our
leadership Team

Powered by mission, built for success. Roar Social’s world-class team is driven by a passion for reinventing social media.

Robert Weiss
Ceo And Founder
Robert Weiss
Ceo And Founder

A skilled operator, technologist and entrepreneur –– Rob has a track record of building B2C and B2B companies at the intersection of technology, media and pop culture. Known for his pioneering work in social media and celebrity influencers, Rob has spent 25+ years leading companies with transformative innovation. Prior to Roar Social, Rob was the Founding CEO of FanDragon Technologies, a company that revolutionized mobile ticket distribution using a proprietary blockchain-powered SaaS platform. Known for his deep knowledge of Gen-Z, celebrity influencers and digital-native consumers, Rob has led a wide variety of technology and digital media companies including EQAL, RockYou, NotMe Solutions, PollPalls, FanBread and Bizzzle. Throughout a career spanning consumer tech, entertainment and music, Rob has overseen numerous successful company launches, expansions, rebrands and turnarounds that include divisions of News Corp, Viacom/MTV, Comcast and Disney. Rob started his career as a journalist, working as a reporter for Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times, and then as a producer for CNBC and the “TODAY” show.

Mike Dodge-Nam
Chief Operating Officer
Mike Dodge-Nam
Chief Operating Officer

As Roar Social's Chief Operating Officer, Mike works closely with the CEO to oversee key business units including Finance, Legal, Operations, Corporate Strategy, Business Intelligence, Moderation, and Human Resources. With over two decades of success, Mike has a track record of building and growing companies at the intersection of media and technology. Prior to Roar Social, he was Chief Operating Officer of Care Solace, where he focused on improving mental healthcare for school systems and their families. He served in CEO and COO roles at a wide variety of media and technology ventures, including 101 Networks, theAudience, and online publishing giant Evolve Media. He has also held executive and management positions at McKinsey & Company, General Electric and Procter and Gamble. Mike received an MBA from Harvard Business School. In his free time, he enjoys swimming, going to concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, and spending time with his husband and twin boys.

Jim Smitley
Chief Technology Officer
Jim Smitley
Chief Technology Officer

As Roar Social's Chief Technology Officer, Jim works closely with the CEO to oversee the company's overall technical direction and engineering strategy. Jim has worked in technology for more than 20 years, previously at LinkedIn, Atlassian, PointDrive, and kettle.ai. Jim started out programming in the pharmaceutical industry and grew to build large cloud-based SaaS products and teams at major tech companies like LinkedIn and Atlassian. He has a passion for building a great engineering culture and teams to create world-class software solutions. When Jim isn't sitting in front of a computer or working with his team, he's spending time with his family of 9 trying to stay sharp by playing puzzles and games of all sorts.

Jackie Hernandez
Chief Strategy Officer
Jackie Hernandez
Chief Strategy Officer

As Roar Social's Chief Strategy Officer, Jackie oversees all strategic planning and activities, go-to-market teams, and growth initiatives throughout the company. A highly accomplished media/tech executive, Jackie also has extensive C-level experience in Branded Content, Brand Sustainability and CSR, as well as deep connections with the leading media agencies and Fortune 500 brands. She has been named among Fortune's Most Powerful Latinas and The Hollywood Reporter's Power 100 Women. Jackie currently sits on the Board of Directors of Victoria’s Secret and Estrella Media. She is also the CEO of New Majority Ready, a marketing consulting and content development firm specializing in multicultural which she opened in 2019. Prior to Roar Social, Jackie was the Chief Operating Officer of Telemundo Enterprises. She has led other major brands including NBC-Universal Media, TIME International, CNN International and Combate Global. Jackie’s passions include hiking and gardening, and she is an overall arts and culture vulture.

Ash Steffy
Chief Experience Officer
Ash Steffy
Chief Experience Officer

As Roar Social’s Chief Experience Officer, Ash works closely with the CEO to manage the company’s end-to-end platform experience and growth. He oversees a wide range of key business units including Product, Community, Brand Strategy, Marketing, Human Interface/Design, Partnerships, Social Impact, and Corporate Communications. Ash has an extensive track record of building dynamic consumer experiences across all tech-media platforms. Prior to Roar Social, Ash served as Chief Marketing Officer at FanDragon Technologies, where he led all Corporate Communications, Marketing, Public Relations and Brand Strategy. Before that, he was the Vice President of Marketing and Creative Services at Ovation, where he oversaw key initiatives for Consumer Marketing, Advertising Sales, Affiliate Sales, Programming and Corporate Relations. He served nearly a decade at the Walt Disney Company leading a wide variety of Marketing initiatives. Earlier in his career, he held executive roles at Universal Pictures and the Directors Guild of America. In his spare time, Ash enjoys reading, spending time with his husband, family and friends, and traveling.

Jason Black
Chief Innovation Officer
Jason Black
Chief Innovation Officer

As Roar Social's Chief Innovation Officer, Jason works closely with the CEO to oversee the company's overall innovation strategy. He manages a wide range of key business units including Content Strategy, Content Moderation and Human Resources. A seasoned C-level executive, Jason has brought strategic leadership and operational efficiency to a wide variety of pioneering technology start-ups and traditional media companies. Prior to Roar Social, he served as COO at FanDragon Technologies, leading the Engineering, Product and Operations teams. Jason’s expertise in social media, technology, music and pop culture spans over 20 years, including tenures at MTV, Mark Burnett Productions, EMI Publishing, Fuse Media, and the Ovation cable network. At EQAL Media, he oversaw digital content creation for social media/celebrity influencers such as Jennifer Lopez and Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee. Jason is a Meals on Wheel volunteer who loves going to concerts, seeing films, and traveling to places like Mexico City and Berlin with his husband.

Gillian Raikes
Head Of Social Impact And Chief Of Staff
Gillian Raikes
Head Of Social Impact And Chief Of Staff

As Roar Social's Head of Social Impact and Chief of Staff, Gillian leads all social impact and philanthropic efforts, combining innovation and technical expertise to scale these initiatives in meaningful and measurable ways. Gillian also provides the CEO and Leadership Team with strategic insight on the company's operations, leading company-wide efforts, from ideation to implementation, to ensure that information and decision processes are collaborative, effective and innovative. She also serves as the company's official liaison to the Roar Social Foundation. Gillian’s eclectic and impressive background includes specializing in areas such as Strategic Philanthropy, Public Health and International Development. Prior to Roar Social, she served as Director of Business Development and Partnerships at FanDragon Technologies, spearheading the company’s strategic growth initiatives. Before that, Gillian served a fellowship at Stanford University’s Effective Philanthropy Learning Initiative, where she created tools and resources to aid in developing philanthropic strategies. Gillian is happiest when she is spending time with family and friends, doing puzzles or enjoying the outdoors.

Lori Ross
Head Of Data Privacy And Legal Affairs
Lori Ross
Head Of Data Privacy And Legal Affairs

Lori serves as Roar Social's Head of Data Privacy and Legal Affairs. A renowned expert in intellectual property, data compliance and data security, she has over 20 years of experience helping both new and established companies solve complex legal and business issues. Lori has provided counseling related to topics such as privacy, GDPR and CCPA compliance, and SaaS agreements to entertainment and technology companies such as Verizon, Hulu, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Allergan, and Cornerstone on Demand. In addition to her role as Partner at Outside GC, Lori served as VP of Business and Legal Affairs at FanDragon Technologies, where she oversaw international, commercial, and technology agreements, and strategic partnerships. She has also served on the Board of Directors of CAN-B, a non-profit organization in Northern California. In her free time, Lori enjoys traveling, fly fishing, skiing, biking and watching French sitcoms and Scandinavian murder mysteries.

Miguel Del Rosario
Vice President, Operations And Project Management
Miguel Del Rosario
Vice President, Operations And Project Management

As Vice President of Operations and Project Management, Miguel leads Roar Social’s day-to-day operations and initiatives, including areas such as finance, legal and human resources. He has a track record of managing B2C and B2B teams at the intersection of technology, entertainment and finance. Before Roar Social, Miguel led cross-functional teams at high-growth startups like Better and FanDragon. He earned his degree in Business Economics from the University of California, Irvine. As a “Swiftie” and Formula 1 fan, Miguel has watched the movie Titanic 21 times.

Margaret Hinch
Head Of Human Resources
Margaret Hinch
Head Of Human Resources

Margaret is the Head of Human Resources at Roar Social. With over 20 years of experience, she is also the CEO of Thought Lens, a company that specializes in coaching, consulting, and individual career counseling. Margaret served as VP of Human resources for over 5 years at mOcean, a top entertainment advertising agency in Los Angeles. She was also VP of Human Resources at Ignition, a full-service Advertising Agency. Margaret’s has built HR departments and practices from the ground up, ranging from diversity-inclusive programs to generating cost-effective recruitment strategies. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, reading constantly, and bee-keeping.

Tiger Smith
Co-Head Of Product
Tiger Smith
Co-Head Of Product

Tiger is Roar Social’s Co-Head of Product. He is a seasoned product leader, developer, and manager who has worked in the technology space for over 15 years. As VP of Product at Maple Media he ran the product & design teams, managing over 100+ mobile apps. His expertise in product vision was refined while serving as Director of Programming for Ruckus Network, where he lead a number of critical initiatives at Ruckus. Tiger was then recruited by Buzz Media (later known as Spin Media), where he led and product managed interactive campaigns for over 30 digital properties and UGC sites (including Buzznet, Stereogum, Idolator, TheFrisky, XLR8R, Whitney Port, and Khloe Kardashian. Tiger splits his time between Echo Park and the high desert with his three cats, and in his spare time he produces music as a radio DJ and practices Muay Thai.

Jordan Carlson
Co-Head Of Product
Jordan Carlson
Co-Head Of Product

Jordan Carlson is the Co-Head Product at Roar Social, with an expertise in user experience and product development process. Prior to joining the team, he was an accomplished entrepreneur and founder of the AI company, Foreknow, which he led for several years. Jordan has also spent time throughout his career working for and advising other tech companies and startups, including Salesforce as a Business Development Team Lead. Outside of work, Jordan enjoys spending time with his daughter, and can often be found at the beach, listening to hip-hop music, and working on NFT projects.

Ryan Ray
Head Of Engineering
Ryan Ray
Head Of Engineering

Ryan is the Head of Engineering at Roar Social. He has nearly 15 years of professional software experience helping build products and high-performing engineering teams from the ground up. Most recently, Ryan served as the Vice President of Engineering at VideoPeel where he oversaw a team helping businesses collect authentic video feedback, while still engaged in daily hands-on coding. Prior to that, Ryan managed a cross functional team at tZERO guiding users through the process of opening a new brokerage account, built Zane Benefits health insurance platform from scratch, and spent 5 years as a developer at Overstock.com. He currently lives in Utah and enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and son, specifically off-roading, BBQing and woodworking.

Saf Elmansour
Head of Marketing and Brand Strategy
Saf Elmansour
Head of Marketing and Brand Strategy

As Roar Social's Head of Marketing and Brand Strategy, Saf leads all consumer marketing initiatives and operations, including go-to-market, audience growth, lifecycle marketing, creative collateral, and marketing partnerships. He is also responsible for the company's overall brand strategy across Roar Social’s entire ecosystem of touchpoints and consumer experiences as well as activating the brand internally and externally. Saf is a full-stack marketer with over two decades of global brand and product marketing leadership for Fortune 10 brands and technology startups. Previously, he was the CMO at Antares Audio, best known as the developer of Grammy-winning Auto-Tune, where he led global marketing and market growth. Earlier in his career, he directed marketing activities at companies like General Motors, USA Today, Smule and more. Saf earned his MBA in Marketing from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Fulbright scholar, and received his BS in Business Management as Cum Laude from Old Dominion University. He is fluent in English, French and Arabic, with proficiency in Spanish and Italian. In his free time, Saf is a DJ, music producer and a published photographer.

Chad Syme
Head Of Human Interface And Design
Chad Syme
Head Of Human Interface And Design

Chad is the Head of Human Interface and Design at Roar Social. He spent four years at Microsoft leading UX/UI design bringing interactive experiences to life for some of Xbox’s most popular games. He also led product design on the celebrated iOS photography app Filmborn, which was featured multiple times by Apple. He has operated a brand-centric design studio, contributed to emerging tech, and developed products and brands ranging from startups to global corporations. His professional career started at age twenty-one with an internship on an Emmy Award-winning sketch comedy television show, which led to production designer and art director roles, where he collaborated with talent including Joel McHale and Bill Nye The Science Guy. Chad’s life anecdotes include puppeteering an alien for an independent film, and being a candidate on a dating show. He also loves dancing and music – particularly soul, funk, and R&B from the 60s and early 70s.

Matt Shortall
Head of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships
Matt Shortall
Head of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships

As Roar Social's Head of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships, Matt is responsible for expanding and creating new business opportunities. He ensures that Roar Social's platform creates a significant impact through partnerships with innovative and passionate partners — including creators, brands and nonprofits. Matt is an accomplished business development expert with a wealth of experience implementing development strategies and creating strategic partnerships with industry leaders in the technology and entertainment industries. Previously, Matt served as the VP of Business Development at MediaKits (acquired by Viral Nation), leading their go-to-market strategy and overseeing the entire sales process and client relations. He also had tenures at giants like Live Nation, C3 Presents and AEG. A Tulane University graduate, Matt was drafted in the MLB Draft in the 10th Round, following a 3x All-American NCAA Division I career. In his free time, he remains a big fan of live music, and of sports like boxing and baseball.

Jenny Hontz
Head of Communications
Jenny Hontz
Head of Communications

As Roar Social's Head of Communications, Jenny oversees the company's internal and external communications, media relations, investor relations, and all communications strategy. Jenny serves as the lead spokesperson for Roar Social. She is an award-winning journalist and communications executive with three decades of experience, having written for publications such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, LA Weekly and Newsweek. Prior to joining Roar Social, Jenny was the communications director at Speak UP, a nonprofit helping parents advocate for educational equity. She also had notable tenures as TV Editor at Variety and as a Vice President at The Walt Disney Company. Jenny spent 10 summers teaching at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, serving three years as the lead instructor. Jenny is an active member in her Los Angeles community, tackling issues such as racial injustice, as well as the housing and climate crises.

Chris Truman
Lead Mobile Engineer
Chris Truman
Lead Mobile Engineer

As Roar Social’s Lead Mobile Engineer, Chris is an iOS and mobile technology expert, leading the architecture, technical direction and implementation of our mobile app. Prior to Roar Social, Chris was a Senior Software Engineer at Google, as part of its Geo Enterprise group, maintaining and building out Maps, Places and Navigation features for its iOS and Android apps. With over 10 years of experience, he has also had notable tenures at Postmates and Match as a Senior Software Engineer, and at Sony where he was the primary lead working on its Crackle and Funimation video streaming apps. A Torrance, CA native, Chris earned his Bachelor’s in Computer Science at Azusa Pacific University. Chris has been fascinated with video games and mobile technology ever since he got a Nintendo Gameboy Advance when he was 13. His hobbies include playing the guitar and watching Arrested Development.

BJ Kidd
Lead Qa Engineer
BJ Kidd
Lead Qa Engineer

As Lead QA Engineer, BJ oversees all of Roar Social’s quality assurance efforts, and all automation testing strategies and procedures. Prior to Roar Social, he served as the Director of Engineering tZERO, and previously held principal and senior engineering roles at companies like Overstock.com, Steris and TestOut. BJ attended Arizona State University and University of Advancing Technology, where he earned his Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Master’s in Computer Science, respectively. When not testing apps and software, he enjoys diving into the world of crypto, stocks and 3D printing.

John Caravelli
Principal Cloud Engineer
John Caravelli
Principal Cloud Engineer

As Roar Social’s Principal Cloud Engineer, John brings a deep background and expertise in cloud and backend technologies, most recently as a Senior Software Developer at tZERO. With nearly two decades of software development experience, he has also had notable tenures at Overstock.com, VideoPeel and Meridian Enterprises, where he held Senior Software Developer and Java Developer roles. John earned his degree at University of Missouri-St. Louis. When not thinking about the digital cloud, his hobbies include hiking and snowboarding, and his favorite movie is Interstellar.

Advisory Board

Emma Cookson
Emma Cookson
Board Of Advisors

A prominent leader in the technology and advertising industries, Emma Cookson brings over two decades of success innovating and transforming brands. Emma currently serves as a partner at The Brandtech Group (formerly You & Mr Jones), where she helps global brand clients elevate their marketing strategies and operations. Emma previously served as Chairman and CEO at one of the world’s most creative independent agencies, Bartle Bogle Hegarty (North America), overseeing distinguished brands like UNICEF, British Airways, AXE and more. Emma has been widely recognized as one of advertising’s most influential female leaders, making the top of revered lists by AdAge and Business Insider. She also serves on the Advisory Board at You Gotta Believe, a New York-based agency focused on finding permanent families for youth and older teens in foster care. Emma earned her degree from Oxford University, and is motivated to harness the power of technology to help brands of today – and tomorrow – stand out in a buzzy marketing world.

Jim Fielding
Jim Fielding
Board of Advisors

A published author and authentic storyteller, Jim Fielding is a veteran executive in consumer products, media and entertainment with nearly three decades of positive impact — embracing innovative technology, platforms and a disrupted marketplace. As an 11-year veteran of Disney, Jim served as President of Disney Store Worldwide early in his career, where he oversaw the $1.2 billion global business. He then went on to lead retail giant Claire's Stores as its CEO, responsible for strategic growth and international development for the chain's 3,000+ stores in 41 countries. After that, he began his stint at media and entertainment giants, including Fox Networks Group (Twentieth Century Fox Film, Fox Studio, FX Networks), DreamWorks Animation and Awesomeness TV (Paramount, Viacom) — with key names like The Simpsons, Ice Age, Avatar, Family Guy, Trolls and more under his worldwide purview. Over his career, he had key tenures for some of the world's leading retailers such as The Gap, The J. Peterman Company, Lands' End and Dayton Hudson Department Store. Currently, Jim serves as President at Archer Gray, which focuses on building businesses and launching consumer experiences. Jim is also widely known as an active community leader, angel investor and philanthropist, serving on the Board of Directors for Inked Brands, Xcel Brands and Indiana University Foundation. He was former Board Chairman for Make-A-Wish International, and is the 2020 recipient of the distinguished alumni award from the LGBTQ+ Alumni Association and the Foundation President's Medallion for Service.

Barrett Garese
Barrett Garese
Board Of Advisors

A founding agent of UTA’s original online department, Barrett Garese has been at the forefront of technology and entertainment for 15 years and is a noted expert in social media with extensive connections in the world of creators and influencers. Barrett has worked with talent agencies (UTA, WME), startups (Blip.com, EA1.co), major studios (Warner Brothers, Disney, FX), and Defense/Intelligence organizations on projects across social and digital media, streaming, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. A three-time founder, Barrett is currently serving as an advisor for several startups, as well as the Board Chair of Film2Future - a nonprofit, professional-level filmmaking program for under-served teenagers in Los Angeles working to inspire and empower a new generation of diverse filmmakers. Barrett lives in downtown LA and enjoys travel, writing, cars, motorcycles, and failing miserably to learn bass guitar.

Alex Godelman
Alex Godelman
Board Of Advisors

As a technology and product development leader, Alex Godelman has served as Chief Technology Officer for various Silicon Valley and Los Angeles-based companies for 20 years. At Engineer.ai, a platform for building bespoke software using AI, Alex served as the Vice President and Global Head of Engineering. He also served as CTO and Head of Product at Zed Connect, a digital SaaS / DaaS technology company. Alex’s specialties include SaaS, DaaS and IoT; large scale mobile, web application, and data cloud platforms. He has a history of success in establishing, rapidly scaling, and transforming under-performing organizations into high velocity teams. Alex is married with two boys and considers himself a water sports enthusiast, who is especially addicted to sailing and scuba.

John A. Lack
John A. Lack
Board Of Advisors

As the founder of MTV, John A. Lack has been at the forefront of youth culture for the last 35 years and currently serves as the Chief Partner of Firemedia Partners, an international media consulting practice. John recently served as an advisor to Tweak, a new video messaging platform, and CUR Music, the next generation Social Music Experience. Formerly the co-founder and CEO of Firebrand, John also launched Nickelodeon and The Movie Channel as COO of Warner Amex, and ESPN2 while he was EVP of Marketing and Programming at ESPN. He’s held positions as CEO of ACTV, an interactive television technology company now owned by Liberty; CEO of PRONTO’s parent company i3 mobile, and Managing Director of Stream, Telecom Italia's pay television company now part of Sky Italia. John also spent nine years at CBS as VP/General Manager of WCBS News 88 and VP/General Manager CBS Radio SpotSales. John currently lives in Los Angeles where he enjoys the car scene and frequenting art shows.

Heather Moosnick
Heather Moosnick
Board Of Advisors

A global entertainment and technology leader, Heather Moosnick brings over two decades of success driving content strategy and business development at major social media platforms and content companies. Heather has held key senior executive roles at Hulu, YouTube, WMG and ViacomCBS. She is currently the President and COO of The Capra Project, and is an expert in accelerating the digital transformation of media, music and sports industries through the creation of new streaming products and business models. Most recently, Heather was the senior executive responsible for content acquisition during Disney's takeover of Hulu, and the launches of YouTube TV, YouTube Premium and YouTube Music. She also serves on the Advisory Board at Spotter and LEONINE Studios. Heather has been a recipient of prestigious accolades from Billboard, and MultiChannel News, making revered lists such as the 50 Most Powerful Women in Music and “Wonder Women in Streaming.” Heather earned her JD and BS from UCLA and Northwestern University, and has dedicated her career to driving change and innovation.

Jeff Raikes
Jeff Raikes
Board of Advisors

As the Co-Founder of the Raikes Foundation and former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Jeff Raikes has been at the forefront of humanitarian efforts for over two decades. Jeff is considered the world’s foremost expert of the intersection between philanthropy and business. The Raikes Foundation, which he and his wife, Tricia, established in 2002, works toward a just and inclusive society, focusing on creating a more equitable education system and ending youth homelessness nationwide. Jeff also led the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through years of significant growth, promoting equity for people globally. Before coming into the philanthropic world, he spent almost three decades at Microsoft, where he was a member of the senior leadership team and president of its Business Division. Jeff began his career at Apple Computer before joining Microsoft, where he was instrumental in the company’s growth. He currently serves on multiple boards — including Costco Wholesale, the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Green Diamond Resources, Hudl and more. Jeff has also served as chair of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, where he received a bachelor’s degree in engineering-economic systems.

Mark Rockefeller
Mark Rockefeller
Board Of Advisors

As a former Board Member of Rockefeller Capital Management (previously Rockefeller & Co.), Mark Rockefeller brings decades of success as a strategic advisor within wealth management and financial services. Mark has been a part of numerous philanthropic ventures, serving as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which is dedicated to sustaining, restoring and enhancing the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats for current and future generations. He also is the founder of the app ThatHelps, which allows users to find and engage in opportunities that create a positive impact within various communities, with interests ranging from animal welfare to climate change. Earlier in his career, Mark also served as Chairman of the Historic Hudson Valley, a nonprofit educational and historic preservation organization. Mark earned his BA from Princeton University and MBA from Harvard University.

Norma Rosenhain
Norma Rosenhain
Board Of Advisors

A fearless leader and pioneering executive, Norma Rosenhain brings over three decades of success in the marketing and advertising industries. As the Founder of CREATA, a global agency that specializes in creating promotional products and campaigns for major brands, Norma was instrumental in creating two of the most iconic marketing ideas to date — toys in Kellogg’s cereal boxes and designing the McDonald’s Happy Meal. Since becoming one of the first female directors in the industry, Norma has received numerous accolades for her innovative and creative contributions to the industry, including an Australia Day Honors in 2015 for her distinguished service to philanthropy and innovation. She was also honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 for her contribution in toys, licensing and entertainment.

Richard Sarnoff
Richard Sarnoff
Board Of Advisors

As Chairman of Media, Entertainment, and Education for the global investment company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) & Co., Richard Sarnoff has been a leading advisor for investments in the technology and media spaces for decades. Richard served first as Managing Director, then Partner and Head of the Media and Communications industry group at KKR, leading investments in media, digital media, information services and more. Prior to his time at KKR, Richard was a senior executive at Bertelsmann AG, one of the world’s largest media conglomerates, and was also named Co-Chariman of its US holding company, Bertelsmann Inc., and helped establish their digital media arm, BDMI, in 2006. Richard holds a BA from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard University, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Chegg, WebMD, RBMedia and more, as well as numerous nonprofit organizations.

John Semel
John Semel
Board of Advisors

As a C-level executive with extensive M&A experience, John has over two decades of success at the intersection of technology and publishing, media, education, gaming, and entertainment. John most recently served as Roar Social’s Chief Operating Officer. Prior to Roar Social, he was the Chief Strategy Officer at Zovio, where he drove strategic planning, new revenue, product development, partnerships, internal operating improvements, and M&A. Prior to that, he served as EVP and Chief Strategy Officer at John Wiley and Sons, where he transformed the company into a next-generation provider of content-enabled services and software. John also had notable tenures at MTV Networks, Hearst Corporation, JP Morgan and Mood Media. He received an MBA from Harvard Business School, and his BA from Brown University. John is a native New Yorker who loves traveling to Rome with his wife, son and daughter.

Mary Lou Song
Mary Lou Song
Board of Advisors

A thought leader and social-network pioneer, Mary Lou Song is a proven senior executive and entrepreneur with over two decades of influence in technology startups and business in Silicon Valley. As its third employee, Mary Lou led eBay's community, public relations and product management teams, and was credited with growing its user base from 15,000 members to 20 million globally. Later she joined Friendster, one of the early social networking companies, in its infancy. Tasked with building and managing its community, Mary Lou grew the platform's user base to 10 million during her tenure. To date, she has launched several companies, including Tokoni, Ongo, Ignite Video, FuelX — and most recently Aspentri, a consulting firm helping startups build and sustain their community engagement. Currently, Mary Lou is an Operating Partner at AiiM Partners, which provides investments to technology-enabled companies addressing climate change and equity/access. Mary Lou holds her MA in Communication and Media Studies from Stanford University. She also received her BS in Journalism from Northwestern University, and was inducted into its Medill Hall of Achievement in 2019.

Andrew Weinreich
Andrew Weinreich
Board Of Advisors

A technology pioneer and serial entrepreneur with over two decades of success starting and building businesses, Andrew Weinreich is widely considered the father of social networking. Andrew launched the first-ever social media network, SixDegrees, pre-dating and paving the way for modern platforms today. Andrew currently serves as the Co-Founder and Chairman of Indicative, a data analytics platform for modern data infrastructures. To date, he has founded 7 startups, including Xtify (acquired by IBM) and MeetMoi (acquired by Match), and authored 2 software patents, including the first patent on social networking. Andrew is an active figure in New York City’s Silicon Alley, advising technology companies like ClassPass and WayBetter. He also leads Predicting Our Future, a podcast about the next revolutions in technology, as well as Andrew’s Roadmaps, a comprehensive crash course for startup founders. Andrew earned his JD from Fordham University and BA from University of Pennsylvania, and is always looking to create and be a part of the next big thing.