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Speaker Series

MSLCE Speaker Series

We introduce you to top creative industry professionals from across the country to meet students, discuss changes occurring in the industry, and provide guidance for students looking to enter the sector. All events are free + open to the public.


Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Fri Forjindam
Co-Owner, Chief Development Officer + Executive Creative Director
Mycotoo, Inc.
5:30 – 6:30pm CT
Reception to follow; Register here



We have video clips from many of our events! Visit our YouTube page to view.
The Northwestern community can view full-length speaker series videos via Panopto.

Thursday, April 15, 2021
Angela Goding

Senior Director of Advancement
National YoungArts Foundation
5:00 – 6:00pm CT


Thursday, January 14, 2021
Michelle Byamugisha

External Communications Manager
4:00 – 5:00pm CT


Monday, October 12
Jeanne Sparrow

Emmy-winning television host, reporter and radio personality
4:00 – 5:00pm CDT



Wednesday, October 21
MSLCE Alumni Panel

Hayley Bullock ’16, Digital Transformation Consultant, Accenture Interactive
Haley Baker ’18, Media Relations Coordinator, FX Networks
Kayla DeSouza, Individual Giving Manager, The People’s Music School
12:00 – 1:00pm CDT


Thursday, October 22
Lisa Trifone

Founder + Principal
Bright Iris Film Co
4:00 – 5:00pm CDT


Monday, October 26
Pepe Vargas

Founder + Executive Director
International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago
4:00 – 5:00pm CDT
Co-sponsored by the Latina + Latino Studies and the Caribbean and Latin American Studies programs

Thursday, October 29
Gabe Brotman (SoC ’12)

Chief Operating Officer
4:00 – 5:00pm CDT

Thursday, November 5
Development + Production at Disney
Jay Francis,
VP – Current Series, Diversity + Inclusion, Disney Television Animation
Pilar Flynn, Producer, Disney Junior
4:00 – 5:00pm CST


Monday,  November 9
Faiz Razi

Educator, Composer + Designer
4:00 – 5:00pm CST


Thursday, November 12
Mara Webster

Co-Founder, Head of Programming
In Creative Company
4:00 – 5:00pm CST


Thursday, November 19
Mike Knobloch

President, Global Film Music and Publishing
Universal Pictures
4:00 – 5:00pm CT
Co-sponsored by the MA in Sound Arts and Industries program

Thursday, February 11
Nicholas Austin

Director of New Media & Emerging Platforms Development
Sony Pictures Television


Speaker Series 2018-2019 Archive

Thursday, January 16th
Erica Daniels, Executive Director of Victory Gardens Theater
Al Heartley, Managing Director of the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts

Thursday, October 17th
Lauren Moffat, SVP of Drama Development at Sony Pictures Television
Aaron Kaplan, Owner/Manager Kaplan Perrone Entertainment
Moderated by: Laverne McKinnon

April 18th, 2019
Charles Adler, Co-Founder of Kickstarter
Moderated by: Jennifer Kim-Matsuzawa

May 9th, 2019
Xiaoming Zhang, international art market expert and founder of W. Ming International Ltd.
Moderated by: Larissa Buchholz

February 21st, 2019
Brian + Jan Hieggelke, Founders of Newcity and the Chicago Film Project
Moderated by: AJ Christian

January 17th, 2019
Gigi Pritzker, Founder/CEO of MWM (Madison Wells Media)
Moderated by: Gregg Latterman

November 14, 2018
Jane Chu, PBS Arts Adviser and former NEA Chairperson under the Obama administration
Moderated by: Jennifer Novak-Leonard

October 18, 2018
Greenlight: Idea to Script to Screen

Dan Farah, Producer, Ready Player One
Janet Yang, Producer, The Joy Luck Club
Sam Bailey, Director/Producer Brown Girls, You’re So Talented
Moderated by: Laverne McKinnon

Speaker Series 2017-2018 Archive

October 5, 2017
Rob Luchow, Vice President, Drama Development, CBS TV Studio


November 2, 2017

Angelique Power, President, Field Foundation

November 30, 2017

Greg Cameron, Executive Director, Joffrey Ballet


January 11, 2018

Deana Haggag, President + CEO, United States Artists

February 1, 2018

Criss Henderson, Executive Director, Chicago Shakespeare Theater

March 12, 2018

Adam Tucker, President, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising New York

April 5, 2018

Jake Trussell, Creative Director, World Business Chicago
5:15PM, McCormick Foundation Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive
Reception to follow

Click here to register!

May 21, 2018

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive, Edinburgh Fringe Festival Society
5:30PM, McCormick Foundation Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive
Reception to follow

This event is co-sponsored by the Buffett Institute for Global Studies and the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.

Speaker Series 2016-2017 Archive

October 6, 2016
Adam Sachs, Former CEO of Midroll Media
Co-presented with the School of Communication MA in Sound Arts and Industries program.

whisnant-headshot-smNovember 3, 2016

Brigette Whisnant, Executive Producer, Havas Worldwide Chicago

December 1, 2016

Chris Meador,
Global Business Brand Strategy Lead at Facebook

January 12, 2017
Erica Daniels, Managing Director, Victory Gardens Theater

February 2, 2017
Jeffrey Jacobs, Co-Head of Television, Creative Artists Agency (CAA)


March 2, 2017
Glendon Palmer, Senior Vice President, Development & Production, IM Global

April 6, 2017
Mary Sherman, Director, TransCultural Exchange

May 4, 2017
Andy Bohn, Co-Founder + Partner, The Film Arcade

Speaker Series 2015-2016 Archive

October 1, 2015
Mara Webster, Panels + Programs Manager, Tribeca Film Festival


November 5, 2015

Len Kasper, TV Play-by-play Announcer, Chicago Cubs

December 3, 2015

Erica Labovitz, Indiegogo

January 7, 2016
Jane Gottlieb, VP/Executive Producer, CBS Marketing Group

February 4, 2016
Harry Gottlieb, Founder, Jellyvision


March 3, 2016
Christine Dudley, Deputy Director, Illinois Film Office

April 7, 2016
Femke Speelberg, Associate Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
Dan Danzig, Private Consultant + Member, The Museum Group

May 5, 2016
Mark Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director, Paper Mill Playhouse

Speaker Series 2014-2015 Archive

October 1, 2014
Stacey Schulman, EVP of Strategy + Analytics, Katz Media Group

November 5, 2014

Kevin Crotty, Partner + Board Member, ICM Partners

December 3, 2014

Matthew Schwartz, Adult Swim

January 7, 2015
Martha Lavey, Artistic Director, Steppenwolf Theatre

February 4, 2015
Sheetal Prajapati, Assistant Director of Learning + Artists Initiatives, MoMA


March 4, 2015
Mike Knobloch, President of Film Music + Publishing, Universal Pictures

April 8, 2015
Marie Davidheiser, SVP + Director of Operations, Jack Morton Worldwide

May 7, 2015
Jake Nickell, Founder + CEO, Threadless