Sharon is currently starring in the series JOE PICKETT based on the best seller of the same name. Previously she starred opposite Kirsten…
Sharon is currently starring in the series JOE PICKETT based on the best seller of the same name. Previously she starred opposite Kirsten Dunst in the Showtime series ON BECOMING A GOD IN CENTRAL FLORIDA, and as an elusive librarian in HOME BEFORE DARK for Apple TV. Many recurring roles include REBEL with Katy Sagal and Andy Garcia, a serial killer in CBS’s CRIMINAL MINDS, Fiona’s acerbic boss on Showtime’s SHAMELESS, Sam Elliott’s love interest in THE RANCH, and in the critically acclaimed series QUEEN SUGAR produced by Ava DuVernay.
Sharon continues to be recognized from her multiple Emmy nominated and SAG Award-winning portrayal of ADA Sylvia Costas Sipowitz in the ground breaking NYPD BLUE and as Izzy’s tender but ditzy Mom on GREY’S ANATOMY (for which she earned her 4th EMMY nod). Her 5th EMMY nomination came in 2021 as Lead Actress in a digital series -THE GAZE www.thegazeseries.com
Film work includes THE LOST HUSBAND with Leslie Bibb and Josh Duhamel, OF MIND AND MUSIC with Anjeannue Ellis in the indie hit MIDDLE OF NOWHERE directed by Ava DuVernay.
An accomplished stage actress, and 2012 Lunt-Fontane Ten Chimneys Fellow, Sharon appeared in the West Coast premiere of A KID LIKE JAKE directed by Jennifer Chambers. She is currently appearing as famed Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham in the United Solo Festival’s award winning play THE SHOT. LA theatre credits includes her acclaimed performance in THE MYSTERY OF LOVE AND SEX at the Mark Taper Forum, playing twenty different women in the LOVE, NOEL cabaret at The Wallis, for the Pasadena Playhouse she starred in Noel Coward’s final play, A SONG AT TWILIGHT and as Vivian Leigh in ORSON’S SHADOW for which she was nominated for an Ovation Award, and won the LA Drama Critics Circle Award. She was part of a rotating cast in Nora & Delia Ephron’s LOVE, LOSS & WHAT I WORE, and starred opposite Cherry Jones in TONGUE OF A BIRD at the Public Theatre. Sharon created the role of Maureen in the premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s POOR BEHAVIOR at the Mark Taper Forum and her last Broadway appearance was as Velma Kelly in CHICAGO.
Sharon serves on the Board of Directors of Heal The Bay and as Vice President of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.
Ninochka McTaggartExecutive Director, League of Women Voters of Greater Los Angeles
Ninochka McTaggart is a Los Angeles native and the daughter of Jamaican immigrants. She is a sociologist who researches race, gender and…
Ninochka McTaggart is a Los Angeles native and the daughter of Jamaican immigrants. She is a sociologist who researches race, gender and other forms of inequality in society. Before joining the League of Women Voters she worked as the Director, Research and Outreach at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. She also served as a guest curator of “Don’t Believe the Hype”: L.A. Asian Americans in Hip Hop at the Chinese American Museum, an exhibit grounded in her dissertation research. She has also worked as a college-level educator and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion specialist. In 2020, she co-authored a book on white privilege, entitled White Privilege: The Persistence of Racial Hierarchy in a Culture of Denial with Dr. Eileen O’Brien. She received a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Southern California, a Masters of Arts from California State University, Los Angeles and doctorate from the University of California, Riverside.
Kate RiggPerformer / Activist
Originally from Canada and Australia artist and activist Kate Siahaan-Rigg has been an advocate for the Asian American community since…
Originally from Canada and Australia artist and activist Kate Siahaan-Rigg has been an advocate for the Asian American community since graduation from the Juilliard Drama Division in 2000, where she won the Interarts Award for producing innovative interdisciplinary, intercultural work.
She is a fixture of the New York Theater scene, appearing in world premieres at The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theater Club, La Mama ETC, and New York Theater workshop. As a writer she has been a playwright in residence at Manhattan Theater Club, The O’Neill Center, Center Theater Group Los Angeles and many others. Regionally she has starred in world premieres at Actors Theater of Louisville, Woolly Mammoth, Long Wharf Theater, A.C.T. and more. Her award winning solo shows: “Birth of a nASIAN”, “Happy Lucky Golden Tofu Panda Dragon Good Time Fun Fun Show” and “Zombie Asian Moms” have toured internationally, been invited to the Smithsonian Institute, The Comedy Central Theater, The HBO Time Warner Workspace, PSNBC, Harvard University, and countless AAPI festivals, conferences and multicultural student unions around North America.
She has been profiled twice on PBS for these solo works which all deal with the perception of Asians in America, the deconstruction of stereotypes and deeper exploration of identity within the AAPI diaspora.
Her TV work includes guest stars and recurring on Law and Order, Law and Order SVU, Criminal Intent, New Amsterdam, Tales of the City, The Path, The Punisher, Fox’s Family Guy and as an on-air comedy correspondent for The Dr Phil Show for 3 seasons. As a stand-up comic she has been featured on Showtime, PBS, Comedy Central and a talking head on VH1. She was an Executive Producer and co-creator of Dance Your Ass Off on Oxygen, the E! television pilot Tour Dates and the early viral on demand show Gonzo Girlz. She created and executive produced the comedy-based kids adventure show Cache Craze for Disney XD and wrote and starred in the independent movie versions of her shows Happy Lucky Golden Tofu Panda Dragon Good Time Fun Fun Show (directed by Carrie Preston) and Zombie Asian Moms currently in post-production.
Kate’s badass Amerasian rap-comedy-rock duo Slanty Eyed Mama has been invited to the Smithsonian Institute twice and headlined music festivals, modern art festivals and Asian Heritage Month Celebrations around the world.
As an activist Kate is a frequent speaker at colleges on race and representation, has held workshops in prisons, high schools, arts festivals and AAPI cultural centers. She is an associate artist with the New York based Asian American Arts Alliance, the Asian Women’s Giving Circle, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Foundation and the Coalition of Asian American Pacific Americans who host the largest Asian Heritage Festival in the nation. She was also on the Global Advisory board for Time’s Up and in 2020 created the SAG AFTRA “Know Your Rights” document with SAG officer Michelle Hurd to explain rules and rights pertaining to sexual harassment on Union sets to principal and background performers. Kate has written, hosted and produced online events for the NYCLU (2020 voting rights special), the Dolores Huerta Foundation (91st birthday celebration and fundraiser), The Meteor 21 feminist visions for the 21st century and more. She has also hosted events for Heritage of Pride and the LGBTQ+ pride rally in Bryant park. She is working as a Creative Director for the Over The Rhine International Film Festival which is the nation’s only diversity film festival led by people in the disability community.
Kate has won awards from the Australia Council, The Canada Council, The Urban Arts Initiative, The Toronto Arts Council, The New York Foundation for the Arts, The PatsyLu Foundation, The Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, The Asian Women’s Giving Circle, The Juilliard School, The Gluck Foundation, The Jerome Foundation, The NEA for her work as a writer/performer as well as one from The State of New York for her activism.
She is also the creator of several comedy based unscripted television shows: Dance Your Ass Off for NBC Universal (and as an international format), Cache Craze for YTV/ Disney XD, Tour Dates pilot for E! and NBC Universial, and Gonzo Girlz one of the first viral internet shows which was on the Sprint Versally Network, RIPE TV and Time Warner Adelphia doing monster numbers at the dawn of the internet.
Virtual Event Panelists
Wendy CalhounWriter / Executive Producer
Peabody-award-winning Wendy Calhoun’s unique career spans one-hour dramas, unscripted series, VR, and gaming. Currently, she serves as…
Peabody-award-winning Wendy Calhoun’s unique career spans one-hour dramas, unscripted series, VR, and gaming. Currently, she serves as writer/Co-Executive Producer for ABC’s new prime-time series The Rookie Feds. In addition, she’s developing new series for FX, Starz, and Universal U.K. Her scripted drama credits include writing and producing the historic first season of Empire, as well as Prodigal Son, Station 19, Nashville, Revenge, and Justified. Known as a champion for diversity and inclusion, Calhoun’s developed and sold ten series pitches with bold leading roles for women and people of color since 2015.
Andrea LewisActress / Filmmaker
Before celebrating her 16th birthday, Lewis had already acted alongside Hollywood heavyweights such as Diahann Carroll in The Natalie Cole…
Before celebrating her 16th birthday, Lewis had already acted alongside Hollywood heavyweights such as Diahann Carroll in The Natalie Cole Story and Wesley Snipes and Dr. Maya Angelou in her directorial debut, the critically acclaimed Down in the Delta. After wrapping up on the Disney movie Cadet Kelly alongside Hilary Duff, Lewis soon spent 6 seasons on the hit show Degrassi: The Next Generation and became known around the world as “Hazel” as millions of North Americans tuned in each week to watch Andrea in the Award-winning drama. After Degrassi, she went on to other leading roles on Showtime, Nickelodeon and BET. Then taking her career to another level, Lewis started Jungle Wild Productions, where she wrote, starred in and produced the award winning web series’ “Black Actress” . Lewis has continued to create as a Filmmaker, with multiple Web Series, short films, television pilots and digital content.
Schenae RourkCEO Redwood Resources
Schenae Rourk is President and CEO of Redwood Resources, a strategic procurement and business equity consulting firm. Rourk has more than…
Schenae Rourk is President and CEO of Redwood Resources, a strategic procurement and business equity consulting firm. Rourk has more than twenty-five years helping real estate developers, A/E, other professional services, construction firms, and international firms strategically navigate through the procurement and contracting process with a specialty in transportation and infrastructure industries. The firm also designs, manages, and implements outreach and business equity programs with a community and inclusion lens for corporations pursuing projects using public land or public money.
Ms. Rourk is active in the small and diverse business community and the community at large. She serves in many advisory and council roles for the advancement of minority and women-owned businesses including: Chair of the Transportation Business Advisory Council at Metro, Co-Chair of the Small Business Committee at BizFed, and Co-Chair of the Small Business Council at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. She also serves as the volunteer President for the National Association of Women Business Owners – California (NAWBO-CA) and is the former President of one of the 11 chapters in the state.
Ms. Rourk was recently appointed to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) Executive Board by Supervisor Holly J Mitchell.
Ms. Rourk is the recipient of many honors and acknowledgments including the Small Business of the Year for the Los Angeles Chamber, the 2021 recipient of the WTS-LA Rosa Parks Diversity Award, and COMTO Diversity Award for Women in Transportation 2022.
She also serves as the volunteer President-Elect for NAWBO-CA and is the former President of the Los Angeles chapter. While President of NAWBO-LA she won’t with Maria Salinas created what was to become the Pathways to Corporate Boards through NAWBO-CA’s Education fund. She also designed the Procurement and Matchmaking event through NAWBO in Los Angeles now in its 4th year. Ms. Rourk is the recipient of many honors and acknowledgments and is most proud of the WTS-LA Rosa Parks Diversity Award which she received last year.