Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles (BBBSLA) hosts its annual Accessories for Success Scholarship Luncheon on Sunday, April 22nd at the Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills presented by City National Bank.
Three exemplary women, who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and support for children facing adversity in Los Angeles, will be honored. Tracy D. Underwood, Senior Vice President of ABC Signature, and Laurie Zaks, President of Mandeville Television, will receive the “Excellence in Mentoring Award”. Martha Henderson, Executive Vice President of Entertainment Banking at City National Bank will receive the “Innovator Award”. Amber Valetta will emcee the luncheon; stylemeister Lloyd Boston will emcee the fashion show; and actress and activist Yara Shahidi (Grown-ish) is set to present the awards. Rebecca Campbell, Nancy Daniels, Stephen Galloway, Anne Globe, NJ Goldston, Barbara Lazaroff, Laura Lizer, Nicole Lorey, Loyola Marymount University, Lori McCreary, Kate Nichols, Charon Harroun Peirce, Nina Shaw, Sandra Stern, and Nancy Taylor are Honorary Co-Chairs.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles relies on the commitment of an extraordinary group of Bigs who invest time, energy and guidance to positively impact the lives of our Littles.” Olivia Diaz-Lampham, CEO of BBBSLA said. “Our annual Accessories for Success Luncheon allows us to recognize those in our community who go above and beyond as champions for our children. Tracy Underwood, Laurie Zaks and Martha Henderson have provided tremendous support to underserved youth in our mentoring program.”
Prior to the luncheon, luxury boutique vendors will feature unique accessories and gifts for purchase with a portion of the proceeds donated to BBBSLA.
Highlighting the afternoon is a fashion show featuring Big Brothers and Sisters (“Bigs”) with their Little Brothers and Sisters (“Littles”) modeling outfits and accessories that they have selected from a Goodwill store, with a budget of $30 each. This follows an education initiative by Goodwill to develop self-sufficiency in youth and emphasizing the importance of shopping on a budget. Participating Bigs in the fashion show include Jessica Silvaggio, Alice Halburton, Lyric Everly, Sarah Bennet, John Shigematsu, Jenah Doucette, Kelly Kulchak, and Christopher Smith.
“Excellence in Mentoring Award” honoree Tracy D. Underwood is the Senior Vice President of ABC Signature and under her leadership, most recently, Signature received season two pickups for their critically acclaimed comedy “SMILF” created by Frankie Shaw on Showtime, “grown-ish” from creator/executive producer Kenya Barris on Freeform, and “Marvel’s Runaways” from Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage on Hulu. Additionally, “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” is set to premiere on Freeform in 2018 and Signature’s previous series include “Guerrilla,” “Dead of Summer,” “Blood & Oil,” “Benched” and the Emmy®-nominated HBO film “Confirmation,” produced by and starring Kerry Washington. Ms. Underwood became involved with BBBSLA though the Women in Entertainment mentorship program, where she was matched with Amanda Cornish during her junior year at Kennedy High School. Amanda received the honor of a scholarship through the prestigious Posse Foundation in partnership with Pepperdine University where she’s currently a freshman.
“It is a privilege and honor to carry out a mission set forth by one of my role models, Sherry Lansing and to be a member of the BBBSLA family through the Women in Entertainment mentorship program,” said Underwood. “Meeting Amanda and becoming part of her life’s journey is truly one of my proudest achievements. I am as much her mentee as she is mine. I’m honored to share this award with a dear friend and colleague, Laurie, as we carry on the tradition of supporting generations of women in all aspects of our industry.”
“Excellence in Mentoring Award” honoree Laurie Zaks is the President of Mandeville Television and has been at ABC Studios since 2006, when she became president of Beacon Television. At Beacon, Zaks developed ABC’s “Castle”, on which she served as executive producer for five years. Prior to joining Beacon, she was the Senior Vice President of Current Programs at UPN, overseeing series programming for series including “Veronica Mars,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Everybody Hates Chris.” Earlier in her career, Zaks served as Vice President of Current Programs for CBS Television Network, where she oversaw such highly-acclaimed series as “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “King of Queens” and “The Guardian.” At Comedy Central, Zaks was one of the executives originally hired to launch the network in New York and was relocated to Los Angeles in 1996 to create a West Coast presence for the cable network. In May 2012 Zaks signed an overall deal with the studio when she launched her own production company, Second Season. In Spring 2013, UTA brokered a deal for Zaks to merge with Mandeville and spearhead their television division. Laurie is currently shooting three pilots for ABC Network, which will hopefully be on the Fall schedule. Laurie Zaks volunteers her time to the BBBSLA Women in Entertainment mentorship program. Ms. Zaks was perfectly matched with her Little, Carla, when she was a junior in high school, and Carla is now a freshman at Loyola Marymount University.
“Working with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Women in Entertainment program has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my career,” said Laurie Zaks. “It’s a tremendous honor to have been chosen to mentor and provide leadership to such outstanding young women.”
As the Executive Vice President and Manager of Entertainment Banking at City National Bank, the “Innovator Award” honoree Martha Henderson is an avid BBBSLA supporter and is gratified to be able to help girls further their education and become strong, successful women. In 2016, Ms. Henderson was named as one of Variety’s Power of Women Impact honorees. In 2014 and 2015, she was honored as one of the 50 most powerful executives in the industry by Billboard at the Women in Music Awards. In 2010, Ms. Henderson was the only banker named by Variety magazine to its list of the top 50 most influential women in the entertainment industry. In 2011, she was again recognized by Variety as one of the top dealmakers. Last year, she was profiled in Barron’s as the most powerful banker in Hollywood. Ms. Henderson is a member of City National’s Executive Committee and serves as a board member of the Friends of The Saban Free Clinic.
“City National Bank is honored to have supported Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles for nearly 20 years,” said Henderson. “This organization is near and dear to my heart because I have personally benefitted from having strong mentors in my life. Mentorship gives kids the guidance and encouragement they need in order to achieve their dreams. I am grateful for this experience with BBBSLA and honored to accept this recognition.”