Team | Crooked Media

Our Team


Jon Favreau

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

Jon Lovett is a podcast host, former presidential speechwriter, and straight shooter widely respected on both sides. In 2017 he co-founded Crooked Media, where he co-hosts “Pod Save America” and hosts “Lovett or Leave It,” two popular podcasts that are very good. Before Crooked, he served as a speechwriter in the Obama White House, co-created a comedy on NBC called “1600 Penn” (cancelled after one perfect season), and wrote speeches for Hillary Clinton. He recently switched to oat milk.

Tommy Vietor

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

Lucinda Treat

Chief Executive Officer

Sarah Wick

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.

Eric Babb

Community Manager
Eric is a lifelong Jayhawk from the beautiful home on the range, Kansas. He started off as a math teacher, the fun kind, before making the jump into campaigns where he worked in distributed organizing and training. In both his campaign roles and at Vote Save America, Eric has had the distinct honor of working with an astounding number of well-trained, caring, and persistent volunteers. When not making his volunteers parse through another spreadsheet, Eric enjoys watching college basketball and soccer (KC BABY!), going on walks in parks that have cute streams, playing Zelda, and — yes, really — bounding.

EJ Baker

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.

Dariush Brizuela-Nothaft

SVP, Community & Partnerships

Julia Beach

Marketing Manager
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.

Brian Beutler

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.

Giancarlo Bizzarro

VP, 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.

Michelle Bocanegra

Ad Ops Campaign Manager
Michelle was born, raised and currently resides in the Inland Empire, California. Before joining Crooked Media, Michelle enjoyed a 20 year career in the radio broadcasting industry. She spent most of those years sitting on the 10 FWY on her commute from the IE to LA, but she also enjoyed time at local stations KCBS-FM and KDAY-FM, before landing at Westwood One radio network. In her free time, Michelle enjoys many “bro-approved” favorites such as baseball (GO DODGERS!), Crossfit and craft beer. Choose your conversation topic carefully… do you even lift or drink IPAs, bro?! Her latest obsession is curating her small, but growing collection of vinyl records.

Phoebe Bradford

Senior Video Producer
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.

Jordan Cantor

Audio Engineer

Beckie Claassen

Production Accountant

Julia Claire

Associate Editor

Elijah Cone

Director, Digital Content
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.

Manny Contreras

IT Manager
Manny is an accomplished technology leader with a wealth of experience in the field. He has established himself as a go-to expert in all things tech-related, thanks to his strong technical background and innate leadership abilities. Over the years, Manny has honed his skills in various areas of technology, including software development, project management, and systems administration.

Kobe Copeland

Executive Assistant

Deisi Cruz

Marketing Coordinator
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.

Matt DeGroot

VP of 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.

Caroline Dunphy

Social Media Manager

Leo Duran (He/Him)

Senior Producer, News & Development
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.

Vasilis Fotopoulos

Audio Engineer & Composer
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.

Kate Friant

Senior 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.

Rachel Gaewski

Sr. Video Producer

Sara Garcia

Strategy & 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 & 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.

Sarah Geismer

Head of Development & 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.

Julia Gunther (She/Her)

Senior Campaign Associate
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.

Alexandra Hernandez (She/Her)

Office Manager
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!

Ben Hethcoat

Video Producer
Ben Hethcoat grew up in the Deep South (of Georgia) before moving to the Southland. As Video Producer of Originals, he works with Crooked Media’s biggest YouTube star Dan Pfeiffer on "Political Experts React” (a perfectly titled series). Previously he served as Video Producer for public radio's Marketplace focusing on the economy and why it matters. [Insert joke about video killing the radio star here]. His background as an independent filmmaker and film festival organizer (Slamdance) provides a creative storyteller's lens through which he approaches News and Politics.

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 her next National Park. 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.

Adia Hill

Marketing Coordinator

Justine Howe (She/Her)

Senior Director, Operations & Strategic Initiatives
Justine Howe has been to 27 countries, 47 states, but unfortunately only 1 planet. She is the Senior Director of Operations and Strategic Initiatives. In even more words: project management, books, 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 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.

Emma Illick-Frank

Associate Producer, News & Politics
Emma was raised by dirt farmers in Pennsylvania, and started out working in environmental advocacy and research. With climate change solved, she set her sights on something more permanent: broadcast journalism. Emma comes to Crooked by way of WNYC, where she produced for Morning Edition. She dreams of one day taking a cheeky picture in front of a bright pastel background.

Zuri Irvin

Producer - Editor
Zuri Irvin came to Crooked with eight years experience editing and producing for Major League Baseball, FOX Sports, Snapchat, IGN, Showtime & The Athletic. He has six second-place finishes in his fantasy basketball league but doesn’t want you to feel sorry for him. As an LA native, he enjoys looking at the beach but not getting in the water. He’s now a video producer, focused mainly on Lovett or Leave It.

Kendra James (She/Her)

Executive Producer, Entertainment & Culture
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.

Will Jones

Video Optimization Specialist

Mia Kellman

Video Editor
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.

Halle Kiefer

Senior Writer, Comedy & 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.

Roshni Kolachalam

Director, Ecommerce
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 & 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.

Cara Koontz

Director, Digital Political Campaigns

Charlotte Landes (They/Them)

Senior Audio Engineer
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 Lazarus

Staff Writer
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

Senior Marketing Manager
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.

Katie Long

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 & 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.

Chris Lord

Producer, Entertainment & Culture

Lita Martinez

Senior Producer, Daily News
Lita isn’t very good at writing about herself in the third person, but will give it a try here. She came to Crooked in 2022 after oscillating between commercial news networks and public media on both coasts. In another past life, she lived and worked in Japan and South Korea, which explains why she knows how to use a fax machine. When she’s not chasing the news, you can find her somewhere in the waters off Southern California, running unnecessarily long distances on land, or patiently waiting for the Oakland A’s to win another World Series in her lifetime.

Michael Martinez

EP of Network Shows and Radio Programming
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)

Producer, News & Politics
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.

Shaniqua McClendon

VP of Political Strategy
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.

Jesse McLean

Creative Director
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?

Ashley Mizuo

AP, News & Politics

Peter Molinaro

Campaign Coordinator
If you have a sweet-tooth, Peter is your go to cookie connoisseur. He’s an avid baker who hails from Evanston, IL. Before joining the Crooked team, he was a colorist and did quality control for a political media firm in Chicago. When he isn't nose deep in Ad Operations duties, you can find him taking landscape and astro-photography all over the world.

Alexandra Monroe

Merch Operations Manager

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).

Luke Oberholtzer

Analyst, Audience Development

Ewa Okulate

Social Media Associate
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)

Director, 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 Padilla

Sales Manager
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.

Reyna Paredes

Ecommerce Marketing Coordinator

Megan Patsel

Video Producer
Megan Patsel is an artist, director and comedian from the Bay Area, known for her short films The Weird Cousin (2020) and Mary Beth’s Tape (2017). Outside of work, she enjoys rearranging her furniture, playing with makeup, watching live music, and performing with her cover band, Flirtini. In 2019 she wrote and toured a jukebox musical set to songs from the 2007 album “Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus.” The show, now titled “The Hannah Montana Experience,” is set to return to Los Angeles in 2023.

Keisha Payne

In-House Counsel

Emily Pender

Senior Financial Analyst

Fiona Pestana (They/He)

Associate Producer, Culture & Entertainment
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)

SVP, 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.

Itxy Quintanilla

Producer, Daily News

Sydney Rapp

Associate Producer
Sydney is originally from Colorado, but quickly found a place for herself in the climbing gyms and at beaches all over Los Angeles. Before her days at Crooked, she spent her time in grassroots organizing on the frontline for the environmental crisis. Oh, and our summer interns voted that she has the coolest shoes. She loves a good color coded list, transcribing interviews, and writers room brainstorms as long as she's got an iced matcha by her side.

Caroline Reston

Senior Producer, Entertainment & Culture
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.

Simone Rossi

Community Manager
Simone Rossi is one of the resident Swifties in the office, and also a Community Manager on the Subscription Team. Simone joins Crooked Media after spending 5 years in political organizing working to elect progressive candidates in several states across the country at NextGen America, the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, and more. Before moving to Los Angeles, she spent most of her life in Arizona, which is famous for being where Taylor Swift kicked off The Era’s Tour (and the Grand Canyon if you’re into that type of thing). If you ask her, her first most significant achievement in life was working to turn out young voters in 2022; the second is owning an original 2006 signed Taylor Swift CD. In her spare time, Simone loves to spend time with her cats Holly and Betty (yes, after the Taylor song, are you seeing a theme here?).

Saul Rubin

Associate Producer
Saul is a former Crooked intern and well known hat-wearer. A born and bred San Franciscan (yes, the city itself), Saul studied film/tv and screenwriting at the USC School of Cinematic Arts while playing drums in a dad band (note: he has no children). Currently, he works on X-Ray Vision and Pod Save the World, seamlessly switching between power-hungry fascists one moment and their real-life equivalents the next. When he’s not taking Hollywood by storm and saving the world with podcasts he can be found listening to music, watching movies, and shopping for vintage clothes, furniture, and paperbacks (which he sometimes reads). He likes his jeans frayed, his blueberries frozen, and his democracy intact.

Ari Schwartz (They/Them)

Chief of Staff
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 USWNT fan, a Minnesota State Fair fanatic, and a retired competitive log roller (yes, the sport for lumberjacks).

Kyle Seglin

Director of Audio
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 Semel

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.

Bernardo Serna

Senior Graphic Designer

Jordan Silver (He/Him)

VP, Consumer 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.

Ashley Simon

PR Manager
Ashley Simon is Crooked Media’s first Public Relations Manager and, if everything goes well, not their last. She comes to Crooked after spending over six years cutting her teeth working at an entertainment publicity agency and is thrilled to now be the client. She lives in Los Angeles with her cat and closest confidante, Frances. Her greatest achievement is making it through the day.

Juna Skrami

People & Culture Generalist

Zevvy Smith-Danford

Graphic Designer, Merch

Evan Sutton

Audio Engineer

Andie Taft

Executive Assistant

David Toles

Studio Technician

Olivia Vangieri

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.

Delon Villanueva

Video Producer
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.

Christina Vo


Wendelin von Schroder

Senior Manager, Brand Marketing & Live

Ryan Wallerson (He/Him)

Producer, Sports & 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; 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 Weinstock

Account Manager
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.

Malcolm Whitfield

Associate Producer, Comedy & Culture
A recent L.A. transplant, Malcolm Whitfield is a native of Rochester, New York, and won’t let anyone forget it. From an early age, he was praised by teachers and academics as “a distraction to others”, and “unable to focus”. Since that time, Malcolm’s career has followed all things comedy, from improv at Syracuse University, as a contributing writer for The Hard Times (where he incurred the wrath of the internet on several occasions), to being a pretty good stand up comic. Besides comedy, Malcolm is proud of his work with Rochester’s 104.3 WAYOFM, the best low power radio station on the planet, and his short lived, pandemic-inspired video podcast series “Comic Creators TV”. Outside of work you can find Malcolm reading comics, or playing/planning/obsessing over Dungeons and Dragons, and when he’s not doing that, he is hoping someone will talk to him about comics or Dungeons and Dragons. Malcolm also believes The Last Jedi is the best Star Wars movie and you will never change his mind. He is sorry he forgot to text you back.

Raven Yamamoto (They/He)

Associate Producer, Daily News
Raven was born in Maui, HI at a very young age. They’re one of Crooked’s resident Gen-Z’ers and journalists whose sole purpose is to turn looks at the office, push the gay agenda, and eat Cheez-its. Oh, and they associate produce for our daily show, What A Day.

Ben Zacuto (he/him)

Ad-Ops Coordinator
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.