Our Team

  • Mr. Rouhana has been our Executive Chairman since the formation of our predecessor, Chicken Soup for the Soul Productions, in December 2014, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s Executive Chairman since its formation in May 2016 and has been the Chief Executive Officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul since April 2008. Mr. Rouhana has been a leader in the media, entertainment and communications industries for more than 35 years.  He was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Winstar Communications, a wireless broadband pioneer, and Winstar New Media, one of the earliest online content companies, from 1993 until 2001.  During his career Mr. Rouhana has led the acquisition of numerous media companies including Virgin Vision, a Virgin Group worldwide film distribution venture, in the 1980s. As an entertainment and finance lawyer from 1977 to 1985, he developed new film financing models for major producers such as Blake Edwards. He is the founder of The Humpty Dumpty Institute, which created the International Film Exchange, and the Co-Chairman of the Global Creative Forum, which connects the United Nations with major film and television executives, producers and talent. Among other qualifications, Mr. Rouhana brings to our Board extensive executive leadership in the communications, media and entertainment (including production and distribution) industries and broad experience in business financings and acquisitions. He received his B.A. from Colby College, where he is currently Trustee Emeritus; and his J.D. from Georgetown Law School.    

    Go Back
  • Ms. Newmark has been a member of our board of directors since May 2016.  She has more than 30 years of media and telecommunications industry and investment banking experience.  Ms. Newmark has been the Publisher, Editor-in-Chief and an author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series since April 2008, and has coauthored the publication of more than 150 books under the Brand during her tenure. Ms. Newmark founded and managed a successful hedge fund for five years. Prior to that she was a Managing Director at CJ Lawrence and was a top-ranked telecom analyst during her tenure. She received her A.B. and C.F.A. from Harvard University.  Among other qualifications, Ms. Newmark brings to our Board important financing experience, content publications expertise and an intimate knowledge of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Brand and related operations.  

    Go Back
  • Mr. Seaton has been a member of our board of directors since May 2016.  He has been the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul since April 2012. He has more than 25 years of media and telecommunications investment banking experience. Prior to joining Chicken Soup for the Soul, he was a Managing Director at Credit Suisse First Boston where he worked from 1988 to 2002, at Bank of America from 2002 to 2009 and at Oppenheimer & Co from 2010 to 2012. He served on the board of directors of Mediacom Communication Corporation from 2009 to 2011 when Mediacom was taken private for $3.7 billion. He received his A.B. from Stanford University and his M.B.A. from Harvard University.  Among other qualifications, Mr. Seaton brings to our Board extensive public company and media-related financing, acquisition and transactional experience and important acquisition operating experience relating to the Chicken Soup for the Soul Brand and related operations and media company board experience.   

    Go Back
  • Elana Sofko joined Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment in 2016 as the SVP of Digital Business Development and Operations. Ms. Sofko brings over two decades of media and entertainment experience, always on the leading edge of innovation. Prior to Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Ms. Sofko focused on a range of digital business growth initiatives for WWE, including International expansion and localization of WWE’s digital properties as well as supporting the launch and international expansion of WWE Network, a subscription based video over-the-top (OTT) service. Ms. Sofko worked on the launch of satellite radio as part of the start-up team at the company now called SiriusXM, and has overseen strategic growth initiatives at ESPN, Nokia, News Corp and A&E Television Networks. Ms. Sofko earned a B.A. in English Literature from the State University of New York at Albany, and an M.B.A. from University of Connecticut, which included a semester in China at Peking University. Ms. Sofko’s qualifications include worldwide experience in distribution, monetization, digital tech and products, business and corporate development.

    Go Back
  • Michael Winter joined Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment in 2016 as the SVP of Programming and Development. Mr. Winter has been a producer and executive for over 17 years. Prior to joining Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Mr. Winter had his own production company, Speedway Boogie Productions, where he produced shows for HGTV, DIY and Bravo while working with some of the best production companies in the U.S. His career started at Bunim-Murray Productions working on Road Rules for MTV, Love Cruise and The Simple Life for Fox. He then went on to produce on The Mole for ABC, Wedding is it Anyway for Style, Date Patrol for TLC and many projects at MTV and VH1. From there, Mr. Winter was hired as the first director of programming for the Outdoor Life Network (now NBC Sports Network). Soon after, he was poached by Scripps Networks where he executive produced 30 series and specials for HGTV and DIY including Man Caves, Renovation Realities, Under Construction, Yard Crashers and Desperate Landscapes. In 2010, Mr. Winter was appointed Vice President of Leopard Films producing shows for HGTV, Food Network, Travel, GSN, Ovation, A&E, History and over 300 episodes of the megahit House Hunters International. Mr. Winter received his B.A. in Literature from American University.   

    Go Back
  • Ms. Wilkin has been a member of our board of directors since 2016. She has over 20 years of experience in the media industry. She has been Managing Director of Twelve 24 Media, a broadcast and media consulting firm, since 2014. Formerly she served as President of CBS Affiliate Relations from 2008 to 2014 where she was responsible for network agreements with all major broadcast group television stations. From 2000 to 2008, she was involved in the management of both CBS and FOX affiliates in numerous markets. She received her B.S. from the University of Southern California.  Among other qualifications, Ms. Wilkin brings to our Board, extensive management and operational experience in the media and entertainment industries, particularly in the television broadcasting industry.

    Go Back
  • Ms. Weiss Lurie has been a member of our board of directors since May 2016. Her multi-faceted career spans the worlds of sports, entertainment and philanthropy. She is an owner of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Founder of Eagles Youth Partnership (now the Eagles Charitable Foundation). She is also a two-time Oscar award-winning film producer.  As executive producer, Ms. Lurie received the Oscar for each of “Inside Job” (in 2011), which tackles the consequences of systematic corruption of the U.S. by the financial services industry, and “Inocente” (in 2013), which features the struggles of a homeless, undocumented teen. She is the co-founder of independent film company, Vox3 Films, founded in 2004, which now operates as Tango Pictures.  She is also a noted philanthropist. Under her leadership, the Philadelphia Eagles earned the coveted 2011 Beyond Sports Team of the Year award for their work in the community and for trailblazing environmental programs in professional sports. She received her B.A. from Yale University.  Among other qualifications, Ms. Lurie brings to our Board extensive content production experience and brand management skills from the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Go Back
  • Mr. Dekom has been a member of our board of directors since May 2016.  He has more than 40 years of media and entertainment legal, consulting and entrepreneurial experience. He has been named one of Forbes’ top 100 lawyers in the United States and one of Premiere Magazine’s 50 most powerful people in Hollywood. He previously worked as "of counsel" with Weissmann Wolff Bergman Coleman Grodin & Evall.  Prior to that he was a partner with Bloom, Dekom, Hergott and Cook. During his career his clients have included George Lucas, Paul Haggis, Keenen Ivory Wayans, John Travolta, Ron Howard, Rob Reiner, Andy Davis, Robert Towne and Larry David.  His corporate clients have included Sears, Pacific Telesis and Japan Victor Corporation (JVC). He is a former member of the board of directors of each of Imagine Films Entertainment, Will Vinton Studios and Cinebase Software.  He is a Member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Academy Foundation.  He received his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from the UCLA School of Law.  Among other qualifications, Mr. DeKom brings to our Board extensive legal and business experience in the media and entertainment industries.

    Go Back
  • Mr. Cohen has been a member of our board of directors since May 2016.  He has more than 35 years of media and entertainment experience.  Since 2004, he has been the Chairman of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Emmys), and since 2000, the Chairman of its Foundation.  Previously, he was the President of King World International Productions, Executive Vice President of CBS Broadcast International and the President of HBO International. He currently serves as strategic advisor to Harpo Productions on the international distribution of the television program, Dr. Oz.  He is Chair Emeritus of PCI – Media Impact, a New York based international organization.  He received his B.A. from The University of Michigan and his M.S. from Stanford University.  Among other qualifications, Mr. Cohen brings to our Board extensive executive and operational experience in the media and entertainment industries, including the international segments of such industries.

    Go Back
  • Mr. Pess has over 35 years of financial experience in public and private companies. He has been the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul since May 2012. Mr. Pess began his career at a Big Four accounting firm and later served as the senior financial executive for several public and private companies, while completing four public offerings along with several acquisitions and mergers.  As Chief Financial Officer of White Amber, a provider of human capital management solutions, Mr. Pess oversaw a five-times increase in revenues and managed the sale of the company to Taleo, a public company subsequently bought by Oracle Corporation.  After the sale, Mr. Pess became Chief Financial Officer of USADATA, a SaaS provider of marketing leads, and was part of the company management team that affected a leveraged buy-out of the company during a period of rapid growth. Before joining Chicken Soup for the Soul, Mr. Pess was Chief Financial Officer of Certpoint Systems, which provides e-learning software and services to Fortune 2000 companies. Certpoint Systems was bought by Infor Software in 2012. He received his B.S. from Long Island University and is a Certified Public Accountant. 

    Go Back