Tess is an award-winning producer and philanthropist with a career that has spanned over thirty years in the entertainment
and technology industries. Tess has traveled the U.S. and abroad as a humanitarian documentary producer and activist. Tess uses her voice as a vehicle to bring awareness and activate people to take a stand for making positive changes in the world. She has used her
expertise to drive the global productions of the Global Women's Empowerment Network (GWEN) and now her 20-year vision of a global online television network of empowerment has launched under the umbrella of GWEN. Check out GWEN Network TV.
As a performer, photographer and filmmaker, Tess has experienced places in the world that most people have only dreamed of seeing. She trekked through the rain forest, traveled through natural disasters, interacted with world leaders and the soulful people of indigenous villages to capture the human spirit on film. Tess has compiled over 250 hours of global footage. This footage will be converted into a series to be released in 2015. Tess has been media-accredited to attend and film such events as the World Conference Against Racism and the World Summit on Sustainability in South Africa. She has also interviewed young people from around the globe for Youth Speak Out, one of the original television series planned for the World Trust Network. Tess has spoken regularly at the United Nations (Geneva and New York) and other international platforms on behalf of children and the important use of media and technology to bridge the cultures of the world.
Billie P. Weiss, MPH
Since 1990, Billie Weiss has pioneered public health research that helps community-based organizations become more effective in preventing violence. As an epidemiologist her emphasis continues to be on injuries and violence. She serves as the Executive Director Emeritus and founder of the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles and is co-chair of UNITY (Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth), a national initiative designed to strengthen and support local efforts to prevent violence in the nation largest cities. Prior to serving as Associate Director of the Injury Prevention Research Center at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, she directed the injury and violence prevention program at the L.A. County Department of Public Health. A nationally recognized researcher, Billie has a primary emphasis in Violence as a Public Health Issue," including the epidemiology of gang homicides and assaults, firearm injuries, intimate partner violence, evaluation of programs to reduce teen relationship violence, and parenting for violence prevention. Her focus includes the development and evaluation of policies to reduce and prevent violence. She has authored several papers and book chapters, and recently co-authored the Advancement Project Report on Reducing Gang and Youth Violence. She has received several honors, including The Berkeley School of Public Health “Regional Public Health Hero Award”, The Peace Award from the American Public Health Association, 2015 and In 2008, she was honored with the “California Peace Prize” by The California Wellness Foundation. In 2012 The Empowerment Congress presented the “Engage” award to Ms. Weiss and the Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles.
Born on the Southside of Chicago and raised in Gary, Indiana, Nason Buchanan graduated from Kentucky State University where he earned football and tennis scholarships and thrived in community service and mentorship programs. Seeking to empowe youth and their families, he has become a dedicated and influential man of service in Los Angeles.
Since early 2011 Buchanan has worked with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GYRD). The GYRD Program is a comprehensive gang reduction program and aims to effectively reduce gang crime and violence in specific geographic areas (GRYD Zones) through the application of evidence-based gang prevention, interventionm and reenty strategies. Buchanan has spearheaded, developed, and executed multiple programs that have significantly contributed to the success of the GRYD office as well as the city as a whole including leading the city’s Domestic Violence initiative and Present Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative while also increasing organizations’ partnerships and alliances citywide.
Buchanan’s local, national, as well as international accomplishments and leadership through the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office empower him t further develop and hone his skills and expertise so that his reach can continue to expand. In addition to this work, he is also an active member of the Los Angeles Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Incorporated and serves on the Board of Directors of Brother II Brother Mentorship Organization.
Kevin Welbeck is a Ghanaian-American, born and raised in Anaheim, CA. At the age of 14, Kevin relocated with his family to Fontana CA, where he attended the A. B. Miller High School. After graduating in 2008, Kevin Moved to Hollywood to attend AMDA (The American Musical and Dramatic Academy) and begin his career as an actor. Since graduating in 2010, Kevinhas worked in various fields of he entertainment industry. He is also a member Stellar Award winning gospel choir, LXW (League OF Xtraordinary Worshippers); led by gospel recording artist, Deitrick Haddon. Along with being an entertainer, Kevin is also a motivational speaker and activist. On July 6th , 2016, Kevin founded the community organization, Cre8 The Change, which aims to empower communities while channeling passion towards implementing practical strategies to create change in regards to the social injustices we face today.
Matt Atichity specializes in covering entertainment on the internet. Matt has over 10 years of experience managing and building websites that cover a variety of entertainment categories, such as movies, TV, music, celebrities, and video games. Currently Matt is the Editor in Chief of one of the most popular movie destination on the web Rotten Tomatoes. Previously Matt was managing editor for movies and entertainment at Yahoo and produced online content for Warner Bros.
Shamell Bell is a mother, community organizer, choreographer and PhD student in Culture and Performance at UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures/Dance. Bell received her M.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego and B.A. with Honors in American Studies and Ethnicity specializing in African American Studies at the University of Southern California. Involved in the original formations of the #blacklivesmatter movement, she is a core organizer with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles alongside prominent organizers Patrisse Cullors and Professor Melina Abdullah. Her activism focuses on using her artistic talent and knowledge of arts and culture for the movement. She is also a member of Blackout 4 Human RIghts with notable directors Ryan Coogler, Ava Duvernay, Jesse Williams, among others, serving as a community organizer liaison assisting with campaigns such as #Justice4Flint and #iKneelwithColin. She also co-founded, the Black Infinity Complex, a liaison organization building coalitions and an united front between those fighting against Black premature death and state-sanctioned violence. The Black Infinity Complex launched a freedom school based off of Fred Moten and Stefano The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning Black Study" that received rave reviews in Robin DG Kelley, Black Study: Black Struggle in the Boston Review (March 2016).
Shamell's work on what she refers to as "street dance activism situates dance as political action from her perspectives as a dance and performance scholar, a dancer, and an active member and choreographer for the Black Lives Matter movement. Shamell has a long history and experience with street dance movements and as a dancer in David LaChapelle's documentary "Rize" in addition to featured roles in various music videos, award shows, and tours. She also conducted original research with the Ranger, a well-known dance crew in the Jerkin& movement, for her undergraduate senior thesis.
Shamell’s doctoral research currently extends this work with a performance studies lens and historio-geographical anaylsis of street dance movements in South Central Los Angeles. Her passion is to create a dialogue between the street dance community, activist community, and the academy that includes the street dancer's actual presence at academic institutions in the form of dancing, speaking, teaching, and writing. When she is not occupying the police station or leading chants at demonstrations with BLMLA, she can be found playing with her 5 year old son, Seijani aka “Johnnie”, and even including him in peaceful demonstrations.
Ariana Williams is the Digital Media Group Coordinator at CBS Television Distribution and Producer at Baby Chocolat Productions. She has cultivated relationships in film, television, professional sports and digital media. Born in Los Angeles, and raised in South LA, Inglewood and Northern California, Ariana came from humble beginnings. In 7th grade, she represented LA County at the California State Spelling Bee. Ms. Williams went on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college and the first woman in her family to serve in the military. A highly decorated combat veteran, she deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 with the 10th Mountain Division, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Ariana is a member of the American Legion, Hollywood Post 43. Notable alumni include Clark Gable and the Honorable Ronald Reagan. In 2014, Ariana raised over $150,000 for Veterans Mental Health & Employment Services, by speaking at the Mental Health Matters Gala as Veteran of the Year, alongside former US Congressman Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Senator Ted Kennedy and nephew of the Honorable John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Ariana was selected to the 2015-16, Writers Guild Foundation, Veterans Writing Workshop, as an Emerging Writer Fellow. She currently sits on the 2016-17 board forAzalea Blossom Inc., The Safe through the Arts Program, a service related to conducting workshops and seminars in awareness and prevention of domestic violence and child abuse.
She successfully produced a workshop for the 9th Ojo al Sancocho Film Festival in Bogota, Colombia. In April 2016, Ariana traveled to Cuba, in support of the 12th Festival Internacional del Cine Pobre, a film festival that she also produced. When she has time, she tutors in advanced math to children in grades K-12, in South LA. Ms. Williams enjoys spending time with her 9-year old niece Chloe, reading books + scripts, watching film + television, running in the great outdoors, and traveling.
Jason W. Fandrich
Jason W. Fandrich serves as Of Counsel to Rome & Associates, A.P.C. At Rome & Associates, Jason provides legal services on a variety of litigation matters, with an emphasis on intellectual property disputes, and business and commercial disputes. Jason has extensive experience in civil litigation, including jury and court trials.
In addition to litigation, Jason represents a number of clients on transactional matters, with an emphasis on entertainment transactions, Jason concentrates in the area of music, and motion picture and television finance, production, distribution and talent. Jason’s principal clients include television and motion picture production companies and producers, actors, directors, writers, entertainment financiers, music labels, music artists and producers, modeling agencies, and other entertainment-related individuals and companies. In addition to providing production and finance legal services on motion pictures projects, Jason has served as an executive producer on three independent films.
Diana currently works in the International Organization Fight for Peace (FFP) as the Training and Institucional Development Coordinator. She is responsible for expanding themethodology of FFP to other states / cities in Brazil and Latin America. FFP works in communities affected by crime and violence, using Martial Arts as a tool for development. Diana is also a consultant for organizational development, ensuring that the trained organizations are able to achieve the best result possible when adapting FFP methodology to prevent violence. She also facilitates internal and external training course, using a creative and innovative methodology. Recently she became responsible for training the entire staff of FFP (in Rio and London) in Nonviolent Communication, an approach to conflict resolution based on empathy, focusing on peaceful and constructive resolution of disputes. Within this theme, she offers advice to other areas of management to resolve conflicts between the team or between the team and community.
Diana accumulates six years of experience in the area of onflict resolution and peace building. She has worked on projects for implementation of School Mediation in the Complexo da Maré, one of the communities of Brazil most affected by crime and violence. And she has worked with international organizations in London, focusing on the protection of human rights in the world. Altogether, she has studied and / or worked in Rio de Janeiro, London, Ljubljana (Slovenia), Osaka (Japan), Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago). She is graduated in International Relations, Post Graduated in Conflict Mediation and Project Management in the Third Sector. In addition to native Portuguese, she speaks fluent English, Spanish and Japanese.
Diana is part of the 2016 Global Sport Mentoring Program: Empower Women through Sports program, a collaboration between the U.S. Department of State, espnW, and the Center for Sport.
Betsy Butler has been fighting for equality and justice throughout her career. Before joining the California Women’s Law Center, Betsy served in the California State Assembly, representing the 53rd Assembly District, which covered coastal Los Angeles. During her tenure in the legislature, she prioritized bills addressing the needs of veterans, older Americans, working families, the environment and consumer rights. Committed to those who have served our country, Betsy was honored to be named the 2011 Legislator of the Year by the Vietnam Veterans of America and the 2012 Legislator of the Year by the American Veterans (AMVETS).
A committed advocate for fairness and equal rights, Betsy has worked for the California League of Conservation Voters, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Consumer Attorneys of California. She began her career in public service with Lt. Governor Leo McCarthy and was an appointee of President Bill Clinton in the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C.
Betsy is an appointed member of the California Commission on Aging and the Los Angeles County Probation Commission. She presently serves on the Board of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project of Los Angeles, Equality California, the Redondo Beach Veterans Memorial Task Force, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and she is an Advisory Board Member of the Soldier’s Project as well as Peace Over Violence, a domestic violence education and support organization.
Betsy graduated from San Diego State University and from the Executive Program in Management at UCLA.
Charles Porter is the Prevention Coordinator for United Coalition East Prevention Project (a program of Social Model Recovery Systems, Inc.). Since 1993, he has worked to prevent violence and drug-related problems by utilizing community-based research and neighborhood mobilization strategies. He has worked in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles since 1999, and has been instrumental in developing and implementing culturally appropriate materials, presentations, and approaches to address community risk factors
Dianah Wynter directed the foreign film Happy SAD starring Bill Cobbs and Angel Ross. She was a director for Paramount, ABC and Showtime with shows The Parkers, Cousin Skeeter, Soul Food and the TV movie Intimate Betrayal. She was nominated for an Emmy as Best Director Daddy’s Girl. She is a Film Professor at California State University Northridge. She is contributor and editor of Referentiality and the Films of Woody Allen published by Palgrave-McMillan. Publications include “The Stories Nickelodeon and Nielsen Tell Black Children” in Identifying Stereotypes II, “The West Wing” for The Journal of Film and History.
Alisa Orduna is a Seasoned community development practitioner dedicated to designing innovative programs and policies that overcome barriers to place and a sense of belonging for all residents regardless of ethnicity, race, gender, or housing status. She is also the founder ofCallie Rose Literary Arts Society whichprovides a creative approach to community building through the promotion of literacy and the expressive arts.
Roxanne Jordan, M.Div; Psy.D. Bio
Dr. Roxanne Jordan has had the privilege of working with the women and staff of the Anne Douglas Center since September of 2012. As the V.P. of Women & Family Program for the Anne Douglas Center at the Los Angeles Mission, she currently serves as the senior ministry program director of the Los Angeles Mission’s Women and Family programs in accordance with the organization’s theological and philosophical positions executing programs and related strategic plans under the leadership of the President of the Los Angeles Mission. She works in tandem with the VP of Men’s Programs to achieve program coordination and effective service delivery. She directs the staff and chaplaincy with compassion and is the key interface to the Chicago School of Psychology partnership on behalf of all programs.
She holds a BA in Psychology from University of California, Berkeley, a Master’s of Divinity, from Fuller Theological Seminary, with an emphasis in Pastoral Counseling from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute, with core studies in Diversity and Cultural Competence. She enjoys working with diverse populations, but especially with women and children. She has proven be an effectual clinician, intercessor, pastoral counselor, teacher, and exhorter. She seeks to integrate both her theological and psychological studies in the development and growth of the whole person.
Dr. Jordan has several years of experience in Christian ministry and human services. Her previous work experience includes; providing psychotherapy as a registered psychologist, serving as the Director of Pastoral Care & Counseling, for a large congregation, and as an adjunct professor at various colleges, teaching such courses as; systematic theology, biblical counseling, practical theology, and introduction to psychology.
Dr. Jordan approaches life as a lifelong student and adheres to a servant leadership style. Her core values and motivation for service are reflected in commitment to learning, personal autonomy, teamwork, and promoting human dignity. She has invested a great deal of time, energy and resources in the pursuit of learning, in order to come along side others as they engage in their own journey towards personal well-being, academic attainment, and spiritual growth.