Laurie Berkner grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, where she was involved in choirs, bands and musical theater. As a student at Rutgers University, she toured Europe as a choir soloist and an orchestral guitar player. After working as a summer-camp music counselor, she spent several years as a children's music specialist for day care centers and preschools in the New York area. In 1992, she began to perform as a professional rock musician, playing in an all-female cover band called Lois Lane. When she started a band that played original music she found song-writing to be a struggle—a problem that disappeared when she started writing children's music. Today, she tours as a ``Kindie rock`` artist as guitarist and lead singer of the Laurie Berkner Band.
Lewis Bernstein’s forty-year career has been defined by his passion to improve the intellectual, social, emotional, and moral lives of children through media. His approach has been to entertain children while educating them, so that their attention can be captured with joy. By doing so on a global scale, over decades, he has had a profound positive impact on the education of children. His work at Sesame Street enabled him to reach millions of children all over the world – regardless of economic status, gender, religion or culture. All children who have watched Sesame Street have basically been exposed to the educational direction of Lewis Bernstein. By his efforts, and those of his colleagues, these children have been helped to become better citizens of the world.
David Bianculli has been the TV critic for National Public Radio’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, where he also appears as occasional guest host since 1987. Beginning in 1975, he’s worked as a TV critic for newspapers in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York , most recently for the New York Daily News from 1993-2007. Currently, he is editor of the website TV Worth Watching -- www.tvworthwatching.com -- which he launched in 2007.
Bianculli has a B. S. in Journalism and an M. A. in Journalism and Communications, both from the University of Florida. He has written four books – The Platinum Age of Television: From ‘I Love Lucy’ to ‘The Walking Dead,’ How TV Became Terrific; Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’; Teleliteracy: Taking Television Seriously; and Dictionary of Teleliteracy. He now teaches TV and film as a tenured professor at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. David is a member of the Fred Rogers Center National Advisory Council.
Milton Chen, Ph.D. is Senior Fellow and Executive Director, Emeritus at The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), a non-profit operating foundation in the San Francisco Bay Area producing the award-winning Edutopia.org website on innovative K-12 learning. He served as executive director of GLEF from 1998 to 2010. He has been the founding director of the KQED Center for Education (PBS) in San Francisco; director of research at Sesame Workshop in New York, helping develop Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and 3-2-1 Contact; and an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Milton serves as chairman of the Panasonic Foundation in New Jersey, which supports superintendent leadership and district improvement, and is a member of the board of directors for Sesame Workshop and the California Emerging Technology Fund. He chairs the education committee for the National Park System Advisory Board, advancing the agency’s work in STEM and humanities education.
His career has been honored by the Fred Rogers Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Congressional Black Caucus. He recently received the NHK-Japan President’s Award for contributions to educational media and was named an Honorary Ranger by the National Park Service. His 2010 book, Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools, was named as one of the year’s best education books by the American School Board Journal. Perhaps most importantly, on his 50th birthday, Dr. Chen was named a Jedi Master by George Lucas!
Kevin Clark is a professor of Learning Technologies and the Founding Director of the Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity at George Mason University. His research focuses on the role of interactive and digital media in education, broadening participation in STEM, and issues of diversity in children’s media. Kevin’s most recent research is a national study examining the Digital Lives of African American Tweens, Teens, and Parents. Dr. Clark’s research activities have been funded by organizations like: the National Science Foundation, Defense Acquisition University, Dell, Microsoft, the Entertainment Association Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to becoming a professor, Dr. Clark worked as a senior content designer and senior program manager for a California based educational software company, where he supervised the design and development of interactive children’s educational content for the Sony PlayStation and computer platforms.
In addition to his scholarly work, Kevin has extensive experience as a children’s media advisor and consultant for organizations such as: Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), The Jim Henson Company, DHX Media, Disney Junior, Toca Boca, Hasbro, and Amazon Studios.
Betty Cohen is a nationally-renowned TV network and digital media C-suite executive, as well as advisor and expert in brand creation. She also develops innovative solutions for trail-blazing companies in fields where learning, technology and entertainment merge. Cohen was the founding President of Cartoon Network/Adult Swim/Boomerang and later served as President, CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Networks. As President and CEO of Lifetime Networks, repositioned the network to attract younger and more valued demographics: green-lighting “Army Wives,” Lifetime’s first original dramatic series to become a hit; and transforming Lifetime’s digital offering from a purely TV promotional website into a robust business across web, mobile casual games and SVOD.
As President of Betty Cohen Media Consulting, Cohen’s clients have included: Speakaboos, Lynda.com, Meredith (women’s magazine group), the Fred Rogers Center and Paley Center for Media. She has served on the Advisory Boards of RoadTrip Nation, We Are Family Foundation, Startl and Sezmi.
As founding President of Cartoon Network, Cohen launched and grew the network into a global business with $3 billion asset value within 9 years, green-lighting such hit shows as “The PowerPuff Girls,” “Dexter’s Lab” and “Samurai Jack,” as well as launching Cartoon Network Studio, Cartoon Network.com, Boomerang and Adult Swim.
Antigone Davis is Head of Global Safety at Facebook, where she works with internal teams at Facebook and with external safety organizations and government bodies to ensure that Facebook remains a leader in online safety and that stakeholders understand the steps Facebook takes to promote safety online. Prior to joining Facebook, Antigone spent 10 years working for a State Attorney General. As Senior Advisor to the Attorney General, she helped establish the office’s first online privacy and safety unit, and led the National Association of Attorney General’s 2012-2013 presidential initiative “Privacy in the Digital Age.” Before serving in the public sector, Antigone used her juris doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School as a corporate attorney in Chicago and her masters in education as a middle school and high school teacher. Antigone received her B.A. from Columbia University.
Everette E. Dennis has served as dean and CEO of Northwestern University in Qatar since June 2011. He holds a tenured full professorship in the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern’s home campus in Evanston, Illinois, USA, and an appointment by courtesy in the School of Communication. Dean Dennis is a widely-known institution-builder, educator, and author having led several organizations over a distinguished career in higher education, foundations, and advanced study centers.
In Qatar at NU-Q, Dean Dennis has strengthened the curriculum, expanded the faculty, built a research program, and led major outreach efforts putting the school on the map regionally and globally. In addition, he oversaw the move and transition of the school into a new 515,000 square foot building that is one of the largest and most advanced media and communication schools in the world.
Prior to his appointment at NU-Q, Dean Dennis was the Felix E. Larkin Distinguished Professor of Communication and Media Management at Fordham’s Graduate School of Business in New York City where he served as departmental chair and head of the Center for Communication.
Chip Donohue, Ph.D. is Dean of Distance Learning and Continuing Education and Director of the TEC Center at Erikson Institute in Chicago. He is a Senior Fellow and Member of the Advisory Board of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College, where he co-chaired the working group that revised the 2012 NAEYC & Fred Rogers Center Joint Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Chip is the editor of two books, Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning (2015) and Family Engagement in the Digital Age: Early Childhood Educators as Media Mentors (2017), co-published by Routledge/NAEYC. In 2012 he received the Bammy Award and Educators Voice Award as Innovator of the Year from the Academy of Education Arts & Sciences. In 2015, he was honored as a children’s media Emerging Pioneer at the KAPi (Kids At Play International) Awards.
Rafiq Dossani is director of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy (CAPP), a senior economist at the RAND Corporation, and a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He works on education, regional development, security, finance, and technology issues. His projects in education include the relationship between financing, governance, and ownership in higher education, addressing the digital divide in early childhood education, college search, and blended delivery models in higher education. Rafiq was a contributing author to the 2014 “T” Is for Technology series of research, policy and practices reports form the RAND Corporation including, Using Early Childhood Education to Bridge the Digital Divide, and, Families, Powered On: Improving Family Engagement in Early Childhood Education Through Technology. In 2016, he co-authored the chapter Families, Powered On – The Power of Nudges with Anamarie Auger in Family Engagement in the Digital Age: Early Childhood Educators as Media Mentors, edited by Dr. Chip Donohue.
Anne M. Gill, Ph.D. is a Counseling Psychologist and Co-Director of the new Center for Parents and Children at the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently the clinical supervisor for two randomized control trials of the Family Check-Up, an evidence-based intervention model for preventing child problem behavior in high-risk families. Anne is trained as a family therapist and places great value on providing high-quality, accessible, respectful, and culturally sensitive services to families and children. Anne has served as a clinician, trainer, and implementation coordinator for the Family Check-Up Model and the Everyday Parenting Curriculum and enjoys supervising clinicians and graduate students new to the model. Over the past decade, she has co-authored numerous articles and contributed to the development of intervention manuals, web-based curriculum, and training programs for the Family Check-Up. Anne received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2003 and her B.A. in Psychology from Saint Vincent College in 1993.
Joanne Samuel Goldblum is the founding CEO of the National Diaper Bank Network. She is also the founder of The Diaper Bank, formerly the New Haven Diaper Bank. She serves on the board of directors of FitHaven, Let There Be Light International as well as the International Association of Women Judges. She writes a monthly column for the Huffington Post and has been recognized for her work in Time Magazine, People Magazine and ABC World News Tonight. In 2007, she was chosen as one of 10 Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader for her work. Ms. Goldblum served as a clinical faculty member at Yale Child Study Family Support Service from 1998-2005. She is the mother of 3 adult children and she has a BA from New York University and an MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work.
David Hartman has co-produced, written and hosted more than sixty television documentaries for the networks, PBS and cable. In 1975, as the original host of Good Morning America, over eleven years, he conducted more than twelve thousand interviews with subjects ranging from heads of State to families in the American heartland. His many journalism honors include National News and Documentary Emmys for writing and the Aviation and Space Writers Journalism Award. Over many years he and Fred collaborated on several television projects for PBS and ABC. David is a member of the Fred Rogers Center National Advisory Council.
Simon Isaacs is heralded as a leading thinker in parenting and men’s lifestyle media. Simon is Co-Founder of Fatherly, which provides new and expecting dads with the most relevant and timely information, products and tools to help them confidently meet the challenges of fatherhood. In addition to Fatherly, Simon is heralded as a leader in cause-marketing and grassroots movement building. Simon works intimately with the world’s leading nonprofits, foundations and corporations to build and run some of the largest and most impactful campaigns for social good and has raised more than $500 million toward philanthropic causes. Most recently, Simon launched Beespace, a nonprofit incubator providing over $500,000 in support and incubation to early-stage nonprofit startups. Simon was also named a Next Generation Leader by the White House as a result of his philanthropic work. Simon was a former professional marathon runner and in 2007 ran on foot around the world to raise awareness for safe drinking water.
Shira Lee Katz is the Kids Category Manager at Netflix. In this role, she leads kid and family innovation efforts at the intersection of content and product. Daily life includes partnering on A/B testing to modify product features, content strategy, and global research on kids. She also leads the Kids team responsible for the editorial classification and presentation of kids’ movies and TV. Formerly, Shira was at nonprofit Common Sense Media as Senior Director of Education Content. Her proudest accomplishments were creating Common Sense's K-12 digital literacy and citizenship curriculum and launching a platform for ratings and reviews of media for learning potential. She holds a doctorate degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor's from the University of Michigan.
David Kleeman Kleeman is Senior Vice President of Global Trends for Dubit, a strategy and research consultancy and digital studio based in Leeds, England. For 25 years, he was President of the American Center for Children and Media, a creative professional development center. Kleeman is advisory board chair to the international children's TV festival (Prix Jeunesse), a board member of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, and serves on the Academic Advisory Board for the Children's Advertising Review Unit. From 2011-2016, he was a Governor of the Television Academy. He was a 2013 Senior Fellow of the Fred Rogers Center. In 2014, he received the “Pioneer” Award from Kids @ Play Interactive. Kleeman travels worldwide seeking best practices in children’s and family media, technology and products; he has given presentations on six continents (anyone need a speaker in Antarctica?). He writes extensively for trade and general press, including frequent commentaries for the Huffington Post and Kidscreen.
Joey Mazzarino performed and wrote for Sesame Street from 1990 -2016. He has co-written screenplays including Muppets in Space and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, as well as written and performed in the first ever Henson direct-to-video feature, Kermit’s Swamp Years. Mazzarino has won multiple Emmy Awards for his work on Sesame Street including Writing, Directing and Performer in a Children’s Series. Mazzarino won the Writer’s Guild Award for Children’s Episodic & Specials for Elmo’s Christmas Countdown in 2009. As Head Writer for Sesame Street, Mazzarino’s responsibilities included generating storylines for episodes, revising and editing scripts and developing new formats. Mazzarino’s other writing credits include the preschool series Bear in the Big Blue House and the non-Muppet series Sheep in the Big City.
Chris McKee is founder and CEO of Flint and Steel. He is a highly innovative and dedicated business leader and entrepreneur who continues to love what he does after 25 years in the marketing arena. His work ethic and expertise were honed at large and nimble firms alike. As Global Creative Director for General Mills, he helped create and launch some of their most innovative offerings as well as take their perennial icons global. That was the spark for Chris’ current dream gig as founder of Flint and Steel. Here Chris has marshalled the talent to confirm his belief -- that a Profession can be refashioned into a Purpose. He believes that consumers can be nurtured into enthusiasts, that brands can become advocates and that marketing solutions can assume the power of intellectual properties.
Patti Miller is the director of Too Small to Fail for the Clinton Foundation. Too Small to Fail is a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and Next Generation to help parents and caregivers take meaningful actions to improve the health and well-being of America’s youngest children, ages zero to five, and prepare them to succeed in the 21st century.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Patti was the Vice President of Public Policy for Sesame Workshop, the non-profit producer of Sesame Street. Patti previously served as Vice President of the Children & the Media Program at Children Now. In that role, she led a broad coalition in advocacy and policy efforts to improve the media environment for children.
Patti holds an M.A. in Social Sciences in Education from Stanford University and a B.A. in Mass Communications from the University of California at Berkeley.
Brad Montague created the very first Kid President video in July of 2012 out of the simple belief that kids have voices worth listening to. It began as just a few videos he made for fun. His younger brother-in-law Robby (who plays the character of Kid President in the videos) is one of his favorite people to spend time with. The idea for Kid President came a few years ago. Brad and his wife had just launched a summer camp for kids who want to change the world. They were blown away by the ideas and the hearts of the students there. These students wanted nothing more than to leave the world better than they found it. After seeing their creativity and compassion he couldn't help but think - wouldn't it be cool if we listened to kids more? When they got home they filmed the very first Kid President video. Brad believes kids can change the world. He also believes grown-ups can change the world. It just takes all of us working together.
Cooper Munroe, CEO of The Motherhood Inc. and award-winning social media marketing expert, has developed and led many of the decade's premier influencer campaigns on behalf of the world's top brands and organizations. Recently named PR News Social Media Team of the Year and recipient of the Renaissance Awards Agency of the Year, The Motherhood Inc. was also named one of Pittsburgh, PA's (the company's headquarters) fastest growing companies and it's second fastest growing marketing agency. Cooper, who currently serves on the board of directors of The Fred Rogers Company and UPMC Shadyside Hospital Foundation, as well as on the advisory boards of Power Link, the Entrepreneurial Fellows Mentoring Program and Mums Village in Kenya, Africa, coined a New York Times ``Buzzword of the Year``, and was named a Parent's Magazine Power Mom and a ``Person of the Week`` by ABC News.
Ramon Murphy has been a Bodega owner for the last 30 years. He has also been President of the Bodega Association of the United States (ASOBEU), the organization that represents the needs and interests of more than 5,000 small food retailers, for the past eight years. Since 2015, ASOBEU with its partner, the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN), have led the Healthy Bodega Initiative in the South Bronx in collaboration with the Bronx Health REACH Coalition. Ramon is married to Carmen Murphy and is the father of three children.
Katie Paciga Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Education at Columbia College Chicago and is the first ever Early Career Research Fellow of the TEC Center at the Erikson Institute and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Media at Saint Vincent College. She holds a Ph.D. in Literacy, Language, and Culture (University of Illinois at Chicago, 2011) and is a licensed elementary school educator as well. Her teaching and research interests focus on the social, emotional, cultural, and cognitive bases for language and literacy development, with a focus on the ways in which educational policies, human interaction, individual interests, printed media (i.e., children's literature) and interactive media (i.e., web- and app-based games and tools) contribute to language and literacy teaching and learning.
Michael Rich, MD, MPH, FAAP, FSAHM, Founder and Director of the Center on Media and Child Health, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, came to medicine after a twelve-year career as a filmmaker (including serving as assistant director to Akira Kurosawa on Kagemusha). As Director of the Center on Media and Child Health (www.cmch.tv) at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Rich combines his creative experience with rigorous scientific evidence about the powerful positive and negative effects of media to advise pediatricians and parents how to use media in ways that optimize child development at www.askthemediatrician.org. Recipient of the AAP’s Holroyd-Sherry Award and the SAHM New Investigator Award, Dr. Rich has developed media-based research methodologies and authored numerous papers and AAP policy statements, testified to the United States Congress, and makes regular national press appearances
Hedda Sharapan served as Assistant Director, Assistant Producer, and Associate Producer on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, working closely with Fred Rogers since 1966. As Director of Early Childhood Initiatives at The Fred Rogers Company, Hedda is helping to carry on the Rogers legacy through writings, speeches at conferences, developing and presenting professional development materials for people who work with children, children’s museum exhibits, web site articles and other special projects. Hedda is the PNC Grow Up Great Senior Fellow at the Fred Rogers Center.
Wynne Tyree serves as the Chief Smarty Pants of the company’s all-star team of researchers and brand strategists. She founded the organization in 2004 after more than 10 years of experience as a moderator, strategic planner, data guru and brand consultant to many of the world’s smartest marketers. Today, Wynne is one of the industry’s leading experts on youth and families, regularly speaking at conferences and universities and contributing to publications. She is the author of “Conducting Research with Children” and her work has been profiled on ABC’s World News Tonight and in several books. She has personally conducted qualitative research with more than 18,000 consumers from around the globe – in homes, in schools, in restaurants and in front of the glass – in categories ranging from media and technology to toys and games to personal care and packaged goods.
A leader in the self-service laundry industry for 25 years, Coin Laundry Association’s President/CEO Brian Wallace is a popular presenter and author. He has led more than 600 educational seminars and penned numerous articles on all things related to self-service laundry management.
As the current President and Chief Executive Officer of the Coin Laundry Association (CLA), Wallace is also publisher of PlanetLaundry Magazine (the industry’s leading monthly magazine). He joined CLA in 1992 and assumed the role of CEO in June of 1999.
Wallace is Past-Chairman of the Executive Committee of the The Clean Show - the world’s largest exhibition of laundry equipment and services. He is Past-President of Cleaning & Laundry Association Executives (CLAE), a study group of association executives from the laundry and drycleaning industries. Wallace is also a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Association Forum of Chicagoland.
Brian is a passionate supporter of the LaundryCares Foundation and serves as its Executive Director. The mission of the foundation is to provide laundry services and education to those in need. Among the LaundryCares Foundation programs are its series of Free Laundry Days in low-income neighborhoods and Wash Time is Talk Time – an initiative to promote early childhood literacy through America’s laundromats.
Duane Watson, Ph.D. is associate professor of psychology and human development at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. He attended Princeton University and planned to become a physician, but an undergraduate linguistics class changed his course. “I found it fascinating because it focused on what I’d call ‘the computational aspects of the brain’—how the brain is like a computer,” he said. He earned his Ph.D. at MIT and completed three years of postdoctoral work at the University of Rochester before moving to the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 2005. Duane is a psycholinguist who studies the cognitive processes that underlie interactions between speakers and listeners. He is interested not only in what we say, but in how we say it--an aspect of language called prosody, which includes the stress, pitch, rhythm and intonation of speech. Watson’s research finds the “uhs” and “ums” off-the-cuff speakers often employ when searching for their next words are not as detrimental to listeners as one might think.
Dr. Alice serves as the educational advisor responsible for developing the Amazon Kids Original Programming learning approach and is helping implement Amazon's unique educational point of view into the development of new series. In this role, she is also an Emmy Award winning Co-Executive Producer and Head of Educational Development for Tumble Leaf, Co-Executive Producer and Head of Educational Development for The Stinky and Dirty Show, Co-Creator and Executive Producer of Creative Galaxy; Head of Educational Development for Wishenpoof and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie on Amazon Instant Video. In addition, she is the Chief Learning Officer for Speakaboos, a kid-centric, cross-publisher literacy platform. She also is the Co-Creator and Executive Producer of Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids the “School House Rock” of financial literacy for 7-12 year olds, airing in Asia on Cartoon Network.
Dr. Alice is co-creator and head of research and education for Super WHY! on PBS Kids, and served as a Producer and the Director of Research and Development for Nick Jr.’s Blue’s Clues. And she is a senior fellow at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media. She continues to advise the Kids & Creativity group in Pittsburgh, bringing kids and their point of view to help support educators, technologists, and makers.
Dr. Todd Wolynn is President, CEO, and co-owner of Kids Plus Pediatrics — a cutting edge, independent practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He also serves as Chief Executive Director of the nationally renowned Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh, and as CEO of the National Breastfeeding Center. An active member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Wolynn is a nationally recognized expert on pediatric sleep, breastfeeding, immunization, practice management, and the use of social media in pediatrics. In 2016, he was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year for Health Care in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.