Our Speakers:

Colinne S. Bartel

Colinne S. Bartel

Truffle Time, Founder

Colinne S. Bartel is the owner of Truffle Time, a subsidiary of AC Innovation GmbH. AC Innovation serves as a marketing and business development catalyst for entrepreneurs. As chief project manager, Ms. Bartel was responsible for capital expenditures and acquisition integration for an Advent International portfolio company that executed one of the fastest growing telecommunications buy & build projects in Europe.

After finalizing her MBA and a research trip in East Africa in 2002, Colinne joined McKinsey & Company. Ms. Bartel holds a B.A. in Political Science from University of California, Los Angeles, an M.A. in International Relations from the Claremont Graduate School and a dual MBA in Strategy and Finance from The Peter F. Drucker School of Management and the EDHEC Business School. Her passions are sports, the arts and cultural exchange.




James Burron

The Canadian Association of Alternative Strategies & Assets, President

James co-founded CAASA in response to industry support for a Canadian alternatives association to serve all aspects including: hedge / alternative strategies; private lending; private real estate; private equity; plus emerging areas where Canada is a leader such as digital assets / blockchain and robo-advisors.

Prior to CAASA, James was the Chief Operating Officer of AIMA Canada where his team of three worked with 12 committees to produce 50-60 events per annum across Canada, organize 100+ committee meetings, and increase member numbers over his 7-year tenure from 66 to 164 corporate entities.

James also has experience in research and writing for the CAIA Association as well as serving on CAIA’s Exam Council and as a grader for the Level II portion of the exam. He also had roles in institutional sales and FoHF structuring in Seoul, South Korea, as a Product Manager at ICICI Wealth Management, and an Investment Advisor at RBC Dominion Securities. He graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BBA (Finance).


Sona Blessing

"Alternative Alternatives: Risk, Returns and Investment Strategy", Author

Sona Blessing is the author of "Alternative Alternatives: Risk, Returns and Investment Strategy" - Wiley Finance, Feb. 2011. She is also a contributing author, in German, on real assets for "Alternative Investments: Analyse und Due Diligence” - NZZ Libro Dec. 2013; and has been a previewer of CAIA textbook chapters on real assets.

Prior to, Sona has been a moderator of Opalesque Podcasts her on start-up venture. She also served as the platform’s Director of Research and is accredited with solely conceiving, launching and authoring A SQUARE (Alternative Alternatives), the research portal.

Sona has served as a guest lecturer on ‘Alternative Alternatives’ at the Zurich School of Management and Law and also gained experience at Swiss banks in the roles of a hedge fund research strategist and a global market strategist.

She has extensive experience in business journalism in India, Indonesia, U.K, Taiwan and Switzerland.

She serves on the Global Advisory Council of 100 Women in Finance; whilst continuing in her role as the organisation's ambassador in Switzerland.


Asante Bradford

Center of Innovation for Digital Entertainment and Emerging Media, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Senior Engagement Manager

Asante Bradford is Senior Engagement Manager with the Center of Innovation for Digital Entertainment and Emerging Media for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the sales and marketing arm for the State of Georgia. His area of concentration with the Center of Innovation is to increase the impact of interactive entertainment for the State of Georgia as well as being a dedicated liaison to assist with promotions, logistics and business development for attracting digital media companies outside the state to relocate in Georgia.

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Andreas Degen

AkibaDreams GmbH / DoKomi, CEO & Founder 

Andreas Degen has been part of the Anime & Japan fan culture since his early youth. After growing up with it, he wanted to give back to that thriving community and founded DoKomi with a few friends, which turned over the years into Germanys' largest Anime and Japan Expo.  Born and raised in Germany, his educational background is in philosophy and real estate economics. He founded his first business with 19 years old and has been self employed ever since for the last 15 years. At this point he was able to turn his passion into a profession, which enabled him to stay focused on the development of the Anime & Japan community.

Founded in 2008, DoKomi grew into one of the key pillars of the German Anime & Japan pop culture fan community. With a focus on innovation DoKomi offers a platform for the diverse variety of related subcultures, such as cosplay, manga illustration artists, anime enthusiasts and many more. What started in a school in Düsseldorf, has since long migrated into the tradefair Düsseldorf and occupies several halls and the whole Congress Center there. Pre pandemic DoKomi attracted up to 55.000 visitors over two days, 750 artist booths and 150 commercial exhibitors.


Chris DiGiovanni

Production Manager & Producer

Chris DiGiovanni earned his production stripes at MTV in the fast pace of New York City’s live action scene before moving west to join the then upstart CG house Pixar. He spent almost a decade at Pixar, which included 7 features, 3 as animation manager and 8 short films. His crews’ efforts yielded 22 Academy Award Nominations, 7 Oscars and 7 Golden Globes for Pixar.

After his career at Pixar, Chris returned home to New York where he was named Production Manager at Blue Sky Animation Studios, working with Steve Carell and Jim Carrey on Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears a Who” (20th Century Fox). In 2008, Chris joined the team of Starz Animation in Toronto, to work along side Tim Burton on “9” (Focus Features), and Elton John on “Gnomeo and Juliet” (Touchstone). Chris reunited with Director Jimmy Hayward in 2011, as First Assistant Director on the 2013 release of “FREE BIRDS” (Relativity) at Reel FX Studios and went on to produce Golden Globe nominated “Book of Life” with Jorge R. Gutierrez, Guillermo Del Toro and Aron Warner.

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Michael Favelle 

Odin´s Eye Entertainment, Founder

Established in 2006 by Michael Favelle, Odin's Eye Entertainment (OEE) is a vertically integrated Production, Distribution and International Sales Agency that specializes in working with both emerging and established filmmakers across a wide variety of genres. As a Sales Agency, OEE represents Feature-Length Motion Pictures and Television content worldwide, hosting its own sales booth at every major festival including, but not limited to, CANNES, AFM, MIPCOM, BERLIN & FILMART. Sister company, Odin’s Eye Animation, creates and sources original animation content for developing and producing theatrical animation content for international sale.


Zachary Samuel Gottesman

UC-Irvine, East Asian Studies-Korean Animation

Zachary Samuel Gottesman is currently researching the history of Korean animation and has published articles in Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, The Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema, and Settler Colonial Studies and has presented research at conferences including Mechademia, The Association of Asian Studies Conference (AAS), and the World Congress of Korean Studies.

His current research is centered around three things: the relationship between Korean animation outsourcing for Japanese and American companies; the history of national development and the animation industry as part of Korea’s economic “miracle;” and the place of animation within the contemporary “Korean wave” of popular culture. Specifically, he is interested in the failure of Korean animation outsourcing to turn into an independent national industry and what the story of Korean animation’s failure says about the potential and limitations of outsourcing in globalized commodity production for every country and working population.

Zachary Samuel Gottesman has a Masters degree from Korea University in Korean Studies and does research in both English and Korean and is a PhD Candidate in East Asian Studies at the University of California, Irvine.


Sascha Klamp

Private Investor, Storyteller and Filmmaker

Sascha spend significant parts of his career investing and allocating capital across all Alternative Investment asset classes for a prominent family office, institutional investors and in his private capacity.

As part of his investment process, he specialized on due diligence working across the globe often working with translators and local experts. 

In 2020, as part of a self-reflection emerging from the pandemic, Sascha shifted his focus on image and film making. He recently produced and directed a self-funded social justice documentary (short film, release 2022) in the aftermath of the Nagorno-Karabakh war of 2020 with an emphasis on border villages in Armenia. 

Sascha holds an MBA from Bayes Business School and a LLM from King’s College, London. He is a Founding Member of the CAIA designation.


Heiko Nemmert

Baby Giant Hollyberg, CEO

Heiko Nemmert has over 20 years of experience in the media industry. He co-managed several studios in past years and helped produce TV programs and films for international audiences, the German public-service television broadcasters, and the RTL Group. He gained valuable knowledge in the online sector during his early career days, producing content for Coca Cola, Kellogg’s, and Motorola.

In the past five years, Heiko Nemmert, with four partners, founded the international entertainment studio Baby Giant Hollyberg. As its CEO, he is also responsible for overseeing the studio's foreign affairs and co-managing its North-American business. On the content side,

Heiko is used to guide the process in all production stages, from development to financing, managing productions, and handling distribution. As a speaker, panelist, and consultant, he helps audiences understand markets, financing, the power of storytelling, and current and future media technologies.




Jackie Tarascio

DNEG Animation, Lead Animator

Jackie is a proud band member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada. Her childhood was filled with adventure in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, followed by a few years 400 km south of the Arctic Circle, in Yellowknife N.W.T., before finally moving to Vancouver B.C..  Jackie began her animation career at Mainframe Entertainment working in TV and Direct to DVD movies. She then took the leap into feature film. Her early film credits include "Night At The Museum", and "Happily N'Ever After" before she packed up and moved across the continent to New York, joining Blue Sky Studios in 2005. Jackie went on to animate 10 feature films with Blue Sky including the" Ice Age" franchises, "Horton Hears a Who!"," Rio 1", "Rio 2", "Epic", "Ferdinand", and "Spies and Disguise". After Blue Sky Jackie worked with Illumination Mac Guff in Paris on an untitled film, and then shifted to Double Negative in Montreal where she is currently a Lead Animator on an unannounced film.




Karen Toliver 

Sony Pictures Animation, Executive Vice President of Creative

As executive vice president of creative for Sony Pictures Animation, Karen Toliver is responsible for the creative supervision of a number of upcoming features for the studio, from inception to script, and through production.

In her role, Toliver is also in charge of recruiting key storytelling talent, and discovering and acquiring new creative material and intellectual property aligned with Sony Pictures Animation’s vision including original concepts, books, comics, video games, shorts, websites, and toys.

Toliver is also the producer of the Academy Award®-winning animated short film, "Hair Love," directed by Matthew A. Cherry.

Toliver has extensive experience in production and development, including 10 years at Fox Animation where she supervised the production of the “Rio” film franchise and the latest three films in the “Ice Age” series, which grossed a combined $3.1 billion at the worldwide box office. Toliver also spearheaded the original feature “Ferdinand,” which was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature.

Toliver served as a production executive at Walt Disney Animation Studios on films such as “Brother Bear,” “Chicken Little,” and “Meet the Robinsons.”

Toliver began her career as an assistant at Walt Disney Pictures working on the “Mighty Ducks” franchise.

Jay Tucker

Jay Tucker

Center for MEMES, UCLA, Anderson School of Management, Executive Director

Jay Tucker is a marketer, educator, and technology leader with over 20 years of experience in the technology, academic and entertainment sectors. At UCLA's Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment and Sports (MEMES), Jay is responsible for the Center's vision, thought leadership, educational offerings and major events - including the annual PULSE conference. In this role, Jay has forged powerful partnerships with Hollywood studios, technology innovators, and executives from the sports and music industries in order to identify the trends and opportunities that will shape the industry. Most recently, Jay has launched a partnership with Real Madrid University (created by Real Madrid C.F. and Universidad Europea de Madrid) to deliver jointly produced educational programs for senior executives and rising leaders.

Jay has also worked to connect underserved communities to career pathways in technology and entertainment. He advises a number of non-profit organizations focused on skills and leadership development, and launched a partnership with Howard University that provides fellowships for students interested in participating in the MEMES Summer Institutes – a series of courses focused on the business of entertainment. Jay is also passionate about helping executives and entrepreneurs embrace disruption, drive innovation, and build powerful solutions. He founded Silicon Beach @ USC, a two-day event featuring a venture competition and a conference focused on innovation, investment, and new ventures related to technology and digital content. He also serves as an advisor to Versus Systems and The Hollywood Post and actively supports the Silicon Beach community in Southern California.




Dr. Karina L. Walters

University of Washington and the Co-Director of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute 

Dr. Karina L. Walters (MSW, Ph.D) is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is a Katherine Hall Chambers University Professor at the University of Washington School of Social Work, an adjunct Professor in the Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, and the Co-Director of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI) at the University of Washington. Dr. Walters has over 25 years of experience in social epidemiological research on the social determinants of Native American and Two-Spirit health well as expertise in designing culturally derived chronic disease prevention studies (substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, obesity, and diabetes prevention). She has written landmark papers in the field of traumatic stress and health, historical and intergenerational trauma, and developed the Indigenist Stress-Coping model.

Methodologically, she has expertise in Indigenist methodologies and in designing community and land-based, culturally derived interventions. Dr. Walters has served as Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on over 34 NIH studies (22 as PI) from diverse NIH institutes. Dr. Walters received her B.A. (sociology) in 1987, her M.S.W. in 1990, and her Ph.D. in 1995 from the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to UW, Dr. Walters served on faculty at Columbia University School of Social Work (1995-2001).


Bruno Zarka 

Toonz Media Group, Distribution, Syndication & Feature Films Divisions, President

A well-known figure in the media and entertainment industry, Bruno heads the content distribution
arm of Toonz. With over 20 years of experience in the industry at the senior management level,
Bruno has expertise in entertainment production and broadcast. His portfolio includes some very
impressive credits, including international hits like Masha and the Bear, Zafari, and Naruto. Before
joining Toonz, Bruno held the position of CEO at London-based Nucleus Media Rights. Before that,
he has also held senior positions such as Senior Vice President – media at Ink Group and Senior
Manager - Distribution Acquisitions & Co-productions at Panini Media.

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