Who we are

Our story begins years ago, on a film set in the desert… an atypical origin story for an atypical company. Nic Gonda and Ken Kao met while co-producing a film and found common ground in their shared interest in wellness and the belief that talent's influence could be harnessed for good in ways that extend beyond their film careers. Soon they realized they weren’t the only ones who felt this way—much of the talent they worked with harbored similar aspirations of partnering with mission-driven businesses outside of their film and TV careers. These conversations led to the 2020 founding of Parallel, a company built to offer influential people opportunities parallel to their primary careers, with a particular focus on companies with a purpose.

Collectively, the Parallel team has spent decades at the intersection of content production and brand building, and, as a result, we have relationships at all corners of entertainment, marketing, and digital media. As investors and company builders, members of our team have launched and sold our own startups, managed nonprofits, and accrued a few JDs and MBAs (nbd). As creative people, we’ve worked on all kinds of projects, including Oscar winning films, immersive experiences, digital newsletters, podcasts, Broadway shows, well known ad campaigns, and apps, just to name a few.

Our sister company, Waypoint Entertainment, is a production company co-founded in 2010 by Ken. Guided by a collaborative and passionate team, the company provides creative and financial services to their projects, serving as an incubator that empowers talent and filmmakers through all stages of development and production. Notable film credits include THE FAVOURITE, THE NICE GUYS, THE GLASS CASTLE, HOSTILES, SILENCE, SONG TO SONG, and KNIGHT OF CUPS. Waypoint’s latest feature, CUCKOO, directed by Tilman Singer and starring Hunter Schafer, Dan Stevens, and Jessica Henwick, is set to release on May 3, 2024.

Our Partners

Ken Kao

In 2010, Ken co-founded Waypoint Entertainment, a production, development, and financing company that has produced numerous films, including Best Picture Oscar nominee The Favourite, The Glass Castle, Hostiles, and The Nice Guys.

In 2016, following their several collaborations, Ken and Ryan Gosling partnered to form and operate a film and television production company, which has a development slate that includes a Wolfman remake for Universal and Project Hail Mary for MGM.

Ken also co-founded Bloom Media, an international film distribution, sales, and financing company acquired by Endeavor (WME/IMG) in 2017.

Ken has been named by Variety as one of the "10 Producers to Watch," and prior to entering the entertainment industry, was an attorney and practiced law in the tech, sports, and fashion industries.

One thing that makes Ken feel well
Empowering flowering

Nic Gonda

Named one of Indiewire’s inaugural “Influencers,” Variety’s “10 Producers to Watch” and Details Magazine’s “Digital Mavericks,” Nic has produced over 20 movies including Tree Of Life (Oscar nominee for Best Picture and winner of the Cannes Palm d’Or).

Nic also founded and acted as CEO of Tugg, the pioneering crowdsourcing platform that lets audiences choose the films that play in their local theaters.

Just prior to founding Parallel, Nic served as Chief Content Officer and EVP of Entertainment at Meow Wolf, responsible for building a trans-media content studio for its rapidly growing community of artists and audiences.

One thing that makes Nic feel well
Consistent exercise and sleep… the latter I'm not doing a good job with yet :)

Jocelyn Florence

Jocelyn started her career as the Associate Producer at NYC venue Ars Nova, helping bring to life hundreds of hybrid comedy, music, and scripted shows from emerging artists.

Immediately prior to joining Parallel, Jocelyn was the Creative Director of the in-house agency at business news publication, Quartz (qz.com), overseeing the design, engineering, and branded editorial teams and helping Fortune 100 clients make interesting and effective work for a global audience of business leaders.

Jocelyn currently sits on the board of LA comedy venue The Elysian, is a college application advisor at Scholar Match, and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

One thing that makes Jocelyn feel well
Long walks with stops to observe trees I don't know the names of

Our Team

Aria Safar

Venture Partner

Aria started his career as a lawyer, but found his passion in driving innovation across industries, from law, to local government, to footwear and apparel. He started at litigation and IP powerhouse WilmerHale, before moving to a startup that was acquired by EY. After EY, he worked for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, before moving onto Nike’s digital business incubator. He holds a B.A. from UCLA, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a J.D. from UC Berkeley.

One thing that makes Aria feel well
Getting into a creative flow while learning a new skill like DJing, or graphic design

Ciara Keane

Lead Strategist

Ciara started her career on the Events and Civic Engagement teams at The Wing. Before Parallel, Ciara worked in Accenture’s Strategy division with clients including Voya Financial, National Grid, and Bose. She holds a B.A. from Columbia University in Sociology and Ethnicity & Race Studies, a Disruptive Strategy Certificate from Harvard Business School, and a Designing Strategy Certificate from IDEO.

One thing that makes Ciara feel well

Courtney Greenbaum

VP, Business Development & Partnerships

Over the course of her career, Courtney has worked at the intersection of media and entertainment. Her professional experience includes tenures at Scooter Braun Projects, NYLON, United Entertainment Group, and WME where she specialized in traditional and non-traditional endorsement deals for Talent. Most recently she worked at MediaLink, a management consulting firm, providing strategic advisory services to Fortune 500 companies. She holds a BBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

One thing that makes Courtney feel well

Katherine Skylar

VP, Business & Revenue Operations

Katherine has spent her career supporting creative entrepreneurs and bringing their vision to life (most often on the unglamorous side of things). Most recently she was leading the creative services team at Beautycounter, during a period of rapid growth resulting in reaching unicorn status and an acquisition by Carlyle Group. Before that, she has worked with big brands like J.Crew and West Elm as well as with bespoke artists like Kelly Lamb and Bare Collection. She holds a B.S. from Drexel University in Design & Merchandising.

One thing that makes Katherine feel well
Getting my hands dirty

Lorin Brown

Brand Identity Designer

Since 2011, Lorin has run the illustration-focused studio practice Intents & Purposes, creating apparel, album art, editorial illustrations, digital content, and printed matter. Lorin’s notable clients include: Arkitip, Band Of Outsiders, Beck, Better Than Ezra, Bloomberg Businessweek, GOOD Magazine, HUF, IKO IKO, Nike, Stussy/Stussy Deluxe, Sony Red, RedCat, The New York Times Co., and Urban Outfitters. Before Parallel, Lorin worked in-house at Urban Outfitters, Wieden+Kennedy, OptimistLA, and Harry’s. He has taught at Pratt Institute for the last several years and currently teaches at CalArts.

One thing that makes Lorin feel well
Sensory deprivation tanks

Maya Shapiro


Maya graduated from the University of Washington in 2022 with a Bachelors in Psychology and minor in Entrepreneurship. Before Parallel, Maya started her career as a coordinator for a tech start-up based in Seattle called Highspot, where she worked as a program and event coordinator for the Revenue Enablement department.

One thing that makes Maya feel well
Early morning walks