• Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2020
Oliver Fuselier joins Great Guns USA as managing director/EP
Oliver Fuselier
LOS ANGELES -- 

International production company Great Guns has named Oliver Fuselier managing director and executive producer for the U.S.

Fuselier’s 20-years-plus career has seen him produce for and manage high-profile talent including directors Michael Bay, Danielle Levitt, David Fincher, Alma Har’el, Jaci Judleson and Mike Mills. His work has been recognized at numerous awards ceremonies, including winning a Palme d’Or for Production Company of the Year at Cannes Lions and two Emmys. He has also served on juries for Cannes Lions, LIAs, AICP, and Ciclope and is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Fuselier joins Great Guns USA from L.A.-based production company Keeper (formally known as Eskimo) where his role as MD, partner, and strategic consultant saw him orchestrate numerous projects end-to-end, leverage relationships with talented creatives, and fuel revenue growth. 

Prior to this, he was managing partner, live action at Tool of North America for eight years. During this time he oversaw every component of Tool’s operations, working closely with creatives across production to drive innovation and compelling storytelling.

In his new role at Great Guns, Fuselier will strive to keep “creative first,” raising the profile of the company’s global roster of talent in the U.S. and continuing to highlight the importance of diverse perspectives in production--championing the notion that talent is defined not only by the director but influencers, artists, innovators, and technicians. He will search for U.S.-based and global directors and artists, supporting the roster by sourcing creative opportunities wherever the path leads. He will confront, support, and keep talking about the efforts that need to be made in the industry and its approach to discovering talent and new partners.

Laura Gregory, founder of Great Guns, said, “We’d been planning our expansion in America for many months before the impact of coronavirus rippled across the globe. The U.S. now faces a more challenging future than we had imagined, so we couldn’t have asked for a better person to be on board to help our clients. It’s always been our philosophy to support young talent and Oliver’s ambitions fit perfectly with the ethos we’ve built across the years. He will no doubt push our global reach to new heights whilst making us question everything in order to drive forward.”

Fuselier is enthused over joining Great Guns where he will set out to help “continue the growth of a company where Laura has been such a trailblazer when it comes to supporting global talent. Great Guns’ incredible roster is testament to this – I’m looking forward to showing the U.S. ad community what we can offer. Clients and agencies are having to adjust to completely new ways of working and I believe with Great Guns’ capabilities we can help them navigate these challenges while offering a more innovative, inclusive approach to production. Now truly is the time for industry to embrace these changes and refocus on what is important in this day and age--we want to be at the forefront of this.”

  • Tuesday, Jul. 14, 2020
Gail Anderson, Sherina Florence appointed to One Club’s board of directors
Sherina Florence
NEW YORK -- 

The One Club for Creativity has enhanced diversity within its leadership with the appointments of Gail Anderson, chair of BFA Design and BFA Advertising at the School of Visual Arts, New York, and Sherina Florence, creative director at Ogilvy, New York, to its national board of directors.

Anderson and Florence were nominated by David Baldwin, head of Baldwin&, Raleigh, and Steve Sandstrom, creative director, designer and founder at Sandstrom Partners, Portland, who decided to step down from the board after each serving for nearly 20 years.

“Gail and Sherina are dynamic, respected leaders who will help us in our mission to support the global creative community,” said Kevin Swanepoel, CEO, The One Club.  “Diversity makes for a better organization, and enhances the programming and support we provide to the industry.  We’ll continue to take meaningful action on this front, and challenge other agencies, brands and organizations to do the same.”

More than 60% of The One Club board is made up of women and people of color.

Board responsibilities include providing input and feedback on the club’s more than two dozen annual professional development, education, inclusion & diversity and gender equality programs, connecting the club with advertising and design universities and schools, and recommending outstanding creative candidates to serve on juries for The One Show and ADC Annual Awards.

“I’m excited to work on The One Club education initiatives that can elevate our BIPOC colleagues and students worldwide, and help provide a more robust voice for all communities of color,” Anderson said.

“The One Club’s global impact on advertising is unparalleled,” said Florence.  “I’m honored to be joining a long legacy of distinguished creative leaders who’ve served the board, and humbled by David Baldwin’s choice to step down after 20 years of service. Both David and Steve are icons who have once again created space for more fresh perspectives. Thanks to the entire board for the appointment, I look forward to contributing for years to come.”

“We had the luxury of a tremendous list of candidates to fill our seats but Sherina and Gail stood out from all of them,” said Baldwin, who joined the Board in 2000.  “They are going to make a tremendous impact on the club’s future.”  

“It’s been a tremendous honor to have served on The One Club Board,” said Sandstrom, who has been on since 2003.  “I believe Gail’s and Sherina’s exceptional talent, wisdom and experience will add substantially to the club’s character and mission.”

  • Friday, Jul. 10, 2020
WarnerMedia Entertainment promotes Gagne, Jennings
Jackie Gagne
NEW YORK -- 

Jackie Gagne will be promoted from VP, Multicultural Marketing, HBO to SVP, Multicultural Marketing, WarnerMedia Entertainment, and Richard Jennings from VP, Design + Production, HBO to SVP, Design + Production, WarnerMedia Entertainment. Gagne and Jennings are based in New York and will continue to report to Lucinda Martinez, EVP of Multicultural Marketing, Brand & Inclusion Strategy, WarnerMedia Entertainment.
 
Since the consolidation of the Brand, Multicultural, International and Design + Production teams into one department earlier this year, the group has overcome a variety of challenges in order to support WME’s strategic priorities and the demands of an increased portfolio.
 
For the past six years, Gagne has been instrumental in establishing HBO’s multicultural marketing strategy and has succeeded in helping develop a unique team. From Game of Thrones to 2 Dope Queens, Insecure and On The Record, she has overseen an extensive list of audience-led, culturally relevant campaign initiatives and targeted brand experiences. Her team was recently named a “Center of Expertise” within WarnerMedia, and has begun sharing best practices across the company’s brand portfolio.
 
In addition to supporting HBO’s programming franchises, Gagne has used the multicultural platform to amplify diverse voices and uplift storytellers through a variety of initiatives, including HBO POV, which celebrates the diversity of the behind-the-scenes talent that brings HBO’s programming to life; the HBO Asian Pacific American Visionaries short film competition for emerging directors of Asian and/or Pacific Islander descent; and most recently, the “Our Stories to Tell” campaign, aimed at engaging and servicing diverse audiences through multicultural programming and relatable storytelling. In her expanded role, Gagne will lead the launch of audience hubs on HBO MAX designed to super-serve various multicultural audiences later this year.
 
Gagne and her team will continue driving audience-led campaigns and best practices across the WME portfolio via innovative strategies to maximize market segment engagement. She will also work closely with Enterprise Inclusion to develop an inclusive brand narrative.
 
Jennings was recruited to HBO from Warner Music Group, in 2013, to rebuild the Design + Production group and services. He’s positioned the D+P group as a premier one-stop shop for design and creative development, branding, environmental, copywriting, OOH production and project management.
 
The team services HBO, HBO Max, and Max Originals, as well as partners and collaborates with all WarnerMedia verticals.  Currently, the team is partnering with AT&T to develop assets for the launch and ongoing creative support for the Discovery District in Dallas.
 
In the fall of 2019, Jennings earned an MFA in Graphic Design. In his new expanded role, Jennings will oversee Environmental Design for WarnerMedia Entertainment (Hudson Yards, Burbank, Santa Monica, Ivy Station and Seattle), internal Key Art design resources across the portfolio, HBO Max Merchandise Production, Design Standards and Style Guides.

  • Wednesday, Jul. 8, 2020
Scott Friske rejoins Hue&Cry as EP
Scott Friske
RICHMOND, Va. -- 

Scott Friske has rejoined Hue&Cry as executive producer in Richmond. Friske was previously EP at SHIPPING + HANDLING in Los Angeles. In his new position, he reunites with Hue&Cry founder and executive creative director Magnus Hierta in maintaining the company’s culture of creativity and will assume responsibility for ensuring financial growth. He’ll lead on sales, recruiting, and general business management, while championing the studio’s roster of talented artists on their creative output. Hue&Cry is known for its animation and design work on campaigns for agencies like The Martin Agency, FCB, and Ogilvy, network properties including NatGeo and MSNBC, and brands like Oreo, Capital One, Discover, and Chevrolet.

Friske makes the move to Richmond from Los Angeles after spending nearly five years on editorial house Spot Welders’ creative campus running the company’s VFX/design/animation division. During his tenure at SHIPPING + HANDLING, he worked on delivering notable projects for brands such as Beats by Dre, Google, Comcast/Xfinity, Oakley, Pandora, and Fox Sports, award-winning artists like Justin Timberlake and Billie Eilish, and directors including Paul Hunter, Craig Gillespie, Leigh Powis, and Paul Briganti.

A seasoned creative and advertising industry executive of 25 years, Friske also worked with Steve Humble to open The Martin Agency’s in-house editorial, animation, and social content unit Running With Scissors in 2009, helping to expand the agency’s capabilities across all creative production and post services. Ultimately, it was the catalyst that led to starting Hue&Cry with Hierta in 2013.  Friske and Hierta united upon the recommendation by a mutual friend when Friske was on the hunt for a CD to start an animation studio. 

Prior, Friske also spent two years at Rock Paper Scissors producing for Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, who teamed on two Best Editing Oscars for the David Fincher-directed The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Upcoming, Hue&Cry is currently working on projects for the VA Lottery, Epidiolex and MSNBC. In 2019, Hue&Cry released its first film, Into the Flame, an animated short that’s currently making the festival rounds and receiving acclaim, including becoming a Vimeo Staff Pick. 

  • Wednesday, Jul. 8, 2020
Don Lupo succeeds Susan Franceschini as exec director of ThinkLA
Susan Franceschini (l) and Don Lupo
LOS ANGELES -- 

Susan Franceschini has stepped down as executive director of ThinkLA after leading the nonprofit association for 17 years. Succeeding her is Don Lupo who’s had a four-year tenure as director of marketing for ThinkLA.

Having previously coordinated three associations--the Los Angeles Advertising Agencies Association, the Ad Club of Los Angeles and the Magazine Representatives Association--Franceschini led the merging of the three groups 14 years ago into a new organization called ThinkLA. Since then, ThinkLA has grown into the premier trade association for the advertising, marketing, and media industry in Los Angeles supporting hundreds of creative and media companies in the Los Angeles area.

Franceschini has been instrumental in building the organization, the board of directors, and key initiatives including LMU’s M-School, and the DIG (Diversity, Inclusion, and Gender) initiative. Franceschini will stay on as an adviser through September before expanding her consulting business, helping individuals and companies build community and connection through personal and professional development. 

“I have loved my role at the heart of our community,” says Franceschini. “It has been a privilege to know and work with so many inspiring, creative, and brilliant people over the years. ThinkLA stands as a model for other trade associations in the industry nationwide. I am so proud of what we have accomplished together. I am thrilled to turn over the reins to Don Lupo. He has the passion and creativity ThinkLA needs to evolve.”

The Board of Directors has named Don Lupo to the leadership role. Prior to serving as ThinkLA’s director of marketing, he led digital production and marketing teams with agencies throughout Los Angeles over the past 20 years. Lupo was also a professional photographer and public speaker.

“This is the dream job I didn’t know I wanted,” said Lupo. “When Susan asked me to join ThinkLA, it became the culmination of a long career and an opportunity to serve the industry which has truly given me everything. I have the honor of being part of a team that is dedicated to connect, educate, and inspire with everything we do, from events and webinars to professional forum groups and training. I look forward to continuing the legacy Susan has built along with evolving our ongoing mission to serve the Los Angeles advertising, marketing, and media community.”

  • Wednesday, Jul. 8, 2020
Daimler's Conrad Fritzsch jumps to agency side as global transformation officer at Publicis Emil
Conrad Fritzsch
PARIS -- 

Conrad Fritzsch, former head of digital agency model & data activation at Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler, has moved over to the agency side as global transformation officer at Publicis Emili, the shop which handles Daimler.
 
In the newly created role, Fritzsch will continue to drive the adoption and scaling of the new agency model in order to achieve Daimler’s transformation goal from car manufacturer to digital automotive champion, with a specific focus on:

  • Scaling the model to integrate all business units
  • Broadening the geographic footprint to include all regions, specifically Germany, the U.S. and China
  • Driving the connected hubs model and ways of working globally
  • Developing a global working and cultural model to drive the transformation

Fritzsch will also support Publicis Groupe’s drive in productizing, packaging and scaling the Publicis Power Of One model to other clients.

Fritzsch has been integral to the marketing and digital transformation of Mercedes-Benz over the past four years, and since Daimler appointed Publicis Groupe two years ago in one of the most significant holding company pitches of the year in 2018. Following the pitch, Fritzsch led the establishment of the new agency model to drive data-driven activation and marketing in cooperation with Publicis Emil, deploying the agency in 40 markets and reshaping how data is used at Daimler to engage, excite and win the loyalty of customers.

Fritzsch’s unique experience has been built over an interesting career and life: as an East Berliner pre unification of the wall, his experience in transformation began early. In 1993, he founded an agency that specialized in communications for people in East Germany which required targeted and personalized advertising to convey products and their campaigns from the West. He then founded the online music TV station tape.tv, before moving to Daimler in 2016 with the brief of establishing the “Digital House” which would accelerate Daimler’s vision to become the number one automotive digital champion. Under his leadership, he created the “Digital House,” desiloing critical departments of expertise spanning IT, marketing and developers, to bring together an integrated hub with locations including Stuttgart, Berlin and Portugal. The “Digital House” is building new and critical capabilities to be a key element in enabling and driving digital sales systems and customer engagement.

Justin Billingsley, global CMO Of Publicis Groupe and chairman of Publicis Emil, commented: “Conrad is a true change-driver and his partnership has been critical in enabling the rapid implementation and successes of the agency model created for Mercedes-Benz. The success of the model is not one sided, it takes change for both partners to create a team, without boundary or silo, dedicated to one vision: in this case achieving the digital transformation of Mercedes-Benz. Conrad’s appointment is the next natural phase of transformation for Mercedes-Benz and I‘m delighted that he’ll be working with us more closely than ever before.“ 
 
Fritzsch stated: “At its very core, transformation is a cultural mission. Cultural change is critical and over the past few years, my focus has been to drive this change at Mercedes-Benz through the unification of global processes and regions, destruction of silos and challenging the traditional ways of thinking. Through doing this, we facilitate a global transformation of marketing, a new and connected world in which Mercedes-Benz can make better decisions through data, with increased consistency, efficiency and effectiveness. Our focus is then to look at how we enable the Mercedes-Benz brand to connect with customers globally by delivering impactful stories and experiences, driven by data and connected by technology, to influence hearts and minds globally.”

Fritzsch’s appointment was confirmed in March 2020, prior to the Publicis Groupe hiring freeze response to COVID-19.
 

  • Thursday, Jul. 2, 2020
Leon Silverman named chair of HPA Industry Recovery Task Force
Leon Silverman
BURBANK, Calif. -- 

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA), the trade organization serving the professional community that provides expertise, support, tools and infrastructure for the creation and finishing of media content, has named industry leader and former HPA president Leon Silverman to lead the HPA Industry Recovery Task Force (IRTF). Regarded as one of the most respected experts in production and post, Silverman is a founder of HPA and continues to serve on its Board. Over the course of his decades long career, he has held executive roles at major studios and entertainment companies including Netflix, The Walt Disney Studios, Kodak and LaserPacific. In these roles, he has focused on the intersection of technology and creativity, working closely with a number of key industry organizations.

As announced earlier, the Industry Recovery Task Force is focused on the sustainable resumption of the production and postproduction industry service sector with the aim of understanding how to enable content creation in an evolving world impacted by the pandemic crisis. The task force’s upcoming virtual Town Hall events will share the latest health and safety, technical and creative best practices and encourage global community dialogue.

Silverman noted, “We are at a pivotal moment at an important and challenging time in our industry.  While the pandemic forces us to evolve the way we work to effectively create and deliver content, we also have a real opportunity to not just get back to work, but to move our industry forward. This Task Force will mobilize experts, artists, and technological visionaries from a range of disciplines to thoughtfully collaborate on industry evolution and innovation. The HPA is well suited to help create a common ground and forum for this conversation and while we may not be in the same room, we can still help bring our industry together. I sincerely believe we can emerge from this current crisis stronger and focused on enhancing creativity and content creation itself.”

The first IRTF Town Hall will be held in July.  HPA plans to continue this format over the following months as the impact of the pandemic evolves. These events will present the latest knowledge and processes for individuals and companies at work on sets, in post-on-set environments, visual effects companies, studios, production companies, and postproduction entities.  The first event will feature a panel of experts including medical experts, scientists, political leaders, postproduction artists, and members of guilds. Video case studies will take us behind the scenes to learn how facilities and companies have managed the challenges of the pandemic.

“It is extremely important,” noted Silverman, “to collaborate with the key individuals who have scientific knowledge as well as those who have already set standards for returning to work to make sure we are in sync with their guidelines and can educate our HPA community. Ultimately, our aim is to build an incredibly collaborative, creative, and technically sound future.”

The specific schedule and speakers for the upcoming town halls will be announced shortly.

Seth Hallen, HPA president said, “The IRTF Town Hall represents the next chapter of how the HPA will engage and bring value to our community and industry. There is simply no one who could take the reins of the IRTF with more skill and leadership than Leon, and the HPA Board remains as passionate and dedicated as ever to creating venues for education and connectivity that deliver real impact. This is more than simple panel discussions, this will be a thought leading, interactive launchpad for our industry’s next steps.”

  • Tuesday, Jun. 30, 2020
Cari Bucci-Hulings Named President of Periscope
Cari Bucci-Hulings
MINNEAPOLIS -- 

Cari Bucci-Hulings will join Minneapolis-based integrated marketing agency Periscope as president, effective July 6. Bucci-Hulings--who most recently served as president of MARC USA, one of the largest independent agencies in the country--will  report to Eric Ashworth, VP of Agency Solutions for Quad, the creative engineering company that acquired Periscope in 2019.

“Periscope succeeds by connecting emotions with behaviors, and Cari is a perfect fit for that pursuit,” Ashworth said. “She understands the importance of culture, creativity and community to serve the constantly evolving needs of today’s marketers. She’s also obsessed with the data science and analytics that fuel product development and business growth. Her experience, energy and fresh perspective make her an ideal fit for a growing agency focused on helping brands perform beyond their expectations.”

Bucci-Hulings joined MARC USA in 2010 and was promoted to president in 2018. Prior to MARC USA, she spent eight years at DraftFCB, and was previously with Leo Burnett.

“Periscope is unencumbered by a complex holding company structure, so it enjoys the agility of an independent agency with access to the vast resources and support of a global parent organization,” said Bucci-Hulings. “The agency’s dynamic culture and unwavering connection to the heart of what makes consumers act results in unexpected, impactful brand experiences.”

In addition to Bucci-Hulings, Periscope hired SVP of growth Matt Benka in April to hone the agency’s go-to-market strategy and positioning. A month earlier, the agency hired group strategy director Nathan Young. Young has been part of the agency’s COVID-19 response team and is one of the two industry leaders who rallied 600 Black advertising professionals to pen a letter outlining 12 actions agencies should take to help eradicate systemic racism in their organizations.

“Fresh thinking, infectious energy and unparalleled passion...this is how we define leadership at Periscope,” said Ashworth who also cited the talents of chief creative officer Peter Nicholson. 

  • Monday, Jun. 29, 2020
Global jury set for Next Creative Leaders competition run by One Club, 3% Movement
Brynna Aylward, creative director, GUT Miami
NEW YORK -- 

The global jury of 88 creatives from 25 countries has been announced for the Next Creative Leaders (NCL) competition, run jointly by The One Club for Creativity and The 3% Movement.

NCL is a portfolio competition that identifies, celebrates and gives a global platform to talented womxn and non-binary creatives who are making their mark on the world with both their work and a unique point of view on creative leadership that’s changing the industry for the better.  

To make Next Creative Leaders as open and accessible as possible, there is no fee to enter the competition here.  Entries highlighting a candidate’s creativity, leadership and unique point of view must be submitted by the July 31, 2020 deadline.  

For the first time in its five-year history, NCL has expanded its diversity and inclusion remit to accept entries from both womxn and non-binary creatives, and added regional honors.

Also new for 2020 is the addition of NCL Regional Honors. Along with naming 10 global winners based upon the highest scores from judges, The One Club and The 3% Movement have expanded the program to recognize those in six regions -- North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, MENA, Africa and Europe -- whose work and creative vision the judges feel deserve Regional Honor accolades.

Eligible participants are those who are stepping into leadership roles, including copywriters, art directors, designers, ACDs, newly-promoted creative and design directors with less than one year in the role, and creative teams who are doing game-changing work.

Entrants are judged on four-to-six pieces of creative work, their background and information about how they — and their work — are pushing the industry forward and making a positive contribution in terms of diversity, mentoring and advocacy.  

Winners will be selected by a jury of top creatives and diversity advocates, including past Next Creative Leaders winners, and announced at an upcoming joint The One Club for Creativity-The 3% Movement event to be held in the fall.

The global jury of 88 creatives includes:

  • Emuron Alemu, Group CD, Africa, Ogilvy Africa, Nairobi
  • Brynna Aylward, CD, GUT Miami
  • Chris Bergeron, VP Strategy, Cossette, Montreal
  • Alice Chou, CCO, Dentsu Taiwan, Taipei
  • Vida Cornelious, CCO, Fake Love - A New York Times Company, New York
  • Joey David-Tiempo, Founder/Chief Creative, Octopus & Whale, Manila
  • Caroline Dettman, Founder, Have Her Back, Chicago
  • Aricio Fortes, CCO, BBDO China, Shanghai
  • Suhana Gordhan, ECD, FCB Johannesburg
  • Elisha Greenwell, Managing Director, Brand Citizens, Oakland
  • Jayanta Jenkins, Global ECD, Samsung, Los Angeles
  • Bridget Jung, CCO, Ogilvy PR Australia, Sydney
  • Mira Kaddoura, Founder/ECD, Red & Co, Portland
  • Sulaiman Khan, Founder/Chief Purpose Officer, This Ability, London
  • Winter Mendelson, Founder/CEO, Posture Media, New York
  • Debbie Millman, Designer/Host, Design Matters Media, New York
  • Stephanie Nadi-Olson, Founder/CEO, We Are Rosie, Atlanta
  • Joanna Peña-Bickley, Head of Research and Design, Amazon, New York
  • Matthias Storath, CCO, HEIMAT, Berlin
  • Keni Thacker, Founder, 100 Roses from Concrete, New York
  • Nathan Young, 600 & Rising, Minneapolis 
  • Shannon Washington, Group ECD, R/GA, New York
  • Xanthe Wells, Senior Director/Global ECD, Devices & Services, Google, San Francisco

The NCL 2020 jury also includes 10 members of The One Club National and International Boards of Directors: 

  • David Baldwin, CEO/Lead Guitar, Baldwin&, Raleigh, NC
  • Sonal Dabral, creative consultant, Mumbai
  • Greg Hahn, CCO/cofounder, Mischief USA, New York
  • Monica Moro, CCO, McCann Spain, Madrid
  • Masako Okamura, ECD, Dentsu One Manila
  • Tiffany Rolfe, co-CCO, US, R/GA New York
  • Götz Ulmer, ECD, Jung von Matt, Hamburg
  • Luiz Sanches, Partner & CCO, AlmapBBDO, São Paulo
  • Nancy Vonk, Co-Founder & Partner, SWIM, Toronto
  • Stéphane XiBerras, President/CCO, BETC Paris

The complete list of NCL 2020 judges from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mainland China, Costa Rica, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Kenya, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, UK and US can be viewed here.

 

  • Tuesday, Jun. 23, 2020
Producers Guild promotes Michelle Byrd to associate national executive director
Michelle Byrd
LOS ANGELES -- 

Michelle Byrd has been promoted to associate national executive director of the Producers Guild of America (PGA) from her previous role of managing director, PGA East. In her new post, Byrd will work alongside national executive directors Susan Sprung and Vance Van Petten to assist in leading the expansion, reach, vision and operations of the Guild and its key programs. Current priorities include the Guild’s efforts to create standard protocols for productions during COVID-19; increasing diversity in membership through One Guild, as well as creating new programming and educational initiatives that serve this goal; the Producers Mark; green production initiatives; the annual PGA Awards; and the PGA Foundation’s Independent Production Safety Initiative. Byrd remains based out of the New York office.

In her prior role as the first managing director of PGA East, Byrd was responsible for the growth and stewardship of the PGA’s East Coast membership and activities. Her accomplishments include establishing the Guild’s first permanent home for member activities, restructuring the office’s member services team, and increasing visibility around the PGA Awards in New York and the Produced By: New York conference, which has matured into a must-attend event for East Coast-based film and television producers.

“It is clear that Michelle’s outstanding and unsurpassed leadership in many areas of the Guild including her accomplishments growing Guild membership, building a sense of community for producers on the East Coast, and countless other examples, exemplifies the talents she brings on a national level to the role as associate national executive director. We’re excited that she will be working closely with us alongside national executive directors Vance Van Petten and Susan Sprung on all aspects of the Guild to help our organization and our members become stronger and more impactful than ever,” read a joint statement from PGA presidents Lucy Fisher and Gail Berman.

“We are all aware of the challenges and hurdles that our industry is currently facing, and we are working day and night to identify and create solutions for our members. Michelle’s acute understanding of both producers and our Guild means that this promotion could not have come at a better time, both for leadership and our members. We are looking forward to continuing our work with Michelle on our current priorities and as we carve out viable, visionary ideas for the future of our industry and the Guild,” said Producers Guild of America national executive directors Sprung and Van Petten in a joint statement. 

Byrd shared, “It is a privilege to work closely with the Guild’s national leadership,” adding that together they will team “to bring a fresh eye and perspective to serving and engaging members wherever they live.”  

Prior to the PGA, Byrd spent over 20 years successfully building prominent, non-profit media organizations involved with film, digital, and games. Based in New York, she served 12 years (1997-2009) as executive director of IFP (Independent Filmmaker Project) including repositioning IFP’s Gotham Awards into awards season with the introduction of competitive awards, establishing prominent collaborations with entities such as the United Nations and re-framing the organization’s programming to focus on projects in development and works-in-progress.

From 2010-2013, Byrd was co-president of Games for Change and oversaw the Games for Change Festival and served as an executive producer on “Half the Sky” Movement’s Facebook and mobile games based on Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s best-selling book (Zynga, Ford Foundation, USAID). From 2014-2017 Byrd ran her own consulting practice providing strategic planning, program and partnership development, and management advisory services for the Canadian Consulate, Ghetto Film School, Green Beetz, Museum of the Moving Image, New York State Commission on National and Community Service, and the Governor’s Office of Motion Picture & Television Development, among others. She was also EP on “The Whiteness Project,” an interactive investigation into how Americans who identify as white, or partially white, understand and experience their race. (American Documentary | POV).

Byrd has served as a juror on the documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival, been awarded the “Made in New York” career tribute by Mayor Bloomberg, and received the “Good Egg Award” for Distinguished Leadership from Chicken & Egg Pictures, among other honors.

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