Our Board of Directors

View Harvardwood's Advisory Board Members


Mia Riverton Alpert AB '99 | Founder

Alpert.jpgCo-Founder MIA RIVERTON grew up in Indianapolis. An avid actress, singer, pianist and dancer since age four, Mia juggled artistic and academic pursuits throughout her school years. As a senior in high school, she was named a Presidential Scholar by Bill Clinton. Mia majored in economics at Harvard and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Cum Laude after six semesters, during which she also spent time in Taiwan studying Chinese literature. While at Harvard, she sang a cappella with the Callbacks and performed in productions at the Agassiz, the Hasty Pudding and the American Repertory Theater.

Mia now works as an actress-writer-producer in film, television, theater and digital media.  Her film work includes roles in SPARE PARTS, CAPTURE, 4 WEDDING PLANNERS, OPEN HOUSE, CEO, RECOIL, and RED DOORS, an award-winning film for which she additionally served as producer and songwriter.  She also co-created a TV pilot for CBS based on Red Doors.   TV appearances include THE MENTALIST, LEVERAGE, MIAMI MEDICAL, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, BIG TIME RUSH, ONE ON ONE, and STRONG MEDICINE.  Stage work includes VOICES WE REMEMBER at the Geffen Playhouse and the Ovation-Award-winning world premiere of BARE.  She has frequently appeared in digital media, starring for three seasons on hit comedy webseries Easy to Assemble and in groundbreaking virtual reality series Gone for Samsung and writer-director JT Petty.

Gerry Bryant AB '76 | Board Member

Email: [email protected]

GB_Photo_for_HWood___FB___YouTube.jpgGerry Bryant wears many hats. Described by many as a renaissance man, Gerry graduated cum laude from both Phillips Andover Academy and Harvard, and received his J.D. and M.B.A., simultaneously, from UCLA. His law clients – artists and creative people of all disciplines — all know him to be a well-respected arts & entertainment attorney. His musician colleagues and music fans know him to be an accomplished, classically trained pianist and composer who has performed with jazz legends and Broadway musical stars early in his career and who currently performs and records regularly with his jazz group, PocketWatch. His music, whether uniquely arranged standard songs or original compositions influenced by classical composers Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff, and great American composers Ellington and Gershwin, is always romantic, emotional, elegant and sophisticated.

Many others know Gerry for his volunteer work as a very active board member of several nonprofit arts organizations, including California Lawyers for the Arts (a former Board Co-Chair) and Chalk Repertory Theatre (the current Board Co-Chair), and as a regular volunteer piano player entertaining patients at UCLA Medical Center. Whatever hat Gerry wears, he proudly wears it being of service to others. 

As the Director of Legal Affairs for Harvardwood, Gerry oversees all legal and business affairs of the organization and provides legal counsel and guidance to the Board of Directors and management staff for all corporate activities.

Stacy Cohen AB '89 | Founder

Email: [email protected]

Cohen_Stacy.jpg

STACY COHEN, a film industry veteran who held multiple senior executive positions at studio-based production companies, and developed and produced feature films in both the independent world and within the studio system, quite suddenly and unexpectedly transitioned to a career in politics in 2010, joining President Obama’s field team at Organizing for America for the midterms and going on to serve as California State Field Director for the 2012 reelection campaign. Cohen next served as CA State Director for Organizing for Action, harnessing the massive grassroots movement inspired by President Obama to support the White House’s second term policy agenda. Cohen then applied Obama campaign organizing principles and practices in the private sector, as Organizing Director in the public policy efforts at Airbnb. In 2017, Cohen joined California YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard), a new statewide nonprofit with the mission of solving the Golden State's housing crisis, as Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy Officer.

Before her transition to public service, Cohen spent four years as Head of Production at Warner Bros.-based Roserock Films, subsequent to serving five years as a producer and Senior Vice President of Production at Gaylord Films/Pandora, a co-financing, co-producing partner based at Warner Bros. Pictures, where she oversaw development and production of a slate of feature film projects. 

During her tenure there, Cohen produced the critically acclaimed family film DUMA (Warner Bros., 2005). Directed by Carroll Ballard (The Black Stallion, Fly Away Home), and starring Hope Davis, Campbell Scott and Eamonn Walker, DUMA was shot on more than 75 locations on every type of terrain across South Africa, and Cohen had the great fortune to direct 2nd Unit on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pan and in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, some of the wildest and most remote places on earth. DUMA was named the “Best Film of 2005” by LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan, and won multiple industry awards.

Cohen also served as Executive Producer of DREAMER (DreamWorks, 2005), starring Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning, Kris Kristofferson, David Morse and Elizabeth Shue, and of Warner Bros.' WHITE OLEANDER (2002), starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Renee Zellweger, Robin Wright Penn and Alison Lohman.

Before her time on the Warner lot, Cohen worked for four years at a Disney-based production company as Vice President of Development. Cohen began her film career in the independent feature world in various production capacities on such films as Robert Altman's THE PLAYER and Bryan Singer's Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury prize-winning PUBLIC ACCESS.

Cohen hails from Queens, NY, grew up in Great Neck on Long Island, and graduated from Harvard College, where she studied the history of architecture and wrote her thesis on Frank Capra and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.

As the Director of Harvardwood Helps, Cohen is responsible for deepening Harvardwood’s commitment to community service. She raises awareness about causes of interest and seeks out opportunities to provide community service events to Harvardwood members.

Adam Fratto AB '90 | Founder

Email: [email protected]

Adam Fratto is a seasoned creative executive and executive producer with proven track records in development & programming, production, and strategy. With a specialty in drama series, he is experienced in crafting international business models and launching creative iniatives.

Adam currently runs the scripted programming division for US-based HISTORY, the flagship channel for A+E Networks.  In addition to developing new ongoing series and miniseries, he oversees creative on current series, including PROJECT BLUE BOOK, now its second season, which launched as the #1 new drama on cable, and the global phenomenon VIKINGS, currently airing season six.

Prior to that, Adam set up a series division for international distribution and production studio Reel One Entertainment. There, he rapidly built a presence in the drama space, hiring experienced executives and assembling a buzzy slate of projects, including an anthology series based on the catalogue of the late great thriller writer Mary Higgins Clark, a multi-platform adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s SCREAMERS and a UK series based on award-winning Belgian format TEAM CHOCOLATE (now in development at Channel 4). 

Before that, he was Head of Drama for Pukeko Pictures, affiliate of New Zealand's Weta (LORD OF THE RINGS, AVATAR, DISTRICT 9). The first of these, the award-winning CLEVERMAN, aired on Netflix, SundanceTV, BBC3, and Australia's ABC and is in development on season 3. 

As an independent producer and consultant, Adam worked with clients from tech startups to established networks. He Executive Produced YA movie SEA CHANGE (for Lifetime) and originated and was co-EP of HAVEN, the cult hit supernatural drama based on Stephen King’s “The Colorado Kid," for Syfy, NBCU Global Channels, and Canada’s Showcase.  

Originally from New York, Adam is a graduate of Harvard College and USC’s graduate program in Film & TV Production, where he produced Emmy-winning documentary WALKING WITH GIANTS. 

After starting his executive career at Michael Douglas's Furthur Films (WONDER BOYS, SWIMFAN), Adam joined Piller/Segan as V.P. in 2002, working on hit series THE DEAD ZONE, WILDFIRE, GREEK, and indie feature BICKFORD SHMECKLER’S COOL IDEAS. From 2008 to 2011, Adam helped launch Atticus Entertainment, managing sports icon Jim Lampley’s HBO-based operation.

He is a member of the TV Academy, HRTS, and the PGA. He is also co-Founder of Harvardwood, a group of thousands of worldwide alums in arts, media and entertainment. A lifelong sinophile, he has lived in Beijing, Taipei and Hong Kong...and now currently resides in sunny South Pasadena.

Allison Kiessling Ed.M. '05 | PresidentKiessling.jpg

Email: [email protected]

Allison is a screenwriter working in both TV and features. She sold her first pilot, a half-hour comedy, to ABC in 2014 and later developed the show at TV Land. She is currently working with ABC Studios on a new pilot as well as doing feature development with Millennium Films. She has a Bachelor's in Economics from Boston University and her Master's from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Before serving as President, Allison headed up the successful relaunch of the Harvardwood Writers Program for TV, which has seen four major studio spec sales and over a dozen writers staffed.

Gene Pao MBA '97 | Treasurer

Gene_Harvardwood_Headshot.jpgGene is leading a new initiative for Harvardwood entitled Social Impact Entertainment, which focuses on developing film and television programs that intend to have social impact next to great entertainment value.  In this role, Gene is creating a program which will consist of a speaker series, film screenings, workshops, and other activity to advance Harvardwood's role in shaping social change.

Gene is a 20+ veteran of the entertainment industry.  He is currently SVP Digital Enterprises for Shout! Factory, an independent entertainment company that licenses, produces, markets, and distributes film and TV.  Shout! Factory owns iconic properties such as Mystery Science Theater 3000, the Roger Corman library, as well as a new show on Quibi entitled Memory Hole with Will Arnett.

Prior to Shout! Factory, Gene spent 6 years at Disney and ESPN Media Networks, 4-1/2 years at Fox (first at Fox Interactive Media and then heading digital and international at FUEL TV) and two years at NBC Universal (first at Golf Channel and then heading digital businesses connected with the show The Biggest Loser).  Gene also held shorter stints at YouTube on their sports partnerships team, and at Viant, where he developed digital strategies for Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Gene supports a number of environmental causes, most notably through his volunteer work with Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to coastal protection, where he recently served as Treasurer for the Los Angeles chapter.  As a Core Volunteer, Gene is engaged with a number of environmental campaigns including Rise Above Plastics, Ocean Friendly Restaurants, and Drilling is Killing.  Gene is part of Surfrider's Climate Committee and is a member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps.

Andrew Coles AB '09 | Board Member

Andrew C. Coles is an activist, manager, producer, curator + DJ - he currently serves as the Founder & CEO of The Mission Entertainment. Upon graduating from Harvard with a degree in African-American studies, he moved to LA and began working at CAA before going to Overbrook Entertainment where he worked under Franklin Leonard (founder of The Black List), first as his assistant then junior executive. From Overbrook he relocated to New York to run development for Scott Rudin Productions, working across film, TV and theatre. In 2013, Andrew created The Mission Entertainment – a management + production company whose purpose and philosophical foundation lies in serving as advocates for storytellers that have been traditionally overlooked, undervalued and underrepresented. With a childhood dream of becoming a civil rights criminal defense attorney, Andrew has married his passions for storytelling + social justice advocacy through working in the entertainment industry – helping to create images that are truly representative of the world we live in.

On the production side, Andrew C. Coles most recently served as Producer of Universal’s Queen & Slim, directed by Melina Matsoukas’s and written by Lena Waithe. Andrew also serves as Executive Producer of BET’s Twenties, which was just renewed for a second season. Andrew partnered with Lena on You Ain’t Got These, her recently released sneaker culture docu-series with Boardwalk Pictures (Chef’s Table) for Jeffrey Katzenberg + Meg Whitman’s Quibi, which just premiered in the Spring of 2020. Andrew is currently involved with several projects in various stages of production set for release in 2021.

Jonathan Eirich AB '03 | Board Member

Jonathan is President of Film for Rideback. In his three-plus years at the company, he has overseen production for live-action films such as ALADDIN directed by Guy Ritchie, DEATH NOTE directed by Adam Wingard and THE POPE, directed by Fernando Meirelles. Before joining the Rideback team in 2015, he spent nine years in development and production at DreamWorks Studios, most recently as a Senior Vice-President where he oversaw the Steven Spielberg-directed BRIDGE OF SPIES (2015). Some of his previous films at the studio included NEED FOR SPEED, TRANSFORMERS 2, I AM NUMBER FOUR, and the 2011 Academy-Award nominated THE HELP. Prior to becoming a senior executive at the studio, Jonathan was the creative assistant to chairman Stacey Snider during her transition from Universal Studios in 2006, after spending a year as an assistant at CAA. His first jobs in the industry included an internship at Gold Circle Films and a Production Assistant job on the initial episodes of the hit show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Jonathan attended Harvard University where he majored in History and Literature.

Naomi Funabashi AB '12 | Board Member

Born in Phoenix, AZ and raised by immigrant parents from China and Japan, Naomi has always been drawn to stories that celebrate and examine identity, multiculturalism, and diversity. She began her career at CAA in the Books to Film department, where she sold titles like Bret Anthony Johnston's critically acclaimed best seller Remember Me Like This before moving to the producing side first at Heyday Films and then Mandeville Films. There she worked on such features as Disney's live-action remake of the animated classic Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson, Stephen Chbosky’s adaptation of beloved best-selling middle grade book Wonder, and Tom Harper’s period epic The Aeronauts starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Naomi then transitioned into television at Freeform overseeing a number of projects in development centering around and created by underrepresented voices and perspectives reflecting contemporary American life. She is passionate about changing the conversation and championing the next generation of storytellers.

Kenneth Williams AB '78 | Board Member

Ken is a longtime entertainment and media professional including an almost 20-year career at Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures, where he founded the Digital Studios Division and co-founded Sony Pictures Imageworks, the Academy Award winning visual effects, animation and multimedia company. For the past two years, he has been a private investor and consultant in the entertainment and media space. Previously, Ken held C-level positions with Captive Media LLP, Ascent Media Group, and Technicolor Digital Cinema, LLC.

 

 

Zadoc Angell AB '03 | Board Member

 Zadoc Angell began his career as a TV Literary Agent at Paradigm, where he worked for seven years. Transitioning to TV Literary Management in 2010, Zadoc joined forces with manager Dave Brown and grew a team of literary managers which they brought with them to Echo Lake in 2013. 

Angell's journey to Hollywood is not a conventional one. Growing up on a 400-acre dairy farm in rural upstate New York, Zadoc and his sister Amy were integral to his parents' family-run business. The son of a minister and a local politician, Angell pursued his academic and creative endeavors to Harvard University, where he graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor's Degree in Visual & Environmental Studies: Film.

Angell is known for his track record in building writers into showrunners. His clients include Kira Snyder (The Handmaid’s Tale), Ingrid Escajeda (Wool), Eric Wallace (The Flash), Neal Baer (Designated Survivor), Carter Covington (Charmed), Ariana Jackson (4400), Will Pascoe (Absentia), Erica Montolfo (The Conners), Bobak Esfarjani (WandaVision), and Daniele Nathanson (Animal Kingdom). 

Mark Goffman KSG '94 | Board Member

Mark Goffman is a producer and writer in Los Angeles. In 2018 - 2019, he is working as an executive producer for the Netflix series, The Umbrella Academy

Prior to The Umbrella Academy, Goffman executive produced and was the showrunner for Bull, on CBS, the highest rated new TV series of 2017. Prior to Bull, Goffman served as an executive producer for Limitless, CBS' #1 series of the season, and as showrunner for Sleepy Hollow, which premiered as Fox's highest rated new TV series in 12 years.

Previously, Goffman was executive producer for USA's White Collar, and wrote for several seasons on The West Wing. Goffman also ran the writers' room for Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. He has worked on more than 200 hours of prime time television, been nominated for two Writers Guild Awards, won a SET Award for highlighting Science Technology on television for an episode of Elementary, and one of his episodes of Law & Order: SVU garnered Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for Mariska Hargitay. The Hollywood Reporter has listed him as one of the 50 most influential showrunners in television.

Goffman's feature directorial debut is Dumbstruck, a documentary about ventriloquists released by Magnolia Pictures.

Goffman began his career as a writer in Brussels, for the magazine Commerce in Belgium. He has a masters in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, wrote speeches for state and federally elected officials, consulted to the U.S. Department of State and the White House. Goffman has a B.A. from Emory University in Economics and Philosophy and served as a Masters Thesis Adviser, Fiction Writing Program, at Johns Hopkins University. His first play, Me Too, has run in Los Angeles and Indianapolis.

Jeff Melvoin AB '75 | Board Member

Emmy-award winner Jeff Melvoin has worked on over a dozen one-hour television series, most recently as Executive Producer on the BBC America series, KILLING EVE. Prior writer-producer credits include DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, ARMY WIVES, ALIAS, EARLY EDITION, PICKET FENCES, NORTHERN EXPOSURE, HILL STREET BLUES, and REMINGTON STEELE. Awards include an Emmy, two Golden Globes, a Television Critics Association award, a Peoples’ Choice award, and a Mystery Writers of America award.

A graduate of Harvard University, Jeff worked as a Time magazine correspondent before entering the television industry. A past board member of the Writers Guild of America, in 2004 Jeff co-authored a WGA booklet, Writing for Episodic TV. In 2005, he proposed the creation of the WGA Show Runner Training Program and has moderated the program since its inception in 2006. He has taught screenwriting at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and UCLA and was a Visiting Lecturer in Dramatic Arts at Harvard in 2008. He and his wife, Martha Hartnett Melvoin, live in Los Angeles and have two sons, Nick and Charlie.

Diane Nabatoff HBS '82 | Vice President

Since founding Tiara Blu Films, Diane has produced Take The Lead, (New Line) starring Antonio Banderas and Narc, (Paramount) written and directed by Joe Carnahan, starring Ray Liotta and Jason Patric. She executive-produced The Brass Teapot starring Juno Temple and Michael Angarano and Gray Matters starring Heather Graham, Sissy Spacek and Alan Cumming. For Television, she executive produced: Knights of the South Bronx starring Ted Danson (nominated for a SAG award) and Malcolm David Kelley (nominated for a Namic Vision Award) for A&E; Racing For Time (nominated for a NAACP Image Award) starring and directed by Charles Dutton (nominated for an NAACP Image Award for acting) for Lifetime as well as three seasons of the series After Hours with Daniel for Mojo. She also co-executive produced the pilots Scent of the Missing by Carol Mendelsohn for TNT and Baseball Wives by Tom Fontana and Julie Martin for HBO.  She recently produced the award winning documentary Dancing In Jaffa and is now working on a documentary about cancer with Stanley Tucci. She will produce Regulator by Pat Kelly with PalmStar next year. She is also developing multiple projects including: the Barbara Jordan story with Viola Davis and Tony Kushner for Fox Searchlight, the book The Monopolists with Big Beach, and a one-hour musical drama with Jason Katims and Julia Brownell for NBC. For theater, she is developing several Broadway musicals, including one based on her film Take The Lead.

Prior to founding Tiara Blu Films, Diane was a Producer at Interscope Communications, where she developed and produced films that include: Very Bad Things, written and directed by Pete Berg, starring John Favreau, Cameron Diaz and Jeremy Piven; The Proposition directed by Lesli Glatter, starring Kenneth Branagh, Madeleine Stowe and William Hurt; Operation Dumbo Drop, directed by Simon Wincer, starring Danny Glover, Ray Liotta and Denis Leary; Separate Lives directed by David Madden, starring Jim Belushi and Linda Hamilton; Holy Matrimony, directed by Leonard Nimoy and starring Patricia Arquette; and Body Language starring Tom Berenger for HBO.

Earlier in her career, Diane was the Senior Vice President of Production of Henry Winkler’s Fair Dinkum Productions and Vice President of Vestron Pictures where she served as Executive Producer of Hider in the House and Fear (nominated for an Ace Award).  She began her film career in Los Angeles as Vice President at The Feldman-Meeker Co. working on The Golden Child starring Eddie Murphy and serving as Associate-Producer of The Kindred and Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark.

In addition to her career in the film industry, Diane has had diverse experiences in the entertainment field:  she was a professional singer; worked with the legendary Joseph Papp at The New York Shakespeare Festival; consulted with Atlantic Productions, a London-based film company as well as the New York based American Film Company; worked in programming at HBO and produced the annual LA Human Rights Watch theatrical production, Cries From The Heart.

Prior to receiving a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University, where she was the first female producer of Hasty Pudding Theatricals and the founder of The Radcliffe Pitches, the first Harvard female a cappella group.

Patric Verrone AB '81 | Board Member

Patric M. Verrone graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College where he was an editor of The Harvard Lampoon. He got his law degree from Boston College Law School where he served on the Boston College Law Review. He is a member of the California and Florida Bars, has been an adjunct professor of entertainment law at Loyola Law School and UCLA Extension, and has served as editor of the Annual Entertainment Law Issue of Los Angeles Lawyer magazine since 1996. He has been a television writer and producer for nearly 20 years and his credits include The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Larry Sanders Show, The Critic, Pinky and the Brain, Rugrats, Muppets Tonight, Futurama, and The Simpsons. He has won two Emmys and been nominated eight times in four different categories. He won the 2002 Writers Guild Animation Caucus Lifetime Achievement Award. He is married to fellow TV writer and novelist Maiya Williams. They have three children (who also want to be writers) and a Labrador retriever (who wants to direct).

Nicky Weinstock AB '91 | Board Member

Nicky Weinstock is the founder and president of Invention Studios, an independent production company developing a wide range of features and television shows.

Weinstock began his career in New York City as an editor at Random House and Riverhead Books, and then as the author of a nonfiction book and two novels, before moving to Los Angeles to work at 20th Century Fox Television. Upon leaving Fox, he ran Apatow Productions with writer/director Judd Apatow, where he produced movies including Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Step Brothers, Pineapple Express, Get Him to the Greek and Bridesmaids. He went on to help launch the production company Chernin Entertainment alongside Peter Chernin, and for the past six years to partner with actor/director Ben Stiller and serve as the creative head of their company Red Hour Films. In 2022 he shifted full-time to running his own company, Invention Studios.

Most recently Weinstock produced the hit Netflix movies Alex Strangelove and The Package; the Showtime limited series Escape at Dannemora, which was nominated for 12 Emmy Awards; and the movies Plus One starring Maya Erskine and Queenpins starring Kristen Bell. He currently serves as Executive Producer of the CW/Netflix series In the Dark, which he developed with showrunner Corinne Kingsbury; Executive Producer of the Apple sci-fi drama series Severance, starring Adam Scott, John Turturro, Patricia Arquette and Christopher Walken; and Executive Producer of the upcoming Apple comedy series High Desert, starring Patricia Arquette.

His company, Invention Studios, has a television financing deal with Fremantle, and is producing both shows and movies for HBO Max, CBS, Amazon, Amblin, Paramount, Apple, Film One in Nigeria and other studios and networks across the world.

 

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