Who doesn’t love a success story? Especially with sequels! Enjoy an inspiring one at the NYWIFT Power Player Breakfast featuring multi-talented innovator and serial entrepreneur Erica Gruen. The Emmy award-winning producer, executive and digital trailblazer led the transformation of the Food Network from struggling enterprise to media powerhouse and has been a guiding hand behind many other major media and entertainment triumphs.
Erica Gruen calls on a breadth and depth of experience to create brand, content and business strategies for the world’s largest media and entertainment companies, including the BBC, Condé Nast, Hearst, Reader’s Digest, and for emerging start-ups that seek relationships with them.
Recognized as the mastermind of one of television’s biggest brands, Gruen staged a complete business and brand turnaround as President/CEO of The Food Network, introducing the smash hits Iron Chef, Two Fat Ladies, and Emeril Live!, among many others. Her original positioning still powers the network. She also launched FoodNetwork.com, the #1 food web site. And she created the partnership between Rodale, NBC and Reveille Productions around the television series The Biggest Loser.
Gruen was digital before digital was cool. In 1994, in true pioneering spirit, she started one of Madison Avenue’s first digital advertising agencies, Saatchi & Saatchi Interactive, and founded its Branded Entertainment unit. She built groundbreaking branded content for Fortune 100 brands such as Procter & Gamble, General Mills, and Toyota; and directed the agency’s investments in cable television and digital and out-of-home media. Gruen was named to New York Magazine’s first “Cyber 60” list. As President of Erica Gruen Consulting, she has been a technical advisor to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is a mentor in Kaplan TechStars, FOOD-X, and other tech accelerators, and an advisor to and investor in leading ed tech, music tech and food tech ventures.
Gruen is an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the NYU Steinhardt School of Education and the Leslie eLab, where she designed and teaches Lean Launch entrepreneurship. She is the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Fellow award from The University of Wisconsin/Madison for her leading work in digital media, and is an Advisor to the Weinert Entrepreneurship Center at the School of Business there. She is a trustee of the James Beard Foundation, which awards the yearly “Oscars of Food,” and of the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn. Gruen received a B.A. with Honors from the University of Michigan and an M.S. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin. She lives in New York City.
Produced by the Power Player Breakfast Committee
Barbara Alpert, Christina Brown Fisher, Nicole Franklin,
Carey Graeber, Julie Poll, Janet Stilson, and Susan Wagner
NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.