CEO role with True Religion, she chaired theAudit Committee for the True Religion board of directors. Previously, she was the CEO and a board member of American Apparel (NYSE MKT: APP). Before that, Ms. Grayson was the General Counsel, Chief Administrative Officer and Executive Vice President of American Apparel. Prior to joining American Apparel, she was a partner in the M&A and corporate governance practice groups of JonesDay and Loeb & Loeb.
Chief Media Officer/VaynerMedia
Prior to becoming the Chief Media Officer of VaynerMedia, Jeff Nicholson spent the early part of his career running ads, building businesses, facilitating acquisition and sale of multiple companies, and driving marketing performance and strategy for the fortune 500’s. In his role as Chief Media officer he is currently tasked with overseeing and developing global media investments, as well as, planning, analyzing and providing ad tech services across the VaynerX Portfolio. In this role over the past four years he has had the privilege of working with and directly influencing the growth of some of the largest and most respected brands in the World.
In addition to his current role as CMO, Jefrey also serves as the Chief Executive officer of Tracer Labs, which he built and developed with his Co-Founder Leighton Welch. Tracer is a revolutionary marketing data aggregation and reporting platform incubated under the Vayner X platform.
Since his graduation from Babson College, Jeff has maintained a fervor for education, coaching and mentoring young professionals. After regularly spending time on the Babson campus teaching and advising on curriculum, Jeff launched Nicholnotes in 2018. Nicholnotes serves as a true intersection of career and passion, as an education company focused on delivering relevant and current curriculum for business students with a focus on data, digital and platform tools.
Jeffrey sits on the board of Pinterest, Hurricane Group, Captify and Goodlife Clothing. He regularly speaks at international industry events, consults and speaks to private corporate companies and teaches at universities including Babson College, NYU Stern School of Business, University of Virginia and Miami Ad School.
Managing Partner and Co-Founder/Hawke Ventures
Drew Leahy is Managing Partner and co-founder of Hawke Ventures, an early stage consumer and B2B marketing technology fund. He is also the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Hawke Media. Prior to Hawke, Leahy was Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder of SnapSuits.com, a tech-forward men’s fashion e-retailer with over $2M+ in revenue. He leveraged his seasoned product team, based in Colombia, South America, achieving an 8x ROI with technology-enabled marketing strategies.
Drew was also Entrepreneur-in-Residence at memBrain in Los Angeles, making investments with tech and entertainment angel investors Ken Hertz and Liz Heller.
Michael is passionate about working with ultra-curious and deeply convicted entrepreneurs building the products and brands of the future in areas including next-generation commerce, financial services, and vertical SaaS.
Michael joined Upfront in 2015 and is a proud supporter of the Southern California technology ecosystem, working closely with standout local companies including Ring, GOAT, Bird, CloudVirga, ZestFinance, Chownow, and DAILYLOOK. Previously, Michael was an Editor at Pandodaily and was on the founding team at WorldVest, a Los Angeles-based boutique merchant bank.
Michael holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Founding Partner/ Vice Ventures
Catharine Dockery is the founder of Vice Ventures, a venture fund investing in early-stage vice companies. Catharine has long had a passion for vice investing, personally being involved in the seed round of Bev, a DTC canned rose company. While interviewing with traditional consumer venture firms, she continually brushed against vice clauses in investment pitches, with this friction culminating in the idea for Vice Ventures. Catharine was the president of her class at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where she studied a self-directed major on the intersection of neuroscience and finance.
Head of Operations/Community.com
Zenetta is a South African born, Australian citizen with 10 years experience in the technology sector.
Today she invests for Mucker Capital, a seed and pre-seed fund based in Santa Monica focusing on software and Internet startups outside Silicon Valley, investing across the United States and Canada. She also runs Operations for Community.com – a new LA start up designed to enable personal conversations at scale.
She is a former Corporate VC, the founder of Fresh BnB, has consulted on Fortune 100 M&A transactions and currently advises the boards of two LA based start ups. Educated at the University of Sydney and Harvard, Zenetta brings a variety and breadth of operational discipline to early stage companies.
VP/ Global Strategic Partnerships for Klaviyo
Rich Gardner is VP, Global Strategic Partnerships for Klaviyo, the leading SaaS platform for intelligent customer segmentation, dynamic communication, and dramatic revenue growth.
For 15 years, Rich has built and led high-performing global sales and business development teams at hypergrowth tech and tech-enabled services businesses. At Klaviyo, Rich is responsible for identifying and cultivating best-in-class partners in the ecommerce ecosystem to help brands grow faster. Prior to these executive roles, Rich practiced law in Washington, DC, and worked as a political operative.
Rich holds a J.D. from the UVA Law School and his A.B. at Harvard College. He lives in Boston with his husband, Darrell, and basset hound, Harvey. And his lucky number, apparently, is three: he has attended three Patriots Super Bowls (2-1 record), three Star Trek Conventions (only 1 in uniform), and three U-2 concerts.
John Tedesco is the CEO of Drip, a first-of-its-kind Ecommerce CRM helping online brands compete and thrive by using real-life consumer behavior data to deliver personalized, multichannel, scalable marketing journeys. Before taking this trip toward better ecommerce experiences for all, John helped companies like Leadpages and SportsEngine flourish. He’s also advising startup Nomics and sitting on the board for When I Work.
John’s passion for human connections between online brands and their customers is the thread pulling every single strategy tightly together, and his leadership and ecommerce prowess has made dreams into realities for Drip, its users, and their customers. For more than 2 years, John has been immersing himself in customer problems. With a deeper appreciation, he’s been able to guide the teams at Drip to build the best product possible to solve those problems and turn impersonal ecommerce transactions into warm, memorable experiences that help any ecommerce store stand out and thrive.
Drip ECRM’s disruption of ecommerce isn’t going unnoticed—it’s recently been awarded spots in the Top 50 Fastest Growing Products and Top 50 Best Products for Marketers of 2019 by G2 Crowd.
VP of Marketing/Hawke Media
Jeeyan is the VP of Marketing at Hawke Media. He is responsible for linking the innovations of the business development and marketing team to the client-focused operations of the business to build the Hawke Media global brand, create consumer awareness and advocacy, and drive growth for the consultancy.
Mike joined Whalar in April, 2018, and serves as Chief Marketing Officer. An industry veteran with over 15 years of experience, Mike has managed brand strategy, business development, and multi-channel marketing for global brands including Instagram, Bonobos, and Ralph Lauren. Prior to joining Whalar, he spent seven years at Facebook, Inc. There, Mike was a key member of the Instagram brand development team, which launched Instagram’s business solutions globally. At Instagram, he also led the CPG and retail category product strategy, and provided platform guidance and insights to CPG and retail marketers. He most recently worked in product marketing where he specialized in Facebook marketing solutions and platform integrations across all consumer touch points.
He is a proud University of Michigan alum, and calls Austin, TX home.
Cofounder & COO/Hawke Media
Tony Delmercado is the Co-Founder & COO at Hawke Media. As a passionately curious entrepreneur, accomplished communicator and proven leader, Tony has earned recognition and praise in publications like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Business Insider, Inc. and more.He has helped generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for multiple companies through leadership roles in business development, marketing and operations. In addition to speaking in front of audiences large and small, Tony has sat across a desk from over 40,000 people, personally mentoring over 2,000 of those. He loves playing golf, tinkering with new ideas, and working to develop the people and organizations around him.
VP Content Marketing/Hawke Media
Matt Osias is the Vice President of Content Marketing at Hawke Media and oversees content strategy, planning and production for its clients. Having helped hundreds companies throughout his career — SMBs to Fortune 500s — Osias thrives on building trusted connections between brands and its audiences.
With over a decade of digital marketing experience across a broad scope of industries — notably B2B, CPG, sports and numerous lifestyle categories — Osias brings a seasoned perspective to the booming content marketing space.
Along with being an award-winning writer/editor, he has also worked for both the L.A. Dodgers and L.A. Angels building large-scale multimedia advertising and marketing campaigns for brands.
And, maybe most importantly, he is an avid golfer. (No joke … He LOVES it!)
VP/The Flow/PR Sheer Sports
For more than a decade, Rachel Charles has enjoyed a successful career in one of the most challenging, male-dominated sports in the world: Professional Boxing.
Charles, who hails from Birmingham, England, got her start in boxing after a chance meeting with former multi division World Champion James ‘Lights Out” Toney. Charles and Toney formed an unlikely pair, but they bonded from their first introduction. Toney in turn introduced Charles to Dan Goossen, one of the premier promoters in the business with a stable of elite boxers, and Goossen hired Charles in the fall off 2004.
Having had previous experience in the publicity field while touring with her late husband Vince Charles – who was a band member for Neil Diamond for the better part of 25 years – Charles caught the PR bug and proved to be good at it. Not long after joining Goossen she put her name in the hat for the job of in-house publicist. Sensing her gift of the gab, outgoing people skills and ability to “work” an empty room, Goossen gave her the position. He later observed that, “I threw her out to the sharks and the sharks didn’t make it.”
Charles was in charge of press for the entire stable of fighters and quickly built a rapport with sports writers and outlets around the world.
Charles has been instrumental in turning her athletes into household names. Working closely with HBO, Showtime, FOX Sports and ESPN, Charles rose up the ranks to become one of the most recognizable faces in boxing and garnering a reputation for being able to handle herself with ease in a testosterone saturated sport.
Charles credits her tough childhood and becoming a teenage mom for her ability to handle anything life has thrown at her.
In 2013 Charles switched to the other side of the table and joined Sheer Sports Management. With a stable of young fighters Charles once again is hard at work scouting new prospects and working closely with promoters to get her boxers signed to promotional deals. Charles heads up all operational elements and publicity for the team.
Founder & CEO/Greenbox Robotics
Zack studied International Relations with a minor in Marketing at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. In 2010, while still in college, Zack launched his first company, a record label. Six months after launching 1st Round Records, Johnson debut artist had the #1 album in the US & Australia. Zack had his first exit to Sony RCA in 2014. After transitioning out the music business, Zack launched an athletic apparel company that focused on innovative textiles. Zack negotiated a partnership to make energyDNA the official apparel partner of the FIA Formula E Championship racing series.
Prior to launching greenbox robotics, Zack was the Director of Strategy and Business Development at the fastest growing marketing firm in the United States, Hawke Media. While in the Hawke’s nest Zack was the Chief Marketing Officer for five Los Angeles cannabis dispensaries, as well as a metal fabrication company that builds vending machines. The biggest pain point for each dispensary was not being able to service customers fast enough. This pain point, and the relationship with the metal fabrication company was the inspiration for greenbox.
SVP Programming/TV Time
Jeremy Reed is a leading executive and innovator in online content and has been a key member of the management team for two game-changing publishing companies (Citysearch & Demand Media) to successful IPOs.
Jeremy is currently Senior Vice President of Programming at TV Time where he is responsible for content, PR, social and community across TV Time and TVDB. TV Time is the world’s largest TV tracking platform providing insights for today’s television landscape.
Prior to TV Time, Jeremy served as the Head of Programming at Tastemade where he was responsible for creating and managing a community of food video creators to produce more than 100,000 user-generated restaurant video reviews through the Tastemade app as well as hosted more than 200 events, focused on energizing and educating the food community.
Jeremy also played an integral role at Leaf Grp. (formerly Demand Media), serving as Senior Vice President of Content. Among his many impressive achievements, Reed built a world-class content team of more than 100 full-time employees as well as an international freelance community consisting of thousands of professional content creators. During his tenure, Jeremy’s leadership and strategic approach exponentially grew its portfolio of 15+ owned-and-operated media sites from 5MM to 150MM unique visitors.
Prior to Demand Media, Jeremy served as Vice President of Content at Citysearch, Inc. as well as numerous publications.
Director of Growth/Hawke Media
Madison Fiore is a Performance Marketing and Business Strategist at his core. Over the last 10 years he has worked with and professionally consulted over 200 brands.
As the Director of Growth at Hawke Media, an award-winning Outsourced CMO and marketing agency, Madison has helped scale the agency from less than 50 employees to over 150 by growing, grooming and managing Hawke’s 20+ consulting team. In less than three years with Hawke Media, Madison has contributed to remarkable revenue growth from $5M in 2017 to $20M+ in 2019.
Primarily focused on the cannabis industry, he has worked with more than 30 of the most prestigious brands in the space, spoke a cannabis events nationwide, and is currently Council for Weedweek, a cannabis publication based in Los Angeles.
Prior to Hawke, Madison co-founded and launched three brands while consulting on dozens of other projects with clients in a variety of industries. This experience led to his passion of supporting brand’s growth. As an entrepreneur and brand marketing expert, Madison has become a trusted advisor and partner to companies of all shapes and sizes including Hawke Ventures.
CEO of Comic-Con/ACE Universe
Gareb Shamus, CEO of ACE Universe is building the largest community of Superhero fans around the world. Gareb is a world-renowned authority on Superheroes and started and produced the largest Comic Con tour for over twenty years. He started and published many of the leading award-winning magazines, including Wizard and ToyFare, about Superheroes across movies, TV, toys, games, animation and comic books, selling over 100 million copies in 75 countries, in dozens of languages.
Gareb is credited with leading the charge to help make the Geeks and Nerds into the “Cool” people.
Gareb Shamus is a professional contemporary artist, whose paintings are currently on display in galleries in Los Angeles, Toronto and New York City. His paintings are noted for breaking the ‘3rd wall’ with their three-dimensional textures and use of a proprietary painting technique designed to provoke conversation by reaching out to the viewer.
Founder and CEO/Brandable
Mr. Oliver Bogner is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Brandable, Inc. Oliver has led Brandable from a concept to a 80+ person operation with significant revenue at A+ retailers. He has created exclusive programs with the two largest retailers in America: Target and Walmart. One of his brands, Craft City, launched exclusively at Target outperformed its forecast by 6x, and is now the fastest growing kids crafting brand in America, expanding to over 20 SKUs.
He spent the last 8 years creating and executive producing hit television series like TLC’s My Five Wives, Lifetime’s Kim Of Queens, and worked as a creative executive at companies behind hit series like MTV’s Catfish, Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, and CBS’s Undercover Boss. In November 2015, he sold his television production business to Discovery Communications / All3Media.
Oliver has made a name for himself — he has been profiled by the Los Angeles Times, Forbes Magazine, Variety, USA Today, Elite Daily, OC Register and has been listed twice in Forbes Magazine on the “30 Under 30 List”
Brandon Webb is a former US Navy SEAL sniper, Entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, and Avid Pilot. He’s the founder of Hurricane Group, a Men’s lifestyle company with digital publishing and ecommerce brands that reach over 50 Million monthly. He is also a co-founder at GSD Logistics, a third party fulfillment (3PL) company focused on global ecommerce fulfillment. Brandon is a member of the New York YPO (Young Presidents Organization) chapter, and was proud to serve as an appointed board member on the Veterans Advisory committee to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Seth Grabel was born and raised in Los Angeles, then moved to Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world. Grabel hit the entertainment scene as a star personality and has touched the hearts of millions. As a finalist on NBC-TV’S “Americas Got Talent” he was crowned “The Showman” by Peirce Morgan and received a standing ovation by judges Howie Mandel and Sharon Osborn. Grabel amazed the judges by getting shot from a cannon, and produced the Famed Delorian equipped with Mini-Judges which quickly became an international hit. Grabel has been featured in a number of national television shows including EXTRAS Talk soup, NBC, ABC, Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker, Animal Planet’s TANKED and Penn & Teller’s “FOOL US”. As a reality TV star, Grabel continues to bring excitement, wonder and enjoyment to the screen. Combining his acquired marketing and branding experience from his father, along with a top education at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Grabel’s love for magic exploded into a serious and lucrative profession. With a fierce determination and dedication he began perfecting his skills in front of a mirror, in a small studio apartment. Soon after, his mesmerizing talents were in high demand.
Dale Thorhammer is a world renowned billionaire transformation artist to the stars (celebrities) and a success coach to the personal developmentally challenged. His work combining self-development work with consciousness teachings has transformed billions of lives around the planet through his patented seminars and methods of “self-consciouness”. He is currently authoring many #1 New York Times best selling books. Dale currently lives out of many homes across the globe all of which have luxurious views of oceans, rainforests, or canyons.
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