NextGen 10: Sports & Entertainment [2018]

The 2018 NextGens in Sports & Entertainment are disrupting their industries, and changing the world

We’re pleased to introduce this quarter’s diversified class of industry disruptors, innovators, and rising stars in sports and entertainment. From a best-selling author (Jo Piazza) and sports media phenomenon (House of Highlights) to a female-powered production company (Spark & Riot), and a bustling new entertainment management company (Milk & Honey), our NextGen 10 share an abundance of passion, unrestrained determination, and unrivaled vision. From coast to coast, they are linked by unbridled talent and a knack for innovation as they emerge as the new voices shaping Los Angeles, New York, and the world in their chosen industries, elevating their companies and respective fields to new heights.

Actor, Activist

American actor known for portraying Victor Zsasz in the FOX television series Gotham and Chechen mobster NoHo Hank in the HBO show Barry

Residence Silverlake, CA
Education Carnegie Mellon University
Industry Show Business
Company HQ I guess I run lines in my kitchen?
Notable Projects Counselor/Mentor at Comfort Zone Camp and Mentor/Speaker/Unicorn at Children’s Alopecia Project
Advice Strive for empathy.
Mentors Cathy Alexander, Deborah Shakespeare Thurber, Peter Carey, Judith Hession, Dad
Local Companies Admired The Goods Mart, The King’s Roost, Time Travel Mart (826LA)
First Job First “job” job was as a dog walker, first acting gig was Law and Order: Criminal Intent
Guilty Pleasure Video games, pizza, Bonnie Raitt
In the Morning Think about what I just dreamt of
Before Bed Chess puzzles
Up at Night Global warming
2018/2019 Hold the mirror up to nature; help people accept themselves for who they are

CEO & Executive Producer
Spark & Riot

Female-powered production and management company with a European twist

Residence Los Angeles
Education University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts
Industry Entertainment
Company HQ Los Angeles, CA
Awards & Honors Luckily for me, most of the recognition is bestowed on my directors!
Notable Projects Dozens of commercials and three independent films. I’m probably most proud of starting my first production company after college at age 21
Advice “You’ll have plenty of time to sleep when you die.”—My father
Success I define success by happiness. The more happy days I have, the more ­successful I feel.
Mentors My father and my ­uncles, Enrique and Andy; they all stand for the same thing: Work hard, play hard.
Local Companies Admired I always say that I’m building a mini Anonymous ­Content with the creative style of ­Iconoclast and the ethos of Participant Media.
First Job Parking enforcement at USC. Yes, I probably wrote you a ticket. Sorry!
Guilty Pleasure White Chicks
In the Morning Facetime with my niece and nephew in Spain
Before Bed Lumosity. There’s an attention game with different colored trains you have to direct to the correct station and I’m just one train away from completion; it’s driving me nuts! I should probably be doing something more relaxing.
Up at Night Thinking about how to grow my business but maintain the independence and fire of a startup that I love
2018/2019 Grow the number of events and collaborations [S&R] currently does as a company. On a personal level, go on a climbing trip to Argentina in the next year … and beat that Lumosity game!

Executive Vice President

A full-service athlete ­representation agency

Residence West Hollywood, CA
Education University of Florida
Industry Sports Agency / ­Athlete Marketing
Company HQ NYC
Awards & Honors Featured in YFS Magazine for NCLUSIVE; featured in Sports Agent Blog and Front Office Sports
Notable Projects Launched VaynerSports’ West Coast ­expansion; spearheaded VaynerSports’ Annual Kickoff Party for ESPYs Week
Advice “You treat the guy who sweeps the floors just like you would the President of the ­United States.”—My father, Gary Giangrande
Success The ability to push and elevate the performance of everyone around you while continuing to strive to accomplish new goals
Mentors Gary Vaynerchuk, David Meltzer, Gary Giangrande
Local Company Admired
First Job Sandwich artist at Burger King
Guilty Pleasure Sampling the hot soups at Gelson’s Markets
In the Morning I read the same quote every morning when I wake up.
Before Bed I check my ­schedule.
Up at Night Unresponded emails
2018/2019 To continue to help VaynerSports raise the level of service expended by athletes in the sports representation space, to travel internationally more and explore the world, and to give more of my time toward charitable work

CEO & Founder
Milk & Honey Music

Entertainment management company with a focus on A&R and marketing

Residence West Hollywood, CA
Education University of ­Wisconsin, Oshkosh
Industry Music
Company HQ Los Angeles, CA
Awards & Honors Clients have sold more than 400 million albums collectively; Billboard Power 100 executives 2018; Grammy-award winning manager
Notable Projects Youngest manager at The Collective 2009–2012. For the past four years, represented songwriters and producers through some of the decade’s biggest hits like Nick Jonas’ “Jealous,” ­Alessia Cara’s “Here” and “Scars to Your Beautiful,” Selena Gomez and A$AP Rocky’s “Good for You,” Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry,” plus others
Advice Ask yourself if your clients see you as someone who could lead them into battle.
Success Making sure every artist, songwriter, producer, and employee knows they’re getting the best from me and my company
Mentors Michael Green, Reza Izad, Jeff Golenberg from The Collective, Keith ­Ferrazzi, and Jerry ­Weintraub
Local Companies Admired AAM, Bill Silva, Roc Nation, Maverick, Scooter Braun Projects
First Job Runner for an ­architecture firm
Guilty Pleasure Collecting rare, first-edition, first-print books and vintage Cuban cigars
In the Morning Coffee and 20 minutes in the spa to get my mind right
Before Bed Email; unfortunately, I don’t have a tech­no­logy-free bedroom but I ­admire those who have figured that out.
Up at Night What am I going to do in my four walls tomorrow that will become a new standard for my industry?
2018/2019 We’d like to get to 30 people in the next few years while maintaining the great culture we have, and level of service. Our goal is to keep up the track record of representing some of the best producers and songwriters in the world and to continue to build our artist business as well.

Vice President of Content
Mammoth Media

Media company that redefines mobile entertainment

Residence Porter Ranch, CA
Education University of ­Southern California
Industry Entertainment
Company HQ Santa Monica, CA
Awards & Honors Ad Council x Wishbone “I Am A Witness” Bullying Prevention campaign that won the 4A’s Partners Award for “Best Pro-bono ­Partnerships” and recognition in The New York Times for work with focus groups and teens
Notable Projects Hack’d, Skype Branded Campaign on Yarn, Ad Council x Wishbone “I Am A Witness” Bullying ­Prevention Campaign
Advice Write it and it will happen.
Success When you actually enjoy the stresses of your work
Mentors Benoit Vatere, CEO, Mammoth Media; Barry Blumberg, CCO, Mammoth Media; Mike Jones, CEO, Science Inc.
Local Companies Admired Bird, Kreation Organic Juicery, Handstand App
First Job Self-employed ­makeup artist
Guilty Pleasure A bowl of Takis and watching Casanova with Heath Ledger for the 100th time on a Friday night
In the Morning Throw my phone across the room due to the noisy alarm, then check Slack.
Before Bed Netflix or a book
Up at Night Social media
2018/2019 Create bigger, better, and more killer content.

LIZ LEVY [36] – LA, NY
Executive Creative ­Director
Complex Network

Media platform for youth culture

Residence Venice, CA
Education College of Charleston, International ­Business Degree; culinary school in Italy; art school in Atlanta … you can say I took a lot of forks in the road until I found a ­single path.
Industry Media
Company HQ NYC
Awards & Honors Multiple Cannes Lions, Clios, ­Business Insider’s “Most Creative ­Women in Advertising” list, D&AD, Emmy-nominated
Advice You only grow as much as the experiences around you. … A continuous state of self-exploration and gratitude opens your creativity up to things you could never imagine.
Success Just as an artist looks at his masterpiece or a writer, his words, my work is a piece of myself to share. When someone else sees that piece of art and feels a connection with it that inspires them to ­create their own possibility, to me that defines success.
Mentors My parents, friends, bosses, and peers throughout my career have all mentored me in some way and continue to do so every day.
Local Companies Admired Lyft, Bird scooters, ­FounderMade, REI … all ­companies built by people with big dreams and even ­bigger work ethics.
First Job Working summers filing in my dad’s office
Guilty Pleasure It’s only a guilty pleasure if you think so!
In the Morning Since I work both East and West Coast hours, my day usually starts with a simple herbal tea so that I can tackle 6 am phones calls from my front porch in Venice.
Before Bed Nighttime is my wind-down time. I try to digital detox a half hour or so before lights out by reading and tend to juggle multiple books at once! Currently reading Third Door, Gucci Mane’s bio, and the latest HBR.
Up at Night My imagination
2018/2019 Launch my ­bespoke-hat company.

Partner, Literary Agent
ICM Partners

Talent, literary, and media agency

Residence Flatiron—NYC
Education University of Michigan (B.A.); University of ­Virginia (J.D.)
Industry Entertainment
Company HQ Los Angeles, CA
Awards & Honors Variety’s New York Power Woman
Notable Projects Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians, Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass, Tomi ­Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone, Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls, Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes
Advice Never forget that it’s about the client and not about you.
Success Seeing people reading my authors on the subway
Mentor Esther Newberg
Local Companies Admired McNally Jackson Bookstore, Baron Fig, Apiece Apart
First Job Delivering makeup for a local Mary Kay lady—in her pink Cadillac
Guilty Pleasure Red wine
In the Morning Iced espresso and The New York Times
Before Bed A novel for ­pleasure
Up at Night How to make ­novels as compelling as a binge-watched TV show
2018/2019 Finding more novels to make their way into becoming a binge-watch TV show.

Senior Director, Premium Sales
STAPLES Center & Microsoft Theater

Residence Torrance, CA
Education University of ­Massachusetts Amherst
Industry Sports
Company HQ Los Angeles, CA
Notable Projects Responsible for creating a new dynamic pricing strategy, brought in over $20M in new contractually obligated income (COI), and currently a mentor of an eight-person NBA Business Advisory Board
Advice Work hard and be kind.
Success Retiring at the age of 60 and traveling the world with my wife
Mentors Michele Kajiwara and my father, Howard Mann
Local Companies Admired Netflix and Tesla
First Job Paperboy
Guilty Pleasure Watching TMZ
In the Morning Walk the dog.
Before Bed Listen to a podcast.
Up at Night Doing the right things to be sure I live a long and healthy life
2018/2019 To continue to become a better husband, and ­father to my 3-year-old daughter, Mackenzie

Author, Podcast Host, Journalist

Award-winning American ­journalist, editor, and author

Residence West Village—NYC
Education University of Pennsylvania, Columbia (M.A. in Journalism), NYU (M.A. in Religious Studies)
Industry Journalism and ­Publishing
Company HQ NYC / San Francisco
Awards & Honors Internationally bestselling author
Notable Projects Author of eight critically acclaimed and bestselling books, fiction and non-fiction, including The Knockoff, How to Be Married, Fitness Junkie, If Nuns Ruled the World, and Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win; Executive ­Producer and Host of the ­Committed podcast from the How Stuff Works Network
Advice Absolutely no one is thinking about you as much as you think they are.
Success Creating the stories people need and want to hear
Mentors Joanna Molloy, my ­former editor at the New York Daily News, Colleen Curtis, and Glynnis MacNicol, ­Founder, The List
Local Companies Admired Learnvest, The List, JetBlue, SoulCycle
First Job Intern for The New York Times
Guilty Pleasure Nutella and Younger
In the Morning I avoid looking at my phone until I’ve at least set foot outside for five ­minutes and seen the sun.
Before Bed Read for an hour, alternating fiction and nonfiction (the opposite of whatever I’m writing at the moment).
Up at Night Worrying that I’m not getting enough done
2018/2019 Turn the Committed podcast into a daily habit/guilty pleasure, adapt my novel Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win into a television show.

House of Highlights

Media platform focused on ­publishing sports highlights

Residence NYC
Education University of ­Central Florida
Industry Sports Media
Company HQ NYC
Awards & Honors Best Use of Instagram—Digiday
Notable Projects #CurryChallenge with Under Armour and starting House of Highlights, which currently has 9 million followers and is the 3rd largest Instagram account in terms of video views
Advice “The grind never stops.”—Kobe Bryant
Success Achieving the goals you set for yourself
Mentor Dad
Local Companies Admired Bleacher Report, Netflix, NBA
First Job Machinima Director
Guilty Pleasure Dollar pizza after midnight
In the Morning Check ­Instagram
Before Bed Check Instagram
Up at Night NBA games
2018/2019 10 million followers for House of Highlights in 2018 and 1 billion monthly video views by 2019.