Members-Only Salon Events

Salon – Changing the Lens: Why Diversity Matters

CBS Entertainment Diversity

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Hosted by CBS Entertainment Diversity

Become a See Jane Member to Attend

Our world is transforming into a diverse global culture. By the end of this decade, according to Census Bureau projections, no single racial or ethnic group will constitute a majority of children under 18. In 2056, there are projected to be more people 65 and over than under 18 for the first time. And, in order to be relevant for next generation audiences as well as future business leaders, our entertainment needs to share stories about a multicultural and inclusive society.

How can we change the media landscape to portray diverse cultures, values and different perspectives on and off-screen in Hollywood? Media images is the quickest way to show our children countless opportunities to grow and fulfill their fullest potential. Our See Jane Salon will covene a panel of content creators and business leaders with diverse backgrounds and experiences to share best practices on how they are affecting real change and expanding our concept of diversity and inclusion beyond acceptance or tolerance.

PANELIST BIOS

Alex Cohen, Moderator

Co-host of Take Two

Alex Cohen is co-host of the daily public radio show Take Two on 89.3 FM KPCC (the nation’s most listened to NPR station). Before joining KPCC, Alex was a host and reporter for NPR’s Day to Day You may have also heard her on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered as well as American Public Media’s Marketplace and Weekend America. Prior to that, she was the L.A. Bureau Chief for KQED FM in San Francisco. She has won various journalistic awards including the LA Press Club’s Best Radio Anchor prize. As her roller derby alter-ego, Axles of Evil, Cohen made a cameo appearance and served as the trainer and choreographer for the Drew Barrymore derby film Whip It. She is also the co-author of the book Down and Derby: The Insider’s Guide to Roller Derby.

Wendy Calhoun

Writer/Producer and Narrative Consultant

Wendy Calhoun is a writer/producer and narrative consultant based in Los Angeles. Her credits include Co-Executive Producing and Writing for Empire, as well as writing and producing Nashville, Justified, Revenge, and Life. She served as Narrative Consultant for EA’s Battlefield Hardline video game. In addition, she story produced and directed over 40 hours of non-fiction programs for PBS, Animal Planet, VH1, TLC, The Travel Channel, The Discovery Channel, and the Fox Broadcasting Network.

Christy Haubegger

Agent, Creative Artists Agency

Christy Haubegger is an Agent at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Haubegger provides insights on diverse markets to the agency’s clients and works closely with such clients as Salma Hayek, Sofía Vergara, Eva Longoria, Pitbull, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, and Rosario Dawson, among others. In 1996, Haubegger founded Latina magazine, the leading publication for U.S. Hispanic women, with a monthly circulation of 500,000, serving as its publisher, president, and CEO. In 2009, she was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Commission on White House Fellows.

Janis Hirsch

Writer

Janis Hirsch was born in Trenton, New Jersey, which she left the second she was allowed to attend Rollins College, the only place she could find in a temperate climate without a math requirement. A month after graduating, she went to work at the legendary Coconut Grove Playhouse and the following summer was hired by burlesque legend (at least that’s what she called herself) Ann Corio to assistant-manage the Storrowton Music Theater in Massachusetts.

Janis moved to New York and talked herself into a job on the National Lampoon Show “Lemmings,” which starred John Belushi, Christopher Guest and Chevy Chase, among others. She then worked at the National Lampoon Magazine back when it was funny and can be seen in none of her glory in the National Lampoon’s famed High School Yearbook parody. She is proud to be only one of two women featured in Doug Triola’s acclaimed 2015 documentary about that time, “Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead” where you can watch her age almost 40 years in 90 minutes on iTunes.

During this time she also contributed to several books of humor as well as writing for various publications including Titters: The First Book of Humor by Women and both the New York Times and a much-heralded parody of it called Not the New York Times which was the brainchild of Tony Hendra, Christopher Cerf, Henry Beard, Veronica Geng and George Plimpton. One day her old boss at the Coconut Grove Playhouse called to ask if she’d punch up a musical he was about to open on Broadway. Thrilled, she readily agreed and asked for the script. He said that there was no script, which shockingly set off no alarm bells in Janis’s head. She was told it opened tomorrow. Again, no alarms. So she went to that night, scribbled a bunch of joke and was paid a t-shirt. She was thrilled. It opened – and closed – that night and in Frank Rich’s obituary/review, he called it a “one joke musical.” Janis considers this her first Money Notice. Her first job writing for television was on a show called “Love, Sidney,” significant because its star, Tony Randall, played a gay character.  Alas, times being what they were, the only way anyone knew he was gay was that he had a photograph of a man on his desk.

She came to Los Angeles to write for “Square Pegs,” which starred a 15-year old Sarah Jessica Parker. She then wrote her first television pilot under the tutelage of Norman Lear. Janis moved to the iconic “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.”  She also was fortunate enough to write and produce for many series including “Anything But Love,” “LA Law,” “The Nanny,” “Murphy Brown,” “Frasier,” “Bette,” “My Wife and Kids,” and “Will & Grace,” while writing movies of the week including “Stranded” and “Little White Lies.”  She’s also worked on a lot of forgettable series but is quick to note that you work just as hard on the crap and happily you laugh just as much if not more. Janis is excited to be supervising several young women writers on their various television projects.

She’s rewritten several feature films, including “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” and has added material to several theatrical presentations, including “Hairspray,” David Lee’s production of “Can-Can,” “Flora the Red Menace” for producer Suzi Dietz at Reprise in Los Angeles as well as writing the script for “Some Kind of Wonderful” a musical directed by John Rando with the songs of Carole King and Gerry Goffin (before the duo permitted an autobiographical take) which premiered in Los Angeles several seasons ago. Tony-nominated director Sheryl Kaller worked with Janis on “Such A Pretty Face,” with debuted at the Skylight Theater and continued its run at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. She also contributes special material for Bette Midler’s tours and shows. She is currently writing an original musical with composer Dan Lipton and lyricist David Rossmer for producer Jayson Raitt. Additionally, she’s working with producer Robert Kanter on an original musical based on the life, loves and murders committed by Walburga Oestereich: stay tuned to find out what rhymes with that. She is currently writing “mostly a memoir” and she contributes the “No, YOU Shut Up and Drive” column for the award-winning VroomGirls.com.

Janis is an in-demand (funny) inspirational speaker, having most recently been the commencement speaker at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where she was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters; the JFK Library in Boston and the Newseum in Washington D.C. as the comic relief in the documentary “Letters to Jackie,” commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination; and the Skirball Center in Los Angeles.

Having had polio as a child, Janis is active in post-polio awareness and devotes much of her time promoting and supporting the integration of people with disabilities into mainstream television and films. She was honored to be included in Jenni Gold’s documentary “CinemAbility.” A former Board Member for Deaf West she is still an honorary member of that fantastic organization.  She has served on the producing committee for the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Night At Sardi’s” fundraiser and is particularly proud of her work as a Board Member of Faith In America which comes from the brain, heart and soul of her old friend Mitchell Gold and is dedicated to ending religious-based bigotry in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual communities. 

Janis lives in Los Angeles with her husband Larry Shulman, their son Charlie and their dogs Gracie and Fiddy Cent Shulman. Youtube: Commencement speech, Skirball Center

Peter Paige

Actor and Director

As an actor, Peter Paige is best known for his five-year run as Emmett Honeycutt on Showtime’s hit series Queer as Folk He has numerous film and TV credits, including Ping Pong Playa, Our America, and guest star/recurring roles on “The Closer, Bones, CSI: Miami, Grey’s Anatomy, Related, Will & Grace, and others. As a director, he has completed two feature films: Say Uncle, released in 2006, and Leaving Barstow (2009).

With writing partner Bradley Bredeweg, Paige is a principal in Blazing Elm Entertainment, and together they have sold pilots and MOWs to the CW, USA, ABC Family, and E!, as well as features to various studios. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts and serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, the largest LGBT organization in the world. Follow Peter Paige on Twitter at @ThePeterPaige

Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i

Senior Vice President, Diversity & Communications, CBS Television

Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i was appointed Senior Vice President, Diversity & Communications, CBS Television in 2015. Smith-Anoa’i reports directly to CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler as it pertains to initiatives that foster diversity across the company, while continuing to report to Chris Ender, Executive Vice President, Communications, CBS Corporation, for ongoing CBS Communications duties. With a career spanning more than two decades Tiffany N. Smith-Anoa’i has emerged as one of the most influential and valued professionals in the arena of Diversity and Communications within the entertainment industry.

Acting as a liaison, Smith-Anoa’i works with national multi-ethnic media coalitions, creative executives and casting directors from the CBS Network & Studio to insure diverse talent is represented both in front of and behind the camera. Smith-Anoa’i also maintains relationships with organizations representing diverse talent and engages in open, constant dialogue with agencies, guilds and established workshop/fellowship programs in the development of innovative methods designed to cultivate diverse talent. Her jurisdiction includes the annual “CBS Diversity Symposium” and the “CBS On Tour Mentoring Program,” where executives visit schools to educate and encourage students interested in careers within the entertainment industry.

In addition to her executive duties, Smith-Anoa’i, who first joined CBS Entertainment in 2000 as a Senior Publicist for primetime series, continues to draw upon her background and expertise as a network publicist on various projects and network specials, including the annual Grammy Awards®. Prior to her work at CBS, Smith-Anoa’i was responsible for all aspects of publicity and promotions for Image Public Relations. There, she took on a multitude of projects, including organizing the global press outreach for “Sinbad’s Soul Music Festival.” Preceding her position at Image Public Relations, Smith-Anoa’i worked for NIKE, Inc. where she launched their NIKETOWN stores in, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

Smith-Anoa’i continues to be dedicated to her community and several charities, including Big Brothers, Big Sisters and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She also maintains a close relationship with her alma mater, Howard University, where she graduated with honors from the School of Communications. In 2013 Howard University presented her with the “Global Visionary Award” for Outstanding Leadership in Diversity and Communications. She currently resides in her home town of Los Angeles with her husband Reno J. Anoa’i and their daughter.

Lulu Wang

Filmmaker

Lulu Wang is a classical pianist turned filmmaker. She recently made her first feature film, Posthumous, a love story set in Berlin, starring Jack Huston and Brit Marling with Lambert Wilson. Posthumous is currently available in international territories including Canada, Germany, Turkey and Australia and will be released stateside in 2016. Lulu’s short narrative drama Touch, premiered at the Palm Springs International ShortFest and was one of 8 finalists at the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival, nominated for Best Short, Best Writer, Best Director with two Best Actor nominees and a Best Actor win. Born in Beijing, raised in Miami and educated in Boston, Lulu Wang brings her global perspective to telling entertaining stories in today’s increasingly international culture. She is a recipient of the Chaz and Roger Ebert Directing Fellowship, which was awarded at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Wang attended New World School of the Arts in Miami for piano performance and holds a BA from Boston College in Literature and Music. She is also a 2014 Film Independent Project Involve Directing Fellow. Fluent in English, Mandarin Chinese and sometimes Spanish, Wang enjoys working with friends, both old and new. She is based online @thumbelulu and offline in Los Angeles.

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