NextGen 12: Sports, Media & Entertainment [2020]

NextGen 12: Sports, Media & Entertainment [2020]

When 2020 gives you lemons, make the NextGen 10 the NextGen 12. This edition, we’re celebrating 12 under-40 leaders who are cleaning up the mess left by 2020. They’re taking into consideration the shifting landscapes of sports, media, and entertainment to innovate new paths that push a socially distant, digitally dependent world forward. These Los Angeles– and New York–based innovators are championing diversity and inclusion in entertainment, getting people to vote, combating misinformation in journalism, and giving everyone something to watch, read, drink, and do during downtime. Several members of this quarter’s NextGen class work at some of the world’s most influential companies in media and entertainment, including Netflix, YouTube, The New York Times, Hulu, WarnerMedia, and NBCUniversal, while others are taking the reins at soon-to-be household names like the Museum of Ice Cream, Recover Lifestyle Brands, ColorCreative, Attn:, Unanimous Media, and Fintech Today. We honor them by sharing their stories, which we hope will inspire and educate leaders of the future.

ARI AVISHAY [38] – LA
HEAD OF ORIGINALS MARKETING
HULU

About: I am a full-time student of popular culture, building brands through entertainment, media, and technology. At Hulu, I lead a team of people who develop strategies, creative executions, and cultural campaigns that launch all forms of streaming content.

Company: Hulu is a leading, premium streaming service offering live and on-demand TV and movies.

Residence: Los Angeles

Company HQ: Los Angeles

Education: BS, kinesiology and marketing, Indiana University Bloomington.

Industry: Entertainment

Awards: Received recognition from Cannes Lions, Clios, Webbys, Streamys, and Emmys. Named to Billboard’s 2018 Top Branding Power Players list. Member of CAA’s Global Fellowship and Chevrolet’s Global Music Advisory Council.

Notable projects: Oversaw the marketing launch of Solar Opposites, Hulu’s most watched comedy series, and Palm Springs, Hulu’s most watched film to date. At Lyft, I launched Lyft Entertainment, the creative-development division of Lyft. Lyft Entertainment has co-produced award-winning films and TV and digital series distributed across Starz, Facebook Watch, YouTube, Funny or Die, Toronto International Film Festival, and SXSW Film Festival. Architected creative partnerships with cultural icons like Paul McCartney, Issa Rae, Kevin Hart, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which elevated Lyft’s brand in the lead-up to the company’s IPO. Received an Emmy nomination for Lyft Entertainment’s role in the revival of Billy on the Street.

Advice: The best way to get your partners to think that you care about them is to actually care about them.

Success: When you are doing what you love and making a difference.

Mentors: David Messinger (CMO, Activision), Lori Tabb (CEO, ShiftAffect), Barbara Avishay (mom).

Local companies you admire: Creative Artists Agency, Lyft, The Walt Disney Company.

First job: In-N-Out Burger, which was the hardest job I’ve ever had!

Guilty pleasure: Restaurants with drive-throughs.

In the morning: Check the Nasdaq ticker.

Before bed: Watch The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

What keeps you up: Writing mental emails

Year ahead: Continue to work on my MIS (“Master’s in Streaming”).


MARYELLIS BUNN [28] – NY
FOUNDER AND CEO
MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM

About: I grew the Museum of Ice Cream from a small temporary installation in New York City into a nationwide sensation, complete with its own brand of ice cream. We have five locations and counting that have welcomed over a million international visitors. I love designing and constructing socially squared spaces created to provoke inspiration, foster community, and celebrate the power of imagination. 

Company: The Museum of Ice Cream transforms concepts and dreams into spaces that provoke imagination and creativity. The museum is designed to be a culturally inclusive environment and community, inspiring human connection through the universal power of ice cream. The Museum of Ice Cream is a Figure8 brand.

Residence: New York

Company HQ: New York

Education: BBA, business and design, Parsons School of Design.

Industry: Entertainment

Awards: Forbes 30 Under 30 and Ad Age’s 50 Most Influential Creative Figures. In 2018, the Museum of Ice Cream was honored as one of Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Live Events.

Notable projects: Opening our NYC flagship museum. Before the Museum of Ice Cream, I worked as the head of innovation at Time Inc. and as a creative consultant and design strategist for Facebook, Instagram, and Staples.

Advice: Fail fast

Success: At the employee closing party for the first Museum of Ice Cream NYC pop-up. After 45 days, half the room was in tears because we had become a team and a family and wanted the show to go on!

Local companies you admire: Warby Parker and Té Company in the West Village.

First job: Selling rocks on the beach.

Guilty pleasure: Ice cream with a side of ice cream.

In the morning: A five-minute dance party and matcha.

Before bed: Reading

What keeps you up: My cell phone and social media. How we will function in a society addicted to a technology designed to keep us disconnected and conflicting with each other.

Year ahead: To contribute to the reimagining of communities, cities, and towns to make connections and gatherings stronger and safer.


DENIESE DAVIS [32] – LA
COO
COLORCREATIVE

About: I produce stories created by underrepresented writers and filmmakers and develop content for Hoorae Media, formerly known as Issa Rae Productions.

Company: ColorCreative’s mission is to change the landscape of media by creating a direct-to-industry pipeline for women and minority writers. The company champions diverse voices by building creative business brands, facilitating network partnerships, and hosting live events that foster community building. Our management slate prioritizes multi-hyphenates who specialize in authentic storytelling with a unique cultural POV.

Residence: Los Angeles

Company HQ: Los Angeles

Education: BA, film production, CUNY Brooklyn College; MFA, producing, American Film Institute.

Industry: Entertainment

Awards: The Debra Hill Fellowship from the Producers Guild of America. In 2020, Issa Rae Productions received eight Emmy nominations for the HBO comedy series Insecure and three Emmy nominations for the HBO sketch series A Black Lady Sketch Show. Color of Change honored ColorCreative in 2019 for its commitment to telling Black stories.

Notable projects: The BET and ColorCreative script-to-screen contest and the recent transition of ColorCreative into management.

Advice: First, there is always a solution. Second, my mom instilled in me that there is nothing a woman can’t do. 

Success: I realized early on in my career that recognition for achievements doesn’t equal success. I feel most successful when I am able to complete something that I set out to do, no matter how long it takes.

Mentors: Despite our different professional backgrounds, my close friends are who I turn to when I need advice or an extra push.

Local companies you admire: Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen, Macro, Raedio, The Ringer.

First job: Selling Sunday newspapers at age 14 for commission.

Guilty pleasure: Kit Kats and whiskey.

In the morning: Coffee while catching up on national, local, and industry news.

Before bed: Creating my to-do list for the next day and going over what’s on my calendar.

What keeps you up: Wondering if I’m doing enough.

Year ahead: To continue expanding ColorCreative’s brand and management division and finalize our funding plans.


TAHIRAH GOODEN [37] – LA
MANAGER OF ORIGINAL FILMS
NETFLIX

About: I help create films that not only entertain, but expand thinking and explain the world we live in.

Company: Netflix is the world’s leading streaming entertainment service with 193M paid memberships in over 190 countries, with TV series, documentaries, and feature films across a variety of genres and languages.

Residence: Los Angeles 

Company HQ: Los Gatos, Calif.

Education: BA, media studies and psychology, University of Virginia; MFA, film producing, Peter Stark Producing Program, University of Southern California. 

Industry: Entertainment

Notable projects: Overseeing Netflix’s The Old Guard, which was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and stars Charlize Theron and Kiki Layne.

Advice: My mother would say, “Do what you got to do now.” Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so whatever goals or ambitions you have for yourself, don’t wait to act upon them.

Success: I am always striving to top myself on each project. That said, I define success on a project-by-project basis, measured by the perceived impact each of my films has on the culture. The more impact the better.

Mentors: I don’t have a true “business” mentor, but I lean on a strong familial foundation for strength and advice.

Local companies you admire: A Beautiful Life Jamaican Cafe and Natraliart Jamaican Restaurant—my go-to restaurants for authentic Jamaican food.

First job: When I was 15, I was a summer teaching assistant at an elementary school. My first job in entertainment was interning in the story department at New Regency Productions.

Guilty pleasure: Cheesy romance novels

In the morning: Unfortunately, I fall into the habit of checking my phone for emails and messages.

Before bed: I usually fall asleep listening to an audiobook. I’m currently listening to Caste by Isabel Wilkerson.

What keeps you up: The insidiousness of white supremacist thinking and worrying if I am doing enough to break the cycle and advance opportunities for underrepresented individuals both in front of and behind the camera.

Year ahead: Become a kinder and more empathetic person. Find a property for film adaptation that is as layered as Lord of the Rings, as immersive as Star Wars, and as magical as Harry Potter but from a non-white-male Western perspective. Continue to break new ground in terms of representation in film.


JANIS HUANG [32] – NY
VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING AND MEDIA STRATEGY
THE NEW YORK TIMES

About: I’m responsible for bringing our brand and marketing to life in the real world. I’m focused on convincing people that quality, independent journalism is critical and worth supporting. I lead a team of super-talented strategists, data scientists, and engineers to shape our practice and develop our program and capabilities in service of our journalism and the role it plays in society.

Company: The New York Times is dedicated to helping people understand the world through on-the-ground, expert, and deeply reported independent journalism. This mission is rooted in our belief that great journalism has the power to make each reader’s life richer and more fulfilling, and all of society stronger and more just.

Residence: New York

Company HQ: New York

Education: BS, business administration, University of Southern California.

Industry: Online media

Awards: Multiple Cannes Lions, including five Grand Prix. Named Marketer of the Year by Ad Age, a 40 Under 40 marketer by Brand Innovators, and a Top Programmatic Advertiser and Agency by AdExchanger.

Notable projects: Helping The Times achieve its subscription growth goals a year early—a milestone that feels more important than ever when trustworthy journalism is under attack. When The Times covered allegations of sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein, sparking the #MeToo movement and social justice reform in the workplace, I developed a campaign to communicate how our journalism uncovers the truth and holds the power to account.

Advice: Never underestimate the restorative power of finding balance. Carving out dedicated time to feed the various dimensions that shape me makes me a better person, leader, colleague, friend, and wife.

Success: Moving toward a vision and solving problems along the way give me a sense of accomplishment, but the ball is always moving forward. That’s what keeps things interesting—constant change and progress.

Mentors: A few badass people in my life that I consider my personal board of directors give it to me real and lift me up out of moments of fear and self-doubt. And then there’s my grandmother, who insists that if it doesn’t sparkle it’s not worth wearing.

Local companies you admire: The local NYC restaurants that have converted their spaces into pantries offering nutritious food and cooked meals to displaced workers and hungry families. It reminds me how much good there still is in this community during a time when we need it most.

First job: A headhunter, as a summer job in high school. I had to look up and call executives using a combination of Netscape Navigator and a glorified phone book to try to convince them to switch to jobs I didn’t know very much about, and definitely was not qualified to answer any questions about. I quit after three days.

Guilty pleasure: Browsing real estate listings, especially old farms and barns.

In the morning: Drinking a tall glass of water. I reach for it every morning, first thing, sometimes with my eyes still closed in bed.

Before bed: Making sure my phone is on silent. I’m a light sleeper so I need the best conditions I can get.

What keeps you up: Thinking about how I can contribute to securing a future with greater diversity in leadership. Statistics show that people who look like me are less likely to be at the table in board rooms across the country. That’s a problem that I don’t want the next generation of leaders to need to be concerned with.

Year ahead: To survive this wildly unpredictable and borderline unbelievable year mentally and physically healthy, and to support as many people as I can to do the same.


FEIFEI HU [35] – LA
VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
WARNERMEDIA

About: I am an ex-McKinsey consultant and entertainment leader with 10+ years of global experience across strategy, business development, product, operations, and finance.

Company: WarnerMedia creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences.

Residence: Los Angeles

Company HQ: New York

Education: BSE, industrial and operations engineering, University of Michigan; MBA, Harvard Business School.

Industry: Entertainment

Notable projects: Leading the global digital distribution of Warner Bros., HBO, and Turner content. Developing market strategies, managing partnerships, creating next-gen interactive products and experiences in the AR/VR, audio, IoT, and 5G spaces.

Advice: If we ask the right questions, the answers generally are easy to get.

Success: When I feel excited to go to work every morning.

Mentors: My father, husband, and kids.

Local companies you admire: Pinkfong, Yamibuy, Rael

First job: Working at an ice cream store.

Guilty pleasure: Baking desserts

In the morning: Give my family morning kisses.

Before bed: Review tomorrow’s calendar

What keeps you up: I don’t take my worries to bed.

Year ahead: Keep healthy and keep growing.


IAN KAR [28] – NY
CEO
FINTECH TODAY

About: After a career in finance and a fintech journalism stint at Quartz, I wanted to help build the products I was writing about. In 2019, I took the plunge, and used my background in product management from working at Acorns and Tasting Room to found my own fintech company. Fast-forward a year later and we have readers who are founders and executives from top-tier VCs and fintech firms, like Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, QED, Visa, Plaid, Credit Karma, Chime, and Stripe.

Company: Fintech Today is a subscription media firm focused on research for fintech operators. We produce a free weekly newsletter, a premium newsletter for industry leaders, and a private, invite-only community for industry executives.

Residence: New York

Company HQ: New York

Education: Economics and politics, Franklin and Marshall College, 2013.

Industry: Marketing and advertising

Notable projects: As a reporter I broke news on companies like Apple, PayPal, Venmo, and Uber, and interviewed leaders like U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers. With Fintech Today, we’re building a research firm and community that has already enabled dozens of investments, partnerships, and hires in the first year.

Advice: Take your time. I’m naturally an impatient person, so I feel unproductive if I’m not moving forward. But now I take my time rather than forcing and pushing things a certain way.

Success: I try not to think about if I’m successful or not. Success is unattainable. I always try to work on things that I feel fulfilled by and that make me happy. If I’m doing that, then I feel successful.

Mentors: My parents and my brother have all been supportive of my career and have guided me tremendously. I’m also lucky to have mentors who have helped me with Fintech Today.

Local companies you admire: Ramp Financial, a corporate credit card that helps you manage spending. Privacy.com, a company that helps users have more control over who has access to their spending. Bloom Credit, a company that makes it easier to work with credit bureaus. I’m also a big fan of health care tech companies like Ro and Capsule.

First job: I worked part time as a UPS store clerk when I was 16. My first full-time job was as an analyst at a hedge fund.

Guilty pleasure: I love music—rap and house especially—and going to concerts.

In the morning: Check Twitter

Before bed: Meditate and read

What keeps you up: Why there are 40M underbanked Americans without access to traditional financial services.

Year ahead: Continuing to add value to people in my community. Connecting people and enabling professional development fulfill me, so I’m excited to lean into that.


AMIT PATEL [39] – NY
VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING PARTNERSHIPS
PEACOCK (NBCUNIVERSAL)

About: At Peacock, I manage brand partnerships and marketing strategy across distribution platforms, including streaming media devices, game consoles, and connected TVs. Prior to joining Peacock, I oversaw Amazon’s product and partnerships team responsible for driving worldwide member growth for Amazon Prime through strategic partnerships with major mobile operators.

Company: Peacock is NBCUniversal’s new streaming service, a slate of exclusive originals, on-demand libraries of hit TV shows, and critically acclaimed films from the vaults of Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination, and Hollywood’s biggest studios. Peacock taps into NBCUniversal’s unmatched ability to deliver a broad range of compelling topical content across news, sports, late night, Spanish language, and reality.

Residence: New York

Company HQ: New York

Education: BS, business administration, University of California, Riverside; MBA, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.

Industry: Entertainment

Awards: DirectTV’s Founder Mentality Award nominee; won AT&T’s highest honor—First Annual Golden Boy: The Spirit of Communication Award.

Notable projects: Helping to build Peacock from the ground up and be part of a leadership team responsible for driving over 10M subscribers in less than five months from launch. Managing AT&T’s joint venture with The Chernin Group, where I led the distribution strategy for digital-first content and streaming services targeted toward millennials. Running DirectTV’s first digital streaming service targeted toward the U.S. Hispanic market. Leading business development for Western Digital’s $2B connected home division. Launching Sony Picture Digital’s mobile products business.

Advice: Nothing is gained by taking life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive, so remember to have fun and be true to yourself. 

Success: It is when my time is focused on work that is fulfilling to me and keeps me challenged, and I am making a material impact on other people’s lives, guiding them in their career journey, and helping to build the next class of leaders.

Mentors: Jon Molod, senior vice president of strategy and planning of Xfinity Consumer Services at Comcast, former DirecTV executive Peter Sargent, and former Comcast executive Naishad Patel.

Local companies you admire: Peloton and One Medical have both made health and wellness more accessible and easier to incorporate into consumers’ daily lives.

First job: Executive admin for the senior vice president of Sony Pictures Digital, where I was a part of Sony’s transformation to adapt to a digital era that provides consumers content on demand over the internet.

Guilty pleasure: Binging The Office

In the morning: Write in my notebook the three tasks I am going to complete that day.

Before bed: YouTubing new skills that I’ve been wanting to develop.

What keeps you up: How Peacock can continue to drive value for our subscribers, what our competitors are doing next, and how I can continue to build upon our amazing company and team culture in order to attract incredible and diverse talent.

Year ahead: To keep building a team and culture that challenges the power norms at traditional companies by setting up a workplace that is open and welcoming, encouraging diversity and inclusion, empowering my team to challenge the status quo and directly own contributions. I also want to ensure that team members are making time for self-care and focusing on both their mental and physical health while balancing their day-to-day work responsibilities.


ALANDHA SCOTT [31] – NY
GLOBAL HEAD OF PARTNER, STRATEGY, AND OPERATIONS MARKETING
YOUTUBE

About: A storyteller and brand builder, I lead co-marketing and distribution partnerships for YouTube Kids and all of YouTube’s subscription products (YouTube TV, YouTube Music, and YouTube Premium). I also set the global marketing vision, priorities, and strategy for the business. Prior to this role, I led the YouTube Originals Product Marketing team, where I created the strategy and brand identity for YouTube original shows and series with creative talent such as Demi Lovato, Kevin Hart, and Katy Perry.

Company: YouTube is an online video-sharing platform with a mission to give everyone a voice and to show them the world.

Residence: New York

Company HQ: San Bruno, Calif.

Education: BS, science, technology, and society, with a concentration in industrial engineering, Stanford University.

Industry: Marketing and advertising

Awards: Forbes 30 under 30 and Ad Age’s 40 under 40 in 2018 and 2019.

Notable projects: Spearheading YouTube’s efforts around racial justice by helping to drive its recent $100M content investment to amplify the voices of Black creators and artists on YouTube. Driving YouTube’s marketing response to COVID-19 by highlighting information from authoritative sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, promoting livestreams, and working with the brand team to stand up a #WITHME campaign to encourage people to stay home together. This work garnered 228B+ impressions, 1,600+ press mentions, 6.1B+ social impressions, and 700+ creator and artist PSAs. Led partnerships with Amazon, Samsung, and Verizon to make YouTube and YouTubeTV available on over 35M Fire TV devices. 

Advice: Show up fully. Don’t dwell on the past, and don’t spend too much time daydreaming or worrying about the future. Concentrate on showing up fully in the present moment. The present is what you have.

Success: Being happy with who I am and the impact I’m having on those around me.

Mentors: I find mentors all around me in people I admire, can learn from, and have as advisors.

Local companies you admire: Le Bon Pain Haitian Bakery.

First job: Working at a miniature golf course in my childhood town. My first professional job was interning on the recruiting team for Turner Broadcasting. 

Guilty pleasure: Chocolate-covered raisins and Viking shows (e.g., Vikings and The Last Kingdom).

In the morning: I live in New York but work West Coast hours. I treasure my quiet mornings before emails start coming in and I try to start my day by walking or doing yoga.

Before bed: Spending a few minutes reflecting on what I’m grateful for in my life.

What keeps you up: The safety and health of my friends and family.

Year ahead: In a year of so much uncertainty, unrest, and tragedy, my goal is to remain centered and focused on being a part of the change I want to see in the world.


MATTHEW SEGAL [35] – LA
CO-FOUNDER
ATTN:

About: Since launching Attn: in 2014, I’ve built the company’s content operation into an award-winning, global media brand and spearheaded partnerships with ABC News, Quibi, Facebook, Instagram, Apple, and HBO to launch premium video in a variety of original formats. I am also a regular commentator for MSNBC and ABC News, and shows like Today and Real Time with Bill Maher.

Company: Attn: is a media company that bridges entertainment with topical issues to explain the world around us. We are leaders when it comes to reaching people who want context on the issues and conversations that matter to them.

Residence: Los Angeles

Company HQ: Los Angeles

Education: Kenyon College

Industry: Media production

Awards: The Hollywood Reporter 35 Under 35 2017, and USC Iovine and Young Academy’s 2019 Commencement Speaker.

Notable projects: A seasoned interviewer, I have sat down for exclusives with political leaders including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, House Leader Nancy Pelosi, and music legends such as Bono, Keith Richards, and Patti Smith. Previously, I was the co-founder and president of OurTime.org, one of the nation’s largest nonprofits committed to increasing voter participation among young Americans.

Advice: Pick people you admire and ask them to be your mentors. Foster these relationships and ask them for advice often.

Success: When Attn:’s videos really started gaining traction in 2014 and 2015, we knew we were on to something, but the notion that you have already achieved success is a tricky one. I am always thinking we are on the brink. That keeps me motivated.

Mentors: Tom Werner and Valerie Jarrett, with whom Attn: produced a TV special. Both are indefatigable and have taught me to be bold and relentless in picking up the phone on behalf of a cause.

Local companies you admire: Sweetgreen, not only for its delicious salads, but for its commitment to brand purpose.

First job: Scooping ice cream

Guilty pleasure: Golf

In the morning: Coffee and the news.

Before bed: The news

What keeps you up: A weak bladder

Year ahead: Get people to vote.


JERON SMITH [35] – LA
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO
UNANIMOUS MEDIA AND INCUBATION LAB AT SONY

About: I founded Unanimous Media with my business partner Stephen Curry to develop and produce television, film, and digital content. I have produced documentaries such as Jump Shot (iTunes) and Emanuel (Starz), and shows such as Holey Moley (ABC) and Stephen vs. The Game (Facebook Watch). I also founded the Sony Incubation Lab, designed to break barriers that exist for nontraditional storytellers both in front of and behind the camera, and to create pathways for athletes, musicians, designers, artists, and other recognizable names in culture to create and develop content. I spearheaded the launch of Stephen Curry 30 Inc., where I developed a benchmark formula for player marketing and engineered unprecedented partnership deals with Facebook, Sony, YouTube, Rakuten, and Tencent.

Company: Unanimous Media is a multimedia company that produces television, film, and digital content centered around family, faith, and sports storytelling. Unanimous Media works in tandem with Sony Studios to create and disseminate inspirational and authentic stories to the world. In April 2018, the company partnered with Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Residence: Los Angeles

Company HQ: Los Angeles

Education: Economics, UCLA; BBA, business administration, Howard University; MS, strategic marketing and sports management, Georgetown University; MS, information and digital resource management, Columbia University.

Industry: Media production

Awards: Forbes 30 under 30, Ad Age’s 40 under 40, 2019 Webby winner, HUBS Exemplar Award, and Nice Kicks Future 50.

Notable projects: Highlighting the power of forgiveness and how a tragedy can bring a community together, in Emanuel. Prior to teaming up with Stephen Curry, I worked at the White House Office of Digital Strategy under President Obama, where I developed a digital strategy for the Executive Office of the President, including whitehouse.gov and the White House and POTUS social media channels for specific policy initiatives. At Nike, I launched and led disruptive marketing campaigns such as the Basketball Never Stops campaign, the Nike+ digitally connected footwear proposition in Europe and Asia, the inaugural Jordan Brand Space in Los Angeles, and the first Take Fight Vegas activation.

Advice: There is no formula for success, but the most successful people in the world have an uncanny ability to navigate the gray area. Also, attention is a finite resource that must be delegated, so put your smartphone down.

Success: When consistently choosing purpose over profit doesn’t put the health of the business in jeopardy.

Mentors: I haven’t had the honor of developing that type of relationship with someone that was willing to help guide and advise me in my career development. Because of this, I have been very intentional about making myself available to individuals looking for mentorship and guidance.

Local companies you admire: United Leather is a local company that sells a myriad of leathers and fabrics. I like to customize my clothing with their disparate assortment of leathers and suedes.

First job: I had my own trash can business from age 9 to 14 with over 30 clients. I’d roll trash cans out on Sunday and back in on Monday for $1.50 per home. I had three employees, whom I recruited by buying them whatever they wanted from the ice cream truck and telling them they could buy their own ice cream sandwiches if they worked for me.

Guilty pleasure: Organized battle rap

In the morning: Pray

Before bed: Brush and floss my teeth.

What keeps you up: Allowing fatigue to conquer my mental fortitude.

Year ahead: Win forever

 


JOHN STOUT [30] – LA
VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
RECOVER LIFE BRANDS LLC

About: My love for all outdoor activities, from fly-fishing to mountain biking, created a need for a better-for-you sports drink, which is why I was so attracted to the opportunity to help create Recover 180. 

Company: Recover 180 is a premium hydration beverage with three times the electrolytes, half the calories, and one-third the sugar compared to traditional sports drinks. Recover comes in three flavors: citrus, blood orange, and acai berry.

Residence: Los Angeles

Company HQ: Scottsdale

Education: BS, business administration, University of Alabama.

Industry: Food and beverage

Notable projects: Developing the original beverage formula, expanding the distribution, and creating the brand’s e-commerce business.

Advice: Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.

Success: Recover 180 being established as a national brand and a must-have household item. If I can drive across the country and know that I can pull off anywhere on the trip and be able to easily find Recover 180, that will be a major milestone.

Mentors: Mike Meldman and Schuyler Joyner, who are partners in this company.

Local companies you admire: Gloveworx, a franchise fitness business that started from nothing and has been successful in such a crowded space.

First job: Startup hydration powder company.

Guilty pleasure: Video games

In the morning: Checking email, a quick workout, and coffee and Recover 180 to start the day.

Before bed: Unwinding by finding a new movie or series on Netflix.

What keeps you up: New opportunities for the business that I know we can capitalize on but are not ready for yet.

Year ahead: We have a lot of momentum with the brand and want to take it to the next level in 2021.