MEET THE TEAM
Damien S. Navarro | Executive Director
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.
Kerri Stoughton Jackson | Deputy Director
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.
Mike Dougherty | Director of Festival 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.
Magali Virula | Director of Digital Operations
Tarik Yetken | 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.
Sherly Santacruz | Programming Manager
Faridah Gbadamosi | Fusion Artistic Manager
Faridah Gbadamosi is a pop culture-obsessed lover of film working towards making the space more inclusive. In particular, her interests are in changing the space of tastemakers, rethinking the models for curation and exhibition.
She has worked in a variety of roles at different film festivals and other film organizations including the California Film Institute, Athena Film Festival, True/False Film Fest, Tribeca, SIFF, and many more. She is very excited to be joining the Outfest Fusion team as the Artistic Manager for this year’s festival.