Ynon Kreiz on Leading Mattel – TSC065

Ynon Kreiz is Chairman and CEO of Mattel, a global toy and family entertainment company and owner of among the most iconic brand portfolios in the world. In this episode, Ynon tells his story—from growing up and attending college in Israel, before relocating to Los Angeles to study entertainment at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. But after 25 years of running several large entertainment companies, Ynon’s life changed in 2018 when he was hired as Mattel’s CEO. Within a few short weeks, Ynon was laser focused on creating a live action Barbie movie—but one that didn’t merely pay homage to the iconic brand; he wanted to break convention and impact culture. As Ynon describes, the Barbie movie that Greta Gerwig created was not at odds with Ynon’s vision for Mattel—but in complete alignment; a strategy to stand out in a crowded marketplace, say something bold and truthful about our culture, and even to be self-critical. In Ynon’s words, Barbie is but one example of Mattel’s evolution from a toy company manufacturing items to an IP company managing franchises and experiences. Ynon references entertainment mogul Haim Saban as a profound influence on his life and career.

Robert Hur ’91 on Investigating the President – TSC064

On January 12, 2023, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Robert Hur ’91 to oversee the Justice Department’s investigation into President Biden’s alleged mishandling of classified documents during his time as vice president—thrusting Rob into the national political spotlight. In this episode, Rob tells his story. The child of Korean immigrants, Rob’s family settled in Southern California in the 1980s, where Rob attended Harvard School. Rob later discovered a passion for the law, and in 2018 he was named the US Attorney for the district of Maryland, where he led major investigations relating to violent crime, public corruption, and white supremacist-inspired domestic terrorism. All of this prepared Rob for this moment, testifying before a divided congress on March 12, and concluding an inquiry that Rob believes was fair and just. Rob references Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, as well as Harvard School educators John Amato, Bob Archer, Tom Donahue, Mimi Flood, and Phil Holmes, as profound life influences.

Tiffany Alexander Aldridge ’87, When Giving Comes Full Circle – TSC063

Tiffany Alexander Aldridge ’87 is Director of Annual Giving at Harvard-Westlake, overseeing a program that leads all American day schools in overall dollars (raising more than $10M in 2022-2023). However, what draws Tiffany to the role is not the program’s size, but its impact—which Tiffany and her family know personally. Tiffany grew up in South LA as the only child of a single mom, gaining access to Westlake School for Girls in 10th grade due to both her exceptional talent and the availability of need-based financial aid. It was this same combination of talent and resources that enabled her son, Chase Aldridge ’15, to also attend Harvard-Westlake. While Tiffany’s professional career has spanned various meaningful political and non-profit fundraising roles, in 2022 she seized the opportunity to return to HW and direct the very same program that profoundly impacted her family. It is a story that brings Tiffany quite literally to tears, imbued with gratitude for the role she plays now in creating more opportunities for students like her. Tiffany references Westlake educators Hope Boyd, Craig Deutsche, and Elizabeth Gregory as profound influences.

Kara Nortman ’93 on Angel City and Investing in Women’s Sports – TSC062

Kara Nortman ’93 is co-founder of Los Angeles’s professional women’s soccer team Angel City. In this episode, Kara recounts her evolution from leading LA’s largest venture capital firm, Upfront Ventures, to co-founding Angel City alongside partners Natalie Portman and Julie Uhrman in 2020. Since then, Angel City has not only garnered significant fan followings and profitability (quadrupling its revenue projections in year one), but also developed a profit model to enable community and philanthropic impact. Using Angel City as a model, Kara has since broadened her focus–leading a $150M raise to form Monarch Collective, whose mission is to invest in women’s teams, sports, and rights across the world. Finally, Kara describes her own Harvard-Westlake story and personal connections to the team—noting that three of Angel City’s stars, including team captain Ali Riley ’06, Gisele Thompson ’24, and Alyssa Thompson ’23 are all HW alumnae. Kara references Jeanne Huybrechts and Barb Welch of Harvard-Westlake, as well as Alan Blinder and Lori Dauphiny of Princeton University, as profound educational influences.

Rich Eisen on the NFL Draft and a Life in Sports Broadcasting – TSC061

On April 25, the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen will host his 21st NFL Draft, anchoring what will amount to a 20-hour broadcast held over multiple days—framing compelling narratives and moderating impassioned debates about the NFL’s next generation of stars. In this episode, Rich tells his story–from growing up in Staten Island as the child of two educators, to the University of Michigan and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, to being hired by ESPN in the mid-90s to host Sports Center at age 26. Rich references Lou Prato of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, the Cornell Summer College writing intensive, as well as his own parents, as profound educational influences.

Elizabeth Banks on a Career in Entertainment – TSC060

Actor, producer, and director Elizabeth Banks grew up in Pittsfield, MA, as the eldest of four siblings—falling into acting (quite literally) after suffering a softball injury, and then leaning into theater due to the encouragement of high school teachers. Then came the University of Pennsylvania, where she met her husband and now producing partner, followed by the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. This launched Elizabeth’s career in entertainment, acting in various memorable comedies and dramas throughout the 2000s and 2010s, before stepping behind the camera to produce and direct films ranging from the Pitch Perfect series to last year’s Cocaine Bear. Elizabeth references educators Ralph Hammond and Janet Rajotte of Pittsfield High School, actress Annette Bening, and filmmakers Judd Apatow and Steven Spielberg as profound life influences.

Dr. Mark Krieger on Adolescent Mental Health – TSC059

In the season 5 opener, The Supporting Cast welcomes its first return guest, Dr. Mark Krieger, Surgeon-in-Chief at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). In March 2022, Dr. Krieger joined to discuss Kids and Covid-19 (Ep. 37). Two years later, he joins to address a different kind of global health crisis relating to adolescent mental health. In this episode, Dr. Krieger discusses various factors that have impacted modern adolescence–ranging from the pandemic, social media use, neuroscientific phenomena, destigmatization around asking for help, the role of parents and parenting, as well as how schools can be part of the solution by creating communities of connectivity and belonging. While Dr. Krieger referenced various educators previously, in this episode Mark discusses the profound influence of his wife, film producer Kristie Macosko Krieger.

Eric Garcetti ’88, US Ambassador to India and Former LA Mayor – TSC058

In the season 4 finale, The Supporting Cast welcomes the 42nd Mayor of Los Angeles (2013-2022) and current United States Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti ’88. In this episode, Ambassador Garcetti joins from Delhi, India, to tell his story—from growing up in Encino, to finding a passion for the performing arts at Harvard School, before studying international affairs at Columbia and as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. Mayor Garcetti also describes what drew him to public service; the child of Mexican and Jewish parents, Eric describes himself as a “bridge builder” with a passion and facility for bringing distinct groups of citizens together, finding common ground and working toward a better future, while acknowledging the inevitable disappointments and daily criticisms that accompany elected life. Ambassador Garcetti then explains his lifelong fascination with India, the world’s most populous country—a story that began in childhood, with parents who encouraged Eric to see the world, foster a curiosity about the lives of others, and then identify ways to serve. Mayor Garcetti references various educators at Harvard School, Columbia, and Oxford as profound influences on his life and career in public life.

Jim Pattison on Commuting from Goleta for 26 Years – TSC057

For the last 26 years, Senior Advancement Officer Jim Pattison has spent nearly every weekday waking up at 3:30 a.m. at his home in Goleta nad driving nearly 200 miles roundtrip to his office at the Harvard-Westlake Middle School. In this episode, Jim tells us why. It began with growing up with parents who encouraged Jim to “figure things out” through hard work and perseverance, and continued with degrees from Georgetown and Notre Dame that Jim had to finance himself. Finally, it’s been driven by a belief in the nobility of facilitating philanthropy in schools like Harvard-Westlake. On the eve of his retirement after a quarter century of service, Jim also tells stories that shed light on who he is personally: the heartwarming story of how Jim met his wife, Kappy; as well as the story of Arlene Director Schnitzer ’47—an alumna who faced crippling antisemitism on the Westlake campus in the 1940s, but who ultimately made a major legacy gift to that same campus seven decades later, thanks to Jim’s empathy and care. In addition to his parents, Jim references Tom Hurt of Management Recruiters (Chicago), Nyle Kardatzke of Brookfield Academy, and Tom Hudnut and Michael Segal ’75 of Harvard-Westlake as profound life mentors.

Yvette Lee Bowser on a History-Making Career in Television – TSC056

In 2023, the Writers Guild of America awarded its highest honor for television writing achievement, the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award, to veteran TV writer, creator, and showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser. For more than three decades, Yvette has been telling stories via television—most recently showrunning Hulu’s “Unprisoned,” starring Kerry Washington and Delroy Lindo. But back in 1993, Yvette made history as the first Black woman to create her own primetime network television show—Living Single. In this episode, Yvette tells her own story—from growing up in various parts of Los Angeles before attending Santa Monica High School and then Stanford. In addition to speaking about the influence of great educators at both schools, Yvette describes her approach to leading writers’ rooms, collaborating with show creators, and why she and other writers are currently on strike. Yvette references Paul Kerry of Santa Monica High School and Ronald Rebholz of Stanford University as profound educational influences.