YES will host the YES 20th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, September 23, 2021, at The Maybourne Beverly Hills, honoring Willow Bay and Bob Iger for their decades-long support of the organization.
Mellody Hobson and David Geffen are Co-Chairs for the Gala, which celebrates YES’ extraordinary 20 years of changing lives through education. Presented by The Walt Disney Company, the celebration will feature a musical performance by global superstar Christina Aguilera. The evening will be hosted by select YES scholars and alumni.
Founded by Eric Eisner, Young Eisner Scholars (“YES”) identifies academically promising students from low-income communities. Beginning as early as elementary school and continuing through high school, college, and career placement, YES provides long-term academic resources and holistic support necessary to make college and career success an attainable goal. Over 90% of YES scholars are first generation college students, and 85% are from households below the national poverty level. With 100% of scholars accepted to college and a 93% rate of college graduation, YES scholars have achieved successful careers at many of the most prestigious companies and institutions around the globe. The 20th Anniversary Celebration will honor Willow Bay and Bob Iger with the YES Award for their generous contributions over the years. Beyond providing invaluable resources for students, they have personally advocated for and supported scholars, from arranging school transportation to championing grants and charitable partnerships.
A broadcast journalist, media pioneer and digital communication leader, Willow Bay is the dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The first female dean of USC Annenberg, Bay oversees more than 200 faculty and staff, and more than 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students across the fields of communication, journalism, public relations and public diplomacy. As dean, she has led academic and research innovations while strengthening USC Annenberg’s connections with the communication fields. She launched a series of curricular improvements, including an expansion of the school’s experiential education and career development programs. Prior to her role as dean, Bay spent three years as director of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism (2014–’17). Her academic and industry engagement is focused on the intersection of media, technology and business. Building on research from her first book, Talking to Your Kids in Tough Times: How to Answer Your Child’s Questions about the World We Live In, she is the co-author of a series of global research reports on the impact of mobile technologies on teens and parents titled “The New Normal.” Bay came to USC Annenberg from her post as senior editor and senior strategic advisor of The Huffington Post. Her prominent broadcast experience includes reporting and anchoring for ABC News’ Good Morning America/Sunday and serving as a correspondent for Good Morning America and World News Weekend. She was the first woman to co-anchor CNN’s flagship daily financial news program Moneyline. At NBC, she co-hosted NBA Inside Stuff, the NBA’s weekly magazine show, and served as a correspondent for the Today Show. Originally from New York, Bay graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English and received her MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Robert A. Iger is Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company and Chairman of the Board of Directors. He assumed the role of Executive Chairman in February 2020, having served as Chief Executive Officer since 2005. Over his 15 years leading the Company, Mr. Iger built Disney into one of the world’s largest and most admired media and entertainment companies, while focusing on the three fundamental pillars of his strategic vision: generating the best creative content possible; fostering innovation and utilizing the latest technology; and expanding into new markets around the world. As CEO, Mr. Iger expanded on Disney’s rich history of unforgettable storytelling with the acquisitions of Pixar (2006), Marvel (2009), Lucasfilm (2012) and 21st Century Fox (2019), as well as the landmark 2016 opening of Disney’s first theme park and resort in Mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort; and the release of a number of record-setting films including Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, Disney’s Frozen and Frozen 2, and the groundbreaking movie Marvel’s Black Panther. Always one to embrace new technology, Mr. Iger has made Disney an industry leader through its creative content offerings across multiple platforms, most recently leveraging cutting edge direct-to-consumer technology with the highly successful launch of the Disney+ streaming service in November 2019 and ESPN+ in 2018. Mr. Iger was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in January 2020, and the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2015. In 2012, he became a member of the Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, which recognizes some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, and civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders. Mr. Iger is the author of the New York Times Best Seller The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of The Walt Disney Company, published in 2019. He is a graduate of Ithaca College.
The YES 20th Anniversary Celebration is made possible by its many sponsors, including Presenting Sponsor The Walt Disney Company; Summa Cum Laude Sponsors Mellody Hobson and David Geffen; Magna Cum Laude Sponsors the Dorothy and Diane Brooks Foundation, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, and Saban Family Foundation; Cum Laude Sponsors Tom Ford & Richard Buckley, Gagosian, Rebekah & Ilan Shalit; and Dean’s List Sponsors Ambassador Nicole Avant & Ted Sarandos, Boies Schiller Flexner, Heather & Skip Brittenham, Elizabeth & Colin Callender, Comcast NBCUniversal, Lisa Eisner, Endeavor, John Goldwyn & Jeff Klein, Hearst. Richard & Suzanne Kayne Charitable Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles and Maggie Kayne, Lorraine Kelley & Roger Birnbaum, Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall, Carey Lowell & Tom Freston, Morgan Stanley, Bob Pittman, Liberty Ross & Jimmy Iovine, Schmidt Futures on behalf of Eric & Wendy Schmidt, Allen & Darian Shapiro Foundation, SISTER, The Steve Tisch Foundation, and UTA.
For additional information please visit YesScholars.org.