Recognized throughout the children's entertainment industry as a leading business and brand-builder, Michael's numerous achievements have helped shape today's era of animation production and distribution. In 2004, Michael spearheaded the creation of Cookie Jar Group, along with Toper Taylor. In a short period of time, he has been responsible for turning Cookie Jar Group into one of the world's preeminent edutainment studios.
Michael is also co-creator and executive producer of Cookie Jar Entertainment's hit show for preschoolers, "The Doodlebops". Michael's distinguished career in children's entertainment began in 1971, when co-founded Nelvana Limited. He played a pivotal role in transforming Nelvana into a world-class animation company and developed and produced many of television's most celebrated animated programming. He also pioneered many of the worldwide co-production, marketing and distribution techniques that have become standard industry practice.
Michael also co-founded Teletoon, Canada's leading animation network.
Toper Taylor President and COO of Cookie Jar Entertainment
Among the most respected executives in children's and family entertainment, Toper co-founded Cookie Jar with Michael Hirsh in 2004. In the company's brief history Toper has successfully led the development, production, distribution and marketing of six new productions with anchor broadcast destinations in the US. Toper has also built an unparalled worldwide staff, has broken through online with phenomenally successful immersive websites and has forged new partnerships in Europe, Asia and North America.
Prior to founding Cookie Jar, Toper served as president of Nelvana for more than a decade. Under his guidance, Nelvana forged successful home video associations with all the major studios; developed successful toy lines and launched landmark book publishing deals. As a direct result of Toper's stewardship, Nelvana's brand-launching track record was unparalleled in the industry, airing over 20 series in the U.S. alone during one broadcast season.
Toper is a graduate of the University of Southern California where he is the co-chairman of the Board of Councilors of the School of Fine Arts and one of the founders of the Television Board of Directors for the School of Cinema-Television.
Jean-Michel Ciszewski SVP, International TV and Home Entertainment
Jean-Michel joined Cookie Jar with a distinguished career in international sales and programming. He has been instrumental in selling Cookie Jar shows to top networks around the world.
Jean-Michel previously served as President of MoviePlus sas. He also held senior-level positions with Alliance Atlantis, beginning his long tenure with the company as Director of European Sales and culminating his association as President of Alliance Atlantis Television Distribution.
Jean-Michel graduated from the University of Geneva with a degree in business and administration.
Carrie Dumont SVP, Business and Legal Affairs, Entertainment
Carrie leads Cookie Jar's expanding property acquisition, development and merchandising activities. She also oversees agreements with the expanding roster of partners involved in the company's global television and merchandising sensations like "Strawberry Shortcake", "The Doodlebops" and "Caillou".
Carrie joined Cookie Jar following a decade-long tenure with Nelvana, where she was Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs.
Carrie earned her J.D. from the Notre Dame Law School. She received her LL.B. from the Osgoode Hall Law School, York University and her B.S. from the Catholic University.
John Vandervelde SVP, Business Development and International Co-production
John joined Cookie Jar with a distinguished career in finance. He specializes in film and television financing and international structuring. John oversees the company's co-production arrangements and new business initiatives.
John previously served as Vice-President, Production & Finance, of Nelvana Limited. He is a Director of the Canadian Retransmission Collective and Director and Treasurer of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.
John holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Commerce and Economics from the University of Toronto.
Michael Berreth VP of Marketing
Marketing veteran Michael Berreth oversees all marketing campaigns and promotional programs. Michael has managed a wide range of marketing campaigns for the company including tune-in for the CBS Weekend Morning block, third-party promotions such as McDonald's and the 2009 global re-launch of Strawberry Shortcake.
Prior to joining Cookie Jar, Michael held management positions with Disney, Universal Studios, Nestlé and Kellogg's. He has worked on a number of marketing campaigns for top brands including Pedigree® Food for Dogs, Disney's Winnie the Pooh, Universal Studios Hollywood, Nestlé® Raisinets® and Kellogg's® Rice Krispies Treats®.
Michael earned his MBA from the University of Southern California.