Speaker Spotlight! Samantha Scharff, Founder & CEO @ Future 8

Introducing Samantha Scharff, an American television producer, comedy writer, and former CEO of GIPHY Studios. Samantha is one of the most prominent figures in the entertainment and culture industry. She has always been a big believer in building unique and nurturing environments where talent can thrive. Scharff attributes her success to intuition, she is able to recognize the next big trend and uses this ability to create successful projects that appeal to large groups of people on an empathetic level.

Building her extensive network and highly regarded professional resume required numerous years and many different experiences. Scharff’s career began when she was only 21 years old at Saturday Night Live on the NBC network as a production assistant. Through dedication and hard work, she eventually became a producer of this incredibly popular late-night comedy show, where she then remained for the next 10 years. While working at Saturday Night Live, she gained valuable skills that would later help further her career. During Scharff’s time at Saturday Night Live, she also began her freelancing career. She produced both Robert Smigel’s TV Funhouse on Comedy Central, an animated cartoon series, as well as the Colbert Report, another late-night talk show hosted by Stephen Colbert. After leaving SNL, Scharff then completely committed as a freelance writer and producer. During the next three years of her career, she developed and produced projects for Norman Lear, 20th Century Fox Studios and many more individuals, networks and companies. Samantha’s next most influential positions were as Head of Development for Maker Studios (now known as the Digital Disney Network), a global digital media brand which produces original short form series and Head of Digital Content and Strategy for FOX Animation Domination High Definition which was a block of cartoons that aired every Saturday.

One of Scharff’s more recent and notable projects was GIPHY Studios, where she was the acting CEO beginning in 2016. GIPHY Studios is the premiere source for high quality GIF creation. As the world’s largest place to search, discover and create GIFs, GIPHY is the leading brand in visual communication. GIPHY makes original content for brands, celebrities, TV networks, film companies, sports leagues, music labels, and more. Used by iMessage, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, GIPHY is able to reach more than 300 million people daily with engaging GIFs. Whether it is a light and fun way to start a conversation with someone on a dating app or a way for a company to appeal to a younger generation and reach out with relatable content across social media platforms, GIPHY is widely used by people everywhere.

Samantha’s hard work on these projects have received outstanding recognitions. She is the recipient of the 2018 Shorty Award, an award which honors the best content creators and producers on social media. Along with this, Scharff has also received a Streamy Award which honors the best in online video and the creators behind it. She is also a role-model for female leaders in the workplace. In fact, she was named as one of the Exceptional Women of the World by The Drum. As someone who has been in a field dominated by men for much of her career, Scharff is especially invested in advocating for women’s relationships within the workplace, for making these relationships more uplifting and supportive overall. If you’re still looking for reasons why Scharff is one of the Ascent Conference’s most accomplished speakers, you should also know that she is also an Emmy Award winning producer!

Samantha is an inspiring and accomplished individual. Having gained such valuable experience from such a young age, Scharff has acquired the necessary leadership skills and intuition required for this industry. On a more personal note, Scharff believes venturing outside of one’s comfort zone is essential to success. She believes that in order to obtain this success in your career, you must know when to take time for yourself to ensure that you are grounded. Taking a step back and viewing the bigger picture is a tactic many of us could benefit from. Scharff has used these lessons in her career and has had numerous successful endeavors.

Her current entrepreneurial endeavor has led her to Future 8, where she currently sits as the Founder and CEO. Future 8 is a next-generation digital studio that sits at the intersection of new media, entertainment, and tech. They create original content that connects with audiences across platforms. Future 8 also develops custom tailored strategies for companies to walk into the future of production and engagement. Current clients include GIPHY, Sweet, Yuser, and Mondo Media.

We look forward to hearing from such an accomplished entrepreneur and inspiring leader at NYC’s Ascent Conference, October 3-4!

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