Williams Oaks IV and Morgan Saunders have joined New York City-based creative marketing and production company 19th & Park as executive producer and head of production, respectively.
“With their collective experience in producing digital, commercial, and original series, having Will and Morgan helm the production department is an exciting step forward in shaping 19th & Park into a long-standing player in this field,” said Tahira White, 19th & Park co-founder and president in a statement. “Our dedication to changing the faces of leadership roles in advertising continues and I’m thrilled to have these two incredibly talented individuals at the forefront.”
Oaks started his career as a production intern and moved to line producer before being hired as 19th & Park’s newest executive producer. Over the course of his career, he has produced such shows as CNN’s The Wonder List, BET’s The BET Awards and CBS’ Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows and live special Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo.
“I started in special events, which brought out the theater in me,” said Oaks, who studied dance at Washington, D.C.’s Howard University, in a statement. “I love the whole spectacle, and I’ve been able to lend that passion and multimedia skill to so many platforms, including news, live specials, commercial content and unscripted storytelling.
“Coming to 19th & Park encompasses everything I’ve done over the years,” Oaks continued. “They’re innovative in how they approach creativity, especially in terms of the inclusiveness in their projects. It feels good to produce content for people who are like me, and to work with creatives who are thinking more diversely.”
Saunders joins 19th & Park following four years at Netflix’s nonfiction originals, where she managed such partner-produced titles as Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, The Floor is Lava, and Love is Blind. Before that, she oversaw West Coast production for studio shoots, live music festivals, and events at Revolt TV.
“I believe in black-owned businesses with black females owning the narrative and the content being produced,” said Saunders, also in a statement. “I’ve never had that before. It’s truly important for us to own that content and tell those stories.”
Saunders graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she met 19th & Park Co-Founder/CEO Whitney Headen. She got her start at Washington, D.C.-based National Geographic as a production executive assistant on nonfiction series, including The Incredible Dr. Pol, Snake Salvation and The Secret Life of Predators.
She went on to work at such boutique production companies as Sirens Media and Halfyard Productions, where she helped develop original content for A&E, ABC and TLC. She then expanded her production experience working on programs for the Travel Channel, followed by a return to Nat Geo to lead its Impact Media program, which supports such initiatives as saving uncharted ocean spaces and endangered species.
As Saunders pivots from the network to the agency world, she feels her client-side experience and production background will prove to be an advantage.
“Working in the commercial space has been a new challenge for me, but production is always production regardless of the content,” she said. “I’m excited to be at a place where I get to vary my storytelling lens.”