UpStaged Advisory Board


Affinity Business Models Advisors

Ari Ackerman, Founder CEO, Tribe (Affinity Business Models) – Current Co-Owner/Partner of Miami Marlins with Derek Jeter, built multiple affinity marketing businesses.

Jeff Webb – Varsity Spirit CEO/Founder (College/HS Affinity Business Models) – 44 year President and builder of the largest national cheerleading business. University of Oklahoma, B.A.

Dennis Wellert, MD, My World International (Affinity Marketing) – Led affinity marketing at Miami Dolphins, Amex, Carnival Corp., Las Vegas Sands, University of Michigan, B.S., Accounting/Economics; Kellogg, M.B.A.

Content Start-Up Advisors

Mike Aronson, Founder/CEO Red and Blue Ventures (Early Stage Funding) – 20+ years leading Content and information Tech VC Fund. Wharton Professor. Wharton, B.S., Entrepreneurial Management

Doug Schaer COO, LiveXMedia (Sports/Entertainment) – Entertainment Industry Exec/Entrepreneur with Gersh Agency, Hero Ventures, Baron David Enterprises. Wesleyan, B.A., Government; USC, J.D.

Digital Media Advisors

Carol Fowler, Dir. of Content, KSDK (Digital Media) – Digital media exec/entrepreneur. Former Head of digital content at Chicago Sun-Times and start-up companies. University of Missouri, B.A., Journalism

Ben Madden, Former President, Maxim (Media) – President/Publisher of Maxim, Reader’s Digest, Isochronous Media, HMG & Crate Club, Hearst Magazines. Fairfield University, B.A., Political Science

Shailesh Rao, Former Twitter International Head (Content) – Led TPG Global Asia, Twitter International Ops and Google Asia Media & Mobil. Wharton, B.S., Finance; Kellogg MBA, Strategy/Finance

Education Industry Advisors

Peter F. May, GC, Universities (Education/Non-Profit) – American University of Beirut (AUB) GC, World Learning, Inc. GC, and International Education Platforms counsel. Yale, B.A., French Lit; B.U., J.D.

Kevin Carlsten, Cengage (Education Business) – Education and non-profit industry business development and marketing executive. University of Pennsylvania, B.A., Communications and Marketing

Entertainment Industry Advisors

Debbie Ganz, Founder Twins Talent (Talent Management) – 25 Yrs. casting/producing Reality TV, Commercials, webisodes, Films, Game Shows, Day Time Talk, variety Shows. SUNY Albany, B.A.

Trippe Lonian, CEO Barbonz Entertainment (Film/Entertainment) – Film producer, Production Studio owner entrepreneur. Williams, B.A., Economics/Philosophy; Harvard Business School, M.B.S.

Connie Siu, Hollywood Film Producer (Production) – Film Producer, Dreamworks Business Development. San Francisco State, B.A., Fine Arts; Kellogg, M.B.A., Finance


Financial Advisors

Jon Fish, CFO CXX, Martha Stewart (Media Accounting) – CPA and CFO/Accounting Exec with CXX, Martha Stewart, AD Council. U.S. Olympic Committee. Wharton, B.S., Finance; Oxford, Ph.D., Politics

Adam Sokoloff, Former Carlyle PE Exec (Wall Street) – PE/I-Bank leader with Carlyle, Jefferies. Sold Varsity Spirit Cheer Business. Wharton, B.S., Finance; Kellogg, MBA, Finance

Richard Taub, Digital Media CFO (Media Finance) – CFO and Finance Director for Digital Media Companies including Symphony MediaAI. Emory, B.A., Finance; Wharton, M.B.A., Finance

Legal Advisors

Michael Graif, IP Partner, Mintz Levin (Intellectual Property) – Formerly headed Curtis, Mallet-Prevost IP practice. University of Pennsylvania, B.A., Engineering; University of Toronto, L.L.B. (Law)

Peter May, GC, Universities (Education/Non-Profit) – American University of Beirut GC, World Learning Center and International Education Platforms counsel. Yale, B.A., French Lit; B.U., J.D.

Laurie Vitale, Director, Talent Man., Kilpatrick Townsend (Talent/Employment ) – Provide strategic leadership in legal industry talent management; Boston University, B.S., Economics; William and Mary, J.D.

Marketing Advisors

Scott Lange, Bus. Dev. Virtual Crowd Media (Sponsorship) – Marketing/sponsorship exec at SFX, Leverage Agency, Active Network, NYC Roadrunners. Ohio State University, B.A., Radio, TV, Film, Advertising

Cabot Orton, Proprietor, Vermont Country Store (Branding) – VCS is nationally renowned direct retailer. Co-founder, Slamdunk Film Festival, a pioneering event and content acquisition company in LA, Park City and Cannes.

Joel Saferstein, Partner/Owner, American Park Network (Media/Content) – APN is the biggest producer of National Parks and Public Lands guides. Emory, B.A., International Studies

Technology Advisors

Bryant McBride, Serial Tech Entrepreneur (Technology) – PE-backed Tech founder of Burst Media, Route 2 Digital, Vision Sep. Trinity, B.A.; Harvard, Masters of Public Administration

David Ruder, Founder, Riverwest Brands (IP Monetization) – Long time IP and Tech entrepreneur, builder of Tech companies and executive. Williams College; B.A.; Kellogg, J.D./M.B.A.