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Los Angeles ELEVATE: Inside the Industry - Media, Arts and Entertainment

6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Feb. 07, 2019

Join us for an evening of discussion and networking from alumni industry experts in the media, arts and entertainment sector. The night includes a brief talk from panelists who serve as creative directors, senior editors and animators, fashion designers and actors followed by an open Q&A. Wrap up the evening with a meet and greet to mingle with panelists and fellow alumni in the industry. Ticket price includes event registration and one drink ticket. Cash bar available. 

Below are the brief bios of all of our panelists:

Brian Roberts, a 1997 graduate of VCU with a B.F.A., is an animator, director and producer at Dreamworks Animation. He helped create more than 25 “VeggieTales” DVDs and two feature films and co-executive produced the Emmy-nominated Netflix original series “VeggieTales in the House.” He is currently co-executive producer of a new Netflix original preschool series based on one of Dreamworks Animation’s most popular franchises and he’s also developing the world’s first radically inclusive children’s show.

Chiyong Jones, a 2005 graduate of the VCU Brandcenter, uses his wealth of experience and knowledge to develop culturally impactful creative platforms for Honey, an e-commerce startup in Los Angeles. He leads an in-house team of storytellers, makers and problem-solvers who are helping to shape and grow the brand from the ground up. Prior to Honey, Chiyong led creative at 72andSunny on Google, Starbucks, Netflix and Infiniti. And before that worked on everything from supercomputers to diapers at agencies all over New York City. When he’s not working, he spends most of his free time either watching Carolina games or trying to convince his wife and two sons to watch Carolina games.

Jason Butler Harner is an actor, writer and producer who began his training in the VCU School of the Arts’ theater department, graduating with a B.F.A. in 1992. Harner has appeared in theaters across the U.S., on London’s West End and frequently on and off-Broadway. He recently completed the Broadway premiere of “Bernhardt/Hamlet” in November.Harner currently plays Agent Roy Petty in the Netflix hit “Ozark,” while his big-screen appearances range from the Oscar-nominated “Changeling” to the indie hits “The Family Fang” and “The Green.” Recently, Harner has appeared on hit TV shows “Scandal,” “Ray Donovan,” “Homeland,” “Alcatraz,” “Blacklist” and “Law and Order.”Harner ties his ability to create a character and the success of his career back to the foundation he received at VCUarts at a pivotal moment in his life.

Lauren Messiah, who graduated from VCU in 2003 with a B.F.A., is a Los Angeles-based personal stylist, author, style expert, educator and digital influencer. She has transformed thousands of lives through her styling services and educational programs.Her career started as a celebrity stylist in 2009, but she quickly changed the course and began styling everyday women. This is when she discovered she had the unique ability to change the way people feel about themselves through the power of style.Paying it forward, she co-founded School of Style to teach others how to break into the fashion industry. To date, she has trained more than 4,000 stylists.Named Google’s #WomenToWatch on Youtube, Messiah has also been featured in Marie Claire, Italian Vogue, VH1, KTLA, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal and many other media outlets for her style expertise.

Malcolm Venable is an award-winning arts and culture journalist, Malcolm Venable’s work has appeared in publications including Entertainment Weekly, Time Out New York, Andy Warhol’s iconic Interview Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, GQ and more. He was pop music and culture critic at The Virginian-Pilot from 2005-10, earning a Best Critical Writing award from the Virginia Press Association and maintaining one of the publication’s most-read blogs. Venable was also an adjunct professor of online journalism at Hampton University and volunteered by reading with at-risk youth in schools across the region. Now based in Los Angeles, he is a senior editor at

Cost: $10

This event is part of the VCU Alumni ELEVATE Tour. Register online by 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST Feb. 5. Due to security at CBS Studio Center, walk-ups are not allowed. 


CBS Studio Center, 4024 Radford Ave., Studio City, CA 91604


VCU Office of Alumni Relations
(804) 828-2586