Newswise — EVANSTON, Ill. --- Several minorities in the entertainment industry will be in Chicago this weekend for the second annual A-List Speaker Series  -- including Oprah Winfrey’s former publicist and an Emmy Award-winning on-air personality -- and are available to talk to the media about the importance of inspiring Chicago’s minority youth.

The speaker series, created to motivate minority youth interested in working in the entertainment industry, will take place from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Thorne Auditorium,375. E. Chicago Ave., in Chicago. It is free and open to the public.

Media are invited to conduct pre-event interviews on Friday, Oct. 20, with keynote speaker Lisa Marie Boykin, a senior vice president at Annapurna Pictures, and Imani Khayyuh, who founded the speaker series. To arrange an interview, please contact Cynthia Davis at [email protected] or 202-297-6147.

Programming kicks off at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, for a half-hour music “TAKEOVER” by 220 Studios, which also includes giveaways, movie trivia and more. Boykin will deliver the keynote address at 1 p.m., to be followed by the panel discussion. The discussion will be moderated by Emmy Award-winning television personality Jeanne Sparrow, who hosted the morning show for Chicago’s WCIU, “You and Me,” for eight years.

Panelists include Noel Occomy, executive producer of the series “Chi-Raq;” Parrish Lewis, photographer and director; and Robin Beaman, a corporate/entertainment PR executive who was Winfrey’s publicist for five years. Media also are invited to attend the panel discussion, and may arrive as early as noon to interview Boykin and the panelists.

“We want our youth who are interested in achieving success in the entertainment business to not only see black and brown people who are movers and shakers, but also to connect with their road to success.” Khayyuh said. “We’re excited to be back at Northwestern University and bring this much-needed dialogue to the Chicago community.”

Panelists will take questions from the audience while covering strategies for achieving success in entertainment, focusing on topics such as contract negotiations, working with agents and building a personal brand.

The event is co-sponsored by the Northwestern Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, Embarc and the Bahamas Consulate Chicago.

More information on Boykin, Sparrow and the three panelists follow.

Lisa Marie Boykin, senior vice president (keynote speaker)
Boykin is senior vice president for business and legal affairs, television division at Annapurna Pictures, which produced the major films “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Detroit,” “American Hustle” and “Joy.” In her role, Boykin negotiates talent deals with writers, directors and performers for television series. She also negotiates distribution deals with premium cable and new media platforms.

Boykin previously worked as an attorney at The Walt Disney Company, Paramount Pictures and PBS. 

Jeanne Sparrow (panel moderator)
An Emmy Award-winning television host, reporter and radio personality, Sparrow’s career in media spans more than three decades. She previously hosted the morning show for Chicago’s WCIU, “You and Me.” Sparrow received a master’s in communication from Northwestern.


Parrish Lewis, photographer and director
Based in Chicago, Lewis has more than 16 years of experience as a photographer and director. He has photographed numerous celebrities around the world, including President Barack Obama, LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Beyoncé Knowles, Kanye West and R. Kelly. He carries an extensive corporate client roster, including entertainment businesses Sony Music and Atlantic Records.

Robin Beaman, president, Beaman Incorporated
President and founder of her own PR firm, Beaman Incorporated, Beaman has 25 years of entertainment and corporate public relations experience. She previously developed national and international public relations strategies for “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for five seasons and created BET’s first public relations division, eventually earning a promotion to director of consumer marketing and public relations at BET.

Noel Occomy, editor and cinematographer
Occomy is executive producer and director of photography of “Chi-Raq the Series,” an online TV drama series set in Chicago’s South and West sides. Following seven years of teaching in Chicago Public Schools and shooting documentaries on the side, one of Occomy’s documentaries won a local Emmy. He later created a 2012 documentary on President Obama’s favorite military drill team. Occomy also has worked as an editor for NBC and the Home Shopping Network.

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