May 2-7, 2017

2017 Panels & Special Events


Geena and Friends, Presented by L’Oreal

Each year, Geena Davis and a handful of celebrity friends come together to swap gender roles while reading scenes from some of Hollywood’s favorite scripts to expose implicit bias and have some fun!

Introduction Judith McKenna | Walmart | COO
Geena Davis
Meg Ryan
Melissa Fumero
Olivia Washington
Stephanie Beatrice

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Panel – Game Changers

Success in Sports hinges on teamwork and collaboration. We rise together or fall together… Winning does not discriminate. These Gamechangers discuss what inspired them to accomplish the incredible!

Introduction: Brigadier General (Retired) Gary Profit | Senior Director, Military Programs | Walmart
Moderator: Jim Halterman | West Coast Bureau Chief | TV Guide Magazine
Eric LaMarque | Former professional, Olympic, World Champion ice hockey player, and professional snowboarder
Rebecca Rousch | Blood Road
Justine Seagal | lMLB Coach

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Panel – Gender Norms in Entertainment, Presented by Common Sense Media

In today’s media world, kids are flooded with messages about how they should look and act. TV, movies, YouTube, and video games are powerful voices when it comes to telling kids what’s “acceptable.” As parents navigate entertainment for their children, how women, girls, men, and boys are portrayed on screen is critical — something that 80% of surveyed Common Sense members agree on and want more information about. This summer, Common Sense will release a research brief on how media affects children’s gender-related beliefs and behaviors. Subsequently, the organization will launch an initiative to help evaluate and identify media that shows body image and gender roles in a realistic light. In this panel, we’ll discuss why this topic is so important for kids, families, content creators, and more.

Introduction: Regine Moore | Director of Multicultural Marketing | Walmart
Moderator: Madeline Di Nonno | CEO | Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Geena Davis
Dr. Kevin Clark | Director, Center for Digital Media, Innovation and Diversity
Betsy Bozdech l Executive Editor of Ratings and Reviews Common Sense Media
Wendy Calhoun | Producer and Writer

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Panel – If You Can Read it, See It, Play It, Be It…

All forms of media have the power to inspire and change lives. That’s why our founder Geena likes to say, “If they can see it, they can be it.” Looking beyond film and television, this event showcases forward-looking companies, innovative artists, and cutting-edge creators on their mission to create BOOKS, GAMES, TOYS, and TECH that inspire everyone.

Introduction: David Scott | Senior Vice President of Talent & Organizational Effectiveness| Walmart
Moderator: Dr. Kevin Clark | Director, Center for Digital Media, Innovation and Diversity
Anne Marie Kehoe | Vice President Toys | Walmart
Marlene Sharp | Producer, TV Series | Sega of America
Laurel Wilder | Founder and CEO | Wonder Crew
Alice Brooks | Co-Founder and CEO | Roominate

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Panel – In Control Of Her Own Destiny, Presented by L’Oreal

What would happen if we gave all young girls the ability to forge their own path, free from the weight of implicit bias? Is it even possible? Well, it is possible, especially when we work together. These women share the tools they use in their personal and professional lives to make that possibility a reality.

Geena Davis
Judy Greer
Pam Kaufamn | Chief Marketing Officer, President, Consumer Products | Nickelodeon

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Panel – Inclusion: Does That Mean Me? Presented by Playmonster and Coca-Cola

What does it mean to be underrepresented? How do we champion inclusion without excluding anyone? Geena Davis leads a panel discussion dedicated to diversity, exposing our own implicit bias, encouraging connection, empathy, and more. A lively round of Inclusion-inspired 5-Second Rule by PlayMonster will serve as a conversation catalyst for panelists from Wonder Crew, Coca-Cola, Mars and Walmart, who will share their gamified insights.

Introduction: Dan Bartlett | EVP Corporate Affairs | Walmart
Moderator: Nely Galan | Galan Entertainment, The Adelante Movement
Geena Davis
Stuart Kronauge | SVP, Customer Marketing | The Coca Cola Company
Mita Malik | Director, Diversity Outreach & Inclusion | Unilever
Tracey Massey | President | Mars Chocolate North America
Laurel Wilder | Founder and CEO | Wonder Crew

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Panel – Kids: Shaping Tomorrow’s Influencers Today, Presented by Mattel

If our destiny is diversity, then it’s never too early to begin these important conversations with our kids. Meet the children’s television programmers and product developers who have dedicated their life’s work to making those conversations a little bit easier.

Introduction: Anne Marie Kehoe | Walmart | Vice President Toys
Diane Ikemiyashiro | Director, Original Programming/Disney Junior | Disney

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Panel – Lights! Camera! Inclusion! Presented by Inclusion Films

Actor Joey Travolta founded ‘Inclusion Films’ to support and empower individuals with developmental disabilities by creating custom-designed filmmaking workshops and camps. Joey and four like-minded panelists help us identify resources in our own lives to empower us to become agents for good, right where we are. 

Introduction: Russell Shaffer | Senior Manager II – Global Culture, Diversity & Inclusion Communications | Walmart
Moderator: Hester Wagner | Future Films Production Company
Jane Seymour
Joey Travolta | Inclusion Films
Maysoon Zayid | Actress, Comedian, Writer
Tari Hartman Squire | Founding CEO | EIN SOF Communications, Inc
Bonnie Boaz | Transition Coordinator | Arkansas Transition Services
Maryanne Caldwell | Arkansas Rehabilitation Services.
Deborah Swink | Special Education Director at Clinton School District

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Panel – Progress vs. Perfection, Presented by Mattel

Whether you’re an Individual or a business, when striving for gender equity and cultural diversity, fear of failure and the paralyzing desire to “do it right” can keep you from ever reaching the finish line. If we wish to leave behind a legacy of lasting change, these panelists explain why the future is counting on us to seek progress, and not unattainable perfection, to measure our success.

Introduction: Laura Phillips | SVP Corp. Affairs / Sustainability | Walmart
Moderator: Stephen Quinn | Chairman | Alliance For Family Entertainment (AFE)
“Mindy Thompson Sherwood | Vice President | Procter & Gamble
Cheryl DeSantis | Vice President of People and Organization | Mars Petcare North America
Diane Wallace | Vice President, Retail Marketing & Strategy | Coca-Cola North America
Laura Knebusch | Vice President of Marketing Activation | Georgia-Pacific
Matt Repicky | Head of Global Brand Marketing, Barbie | Mattel Inc
Tony Rogers | CMO | Walmart
Dion Vlachos | EVP Retail Sales, Marketing and Publishing | Nickelodeon
Sue Davis-Gillis | SVP, Consumer Banking | Synchrony Financial

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Panel – STEM to STEAM

Adding the “A” for Arts to STEM creates STEAM. This panel is dedicated to demonstrating why the Arts are just as essential as the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Moderator: Dr. Fay Cobb-Payton | Professor of Information Systems/Technology NCSU, Founding Director,
Scott Waugh | Director, Producer
Alice Brooks | Co-Founder and CEO | Roominate
Courtney McCarthy | Lead Strategist & Producer, CS in Media | Google
Dr. Knatokie Ford | Founder and CEO | Fly Sci Enterprise, LLC

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Panel – Stories Matter, Presented by Hallmark and Unilever

Storytelling is the oldest form of entertainment and a good tale is timeless. But if great responsibility comes with great power, what did the power of narrative ask of us 100 years ago? What does it ask of us today? And what will it implore us to do tomorrow? To answer these questions, a handful of the industry’s best wordsmiths examine the written word as one of the most effective tools for social change.

Introduction: Tony Rogers | CMO | Walmart
William H. Macy
Leila Djansi | Director | Cotton Twines
Lisa McNulty | Producing Artistic Director of Women’s Project Theater
Kathy O’Brien | Vice President of Skin and Marketing Services | Unilever

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Panel – Storytelling Through Music

In a week dedicated to the visual mediums of film and television, we take a moment to recognize recording artists who use sound and the power of mission-driven music to advocate for the causes that matter most.

Introduction: Kathy Waller | EVP and CFO | The Coca Cola Company
Marius de Vries l Grammy Nominated Producer; Music Director and Music Producer La La Land
Whitney Kroenke | Co-Founder and Board President | Playing for Change Foundation

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Panel – Sustainabilty: Going Further

Recycle, reduce, reuse, right? Sustainability actually goes way beyond all that. From managing our natural resources to maintaining health, safety, and labor rights for workers, learn why this issue is becoming increasingly vital to all industries and discover what inspired our panelists to commit significant portions of their lives to fighting for this cause. #OurPurposeIsProgress

Introduction: Tracy Brown | SVP, Operations & Chief Experience Officer | Sam’s Club
Jim Halterman | West Coast Bureau Chief |TV Guide Magazine
Jewel | Grammy Award Nominated Singer-Songwriter
Laura Phillips | SVP Global Sustainability | Walmart
Monica Fonseca | UN Environmental Ambassador/ Social Media + Radio & TV Personality
MT Carney | Founder and CEO | Untitled Worldwide

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Samsung Create Short Film Competition

Student filmmakers were challenged to make a short film based on the mission of BFF by utilizing the incredibly powerful Samsung Galaxy phone and tablet. The top films will premier at BFF followed by a Q&A with the student filmmakers.

Introduction: Sean Jackson |VP Home | Sam’s Club
Juror: Geena Davis
Juror: John Furner | President and CEO | Sam’s Club
Juror: Juan Pablo

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Special Events

Special Event – A League Of Their Own 25th Anniversary Game

Yes it has been 25 years! Join our BFF’s Geena Davis and the Peaches for an afternoon at the ballpark with the family. The game will feature Celebrity and Professional Athletes competing against our BFF partners. And remember, “THERE IS NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!”

Gates & Kid Zone open at 10:30 am
First pitch at noon