Mark HamillVoice Arts® Icon Award Honoree Bio
Mark HamillVoice Arts® Icon Award Honoree
Mark Richard Hamill is an American actor and voice actor who is famous for his portrayal of Luke Skywalker in the famous “Star Wars” movie series. Born in Oakland, California, Hamill studied at the Los Angeles City College, where he majored in drama. He was soon cast in the space opera film ‘Star Wars’ which was directed by George Lucas. The film was a huge success commercially and critically. The first film of the famous and critically acclaimed ‘Star Wars’ movie series, the film has earned a cult status over the years. Hamill reprised his role in multiple other films of the franchise. He was most recently seen in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ which grossed more than a billion dollars. He has also voiced the famous DC comics’ supervillian ‘The Joker’ in several animated movies based on Batman, the famous vigilante superhero. A much decorated actor, he has won several awards throughout his career, including two Saturn Awards. Recently, he was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has also been nominated for an Emmy Award and an Annie Award.
Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.Muhammad Ali Voice Of Humanity Honoree Bio
Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.Muhammad Ali Voice Of Humanity Honoree
African American Studies scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. was born in Keyser, West Virginia on September 16, 1950, the son of Henry Louis Gates Sr. and Pauline Augusta Coleman. Gates first enrolled in college at Potomac State College in 1968, before transferring to Yale University in 1969. In 1970, he received a fellowship from Yale that would allow him to work and travel in Africa. Gates graduated from Yale in 1973, receiving his B.A. degree in History. Gates was also honored in 1973 with an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award. The first such grant to be given to an African American, the award allowed Gates to study at the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom. At Cambridge, Gates enrolled in the Clare College, and studied English Literature. Gates was able to work with scholars such as Wole Soyinka, the first native of Africa to win a Pulitzer Prize, British Labor scholar Raymond Williams and literary critic George Steiner. While he returned to the United States in 1975, Gates continued his studies, and received PhD. in English Language and Literature from the University of Cambridge in 1979.
Gates enrolled at Yale Law School in 1975, but left after a month. He stayed at the New Haven, CT. institution, becoming a secretary at with the University’s unit of African American Studies. In 1976, Gates was appointed as a lecturer in English and African American Studies, and named Director of Undergraduate Studies. Gates was made an Assistant Professor at Yale in 1979, and stayed at the University until 1985 While at Cornell University, where he served as a Professsor of English, Literature and Africana Studies from 1985 to 1990, Gates groundbreaking text Signifying Monkey A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism, was released. A 1989 American Book Award winner, the work extended the application of the concept of “signifyin(g)” to analysis of African American works and thus rooted African-American literary criticism in the African American vernacular tradition. The work gained Gates critical acclaim nationally, and he quickly translated his success into a more mainstream career as a “public intellectual,” writing pieces on race and other issues for publications like the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Nation and The New Republic.
After a short stay at Duke University from 1989 to 1991, Gates moved onto Harvard University, where he became a Professor and Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research, a position he still holds today. Gates was also the co-founder of TheRoot.com, an online magazine, and editor of the Oxford African American Studies Center.
Tom KennyVO Artist / Singer / Comedian Voice of SpongeBob SquarePants Bio
Tom KennyVO Artist / Singer / Comedian Voice of SpongeBob SquarePants
Thomas James “Tom” Kenny is a popular American actor and comedian famous for his work on the popular animated TV series ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’, where he voiced the titular character. He has also worked in the video games as well as the films related to the series. Kenny made his acting debut with a supporting role in the romantic comedy film ‘How I Got into College’. The film, which was directed by Savage Steve Holland, didn’t do well commercially. Other films he has acted in include ‘Surviving Christmas’ and ‘World’s Greatest Dad’. He has done voice roles for several animated TV shows such as ‘The Batman’ and ‘Transformers: Animated’. He is best known for his role in the animated series ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’, where he voiced the titular character. The show was a success and gained much popularity. It won many awards, including two Emmy Awards and six Annie Awards. As a voice actor he has also done voice roles for several popular animated shows such as ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’, ‘Samurai Jack’, and ‘The Powerpuff Girls’.
George LucasFilmmaker / Visionary / Creator / VAA Presenter Bio
George LucasFilmmaker / Visionary / Creator / VAA Presenter
Lucas was born in Modesto, California on May 14, 1944, the only son among George and Dorothy Lucas’s four children. His father sold office supplies and equipment and owned a walnut farm. George Lucas Sr. found his son difficult to understand and quite stubborn. Lucas enjoyed racing cars and was the proud owner of a souped-up Fiat in high school. He was not a good student, and barely made passing grades. Shortly before graduating from high school, Lucas was involved in a serious car accident and nearly died from his injuries. With broken ribs, Lucas spent three months in the hospital. This experience seriously affected his outlook on life. Lucas decided that he wanted to go to art school. His parents refused to support this decision, however, so Lucas instead studied social sciences at Modesto Junior College.
While at Modesto, Lucas developed an interest in photography and film. He began making films with an 8mm camera, though he knew little about the art and its history. Lucas combined his new interest with an old one when he began to photograph car races. He also became involved in the building of race cars. One was built for Haskell Wexler, a famous cinematographer, who befriended Lucas. With the cinematographer’s help, Lucas entered the film program at the University of Southern California (USC). Lucas had a variety of interests in film school. He began in animation, then moved on to cinematography and editing. Lucas was determined to succeed as a filmmaker, and produced eight student films. One of these films, 1965’s THX-1138: 4EB won several awards, including a first prize at the National Student Festival. In this short film, Lucas explored his version of the future.
Lucas graduated from USC in 1967 and worked on the fringes of the film industry for several years, holding odd jobs. He spent time as a cameraman for Saul Bass, filmed part of the infamous 1968 Rolling Stones concert in Altamonte, California, and worked as an editor for documentaries produced by the United States Information Agency. While working for the USIA he met Marcia Griffin, a film editor. They married in 1969, and adopted a child in 1981. The couple divorced in 1984 and Lucas later adopted two children on his own.
Lana GordonStage Performer / Singer / Actor Bio
Lana GordonStage Performer / Singer / Actor
Lana Gordon seen last as Lil Harden in A Wonderful World. Recent New York credits include Hello Again with the Drama League and Velma Kelly in Chicago on Broadway. Other Broadway credits: Soul Sister in Jesus Christ Superstar (2000 Revival) and the roles of Nala and Shenzi in The Lion King (Original Broadway Company). National and International Tours: Velma Kelly in Chicago, Dionne in Hair and Anita in West Side Story. In Europe she performed the roles of Carmen in Carmen Cubana, Velma Kelly in Chicago, Deloris in Sister Act, and Kala in Disney’s Tarzan in German. As a Dancer, Lana was a company member of the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, Dunham Company and Donald Byrd The Group. As a Vocalist she has sung with Jazz at Lincoln Center in Doha, Qatar as well as appearances with Kaunas Symphony Orchestra. TV: NBC’s One Night Only: The Best of Broadway Presented by Tina Fey, 52nd Annual TONY Awards (CBS), David Letterman (NBC) The Rosie O´Donnell Show (NBC) and numerous Commercials. Instagram: @lanagordon.
Tony ChiroldesActor / VO Artist / Singer Bio
Tony ChiroldesActor / VO Artist / Singer
Actor, singer and voice performer Tony Chiroldes is an original Broadway cast member of the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical In The Heights. During its 3-year run, Tony often stepped out of the ensemble to play the featured roles of Kevin and the Piragua Guy.
Other New York City credits include Paul Simon’s The Capeman, Sympathy Jones, and as a featured soloist in Broadway Cares’ Latin Rhythms with Chita Rivera. Regionally, Tony appeared in the first-ever production of Frank Loesser’s Senor Discretion Himself at Arena Stage [Helen Hayes Award]. On PBS-TV, Tony appeared as the Royal HulaMouse in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
His multi-media, live actor and shadow puppetry piece with music, Before Icarus Fell played at the Theatre Row Theatres in November 2010, thanks to a grant from the Jim Henson Foundation.
In Puerto Rico, this son of a Cuban singer and a red-headed actress performed in all media – including the premieres of Mass Appeal and The Normal Heart – and founded one of PRs premier theatre companies, Teatruras.
In 1998, he made his New York cabaret debut with Cabaret Caramba!, which was nominated by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets in the category of outstanding male debut. Other legit productions include the Paramount Pictures feature film A Show Of Force, and productions with New York City-based companies like the Pregones and Puerto Rican Traveling theatres.
Further, as a freelance voice-over performer, he has added his voice to literally hundreds of English and Spanish commercials; audiobooks such as Ricky Martin’s autobiography Yo, and Pam Muñoz Ryan’s The Dreamer, for which Tony won an AudioFile Magazine Earphone Award; and video games such as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, in which he voiced frantic disc jockey Pepe Espantoso. He regularly performs simultaneous translation into Spanish on Home Box Office’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel.
Chiroldes takes full advantage of his Mediterranean features to play Latino, Italian, and various other ethnicities.
Thembisa MshakaVO Artist / Author / Producer Bio
Thembisa MshakaVO Artist / Author / Producer
Thembisa S. Mshaka is a 5-time Telly Award winner and Promax/BDA Gold Award-winning writer who has served in the entertainment industry for over 18 years, spanning the areas of touring, management, magazine publishing, recorded music and technology, advertising, music supervision for film, voice over, and television. As Senior Copywriter at Sony Music, and 2-time NARM Award winner, her campaigns contributed to the sale of more than 150 million albums for artists including Lauryn Hill, Will Smith, Beyonce, Wyclef Jean, NaS, Maxwell, George Michael, Wu-Tang Clan, Bow Wow, Jill Scott and Babyface. The former GAVIN rap editor has also written for Honey, essence.com, LAUNCH.com, and served as contributing editor for The Hotness.com and BLAZE Magazine. She contributed to anthology Sometimes Rhythm: Sometimes Blues edited by Taigi Smith and 25 Hip-Hop Icons, an academic reference volume published by Greenwood Press. Thembisa is currently the Copy Director for BET Networks
Award Winning Advertising Copywriter:
I am the first Copy Director in BET Networks’ 28-year history. I bring consistency, continuity, and vitality to the network voice across all platforms: television, online, broadband, print, off-channel and pro-social. The year I arrived, BET Networks won 49 2005 Telly Awards, the majority of which were campaigns that I created. I also served as producer on promo shoots for Rip The Runway starring LL Cool J and Gabrielle Union and the 25 Heroes AIDS Awareness campaign starring India.Arie, Kelly Rowland, Lyfe Jennings and others. I served as lead writer for top-rated BET original series campaigns including College Hill, Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is and American Gangster. I also produce radio campaigns for all BET properties, including Black Girls Rock! and record-breaking series The Game. Finally, I oversee all corporate communications materials, from salute ads to our annual upfront sales kit and the fabulous BET Awards souvenir program book.
With clever, cutting edge flair, I effectively conceived, developed and delivered advertising campaigns for Sony Music labels and recording artists. Duties include writing scripts, executing treatments and selecting voice-over talent, while micromanaging projects across several departments under tight deadlines. In just 5 years, the campaigns I’ve created total over 170 million albums sold, for these artists and many others: Lauryn Hill • Destiny’s Child • Shirley Caesar • Maxwell • NAS • Macy Gray • B2K • Jagged Edge. I am responsible for Beyonce’s Dangerously In Love solo debut album campaign, Sony Music’s best-selling album in the United States for calendar 2003 and fiscal 2004.
My artist-as-brand approach to advertising tipped well ahead of the multi-media lifestyle trend that has overtaken the advertising industry. Several artists with whom I’ve worked directly have become endorsement powerhouses for beverages, beauty, and apparel or bonafide multi-media icons based upon the success they achieved in music: Will Smith (Oscar-nominated actor) • Beyonce’ (Pepsi, Loreal)• 50 Cent (G-Unit/Vitamin Water/RBK) • Wyclef Jean (LGIC)
Rudy GaskinsPresident & CEO, SOVAS Bio
Rudy GaskinsPresident & CEO, SOVAS
Rudy is the Co-founder, Chairman & CEO of the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences™ (SOVAS™), and international nonprofit corporation that oversees That’s Voiceover!™ Career Expo, the Voice Arts® Awards and multiple programs providing training, education, academic/financial aid scholarships and career counseling for voice actors. SOVAS™ is the longest running voiceover conference in the world and has honored legendary talents, such as James Earl Jones, Mark Hamill, Lily Tomlin, Muhammad Ali, William Shatner, Michael Buffer, Erin Brockovich, Ken Burns, Nancy Cartwright, Sigourney Weaver, Patrick Howard Fraley, Phil Lamarr and Malcolm-Jamal Warner.
Rudy is an Emmy-winning producer who began his professional career after graduating from New York University’s Film and Television program. He directed and produced several award-winning short films before signing on as an apprentice film editor on Francis Coppola’s The Cotton Club. From there he went on to work with some of the most influential filmmakers of our time, including Jonathan Demme, Brian DePalma, Milos Forman, Spike Lee, and Alan Pakula. He then joined PBS as a director, where he produced 12 hours of documentary programming.
The PBS journalistic tradition was an ideal training ground for his next challenge as a producer with ABC News advertising and promotion. At ABC News, Rudy oversaw the creative direction of the advertising and promotional branding for World News Tonight, featuring the legendary Peter Jennings, 20/20 with Barbara Walters and Primetime Live with Diane Sawyer.
He then joined Court TV as vice president of creative services, developing the on-air branding strategy and network identity during the infamous trials of the Menendez Brothers, OJ Simpson and Aileen Wuornos (later portrayed by Charlize Theron in Monster) Rudy played a central role in the successful re-brand and re-launch of Court TV from a news network to a news and entertainment venue – overseeing an award-winning re-branding campaign, that foreshadowed it’s final relaunch as Tru TV. He resides in Weehawken, New Jersey with his wife and business partner, Joan Baker.
LIsa FlanaganPrerecorded Announcer / VO Narrator Bio
LIsa FlanaganPrerecorded Announcer / VO Narrator
Lisa Flanagan is an award-winning narrator, voice actor, stage director, improviser, opera librettist, and classical singer. Her voice-over work includes animation, video games, and commercials. Lisa has received multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, Voice Arts Awards, and the 2019 Audie Award winner for Fantasy. She has cats and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Robin MilesActor / Audiobook Narrator Bio
Robin MilesActor / Audiobook Narrator
Robin Miles is an AudioFile Golden Voice, 2014 Booklist Voice of Choice, and Audie and Earphones Award–winning performer, as well as a Grammy finalist director in genres from sci-fi to memoir to erotica. AudioFile calls her “a performer who never disappoints.”
One of Robin’s special talents as a narrator and voiceover artist is her chameleon-like ability to re-create accents and speech patterns from all corners of the globe. For her, becoming a narrator was a natural outgrowth of the lessons of her grandfather, a renowned Jamaican professor of English. “My grandfather could recite passages from Shakespeare and The Iliad at a moment’s notice,” says Robin. “He recited poetry and sang folk songs from around the world to me … before I could even talk.” In addition, she describes the New Jersey neighborhood where she grew up as like a mini–United Nations, exposing her to a range of different cultures and accents. “I grew up around a lot of first-generation immigrants. Jewish, Irish, Cuban, Egyptian, Italian, German, and Vietnamese families all were on my block,” she recalls. “And I enjoyed hanging around the adults, so I got to spend time in their homes, listening to their accents, enjoying their cooking, and learning about their cultures up close and personal.”
A dancer and vocalist, Robin spent her early years performing in musical theater, but before long, she discovered her love of drama, especially world classics. She earned a BA in theater studies from Yale University and an MFA in acting from the Yale School of Drama. Robin also attended the British American Drama Academy in England.
Peter FrankCPA / Partner, Schulman Lobel Bio
Peter FrankCPA / Partner, Schulman Lobel
Peter Frank, CPA, CITP, has recently joined Schulman Lobel as a partner, after many years as a partner at another NY mid-sized accounting firm. He has been advising individuals and closely-held businesses on accounting, tax and business matters for nearly 40 years. He has a diversified clientele, with clients in the entertainment and film business, as well as real estate, hotels and restaurants, auctioneers, professional services, high net worth individuals and others. He is actively assisting foreign nationals to navigate the tax and business issues of operating in the U.S. as well as helping U.S. expatriates and non-residents to coordinate their U.S. and international tax compliance needs. Peter works closely with start-up, scale-up and established businesses, and prides himself on the relationships and trust he develops with his clients, assisting them in many areas of their business.
Peter is the recent past chair of MNN, Manhattan Neighborhood Network (www.mnn.org), Manhattan’s public access and community media television network, continuing his service on its board of directors as treasurer and as chair of its audit committee. He also serves on the board of directors and is treasurer of Savvy Ladies (www.savvyladies.org), an organization that brings financial planning education to women.
In addition to being a practicing CPA, Peter has been a performing and recording musician for much of his life. His music can be heard at www.peterfrankmusic.com.
Paola Sanchez AbreuActor / VO Artist / Writer Bio
Paola Sanchez AbreuActor / VO Artist / Writer
Paola is an actor, voiceover artist, and an undercover woo girl living in New York City.
Since arriving in NYC, she has worked on workshops and productions with Primary Stages, New Dramatists, INTAR, and made her off Broadway debut in 2017, joining the original cast of Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves (#25) at Lincoln Center. Her TV credits include Chicago Med, Madame Secretary, and The Code.
She dabbles in stand up and sketch comedy writing. She has been featured in sketches produced by Jefferson White’s Means of Productions.
She is a Co-Founder and board member of The Kaleidoscapes, a national eco-theatre company.
Paola is the host of The Failed Podcast Project, an experiment in podcasting.
Norman SchulmanCPA / CGMA / Managing Partner Bio
Norman SchulmanCPA / CGMA / Managing Partner
Norm Schulman is the managing partner of Schulman Lobel LLP. He carries over 30 years of diverse accounting, tax and business experience including over 20 years in the public accounting field and 11 years in private industry as a CEO and CFO. Norm also worked with the investment banking firm of Morgan Lewis Githens and Ahn and was the president of Target Access Media, an advertising company whose clients included McDonalds, Proctor and Gamble and Bristol Myers Squibb. Prior to that, he was the Chief Financial Officer of an international wholesaler of food, health and beauty care products.
His public accounting background extends to litigation support engagements as an expert witness in partnerships, shareholder and matrimonial disputes. In addition, his clients include high net worth individuals, real estate concerns and professional practices, among others.
Joan BakerVO Actor / Author / Co-founder, SOVAS Bio
Joan BakerVO Actor / Author / Co-founder, SOVAS
Joan is an American author, actor, voiceover artist and on-camera host. She is the Co-founder, CCO and Secretary of the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences™ (SOVAS™), an international nonprofit corporation that oversees That’s Voiceover!™ Career Expo, the Voice Arts® Awards and multiple programs providing training, education, academic/financial aid scholarships and career counseling for voice actors. SOVAS™ is the longest running voiceover conference in the world and has honored legendary talents, such as James Earl Jones, Mark Hamill, Lily Tomlin, Muhammad Ali, William Shatner, Michael Buffer, Erin Brockovich, Ken Burns, Nancy Cartwright, Sigourney Weaver, Patrick Howard Fraley, Phil Lamarr and Malcom-Jamal Warner.
As a voice actor and producer, Joan has won a combined six (6) TellyAwards and two (2) PromaxBDA Awards. Her voice acting work includes commercials, promos and narration for ESPN, ABC’s, The View, HLN, TBS, HBO, Grand Theft Auto, Showtime, Nickelodeon, Chase Bank, American Express, NICK at NITE, ABC News, CBS Sports, Lifetime, Lexus, SPIKE TV. She’s the on-camera host for A&E’s Tribeca Film Festival Red Carpet Interviews.
Joan has got it going on live. Having announced Bravo’s Moving Image Salute to Will Smith, the Red Dress Awards, Muse Awards for Woman in Television & Film, PromaxBDA Conference and Matrix Awards, Joan’s career has always been coupled with her passion for philanthropic giving – spotlighted with feature articles in The New York Times, Washington Post, Vulture, NBC News, Variety, Black Enterprise, New York Post, Hollywood Reporter, New York Daily News, Backstage, Media Week, ADWEEK and Broadcasting & Cable and Crain’s USA.
Joan currently resides in Weehawken, New Jersey with her husband and business partner, Rudy Gaskins.
Glenn HutchinsChair / National Advisory Board Hutchins Center / Philanthropist Bio
Glenn HutchinsChair / National Advisory Board Hutchins Center / Philanthropist
Glenn Hutchins is Chairman of North Island and a co-founder of Silver Lake. He is a director of AT&T and of Virtu Financial; Co-Chairman of the Brookings Institution and CARE; on the Executive Committee of the Boston Celtics Basketball Team and the Obama Foundation; and a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the New York Presbyterian Hospital and the Center for American Progress. He is also a member of the Investment Board of Singapore’s Government Investment Corporation.
Previously, Mr. Hutchins served President Clinton in both the transition and the White House as a special advisor on economic and health-care policy. He was also previously chairman of the board of SunGard Data Systems, Inc. and Instinet, Inc. and a director of Nasdaq, Inc. He was also a director of Harvard Management Company and co-chairman of Harvard University’s capital campaign.
Mr. Hutchins and his wife, Debbie, founded the Hutchins Family Foundation which, among other projects, has created the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, which is chaired by Mr. Hutchins; the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at The Brookings Institution; and the Chronic Fatigue Initiative, which conducts basic research into the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Mr. Hutchins has published essays on economic and public policy in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Fortune, Foreign Affairs and New Republic. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Mr. Hutchins holds an A.B. from Harvard College, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Julie JamesRadio Personality, SiriusXM / Vocalist / VO Artist Bio
Julie JamesRadio Personality, SiriusXM / Vocalist / VO Artist
Julie James is an award-winning vocalist, theatre performer, voiceover artist and radio personality. Julie is a Program Director at Sirius XM, curating the On Broadway and Metropolitan Opera Radio stations, and recently celebrated her 10th year hosting “Broadway Names with Julie James” where she takes her listeners on the town, backstage and into the studio for fun, lively conversations with the biggest and best of Broadway and beyond, including Hugh Jackman, Julie Andrews, Sting, Kristin Chenoweth, Rita Moreno, Neil Patrick Harris, Carole King, Bryan Cranston, Patti LuPone, Barry Manilow, Shirley Jones, Idina Menzel, Daniel Radcliffe and many others. In January 2020, Julie was honored to sit with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg to capture stories of her lifelong love of opera in one of her final interviews. Julie has performed on Broadway, played sold-out engagements at New York City’s venerable supper club 54 Below, sang the National Anthem at Fenway Park, headlined at the famed Central Park Summerstage, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, and The Rainbow Room and has appeared with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, Goodspeed Opera House, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, St. Louis Repertory Theatre, even in concert in Kazakhstan for its President. Julie has hosted hundreds of events, on Broadway & across America, covers many red carpets including 10 years of the TONY Awards, and is now often called upon as an on-camera theatre expert for NBC, CBS, Fox’s ‘Good Day NY’, Google, NY1 and AOL/Build. Julie’s personality, stage presence and vocal style brought her to SiriusXM Radio where her voice is heard by millions each day as a host and on voiceovers, jingles and parody songs for various channels including the “The Howard Stern Show”. @julie_james
Gina KimProducer / Writer / Actor Bio
Gina KimProducer / Writer / Actor
Gina Kim made her mark when she co-wrote and starred in the Off Broadway autobiographical play “Miss Kim” to rave reviews. She went on to become an Executive Producer and content creator for The Young Turks. Gina has now found a home as Director of Campaign Operations at People For The Way America. PFAW is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Gina is also actively engaged in sexual abuse education through art. She has a passion for empowering the voiceless to heal from their abuse. She founded an organization called ARIA (Awareness of Rape & Incest Through Art) in 2004 and raised money for Mt. Sinai’s Sexual Assault & Violence Intervention Program, NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault and Safe Horizon. Gina was a volunteer for Bellevue Hospital’s Rape Crisis Program.
Doug MelvilleVP, Head of D&I at Richemont / 3x Ted Talk Speaker Bio
Doug MelvilleVP, Head of D&I at Richemont / 3x Ted Talk Speaker
Doug Melville is a 5th generation leader, executive and diversity change agent. His family before him worked under 10 different Presidential administrations, from US Grant in 1873 to Jimmy Carter in 1978, to help create more opportunities and recognition for ALL Americans in the military, in government, in law and throughout society.
When in the office, Doug is VP/ Head Diversity Officer for Richemont. This world class company owns several of the world’s leading companies in the field of luxury goods, with particular strengths in jewelry, luxury watches and writing instruments.
When not at the office, he spends his time working with the US Military and various institutions of higher learning to teach, inspire and help evolve issues relating to equity and inclusion.
Doug’s background is an award winning former Chief Diversity Officer for TBWA, a top ten Global Ad Agency with 275 offices in 100 countries. He structures diversity efforts across talent outreach, agency culture and creative partner relationships.
He’s a host and co-creator of “The Disruptor Series” Madison Ave’s largest speaker platform. Guests have ranged from Snoop Dogg and Charlamagne the God to Maria Shriver & Mexican President Vicente Fox.
In 2019 he launched OneSandbox.com, a search engine to aggregate news and showcase creative MWBEs. Over $200,000,000 has been spent with MWBEs on the site on behalf of TBWAs global brand clients.
In 2009 Melville was the founder of RedCarpets.com – a leading provider of custom red carpets & step repeat entrances.
PrIor, he was on the Executive Team of Magic Johnson Enterprises, as VP of Biz Dev/Marketing for Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson.
He sits on a variety of boards and committees and is an alum of Syracuse University.
Larissa GerszkeAwards Chaperone / Ballerina Bio
Larissa GerszkeAwards Chaperone / Ballerina
“Larissa Gerszke is a Canadian ballerina. She is currently a senior member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet under the artistic direction of Dwight Rhoden & Desmond Richardson. Ms Gerszke’s career has allowed her to train, teach and perform globally. She is represented by Clear Talent Group NYC and is a sponsored ambassador of Gaynor Minden pointe shoes. Her life’s work is in bringing a modern day relevance to the 16th century craft of Ballet. “
Juana PlataVO Artist / Recorded Announcer / Co-founder LIDA Bio
Juana PlataVO Artist / Recorded Announcer / Co-founder LIDA
Juana is a sought after LA Spanish voice artist with a clear & true neutral accent.
Born in Colombia, South America – she has over 20 years of experience as a presenter and voice-over artist.
She has a deep understanding of Hispanic / Latino culture and knows how the significance of words varies from country to country. This allows her to effectively communicate with her target audience in a neutral, simple, clear, inclusive and respectful way.
Clients include worldwide multi-national and international companies seeking an efficacious Spanish language talent with neutral accent to transmit their message.
Dan EmmettLive Announcer / VO Actor Bio
Dan EmmettLive Announcer / VO Actor
Dan Emmett is a NY based voice actor. His delivery lives in the space between the millennial generation and the baby boomers…and he connects to them in his own unique way. Part honesty, part wry wit, part comedy and part sincere drama. He can be heard worldwide on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Nickelodeon, MTV, Fox Sports 1, SyFy, FX Networks, VH1, USA, AMC, Nick at Nite, Discovery, Food Network, Nick Jr, Teen Nick, syndications, numerous commercials, movie trailers, rebrands, image spots, upfronts, radio stations, character voices, jingles and narrations.
Arian KeddellStage Performer / Dancer / Choreographer Bio
Arian KeddellStage Performer / Dancer / Choreographer
Arian Keddell currently plays Mona in CHICAGO the Musical Broadway. Some of her previous credits include national and international tours of CHICAGO, Guys and Dolls and West Side Story. Prior to musical theatre Arian danced as a company member of Ballethnic Dance Company and guest artist with Atlanta Ballet. Intermittently throughout her performance career, Arian has been a dance and theatre teacher, choreographer, and coach in schools and programs across the country.
Maggie MasonActor / VO Artist Bio
Maggie MasonActor / VO Artist
Maggie Mason is a New York based actor and VO artist. She is originally from England where she starred in the long running BBC TV series GRANGE HILL. She acted and taught theatre extensively in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she won several Bay Area Critics Circle awards and nominations. She also originated the role of Nell Gwynne in Liz Duffy Adams’ hilarious play OR.
Since getting her MFA from Brown / Trinity Rep, she’s originated the lead role of Iris in Monica Wood’s THE HALF-LIGHT, worked on new pieces with Parity Productions and Hunger and Thirst, the webseries LOVE IN NEW YORK, and read in the competition-winning comedy pilot ESALEN.
She is currently pursuing a career in VO, and is also a collaborating artist with Notch Theatre, creating “community-responsive theatre to amplify local stories and support grassroots efforts on a national scale.” Current projects include DICK (an all-female Moby Dick retelling) and VOICES FROM A PANDEMIC – a live theatre and story archive documenting testimony from people on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Archie ElamFormer Army Officer / West Point Graduate Bio
Archie ElamFormer Army Officer / West Point Graduate
Archie was born the third of five kids in inner-city Philadelphia. His father was a career Infantryman of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, who also served in the same segregated unit at the end of World War II as a Sergeant that Archie would command more than 150 soldiers in as a Captain at the height of the Cold War in Germany. His mother attended college by the age of 16 in South Carolina and went on to become a teacher when she met and later married his father. Archie’s family in full of military veterans serving in every branch, including his brother, sister, two uncles, eight cousins, and brother-in-law.
Growing up, Archie dealt with the daily gang and gun violence, crime, drug users, racial prejudice, and other dangerous issues that beset his community. Despite the challenges of his community, he became an excellent student. His outstanding academic performance throughout elementary and junior high school gained him admission to Philadelphia’s top two academic high schools. He selected the Aerospace Magnet Program at Northeast High School, one of the country’s oldest high schools. Archie went on to graduate in the top 10% of his class of more than 1,300 students. He was class president, member of the National Honor Society, an athlete in fencing, track, and basketball, a Boy Scout, and a Civil Air Patrol cadet squadron commander. After receiving both Congressional and Vice-Presidential nominations, Archie entered West Point with the Class of 1976. There he pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics and named an Outstanding Graduate in Electrical Engineering in 2017. Archie became a top-ranked member of the Army Fencing Team and the Cadet Brigade Command Sergeant Major as a senior and selected for West Point’s Cadet Public Relations Program, where he spoke to the youth of Philadelphia schools. Upon graduation, Archie was commissioned in the US Army’s Armor and Cavalry branch.
His Army career took him to a wide variety of troop, command, and staff assignments at the US Army’s Armor School, West Point Admissions, US Army Europe, and the US 18th Airborne Corps. After completing graduate study in advanced mathematics and systems analysis, Archie was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Army and later, the US Army General Staff in the Pentagon. After his tour in the Pentagon, Archie was assigned to 18th Airborne Corps, and the 24th Infantry Division Mechanized then deployed to Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm as the head of current operations for 36,000 troops. On his arrival in Saudi Arabia, he was selected for an interview on the Today Show. His division made the deepest attack behind enemy lines in Army history, over 250 miles, to cut off the Iraqi Army escaping Kuwait and helped destroy the Republican Guard. After acquiring a severe back injury on a joint operation, Archie retired from the Army at Fort Bragg and moved to Stamford, Connecticut. He went on to earn an MBA from Duke University, where he was elected class president and received their Alumni Leadership Award. He then went on to pursue a second career as an operations and technology executive with GE Capital, United Technologies, and as a management consultant in strategy and operations with the George Group and Accenture.
Anna GardunoExecutive Producer, Netflix / Actor / Teacher Bio
Anna GardunoExecutive Producer, Netflix / Actor / Teacher
Anna Garduño is an Actor- Producer- Teacher and the founder of VOICEFORWARD. Anna teaches classes for VO Commercials, Animation, Promos, Narration, and Games, and has been nominated Best Voice-Over Teacher two years in a row by the readers of Backstage.com. She is the only nominee to be given this honor by two of the most profitable voice-over recording cities on the globe.
She teaches for Voice Actors of NYC, is on the faculty of the Tom Toddoroff Conservatory, has been a guest teacher for NYU Voice Over program, and has taught at the SAG-AFTRA foundation. As an actor Anna has decades of experience as a VO artist. She can currently be heard voicing the character of PALMON on the DIGIMON animated series as well as Selby the bear on the animated series KIOKA. Anna was nominated best character voice actor for her role as Kiera in the PlayStation games Jak and Daxter 1 and 2 by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.