Inspired Minds

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  • 71. Christina Lopez

    Christina Lopez is an assistant editor at St. Martin’s Press, where she started as an intern in 2021 and worked her way up. In her time at SMP, she has worked on a wide array of books in several genres and with several amazing authors including Katherine Center, Kristin Hannah, and Sally Hepworth. She loves books that make her feel big emotions and is passionate about giving a voice to writers of underrepresented backgrounds.Christina graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a double major in English and International Relations. Aside from reading, she enjoys spending time with her cat, Nova and watching bad reality TV. Originally from the sunny border town of El Paso, she currently lives in Austin, Texas.

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  • 70. Lisa Sharkey

    Lisa Sharkey, SVP Director of Creative Development of HarperCollins Publishers, opens up about her journey into the publishing industry after working as Senior Producer for “Good Morning America” and President of Al Roker Entertainment. She has overseen the acquisition and publication of more than fifty New York Times Bestsellers, including multiple number-one bestsellers. A two-time Emmy Award winner, she received the Peabody and Dupont Awards for her work on the ABC News team during 9/11.
  • 69. Marco De Molina

    Marco De Molina is a 2022 Grammy Nominated film producer and co-founder of the independent production company Spacebrain. He has received international acclaim at prestigious film festivals worldwide, including the Festival de Cannes. De Molina has also produced countless music videos for chart-topping musicians in all genres, from metal to pop, receiving numerous nominations and wins at the MTV VMAs and UKMVAs, including a Grammy Nomination for Best Music Video for LIL NAS X “Montero (Call Me By Your Name.)” His projects in commercial production have brought him together with some of the biggest brands and IPs worldwide, including his work with “Survivors,” a video game from the hit TV series franchise THE WALKING DEAD. De Molina and his wife, Roza Marchenko, have produced content for streaming platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix. They currently have multiple feature films and television series in various stages of development.
  • 68. Jim Kouf

    Jim Kouf is a screenwriter, director, and producer who has worked on a variety of beloved films and TV shows. He wrote "Rush Hour," "National Treasure," "The Boogens," "The Hidden," executive produced "Con Air," and wrote/directed "Gang Related," "Miracles," and "Disorganized Crime." In the television space, Kouf wrote and co-created "Grimm," along with writing and producing credits for "Angel" and "Ghost Whisperer," among others. He received the 1988 Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay for his work on "Stakeout" starring Richard Dreyfuss.
  • 67. Michael Pollack

    Michael Pollack has held leadership positions for more than 35 years in the legal, financial and entertainment industries. Michael is the founder and former President of a litigation support firm that is today part of an international group of companies. He has held directorship positions for more than a dozen financial institutions that are both private and publicly held. Specializing for decades in M&A and Turnaround Management he has spearheaded tens of billions of dollars of financing in commercial real estate, business and entertainment related transactions.Michael is the Chairman and CEO of Pollack Films and a managing partner of APW Film Partners. He has been involved in the production of theatre and screen features for more than 35 years.Michael's current projects include the feature films Delfino's Journey, Major, The Angel Of Harlem, The Black Cyclone, Cold Feet, Meet Me In The Kitchen At Midnight, A Game Of Deception (The Chic Harley Story) & Danny's Secrets. In addition, Michael's company Pollack Films is developing an exciting new episodic television anthology to be announced in 2023.
  • 66. Laverne McKinnon

    Laverne is a Japanese-American film and television producer with more than 20 years of successful programming and producing experience in premium cable, broadcast and digital platforms. She is the Executive Producer of the Netflix series GIRLBOSS, and co-founder of K&L Productions, a film & television company created with Kay Cannon (PITCH PERFECT, BLOCKERS and CINDERELLA). Her guiding passion is helping creative professionals tell their stories to derive outer accomplishment from inner meaning.For a significant part of her career, Laverne was a successful programming executive with stints as Senior Vice-President of Drama Development at CBS, and as Executive Vice-President of Original Programming & Development at EPIX. She was also Head of Television at Charlize Theron’s production company, Denver and Delilah. Her work has encompassed scripted comedy and drama series, documentaries, web series, animation, music events, comedy specials, and children’s programs. K&L Productions have sold multiple television and film projects to distributors and financiers including Amazon, Freeform, Paramount +, NBC, ABC, CBS, FBC and TBS as well as Participant, River Road, Warner Bros, and Red Crown. Laverne is passionate about telling marginalized and underdog stories from both a comedic and dramatic lens.As a certified leadership and personal coach and grief counselor, Laverne works with clients to master the art and power of transformation. Her approach is holistic, encouraging clients to see themselves as creative, resourceful and whole; it’s also cognitive, focusing on growth through purpose and values, on “being” as well as “doing.” Laverne is also an adjunct professor at Northwestern University's MS Leadership for Creative Enterprises program. She teaches courses in Persuasion & Pitching and Leadership & Ethics which combine her producing, coaching and counseling work to create a unique experiential format that transcends book-learning. Laverne is the former Co-President of the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE), and continues to work with them as a mentor in their New Writers and Leadership Fellowship programs.
  • 65. Chelsea Peng

    Chelsea Peng is the Senior Editor of New York Magazine's The Strategist, formerly Assistant Editor at Marie Claire and Fashion Editor, Branded Content at Refinery29. She joins us to discuss fashion, the journalism industry, and bringing fresh, new ideas into the world.