All posts by Gennifer Birnbach

Every curl on my head is an idea. – Future Now Media Conference 2018

FUTURE NOW Media and Entertainment Conference by Gennifer Birnbach for WICT-NY Chapter

Oprah Winfrey once said, “a mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” Nobody appreciates this sentiment more than Margaret “Peggy” Kim, award-winning Executive Producer and Founder & CEO of iSTANDtv and the FUTURE NOW MEDIA FOUNDATION, a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit and leadership incubator in media and entertainment.  

Peggy recently produced the second annual FUTURE NOW Media & Entertainment Conference, of which WICT NY was a proud returning sponsor, and it was an amazing example of what happens when you connect the next generation of leaders with mentors who can guide them.  

Of the 177 students who applied to attend, 127 of those accepted came from across the country to New York City for the opportunity of a lifetime.  During the two-day conference, students heard from some of the media industry’s top executives and professionals and had opportunities to network with and be mentored by them during the networking luncheon, mentoring sessions, and on media tours the second day where they got a close-up view of what it’s like to work in the industry.  

In a recent conversation, Peggy shared, “Many of the executives were so impressed by the quality of the FUTURE NOW students, that they welcomed them to connect and meet with them one-on-one even after the conference.  The feedback has been phenomenal.”

“Amazing amazing amazing event! In the next 5 years this event is going to be THE event to go to if you want to be in media. This conference has so much potential Thank you again!” – Deanna

FUTURE NOW was born out of Peggy’s love and passion for the industry, recognizing its needs and challenges, and her keen desire to see change.  “FUTURE NOW is about building future leaders NOW, leaders of integrity and excellence, providing equal opportunity, and opening the space for more diverse perspectives and stories to be seen and heard.  And, the way that we do that is by opening the doors, educating, equipping, connecting and empowering future leaders in the media and entertainment industry.”

“I had a life-changing experience this past week…I gained so much knowledge, learning from some of the best in the media industry…and I am inspired more than I have ever been. Thank you.” – Joshua

Peggy served on the board of WICT NY from 2008-2015 and continues to be an active member, and credits WICT NY for helping to prepare her for what she is doing today.  “I have learned so much from my 10 years so far with WICT NY. I started out as a volunteer, joined the board, served on the Prime Access executive mentoring committee, and led and organized the Executive Women’s Luncheon for many years.  And, I have made life-long friends. So much of what I have been able to accomplish with the FUTURE NOW Media & Entertainment Conference and establishing the FUTURE NOW Media Foundation has been due to my experience as a member of WICT NY.  And, that WICT NY would stand with me and FUTURE NOW, not just in word, but with its time and treasure, I am touched and deeply grateful.”

In fact, several members of WICT NY participated in the conference as speakers, mentors, and two of them also serve on the board of the FUTURE NOW Media Foundation, including Meeka Jun Bondy, HBO’s SVP of Legal Affairs, and Anjali Walter, a consultant with Tone Networks.  WICT NY’s Melanie Ashley and Kari Ickert also gave out ten (10) free one-year memberships to the students in a special drawing at the event.

“One of the things that makes FUTURE NOW unique is that every single speaker and mentor is not only extremely talented and successful, they all have a sincere heart and desire to give back.  We all recognize the critical importance of helping the next generation succeed,” said Peggy.

“I loved the energy everyone brought to the discussions and panels. Every speaker was motivated to teach us something about the industry and they were very inspiring to people that are about to start their careers.” – Marta

Peggy continues, “Also, these executives and professionals are themselves coming from diverse backgrounds, disciplines, and areas of the business.  They are also at different levels and stages of their careers. By providing visibility and speaking opportunities not only to C-Suiters, but also to emerging and mid-level managers, FUTURE NOW is elevating their profiles, so that they can advance and reach their pinnacles of success.  Let’s help people break through. It’s time!”

The dates for the 2019 FUTURE NOW Media & Entertainment Conference have been set for May 30-31 and will be held in New York City.  The FUTURE NOW Media Foundation will be extending its programming throughout the year with quarterly and monthly meetups, educational talks and events.  If you and/or your company would like to get involved, please contact Peggy Kim at – Vision Board to Set Intentions


Post by Gennifer Birnbach

As 1st quarter was nearing its end, I was reminded to reflect back on my optimism on New Year’s Day where I announced, “this is my year!” Armed with my checklist, I took some small and big steps to start achieving my goals.

I drafted a vision board, I started to follow more empowering accounts on social media, I joined organizations and set myself off to make my dreams come true. Finally.

My one reoccurring goal I had yet to achieve was “guilt-free selfcare.” I’ve had this goal for years since I became a working mom with a 3-hour roundtrip commute each day.

The most powerful things I’ve done so far in self-care was sign up for the WICT NY “Create Your Blueprint” Vision Boarding Workshop with Shushan Aleaqui.  This was a full-day commitment on a Saturday, in the city AND we were without power in our house from the “Blizzard Cyclone” that left my town in a state of emergency.

Regardless of the chaos around me and the maternal need to make ensure my family had a warm place to go, I got myself to this workshop.


Once we got to class and finished introductions, we answered questions like, “What is one great big dream you have that would thrill you to the core if you achieved or manifested it?”

Everyone selected magazines, glitter glue, scissors and a poster board that would hold together what we wanted in our lives.   We poured through magazines collecting images and words that spoke to us and sometimes to the others at our table.

Shushan asked us to be mindful of how we felt when we found images and words that would support what we were asking for. This reminded me of that book “The Magic of Tidying Up” and how touching an object and asking, “does this bring me joy?” helps clear the clutter.

I mysteriously came across exact images in random magazines that 100% matched what I wanted. This validated “the law of attraction” theory for me and I was purposeful in finding exactly what I wanted or needed without doubting I’d find it in the publications I ended up with. It was such a transformative and emotional experience for myself and those around me.

Some things that were on my list logically matched, but I didn’t feel as excited when I considered them. Other photos and language were exciting to find, but I felt nervous as if they were unobtainable or really not meant to be found.  And then when I found things for those at my table, I felt my normal self of satisfaction in helping others. The women at my table were, in turn, finding me things. That made me feel heard which was validating.

After the freeing experience of just grabbing it all, we then had to go into an elimination round. The board size was not going to change so we needed to ask ourselves, “what would make it to the final round and what would end up in the trash?”

I found myself surprised at what I was throwing away. Things I thought I wanted, I actually did not. Through this simple, but impactful exercise, I have shifted direction. Wow. That’s really big!

My vision board was complete, and I must say that I was REALLY excited and feeling empowered. Shushan moved around the room to check-in with each individual to learn more about where they landed.  When I took her through mine, I felt like this was really all a big dream and not possible. This wasn’t from anything she said or did, but I guess saying it all out loud scared me. What if I fail? What else do I have to dream about?

Shushan asked us to place our vision board somewhere we could see it every day. I had a late start given we had to move from house to hotel to house until our power was restored. When I finally did find time to set up a shrine for my vision board, I began to see possibilities.


We learned that our belief systems become habits and our habits become us. It takes 40 days to break a pattern and it takes 21 days to establish a new one. So far, so good.

It’s been six weeks since this workshop and I’m rereading my goals to see what I’m hitting so far, what needs to be reimagined and what is just a hard pass. I will say things are accelerating beyond my wildest dreams around many of my must-haves. The biggest one will take time, but I’m steps closer each day.

I’m curious to learn how the others are pacing and I’d like to report back around the 6 month-mark to share back how these vision boards are or are not driving the boat.

Regardless of how fast or slow these things take, I encourage everyone (myself included) not to lose sight of what you want, but to also check in to see if it’s really what you want.

For more information about Shushan Aleaqui please visit and for more about what WICT has to offer under its MINDFULNESS MATTERS: BUILD YOUR BEST LIFE theme for 2018, please visit: