Founder and CEO, Kanopy
Level 4, 781 Beach Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: (415) 926-5293 • www.kanopystreaming.com
Early life: Grew up in Sydney, Australia, where Mum picked me and my three siblings up from school every day and took us straight to Bondi Beach for the afternoon. Having always been fascinated by the human mind and how it works, I received a Science (Psychology) Degree at the University of New South Wales.
Family: I was the eldest of four children. I now have a loving husband and two-year-old son.
Professional career and activities: Since University, I have pursued a 12-year career in media rights management. My passion lies firmly in the promotion of non-theatrical film distribution, and I bear a strong belief in the magic of film to engage our emotions and further our thinking. My first foray into the film industry was with BBC Worldwide in London, where I managed the launch of the Teletubbies brand into Asia and Eastern Europe. Following that, I worked at Austar Entertainment, a major broadcasting company in Australia, and Roadshow Entertainment, a leading feature film distributor. It was at Roadshow that I identified the huge opportunity to improve the delivery of film to the academic market, and I founded Kanopy in 2008.
In my spare time I like: My favorite activity is spending time with the family, and we do lots of roadtrips and weekends away. I also love to go to the movies, although I find that my expectations can often be high by virtue of working with so many great films and filmmakers!
Favorite books: Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, Wild: Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, Breath by Tim Winton, The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson.
Pet peeves/what makes me mad: Starting the day with lukewarm coffee, flight delays, poor customer service, bad grammar.
Philosophy: To live life with no regrets.
Most meaningful career achievement: Receiving the first feedback from a faculty member. It was a professor from Adelaide University in Australia who wrote: “I have been teaching film for over 20 years, and never have I seen my students so engaged and enthusiastic about the content. Students are just getting into making their own clips… it’s fantastic for lectures. Overall, way more simple and user-friendly than it could have been! And it’s really excellent for the external students — I wish you could see the online discussion they’ve had over the first clip posted last week — I can’t keep up!…” That was the moment when I knew that I was on the right track.
Goal I hope to achieve five years from now: To have Kanopy in every country in the world, connecting students and faculty from all cultures and backgrounds with the magic of film.
How/Where do I see the industry in five years: Online video will be used on every campus in the country. There is no doubting the power of film, especially with the emergence of the new generation of students, and the accessibility and relevancy of online film to libraries and institutions around the country is only growing. As a community, we need to be cognizant of the fact that we must forge a sustainable economy for educational filmmakers, to ensure they can continue to produce videos that teach, inspire, challenge, and engage the next generation of students.
Leah was appointed Executive Director of the Charleston Conference in 2017, and has served in various roles with the Charleston Information Group, LLC, since 2004. Prior to working for the conference, she was Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions for the College of Charleston for four years. She lives in a small town near Columbia, SC, with her husband and two kids where they raise a menagerie of farm animals.