The Harvardwood Board of Directors (BOD) is coming up on elections for its next term, and we are looking for some energetic individuals to fill a few great positions! The Harvardwood BOD is the managing body that oversees the volunteer efforts of Harvardwood members worldwide and has worked to create an impressive array of events, programs, and online resources over the past fifteen years. As a member of this dynamic team, you will play a large role in determining the priorities and setting the course for the entire organization.Read more
- Mia Riverton Alpert AB '99 | Founder
- Nick Baker AB '07 | Director of the Harvardwood Writers Program — Features
- Gerry Bryant AB '76 | Director of Legal Affairs
- Stacy Cohen AB '89 | Founder & Director of Harvardwood Helps
- Stacey Collins Ed.M. '00 | Director of Harvardwood Career Connections
- Patricia Danaher NIE '05 | Director of Harvardwood Publishing
- Adam Fratto AB '90 | Founder & Director of the Harvardwood Film Festival
- Daniel Gale-Rosen AB '10 | Associate Director of the Harvardwood Salon Series
- Megan Goldstein AB '05 | Director of Harvardwood Music
- Allison Kiessling Ed.M. '05 | President
- Marie Kim AB '04 | Director of the Harvardwood Summer Internship Program
- D. Dona Le AB '05 | Executive Director
- Gene Pao MBA '97 | Director of Social Impact
- Michael Persaud MBA '94 | Director of Institutional Advancement
- Kelley Purcell AB '02 | Executive Consultant
- Andrea Schmitt | Director of Development
- Kristen Shim AB '07 | Director of the Mentorship Program
- Adam Wolman AB '88 | Associate Director of the Harvardwood Writers Program — Features
- Mark Wooster JD '84 | Director of the Harvardwood Salon Series
Co-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.
Nick proudly hails from Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard in 2007 with a degree in History before eventually transitioning from fact to fiction (thanks to Harvardwood's Boston-based features group) and moving to Los Angeles in 2013 to become a screenwriter. During the years in between, he worked in the nonprofit and renewable energy sectors, and also trained as an Olympic Hopeful in the sport of rowing. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, he interned at Lin Pictures (THE LEGO MOVIE), became a script reader for United Talent Agency, and even found his way back onto the water by coaching rowing in Marina del Rey in the wee hours of weekday mornings. He currently works as an assistant to TV writer and executive producer Chip Johannessen (HOMELAND) and lives in Venice with his fiancee, Maren.
Gerry 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, 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.
A native of Boston, Stacey Collins is a freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in publications such as Variety, the LA Times, and Creative Screenwriting. She teaches short fiction at Santa Monica College.
As Director of Harvardwood Career Connections, she facilitates the Career Advisor Program, which arranges informational interviews, and provides online resources on career trends. Her background as the administrator for the Office of Career Services helped prepare her for this role. She worked full-time at OCS while earning her Ed.M. with a concentration in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy.
She also currently facilitates Harvardwood's cold reading series Actors Reading Writers for writers and actors to workshop original material.
Patricia Danaher is a journalist and producer, originally from Ireland. She writes about entertainment, travel and culture for a wide variety of international publications, including The Sunday Times, The Guardian and The Daily Mail. She also is on the jury for the Golden Globes.
A former television bureau chief and radio producer, Patricia covered the Northern Ireland Peace Process, breaking several key stories, and was awarded a Nieman Fellowship to Harvard University. As Director of Harvardwood Publishing, she recently oversaw the publication of The Seven Deadly Sins, an anthology of poetry and short stories from a range of American and international writers. She is also spearheading an initiative with the Nieman Foundation to publish several non-fiction books from Nieman Fellows in 2017.
She is currently working on a PhD in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
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.
Transplanted from the Boston area, Daniel has somehow managed to adapt (mostly) to the Californian climate of warm weather and, you know, being nice to other people. He currently works in digital marketing, telling people how to use Facebook, and gets his creative fix by participating in writers' groups, which was his real introduction into the Harvardwood community. He's usually working on a few writing projects at once, mostly based on source materials that were written a while ago and are thankfully in the public domain so no one can sue him. Also, he eats brunch a lot. He graduated from Harvard College in 2010 with a degree in History and Science, mainly because he couldn't decide.
Megan Goldstein is a Los Angeles native who, after graduating Harvard '05, returned quickly to her home city to attend graduate school at USC in Cinema/Television. After finishing school she spent six years at Warner Music Group negotiating sync for film, television, and trailers on the record label side. She is now a Director at BMG working in sync on the publishing side. She works with a broad range of clients including many music supervisors, as well as working with Universal Pictures, WB Pictures, Disney, CBS, HBO, among many others. Megan is also a musician, playing saxophone, and clarinet (and occasionally flute when she's forced to) around Los Angeles, as well as a singer with a small ensemble, The Dulcet Singers. She is also the Director of Handbells at First United Methodist Church of Pasadena where she conducts various groups and performs regularly.
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.
Los Angeles native Marie Kim and director of the Summer Internship Program shares her unforgettable, invaluable experiences with Harvard undergrads navigating uncharted waters in the arts, media, and entertainment industries, based on the support and resources she gained herself as a former College participant of Harvardwood. Recipient of the Jim Cramer Scholarship, Kim received her A.B. in Government.
Growing up in Hancock Park, Kim spent much of her early years as a student activist, though the Hollywood culture around her inspired creativity with entrepreneurialism. In college she worked at ABC, CBS and MTV, but later found her skills and passion had greatest impact in political and business management. Kim worked for President Obama in his second White House run and the Democratic National Committee, as pac finance chair for Eric Garcetti in the race for L.A. Mayor, and helped secure a win for reform candidates to the L.A. Board of Education. In Silicon Valley, Kim was the lead competitive strategy consultant for a billionaire angel then L.A. County field manager at a unicorn; additionally, she broke a Fortune 100 campaign’s national sales records to become its #1 account manager in the U.S. She is a member of the President Obama Alumni Association, serves on the Harvard Prize Book committee, and spends her days giving back to schools and families, providing leadership and educational guidance to students.
In addition to owning an online proofreading business, Dona currently serves as Executive Director of Harvardwood. Dona is the child of Vietnamese boat people who settled in the Bay Area, where she was raised. Before college, Dona performed as a concert pianist throughout the United States and abroad, soloing with the San Francisco Sinfonietta and the Fremont Symphony Orchestra, among others. After graduating from Harvard at the age of 20, Dona moved to Ireland to earn a master's in literature from Trinity College Dublin. She was recently selected to participate in the 2020 Coalition for Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) New Writers Fellowship.
Gene 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.
Michael Persaud is a Wealth Management and Investment Advisor with Morgan Stanley. After spending many years running his own business and working to build others in media and entertainment, Michael has spent the past five years working in wealth management focused on advising athletes, entertainers, business owners, entrepreneurs and c-suite executives on long term investment strategies and financial planning.
Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Michael was President of Brand Development at MUSE Communications, a Hollywood based advertising agency. Additionally, Michael co-founded the agency, Persaud Brothers, where Michael served as President. With Persaud Brothers, he advised several Fortune 500 companies and brands including HBO, Coca-Cola, Tanqueray, Timberland, Procter & Gamble, Verizon, Target, Motorola, Budweiser, and the New York Knicks to name a few.
Before he launched their Persaud Brothers, Michael worked in the music industry for a number of years at Qwest/Warner Brothers Records and RCA Records. Additionally, Michael worked with the start-up team that launched VIBE Magazine.
Michael earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and BS in Finance from University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
A native of Teaneck, New Jersey, Kelley Purcell served as the Executive Director of Harvardwood from 2009 - 2014, charged with overseeing the day-to-day operations of the network. With a background in both arts administration and musical performance, she recently accepted an exciting position as the Executive Director for the Los Angeles Chapter of The Recording Academy(R) (aka the GRAMMYs(R)). In her new role she oversees all services and programs for Academy members in the Los Angeles area. A talented songstress in her own right, she has performed as a singer and songwriter since her undergraduate years at Harvard where she participated in the Kuumba Singers, Sisters (an a capella subset of Kuumba), and the Radcliffe Choral Society, and played a key role in the development of the Black Arts Festival. As an artist Kelley has toured the world with the Afro-funk band, Soulfège, and received several independent music awards and press recognition as the leading lady of the group. Her music is also featured in a multi-media stage show entitled SHATTERED GLASS, which chronicles the journey of a character that uses the arts to transcend from a state of victim to victory.
Previous to working at The Soldiers Project, Andrea served as the Development Manager at SCGA Youth on Course, the youth program of the Southern California Golf Association, and was Director of Development for the Program for Torture Victims, aiding refugees and torture survivors in Los Angeles. Andrea is very active with her alma mater, Tufts University, and received the Young Alumni Achievement award from Tufts University’s Alumni Association for her involvement in creating the P.T. Barnum Awards program. Andrea currently serves on the Board of Directors for Beth Hillel Day School and also advocates on behalf of individuals with life-threatening food allergies. She is married to her husband Paul and has two children, Audrey and Xander.
A native of San Diego, Kristen graduated magna cum laude from Harvard with a degree in economics. In addition to playing cello with the Bach Society Orchestra and serving on the Pforzheimer House Committee at Harvard, Kristen spent much of her time writing economics theory papers, one of which ultimately became her senior thesis. Post-grad, after stints at various startups and time spent working as a Strategy Associate at Capital One, Kristen is excited to leave PowerPoint and Excel behind for good. She is currently independently producing a documentary series and working on her first novel.
Adam consults for companies and individuals creating content for all media. Comedy, drama, reality, documentary—name the format and Adam's tried to be of service in helping tell a compelling story. Sometimes this turns out great and other times meh, but so far, happily, nothing he's worked on has been a total disaster.
In his first outing as a documentarian, Adam recently produced and co-wrote Tested, a film about the controversy over diversity at NYC's specialized high schools (Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech). The film premiered at DOC NYC and was named one of the best of the fest by the Village Voice, then screened at the White House. Unfortunately the screening did not convince our then-president to ignore the 22nd Amendment and run for a third term, so here we are.
As the #2 exec at HBO Digital, Adam developed short-form series for HBO’s digital platforms. As Executive Consultant, Disney/ABC Television Group, he was brought on to help launch ABC’s award-winning Micro-Mini Series; the position was expanded to include sharing oversight of the Disney/ABC Writing and Directing Fellowships and other programs designed to find and mentor diverse talent. Previously, Adam was VP, Original Series, Current and Development for MTV, where he was exec in charge of production on several series. He also served at ABC Entertainment as Director, Comedy Series Programming, and as Program Analyst at CBS Productions despite his childhood fear, still simmering today, of the CBS eye logo.
Before moving to L.A., Adam worked as an independent producer in Boston and in Massachusetts politics as a lobbyist and speechwriter for Mass Citizen Action. At Harvard he was a WHRB radio news editor/anchor who sometimes got to partner with the far-more-talented Scott Horsley, now NPR's White House correspondent. Adam sang in the Glee Club and with the Din & Tonics. He also acted in a couple of shows, including that Hasty Pudding thing, before exiting stage left with a degree in Linguistics and Psychology.
Back to the future: These days Adam still sings, tries to fight the power as VP Communications for the Pali Dem Club, co-chairs Human Rights Watch L.A.'s film club committee, and lives more or less harmoniously with his TV writer/producer wife Eileen Heisler and their twin boys and their two cats.
Mark Wooster JD '84 | Director of the Harvardwood Salon Series
Mark is a graduate of Harvard Law School and has practiced law way too long, including 10 years as head of litigation for Universal Studios. He also teaches legal Continuing Legal Education courses in a comedy format, and has written a novel and some screenplays that you will see some day.