From Iona Commuter to Media Mogul, Tony Goncalves ’94 Paved His Own Unique Path to the Top

An accomplished and skillful leader, Goncalves shared insights on pivotal career moments, while offering valuable professional advice to students as keynote speaker at Iona Scholars Day


Sunghee Lee, Tony Goncalves and Niomi Nunez

From Left: Dr. Sunghee Lee, Tony Goncalves '94 and Niomi Nunez '24.

New Rochelle, N.Y. - Iona University alumnus Tony Goncalves ’94 recently delivered the keynote address for Iona Scholars Day, an annual event celebrating the scholarship and creative activities performed by students across academic disciplines. A transformational leader with a proven track record of scaling and operating complex businesses and organizations, Goncalves shared his insights into college and professional success on April 20, 2023.

“I would say that my journey throughout college was different than most,” he said, reflecting on his time as a commuter student at Iona. “But I took every bit – every ounce – of what this school gave me and I’ve used it throughout my career and my life.”

Most recently, Goncalves served as chief revenue officer of WarnerMedia and CEO of Otter Media, a WarnerMedia and AT&T company. As WarnerMedia’s chief revenue officer, Goncalves oversaw $20 billion in annual revenue and drove monetization opportunities across brands including HBO, Warner Bros., CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. Notably, Goncalves also led the development and launch of HBO Max.

As CEO of Otter Media, Goncalves managed a team of business founders and transformed their organizations into a collection of profitable, operating companies. Highlights include Japanese anime streamer, Crunchyroll, selling to Sony for $1.2 billion after growing to 5 million subscribers and Reese Witherspoon’s media company, Hello Sunshine, selling to Blackstone for over $900 million.

Among his many distinguished accomplishments, Goncalves is a board member of Upwardly Global, a national organization that assists immigrants and refugees with building careers. In 2016, he received Upwardly Global’s Outstanding Leadership Award. Goncalves has also been featured in Variety Magazine’s Variety500 Entertainment Leaders & Icons for three consecutive years.

“I would like to thank Tony for being our keynote speaker for Iona Scholars Day this year,” said Sunghee Lee, Ph.D., Board of Trustees endowed chemistry professor. “Not only did he pass down invaluable wisdom to our students; he also showed the heights that can be achieved in the world of business and that no matter what, once a Gael always a Gael.”

To kick off Iona Scholars Day, Goncalves sat down with journalism major Niomi Nunez ’24 for a Q&A session to discuss his experiences at Iona, while also offering insights and advice into the world of global business.

“If there’s one thing that defines my path, it’s probably that although I’ve encountered good people who have opened doors for me, walking through those doors was all on me,” Goncalves said. “So, in hard times, I remembered that not everybody gets these opportunities and I took full advantage of it.”

Watch the Full Keynote Q&A

Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona University also recently launched a new, fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona University and NewYork-Presbyterian announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, to be principally located on the University’s new campus in Bronxville, N.Y. Supported by a $20 million gift from NewYork-Presbyterian, the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences offers a new vision for collaborative health care education, modern workforce development, and community care. On July 1, 2022, Iona officially changed its status from College to University, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.