EMPOWER Creative Leadership Conference Panels & Workshops

Saturday March 23, 2019 - Japanese American National Museum (Little Tokyo)


SAMPLE Schedule (from 2017)

(2019 Panels & Schedule TBA)


9:00 AM - Opening Keynote

Opening Speaker - Brad Jenkins (Executive Producer, Funny or Die DC)

9:40 AM - Session 1

FILM PANEL - Telling the Asian American Story on Film

Spa Night, Gook, Crazy Rich Asians, the list of Asian American stories making it to film keeps growing every year. In this panel we talk to a few established and rising filmmakers about their craft, their journey, and what they hope to contribute with their unique voices.

Panelists: Tanuj Chopra (Director, Chee & T), Tiffanie Hsu (Director, Wonderland), Jingyi Shao (Director, Toenail), Kalikolehua Hurley (Community Relations Manager, Moana) 
: Keith Chow (Founder, Nerds of Color)


Music Panel - Navigating a Music Career in the Digital Age

Labels, distribution, streaming, crowdfunding, copyrights, tours, covers - How does a career in music look in today's digital world? These artists and producers share their experiences on a life in music from the independent and signed perspectives

Panelists: Travis Atreo (Musician), Clara C (Musician), Megan Lee (Musician),
Moderator: Paul Dateh (Musician)

11:00 AM - Session 2

Showrunners Panel - Producing Social Change: A Conversation with Showrunners
Programmed by CAPE


Showrunners are defined as the person who has overall creative authority and management responsibility for a television program. Moderated by CAPE Executive Director Michelle K. Sugihara, this intimate discussion explores the role of the showrunner and how they create change in front of and behind the camera.

Panelists: Leo Chu (Executive Producer, Supah Ninjas), Sunil Nayar (Executive Producer, ABC's Revenge), Monica Macer (Executive Producer, Queen Sugar) 
Moderator: Michelle K. Sugihara (Executive Director, CAPE)


Acting Panel - The Life of the Expressive Asian American Actor

Actors are one of the toughest but sought after aspects of the entertainment industry. Being a working actor is no small feat. Come hear the stories and receive advice directly from artists who have navigated new media, independent projects, voice, tv and film to build themselves as working actors.

Panelists: Greg Watanabe (Actor, Allegiance), Nico Santos (Actor, Superstore), Sarayu Blue (Acror, No Tomorrow)
Moderator: Rebecca Sun (Senior Reporter, Holywood Reporter)

1:00 PM - Session 3

Community Panel - Building Communities & Supporting Movements

While it is critical to build our own personal skillsets and resumes, we all grow faster thanks to dedicated connectors and advocates. Without community organizations, we'd all be floating around left to our own devices. Meet some of the community leaders who have taken the charge to provide space and ongoing support for artists. These movers and shakers help shape the larger narrative of representation in media and connect it back to our authentic roots. We thank you, community orgs

Panelists: Will Choi (Founder, Asian AF), Sean Miura (Lead Curator, Tuesday Night Cafe), Atsuko Okatsuka (Co-Founder, Disoriented Comedy), Jenn Fang (Founding Editor, Reappropriate)
Moderator: Taz Ahmed (Campaign Strategist, 18Million Rising)


Personal Branding/Resume Workshop - How to Present Your Personal Brand: A Resume/Portfolio Workshop & Review w/Jeff Ho, Design Director from Pandora

How do you differentiate yourself?
How clearly are you telling your story?
How do you present yourself as the master of your craft?
What is the balance of personal branding vs the portfolio you are presenting?
What does my email, website, social media say about me to future employers & clients?

Answer these questions and more to update and upgrade your resume and portfolio in this invaluable workshop on looking at all the components of your personal brand presentation with Pandora's Design Director Jeff Ho.

Facilitator: Jeff Ho (Design Director, Pandora)

2:20 PM - Session 4

Multihyphenates Panel - Masters of All, New Media Multihyphenates

New Media has broken down the barriers between amateur and professional, but that doesn't mean it isn't hard work. Vlogs, reviews, scripted content, sponsored content, livestreams, tours, crowdfunding, collabos - In this panel, we assembled a group of independent digital creators to talk about creating a presence online and building careers as the newly emerging "multi-hyphenate".

Panelists: Michelle Khare (Digital Creator), Jen Chae (Digital Creator, From Head to Toe), Ben Chung (Dancer, Kinjaz), AJ Rafael (Musician) 
Moderator: Christine Chen (Digital Creator, Peaches & Tea)


Audition Workshop - Nailed It!

Come learn coveted tips and how-to's from Hollywood casting director and actress Becky Wu. Becky's extensive experience running auditions includes seeing thousands of actors succeed and fail in the audition room. Whether you're a new actor or a veteran, this workshop will give you basic skills on how to carry yourself with confidence and book that job.

Facilitator: Becky Wu (Casting Director, Orange Street Casting)

3:40 PM - Session 5

Deal Makers and Game Changers, Getting a Seat at the Table

Meet some of the industry executives who get to decide what gets made and how. These Asian Americans leaders have broken through the bamboo ceiling and want everyone to know that there's room for more. Learn about their challenges and triumphs building their careers and what it takes to become a power player.

Panelists: Jeff Ho (Design Director, Pandora), Chris Sanagustin (EVP Current Programming, Universal Television), Edwin Wong (VP of Research & Insights, Buzzfeed),
Moderator: Laura Sirikul (Managing Editor, Nerd Reactor)


Improv Workshop - How to Listen & Be A Team Player: Just Say Yes, and!

Improv comedy has traversed across industries as a fun and important skill to have. If you're an actor, it's now an absolute must on your resume. But now for all professional settings, improv opens you up to become a better listener, responder, and contributer. Say "YES, AND" learn from Susan Song, one of the top improv comediennes in LA who's extensive training comes from The Groundlings and The Upright Citizens Brigade.

Facilitator: Susan Song (Actor/Improv Artist)

5:00 PM - Closing Keynote Panel

Keynote Panel - The State of Asian American in Entertainment

2017 has been an action packed year for Asian Americans in media, full of triumph, crisis, and, growth.  We've gathered a panel of movers and shakers from all across the API media community, film, dance, comedy, and television, to talk about the busiest year for Asians in entertainment.

Panelists: Jon M. Chu (Director, Crazy Rich Asians), Kulap Vilaysack (Executive Producer, Bajillion Dollar Properties), Dave Gonzalez (Creator & President, World of Dance), Moez Shivji (CFO, E! Entertainment)
Moderator: Minji Chang (Executive Director, Kollaboration)