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BritWeek Gala Dinner

BritWeek2012 Committee

Special thanks to our committee members, who work closely with the Board to plan and implement BritWeek events.


Honorary Committee

Stuart Bagshaw
Andrew Bentley
Valerie Blackholly
George Blodwell
Brad Burlingame
William Butler-Sloss
Carlo Cavagna
Elizabeth Chamberlain
Nigel Daly
Darren Darnborough
Gemma Dempsey
Debra Fink
Mindy Gail
Simon Gammell
John Gibson
Katy Haber
Kaya Haig-Plansker
Michelle Hodan
Kimberley Hume
Rachel Hunt
Sunny Jenkins
Stuart Kozlowski
Erin Laurence
Candice Lee
Joanne Lichtenstein
Angus Mackay
Ruth McCartney
Chris McDonald
Shari Mesulam
Joe Moller
Birgit Muller
Ellis O'Connor
Jane Owen
Jeff Pierce
Kerry Quinn
Sarah Robarts
Amani Roberts
Louise Salter
Arnold Schwartzman
Rianna Scipio
Jenny Seong
Christine Shaw
Francine Sheridan
Julian Stone
Lauren Stone
Amelia Swaggert
Dara Toulch
Sakiko Yamada
Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald
Ambassador Robert H. Tuttle
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Consul General Dame Barbara Hay

Tracey Emin
Simon Fuller
Taylor Hackford
Anthony Hopkins
Eric Idle
Timothy Leiweke
Helen Mirren
Zandra Rhodes
Ridley Scott
Jane Seymour
Charlotte Mailliard Shultz
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Michael York
Pat York


Stuart BagshawSTUART BAGSHAW is the founding member of British American Business LEAP, LLC, and as such is focused on helping British based companies successfully establish a US market presence. By leveraging many years of experience in engineering, sales, marketing and general management in Europe, Asia and North America, he is uniquely qualified to help management teams through the process of a successful market entry.

Prior to founding the LEAP (the Land Expand Accelerator Program), Stuart helped clients from a cross-section of industries turn their business dreams into reality through his executive management consultancy, Stuart Bagshaw & Associates. He also held a number of key leadership positions, including CEO, COO, President and General Manager, of several technology, communications and software companies.

Stuart started his career in the Royal Air Force, where he gained his engineering qualifications in communications and computer systems. He is on the board of Taulia, Inc., Chairman of CATERForce and the British American Business Council, Northern California, a member of the Institute of Directors, and has served as a board member and advisor for many UK and US based companies.

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Valerie BlackhollyVALERIE BLACKHOLLY was born and raised in Newcastle, England and aside from two years in Hong Kong has lived in the USA since 1979. A former proprietor in the retail/hospitality industry with a background in sales and marketing, she has been involved with the British American Business Council, Orange County since 1991 and currently serves as its Executive Director. As such she is responsible for day-to-day operations, membership recruitment, connecting businesses, event planning and partnering with other significant OC enterprises for a variety of events, including a joint collaboration with the World Affairs Council and the OC Forum to host a lunch in honor of His Royal Highness, Prince Andrew the Duke of York.

Valerie was instrumental in founding the BABC OC Scholarship Awards, a program that sends American students to the UK for two weeks of cultural studies. Under her direction, the BABC OC chapter was a recipient of the AON Award for the greatest level of membership growth among the 25 worldwide chapters of the BABC. A staunch supporter of BritWeek from its inception, Valerie has involved businesses and organizations throughout Orange County in the celebration and recognition of all things British. She also serves as a board member for OC Innovation and is devoted to helping local charities, including Boys Town, Olive Crest, Orangewood Children’s Home and others.

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George BlodwellGEORGE BLODWELL is Editor-at-Large for GenLux Magazine and an acclaimed international fashion stylist. His flair, wit, charm and industry know-how have made him a favorite among celebrity clients, a fashion editor for numerous publications and a colorful personality for various talk shows and media outlets.

Born in Manchester, England, George spent his childhood in Scotland and started his fashion career at Browns in London while working nights as a runway model. He moved to Los Angeles in 1978 to be a fashion consultant for Maxfield’s, and also spent time at Ralph Lauren and Nino Cerrito. In 1986 he lived in Milan, where he was Editor-at-Large for Italian Harper’s Bazaar. He now lives in Los Angeles and routinely styles celebrities for the Oscars, Emmys and other red-carpet occasions. He has also been a consultant on designer advertising campaigns and a featured panelist for fashion symposiums.

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William Butler-SlossWILLIAM BUTLER-SLOSS produces commercials, films and television. He has worked as a motion picture executive for Mike Newell's Fifty Cannon Entertainment, which Executive Produced Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, and as a Producer of television series for premium cable channel Starz. Will has produced commercials for numerous Los Angeles-based production companies, as well as spots for the international market for multi-national agencies (such as DRAFTfcb, BBDO, Leo Burnett and McCann Erickson, among others) through his company, Kantara. An avid soccer player, Will plays for BAFTA/LA and organizes BritNight with the LA Galaxy.

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Carlo CavagnaCARLO CAVAGNA is UK Trade & Investment's US sector leader for the creative & media industries (including music, film, television, digital content, and video games). In this role, he provides business development services to UK exporters, wins US investments for the UK, and plays a key role in setting UK Trade & Investment's business strategy in the United States. In his last position, Carlo was Business Development Coordinator for VOD distributor CinemaNow, Inc. Before coming to Los Angeles, he was a policy analyst and investigator with the US Government's International Trade Administration. He has also been an online movie reviewer and journalist, a music manager, director of a residential screenwriting workshop in Tuscany, an Italian language teacher and a voiceover artist. He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Carlo holds an MA in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, a BA from Columbia University, and a diploma from UCLA's Advanced Professional Screenwriting Program.

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Nigel DalyNIGEL DALY is Vice President of film industry trade magazine Screen International. He began his career as an actor, training with The Court Theatre London and eventually setting up The Laboratory Arts Collective, for which he still serves as a director. He directed the acclaimed short short film Cat Burglar, which was represented by The British Council and was an official entry at the Claremont Ferrand and Palm Springs Short Film Festivals, and was also an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival, Court Métrage.

A champion of the independent filmmaker, Nigel is always keen to encourage original voices. He was an official Judge at the 2009 Palm Springs Short Film Festival, and in 2011 judged the Aspen Short Film Festival, Rushes Short Film Festival London and Mill Valley Short Film Festival. He serves as Secretary of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Los Angeles (BAFTA LA) and has served on the committee of BritWeek since 2009.

Nigel has a keen taste for adventure and recently tackled an expedition across the Simpson Desert in the heart of the Australian Outback. He is fiercely British and has lived with his wife and two children in California since 2003.

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Darren DarnboroughDARREN DARNBOROUGH was born in London, now lives in LA, and is an entrepreneur and creative professional with a foot in many industries. He has extensive experience as an actor, appearing in award-winning feature films, commercials and TV shows, including British hit EastEnders and US cult show True Blood. He is also a writer/producer who works with top talent, and a TV and special event host.

In the business world, Darren has founded and co-founded various companies, including events concepts with Earls Court; fashion label Corsellis; the expat group Brits In LA and, the world's biggest promotional staff database. He was named in the 2010 Who's Who of Britain's Business Elite - Young Business Leaders and regularly speaks on business and marketing panels. Darren serves on the Advisory Board of the Bel Air Film Festival and the Gala Committee of Sir Richard Branson's Rock The Kasbah, and is a US Ambassador of The Global Party.

Darren is also a journalist for several magazines with over 100 bylines. He is keen on charity work, and has been involved with Virgin Unite, the Eve Branson Foundation, Adopt-A-Letter, Hollywood Arts, and CharityLives amongst others. A natural connector, he raises sponsorship money for many major events.

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Gemma DempseyGEMMA DEMPSEY has worked in various aspects of radio, music, film, advertising, television and the online world both in Los Angeles and London for almost twenty years. She began her career as a Music Supervisor on films such as 'The Last Emperor' and 'Stormy Monday'. She later moved to Los Angeles and became the producer for KCRW Radio's 'Morning Becomes Eclectic,' and also began representing composers and songwriters for film, television, online and commericial opportunities at Zomba, Chrysalis Music and Kobalt UK.

Other work at KCRW includes "Manager of the Online Music Channel" (Eclectic24), host of "The Global Gig Guide" podcast and current producer of “The Treatment With Elvis Mitchell”. Separately, Gemma consults on the marketing and development of a number of international and emerging artists, is a music supervisor and voice artist. She has also been an active board member and the Event Coordinator for the non profit Hollywood Heart since 1995.

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Debra FinkDEBRA FINK was Executive Vice President of Screen International for six years responsible for all sales, marketing and advertising strategies in North America. Debra began her career at Screen International as US Sales Director, was former Regional Director at United Feature Syndicate and a costume designer on two feature films.

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Mindy GailMINDY GAIL, a fourth-generation Californian, was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, where she attended Village Christian High School and California State University Northridge. She worked in the corporate home office of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies in Claims, Marketing and Executive Administration for more than 15 years. Subsequently she became a business owner and also an active community and school volunteer.

Mindy joined the BABC LA in 1998, and as a Board member helped coordinate the BABC 2007 Annual Transatlantic Conference and the US/UK Aviation & Defense Business Leadership Conference 2007. From 2008 - 1010 she served as Executive Director of the BABC LA, and was Executive Director of BritWeek from 2009 - 2011. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Public Relations Society of America, LA Chapter. She divides her time between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

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Simon GammellSIMON GAMMELL OBE re-located to LA in August to take up his new position in the British Council's leadership team for USA. His mission is to open up a whole new set of relationships and engagement for the British Council on the West Coast, designed to build up cultural relations action both between UK and USA, and together through the rest of the world.

Simon was educated at the Universities of Cambridge and London. His first career was as a theatre director in Scotland, England and Italy; he also worked as a freelance journalist, teacher and film-maker. In 1985, he joined the British Council and worked for several years in Italy and Argentina. Between 1994 and 1999 he worked in London, first as Director of the British Council's Performing Arts department, and latterly as Director of the Arts Group. From 1999 to 2006, he lived in Sydney, working as Director of the British Council in Australia. In 2005 he was awarded an OBE by the Queen for services to British-Australian cultural relations. For the last four years he has been Director of the British Council in West India, based in Mumbai.

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John GibsonJOHN R. GIBSON MBChB, MRCP (UK), FRCP (Glasgow) is President and CEO of Orange County companies Healthwise International, Inc. and Jangus Music, Inc.; and Investor In/Fundraiser for a portfolio of seven start-ups. He received his medical degree from Glasgow University in 1973, and subsequently trained in general medicine, infectious diseases and pediatrics in Zimbabwe and the UK.

John has a passion for drug development, medicine and entrepreneurialism. He was appointed Honorary Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal London Hospital in 1982, has three decades of international experience in all aspects of drug development with three major pharmaceutical companies (Wellcome, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Allergan), and a record of product approvals worldwide in dermatology, ophthalmology and neurology, with experience in oncology, allergy and anti-infectives, including anti-virals. He was the Senior VP of Global Development at Allergan in Irvine for 15 years, and also served as Volunteer Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of California at Irvine.

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Katy HaberKATY HABER, MBE began her film industry career in England. Her work with Sam Peckinpah on Straw Dogs brought her to the US for seven films, including Junior Bonner, The Getaway, Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Killer Elite, Cross of Iron and Convoy. Next she worked with Producer Michael Deeley at EMI Films and was Post Production Supervisor on the Academy Award-winning The Deer Hunter. In 1981, they joined forces again to produce Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner. Thereafter, Katy returned to EMI as Head of Production, and was the Executive in Charge of Production on Paul Bartel’s Not For Publication.

After a successful career in film, Katy moved into the television arena as Head of Development at Consolidated Television and Head of Creative Affairs at Island World Productions, where she developed Movies of the Week and reality programming. She also co-produced Sam Peckinpah: Man Of Iron, a documentary for BBC/A and E; and co-produced two documentaries for Channel 4 on Straw Dogs and the The Pink Panther. She was on the Board of BAFTA Los Angeles for 22 years, and is currently Co-Chair of Community Education and Outreach.

Katy is the recipient of several awards, including the 2010 Martin Luther King Keeper of the Dream Award from the City of West Hollywood (for leadership and assisting youth realize the utility and cultural aspects of education), the 2011 Hon Dr. of Arts from the University of Bedfordshire (for her career in the film industry and contributions to countering homelessness, crime prevention and transformational education), and the 2012 M.B.E Queens New Year’s Honours List (for services to the Los Angeles community).

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Kimerley HumeKIMBERLEY HUME has been at Variety in Los Angeles since June 2008, and in her role as Director of Marketing heads up audience development, branding, research, events and PR for the well known publishing brand. Prior to this, she worked in San Diego for Variety's parent company, Reed Elsevier. Originally from Surrey, England, Kimberley studied for her International Marketing degree in Bristol. Her professional background is in both marketing and journalism, and she has worked across four different markets at Reed Business Information's London office.

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Erin LaurenceERIN LAURENCE Erin Laurence, co-executive producer, of Lives of Style, is a ten-year veteran of ABC Network News, working with Diane Sawyer and producing shows for ABC World News Tonight, 20/20 and Good Morning America.

Lives of Style, the popular West Coast Broadcast TV show, is a weekly half-hour of fast-paced, exciting, MTV-ABC newsmagazine. It features best-of-the-best runway, fashion, style and lifestyle in the world, and reaches market audiences of 26.5 million. In fact, in markets in which it airs, ratings rival those of Entertainment Tonight. Lives of Style currently airs on KRON­4­TV in San Francisco and KCAL­9­TV in Los Angeles, launching in New York and Miami in late Spring 2012, and nationwide and international thereafter. Countless designers, celebrities and fashion personalities appear on the show, and world famous designer Donna Karan says it best: "I live a life of style. If you want to live a life of style, please watch me on Lives of Style."

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Angus Mackay ANGUS MACKAY served as Interim Executive Director for BritWeek 2012. He is an LA-based public affairs consultant. Clients have included the British Embassy, UK Trade & Investment, International Financial Services London, the office of the Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP, the LA World Affairs Council, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, and the UCLA School of Public Affairs/ Concord Project. Prior to that, for many years Angus directed the UK Government’s public diplomacy program for southern California and neighboring States, and was honored for this work by Her Majesty The Queen in 2007 (MBE). He organized numerous media- and security-intensive visits by leading public figures from the UK, including then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, and provided analysis of California politics and the State’s economy. A graduate of Cambridge University (BA and Master’s degrees), Angus acted as a local media spokesperson, and pioneered transatlantic exchanges on a range of public policy topics.

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Ruth McCartneyRUTH McCARTNEY is CEO, Co-Founder and "Digital Diva" of McCartney Multimedia Inc., a full service Creative Solutions Agency that represents some of the world’s finest creative, advertising and marketing talents. She coordinates sales of web and database building services, as well as online messaging and communications for a vast clientele. MMI's proprietary technology,, securely safeguards the databases and statistics of a wide array of renowned clients, from John Cleese to the State of Nevada.

Ruth's latest brainchild is an "upgrade" of QR Code technology at which incorporates a back office system, tracking, social media sharing widgets and takes old-fashioned QR scanning to a whole new level. A sought-after motivational speaker, Ruth has appeared at many Beatles fan conventions and cutting-edge digital events. She is an avid philanthropist and will soon unveil an online fundraising project to aid hundreds of thousands of charities throughout the US.

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Shari MesulamSHARI MESULAM is a Vice President of Entertainment at mPRm Public Relations. In addition to BritWeek, her recent clients and campaigns include BAFTA/LA, Los Angeles Ballet, The Feast of San Gennaro Los Angeles, "I Have a Dream"® Foundation/Los Angeles, Fox Reality Channel, Premiere Props, OutFest and The Orange County Super Fair. She began her career as a music and entertainment publicist at Solters/Roskin/Friedman and then Rogers & Cowan, and also has experience as a journalist producing entertainment news for CNN’s Showbiz Today and CBS’ Early Show. In addition, she has served as a talent booker for programs including MTV’s FANatic, Columbia/TriStar’s The Ricki Lake Show and USA’s Happy Hour.

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Ellis O'ConnorELLIS O'CONNOR co-founded and serves as Co-President of MSD Hospitality, the hospitality operations and asset management wing of MSD Capital L.P. Real Estate. MSD Capital’s portfolio of prominent hospitality assets includes the Four Seasons Maui, Four Seasons Hualalai, Hualalai Resort, Kona Village and the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica. In January 2012, MSD Hospitality added Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora to their roster of hotels.

Prior to joining MSD, Ellis served as the General Manager of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows, the iconic Santa Monica landmark property. Prior to this post, he served as opening General Manager of Ian Schrager’s Gramercy Park Hotel in New York, and spent ten years with Peninsula Hotels in Beverly Hills and New York as Hotel Manager. Ellis began his career with Cunard Hotels and Resorts in senior management roles with The Stafford Hotel and later with The Ritz in London, which was subsequently acquired by Mandarin Oriental.

Ellis has an MBA from Pepperdine University in Malibu and a degree in Hotel Catering and Hospitality Management from Thames Valley University in London. He currently serves as Chairman of the Santa Monica CVB, Chairman Elect of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, and Board Member for British American Business Council Los Angeles.

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Jane OwenJANE MORTON OWEN was raised in England and Greece, and is the CEO of Jane Owen Public Relations, a rapidly growing Los AngelesPR firm that handles Fashion, Talent and Events.

After graduating from Brunel University in London, Jane worked in Music Publicity and then in Fine Jewelry PR, with brands such as Van Cleef & Arpels, bringing this traditional jewelry house to a new generation by teaming up with emerging designers to dress Young Hollywood celebrities. She has applied this model to her clients, expanding the role of Publicist to include cross promotion, strategic partnerships, celebrity affiliations and more. Jane moved to the US in 2004 and worked in High Profile Events and Fashion PR, in both Los Angeles and New York, before forming P3R Publicity in 2008, and most recently her own company, Jane Owen PR.

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Louise SlaterLOUISE SALTER is a founding member and the artistic director of The Laboratory, an International Arts Collective based in Los Angeles and London committed to spotlighting artists from the UK in California. The company is dedicated to bringing original experiences to inquisitive minds and delights in doing so all over the world. Louise is also the creative editor of the free spirited Laboratory Magazine, a publication that accompanies live events.

In 2011, Louise produced the Men Without Names exhibition, bringing the work of photographer Maud Larsson to a Californian audience for the first time. As a filmmaker, she participated in the experimental feature film An Acre Of Moon, and as a director worked on the documentary Kopi, undertaking an arduous journey into the heart of the Simpson Desert in Australia. Separately, Louise has created original content for various companies such as Emily Green’s world of imagination, LA’s BEST and Australian Desert Expeditions.

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ARNOLD SCHWARTZMAN OBE RDI is an Oscar ® winning documentary film director, noted graphic designer, and author and photographer of a score of books. He received the 1981 Oscar for his acclaimed feature documentary film Genocide. He is a Governor and past Chairman of the BAFTA, Los Angeles, and past Chair of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Documentary Executive Committee. He is also a Member of the Board of Governors of The University for the Creative Arts, UK.

In 2002, Arnold was appointed an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the British Film Industry in the USA, and in 2006 was conferred the distinction of Royal Designer (RDI) by the Royal Society of Arts.

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Rianna ScipioRIANNA SCIPIO is best known for her work on British national television, as a prime-time presenter of such flagship programs as the BBC's Watchdog, Holiday, UK's Worst...?, Newsroom Southeast, Wide World (Channel 5), and breakfast shows on BBC Radio 2 and Choice FM (Global Radio). Voted "extremely popular" in a nationwide BBC poll, Rianna has received the coveted UK Media Award, smashed all expectations for a specialist series - achieving mainstream figures averaging 6 million viewers - and featured in countless media publications.

In 2010, Rianna launched her own online company Movie Film UK (MFUK) "the interactive experience for entertainment lovers, professionals and wannabies." Recently re-located from London to Los Angeles, she was appointed Vice President of Production and main host for Oasis Television. Her interviewees have ranged from popular celebrity and former Spice Girl, Mel B and British actor Asa Butterfield; to Deepak Chopra, author of nineteen New York Times bestsellers; to live political coverage for Election Programme. Her brand is proudly trans-generational and trans-genre.

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CHRISTINE SHAW is Vice President, Communications for BBC Worldwide Productions and BBC Worldwide America. In this position she covers internal and external communications for BBC Worldwide Productions and their shows, including Dancing with the Stars, Top Gear, Torchwood: Miracle Day and What Not to Wear. Additionally she manages the communications strategy for BBC Worldwide’s digital entertainment and gaming business, BBC Motion Gallery and Lonely Planet Television out of Los Angeles.

Prior to joining BBC Worldwide, Christine spent 10 years at entertainment and consumer lifestyle public relations agencies, including Rogers & Cowan, Bragman Nyman Cafarelli and Murphy O’Brien. Her clients included FX Networks, Animal Planet, See’s Candies and Morton’s The Steakhouse, among others.

Christine attended the University of Southern California, where she received a B.A. in Critical Studies from the School of Cinematic Arts and a B.A. in Journalism from the Annenberg School for Communication.

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FRANCINE SHERIDAN is Regional Director Europe, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) and LA INC, the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, based in London, England. She was appointed to setup the European sales and marketing office in April 1999, and implements and oversees the marketing and promotional initiatives for both LAWA and LA INC. in the European marketplace.

With experience that spans over twenty-five years, Francine has a broad knowledge of travel and tourism industries, including destination marketing, luxury tourism marketing, resort branding, aviation, sponsorship, corporate event planning and media relations.

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JULIAN STONE was born on the south coast of England and studied English at Southampton University and Rutgers University in New Jersey, readying himself for life as a journalist. Acting, however, reared its seductive head, and for the past twenty years he has enjoyed a successful and award-winning career as an actor on stage and screen. He has worked with such Oscar-nominated directors as William Friedkin and Scott Hicks, became a recognized face in daytime soap opera as part of the Emmy-winning cast of General Hospital, and is a member of BAFTA/LA and four professional acting unions: British Equity, SAG, AFTRA & AEA.

In addition to acting, Julian is an accomplished writer and producer. He edited and wrote features for Father Inc., a new magazine for the modern dad, is currently editorial director for the BAFTA/LA website, has written six screenplays and recently formed Tasty Films with his producing partner to develop a slate of intriguing projects. Locally, he is a School Board member for St. Euphrasia Elementary School and a Sports Rep for Notre Dame High School. Julian runs the Academy soccer team for BAFTA/LA and this will be his third year organizing the BritNight with the LA Galaxy celebrity soccer match.

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