WOMEN & FASHION FILMFEST & SHE WEBFEST 2015
NOV 12-14 2015 AT SOUTH STREET SEAPORT STUDIO & PETER NORTON SYMPHONY SPACE, NYC
ANDRE LEON TALLEY Legendary Vogue Editor
SASHA CHARNIN MORRISON US Weekly Fashion Director
LAURA MICHALCHYSHYN President of Sundance Productions
DAE MELLENCAMP President of Vimeo
PAT CLEVELAND Legendary Supermodel
CARLA HALL ABC'S The Chew & MANY MORE
REGISTER TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR EXCITING PANELS & VIEW FILMS ONLINE!
DEVYN ABDULLAH Beautiful,determined, positive and talented are what enters your mind when you lay eyes on Devyn. The Bronx born fashion model is a native New Yorker of Barbadian and Jamaican descent. Driven to be a successful model,Devyn Abdullah has worked for clients such as David Yurman, Alexander McQueen, L'Oreal and many more as well as famous photographer Marc Baptiste's editorial for one of the legendary issues of TRACE Magazines "Black Girls Rule". She has also walked for well-known designers: Joanna Mastroianni, Pamella Roland, Catherine Malandrino,David Tlale and Guido Maria Kretschmer.
Devyn believes in living without limits and loves exploring the adventures of expanding her horizons whenever possible. Her moto "I live for art, I believe in the expression of art and its limitlessness " is a daily affirmation. Having always viewed modeling as a form of art is what made it so easy for her to concur. She has also explored being behind the camera which enabled her to amplify her love and knowledge of photography. Her first professional photography exhibit featured at The Harlem Museum of Art launched in 2009 entitled "The Underdog" which depicted several mind blowing
imageries so powerful that Tony Bennett purchased an autographed copy for his personal art collection. An honor for any student as he is chairman and founder the famous Frank Sinatra High School in New York City, Devyn's alma Mata. In succession of this bold exhibit she created a short film entitled "LIPS" where she received recognition at the Tribeca Film Festival chosen as 1of 12 art students to win this honor.
At young age of 22 Devyn triumphed as the first official winner of 11THE FACE", Naomi Campbell's reality TV modeling competition. Amongst supermodel coaches and other industry professionals Naomi Campbell declared that Devyn was "the one to beat,11 with potential "to go all the way11• Throughout the competition Devyn's determination was not be reckoned with nor her focus to win a contract and become the Brand Ambassador of cosmetic line ULTA Beauty! Always first in her mind, that the winning of this competition was not solely for her but for her beautiful daughter as well.
Today, Devyn is a shining example for young mothers who desire to work professionally in whatever field they choose and a proven winner with many more successes to follow. Devyn is currently using her story and success with the same determination as a spokesperson. She has spoken for several companies: Inwood House (a foundation for young mothers In foster care), Youth Speak Speakers Bureau and The National Urban League. "/ would love to encourage
people to strip themselves away from the addicting thought pattern for just the survival of
life and embrace the love of life" says Devyn Abdullah. Devyn's plan is to use her growth and strong perspective to help others learn this by sharing her obstacles openly.
It is very clear that Devyn's beauty is not just external but also comes from within and so does her love.
SANDI BASS Casting Director, International Model Scout, Lecturer and Philanthropist. Bringing more than twenty years of expertise to the fashion and modeling industries, born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, she studied Art Culture and Fashion Design at LA City College, while knocking door-to-door to pursue her dream in fashion. While living in Los Angeles, Sandi was discovered by Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy and taken to Paris, France as his muse. She became part of the historical Girls of Color Cabine that took Paris by storm on the heels of the Versailles Show.
Sandi spent the next fifteen years as a top runway model working for designers such as Valentino, Christian Dior, Emanuel Ungaro, Karl Lagerfeld, and Fendi, while living in Paris, Rome, and Tokyo. During this time, she also became part of a singing group, The Peter Jacques Band, which toured and opened for Abba and the Bee Gees at the famous Forum Coliseum in Rome. After turning in her runway pumps, Sandi returned to America, and became an on-camera personality and fashion coordinator on television for Fashions of the Moment, and a guest judge on Tyra Bank’s America’s Next Top Model. Turning to writing, she has also written numerous articles over the years on
modeling and fashion, published in magazines and newsletters.
Sandi is now on the other side of the modeling industry. Having worked as Director of Runway with a top NY agency, she travels the world as a leading international model scout, placing models in Asia, Europe, US and Canada. Sandi is a Casting Director in New York for important fashion and film events including: Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week. United Colors of Fashion Academy,which Empowers Youth Through Fashion Education, with proceeds going to help people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa; and Maritage International a(United Nations affiliate focusing on empowering women and addressing poverty by creating opportunities through the arts). Sandi is a Board Member and Casting Director for the Women & Fashion FilmFest, an annual event gathering leaders in Fashion, Entertainment and Media to examine their impact on women to foster social responsibility.
Sandi is also Co-Producer of the annual Virgin Island Model of the Year Competition in St. Croix, providing international modeling opportunities to many island beauties. Combining Sandi’s strong communication skills, her deeply rooted connections with agencies worldwide and her knowledge of the industry, while understanding the importance of relationships and ethics, she is sought after by modeling agencies, schools and conventions to give seminars and sound advice to models and their parents. She also serves as the Creative Director for Cover Girls for Change, a platform initiated by models of the 80s and 90s spotlighting the beauty, fashion and film industries to mentor young models through events during NY Fashion Week. Sandi has recently been chosen as a member of The National Association of Professional Women in New York. Despite her expertise in fashion and modeling and travels around the world, she is affectionately known for her southern charm by members of the international fashion community. Sandi lives in New York City and has a beautiful daughter, son-in-law and three wonderful granddaughters.
JAMES BELZER was born and raised in the Panama Canal Zone. His family moved there from Philadelphia when his father (formerly a ship Captain with Texaco), accepted a position as a Panama Canal Pilot. Until his retirement after 27 years of service, his father was responsible for navigating ships through the Panama Canal for the Panama Canal Company, a subsidiary of the U.S. Government.
Growing up in the deep tropics of Panama was a unique experience. James, like many of his peers, was not widely exposed to traditional U.S. media, due to limited availability of TV, as well as the delay in the delivery of film, music and the absence of other forms of pop cultural experiences, like the mall?! The Panama Canal Zone, as it was called, was pretty much like a company town, with all housing and services owned and operated by the Panama Canal Company.
Upon graduation from Balboa High School, where he was the Senior Class President, he set off for New York City to attend NYU. After an initial cultural and weather crisis – having never experienced winter – James successfully adjusted to NYU and life in greater New York. He accomplished his
academic endeavors, attending the Tisch School of the Arts as a Drama Major in the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting, ultimately earning his B.A in Journalism from NYU. He made up for the lack of access to the established pop culture references in childhood by deciding to create some new artistic projects of his own.
Upon realizing that the life of a painter, singer, actor, basically a “starving artist,“ in New York had serious limitations, James joined Fairchild Publications and began his career in ad sales in the world of fashion magazines. After 7 years at Fairchild working at M Magazine, he went on to work for other national magazines such as Esquire, Spa Finder and most recently, for the past five years as the Business Development Director at Harper’s Bazaar.
Having never given up his creative ambitions, the artistic activities have lived as entrepreneurial efforts right along side his magazine career. From producing parties at a host of NYC nightclubs, to the advent of his music alter ego (Jimmy Beats), to the more recent live theater productions – off Broadway at The Lucille Lortel and at the Cherry Grove theater in Fire Island – James has produced and directed numerous creative projects over the years.
Now an independent filmmaker, James is involved with several key film projects, including “THE TENTS” – a documentary about the history of NY Fashion Week that was recently released (www.TheTentsMovie.com), “MAKE IT IN AMERICA: Empowering Global Fashion” and “COMING OF AGE IN CHERRY GROVE: The Invasion” – a documentary about the colorful members of the Cherry Grove (Fire Island) community.
GRACE BOL was born in Sudan and moved to Kansas City as a young girl. Her school teachers always told her she should model, but the stateuesque Grace was more interested in basketball. With some encouragement, Grace ended up moving to New York to pursue modeling and has not left since. She has walked for Givenchy, Lanvin and Tom Ford. Grace is passionate about her friend’s non-profit organization, The Roots Project, that teaches arts and crafts to South Sudanese communities.
ANNA CLEVELAND Anna's been modeling practically since she was born thanks to her supermodel mom, Pat Cleveland. Her first major photo shoot came when she was 14, a spread for Vogue Paris. Since then, she's appeared in numerous campaigns.
"When I was little, I'd go backstage with my mum or see her on TV, and I really liked it. But she always said to me, 'You pick your own future.'"
PAT CLEVELAND is an international modeling icon. She has worked for the most prestigious fashion designers including, Armani, Halston, Stephen Burrows and Valentino, both on and off the runway. Ms. Cleveland has also been seen in the work of important photographers including Avedon, Helmut Newton, Horst and Steven Meisel. Throughout her illustrious career, Pat has appeared on the pages of the world’s most prestigious fashion publications such as, Ebony, Essence, Interview, W Magazine and Vogue. Her beauty has not been overlooked by the art world, as she has posed for some of the greatest artists including Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali.
As a Fashion Ambassador, Ms. Cleveland has traveled extensively representing the United States and the United Kingdom on trips to China, Italy and Russia. In 1989, Pat represented the city of Barcelona as a fashion icon for the Summer Olympics in Spain. Recently, she was the recipient of the “The Thurgood Marshall Award” as a Fashion Icon and was honored at the Fashion Institute of Technology as a Fashion Innovator.
In addition to modeling, Pat has performed, sang and danced on stage in Let My People Come
on Broadway. She has also acted in several foreign films including Rio Babilônia (Brazil), Iago Shakespeare (Italy), Sotto il vestito niente (Italy) and Hair, The Musical (Mexico); and has appeared in cameo parts for The Devil Wears Prada, Sex and the City: The Movie. Pat has also appeared on television shows including America’s Next Top Model and Naomi Campbell’s The Face. Additionally, she has been featured in numerous documentaries including Ultrasuede: In Search for Halston, Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, Versailles 73: American Runway Revolution, and About Face: Supermodels, Then and Now. A superstar in Italy, Pat has recorded original lyrics written for Joe T. Vanelli and published a book of poems, In The Spirit of Grace, also published in English. Pat resides in the US and is currently focusing on writing her autobiography. She lives with her husband, Paul van Ravenstein.
HARRIETTE COLE, President and Creative Director and Harriette Cole Media, is a life stylist, an insightful writer and editor, a best-selling author, a media coach, a nationally syndicated advice columnist, an etiquette expert, a trusted professional who is a frequent guest on NBC’s Today Show, LXTV, Access Hollywood, the Biography channel, BET and more, offering her sage and contemporary brand of wisdom to an ever-evolving cultural landscape. Cole has dedicated her life to helping to inspire people to discover how to be their best.
Harriette has worked for more than 20 years in the world of lifestyle magazines. Most recently she led the transformation of the iconic Ebony Magazine brand, shepherding the redesign of the magazine from cover to cover, introducing new features, strengthening the storytelling and bringing a broad range of respected writers, photographers and stylists to the table. During her tenure as Creative Director and then the added responsibility of Editor-in-Chief, Cole produced groundbreaking covers and features on President Obama, Michelle Obama, Michael Jackson and Prince. Cole executive-produced a ½ hour special for The Africa Channel on Prince, called “Prince: Behind the Symbol” that was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
Harriette started her editorial career reaching millions of readers for 11 years when she worked as lifestyle and fashion director at Essence magazine. She was the editor of American Legacy Woman, a lifestyle magazine targeted to African-American women. Cole served as founding editorial director for Uptown, a lifestyle magazine for the urban elite. As president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media, she has tailored training workshops for Lockheed Martin, Kraft Foods, Sara Lee Corporation, National Urban League and NAACP. She currently is leading executive leadership training workshops for advertising agencies such as Zenith, Optimedia, and Moxie.
In addition, Cole has supported the development of artists for Universal Records, J Records, Motown and Def Jam and worked with entertainers including Queen Latifah, JoJo, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Tamar, Carl Thomas, Shontelle, Hal Linton and Cara Salimando.
Cole currently contributes to The Today Show, MSNBC, TheRoot.com, Uptown magazine and a range of others. In her work as a lifestyle and etiquette expert, Cole is a recurring expert guest on The Today Show and has made many appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Rachael Ray Show, and The Hallmark Channel’s New Morning Show. She was formerly the host of PULSE, a magazine format talk show on Take Five, XM 155 Satellite Radio. Cole was the guest judge on ABC Family Channel’s successful reality series, Perfect Match NY. She is also regularly called to give advice and insight on NPR.
In 2011, Cole reignited a childhood passion and launched a line of handmade crocheted accessories, called 108 Stitches. Inspired by Cole’s 20+ years practicing meditation, the line is infused with the calming energy of meditation. The items are made of high-end, luxury fibers, including silk, cashmere, alpaca, fine wool, and suede.
Cole has an exceptional record of accomplishments prolific career. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Summa cum Laude from Howard University. She is a nationally syndicated columnist of “Sense and Sensitivity,” an etiquette and relationship management advice column targeting diverse audiences. Cole is also an accomplished author of several books including How to Be: A Guide to Living with Grace and Integrity as well as the preeminent African-American Wedding Planner, Jumping the Broom and its sequel Vows. Cole serves on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Multicultural Audience Development Initiative, the newly formed educational charity FoodFight, and the international charity PRASAD.
MEL ENGLAND has starred on Screen and Stage, Off Broadway, internationally and across the USA, since his debut at age 10 in CYRANO DE BERGERAC, directed by British Actor/Director Anton Rogers at the Dallas Theatre Center's Frank Lloyd Wright Theatre. England stars in the title role in the upcoming RON AND LAURA TAKE BACK AMERICA co-starring Golden Globe Best Actress Nominee Irene Bedard and Jim J. Bullock, and recently signed to co-star in LOVE ANONYMOUS with Academy Award Best Actress Nominee and Golden Globe Winner Sally Kirkland.
Mel can currently be seen starring in MISSING at the 2012 New York City International Film Festival, and in ARCHAEOLOGY OF A WOMAN, winner of the WorldFest Remi Gold and the 2012 Cine Golden Eagle for Best Feature. Also premiering in August of 2012, England stars as the scary Mr. Ghoulden in the hilarious dark comedy feature PERSONA AU GRATIN. Notably, England co-starred with Horror film star Sid Haig in the indie hit LITTLE BIG TOP, also starring Jacob Zachar of TV's GREEK, and starred as a minister confronted with his own crisis of faith in HIGHLIGHTS, nominated for Best Drama in the Moviefone Short Film Festival.
Off Broadway, England's solo show SWIMMING WITH THE POLAR BEARS premiered in April 2009 at
the Bleecker Street Theatre in New York as part of a 3-day benefit for THE CLIMATE PROJECT, and featured posters of the show signed by former Vice President Al Gore. SWIMMING then toured world-wide, performing in Los Angeles, and at the 2009 UN SUMMIT ON CLIMATE CHANGE in Copenhagen, and on the National Mall in Washington DC as part of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. Other Off Broadway credits include HECUBA, THE MISANTHROPE and MARRIAGE.
England starred in the New York and then Los Angeles premieres of Israel Horovitz's One-Man play 3 WEEKS AFTER PARADISE at the Cherry Lane and 13th Street Theatres in New York and the Secret Rose in Los Angeles, as part of the commemoration of the first anniversary of 9/11, to benefit WTC survivors. His own one-man show NAVAJO MEMOIRS, dubbed "Ingenious" by Backstage, premiered in New York, and he's the recipient of the NY Fringe Festival's "Best Acting Ensemble Award" for LUCKY MAN, and "Best Play of the Year" in Denver for the Regional Premiere of A SHAYNA MAIDEL. England has been a proud part of many notable New York productions, including the original casts of THE RING OF DEATH (by legendary Off Broadway writer H.M. Koutoukas) and MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM in Washington Square, HONEYSUCKLES (developed for TV by FOX), SEA MONKEYS at Playwrights Horizons' by Chad Beguelin (Tony Nominee for Broadway's WEDDING SINGER), and KING OF CONNECTICUT with Academy Award Winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Other credits include Trofimov in Terry Schreiber's CHERRY ORCHARD, his critically-acclaimed performance in O'Neill's ICEMAN COMETH in Denver, and the American premiere of Polish director Lzeck Szopa's I, WITCACY at Tribeca Performing Arts Center.
England studied with legendary acting teachers Terry Schrieber and Stella Adler, at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, with members of the Royal Shakespeare Company at the British American Theatre Institute, with internationally-acclaimed director Agousto Boal, and at the High School for the Arts in Dallas. He worked on a dance/theatre piece by legendary Modern Dance choreographer Anna Sokolov. As a lyricist, England collaborated with Katie Agresta on several songs, featured in NAVAJO MEMOIRS.
DAVID FRESCHMAN Meeting David is an experience like few others. Intense, Experienced and Passionate. Intensely loyal, he will fight with you all the way down the path of success. Don’t expect him to sugar coat his words, however. He will tell you exactly as he sees it. And it is usually right on target.
With over 30 years experience in the venture capital and entrepreneurial communities, David is a highly experienced and regarded venture capitalist and angel investor. He is the founder and Managing Principal of Innovation Capital Advisors, LLC (ICA), which serves as the management company of Innovation Ventures, L.P. (IV), and the Delaware Innovation Fund (DIF). His experience as a venture capitalist dates back to 1995 since he was asked to establish the DIF, the first Delaware based venture capital firm by then Governor Thomas R. Carper (currently serving as a Unites States Senator). The DIF is a seed and early-stage venture capital fund that focuses on entrepreneurial ventures in the Mid-Atlantic region, while IV is an early-stage and growth venture capital fund which has invested in fast-growth companies throughout the East Coast. David has extensive experience as an investor in consumer-oriented companies through the funds he manages and as an individual
angel investor. He has a passion for consumer oriented companies where he has advised several fashion designers and technology executives in a host of business and growth company investment matters.
David is active in the venture and entrepreneurial communities throughout the country. He is one of the organizers and initial investors in the Mid-Atlantic Angel Group in Philadelphia, where he served on the angel fund’s Executive and Investment Committees and is the founder of ARC Angel Fund in New York City where he helped establish and manage the first member managed angel fund in that city’s history. He is also the creator and founder of Early Stage East – the premier early-stage venture capital event on the East Coast and FashInvest – the largest global event and business platform for investors in the fashion and fashion technology arena.
David sits on a number of boards of directors both in the private and not-for-profit sectors. He enjoys sharing his experiences with others and has been a lecturer on venture capital, entrepreneurship and angel investing at several universities including The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University (where he served as the Entrepreneur in Residence), the University of Delaware, LIM College in NYC (where he serves as an Adjunct Professor), and Loyola University of Maryland. In addition, David has been invited to speak at entrepreneurial conferences around the country, including Funding Post, Womensphere, Astia, Bootstrapper, and The White House Conference on Small Business. In 2000, David was appointed and served a three-year term representing New Castle County, Delaware on the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. His advocacy for entrepreneurs has been recognized by the US Small Business Administration with the Small Business Financial Advocate of the Year award and citations from The City of Philadelphia and the State of Israel.
David launched his career with the Enterprise Group of Arthur Andersen, LLP in Philadelphia. After spending approximately six years at Andersen, he joined a large regional CPA and consulting firm where he was responsible for the formation of its corporate finance advisory division. David graduated with honors with an MBA from Loyola University of Maryland and from the University of Delaware with a B.S. in accounting, where he was a John B. Lynch Scholar. He is also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma – the National Business Honor Society.
David enjoys traveling, reading and studying cultures and countries around the world.
JUDY GEARHART has served as Executive Director of The International Labor Rights Forum since March 2011. Judy is also an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University's School for International and Public Affairs, teaching the course Human Rights and Development Policy since 2002. Previously, Judy served as the Program Director at Social Accountability International (SAI) where she coordinated legal research and training programs for workers and trade unions. Prior to SAI, Judy worked on democratization, women’s rights and labor rights programs for the Washington Office on Latin America, Mexican NGOs, UNICEF-Honduras and the ILO’s International Program to Eradicate Child Labor (IPEC). Judy holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University.
CARLA HALL Starring on ABC’s The Chew, Carla Hall is the owner of Executive Chef of Alchemy Caterers in Washington, D.C. Her food balances the heart and soul of the South and the refinement of her classic French training. A native of Nashville, Carla graduated from Howard University with a degree in Accounting. However, her passions were elsewhere and she eventually discovered her love of food while modeling in Paris, Milan, and London. After graduating from L’Academie de Cuisine, Carla worked as Sous Chef at the Henley Park Hotel and Executive Chef at The State Plaza Hotel and The Washington Club. She enjoys creating memorable comfort dishes with fresh, seasonal and local ingredients. Carla has passed on her genuine love and joy for being in the kitchen by teaching at CulinAerie and L’Academie de Cuisine, as well as extending her personal philosophies in team building classes at different venues in the D.C. metropolitan area.
MICHELLE HANDELMAN is a filmmaker and associate professor of Film & Media at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City. Her films are visually provocative, often dealing with issues of gender identity, and the darker side of artifice and glamour.
Her latest multiscreen project "Irma Vep The Last Breath" opened at The Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum (Fall 2013), and will be on tour throughout 2015. Her work has been exhibited worldwide including MIT List Visual Arts Center; Guangzhou 53 Art Museum, China; San Francisco MOMA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Krannert Art Museum; The Contemporary, Austin; Participant, Inc., NYC; Art-Claims-Impulse, Berlin; PERFORMA Biennial of Performance Art; 3LD Art & Technology Center, NYC.
Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art and her single-channel films have screened at hundreds of festivals and venues including Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris; New York Film Festival, Lincoln Center; London BFI Film Festival; American Film Institute, Los Angeles; Outfest, Los Angeles; MIX Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, New York; Kino Arsenal, Berlin; Rotterdam Film Festival; Pacific Film
Archives, Berkeley and Anthology Film Archives, New York.
In the mid ‘90s Handelman directed and produced the feature documentary BloodSisters, an in-depth look at the San Francisco leatherdyke scene. BloodSisters, supported by grants from The Horizons Foundation (1994) and The Film Arts Foundation (1992) toured for over four years, winning the 1999 Bravo Award (Bravo Television) and was broadcast in Germany, England, France, Japan and Australia. It has been re-released by the Tribeca Film Institute. In 2007 Bloomingdale’s chose Handelman’s work for their Fall Art Campaign, featuring her video work in stores throughout the country.
Handelman is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2011) and has received several grants and awards including Creative Capital MAP Fund (2011); New York Foundation for the Arts, Fellow in Video (2010); NYSCA Distribution Regrant, Electronic Media and Film (2010); Massachusetts College of Art and Design Faculty Fellowship Foundation Award (2010); Experimental Television Center Finishing Fund Grant (2008); LMCC Studio Residency Program, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2006/07); Rockefeller Fellowship (2001, 1996 nominee); NYSCA Individual Artist Grant Film, Video and Electronic Media (2004); and Experimental Television Center Residency, New York (2004). Her fiction and critical writing appear in many publications including n. Paradoxa; A Feminist Journal (KT Press, London 2010); Inappropriate Behaviour (Serpents Tail, London 2001); and Apocalypse Culture 2, (Feral House Press, LA 1992). Her work is in the collection of Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art; Kadist Art Foundation SF/Paris; di Rosa Foundation and Preserve, Napa, California; and Zabludowicz Art Trust, London. She lives in Brooklyn.
LIZ JANNEMAN As Executive Vice President, Network Strategy, Liz Janneman serves as Ovation's guiding strategic force, focused on business strategies that deliver incremental viewership, ad sales revenue and overall brand momentum. Toward these goals, Janneman oversees both the network’s advertising sales and marketing divisions, from Ovation’s New York offices.
Janneman has been a critical driver of Ovation’s success, tripling Ovation’s Ad Sales revenue since arriving at the company in 2009. Before joining Ovation, Janneman was President of Ad Sales for Current TV, where she oversaw ad sales efforts for both the channel and currentv.com. Prior to Current TV, Janneman was Senior Vice President of Ad Sales for Weather Channel for two years. Previously, she was Executive Vice President of Ad Sales for AOL/Time Warner where she was responsible for ad sales efforts for TNT and TBS, during which time revenues doubled to exceed $1 billion annually.
Janneman began her sales career with Turner at CNN in 1989 as an account executive and was promoted to Vice President, Ad Sales both in New York and in Los Angeles in 1992 and 1993
respectively. She was named SVP of Ad Sales for Turner Sports in 1994 and then SVP of Ad Sales for Turner Entertainment Networks in 1995. Before working on the network side, Janneman worked as VP/Associate Buying Director for Saatchi & Saatchi.
Janneman graduated from Hofstra University with a BA in Business Administration. Fluent in 3 languages, she resides in New York with Case and their two Rhodesian Ridgebacks.
JACQUELINE M. JENKINS is the Director of Graduate Studies for LIM College. With much enthusiasm, Jacqueline joined LIM College in November of 2013. Jacqueline leads the development and execution of the College’s graduate-level programs. These programs include the MBA with tracks in Fashion Management and Entrepreneurship and the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) programs in Fashion Merchandising & Retail Management, Fashion Marketing and Visual Merchandising.
Jacqueline was the Program Executive for the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Small Business Development Center. Prior to joining Wharton, Jacqueline was the COO for Milligan & Co., a regional accounting firm located in Philadelphia, PA.
In 2000, Jacqueline founded Add Value Day 1, an advisory business. The firm developed business strategies and raised capital for early-stage companies. Jacqueline also held corporate finance and supply chain management positions with Ann Taylor, Inc. Jacqueline began her career as a
commercial lender with the First National Bank of Boston. Jacqueline held the following board appointments: Pennsylvania Private Investors Group (investment fund), the Ben Franklin Technology Partners Enterprise Growth Fund (micro-loan program); and the Philadelphia 100 (business conference). Jacqueline was a Philadelphia Business Journal Forty Under Forty honoree. Jacqueline is also a Philadelphia Business Journal Women of Distinction honoree.
She earned her B.A. in economics from Spelman College and her MBA in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
DEBERA JOHNSON leads Pratt’s commitment to integrate sustainability into education, research and practice. She is the Executive Director of Pratt’s Center for Sustainable Design Studies (CSDS) and founded the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation in 2002, during her tenure as chair of Pratt’s Industrial Design program. Over the past 12 years the Incubator has launched over 38 social and environmental enterprises in four sectors: energy, fashion, product design and social entrepreneurship.
ERIC JOHNSON Eric is the Director of Fashion/Retail within NYCEDC’s Center for Economic Transformation where he oversees the City’s efforts to support and grow NYC’s $98B fashion industry. Eric has more than 6 years of experience developing sector-level initiatives to help NYC maintain its status as the worldwide fashion capital. Currently, he is leading a long-term strategic review of the industry to examine the challenges facing the fashion industry over the next 10-15 years and to develop programs to address those issues.
Prior to joining NYCEDC, Eric worked at Chicago-area healthcare intelligence and consulting firm, Sg2, where he served as cancer and surgical technology analyst as well as client services manager to over 15 major hospital systems.
Eric graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
ADRIANA KAEGI The day the founders of “Razorfish” introduced Adriana Kaegi to the Internet back in 1996, she envisioned endless opportunities. She immediately tested the boundaries of the internet with her "Cyber Cabaret,” one of the first interactive live web-casts, (praised by C/net and Yahoo as Best Live Webcast). Her pioneering work was noted by Globix Streaming Media Group, and Kaegi became the first online executive video producer to bring runway fashion shows live and on-demand from New York, Paris and Milan, working with CNN.com and Style.com, amongst others. Adriana, who has earned the nickname the “Queen of Stream,” is actively producing fashion and events video content for her own company Dear Addy Digital Media and Syndication Partners. Her recent video short Social X Rays, a film about legendary Photographer Roxanne Lowit, is going to be screened at the AOSFF fashion film festival in Paris Nov. 23rd.
Kaegi became the first designer to present a hand crocheted accessory line, made from recycled silk. Fashion magazines like Vogue featured one of her hats, worn by pop sensation Jamiroquai. She added a home furnishing collections of pillows and throws that were featured in “The New York Times” and sold in boutiques worldwide.
Swiss-born Adriana Kaegi is a true musical visionary with a record of creative trendsetting dating back to the early 1980’s when she co-founded, together with August Darnell, the legendary band Kid Creole and the Coconuts.
Her singular contributions as choreographer/costume designer and “Mama Coconut” helped earn the band “Best International Live Act” at the British Music Award, as well as several gold records. Some of the A-list appearances and shows that stand out from the 15 years of touring the world include being on The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live, in the movie Against All Odds, at President Bush Sr.’s White House inauguration, at the 40th anniversary benefit for the U.N., at a benefit hosted by Princess Diana, and a performing at Carnegie Hall.
She had the foresight to document the “Kid Creole and the Coconuts” musical journey with her ever-present video camera, making reality TV before the term existed. She knew full well that one day she would produce “Kid Creole and My Coconuts.” The successful documentary enjoyed a 2011 premieres at the New York’s Chelsea Art Museum and Bologna’s Biogram Film Festival in Italy.
Music continues to be a part of Adriana’s life, from recently signing “Kid Creole and the Coconuts” to Tommy Boy Entertainment, to giving back as performance coach at Lagond Music School, or recording her electronic lounge tracks.
Adriana created her first critically acclaimed solo album “TAG” (best of the month on Amazon), followed by a very recent release called X FACTOR. Kaegi’s smooth sound hovers in a sophisticated continental zone set somewhere between electronic lounge and chill-out music. Adriana has also lent her voice to groups like U2, singing backup on their LP WAR, and other selected artists like Towa Tei.
Today, Adriana composes soundtrack music for her fashion and events video content and releases one new song per year for her fans. http://adrianakaegi.com
NICOLE KIRPALANI is a full-time faculty member in the Marketing, Management, and Finance Department at LIM College, New York, NY. Dr. Kirpalani teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate marketing courses at LIM College and serves as a faculty advisor for marketing majors. She is the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Teaching Award at LIM College.
Her research interests focus on consumer relationships with fashion brands and sustainable consumption in the context of luxury brands. Dr. Kirpalani has published articles in Psychology & Marketing, Marketing Education Review, and the Journal of Marketing Management. She holds a Ph.D. in Business (Marketing) from the City University of New York.
HOONG YEE LEE KRAKAUER is the Executive Director of the Queens Council on the Arts. She is the author/illustrator of “Rabbit Mooncakes,” a picture book published by Little, Brown & Company. Her next book is a ghost story for young adults. She is a blogger who writes style notes for people who change the world at www.hoongyee.com.
Hoong Yee holds a B.A. from Oberlin, diplomas from the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria in piano and a Masters Degree in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. She is married to a nice Jewish boy from Rockaway Beach, NY where they surf with their three children, Mikki, Remy & Sky.
ROXANNE LOWIT For over three decades, the unique lens of Roxanne Lowit has captured the faces, personalities, and spaces of modern culture. To review her incomparable work is to step behind the proverbial velvet rope. To see her images is to witness the creation and the celebration of fashion and art and theater and film, pleasure and joy and aesthetic delight.
A shooting star, Lowit has photographed thousands of luminaries, including Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Kate Moss, Yves Saint-Laurent, Johnny Depp, Madonna, and George Clooney. To witness her work is not only to see these famous faces close-up but also to peer at their beauty, their vulnerability and their humanity, all captured by a passionate storyteller whose greatest tool is her humble, empathetic presence. More than a photographer, she is a true artist, a modern-day successor to Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec. Just as they colorfully chronicled the whirl of Parisian life in the 19th century on canvas, she has captured the creative classes of the last three decades in her photographs, offering unprecedented visual entrée to the beau monde of New York, Paris, and Milan.
A pioneer, Lowit has always done things differently. A native New Yorker, she was originally a textile
designer. But she found her true calling crafting imagery of a different kind, and then created an entirely new genre of photography by taking her camera where nobody else wanted to go: backstage at fashion shows. While everyone else was fixated on the runway, she captured the real action was where the rest of the photographers weren’t looking. Her epiphany typifies her keen eye for new possibilities—and it transformed fashion photography forever. But she has gone even further, elevating her medium into fine art.
Lowit’s work has been exhibited in many of the world’s major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Victoria & Albert Museum; the Warhol Museum; and the Museum of Modern Art in Moscow. Her photographs are part of the permanent collection of Japan’s prestigious Kobe Fashion Museum. She has also been featured in one-woman shows in New York, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and London, as well as at group exhibitions at the Gagosian Gallery, Colette, and Art Basel Miami.
Three books have collected Lowit’s indelible images. Moments (1990) and People (2001) are visual time capsules of international nightlife. Backstage Dior (2009), featuring a foreword by John Galliano, lasers in on the inimitable creativity and incomparable energy of that storied house.
Lowit’s photography has been a longtime mainstay in the American, Italian, French, and German editions of Vogue, as well as in Vanity Fair, Tatler, GQ, W, and numerous other publications. Her groundbreaking advertising work has included memorable campaigns for major brands from a host of industries, including Acura, Armani, Coca-Cola, DeBeers, Dior, Land Rover, Moët & Chandon, and Vivienne Westwood.
CLAUDIA MASON was born and raised in New York City. Her mother was an actress and a dancer. Her father is a playwright and novelist and was a theatre critic for the New York Times. Growing up in such an artistic household heavily influenced Claudia, who started studying ballet at the age of five and trained at the prestigious School of American Ballet.
Claudia was a dance student at New York City’s High School for the Performing Arts when she was discovered at a music store by a scout from Elite Modeling Agency. She went on to become one of the world’s top models, working with designers including Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Versace, Armani, Gucci, Valentino, Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein. She was also featured on the covers of such magazines as Vogue, W, Mademoiselle, Elle, Cosmopolitan, and numerous foreign publications. She starred in prestigious fashion campaigns for Versace, Anne Klein, Fendi, amongst others. She worked with all the world’s greatest fashion photographers from the late Avedon to Bruce Weber, Patrick DeMarchelier, Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, Peter Lindbergh, Mario Testino, to name a few.
MTV hired her to host their fashion special, “Fashionably Loud.” She was also featured in Woody
Allen’s film “Celebrity.” However it was her appearance in Enrique Iglesias’ music video for the song “Rhythm Divine” that caught Hollywood’s attention. She subsequently landed roles in the independent films SCHMOOZER, DISCOVERING DAISY, LAX, LIME SALTED LOVE, and a leading role in the independent feature film OUTPATIENT.
Her theatre credits include BOXING DAY PARADE (Intar), NYC; THE YEARS and BEYOND THERAPY (HB Foundation Theatre), NYC; TWO SHIPS PASSING (Pan Andreas Theatre), LA, for which she was named Outstanding Female Actor In A Lead Role. She most recently completed a highly successful, critically acclaimed run of Tennessee Williams’ ORPHEUS DESCENDING in LA, for which she produced as well as starred in. This production was nominated for Best Revival of a Play by the LADCC for LA Theatre in 2010. She also received Outstanding Performance by a Featured Actress for her portrayal of Carol Cutrere in ORPHEUS DESCENDING.
She has appeared on Television as a guest star on CBS’s CSI:NY, and How I met Your Mother; on Fox’s Kitchen Confidential, as well as on ABC’s October Road amongst others.
She starred in up and coming director / writer, Ramaa Mosley’s, short film GRACE, in a role that was written for her, and she had a starring cameo in THE BRASS TEAPOT, Ms. Mosley’s first feature film that was accepted into TIFF in 2012, where it was subsequently picked up by Magnolia Films.
She recently completed filming her role in an upcoming U.K. indie, SPITE AND MALICE, the second feature film from London based writer/director Duncan Ward. She most recently starred as Venus, in an original play in NY called THE GODDESS, directed by Alice Jankell.
Her second trip down the red carpet of fashion recently came about when famed fashion stylist Katie Grand booked her for both Love Magazine and Russian Vogue alongside fellow top models Alessandra Ambrosio and Ana Beatriz Barros.
She is currently writing her first book.
HEATHER MATARAZZO has been captivating movie-going audiences for almost two decades. Her unique talent and on-screen charm have earned her critical acclaim, including an Independent Spirit Award for her debut film “Welcome to the Dollhouse”.
Heather quickly followed up Dollhouse with a breakout performance in Taylor Hackfords thriller The Devil’s Advocate. In the following years, she worked non-stop on such films as 54, Getting to Know You, Scream 3, Sorority Boys, Freshman Orientation as well as the critically acclaimed television movie, Our Guys: Outrage at Glen Ridge, in which Ms. Matarazzo played a mentally challenged teen who is raped by a group of high school students.
In 1997, Heather joined the cast of the smash hit series Roseanne for the final season. In 1999 she began production on Glenn Gordon Carron’s Now and Again, the largely successful SciFi television show for CBS. In 2001, Heather starred in Disney’s box office hit, The Princess Diaries, directed by Garry Marshall.
That same year, Heather starred in Service Men off Broadway and made her Broadway debut in the Roundabout Theatres production of The Women from which she was hailed “the next Joan of Ark” by the New York Observer. Following up her Broadway debut, Heather went into production for the sleeper hit Saved with Mandy Moore, Jena Malone, and Mary Louise Parker. She expanded her fan base with her controversial work in Eli Roth’s Hostel: Part II, along with producing and starring in MANGUS, an independent feature film costarring Jennifer Coolidge, Leslie Jordan and John Waters. Most recently, Heather starred in “Sidewalk Traffic”, due to open in 2014.
KNOX MCKAY The gentle smile of Knox McKay Schieffelin veils her strength. Knox is a Team Leader of Fantastic Life Choies. She provides inspiration and motivation for the most vulnerable citizens: children.
Knox enjoys her roles as a Peer Mediator, Student Assembly Executive Board Member, and Student Ambassador. Knox is also a part of the CT Junior Achievement (JA) Organization, the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through an experiential, hands-on program.
Knox is proud to participate in philanthropic achievements, too. She orchestrated a brunch at her home to raise $250,000.00 to build a solar powered schoolhouse with safe drinking water through the Roots & Shoots Youth Program – an organization founded by world-renowned primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall. Knox earned the “American Challenge to Educational Citizenship Award,” the “Global Service Award,” and the “Outstanding Student Community Service Award,” with special recognition presented by Governor Jodi Rell at the State Capital of CT in Hartford and by Dr. Jane herself at the
United Nations in New York City!
Knox’s quest hits home, too, as she assisted in establishing “Positively Me,” an annual program where pajama-clad third-grade girls from less fortunate communities are given lessons and skills in developing positive self-esteem and confidence – this program has gone national. Knox was also able to invite and organize American Idol top ten finalist and CT-native Katie Stevens’s participation in this event, as well as have Katie write a song for the program. Not only did the 8 and 9 year old girls make new friends and have fun but Katie also enjoyed performing before a large crowd of grateful kids, parents, and teachers!
Knox and her sister, Sami 13, years old, know firsthand how important education and youth are as they organized to fund and build a program that set up a tech center at Rumsey Hall School in Washington Depot, CT, called – RT3 (Rumsey Technology 3), which is a tech center equipped with eighteen Dell machines with high capacity printers, and a SMART Board. Knox secured upscale designer furniture from Knoll, Inc. that was both ergonomic and provided unique seating for the students, who got creative and did wall art to enhance the environment with illustrations and quotes.
Knox also takes great pride in volunteering with such organizations as the Ms. America Wheelchair, where she plans the annual Pajama Party, held at their national educational scholarship pageant. the organization is dedicated to increasing public awareness so that all citizens will be afforded the opportunities to lead productive and meaningful lives. Then, due to the devastating damage brought on by Super Storm Sandy, Knox used social media and her school to collect more than 300 winter coats, hats and gloves on behalf of The Bridgeport Rescue Mission, for children that lost so much along the CT coastline. This past summer she traveled to the legendary Ricefields International Service Base in the northeast of Thailand to work alongside native Thai speakers to help spread knowledge and activism. She was able to spend long hours with the Monks learning their ways and taught English at their Orphanages.
Knox also has an entrepreneurial side to her, maintaining an active modeling career in New York City, and represented by the acclaimed Wilhelmina Models agency. She is also honored to be signed with Wilhelmina’s TV/Commercial/Film division, Abrams Artist Agency. She has been featured in numerous national commercials for Macy’s, AT & T (during the London 2012 Olympics), and Nickelodeon, as well as on book covers for Simon & Schuster, McMillian, McGraw-Hill, and Random House for new teen novels! She also can be seen in merchandise catalogues for KEDS, Kohl’s, Ruby Costumes, Company Store, JC Penny and Brooks Brothers. She enjoys being a part of the New York fashion shows during fashion week too!
Knox was recently nominated and chosen by the CT Board of Education to be on the cover of a prominent CT magazine that will hit newsstands in Fall of 2013, the beginning of her senior year. Knox is a driven young lady who has enjoyed seeing a lot of the world and its many different cultures – her dream is to see all Seven Wonders of the World. She has financed her own travels for the past 3 summers to visit The Great Wall of China in Beijing, Stonehenge in England, and the Coliseum in Rome. She believes the first step to learning about the future is to learn about the past!
Knox is excited to be a part of the insightful Fantastic Life Choices™ young writer’s organizations where youth can be FEARLESS in their CONVICTIONS, LIMITLESS in their POTENTIAL and UNSTOPPABLE in their GOD-GIVEN TALENTS! She enjoys sharing with others the kind of confident and can-do attitude, spirit and personalities of all the children showcasing their talents and treasures in these stories that lends to all of us having a better life story! She can’t thank Kerie Boshka and her advisory board enough for mentoring and creating these magical and memorable opportunities for youth! She is enjoying the opportunity to participate and support the Marketing Team and all its efforts!
Knox’s future plans include the study of Law, International & Public Affairs as well as secure an internship in affiliation to an American Embassy.
DAE MELLENCAMP is President of Vimeo. In January 2009, Dae Mellencamp joined InterActiveCorp (IAC) as General Manager of Vimeo. She was named President in March of 2012.
An Internet industry veteran since 1997, Mellencamp was most recently Senior Vice President, Product Management at About.com where she was responsible for the Web site user experience and key strategic business relationships. In this role, Mellencamp was involved in all aspects of product development, design and strategy while supervising the product management and design teams. Prior to About.com, Mellencamp led Cablevision Systems Corporation's Optimum Online broadband Web portal where she was responsible for product strategy, business development, operations and revenue. Previously, Mellencamp was Vice President of Content for iWon.com where she headed up the development of 17 content channels and a full suite of community tools.
She has also held Web product management positions focused on finance information and applications at Ameritrade Holding Corporation and Prodigy Services Company. Mellencamp received her MBA from Columbia Business School and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in
International Commerce from Brown University.
LAURA MICHALCHYSHYN is President and Partner of Sundance Productions with Robert Redford. Established in April 2012, Sundance Productions works with the best talent, collaborators and partners to produce authentic, entertaining and unique content for U.S. and international markets.
Sundance Productions received its first Emmy nomination for the feature documentary All The President’s Men Revisited (premiered April 2013) on Discovery Channel. In August 2013, the company premiered The March on PBS, BBC, and France3, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington.
In March 2014, Sundance Productions premieres two eight-part documentary series premiering on CNN: Chicagoland with Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin’s Brick City TV and Death Row Stories with Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions. Later this year Sundance Productions will release Director Robert Redford’s 3D half hour film Cathedrals of Culture, which is executive produced with Wim Wenders and Neue Road Movies. The film recently premiered at Berlin Film Festival. Currently in production, Sundance Productions is working with Stephen David Entertainment on the non-scripted series The
West for Discovery Channel and DRG and the short form series Scammers created by Barry Marder for SnagFilms.
During her career, Laura has commissioned hundreds of hours of scripted and non-scripted content and has worked in senior executive and creative leadership roles at Sundance Channel, Discovery Communications and Alliance Atlantis. Laura is a producer, programmer, and television executive who has programmed, managed and overseen content including Iconoclasts, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, and Slings & Arrows.
Laura Michalchyshyn has won two News and Documentary Emmys, an IDA Award and an Environmental Media Association Award.
GAIL MONROE-PERRY ail is currently an Executive Search Consultant with Martens & Heads. In her previous position, she was the Sr. Director of Talent Acquisition for all of Warnaco Brands, which included a diversified portfolio of highly recognized brands, such as Calvin Klein Jeans, Calvin Klein Underwear, Chaps, Warner’s, Olga and Speedo. She led the recruitment efforts across the enterprise, which enables the company to serve a diverse range of consumers around the world. She was charged with finding top talent ranging from senior to entry-level positions.
Prior to entering in the Talent Acquisition arena (also with Limited Brands and Ralph Lauren), her expertise was in Merchandising/Buying, Product Development and Production within the fashion industry with companies such as Macy’s and Bloomingdales.
Ms. Monroe-Perry was re-elected as President of BRAG a year ago, a non for profit organization which has a mission to be the leading provider of resources and development support that empowers Blacks and all people of color to reach their highest professional potential in retail and related industries.
Savoy Magazine named her one of the top most influential Black Women in ‘2012. Strathmore’s Who Who for her outstanding contributions and achievements in Executive Recruiting and Talent Acquisition also recognized her in ‘2011. She is a member of the Greater New York Chapter of the Links, Board Member of Evidence A Dance Company, (she serves as Secretary), member of The New York Coalition of 100 Black Women, National Association of Professional Women, Retail Marketing Society and Hampton University Alumni Association.
She earned a B.S. Degree from Hampton University. She resides in New York City with her husband, Robert Perry.
SASHA CHARNIN MORRISON is currently the Fashion Director at US Weekly Magazine, and boasts over twenty five years of fashion magazine experience working for such notable publications as Harper’s Bazaar (under Liz Tilberis), Seventeen, Mirabella, Vanity Fair, Elle, Allure and Us Weekly.
Born in Manhattan, Sasha began her career in show business with such prestigious roles as “knocked up runaway hooker #1”, in the video for Pat Benatar’s 1983 hit song Love Is A Battlefield, but always felt a strong pull towards the fashion world.
Sasha combines those passions as she acts as Fashion Guru and Segment Host on NYC TV’s Emmy-Award Winning infotainment show Cool in Your Code. She has also been seen on segments for The Wendy Williams Show, Rachel Ray, Good Morning America, CW 11, CBS Early Show, VH-1, MTV, NYC-TV’s Full Frontal Fashion, E!, TV Guide Channel, and CNN among others.
In March of 2008, Sasha was honored by Radar Magazine as the sixth most powerful person in fashion.
She graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1986 and is married to her high school sweetheart, Producer Will Morrison. She lives on New York’s Upper West Side and is the mother of 12 year old twins, Gus and Oliver (who are her inspiration.)
In Spring 2012, her first book was published by Chronicle Books, Secrets of Stylists. Sasha has been mentally writing this book since the first day of her first job (as an assistant).
LAVELLE OLEXA is Founder of LaVelle & Co., a Manhattan based collective that encourages and supports young women in their career pursuits, enabling them to meet with powerful and successful women in a variety of industries to share their wide range of experience and advice. With Lord & Taylor for over 20 years, Lavelle was SVP Fashion Merchandising/Public Relations and prior to that SVP Sales Promotion/PR/ Windows/ Fashion Merchandise.
LaVelle Olexa began her fashion career in her hometown of Dallas as a model for the city's nationally-known fashion department store (Neiman Marcus), ultimately leading to 20 years with one of New York's most legendary fashion retailers (Lord&Taylor) as SVP of Fashion Merchandising/Public Relations and Windows. During that time, LaVelle also served two two-year terms as Chairman of The Fashion Group International. Wanting to share her knowledge and experience, she founded LaVelle & Co., an empowerment forum giving promising young women the opportunity to meet and learn from industry achievers. Regularly scheduled meetings have introduced the group to guest speakers that have included Nicole Miller, Tory Burch, Evelyn Lauder, Betsey Johnson, Lauren Bush and Fern Mallis, as well as leaders in fields as varied as the FBI, art,
finance, publishing and opera.
MICHAEL PALLADINO has been in the fashion business for over thirty years and is now the Director of Student Life and an Adjunct Profossor at LIM College - Where Business Meets Fashion.
Michael draws on his extensive background that includes Macy’s, Filene’s Basement, Lord and Taylor, Furrari Furs and his recent post at Henri Bendel as the Director of Client and Studio Services, which he held for almost 18 years. It was at Henri Bendel that Michael cultivated a private international clientele and began working with celebrities and costume designers on wardrobe selections. Some of his clients included Lisa Ling, Vanessa Williams, Queen Noor of Jordan, Rudy Giuliani, Paula Abdul, Paris Hilton, as well as costume designers Patricia Field, David Robinson and Eric Daman. While at Bendel, Michael also did fashion segments on The View, Entertainment Tonight, Sally Jesse Raphael and Access Hollywood. Michael has also been quoted in various publication and newspapers and labeled the “Guru of Fashion.”
As the Director of Student Life, Michael continues to enlarge his network and “pay it forward” through innovative programming and events that support and enhance the academic curriculum of
LIM College students.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the LIM Fashion Education Foundation and has served on the Board of Safe Horizon.
VIVIAN REED is a multi award winner with two Tony nominations, Drama Desk Award, Theatre World Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Dance Education of America Award, NAACP Award, and several others.
Vivian began formal voice training at the age of eight at the Pittsburgh Musical Institute, later continuing at New York’s Juilliard School of Music followed by years of extensive dance training. She became a polished performer under the guidance of Honi Coles and Bobby Schiffman of the Apollo Theater.
Vivian auditioned for the musical Bubbling Brown Sugar, the first of several popular revues based on music of the ‘20s and ‘30s. Although she was hired immediately, she soon discovered there was no existing part for her, so she created the role of ‘Young Irene.’ The show toured the country to rave reviews before it opened on Broadway; likewise a smash success! Her show-stopping performance, included a dazzling song and dance production of Sweet Georgia Brown and a unique vocal rendition of ‘God Bless the Child’ that won her critical acclaim. After Broadway, Vivian
went to Los Angeles to open another company of Bubbling Brown Sugar and then on to Europe with the show, touring such countries as England, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Italy and France. While recognizing Vivian’s own unique talents, Paris proclaimed her ‘The New Josephine Baker.’ She captured the attention of Pierre Cardin, who booked Vivian into his theater and held her over for several weeks. Through Cardin, she went to Japan for the first time and made her first European TV special. Later, she was invited by the Prince and Princess of Monaco to perform in Monte Carlo.
Vivian has appeared on many TV variety and talk shows both nationally and internationally including The Tonight Show, The Today Show and the ABC-TV daytime drama, One Life to Live. She has shared the bill with notable performers as Bill Cosby, Pattie Labelle, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, Elaine Stritch, Alan King, Sammy Davis Jr., Quincy Jones, Ashford and Simpson and Charles Aznavour, just to name a few. Her film credits include Heading for Broadway, L’Africaine with Catherine Deneuve and Le Rumba, in which she portrayed Josephine Baker. Recently she produced and starred in a short film What Goes Around written by Angela Gibbs.
Vivian has also brought her nightclub act to major gatherings of organization and dignitaries, including Mercedes Benz, IBM, Top Fashion Designers Gala at the Theatre Champs Elysees and the American Film Festival in Deauville. She appear at the Festival del Vina in Chile, along with other top performers like Laura Branigan, Sting, Mister Mister and Jon Secada. There she received the coveted ‘TORCH AWARD,’ an honor bestowed by the mayor and citizens of Vina for only the most exceptional and stirring performances.
Besides her international success as an actress and entertainer, she has also been featured in the world’s most read and influential news and fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Paris Match, People, Ebony, Jet (cover) and Time Magazine. Her personal style and taste for designer clothes have won her a place on Mr. Blackwell’s Best Dressed Women List and she was selected by People Magazine as one of the ‘25 Most Intriguing People of the Year.’
Vivian has starred in New York at the ‘Rainbow and Stars’ in a rhythm and blues revue and the Supper Club in a swing revue. She received critical acclaim in major productions of Sophisticated Ladies, Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd, Blues in the Night, High Rollers, Show Boat in which she portrayed the role of ‘Queenie’ and ‘Tintypes.’ Her recent plays include Blues for an Alabama Sky, Crumbs from the table of Joy, Pork Pie and Cookin at The Cookery. Vivian was featured in the highly anticipated Marie Christine at Lincoln Center. She also portrayed Lena Horne in More Than A Song with the Pittsburgh Ballet Company at the Benedum Theater in Pittsburgh directed by Lynne Taylor Corbett. Vivian contributed her talents to the Lena Horne Awards Show hosted by Bill Cosby honoring Rosie O’Donnell and Quincy Jones at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts in New York. She appeared in Three Mo’ Divas,’the follow-up to Three Mo’ Tenors at the San Diego Rep and Arena Stage in Washington, DC and, as an actress, received critical acclaim for her portrayal as Gloria Franklin in The Second Tosca, written by Tom Rowan.
Vivian has also given back of her talent by teaching nearly three years at Berklee College of Music in Boston where she created a performance class teaching the many aspects of performing and also establishing a yearly concert event called ‘Singer’s Night.’
STACEY SCHIEFFELIN Ford model and makeup guru, successful entrepreneur and truebeliever in empowering women to live the life they dream, Stacey Schieffelin is as approachable as the girl next door. Down to earth and brimming over with knowledge about how to look and feel your best every day, she has a very specific vision when it comes to the power of inner and outer beauty. Stacey believes putting your best face forward is a mark of self-respect, not vanity. She believes every woman deserves to have her own customized and personalized blueprint that maps out her unique path to bold beauty and self confidence.
Stacey founded Models Prefer 18 years ago - an international cosmetics company that has been sold on HSN in the U.S. and QVC in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. The brand remained the #1 color cosmetics line on QVC in the UK for more than eight years. Stacey and her husband David have launched two new ventures, (your best friend) Beauty and IDLife. Beauty is a natural extension of Stacey’s fun, engaged relationship with her Models Prefer customers, offering first a figure--friendly clothing line and Pajama Party at Sea cruises, and now a new beauty line that made its worldwide debut on HSN in August 2008. The line has successfully gone global and is available on HSN (USA), QVC (UK), The Shopping Channel (Canada) and TVSN (Australia, New Zealand) where it holds the esteemed position of the #1 color cosmetic brand. As founding partners in IDLife, an
innovative health, nutrition and lifestyle enrichment company, Stacey and David are on the front line of transforming the wellness industry as we know it.
DENNITA SEWELL has been Curator of Fashion Design at Phoenix Art Museum since January 2000. She received her MFA in Design from the Yale School of Drama and BA in Textile and Apparel Management from the University of Missouri. Prior to Phoenix, Sewell worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. At Phoenix Art Museum she has organized over 35 exhibitions on topics ranging from motorcycle jackets to contemporary designers drawn from the Museum’s comprehensive collection, international fashion houses and private collections. Her publications include Way Haute West, Garden of Eden, Extending the Runway: Tatiana Sorokko Style and Fashion Independent: The Original Style of Ann Bonfoey Taylor.
STEPHANIE SHARIS is Chief Operating Office of SnagFilms, Inc. where she oversees operations for SnagFilms, an online distributor of over 4,000 indie films, and Indiewire, the trusted source for indie film news for 17 years.
Before SnagFilms, she worked at AOL where she developed and executive produced sponsored web series for the portal’s entertainment, food, comedy and lifestyle verticals. While at AOL she launched AOL True Stories, a broadband channel for documentaries that was the precursor to SnagFilms. Prior to that, Sharis co-founded Transmission Films, an online distributor of independent and foreign films, and consulted for Walden Media, Content Film, Urbanworld Films, and JP Morgan.
Sharis is also an active film producer. Most recently she executive produced Wakiliwood, a documentary directed by industry veteran Ben Barenholtz that premiered at the 2012 Hamptons International Film Festival. Her other credits include Producer, The Promise, starring Saundra Santiago, Co-Producer, Music Inn, a documentary (2007 Tribeca Film Festival), and The Party’s
Over, a documentary starring Philip Seymour Hoffman that was released in theaters internationally and aired on the BBC.
She has guest lectured at the New York University and has spoken at dozens of films festivals and conferences on the topic digital film distribution, including Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and Silverdocs Film Festival.
Sharis graduated summa cum laude from Wesleyan University in 1994 and received her graduate degree in public policy from Harvard University in 1999.
TERRE SIMPSON is President & CEO of Simpson Associates, a prominent executive search firm serving the retail, wholesale/manufacturing, catalog and e-commerce industries for over 20 years. The business is inspired with a passion for excellence, conscience and integrity. Her broad spectrum of search assignments has qualified and provided her with in-depth knowledge and awareness of both qualified companies and the individuals most talented within them. She approaches each search with the highest level of standards, both for the client she represents and the qualified individuals she seeks.
Prior to her establishing Simpson Associates, Terre worked at Herbert Mines Executive Search firm for several years. Her career in retail began as a merchant in accessories and sportswear for May Company, which led to future experiences in wholesaling, direct marketing, and eventually into the world of recruiting.
Her portfolio of high profile clients include: Avon, Barneys, Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, Crabtree and Evelyn, Disney, Li and Fung, Miu Miu, Prada, Tahari, Versace, and Victoria’s Secret. Terre
attended Northwestern University where she majored in liberal arts. Terre enjoys participating in several charities and organizations.
AUDREY SMALTZ In the fast-paced world of fashion, few have the power to adapt to meet the ever- changing trends. Yet, with remarkable foresight and inventiveness, Audrey Smaltz has not only endured but thrived. After more than 50 years in the fashion industry, she has created a niche that secures her place as one of fashion’s most innovative entrepreneurs.
A proud New York native, Smaltz was born in 1937 and grew up in Harlem River Houses, a promising urban enclave that was also the childhood residence of the prominent psychiatrist Dr. Alvin Poussaint and the civil right leader Bob Moses. After attending the Harriet Beecher Stowe Girls Junior High School, Smaltz entered New York City’s High School of Music and Art. At age 15, she was offered her first modeling job with the then- New York Giants as one of Willie Mays’s “Say Hey” girls, booked by he late Mrs. Ophelia Devore of the Del Marco Model Agency. She later earned her B.A. from City College of New York and worked for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, she but continued to pursue her career as a model and fashion commentator.
Smaltz began to find her true footing in the fashion world when she was hired as a model and
spokeswoman at Bloomingdale’s in 1962, and then two years later became an assistant fashion coordinator. In 1965, she accepted a position with Lane Bryant, working as a model, buyer, and fashion coordinator.
In 1970 Smaltz was hired as the Fashion Editor for the Ebony Magazine and commentator the Ebony Fashion Fair in Chicago. Her exquisite style, irresistible charm, and down- to earth humor made her an instant hit on the fashion show circuit. Furthermore, Smaltz had a keen eye for clothes, something she honed on her trips to Europe with Fashion Fair’s founder, Eunice Johnson.
She also had a knack for turning adversity into opportunity. As Ebony’s fashion reporter, she was often stuck in bad seats- or offered no seat at all- at European fashion shows. Undaunted, she went backstage to inspect the clothes, and seeing the chaos behind the scenes, she recognized an immediate need in the fashion industry. In 1977 she started the Ground Crew, a management team that handles every detail of backstage operations, including dressing the models to perfection. The name “The Ground Crew” is inspired by an1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech from Martin Luther King in which he statesm
“Every time I take a flight, I am always reminded of the people who make a successful journey possible- the known pilots and the unknown ground crew….You honor the ground crew without whose labor and sacrifices the jets flights to freedom could never have left the earth.”
Since its first show in 1982, the Ground Crew has worked for some of fashion’s top designers, including Giorgio Armani, Jason Wu, Donna Karan, Victoria’s Secret, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Stephen Burrows, and Vera Wang, among others. Celebrities such as Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, and Jackie Joyner Kersey have also enlisted the outfit’s talents.
Smaltz herself has worked with numerous major corporations, among them, Macy’s, Sak’s Fifth Avenue, Vogue, Black Entertainment Television and Target. She was a contributing editor to Vogue, Mirabella, and Mode magazines and a board member of the Black Fashion Museum, Dress for Success Worldwide, the Gracie Mansion Conservancy, and Fashion Group International, and BRAG. She has also appeared on QVC, Oprah Winfrey and the Today Show, just to name a few.
In the fickle world of fashion, Smaltz has proven her staying power time and time again. More than a polished fashionista, she possesses business acumen and adaptability that are as sharp as her style. Her revolutionary approach paves the way for other enterprising fashion entrepreneurs, as well as giving inspiring makeup artists and stylist invaluable exposure. Equally important, it brings much –needed order and grace to an often- chaotic industry. After all, as Smaltz and her indispensable Ground Crew have demonstrated, beauty begins “behind the seams.”
DR. ESTELLA SNEIDER, best known as “Dr. Estella”, is an American television and radio personality, author, psychologist, sexologist and the Host of the Hispanic television show, “Doctora Corazon”, which premiered in 2008. She is also the Co-Host of the hit radio show “LIVE Today with John Johnson & Dr. Estella” on the Internet LATalkRadio.com.
Dr. Sneider first gained national celebrity status with guest appearances on Bravo TV’s ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’, beginning in 2010, as well as weekly appearances on Los Angeles Mundo Fox TV’s “Noticias 22” at 10PM and it’s morning Variety Show, “Viva El 22”. Dr. Estella also had weekly appearances on the “El Coffee Break” TV Show for 3 seasons; on a segment entitled, “Viernes de Sexo”.
She has become perhaps the most well-known mental health professional in the Hispanic world today. Dr. Estella’s latest Media hit is her joining together with Nadia La Tica, & Danny Perez to Host a new radio show on PlayboyRadio.com, called “Mala Noche No”; which airs daily.
Dr. Estella has generated and provided one of the most comprehensive forums on mental health and emotional and sexual issues, on Radio and Television; for over 26 years. Her goal has always been to use the Television and Radio Media to make Psychology accessible and understandable to the general public, by addressing important personal as well as social issues. She utilizes the top-rated radio show, “Live Today” as a teaching tool, where she takes aim at the critical issues of our time, including the “silent epidemics” of bullying, drug abuse, domestic violence, depression, child abuse, suicide and various forms of severe mental illness.
Dr. Sneider’s mission is to inspire, motivate and educate by using the power of television and radio to tell compelling stories about real people with a wide range of emotional and behavioral problems, while stripping away the shame and embarrassment that often keeps people from seeking help. For the first time in their lives, many viewers and listeners develop an understanding of problems experienced by their families as well as themselves; in the comfort of their own homes. There they can experience the hope and strong possibility of positive change.
Her unique and special dedication to families, children, the Gay and Lesbian Community and Societal issues is legendary to the thousands of people around the world who watch and listen to her broadcasts and read her articles posted on FB and her Web Site. Dr. Estella’s work was recognized by the “LGBT Hero Awards” by asking her to be an award presenter at their Awards Event in April of 2013 and in August of 2014, she will open their annual event. Dr. Estella is also devoted to helping people create better lives for themselves and their families. Because of her broad education, training and experience in the fields of Psychology, MFT and Sexology, along with her unique ability to effectively communicate in common sense language; she is frequently called upon by the Media for her expert opinion on current events.
Dr. Estella Sneider earned a B.A. from The University of Southern California and graduated Cum Laude, her M.A. and Ph.D. were bestowed upon her by The California School of Professional Psychology and the California Graduate Institute. She extended her education by spending a year of postdoctoral training in Sexology and Sexual Therapy at The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Estella Sneider is a licensed Psychologist & Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of California, as well as a Certified Sex Therapist. An avid tennis player, snow skier and professional photographer, Dr. Estella lives in Los Angeles with her 3 dogs. She is totally devoted to her family and close friends, which includes her son, Mauricio Umansky and daughter-in-law Kyle Richards, her daughter Sharon and son-in-law Kendall and grand kids Farrah, Alexia, Sophia, Portia, Noah, Adam and Lyla.
ELIZABETH SUBRIN is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and artist, and a professor in the Film and Media Arts Department at Temple University. Her award-winning films have been screened widely in the United States and abroad, including at The New York Film Festival, The Whitney Biennial, The Vienna International Film Festival, The Museum of Modern Art, The Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, The Sundance Channel, and PBS among others. She has received grants and fellowships from The Rockefeller Foundation, The Guggenheim Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, Creative Capital, and The Annenberg Foundation, and has received film commissions from The MacDowell Colony and The Danish Arts Council for recent projects, The Caretakers, starring Cara Seymour, and Sweet Ruin featuring Gaby Hoffman. She participated in the Sundance Institute Screenwriting and Directing Fellowships with her first feature narrative screenplay, Up. A newly commissioned work, Damage Report, opened at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia last month. Her second feature screenplay, A Woman A Part, starring Maggie Siff and Cara Seymour, is in preproduction with Scott Macaulay/Forensic Films, New York.
ANDRE LEON TALLEY is an Advisor to the Women & Fashion FilmFest. The former Editor-at-Large of Vogue is currently Editor-in-Chief of Russian style magazine Numero Russia and a Contributing Editor to Vogue, for which he regularly pens a witty, pithy column called "Life with André." Talley has been an integral part of the preeminent fashion magazine for more than 25 years, and has often helmed special fashion and celebrity projects for the magazine, including "A Celebration of Oscar Fashion," a retrospective of famous Oscar gowns held during the 79th Academy Awards. Prior to that, he was at Interview magazine during Andy Warhol's tenure.
Talley is the author of two books, A.L.T.: A Memoir and A.L.T. 365+. The memoir pays homage to the two extraordinary women who shaped Talley's life - his grandmother Bennie Frances Davis who raised him, and Diana Vreeland, the legendary style authority who became his mentor. The monograph captures one entire year in Talley's celebrity-drenched life-complete with photos of Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, the front rows at major fashion shows and even Good Friday services at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, where Talley is a member and is deeply
involved in the life of the church.
Recognized for his amazing eye and insightful and entertaining perspective, Talley regularly appears on television and in film. Among his multitude of media credits is HBO's Sex and the City, and films The September Issue, about the making of Vogue's fall fashion magazine, Catwalk, celebrating the rise of the supermodel, and Valentino: The Last Emperor, detailing the life of haute couture designer Valentino Garavani.
In 2003, Talley was honored with the Council of Fashion Designers of America Eugenia Sheppard Award for Excellence in Fashion Journalism, and in 2008, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in recognition of his contributions to the university. Today, in addition to his work at Vogue and his many award-winning style and fashion pursuits, Talley regularly mentors SCAD students and serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. In October 2011, he joined SCAD President Wallace in opening the André Leon Talley Gallery in the new SCAD Museum of Art.
SUE VACCARO won The Tony Award as a Producer of the Pulitzer Prize Winning Play Clybourne Park. In London she produced the critically acclaimed revival of Smokey Joes Cafe. As a filmmaker, Sue helped produce Sharon Greytak’s Archaeology of a Woman starring Sally Kirkland and Victoria Clarke, which won the Gold Remi & Gold Cine Awards at the Houston International Film Festival.
Her current film, a mocumentary, Ron & Laura take Back America will be featured in the upcoming New York City International Film Festival. Sue’s upcoming projects include the Broadway musical Empire and the films Swarm, a horror film directed by Huck Botko, and the thriller Possessed. Sue splits her time between New Orleans, New York City, and London.
She currently manages investments in entertainment properties including stage, film, and literary. Her professional entertainment career began many years ago when she met Rue McClanahan who became her mentor. She owes most of her producing education to Rue. Sue had the honor of working on Rue's musical My First Five Husbands before she passed away. Sue is a member of the American Film Association and the League of Broadway Theaters and Producers. Follow Sue
on Twitter @RuesSusieQ.
MICHELLE VALE Founded by Michelle Vale in 2007, Michelle Vale Inc., is a privately owned fashion company that creates high quality handbags for luxury consumers seeking versatility, distinct style and sophistication. The Michelle Vale product line appeals to fashion-forward women who realize the importance of expression through quality accessories. "We take great pains to ensure that every detail of our bags exemplifies superior craftsmanship," Michelle explains. Michelle's acute attention to quality control was one of the main drivers in the company's decision to produce each season's collection exclusively in New York City, the city she both loves and lives in. This allows Michelle to both personally oversee all elements of the manufacturing process and ensure that only ethical and world-class production facilities are used to produce her collections. "We are proud to be one of a very small handful of designers who are made in New York City. This has always been and will always be very near to my heart".
Michelle Vale designs have received recognition and awards from prestigious industry organizations including her recent selection as a 2012 Fashion Group International Rising Star finalist and Lucky Magazine, "Best New Designer for Fall in 2007". The collection has received
coverage with influential fashion publications such as Vogue, W, Elle, and Instyle and has been worn by fashion icons including Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Beckinsale, Cameron Diaz, Kate Bosworth, and others.
In addition, Michelle is the brainchild of Make It in America: Empowering Global Fashion and serves as Co-Producer on the documentary premiering September 2014.
GARY WASSNER In the fashion industry, Gary Wassner, CO-CEO of Hilldun Corporation, known as the company behind many of Seventh Avenue's most prestigious fashion companies, has provided consulting, financing, factoring and brand development for many of America's most iconic designer labels. Derek Lam, Peter Som, Jason Wu, Maria Cornejo, Yeohlee, Alexander Wang, Nanette Lepore, Rebecca Taylor, Michael Bastian, Naeem Kahn, Zang Toi, Vivienne Westwood, Nicholas Kirkwood, Mara Hoffman, Thom Browne, Betsey Johnson, Marc Jacobs and Alexis Bittar are only a few of fashion's finest that have benefitted from the discerning eyes and business acumen of he and his business partner of twenty years, Jeffrey Kapelman. His relationship to and trust among designers and other individuals in all areas of the arts has given him the opportunity to conceive of and facilitate the execution of countless collaborations, resulting in entertainment projects, retail products and events, as well as various publications related to the fashion industry.
Recently named one of Fashionista's 50 Most Influential People in Fashion, Gary is also a member of the CFDA Advisory Board and a mentor for the CFI Incubator program, an advisory board member of Fordham Law School's Fashion Law Institute, a mentor for Design Entrepreneurs NYC,
as well as a member of Senator Gillibrand's Fashion Industry Working Group, Mayor Bloomberg’s Fashion 2020 CEO Initiative and a passionate supporter of the Save The Garment Center movement and all causes related to supporting the Fashion Industry in NYC. He lectures at Fordham Fashion Law Institute, Parsons and FIT often, as well as Harvard and MIT.
In addition to being a force in the fashion industry, he is a well-respected fiction writer and children's book author. His GemQuest series, The Twins, The Awakening, The Shards and The Revenge of the Elves is popular among sci-fi and fantasy readers. The fifth and final book in the GemQuest series, When Monsters Call Out The Names of Men, will be released the second half of 2013. One of his children's books, The Mystery of the Jubilee Emerald published by Mondo Publishing, is available everywhere. The second two books in that series were published in January of 2013, The Candle Rock Mystery and The Mystery of the Presidential Papers. Last year he published Isabella Cucharella, Fashion Designer Extraordinaire, a picture book for budding young fashion stars, 50% of the proceeds of which he donated to the CFDA Fashion Incubator. September 3, 2013 the American Bar Association published The ABA’S Legal Guide to Fashion Design for which he wrote the chapter on Financing Fashion.
Wassner resides in New York.
CONSTANCE WHITE An award-winning journalist, Constance C.R. White is renowned for her wealth of experience and significant contributions across print, broadcast and online. A veteran writer, editor and arbiter of culture and style, Ms. White has helped steer brand and editorial direction for some of the most exciting companies. Her aim is to celebrate, inspire, entertain and empower women.
She is a proven risk-taker and leader with experience in conceptualizing and delivering engaging content across several platforms. Her storied editorial career has exemplified excellence at the highest levels as a steward for many of the world’s most trusted brands including The New York Times, Elle, Essence and eBay. She was twice named one of the top 50 people in fashion by The New York Daily News.
She has been a frequent guest on news and entertainment programs including The Today Show, MSNBC and LXTV and she helped develop the first daily fashion news show which she co-wrote and hosted for Cablevision’s Full Frontal Fashion.
Ms. White has served as Editor-in-Chief of Essence magazine, a writer for The New York Times newspaper, and style director, brand consultant and spokesperson for the leading online company eBay, where she conceived the organization’s first web-zine and developed content and strategies aimed at women. White also made history as the first and only black Executive Fashion Editor at a major fashion magazine, Elle.
White was previously the Founding Fashion Editor for Talk magazine, an acclaimed Style Reporter for The New York Times and the Executive Fashion Editor of Elle magazine. She was an Associate Editor at Women’s Wear Daily and W magazine and began her career at Ms. magazine as Assistant to Co-Founder Gloria Steinem. White is currently a Consulting Editor for Silicon Valley start-up Ozy.com, where she has written stories such as "Memo to Michelle Obama" and her informative analysis on Nicolas Ghesquiere's ascension at Louis Vuitton.
She is the author of Stylenoir, a groundbreaking book on black style, published by Perigee/Putnam.
LYNN YAEGER is a fashion journalist who writes for many publications, including Vogue, where she is a Contributing Editor. Yaeger lives in New York City, where she can be found haunting venues from the lowly Garage flea market in Chelsea to the upper reaches of Madison Avenue every weekend.
SARA ZIFF is a model, filmmaker and activist. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Model Alliance, a nonprofit labor group for models working in the American fashion industry. In 2013, the Model Alliance championed the Child Model Act, which affords models under 18 the same protections as other child performers in New York State. Ziff co-directed and produced the feature documentary Picture Me (2009), which chronicles her and other models' experiences in the modeling industry. Currently, she is in production on Tangled Thread, a documentary that follows labor activist Kalpona Akter's efforts to empower women working in Bangladesh's garment industry. In 2013, Ziff received the Susan B. Anthony award from the National Organization for Women for her grassroots activism empowering women and girls in New York.
Sara has worked as a model since age 14, walking in runway shows for Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton and Chanel, and appearing as the face of Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic and Stella McCartney. She is currently represented by the Marilyn agency in New York. ISara has written for publications including The New York Times, The Guardian and Fashionista. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University.