Board of Directors
Every Board of Directors member is personally committed to and deeply engaged in advancing the Institute’s work. We depend on them for their oversight, advice and generous support.
Steve Arnold is active with a number of organizations focusing on innovation in education. He is co-founder and vice chairman of the board of directors of the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), an operating foundation that promotes innovation and publishes research and stories of exemplary programs in teaching and learning at www.edutopia.org. Steve is also co-founder and president of the board of directors of Educurious Partners (www.educurious.org), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is researching and developing new models to help re-invent the high school experience for students and teachers. In addition, he serves on the boards of CASEL (The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, www.casel.org), which is pioneering and developing the field of social and emotional learning for schools, Engaged Learning (www.enlearn.org), which is developing an automated, data-driven adaptive learning platform, and The Teaching Channel (www.teachingchannel.org), a video showcase of effective and inspiring teaching practices in America’s schools. He also serves as a strategic advisor at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and focusing on the emerging field of affective neuroscience.
Steve is a co-founder and partner emeritus at Polaris Partners, a multi-stage venture capital partnership, where he has focused on investments in information technology and digital media. Prior to starting Polaris, Steve spent more than 15 years in executive positions in software companies and the digital media industry. He served as vice president of Broadband Media Applications at Microsoft Corporation and as president and CEO of Continuum Productions (now Corbis), a private company founded by Bill Gates to pioneer the creation of large digital libraries for online distribution. Before joining Continuum, Steve served as vice president and general manager of LucasArts Games and Learning divisions, and as vice president of the New Media Group at Lucasfilm Ltd.
Steve holds a B.S. with honors from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, and an M.A. in Comparative Psychology and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco.
Carole is the founder of Global Kids–a not-for-profit organization committed to developing urban youth into successful students, community leaders and global citizens–where she served as Executive Director for twenty-one years. Since 2010, Carole has served Global Kids on the Board of Directors and as senior advisor. Carole has also served as Managing Director of the Foreign Policy Association and as coordinator of Women’s Studies and the Graduate Program in Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence College. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; she was twice named a Purpose Prize Fellow by Civic Ventures; and she received the College of Notre Dame’s Service to Society Award. Carole began her career as a teacher of social studies and history.
Robert Gehorsam President
Steven Masur brings over 20 years of direct strategic business experience to his client matters in digital media, mobile, entertainment, and a wide variety of other industries. He has helped clients create new products and make breakthrough returns in digital music, film, video games, mobile and wireless services, licensing, advertising, retail, manufacturing, publishing, media delivery, software and hardware. Steve is great at divining great strategic opportunities, because he can break down complicated legal and business problems into their component parts and apply metaphors that make difficult decisions seem easy. Steve is a regular speaker at such conferences as CES, SXSW, CTIA, Mobile World Congress, and Digital Hollywood and has written a wide variety of articles on cutting edge business and legal issues. He edited the 2010 IAEL book on Collective Rights Licensing, and frequently blogs about new business opportunities. Steve started his career working on and off Capital Hill in Washington DC. He then moved to New York to work for the Newhouses at Conde Nast on corporate and cable TV deals, and parlayed his experience there into a career working with growth stage to enterprise level companies across a wide variety of different industries. It is this cross industry perspective which informs how he looks at corporate, intellectual property, and transactional law. Steve’s clients have included Shazam, Virgin Mobile, Liberty Media, Yamaha, Nielsen BuzzMetrics, and Bob Vila, among others. Steve went to Colby College, and got his law degree at American University, Washington College of Law.
Nichole Pinkard, PhD believes that digitally literate kids – those who can critically consume and produce alternative media – grow up to be better citizens. With a BS in Computer Science from Stanford University, and an MS in Computer Science and a PhD in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University, she is an Associate Professor in the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University in Chicago, and is the founder of Digital Youth Network and RemixLearning. Both organizations focus on developing digital literacies as tools for extending traditional literacies. Dr. Pinkard is also a co-founder of YOUmedia, a public learning space that immerses high school students in a context of traditional media – books – where they make and produce new media artifacts such as music, games, videos and virtual worlds. The recipient of a 2010 Common Sense Media Award for Outstanding Commitment to Creativity and Youth, the Jan Hawkins Award for Early Career Contributions to Humanistic Research and Scholarship in Learning Technologies, and an NSF Early CAREER Fellowship, Dr. Pinkard serves on the Boards of Institute of Play and ChicagoAllies.
Diana is Chief Strategy Officer for Amplify, which is dedicated to reimagining K-12 education by creating digital products and services. Prior to this role, Diana cofounded and codirected Startl, which advises and accelerates startups in the education technology and digital learning markets. She was also founder of the New Youth City Learning Network, which helps youth-serving institutions across New York City design and develop new mobile experiences that connect in-school education and out-of-school learning. Previously, Diana founded and directed the Knowledge Institutions Program at the Social Science Research Council, where her research and consulting focused on transforming organizations engaged in teaching, learning, and research. She also served a two-year appointment at the National Science Foundation in the Office of Cyberinfrastructure as director of the Virtual Organizations and the Cyberlearning programs. Prior to coming to New York, she was the cofounder and research director of the Hybrid Vigor Institute in San Francisco, an assistant professor at Stanford University School of Education, and a policy analyst and advisor for former Massachusetts Governor William Weld.
Sophie Rogers-Gessert Treasurer
Now a small-business owner and photographer, Sophie previously served as Director of Development for Demos, an international policy institute, and worked as a management and fundraising consultant, helping nonprofit organizations refine their goals and strategies. She believes in games as a powerful tool to create better schools, deeper learning, and dynamic citizenship in a changing world. Sophie studied philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College, and negotiation and dispute resolution at Harvard University.
Sally Rosenthal Vice Chair
Sally is an independent producer with deep roots in computer graphics. She has led teams to invent massive, technology-intensive, collaborative events and games, including a large-scale motion capture game platform called Squidball (patent pending) with NYU Movement Group, and in 1991, Pong for 5,000 people to play together with retro-reflective wands. Sally participated in the production of the Broadway musical The Color Purple and is the Executive Producer of the Peabody Award-winning documentary Between the Folds. Her interests include information visualization, analytics, and trends in technology and pop culture. She felts yak yarn, and her collection of pop-up and movable books is among the largest in the world.
Katie Salen Tekinbas
Katie is the former founding Executive Director and is currently responsible for developing new projects, programs, products, and services in her role as Fellow. Part of her responsibilities include establishing a consulting practice within the Institute to work with a wide range of organizations seeking to leverage in new contexts the Institute’s cutting edge work in game-based learning. She is an active game designer and, as one of the Institute’s founders, a pioneer in applying game design principles to challenges outside the field of commercial game development.Katie is a Professor in the School of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University. She lectures widely and writes extensively on game design, design education and gamer culture. She has co-authored or edited several books, including Rules of Play, a textbook on game design, The Game Design Reader and The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning. Also, Katie was co-lead designer on Gamestar Mechanic, an award-winning online game with built-in game design curriculum. She has been involved in the design of slow games, online games, mobile games and big games in the commercial and independent games sectors around the world.
Jenna is Director of Business Development at IGN Entertainment, where she oversees business development for IGN Entertainment, IGN.com and AskMen.com, looking for new revenue opportunities, brand extensions and partnerships for the #1 male lifestyle and #1 games media properties. She is responsible for expanding a variety of gaming initiatives across IGN, in addition to originating and developing new product launches, content syndication and business opportunities. Jenna has helped grow IGN’s competitive gaming (eSports) league into the biggest eSports league in North America. Establishing partnerships with publishers, entertainment venues and casinos, she has played a significant role in bringing the “eSports” phenomenon to the US and transforming competitive video gaming into a spectator sport. Previously, Jenna was a Senior Advisor at Media Link LLC. At Media Link, she focused on organizational restructuring, consumer marketing strategy, business development, revenue generation and mobile, e-commerce and social media strategy development for global brands including Microsoft, AT&T, Unilever, Home Depot, The Walt Disney Company, Viacom, Fox Television Studies, Comcast, Bain & Co., GSO Capital (Blackstone), Cerberus Capital Management, General Atlantic, Fremantle, General Motors and Sony. Earlier, Jenna was an Analyst with CIM Group and a Business Development and Brokerage Coordinator for Cushman & Wakefield. She began her career as a Business Analyst with the Capital Group Companies. Jenna is a graduate of Brown University and received an MBA from Columbia Business School. You will find her playing in San Francisco and in airports around the globe.
Tanya Vancourt Chair
Tanya Van Court is Senior Vice President and General Manager of NOGGIN, ParentsConnect and NickJr.com. Van Court leads Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group’s preschool and parents online businesses, which include NickJr.com (Playtime and Nick Jr. Parents), broadband offerings Nick Jr. Video and Nick Jr. Parents TV, NOGGIN.com, GoCityKids.com, and ParentsConnect.com. She also oversees the day-to-day management of NOGGIN, the acclaimed educational preschool network from Nickelodeon, where she spearheads its marketing and creative efforts. Van Court joined Nickelodeon in 2006 as Senior Vice President, Preschool and Parents Online, and has led Nickelodeon to become a key player in the parents’ online space, most notably with the re-launch and expansion of ParentsConnect.com. She has grown the site to become one of the most influential parenting sites on the web today, and has broadened its focus with new acquisitions like Babunga.com. Additionally, Van Court has strengthened NickJr.com with a new look and has maintained its reign as the leading website for preschoolers. She has worked across the various NOGGIN and Nick Jr. lines of business to make both websites interactive online playgrounds that complement and continue the on-air experiences. Prior to Nickelodeon, Van Court served as Vice President of New Media Products for ESPN, where she led the launch of ESPN 360, ESPN’s broadband video and online gaming player. Prior to joining ESPN, Van Court spent three years at Cablevision Systems, where she was responsible for launching Cablevision’s VOIP service, Optimum Voice, and led Cablevision’s Operations and Customer Experience efforts for their digital cable product, Interactive Optimum (IO). Van Court began her career in the telecommunications sector, spending several years with Covad Communications where she was instrumental in the launch of DSL in several international markets. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University. Van Court is also a graduate of the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) Executive Leadership Development Program, and in 2005, was named a Betsy Magness Fellow by Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT). She was also named one of the top 50 most influential minorities in Cable World.
Eric Zimmerman Secretary
Eric is a game designer who has been working in the game industry for nearly 20 years. Along with Peter Lee, he co-founded Institute of Play as well as Gamelab, an NYC-based game development studio he led for 9 years. Gamelab created games for entertainment and education, including Gamestar Mechanic, an online site that lets kids create their own games. Eric publishes and lectures widely about game design and game culture. He is the co-author with Katie Salen of Rules of Play, the standard textbook on game design. Eric has created dozens of award-winning games, from massively multiplayer online games to physical games for galleries and museums. Recent projects include an installation for the Museum of Modern Art, a film created with director David Kaplan, and a videogame collaboration with Deepak Chopra. He is a founding faculty at the NYU Game Center.
Every Board of Advisors member is personally committed to and deeply engaged in advancing the Institute’s work. We depend on them for their oversight, advice and generous support.
Producer, Playdom, Disney Interactive
CEO, Nolgong Powerhouse
Managing Director and Director of Technology Programs, Industrial and Technology Assistance Corporation of New York
Senior Research Scientist, Intel Labs’ Interaction and Experience Research Group