2021 NYWIFT Summit: The Creative Industry Radically Reimagined Day 4: Partnerships and The Artist’s Journey with AMC Networks

Join us for Day 4 of the 2021 NYWIFT Summit: The Creative Industry Radically Reimagined to discuss Partnerships and the Artist’s Journey with AMC Networks.


Opening Keynote: AMC Networks’ first Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Aisha Thomas-Petit

As AMC Networks’ first Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Aisha Thomas-Petit is charged with building on and advancing the company’s DEI goals and foundation. As a key member of the senior leadership team reporting directly to President & CEO, Josh Sapan, Thomas-Petit is responsible for setting the strategy, roadmap and measures of success to develop, bolster, and retain a diverse and inclusive community both within the company’s workforce, as well as in front of and behind the camera across AMC Networks’ portfolio of entertainment brands. Additionally, Thomas-Petit plays an integral role in advancing the company’s commitment to telling original stories that entertain with vivid characters, stories, and worlds that show the full spectrum of human experiences.

Before joining AMC Networks, Thomas-Petit served as Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at ADP. A seasoned DEI executive, she also held various leadership roles in Human Resources including Division Vice President of the company’s Major Accounts and Canada division during her seven years at ADP.

Previously, Thomas-Petit spent over seven years at Barclays Capital (including over two years at Lehman Brothers before it was purchased by Barclays), where she ultimately became the HR Director for Global Operations, driving people strategy for over 4000 employees globally, and partnering with the Global Head of Investment Bank Operations to drive talent and performance management, development and compensation. Prior to Barclays, Thomas-Petit spent eight years at JP Morgan Chase, where she held several roles including Vice President, HR for Shared Technology & Operations and Investment Bank Operations, leading people strategy for a newly merged global organization of 2400 employees. Thomas-Petit holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing and Business Strategy from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Syracuse University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.


Partnership Panelists

Daniel Rosenberg serves as VP Business Development & Strategic Alliances at Staff Me Up, the leading hiring and networking platform for media production, coded for inclusion. He previously served as VP Business Development at Casting Networks.




Carole Kirschner is the Director of the Writers Guild of America’s Showrunner Training Program and the Mentorship Matters Program and the creator and Director of  CBS Diversity Writers Mentoring Program. Having worked as a senior level television development executive for eighteen years (including posts at CBS and as Vice President of Steven Spielberg’s first Amblin Television), Carole has heard over 5,000 pitches, bought hundreds of projects and was involved in developing dozens of television series. In her role as a Program Director, she’s sat across the desk from hundreds of hopeful writers and been instrumental in helping them take their careers to the next level. She’s hired and/or mentored hundreds of talented, ambitious entertainment professionals who’ve blasted through barriers to achieve success in Hollywood. Now an international speaker and entertainment career coach, she teaches filmmakers how to effectively position themselves in the business and how to navigate the often baffling waters of the entertainment industry. Through her popular, hands-on workshops, Carole teaches real world strategies so creative professionals can break in, move up and thrive in show business. Her book, Hollywood Game Plan: How to Land a Job in Film, TV and Digital Entertainment, published by Michael Wiese Publishing, is assigned as a textbook in film/television classes at colleges and universities throughout the U.S.

Dr. Tasmin Plater’s, Head of HR for Endeavor Content, goal of building a “Studio with a Soul” transcends the business and is leaving a mark on the entertainment industry as a whole. Under his tenure, Plater has played an instrumental part in Color of Change’s #ChangeHollywood Initiative, led the creation of the “Content Scorecard,” and joined the original co-authors of the Inclusion Rider as the newest co-author. Plater and the team have created a task force, titled the Inclusion Audit Committee (IAC) that consist of executives across several departments with purview into all business, creative, and HR-related aspects of their work to develop accountability in maintaining diverse representation. His presence on the advisory board of Entertainment Industry College Outreach Program (EICOP)’s HBCU in LA and co-heading the Diversity Working Group across Endeavor has allowed Plater to establish on-going partnerships to ensure Hollywood continues the fight for more inclusion at all levels.

AMC Networks’ first Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, Aisha Thomas-Petit (moderator) is charged with building on and advancing the company’s DEI goals and foundation.

See her full bio above.





Artist’s Journey Panelists:

Valerie Armstrong, series creator Kevin Can F***k Himself.  AMC Networks new series Kevin Can F**k Himself‘ stars Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek) as a long-suffering sitcom wife who craves a life of her own and revenge on her sloppy husband.







J. David Shanks is the Showrunner and Executive Producer of the new AMC thriller 61st Street, a two-season close-ended event from BAFTA-winner Peter Moffat (The Night Of), executive producer Michael B. Jordan (David Makes Man) and Alana Mayo of Outlier Society. He recently sold a pitch to FX with Overbrook + Antoine Fuqua producing and is writing a pilot for 50 Cent. Shanks previously served as co-producer on season two of The Chi and also worked on Veena Sud’s Netflix series Seven Seconds, Fox’s Shots Fired and NBC’s Shades Of Blue. Shanks is a veteran of the 82nd Airborne and the Chicago Police Department.


Melanie McFarland (moderator) is the TV Critic for Salon.com and the president of the Television Critics Association. McFarland has lent her expert commentary to a variety of media outlets, including CNN, NPR, American Public Media, and the BBC. Her work has appeared in Variety, the Seattle Times, Chicago Tribune, Rotten Tomatoes, Rolling Stone and in the 2019 anthology “The Women of David Lynch.” She is based in Seattle, WA.





Closing Keynote by Victoria Rowell

Born in Maine, Victoria Rowell is a New York Times bestselling author, The Women Who Raised Me, (HarperCollins), recognized by 193 members of Congress for advocacy on behalf of education, arts, foster and adoptive youth, parents and social workers. She directed The Rowell Foster Children’s Positive Plan charity for 20 years, funding fine arts scholarships and college stipends. Served on the Princeton University Center for African American Studies Advisory (Professor Eddie Glaude). Received, The Black Women Physicians Award, The Madam C.J. Walker Legacy Award, Walter Mosley Author of Distinction Award. Rowell is a Hambidge Center-Creative Arts Fellow. Rowell participated in the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale. Rowell was an ambassador for the Carrie Steele Pitts Home in Atlanta, Georgia. She stars in the recently released feature, Birdie. She executive produced and directed, Jacqueline and Jilly, addressing the Opioid crisis. Rowell directed holiday movie, A Rich Christmas, premiering, December 2021. Rowell also directed Everything Is Fine, on mental wellness. Rowell has two children. She and jazz great, Wynton Marsalis, have a son.


See the full schedule

June 25 @ 4:00pm
4:00 pm — 6:00 pm (2h)

Register for the Summit

Join the conversation on social media:
#nywift | @nywift

NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.