After a thorough nationwide search, CAPE’s Board of Directors is excited to announce the appointment of Michelle K. Sugihara as its new Executive Director. CAPE is the leading non-profit organization dedicated to improving Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) images and representation through media and entertainment. In partnership with industry sponsors including Warner Brothers, NBCUniversal, The Walt Disney Company, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Final Draft and Verizon, CAPE’s signature programs include the CAPE New Writers Fellowship, #IAM Campaign, educational panels and networking mixers targeting emerging and established entertainment industry leaders and creative talent.
“We’re thrilled that Michelle has joined the CAPE team as an integral part of our organization,” said Wenda Fong, CAPE Co-Founder and Interim Executive Director. “Michelle’s non-profit experience, strong community ties and legal background make her well-positioned to lead CAPE and take us to the next level. Her ability to address issues both analytically and creatively will serve her well as Executive Director.”
As Executive Director, Sugihara will lead the organization and advance CAPE’s mission of championing diversity by educating, connecting and empowering AAPI artists and leaders in entertainment and media by focusing on fundraising, programming, strategic growth and operations.
“I’ve always been a huge supporter of CAPE and its mission,” said Sugihara. “I’m eager to build on CAPE’s strong foundation and to work with our community to support AAPI artists and leaders in entertainment.”
Sugihara, a fourth generation Japanese American, was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated with honors from Claremont McKenna College with a dual major in Economics and Psychology and a minor in Asian American Studies, followed by a law degree from UCLA. Prior to joining CAPE, she was an entertainment attorney, film producer and adjunct professor for the Claremont Colleges’ Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies. Sugihara’s community involvement includes her roles as VP of Development and founding member of the Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theater, Director of Community Relations of the Japanese American National Museum’s New Leadership Advisory Council, Co-Chair of the Multicultural Bar Alliance of Southern California, member of PBS-SoCal Asian Pacific Islander Community Council, board member of OCA-Greater Los Angeles, past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County, past member of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles’s Executive Advisory Council and past board member of the Japanese American Bar Association. She is also an ensemble member of Cold Tofu, the nation’s premiere Asian American comedy improv and sketch group. Sugihara is a 2010 recipient of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Best Lawyers Under 40 award and a 2011 recipient of Los Angeles County Bar Association, Real Property Section’s Outstanding Young Lawyer award. She was named a “Rising Star” in Los Angeles Magazine’s Super Lawyer Rising Star section from 2008 to 2014.
For more information, visit www.capeusa.org.
The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) was founded in 1991 and continues the mission of its Founders to champion diversity by educating, connecting and empowering AAPI artists and leaders in entertainment and media. CAPE is now the largest, most respected and influential non-profit for AAPIs in the entertainment and media industry. Today, our Board of Directors is comprised of 18 distinguished industry professionals and is supported by an Advisory Council consisting of Ang Lee, John Woo, Dean Devlin, David Henry Hwang and Fritz Friedman, among others.