Michael Carney, Board President
Michael Carney is an actor and talent supervisor with two decades of experience in the entertainment business. Working with various major networks, he has been a talent supervisor on shows such as the Academy Awards, the Primetime Emmy Awards, Kennedy Center Honors, Miss America, The People’s Choice Awards, Miss Universe, The Super Bowl Halftime Show, and many more. In the narrative world he has produced and co-written numerous content, including the hit series Moonshine for the Emmy and Webby Award winning network, itsallinyourhands.com, as well as the series Blankslate for the FOX/NBC web site Hulu.com. Born in Connecticut with family on both coasts, he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, double majoring in Psychology and Psychobiology, and relocated to Los Angeles once he graduated. He has worked with Love146, an international human rights organization working to end child trafficking and exploitation through survivor care and prevention. His passion for helping both the LGBT community and youth makes Brave Trails a perfect organization to focus his attention on, helping it shape the young leaders of tomorrow.
Laura Newman, Board Secretary
Laura Newman is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Los Angeles. She was a Staff Counselor at The Relational Center after having received her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Previously Laura received her B.F.A. in film from the University of Southern California. Laura’s career spans from production executive, to partner in a gallery/retail store, to Licensed General Contractor. Laura has also been on several Board of Directors, and currently proudly sits on the Board of Camp Brave Trails. In addition, she has spent the last several decades as a mentor, tutor and advocate for teens and members of the HIV/AIDS and transgender community. Laura and her husband, Jim Tauber, counsel couples as co-therapists using relational/gestalt, experiential psychodynamic, and a psychobiological approach.
Ryan Hrair Sarkissian
Ryan Hrair Sarkissian is a real estate developer and agent in Northeast Los Angeles. He has degrees in psychology from Occidental College in Los Angeles and in culinary arts from California Culinary Academy in San Francisco – which he finds helpful in being a better agent to clients and a better spouse to his husband. Ryan Has worked with LGBTQ+ organizations for over 20 years, ranging from being the Co-Chair Pride South Florida to participating as an ambassador for Gays & Lesbians Initiating Dialogue for Equality (GLIDE) and public speaking engagements to youth and adults
Ryan is enthusiastic about his involvement with Brave Trails because of how impactful and life-changing the organization’s work is for today’s youth and recognizes how much he would have benefited from such an experience in his own childhood
Carla Hacken is a veteran film producer whose latest projects include the critically acclaimed feature film Hell or High Water, for which she received Academy Award, Golden Globe, and The Producer’s Guild nominations for Best Picture. Most recently, Hacken served as President of Production at Sidney Kimmel Entertainment where in addition to Hell or Hight Water, she developed and served as one of the Producers or Executive Producers of Brad’s Status, The Book Of Henry, Demolition, and Sleeping With Other People. She recently transitioned back to producing under her own banner, Paper Pictures and is currently producing Amy Poehler’s directorial debut, Wine Country for Netflix.
One of the film industry’s most respected executives, Hacken notably spent 15 years as Executive Vice President of Production at Fox 2000 Pictures. During her tenure, she oversaw the development and production of numerous motion pictures, including Walk the Line, The Devil Wears Prada, Unfaithful, In Her Shoes, The Family Stone, and both The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the Percy Jackson franchises, among many others. Prior to joining Fox 2000 Pictures, Hacken was a talent agent at ICM in the Motion Picture Talent Department where, over the course of nearly 10 years, she built a prestigious client roster of actors, writers, and directors.
Steven Le Vine
Steven Le Vine is an award-winning publicist and PR strategist, and founder of L.A.-based grapevine pr + consulting, a lifestyle and entertainment public relations and strategic consulting agency he launched in 2006, with additional offices in Austin and Nashville. His clients include cultural icon William Shatner, Grammy-winning songwriter Lisa Loeb, and actor and HIV/AIDS activist Daniel Pintauro of ABC’s beloved 80s sitcom ‘Who’s the Boss?’ Other clients include those across a myriad of spaces, including entertainment, fashion & beauty, healthcare, hospitality and travel, food and beverage, retail, professional services and non-profits. He has secured press for clients ranging from sit-down exclusives with Oprah to interviews with The View, The Talk, The Doctors, CNN Newsroom, Access Hollywood, E!, Entertainment Tonight, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, Entertainment Weekly, Us Weekly, People, Men’s and Women’s Health, Men’s Journal and more.
He is also a frequent media personality and contributor for prominent business publications, including Forbes and Entrepreneur, where he offers expert insight on PR, entrepreneurship and entertainment. He has been named a ‘Rising Star’ by Global Business Magazine and has been honored with a ‘Power 30’ Award, in addition to receiving recognition for ‘Agency of the Year’ in the PR World Awards and Ragan’s PR Daily Media Relations Awards for the last four consecutive years. Le Vine is a world traveler, cultural enthusiast and loves exploring the worlds of food, coffee and craft beverages.
Not many people could’ve predicted that a boy of my humble origins- having grown up working at my family’s business – would eventually make a name for himself as the assistant director of the critically acclaimed film Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver. But that’s me: a modest dreamer from Cleveland, Ohio who headed west at the age of 21 in search of diversity, freedom and the open arms of the entertainment industry (they are not so open by the way).
My improbable rise through said industry at A&E Studios as VP, Production can be traced back to the active beginnings of my youth: protesting censorship, canvassing for presidential elections and watching hours of Nick-at-Night with my siblings. Still, I find time to maintain a sense of adventure. Select hobbies include: traveling, hiking (despite when, as a young man, I had to be rescued by firemen from a cliff wall) writing, board games, camping, binge watching Netflix and kickball. My new goal in life is to seek out situations that would typically make me uncomfortable and reflect on my behavior within the situation. Comfort is beautiful but it’s my ultimate fear.
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