2021 Speaker Highlights

In order to access this year’s event, attendees must be a subscriber to WrapPRO, our premium service for daily coverage of digital entertainment. Go PRO now for a free 60 day trial to access all Grill events, panels and more.

Voices That Matter


Ted Sarandos, Nancy Dubuc, Jeff Weiner, Dana Walden and many others joined TheGrill before becoming household names. WrapPRO continues to keep its pulse on the world of disruptive and converging media industries shining a spotlight on tomorrow’s moguls, making TheGrill the must-attend event for all media professionals.

Next Wave Of Innovators


Every year, WrapPRO compiles a list of the most innovative disruptors, game changers and leaders who have transformed their respective industries. The Innovator’s List is announced live at TheGrill, where these impressive leaders join together for a discussion on industry disruption and innovation.

PRO Networking


WrapPRO provides a community and a platform to make unique and worthwhile connections with movers and shakers from across industries. TheGrill gives access to premier thought leaders and an industry brain-trust of like-minded and ambitious creators.

Schedule

2021 Speakers

Kevin Mayer

Chairman, DAZN Group

Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs are co-CEOs and co-chairs of the SPAC Forest Road Acquisition Corp II. Mayer, former TikTok CEO and Disney exec, was recently named chairman of DAZN Group.

Scott Stuber

Head of Global Films, Netflix

Scott Stuber is the Head of Global Films where he oversees the development, production and acquisition of the Netflix film slate.

Strauss Zelnick

Chairman & CEO, Take-Two Interactive

Strauss Zelnick is chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive, applying sound financial infrastructure and rigor to enable the industry’s top creative talent to pursue their passions and deliver incredible entertainment experiences for consumers across the world.

Phil Spencer

Head of XBOX & EVP, Gaming, Microsoft

Spencer is accountable for leading Microsoft’s gaming business across all devices and services. With his team and game development partners, Spencer continues to push the boundaries of creativity, technical innovation and fun across gaming genres, audiences and devices.

Brenda Gilbert

Co-Founder & President, BRON Media Corp

Brenda Gilbert is president and co-founder of BRON Media Corp. Founded in 2010, BRON has been behind more than 100 productions and is proud to have been part of 27 Academy Award nominations and six Academy Award wins for the films: “Fences,” “Joker,” “Pieces of a Woman,” “Greyhound,” “Bombshell,” “Roman J. Israel Esq.,” and “Judas and The Black Messiah.”

Stacey Sher

Founder & Producer, Shiny Penny Productions

Two-time Oscar nominee Stacey Sher has produced more than 20 films, amassing nearly $2.2 billion at the global box office. Up next, she’s executive producing the series “The Devil in the White City” with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. Her previous credits include “Pulp Fiction,” “Django Unchained” and “Erin Brockovich.”

Tom Staggs

Board of Directors, Spotify

Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs are co-CEOs and co-chairs of the SPAC Forest Road Acquisition Corp II. He and Staggs, a former COO and CFO of Disney and Spotify board member, continue to serve as senior advisors to their first SPAC Forest Road.

Jeff Sagansky

Partner, Eagle Equity Partners

Over the past 10 years, Jeff Sagansky and his partner Harry Sloan have founded seven special purpose acquisition companies, which acquired and took companies public.

Jeff Clanagan

CEO, Laugh Out Loud

Jeff Clanagan is the CEO of Laugh Out Loud, the global multi-platform comedy brand founded by Kevin Hart. Additionally, Clanagan is founder and CEO of Codeblack Films and Codeblack Digital, a film production and distribution company dedicated to super-serving the Black community worldwide.

Van Toffler

CEO, Gunpowder & Sky

Van Toffler is CEO of Gunpowder & Sky. Since its inception in 2016, the studio has released 40+ feature films and series plus more than 1000 short films across theaters, TVOD and platforms including HBO, Netflix, Hulu and Spotify. Previously, Toffler served as CEO of Viacom Media Networks Music & Logo Group, launching and positioning MTV as the most valuable youth media brand.

Faiza Saeed

Presiding Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Faiza Saeed is Presiding Partner of Cravath, Swaine & Moore. She advises on mergers and acquisitions and is widely recognized within the entertainment industry as a go-to advisor, having worked with clients including Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, Hasbro, DreamWorks and Amblin.

E. Brian Dobbins

Executive Producer, “Black-Ish,”

E. Brian Dobbins is a talent/literary manager at Artists First, where he serves as co-president. With a roster that includes Kenya Barris, Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ross, Tracy Oliver, Niecy Nash and Jon M. Chu, Dobbins has expanded his career to also include producing content. Dobbins is currently the executive producer of “Black-Ish,” “Mixed-Ish” and “Grown-Ish.”

Lucia Aniello

Showrunner, “Hacks”

For over nine years, “Hacks” showrunner Lucia Aniellohas focused on writing, directing, producing, and acting in comedy projects that bring authentic female experiences to the forefront. Her additional credits include “Broad City,” “Time Traveling Bong,” “Nora from Queens” “Baby-Sitters Club” and more.

Samata Narra

SVP, Equity & Inclusion, Content Strategy, WarnerMedia

Samata Narra is responsible for building innovative tools and creative solutions to help facilitate the advancement of diversity in our storytelling globally. Prior to joining the company in April of last year, she was senior vice President of Comedy Development and Current Programming for FOX.

Marja-Lewis Ryan

Showrunner, “The L Word: Generation Q”

Marja-Lewis Ryan is the showrunner, executive producer, and director of Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q.” Praised for its vibrant depiction of the contemporary LGBTQ+ scene across Los Angeles, the success of the first season led to Ryan signing an overall deal with Showtime to continue developing projects exclusively for the network. 

Carmen Carrera

Actress & Transgender Activist

Carmen Carrera is a model, actress, television personality, Latinx transgender icon and activist who is best recognized for her monumental work as a an outspoken trailblazer in the Latinx and trans communities.

Deon Taylor

Co-founder & Co-CEO, Hidden Empire Film Group

Deon Tayloris the co-founder and co-CEO of Hidden Empire Film Group. Most recently Taylor directed, wrote and produced “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2,” starring Snoop Dogg and Danny Trejo, which opened in theaters June 11 as the #1 comedy in America and held the top-10 box office for 3 weeks straight. His additional upcoming projects include Lionsgate’s “Free Agents” and MGM’s “Blackula.” 

Manjari Makijany

Writer, Director & Producer

Writer, director and producer Manjari Makijany’s debut feature “Skater Girl” is a Netflix original coming of age sports-drama and India’s first skateboarding feature. Her second feature, “Spin” is Disney’s first film with an Indian-American lead. The live-action narrative follows ‘Rhea,’ an Indian American teen whose journey of self-discovery empowers her to find her true passion of creating music infused with her South Asian culture.

Mary Viola

President of Production, Wonderland Sound and Vision

As the president of production at Wonderland Sound and Vision, Mary Viola is responsible for overseeing the company’s feature and television slate. She recently wrapped production on the Netflix rom-com “Love Hard,” starring Nina Dobrev, Darren Barnet and Jimmy O. Yang. Her additional credits include “Holidate” starring Emma Roberts, “I Feel Pretty” with Amy Schumer and the new Netflix franchise “The Babysitter.”

Mike Larocca

Co-Founder & Vice Chairman, AGBO

As a co-founder and vice chairman of independent studio AGBO, Mike Larocca has produced films including “Extraction” starring Chris Hemsworth, “Cherry” starring Tom Holland and “21 Bridges” with Chadwick Boseman. His upcoming projects include the Netflix film “The Gray Man” starring Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling, A24’s“Everything Everywhere All At Once” and the new Amazon Studios series “Citadel.”

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland

National Executive Director, SAG-AFTRA

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland became the national executive director and chief negotiator of SAG-AFTRA in May 2021. Prior to this role, Crabtree-Ireland spent seven years serving as the organization’s chief operating officer and 15 years as their general counsel. Last year he was responsible for coordinating the union’s COVID-19 response and shaping the guidelines that allowed production to resume.

Olivia Charmaine Morris

Founder & CEO, Black Monarch Entertainment

As the Founder & CEO of Black Monarch Entertainment, Olivia is an artist and an activist that has dedicated herself to a lifelong pursuit of creating entertainment media that empowers, amplifies, and celebrates “otherness.” Olivia is the 2019 Shadow & Act Executive Rising Award recipient, honoring her commitment to creating spaces for community and eliminating barriers to the entertainment industry.

2021 Moderators

Sharon Waxman

Founder & Editor-in-Chief, TheWrap

Sharon Waxman is an award-winning journalist, best-selling author and the founder of TheWrap. A leading authority on the entertainment business and media, Waxman was the Hollywood correspondent for The New York Times and a correspondent for eight years for The Washington Post.

Thom Geier

Executive Editor, TheWrap

Diane Haithman

Senior Entertainment Business Reporter, TheWrap

About TheGrill

The Leaders. The Deciders. The Disrupters. Revitalized.

For over a decade, TheWrap’s Grill event series has led the conversation on the convergence between entertainmentmedia and technology, bringing together newsmakers to debate the challenges and opportunities facing content in the digital age.

This two-day event presented by WrapPRO kicks-off on Wednesday September 29th and upholds the annual Grill experience while tailoring the format to today’s needs. Fueled by a high-level crowd of industry game-changers, over two days this event is curated for the leaders, deciders and disruptors.

Topics covered at TheGrill 2021:

  • The Future of Theatrical
  • Streaming Revolution
  • Podcasting and Gaming

In order to access this year’s event, attendees must be a subscriber to WrapPRO, our premium service for daily coverage of digital entertainment. For a taste of TheGrill check-out ‘TheGrill: Focus On Streaming’ on Thursday, June 24.

2021 Sponsors

General Information

Interested in learning more and getting involved with TheGrill 2021? Click here to inquire about all sponsorship, partnership, speaking/thought leadership and general attendee opportunities.