Kerry Washington’s fingerprints are all over Hollywood. The Emmy, SAG and Golden Globe-nominated actor, director and producer has touched myriad projects, from her role as Olivia Pope on “Scandal” (where she was the first African American woman since 1974 to headline a network drama) to her production of Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere” and Netflix’s “American Son” (she starred in both, as well). And let’s not forget her many director credits, including on “SMILF,” “Scandal,” and “Insecure.”
But Washington is much, much more than a Hollywood superstar.
She’s gotten deeper into the tech realm over the past few years, and not only by writing a check.
Washington participated in the $75 million investment in The Wing, a members’ only coworking space for women. She also invested in Community, the platform that gives stars and celebrities a more direct connection with their fans (you can “text” her using the number in her Twitter bio) and she invested in Byte, a D2C teeth-straightening platform (where she serves as creative ambassador).
Washington told TechCrunch in May that her portfolio is all about companies that she can be proud to be associated with.
“That pride comes from the quality of the product and how it improves the quality of people’s lives,” said Washington. “The idea of having a voice is really important.”
Whether it’s through creating space to come together, straightening a smile or giving people a more direct connection to their icons, her portfolio is exclusive when it comes to empowering people to use their voices.
Washington is also an activist.
She was honored with the NAACP’s President’s Award in 2013 and received the GLAAD Media Vanguard Award in 2015, as well as the ACLU Bill of Rights Award in 2016. In 2018, when the world went through a huge change in the form of #MeToo, Washington joined Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Reese Witherspoon and others as a leader of the Time’s Up movement within Hollywood.
She’s also the co-chair of Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote” campaign and the founder of Influence Change 2020, an initiative that partners with nonprofit organizations with the goal of increasing voter turnout.
It should go without saying, we’re absolutely thrilled to sit down for a conversation with Washington at Disrupt 2020.
We’ll ask her about her recent move toward tech investment and operations, and which sectors are most exciting to her as we head into the next couple years. We’ll also talk about the rapidly changing media landscape as platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Quibi, Disney+ and HBO take up more space in the ecosystem and networks look to evolve alongside the shift in user behavior.
As we head into a presidential election, in a year where the Black Lives Matter movement has risen to the forefront, we’ll also talk about her activism work and get her insights on where the tech world is falling short with regards to diversity, equity and inclusion and how it can do better.
There will be no shortage of topics to cover with Washington and we’re very excited about this conversation.
Disrupt 2020 runs from September 14-September 18 and will be virtual this year. Get your front row seat to see Kerry Washington speak with a Disrupt Digital Pro Pass or a Digital Startup Alley Exhibitor Package before prices increase in a few short weeks. Can’t wait to see you there!