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Meet the… membership services director

The Trusted Partner Network's Kari Grubin details her journey from working as a tour guide at Universal Studios to working in post production and mastering, before joining TPN to help raise awareness of content security

Kari Grubin, membership services director, Trusted Partner Network (TPN), wholly owned by the Motion Picture Association
Talk us through an average day in your role.

TPN has created a media and entertainment industry platform to raise security awareness, preparedness and capabilities, providing content owners with a trusted information source to make independent, risk-based decisions when selecting service providers. My role is to bring visibility to the value of voluntary participation in TPN, and to support our current membership, which includes representation from over 47 countries, with over 70 per cent being non-US based companies, as well as prospective members.

In addition, member service and software providers can measure their own security preparedness as well as self-manage and centrally communicate multiple layers of content security status and assessments to their customers – the content owners.

I work to grow and support the global TPN community network and I also represent TPN at multiple industry forums and events. It is critical that TPN provides a neutral and equitable global network for all current and future participants who are concerned about content security, regardless of company size or location. We regularly communicate the program benefits and deliver continuous progress as part of our mission to raise industry security standards. 

Depending on the member’s structure, I also help our members navigate the best outcomes for their company with regard to managing their information on the TPN+ platform so they can communicate and improve their content security preparedness across their on-site, cloud and application ecosystem. Using the MPA best practices as the baseline, the TPN assessment assures content owners that the companies they are partnering with along the entire media chain are equally focused on and committed to content security. 

My role is both proactive and reactive, ensuring that our members are maximising their membership, and supporting TPN in identifying new ways we can support our members. 

Through my daily conversations with industry players, it’s clear that cyber security and cyber resilience is top of mind. I gather their questions, receive feedback, understand more about their pain points and challenges that they have, evaluate trends, and circle this all back to the entire TPN team so that we can continue making progress. 

How did you get started in the media industry?

Funny enough, I did not intend to pursue a career in media. I thought I wanted to be a doctor, but all of that changed when I became a tour guide at Universal Studios during college. I caught the entertainment “bug” and changed my major to radio, TV and Film.

In the early ’90s, I worked at Paramount Pictures in the mastering department, where I witnessed the birth of DVD, Blu-ray, and high-definition digital cinema. In the early 2000s, I opened my own post production facility, learned a great deal about all aspects of the business, and eventually sold it to Deluxe in 2006. I continued with Deluxe for a number of years as vice president of post and restoration. I was looking for a change and had the opportunity to enter the cybersecurity industry working for a cybersecurity research and testing firm. My media and entertainment knowledge and experience was useful in providing them with the expertise they were looking for to build the business. 

My next adventure took me to Walt Disney Studios in mastering, I had the amazing opportunity to be part of the leadership team watching the development of new technologies and support collaboration across Disney’s post production and mastering teams on everything from the evolution of HDR for Theatrical and home release and the launch of Disney+. 

During the pandemic, I went on to consult with SMPTE, where I developed and launched their first Rapid Industry Solutions Initiative covering on set virtual production.

Joining TPN this year has reinforced my dedication to the ever-evolving content, technology and media landscape. Working in an environment where we all share common goals for content security is refreshing and satisfying. My collective experiences over the years reinforce the fact that I am a builder at heart – I enjoy challenging myself by taking on projects that are creating a meaningful impactful and solving big problems for the industry.

What training did you have before entering the industry?

My focus before entering this industry was in medicine, so most of the development of my industry-specific skills and knowledge has come from being immersed in the various roles I’ve held since entering media and entertainment. I’m truly grateful for all the opportunities, which have helped me explore so many avenues while using my observant nature, willingness to learn, and curiosity. I consider myself a life-long learner and constantly seek out new information that helps me grow professionally and personally.

Why do you enjoy working in the industry?

Well, it’s certainly both exciting and challenging, and is constantly evolving, sometimes at a breathtaking pace. The ever-changing industry landscape fuels my passion.

Each role I’ve worked in, whether it’s been publicity or film editing, has offered me a unique perspective, helping me develop a wide range of skills. I have been so fortunate to have the opportunity to acquire so much knowledge and collaborate across different businesses within the various companies and professional organisations I have worked for around the world, helping create technologies and platforms.

TPN’s mission is to grow the community network and raise security standards for the industry, and I’m excited to help global companies focus on and understand how to keep content secure across the entire media chain. 

What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?

Stay curious and proactive within the industry. Technology and trends are evolving so quickly, so it’s important to be willing to learn and adapt to changes. Seeking out opportunities to collaborate and partner can often lead to new ideas, technologies, and platforms that benefit the industry. Having a strong understanding of content security or the desire to learn about it is key, plus having the passion to protect content will help drive them and navigate a career in media content security. I would also encourage individuals to give back to the community in any way that makes them happy, as this can lead to personal growth and satisfaction.