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Webinar Series
FICPI // Focus-45

In this session Sharon Crane, FICPI Deputy Secretary General and co-Chair of DEIA, is in discussion with Winifred Neisser.

In recognition of Black History Month in North America, FICPI Focus-45 and FICPI’s DEIA committee are thrilled to be in conversation with Winifred Neisser, Executive Director of the Angel City Chorale (semi-finalists in America’s Got Talent!) and former TV executive.  

Winifred will recount the story of her mother, Winifred Parker, and her sister, Frieda, who as black enrolees at Purdue University in 1946-47, were denied on-campus housing.  The Parker sisters fought all the way to the Indiana governor for the right to live on campus in previously segregated dorms at Purdue.  

In June of 2021, the Purdue Board of Trustees renamed the Griffin Residence Halls as the Parker Residence Halls in their honour.  Hear the story of the Parker sister’s battle to de-segregate housing at Purdue through Winifred’s also very accomplished daughter.

Winifred Neisser

Winifred Neisser

Winifred Neisser is the daughter of Winifred Parker, who along with her sister Frieda, pioneered the end of segregated campus housing at Purdue University.  A few years ago, Purdue renamed their residence halls after the sisters.

Winifred serves as Executive Director of Angel City Chorale.  She joined the choir in 2006 after taking her kids to the Holiday concert when she could not stop thinking “that looks like so much fun.”

Born into a family that recognized that the arts were an essential part of a full life, she developed a love of music and theater as a child, but she was never sure what weight they would have in adulthood.  After obtaining an undergraduate degree from Harvard- Radcliffe College and graduate degrees in Education and later TV and Film, she pursued a career that drew on that early arts exposure, as a television executive.  Her 34-year journey in Hollywood began in Children’s Programming at NBC where she worked for 14 years in various executive programming positions and oversaw such projects as the Emmy winning series, Jim Henson’s Storyteller and over 20 films based on Danielle Steel novels.  She continued at Sony Pictures Television leaving in 2014 as Senior Vice President of Television Movies and Mini-series where her work included projects such as A RAISIN IN THE SUN starring P. Diddy, THE HATFIELDS AND McCOYS with Kevin Costner, and a franchise with Tom Selleck based on the Jesse Stone book series by Robert Parker 

After leaving Sony, Neisser accepted a 2015 fellowship at Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative, a third stage higher education program specifically designed to help business leaders transition to social impact work.  In 2016, She also completed the Cultural and Ethnic Arts Leadership Program at Rutgers Business School.  Returning to Los Angeles, she rejoined the Angel City Chorale, where she had been a singer and board member and then transitioned to serve in her current role. 

Winifred has served on the Creative Pathways Task Force through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and worked with the Inner-City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.   She currently serves on the board of the Arts advocacy organization, ARTS FOR LA, as well as the board of the Otis College of Art and Design and the Advisory Board of the Charles Drew Medical Center.  She has previously served on other non-profit boards including the Harvard University Board of Overseers, The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences Board of Governors, and Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles. 

In this chapter of her life, she is committed to the areas of community development, education, and the arts.  She has two adult children, 2 grandchildren, and lives with her husband, Ken in Los Angeles.

Sharon Crane

Sharon E. Crane, Ph.D., webinar host

Sharon is Deputy Secretary General of FICPI International, and co-chair of FICPI's DEIA and webinar committees. She is the past Chair of FICPI’s working group on Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals (CET5).

She is Counsel at Haynes and Boone, LLP in Washington DC, and is active in patent post-grant procedures, patent interferences, prosecution, opinions and litigation.