Corporate Biographies

William J. Rouhana, Jr., Chairman and CEO

Bill has been a leader in the media, entertainment and communications industries for more than 35 years. Today Bill is Chief Executive Officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul and founder and chairman of the Humpty Dumpty Institute, Chicken Soup for the Soul’s charitable partner.

Bill grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and completed his undergraduate studies at Colby College, where today he is a trustee emeritus. He earned his J.D. at Georgetown Law School. As a young entertainment and finance lawyer, Bill represented Blake Edwards and developed new film financing models that have become the industry standards. In the 1980s, he founded and ran a merchant bank where he bought and sold media companies and other properties including Virgin Vision, a Virgin Group worldwide film distribution venture. Through one of the merchant bank’s companies, film production company MCEG, he executive produced, financed and/or distributed major motion pictures such as Look Who’s Talking and You Can’t Hurry Love. Later, Bill was founder and CEO of Winstar Communications, a wireless broadband pioneer, and Winstar New Media, one of the earliest online content companies.

In 2008, Bill, along with his wife, Amy Newmark, and Robert D. Jacobs, led a team of investors who acquired Chicken Soup for the Soul from founders Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson. Since taking the helm in 2008, Bill and Amy have revitalized the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand and expanded the company’s offerings to better serve its loyal fans and the public at large.

Bill is passionate about global development and peacekeeping. As Vice Chairman of the United Nations Association, Bill helped lead inspection tours of U.N. peacekeeping operations. As a director of Business Executives for National Security, he advised the U.S. government and military on how to apply best practices from the business world to foreign and domestic security issues. In 1998, Bill co-founded the Humpty Dumpty Institute, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating innovative and strategic public/private partnerships that provide sensible solutions to humanitarian and development challenges.

Bill and his wife are the proud parents of four grown children. He is co-executive producing the Chicken Soup for the Soul television series with his son, Tim Rouhana, and he works daily with his wife, Amy Newmark, publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Amy Newmark, Publisher, Editor-in-Chief, Author

Amy Newmark was a writer, speaker, Wall Street analyst and business executive in the worlds of finance and telecommunications for more than 30 years. Today she is publisher, editor-in-chief and coauthor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Since 2008, when Amy, her husband, and an investor group bought the company from its founders, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, she has published more than 100 new books, doubling the number of Chicken Soup for the Soul titles in print today.

As publisher, Amy is credited with revitalizing the Chicken Soup for the Soul brand. She redesigned the look of the book covers and interiors, and changed the format of the title so that the books can cover topics of interest to today’s readers. This has led to national bestsellers such as Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us. The number of stories submitted for Chicken Soup for the Soul books has soared as a result, with most books attracting four or five thousand submissions for only 101 slots.

By compiling inspirational and aspirational true stories curated from ordinary people who have had extraordinary experiences, Amy has kept the 21-year-old Chicken Soup for the Soul brand fresh and relevant, and still part of the social zeitgeist. Reading stories from each book has also made a difference in her own life. “I’ve learned how to have better personal relationships, how to focus on what's important, how to stay thin and fit, how to look for the positive in every situation, and how to put in perspective the daily ups and downs of life,” Amy says.

Amy graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University where she majored in Portuguese and minored in French. During her junior and senior years, she researched and wrote a thesis about popular, spoken-word poetry in Brazil, which involved living in Brazil for several months, traveling throughout its impoverished northeast region, and meeting with poets and writers to collect their stories. She is delighted to have come full circle in her writing career—from collecting poetry “from the people” in Brazil as a 20-year-old to, three decades later, collecting stories and poems “from the people” for Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Amy has a national syndicated newspaper column and is a frequent radio guest, passing along the real-life lessons and useful tips she has picked up from reading and editing thousands of Chicken Soup for the Soul stories.

Amy works alongside her husband, Bill Rouhana, CEO and fellow co-owner of Chicken Soup for the Soul. She and Bill are the proud parents of four grown children and in her limited spare time, Amy enjoys visiting them, hiking, and reading books that she did not have to edit.

Scott W. Seaton, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

During a 25-year career in investment banking, Scott worked with media and communications companies from around the world, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Today he is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul with responsibility for financing and for driving growth in the media, licensing, international and food operations.

Scott graduated with honors from Stanford University and earned an MBA degree from Harvard University. During his banking career, he was a managing director of Credit Suisse First Boston, Bank of America, and Oppenheimer & Co. He completed a broad range of debt and equity financings, as well as M&A transactions, and was a strategic advisor to leading publishing, cable, satellite, information services and communications companies. He also served on the board of directors of Mediacom Communications Corporation, one of the country’s largest cable television companies, from 2009 until 2011 when the company was taken private.

Scott is active on behalf of a number of charities focused on education. He is the proud father of three children.

Daniel M. Pess, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Dan has been a senior financial executive for over 30 years. Today he is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Dan graduated with high honors from the C.W. Post School of Professional Accountancy. He began his career as a CPA at a Big Four accounting firm and later served as the senior financial executive for several public and private companies. Dan has managed three IPOs and has executed a number of mergers and acquisitions. As Chief Financial Officer of White Amber, a provider of human capital management solutions, Dan oversaw a five-times increase in revenues and managed the sale of the company to Taleo (then called Recruitsoft). After the sale, Dan became Chief Financial Officer of USADATA, a SaaS provider of marketing leads, and was part of the management team that affected a leveraged buy-out of the company during a period of rapid growth. Before joining Chicken Soup for the Soul, Dan was Chief Financial Officer of Certpoint Systems, which provides e-learning software and services to Fortune 2000 companies.

Dan and his wife are the proud parents of twins in their 20s.

Christopher Mitchell, CEO of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul

Chris has led a 20-year career in finance and business, with extensive experience acquiring, growing and managing consumer products and media companies. Today he is Chief Executive Officer of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, the pet food business of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Chris was educated at Virginia Tech, where he double majored in finance and management, and at the London School of Economics, where he studied finance and international law. He began his career at Banc of America Securities where, as a Vice President, he completed a wide a range of transactions from leveraged buyouts to distressed financings. Later he was a principal and senior founding member of an investment group within Banc of America Securities where he made direct private investments in consumer products and media companies.

After 15 years at Banc of America Securities, Chris became a founding partner and CEO of TMG Partners, a New York-based investment firm focused on private equity and mezzanine investments in the consumer products sector with a special emphasis on pet food companies. Chris was responsible for TMG’s investment in Chicken Soup for the Soul and he advised Chicken Soup for the Soul on a strategy to grow its pet food business.

Chris was an active corporate membership representative with the Council on Foreign Relations during his years at Banc of America Securities. Today he is a member of the board of directors of the Humpty Dumpty Institute.

Chris and his wife Holly are the proud parents of a son and a daughter.

Steve Ronson, CEO, Chicken Soup for the Soul Productions

Steve Ronson is an accomplished media executive with broad experience leading worldwide distribution of television content and digital media assets for major global brands. In his new role as CEO of Chicken Soup for the Soul Productions, Ronson will manage Chicken Soup for the Soul's existing entertainment partnerships as well as initiate relationships to produce new television series and holiday specials.

Steve hails from A+E Television Networks, where he was responsible for the network’s international channels, TV content program sales, and consumer products/OTT licensing. During his tenure with A+E Networks as Executive Vice President, he drove the company’s emerging business units, focused on distribution in the U.S. and abroad. He led A+E Networks' global of content through A+E Networks TV channels, Syndication, Electronic Sell-through, DVD, and e-Commerce. While in this role, he led a team of 500, delivering double-digit growth for nine consecutive years. Steve served on the board of seven joint venture channel groups, growing the television channels group to 60, delivered in 37 languages across 150 countries. Steve’s international team launched the Crime & Investigation Network™, which became one of the top three factual channels internationally.In the U.S., Steve led A+E Networks' Digital Media team that created and launched HISTORY.com. Steve developed relationships with Apple, Netflix, and Amazon, growing the Electronic sell-through and SVOD businesses. He built the home entertainment e-commerce, and "hit show" licensing businesses, working with talent from hit shows Duck Dynasty, Swamp People, Pawn Stars, and American Pickers amongst others.

Steve also has more than 30 years of experience in the retail/e-tail landscape, having launched e-commerce sites for Barnes & Noble College stores group, and served as Director of Retail Outlets for Calvin Klein, Inc.

Steve earned a B.S. in Management & Finance from Cornell University and an MBA in Marketing & Strategic Planning from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. He and his wife reside in Stamford, Connecticut.

Jonathan Brodsky, Senior Vice President, Digital

Jon is a digital intrapreneur with experience both running start-ups and contributing to the growth of established companies. As Senior Vice President of Digital at Chicken Soup for the Soul, he is responsible for all digital channels including apps, our website, digital advertising and e-commerce.

Jon earned a B.A. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. He has worked as an independent strategy and operations consultant for start-ups and large multinationals and has managed numerous mergers and acquisitions for his clients and employers. At Allmenus.com (now part of Grubhub) Jon built a network from almost nothing to 250,000 restaurants in 18 months. At 1-800-flowers, he developed the international business from an ad-hoc network of microsites to a coherent, multi-national, multi-company strategy.

Jon and his wife are the proud parents of a son.

D'ette Corona, Vice President, Assistant Publisher

D’ette was a freelancer for Chicken Soup for the Soul until 1999 when she was hired as Production Coordinator. Today, as Assistant Publisher, she works alongside Amy to produce the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. She has been involved in publishing over 200 books in the series.

Born and raised in California, D’ette earned her bachelor of science in business management in 1994. After graduation, she worked for a handful of companies before finding her calling creating books with Chicken Soup for the Soul.

D’ette’s proudest accomplishment is her son. She has been with her husband since they began dating in high school.

Joelle Jarvis, Vice President, Marketing

In a 20-year career in marketing, Joelle has filled a wide array of roles from talent agent to high-end B2B services salesperson and from public speaker to regional marketing director for a leading hotel company. Today she is Vice President of Marketing at Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Joelle earned her undergraduate degree at the University of California, San Diego. She began her career at the Anthony Robbins Companies executing B2B deals for high-end clients. Later she served as as Regional Director of Marketing for Hilton Grand Vacations, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for David Saxe Productions and V Theater, and Director of Marketing for North Star Vacation Club and North Star Lodge.

Joelle is the proud mother of a son with whom she enjoys listening to classic rock.