2018 Panelists

Philip Lewis

Philip Lewis is the Front Page Editor of HuffPost.com and a Detroit, Michigan native. The Huffington Post is one of the largest digital media news companies in the world. Prior to his role at HuffPost, he was a staff writer and programming editor at the Millennial-based digital news outlet Mic in New York City.


His journalism career began as an editorial fellow for The Huffington Post in Washington, DC. He currently lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Rodney Williams

Highly qualified marketing and brand management executive with over 20 years of experience at top companies in several industries. Prior to joining Moët Hennessy, Rodney served as SVP of Classics Brands at Jackson Family Wines (Kendall-Jackson). Previously, he worked at Addis Creson as a brand strategy consultant. Before that, he served as Senior Vice President of Robert Mondavi Lifestyle Brands at Constellation Wines, held executive positions with Efficas and Galileo Laboratories (VP at biotech startups), Chingari (VP at software startup), General Motors (led marketing of initial national launch of OnStar with ad campaign that garnered over 30 awards), Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products (led 1st share gain for 11 years for Band-Aid Brand as Group Product Director for Band-Aid/First Aid/Foot care franchises in the US and Canada), and Procter & Gamble (gained marketing chops on $1 billion Pampers business) as well as intern at GE (launch plans for energy-efficient lighting).

Nikkolas Smith

A native of Houston, Texas, is a Master of Architecture recipient from Hampton University, current Theme Park Designer & Concept artist at Walt Disney Imagineering, and Children’s Books Author/Illustrator. His first picture book “The Golden Girls of Rio” was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. He also creates activist art paintings and Hollywood movie posters (Black Panther, Southside With You, Dear White People, Stranger Fruit). Nikkolas also has spoken at conferences (TEDxWatts) and schools all over the country.

Arabel A. Rosales

Arabel is the President and CEO of AAR & Associates, Ltd., a full breadth technology firm with more than a decade under its belt. As President, she oversees a company that utilizes technology to transform both private and public sector entities into exceptionally run organizations. Arabel is also co-owner and Co-Executive Producer of Latino Fashion Week, the only full week dedicated to Latino Fashion in the country. Her education includes a Juris Doctorate degree from DePaul College of Law, where she has also been a recipient of the Leadership Scholarship Award and Mayor Daley’s Leadership Scholarship. Arabel also holds an Executive Certificate from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

James T. Alfred

Over his twenty-year stage career, Mr. Alfred has performed in over 40 productions in theaters across the nation including the Steppenwolf Theater, National Black Theater of Harlem, Court Theater and many more. His television credits include EMPIRE (Tyree) for FOX, Chicago P.D. (Agent Rose) and The Blacklist (Officer Ronnie Glanton) for NBC, BOSS (Kenya Taylor) for STARZ and Prison Break. James has appeared in several independent films, including the cult classic, award-winning, and critically acclaimed One Week directed by Carl Seaton. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from the Moscow Art Theater School and is a graduate of the Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

Heather Anderson

Heather Anderson is a seasoned entertainment attorney, who has worked in various aspects of the music and media business for over 20 years. Formerly an attorney in the Business and Legal Affairs department of Interscope Geffen A&M Records in Los Angeles, Heather handled recording, production and license agreements for IGA artists such as 50 Cent, The Neptunes, Avant, Sheryl Crow and The Pussycat Dolls. Prior to joining Interscope, Heather was Senior Counsel in the Intellectual Property department at Fox, handling copyright and trademark issues for all of the Fox companies worldwide (motion picture, television, sports, etc.), particularly intellectual property issues online. She is currently an interactive and digital media attorney, and as Principal Counsel at The Walt Disney Company, specializes in mobile apps and games, interactive connected experiences and supporting the Disney Digital Network.