Senior Fellows: biographies

Senior Fellows are advisors to the Center — experts on key trends in digital marketing, entertainment, business strategy, technology, communications, and policy-making. Senior Fellows provide recommendations about research initiatives and keep the research staff informed about emerging issues that leadership in industry and government encounter in the digital realm.

Senator the Hon. Stephen Conroy

Senator the Hon. Stephen Conroy served as Australian federal minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy from December 2007 to June 2013. Conroy was deputy leader of the government in the senate, and was appointed minister assisting the prime minister for digital productivity in September 2010. In February 2013, he was elected leader of the government in the senate, a position he held until June 2013.

Senator Conroy held a broad range of responsibilities, including the National Broadband Network, the largest nation-building infrastructure project in Australian history, and the enabling foundation for Australia’s digital economy. Other responsibilities included Australia’s digital television switchover; Australia’s national broadcasters, the ABC and SBS; media policy; community broadcasting; e-security and cyber-safety; radio frequency spectrum; and the Australia Post.

Senator Conroy was appointed a founding commissioner of the International Telecommunications Union Broadband Commission.


J. Scott Dinsdale

J. Scott Dinsdale is managing director and Asia Pacific media practice lead of Accenture Australia.

Dinsdale has been a digital technology and media pioneer for over 25 years. An accomplished entrepreneur and musician, Dinsdale’s career includes executive leadership roles at Sony, Bertelsmann, the MPAA, and Merrill Lynch. Scott is a member of the faculty of The Australian Film, Television & Radio School (Sydney).


Michael Gilbert

A Senior Fellow since 2004, Michael Gilbert is involved in many of the Center’s activities. He participates in focus group discussions and in the design, review, and presentation of the Center’s research programs, with special emphasis on family and social issues.

Gilbert speaks regularly on gender and technology, and authored an award-winning book, The Disposable Male: Sex, Love and Money—Your World through Darwin’s Eyes, which explores the continuing relevance of deep-seated biological and evolutionary forces in today’s sophisticated digital domains. He has been widely featured on national media and op-ed pages, most recently Newsday and The Christian Science Monitor.

After receiving an MBA at Harvard, Gilbert combined university lecturing with a career in real estate, investment banking, and the entertainment industry before returning to academic roots and his current focus on the social implications of today’s revolutionary digital technologies. He has also participated in entertainment industry activities in conjunction with Fox, MGM/UA and Sony Pictures.

Gilbert has served as a director of several public companies, and is currently on the advisory boards of the Foundation for Male Studies and c3VisionLab, the Global Arts and Media Node of The Millennium Project. He served on the adjunct faculty at Concordia University (Montreal), and has guest-lectured at USC, the Anderson School at UCLA and the California State University system.


Robert Hess

Robert Hess is the founding principal of the Strategics Group, a Santa Monica, California management consulting firm specializing in organizational strategy execution and performance management.

Prior to founding The Strategics Group, his post-military business career included positions as vice president of business development in the Washington, DC office of Aerospatiale, Inc., and Director of Strategic Planning and Partner Relations at the Center for Digital Innovation at UCLA.

During his military career, Hess commanded ground and air units in the Republic of Vietnam and West Germany, served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as an exchange officer in the Department of State. He has also served as an outside director of a privately held aviation services company.


Jane Kagon

Jane Kagon, J.D., is an international consultant and producer who has been a pioneer on globalization and digital technology issues in work that focuses on the nexus between entertainment and education.

Kagon brings her expertise to the non-profit world as executive director of RFK-LA (Legacy in Action), which honors the memory and social justice vision of Robert F. Kennedy by engaging young people in using digital media for social change.

Kagon previously held a position at UCLA as Director of UCLA Extension’s Department of Entertainment Studies and Performing Arts. In addition, Kagon co-created the Digital Hollywood University Project and designed the online Masters Degree in Media and Communications Psychology for Touro University, New York.

Kagon chaired the American Cinematheque’s Entertainment Industry Council and co-chaired the California State Bar’s Public Affairs Committee.


Marina Kosten

Marina Kosten is a senior global research and strategy executive involved in developing market and consumer insights. Her expertise is producing strategic recommendations for film, video games, home entertainment, financial services, and packaged goods.

Marina is currently a vice president of consumer research in the International Theatrical Division of 20th Century Fox. Marina oversees research related to releasing Fox films in top 20 international markets. In addition to guiding each film through the marketing cycle, Marina also ensures that the organization is focused on the trends that affect the use of social media and technology, as well as issues that shape advancements in data and analytics.

Prior to 20th Fox, Marina oversaw another dimension of the entertainment landscape at Activision-Blizzard, where she focused on Guitar Hero and Call of Duty franchises, in addition to Activision’s portfolio of licensed video games. Marina began her career as a social researcher; her interest in understanding human behavior led her through senior roles at several global research suppliers.


Harlan Lebo

Harlan Lebo is a non-fiction author who writes about cultural history, science, the humanities, society, and the impact of digital technology.

During more than three decades in journalism and communications, Lebo has worked with the Center for the Digital Future since its inception, advising the Center team on strategies for media, digital projects, and program priorities; and developing all of the Center’s publications.

As a non-fiction author, Lebo has written six books for Doubleday, Simon & Schuster, St. Martin’s Press, Rowman & Littlefield, and private publication. Four of his books explore the creation of a trio of America’s finest films: The Godfather Legacy; Casablanca – Behind the Scenes; and two books on Citizen Kane. His most recent works are a book on 50 years of vision science at UCLA, 100 Days: How Four Events in 1969 Shaped America, and an expanded edition of his book on the making of Citizen Kane.


John Montgomery

John Montgomery is executive vice president of brand safety for GroupM Global. John works closely with GroupM’s digital and media experts, developing best practices for online safety and viewability and implementing them in global markets. John helps clients ensure their messages are 100% viewable, in brand-safe environments, with a consumer-friendly experience. John has more than two decades of experience working on digital initiatives in the media industry, specifically with WPP.

John is chairman of the 4A’s Media Leadership Council, and co-chairman of the TAG anti-piracy initiative.


Jonathan Perelman

Jonathan Perelman serves as head of digital ventures at ICM Partners, where he leads the talent and literary agency in identifying new business opportunities and investment within technology and new media sectors.

Prior to ICM Partners, Perelman served as vice president of Motion Pictures at BuzzFeed, where he led strategy, operations, business development, and partnership. He helped the company grow into one of the top video producers on the Internet, with 1.5 billion monthly views and releasing 75 original pieces a week. Perelman created more than 20 syndication and content partnerships with leading global media companies. He also served as the vice president of agency strategy and industry development at BuzzFeed. Prior to that, Perelman spent six years at Google.

Perelman serves as a board member to a number of start-ups and is also on the board of directors of The American Advertising Federation (AAF). Perelman is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the future of media and entertainment, and several foreign policy think tanks.


Umberto Sulpasso

Umberto Sulpasso is a management advisor and author whose main interest is the digital economy. Sulpasso’s book, Darwinomics, first presented the idea that knowledge is the chief engine of modern digital society, but the quantitative impact of knowledge on a nation’s wealth is not measured.

FICCI , the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, entrusted Sulpasso to head two teams, research and communication, that included top government members from the Ministry of Planning and Central Statistics, to apply his model to make India the first country to calculate its Gross Domestic Knowledge Product.

Sulpasso is also the co-author of Know Global: More Knowledge for All. He founded the International Multimedia University, which produced more than 50 digital classes with UCLA. He has taught at universities worldwide, and directed the editing team for a six-volume encyclopedia of management.


Mathew Tombers

Mathew Tombers is a media strategist, consultant, and business advisor who works at the crossroads of content, branding, advertising, technology, and facilitating across multiple platforms for Fortune 500 and start-up firms.

Tombers is a media trend forecaster and executive producer, with credits for more than 150 hours of television programming, including the Peabody Award-winning “Off to War.” He is the founder and Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., a boutique media consulting company that specializes in digital and linear media engagements and offers business development expertise to emerging and established media firms.

In his work for client Odyssey Networks, Mat launched a mobile app, Call on Faith, which is currently the sixth most popular non-biblical spiritual app, as well as numerous websites and a Roku channel. For Discovery International, he assessed programming, advertising sales and marketing areas to provide comprehensive solutions to reverse the popular Animal Planet’s advertising sales underperformance.