Advocacy group for gender diversity in the broadcast media technology sector, Rise, has appointed Donna Smith as its new Managing Director and Carla Maroussas as the new Mentoring Manager for UK and Europe

Donna Smith, who will also be responsible for the Rise Up activities, has over two decades of experience in major companies including NBC Universal and TiVO with a “proven track record in board-level decision-making and possesses diverse skills in sales, crisis management, start-ups, growth strategy, technology, leadership, fundraising, company culture, and communication.”

Training expert Carla Maroussas has 25 years of experience in the entertainment industry and now works as a Life Coach and NLP Practitioner.

Rise runs various programmes that aim to address the gender skills gap in the media and technology space including the Rise Awards, the Rise mentoring scheme and the Rise Up Academy.

“The goal of Rise has always been to help foster a diverse and gender balanced workforce in the media and entertainment technology space and we are delighted to have Donna and Carla working with us towards this future.” said Sadie Groom, Founder of Rise.

Rise has also announced the pairings for its sixth annual mentoring scheme in the UK.

The scheme is backed by industry sponsors including BT Sport, Warner Brothers Discovery, ITV, AVID, BBC News, Black Magic Design, AE Live, Clear-Com, DPP, Deluxe, Grass Valley, Iron Mountain Entertainment Services, SKY, DAZN, Ross Video, SDVI, Gravity Media,, Calrec, Dalet, CVP, disguise, EVS, MOOV, Google Cloud, Red Bee, Vubiquity, netsight, Sony, Timeline TV, Pixotope, Brightcove, EMS Broadcast, ENVY, Broadfield, M2A Media, Pixelogic, Skyline, Tential and Splice.

Acceptance to the programme grants members entry to benefits including face-to-face networking events, workshops and seminars throughout the six-month programme. Additionally, each mentor-mentee pairing provides a minimum of 12 hours of one-to-one time and personalised guidance. The successful mentees were chosen from over 200 applications.

Donna Smith, Managing Director of Rise, said: “We are excited to announce the first instalment of this year’s Rise mentor and mentee pairings. We have received an astounding level of interest for the 2023 programme and are excited to reveal final pairings in the coming weeks.”

The mentor and mentee pairings for the 2023 UK programme are


  • Alice Rose, Events Marketing Assistant, Media Business Insights (MBI) will be mentored by Louise Wells, Managing Director, Bubble Agency
  • Aoife Daly, Senior Media Coordinator, UKTV will be mentored by Sue Farrell, Technologist, Channel 4
  • Chrissy Agius, Junior Broadcast Engineer, Limitless Broadcast will be mentored by Purminder Gandu, Lead for BBC Edge Forum, BBC
  • Cloe Wood, Technical Operations Engineer, ITV Content Services will be mentored by Elaine Sampson, Broadcast Engineering Manager, Timeline TV
  • Deanna O’Brien, Satellite Systems and IP Engineer, Arqiva will be mentored by Camilla James, Director, TechEx
  • Emma Weeks, Senior Account Executive, Bubble Agency will be mentored by Amisa Saari-Stout, PR and External Comms Lead, Vizrt Group
  • Hannah Wells, Bookings Coordinator, Timeline TV will be mentored by John Griffiths, Chief Commercial Officer, Spicy Mango
  • Hitomi Hamaba, Head of Product, Sony will be mentored by Stephen Tallamy, CTO, EditShare
  • Iwona Czardybon, Project Manager, base media cloud will be mentored by Catriona Tate, Sales Director, UK & MEA, Accedo TV
  • Jessica Horst, Network Director (Broadcast Services – ITV), Red Bee Media will be mentored by Morwen Williams, Director of Operations, BBC News
  • Kavita Dill, Head of Scale Programmes – EMEA License Manager, Adobe will be mentored by Laurissa Yeung Shea, Business Analyst, Warner Media
  • Kerry Freeman, Head of Sales UKI, IMES will be mentored by Margaret Davies, Head of Market Area Operations UK, IE & APAC, Red Bee Media
  • Leila Ghazzawi, Rental Coordinator, Gravity Media will be mentored by Liz Clarke, VP Client Operations, Mirriad
  • Lorraine Panman, Programme Manager, Pulselive will be mentored by Rebecca Moore, Director of Technical Operations, Warner Media
  • Louise Jones, Content Operations and Previewing Supervisor, WBD will be mentored by Charlotte Wheeler, Event Director, Media and Production Show (MPTS)
  • Madeleine Chappell, Digital Marketing Assistant, Object Matrix will be mentored by Lauren Carter Jones, Marketing Manager, Media Business Insights (MBI)
  • Marina Cantabrana, Head of Product Marketing, disguise will be mentored by Heidi Shakespeare, CEO, Memmon
  • May Coughlan, Video Technician, Universal Pixel will be mentored by Stephen Stewart, Media Consultant
  • Michelle Kegg, Sales Lead – Media, Endava will be mentored by Claire Butler, VP Marketing, Grabyo
  • Rebecca Hodgson, Workflow Consultant, Avid Technology will be mentored by Kerry Shreeve, Vice President of Technology Operations, Discovery Inc
  • Sam Stafford, Engineer, Evolutions Post Production will be mentored by Jackie Howes, Director Media Infrastructure Architect, Discovery Inc
  • Sophie Glaas, Delivery Manager, Hawk-Eye Innovations will be mentored by Nic Kemp, Senior Workflow Consultant, Adobe
  • Tazmin Ercen, Innovation Designer, Adobe will be mentored by Mike Ward, Head of Marketing,
  • Tia Shenton, Broadcast Engineer Apprentice, Channel 4 will be mentored by Carys Hughes, Senior PQ Engineer, Sky
  • Toria Farrell, Operational Lead, DAZN will be mentored by Gabby Redfern, Group Content Services Director, Sky
  • Zoe Mumba, Senior Manager, PR & Comms, Bitmovin will be mentored by Katie Tweedle, Head of Communications, Whisper TV
  • Zoë Kennedy, Senior Business Analyst, BBC Studios will be mentored by Dee Davison, Director of Sustainability, Deluxe


Jon Creamer

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