This is the archived SXSW 2012 schedule. Please see the current schedule here.

Celebs & Causes: A Thin Line btwn #winning & #fail

#sxsw #causeceleb


Social media gives celebrities powerful new ways to mobilize millions to get involved in social causes – but it’s easy to get it wrong. On World AIDS Day 2010, Alicia Keys and a number of A-listers “digitally died,” calling on the public to resurrect them by donating $1M for HIV/AIDS initiatives. Was asking celebs to stop tweeting the best way to fight AIDS? Or was Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign a better approach, asking celebs and everyday people to use their social graph to address LGBT intolerance and bullying?

Experts from media, non-profits and an actual celebrity will explore these and other cases that illuminate the power and pitfalls of using celebs for social good. Through the session, you will hear their insights on when, why and how to effectively engage talent to advance social causes -- as well as rookie mistakes to avoid. Join us for a discussion that will help you effectively harness the power of celebrity in your next digital pro-social campaign.


Aria Finger COO

As Chief Operating Officer of, Aria Finger oversees the marketing, programmatic, and business development activities at, the national not-for-profit that empowers teenagers to take action around causes they are passionate about. With her cause-related marketing experience, Finger has managed initiatives with Staples, Aéropostale, Starbucks, Clean & Clear, HP, Sprint, and other top youth brands. She has spoken at numerous marketing conferences, including What Teens Wants, NextGen:Charity, Sustainable Brands, and the YPulse Mashup. During her tenure at, Aria spearheaded their Teens for Jeans campaign which now clothes one-third of homeless children in the US each year.

Aria earned a BA in economics and political science from Washington University in St. Louis, and completed the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She reads economic theory for fun, loves vanilla cupcakes, and thinks that "After Innocence" should be required movie-watching for anyone interested in social justice. She hopes to use her energy and enthusiasm to reach even more young people who want to change our world.

Aria currently serves on the board of the NYC-based not-for-profit Care for the Homeless, is a New Leaders Council NYC Fellow, and is an adjunct professor at New York University.

Diana Walker Dir of Partnerships United Nations Foundation

Diana Walker is the Director of Partnership Initiatives in the Office of Global Partnerships at the United Nations Foundation, In her role at the UN Foundation, Ms. Walker facilitates strategic public private partnerships for the UN Foundation that include partnerships with American Idol and the Hollywood community, The White House, U.S. State Department and other government agencies, and various other companies, NGO’s, and individuals. In addition, she directs the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council, a group of young high-level entrepreneurs who work with the UN Foundation to help solve global problems,
The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. As a public charity, the UN Foundation builds and implements public/private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and work to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach. UN Foundation initiatives work to reduce child mortality, empower women and girls, create a new energy future, and promote technology innovation to improve health.
Ms. Walker has worked at the UN Foundation for eight years in capacities within the Global Partnerships, Public Affairs, and Energy/Climate Departments. In 2007, Ms. Walker took a leave of absence from the UN Foundation to work on the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Race. She also managed logistics for the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee in Washington, D.C. and continues to support the White House on a volunteer basis providing advance and logistics work for President Obama and the First Lady.
Ms. Walker is from Boulder, Colorado and has a B.A. from the University of Colorado. She is a member of the BMW Foundation’s Young Leaders Forum and sits on the Board of Something Independent, a Colorado group focused on bridging entrepreneurship and economic development in Colorado with the outdoor industry.

Kenna Zemedkun Musician

Noopur Agarwal Sr Dir, PA MTV Networks

Noopur Agarwal is Senior Director of Public Affairs for MTV, the #1 youth brand, and MTV’s 24-hour college network, mtvU, which reaches over nine million students across 750 campuses nationwide. In this role, she oversees the strategy and execution of major “pro-social” campaigns to engage and activate America’s youth on the biggest issues impacting their generation. These initiatives include mtvU’s Emmy Award-winning Sudan campaign, the Peabody Award-winning mtvU mental health campaign, Half of Us; mtvU’s Emmy-nominated fiscal responsibility initiative, Indebted; MTV’s Webby Award-winning A Thin Line, which addresses the emerging issue of digital abuse; mtvU’s Against Our Will campaign on human trafficking and many more. Noopur has been recognized with the MTV Innovation Award, a company-wide honor granted to individuals who have demonstrated fresh thinking and a pioneering approach in their work.

Prior to joining MTV, Noopur spent time at Viacom working on Know HIV/AIDS, a public education campaign run in collaboration with CBS Corporation and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Before entering the media industry, Noopur was a consultant at Bain & Company, a global strategy consulting firm, where she helped advise senior management in a variety of industries including healthcare, financial services and consumer products.

Noopur received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA in Economics from Harvard College.

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