Staff & Board

STAFF

Karen – Founding Director

Karen speaks and teaches around the country, challenging Christians to embrace the creative and business professionals in Hollywood with the love and compassion of Jesus, and she is a published co-author of two books: How to Talk About Jesus Without Freaking Out (The J Bomb) and The Day I Met God. Karen is also a producer and Co-Founder of JC Productions, an independent films and music production company. She has had extensive experience producing TV specials, documentaries and children’s programming, is developing a feature film and is an active member of the Producers Guild of America. Karen is a graduate of USC and is married to her best pal, Jim, a composer, and they have two sons: Christopher, a script reader and consultant and Cameron, who is an independent filmmaker.

Karen – Founding Director

Karen speaks and teaches around the country, challenging Christians to embrace the creative and business professionals in Hollywood with the love and compassion of Jesus, and she is a published co-author of two books: How to Talk About Jesus Without Freaking Out (The J Bomb) and The Day I Met God. Karen is  also a producer and Co-Founder of JC Productions, an independent films and music production company. She has had extensive experience producing TV specials, documentaries and children’s programming, is developing a feature film and is an active member of the Producers Guild of America. Karen is a graduate of USC and is married to her best pal, Jim, a composer, and they have two sons: Christopher, a script reader and consultant and Cameron, who is an independent director.

Erin – Program Coordinator

Erin has lived in Los Angeles nearly her entire life, raised by parents who met in musical theater. The only exception is the four years she spent at the University of Oregon, earning a B.S. in Music (2017) and experiencing the weather of four real seasons each year. In college, Erin was part of the Oregon Marching Band as well as the UO Chamber Choir. She was also a member of UO’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, where she was on the worship team all four years and a student leader for two years. She has been connected to Hollywood since childhood, with a screenwriter/producer father. Her parents came to Hollywood because they saw it as God’s vocational ministry for them, and now Erin sees that vision too and is carrying on the family business of praying for Hollywood.

Erin – Program Coordinator

Erin has lived in Los Angeles nearly her entire life, raised by parents who met in musical theater. The only exception is the four years she spent at the University of Oregon, earning a B.S. in Music (2017) and experiencing the weather of four real seasons each year. In college, Erin was part of the Oregon Marching Band as well as the UO Chamber Choir. She was also a member of UO’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, where she was on the worship team all four years and a student leader for two years. She has been connected to Hollywood since childhood, with a screenwriter/producer father. Her parents came to Hollywood because they saw it as God’s vocational ministry for them, and now Erin sees that vision too and is carrying on the family business of praying for Hollywood.

Kim – Editor, YouVersion Devotionals

As the YouVersion editor for the Hollywood Prayer Network Devotional, Kim gathers the material, edits and proofs content to the YouVersion portal. She has been in various forms of leadership in ministry for over 30 years at her church including co-leader of the women’s ministry for 14 years. Her husband Rick, is an Emmy award winning producer as well as writer, editor and director. They are dad and mom to three boys, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. Their sons are Kyle, a pastor and high school teacher; Shane, a worship leader and sound design expert; and Brendon a US Marine and financial advisor.

Kim – Editor, YouVersion Devotionals

As the YouVersion editor for the Hollywood Prayer Network Devotional, Kim gathers the material, edits and proofs content to the YouVersion portal. She has been in various forms of leadership in ministry for over 30 years at her church including co-leader of the women’s ministry for 14 years. Her husband Rick, is an Emmy award winning producer as well as writer, editor and director. They are dad and mom to three boys, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. Their sons are Kyle, a pastor and high school teacher; Shane, a worship leader and sound design expert; and Brendon a US Marine and financial advisor.

Virginia – Community & Events Coordinator

Virginia is a young Los Angeles-based actress who leads a Christian ministry of spiritual help and encouragement to entertainment industry professionals. One outcome she longs to see is more media content with an underlying message of hope and redemption, for which there is a growing market. Recently, as an actress, Virginia starred in “Wicked Mom’s Club” (Lifetime), and will be seen in the sports drama The Last Champion. Virginia also is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership through California Baptist University’s online program, and works with the Hollywood Prayer Network to develop discipleship groups for young industry professionals.

Virginia – Community & Events Coordinator

Virginia is a young Los Angeles-based actress who leads a Christian ministry of spiritual help and encouragement to entertainment industry professionals. One outcome she longs to see is more media content with an underlying message of hope and redemption, for which there is a growing market. Recently, as an actress, Virginia starred in “Wicked Mom’s Club” (Lifetime), and will be seen in the sports drama The Last Champion. Virginia also is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership through California Baptist University’s online program, and works with the Hollywood Prayer Network to develop discipleship groups for young industry professionals.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Rick Bee – Chair

Faculty, Biola University

Rick is faculty at Talbot Seminary teaching on faith and money dealing with stewardship, credit, work and debt. He received degrees from Biola and Talbot in 1979 (BA), 1990 (MACE), and again in 2001 (Ph.D.). Outside of HPN and Biola, Rick serves as the President of the La Mirada Community Foundation and President of the board of Nightlight Christian adoptions.

Merlinda Balmas

Warner Bros., 9t5 Work-Life Ministry

Merlinda works at Warner Bros. Theatrical Marketing and it was there where she felt God’s calling to start 9t5, a ministry whose purpose is to equip and encourage Christians in their God-given roles to function with a Kingdom mindset and win their sphere of influence for Christ. She is also the Co-Director of Hollywood Prayer Network’s Hollywood Chapter and the President of Open Table Outreach (OTO), an organization that serves the homeless communities in Long Beach and Hollywood.

Dean Batali

Television writer, showrunner

Dean Batali is a television writer who worked on “That 70s Show” for seven years, serving as an executive producer for the show’s final season. He wrote for the initial two seasons of “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer” and has written for “Duckman,” “The Half-Hour News Hour,” and “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.” Most recently he was the executive producer and showrunner for two seasons on the Hallmark Channel’s “Good Witch.” Dean co-authored the book “Watching TV Religiously” and was featured in the book “Faith in the Halls of Power.”

Dr. Naima Lett

Pastor, producer

Dr. Naima Lett is an award-winning actor, producer, speaker and co-pastor with husband Kevin of Hope in the Hills, a diverse church plant in Beverly Hills. As Dallas Seminary’s first Master in Media & Communications and BIOLA’s first female Doctor in Preaching, she loves helping young leaders find their purpose and follow their dreams while deepening their faith.

Rick Bee – Interim Chair

Faculty, Biola University

Rick is faculty at Talbot Seminary teaching on faith and money dealing with stewardship, credit, work and debt. He received degrees from Biola and Talbot in 1979 (BA), 1990 (MACE), and again in 2001 (Ph.D.). Outside of HPN and Biola, Rick serves as the President of the La Mirada Community Foundation and President of the board of Nightlight Christian adoptions.

BOARD OF REFERENCE

    • Phil Cooke – Founder & CEO, Cooke Media Group

    • Kathleen Cooke – Founding Partner & VP, Cooke Media Group

    • Karen Leonard – Social Worker

    • Jim Leonard – Pastor, Cornerstone Church Los Angeles

    • Brannon Shortt – Pastor, Saddleback Church

    • Ryan Bethea – Digital Marketing Consultant