EMPOWER Creative Leadership Conference Schedule

Saturday March 23, 2019 - Sunday March 24, 2019 | Los Angeles, CA



Saturday March 23, 2019


Opening Session & Keynote

9:40AM - Session 1

How to Make Friends and Influence Change in the Writer's Room (TV Writers Panel)

The diversity that you see on the screen doesn't happen without the writers who create the stories behind your favorite characters and worlds. This panel features a conversation between television writers who are working on some of the most exciting shows currently airing or coming soon.

Panelists: Brian Shin (The Good Doctor), Kai Wu (The Ghost Bride), Tania Lotia (Swamp Thing), Krystal Banzon (I Feel Bad), & Hanh Nguyen (IndieWire)

Crushing the Myth (Storytelling Session)

Crushing The Myth is a traveling speaker series dedicated to Asian American topics. The old “Model Minority” label is outdated and doesn’t reflect modern-day Asian America. So let’s CRUSH the myth, and talk about cultural issues that are important to our current generation. This session features a curated series of storytellers sharing their experiences as Asians in America.

Featured Storytellers: Chris Lam, Jason Shen, & Kevin Kreider

11:00AM - Session 2

From Script to Screen: Asian American Filmmakers Bring Their Stories to Life (Filmmakers Panel)

2018 was a great year for Asian Americans in film, but there's way more to the Asian American experience than secret wealth and missing daughters. This panel brings together accomplished independent filmmakers who are creating new Asian American stories and narratives for the big screen.

Panelists: Lulu Wang (The Farewell), Andrew Ahn (Driveways), Diane Paragas (Yellow Rose), Tanuj Chopra (Staycation), & Will Yu (#StarringJohnCho)

Funny AF: Asians in Comedy (Comedy Panel)

Asians in comedy have been getting a lot more attention in the past few years, with Asian Americans headlining comedy specials, hosting talk shows, even playing quirky best friends. In this panel, Will Choi, the executive producer of the hit UCB comedy series Asian AF talks with fellow comedy artists about the growth of the Asian American comedy community and its past, present, and future.

Panelists: Dhruv Uday Singh, Atsuko Okatsuka, Sierra Katow, Peter Kim, & Will Choi (Asian AF)

The Power of YES, AND! (Improv Workshop)

Like Mahjong, improvised comedy teaches important life skills, critical listening, flexibility in the face of changing circumsatnaces, and constructive teamwork. In this interactive workshop, say "YES, AND" learn from Susan Song, a seasoned improv artist with years of extensive training with The Groundlings and Upright Citizens Brigade.

Facilitator: Susan Song

12:20PM - Lunch Break

1:00PM - Session 3

Turn up the Volume: Asian Americans in Music (Music Panel)

What does diversity look like in music? And does the increasingly digital nature of music making actually level the playing field? This panel features a discussion about the art and business of making music between musicians and executives.

Panelists: Dumbfoundead, RACELLA, Melissa Polinar, Sujata Murthy (Universal Music Enterprises), & Manpreet Kaur (TRAKTIVIST.com)

Navigating the Golden Age of Podcasting (Podcasting Panel)

Have you ever thought about starting a podcast? With over half a million shows on Apple Podcasts alone, some are saying it's the golden age of podcasting. But like many mediums, representation is also an issue the podcast industry has to deal with. This podcast brings together Asian American podcast hosts and producers to disucss how they found their way into the world of podcasting, and how they're carving out their own space in the emerging industry.

Panelists: Paola Mardo (Long Distance), Andrew Ti (Yo! Is this Racist), Taz Ahmed (Good Muslim Bad Muslim), Misha Euceph (The Big One), & Marvin Yueh (Kollaboration)

2:20PM - Session 4

The Actor's life in a post #AsianAugust World (Actors Panel)

#AsianAugust showed Hollywood that Asian Americans can not only lead a major studio film, but smash the box office. SInce then, an avalanche of Asian led projects have been greenlit and it seems there are more acting opportunities than ever before. On this panel, Asian American actors from a variety of backgrounds and experience discuss if, and how, being an Actor of Asian descent has changed since last summer.

Panelists: Chris Pang (Crazy Rich Asians), Lilan Bowden (Andi Mack), Tamlyn Tomita (The Good Doctor), Tzi Ma (The Farewell) & Dino Ray-Ramos (Deadline)

Reporting the Stories of Asians in America (Journalism Panel)

Journalism is becoming more and more important in today's world of media saturation, and as our communities become more diverse, the voices reporting the stories important to us should become more diverse as well. This panel brings together seasoned reporters from different beats (entertainment, culinary, and local) to discuss how they got into journalism and what it's like to be a PoC in the newsroom.

Panelists: Frank Shyong (LA Times), Rebecca Sun (The Hollywood Reporter), Cathy Chaplin (Eater), Deepa Bharanth (OC Register), & Ada Tseng (OC Times)

Building a (Personal) Brand that Matters (Personal Branding Workshop) presented by Boba Guys

Everything and everyone around you is a brand! This workshop will unpack both business and personal branding from the lens of a seasoned brand marketer. Using frameworks from some of the world's largest brands, you will learn how to build your brand DNA from the ground up.

Facilitator: Andrew Chau (Boba Guys)

3:40PM - Session 5

Power Players: Changing the Game from the Top (Executives Panel)

Progress in representation and inclusion doesn't just come from the script and screen, it also comes from decisions in the board room. This incredible panel brings together some of the movers and shakers of the entertainment industry to talk about how they made it into the executive suite, and how they are using their power and influence to create lasting change in the industry.

Panelists: Sandra Chang (Anonymous Content), Grace Wu (NBC Universal), Emmeline Yang (Iconoclast Films), Shannon Lee (Bruce Lee Foundation), & Nicki Sun

Digital Media: The Content We Want at the Speed of Now (Digital Creators Panel)

Digital media has leveled the playing field for aspiring creatives, but a lower barrier to entry also mean that you have to work harder to stand out. This panel brings together successful digital producers, personalities, and hosts to talk about what it takes to be a digital creator in today's social media driven world.

Panelists: Erika Ishii (Geek & Sundry), Kane Diep (formerly Buzzfeed), Stephanie Mercado (Portal A), Ted Sim (Indy Mogul), & Traci G. Lee (NBC Asian America)

PITCH PERFECT: Crafting Your Personal Story (Personal Pitch Workshop) presented by CAPE

Learn how to shape a personal story that will help you land your dream gig, and leave with the confidence to answer the dreaded question: "Tell me about yourself?" Please note, this workshop is geared for writers and content creators.

Facilitator: Michelle K. Sugihara & Jess Ju (CAPE)

5:00PM - Keynote Panel

The Rising Tide: Conversation on Intersectionality

2018 wasn't just a good year for the Asian American community, it was a great year for diversity, representation, and inclusion for all marginalized people. So how do we keep the momentum going and how do we continue to advocate for our many marginalized identities? This year's EMPOWER keynote panel brings together actors and executives from different backgrounds to talk about the intersections of their identities, and how we can all work together to rise up together.

Panelists: Sujata Day (Insecure), Leonardo Nam (Westworld), Sherry Cola (Good Trouble), Chika Chukudebelu (NBC Universal), & Gingger Shankar (Kollaboration)

6:30PM - Networking Reception & Mixer

Location: Kasih, 200 S Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90012


Sunday March 24, 2019

10:00AM - Networking Brunch

Featuring a conversation with Showrunner, Writer, Filmmaker, Producer, & Actor Kulap Vilaysack

12:00PM - Session 6

The Evolution of Asian Masculinity (Featured Panel)

For a long time, Asian men have had a rough time when it comes to representation, but recently, it seems that more and more people are discovering that Asian guys can be handsome and sexy. But as society's views on masculinity evolves, so does our concepts of Asian masculinity. This panel brings together a diverse lineup of Asian male actors, comedians, and writers to discuss the past, present, and future of masculinity

Panelists: D'Lo (DisOriented Comedy), Yoshi Sudarso (Buffalo Boys), Tim DeLaGhetto (Wild 'N Out), Ron Yuan (Mulan), & Nathan Ramos (Club Mickey Mouse)

Crowdfunding for Independence (Crowdfunding Workshop) presented by Seed&Spark

This workshop, presented by Seed&Spark, clearly lays out the steps toward a successful crowdfunding campaign, as well as a career- long action plan most likely to create a lasting, flourishing, direct relationship with your audience. You’ll learn how to find your audience, structure your crowdfunding campaign, pick the right goal and incentives, and much more.

Facilitator: Gerry Maravilla (Seed&Spark)

1:20PM - Session 7:

AAPI Women In Hollywood (Featured Panel)

No one can deny the impact the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have had on shifting everything from daily conversation to organizational practices around equality for women. This panel creates space for Asian American Pacific Islander women who worked in entertainment both before and after the hashtags. We will get a deeper understanding of their experiences in the industry, as well as explore how women & allies alike can create widespread change for respect, safety & equality.

Panelists: Ally Maki (Asian American Girl Club), Naomi Scott (Gettin’ Rad Productions), Nithya Raman (Time’s Up Entertainment), Kulap Vilaysack (Origin Story), & Minji Chang (Kollaboration)

Treat Your Creative Career As a Business (Freelancing Workshop) presented by Counsel for Creators

A legal workshop designed for creatives, entertainers, general freelancers, and business owners of all kinds. We'll cover the basics of setting up your business for success, protecting your intellectual property, and getting the right contracts in place to protect you and receive timely payments, and avoid costly litigation.

Facilitator: Chuong Bui (Counsel for Creators)

2:40PM - Session 8:

New Frontiers: How Technology is Changing Popular Media (Media Technology Panel)

From new ways to distribute media, to new ways to experience it, new technologies, such as 5G and Augmented/Virtual Reality, are poised to change the way we consume popular media. This panel explores the potential of these new technologies to support and tell diverse stories.

Panelists: Mike Su (Yellow @ Snap), Michaella Vu (Vunous VR), Mike Lu (Triller), Brandon Leong (FoxNext), & Nicki Sun

PITCH PERFECT: Crafting Your Personal Story (Personal Pitch Workshop) presented by CAPE

An encore of CAPE's workshop from Saturday. Learn how to shape a personal story that will help you land your dream gig, and leave with the confidence to answer the dreaded question: "Tell me about yourself?" Please note, this workshop is geared for writers and content creators.

Facilitator: Michelle K. Sugihara & Jess Ju (CAPE)

4:00PM - Closing Reception

Panel and Workshop locations and timing are subject to change