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CAA Sets Amplify as Multicultural Event With Kerry Washington, JJ Abrams

Variety logo Variety 4/21/2017 Dave McNary
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Creative Artists Agency has announced a June 20 launch for its multicultural Amplify event, aimed at building upon its commitment to diversity and inclusion, with Kerry Washington and producer JJ Abrams speaking.

Speakers also include Warner Bros. chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara and executive director of the ACLU Anthony Romero.

The invitation-only event will bring together multicultural artists and leaders from entertainment, sports, media, corporate brand marketing, and technology. The event will take place in Laguna Beach, Calif.

“We have always believed that diverse voices and backgrounds make CAA stronger, and, years ago, implemented a strategy to address the issues of diversity in our industry,” said CAA President Richard Lovett.

“We developed and executed programs to ensure a more diversified workplace, and launched a series of industry events to support and advance underrepresented voices in Hollywood. A natural next step in our continued promotion of inclusion, Amplify will convene influential and impactful multicultural leaders, who, together, will create opportunities to move our businesses forward.”

CAA said in Friday’s announcement that it began recruiting in 2005 at top-tier colleges and universities, historically black colleges, colleges with high Latino populations, and women’s colleges, resulting in a significant change to the pipeline of young staff hired by CAA, as well as those whose internships translate into jobs across the industry. It said that within the past five years, roughly 43% of the interns in CAA’s global internship program have been ethnically diverse and nearly 50% have been women.

The agency also said that in 2015, it launched The Writers’ Boot Camp, an annual workshop designed for emerging television writers to help them move more quickly through the writers’ room and rise through the ranks, where they can eventually have more creative control of a show. It also created You’re Up, a networking and educational event to foster the development of multicultural future industry leaders.

CAA noted Friday that the University of Southern California issued a study this year titled “Inclusion in the Director’s Chair?,” which found that among agencies, CAA represented the largest share of female and African-American directors.

“We recognize that innovation and progress in our business is going to require bold investment, strategic collaboration, and sustained commitment,” said CAA agent Christy Haubegger.  “By gathering a cross-section of leaders who are doing the work to amplify innovation within their industries, we can create new business opportunities, strengthen our networks, and increase attention to some of the most important issues of our times.”

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