Eastern Diversity Steering Committee, Latino Committee and Women’s Steering Committee Announce Election Results

Committee Elections Results

August 12, 2021

UPM Canella Williams-Larrabee, Stage Manager April Smith and 2nd AD Sussan Cordero have been elected co-chairs of the Eastern Diversity Steering Committee (EDSC). Directors Edward Ornelas and Jay Torres and 2nd AD Alicia Zaragoza have been elected co-chairs of the Latino Committee (LC); and Director Tara Miele, UPM Liz Ryan and 1st AD Shawn Pipkin-West have been elected co-chairs of the Women’s Steering Committee (WSC).

Additionally, Director Regina Ainsworth and Associate Director Angela Visca have been elected as the Director and AD/SM/PA category reps of the LC; and Director Valerie Weiss, UPM Jodi Ehrlich and Associate Director Vanessa Ioppolo have been elected as the Director, AD/UPM and AD/SM/PA category of the WSC. Each position will cover a two-year term.

About the Eastern Diversity Steering Committee Co-Chairs
Canella Williams-LarrabeeUPM Canella Williams-Larrabee
Williams-Larrabee has over 15 years of experience in the film and television industry, her credits include episodes of series such as EvilRaising DionNCIS: New Orleans and the DGA Award-nominated limited series, The Undoing. A DGA member since 2019, Williams-Larrabee also serves as the Secretary-Treasurer on the Eastern AD/UPM Council, is a member of the UPM Committee and is the founder of the Diversity Coalition "New York Film and Television for Diversity and Inclusion" or NYFTDI (pronounced NIFTY). 
April SmithStage Manager April Smith
Smith’s Stage Managing credits include episodes of The Amber Ruffin ShowDesus & Mero and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore; specials such as Kennedy Center HonorsBlack Girls Rock! and Fox’s New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey: Live from Times Square; and game shows such as The $100,000 Pyramid. She also worked as a Stage Manager on Director Paul Pennolino’s DGA Award-nominated special, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Presents Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and Director Chuck O’Neil’s DGA Award-nominated episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. A DGA member since 2015, Smith also serves as the First Vice Chair of the Eastern AD/SM/PA Council and as the AD/SM/PA Category Representative for the Focus on Women Committee. 

Sussan Codero2nd AD Sussan Cordero
Codero’s Assistant Director credits include feature films such as James DeMonaco’s Once Upon a Time in Staten Island, Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks, Liz Garbus’s Lost Girls, Sam de Jong’s Goldie, Lone Scherfig’s The Kindness of Strangers, Claire Scanlon’s Set It Up, Kent Jones’s Diane and Damian Harris’s The Wilde Wedding; and George Tillman Jr.’s pilot episode of the series, For Life. A DGA member since 2017, Codero previously served as an alternate Co-Chair of the EDSC. 

About the Committee

The Eastern Diversity Steering Committee represents the concerns of Guild members of African, Asian, Native American, Arab-Middle Eastern or Latino descent residing in the East. Committed to improving the employment opportunities, working conditions and the skills of ethnically diverse Guild members, the Committee sponsors workshops, seminars, round-table discussions and networking events to showcase the talents of its members, recognize their contributions and increase their visibility.

About the Latino Committee Co-Chairs
Ed OrnelasDirector Edward Ornelas
After several seasons as an editor on Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, Ornelas broke into directing by helming multiple episodes of both shows. His directing credits also include episodes of American GothicThe BlacklistLimitlessThe MentalistNCIS: New OrleansRizzoli & IslesBullCode BlackTakenFBIThe Resident and Roswell, New Mexico, Locke & Key, Home Before Dark; and the independent feature film, The Legend of Billy Fail. Ornelas has been a DGA member since 2009 and this is his second term as a Co-Chair of the Latino Committee. He also serves as a mentor on the DGA Director Development Initiative’s Television Mentorship Program and is a member of the DGA Diversity Task Force and the DGA PAC Leadership Council
Jay TorresDirector Jay Torres
Torres’s directorial credits include episodes of CeRealityLifeDesperate Housewives and Alias; the shorts Dead EndThe Lost Archives of Quincy Taylor and Learning to Fly; as well as commercials for Walmart, Footlocker/Reebok, Skechers, Buick, Texaco, DirecTV, Universal Studios, and the LA Times. He was instrumental in helping the platform Vudu build their original content programming, which led to an adaption of Stan Dragoti’s feature film Mr. Mom as a streaming series where he served as Executive Producer/Showrunner. Torres is also the Co-Founder of iDENTITY, a production company dedicated to telling stories that focus on diversity and inclusion, particularly for the American Latino market. A DGA member since 1999, Torres was previously elected to two terms as a Co-Chair of the Latino Committee, and currently serves on the Special Projects Committee. 
Alicia Zaragoza2nd AD Alicia Zaragoza
A DGA member since 2003, Zaragoza has worked as a 1st and 2nd Assistant Director on dozens of features including Ron Oliver’s Grand-Daddy Day Care, Joaquin Perea’s Taco Shop, Richard Tanne’s Southside with You, Maria Burton’s For the Love of George and Robert Rothbard’s Pizza with Bullets; movies for television including Mark Rosman’s Sun, Sand & Romance and Geoffrey Madeja’s The Secret Santa; episodes of the series ShamelessBroken and The ArScheerio Paul Show; and numerous short films. She is on her third term as a co-chair of the Latino Committee, serves on the Education Committee and the Administration Committee of the Western AD/UPM Council and has been a coordinator of annual the Below-the-Line Mixer for three years. 
About the Committee

The Latino Committee was created as a networking group to advance career and job opportunities for Latino DGA members by improving craft skills, networking, and making Latinos better known to the Hollywood creative community. To achieve this mandate, the LC sponsors workshops, seminars, networking sessions and major events to showcase members’ talent, enhance qualifications, improve employment opportunities, and recognize our contributions to the industry.

About the Women’s Steering Committee Co-Chairs
Tara MieleDirector Tara Miele
Miele is a filmmaker originally from Long Island. Her latest film, Wander Darkly, premiered in US Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She is also well known for the viral video, Meet a Muslim, which she created to combat Islamophobia. She has helmed episodes of Hawaii Five-0ArrowBatwoman; the pilot for Green Arrow and the Canaries; as well as the movie for television, Lost Boy. Miele has been a DGA member since 2014 and previously served as an Alternate Co-Chair of the Women’s Steering Committee. 
Liz RyanUPM Liz Ryan
Since her start as a DGA Trainee in New York, Ryan has worked on over 70 movie and television productions throughout the world as a Director, Producer, Production Manager or Assistant Director and is currently developing her own projects. Her UPM credits include features such as Maria Burton’s A Sort of Homecoming; John Sayles’s Go for Sisters and Walter von Huene’s Ancient Warriors; Beth McCarthy-Miller’s movie for television, Amy’s Brother; and series such as Everything’s Gonna Be OkayStation 19Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Aquarius. A DGA member since 1985, Ryan serves as a co-chair of the Women’s Steering Committee, is an elected member of the DGA National Board and the Western AD/UPM Council and is a member of the DGA Diversity Task Force. She also sits on both the boards of the Directors Guild-Producers Pension and Health Plans and the Directors Guild-Producers Training Plan and has served on the Guild’s Negotiating Committees. In 2008, Ryan received the DGA Frank Capra Achievement Award in recognition of her career achievements and service to the Guild 
Shawn Pipkin-West1st AD Shawn Pipkin-West
A graduate of the DGA Assistant Director Training Program, Pipkin has worked on features including Bill Condon’s Dreamgirls, Peter Segal’s The Longest Yard, Thomas Bezucha’s The Family Stone and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights; and episodes of Raising DionBig ShotGrey’s AnatomyThe CatchFor the PeopleShots FiredCommunityFriday Night Lights, and Sorry for Your Loss. She was on the AD team for two DGA Award-winning productions: Thomas Schlamme’s 2020 special, A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote and Mick Jackson’s 2010 movie for television, Temple Grandin. A DGA member since 2004, Pipkin-West serves as an Second Alternate for the DGA National Board, as the AD/UPM Category Representative on the African American Steering Committee, as a member of the DGA Diversity Taskforce, is on the Board of Trustees for the Directors Guild-Producer Training Program, and has been on the Western AD/UPM Council as a member and/or alternate from 2013-present. 
About the Committee

The Women's Steering Committee was created to advance the professional interests of its members, and to heighten their visibility and career opportunities. The WSC currently promotes diversity through sponsoring networking events, screenings and seminars, and fosters relationships between the members to provide support, mentoring and networking opportunities.