Darren Marks

Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors

  • As Grom’s CEO, Darren sets the tone for creating, planning, implementing and integrating the strategic direction of our organization.
  • Has over 30 years of executive leadership experience with publicly traded companies.
  • As an entrepreneur, Darren has founded or co-founded four companies that listed or merged their common shares to trade publicly (including two on NASDAQ).
  • His body of work encompasses strategic organization; establishing policy; pioneering and commercializing new products and technologies; mergers and acquisitions; fostering partnership opportunities; and developing and maintaining institutional and investor relations.

Jason Williams

Chief Financial Officer

  • Jason has more than twenty-five years of demonstrated success in building and leading corporate accounting, finance, and operations teams.
  • His experience includes strategic planning; corporate governance; financial forecasting and budgeting; Securities & Exchange Commission reporting and compliance; treasury management; financing transactions; mergers and acquisitions; government contracting; and effectuating change in highly challenging turnaround situations.
  • As Grom’s CFO, Jason oversees our accounting; financial reporting, planning, and analysis; treasury; risk assessment; investor relations; and tax compliance functions.
  • He has helped raise more than $500 million in gross proceeds from debt and equity financings to fund operations and complete more than 20 merger and acquisition transactions over his career.
  • Jason graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and earned his Certified Public Accountant’s license (currently inactive, not practicing) from the State of Florida.

Paul Ward

President, Grom Social and EVP, Grom Social Enterprises, Inc.

  • He rose in the ranks at Nickelodeon to become EVP, Primetime, Strategy and Acquisitions, where he led the parent-targeted business for cable's Number One network.
  • One of the original architects of TV Land, which remains the highest-rated cable network in the Paramount (formerly ViacomCBS) family.
  • He led the charge on crafting the MTV Networks Upfront presentations and helped the company achieve its $2B+ ad revenue agendas.
  • He was enlisted by BritBox to help grow the subscription service among Anglophiles and expats living in the United States.
  • Verizon Media tapped Ward to executive produce its NewFront presentation on behalf of Huffington Post, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Sports.
  • Away from the office, he spearheads Seton Hall University's CHAMP mentor program, which pairs current students with successful alumni to prepare students for professional success.

Russell Hicks

CCO of Curiosity Ink Media and President of Top Draw Animation

  • With a distinguished tenure as President of Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Hicks has masterminded countless iconic franchises like Scooby-Doo, SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer.
  • He leads by tapping into his personal blend of energy, business strategy expertise and optimism to drive the creation of original titles, as well as revitalize beloved existing properties.

Jared Wolfson

Chief Executive Officer of Curiosity Ink Media

  • As CEO of Curiosity Ink Media, Wolfson is responsible for leading key initiatives, including corporate vision, strategy and culture, partnerships and deal structuring, portfolio management, operations and finance, among others.
  • A winning business development executive and marketing specialist in the Kids and Family industry for more than 20 years, he has built and managed numerous successful franchise properties, architected and driven multi-media marketing plans and initiatives powering record sales revenues. He also led development, production, and operational activities for studios, amassing hundreds of half-hours of entertainment content, in various formats and mediums.

Brent Watts

Chief Creative Officer of Curiosity Ink Media

  • Curiosity Ink collaboratively merges Mr. Hicks’ expertise in franchise-planning and creative talent development, with the renowned brand-building prowess of Brent Watts.
  • The agency he co-founded, Struck, developed many of the most recognizable franchises in family entertainment over the past 20 plus years such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer (Nickelodeon), the Dr. Seuss franchise, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda (DreamWorks Animation), and Spider-Man (Sony Pictures). His creative mind has been a part of each of these highly successful ventures.
  • Watts’ imagination pushes limits with new interpretations of familiar children’s brands. His ultimate goal is to fill the world with the kinds of stories and characters that make children curious. Hicks and Watts complement each other having worked together for almost 25 years. They both have a passion for character-driven storytelling, groundbreaking aesthetics and youth entertainment.

Jon I Rosenberg

EVP & Publisher of Curiosity Books

  • Leading Curiosity Ink Media’s new publishing division, Curiosity Books, is industry veteran Jon I. Rosenberg.
  • Jon is a highly accomplished and creative global business development executive, specializing in originating content and extending existing content-related brands across a range of media and merchandise in the publishing, brand-licensing, and entertainment sectors.
  • His experience spans twenty-five years, having fostered alliances with leading authors, illustrators, designers and branded properties, including Disney, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros., MGM, Mattel, Hasbro and Crayola.
  • As the former VP and Publisher of Silver Dolphin Books, Jon spearheaded their juvenile proprietary and global publishing business, deploying strategies across all publishing segments (licensing, sales, marketing, printed books, interactive books plus and e-books).
  • Rosenberg also headed up MGM Studio’s Licensed Publishing Group developing strategic creative initiatives for licensed publishing opportunities for the studio’s 4,200 film library.

Consultants / Advisors

Michael Sammaciccia

Development & Sales Consultant

  • Previously SVP of live action movies and series at Nickelodeon, Sammaciccia executive produced and supervised a large slate of kids & family entertainment content before branching off to independently produce “Survive” for Jeffrey Katzenberg (starring Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins).
  • Sammaciccia began his entertainment career with Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Productions and Miramax Films and served as Walden Media’s first Creative Executive, bringing in the book “Holes” and serving as the executive in charge of production.

Richard Manville

Design Consultant

  • From toys to luxury fragrance, Richard Manville is an enterprising contributor and advisor. Over the past 30 years his work has been featured in multiple publications such as Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest and Elle Decor.
  • He has held creative leadership positions for companies such as Mattel, Time Warner, Turner Broadcasting and luxury brand Agraria San Francisco, while also collaborating with other luxury brands Baccarat, Louis Vuitton and more. Richard is a true multi-hyphenate creative accomplished in creating, building and growing some of the world’s most recognized brands in all tiers of the consumer spectrum.

Melanie Bartlett

Marketing Consultant

  • Melanie is passionate about bringing animated properties to consumers globally. Previously, she was SVP of Marketing for Blue Sky Studios, a division of 20th Century Fox, acquired by Disney in 2019.
  • As marketing and franchise lead, she provided brand oversight and developed creative assets for marketing and product development across multiple divisions including theatrical, consumer products, publishing, gaming, and home entertainment. As well, she was VP of International Marketing for 20th Century Fox International and was Director of Marketing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products on Cartoon Network properties. She is also a current volunteer with “Women in Animation”.

Lauren Selig

Advisor & Shareholder

  • Lauren Selig is an entrepreneur and executive with a 20-year track record of global impact in the media, real-estate and start-up communities. In 2013, Selig founded Shake and Bake Productions and V.A.L.I.S Studios to finance and produce high-quality independent studio pictures, television and virtual reality. Selig executive produced the Elton John biopic Rocketman, Paramount Pictures thriller Crawl and the Academy Award winning film Hacksaw, Ridge directed by Mel Gibson.

Marianne Romano

Media Consultant

  • Romano spent over a decade at Nickelodeon overseeing communications for the television network, where she managed day-to-day media relations and developed launch strategies and publicity campaigns for ground-breaking animated and live action series such as SpongeBob SquarePants, iCarly, Avatar, Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues and Rugrats.
  • Led the media and industry positioning of the then emerging Nickelodeon brand, as the network rose to and remained the number-one-rated network in the US among Kids 2-11 and the premiere channel for kids and tweens.
  • Oversaw the launch and publicity campaign which propelled SpongeBob Square Pants into pop culture history, evolving into Nickelodeon’s highest-rated series and most successful franchise ever, amassing over $13 billion in merchandising revenue.
  • Tapped by Sony Pictures Television to lead the studio’s strategy for worldwide media & talent relations, Romano implemented multi-tiered publicity and awards campaigns to bolster global sales and provide ongoing support for studio-produced programming, including the critically-acclaimed and award-winning series Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Justified, Outlander, The Goldbergs, Shark Tank and The Dr. Oz Show.
  • Spent the early part of her career rising through the ranks at NBC, holding various communications and talent relations positions including the re-branding of NBC Studios and overseeing publicity and talent relations for “Must See TV” series including Frasier, 3rd Rock from The Sun, LA Law and Mad About You.