A-List Speaker Series Hosts First Annual Event Chicago Youth Connect with Hollywood Insiders

Chicago, IL (August 12, 2017) – The first annual motivational A-List Speaker Series was hosted Saturday, September 10, 2016 at the Thorne Auditorium of Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law. The event drew hundreds of African American and Latino young adults from across the city. The A-List Speaker Series was created to inspire and motivate young adults interested in pursuing careers in the entertainment industry. It is geared towards African-American, Latino, and other minority young adults ages 14 to 24. Students and young professionals meet minorities in Hollywood’s elite and learn practical strategies to achieve success in the entertainment business. The panel discussion focused on topics such as contracts negotiations, working with an agent, and building your own brand. This event is free and open to the public. The day’s program began with entertainment by spoken word artist Keya “Gifted Keys” Trammell. NBC5 entertainment reporter LeeAnn Trotter served as panel moderator. The panel discussion included Emmy Award-winning producer and NBCUniversal Studio Executive Michael Swanson, overseeing successful shows such as Jennifer Lopez's Blue Shield and Aziz Ansari’s Master of None; writer, producer, director Natasha Parker, whose credits include Empire and Transformers 3; Pepe Vargas, founder and executive director of the International Latino Cultural Center’s “Chicago Latino Film Festival”; NAACP Image Award winner, director and documentary filmmaker Clarence “Coodie” Simmons; and costume designer Michael Alan Stein. Participants detailed their unique paths to successful TV and film careers, offering the youth advice about how to get a foot in the door. The event concluded with an engaging Q&A session with the audience. Imani Khayyuh, the program’s creator and producer says the A-List Speaker Series grew out of her desire to bring young aspiring entertainers from across Chicago face-to-face with true models of success who are people of color. “We want our youth who are interested in achieving success in the entertainment business to not only see black and brown people who are movers and shakers, but also to connect with their road to success.” says Khayyuh. The A-List Speaker Series takes place again October 21, 2017 and we look forward to the continued support and partnership of Northwestern University. Sponsors for the 2016 program included Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, Northwestern University Provost’s Office, the Gene Siskel Film Center, NBC5 Chicago, and Sir & Madame Chicago. For more information, visit: www.alistspeakerseries.com.


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