2021 PANEL

Moving Towards Equality in the Film Industry

KIMBERLY MANNS

Kim is a passionate leader with a talent for supporting diverse stakeholders coming together to solve challenges of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her career in diversity, equity, and inclusion began over 15 years ago, in brand management at Procter and Gamble, where she led multicultural marketing for major company brands. Following her time at Procter and Gamble, she served the Mayor of Baltimore as Deputy Director of Policy and Communications, and joined the staff of the Commit Partnership in Dallas, a local non-profit focused on addressing

educational inequities. In each of these roles, she focused on a systems approach to decrease educational and economic disparities.

Kim served as an executive coach for the Social Change for Leadership Program at Stagen Leadership Academy, a 52-week leadership program designed to amplify and elevate the voices of powerful women leaders. As an executive coach, Kim specializes in issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Kim’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (head, heart, and hands) stems from her passion and expertise in personal leadership development, deep work in supporting equitable policy through her service in the non-profit and public sectors, and talent for translating challenges into sustainable strategies.

 

Kim also has a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University, and is certified in the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation Behavior (FIRO-B) Assessment. She has a B.A. in Marketing and International Business

ZALIKA “ZSTAR” THOMAS

With a love of film and music, Model/Actor Zalika "Zstar" Thomas' passion for the arts became a business. At the age of fourteen, Thomas picked up a camera, and now, the entrepreneur operates her own studio in the heart of Downtown Dallas.  Thomas has produced reality shows, music videos, music festivals and an array of grand openings.

 

JORDAN WALKER ROSS

Jordan is an actor, screenwriter, host and public speaker based out of Dallas, TX. He was born in 1990 in Arlington, TX, 2 months premature. This led to several medical issues - specifically minor cerebral palsy, severe scoliosis & even more severe asthma. Because of these conditions, Jordan spent much of his early life in and out of hospitals, undergoing countless medical procedures. Unlike other children, Jordan was never able to play sports or overexert himself. So, he was forced to find other hobbies. He was 6 when he discovered his love for acting after being cast in a local production of A Christmas Carol (playing Tiny Tim). By the time he was 16, Jordan had appeared in over 40 professional productions throughout Texas and California. He ventured into the film/TV when he was 12 - following in his grandpa's footsteps - actor Barry Corbin. 

Jordan is currently a series regular on The Chosen – the largest crowd-funded project of all-time! He is also a key antagonist in the upcoming historical drama, Washington’s Armor and has several other projects in various stages of development – including a co-starring role in a new network historical drama series and a comedic supporting role in a major theatrical feature film that will be released next summer. 

DR. REBEKAH LOUISA SMITH

Dr Rebekah Louisa Smith (aka Rebekah Film Dr) is an award-winning Film Festival Strategist and media personality with over 10 years of consulting experience. 

 

After choosing not to pursue a career in Academia, Rebekah began her film industry career in 2009, working as one of the producers of Wales’ most successful national horror film festival; the ‘Abertoir Horror Festival’, which is part of the prestigious European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation. 

 

Rebekah & the hard-working team behind her company; The Film Festival Doctor, are creators of success and are committed to nurturing filmmakers in order to help them secure an abundance of film festival screenings at high profile festivals including Locarno, Tribeca, Sundance, Aesthetica Short Film Festival and Busan, win awards and a positive recognition within the film industry. Currently her company have won over 1,000 awards for their clients, secured 1 Oscar nomination and several BAFTA longlisted short films. Rebekah and her team have supported over 848 creatives across the world enlightening and inspiring their journey towards achieving their goals and following their filmmaking dreams.

 

BLAKE LINDSAY, MODERATOR

Blake Lindsay is the Communications Director at the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind. Visually impaired since infancy, Lindsay offers a unique perspective on all aspects of the Lighthouse communications programs. 

 

Blake Lindsay is a well-known talent on such Dallas radio stations as 106.1 KISS FM. He manages his own production company, Blazin' Blake Productions, in his free time. Blake also authored the book Out of Sight Living: A Sightless Person with Perfect Vision. 

 

Prior to joining the Dallas Lighthouse, Lindsay worked with Zig Ziglar and currently serves as host of the Ziglar Inspire Podcast. Blake attended Brookhaven Community College in Dallas and has worked for Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Bank of America.