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The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment and NBCUniversal are launching a new Hollywood initiative aimed at the next generation of Asian and Pacific Islander assistant and coordinator-level employees.
The CAPE Emerging Executives Committee (CEEC) will serve as a fast track for a select group of assistants and coordinators as part of a year-long program. Participants will collaborate within the initiative — helping them build community — and receive opportunities for growth and mentorship.
“As both a member of the AAPI community and someone whose first job in the industry was as an
assistant, I can personally attest to the value of this opportunity for these individuals,” Craig
Robinson, executive vp and chief diversity officer at NBCUniversal, said in a statement. “We’re grateful to our partners at the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment for partnering with us on this opportunity and look forward to watching the inaugural committee excel.”
“The assistant and coordinator levels are the gateway into much of the industry. Without appropriate guidance and support, careers can languish and stagnate at this stage for longer than necessary,” Michelle K. Sugihara, CAPE executive director, said. “CAPE is excited to launch this one-of-a-kind program for assistants, by assistants and we are thrilled that it is helmed by two of our CAPE Leaders Fellowship alumni.”
CEEC will be co-chaired by Mohan Mandali, vp, development and production, Fabel Entertainment, and Duane Luu, director, drama development, NBCUniversal. Both are graduates of the 2020 CAPE Leaders Fellowship, which the executive committee initiative builds upon. In its seventh year, the industry-leading accelerator equips rising senior creative executives with the skills and professional network to break into the vp ranks and beyond.
“When we came up through the assistant and coordinator ranks, we very rarely had organic opportunities to meet other API individuals at our level who were going through the same experiences we were,” Mandali and Luu said in a joint statement. “We hope that this program, with CAPE as the conduit, will open doors for entry-level folks in the industry to connect to the larger API community in film and television.”
The committee’s first public event, held at All Season Brewing in L.A., was open to all Asian and Pacific Islander assistants and coordinators in the entertainment business.
CEEC is just the latest opportunity from CAPE, a premier non-profit that was created more than 30 years ago to provide opportunities and drive success among Asian and Pacific Islanders in Hollywood. The initiative joins the organization’s other programs, such as the CAPE New Writers Fellowship, the CAPE Leaders Fellowship, the CAPE Animation Directors Accelerator and the Julia S. Gouw Short Film Challenge, which is conducted in partnership with Janet Yang Productions.
Among the non-profit’s other efforts is the CAPE Database, a public-facing database for Asian and Pacific Islander talent, executives, reps and more, which is in the beta phase.
The inaugural group of committee members includes Angela Fei, coordinator, drama development, NBCUniversal Television & Streaming; Jane Nguyen, assistant, TV literary, UTA; Joban Gill, executive assistant, film production and development, 21 Laps; Kristina Cuello, coordinator, Curate Management; Rachel Yuan, executive assistant to the president of Imagine Television; and Wai Wing Lau, formerly and executive assistant at Hidden Pictures.
Read more about the 2023 Committee below.
Angela Fei, Coordinator, Drama Development, NBCUniversal Television & Streaming
Born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley to first-generation Chinese immigrants, Angela is currently a Coordinator at NBCUniversal, where the drama development team oversees upcoming titles across NBC, USA, SyFy, and Peacock. She first joined the industry as a feature marketing executive and has since experienced many sides of the entertainment industry, from programming film festivals to supporting the costume design team of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Jane Nguyen | Assistant, TV Literary, UTA
Jane Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American born and raised in Orange County. She’s currently at United Talent Agency where she works in the TV literary department. She graduated from UCLA in 2021 with a B.A. in Sociology and a Film/TV minor. In her spare time, Jane enjoys reading webtoons, beach volleyball and playing tennis.
Joban Gill | Executive Assistant, Film Production and Development, 21 Laps
Joban Gill works at 21 Laps in production and development for upcoming films and series including Crater (Disney+), The Boogeyman (20th), All the Light We Cannot See (Netflix) and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Disney+). She received her B.A. in Economics from U.C. Berkeley in 2018 and started her career as a rotational trainee at Bad Robot Productions and subsequently as an assistant at Weimaraner Republic Pictures / New Mandate Films where she worked on King Richard, (Warner Bros.), The Survivor (HBO) and Hocus Pocus 2 (Disney+). In her spare time, she likes to write and perform music.
Kristina Cuello | Coordinator, Curate Management
Originally from Naples, Florida, Kristina works across film, TV, books/IP and international at Curate Management. Prior to joining the company, she worked for various New York-based advertising agencies, commercial production house Sanctuary Content and Sunswept Entertainment, where she assisted on Amazon’s The Summer I Turned Pretty and the upcoming Children of Blood and Bone at Paramount Pictures. She received her B.A. in Economics and Film Studies from Yale University in 2020 and is currently in post-production on MIDAS, an indie feature she produced in 2022.
Rachel Yuan | Executive Assistant to President of Imagine Television
Rachel Yuan is an assistant to the president of Imagine Television. Prior to Imagine, Rachel was in the Book Rights department at Creative Artists Agency, an assistant at Anonymous Content and interned in television development at Legendary, Alloy Entertainment, Fabel Entertainment and Franklin Entertainment. Rachel grew up in Orange County and received her B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of Georgia.
Wai Wing Lau | Formerly Executive Assistant, Hidden Pictures
Wai Wing Lau was an executive assistant at Hidden Pictures, where he helped find and develop feature films and television. Prior to Hidden, he worked at Mandeville Films, RBEL and NBCUniversal. He was also a mentee of the Women Wednesdays BIPOC Mentorship program and Hillman Grad Mentorship Labs. Wai Wing is originally from Brooklyn and received his B.A. in English and Cinema Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
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