At the age of 25, Mikki Willis founded his first business endeavor, The New York / Los Angeles Theater of the Arts. “NYLA” became home to many Southern California artists who were driven to push the envelope. As Theater Director, Willis wrote, produced and directed countless experimental productions. In 1996, Willis made his directorial debut with the independent feature film Shoe Shine Boys. He founded Elevate Films, Elevate Foundation and Elevate Film Festival, which challenge the international film community to create works of social and global importance. In 2008, Willis received the Conscious Life Humanitarian Award.