Raised in Atlanta, Jeffrey Stepakoff is an internationally recognized writer-producer with a thirty-five year career that includes senior leadership roles in content creation and production. He is credited on more than two hundred episodes of popular television shows, including the Emmy-winning The Wonder Years and break-out hit Dawson's Creek, where he was Co-Executive Producer. He has developed and written major motion pictures, created and developed pilots for major studios and networks, worked for numerous digital media companies, and is a bestselling novelist. He left Hollywood in 2015 to become the Founding Executive Director of the Georgia Film Academy. A first-of-its-kind film and entertainment education/workforce program, the GFA helped drive over a 100% increase in direct spending by productions in the state’s film industry. Widely recognized by the Motion Picture Association as “the gold standard” in film production workforce education, the GFA provides students with college-credit coursework, professional training, paid union-covered craft internships, and job placement support. Stepakoff has a BA from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon.
Josh Lee is an award-winning educator with over fifteen years of production and business experience, and over ten years of leading strategic initiatives. He holds a BA in Media Studies from Mercer University, a Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology from Georgia State University, and an MBA from the University of Mississippi. Josh began his career working at CNN, CNBC, and running his own video production company which grew significantly in Washington D.C., where he created videos with high profile individuals such as Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hilary Clinton. He transitioned to high school teaching, where within 4 years, Josh had won teacher of the year, as well as led his students to a national championship in film production. He was promoted to a leadership role with Fulton County Schools, where he built programming for the third largest district in the state of Georgia. Following his award-winning stint at the district, Josh developed several new state-wide secondary programs for high school teachers through the Georgia Film Academy, growing the secondary programming within the organization, launching new high school courses and pathways for the entire state, as well as providing relevant industry exposure and experiences to high school students and teachers. Josh is recognized in the entertainment industry and educational fields as a leader with an expertise in strategy, planning, and partnership building, and is known for his ability to build new, successful education and entertainment-based programs from the ground up. Josh resigned from the GFA in July 2022 to become the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder at Content Talent South.
Mitchell Kupstas spent the first 8 years of his career working for a corporate-backed technology incubator and the family office of a prominent Atlanta-based tech entrepreneur. Within his incubator role, Mitchell experienced and contributed to the inception, fundraising, operational growth, and eventual sale of multiple technology-based start-up companies. Specifically, he helped manage the process of strategy conceptualizing and storytelling in order to operationalize from early stage whiteboard drawings. As the business grew, he would fill the gaps between technology and operations until the roles were filled by full-time positions. At the family office, Mitchell was the lead analyst overseeing all alternatives investing. This included sourcing and evaluating start-up pitches, private equity pitches, as well as small business mergers and acquisitions. He directly sourced and oversaw the successful acquisition and continued operation of four local businesses. Mitchell is now the Chief Strategy Officer of Content Talent South and is in charge of operations strategy, planning, and presentation deliverables both internally and for external clients. Mitchell brings both a strategic financial background as well as ample experience in the flexible world of private enterprise ideation. Mitch has a BS in Applied Mathematics from Brown University and Masters in Management Studies from Duke University.
Laura Beth Daws spent 17 years as a communication professor, teaching courses at the graduate and undergraduate level in public speaking, business communication, media studies and research methods, becoming nationally recognized for her work in innovative online and in-person classroom teaching strategies. She ultimately was promoted to the position of Interim Director for the Kennesaw State University School of Communication & Media, supervising 70 faculty and staff, and managing curriculum for 4 undergraduate BS programs, one MA program, and multiple certificates and minors serving 1,600 students. While in academic leadership, she developed and facilitated numerous faculty training programs related to online education and pedagogical skills, created university-wide curriculum, developed policies and procedures for various academic units, and implemented new, more efficient workflow processes. Laura Beth was routinely sought after for committees and leadership positions due to her reputation for forming and maintaining positive working relationships with a variety of constituents and her diplomacy skills in dealing with difficult student, faculty, and other situations. She left academia in June 2022 transitioning to work in the areas of higher education consulting, corporate training, business strategy, and workforce development. She has a BA in Public Communication from the University of North Alabama, an MA in Communication from Auburn University, and a PhD in Communication from the University of Kentucky.
Lauren Spaulding serves as the Operations Coordinator at Content Talent South, helping advance all entertainment workforce efforts in the state of Georgia and support the leadership team. Before joining Content Talent South in 2022, she was the Senior Restaurant Director at one of the top-ranking Chick-fil-A restaurants worldwide, responsible for the organization's operations, leadership development, sales activities, marketing, and service quality. Lauren also has a 10+ year background as an award-winning writer and director and is committed to advancing Georgia's entertainment industry to provide opportunities for talented storytellers outside of the Hollywood system. Lauren graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communications from Liberty University in 2020.
Brandy Dennard is an experienced executive administrative support professional with over 20 years in the field. She has extensive experience providing comprehensive support to executives to include gatekeeping, problem-solving, scheduling, and team support. Having held positions in government, healthcare, and law, Brandy is able to tailor her skills to meet the needs of various clients. She is especially passionate about her ability to predict and plan the needs of the executive and supporting the work of the organization. Brandy graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership. While working towards her degree, she served as an executive assistant to Jeffrey Stepakoff with the Georgia Film Academy where she gained a passion for advancing the entertainment industry in Georgia. Brandy joined Content Talent South as Sr. Executive Assistant in 2023.