Our People

The Story Lab counts 300 entertainment, marketing and investment professionals around the world.

Meet the Global team.

Michael Iskas

President
The Story Lab Global

Michael Iskas

President

Michael launched The Story Lab, Dentsu Aegis Network’s entertainment content business, in January 2015 with the vision to become the most innovative global investor, producer and distributor of premium entertainment content that attracts audiences, broadcasters and advertisers.

Since then, The Story Lab has distributed successful TV shows such as Ninja Warrior, all over Europe, monetised global TV events such as Heaven Sent Jump in the US and China and works with independent producers (from India to Amsterdam and from Moscow to New York) to finance the development of new TV shows.

Two years after launch, The Story Lab counts 300 talented entertainment, finance and marketing professionals across 15 territories, including the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, Netherlands, China, India, Australia, Canada and the US.

Before The Story Lab, Michael was the Global Chief Innovation Officer for Carat, Dentsu Aegis Network’s media and communications specialist agency. During his 15-year career Michael has been awarded with more than 30 global media, innovation and creativity awards.

Norio Hayashi

Executive Director
The Story Lab Global

Norio Hayashi

Executive Director

Norio joined Dentsu in 1982 and first started his career in the media buying for TV and radio. In 1989, was transferred to the newly established entertainment division, to build and respond to the emerging entertainment content market in Japan. Ever since, has specialized in the domestic and international entertainment business, covering a wide range from executing major concerts, producing TV shows, films, to the merchandising business as well. His producer credits include the TV animation for ASTROBOY, the Japanese film for Back to the Bubble Era and the TV documentary Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness which was broadcast on PBS in the United States. He also spearheaded the exclusive deal with Universal Pictures in 2007 which is still a continuing valuable asset for Dentsu.

Cathy Boxall

Head of Brand Entertainment
The Story Lab Global

Cathy Boxall

Head of Brand Entertainment

Cathy is an established entertainment and IP specialist with 15 years of experience in content partnerships across a wide range of sectors including TV, digital, movies and publishing.

Prior to joining The Story Lab global team she worked at NBC Universal where she headed up the global client solutions team across NBC’s 9 international TV brands. She had specific responsibility for content-led partnerships with movie studios. Before that she was the Head of Integrated Brand Partnerships at The Walt Disney Company where she led the EMEA team in charge of commercial brand partnerships across Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucas Film.

As well as her commercial, media and entertainment industry experience, Cathy brings with her extensive experience in content production and delivery of complex projects across multiple markets.

Craig Hawtin-Butcher

Editorial Director
The Story Lab Global

Craig Hawtin-Butcher

Editorial Director

Craig is an established writer, editor and journalist with over 10 years’ experience across print, digital and social content, primarily in food, drink, travel and men’s lifestyle.

Prior to joining The Story Lab global team as Editorial Director, he was senior editor for social media agency We Are Social where he directed editorial social output for brands including Jaguar, Audi, Hendrick’s gin and M&S. Previously senior editor of MSN Him, the UK’s biggest men’s lifestyle website and launch editor of MSN Food, in association with Sainsbury’s, he has launched, relaunched and directed some of the UK’s most viewed websites, commissioning content, managing production teams and freelance writing pools. Craig has extensive experience as a freelance journalist writing across men’s style, grooming, interviews, features and restaurant reviews, contributing to titles including The Guardian, GQ.com, Esquire, London’s Evening Standard, delicious magazine and more. Craig is certified to Level 2 in Wine & Spirits by the WSET and to advanced level in Beer by the Institute of Beer and Distilling.

Craig brings this expertise to The Story Lab where he leads new business and network development, content strategy and communications.

Luci Sanan (Burnley)

Format Director
The Story Lab Global

Luci Sanan (Burnley)

Format Director

Luci is an expert in content distribution with over 10 years’ experience specialising in format sales and acquisitions in the international marketplace.

Luci’s career began at IMG’s Entertainment department where she became Programming Executive, before going on to senior positions in acquisitions and sales at DRG and Banijay International. Luci then became Senior VP of Format Sales and Development at Content Media / Small World IFT, where she ran the format business of the group and succeeded in selling the first formats from Thailand and Romania into the UK. With a vast amount of experience in selling content globally Luci has consulted for major distribution and production entities on their format sales strategy, and has also developed and sold her own format creations.

Luci oversees The Story Lab’s global non-scripted new business and investments.

Donna Wiffen

Scripted Director
The Story Lab Global

Donna Wiffen

Scripted Director

Donna is The Story Lab’s consultant Scripted Director, overseeing our global scripted TV projects and investments. She is also Managing Director of Duchess Street Productions, bringing over 25 years of expertise to The Story Lab. Formerly Head of Worldwide Drama at FremantleMedia, Donna was responsible for development and production in 22 territories. She headed Production at Cliffhanger Productions, developing over 30 international projects in collaboration with BBC Worldwide. She was Head of Drama Production at both Endemol and Talkback Thames. Donna started her career working in theatre, both in the UK and internationally, as company manager for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Simon Willis

Creative Director
The Story Lab Global

Simon Willis

Creative Director

Simon is an entertainment creative and producer across broadcast and digital with over 10 years’ experience for the likes of the BBC, where he had senior broadcast roles at both BBC TV and BBC Radio 1. He was also a founding executive of Jamie Oliver’s Fresh One Productions and set up and ran Mindshare Entertainment for seven years. He has created revenue-generating content campaigns for global brands including American Express and Unilever.

Simon is charged with creating genuinely entertaining content-driven campaigns for brands that create marketing advantage and revenue.

Shannon Cheatle

Global Account Director
The Story Lab Global

Shannon Cheatle

Global Account Director

Shannon is an experienced partnerships and entertainment professional from Los Angeles with a specialty in working on behalf of global brands and major entertainment studios to deliver complex integrated marketing campaigns.

Prior to joining The Story Lab Global team, Shannon worked at Premier where she was a key leader in the Partnerships and Integrated Campaigns Team, working across clients including Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios, EOne and StudioCanal. She developed, negotiated and activated multi-market brand partnerships, sponsorships and award-winning experiential campaigns. Before that, she was at Brand Revolution where she led the Special Projects team, delivering global PR, experiential and influencer campaign solutions for leading brands in FMCG, luxury, fashion and art.

Shannon brings her expertise to The Story Lab where she now leads on Brand Entertainment and Partnerships campaigns for multi-territory clients, focusing on content strategy, partnerships and original content as well as content monetisation.

Henny Adolfsdottir

Acquisitions Manager
The Story Lab Global

Henny Adolfsdottir

Acquisitions Manager

Our acquisition manager Henny hails from Iceland and brings with her a wealth of content distribution experience across sales, acquisitions and development. Her previous roles incorporate an array of expertise. From script development at The Producers Films to scripted and format acquisitions for broadcaster MTG. Responsible for format sales and development at Small World IFT, she distributed the first Korean format to be adapted in the US, “Better Late Than Never”.

Henny’s talents are deployed at The Story Lab acquiring compelling and new formats and programmes for our ever-growing slate, across all genres. She has a focused remit to source and acquire the very best premium entertainment content from leading production companies around the world.

George Cottrell

Production Assistant
The Story Lab Global

George Cottrell

Production Assistant

George is a Production Assistant in The Story Lab global team. Having started his career in Vancouver, Canada at BroadbandTV – a media and technology company focusing on the aggregation and monetisation of online video content where he worked with clients such as the NBA and UNICEF, he has continued to pursue varied and challenging experience in producing original content.

This has led to him working across a diverse range of industries, including events and publishing, whilst working and partnering with forward thinking brands such as Vice and Red Bull Media House in order to create innovative content solutions for an array of briefs. Along with his experience in content creation, George brings with him experience in helping deliver multi-platform projects that involve multiple stakeholders.

Janna Sullivan

Legal Counsel
The Story Lab Global

Janna Sullivan

Legal Counsel

Janna is the highly-respected Legal Counsel for The Story Lab, providing proactive media law services across the business to protect the rights and interests of clients and The Story Lab, globally. From contract negotiation, compliance and intellectual property queries to rights management and risk strategy, Janna’s in-depth knowledge and broadcast experience ensure the right expertise is always available for the network to draw on.

Prior to The Story Lab, Janna was at BBC Worldwide (BBCW), the commercial arm of the BBC, where for over four years she was responsible for all legal work across the CEMA and Northern European regions. Specialisms covered included: format sales, finished programming and channels licensing, compliance and commercial advice as well as production assistance for any BBCW joint ventures and satellite offices within the region. Janna has negotiated deals with the world’s biggest producers, distributors and broadcasters, including HBO, Fox, Disney, Viacom, Viasat and Sony, in addition to key local market broadcasters.

Before moving to London, native New Zealander Janna was the Legal Counsel at Eyeworks Australia and New Zealand (now Warner Brothers) handling legal arrangements with the major broadcasters including Nine Network, Channel Seven, Freemantle, XYZ Networks and Foxtel in Australia, TVNZ, NZOA and Mediaworks in New Zealand. This included distribution, funding and development agreements for formats such as This Is Your Life, World’s Strictest Parents, Kalgoorlie Cops, Missing Pieces, Test the Nation Australia and extending to films such as Mr Pip.

The Story Lab in

Global

Address

10 Triton St

Regent’s Place

London

NW1 3BF

The Story Lab in

Vietnam

Address

19th Floor

Vincom Center

72 Le Thanh Ton

Str. Dist.1

HCMC

Contact

+84 8 3936 9186

thestorylabapac@storylab.com

The Story Lab in

Australia

Address

105 York Street
South Melbourne
VIC 3205

Contact

+61 3 9693 3950

The Story Lab in

Canada

Address

1st Floor

116 Spadina Avenue

Toronto

Ontario

M5V 2K6

Contact

+1 416 504 3965

canada@storylab.com

The Story Lab in

France

Address

4, Place de Saverne

Courbevoie

Paris

92400

Contact

+33 1 4116 1718

The Story Lab in

Mexico

Address

Av. Santa Fe 440 piso 11. Col. Santa Fe,

Delegación Cuajimalpa

C.P. 05348 México D.F.

The Story Lab in

Russia

Address

Presnenskaya embankment, 6/2

Imperia Tower, 123317

Moscow

The Story Lab in

United Kingdom

Address

​20 Triton Street

Regent’s Place

London

NW1 3BF

Contact

+44 (0)20 7430 6000

enquiries@Storylab.com

The Story Lab in

United States

Address

2nd Floor

2700 Pennsylvania Ave

Santa Monica

CA 90404

The Story Lab in

Germany (Hamburg)

Address

The Story Lab GmbH

Alsterufer 3

20354

Hamburg

Contact

+49 403575670

office.hamburg@storylab.com

The Story Lab in

The Netherlands

Address

​Moermanskkade 85

1013 BC

Postbus 15905

Amsterdam

Contact

+ 31 (0) 20 519 1700

http://storylab.com/netherlands

The Story Lab in

Austria

Address

Gumpendorfer Straße 11-13/19

1060 Wien Austria

The Story Lab in

Italy

Address

​Via Bracco 6

20159

Milano

Italy

The Story Lab in

United Kingdom (North)

Address

117-119 Portland Street

Manchester

M1 6ED

Contact

+44 (0)161 228 3909

The Story Lab in

Global

Address

10 Triton St

Regent’s Place

London

NW1 3BF

The Story Lab in

Vietnam

Address

19th Floor

Vincom Center

72 Le Thanh Ton

Str. Dist.1

HCMC

Contact

+84 8 3936 9186

thestorylabapac@storylab.com

The Story Lab in

Australia

Address

105 York Street
South Melbourne
VIC 3205

Contact

+61 3 9693 3950

The Story Lab in

Canada

Address

1st Floor

116 Spadina Avenue

Toronto

Ontario

M5V 2K6

Contact

+1 416 504 3965

canada@storylab.com

The Story Lab in

France

Address

4, Place de Saverne

Courbevoie

Paris

92400

Contact

+33 1 4116 1718

The Story Lab in

Mexico

Address

Av. Santa Fe 440 piso 11. Col. Santa Fe,

Delegación Cuajimalpa

C.P. 05348 México D.F.

Contact

The Story Lab in

Russia

Address

Presnenskaya embankment, 6/2

Imperia Tower, 123317

Moscow

Contact

The Story Lab in

United Kingdom

Address

​20 Triton Street

Regent’s Place

London

NW1 3BF

Contact

+44 (0)20 7430 6000

enquiries@Storylab.com

The Story Lab in

United States

Address

2nd Floor

2700 Pennsylvania Ave

Santa Monica

CA 90404

The Story Lab in

Germany (Hamburg)

Address

The Story Lab GmbH

Alsterufer 3

20354

Hamburg

Contact

+49 403575670

office.hamburg@storylab.com

The Story Lab in

The Netherlands

Address

​Moermanskkade 85

1013 BC

Postbus 15905

Amsterdam

Contact

+ 31 (0) 20 519 1700

http://storylab.com/netherlands

The Story Lab in

Austria

Address

Gumpendorfer Straße 11-13/19

1060 Wien Austria

The Story Lab in

Italy

Address

​Via Bracco 6

20159

Milano

Italy

Contact

The Story Lab in

United Kingdom (North)

Address

117-119 Portland Street

Manchester

M1 6ED

Contact

+44 (0)161 228 3909