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.
Dawn Barber is the co-founder of NY Tech Meetup, a growing 38,000+ member non-profit industry organization that supports and promotes the New York technology community, and is the largest meetup in the world. She has extensive experience in planning and organizing conferences and events in and around the New York technology community, since having been one of NYNMA’s directors from 1998-2001, and since then producing the Shorty Awards for the past three years, and Gadgetoff among others before that. She was one of the first Pipeline Fund fellows, and sits on the boards of InSITEand MOUSE, and the Astia NYC Advisory Board. In addition she serves on the Alliance for Downtown New York Leadership Council.
Tristan Louis Vice Chair
Tristan Louis is a serial entrepreneur and technology chronicler with over 20 years of experience in digital media, mobile, internet, finance, advertising and a wide variety of other industries. As the founder or co-founder of 6 different companies, he’s made breakthroughs in publishing, games, advertising, e-commerce, and finance. During the 1990s, Tristan pioneered digital publishing, with two companies (Internet.com and Earthweb) that eventually listed on the NASDAQ. Later, he worked as Chief Innovation Officer for HSBC, one of the largest banks in the world. More recently, he was the founder of Keepskor, an innovative company that combined games and advertising on mobile devices for some of the largest brands in the world. A frequent chronicler of the technology world via his own newsletter, TNL.net and in other publications (the New York Times, Forbes, Business Insider, etc..), Tristan is great at identifying early strategic trends, identifying their core components and turning them into market-changing business opportunities. Tristan has spoken at TED, the World Economic Forum, CES, SXSW, and others and is frequently quoted on matters related technology. He also appears on a regular basis as a technology experts on several TV channels such as Al-Jazeera, the BBC, BFM, and CNN. Tristan has been a close advisor for clients like Nokia, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Time-Warner, and many more. He hold a journalism degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a master’s certificate from George Washington University.
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.
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.
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 Van Court
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 Chair
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.
Co-founder and Partner Emeritus, Polaris Partners Co-founder and Vice Chairman, George Lucas Educational Foundation
Founder, President Emerita, Global Kids
Producer, Playdom, Disney Interactive
Member of the Board of Directors, Flora Family Foundation
Principal, Quantum Media
CEO, Marcopolo Learning
CEO, Nolgong Powerhouse
Associate Arts Professor, Kanbar Institute of Film and Television, Tisch School of the Arts
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
Executive Vice President, Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Entertainment
Senior Digital Manager, McKinsey Digital Labs