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Black Tie International:
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles 2017  Big Bash
Photos by: Vince Bucci
Sherry Lansing, honoree Cindy Holland and presenter actress Kate Mulgrew
BBBSLA Director of Development Jovan Bowles, BBBSLA Board Chair Laura Lizer and Adam Lambert
Gala Co-hosts Big Brother Travis Van Winkle holding Big Sister Kelly Sullivan (center) on stage with dancers
LAPD “Bigs in Blue” program participants - Big Sister Sgt. Letisia Ruiz, 2017 Big Brother of the Year detective Ryan Caplette, BBBSLA Board Member Ret. Capt. Evangelyn Nathan and Big Brother Sgt. Luq Watkins
Adam Lambert
Actors and Big Brothers Ryan Sands and Kenny Leu
Honoree Cindy Holland with her Little Sister Karen
Singer/songwriter RJ Word
Little Brother Lyrik and his Big Brother Travis Van Winkle
Little Brother Lyrik and his Big Brother Travis Van Winkle




Kate Mulgrew Presented; Adam Lambert Special Guest

LOS ANGELES, CA (October 23, 2017) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles (BBBSLA) honored Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content at Netflix with the 2017 Sherry Lansing Award at its annual Big Bash gala, October 20, 2017, at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills. Award recognizes an individual who provides an inspiring and positive role model to our city’s youth.  The gala raised $535,000 to support BBBSLA programs.

BBBSLA Board Chair and Big Sister Laura Lizer, along with her Little Sister Jenny, welcomed the more than 400 guests before turning the stage over to the evening’s hosts, BBBSLA Big Brother and star of TNT’s The Last Ship Travis Van Winkle and BBBSLA Big Sister and star of TLC’s Too Close to Home, Kelly Sullivan, performing a lively song and dance “riff” on the jam-packed evening to the tune of “All That Jazz.”  Greeted with thunderous applause, the duo was welcomed back on stage by their respective “Littles,” Lyrik and Diana.

In celebrating the work of BBBSLA, Kelly stressed the impact the organization’s programs had in the lives of underserved youth in Los Angeles.  “This year,” she noted, “100% of the girls in the group’s Women in Entertainment program were admitted to a four-year university; 96% of the “Littles” in all programs graduated high school and 94% of those high school graduates were college bound.”

Singer, song-writer, actor and currently front man for Queen, Adam Lambert made a surprise appearance, introducing an inspirational video pegged to the work of BBBSLA with firsthand testimonials from a host of “Bigs” and “Littles.”

On stage, Big Sister Tracey Underwood, a senior vice-president at ABC Signature Studios and her Little Sister, Amanda Cornish, a BBBSLA Posse Foundation scholar and currently a freshman at Pepperdine University, movingly detailed their own experiences and the life-changing impact that being a part of the organization has made in each of their lives.

Big Brother Kevin Asprer, his Little Brother Bryce and Bryce’s mother Jackie Ball, walked the audience through the dynamics and interaction between “Bigs,” “Littles” and parents.

Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant Luq Watkins and Officer Ryan Caplette, both Big Brothers, detailed the year-old “Bigs in Blue” program which connects youth and police in one-on-one mentoring, with the goal of building strong, lasting relationships between law enforcement and the families they serve.  “Los Angeles is a city where there is a tremendous need for community-based mentors,” said officer Watkins, “Many of the young people participating in our programs struggle with challenges in their homes, neighborhoods and in their schools.  Poverty, gang violence, living with a single parent or no parent at all are just a few of the difficulties they face.  We have the power to transform a child’s life for the better and help them reach their potential.”

BBBSLA Director of Development, Jovan Bowles introduced “Orange Is the New Black” co-star Kate Mulgrew who presented the 2017 Sherry Lansing Award to Netflix VP, Cindy Holland, calling her not only a “creative savant,” but “a fierce advocate for the LGBT community, GLAAD, the Motion Picture and Television Foundation and to the young girl seated next to her this afternoon to whom she is a mentor, a beacon and a Big Sister.  This is Cindy who rises above the rest, because she cannot and will not be less than she is.”

In accepting her award, Holland referred to her Little Sister, Karen.  “It is clear to me that Karen already has that essential fire within, the thing that cannot be bought, nor can it be taught.  The power of Big Brothers Big Sisters is that we get to help stoke that fire and encourage these young adults to dream as big as their imaginations will allow.  It reminds all of us to dream big too…for ourselves, for them and for bright futures togethers.”

The evening also featured both silent and live auctions along with an after-party showcasing DJ Derek.  Event sponsors included:  Mazda, Netflix, Wedgewood and Roy P. Disney, great-nephew of BBBSLA co-founder, Walt Disney.

About Cindy Holland

A 15-year Netflix veteran, Cindy Holland is responsible for acquiring and launching original series for the more than 104 million Netflix members worldwide. Under her purview, Holland and her team have launched award-winning and critically acclaimed projects that span drama, comedy, family/young adult, documentaries, stand-up specials and docu-series. Previously, Holland oversaw domestic television licensing for Netflix, after starting her career at the company in DVD acquisition.  She is a graduate of Stanford University. An avid cyclist, she has completed the 545-mile AIDS Lifecycle HIV/AIDS fundraising ride ten times to support the Los Angeles LGBT Center. She also supports GLAAD, the MPTF Foundation, Exploring the Arts and The Saban Community Clinic. For the past year, Holland has been a mentor in the BBBSLA Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program in partnership with The Hollywood Reporter to her Little Sister Karen.

"Like many women in our industry, I have long looked up to Sherry Lansing as both an industry pioneer and as a role model for advocacy,” said Holland.  “It is humbling to receive an award in her name, and it carries a responsibility I will try to honor in return.  It has been gratifying to be involved in BBBSLA and a real joy and privilege to be a mentor to Karen; both are relationships I hope to have for a lifetime."

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles

BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF GREATER LOS ANGELES provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Many of the youths in this program come from extremely challenging circumstances at home, at school or in their neighborhood, yet they have enormous potential. With the support of their mentors, these students are beating the odds in BIG ways – many of them being the first in their family to go to college. Founded by Walt Disney and Meredith Willson in 1955, BBBSLA is a leading non-profit in the Los Angeles community. To learn more, visit, follow on Twitter at, Facebook at and on Instagram at


Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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