New Empowerment Forum Part of Larger Youth Outreach by Tournament of Roses

Published : Friday, March 22, 2019 | 5:02 AM

Top Row: Jess Rosales, Daraiha Greene, Katelyn Ohashi, Dave Piendak, / Bottom Row: Ruben Dario Villa, Vivian Chan, Mirai Nagasu, Quinton Peron, Sarah Toutant

Google exec Daraiha Greene will keynote the just-announced premier Tournament of Roses’ Youth Empowerment Forum, which is part of a broader effort at outreach by the organization.

Officially dubbed “#ThisGen2019” it takes place May 11 at the Pasadena Convention Center.

The event’s stated purpose is “to bring together high school and college-aged students to learn and discuss topics related to career, networking, and personal development.”

Proceedings will be moderated by sports journalist Jess Rosales. Attendees will be treated to a cross-section of perspectives from young people (no one over 30) in the worlds of sports, entertainment, academia and business.

David Eads is executive director and chief executive officer of the Tournament of Roses. He said that, while the organization interacts with close to a thousand young women that try out for the Queen Court, and that it has high school ambassador and college intern programs, more could be done.

“We have a history of touching youth, but perhaps have never really focused on it as a priority,” Eads told Pasadena Now in a March 21 interview. “And as we thought about our future, our desire to attract a younger demographic, and our role in community stewardship, we decided it would be a good idea to bring youth together in a format that will really empower them to move forward in their futures, whether that’s to go to college or directly to a career.”

Two years ago the Tournament of Roses launched the Rose Bowl Bash downtown, and last year initiated a three-day food and wine festival called SIP and Savor and these, Eads suggested, are part of the same outreach to youth the upcoming forum is.

Among the panelists anticipated to attend are 2018 Olympic bronze medal figure skater Mirai Nagasu, UCLA Gymnast Katelyn Ohashi, Los Angeles Rams cheerleader Quinton Peron, and Vivan Chan, a Food Network culinary producer.

The card is rounded out by Dave Piendak, a comedy segment producer for The Late Late Show with James Corden, Sarah Toutant, a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California, and, finally, Ruben Dario Villa, a designer at Google and the founder of Fuchila Fresheners.

“They all have a story to tell,” said Eads, “and if you think about the parade, that’s what we do, we are telling stories. And so we tried to find speakers that have kind of blown through the barriers to be successful.”

The conference is designed to leave its attendees feeling, “courageous, confident, and intentional with choices that impact their future,” according to the Tournament of Roses.

The forum will include two panels, a breakout session with lunch, topped off with Greene’s speech.

Registration is open for the event, which is a half-day affair from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The price is $10 before April 15, and $15 thereafter.

The event is an inaugural one, said Eads, and the plan is to stage it annually. For more information, click here.