Redefine Age. Create Legacy. Become a Force.

Gail AbarbanelGail Abarbanel
Founder and Director of the
Rape Treatment Center
at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center
Gail Abarbanel is the founder and director of the nationally recognized Rape Treatment Center (RTC) at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.  The RTC has provided expert care for over 35,000 sexual assault victims - children and adults.  In 1988, Gail created Stuart House, an internationally recognized, model program serving children who are victims of sexual abuse.  In 1999, she established the Verna Harrah Clinic, an innovative facility that provides 24-hour, state-of-the-art medical care and forensic services for sexual assault victims. 
Gail has also improved the treatment of rape victims nationwide by educating police, prosecutors, judges, and medical personnel, publishing articles on rape treatment, and producing educational films.  She also initiated landmark legislation to remove discriminatory victim resistance requirements from California rape laws.  As a result, for the first time since 1872, rape victims are now treated under the same standards as other violent crime victims. 

Lula BartonDr. Lula Ballton
   CEO West Angeles Community Development

Lula Bailey Ballton is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of West Angeles Community Development Corporation (WACDC), a Ministry of West Angles Church, led by Bishop Charles E. Blake.  West Angeles CDC is dedicated to increasing social and economic justice, demonstrating compassion and alleviating poverty as tangible expressions of the Kingdom of God through the vehicle of community development.  Under Dr. Ballton’s leadership, WACDC received a Best Practices Award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for its signature affordable housing project, West A Homes; a Presidential Commendation for its dispute resolution programs; and state, county and city recognition for its social service, housing and economic development programs. 
Before founding the WACDC, Dr. Ballton spent 14 years as a professor and administrator at Delaware State University, the City Colleges of Chicago, Los Angeles and El Camino College and Loyola Marymount University.  In 1990, she earned a Juris Doctorate from UCLA School of Law and practiced at the California State Department of Justice and at Bryan, Cave, McPheeters and McRoberts.  Dr. Ballton continues to be active in the civil rights community and with Harvard Divinity School, Wells Fargo Community Advisory Board, Southern California Edison Advisory Board, National Congress of Community Economic Developers, Christian Community Development Association, and Churches United for Economic Development, Black Women Lawyers, School Search, Inc., and Habitat for Humanity.

Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire
President Berkhemer Clayton, Inc.
Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, for 14 years president of Berkhemer Clayton, Inc., senior-level retained executive search firm, handling national searches for corporate clients including USC, UCI, Cedars Sinai, Toyota, Kaiser Permanente, Countrywide, and more.  She previously owned a public relations firm for 20 years, which was acquired by Golin Harris, and handled national PR for Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream, Tournament of Roses, Mrs. Fields' Cookies and Southwest Airlines.  Always a champion for women business owners, Betsy is past president of NAWBO Los Angeles (2000-2001); past statewide president of NAWBO California, and current chair of the board for NAWBO-LA Enterprise Institute.  She also serves on the boards of LA Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Southern California; and the California Utilities Diversity Council. She and her husband, Cris Credaire, live in Little Tokyo, downtown LA. Betsy was honored for "Lifetime Achievement" by NAWBO in 2006, and just received the "Courage" award from the Girl Scouts of Los Angeles, Mt. Wilson Vista Council, at its 2007 gala.


The Hon. Yvonne Burke
   Supervisor, Second District, County of Los Angeles
   Former US Congresswoman
Yvonne B. Burke was re-elected unopposed to her third, four-year term as Los Angeles County Supervisor for the Second District, bringing to the Board more than 30 years of experience in public service at the federal, state and local government levels.
In the course of her long public service career, Supervisor Burke has amassed numerous "firsts" and innumerable awards and honors.  Among her career highlights include becoming the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress from California in 1972; the first to serve as chair of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors in 1993; vice chair of the 1972 Democratic National Convention; past chair of the L.A. Federal Reserve Bank, and serving as vice chairman of the 1984 U.S. Olympics Organizing Committee.
Time Magazine named Supervisor Burke one of "America's 200 Future Leaders", and she was selected as "Woman of the Year" by the Los Angeles Times and Alumni of the Year by UCLA in 1996.  Having run for office unopposed in 2000, she used her campaign funds to establish the Second District Education and Policy Foundation, which provided scholarships to deserving students in her Second District.
As a Board member representing over two million residents, Supervisor Burke’s focus has been on educating children, especially those who are in the County's Department of Children and Family Services system (DCFS). She was inspirational as a prime mover in bringing about the DCFS’s new “Family to Family” program, which promotes the placement of foster children in homes near their original neighborhoods. She also spearheaded the establishment of numerous child care centers that provide learning enrichment programs and nutritious meals.
As a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board of Directors, she continues to push for development of the Crenshaw Corridor and for a light and heavy rail system.  Currently, she is president of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), where her major regional concerns include the establishment of a multi-modal public transportation system for the Los Angeles area. 
Supervisor Burke's additional departmental assignments include the Department of Affirmative Action Compliance, Community Development Commission, Department of Human Resources, Museum of Natural History, Department of Parks and Recreation, the County Public Library and the Department of Public Social Services. 
Supervisor Burke is married to William A. Burke, a Los Angeles businessman, and has a daughter, Autumn and a step-daughter, Christine.

Rickie Byars-Beckwith
     Music and Arts Director of the Agape
     International Spiritual Center
Rickie Byars Beckwith can deliver a dynamic concert as easily as she can facilitate a workshop or a retreat. She has musically supported meditation retreats led by her husband, Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith for many years.This year Rickie co-facilitated her tenth women's retreat with esteemed author & spiritual leader, Mary Manin Morrisey and facilitated for the ninth year,  the Agape Soul Sisters Women's retreat. Drawing upon the wisdom of her own mother, Rickie created "Tell Mama All About It," an organic, original way for wise and elder women to counsel and inspire younger women. "Tell Mama," has become the cornerstone of the retreats, eagerly anticipated by women who journey from around the country. Often referred to as the First Lady of New Thought Music, Rickie serves as the Music and Arts Director of the Agape International Spiritual Center and the Director of the Agape International Choir. Her deep reverence for all of life radiates through her love of community. She loves to make friends and to create incredible music. Rickie's latest CD entitled, "Supreme Inspiration," will be released this fall.                         

Louise Cabral
    Author/Life Guide  
Louise Cabral is devoted to the arts, the people who produce it, and the people who appreciate it. She has discovered the power of the written word in the creation of her six novels. She is dedicated to helping students find self-realization through their own writing.
Her book, Islands of Recall, is a guide to those who want to know and understand themselves better. Her love for the arts has found expression in varied mediums. She is an accomplished pianist.
Her acting in little theater, and productions of stage plays and musicals, has thrilled local audiences. Her one-woman show, “Millay and Me”, is her contribution to solo performance art.

Frieda Caplan
   Founder & Chairman of the Board, Frieda's Inc.
Frieda Caplan, a native of Los Angeles and a UCLA graduate, is recognized as one of the nation’s most successful female entrepreneurs.  In 1962, as the owner of a tiny new produce company, she needed an entrance sign in a hurry.  The painter had only one color of paint -- purple, and Frieda’s marketing sense was soon to be tested.  True to nature, she embraced the challenge and used the distinctive purple to identify FRIEDA’S FINEST/PRODUCE SPECIALTIES, INC. as the source for specialty produce across the country.
Purple has since become the company’s signature color, instantly recognized along with its familiar heart-shaped logo.  The company’s name was later simplified in 1990 to FRIEDA’S, INC.  In 2006, Frieda’s celebrated 44 fruitful years in business as the first woman-owned and operated wholesale produce company in the U.S.. . .some say. . .in the world.  (Frieda’s daughters Karen and Jackie bought the company from Frieda in 1990).
Frieda began her produce career in 1956 as a bookkeeper in a produce business managed by her husband’s aunt and uncle.  She soon worked her way “downstairs” and tried her hand at pushing California brown mushrooms -- a specialty item at that time.  She was an instant success!  Inspired by the excitement of selling, Frieda opened her own company in 1962 with mushrooms as the premier item.
Frieda’s marketing abilities became recognized worldwide with her success in introducing. naming and promoting the Kiwifruit.  She was soon known as the “Queen of Kiwifruit.”  It began  when a retailer asked Frieda if she knew of Chinese Gooseberries.  Her interest was piqued, and she promised to investigate.  Two months later she discovered the fruit in New Zealand, and at the suggestion of a customs agent, renamed it after the country’s famous fuzzy bird, the Kiwi.  By the early ‘70s, New Zealand Kiwifruit was catching on, and Frieda soon convinced California growers to plant the fruit and a new global economy was born.  Soon California had more than 700 Kiwifruit growers.
In the late ‘70s, Frieda was credited with being “the biggest influence in the produce industry over the last 25 years” by Marvin Cross, then Vice President of The National Tea Company of Chicago.
Today the company has more than 600 unusual produce and companion items..  Frieda’s strong marketing savvy led to the introduction and selling of a line of complementary items such as Tofu, French-style Ready-To-Use Crepes, and Egg Roll Wrappers in produce departments.  An ability to create consumer demand for unusual items has helped Frieda make success stories out of items like Kiwifruit, Spaghetti Squash, Alfalfa Sprouts, Jicama, Shallots, Sugar Snap Peas™, Hot House Cucumbers, Donut® Peaches, Habanero Chiles and even the Kiwano® (horned melons)!
As a leader in the produce industry, Frieda has received numerous honors for her achievements. She was elected vice president of the national Produce Marketing Association in 1972.  In 1979 she became the first woman named Produce Marketer of the Year by The Packer, the major produce trade publication.  Frieda also received the UCLA Professional Achievement Award.
In 1986 she received the first Harriet Alger Award from Working Woman magazine for being a remarkable entrepreneurial role model for women.  She was selected as an outstanding California Woman in Business in 1987 by California’s former Governor Deukmejian.  The January 1, 1990 edition of The Los Angeles Times named Frieda one of 12 Southern California business personalities who shaped the course of American business in the 1980s (also included were Michael Eisner and Jane Fonda).
In 1986, Frieda, who daily works side-by-side with her two daughters, elected to become Chairman of the Board.  To strengthen her family-owned business, Frieda’s eldest daughter, Karen Caplan, who joined Frieda’s in 1977, was promoted to President and CEO of FRIEDA’S, INC.  Frieda’s younger daughter, Jackie Caplan Wiggins, who joined FRIEDA’S in 1983, is Vice President.
When she is not at her desk talking with growers worldwide about what’s hot and what’s new in produce, Frieda has been  involved as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Westerly School in Long Beach, which her four grandchildren attended. 
In 1982, along with Christie Hefner, Frieda was a founding member of the Committee of 200, the preeminent professional organization for female entrepreneurs worldwide.
She and her late husband Al were founding members of Temple Beth David of Orange County.  She is also an active member of the Trusteeship (the Los Angeles Chapter of the International Women’s Forum), the University of California Riverside Agriculture Advisory Board and is on the Board of Directors of the Women Against Gun Violence.  Frieda recently concluded serving for six years as member of the  Presidential Advisory Commission for Agriculture and Natural Resources  to the President of the University of California.
Along with her daughters, Frieda is an active member of NAWBO-LA (National Association of Women Business Owners-Los Angeles).
Frieda has traveled often on behalf of the company, including a trip to Israel where she addressed an International Conference on New Crops sponsored by the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.  In  October, 1995, she was the keynote speaker at the Third International Symposium on New Crops sponsored by Purdue University.  A much sought-after speaker, she also addresses industry events and continues to be profiled in many major publications.
In October, 1996, Frieda, her late husband Al and daughters Karen and Jackie were recipients of The Buddy Award (Bringing Up Daughters Differently) by the NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund.
In March 1997, Frieda was honored by her peers, receiving the Pioneer Agriculturist Award from the University of California’s Small Farm Center.  The award recognizes people who have shown uncommon vision, leadership and innovation that has influenced in a broadly significant way, the practice of agriculture and the operation of the food system.
In 1999, Frieda was honored with the “Women in Produce Award of Excellence” , in recognition for the many contributions and overall dedication to the produce industry.  She also received the Lifetime Achievement Award on April 20th from the very prestigious International Association of Culinary Professionals, awarded annually on a worldwide basis. . .(truly funny, as Frieda can’t cook.) 
And on May 21st of 2003, Frieda received the first Southern California Produce Achievement Award given to her by the Fresh Produce & Floral Council for her outstanding contributions to the Produce Industry.
In September of 2005, Frieda was “stunned” to receive the CEO/BUSINESS OWNER OF THE YEAR AWARD from the  LOS ANGELES BUSINESS JOURNAL. . .as FRIEDA’S is  Orange County-based  and is no longer CEO of FRIEDA’S.
A veteran of network radio and television, Frieda has appeared on many programs including The David Letterman Show, was the original Greengrocer on ABC-TV and continues to appear on food-related shows.
Organizations that Frieda is CURRENTLY ACTIVE IN:


Karen Caplan
   President and CEO Frieda's Inc.
Products like Cherimoyas, Fingerling Potatoes and Jicama may be unfamiliar to the average person, but Karen Caplan grew up eating and selling them.  As the first-born daughter of entrepreneur Frieda Caplan, founder of Frieda’s Inc., Karen began working with produce at the age of 10. 
In 1986, at age 30, Karen was promoted to President and CEO of the company.  Caplan’s vision and leadership propelled Frieda’s, Inc. to the forefront of the produce industry as the nation’s leading marketer and distributor of specialty produce.
Karen was elected by her industry peers to serve as 2003 Chairman of the Board of United Fresh Produce Association, the industry’s national trade organization representing growers, packers, processors, marketers and distributors of all varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables, working together with retail and foodservice customers and their supply partners.  She was the first female chairperson in the association’s 100-year history. Previously, she was President of the LA–based Fresh Produce and Floral Council in 1990. Karen was president of NAWBO-LA  from 1994-1996 and was named NAWBO-LA Women business owner of  the year in 1994.
She has served on the Boards of many industry organizations, most recently finishing her term as a Director of the Federal Reserve Bank Board of San Francisco, Los Angeles branch.  Karen just concluded a 4 year appointment to the USDA Secretary of Agriculture’s Fruit & Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, the last 2 years serving as Chairman.
She is the author of The Purple Kiwi Cookbook,, a collection of delicious recipes featuring some of the world’s most exotic produce.
Karen earned her BS degree in Agricultural Economics and Business Management from the University of California at Davis. Caplan, a native of California, lives in Seal Beach, California with her two daughters, Alexandra (18) and Sophia (13), and her husband, Garry Plotkin.


Dominique Cavelier
Real Estate Agent, ReMax Realty
Dominique Cavelier is a native of Brussels, Belgium. She has lived in the San Fernando Valley since 1974. The early years were spent raising 3 children, volunteering in her childrens’ schools, implementing the Head Start program in Sherman Oaks Elementary.

In her real estate business life every action and decision made on her clients’ behalf is in their best interest and reflects a high level of integrity.

This dedication also extends to the community as she belongs to numerous community organizations such as Kiwanis, where she is the liaison and counselor with El Camino High School Key Club.

Dominique served on the Board of the Business Alliance of Los Angeles for many years, three of those years as President. The increasing membership and overall dedication resulted in the name change to:’ Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’.

In addition she recently won an award titled, "Volunteer Angel of the Year" for excellent service and commitment to "Project Angel Food" delivering hot meals for over 15 years.

Dominique and her life partner Maria Shelley have been foster parents for over 5 years with Pride Foster Agency. Their home is a safe,loving haven for unwanted abused children of all ages.

Hon. Laura Chick
   Los Angeles City Controller
Controller Laura Chick is the first and only woman ever elected to citywide office in Los Angeles. As Controller she has fought tirelessly to bring transparency and accountability to City Hall. She was named one of the most influential people by Los Angeles Magazine in 2006. Laura also served eight years on the Los Angeles City Council, representing the West San Fernando Valley.


Julia Dean
  Owner, Julia Dean Photo Workshops. Photo Journalist
Julia Dean spent two decades as an international freelance photojournalist, concentrating on social issues, until opening a studio and school in Venice, California. Dean studied photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York and received a Master of Arts degree in Journalism at The University of Nebraska. Her photographic career began with an apprenticeship with Berenice Abbott, one of the first and most prominent female photographers in the 20th century. Subsequently, Dean worked for the Associated Press at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics and in in New York with the Associated Press. Dean traveled to more than 20 countries while freelancing as a photographer and writer for numerous relief groups and publications. For the past 20 years, Dean has taught photography at such schools as The Maine Photographic Workshops; The University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Metro Community College in Omaha, Neb.; Oxford University, England; Los Angeles Valley College; Los Angeles Southwest College; and Santa Monica College. She now runs her own photography school in Venice called The Julia Dean Photo Workshops.
Dean's work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic Society, Parade, The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic Monthly, Fortune, Photo District News, Camera & Darkroom, and many others. Dean's first children's book for Houghton Mifflin Co., A Year on Monhegan Island, was published in 1995. In 1996, the book was awarded the "Lupine Award," given annually by the Maine Library Association.
Dean is the director of JD&A (Julia Dean & Associates), a group of photographers selected to work together on issues of cultural, humanitarian and social concern. JD&A's current project, which involves 11 photojournalists is Child Labor and the Global Village: Photography for Social Change.
This team of journalists will photograph the lifeworlds of 11 child workers around the globe. The photographs and accompanying essays will be displayed in a traveling exhibit, a web site (, a school curriculum, and a book.


Suzanne Drace
President, The Wellness Community Valley/Ventura
Suzanne received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and her MBA in finance from American University in Washington DC. In her early career, she served as a Major in the US Army and was stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Upon leaving the Army, she joined Marriott Corporation and worked in corporate finance and health care sales.
Suzanne has served both as a volunteer and staff member for Ventura County nonprofit organizations for over 14 years. She served on the Board of Directors of several local charities including El Concilio del Condado de Ventura, the Channel Islands Ballet and the Oxnard Elementary School District Foundation and as Interim Executive Director for the Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme Boys and Girls Club and the United Way of Ventura County.
She joined the The Wellness Community Valley/Ventura in September 2002 as the Interim President and became President in 2003. The Wellness Community Valley/Ventura (TWC VV) is a nonprofit organization that helps people with cancer and their families enhance their health and well being by providing professional programs of emotional support, education and hope. Through participation in professionally led support groups, educational workshops and mind/body programs utilizing the Patient Active© concept, people affected by cancer learn coping skills that enable them to regain control, reduce isolation and restore hope regardless of the stage of disease. All programs are free of charge. The organization's service area includes the Counties of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obsipo.
As President of TWCVV, Suzanne is responsible for overseeing all aspects of fundraising, operations, and program. In addition to her responsibilities at The Wellness Community Suzanne is a member of the Thousand Oaks Rotary, the Ventura County Chapter of National Charity League, and the Ventura County Planned Giving Council.


Loraine Depres Eastlake
   Best-Selling Author
Loraine Despres is a recovering screenwriter and best-selling novelist. 
Her first novel The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc was a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club featured selection and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick.  It became a national best-seller and is now in its 21st printing.  Its companion The Southern Belle’s Handbook, Sissy Leblanc’s Rules to Live By was published a year later. 
Her next novel, The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell, about intolerance and love, is now in paperback.  She is currently working on a new novel which focuses on an older woman younger man love story.  Loraine wrote television for many years, including shows for THE HIGHLANDER, THE EQUALIZER, CRIME STORY, DYNASTY, and THE WALTONS, but she is best remembered for writing the “Who Shot J.R.?” episode of DALLAS. 
Loraine is currently on the Board of Directors of PEN USA.  She served on the Board of Women In Film and was a longtime Trustee of the Women In Film Foundation.  She also served on the board of El Nido Family Services and was a founding member of Fair Housing for Children.  She taught screenwriting for seven years at UCLA’s Professional Screenwriting Program and as an International Screenwriting Consultant has lead workshops in Germany, Sweden, and Spain. 
Loraine lives with her husband, writer-producer Carleton Eastlake, in Beverly Hills where she continues to enjoy Bad Behavior.  She can be reached through her website


Mary Flaherty
    Professional Volunteer





Volunteer Boards


Saint John’s Hospital and Health Center 

1989-1991 ex-officio

    ~Women’s Health Initiative Committee Chair  

1994-1995 ex-officio 

    ~Public Relations Committee                          


    ~New Century Circle     


Marymount High School of Los Angeles  


    ~Board Chair (2005-2007)


    ~Head Search Committee Chair (2007-present)


    ~Development/Capital Campaign Chair (2001-2005)


    ~Compensation Committee, Nominating Chair, Strategic Planning 


Las Madrinas of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles                     


   ~Board Member (2004-2006)
Event Chair, Development Chair


   ~Long Range Planning Committee 


Irene Dunne Guild of Saint John’s Hospital and Health Center    


   ~Charter Member/Current Member 


    ~Board President (1989-91, 1994-95)


   ~Event Chair, Long-Range Planning Chair, Nominating Membership Chair, Parliamentarian 


 Westside Guild of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles                 

1990-present (Associate) 

   ~Board President (1993) 


   ~Board Member (1991-1994) 


   ~Event Chair (1991), Nominating, Membership


 Marymount High School Mother’s Club 


    ~Board Member (2001, 2006-2007)


    ~Hospitality, Community Service Liason 


Thanking Father Ted Foundation  


   ~Scholarship Development for University of Notre Dame 


   ~Funding for Women’s Services/Programs 


St. Matthew’s Parish School                                                             


   ~Board President, Vestry Member


    ~Executive Committee


    ~Compensation Co-Chair, Retreat Chair, Strategic Planning Chair, Financial Aid Committee


St. Matthew’ Parish School Parent’s Council Board                    


   ~Event Chair, Nominating Chair, Vice-President 


    ~Room Parent Chair/Treasurer/Graduation Event- Coordinator

1998, 2000, 2006 

Loyola High School of Los Angeles  Mother’s Guild                     


   ~ Mother’s Guild Board Member- Spring Luncheon Benefit Co-Chair 


    ~Long-Range Planning Committee 
Subcommittee of Board of


Juniors of Social Service Auxiliary   


    ~Board Member 


Junior League of Los Angeles    


     ~Board Member 


Professional Experience 


Hunt-Wesson Foods/Norton Simon, Inc.                                         


 Fullerton, California


Product Research Manager managing priority market launches of Hunt’s tomato product brands. Acquisition, interpretation and reporting of brand information.

Market studies and annual research planning and budgeting. 


The Gillette Company/Paper Mate Division      


 Boston, Massachusetts


Marketing Research Analyst responsible for acquisition of Product
Management information for Paper Mate new products. Management of trial and awareness studies for product use, packaging, design, and new product development.




University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana                       


          B.S. Marketing/Business Administration
          Industrial Design Concentration


Volunteer Activities 


OPCC Event Fundraising Event Co-Chair   


St. Ignatius Guild of Loyola High School of Los Angeles                


“Take-A-Hike” UCLA Breast Cancer Event Captain                       


Breast Cancer Mentoring 

1989- present 

Centennial Committee of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles       


Admissions Committee for the Bel-Air Bay Club                            


Westside Cotillion Chairman/Patroness   


 Boy Scouts of Los Angeles                          


Girl Scouts of Los Angeles         


Religious Education Instructor, St. Monica’s Parish                       


Dr. Evelyn Freeman
   Ph.D, Psychologist
Evelyn Freeman has made tremendous contributions to the Senior Health and Peer Counseling Center / Center for  Healthy Aging as Director of Peer Counseling from 1980 through 2005.  During her 25 years at the center, in workshops, classes, public presentations, and specialized trainings she shared her knowledge and approach to providing emotional support to seniors.  Her insights, therapeutic style, and creative and dynamic training ability inspired thousands of volunteers, students, and staff.
Evelyn's development of the Senior Peer Counseling Program attracted the attention of both local and national media and was featured on programs such as 60 Minutes, The Phil Donahue Show, and several cable programs, most notably an entertaining discussion with At Linkletter in Sex After 60.
The senior peer counseling training manual and videos that she created, in collaborations with Marlena Ross, Ph.D. serve as the model for hundred of peer counseling programs internationally and nationally (56 in California alone) and, in 1990, were selected for a Best Educational Materials Award by the Department of Mental Health, State of California.  In 2004 the peer counseling program received the MindAlert award from the American Society on Aging, recognizing that the principles of senior peer counseling training can be used in a variety of applications and can provide opportunities for continued growth fro counselors and clients.
Over the years, Evelyn has been the recipient of many awards, including the Maurice R. and Lois Schwartz Humanitarian Award (1987), YWCA Woman of the Year (1989), "Women For" Woman of the Year Award (1989), and a Distinguished Service Award from Antioch University (1999). She was elected as the first President of The American Association of Peer Counseling, established in 1999.
Although retired from her position as Director of Peer Counseling, Evelyn continues at the Center for Healthy Aging as the trainer and supervisor for a breast cancer research project in collaboration with the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center.

Susan Gersh
  Chair, Fine Arts Commission of Bevery Hills







Northwestern University 
BA in History and Art History, certified in Illinois to
teach high school




Susan Gersh Gallery, Los Angeles,
Director and Owner

Gallery focused on modern and contemporary art


Ruth S. Schaffner Gallery, Los Angeles 


Curated exhibitions, worked with artists, collectors, museum and gallery professionals both nationally and internationally. Served as Director of the Gallery from 1976-1977




Skin + Bones Fete Committee 


Robert Rauschenberg: Combines Gala Committee 


Member Board of Trustees


Acquisition and Collection Committee 


Member at Large for the Projects Council 


Co-Chair of the Auction Gala 


Projects Council member 


Charter Founder 




MCAC Acquisition Committee 


Art of the Palate committee member 


Co-Chair Fundraiser Vincent and Theo 


Chair of Membership MCAC


Founder II 


Board Member MCAC 


Member of the Modern and Contemporary Art Council (MCAC) 




Co-Chair of the Community Advisory Board for the Medical Genetics Institute 


Board of Governors 


Steering Committee for the Women’s Luncheon to benefit the Sports Spectacular 




Nasher Art Museum Development Committee 




Board of Advisors, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art 


Women’s Board 


Founding Member of the Council of One Hundred 




Chair of the Fine Art Commission 


Fine Art Commissioner 




The Blue Ribbon


Friends of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Hollywood Bowl 






Council Member 


Billie C. Greer
Director, Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
In March, 2004 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Billie Greer as Director of the Los Angeles office.
In announcing the appointment, the Governor said, "Billie's years of experience working with a variety of community, business and government leaders in the Los Angeles area are a tremendous asset to my administration.  She will help me work with the people of Southern California and to understand the unique issues affecting the region."
Billie most recently served as president and founding principal of Greer/Dailey/Minter, a Los Angeles based firm specializing in public affairs and issues, management, primarily focused on land use and environmental issues.

Iris Grossman
   Talent Agent, ICM
Beginning her career as an assistant at International Creative Management (ICM), Iris Grossman quickly climbed the ranks and was upped to talent agent.  After several years with the agency, Grossman was given the opportunity to become the Senior Vice President of Talent and Casting for Turner Network Television (TNT).  In that capacity, Grossman oversaw all talent and casting issues related to TNT Original films and series.  She spent nine years at TNT, and in October 2001, Grossman returned to ICM as a talent agent. 
 Grossman was instrumental in bringing TNT such top-name stars such as Diane Keaton (Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight); Robert Duvall (The Man Who Captured Eichmann); Gary Sinise and Angelina Jolie (George Wallace) Tommy Lee Jones (The Good Old Boys).  She also cast Alec Baldwin (Nuremberg); Julianna Margulies, Angelica Huston and Joan Allen (The Mists of Avalon); and Chazz Palminteri (Boss of Bosses); William H. Macy (Door to Door); and John Turturro (Monday Night Mayhem).
 For George Wallace, she won a Casting Society of America award and was nominated for an Emmy.  She was also nominated for a Casting Society of America award for The Man Who Captured Eichmann and Nuremberg.
Grossman served two terms as the President of Women In Film and continues to chair the Crystal + Lucy Awards committee.  Grossman also served on the board of the Casting Society of America.  She has also been honored The Big Sisters of America Award, The California National Organization of Women Award, and the Hadassah Woman of Distinction Award.

Gayla Kraetsch Hartsough, Ph.D
     President, KH Consulting Group (KH)
Gayla Kraetsch Hartsough, Ph.D., is President of KH CONSULTING GROUP (KH), a general management
consulting firm. Since 1986, KH has completed management studies for 200+ clients in 5 continents and foreign countries — Australia, Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore — and 24 states in the United States. KH's clients represent:

-- Federal, state, and local government
-- Transportation (ports, airports, and airports)
-- Health care
-- Education (colleges, universities, and school systems)
-- Nonprofit organizations
-- Utilities
-- Financial services

Gayla Kraetsch Hartsough’s Specialties:

Strategic planning
Organizational design and restructuring
Human resources
Business process reengineering
Performance measurements and balanced scorecards



Helen Hernandez,
  President and Founder of The Imagen Foundation
  and Executive Producer of the Imagen Awards. 
Ms. Hernandez is a principal of La Conexión Group. LLC (formerly The Legacy Group, LLC) which specializes in diversity and marketing to under served communities.
Helen is also the President and Founder of The Imagen Foundation and Executive Producer of the Imagen Awards. Over the years, the Imagen Foundation has honored the elite of Hispanics before Under her leadership this year’s Awards ceremony was held in the center of Los Angeles arts and culture, the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Imagen Awards have become one of the most prestigious awards in the entertainment industry and exemplifies the best of what Hollywood can produce in portraying the image of Latinos and Latino culture.
Prior to establishing the Imagen Foundation, Ms. Hernandez was the Vice President of Public Affairs for Embassy Communications (presently Sony Pictures Entertainment). Acting as this major television production company’s local and national liaison, she was most instrumental in developing and supervising various corporate programs that enhanced the company’s reputation in the national community for socially and culturally sensitive programming
Ms. Hernandez is a recognized guest speaker as indicated by invitations to lecture from prominent universities such as Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois; Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and University of Texas at Austin.
In 2004, Helen was presented a Congressional commendation which was read and approved in the Congressional Record for her work in the industry by Congresswoman Hilda Solis. The National Association of Latino Independent Producers honored her in 2006 with a Lifetime Achievement Award and most recently was profiled by the Hollywood Reporter as on of the top 25 Hispanic Women in Entertainment.
Helen is currently a member of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Women in Film, Chair of the Board of Directors, National Association for the Hispanic Elderly. She is also on the Board of Directors of WorkPlace Hollywood.

Lee Jackman
      Community Volunteer, former not-for-profit executive,
      songwriter, and author
Committed to the work of the American Cancer Society and Rotary International, she serves on the California Division Board of Directors, American Cancer Society, and Chairs the Host Events Division, Rotary International Host Organization Committee, assisting with the 2008 Rotary International Convention in Los Angeles.
A certified fund raising professional, she served as Vice President of the Doheny Eye Institute in Los Angeles, California, and Pitzer College in Claremont, California, helping these institutions to generate more than $100 million. She served as President, National Society of Fund Raising Executives (now AFP); Chair of the Board, American Cancer Society, California Division; President, Rotary Club of Los Angeles; and as a political consultant in Claremont.  
A songwriter and lyricist she has written more than thirty songs and produced two CDs.  She is currently writing her first book, a novel.
The Guiding Principles of her Life

  • Treat everyone with kindness and respect.
  • Complete each task before its deadline.
  • Be a unique creation, not a copy of another.
  • Don’t use time as an excuse; God’s provided an infinite supply.
  • Appreciate, recognize and reward creativity.
  • Create lasting memories for others through words and music.

 Judith James
  Producer, Dryfuss/James Production
Judith James is a film, stage and television producer who is in a film partnership with Richard Dreyfuss at Dreyfuss/James Productions.
Originally a New York theatrical producer of 11 award winning plays,  her first television production was the Emmy winning "IN HER OWN WORDS" for KCET and American Playhouse and the Mark Taper Forum.
Her film credits include an executive producer of QUIZ SHOW, a producer of MR. HOLLAND’S OPUS, producer of TRIGGER HAPPY starring Dreyfuss, Jeff Goldblum, Gabriel Byrne and Ellen Barkin, and movies for HBO, TNT, ABC and CBS.  In addition she has served as consulting producer on many of Mr. Dreyfuss’ films.
In a theatrical partnership with Camille Cosby, Judith also produced the Broadway play of HAVING OUR SAY; The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years by Emily Mann, subsequent tours and the movie version, directed by Lynne Littman, for CBS, starring Ruby Dee and Diahann Carroll.  HAVING OUR SAY received the coveted Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism.
In January 2006, she wrapped principal photography on the thriller, THE FOREST, which she produced in India in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is by writer/director Ashvin Kumar, an Academy Award nominee for a short film last year.
She is presently developing a Broadway musical on Pearl Bailey RAW PEARL with Bill and Camille Cosby and, with Viva Productions,  readying the independent film, DAYS OF FEAR to star Woody Harrelson to shoot in South Africa;  SWEATING BULLETS by Larry Bishop in Louisiana; and DANNY, Stories I Know by Heart by Erin Condron in Ireland.
In January 2005, Ms. James was instrumental in securing and constructing for WOMEN IN FILM an alliance with General Motors under which GM has supported a myriad of WIF programs and events for 3 years ending 2007.
She is the editor-in-chief of TRACTION, the Women In Film Alliance, online magazine.

Deputy Vice President, Office of External Affairs,
and Director of Community Relations for the RAND Corporation
Iao Katagiri is Deputy Vice President, Office of External Affairs, and Director of Community Relations for the RAND Corporation. She manages RAND's relationships with businesses, social service and charitable organizations, government agencies, and individuals located in RAND's headquarters community, Santa Monica, California. She makes RAND's research more accessible to the local community through seminars, workshops and speaking opportunities. She frequently speaks to external audiences to introduce them to RAND.  She has been involved in all aspects of RAND's new headquarters since 1989, managing the entitlements process with local governmental agencies and the communications program throughout the life of the project. She was a senior member of the management team that coordinated the activities of architects, contractors, and RAND staff during the design and construction periods.  She is the principal spokesperson about the headquarters facility, hosting numerous groups who wish to learn about RAND, the award-winning building, and the contemporary art collection on long-term loan from software developer and art collector Peter Norton. 
Iao is a leader in the local community, serving on the boards of directors of many social service and community organizations, including Saint John's Health Center, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, the Westside Food Bank, the Center for Healthy Aging, American Red Cross of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica College Associates, the Santa Monica Human Relations Council, the Rotary Club, the Santa Monica Police Activities League.  She is vice chair of the Santa Monica Historical Society Museum and chairs the committee overseeing the construction of the museum's permanent home.  She also serves on several task forces for the City of Santa Monica dealing with early childhood and education, public safety, workforce housing, and land use planning.

She has a bachelors degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a masters degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Statement:  I try to find projects that raise the quality of life for those who have been less fortunate than most.  I especially enjoy creating circumstances for others to realize their potential to contribute to their communities.  But in the end, what's most important to me is understanding that there is no end that is as valuable as the journey -- and especially the people with whom you share the journey.

Maureen Kindel
   Senior Managing Director, GCG  Rose & Kindel
Ms. Kindel currently serves as senior managing director of GCG Rose & Kindel, a consulting and public affairs firm. She is past president of the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works, a founding and current member of each of the Pacific Counsel on International Policy, the board of Governors of Town Hall of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Amateur Athletic Foundation. She serves on the board of the International Foundation of Election Systems on which she chairs the Nominating Committee, and is a regent of Loyola Marymount University. Ms Kindel also sits on the board of Directors of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

Rikki Klieman
   TV Anchor, Legal Analyst, Trial Attorney,
   Actor and Best Selling Author
Television anchor, legal analyst, trial attorney, actor and best-selling author, Rikki Klieman has earned a sterling reputation as one of the nation’s most celebrated lawyers and legal authorities.  A dynamic and versatile communicator, Klieman has found success in multiple fields, including television journalism, the courtroom, academia and public speaking. 
An Anchor at the Courtroom Television Network since 1994 and a Legal Analyst for CBS’s Early Show, Rikki relocated to from New York to California to join her husband, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton.  She was a Legal Analyst for NBC’s Today Show and covered the Michael Jackson trial for the E! Network. She continues to inspire the lives of others with her autobiography, Fairy Tales Can Come True - How a Driven Woman Changed Her Destiny, released in May 2003 which reached the L.A. Times Best Seller List. 

She remains Of Counsel to the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Klieman, Lyons, Schindler & Gross, specializing in criminal trial and appellate practice as well as civil litigation. She received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1975.  Prior to her legal career, she was a theater major at Northwestern University and became a professional actress. Following law school, she served as a law clerk for the Honorable Walter Jay Skinner of the United States District Court of Massachusetts, and as a prosecutor with the Middlesex and Norfolk County District Attorneys’ offices. Before creating her own practice, she was a partner at Friedman & Atherton, a commercial law firm in Boston.

In 1983, she was named one of the five most outstanding women trial lawyers in the country by Time magazine. She is often the subject of magazine and newspaper articles and she was profiled by CNN. She has beeninterviewed on numerous radio and television programs on various aspects of criminal and civil law and procedure including, among others, “60 Minutes,” “The McLaughlin Group,” “20/20” and a “Nightline Special Report” on rape hosted by Peter Jennings.

Ms. Klieman was a member of the Adjunct Faculty at Columbia Law School, teaching a course on Trial Strategies in Major Current Cases from 1996 to 2003.  She was a Professor at Boston University School of Law where she taught trial practice for many years. She also lectures across the country on aspects of the legal system and has taught trial advocacy at Gerry Spence's Trial Lawyers College, the National Criminal Defense College, University of Virginia Trial Advocacy Institute, Western Trial Advocacy Institute, Northwestern University's Short Course for Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program at Harvard.
She has published articles on criminal defense practice and contributed to a book, Women Trial Lawyers, published by Prentice Hall as well as a book on drug law.  She writes the bi-annual supplement for Representing Witnesses Before Federal Grand Juries. She recently was the co-editor of a 2006 book on cross-examination called Take the Witness. In addition, she writes a column about legal issues for the popular LA Confidential Magazine.

She is featured in a chapter of Good Will Toward Men by Jack Kammer and in the national best seller A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr.
Once in LA, she returned to her original career of acting.  She continues to portray Cathy Burson, a lawyer for James Caan’s hotel and casino in NBC’s “Las Vegas” for a third season.  Beginning in Fall, 2006, she also portrays Judge Pearlman on CBS’s new production, “Shark,” starring James Woods. In 2006, she appeared as herself, a Court TV Anchor/Reporter on “Boston Legal.” In 2005, she became Nora Rosenthal, a judge whose mother was murdered in “NYPD Blue.”  In 2004, she portrayed Shannon, Rob Lowe’s office manager, on “Dr. Vegas.” She also appeared as herself, a Court TV anchor, in  “Boston Legal” as well as the films “The Cable Guy” and “An American Tragedy” (based on the O.J. Simpson case). She appeared as a reporter in the film version of “A Civil Action” with John Travolta, a reporter on the television show “The D.A.,” and as a lawyer in the film “Fifteen Minutes” with Robert DeNiro and Ed Burns. She is a member of SAG, AFTRA and Actors' Equity.

Ms. Klieman served on the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Supreme Court on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Board of Visitors for Boston University School of Law.. She was a member of the American Bar Association's National Conference of Lawyers and Representatives of the Media.  She currently serves on the Council of 100 – a mentoring organization of outstanding alumnae for the benefit of collegiate women – at Northwestern University.

In addition, Ms. Klieman lectures to various business and bar associations as well as charitable and school groups on topics including “Visionary Leadership,” “Law, Politics and the Media,” “Powerful Communication from the Courtroom to the Boardroom,” “Theatre in the Courtroom,” “Magnificent Motivation” and “You Can Have It All, But Not All At The Same Time.”  
In addition to Ms. Klieman's professional accomplishments, she has been active in her community.  From her early days of raising money for City of Hope to her later days of raising funds and consciousness for Citymeals on Wheels, she believes in helping those most often in need -- children and the elderly. She donates her time to mentor collegiate women at Northwestern University and was an active mentor through the Diversity Committee at Court TV. She served on the Executive Board of the ADL (Anti Defamation League) in New York and New England.  In Boston, she was also active with the ADL Civil Rights Division.  One of her great joys was being a member of the Board of Directors of Shepherd House in Boston, a halfway house for women who suffered from substance abuse problems who were on the road to recovery.
She lives with her husband in Los Angeles where she pursues her passions of mentoring young people and joining in the fight against domestic violence -- work in which she has been active since the 1970s. She is now a member of the Board of Directors of the Rape Treatment Center of UCLA-Santa Monica and the Board of Directors of LA’s Best, an after school enrichment program for disadvantaged elementary school children.

Dr. Carmela Lacayo
    President & CEO, National Association for
    Hispanic Elderly & El Pueblo Community
    Development Corporation
Carmela G. Lacayo is a quiet but powerful leader.
Born in Mexico, educated in parochial schools in Los Angeles and San Diego, California and a graduate of Immaculate Heart College, Carmela has made social change her professional and personal commitment.
Through years of human services to the poor and disenfranchised, her dedication to Hispanic low income and aging communities in the United States has led her from grassroots community work, to political involvement at the national level, and the founding and leadership of two major Hispanic organizations which serve the poor and elderly.
Dr. Lacayo’s concern for the unmet needs and untapped potential of the Hispanic community led her to found the Asociacion Nacional Pro Personas Mayores (National Association for Hispanic Elderly) in 1975. As President/CEO of the Asociacion, Dr. Lacayo administers one of the largest Hispanic nonprofit organizations in the United States, with an annual budget of over 15 million dollars (Hispanic Business Magazine, September 2001 and 2005). The Asociacion has ten offices throughout the U.S.  Through Carmela’s work the organization has been recognized by the Federal Government and the US Congress as a pioneer in the field of minority aging in the United States. Through her years of service to the community Carmela has been a nationally recognized leader in the field of human services. Her work has brought millions of dollars to local Hispanic communities for services to the Hispanic elderly.  In the Asociacion’s 30 year history Carmela has effectively raised over $375 million dollars in funds for services to the Hispanic community in the United States.
She is also the founder and President of El Pueblo Community Development Corporation, the first Hispanic economic development corporation in the City of Los Angeles.
Her career has many “firsts.” Nominated by President Carter to become the First Vice-Chairperson of the National Democratic Party in 1977, she became the first Hispanic and the youngest person in the history of either major U.S. political party to hold such office. In 1991 she was named Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, the first Hispanic Fellow of the Society.   She also received the “Outstanding Professional of the Year” Award from the National Society of Fund Raising Executives.  In 2007 she was given the Leadership in Advocacy award by the US Hispanic Congressional Institute.
Over the years, Carmela Lacayo has received many local, state, and national awards for community service. In the year 2000 she was honored by the cities of Miami, New Orleans, San Antonio, Philadelphia and San Juan, Puerto Rico for her service to low income citizens of those communities. In 2001 Siena College in Albany, New York conferred on Carmela G. Lacayo the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for her work towards a more humane and dignified society.
Carmela Lacayo has often been recognized for her many years of dedicated service, for her pioneering work in public policy, her relentless commitment to social justice, and for her personal and professional integrity. And most importantly for her quiet but powerful leadership on behalf of the Hispanic Community. One of her mottos speaks loudly of who she is: “To be fully alive is to work for the common good.”


Abbe Land
Council Member, City of West Hollywood, C0-CEO LA Free Clinic 
Abbe Land has played an instrumental role in the shaping of the City of West Hollywood since its inception. She was appointed to the City’s first Planning Commission.  In 1986 she was elected to the City Council for her 1st term she has been Mayor three times and is currently serving her 4th term.  Abbe Land also serves as the Co-CEO of The Los Angeles Free Clinic, the oldest continuously operating free clinic in the nation. The LA Free Clinic provides free medical and dental care, counseling and wellness programs, for thousands of the uninsured each year.  As a public official, Abbe Land has influenced public policy at the local, county, state and federal level.  Additionally, Abbe Land is recognized as a leader in healthcare management and is one of the state’s leading advocates for single-payer, universal health coverage.  Abbe will be featured by the National Women’s Political Caucus LA Westside Chapter in their Inaugural 2008 Women Leaders Calendar.  Abbe was also honored this year by Women Against Gun Violence for her leadership on gun policy with a “Courageous Leader Award”.


Beth Lapides
   Author, comedian, teacher, motivational 
   speaker and activist
BETH LAPIDES is an author, comedian, teacher, and motivational speaker and activist. She re-defined comedy with her ground-breaking Un-Cabaret, which brought the depth and substance of great storytelling, and an artistic sensibility, to a moribund form.
She has produced the show live, on Comedy Central, for Sirius Satellite and Comedy World Radio and As a teacher and speaker, she helps people unlock their full potential through finding their true voices on stage, page and in life. She teaches privately, has lectured and taught at Brown University, CalArts, University of Iowa, Humber College, the Skirball Cultural Center, and others. Beth is the author of "Did I Wake You? Haikus for Modern Living"  and has written for the Los Angeles Times, O Magazine, the Huffington Post and the LA Weekly, among others.
She has been a commentator for NPR's All Things Considered, ABC Radio's Satellite Sisters, CNN, KCET, has appeared on Dateline, the Today Show, Politically Incorrect and Sex and the City. More Beth:

Dr. Lois Lee
    Founder, Children of the Night, Lawyer 
In 1979, Dr. Lois Lee abandoned a promising career as a social policy expert and a scholar, devised a plan and took action to rescue America’s children from the ravages of prostitution.  Dr. Lee’s single-minded effort and dedication resulted in Children of the Night where she still serves as President.  In the 90’s she worked toward a law degree and in 1996 passed the California Bar Examination and became a member of the California Bar Association in order to pursue legal avenues to further help child prostitutes. 
Dr. Lee’s work has been receiving international recognition for the past few years. She has traveled to Japan, Romania, and the U.S./European Summit of Missing and Exploited Children, where she served as a speaker. Her trips have been underwritten by government and private non-profits because of the demand worldwide for her expertise in the development of programs for victims of commercial sexual exploitation. 
Policy makers and social service providers from all over the world visit the Children of the Night home with the goal of duplicating Children of the Night programs and combating the sexual exploitation of young people in their own countries.
Currently America’s leading authority in the field of child prostitution, Dr. Lee is regularly sought after by law enforcement, government agencies and social service programs for her expertise.  Since 1988 she has served as an expert witness for federal and state prosecutors enforcing laws against dangerous pimps. (Dr. Lee first came to the attention of the news media and homicide detectives in 1977 during the “Hillside Strangler” investigation, where her efforts led to the prosecution of Angelo Buono.) 
Dr. Lee’s PhD dissertation “The Pimp and His Game” was the first-ever study of the bond between pimp and prostitute. Today it is relied on by vice officers, district attorneys, and U.S. attorneys nationwide as a guide for their treatment of child prostitutes, jury education, and the prosecution of vicious pimps.
Dr. Lee is an extraordinary individual who has demonstrated courage, compassion, and wisdom. She has received countless awards for her work; the most prestigious is the President’s Volunteer Action Award, which President Ronald Reagan presented to her at the White House in 1984. 
She has been profiled on national television including CBS “60 Minutes” and her life work was portrayed in a CBS Movie of the Week entitled “Children of the Night.”
Her humanitarian efforts have been recognized with a National Caring Award and a permanent memorial portrait in the Frederick Douglass Museum and Hall of Fame for Caring Americans in Washington, D.C., the Women’s Achievement Award in 2002, presented to Dr. Lee by the Dashew International Center for Students and Scholars at UCLA; and she has been cited as an American Hero in the 1996 book Renewing American Compassion by Marvin Olasky.
Dr. Lee has used her courage, compassion, and wisdom to ensure that child prostitutes can get the help they so desperately need. 

Rev. Della Reese
   Singer, Actress, Entertainer par Excellence
Della Reese is a name that is synonymous with entertainment par excellence. Starting her career in entertainment as a singer. She developed a style on romantic ballads or hard-driving songs that utilized her unique blend of jazz-blues-gospel textures and phrases that to this day makes for a sound that is unmistakable Della Reese. She can be surrounded by a groovy quartet or a lush philharmonic orchestra, yet her unmatched qualities as a stylist keep you always aware... "Man, that's Della singing". (Listen to the Touched By An Angel” theme and you’ll see what I mean.)
Early on, Della's singing captivated audiences from small clubs to grand stages and led to her first exposure on television, where she appeared on all the musical variety shows. Surprisingly to many, but not to herself, Della soon displayed excellent comedic and dramatic skills.
To quote Della: "If you can make people believe your lyrics of feeling blue and sad, when you don't feel that way...well,that takes acting ability, I always knew I had". And for over twenty years that ability has given viewers great pleasure in the many roles she has played on television. Her most recent has been in her three-time Emmy nominated co-starring role as “Tess”, in the CBS dramatic series "Touch By and Angel".
Della, who was born Deloreese Patricia Early in Detroit, Michigan, began singing in church when she was six years old. Throughout her formative years, she was deeply involved in gospel singing, and at 13, Della was hired by the late Mahalia Jackson to sing with her group.
As Della recalls, "This opportunity to sing with the world's foremost gospel singer was a thrilling experience. I will never forget the wonderful association, which lasted three consecutive summers, and one of the many things I learned from to communicate with people through song." (A lesson that Della has evolved into an art form.) Later, while majoring in psychology at Wayne State University, in Detroit, Della formed her own female gospel group, "The Meditation Singers", which is listed in the "Who's Who of Gospel Music". However, the passing of her mother and her father's serious illness caused her to in- terrupt her schooling, in order to find a job to help support the family. The jobs she found ranged from clerical to barbering, to truck driving, and to taxi driving. Her break came when a contest she won gave her a week singing at Detroit's famed "Flame Showbar". That week soon became eight weeks. While her roots were still in gospel music, Della was now being exposed to the talents and styles of such music greats as Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, Al Hibbler, Billy Eckstine, and others. Della, in turn, developed an individual style that was her springboard to national prominence. In 1953, she made the move to New York City and be- came a vocalist with the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra, and shortly thereafter, signed a recording contract with Jubilee Records. Her first records included "In The Still of The Night", "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm", and "Time After Time". Della had her first major hit with "And That Reminds Me (of you)" That same year, she was voted "The Most Promising Singer" by Billboard, Cashbox, and Variety, as well as The Disc Jockeys of America and the Jukebox Oper- tors Association.
Della signed a new recording contract in 1959, with RCA, and subsequently enjoyed her biggest hit, a tune adapted from Puccini's "La Boheme", entitled "Don't You Know". Acknowledgement from the music industry followed as she was nominated for a Grammy as best female vocalist. This led to Della performing for the next nine years in Las Vegas on the Strip.
In the thirty years that followed "Don't You Know", Della Reese has continued her string of recordings, with her most recent being the traditional gospel album, “My Soul Feels Better Right Now” produced by her husband Franklin giving her another Grammy Nomination in 1998. (Her first being in 1987 for the gospel album, “Della Reese & Brilliance”.) On the other side of her musical pendulum is the cast album "Some Of My Best Friends Are The Blues" from the very successful 1994/95 blues review conceived and written for her by husband/producer Franklin Lett. Prior to that, Della had conceived and produced her own album 'Sure Like Lovin' You". Which offers a cross- section of her musical talents: standard ballads, blues, calypso, and contemporary pop. Many of these songs were written by Della.
A generous amount of television exposure followed Della's first recording successes. In the late 50's and early 60's, she appeared on many television shows that are now considered classics, including "The Perry Como Show",
"The Jackie Gleason Show", as well as more than twenty appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show". She was the first female to host "The Tonight Show".
She was soon asked to host her own talk show, "Della", (making her the first black woman to host her own show) which was syndicated nationally by RKO in 1969 and '70. She then became a regular guest star on various series, and soon received her own series, "The Della Show". Della followed her talk show with a number of tele- vision appearances in comedic and dramatic roles. She guest starred in such early shows as "Sanford and Son", "Police Story", and then starred in two series pilots "Twice In A Lifetime" (with Ernest Borgnine), which aired as a MOW, and "Flo's Place". A guest appearance on "Chico and the Man" was so well received that the producers offered her a full- time role.
Television, which bec¬ame the major medium of the '70's and the '80's, saw a lot of Della. Her singing talents were highlighted on such shows as "The Love Boat" Special, "The Great American Gospel Show", "The Grand Ol' Opry", "The Story of Amazing Grace", "Della Reese and Woody Her- man", and "The Christmas Special with Mel Torme and Della Reese".
Her comedic talents were seen on the likes of "It Takes Two" (ABC), "Crazy Like a Fox" (CBS), "Charlie & Company" (CBS), and "Night Court" (NBC), her own series with Redd Foxx, "The Royal Family" )CBS), appearances on "Designing Women", and "227".
Della showed us more of her action and dramatic talents in the television shows, "A-Team" (NBC), "Young Riders" (ABC), "MacGyver" (ABC), "L.A. Law", "Picket Fences" and "Nightmare in Badham County", for which she was nominated for an Emmy. The most recent of her television achievements was the CBS dramatic series, "Touched By An Angel" which consistently won its time slot for CBS. After completing its ninth season, “Touched by An Angel” is still in demand on DVD and syndication.
Added to her television achievements are several “movies of the week”, notably “The Secret Path”, co-starring Ossie Davis and shown on CBS on Easter Sunday in 1999, “Anya’s Bell” which aired October 31, 1999, and “The Moving of Sophia Myles” which aired November 2000, both produced by Lett/Reese International Productions, a company formed with her husband.. Della's television work was honored in 1994, as she
received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. However, the epitome of her action talents were seen in the movie "Harlem Nights" by Eddie Murphy, in which she and Eddie had one of the greatest fight scenes in modern movies. Enjoying what free time she has at home, Della is now spending more time working on one of her other talents, writing. In fact her autobiography “Angels Along the Way” was released by Putnam Press in 1997,to great reviews, and her children’s book, “The God Inside Of Me”, by Hyperion Press, was one of the best-selling children’s books in 1999.
When she is not writing books and sermons, she is writes songs. Not only does she write songs for herself, but for other performers as well. Della Reese certainly has not given up her first love, singing. She still performs in concert halls, nightclubs, and music festivals, in between tapings of television shows. More and more, she is being asked to perform with symphony orchestras, with unanimous acclaim from critics and audiences alike.
Two of her favorite venues to perform in, are at fest- ivals/fairs, and nightclubs. As Della says, "the intimacy between me and a nightclub audience is unmatched, for we become as one, while on the other hand, the combination of being outdoors and the surging crowds of a festival, creates such an excitement in me that it makes me want to give more and more of myself". You can’t keep a talented lady down, as Della has shown by endorsing a pharmaceutical product on television and at health fairs, as well as for the non-profit “Faith in Action” started by the Robert H. Johnson Foundation. She has done extensive speaking around the country on everything from spirituality to maintaining good health. Just recently Della has showcased her own fashion line on Home Shopping Network.
As you can see, Della keeps doing more and more as her audience shouts for ............MORE! .....MORE! .....MORE!

Dr. Susan Love
    President & Medical Director, Dr. Susan Love Research
Dr. Susan M. Love is a pioneer in the field of women’s health and breast cancer. Currently she is President and Medical Director of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation focused on eradicating breast cancer through local prevention.  A former member of the National Cancer Advisory Board, she serves on the boards of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, Y-ME and the Young Survival Coalition. Best known to women for Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, termed “the Bible for women with breast cancer” by The New York Times (4th edition 2005); and. Dr. Susan Love’s Menopause and Hormone Book, first published in 1998 and revised in 2003, She founded the Faulkner Breast Center in Boston and the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center in Los Angeles providing a model of multidisciplinary care. In her ongoing quest to eradicate breast cancer, she has pursued multiple paths--founding the national advocacy movement, starting companies, and engaging in research. To read more about Dr. Love and her work, visit


She has been a member of St. Elisabeth's Parish in Van Nuys for more than 17 years, is past President of the St. Elisabeth School Parents' Guild, and current Vice-President and member of the school board.  She resides in Van Nuys with her husband Jim and their three sons, Brian, David and Kevin.


Yvonne Mariajimenez , ESQ.
   Deputy Director, Neighborhood Legal Services
   of Los Angeles County
Yvonne Mariajimenez is a Los Angeles native, born and raised in East Los Angeles.  She holds a B.S. from USC in Business Administration and a J.D. from Loyola Law School.  She has always worked in public interest law.  She has been active in providing legal services and advocacy for the poor of Los Angeles County for over 25 years.  Yvonne is actively involved in legislative advocacy in the areas of domestic violence, immigration, housing and education issues that impact youth. 
Yvonne is currently Deputy Director for Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, a private, nonprofit legal services agency funded to provide free legal services and advocacy to the indigent residing in Los Angeles County.  She helps to oversee a budget of $10 million, a staff of 110, including 42 lawyers. 
She was a nominee for Woman of the Year by the Mexican American Bar Association. Yvonne is a former member of the Advisory Council of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (Consejo Consultivo Del Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior) an advisory group to former President Vicente Fox, Republic of Mexico.  She is past Vice-President for the Los Angeles County Commission for Women, a member of Comision Femenil and currently sits on the Los Angeles Police Department Hispanic Forum.  Yvonne was recently chosen by Loyola Law School as Public Interest Attorney of the Year.

Dr. Reri MacLean
  OD Consultant, Executive Coach
Dr. Reri MacLean is the Principal of Keller-MacLean, a company that supports business leaders via coaching, consulting and customized assessment.
Reri’s track record includes founding, developing and consulting for educational institutions, founding I/O Psychology businesses, public speaking, and consulting for organizations and teams. She specializes in executive assessment, leadership coaching and organizational development. Informed by a thorough understanding of her client’s strategic imperatives, leadership requirements and culture, Reri’s process enables organizations to identify and integrate the right people for critical positions. Reri is also a regular speaker on the business and leadership applications of Emotional Intelligence.
Reri is Past President of the Los Angeles Professional Coaches and Mentors Association (PCMA-LA) and President Elect of PCMA -National.  She has contributed to programs for the International Coaching Federation, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the American Society for Training and Development, Professionals in Human Resources Association, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the San Fernando Valley Asian-Pacific Islanders Council and Shane’s Inspiration and the Special Olympics Equestrian event through the Kiwanis Club of Warner Center. 
Reri earned a BA in Humanities from Macalester College, Master’s degrees in Education & Counseling Psychology from Whitworth College and a Doctorate in Psychology from the University of Denver. Reri's children enjoy careers in marketing, healthcare and financial services.
In her own words, the words Dr. Reri lives by:
Always have
...enough curiosity to question “reality”
...enough humility to hold “insight” lightly
...enough courage and love to “address” what you discover.


Dianne Medina
    VP Community Relations & Diversity at KABC
Diane has 35 years experience in the entertainment industry as a human resources professional.  She began her career in 1971 as Employment Coordinator for NBC in Burbank.  Later, she held a series of increasingly responsible human resources positions for Capital Cities/ABC in Los Angeles, before joining Paramount Pictures in 1989 as Director of Employment and Employee Relations.  In 1994, she returned to ABC as Director, Diversity Programs and Community Relations for KABC-TV, the ABC owned television station in Los Angeles.  Diane joined The Walt Disney Company in September 1997 as Director of Diversity Programs where she was responsible for overseeing Disney’s commitment to the Latino community for employment, business opportunities and community relations. In September 2002, Diane returned to KABC-TV where she is responsible for developing community initiatives to further enhance the station’s news coverage and programming, as it relates to the diverse communities of Southern California, as well as developing and managing internal employee development and training programs.
Diane has always made community service an important part of her life.  She currently serves on Boards and Advisory Committees for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Para los Ninos, Black Infant Health Program, Latino Theater Company, Proyecto Pastoral, USC Mexican American Alumni Association  and HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality).   She has received honors and recognition for her commitment to community from Girls INC, NOSOTROS, Women at Work, HOPE, Millennium  Momentum Foundation, National Latina Business Women’s Association, Buenanueva Foundation, Latino Entertainment Media Institute and Americas Theater Arts Foundation.  Diane has been named in Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the nation.

Judy Miller,
    Vice President and Director, Hilton Humanitarian Prize,
    Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Judy Miller became Director of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize and Vice President of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation in 1997.  At $1.5 million, the Hilton Humanitarian Prize is the world’s largest humanitarian award and is presented annually to an organization alleviating human suffering.  Miller also organizes an annual international symposium on global humanitarian issues in New York City and Geneva, Switzerland which features world leaders.  Miller served as Commissioner of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power from 1993-2001.  She has more than 40 years experience as a communications professional, spanning public relations, advertising, government affairs, and political campaigns.  Her career has spanned the corporate, nonprofit, and political worlds.  In the 1970s, she became the first woman to hold an executive position in a major Japanese corporation, Suntory Limited.   In 1981, she managed the media for the Third Islamic Summit meeting held in Saudi Arabia, unintentionally becoming the first woman to work openly with men within the Kingdom.  A widow and mother of three daughters, Miller has been an advocate for women’s rights and promoting women into political leadership positions, while also focusing her energies on the plight of women and girls throughout the world.

Akiko Morrison
CEO/Design and Marketing, Hummingbird Flights of Fancy LLC Treasurer, Indian Chamber of Commerce California
My career has included being a secretary, office manager, media buyer, art director, advertising agency owner and now in this life I am President of Hummingbird Flights of Fancy LLC, a company specializing in exciting tours known as "Travel'N American Indian Style tours to American Indian owned Hotel/Resort Casinos, Spas that include American Indian Pow Wows and American Indian cultural events . I am a member  of the American Indian Gaming Association, Member and past Secretary of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California and its Treasurer and a former Board Member of the Los Angeles Press Club .

Rosanne O'Brien
Corporate Vice President Communications 
  Northrop Grumman
Rosanne O’Brien is corporate vice president of communications at Northrop Grumman Corporation, a $30-billion leading global defense enterprise.  In this role, she directs all external and internal communications, including media relations, executive communications, employee communications and advertising.  She also is a member of the company’s corporate council, an elected group of the corporation’s 15 most senior executives that works with the chairman and chief executive officer to address all the major issues and opportunities facing Northrop Grumman.
O’Brien has managed the public’s perception of Northrop Grumman since joining the company in 1999.  Form 1993 to 1999, she served as vice president of corporate communications for Teledyne Inc., responsible for corporate communications and investor relations.  Previously, she spent nine years with Glendale Federal Bank, rising to the position of senior vice president and director of corporate relations.  Prior to Glendale Federal, she spent 11 years at Tiger International/Flying Tigers where she progressed to director of corporate communications.
O’Brien received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Redlands and has completed an executive program at Stanford University.  She is a member of the Communications Council of the Aerospace Industries Association, the Public Relations Seminar and Organization of Women Executives.  She is on the board of directors of the Girls and Boys Town of Southern California, the advisory board of Santa Monica College and is a trustee of the California Science Center, where she is also a member of the executive committee.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense company headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif. Northrop Grumman provides technologically advanced, innovative products, services and solutions in systems integration, defense electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology. With more than 120,000 employees and operations in all 50 states and 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves U.S. and international military, government and commercial customers.

Laurel Rosen
    President/CEO Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce
On November 5th Laurel was appointed as the new President and CEO of the Santa Monica Chamber.  She has developed strong relationships with partners in the business community and hopes to build on that foundation to create a strong and thriving chamber.
Up into recently she was director of sales and marketing for the Lobster restaurant for almost nine years.  Laurel Rosen has a broad background in the hospitality and tourism industry.  She has spent a good part of the last twenty five years in hotel and restaurant management and sales.  While in California for the last 18 years she started and successfully ran a catering company specializing in events for the entertainment industry, and has been an independent event producer and wedding coordinator for many years.   Previously to her taking the position as Director of Sales and Marketing at the Lobster restaurant Laurel was Catering Director at the W hotel in Westwood.
Laurel has been an active member of the Santa Monica community for many years; she was vice chair of the Santa Monica chamber and sat on their executive board. She is chair of the “I know Santa Monica” branding and service excellence program being developed by the SM Convention and Visitors Bureau with local business leaders, Santa Monica College, Santa Monica Chamber and the city of Santa Monica.  Partnering with the SMCVB while at the Lobster Laurel stayed busy by attending many shows and conventions locally and nationally as part of “Team Santa Monica” representing the city as a destination. She has a clear understanding of the importance of marketing Santa Monica to the local and international markets. She has been an active member of Meeting Planners International as well as several other Westside chambers and the British American Business Council.  She was chair of the very successful signature event for Santa Monica Chamber, “The Taste of Santa Monica” for the last 6 years and has worked to create a strong voice among local restauranteurs to promote destination awareness.
Charitable contributions play an important role in Laurels day-to-day activities in Santa Monica, she has been and continues to be involved in many service organizations and helps by sponsoring and raising money for several of them such as the “Super Bowlathon” which helps support the Hunger Coalition, and she also was chair of the Turning Point Resource board for the last 7 years which hosts two fundraisers each year to raise money for the organization.
Laurel was awarded both the Brilliant Star Award from Turning Point and the Chairman’s award from the Santa Monica chamber for her ongoing work in the community.


Carla Sanger
 President and Chief Executive Officer of LA’s BEST (Better Educated Students for Tomorrow)
President and Chief Executive Officer of LA’s BEST (Better Educated Students for Tomorrow) After School Enrichment Program for 19 years, Carla Sanger, M.Ed. has been a specialist in children’s education policy and advocacy for more than 39 years in the public and private sectors.  Over the course of her career, she has been a public school teacher, curriculum writer, supervisor of day care services for the state of New Jersey, Executive Director of LA Child Care & Development Council, President of the California Children’s Council and co-chair of the California State Department of Education Task Force on School Readiness.
Ms. Sanger co-founded a K-12 school (Nuevo Colegio Bilingue Larchmont) in Bogotá, Colombia in 1969, which is still active today with 300 students.
Ms. Sanger has been a longtime activist on various community boards of directors, which have included the California Women’s Law Center, United Way Metro Region, Child & Family Services, Highland Hall School, Northridge Knights Youth Sports League, Getty House Children’s Committee and Dolores Mission Women’s Cooperative. Nationally recognized in the field of after school programs, she serves on numerous after school quality and evaluation advisory committees and task forces for the US Department of Education, the State of California and the County of Los Angeles. Most recently, she was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California State Advisory Committee on Before and After School Programs. She has also been appointed by the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction to several task forces, including the Title I Committee of Practitioners, as well as by Los Angeles Mayors James Hahn and Antonio Villaraigosa to the LA President’s Joint Commission on LAUSD Governance.
Ms. Sanger has been honored by World Hunger Year with its Community Action National award and has received numerous government commendations from federal, state and local legislators, the Wishing Well award from the Los Angeles Women Police Officers, the Pursuit of Justice award from the California Women’s Law Center, a Treasure of Los Angeles award from the Central City Business Association of Los Angeles, an Angel award from the Child Lifesaving Foundation, an Arts & Entertainment Channel Community Hero award, and a Leading Boldly award from the Los Angeles Children’s Planning Council. Most recently, she was honored by PODER Magazine and the Boston Consulting Group with the 2007 Education’s Best Award and the planting of 1,000 trees in her name.
She has been a featured speaker and conference presenter for numerous school districts throughout California, keynote speaker for the California State Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Education and countless community-based after school organizations throughout the United States.   She holds a B.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.Ed. from Goucher College.  Ms. Sanger is married to Academy Award–winning film producer Jonathan Sanger and has two sons, David and Christopher, two grandsons, Harrison and Miles, and one granddaughter, Zada.


Carol Schatz
President & Chief Executive Officer LA and 
Downtown Business Improvement Center
Carol E. Schatz is the first woman to serve as President and CEO of the Central City Association (CCA) of Los Angeles.  Established in 1924, CCA is LA’s premiere business advocacy organization representing major corporations, housing and commercial developers, law and accounting firms, and non-profits in Los Angeles and primarily Downtown Los Angeles.  CCA’s 450 members employ over 300,000 people in the LA region.  Carol’s dynamic and determined leadership has turned CCA into an advocacy powerhouse for business in Los Angeles and revitalization efforts in Downtown Los Angeles. 
Carol also serves as President and CEO of the Downtown Center Business Improvement District (DCBID), a coalition of 480 property owners in the center of Downtown Los Angeles.
Under Carol’s direction, CCA has been the business advocacy leader on City and County issues.  Ms. Schatz was recently named by Los Angeles magazine in their “100 most powerful people in Los Angeles” article as one of the ten most powerful business leaders in Los Angeles. 
Carol was recognized as “Woman of the Year 1999” by State Assembly Member Gil Cedillo, for her outstanding service and dedication to the State of California.  Carol was honored with the “2000 Renaissance Award” by the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), Los Angeles, for her exceptional vision and tenacity in the efforts to reinvigorate Downtown Los Angeles.  More recently, Carol was honored with the “Deborah Award” presented by the Anti-Defamation League for her courage, wisdom and leadership in her civic contributions.
Carol’s vision is helping to create a 24-Hour Downtown Los Angeles.  Under Carol’s leadership, CCA has undertaken several significant initiatives to transform Downtown.  She has marshaled state and local funding and incentives to help developers convert empty office buildings to housing.  This “Adaptive Reuse” initiative has resulted in over 10,000 new units of housing Downtown.
Her advocacy for Staples Center, the Civic Center and Figueroa Corridor have brought new growth and development to these forgotten parts of Downtown.
Finally, it was Carol’s vision that led to the creation of the DCBID.  With a budget of almost $5 million, the DCBID has made Downtown safe and clean and brought millions of dollars in new investment to Downtown LA.
Carol serves on the State Fraud Assessment Commission and was a former commissioner of the MTA and the Convention & Exhibition Authority.
Carol’s vision, hard work and perseverance have garnered much attention and praise from her peers.  Recently, the Los Angeles Business Council awarded Carol the Grand Prize at its 34th Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards in recognition of her contributions to the revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles.    
Prior to joining CCA, Ms. Schatz was the Deputy Regional Director, Western Region, of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation overseeing the liquidation of billions of dollars in assets of failed saving institutions in 12 states.
Carol Schatz has her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley and her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School.  She and her husband, Fred Muir, reside in Los Angeles with their son, Jacob.


Vivian Shimoyama
  President, Breakthrough Unlimited
Vivian Shimoyama is the founder and president of Breakthru Unlimited her company provides products and services that promote the advancement of women.  Wanting to move women forward she created a ‘glass pin’ that symbolizes breaking the invisible barrier... the glass ceiling.  Her glass artwork can be seen on the lapels of prominent women and men, and is the foundation of her international and national advocacy work for small business owners and women in business. 
The recent addition to her company is Breakthru Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm that provides strategic business planning and resource consulting services for organizations from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and non-profit organizations.   Ms. Shimoyama has built relationships with businesses throughout the country in order to ‘team on projects’, and connect large corporations, government agencies, small businesses, and community organizations.
She serves on the national advisory council for Consumers for Cable Choice, and is an appointee to the Long Beach Workforce Development Board.   An expert in advocacy, Vivian serves on the board of the California Small Business Association and is a state advocacy director for Women Impacting Public Policy.  Dedicated to the small business community and economic development, she is a member of the board of directors of the California Small Business Education Foundation, Enterprise Institute of the National Association of Women Business-Los Angeles, University of Southern California Small Business Development Office, Women’s Leadership Exchange, Corporate Community Advisory Board for Southern California Edison, Union Bank of California, Merrill Lynch, and advisor to Count Me In – Make Mine a Million, a national micro-loan program for women business owners.    
She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, College of Commerce.   Ms. Shimoyama was awarded the National Women In Business Advocate Award from the President, U.S. Congress, and U.S. Small Business Administration.   And as a Presidential appointee to the National Women’s Business Council, she advised the President and U.S. Congress on issues important to women business owners.   She was a member of the U.S. delegation for the landmark 10 Downing Street Economic Summit headed by Exchequer Gordon Brown and the U.K. Government.   In 1995, she was elected to serve as a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business.


Valerie Sobel
      Founder, The Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation
A survivor of the Communist era, Valerie Sobel fled her native Hungary during the 1956 uprising against the Soviet regime, eventually to settle in Toronto, Canada. She vividly remembers that time. She recalls carrying her younger brother on her back while walking eight miles with her parents through a marsh, to cross the forbidden border to the safety of Austria. After the elation of the escape, there were many months in refugee camps.
In high school, Valerie was interested in acting. Through a fortuitous encounter, she was flown to Los Angeles for a screen test and won the role in “Mr. Hobbs takes a vacation” with Jimmy Stewart. In 1962 she became a California resident and has lived there ever since. Marriage was followed with the birth of her son Andre and daughter Simone. She eventually left film to focus on her family and later developed a successful career in interior design with her projects appearing in several books and magazines, including Architectural Digest. She remains a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) as a “keepsake from that career.”
A new period marred the life of Valerie Sobel the day her teen age son Andre was diagnosed with a malignant and inoperable brain tumor. A year after in 1995 the family suffered his devastating loss. Shortly thereafter Valerie’s mother died, and a year later to the day, her husband Erwin 54, took his own life. Through the subsequent months of crushing grief, Valerie sought to re-direct her life. What has continued to haunt her was the witnessing of children who were alone in hospitals; having to face their fears, their pain, treatments, and at times even their death alone. These were children as a rule of single parents/single caregivers. Upon reflecting on her own experience with her child; in a financially secure position with full emotional support, she found it hard to imagine how brutal it must be for those without these requisites. This injustice was the motivation for establishing the Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation (ASRL). As if surprised by a spiritual revelation, the vision of the foundation and its purpose became clear to her. “Experiencing the sudden onset of a life-threatening illness of a child devastates every family,” she said. “But for the single parent without financial resources, it is inconceivable.” The vision statement of the Foundation is “We care for catastrophically ill children by caring for their caregiver.”
The Foundation’s mission is to offer assistance to those single parent families who are experiencing a financial emergency brought on by the medical crisis of their child. Their program operates at an ever-growing network of affiliated hospitals whose social workers identify those families whose other resources have been exhausted or are unavailable.
The hallmark of ASRL is to provide “help in 24 hours”. Over the past six years, they have supported thousands of family members. They pay rents, mortgages, utilities, non covered medical costs, transportation: and often burials. Many other organizations, even if a family qualifies, take months to provide help; the ASRL Foundation is there when it matters most: in a crisis. The Foundation’s pioneering work in servicing caregivers highlighted a problem that in turn engendered a study by the National Institutes of Health on the topic of how single parent families cope with the life threatening illness of their child. Valerie’s expertise has led to collaborative efforts with Harvard pediatrician, Dr. Elizabeth Rider, in the creation of a book titled “Caring for the Caregiver: A formula for Survival.”  “I know what a caregiver feels and needs by having paid the full price of admission,” said Sobel.
The Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation began with Valerie Sobel and her family’s financial contributions and now their program operates at 11 prestigious pediatric hospitals in 7 states; including the Children’s Inn at the NIH, Stanford’s and Harvard’s Children’s hospitals, CHLA, UCLA, and other. “By the time a child is seriously ill, they are no longer in the hands of a pediatrician, so our system of delivery is through the hospitals.”
Valerie’s prior life and its accomplishments have been eclipsed by the passion she now feels for the work that life could never prepare anyone for.  Her sole priority has become the extraordinary mission of ASRL; and therefore the plight of the single caregiver who is caught in the grim struggle for their child’s life. Valerie is a recognized speaker on the subject of caregiver support, a trained Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), a charter member of the Women of Washington/Los Angeles, the Music Center’s Blue Ribbon Society, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Council of Women World Leaders, a founding member of the Women’s Foundation of California’s Donor Circle and the recipient of NAWBO’s (National Association of Women Business Owners) “inspiration of the Year Award”. In March of 2007 Valerie was profiled in her own article in People magazine, and in May 2007 was profiled in the LA Business Journal after receiving the Woman Making A Difference Award from the Journal.
Valerie resides between her home in Los Angeles and her mountain home in Idyllwild, California.


Marilyn  Solomon
    President, The Solomon Consulting Group,
    Honorary Office of the Most Excellent
    Order of the British Empire
Marilyn F. Solomon heads, with her husband, Allen, The Solomon Group, consultants in leadership enhancement, business planning and marketing strategies, management and operations, television production and public affairs.




Marilyn Tam
  Humanitarian/Author/Global Business
  Consultant, formerly the President of
  Reebok Apparel and Retail Group;
  CEO of Aveda Corp. and Vice President
  of Nike Inc. Awarded the Artemis Award
  in Greece, 2006; the Femtor Lifetime
  Achievement Award 2007. Founder and
  executive director of Us Foundation
Marilyn Tam is a Corporate Consultant, Speaker, Author, Executive Director and Co-founder of Us Foundation,   She speaks, trains and consults with companies and governments globally on Leadership, Change Management, Diversity and How to Integrate Social and Environmental issues to develop and enhance successful organizations.
Ms. Tam was formerly the President of Reebok Apparel and Retail Group; CEO of Aveda Corp. and Vice President of Nike Inc. She is also a successful entrepreneur, having developed and built three companies in fields as diverse as a corporate consulting & training company, a web portal company and a supply chain software company. She is a director on the national board of SCORE Association, a Partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration  dedicated to the development, growth and success of small businesses nation wide with 11,500 volunteers and 389 offices.
Ms. Tam is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Us Foundation whose mission is to facilitate global action and dialogue on social, economic and environmental issues. Us Foundation is one of the partners for United Nations Habitat-II, and was nominated as a candidate for the “Best Practice Award” from the United Nations’ Habitat II. 
Marilyn Tam’s book, “How to Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want”, is published in English, Chinese, Japanese Spanish and Indonesian. In her book she combines her business acumen with her goal of giving back to guide others to achieve their highest potential and dreams. 
Ms. Tam is an advisor to the country of Bhutan, working with the Ministers and government officials to transition the country into the 21st Century while retaining their cultural and environmental heritage.     
In 2004 Marilyn was recognized as one of the Top 30 Female Entrepreneurs in the USA by Fempreneur magazine. Jack Canfield detailed her work in his book on the strategies for success, “The Success Principles”. She is featured as one of 50 women in the best selling book, “Fearless Women, midlife portraits” by Alspaugh, Kentz, and Halpin.
Ms. Tam is a lifetime member of Who’s Who World Wide and is listed in Who’s Who in American Women. She was honored with the Artemis Award for her business and humanitarian work by the Greek government and the Euro American Women’s Council in Athens, Greece, 2006 with her likeness on a Greek postage stamp. In 2007 she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from eWomenNetwork.

Faye Washington
    Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Greater Los Angeles
Faye Washington is Chief Executive Officer for the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles.  Faye brings to the YWCA 32 years of direct public experience and acclaims “it is a wonderful experience when your advocation meets your vocation”.  Prior to joining the YWCA, she headed Faye Washington & Associates, a firm that provides consulting services in management, governmental and public affairs, community relations and strategic/master planning.
Faye has a long history of distinguished public sector service, beginning as a clerical employee of the City of Los Angeles and culminating 32 years later with her success as the highest ranking African American woman in several categories in the City of Los Angeles.  Among her accolades were her appointment as Assistant General Manager and Chief Administrative Officer of the Department of Water and Power, General Manager of Personnel, Department of Aging and Assistant Chief Legislative Analyst for the Los Angeles City Council.  As a community leader, Ms. Washington serves as a Commissioner on the California Secondary Education Commission (CPEC); Commissioner, Municipal Improvement Corp of Los Angeles (MICLA); City Commissioner, Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and National Board of Directors on Job Corps.  Ms. Washington also hosts weekly television show on Channel 35 aimed at improving the lives of senior citizens.
Faye retired from the City of Los Angeles in 1998, with a determination to take time to smell the roses. When called to service at the YWCA, she quickly made the transition from retirement to lining the pathways of high-risk youth with rose-petals called hope, self-esteem and career development. The YWCA is one of few non-profits in the country with a contract with the Federal Department of Labor to provide the job-skills training.  Faye and her Board of Directors have rejuvenated the program, and have embarked upon a major redevelopment effort in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles.  Phase one of the YWCA Job Corps Urban Campus Project is the construction of a 7-story building.  This living and learning center will provide housing for over 400 Job Corps students with recreational, medical and cafeteria facilities to over 1100 Job Corps participants.   For this vision, Faye was honored with the Designer of the Year Award at a July 15, 2003 facilitation of International Interior Designers Association, an honor that no executive from a nonprofit organization has ever been bestowed with. 
Under Faye’s leadership, the YWCA developed the Union Pacific Children’s Center in East Los Angeles in late 2003 using a modular to serve 40 children.  Plans for a 2-story building are underway to expand the services for more child care services as well as a community center that will cater to all individuals living in the vicinity of this Center.
The current activities of the YWCA represent the vision that equates empowerment to that of having a job and decent housing for all whom the YWCA serves.  Under Faye’s leadership, the YWCA will forge ahead and assist its constituents to attain their “American” dream of being self sufficient and living with dignity.
Faye Washington attributes her success to her strong faith, her determination undeterred by obstacles, but most importantly, her philosophy toward life. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is her mantra, and has been for her entire life.

June Wayne
    Famed  Artist/Founder, Tamarind Lithography
    Workshop, Inc.
Visual artist June Wayne was born in 1918 in Chicago and by the age of 15 had become a high school dropout (an auto-didact) devoted to making art. Her first solo show in the USA was in 1935; her first international show, in 1936. It took place at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.
Wayne is honored world wide for creating the Tamarind movement (backed by the Ford Foundation.) Tamarind restored the art of lithography in the U.S. and in doing so, caused an international renaissance of the printmaking arts. Attention now is focusing on Wayne’s avant-garde, monumental tapestries created and woven in France. These are on the themes of tidal waves, the genetic code, optics and cosmic space. She lives and works in her Tamarind Avenue studios down the hill from the Hollywood sign.
A catalogue raisonne of her creative oeuvre (1935-2006) has just been published by Rutgers University Press and includes reproductions of all her art in many media.


 Grace Whitcomb
Diversity Manager, Southern California Edison
Grace Whitcomb is the Diversity Manager with Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, based in Rosemead, California. 
Grace works in the Supplier Diversity Program Division of the Equal Opportunity Department. The main focus of her job entails connecting women, minority and service-disabled veterans business enterprises (WMDVBEs) with Edison business opportunities and entrepreneurial development programs. 
Grace began her career with Edison in 1983.  During her tenure with the company, she has worked as a stenographer, office supervisor, and served as the productivity improvement program administrator.
Born in Macau and educated in Hong Kong, Grace moved to California in 1974.  She attended school at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising where she earned an Associate Degree in Fashion Design.
Representing Edison, Grace serves on the Asian Business Association Corporate Advisory Council (Los Angeles and Orange County chapters) and the Chinese-American Construction Professionals Corporate Advisory Council.  She is a board member of the Asian Business Association (L.A. Chapter), Orange County Chinese-American Chamber of Commerce, and the Asian Community Development.
Grace also serves as the utility’s liaison with the National Association of Women Business Owners, (Los Angeles and Orange County Chapters), and is a member of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center’s Executive Advisory Board.
Grace is a recipient of the Women’s Enterprise Development Corporation’s 1991-2001 Award for Service to the Community of Entrepreneurial Women, past recipient of Asian Business Association’s (Los Angeles Chapter) Special Advocate Award, the Asian Business Association of Orange County’s Eagle Award, the Chinese-American Construction Professionals’ President’s Award, the Asian Business Association‘s (Los Angeles Chapter) 2002 Corporate Advocate of the Year Award and other commendations for her advocacy for women and minority businesses.  In 2005, Grace was the recipient of the National Association of Women Business Owners’ (Inland Empire Chapter) Amazing Woman of the Year Award.  In 2006, Grace was the recipient of Asian Business Association of Orange County’s Corporate Advocate of the Year Award and was on the Women’s Enterprise USA magazine’s List of 100 Women Impacting Supplier Diversity.
Grace serves on the Honorary Board of the Center for the Pacific Asian Family, a nonprofit organization that provides shelter for survivors of domestic violence and abused children.  She is a board member and mentor of the Asian American Professionals Association.  She believes in utilizing her knowledge, experience, and resources to encourage other Asian Americans to realize and develop their full potential.  Grace is the immediate past president of Edison’s Chinese American employee’s affinity group.  She contributes women and minority business-related articles to trade association newsletters and business journals.
Grace enjoys attending the theater, music, sketching, reading, traveling, calligraphy artwork and glass painting.  She resides with her husband Gene in the City of Montebello.


Denise DeMan Williams
   President & CEO Bench International Search, Inc.
Denise is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bench International. With an indefatigable entrepreneurial spirit, she has taken the company from its founding in 1974 to its eminence today as one of the most successful specialized retained executive search firms in the world. DeeDee is deeply committed to properly "shattering" the glass ceiling for women in health care. She has spent more than a quarter of a century developing and promoting a network of women leaders in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. To that end, she is a member and Hall of Fame Inductee of the National Association of Women Business Owners, as well as Membership Director for the West Coast Chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association. In addition to her leadership and management roles, DeeDee recruits in the areas of Research and Development; Corporate Leadership; Clinical Development; Regulatory Affairs; Science and Medical Advisory Boards; and Boards of Directors. DeeDee holds both bachelors and masters degrees in auditory pathology and is a highly sought-after speaker and contributing writer for the industry.  

Jean McNeal Wyner
    Physician’s and Community Liaison, Santa
    Monica UCLA Medical Center and Orthopedic
Jean McNeal Wyner has been active in the field of Medical Public Relations and Marketing since 1978.  She was a Physician Liaison for two hospitals in San Diego and was a member of the San Diego Hospital Public Relations Society.
In 1983 Jean moved to Santa Monica to promote the Woman’s Breast Center from 1983 until 1988.  She was the Physician and Community Liaison for the Santa Monica Imaging Center from 1988 to 1994.
In 1994 Jean joined Santa Monica Hospital as the Physician and Community Liaison.  Santa Monica Hospital became Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center in 1995.
Jean has been committed to community service in Santa Monica for the past 22 years and has received many awards for her service.  A few of them are:  YWCA Woman of the Year, Presidential Awards, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce 1988, 1997, 2002 and 2003, “One in a Million Award”, American Cancer Society,  Service Ace Award, Westside Challenge To Beat Breast Cancer, Humanitarian Award, The National Conference of Community and Justice,  Roy E. Naylor Lifetime Achievement Award, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, Commendations from the City of Santa Monica, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1999 and 2002, the Center For Healthy Aging Jim Cayton Community Service Award, 2007, Extraordinary Community Service Award, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, 2007.
She is and has been active with the following organizations in Santa Monica:

  • American Cancer Society, Santa Monica Relay For Life, 2001-2006, Survivor Chair 2004-2006
  • Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, 1998-1999 Chairman of the Board of Directors,
  • The National Conference of Community and Justice, 2000-2002 Chairman of the Board
  • Santa Monica College Advisory Board, 1990-2007
  • Salvation Army, Santa Monica Corps, 1998-2000 Advisory Board Chairman
  • Santa Monica Family YMCA, 2005-2006 President, Board of Directors
  • Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, 1990-1996, 1995, Chairman of the Board
  • Member, Santa Monica College Associates
  • YWCA of Santa Monica, board member 1987-1997
  • UCLA Stevens House Scholarship Association, Scholarship Chair, 1994-1997,
  • Santa Monica Breakfast Club, 1995-2007, President of the Board of Directors 1997-1999
  • Charter Member, ENCORE Advisory Board, YWCA of Santa Monica
  • Santa Monica Historical Society Museum, Chairman of the Board 2003-2007
  • Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club
  • Salvation Army ARC Advisory Board, 1996-1998 Advisory Board Chairman,
  • Westside Women’s Health Center, Chairman of the Board 1989-1990
  • Santa Monica Pier Restoration Commission,1997-2007, Board Chair, 2004-2005
  • Westside Challenge To Beat Breast Cancer Board of Directors, 1998-2007
  • WISE Senior Service Board of Directors, 2005/6 Secretary, 2007  President
  • Police Activities League, member, Board of  Directors, President-Elect



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