ABC’s Stumptown: Private Viewing and Mixer

On January 8th, a crowd of entrepreneurs, writers, comedians, and more gathered in celebration of the official airing of ABC’s Stumptown’s season one, 10th episode — co-written by LEAD UP’s very own Derek Jennings.

In honor of Derek’s prime time television debut, LEAD UP, a podcast known for highlighting everyday people who achieve extraordinary things, partnered with Boss Academy, NYA Tea, and Mint to host a Private Party and Mixer. Featuring undeniable bursts of comedy, the episode “Reality Checks Don’t Bounce” was skillfully written and brought to life by heavy-hitters such as Michael Ealy, Cobie Smulders, and Jake Johnson with Mike Epps, TK Carter and Aaron Jennings as guest stars.

More than the opportunity to enjoy a well-executed show and network with amazing people, the event showcased a culmination in Derek’s professional career. Raised by two headstrong artists and having been immersed in the studio lots and theater houses throughout the Greater Los Angeles area, Derek developed an insatiable quest to engage and empower people through the art of storytelling (and rightly so… he’s great at it). Afforded various freelance opportunities to expand his skills, Jennings has worked alongside award-winning Creative, Media, and Technology teams for domestic and global enterprises such as IKEA, Google, PWC, Dick’s Sporting Goods, AT&T, HSN, Animal Planet, Netflix, ABC, TBS, TNT, Warner Bros, and more.

Through years of refinement and “the grind,” Derek can now add “Writer for Prime Time TV” to his tenacious professional resume as a true embodiment of hard work pays off. Guests in attendance couldn’t help but experience the joy in Derek’s accomplishments — particularly those who witnessed his journey firsthand.

Derek, waking up to you pondering the next big idea, watching you write notes on the back of the mail when a computer isn’t close enough, and finding outline note cards ALL OVER THE HOUSE in pursuance of your writing dreams is not only an inspiration, but a reason I fell in love with you. Congratulations on your primetime debut. I remain so proud of you.”

-Malia Jennings (Wife of Derek Jennings)

Located at M Barbering, owned by LEAD UP host Maurice Manely (located right off of West Pico and Hauser Blvd), the private viewing and mixer had all of the right ingredients for a good time. Managed by event partner, BOSS ACADEMY (,, the music selection mostly featured tracks performed by the talented JimiJame$ and provided the perfect vibes. Do yourself a favor and tune into her “Oceans and Waves” album out, currently available on all streaming platforms.

As event entertainment prospered, partner NYA TEA delighted our taste buds with their amazing tea flavors. Originally created by two brothers, Kai and David Oredugba in 2014, NYA TEA has grown into a team of beverage specialists seeking to deliver pure experiences through globally-sourced products. Stop whatever you’re doing and try their chai tea blend (Not now, but right now!).

As a whole, the private viewing and mixer was an amazing product of collaboration, celebration, and positive vibes. It is clear that Derek’s professional career as a writer and creative has only scratched the surface. After bursting through the doors as a writer for prime time, there is no sign of slowing down. The world waits in anticipation for the “Derek Jennings creations” to come.

Based on the “Stumptown” novel series, ABC’s “Stumptown” follows the complicated life of a Marine veteran turned private investigator in Portal, Oregon. If you’re interested, check it out on Wednesdays at 10/9c on the ABC network

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Sherron Pearson

Co-Founder & CTO of Mint

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