This day of first-hand storytelling celebrates today’s most influential women in arts and technology who have risen to the top of their respective fields by eschewing traditional career trajectories in creating their own paths. Not only have these women broken ceilings to succeed for themselves, but most importantly they have created opportunities for other women along the way through direct support and mentorship, forging job opportunities for others and creating content where women can see themselves and the possibilities of what they themselves could become.
These creative minds refused to take no for an answer, taking on outsized risks, despite the conventional wisdom. These women in tech and entertainment are bold, they are driven by innovation, and they have reservoirs of expertise and life lessons to share.Opening with a keynote conversation with Full Frontal's Host Samantha Bee and Producer Allana Harkin with The Li.st's Rachel Sklar, speakers include Fashion Designer Donna Karan with ABC News Correspondent, Rebecca Jarvis; actress & activist Rosie Perez with Kate Ward, Editor-In-Chief of Bustle.com; Marie Claire's Executive Editor Lea Goldman with Kathleen Grace, Chief Creative Officer of New Form Digital, HelloGiggles co-founder Sophia Rossi, PYPO Founder Stephanie Laing, Buzzfeed's Heben Nigatu, and Chief Content Officer for Refinery 29 Amy Emmerich; actress La La Anthony; Google Entertainment Industry Educator in Chief Julie Ann Crommett; ‘Fresh off the Boat’ Showrunner Nahnatchka Khan and New Girl's Executive Producer Liz Meriwether with Entertainment Weekly's Danielle Nussbaum; actress Mya Taylor with writer and host Catie Lazarus; costume and production designer Kristi Zea; New York Public Radio’s President & CEO Laura Walker with WNYC’s Death, Sex & Money's Anna Sale and stand-up comedian, actress, and host Phoebe Robinson; Cindy Gallop, Founder & CEO, MakeLoveNotPorn; Kathryn Minshew, Founder & CEO, The Muse; and more!
La La Anthony
La La Anthony is a prolific producer, author, actress, and cosmetics mogul. She is currently developing a hip-hop docu-series with Grammy-winning musician Timbaland, and she recently made her Broadway debut co-producing historic all-female, all-black play Eclipsed, which stars Lupita Nyong’o. When not producing, La La splits her time between acting in such films as Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, releasing her own makeup lines designed for today’s woman of any shade, and making her way to the top of the Barnes & Noble and the New York Times Best Sellers Lists for her first novel, The Love Playbook.
Samantha Bee is the host of her own late night show titled Full Frontal with Samantha Bee for TBS. Full Frontal offers a unique satirical take on weekly news and explores other important stories in-depth that have been largely overlooked by more traditional media outlets. She joined Comedy Central's The Daily Show's "Best F#@king News Team" in 2003. Bee currently holds the title for being the longest-serving regular Daily Show correspondent of all time (12 years). Set to debut in April, Bee and her husband, Jason Jones, created The Detour for TBS, which stars Jason and is inspired by their own experiences with family getaways.
Julie Ann Crommett
Julie Ann Crommett joined Google in December 2013 and is working to shift perceptions of computer science in media so as to diversify the field. Previously, at NBCUniversal she was responsible for behind-the-camera diversity including the Directing Fellowship Program and Writers on the Verge. While working in Hollywood, Julie Ann initiated a cross-company Hispanic episode of NBC's Grimm, was an NBCU Entertainment Associate, worked in reality TV and at Pixar Animation Studios. She was recently honored with ADCOLOR’s 2015 Innovator Award, hails from Atlanta via San Juan, PR (Cuban too!), and graduated with a B.A. in English from Harvard.
Amy Emmerich is the chief content officer at Refinery29, the leading digital lifestyle media company for women. She has been responsible for spearheading the growth of the video department, launching dozens of original series, and helping to expand content offerings. Emmerich has more than 20 years of experience developing content and programming for brands including HBO, Travel Channel and Vice Media. She has won Emmy awards for projects such as MTV’s Made and the documentary special Translating Genocide. Refinery29's original series, The Skinny, premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival with rave reviews. With upcoming content like the ShatterBox Anthology, a series that supports emerging female filmmakers, Amy is focused on driving content strategy and expanding distribution across channels as Refinery 29’s brand scales globally.
Cindy Gallop is the founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn - 'Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference." - which she launched in 2009 with this talk at TED: http://blog.ted.com/cindy_gallop_ma/ The extraordinary response globally led her to launch https://makelovenotporn.tv/ in public beta in 2013, which is building a whole new category on the internet: social sex. Cindy speaks at conferences around the world and consults, describing her consultancy approach as ‘I like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business.’ You can follow her on Twitter @cindygallop @makelovenotporn and email her email@example.com
Lea Goldman is the Executive Editor of Marie Claire. She is the founding editor of the magazine’s @Work supplement and appears on Oxygen's entrepreneur-based reality show, Quit Your Day Job. Previously, she was a Senior Editor at Forbes Magazine, where she spearheaded their Celebrity 100, World Billionaires, and Hip Hop Cash Kings lists. She is the recipient of the James Aronson Award for Social Justice in Journalism and earned a National Magazine Award nomination for “The Big Business of Breast Cancer”.
Kathleen Grace is chief creative officer at New Form Digital, the only entertainment company focused on the development, production and distribution of scripted, mobile-friendly content. Since launching New Form in 2014, Grace and the New Form Digital team have developed and produced 29 pilots, with 18 of those sold into series to a variety of distribution and platform partners, including Verizon, CW The Seed and Refinery29.
Allana Harkin is a writer, actor and producer who is currently living the double life of both a Canadian and an American (Trump better not build that wall). She began her comedy career many years ago with the award winning sketch troupe "The Atomic Fireballs" and has shared several urine encrusted stages and smoked filled comedy bars with fellow Fireball Samantha Bee. After penning and starring in television, film and theatre Allana is now working as a Producer on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. It all makes sense now.
Rebecca Jarvis is the ABC News Chief Business and Economics Correspondent and Creator, Host and Managing Editor of Real Biz with Rebecca Jarvis. Deeply knowledgeable about financial news, she reports for all ABC News programs and platforms including Good Morning America, World News Tonight with David Muir, Nightline, 20/20, and This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
Donna Karan attended Parsons School of Design before beginning her career with an internship at Anne Klein, where she rose to head designer in 1974 at age 25. She and her husband Stephan Weiss founded Donna Karan International, launching the Donna Karan New York collection in 1985, DKNY in 1989, and a beauty line in 1992. Karan’s philanthropic efforts are extensive and in 2007, Karan established Urban Zen, a luxury lifestyle brand and foundation that addresses wellness, education, and the preservation of cultures through their artisan communities. In July 2015, Donna Karan stepped down as chief designer of her signature line to focus full-time on Urban Zen’s retail and philanthropic efforts. The CFDA has honored Karan six times; in 2004 she received its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Nahnatchka Khan is the Emmy nominated creator and executive producer of the ABC comedy series Fresh off the Boat, and creator of ABC's Don't Trust the B--- in Apartment 23. Khan started in children’s programming and eventually transitioned to prime time working on shows like Malcom in the Middle and Good Morning Miami. In 2005, she staffed on Fox’s hit series American Dad and quickly rose through the ranks to Executive Producer. Her unique comic-sensibilities helped the series earn an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Animated Series. Khan resides in LA and is a graduate of USC’s School of Television.
Julie Klausner is the creator, writer and star of the Hulu comedy series, Difficult People,which will return for Season 2 on July 12th. Her first book, I Don’t Care About Your Band, was recently optioned for a feature film with Klausner attached to write the script. Her podcast, How Was Your Week, has received critical raves from the New York Times, Rolling Stone and GQ among others. Klausner’s TV staff writing credits include Billy on the Street, Mulaney, Triumph & Jack, Best Week Ever with Paul F. Tompkins and The Big Gay Sketch Show.
Stephanie Laing is a five time Emmy nominated TV director and producer. She has produced some of the most popular series on HBO including the award winning comedy Veep, starring Julia Louis Dreyfus and the 2013 drama Banshee. Laing was also the executive producer on the HBO comedy Eastbound and Down, starring Danny McBride. In 1997, Laing won a Primetime Emmy Award for her role as a producer on Tracey Takes On. Laing recently founded PYPO, a digital platform for women.
Catie Lazarus is a writer and hosts Employee of the Month, a critically acclaimed weekly podcast and monthly live talk show at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater. She has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, Slate, The Daily Beast, Sundance, Tribeca Film Festival, Marie-Claire, Cosmo, and Funny or Die. Lazarus has interviewed numerous celebrities and politicians, including Bette Midler, Congressmen Barney Frank, Congressman Al Franken, Jon Stewart, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, she is most proud of interviewing Miss Piggy, Grover, and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
Elizabeth Meriwether is the creator and executive producer of the hit TV series New Girl, starring Zooey Deschanel, currently in its fifth season on FOX. New Girl is a critical and audience favorite and has been nominated for five Golden Globes and five Emmy Awards. Liz is also known for her 2011 romantic comedy No Strings Attached starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. She has written two comedy pilots for FOX as well as several off-Broadway plays, including The Mistakes Madeline Made, Oliver Parker! and Heddatron, a robot version of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler.
Kathryn Minshew is the CEO & Founder of The Muse, a career platform used by 50+ million millennials to find a job, learn professional skills or advance in their careers. A WSJ and Harvard Business Review contributor, Kathryn has spoken at MIT and Harvard and appeared on TODAY and CNN. She has also been named to SmartCEO's Future50 and Inc.’s 35 Under 35. A Duke alum, Kathryn worked in Rwanda with the Clinton Health Access Initiative before founding The Muse, and was previously at McKinsey & Company. Say hi on Twitter @KMin
Heben Nigatu is a senior editor at BuzzFeed and co-host of the critically acclaimed podcast Another Round. The show covers topics ranging from race, politics, and mental health to Beyoncé, mangos, and squirrels. The show –which was named best podcast of 2015 by Vulture, Slate, iTunes, Wired, and many more– features an incredible roster of guests like Uzo Aduba, Hillary Clinton, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Heben was named as one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” in media for 2016. She can be found live-tweeting her shows at @heavenrants. The only thing she loves more than her shows are mangos.
Danielle Nussbaum was named Senior West Coast Editor at Entertainment Weekly in May 2014. In her role, Nussbaum is responsible for overseeing and editing the magazines theater and music coverage.
Prior to joining Entertainment Weekly, Nussbaum worked as Entertainment Director for Who What Wear, Byrdie.com, and DomaineHome.com at Clique Media. From 2007 – 2012, Nussbaum was an Entertainment Director at Teen Vogue, where she spearheaded coverage of TV, movie and music content for the brand.
Nussbaum is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
An Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy nominated actress and choreographer Rosie Perez was stealing eyes with riveting dramatic performances since the 90s in Spike Lee’s renowned classic Do the Right Thing, Ron Shelton’s White Men Can’t Jump, and Peter Weir’s Fearless.
The past year proved very busy for Rosie Perez as she returned to Broadway for the highly-successful Fish in the Dark with Larry David. On the big screen, her performance in Peter Weir’s Fearless garnered her a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination.
Perez received critical acclaim for her directorial debut, Yo Soy Boricua Pa’que Tu Lo Sepas!, a documentary which celebrates Puerto Rican pride. Throughout her career, Perez has been a vocal activist for a number of causes and serves as the Artistic Board Chair for Urban Arts Partnership. Rosie details her childhood upbringing and career in her book, Handbook for an Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling (with Great Hair).
Phoebe Robinson is the co-host, with Jessica Williams, of the WNYC Studios’ podcast “2 Dope Queens,” and a stand-up comedian, writer, and actor who has been named by Vulture, Essence, and Esquire as a top comedians to watch. She has appeared on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and Last Call with Carson Daly, Comedy Central’s Broad City, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, and @midnight. She’s currently a writer for Vulture.com and VanityFair.com. Most recently, she consulted on Season 3 of Broad City and is working on her first book of essays, which will be released Fall 2016.
Sophia Rossi co-founded HelloGiggles, the popular internet haven for girls of all ages, in 2011 along with writer Molly McAleer and her real-life bestie, New Girl star Zooey Deschanel. In November 2015 the site was purchased by Time Inc., and is now are a part of the People and EW family. She has produced and written for several hit television series, including Fox’s Glee and MTV’s The Hills and The City. Born and raised in LA, Sophia bases much of her own personal and professional vision on popular internet culture and is particularly fond of tween blogs and young artists.
Anna Sale is the creator and host of Death, Sex & Money, the interview show from WNYC Studios about the things that we think about a lot and need to talk about more. Dubbed “The Queen of the Awkward Pause” by Fast Company, Anna has contributed interviews to Fresh Air with Terry Gross and reported for This American Life, NPR, Studio 360, PBS Newshour, and Slate.
Rachel Sklar is a writer, entrepreneur and feminist based in New York. She is the co-founder of Change The Ratio, which increases visibility and opportunity for women in tech & new media, and TheLi.st, a network & media platform for awesome women. A former lawyer who writes about media, politics, culture & technology, Rachel was a founding editor at Mediaite and the Huffington Post and writes and speaks widely.
Rachel has recently become an outspoken advocate for single moms since she has recently become one. She is an advisor to startups including Vox Media, The Muse, Lover.ly, Bustle, DonorsChoose, TeachAIDS.org and She’s The First. Funfact: In 2014 she contributed to President Obama’s White House Correspondents Dinner speech.
Mya Taylor is an actress and singer best known for her acclaimed role as Alexandra in Sean Baker's award-winning 2015 film Tangerine. For her performance, she was the recipient of an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress, designating her the first transgender actor to win at the awards show.
Laura R. Walker
Laura R. Walker is President and CEO of New York Public Radio (NYPR), a nonprofit media organization. NYPR owns and operates eight public radio stations, including WNYC and WQXR. It produces programs like Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, and On the Media. Under Walker’s leadership, NYPR won nine George Foster Peabody Awards. Walker was honored with an Edward R. Murrow Award from CPB and was named one of New York City’s Most Powerful Women by Crain’s New York Business. Walker is on The Tribune Media Company Board. Walker has an MBA from the Yale and a BA from Wesleyan.
Kate Ward is the Editor-in-Chief of Bustle.com, the largest digital media property aimed at millennial women. She is the former Executive Editor of Hollywood.com, and a former editor and writer for Entertainment Weekly and EW.com. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Ward has been named as one of Forbes' 30 under 30, and appeared on both Business Insider's 30 Most Important Women in Tech Under 30 and The Silicon Alley Insider 100.
Kristi Zea is a two-time Academy Award nominated production designer, costume designer, producer and director. Zea has production designed classic films such as Silence of the Lambs, Goodfellas and Revolutionary Road. She also costume designed movie greats including Fame, and Terms of Endearment. Zea directed the short film Domestic Dilemma for HBO for which she was nominated for an Ace Award. Zea was one of the producers of As Good As It Gets, and The Joneses. Her feature directorial debut Everybody Knows…Elizabeth Murray will premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.
Masters of Ceremony
Comedian Jane Condon won Audience Favorite (NYC) on NBC's Last Comic Standing. She has also appeared on The View, the Today Show and the series finale of 24. The Associated Press calls her "an uppercrust Roseanne." The New York Times says, "Condon had the audience cackling, guffawing and in hysterics as she sliced through marriage, husband, kids, politics and other topics." In 2011, she gave the commencement speech at Wellesley College (her alma mater).
A multi-platform journalist and screenwriter, Keli Goff’s work has appeared in the publications Time, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Elle, The New York Times, and New York Magazine. Currently a Columnist for The Daily Beast and Host of “Political Party with Keli Goff” airing on NPR affiliate WNYC, she won a 2016 NAACP Image Award for her work as a writer on the hit television series “Being Mary Jane.” The author of two books and a former playwriting fellow with The Public Theater, Keli is currently completing her first documentary, a history of the reproductive rights movement.
Lacey is CEO of the production company Truth Aid. She is a writer/director/producer and outreach/community strategist who has worked with many companies, including MTV, BET, NASCAR and @radical.media. Lacey directed, wrote and produced Little White Lie, an award-winning, highly rated and critically acclaimed personal documentary about dual identity and family secrets which was broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens and is now available on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon. She also Executive Produced the narrative film DIFRET. Lacey has a BA from Georgetown University and a JD from Harvard Law School. She is a member of the New York State Bar.