CEO of the Year Finalists
Chief Executive Officer
City National Bank
Under Kelly Coffey’s leadership, City National is stronger and better capitalized than ever before in its 68-year history. Coffey has grown the bank to more than 5,600 colleagues and 74 offices in more than a dozen states. City National is now a $91.3 billion bank, up from $35 billion in assets when she took the helm in 2019.
Coffey took the lead just one year before the global pandemic. One area where the pandemic actually accelerated her plans was its innovation. Coffey has led the charge for City National to become a digitally enabled relationship bank, which proved even more critical during the pandemic, as demand for the bank’s digital channels rose 800%. After relaunching its mobile app early in the pandemic, the bank’s digital team turned to City National’s website, which has become a more interactive experience for visitors by essentially transforming the website into an online branch.
Jennifer Hark Dietz
Chief Executive Officer
People Assisting The Homeless (PATH)
A 15-year advocate in homelessness, Veterans, and mental health services, Jennifer Hark Dietz leads PATH’s strategic direction, business management, and person-centered efforts across California. She guides the organization’s statewide initiatives, working alongside 900 staff with a shared commitment to establish permanent solutions to homelessness that are faster and more affordable. As a licensed clinical social worker, Dietz ensures the use of evidence-based approaches to service delivery.
Dietz also helps manage the organization’s assets, direct mergers and acquisitions, analyze risk for new projects and programs, and coordinate legal issues. Under her mission-driven leadership, PATH’s programs statewide have increased by more than 20 percent each year, increased operations from $15 million to $140 million, and expanded its reach from 4,000 Californians across 90 cities to 25,000 across 150. She also works with PATH’s real estate affiliate, PATH Ventures, with its housing portfolio’s rapid expansion to 2,150 units completed or underway.
Chief Executive Officer
The Whole Child
In four short years, Constanza Pachon has used her tremendous managerial and mentoring talents to transform the nonprofit The Whole Child into a leading organization committed to reducing family homeless and improving children’s mental health. This comes from her own lived experience of homelessness as a child, which has become her legacy to transform the lives of women and children from ones of day-to-day trauma to ones of security and stability. During her tenure, the agency has grown from $9.4 million annual revenue to $21 million, and from 88 to 162 employees, with many new service sites.
Among Pachon’s most significant accomplishments, she has undertaken three capital projects for organization, two to increase housing stock for families experiencing homelessness, and one to create the first “one-stop” service shop for families experiencing homelessness in the 26 communities of Southeast Los Angeles, where services have been scarce for these struggling families.
Chief Executive Officer
The Whole Child
In 2018, Dr. Sara Terheggen, who has advised clients on over $110 billion in corporate transactions, left her role as an equity partner for a top law firm and founded a legal and business solutions professional corporation, The NBD Group, Inc. The mission of NBD is to disrupt the industry by bringing to bear a new paradigm that focuses on client service and advancing equality.
Not only is the founder and CEO a woman, but NBD has instituted transparent policies regarding promotion and pay, and has established policies and governance that help women and minorities rise up instead of cycle out. Under Dr. Terheggen’s leadership, NBD has experienced year-over-year growth. In the four years since its founding in 2018, NBD has handled over 100 transactions for clients with an aggregate transaction value of over $8 billion. 2022 shows no sign of slow-down. The NBD Group is already well underway for another phenomenal year.
Executive of the Year Finalists
Celeste M. Alleyne
Director, Executive Engagement & External Talent, Events, Studios, Communities
As a senior corporate leader for 28 years, Celeste Alleyne has put women’s issues/needs at the center of her strategies. She has been an executive at Microsoft for 16 years. She is currently director of executive engagements & external talent for Microsoft’s Events, Studios and Communities group. She oversees an internal “talent agency” for senior executives and external speakers: celebrities, thought leaders, emcees, hosts; for global corporate events.
Since she joined this group, Alleyne has influenced and grown the hiring of women and diverse talent by 47%. Formerly she oversaw corporate citizenship, digital equity and access, STEM education and artificial intelligence and community initiatives at Microsoft. Alleyne has always put women and young girls first, providing tech opportunities and resources for women in the workplace, and speaking publicly for hundreds of women and young girls supported by nonprofits across the US.
Chief Business Officer
Jeremi Gorman is chief business officer at Snap Inc., where she leads global sales, agency partnerships, sales operations, revenue operations, and creative strategy. As a member of the Snap executive team, Gorman reports to co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel and manages hundreds of employees across teams.
Over the past few years, Gorman has scaled and reorganized the sales team – from a regionalized to a verticalized structure. This new structure has allowed Snap to service more advertisers with sales experts for each business vertical. Gorman and her team work closely in partnership with Snap’s Product and Engineering teams to drive business results for both Snap and their advertising partners. Their work to build Snap measurement, optimization, and self-serve platform, combined with the success of Gorman’s verticalized sales and business orgs, have helped the company achieve new heights for revenue and business growth.
Sara (Young) Jackson
Sara Jackson has served Pepperdine University in key leadership roles since 1979. She began her decades-long career at Pepperdine as the assistant director of student life and advanced to the director position. In the late 1980s, she worked with student leaders to design and launch the Pepperdine Volunteer Center, a center where students, staff, and faculty members live out the University mission by engaging in service opportunities and building lasting partnerships within the community. In her role as founding director, Jackson developed the managing board and launched the earliest campus-wide volunteer programs.
Jackson was named chancellor in 2019. As chancellor, Jackson leads major initiatives to help strengthen the University’s endowment while cultivating meaningful relationships to extend Pepperdine’s reach throughout Southern California and around the globe. The chancellor is also a member of the University’s senior leadership team and serves as an important advisor to President James A. Gash.
CCO and Head of Digital Sales
Yolanda Macias has over 25 years of entertainment distribution and media experience. As chief content officer at Cinedigm, she is responsible for sourcing, evaluating, negotiating, renewing and acquiring global content rights from independent producers and studios for all distribution streaming platforms.
Macias also oversees third party digital streaming and physical distribution of over 30,000 films and series across all world-wide platforms and consumption models. Part of Macias’ responsibilities also include supervising the relationships with the company’s distributed content providers, in addition to overseeing the marketing strategy and customer growth. Her role within the company is not only essential, but a position for which Cinedigm relies on to grow and progress forward. With her leadership, Macias has helped Cinedigm transition from an aggregator of content to a full-service streaming company. She has secured home entertainment distribution and streaming rights for many leading brands.
Innovator of the Year Finalists
Deborah La Franchi
SDS Capitol Group
Deborah La Franchi is the founder and CEO of SDS Capital Group – a national leader in impact investing with over $1 billion in assets under management. Each impact fund on SDS’ platform employs a unique investment strategy developed by SDS to generate positive impacts for low-income communities, families and individuals.
La Franchi developed and launched the SDS Supportive Housing Fund, a first of-its-kind private equity fund financing permanent supportive housing with a focus on the homeless population in Los Angeles. A year ago, La Franchi’s funding approach to alleviate the homeless crisis in Los Angeles was just becoming known and launching. Today, La Franchi’s vision for a new path to house the homeless has now become a reality: the fund is fully capitalized at $150 million and investing in one project every 90 days, in order to house over 1,800 individuals who are today living on the streets.
Chief Executive Officer
Blu Digital Group
Paulette Pantoja founded Blu in 2007 as a services company, providing quality assurances services (QA) for film and TV content, as well as consumer electronics products and technologies. She set the business up on her own, out of her apartment, using her credit card to fund the business.
Pantoja has focused on proprietary workflows and her patented applications help streamline key operational aspects for entertainment companies. These cloud-based automated systems improve operations, providing transparency, control, flexibility and greater efficiencies. Her creation of the cloud-based automation software for content distribution showed real innovation, and her founding of the localization division within Blu in 2021 further expands the services bringing international content to audiences around the world. She has taken big risks to realize her vision. Self-funding her business, she recognized how innovative technology can enable the growth of the business. She inspires her teams to evolve Blu’s technology solutions.
Co-Founder and CEO
Michele Ruiz’s work has positively impacted the lives not only of those who know her personally, but also those who have read her writings, seen her as a trusted TV journalist, benefitted from her mentorship, and most recently the global community where she is working to mitigate unconscious bias on an unprecedented scale.
Through her company, BiasSync, Ruiz’s dedication to mitigating gender bias in the workplace has affected hundreds of thousands of women, and the momentum continues to rise – as has her commitment to addressing intersectional biases that so often magnify the challenges faced by women of color, those across the LGBTQIA+ community, and those facing bias on the basis of age or disability. A true innovator, the product Ruiz champions through BiasSync’s research and development is the first in the nation to provide actionable, scientifically-validated data to corporations seeking to mitigate unconscious bias – at scale.
Mercy Tolentino Steenwyk
President and CEO
Mercy Tolentino Steenwyk is an inspiration and leader in her field and greater community. She started ForensisGroup over 30 years ago and entered a field where immigrant women of color were scarcely seen. Hailing from a small provincial town in the Philippines and a social activist grooming from the University of the Philippines, Steenwyk arrived in the US determined to make the most of the opportunity. Despite facing overt and covert sexism and racism, Steenwyk stayed true to her mission and vision of life and soon identified a need in the community and ForensisGroup was born.
Steenwyk set out to help move the world forward by connecting people to help solve problems. Testimony from her expert witnesses has helped keep oil out of oceans, dangerous chemicals out of food, and has led to safer skyscrapers. What is perhaps most inspiring is how her innovative leadership style is purpose-driven.
Emerging Women-Owned Business Leader of the Year Finalists
Rachel Miller is the founder & CEO of Closegap, a nonprofit that makes it easy for schools to support the emotional health of K-12 students through daily mental health check-ins. Recognizing the lack of touchpoints youth have for support and the staggering effect that has on emotional well-being, she developed Closegap’s daily check-in platform to get kids the resources they need. Since its launch in 2019, Closegap has been used in over 3,000 schools and has captured over three million check-ins, giving youth across all 50 states and 25 countries the opportunity to connect with a trusted adult and develop emotion regulation, self-reflection skills and self-esteem.
Miller’s proven success as Closegap helps improve the mental health of K-12 students, and her dedication to leveraging developmental psychology and evidence-based research is key to helping create a happier and healthier world.
Stephanie Piza is celebrating the three-year anniversary of her management company, UNCMMN, this year. Piza is a trailblazing woman who has forged her own path in a white male dominated industry with the goal of uplifting diverse digital talent, an increasingly growing market that has seen a huge surge since the debut of TikTok.
UNCMMN, a full-service talent management and entertainment strategy firm that amplifies the voices of diverse creators rooted in new media, has reached a milestone as a small, female led business, especially during a time when many companies were shuttering due to the pandemic. Piza is breaking down barriers for not just herself, but also her business partner Rana Zand, their team of female employees, and their growing client base of hungry and talented creatives. The company has grown exponentially, continuing to lead by example as a diverse, Latin female-led firm.
Champion of Women Finalists
Financial Expert & Money Mastery Coach
Rita Boccuzzi’s primary focus is financial education and empowerment in order to elevate her community, with a special focus on women. She believes that a financially educated society is an elevated society and she absolutely practices what she preaches. In her free time she hosts complimentary workshops such as “Wine Women & Wealth,” “Money Mommy Daddy & Me,” and “It’s No Secret to be Wealthy: Money 101.” These events exist to improve people’s relationships with money.
Many women who Boccuzzi has supported through her events have come from environments that did not support their development and growth. She is sensitive to this and is mindful when hosting these events in order to empower these women. When she’s not hosting workshops, she is working to build out her Money Empowerment Movement Bootcamp which is her way of sharing an immersive money education with wider audiences.
Founder & General Partner
Jesse Draper is the founding partner of Halogen Ventures focused on early stage investing in consumer technology companies led by female and co-ed teams. Draper, the first solo female GP in Los Angeles, is also a fourth generation venture capitalist, and the creator and host of Emmy nominated television series, The Valley Girl Show. She brings deep expertise in understanding consumer trends and behavior and identifying entrepreneurs who will innovate and solve problems at scale. She is a fierce advocate for investing in women and the opportunity for using technology and innovation to solve some of the biggest issues facing women and families today.
Draper is a leading voice and role model dedicated to fighting for systemic change for women and diversity in technology and venture capital. Through her work, she is breaking traditional barriers and opening doors to increase access to capital, specifically for women.
Senior Advisor to the Mayor of City of LA
City of Los Angeles
Ana Guerrero has been a champion for women in City Hall. Under her leadership women have achieved gender equity on City Commissions. There are a total of 311 City Commissioners, thanks to Guerrero’s hard work 57% of City Commissioners are women. For the first time in the City of LA, the powerful Department of Water and Power Commission is now 100% women. The City of LA Library Dept is also 100% women.
As Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s chief of staff from 2013 to 2021, Guerrero was responsible for directing all aspects of the administration and implementing the Mayor’s ambitious policy agenda. Her work as chief of staff put Guerrero at the center of several transformative moments in modern Los Angeles history, including the successful movement to lift the minimum wage to $15 an hour. She also led the Mayor’s pandemic response efforts in 2020.
Managing Director, Business Banking California Division Director
JP Morgan Chase
Diedra Porché is JPMorgan Chase’s California Division director overseeing the Business Banking team that manages the financial services of clients throughout the state with annual revenues up to $20 million. In her career of over 28 years, she has held had eight different jobs – all at JPMorgan Chase, which makes her a unicorn. She has been able to take the work she does every day and create real, lasting and impactful change in our world.
Porché serves as a mentor to so many employees at all stages of their careers and across all different parts of the business. Similarly, she is an executive director and sponsor of Women on the Move (WOTM), JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to fuel female ambition and advance financial equality. The WOTM program supports the recruitment, retention and promotion of women at all levels through mentorship to empower both professional and personal growth.
Mentor of the Year Finalists
Ellen Ensher, Ph.D.
Professor of Management
Loyola Marymount University
Ellen Ensher, Ph.D., is a professor of management at Loyola Marymount University and a leading expert in mentoring and careers. Ensher has four courses currently available on LinkedIn Learning, over 50 published academic articles and book chapters, and her own book, “Power Mentoring: How Successful Mentors and Proteges Get the Most Out of Their Relationships.”
An advocate for professional women, whether in business or general management, Ensher is a highly rated speaker and workshop leader at conferences and for public and private organizations in the U.S. and internationally. She has consulted for a wide array of organizations including the City of Los Angeles, Kraft Foods, Legg Mason, LinkedIn, Sisters of the Holy Cross, and the United States Navy. At LMU, Ensher continues to promote mentorship and be an advocate for female leaders. Students love her class and have maintained close relationships with her throughout their careers.
Shawmut Design and Construction
Kirstin Harper-Smith is building the skyline, community, and future leaders of Los Angeles. While her project portfolio is extremely impressive – from her current work on the full renovation of UCLA’s historic Nimoy Theater to the project credited with initiating the revitalization of DTLA: LA Live! Nokia Theatre (now Microsoft Theater) and Plaza – perhaps just as notable and impressive are her leadership and mentorship.
As a project executive overseeing office and field teams in an industry that’s only 10% female, Harper-Smith recognizes that there’s a preconceived notion around who knows how to build. She levels the playing field as a woman in construction (who did not work in the trades) by demonstrating her knowledge and skillset through her work product and forward thinking. Leading by example, she encourages her fellow women teammates to do the same, and works with them to establish their knowledge base and confidence.
Partner and Co-Chair, Insurance Recovery Practice
Blank Rome LLP
As one of the nation’s most prominent attorneys in insurance recovery, Linda Kornfeld consistently represents high profile clients in some of the most pressing and high-stakes coverage cases. She has more than 25 years of experience, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for her clients.
Despite her notoriety and busy schedule, Kornfeld is also known for being a fantastic mentor. She is patient, kind, trusting, and down to earth. She leads cases with grace and fine-tuned wisdom and encourages associates to take ownership of projects. A mentor who leads by example, she encourages her colleagues to grow in their roles and reach their full potential. The relationships she has built with other rising female attorneys over the years is a testament to her commitment to supporting the personal and professional growth of women in the legal profession.
Vice President of Development
Skanska USA Commercial Development
With more than 20 years of experience in commercial real estate management and development, Megan Moloughney is an unequivocal industry leader in the Los Angeles market. Her experience consists of a unique mix of roles across both development and property & asset management – for boutique private companies as well as large public firms – which have culminated in exceptional business acumen and remarkable perspective when approaching development projects.
Moloughney’s skills are by no means limited to her practical know-how. She possesses an unmatched talent for bringing out the best in her own team members: her ability to maintain a thoughtful and creative approach to problem-solving, even in the face of unexpected obstacles, not only leads her team to successful, efficient solutions, but also raises overall team morale even on the most stressful of days. Through mentorship, she chooses to share her hard-earned wisdom with those starting out in the industry.
Community Impact Advocate of the Year Finalists
Cheryl A. Calhoun
Managing Director, Tax and Business Management
CBIZ & MHM
A managing director at CBIZ, Inc. Los Angeles, Cheryl Calhoun brings more than 30 years of experience and expertise to all facets of the entertainment industry. She represents talent, production companies, entertainment service companies, media service companies, publishing companies and executives in varied tax and business matters.
Calhoun also champions the mission of organizations she supports by building strategic relationships and ensuring that the partnerships are in the best interest of each organization. She was recently named as chair elect of the Board of the American Lung Association. She has worked with the organization for more than 10 years, including as a founding member of its Advisory Council. She has also been influential in maintaining the success of Dress for Success Worldwide-West by serving as a founding member of its Advisory Council since 2010. She also recently became involved as a coach in CBIZ’s Emerging Managing Director Academy.
Regional Vice President, External & Legislative Affairs, Los Angeles Region
Lupita Sanchez Cornejo is a proud Los Angeles native, dedicated to serving her community. At AT&T she has served as an advisor for HACEMOS, a company employee resource group dedicated to supporting the professional growth of Hispanic team members and philanthropic initiatives in the communities they live. Through HACEMOS she has mentored many young professionals through the group’s Emerging Latina Leaders Program, which provides new career growth opportunities for her mentees.
Cornejo is an engaged leader who is passionate about advocating for education opportunities and the betterment of her community. She serves on the board of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality and the USC Latino Alumni Association. In 2013, she was recognized at the inaugural event of the USC’s Latino Alumni Spotlight recognizing her achievements. He tireless involvement in community volunteer work has made her a three-time recipient of the President of the United States’ Volunteer Service Award.
Senior Associate and Studio Director
Audrey Handelman is involved in the community and philanthropy both inside and outside of her work as an architect and design professional. Within Gensler, she leads the Southwest’s six offices’ philanthropic work by coordinating and overseeing the volunteerism, pro-bono design projects, and charitable sponsorships. She helps the teams connect while also encouraging the hyper-local grassroots efforts. Handelman personally participates in volunteerism throughout the year – most recently through a collaboration with Beautify Earth and artist Cloe Hakakian to paint a mural on a local charter school in Los Angeles.
Outside of Gensler, Handelman is passionate about advocacy for foster youth. She has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate for six years where she works directly with a child in the LA County dependency system to identify and advocate for their needs around health, safety, education, and permanency.
Ginna Claire Nguyen
At work, Ginna Claire Nguyen leads Relativity Architects’ pro-bono services. The first of these projects was designing improvements for a boarding school in rural Nigeria. Relativity also became active in fund-raising for the project. The first phase – an 80-bed girls’ dormitory – is complete. Nguyen also oversaw the design of an Administrative Learning Center & Library for the school. Further, Nguyen and Relativity provided complimentary design services for the historic Shoseian Japanese Teahouse in Glendale’s Brand Park.
Nguyen is also integral to a grassroots movement devoted to building an equestrian center in Compton. The Connecting Compton initiative proposes re-purposing an 18-acre former landfill. The project will serve the community with services such as horse therapy, a youth rodeo team, after-school educational programs, and a public plaza for hosting community events such as street food vendors and farmers’ markets.
Woman to Watch of the Year Finalists
Department Chair; Chair, Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Dir-Center, Center for Intelligent Environments; Dean’s Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Southern California
As a woman faculty member in engineering, Professor Becerik-Gerber understand the issues female researchers might experience while pursuing their academic careers. She is one of the co-PIs and co-organizers of two NSF workshops that focus on connecting woman faculty in sustainable building research.
Professor Becerik-Gerber is also a pioneer in the field of “Human Building Interaction.” The core of her research centers on the development of novel methods for high performing buildings and she has made significant contributions to the field of intelligent (cognitive) built environments. Her work has garnered attention across a wide spectrum within both academia and industry, due to its both scientific and engineering rigor, as well as for its societal and real-world impact. As a result of the recognition of Prof. Becerik-Gerber’s work, her research has been funded by both public and private sources for more than $7.3 million to date.
Rachel Dew, DNM, Ph.D.
CEO/Double Board Certified Doctor ModiHealth/ Natural & Integrative Medicine
Dr. Rachel Dew’s goal of reaching as many people with a complete solution “under one virtual roof” came to fruition with the launch of ModiHealth. She knows that physically getting to the doctor’s office is often the biggest obstacle to better health. With ModiHealth, Dr. Dew has created an online platform that anyone can access for virtual care anytime. Clients can find traditional mental health practitioners, holistic health practitioners, functional medicine life coaches, health coaches, and health programs, leading them to their most optimal health.
On the tech side, this venture required an extensive online platform buildout and content production, for which Dr. Dew joined forces with ModiHealth’s co-founder, Dr. Randall Wright. ModiHealth’s technology platform is an integrative whole person care approach that will change how doctors and practitioners practice medicine and wellness care. Always a trendsetter, Dr. Dew is paving the way for the future of telewellness.
Bellflower Unified School District
On July 20, 2018,Tracy McSparren was named superintendent of Bellflower Unified School District. McSparren had been serving as the interim superintendent since the retirement of Brian Jacobs in January. Many were familiar with McSparren through her dedication and service to the students of the Bellflower Unified School District community since 1996. Along with serving as the interim superintendent for six months, McSparren had continued to operate in her previous assignment as the assistant superintendent of special education and support services.
Under her leadership, the Gear Up program concentrated on getting students to begin the college journey in middle school and enter college upon high school graduation. The program emphasized activities to engage students in math and science and completing the A-G curriculum. The program also spawned the Parent Institute which worked to create partnerships with parents to support their families in the journey to college.
Global Head of Strategic Partnerships
Jennifer Piña serves as the global head of strategic partnerships at MagicLinks. The Venice-based startup powers social commerce through an exclusive marketplace for video influencers and the world’s leading brands. MagicLinks’ technology enables content creators to earn steady income by sharing the products they love with their fans, while simultaneously providing brand partners with creator investment data and tools to propel creator success across all social video platforms.
Since joining MagicLinks in 2017 as the second ever full-time employee, Piña has played a critical role in the company’s growth and resounding success. Today the company has over 60 employees and growing. She is consistently instrumental in developing products, leading campaigns, and securing key brand partnerships that drive the business. Over the past five years she has built several multi-million dollar partnerships and led campaigns for household name brands such as L’Oreal, lululemon, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Sephora, Express and more.
NextGen Woman of the Year Finalists
Senior Content Lead
Sarah Beaumont is the senior content lead of Home & Design at Tastemade, a modern media company that engages a global audience of more than 300 million viewers each month. She began her career as a freelance arts writer for various LA-based publications, then moved into copywriting and content creation at an online interior design startup. There, Beaumont harnessed her expertise in design while simultaneously becoming extremely well-versed in digital and social media production.
At Tastemade, Beaumont joined the team in 2018 to help launch a new Home & Design vertical. She leveraged her expertise in design, social media, writing, and content creation to grow Tastemade Home’s audience from scratch to where it is today – a community of nearly five million highly engaged followers. She is skilled in developing new video formats and interactive social experiences that foster two-way communication between Tastemade Home and its audience.
In 2018, Allyson (Ally) Forster landed a position as an intern on the $1.4 billion West Gates at Tom Bradley International Terminal project at LAX. The five-level concourse adds 1.7 million square feet of space to the airport. She assisted with the processing of submittals and RFIs, schedule maintenance, and change order management.
Forster was brought on at PCL as a full-time field engineer in 2019. She was assigned to work on the Southwest Campus Apartments, a 368-unit student housing project that will provide housing for nearly 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students at UCLA. As the project progressed, Forster transitioned into an assistant superintendent role and oversaw exterior envelope and the progression of the building interior. She is currently working on the demolition of a 60,000 sf theater and neighboring tenant spaces for a major entertainment client.
Critic Community Manager
Sophie-Marie Prime is critic community manager at Rotten Tomatoes, where she specializes in growing the site’s pool of Tomatometer-approved critics and provides career and educational support for underrepresented journalists. As the 2018-19 Rotten Tomatoes fellow in Digital Innovation and Film Criticism, she worked with the Critic Relations team to support its newly-launched critic criteria and application process, and developed an editorial column that spotlights rising and established voices in the community, before joining the team full-time.
Since joining Rotten Tomatoes in 2019, Prime has helped create change within the entertainment industry through her work with Rotten Tomatoes-sponsored initiatives aimed at increasing inclusion and diversity among film and TV critics. In August 2021, she was a key member of the team who launched “RT Labs,” an educational resource program, designed to support aspiring critics in their career development and features recorded panel discussions and classes with industry experts.
Lacy Lew Nguyen
Hillman Grad Foundations
Lacy Lew Nguyen Wright currently serves as the executive director of the Hillman Grad Foundation, overseeing and handling day-to-day operations of its Mentorship Lab and Indeed’s Rising Voices initiatives, which both offer opportunities for marginalized storytellers in the entertainment industry. Wright takes the lead on organizing classes for all the mentees, connecting them with working professionals in the field. She was also one of the key players in the formalization of Hillman Grad Foundations.
As an Asian-American woman working in a field that is predominately white and male, Wright experiences first-hand the importance of promoting underrepresented communities which also serves as her passion point in all the work that she does. She truly wants to make a difference and wants others to succeed, as evidenced by her work at the Mentorship Lab, where mentees receive personalized instruction from industry professionals that they would not have access to elsewhere.