Successful Up and Comers in the Business World


There’s no need to put a spotlight on business moguls such as Jeff Bezos. Instead, shift your focus to the up and comers. From entertainment to pharmaceuticals, these professionals have shown that success is possible. 


Maureen Fan of Baobab Studios

A woman in Silicon Valley that is jet set on using technology to deliver more than just efficiency, Baobab studios focuses on creating emotional connections through the use of technology. However, they’re taking an unconventional, but rather an appropriate approach. With investors such as 20th Century Fox and Comcast they’re bringing in entertainers. John Legend, among others, is working closely with Maureen Fan and Baobab Studios to create VR and AR experiences that are like nothing the public has ever seen. 

Working with Maureen Fan is Eric Darnell and Larry Cutler, both of which are well-known partners. Darnell was the brain behind the Madagascar franchise while Cutler worked with Pixar and DreamWorks. Fan brought the team together after her extensive work with Zynga as the VP and experience with Pixar in the production of Toy Story 3. 

Erika Nardini from Barstool Sports

Nardini has a resume that can drop jaws. Before joining Barstool Sports as the CEO, and only female staff member at the time, in 2016, she worked with startups in a senior executive capacity. With Barstool Sports, Nardini has spearheaded the company through countless partnerships. The goal is to rekindle the aggressive passion that comes from sports fans and to not allow the controversy to control reporting. 

Among these partnerships, Barstool has created content for Snapchat, Facebook, Sirius XM, ESPN, and Comedy Central. These aren’t new startups that might be easy to partner with. Barstools crass sense of humor and “honest” reporting on sport’s stars led to the dissolution of their contract with ESPN. Nardini wasn’t fazed, they lost ESPN and gained numerous other channels. With confidence and a clear strategy for success, Nardini is among the top in terms of digital media management. 

Ted Ashburn of Oncorus Inc. 

Haven’t heard of Oncorus? Haven’t heard of Ted Ashburn? Don’t be surprised as this business success flies under the radar. Ashburn left a massive biotech firm, Moderna Therapeutics to lead a cancer-focused startup. Without a doubt, the transition shows a certain level of integrity and passion for development in medical treatment, which is rather surprising since business success is often synonymous with sacrifice. Ashburn didn’t sacrifice personal financial goals and instead allowed his passion for fueling the success that Oncorus has seen in the past year. Oncorus devotes its resources to developing treatments which use the body’s immune system to target tumors and battle cancer. 

Brad Zeff of Giphy

The current Chief Content Officer, Brad Zeff has come a long way in a very short time. From the courtroom to digital entertainment, this business success shows how to transfer skills from one industry to another. As a trained attorney Zeff knows how critical it is to take something long and complex and make it something short and clear. That’s exactly what Zeff has done with media. Giphy takes TV and pulls out gifs which span only a few seconds. Unlike TV shows that require a time commitment and plot development, gifs deliver a quick impact.