The team developing WOWtopia, based in San Francisco, is comprised of experts with a proven track record creating and building profitable brands and businesses in children’s media, location-based entertainment, museums and touring events.
DONNA FRIEDMAN MEIR Founder & CEO, WOW Explorations
Donna is the founder of WOW Explorations and WOWtopia, a highly physical, hands-on touring global festival, designed to WOW kids and families with the wonder and beauty of the planet, its sights, cultures and people. An accomplished brand builder, producer, programmer and marketer of children’s media content, her career has been dedicated to creating inspiring entertainment experiences for children and families across multiple platforms and for a global audience.
Prior to launching WOW Explorations, Donna was President of National Geographic Kids Entertainment and held senior executive positions with the WB Television Network and Nickelodeon. Her career accomplishments include leading Kids’ WB! to the #1 ratings position on Saturday mornings for four straight years and ten consecutive sweeps victories, helping to build the first transmedia megabrand, Pokemon, and its successor, Yu-gi-oh!, producing several critically acclaimed and Emmy- nominated TV series for National Geographic, and successfully leading brand strategy, marketing, and early new business efforts for Nickelodeon’s first international channels.
Donna is a Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University, and was named one of top 25 most powerful women in television by Electronic Media Magazine in 2002. Donna currently serves on the board of Children Now and the Children’s Media Association.
A bit of a globetrotter, Donna currently lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two adventurous children.
JEFF WYATT Executive Producer, WOWtopia
Jeff has 25 years experience in the production of touring and permanent attractions. At GES Entertainment Mr. Wyatt oversaw business development and produced exhibitions including Harry Potter the Exhibition in venues around the world. While at AEG Live, in his role as exhibition producer, Mr. Wyatt oversaw the design and construction of the Tutankhamun, the Golden King and Great Pharaohs exhibition. This exhibition featured over 150 artifacts from the famous pharaoh’s tomb in Egypt. Additionally he supervised the installation in 9 cities of this exhibition, managing a team of over 30 talented technicians, artists and designers culminating in a blockbuster event. Wyatt was also the producer of Michael Jackson: The Official Exhibition and toured this exhibition to London, Tokyo and Osaka in the year following Jackson’s death.
While at Clear Channel Exhibitions (now Live Nation), Mr. Wyatt directed the creation and tours of several blockbuster exhibitions including Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes, Liberty Bell 7 and NASA’s Space: A Journey to Our Future among others. Prior to Clear Channel Jeffrey was a project manager at Universal Studios Hollywood where he helped create such attractions as “Terminator 2:3-D” and “Totally Nickelodeon”. Earlier, he was the producer for the interactive sports exhibits for Coca-Cola Olympic City at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
He began his career as theater designer and project manager at Iwerks Entertainment. Mr. Wyatt has an architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from the University of Texas, San Antonio.
SARA HOUGAN Vice President Programing, WOW Explorations
Sara Hougan is a deeply engaged museum professional with experience in multiple aspects of content development. She started her career by leading cultural programming for the renowned Boston Children’s Museum. In addition to organizing large festivals, Sara served on numerous exhibit development teams and created school programs and materials that accompanied BCM’s traveling exhibits. After Boston, Sara served as the curator and education director of the Great Harbor Maritime Museum. More recently she drove the content development for a 42,000 sq. ft. science exhibition at a new museum in Liaoning, China.
Sara also has rich experience working with schools, matching programming content to state and national education standards. Her work for the Maine Alliance for Arts Education received funds and accolades from the Kennedy Center and the National Endowment for the Arts. Sara is also the founder of Bloom & Zoom Photography that documents stories of families at play.
Sara has three young children who sing, dance, climb trees and daydream about other countries. She wants to build WOWtopia for them.
OUR PARTNERS & ADVISORS
gsmprjct, Experience Design
gsmprjct specializes in the creation and production of visitor experiences. The firm collaborates with clients across the globe to design and produce immersive experiences that educate and entertain. gsmprjct designed, built, and co-produced STAR WARS Identities and has completed design work for Cirque du Soleil, the Smithsonian Institute, Ford, and Expo 2010 Shanghai.
AECOM, Market Analysis and Economic Consulting
AECOM designs, builds, finances and operates infrastructure assets for governments, businesses and organizations in more than 150 countries. The firm connects knowledge and experience across its global network of experts to help clients solve their most complex challenges, including planning new cities, delivering clean water and energy, and designing parks where children play. Representative clients include Disney, Legoland, exploratorium and Universal Studios Theme Parks.
Management Resources, Operations & Business Planning
Management Resources specializes in leisure-time attractions and events, including museums, aquariums, theme parks, destination resorts, corporate brand centers, world expositions and Olympiads. Founded in 1980, MR provides business, operational, marketing and ticket sales planning and advisory services to a diverse group of clients throughout the world. Representative clients include Crayola Experience, 2012 London Olympics, Paramount Parks and the American Museum of Natural History.