MEET THE TEAM
DAMIEN S. NAVARRO
In 2019, Damien S. Navarro was selected by the Board of Outfest to become its next Executive Director. As Executive Director Damien oversees all day-to-day leadership and oversight responsibility for Outfest staff and programs, including fundraising, finance and administration, staff supervision, and external relations. In partnership with the Board of Directors, has been specifically tapped to lead Outfest into its next 40 years, including the implementation of a strategic vision and direction for the organization, as informed by a recently completed five-year Strategic Plan that expands its footprint nationally, globally and digitally.
Damien is a native Angeleno and a graduate of film studies from California State University, Fullerton. He began his career as a start-up entrepreneur, building the LA-based digital marketing and tech agency, Earthbound Media Group (EMG) / Brighter. Following it’s in 2013, Damien co-created The Institute, a boutique marketing and fundraising consulting firm and joined the faculty of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. In 2017, he became President of VIMBY, a global content and brand entertainment studio previously co-owned by Mark Burnett and MGM.
His business and creative portfolio includes award-winning docs-series, as well as national and international advertising, events management, public relations, and fundraising campaigns for several Fortune 100 global brands, studios, nonprofits and publishers. He has sat on the boards of a number of Southern California trade and industry organizations, including the OC Ad Club and Think LA, and has been selected regularly as a public speaker and mentor for South by Southwest (SXSW), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
Damien is the proud owner of Monkey Business Farms, a sustainable urban farm in LA’s Laurel Canyon, where he lives with his husband Adam.
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, CORPORATE RELATIONS
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING
As Director of Festival Programming Mike is in charge of programming Outfest Los Angeles and ensuring the highest experience of filmmakers and audiences at all Outfest festivals. He has over a decade of experience in the finance, production and distribution aspects of the industry. Mike joins Outfest after five years as Acquisitions and Distribution Executive at Radiant Films International, and five years prior to that as a Creative Executive at Hyde Park Entertainment. Since 2014, he has been the Director of Programming for the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) and is an Associate Programmer for AFI FEST.
DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES
Ryan Giffen is a Human Resources, Organizational Development Consultant, and Assistant Professor of Hospitality Management. With over 20 years of experience in human resources, hospitality, and academic roles, Dr. Giffen’s career began in hospitality, leading operations and human resource departments for Fortune 500 companies, including Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and Marriott Hotels Worldwide, as well as serving as the head of human resources for over 700 employees at Market Broiler Restaurants. Dr. Giffen then found his passion for teaching and consulting, which led him to achieve a Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Hospitality Management with a research emphasis on human resources. This pursuit led him to the role of culture and human resource speaker, where he was asked to speak at organizations including the Orange County Hotel and Lodging Association, Collins College of Hospitality Management, the International Education Corporation, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and several others. Dr. Giffen instructs and conducts research at California State University-Long Beach, consults with organizations in both culture and human resource strategy, is the host of The Corporate Shadow podcast, serves as a redistricting commissioner for the City of Long Beach, Founder of Inospire, Inc, serves on the Board of Directors for the West Federation Internationtional Council of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management, and is an active PADI Divemaster. He and his husband, Giovanni, live in Long Beach, CA, with their two fur babies, Lucy and Benni.
SENIOR PROGRAMMING COORDINATOR
DIRECTOR OF ARTIST DEVELOPMENT
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS MANAGER
SPECIAL PROJECTS MANAGER
SENIOR MANAGER – PROGRAMMING
COMMUNITY OUTREACH COORDINATOR
KERRI STOUGHTON JACKSON
As Deputy Director, Kerri Stoughton-Jackson is responsible for managing all operational, accounts payable, festival and programming production elements and marketing. She also runs a vibrant and vital volunteer program of over 500 people. Kerri began her tenure at Outfest as a volunteer herself and has served in various positions—both volunteer and paid—until she was hired full-time as the first year-round Director of Operations for the organization in January 2005. Prior to her position at Outfest, Kerri was the Operations Director for a film-editing boutique and held a variety of production positions in film and television.
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Tarik brings nearly 20 years of fundraising knowledge and experience to this new role. For more than 9 years, Tarik has devoted his talents to developing resources and support for the health and wellness needs of LGBTQ+ and other underserved people with APLA Health (formerly AIDS Project Los Angeles) and Men’s Health Foundation.
In his role, Tarik will lead and grow fundraising initiatives, including events, annual fund/major gifts, membership, sponsorship, foundation relations, and planned giving. He joins the Outfest team as a hands-on leader, adept relationship-builder, and passionate advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and its visual arts and history.