Join AWM SoCal for our most popular event - Speed Mentoring on Saturday, June 16th!
Focus on Film & Television
The event is held on the CBS Radford Lot in Studio City, CA.
REGISTRATION IS CLOSED. REACHED CAPACITY.
Speed Mentoring is modeled after the speed-dating concept where industry professionals serve as mentors to give valuable career advice to mentees through 5 minute one-on-one conversations. This setting is ideal for both students and/or professionals who may be established or exploring a career change. It’s all about meeting people, making connections and helping each other.
All men and women, ages and career levels are welcome.
This event sells out, so be sure to reserve your tickets!
Please note: No refunds or exchanges.
No-shows will be billed. Thank you.
Dana Besnoy - SVP of Post Production
Dana Besnoy is a CSUN graduate and for the last 20 years she has worked at various reality companies on many types of programming. She has been at Pie Town Productions since 2002 serving as their SVP of Post Production. Pie Town churns out over 300 episodes of reality programming per year; House Hunters, House Hunters Renovation, Flip or Flop and many more.
Lauren Bond - Project Manager at Dreamworks Animation
Lauren is currently VP of Programming at the Alliance for Women in Media Southern California. She spent her early career at Warner Bros. working in Marketing, PR and Theatrical New Release before moving to Dreamworks Animation to work under the CTO, as apart of the PM Office.
Gina Cavalier - Producer
Gina Cavalier owns Cavalier Originals, a film, television, publishing, and digital content development company, and is also a writer, author, and producer. Her company focuses on building the community by inclusion, support, and equality, lending itself to a better final product on the screen and on the page. Gina was also recently presented with a 5-book publishing deal for a children's series titled "Thomas Fine and The Mystery School" with her writing partner Jeanette DePatie (aka The Fat Chick). Prior to founding Cavalier Originals, Gina has worked for studios like Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros among others.
Annette Covarrubias - TV Sales & Marketing Planner
Annette Covarrubias is currently at CBS Television Stations, working as a sales and marketing planner for KCBS and KCAL- TV. She started her career in media at CBS Radio working in the digital department for the LA stations. Annette is currently an executive board member for AWM SoCal, serving as co-president. She first became involved as a student member and has now served the organization for 6 straight terms.
Kim Spence Dickey - Marketing & PR Executive
Kim Spence Dickey has over 30 years of experience in marketing for a broad range of Fortune 500 and nonprofit organizations. Career highlights include direct marketing, in-kind sponsorships, and public relations for Film Independent, including the Spirit Awards, broadcast live on IFC, and the Los Angeles Film Festival. Kim has been the national winner of the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil Award for her public relations campaign “Protecting Keiko, star of Free Willy” and winner of the 2006 Desert Ad Federation Gold ADDY Award for her broadcast work for The Living Desert. Kim has been an active voting member of the Spirit Awards show for 10 years; a judge for the AWM Gracies Awards; a film competition juror for the AWM SoCal Genii Awards; and the recipient of the prestigious Bell Award from the AWRT National organization. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Women in Media, Southern California.
Melissa Dowler - Director
Melissa Dowler is an award-winning film director and co-founder of production company Long Haul Films. In 2015, fueled by her desire to encourage young women to consider careers in film, Melissa co-founded a volunteer organization called She Sees, which has a mission to inspire the next generation of diverse female filmmakers through education, mentorship and positive collaboration. Her documentary feature, Adele and After, was picked up for a release by Gravitas Ventures in early 2018. Melissa’s work has been screened on television, online and at events and film festivals including The Cleveland International Film Festival, IFF Boston, NorthWestFest, Chagrin Falls Documentary Film Festival and The Woods Hole Film Festival.
Rachel Goldberg - Director
Rachel Goldberg is an award-winning director whose TV directorial debut was AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CULT. She has directed over 30 productions for stage and screen, including MUTED, which sold to HBO, and has garnered over 20 awards for her work. She has been supported by Film Independent, the Sundance/WIF Finacing Initiative, the Sony Diverse Directors Program, the Fox Global Directors Initiative, the Fox Studio Bridge Program, We for She, AFI'S Directing Workshop for Women, and Ryan Murphy's HALF Foundation. You can learn more at: RachelGoldbergDirector.com.
Shellie Hunt - CEO, Women of Global Change
Shellie is Founder and CEO of the Women of Global Change, Success is by Design, and ReMake MY Life LLC, among other companies. She has shared the stage with some of the top business speakers in the world, and is a lead mentor in the Billionaire Adventure Club. Her appearances are numerous - from CBS, ABC, USA Today, CBS MoneyWatch, to Beyond the Dow, HLN, FOX and many others.
For over 25 years Shellie Hunt has specialized in personal improvement and corporate leadership trainings. She has worked with major corporations to include Time Warner, M3, The Young Entrepreneurs Society, VH1, Pacific Electric, and Kimberly Clark to name a few. Having grown up in poverty, Shellie’s passion and mission is to show people they too can create their own life success and awaken to all that is possible!
Melinda James - Cinematographer
Melinda James is a filmmaker with a primary focus in cinematography. Her films embody a visual style that is minimal, yet intimate. Over the years she has shaped a body of work that puts women and underrepresented communities at the forefront. She has created short narrative and documentary films, music videos, and commercials that have debuted on outlets such as Essence, NPR Music, and Participant Media, and have been screened in theaters across different cities.
Patricia Kara - Actress
Patricia Kara has been working in the entertainment business for over twenty years as an actress, model, spokesperson and television personality. Her career has included appearances on NBC’s Deal or No Deal, Extra, Fox Movie Channel, and People Magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful People.” Most recently, Patricia was a guest host on HSN, she has also released a workout DVD entitled “Fast Fitness”, was featured in the Trace Adkins’ music video “Marry for Money” and launched an on-line blog “Dish with Trish”. She has worked with and represented companies like AT&T, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Disney and Toyota. Including her own instructional series “Secrets to a Successful You”, Patricia has worked as a mentor for young models and actresses, helping to educate them on the entertainment industry and setting the stage for the future of the business.
Nicki Katz - Casting Director
Nicki Katz is a Casting Director with over 10 years of experience working in film in LA. She has cast more than 75 award-winning commercials, feature films, television shows, and shorts which have screened at festivals around the world. Her indie thriller Excess Flesh premiered at SXSW and was distributed through Midnight Releasing. She is known for the Sundance feature film, Sophie and the Rising Sun, and the box office hit, Annabelle Creation. Nicki has cast several Emmy and Golden Globe nominated series and TV pilots, including Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Transparent and Training Day. Nicki loves to spend her time traveling and rescuing dogs.
Simon Kilmurry - Executive Director, International Documentary Association
Simon Kilmurry is the executive director of the International Documentary Association (IDA). He joined IDA in June 2015 and oversees all IDA programs and operations, including filmmaker services, funding, educational programs the IDA Awards, and advocacy for the field. In 2017 he launched IDA’s Enterprise Documentary Fund.
Kilmurry serves on the board of jurors of the George Foster Peabody Awards. He also serves as an advisor to the Firelight Media Doc Lab, The Redford Center, and is on the board of screeners of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
Prior to joining IDA he served from 1999–2015 in various roles at American Documentary | POV, including nine years as the executive producer of POV, the long-running PBS showcase of independent documentaries. As executive producer he received 18 Emmy Awards, more than 60 Emmy nominations, six George Foster Peabody Awards, four Du Pont Columbia Awards, and is a two-time recipient of the Best Continuing Series Award from the International Documentary Association. In 2011 he received the Corporate Commitment to Diversity Award from the National Association of Latino Independent Producers.
Susan McMartin - Screenwriter
Susan McMartin is a co-executive producer on CBS' Mom. She has previously written for Two And A Half Men, Gary Unmarried and Californication among other shows. She also wrote the feature film Mr. Church, starring Eddie Murphy and Britt Robertson, and is currently writing Miracle on Voodoo Mountain for Sony, as well as Affirm, based on the book by the same name.
Lucille OuYang - Assistant Director
Lucille “Luc” OuYang has been a member of the DGA for over 30 years as an Assistant Director. She has worked on over 25 feature films including “When Harry Met Sally”, "Scream 1 & 2”, “Primal Fear”, “Master & Commander”, “Purge” and many more. Her television and new media credits include “Mad Men”, “Maximum Ride”, and “Youth and Consequences” among others. Luc is also a member of Women in Film and the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences.
Mishel Prada- Actress
Mishel Prada has appeared in several short films and on the AMC series Fear The Walking Dead: Passage, but it is her leading role as Emma in the award-winning Starz series Vida that has made her a star, and a soon-to-be household name.
Victoria Renée - Recording Artist/Actress
Victoria has appeared on TV shows like Hello Ladies on HBO, and has starred as Cinderella in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. As a recording artist, Victoria has been given the opportunity to open for Ariana Grande, and her hit single "A Better Tomorrow" (with over 4 million downloads and subscribers) was featured on the soundtrack for the documentary feature film The Last Ride.
Juliana Sakae - Filmmaker
Juliana Sakae is a journalist and documentary producer and director. She has worked as co-producer on the feature doc The Human Trial and as a director's assistant on Netflix's docu-series Making a Murderer. Additionally, she has directed short documentaries about art and social issues, such as Antigirl and Bleu et Rouge, and has previously worked at the International Documentary Association. She holds degrees in Journalism, Documentary Filmmaking, and Digital Journalism.
Richie Solomon - Producer
Richie Solomon has developed projects for companies such as Fox Searchlight Pictures, 20th Century Fox Television, MTV Networks, Electronic Arts, Zynga, Harvey Entertainment, and GSD&M. He was a supervising producer and writer for the online series Daily Rage!, which ran for over 150 episodes. He was also a writer and designer for videogames like BINGO Blitz, Zynga Elite Slots, Scratchers Casino, and The Godfather: Gangland. Richie received three Emmy® nominations for his work on the interactive series Stranger Adventures. He is a member of AIAS, ATAS, PGA, and WGA.
Sean Taylor - VFX Producer
Currently employed in the music industry, Sean Taylor has more than 20 years of experience in Visual Effects Production Management on more than a hundred projects including Six Feet Under, Man of Steel, The Outer Limits, Bicentennial Man, Charmed, Dante’s Peak, Stargate SV1, Scary Movie II, Muppets of Oz and Men in Black.
Jennifer Tocquigny - Producer
After beginning her career working in feature development and digital marketing at Warner Brothers, Jennifer did a career pivot with an influential stint teaching in Kenya. After that, she joined a producing team, working on her first documentary feature, Landfill Harmonic. The feature-length film about the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay, premiered at SXSW and played at over 200 festivals worldwide, including TIFF, AFI Fest, IDFA, Sheffield, and was later distributed by HBO. Jennifer has since joined teams working on short and feature-length films across a variety of subjects ranging from deforestation in Nicaragua, Holistic treatment for Diabetes, LGBTQ surrogacy in France, to board gaming culture in Europe around the world. Following her love of a great story, she has a passion for social impact projects and loves the challenge of creating significant change through storytelling.
K.C. Tuckness - Executive
K.C. has handled accounts for companies like CBS and The Walt Disney Company. She is a former Alliance for Women in Media, SoCal board member, and served on the board of directors for many years. K.C. is also a judge for the prestigious Gracie Awards held by AWM's national chapter.
Minoti Vaishnav - Producer
Minoti Vaishnav is a Past President of the Alliance for Women in Media SoCal, the founder of Prophecy Girl Films, and a TV Producer at Karga 7 Pictures. Films she's worked on include R.I.P., Abducted, Let Them Eat Cake, and HBO's American Winter. Her television credits include the History Channel shows Hunting Hitler and JFK: Declassified. Her current position in TV development has her crafting new series ideas, helping put together pitches for major broadcast and cable networks, and assisting with sizzle reel edits. As a writer, her scripts have gathered her several contest wins and finalist placements, including a second rounder placement in the 2016 Sundance Screenwriters Lab, a finalist placement in the 2016-17 CBS Writers Mentoring Program, and winning placements in ISA's Emerging Screenwriters competition and the JHRTS+NYTVF pilot competition. In 2018, Minoti was accepted into the Masters in Creative Writing program at the University of Oxford, a low-residency program that allows her to live and work in Los Angeles, with short trips to the UK three times a year.
Francisco Velasquez - Snr. Manager, Project Involve, Film Independent
Francisco Velasquez received his B.A. in Latin American Literature and Theatre Arts from Occidental College. He earned his M.F.A. in Film Production at UCLA, where his thesis film Jacaranda received the coveted Bud Yorkin Master Film Fellowship and premiered at the prestigious New Films/New Directors Film Festival curated by the Film Society Lincoln Center and MoMA in New York City.
Currently, Velasquez is the Senior Manager of Project Involve, Film Independent’s signature mentoring program that fosters the future generations of visual storytellers and aims towards an inclusive industry. Velasquez launched the Project Involve Shorts production component of the program and has executive produced over 30 shorts films for Film independent.
Christina M. Walker - TV Writer
Christina M. Walker was born on a Naval base in Japan and raised in the military town of Virginia Beach. She earned her first bachelor’s degree from Henderson State University, where she majored in Mass Media and minored in Writing. From there she worked in television news production for each of the major affiliates in several states across the U.S. She then studied Film with a concentration in Screenwriting and earned a second bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago.
After working for several different studios in post production she became a 2014 Finalist for the Disney/ABC Writing Program. She continued to build on this success by working in post production on The Killing, Stitchers and the pilot Guilt and as the writers’ assistant on Powers. Prior to joining the 2016 Disney/ABC Writing Program, Christina was the writers’ production assistant on NCIS: Los Angeles where she received guidance and direction from the writers as well as series Creator/Executive Producer Shane Brennan. While in the Disney/ABC Program Christina was staffed on the Shondaland show Still Star-Crossed, which gave her the unique opportunity of writing in NYC for the show, and traveling to Spain to cross-board/produce two episodes of the series. Since the program Christina was staffed on the CBS’s Salvation, and currently is developing a WWII series pitch: Lies, Spies, & Sabotage.
Valeria Zunzun - Voice Over Artist
Valeria Zunzun is a multilingual voice artist and VO casting director. Her company, DubbingVU, offers VO, dubbing and casting services to both broadcasting and streaming studios within the industry. She specializes in localization (VO, animation, dubbing).