The Institute Continues to Shape Board Leadership for Future
Los Angeles — The nonprofit Sundance Institute today announced the newly appointed and recent additions to the Institute’s Board of Trustees. Kimberlé Crenshaw, Ann Lewnes, Wonya Lucas join the board alongside Uzodinma Iweala, Amanda Kelso, William Plapinger, and Junaid Sarieddeen who joined over the last year. Together they add to the business, cultural, and philanthropic leaders who guide and steer the entire organization and also act in an advisory capacity. The distinguished new Trustees bring invaluable experience and will work closely with Board Chair Pat Mitchell and Executive Director Keri Putnam.
“We are so grateful to welcome the expertise and unique perspectives of Kimberlé, Uzodinma, Amanda, Ann, Bill, and Junaid to Sundance as we move forward in this challenging time,” said Pat Mitchell. “Our board possesses the right skills, a broad range of talents and a high level of commitment to our founding values and ethics to guide the organization’s mission oriented work in supporting emerging artists around the world and connecting audiences to their stories.”
They join current members on the Institute’s Board: Robert Redford, President & Founder; Pat Mitchell, Chair; Jeanne Donovan Fisher, Vice Chair; Ebs Burnough, Vice Chair; Sean Bailey, Ritesh Batra, Jason Blum, Lisa-Michele Church, Kenneth Cole, Pascal Desroches, Fred Dust, Philipp Engelhorn, Caterina Fake, Robert J. Frankenberg, Donna Gruneich, Cindy Harrell Horn, Charles D. King, Lisa Kron, Lyn Davis Lear, Gigi Pritzker, Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, Amy Redford, Geoffrey K. Sands, Nadine Schiff-Rosen, and Lynette Wallworth.
Sundance Institute regularly evolves its Board, evaluating its composition to ensure it includes the skills and perspective necessary to help guide the organization as individual board member terms expire. The Institute’s Board has typically included between 24-28 members, these latest additions represent a slight growth for the Board. With three board members terms concluding, and additions over the last year, the Institute is now composed of a 32-person Board, 10 of whose members self-identify as BIPOC and six of whom self-identify as Black. The Board is 50% men and 50% women.
The new members of Sundance Institute’s Board of Trustees are:
Kimberlé Crenshaw is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum, and the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School. She is the Promise Institute Professor at UCLA Law School and the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor at Columbia Law School. She is popularly known for her development of “intersectionality,” “Critical Race Theory,” and the #SayHerName Campaign, and is the host of the podcast Intersectionality Matters!, a columnist for The New Republic, and the moderator of the widely impactful webinar series Under The Blacklight: The Intersectional Vulnerabilities that the Twin Pandemics Lay Bare. She is one of the most cited scholars in the history of the law, and was named Ms. magazine’s “No. 1 Most Inspiring Feminist,” honored as one of the ten most important thinkers in the world by Prospect Magazine, and included in Ebony’s “Power 100” issue.
Her groundbreaking work on “intersectionality” has traveled globally and was influential in shaping the South African Equality Clause. She has been a Visiting Professor at the Sorbonne and University of Paris; Centennial Professor at The London School of Economics; Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University; and taught at universities in South Africa, Brazil, and Italy. She received her J.D. from Harvard, L.L.M. from University of Wisconsin, and B.A. from Cornell University, and sits on the boards of Sundance, VDay, and the Algorithmic Justice League.
Uzodinma Iweala is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and medical doctor. As the CEO of The Africa Center, he is dedicated to promoting a new narrative about Africa and is Diaspora. Uzodinma was the CEO, Editor-In-Chief, and co-Founder of Ventures Africa magazine, a publication that covers the evolving business, policy, culture, and innovation spaces in Africa. His books include Beasts of No Nation, a novel released in 2005 to critical acclaim and adapted into a major motion picture; Our Kind of People, a non-fiction account of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria released in 2012; and Speak No Evil (2018), a novel about a queer first-generation Nigerian-American teen living in Washington, D.C. His short stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications like The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair andThe Paris Review among others. Uzodinma was also the founding CEO of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, an organization that promotes private sector investment in health services and health innovation in Nigeria. He sits on the boards of the Sundance Institute, The International Rescue Committee and the African Development Bank’s Presidential Youth Advisory Group. A graduate of Harvard University and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a Fellow of The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Amanda Kelso is passionate about technology and storytelling, and how together they can shape communities. She has spent the last 25 years serving as a creative communications and brand leader for global tech companies as well as lending her skills to non-profit organizations and startups. Amanda’s tenure includes helping to foster and oversee the stewardship of Instagram’s community of more than one billion people, serving as the Managing Director of Google Creative Lab, and providing creative digital leadership at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and West Ventures. While the majority of her career has been working in a creative capacity in the technology sector, early in her career she worked on television productions including Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Amanda holds a BA in Film from Columbia College at Columbia University and is an incoming DCI Fellow at Stanford University.
As an advocate for independent storytellers, in addition to being a trustee of the Sundance Institute, Amanda is also a member of the Producers Guild of America’s New Media Council, and a judge for the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. Work she has produced has been recognized by Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, SXSW, D&AD, Clios, One Show, The Jim Henson Technology Honor, and Communication Arts. Amanda recently co-published a public meditations project encouraging people to take time out of their busy days to meditate.
Ann Lewnes is Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Adobe, a position she has held for over a decade. Under her leadership, the Adobe brand has become synonymous with creativity, digital marketing and the design and development of transformative digital experiences. In addition to its consistent focus on creativity, Adobe’s marketing organization pioneered the shift to digital – deploying advanced digital marketing technology, establishing an insight-driven culture, and setting a template for marketing’s impact on business. Prior to Adobe, Ann spent 20 years building the iconic Intel Inside brand as VP of Marketing. Forbes has recognized her as one of the top CMOs in the world, Ad Age has named her one of The Creativity 50 and she was inducted into the American Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame in 2019. Ann received her B.A. in Political Science and Journalism from Lehigh University. She currently serves on the board of Mattel and is an active participant in the Sundance Catalyst program. Believing everyone has a story to tell, Ann is a strong advocate for empowering diverse creators, including women, youth and other under-represented groups.
Wonya Lucas is president and chief executive officer of Crown Media Family Networks. Lucas oversees the company’s portfolio of entertainment brands, including linear networks Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama; and subscription video on demand service Hallmark Movies Now. Lucas is based in the company’s Studio City office and reports to Mike Perry, president and chief executive officer of Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Formerly, Lucas was president and chief executive officer of Public Broadcasting Atlanta, where she oversaw Atlanta’s NPR (WABE) and PBS (ATL PBA) stations. Previously, she was president and chief executive officer of TV One. Prior to joining TV One, Lucas held several positions at Discovery Communications, including executive vice president and chief operating officer for Discovery Channel and Science Channel, and global chief marketing officer, which entailed oversight of marketing in 210 countries.
Before joining Discovery Communications, Lucas served as general manager and executive vice president of The Weather Channel Networks with responsibility for corporate strategy and development and strategic marketing for The Weather Channel and . Previously, she spent eight years at Turner with roles including senior vice president of strategic marketing for CNN Worldwide; vice president of business operations and network development for Turner Entertainment; and vice president of entertainment marketing for TNT. Lucas also spent several years in brand management for The Coca-Cola Company and Clorox.
Lucas received an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Wharton and BS Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech.
William Plapinger was a partner for almost three decades (and is now Senior Counsel) at the global law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, and has dedicated most of his time since 2012 to the not-for-profit sector, primarily education, as well as conservation and the arts.
Plapinger’s legal practice focused on corporate finance and M&A in more than 30 countries, with particular emphasis on large, complex, financial transactions, many of which were the first, largest or most significant of their kind. He was resident in the firm’s London office for 25 years, and had both firm-wide and regional management responsibilities, including as managing partner of that office, coordinator of the firm’s European offices, and a member of the firm’s Managing Partners Committee.
In the education sector, he is a member of the boards of directors of The Posse Foundation and Global Citizen Year, and formerly was the chair of the board of trustees of Vassar College for 12 years, a Commissioner on the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission, a trustee of the American School in London, and a director of the Conference of Board Chairs of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges. Over the last several years, he has worked with partners on an innovative venture to provide affordable financing to African students at the world’s leading universities.
In the conservation sector, he is a member of the board of directors of Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, the largest private land trust on Martha’s Vineyard, MA, and in the arts sector, in addition to being a member of the board of trustees of the Sundance Institute, he was a co-founder and member of the board of directors of the American Friends of the British Museum.
Plapinger is a graduate of Vassar College and New York University School of Law, attended Westfield College (University of London), and was a Fellow in 2013 and 2014 in the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University. He and his wife of almost 40 years, Cassie Murray, split their time between Martha’s Vineyard and New York City, and have three grown children.
Junaid Sarieddeen is a theatre actor, director, dramaturge, and a founding member of Beirut-based Zoukak Theatre Company (2006). He has directed several theatre plays with Zoukak and other artists including, “Ish Ibka…” (2007), “Lucena / Obedience Training” (2013), “Heavens” (2014), “The Jokers” (2017), and “36 Abbas street, Haifa” (2017). As a dramaturge, Junaid worked on several theatre and dance performances, including “Mahalli” (2012), “Fatmeh” (2014), “Leila’s Death” (2015), “May he rise…” (2017) and “NIGHT” (2019), and performed in more than 20 productions in the past fourteen years, touring in multiple cities and festivals around the world. He is a trainer on the use of theatre in various educational, social, and psychosocial contexts, and since 2016, a fellow artist of the Sundance Theatre Program where he took part in various Theatre Labs, both as a director and dramaturge in the USA and the MENA region.
Establishing Zoukak has provided Junaid a broad experience in art direction, curating cultural events and festivals, in addition to the knowledge in the management of non-governmental and cultural associations. He was a member of several initiatives focusing on cultural policies and other social and cultural issues in Lebanon including, censorship, public space, cultural heritage, and history.
For its artistic and social engagement, Zoukak received the Ibsen Scholarship award (2012), the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Euro-med Dialogue Award for social resilience and creativity (2014), the Honorary Citizenship of the City of Palermo (2017), the Praemium Imperial Award for Young Artists from the Japan Arts Association (2017), the Chirac Foundation Award of Culture for Peace (2017) and the Ellen Stewart International Award (2018).
Junaid holds a BA in Theatre and a BA in Philosophy from the Lebanese University. At present, he is pursuing his Masters at the Saint Joseph University in Beirut.
As a champion and curator of independent stories for the stage and screen, the nonprofit Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, film composing, and digital media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs which are dedicated to developing new work and take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally, are supported largely through contributed revenue. Sundance Co//ab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from each other and Sundance Advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On The Record, Boys State, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, City So Real, Top of the Lake, Between the World & Me, Wild Goose Dreams and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.