HRTS’ Keynotes & Cocktails Women of the West May 18 – Final Speaker Lineup Announced


Hollywood Radio and Television Society (HRTS), the entertainment industry’s premier information and networking forum, presents Keynotes & Cocktails: Women of the West as an HRTS event.


Keynotes & Cocktails: Women of the West, the off-the-record conference for women founded by HRTS CEO Melissa Grego. The organization will also launch ongoing Mentor Groups out of the event.

At a later date, HRTS will announce Summer and Fall “WOTW Reunion” events that will be free to all Women of the West attendees and are designed to foster the continuation of conversations and relationships started at the half-day conference.


Friday, May 18, from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm.


Ebell of Los Angeles (741 S Lucerne Boulevard, LA, CA 90005), co-located with Drama Summit West on which HRTS is a Programming and Marketing Partner.


Off-the-Record Speaker Program Includes:

  • Members of the HRTS Board of Directors Leigh Brecheen, Christina Davis, Chris Selak and Robin Schwartz
  • Kay Cannon (Blockers, Pitch Perfect, Girlboss)
  • Vida’s Tanya Saracho

Speakers from Such Companies as Amazon, Endemol Shine North America, HBO, ITV Studios America, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, Netflix

Event Chaired by HRTS Board of Directors Members:

  • Robin Schwartz, Head of TV, Big Beach
  • Chris Selak, EVP and Head of Worldwide Scripted Television, Lionsgate
  • Philippe Maigret, President, ITV Studios America


Women of the West will feature three panel sessions, Mentor Group roundtable discussions led by a dozen expert leaders from across the landscape and a closing cocktail reception. The panels are —

THE WOMEN OF HRTS, in which HRTS Board Members offer insight into their career paths and keys to thriving in the future. This session will be moderated by HRTS Associates-LA Board Member Chika Chukudebelu, VP, Programming and Diversity, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group, Universal Cable. Panelists on this session are:

  • Leigh Brecheen, Partner, Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkmann & Goodman, LLP (HRTS Board Member)
  • Christina Davis, Partner, Maniac Prods. (HRTS Board Member)
  • Robin Schwartz, Head of TV, Big Beach (HRTS Board Member)
  • Chris Selak, EVP & Head of Worldwide Scripted Television, Lionsgate (HRTS Board Secretary)

In BUILDING ON “THE PASS,” moderator Laverne McKinnon, Producer and Certified Coach/Grief Recovery Specialist, leads a candid discussion about how to acknowledge, understand and process things that do not going according to plan – be it getting a pass on a project or promotion, responsibilities redrawn in a restructuring, or promising business otherwise not panning out — and how to move onward and upward.

Panelists are:

  • Kay Cannon, Director (BLOCKERS), Writer (Pitch Perfectfranchise), Executive Producer/Showrunner/Creator (Girlboss)
  • Sophia Amoruso, Founder & CEO, Girlboss
  • Bridget Baker, President & CEO, Baker Media Inc.

MAKING VIDA: INSIDE THE MISSION TO CREATE AN INCLUSIVE PRODUCTION, A candid look into how and why Tanya Saracho, Creator and Showrunner of the buzzworthy new half-hour drama Vida on Starz, and her producing and network colleagues mounted an all-Latinx show – before the “inclusion rider” existed. Discussion to include: What you can ask for in staffing up a show (and what’s out of bounds). Playwright and Creator of I Love Dick Sarah Gubbins (Better Things) moderates. Panelists are:

  • Tanya Saracho, Creator/Showrunner/Executive Producer, Vida
  • Carmen Cabana, Director of Photography, Vida
  • Carmen Cuba, Casting Director, Vida
  • Nancy Mejía, Staff Writer, Vida
  • JoAnne Yarrow, Editor, Vida


Women of the West dives deeply into the most important issues to women working in TV and media during expert-led discussions conducted on a diverse set of topics around the tables in the ballroom. New as an HRTS event, the roundtables will serve as a launch pad for peer mentor groups among our members – following the event, HRTS will present follow up gatherings for the groups and their leader to reunite and stay connected. Passes to the Women of the West reunion events are complimentary for all Women of the West attendees.

Leaders/Topics are:

Jennifer Collins, Video Business Development, IMDb | Creating Certainty in Your Partnerships in Uncertain Environments
Marisa Hammonds, Senior VP, Digital, Marketing & Research, Endemol Shine North America | Cultivating Audiences Beyond the TV Screen
Danae Kokenos, Head of TV Licensing and Original Series, Prime Video Latin America, Amazon | Understanding Successful Partnerships
Jenn Levy, Director, Unscripted Originals & Acquisitions, Netflix | Unscripted / Reality
Kathleen McCaffery, SVP of HBO Drama Programming | Development
Laverne McKinnon, Producer and Certified Coach/Grief Recovery Specialist | Dealing with Disappointment and Loss
Lucienne Papon, EVP, Creative Affairs, ITV Studios America  | Reinventing Yourself
Tamaya Petteway, Senior VP, Brand and Licensing Partnerships, Endemol Shine North America | Building Brand and Licensing Partnerships for Television IP
Chris Sanagustin, Director, International Originals, Netflix | Unique Challenges for Diverse and/or LGBTQ Executives
Anne Vasquez, Senior VP of Strategic Initiatives, tronc  | Surviving Disruption
Shea Vaughn, Creator/CEO SheaNetics® & Co-Founder/CEO Women On TV (WBTVN) | The Importance of Well-Being in Business
Felicia Yue, Sr. Manager, Product Management, Amazon Prime Video | Careers in Production and Technology


  • Amazon Studios
  • Prime Video
  • IMDb


  • Cocktail Reception Sponsor HBO
  • Roundtable Sponsors Netflix and Endemol Shine North America
  • Event Partner Drama Summit West
  • Media Partner C21Media
  • PR Partner Scandal Co-Active
  • Step N Repeat Partner Celebrity Red Carpets


Led by a Board of Directors comprising our industry’s most distinguished leaders (complete list of Board members available here), Hollywood Radio & Television Society (HRTS) is TV and media’s longstanding premier non-profit networking, education and career development association. Founded in 1947, as commercial television in Los Angeles began, HRTS maintains our rich, 70-year tradition of providing an unparalleled forum for fostering conversation and business relationships and creating community for people at every career stage through regularly scheduled events, initiatives and activities in Los Angeles and New York City.

Scandal Co-Active
Melisa Gotto