Board of Directors
MAGIC – Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex, Department Chairperson
For more than 25 years Mauricio Ferrazza has been working with film, TV and animation production both in Brazil and in the US. With a B.A. in Advertising and Marketing, and a M.F.A. in Computer Animation, Mr. Ferrazza specialized in dynamics and particle simulation, which creates computer generated simulated imagery to replicate and illustrate natural forces and effects widely used by the film and game industries. He has also been involved in the production of short animated 3D movies, exploring mostly character animation and compositing. For the past fifteen years, Ferrazza worked for Univision Communications, Inc., the leading Spanish network in the country, designing the concept and executing graphics and animation for the network’s programming and special events department, the World Cup and Latin Grammy Awards.
In January 2015, Ferrazza joined Miami Dade College as Chairperson for the Animation & Game Development Department, currently implementing the programs and curriculum for MAGIC, the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex at the Wolfson Campus. MAGIC will also now host the MIA Animation Conference & Festival, starting in 2015. Founded in 2009, the MIA Animation Conference & Festival was designed to be a forum for active networking and practical information exchange with strong commitment and emphasis in education while developing and nourishing new talent.
Animation Producer Drew Tolman has over 15 years of experience making family blockbusters in both development and production for Fox, Disney, Universal and Warner Bros. She has helped build three animation studios and has managed nearly every department at one point or another. Currently, she is the Animation Associate Producer for 20th Century Fox’s 2015 Christmas release “Alvin and the Chipmunks – Road Chip!” Ms. Tolman began her career as a Development Assistant at 20th Century Fox Animation and worked there for three years, where many family movies were developed including Titan AE (2000) and Ice Age (2002). From there, she worked in production on Pooh’s Heffalump Movie (2005) for The Walt Disney Company, Curious George (2006) for Universal Studios and Imagine Entertainment, Everyone’s Hero (2006) for Fox and Starz Media and Alvin and the Chipmunks II, the Squeakquel (2009) for Fox 2000 and Hop (2011) for Universal Studios. She was also the Production Manager at Warner Bros. for a series of CG animated shorts distributed in Kenya as part of the U.S. Pepfar initiative (2008). She supervised Post Production on several Disney shows including Phineas and Ferb, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Star Versus the Forces of Evil for Disney Television Animation. A big believer in mentoring and creating opportunities for next-gen talent, she is on the Board of Directors for Miami International Animation Conference and Festival, held annually on Miami Beach, and she teaches and guest lectures at various colleges. Ms. Tolman is an avid writer, a poet, awarded screenwriter and aspiring children’s book author. Her screenwriting has placed in several contests and has been endorsed by the prestigious KIDS FIRST! Coalition for Quality Children’s Media. She founded the family entertainment company, Beach Plum Media, to grow and produce her own ideas. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Ms. Tolman received her Master’s degree in Film Studies with a concentration in children’s films from the University of Miami, Coral Gables and her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Arena.net, Director of Narrative Design
Leah Hoyer is a former attorney who left that field to pursue her passion for cartoons. After completing her MFA coursework at UCLA’s Animation Workshop in 2001, Leah began working at Disney Television Animation, where she was the Director of Development for Disney Channel Animated Series. During her tenure at Disney, Leah worked on numerous series, including “Recess,” “Kim Possible” and “Phineas & Ferb.” Ms. Hoyer is now Narrative Design Director at Microsoft Studios, where she oversees a team of story and transmedia professionals who develop and shepherd stories for video games, television series, books, and other properties. She also looks for innovative ways to tell stories across platforms and using new technologies.
ARTS & BUSINESS COUNCIL OF MIAMI, BOARD CHAIR
Although she loved her major in Classics from Georgetown University, Etain Connor quickly learned that the major Classics firms were not hiring. So she decided to return to school and get an MBA in International Business from FIU. Her career began on Wall Street but needing to add a little creativity in her life. She worked in customer service and business development for a bedding manufacturer and while the pay was not great, she had some really fancy sheets and pillows. After another harsh winter in New York City, Etain decided it was time to bring her talents back to South Beach where her career in the nonprofit industry began. Her experience includes marketing, membership, fundraising, event management, stewardship and board development for organizations such as the Arsht Center, Frost Art Museum, Kristi House, Coconut Grove Playhouse and most recently, Cleveland Orchestra Miami. In 2013, she left the fundraising behind and moved to the other side of the table to advise clients on customer engagement and retention, strategy and project management through her company High Tide Initiatives. She is currently board chair for the Arts & Business Council of Miami where she focuses on creating greater community awareness and developing more strategic partnerships.
ALIENWARE, CO-FOUNDER & GENERAL MANAGER. XPS, GENERAL MANAGER
Hired in 1998 as Alienware’s fourth employee, Frank Azor now oversees the Alienware and XPS business units for Dell. Frank joined Alienware as a quality engineer and later held executive roles in sales and marketing before creating the Alienware Product Group organization in 2003, after helping to pioneer the industry’s first high-performance gaming notebook, the Area-51M. Later that year, he was credited with the successful launch of Alienware’s first self-designed desktop case (Predator) which immediately made industry headlines and has defined the look of Alienware’s products ever since. Under Frank’s leadership, Alienware’s brand has become the worldwide leader in PC gaming and its products have won over 200 editor’s choice awards worldwide including multiple best of CES product awards.
The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, Vice-President, International Economic Development Programs
Top-performing communications and global business leader with over a decade of solid experience in public relations,international business development, marketing, international sales, media relations and corporate events. Proven performance record executing and leading high-level projects, campaigns and initiatives; charged with a multitude of creative ideas to lead and facilitate global business development projects that require a high level of confidentiality and attention to detail. A consistent and tactful networker and relationship builder with the ability to improve and enhance an organization’s reach to industry leaders, clients and partners. Proven track record to garner strategic business relationships, knowledge of the creative design – luxury industry and execute flawless brand communications across an organization. Firmly committed to excellence across all levels of business development, public relations, media, and community, government relations and engagement. MBA in International Business.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, VP Communications
Andrew Sherry, who joined Knight Foundation in Jan. 2012, is a former foreign correspondent, online publisher and start-up exec.
He came to Knight after developing the online communications infrastructure for the Center for American Progress. Previously, he was at USA Today, where he launched a profitable online travel vertical then managed online news for the 2004 elections.
He caught the entrepreneurial bug in Asia, where he helped launch a company that deployed broadband Internet and web portals to hotels in 14 cities and nine countries, and was approved for listing on Hong Kong’s second board.
As a journalist, Sherry was based in Hong Kong, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Nicosia, and Paris, first for AFP news agency then Dow Jones, where he became regional editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review.
Memorable assignments included covering the opening of Vietnam and the fall of Indonesia’s Suharto, and editing the 1996 “scoop of the decade,” the jungle show trial of genocidal Cambodian dictator Pol Pot who had not been seen by outsiders for 18 years.
Sonia Hendler is dedicated local who is influencing the Miami business landscape by positioning creativity as a key component to the community’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. She has over 10 years of client relations, event management, design and communications experience. Sonia Hendler received a Masters of Art in Design and Media Management from Miami International University of Art and Design and a Bachelor of Art in Women’s Studies and Business Administration from the University of Miami. She is currently the Creative Director at Scotty Wonders.
MIAMI DADE COLLEGE, WOLFSON CAMPUS EVENTS COORDINATOR
Amanda Muñoz is a student in her senior year at the Miami Dade College, School of Business baccalaureate program majoring in Supervision Management. In 2009, Amanda enrolled in the InterAmerican Campus of Miami Dade College where she completed her Associate in Arts degree as a business major in June, 2012. Ms. Munoz participated regularly in Campus SGA events, as well as being selected to participate in the Campus Presidential Leadership Scholarship where her class developed business ideas for Little Havana’s Eight Street merchants. For the past 6 years, she has been working at Miami Dade College at the Campus Administration Office, as the Event Coordinator of Wolfson Campus. Ms. Munoz coordinates all campus events and activities as well as events for external organizations like the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Miami, and the Miami Herald Media Company, to name a few. In 2015, Ms. Munoz assisted Mr. Mauricio Ferrazza, Founder of MIA Animation coordinating the MIA Animation Conference & Festival.