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Nick Cannon Foundation Leadership

NICK CANNON, CHAIRMAN/CEO


For over 20 years, the multi-faceted Nick Cannon has entertained audiences on stage, television and film. As a comedian, TV executive producer and host, actor, writer, director, DJ, entrepreneur, philanthropist and children’s book author, Cannon continues to take the industry by storm. 


In television Cannon is the creator, producer, and host of the highly successful MTV show, Wild ‘N Out, which returns for its 16th season this Fall. In 2020, he completed a cross country tour with some Wild ‘N Out comics and improvisers and documented the experience for a show called Wild ‘N On Tour for MTV2. Cannon is also the host of ABC’s Masked Singer, the #1 rated show on television and will debut his new daytime talk show, the Nick Cannon Show, in the Fall on Fox. Cannon was also the youngest Hollywood Chairman of a television network at Nickelodeon.


Cannon began performing at the age of 8 after his grandfather left him several instruments as a gift. Eventually, Cannon headed for Hollywood at the age of 15 and landed gigs at world-renowned comedy venues including The Improv, The Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store. Cannon went on to share the stage with the likes of Chris Tucker, Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock before landing his first television gig as a series regular and writer on Nickelodeon’s long-running hit series All That, making him the youngest staff writer in television history. This path culminated in the creation of The Nick Cannon Show, which he starred in, directed and executive produced.


Cannon made his first appearance on the big screen alongside Will Smith in Men in Black II. Other film credits include Drumline, and Bobby. He recently wrote, directed and produced his first studio film School Dance, and produced the sequel to Drumline titled Drumline: A New Beat. He has also inked a multi-year first look production deal with NBC Universal to develop scripted and unscripted fare for the network, and is currently in production on the reboot of Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous.


Cannon has always made the time to use his resources and his voice as a philanthropist to give back to the community and those in need, working with nationally recognized organizations such as Feeding America, Boys and Girls Club, Do Something, Toys for Tots, Stomp Out Bullying, Lupus Foundation of America and The National Kidney Foundation. 


He is also an active member on the Board of Directors of New York’s St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital. 

RONNIE HIGHSMITH, PRESIDENT/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


Ronnie Highsmith is the founding partner of Highsmith Branding Group (HBG). He currently designs creative philanthropic branding programs and opportunities for Nick Cannon, the multi-faceted comedian, TV executive producer and host, actor/writer, and children’s book author. Some previous and current working and/or client relationships include Daymond John, Victor Cruz, Alex Highsmith (Steelers), Pat Sims (Bengals), Kyle Moore (Bears), Jason Wexler (President, Memphis Grizzlies), Willie Gregory and Howard White of NIKE, Will Packer, and Grammy Award Producer Christopher “Drumma Boy” Gholson, to name a few, and a myriad of public-school districts and community service organizations.

 

Mr. Highsmith’s career has spanned 20 years of work in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. His clients include charitable and educational organizations, professional athletes, entertainers, colleges, universities, hospitals, other health care providers, religious organizations, and business and professional associations. He is a passionate advocate for multi-sector problem-solving, innovation in entrepreneurship and career education in at-risk communities and public schools, transformation of U.S. Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, and the inclusion of minorities at all levels and in all sectors. Mr. Highsmith’s most notable career accomplishment was his creation/development and presentation to the 105th United States Congress which led to bipartisan congressional approval of his proposed $12.5M Endowed Contracts Chair of Excellence program for a consortium of Historically Black Colleges and Hispanic-Serving Institutions, including the University of Puerto Rico (Congressional Record, V. 144, Part 19, 1998). Mr. Highsmith has led a successful career of grants, contracts, and corporate sponsorship efforts of more than $2 billion.

 

Mr. Highsmith’s experience includes the establishment and qualification for tax exemption of nonprofit organizations, the establishment and operation of charitable fund-raising programs and sponsorships, business strategies on matters such as public charities/private foundation qualification, the involvement of nonprofits in partnerships and other joint ventures. He serves on numerous nonprofit boards and has received numerous other awards for philanthropic deeds and leadership. Mr. Highsmith is a graduate of Howard University, BS, ChE.


LAURA W. GORDON, CPA, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER


Laura W. Gordon, CPA founded Gordon & Associates, An Accountancy Corporation, in January 1992, which is currently located in Encino, California. Gordon & Associates is a business management firm representing elite entertainers, professional athletes, small business owners, executives, and high net worth individuals. Gordon & Associates has emerged as a premiere boutique firm with an internationally-renowned clientele. Clients include award-winning actors, comedians, recording artists, writers, directors, and producers. Clients have won multiple awards including Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, Grammys, Image Awards, Stellar Awards, and Video Music Awards.


Gordon & Associates also provides accounting, tax, and small business consulting services. The firm helps clients build wealth, protect assets, and secure their financial future. The firm’s comprehensive financial services include: wealth management, small business development, strategic budgeting, tax planning, and preparation.


Gordon & Associates’ mission is to provide business management and accounting services at the highest level of professionalism and integrity based on sound business practices and biblical principles.


Gordon began her career with a regional CPA firm specializing in governmental and nonprofit audits. She graduated from the King’s University Seminary with a Master of Divinity, and from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

NINA SHAW, LEGAL COUNSEL


Nina Shaw is a founding partner in the entertainment law firm of Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano. Her practice is in the television, motion picture, and live stage area. A native New Yorker, Nina was born and raised in Harlem and The Bronx, educated in the New York City public school system and is a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia Law School. Among her clients are successful and award- winning actors, writers, producers and directors as well as entrepreneurs and entertainment executives. She began her legal career in the Entertainment Department of the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers. 


Nina is a Variety Dealmaker Impact honoree and has been named repeatedly to The Hollywood Reporter’s “Women in Entertainment Power 100” list. She is a recipient of the WIF Crystal Award, and has been named Entertainment Lawyer of the Year by the Beverly Hills Bar Association. In 2016 Nina was profiled in the New York Times: “She’s the Hollywood Power Behind Those Seeking a Voice.” In 2019 Nina received Columbia Law School’s prestigious Medal for Excellence Award, the Athena Film Festival Athena Award and the NAACP LDF National Equal Justice Award. Most recently, she was featured in Harper’s Bazaar August 2020 issue among changemakers who are reshaping the way we think about art, identity and progress. 


Nina has a long-standing commitment to the education of children and in particular is an advocate for the education of girls and women. She is currently Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs. Additionally, Nina is among the founding organizers of Time’s Up.