Jon Favreau served as Barack Obama’s head speechwriter from 2005-2013, a role that was far more senior and influential than Jon Lovett’s. Since leaving the White House, Favreau has written and spoken about politics and speechwriting to audiences throughout the world. In 2017, he co-founded Crooked Media, where he’s a co-host of Pod Save America and host of The Wilderness. Jon grew up outside of Boston, graduated from the College of the Holy Cross, and now lives in Los Angeles with his wife Emily, their son Charlie, and their dog Leo.
Jon Lovett is a former presidential speechwriter, as well as a TV writer, podcast host, and straight shooter WIDELY respected on both sides. In 2017, he founded Crooked Media with Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor, to build a progressive media network with shows, analysis, and sweet, sweet content that informs, entertains, and inspires action. There, he co-hosts “Pod Save America” and hosts “Lovett or Leave It,” two of the most popular political podcasts in the country. Before Crooked, he served as a presidential speechwriter in the Obama White House, co-created a comedy on NBC called “1600 Penn” (which was cancelled after one perfect season), and wrote speeches for Hillary Clinton. Jon was also once named “Washington’s funniest celebrity” before he left the nation’s capital forever.
Tommy Vietor is a cofounder of Crooked Media, cohost of Pod Save America, and the host of the foreign-policy focused Pod Save the World. In a past life, he worked for President Obama for nine years, including a stint as White House National Security Spokesman. Originally from outside Boston, Vietor now lives in Los Angeles with his wife Hanna and their dog Lucca. He tweets too much.
The Crooked Team
Chief Operations Officer
Sarah spent the last five years building digital audiences at Maker Studios / Disney, where she most recently served as the general manager of an entertainment, gaming and philanthropy vertical called Revelmode that had more than one billion aggregate monthly views and raised a million dollars in 2017 for charity. She wishes she didn’t have to use the term “vertical” but that’s just what it was called. Sarah went to Harvard where she was on the Harvard Lampoon, which is why this bio is so funny.
Chief Financial Officer
Neil is a native NYer, having 14+ years of experience operating in various finance and accounting capacities. He joins Crooked from Dreamscape Immersive, where he served as the Head of Finance. While Neil loves VR, he is excited to join the real world in its resistance. He is an avid consumer of: news, plane tickets, sneakers, hoodies, HBO, and fine foods.
Maria Atoigue (She/Her/Ella)
People and Culture Manager
Maria started at Crooked in February 2021 for what she thought was a short stint, focusing on recruiting and managing the summer intern program. Little did she know she’d become a permanent fixture on the People & Culture team! There aren’t enough words to describe how happy she is to be at a company that values a personable and intentional approach to candidate and employee experiences. Maria loves all things Selena (Quintanilla not Gomez…get it straight) and finds any excuse to sing or dance to her music. iykyk. She’s originally from a small CA town and moved to LA where she spent nearly 10 years in the tech industry. And because her life can be ironic, OF COURSE she made the move to sunny San Diego in 2019 only to find a company she loves working at that’s based in LA.
Vote Save America Community Manager
Senior Manager, Political Campaigns
EJ is Very Online, a decision she sometimes regrets. She’s probably emailed you, texted you, or tweeted at you at some point during her time at EMILY’s List, the Democratic National Committee, or working with various congressional, gubernatorial, and mayoral campaigns. Prior to the Trump administration, she was a proud alum of the University of Pennsylvania, now she’s just an alum. EJ is a native of Rochester in the great state of Upstate New York and in her free time enjoys yoga, spinning, theater and other activities where you’re not allowed to have your phone out.
Ryan Barnes (He/Him)
Senior Creative Manager
Ryan is passionate about merch to an almost troubling degree, which is handy because that's what he works on at Crooked. He is a recent LA transplant, and a New York native who will begrudgingly admit to being from Long Island. Prior to joining Crooked, Ryan developed merchandise for Disney, Marvel, HBO, and ViacomCBS. While working on Star Trek, he regularly had to have copy translated into Klingon. He spends his spare time being bullied by his two tiny dogs and wondering if there's food stuck in his beard.
Julia joins the Crooked Team after 4 years at Paramount Pictures, marketing movies like Top Gun: Maverick, Scream, jackass forever and The Lovebirds. She is thrilled to be at a company that champions progressive causes, where she can learn everyone's name in a matter of weeks and spend less time on TikTok. Julia is a native New Yorker (not Manhattan, as she's had to specify to righteous city kids her entire life), a home chef and consummate dinner party host, and, unsurprisingly, a movie lover.
Editor In Chief
Brian Beutler cut his teeth in the crooked media for 12 years before finally dropping all pretense and joining a company that embraces its Crookedity. He was a senior congressional reporter for the news site TPM for five years, where he covered all the major reforms of the Obama era, and the conservative backlash that ultimately gave rise to Donald Trump. He was a columnist for Salon, and comes to Crooked Media from The New Republic, where he was senior editor, wrote a daily column and hosted the podcast Primary Concerns. Brian studied physics and astronomy at U.C. Berkeley, where he graduated without particular distinction in 2004.
Head of Sales
Giancarlo tries to convince the team to sell out. When he can’t, he tries to find brands that align with Crooked’s vision and leading content. When he’s not pulling a nice organic host-read out of a wood-fired oven, Giancarlo curates the finest selection of pre- and mid-roll cheese. Paired with a nice newsletter makes a mighty fine campaign! Giancarlo is very sensitive about his Italian heritage, don’t bring it up. Prior to joining Crooked Media, Giancarlo was Director of Sales at Endeavor and Cadence13. Before that he oversaw emerging media on the advertising side at Oxford Road, and a long time ago was a humble field-organizer on the ’08 Obama campaign. Domestically, Giancarlo roots for Cleveland, a town he’s only been to once, but his heart belongs to SSC Napoli and gli Azzurri.
Phoebe Bradford is a Brooklyn native, which means you should avoid engaging her in any “LA has superior bagels” or “the pizza here can be just as good as New York” debates. But she just learned how to drive… so she will accept a free ride if you’re offering. Prior to Crooked, Phoebe found herself in The Pivot to Video™, creating #content for Thrillist, Jezebel, WWD, and Quartz, where she is fondly remembered as the field producer who fell off a chair, broke her ankle, and reported from all over the country on crutches anyway. These days she produces videos for Crooked on two sturdy, albeit titanium-reinforced, legs. She spends her free time cooking elaborate meals and longing for her glory days, AKA that one time in the 4th grade when she was on Barefoot Contessa.
Director of Video Development
Elijah Cone has spent his career in Los Angeles hand-crafting authentic, GMO-free, farm-to-table content experiences for a variety of faceless corporations and brands. After a breathtaking series of content home-runs at Fox Sports, Cone joined the world of political podcasting. “Touchdown.” Growing up in North Carolina, Elijah pivoted to video before he could walk. He graduated from Wesleyan University and continues to credit himself for other alums’ achievements to this day. Enjoy the #content everyone! Like and subscribe.
Deisi was born and raised in Koreatown, Los Angeles and is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley. She joined Crooked Media as an intern in summer 2021, and has finally made the transition to full-time employee. When she is not helping the marketing team, she is overthinking about whether she included one too many exclamation marks in her emails and messages. I think that is all she has for now.
Senior Director, Production
Matt combines his love of cinema and politics to bring you video content—allowing the Crooked hosts to prove they’re more than just a pretty voice. After surviving childhood in the Steve King district of Iowa and five years in D.C.—where he became as comfortable producing an animated short about civil service reform as he was being shoved into a broom closet with Oliva Newton-John by secret service escorting Laura Bush through the Kennedy Center—he escaped to Los Angeles, where he spent the next five years at Buzzfeed trying on rompers, convincing Rob Lowe to be a TV court judge, and traveling the world meeting Olympians and eating ridiculously expensive food. To counteract the hours spent watching movies with his husband, Patrick, he gets his heart racing by hiking with his dog, Jolene; playing on a Hogwarts-themed dodgeball team; and watching far too much MSNBC.
Leo Duran (He/Him)
Senior Producer, Daily News
Leo got his audio start in public radio before public radio was cool, first in his native Wisconsin (go ice cream!) and then at the biggest stations in NYC and LA. He still doesn't own a car after coming to Los Angeles, but he does own a bike and a lot of unearned confidence about not getting hit by cars. You can ask Leo about being a commissioner of a Drag Race fantasy league for 5 years running. Not to be confused with Crooked's OG Leo, the doodle.
Manager, Development and Production
Alison joins Crooked as penance for 3 years spent between Fox and Amazon. Her first job in television was as an NBC page, where she relished the opportunity to wear many hats (and one ugly uniform). She’s very excited to help bring Crooked into the TV and Film world and to finally work for a company that pays taxes (right?)
Vasilis was born of first generation immigrants, who traded the wine colored seas of Greece for the glitz of rural Washington State. He became an audio person after years of booking, recording and performing electronic music, before subsequently moving to Brooklyn and getting a music technology master’s at NYU. Upon graduating, Vasilis cut his teeth as an audio engineer for the Criterion Collection - creating documentary content, restoring over a hundred feature classics and working with the likes of David Byrne, David Lynch, and a few other Davids. Between scouring craigslist for vintage audio gear and building furniture to put it on, Vasilis loves spending time on his bike and with his cat Rune, not often at the same time.
VP, Commercial Marketing and Creative Strategy
Joel is a media publisher, producer, advertising person, paramedic, and Atlanta native by way of NYC. He joins Crooked as the VP of Commercial Marketing and Creative Strategy, and brought his dog Iggy along to join the crew of Crooked pups. He’s settling into Los Angeles and Crooked, anxiously awaiting an open mic in the big studio to remind everyone that Andre Iguodala was robbed in the 2006 All-Star Slam Dunk Contest. He is slightly taller and slightly less funny than Jon Lovett.
Sales Account Coordinator
Kate joins Crooked Media through the internship to full-time job pipeline. Kate is a true Mainer but decided to flea the winters and attend college on the opposite coast at USC where she majored in Business Administration. Kate narrowly escaped the world of finance and is excited to contribute to a progressive company. When Kate’s not putting together sales proposals or helping close deals she enjoys doing puzzles, spending too much time scrolling Twitter, and being overly invested in the Real Housewives franchise.
Strategy and Outreach Manager
Sara is a native Texan, raised in the Valley (TX), now living in the Swamp (DC). She's the proud result of Texas' propagandic school system, and until recently firmly believed that only the Texas flag could fly as high as the American one, which devastatingly is indeed false. Like many DC millennials, she took student council way too seriously in high school and found herself working in public policy. She comes to Crooked Media by way of the Biden Administration, where she had a brief stint doing higher education policy at the Department of Education. As she writes this, she is proudly drinking out of a limited edition HEB-Selena collectors cup (IYKYK). In her free time Sara enjoys the outdoors, french fries, and labor rights.
Andi Gardner-Bernstein (she/her)
Senior Producer, News and Politics
Andi spent most of her adult life working in public radio. After Donald Trump got elected, she went into politics to help flip a congressional district (inspired by a show called Pod Save America). A year after the midterms, she started at Crooked Media and has been making podcasts ever since. She is almost always missing one of her Airpods but manages just fine.
Head of Creative Development and Production
Sarah Geismer is a creative executive who has spent more than a decade developing TV shows for Netflix, Fox Television Studios, Fox 21 Television Studios, and Twentieth Century Fox Television (but not Fox News!) Of course, Sarah will always be best known for her brief tenure as an associate producer of the hit MTV docuseries “True Life.” She is a graduate of Brown University, proud Bostonian, and an accomplished napper.
EVP, Programming and Production
Sandy spent most of her adult life in the audio world working with everyone from Oprah, Andy Cohen, Bob Dylan, Snoop, Martha Stewart, Comedy Central, Entertainment Weekly and many more incredible people and companies. Her two departures from the crazy media business was to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Crimea and then again when she decided to quit her job to wander solo around the world for 16 months. It was during that time she discovered Pod Save America and became a Friend of the Pod, so much so that she sent an unsolicited email to the show giving them praise and show notes. Flash forward three years later and now she’s on the inside sending these show notes to the pods. And despite being named one of the “Most Inspiring Women in Media” by the Alliance for Women in Media, her Korean mom is still disappointed she’s not a lawyer.
Julia Gunther (She/Her)
Julia Gunther was born and raised in Washington DC, a fact that she is unreasonably proud of. A certified Gen-Zer™, Julia is passionate about using #content to cut through the cynicism and fear and inspire action towards a more progressive future. In her free time, Julia is a (very sad) New York Jets fan, avid runner, and lover of crosswords. She would also like you to know that she has a very cute puppy named Shackleton. You may call him Shaq for short.
People & Culture Generalist
Alexandra Hernandez (She/Her)
Born in California. Raised in California. Managed a lot of offices in California. She's so excited to be a part of Crooked's team and make sure the office is always in tiptop shape for the doodles. She can neither confirm nor deny that she's just in this for the free snacks. She's almost as bad at picking what to eat as she is at talking about herself so that's all folks!
Caroline Heywood (She/Her)
Design Ops Manager
Caroline is a former Air Force Brat and theatre kid, so there are two things you need to know about her: no, she really doesn’t have a hometown, and yes, she takes karaoke way too seriously, tyvm. Before joining Crooked, Caroline worked in the fast-paced world of higher education at USF Tampa and UT Austin. When she’s not starring as Guardian of the Design Team, Caroline can be found starting and abandoning new hobbies on a weekly basis (she’s a Sagittarius), hiking with her husky Moose, or exploring the nearest body of water. There’s a strong chance she’s never seen your favorite movie, and when she promises to add it to “the list” there’s an 8/10 chance that’s a lie. Caroline is thrilled to finally live in a blue state with a coastline.
Justine Howe (She/Her)
Chief of Staff
Justine Howe has been to 25 countries, 45 states, but unfortunately only 1 planet. She loves being the chief. Of stuff. Think: project management, partnerships, culture, tour, events, and a little bit of interior decorating, HR, and IT. But mostly everyone thinks of her as the person who bought the office plants, leads the company all-hands meetings and plans the parties. Justine was born in Minnesota, went to the University of Pittsburgh and worked for Tory Burch in New York before realizing she’s a Californian yogi at heart and moving to LA.
Producer - Editor
Zuri has helped edit and produce content for Major League Baseball, FOX Sports, Snapchat, Showtime, The Athletic & the UFC. As an LA native, he likes the beach but not necessarily the ocean. He comes to Crooked with six second-place finishes in his fantasy basketball league.
Kendra James (She/Her)
Kendra James is a producer, writer, and reality TV enthusiast. Her parents wouldn’t let her drop out of college to be Tiana in Disney on Ice, so she made do with managing roles writing and producing online content at Shondaland and Star Trek. When not making pods or launching websites, you can find her being disappointed by the Cubs, lurking on American Girl fan boards for hot doll goss, or absolutely terrifying friends with her abundance of Capricorn energy. (Sun and Rising! Apologies in advance!) She lives with her dog, her husband, and a large collection of Jesse James memorabilia that Antiques Roadshow told her isn’t actually worth as much as she thought it would be.
Director, Audience Development
Danielle is the Director of Audience Development at Crooked, in other words she's a data nerd. Born and raised in the NY suburbs, she graduated from UCONN and got her start at Nielsen. Now she is abandoning the East Coast and moving to LA to fight the good fight, knowing there is a 50/50 chance she hates it.
Social Media Producer
A Compton Native who refuses to say she’s straight out of it, MJ is a content queen, or you know, a Creative Producer for tax purposes. Formerly a tattoo artist, she’s a self-taught jack-of-all-trades who has a pension for the classic Jurassic Park movies and loves working with her close personal friend, the Adobe Creative Suite, to tell stories. And in case you were wondering, she would much rather animate this bio than write it.
Mia grew up in Brooklyn, New York and has spent the last 8 years living in Los Angeles trying to convince people (including herself) that 50 degrees is indeed not cold. Mia studied film production at Occidental College and prior to Crooked she worked with media companies like ATTN:, Tastemade, and Lonely Planet producing and editing #content. In her free time you can find Mia obsessing over her two pups, Nola and Nash, hiking in the mountains off grid or tracking down the best Pho in Southern California.
Senior Writer, Comedy and Entertainment
Born in Northeast Ohio and brewed to perfection in New York, Halle joins Crooked Media after several years in the pop culture mines of Vulture, following a stint writing sketch for truTV and MTV. After learning to fight at the University of Notre Dame and earning a Masters of Library and Information Science she has never used, Halle immediately ruined her life by pursuing comedy, and is grateful for the opportunity to
pay off her student loan debt work for a fine institution like Crooked. Like so many of us, Halle, too, is a former improviser. Unlike most of us, however, she has a “yes, and” tattoo, a fact she must learn to live with every day.
Milo is a North Carolina native who moved to LA to pursue documentary film… now he makes podcast videos for YouTube! He started as an intern at Crooked and jumped around as a video editor and producer before finding his place behind the camera. Now Milo runs video production for our studio recordings and YouTube originals, and is happiest alone in the studio playing with his (Crooked’s) beloved cameras. Milo is an avid board-sport enthusiast and can be found most weekends surfing up and down the California coast or snowboarding in the Eastern Sierras. He dreams of one day living a quiet life in the California countryside.
Senior E-Commerce Manager
Roshni comes to the best coast by way of New York and Atlanta with an aggressive knack for all things merch. Not an Obama White House alum, but by golly she voted for the man–twice. She came to the west coast after a 4-year stint in New York working in fashion at companies like Kate Spade & Fab.com. She’s officially a Los Angeles convert after experiencing that HIIT training is more a lifestyle obligation rather than…well…an option. She was also born and raised in Atlanta (Respectfully, the hip hop capital of the world and not interchangeable with ‘Hotlanta’). Her past roles include spearheading and strategizing online sales for Rachel Zoe and First Media so she will sell the hell out of Crooked Media merch. Also… click this.
Charlotte Landes (She/They)
Audio Engineer and Sound Designer
Charlotte is a good buddy who craves the rush of a flawlessly smooth edit. Before coming to Crooked they worked as a ladder climber, a cocktail server, a paralegal, and a vox editor on The Sims. Now they edit and mix What A Day and various other Crooked projects. Charlotte’s hobbies include changing their hair, pushing people’s politics further left, and still winning after getting blue shelled. They have the power to make it sound like you said you hate ice cream but they try to use it responsibly.
Sarah is a DC insider who worked at White House Gifts for six pivotal weeks in 2010. Her uniform was a polo shirt with the Declaration of Independence on it. Since then, Sarah has written for the New Yorker, NPR’s Ask Me Another, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Now she writes Crooked’s What A Day newsletter! She lost the shirt in college and regrets it very much.
Gabriela Leverette has devoted over six years to the entertainment industry, amassing credits in everything from television production to branded content to influencer marketing. In past positions, she's ghostwritten for MTV’s The Challenge Chatbot, watched T-Pain perform live on the stage of America’s Best Dance Crew and crafted marketing strategies for brands like Lebron James’s non-profit More Than A Vote, Netflix and Unilever. When she’s not rearranging her WFH setup in her living room, she can be found listening to New Music Fridays on Spotify while playing with her Border Schnollie Orbit. Gabriela’s been promoting Crooked Media to friends and family for years and is now excited to do it full-time.
Executive Producer, Limited Series
Katie listens to all the podcasts, on double speed. Katie got her start in news as a producer and editor at Marketplace. Her work was focused on helping people understand a broken economy in the aftermath of the financial crisis. At Crooked, she helps people understand what’s going on in politics at a time when it’s broken — and ways to fix it.
Sofia Lopez Singleton (She/Her)
VP, People and Culture
Sofia is an LA native, a people person, and kind of an introvert all rolled into one. She joined Crooked in June 2021 after spending over a decade building people and culture teams in entertainment, non-profits and tech. She's still not sure whether this is a startup or not, but nevertheless dedicates her time to making Crooked a better and equitable workplace... and dare she say a cool one. Sofia is an alum of CSULA and studied cultural anthropology. She uses her anthropological skills as an excuse go to as many concerts possible, watch way too much reality tv, and explore the many food and fancy cocktail options there are in the city.
Producer, Entertainment and Culture
Shirley is a designer with a background in visual communication, UX/UI, and other designer-y stuff. She graduated from Art Center and worked in advertising before she finally joined the world of podcast. Shirley is having a hard time explaining what ‘podcast’ is to her Chinese grandma to this day.
Associate Producer, News
Jazzi Marine came to Crooked after working at the TODAY Show in New York, where she learned that time is a social construct. An LA native, Jazzi is thrilled to return to her hometown to work for the only place that gave her hope in her early 20s and to hopefully prove to her parents that producing podcasts is a real job. She loves the beach, weddings, sharing funny tweets in group chats, and her dog Juno.
Executive Producer and General Manager, News and Politics
Michael Martinez came to Crooked after spending a decade in public radio, where he acquired enough tote bags to last the next ten lifetimes. He brought his news and audio chops to Los Angeles all the way from his hometown of Washington, D.C., as well as his passion for the Baltimore Orioles and good snacks.
Olivia Martinez (She/Her)
Olivia Martinez is excited to be at Crooked after working in the equally fun and hilarious and chill field of advocating for abortion access. She spent eight years in Washington D.C., where she once made Alicia Keys laugh during an especially boring hill event and was in a comedy sketch with Joe Biden. In her free time, Olivia is an abortion doula, performs improv comedy, and is one of the only people in LA working on a screenplay.
Executive Assistant for the EVP of Entertainment and the EVP of Programming
Senior Director of Politics
Shaniqua McClendon used to work at Domino’s Pizza but unfortunately she’s now Crooked’s Political Director. Domino’s had way more free pizza. While she was born in Queens, she was raised in North Carolina and because of that, is obsessed with Tar Heel basketball. She went to UNC and Harvard, was a staffer for both former Senator Kay Hagan and Rep. Alma Adams on the hill, and has a twin. She doesn’t know which one is the evil twin. It’s probably not her. Probably.
As a designer, Jesse was naturally drawn to podcasting – the most visual medium. He worked as a Creative Director at GLOW in New York and as an Art Director for TBS in beautiful downtown Burbank. Sometimes Elijah needs a graphic. Sometimes Lovett needs a graphic. Sometimes Tanya needs a graphic. Elijah, do you need another graphic? Brian, I already made that graphic. Yes it can be blue, no we can’t make it bigger. Here’s the Facebook version of that graphic. Where’s my chair?
Narineh Melkonian is a video producer who has worked on everything from mini docs to comedy webseries. Despite having studied business at Berkeley, she dodged the lure of “the ABCs” (accounting, banking, consulting) to pursue visual storytelling. Narineh is a California patriot and native.
Writer and Producer, What A Day
Jon Millstein is a guy who’s written for Funny Or Die, Clickhole, and the show “Buddy System” on YouTube Red. He most recently worked as head writer for an app called Down To Shop, now he’s head writer on the daily podcast What A Day. He’s done lots of live sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and is known for posting videos online. Using milk, he developed strong bones. He has two sisters and one brother.
Amelia Montooth (She/Her)
Social Media Strategist
Amelia is extremely online (to a fault), and is proud she downloaded TikTok pre quarantine. The 2020 election cycle brought Amelia to the Warren campaign, the Democratic National Convention, the Biden campaign, and the Inauguration team where she made your favorite influencers + brands hand over their accounts for the greater good. She was surprised to find it only took her one election cycle to feel like a washed-up campaign hack and vow to give up campaign life for good (maybe). At Crooked she does all things news, politics, and of course #content. When she’s not begging her Instagram followers from high school to care about politics, you can find her trying to get a VPN so she can vote for her faves on Love Island (because yes she really loves voting that much).
Haley finally fled the DC swamp after 8+ years working in broadcast news. Most recently, she worked as an Emmy-award winning producer for CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper. She's also an adjunct professor of journalism at Georgetown University, where she went for undergrad. Now that she's a local, Haley will begin her hunt to find the best tacos in LA, recommendations encouraged. In her free time you can catch her watching anything mind-numbing on Bravo or TLC.
Between growing up right in front of a farm, never experiencing an Uber ride until 2019, and somehow landing a career in social media, Ewa is the personification of a small-town girl with big dreams. She was born and raised in Maryland but knew since she was a kid that she would one day call the West Coast her home. Although her resting face may say otherwise, Ewa insists that she’s the kindest Aries you’ll ever meet. While she’s not on social media for Crooked, she’s… still on social media. Whether it’s creating beauty content for Instagram and TikTok or internally debating incompetent people on Twitter, you can almost always find her online.
Reyna Orozco (She/Her)
Senior Manager, Ad Ops
Reyna is an LA native, and a CSULA alum (go Golden Eagles)! Before making the move to Crooked, Reyna worked in traffic for Premiere Radio Network, Westwood One, iHeart Media, and most recently as the Traffic Director at Cadence13. When she's not working on compiling all the creative copy for the Crooked ad reads, you can find her watching Dirty Dancing for the 900th time, riding her Peloton bike, or talking about how much she loves her Peloton bike.
Gee has never moved out of Los Angeles and questions why others do. Born and raised in South Gate, he's a graduate of Loyola Marymount University. He learned the sales ropes working in banking but the credit crisis (not his fault) forced a pivot to business development in entertainment, sports and media. He joined Crooked after many years in public radio where he tuned in for the music but stuck around for the news. He's a die-hard Dodger fan and trains in boxing because he believes everyone can use a punch to the face sometimes.
Ecommerce Marketing Coordinator
Senior Financial Analyst
Fiona Pestana (They/Them)
Fiona creates #content and laughs very loud. A Bay Area native, they studied journalism and music industry at USC, finding it very hard to leave the Pacific Ocean. Outside of audio storytelling, Fiona writes: a newsletter, comics, poems, etc. They can often be found dancing at concerts, dressing in drag, camping in the woods, or meowing with their cat, Lucky.
Crystal Ponzio-Busto (She/Her)
Senior Vice President of Marketing
Crystal has spent the last ten years in the belly of the streaming beast, at Hulu and and then Netflix, and she needs a break from algorithms. She's delighted to have joined Crooked and to be a part of media's next great revolution. She lives in Topanga Canyon with her husband Enrico, her daughter Stella and her dog Gnocchi, no wait...she doesn't have a dog.
Dayanita Ramesh (She/Her)
Social Media Manager
Dayanita is a California native, UC Davis and Johns Hopkins alum and former inside the beltway swamp-dweller. At Crooked she does internet, that’s as specific as she’d like to be. Prior to Crooked, she was at Free Press and Media Matters for America. When she’s not desperately begging people on the internet to fulfill their civic duties, she’s hugging her two senior rescue dogs or asking her husband what’s for dinner.
Sydney is a native Coloradan who is doing her best to enjoy the city life. Before coming to Crooked, she spent her days in grassroots organizing on the frontline for the environmental crisis. When she’s not booking guests and doing research for Crooked’s Development and Production team, you can probably find her at the beach or climbing a mountain. Sydney is also one of the first people Pundit runs to when arriving in the office and she takes a lot of pride in that.
Social Media Manager
Her parents could afford a car, though they still named their daughter Alexis. It’s okay. She likes her name and also really wants to own a Lexus some day. Besides dreaming about her future car, Alexis likes to reminisce about her days as a magazine editor at publications like Health and Good Housekeeping before joining the Crooked team to create #content on social. She’s from Louisiana, which means she adds Creole seasoning to everything and when she’s not working she spends a lot of time at the movie theater, reading romance novels, and dancing in her bathroom mirror to Whitney Houston’s greatest hits.
Before making the move to Crooked Media, Caroline worked at The Jim Jefferies Show, Throwing Shade and Grey’s Anatomy. Caroline has produced at one point or another Keep It, Pod Save America, Crooked Minis, Hall of Shame, Takeline, All Caps, Hysteria, live streams, live shows and one time produced the hell out of a zoom call. Caroline has read Helter Skelter over 10 times, is deeply obsessed with former Alabama Senator Doug Jones and thinks she'd vibe best with Potomac housewives. Scorpio sun, Leo rising, Gemini moon.
Ari Schwartz (They/Them)
Coordinator, Programming and Production
Ari was a five sport athlete in elementary school. Now they spend their days supporting the programming and production teams for your favorite Crooked podcasts by scheduling, researching, coordinating, drafting, reviewing, templating – anything else you need? Sure, they can do that! Ari joined Crooked Media by way of the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaign where they served as an Organizer for the 2018 election and the Events Manager for the 2020 cycle. They’ve also worked on productions for Netflix, Hulu, Shudder, and broadcast TV. They’re a spreadsheet pro, a labor organizer, a USWNT fan, a Minnesota State Fair fanatic, and a retired competitive log roller (yes, the sport for lumberjacks).
Lead Engineer and Audio Operations Manager
Kyle, like all audio engineers, is a former psychotherapist. And like all former psychotherapists, Kyle loves to listen. You could say that’s what inspired him to study sound. You’d be wrong though. It was early 2000s Long Island punk music that did it. (Obviously.) Kyle got his undergrad at UVA and his masters at Hunter College in NYC. He soon began working as a full-time psychotherapist while simultaneously recording bands in his Brooklyn-based recording studio. From there, he mixed for various TV shows, recorded and produced bands, post-mixed films and Internet media, and sound designed as a freelancer and staff engineer in both NYC and LA. In 2016 Kyle moved to the west coast to become a full time Californian. Kyle is also an avid TV-watcher, news-reader, dog-haver, and, totally without bragging, has a lot of plants.
Brian left the glamorous world of Hollywood, where he was an assistant, to join Crooked in the glamorous world of podcasting, where he was also an assistant. Now he produces, and doesn’t plan on being of assistance to anyone ever again. When he isn’t being vehemently unhelpful, you can find him asleep on a couch or in a park. Feel free to wake him up.
Jordan Silver (He/Him)
Senior Director, Marketing
Jordan Silver is a Los Angeles native (if you count the Valley). After he graduated from Berkeley with a degree in Media Studies, he began working in marketing with lifestyle brands like Good American, Rachel Zoe, and Popsugar. When he’s not watching Bravo with his dog Ginsburg, he’s in Palm Springs, or spending his entire salary on concert merch that he has no room left for in his drawers. In case you were wondering, Jordan Silver is his real name and not a stage name.
Tanya is an alum of the Obama White House and a former speechwriter/digital-whatever for Nancy Pelosi. She roots for every team in Cleveland’s factory of sports sadness. She is a slow walker, which she'd like to be a cool personality trait but is actually just a liability in Los Angeles.
Director, Account Management
Olivia worked on ad strategy teams for major movie studios on some small titles you may have never heard of like Dunkirk, Wonder Woman, It and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood that earned over $2B in the box office. Then, she worked in tv advertising for Season 5 of Schitt’s Creek on CBS’s Pop TV. Now, she tailors effective ad strategies for every type of brand – from scrappy start-ups to socially-inclined corporations – through Crooked’s network of premium pods.
Senior Director, Finance
Originally from Arizona (it’s a dry heat!), Kelly has been on the west side of LA for 10+ years but rarely goes to the beach, so she’s basically a native. Before coming to Crooked, she was at Imagine Entertainment and Sony Pictures, working in the features and television finance world and is excited to give this podcast thing a try. In her free time, she likes to travel, eat good food, burn off said good food on a knock-off Peloton and consume every Bravo and Bachelor show there is. She also loves Excel and will make anyone a spreadsheet who asks. But really, she will.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Delon spent years studying in film school and working unpaid internships at major movie studios to ultimately make content on the same platform as the Mr. Beast guy and an 8-year-old that reviews toys. Before Crooked, Delon was a video producer and editor at BuzzFeed, the website where you can find out which Parks and Recreation character you're like the most. Outside of video producing, Delon writes and performs comedy around LA, spends half of his rent money on sneakers, and only listens to "cool" music so that his Spotify Wrapped is worth sharing at the end of the year.
Ryan Wallerson (He/Him)
Producer, Sports and Entertainment
Ryan Wallerson is a career contractor giving staff life a try for the first time. After almost a decade in the tall grass of freelance sports journalism, he's joined Crooked's podcast production team to help lead Takeline and ALL CAPS. His path here included stops in the newsrooms of SLAM Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, the Athletic, the Southern California News Group and MLB.com; it's been a long road, but he's very happy to have finally arrived! When Ryan isn't trying to invoice his hours with HR (unnecessary when on payroll), he can usually be found talking some poor soul's ear off about his beloved sports teams, most of which hail from his hometown New York City. Outside of work, Ryan loves traveling, spicy food, photography, and, of course, listening to podcasts. He's happy to have this job, but even happier to no longer have to defend his profession to his family during the holidays. Brooklyn, we did it!
Dan grew up split between the San Diego Bay and the Los Angeles burb of Redondo Beach. He’s a proud graduate of The University of Texas at Austin where he majored in “Government” since they don’t call it Political Science there. Prior to joining Crooked, Dan worked on the agency side for a tech company you may have heard of that uses a certain fruit as their logo. He then had a brief stint as the Marketing Manager at a FinTech company before leaving that whole world behind and joining Crooked, where he hopes he can finally find internal peace. He spends his spare time devouring the best of what’s on TV and in theaters, rooting for the Texas Longhorns, running his secret bar instagram account, and serving as a sort of nationwide concierge to friends and acquaintances. If you ever need recommendations for bars and restaurants, he’s your guy.
Raven Yamamoto (They/He)
Associate Producer, Daily News
Raven Yamamoto left the comfort of their home in Maui to go into student debt at Loyola Marymount University where they studied "journalism" until they heard about this cool new thing called “podcasting” and went with it. They got their start working for Michelle Tea’s show, Your Magic. At Crooked, they associate produce for What a Day and push the gay agenda. They don’t have any cool awards but they do have a lot of opinions about RuPaul’s Drag Race, Total Drama Island, and Glee.
Ben Zacuto (he/him)
Ben grew up in the LA area and went to study Marketing Communications at Emerson College in Boston. He’s previously been at Allied Integrated Marketing, IMAX, and most recently at OMG23, helping manage media campaigns for Disney and Walt Disney Studios. When he’s not rewatching Disney or Pixar animated movies, he’s rewatching Studio Ghibli movies. Kinda joking, but honestly not really. Oh and Marvel and Star Wars. and Avatar The Last Airbender. and The Real Housewives franchises lol. He also loves doggies and kitties, enjoys going on walks and hikes in ~nature~, and building LEGO and collecting Funko Pops hahah.. He’s a nerd, ok? He also loves Disneyland/Disney Parks and travel, and can’t wait for the day when Japan opens so he can go to Super Nintendo World and the Tokyo Disney Sea expansion. Oh and the Studio Ghibli Museum. And enjoy some ramen along the way.
Chief Executive Doodle
Leo Favreau dropped out of puppy school to join the #Resistance. He is a grassroots organizer and grasstops pooper who greets every visitor to Crooked Media with two paws and a full heart. Leo is fighting for better toys, more string cheese, longer walks, and a political revolution that will deliver social and economic justice for all. He believes in the power of one voice to change a room, like when his half-sister Pundit barks during Game of Thrones.
Foreign Pawlicy Advisor
Lucca believes in belly rubs, trips to the dog park and preserving the liberal international order. A fan of soft power and hard foods, her dream is to poop on all 1,092 of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.
Chairdoodle of the Board
Pundit is an angel.