Michelle K. Sugihara is the Executive Director of CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment), the pioneering non-profit professional organization creating systemic change in Hollywood from the writers’ room to the boardroom to the living room. She is a fourth generation Japanese American born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated with honors from Claremont McKenna College with a dual major in Economics and Psychology and a minor in Asian American Studies, followed by a law degree from UCLA. Prior to joining CAPE, she was an entertainment attorney, film producer, and adjunct professor for the Claremont Colleges’ Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies.
A prolific public speaker, Sugihara speaks across the country on Asian Representation in Media and other topics. She is also an associate member of Cold Tofu, the nation’s premier Asian American comedy improv and sketch group. She teaches “Improv for Lawyers” and has performed improv internationally.
Sugihara’s community involvement includes her roles as founding member of the Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theater, Director of Community Relations of the Japanese American National Museum’s New Leadership Advisory Council, former Co-Chair of the Multicultural Bar Alliance of Southern California, member of PBS-SoCal Asian Pacific Islander Community Council, former VP of OCA-Greater Los Angeles, past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County, past member of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles’s Executive Advisory Council, and past board member of the Japanese American Bar Association. Sugihara is a 2010 recipient of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Best Lawyers Under 40 award and a 2011 recipient of Los Angeles County Bar Association, Real Property Section’s Outstanding Young Lawyer award. She was named a “Rising Star” in Los Angeles Magazine’s Super Lawyer Rising Star section from 2008 to 2014.