About Genius Brands

About Us

Corporate Office
Consumer Products
Content Sales
Creative
Finances & Administration
Kid Genius
Legal & Business Affairs
Marketing
Production & Animation

Headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, Genius Brands International, Inc. (Nasdaq: GNUS) is a publicly traded global children’s media company that creates and licenses animated multimedia entertainment content. Led by award-winning creators and producers, the company distributes its content worldwide in all formats, as well as a broad range of consumer products based on its characters. In the children's media sector, Genius Brands International's portfolio features "content with a purpose" for toddlers to tweens, which provides enrichment as well as entertainment, including tween music-driven brand SpacePOP; preschool property debuting on Netflix Llama Llama; Rainbow Rangers, a preschool property produced by Rob Minkoff (Disney’s Lion King); award-winning Baby Genius, re-launched with new entertainment and over 40 new products; adventure comedy Thomas Edison's Secret Lab®, available on Netflix, public broadcast stations and Genius Brands’ Kid Genius channel, which is currently available in 50 million U.S. households; Warren Buffett's Secret Millionaires Club, created with and starring iconic investor Warren Buffett. The company is also co-producing an all-new adult animated series, Stan Lee's Cosmic Crusaders, with Stan Lee's Pow! Entertainment and The Hollywood Reporter. Additionally, under Genius Brands International's wholly owned subsidiary, A Squared Entertainment, the company represents third-party properties, including From Frank, a humor greeting card and product line, and Celessence Technologies, the world's leading micro encapsulation company, across a broad range of categories in territories around the world. 

 

The Company's management team is comprised of accomplished and passionate professionals, including sales, licensing, marketing and business development executives and Emmy Award-winning directors and producers.

Corporate Office
  • Andy Heyward, Chairman & CEO

    Andy is a multi-Emmy Award-winning producer of children’s entertainment who has made more episodes of kid’s television than any other producer.  As former Chairman and CEO of DIC Entertainment and Co-President and CEO of A Squared Entertainment, he has produced over 5,000 episodes of award-winning children’s programs, including The Real Ghostbusters, Inspector Gadget, Alvin and the Chipmunks, G.I. Joe, Hello Kitty’s Furry Tale Theatre, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Super Mario Bros Super Show, Sabrina the Animated Series, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Captain Planet, Teddy Ruxpin, The New Archies, and dozens more.  With numerous industry recognitions, including Emmy, Humanitas, Cable Ace and Environmental Media Awards, among others, Andy was also inducted into the KidScreen Hall of Fame and co-won the Studio of the Year at Italy’s Cartoons on the Bay International Festival of Television Animation. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Andy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from UCLA. 

  • Stone Newman, President, Global Consumer Products, Worldwide Content Sales & Marketing

    Stone is an accomplished entrepreneur who joined Genius Brands from Art + Science International, Inc., a boutique licensing agency he founded. Some of his clients there are now represented by A Squared Entertainment, a wholly owned subsidiary of Genius Brands, including From Frank, a humor greeting card and product line and Celessence Technologies, the world’s leading microencapsulation company. Stone also founded and built Sababa Toys from a start-up into a $30MM toy and game manufacturer with product presence in more than 50,000 retail stores. He worked in marketing and licensing at Hasbro Toys and got his start as a yoyo demonstrator and sales associate at the storied FAO Schwarz Flagship store on New York's 5th Avenue.

Consumer Products
  • Lloyd Mintz, Vice President, Consumer Products

    Lloyd is a seasoned industry executive wtih more than 20 years of experience in licensing, merchandising and new business development and is widely respected for his expertise in leveraging brand equity through licensing. He works with retailers and licensees to build comprehensive global consumer products’ programs for each of the company’s brands. Prior to GBI, Lloyd managed his own consultancy during which time he negotiated more than 150 licensing agreements and generated over $700MM in cumulative retail sales on behalf of clients across a range of brand owners and manufacturers. Most recently, he worked as EVP of Licensing for NYC-based Galaxy Brands that owned the AND1 and AVIA athletic brands. Previously, Lloyd worked at Hasbro, Inc. as the Vice President of Domestic Corporate Licensing where he pioneered the effort to license Hasbro’s classic game brands, such as Monopoly, to slot machine manufacturers. He began his licensing industry career at Disney Consumer Products where he oversaw Disney’s largest licensee, Mattel, Inc., and their development of toy programs for classic properties such as Lion King, Winnie the Pooh, and Aladdin. Lloyd graduated from Wesleyan University and earned his MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

Content Sales
  • Jo Kavanagh-Payne, Senior Vice President of Global Distribution

    Jo Kavanagh-Payne spearheads Genius Brands’ worldwide content sales efforts, driving Genius Brands’ international distribution business. She identifies co-production partners and co-develops new and existing properties for international and domestic syndication potential and advises on the development of new and acquired properties for international and domestic distribution.

    Originally based in London, Kavanagh-Payne moved to Los Angeles in 1995 to establish and supervise the U.S. office for Link Entertainment. As the Senior Vice President of U.S. Operations, she handled all facets of sales as well as acquisitions and strategic planning for children’s and family programming in international content distribution. In September 2000, she founded Foothill Entertainment with her husband, Gregory Payne, specializing in the co-development and distribution of family and children’s entertainment programming and acting as Executive Producer of projects in all media, raising finance via co-production, distribution advances and pre-sales in all of the major territories.

Creative
  • Eunice Ahn, Senior Creative Director

    With over 10 years of graphic design and art direction experience, Eunice is responsible for managing the creative assets of GBI's multiple entertainment properties for marketing, advertising, sales, brand development, and licensing. She designs brand marketing materials, establishes the creative direction for licensing partners, oversees style guide creations and assists with product development.

Finances & Administration
  • Rebecca Hershinger, Chief Financial Officer

    Rebecca is a longtime financial executive and former VP of Finance for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, who initially began working with Genius Brands in early 2014 through CFO Advisory Services, Inc., a corporation she founded that provided accounting and business advisory services to private and public companies. She oversees all of the company’s corporate finance, accounting and financial reporting functions. Rebecca also plays an active role for Genius BrandsI with its Investor Relations and corporate development initiatives. Prior to joining GBI, she held finance and corporate development positions at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. in which she was responsible for various finance functions related to M&A analysis, cross-collateralized slate film financing vehicles, and motion picture deal analysis. Rebecca also served as an Investment Banking Analyst for JP Morgan Chase & Co., covering clients in the entertainment, real estate and hotels & gaming industries. She received a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University.

Kid Genius
  • Deb Pierson, President of Kid Genius

    Debra is a former Kabillion executive and well-respected distribution, production, licensing and merchandising and marketing expert who has over 25 years of children’s entertainment experience. She is charged with spearheading the continued growth of the Company’s Kid Genius channel on Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand service. Debra served as VP Sales and Marketing for six years at Kabillion and helped launch the Kabillion Kids VOD channel. She was responsible for content acquisition, traffic, viewership and monetization of the broadband and cable Kabillion content offerings and attracted top advertising partners such as General Mills, Lego, Activision and Hasbro. Debra also oversaw the creation and launch of the Kabillion GIRLS RULE Channel. Prior to Kabillion, Debra was VP of Specialty Merchandise for Neopets, where she created the independent retailer merchandise and licensing strategy for the brand, bringing Neopets to market for their 25 million registered users and leading the product development, manufacturing, licensing and sales for the Neopets’ Specialty Merchandise division. Most recently Pierson served as CEO of Cosmic Toast Studios, since January 2013, working with an incredible talent pool of artists, directors and producers to create live action and animation content for toy companies, networks and major brands.

Legal & Business Affairs
  • Greg Payne, Executive Vice President, Operations & Business Affairs

    Greg, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Stanford Law School, spent 10 years in corporate law on Wall Street with the New York law firm of Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine and in Washington D.C. with McKenna Conner & Cuneo. Leaving the East Coast in 1986, Greg took a position with then-small animation producer DIC Entertainment where he rose to Executive Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs. He oversaw all Legal, Administration, Music and Operations matters for the studio. Leaving DIC in 1999 to set up his own private legal practice, Greg specialized in entertainment and corporate law with clients such as DIC; Cartoon Network; The Gotham Group; Nippon TV; Production I.G. Ltd; ReelFX Inc.; Technicolor Digital Productions; Aniplex, Ltd; Dimensional Branding Group, among others. His experience spans from negotiating production and talent agreements to labor relations, corporate mergers and acquisitions and real estate matters.

Marketing
  • Melissa Kwechansky, Director, Marketing & Communications

    Melissa is a veteran marketing executive with over 14 years of experience. At GBI, she’s in charge of all marketing and communication efforts for the portfolio of brands and corporate identity. Melissa has served in marketing roles at Disney Interactive, CAA, Sony Pictures, EQAL and various start-ups. She’s launched several high profile initiatives including LaurenConrad.com and StandUp2Cancer.org. Melissa received a Bachelor of Arts degree at University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Production & Animation
  • Mark Young, Vice President, Production

    Mark is an Emmy Award-winning producer, director, and writer. He previously served as Executive Producer at MGM Animation and was responsible for story editing 48 half-hours of the syndicated series The Pink Panther; co-writing and producing the theatrical All Dogs Go To Heaven II; developing the home video feature Babes in Toyland; as well as a range of live action specials, series and direct-to-video features. Before MGM, Mark worked as Senior Vice President of Development and Programming, story editor and writer at Hanna-Barbara where he worked on series, including The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, The Addams Family, A Flintstone Christmas, Yogi, the Easter Bear, The Arabian Nights, as well as the writer of the Emmy Award-winning animated primetime special The Halloween Tree.