About Our Phenomenal Panelists
Amber Charania currently serves as the Director of Legal & Business Affairs at Downtown Music Holdings. Ms. Charania started her career in Atlanta, Georgia practicing in the areas of entertainment and corporate law. She then went on to work for the multinational law firm DLA Piper, where she was in the corporate law practice, which included a strong focus on representing corporations and private equity firms in connection with M&A transactions and general corporate matters. In 2020, Ms. Charania joined the legal team at Downtown Music Holdings and was the founder and currently serves as the President of the AAPI Employee Resource Group, APAM (Asian/Pacific Islander Advocacy Movement). She earned her BA from the University of Texas at Arlington and a JD from Emory University School of Law.
Carol Liebler’s research centers on media and diversity issues, and particularly on gender as it intersects with race and ethnicity. Her research explores news media visibility and the concepts of absence and symbolic annihilation. In this context she has studied missing children and women, including media critiques of “The Missing White Woman Syndrome.” A related area of interest is hegemonic beauty ideals across various media platforms, especially in the United States and China.
Liebler’s teaching includes quantitative and qualitative research methods; mass communications theory; race, gender and media; and media, gender and beauty ideals. She also teaches media and diversity, a graduate course she pioneered in the Newhouse curriculum.
Liebler has published her work in such journals as Asian Journal of Communication; Communication, Culture and Critique; Howard Journal of Communications; Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media; Journal of Communication; and Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. She is co-editor of “Media scholarship in a transitional age: Research in honor of Pamela J. Shoemaker” (2018).
Liebler is currently the Newhouse Rotating Chair of Public Communications. In 2017 she received the Newhouse Excellence in Research Mentoring Award and in 2008 she was recipient of the Syracuse University Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award. In 2011-2012 she was a visiting professor at the University of Macau, China.
Liebler is past director of the Newhouse Ph.D. and Media Studies programs, a former head of the Mass Communication and Society division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and former chair of AEJMC’s Standing Committee on Research. She also chaired AEJMC’s oversight committee on diversity and has served on AEJMC’s publications committee.
Keisha A Rivers survived a harrowing Hurricane Katrina experience to become a successful international speaker, change agent and learning leader. As President of The KARS Group LTD, she facilitates successful outcomes by equipping people to embrace, manage and lead through change. Leveraging close to 25 years of experience in the strategic consulting and organizational development space, she creates opportunities for change, growth and sustainable success with clients across a variety of industries.
Keisha hosts a podcast entitled “Equipped 4 Change”, has authored several books, the latest entitled “Equipped for Change: Doing the Deep Work of Transformation”, and gives back through her 501c3 nonprofit organization The KARS Institute. Keisha holds a BA from University of Pennsylvania, a M.Ed. from University of New Orleans and a Certificate in Women’s Entrepreneurship from Cornell University. She is a Certified Diversity Professional (CDP), Certified Diversity Executive (CDE), Certified Talent Optimization Consultant and SHRM Recertification Provider.
Keisha has been named “50 Most Influential Women of 2021” by the Mecklenburg Times for her leadership in the Charlotte area; “10 Most Influential Black Women in Business to Follow in 2021” by CIO Views Magazine; “Multicultural Entrepreneurs You Should Know” by PRIDE Magazine and a 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist for her book “Equipped for Change: Doing the Deep Work of Transformation”.
Past clients include: Walmart, Conduent, Linkedin, Predictive Index, F5, The City of Charlotte, Bunelle Foundation, and others. For more about Keisha, visit www.karsgroup.com.
Dr. Lisa LaCon began working with individuals who were infected, as well as affected with HIV/AIDS. While working with this population, she was instrumental in developing and implementing educational health programs that assisted in the increase in the level of awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS. This work led her to conduct presentations throughout New York State and City prisons, shelters, and community health centers. Dr. LaCon has modified agency-based rehabilitation assessment instruments to meet certification standards. She has a track record of motivating staff, resulting in an expansion of programs and performance and working collaboratively with external agencies, within the rehabilitation arena, promoting a client-centered approach in working with adults with psychiatric diagnoses, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and ex-offenders who desire to become employed, live in suitable housing, and maintain meaningful relationships in order to better integrate in the community. Dr. LaCon graduated with a M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey and became a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). She later earned her doctorate in Psychiatric Rehabilitation from Rutgers University. She is the first Black to earn this accomplishment. Her areas of specialty include working in the urban community with clients who have addictions, working with the re-entry population, and those diagnosed with psychiatric disabilities through a psychiatric rehabilitation approach in assisting them on their wellness and recovery journey to wholeness. In addition, she is an active member in her sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Dr. LaCon is a proud graduate of Hampton University.
Myrta Vida (Meer-Tah Vee-Dah) earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri –St. Louis (UMSL). Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Ms. Vida is also a decorated U.S. Army Veteran. She’s a Co-Producer for 3DMC, the Production Company responsible for the award-winning Independent Films: tangerine, The Florida Project, The Infiltrators, and Premature. For almost two decades, she’s led writing workshops for a variety of groups, to include: her fellow Veterans, at-risk youth, survivors of domestic violence, the elderly, and the LGBTQ+ community. She now also teaches Screenwriting at her newest alma mater, the New York Film Academy’s NYC campus (NYFA).