NextGen10: Sports & Entertainment [2015]

Every season represents a transition in sports, entertainment – and life. In the summer, the NBA and NHL seasons draw to a dramatic conclusion and freshly signed draft picks in football and baseball begin training for what they hope will be highly successful careers. On the entertainment side, Comic-Con dominates, music festivals spread their wings, […]

Every season represents a transition in sports, entertainment – and life. In the summer, the NBA and NHL seasons draw to a dramatic conclusion and freshly signed draft picks in football and baseball begin training for what they hope will be highly successful careers. On the entertainment side, Comic-Con dominates, music festivals spread their wings, and the film festival circuit revs its engine. Paying tribute to the kinetic energy of the summer, CSQ presents its own draft picks of sorts: Our list of promising executives, entrepreneurs, and entertainers under 40 whose collective list of accomplishments is already illuminating the region anew.


Nick Baker

AGE 32
Title Senior VP, Global Partnerships
Residence Manhattan Beach
Notable Projects Responsible for sponsorship revenue across all AEG business platforms including sports teams, arenas, music and media.
Personal Passions Spending time with family & friends.
Greatest Lesson Learned Relationships are the most important aspect of life.
BIG BREAK Marrying my wife, Heather
COMPANY MOST ADMIRED Gold Crown Foundation
ON THE HORIZON New Las Vegas Arena
WHAT MAKES LA GREAT The diverse offering of people, culture, events, music, cinema, food, and arts is beyond exciting.


Carolyn Cassidy
20th Century Fox TV

AGE 36
Title Senior VP, Comedy Development
Residence Los Angeles
NOTABLE PROJECTS Fresh Off the Boat, New Girl, Last Man Standing
PERSONAL PASSIONS My toddler, consuming all sorts of media, cooking, my vegetable garden
GREATEST LESSON LEARNED Embrace your own personality. I’ve done my best when I’m honest with myself and my colleagues.
RESOURCE FOR ADVICE My husband, Zach McGee
BIG BREAK Being hired at a company that values the entrepreneurial spirit. It has made me a better executive.
ON THE HORIZON The Grinder, Grandfathered
WHAT MAKES LA GREAT Taking a walk on the beach in 70-degree weather on Christmas Day

_Ben-Conway _Ashley-Crowder

Ben Conway & Ashley Crowder

AGE 27 (Ben); 29 (Ashley)
Title Co-founders
Residence West Hollywood (Ben); Venice (Ashley)
NOTABLE PROJECTS Built the world’s first scalable, affordable, and interactive hologram system
PERSONAL PASSIONS Playing live music, traveling, camping, (Ben); Live music, event lighting production, and yoga (Ashley)
GREATEST LESSON LEARNED Make decisions from a place of love (Ben); No deal is 100% happening until cash is in the bank. (Ashley)
BIG BREAK Meeting with Paradigm Talent Agency and AM Only, which landed VNTANA our first hologram gig.
COMPANY MOST ADMIRED The Onion (Ben); Virgin (Ashley)
ON THE HORIZON Education and retail applications
WHAT MAKES LA GREAT It’s not San Francisco (Ben); LA is a city a lot of people come to to “make it” and their drive can be seen in all aspects of the city. (Ashley)


Chad Donnelly
Happy Hour Media

Age 34
Title President
Residence Playa del Rey
NOTABLE PROJECTS Produced 9 three-day music festivals blending world-class talent with world-class snow conditions, generating more than $100mm for our host economies.
PERSONAL PASSIONS My family and friends are most important to me. Work is a close second, then comes traveling.
GREATEST LESSON LEARNED Bigger isn’t always better and growth doesn’t always correlate to progress.
BIG BREAK Landing with my family. My parents and siblings have helped shape me as a person every step of the way.
ON THE HORIZON Creating and launching two new festivals that will surface in 2016 and 2017
WHAT MAKES LA GREAT  The beach, accessibility to travel to surrounding areas and out of the state/county, coupled with great food and entertainment is what makes LA great to me.


Jessica Kantor
Legendary Entertainment

Age 31
Title VP Business & Legal
RESIDENCE West Hollywood
NOTABLE PROJECTS Business and legal for the upcoming Crimson Peak and Warcraft
PERSONAL PASSIONS Kingkiller Chronicle, Amy Schumer, How Did This Get Made, Yelle, MOCA, family, friends, and Cleo the dog.
GREATEST LESSON LEARNED “You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.” – Tina Fey
BIG BREAK Working at Legendary during its startup phase.
ON THE HORIZON The Great Wall and Kong: Skull Island
WHAT MAKES LA GREAT The contrasts – from Philip Marlowe’s mean streets to the valley; perfect weather, endless delicacies from tacos to tahdig, old Hollywood.


Niki Koss

Age 21
Title Actress, Director, Writer, Producer
Residence Los Angeles
Notable Projects Red Wing, A Teenage Drama, The Appearing, Girl on Edge (actress); The Monroes (actress, director, producer, writer); Royals the Series (director, co-creator, producer)
Personal Passions Anything creative
Greatest Lesson Learned Do what you love and it will never feel like work but instead [it] will become the greatest and most passionate part of your life.
Resource for Advice My mentor, Will Wallace
Big Break I played a significant role in Red Wing alongside Frances Fisher, Bill Paxton, and Glen Powell.
Actors Most Admired Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, Jennifer Lawrence
On the Horizon Apathea (film; working title), My Stepdaughter (Lifetime TV), Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (film)
What Makes LA Great Whether you’re an actor, your cousin is a director, or your mother-in-law is an entertainment lawyer, everyone in LA [seems to have] a connection to the entertainment industry.


Joey Larocque
RockSolid, LLC

Age 29
TITLE President & CEO
Residence Agoura Hills
NOTABLE PROJECTS Outfitting more than 500 high schools with RockSolid soft-shell helmets and being voted onto the board at Epilepsy Warriors Foundation.
PERSONAL PASSIONS Horseback riding, golfing, exercising, reading, spending time with friends and family.
GREATEST LESSON LEARNED Don’t lift weights that are too heavy! (Took two back surgeries to learn that one). Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Don’t be afraid to think big.
RESOURCE FOR ADVICE Too many to name!
BIG BREAK There is no big break, only hard work! Great moments and opportunities include getting drafted by the Chicago Bears and seeing my product for the first time at a national event.
ON THE HORIZON Opening our Dallas offices later this year.
WHAT MAKES LA GREAT Being in close proximity to so many quality business minds, while also being in one of the biggest high school football markets in the country.


Rick Lucas

Age 34
TITLE Agent – Commercial Endorsements
NOTABLE PROJECTS Orchestrating endorsement deals for Taylor Kitsch (Activision), Josh Hutcherson (Canon), Jeremy Piven (Cadillac), and Tommy Lee Jones (Ameriprise)
PERSONAL PASSIONS Adventures with my wife and daughter; music and tennis
GREATEST LESSON LEARNED Regardless of how others may gain a short-term advantage, hard work and integrity will always pay off in the long run.
RESOURCE FOR ADVICE Anyone who is smarter than me.
BIG BREAK Meeting my wife outside a bar in Indiana 11 years ago which led me to move to LA
ON THE HORIZON India is an exciting and maturing territory for us.
WHAT MAKES LA GREAT It’s cliché, but the weather and location. Watching my toddler daughter play on the beach in January is priceless.


Suzanna Makkos

Age 40
TITLE Executive VP; Comedy Programming and Development
Residence Los Angeles
NOTABLE PROJECTS Bob’s Burgers, New Girl, The Mindy Project, Brooklyn 99, Last Man on Earth
PERSONAL PASSIONS Unkind impressions, margaritas, Hawaii, GTD, Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers, Howard Stern, YouTube makeup tutorials, Girls Inc., my husband and daughter
GREATEST LESSON LEARNED You will make mistakes – sometimes big ones – and the best thing you can do is admit them and move on.
RESOURCE FOR ADVICE My mentor and best friend Tracy Katsky
BIG BREAK Back in the day they would allow assistants to present their network schedule to the big bosses. I crushed it and was promoted two months later.
ON THE HORIZON Last Man on Earth (season 2), Grandfathered, The Grinder
WHAT MAKES LA GREAT A city full of dreamers, seeing Richard Simmons at Bristol Farms, Chin Chin salads


Joshua Roth
United Talent Agency

Age 37
TITLE Head of Fine Art division
Residence Hancock Park
NOTABLE PROJECTS Started a fine art division at UTA representing artists across fashion, media, and entertainment sectors
PERSONAL PASSIONS Seeing art around the world and spending time with family
GREATEST LESSON LEARNED Always keep an open mind and be positive
BIG BREAK When a longtime family friend who owned a gallery asked me to review a contract, I realized that I could combine passion and profession.
ON THE HORIZON Numerous collaborations between artists and fashion brands, organizing distribution of film projects by and about artists, representing a real estate developer in connection with arts initiatives
WHAT MAKES LA GREAT The weather, the burgeoning arts scene, and the weather