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Back to Leadership | Los Angeles

City Year Los Angeles Board

Local community and business leaders work together to advance our mission to ensure public schools are places all students can thrive.

Rich Battista
City Year Los Angeles Board Co-chair Executive Chairman, Wave Sports & Entertainment

A 30-year veteran of the entertainment and media industry, Rich Battista is a proven Chief Executive Officer with significant experience operating, building and revitalizing large-scale multi-platform companies. Rich has reshaped, transformed and sold two multi-billion dollar publicly traded companies in Time Inc. and Gemstar-TV Guide and built several highly valuable businesses during his long career inside Fox/News Corporation.

Currently Rich is an investor, advisor and board member in the entertainment and media space, including as Executive Chairman of sports digital media and content company, Wave Sports + Entertainment. Prior to that, he was CEO of Imagine Entertainment. From 2016 to 2018, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Time Inc., before overseeing the $2.8 billion sale of the company to Meredith Corp. During his tenure, he oversaw the transformation of the company from a mostly print business into a leading multi-media enterprise. During a period of more than 18 years, Rich held a variety of senior management roles at Fox/News Corp, ultimately serving as President of Fox’s National Cable Networks. From 2004-2008, Rich served as CEO of the publicly traded company Gemstar-TV Guide International, where he revitalized the company through impressive growth and successfully directed its $2.3 billion sale. Rich serves on the Board of Directors of several companies: Progress Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ: PGRW), The Teaching Company, MLB Players, Inc. and Production Resource Group (PRG). He also serves as a founding member of the Board of Directors of City Year Los Angeles and as a Board member of Ars Nova, a NYC-based non-profit theater company. Rich earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Georgetown University with cum laude honors and has served on the University’s Board of Regents and Board of Governors.

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April McDaniel
City Year Los Angeles Board Co-chair Founder, Crown & Conquer

April perfected her craft at Strategic Group, where she was instrumental in the opening of several iconic venues, including Las Vegas TAO, Marquee Nightclub & Day Club at The Cosmopolitan, LAVO at The Palazzo and Avenue in NYC. She also led event planning for Coca Cola, Moët, Nike, Sprite and Heineken. After transitioning to Game Seven Marketing, April pioneered an innovative influencer program that fundamentally transformed the way Beats and Nike handle marketing. Her streamlined operations approach maximized the company’s growth and allowed G7 to open an office in LA—an expansion that she oversaw.

April had a vision for an agency where passionate people could collaborate and create transformative brand experiences steeped in realness, a place that puts culture, inclusion and authentic connections above everything. Crown + Conquer is that dream realized. April designed C+C to be an agile, one of a kind collective with unrivaled experiential expertise and influencer relationships. Since launching in 2016, April and her team have created headline-grabbing activations for Spotify, Airbnb, Google, and other world-class companies. These experiences weren’t just relevant. They were resonant. This distinction helped these culture-defining brands create meaningful connections with their audience.

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Jim Burtson
President, Creative Artists Agency

Since January 2021, Jim Burtson is the President of Creative Artist’s Agency (“CAA”). Jim leads the company’s strategy for the growth and evolution of CAA’s representation business and the continued diversification of the company. Previously, from July 2015, Mr. Burtson served as Chief Financial Officer.

Prior to joining CAA, Mr. Burtson served as Time Warner, Inc.’s Senior Vice President, overseeing the company’s global mergers and acquisitions efforts. At Time Warner, Jim led the spin-offs of Time Warner Cable, AOL and Time Inc. that transformed the company into the focused content and networks media enterprise it is today. In addition, Jim oversaw multiple strategic networks, content, and new media acquisitions and investments. Previously, he led Time Warner’s Investor Relations initiatives, earning the company Institutional Investor magazine’s highest ranking in the sector. Prior to re-joining Time Warner in 2002, Jim spent four years at Clear Channel Communications (and its predecessor companies), where he served as vice president of strategic development and CFO of the company’s online business. He previously worked for J.P. Morgan as an investment banker and began his career at Time Warner working in corporate finance and M&A. Jim earned his M.B.A. and B.A. from Columbia University.

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Marlene Canter
Former President, LAUSD school board; Chair, Green Dot Public Schools national board

Marlene began her career as a special education teacher. She taught children on the autism spectrum as well as children with learning disabilities. She went on to co-found and serve as co-CEO of Canter and Associates, now Laureate Education, Inc.

Laureate Education, Inc. became one of the world’s leading teacher training organizations and trained more than 1 million K–12 teachers worldwide. It developed an extensive catalogue of professional development programs, distance learning graduate courseware and resource materials for teachers, administrators, and parents. After the company was sold to Sylvan Learning Systems, Marlene drew on her 30-year career in education, ran for the LAUSD School Board in 2001, and was overwhelmingly elected twice. She served two terms as a board member and during that time was elected President by her peers for two years. In 2015 she graduated from the Academy for Jewish Religion, California (AJRCA) as a Chaplain, where she now serves as the Board Chair. She is working to develop a Center for Interfaith Dialogue between AJRCA and Loyola Marymount University. She volunteers at grief Haven as a grief counselor where she facilitates grief groups, and chairs the GreenDot Public Schools national board of directors. Marlene has two married children and three granddaughters and resides in Playa Vista.

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Kevin Demoff
Chief Operating Officer of Football Operations, Los Angeles Rams

Kevin Demoff is in his 13th year as Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice Presidentof Football Operations with the Rams In this capacity, Demoff serves as the team’s top front office executive and liaison to owner and chairman, Stan Kroenke, on all organizational matters.

After serving on the working group that helped Kroenke return the Rams home to L.A., Demoff is now playing a significant role in deliveringon Kroenke’s vision to design and construct the 298-acre sports and entertainment district in Inglewood. As part of his vision, Demoff spearheaded the organization’s efforts to become one of the strongest philanthropic partners in professional sports. That focus has led the team to being named the “2010 St. Louis Philanthropic Organization of the Year.” One of the hallmarks of the Rams’ community outreach efforts is the team’s Staff Day of Service program. Introduced by Demoff in 2009, each month the team’s front office staff takes time out of the office to volunteer with local non-profits. The cornerstone volunteer effort of the Staff Day of Service program is the team’s annual community improvement project that includes staff, players and cheerleaders. The Rams have funded and built new playgrounds for Woodworth Elementary School in Inglewood (2016), Figueroa Street Elementary in Watts (2017) and Twentieth Street elementary school in Downtown LA (2018).

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Brad Drummond

Brad Drummond is the former Chief Operating Officer of a leading provider of uniforms, facility supplies, and beverage services. He was responsible for over 30,000 employees and more than 400 facilities across North America and Japan. Serving over 500,000 business to business customer and generating revenues of nearly $4 billion.

Mr. Drummond previously held positions of increasing responsibility with Deloitte Consulting and Black and Decker. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Captain. Mr. Drummond earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the Naval Academy, an MS Degree from the Naval Post Graduate School and an MBA from Loyola University.

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Erik Feig
Founder and President, PICTURESTART

Erik Feig is the founder and CEO of PICTURESTART, a media company specializing in premium Discovery of Voice content for worldwide engagement across all platforms. An independent company, PICTURESTART is backed by a consortium of best-in-class media investors and strategic partners and is in business with almost every studio and streaming outlet.

Prior to founding PICTURESTART, Erik served as co-president of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group until April 2018 as well as president of Summit Entertainment. He produced, supervised and originated the production of Academy Award-winning films including La La Land and The Hurt Locker, along with book adaptations and films geared toward the youth market, including The Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games series, Divergent series, Red series and Step Up series. According to The New York Times, “Feig has built a reputation among book authors for cinematic adaptations.” As of 2017, films he has supervised or produced have collectively grossed over $13 billion at the box office worldwide. In 2017, Erik was named to Variety’s 500 list of the most influential people in the entertainment industry. He is a board member of the Columbia University School of the Arts, City Year Los Angeles, Represent Us, the MOCA Acquisition and Collection committee, and an ambassador for the ReFrame Project.

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Laura Fox

During her career in the entertainment industry, Laura was responsible for overseeing business and legal affairs for the DreamWorks SKG movie division, and was the VP of Legal Affairs for Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures. She currently teaches in the field of social enterprise at the USC Marshall School of Business.

Laura has served on many nonprofit boards, and is currently the Board Chair of P.S. Arts and a member of the boards of City Year Los Angeles and Visionary Women. In addition, she serves on a number of advisory councils including Human Rights Watch Los Angeles Committee, University of Michigan LSA Dean’s Advisory Council and Common Sense Media Los Angeles Advisory Council. She received a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology from the University of Michigan, and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

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Jennifer Gonring
CEO, Gonring Lin Spahn

Jennifer Gonring runs Gonring Lin Spahns’ operations and is lead strategist in positioning key philanthropic and policy objectives. She has distinct experience in nonprofit growth strategies; she also directs message development, formulates communication tactics, and manages execution.

In partnership with major institutions, foundations, corporations, and individual efforts, she delivers a steady campaign mentality to her work, significantly increasing clients’ visibility, funding, and overall reach. She has served as an advisor to numerous federal, state, and local political candidates, committees, and issue campaigns, as well as some of the nation’s leading charitable organizations. Before co-founding Gonring Lin Spahn, Jennifer worked at DreamWorks SKG, where she oversaw the studio’s corporate-affairs operations and served as Director of Special Projects. She also managed studio public relations, the Spielberg Family Living Trust, the Katzenberg Family Trust, and all aspects of Dreamworks’ charitable-giving program. Additionally, she directed all community relations, the studio’s fundraising efforts, and special appearances for the principals: Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen. Jennifer is a member of the non-partisan Pacific Council on International Policy and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Charles Edison Fund, the Board of City Year Los Angeles, the Board of the California Film Commission, and the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Urban League. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her husband is an ethnomusicologist and writer. They have two daughters.

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Glenn Gritzner
Partner, Actum Public Affairs

Glenn Gritzner is a Partner at Actum, specializing in political outreach, policy analysis, communication and media strategy, education, and urban planning and development issues. Since founding the Los Angeles office in 2009, Gritzner has spearheaded its growth and plays an integral role in its operation and management. He has overseen external advocacy and outreach for billions of dollars in development projects, including the largest development in the history of Hollywood, and overseen crisis communications efforts and media training for a wide array of corporate and nonprofit clients.

Previously, Gritzner served as Special Assistant to the Superintendent and Director of External Affairs for the Los Angeles Unified School District, with primary responsibility for political messaging, outreach, and communication strategy. Gritzner was also the District’s point person for the four largest local school bond campaigns in U.S. history, raising over $16 billion to construct and repair schools. Gritzner co-founded the Southern California Transportation and Land Use Coalition and was also Editor of The Planning Report and Metro Investment Report, two of Southern California’s leading publications on local policy and political issues. Gritzner serves on the Board of Heart of Los Angeles Youth, an after school youth development and education program. He was an Appointee to the Citizens’ Unit for Participation in Housing and Community Development, providing citizen oversight for over $165 million in annual Community Development Block Grant money. Gritzner was a member of the Los Angeles Affordable Housing Crisis Task Force, which led to the creation of the City’s $100 million Housing Trust Fund. He is an alumnus of the American Council of Young Political Leaders and was named a member of “Generation Next: The Movers and Shakers Shaping Politics” by the Los Angeles Downtown News. Gritzner received his BA in Communication Studies from UCLA, where he graduated Magna cum laude, and earned his Masters in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

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Andrew Hauptman, Co-Chair & Chair Emeritus
Chairman, Andell Holdings; Charter Trustee, City Year Inc.

Andrew Hauptman is an American business executive, philanthropist, and civic leader and Chairman of Andell Holdings, a private investment firm and family office he controls with his wife, Ellen Bronfman Hauptman. Andell invests directly in private and public companies and real estate, acquiring control and minority stakes, as well as with top-tier investment managers across the globe. Since co-founding the firm, Andrew has grown Andell into one of the leading family office entities in the nation.

Andrew currently serves on the Advisory Boards of Altas Partners and Pendulum Holdings. From 2007 to 2019, Andrew was the Owner and Chairman of Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire Soccer Club. Under his leadership, the club experienced dramatic growth, expanding its global reach and increasing the franchise value more than eleven-fold. The Club was consistently recognized for its deep community engagement and in 2019 received the ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award. Additionally, Andrew led a successful and complex multi-year effort to re-locate the team back to the city of Chicago and Soldier Field. In 2017, he was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. Andrew is engaged across a host of philanthropic and civic initiatives. He is a Board Member of the Center for American Progress. For more than twelve years, Andrew served as a National Trustee for City Year Inc. and was elected Charter Trustee in 2020. He also co-founded and led the effort to bring City Year to Los Angeles in 2007, where he served as Chairman for nine years and continues as Chair Emeritus. He serves on the Leadership Council of Service Year Alliance, the Advisory Board of the Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs, the Leadership Council of International Medical Corps, and served as President of the Chicago Fire Foundation for twelve years. He co-founded and serves as Director of the Bronfman Hauptman Foundation, and is a co-founder and Trustee of the Charles Bronfman Prize. Earlier in his career, Andrew was a senior executive with Universal Studios in London and played a key role in the oversight of its international operations. He produced feature films through Andell Entertainment, including “State of Play,” starring Russell Crowe and “Millions,” directed by Danny Boyle. Andrew also worked in restructurings and mergers and acquisitions at Alex. Brown & Sons in New York. Andrew holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

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Mattie McFadden-Lawson
President, The MML Group

Mattie McFadden-Lawson strives to make a difference in the world. She is the President of The MML Group, specializing in creating strategic partnerships for nonprofits and corporations and providing philanthropic advisory services.

She graduated magna cum laude with a M.A. degree from Howard University and holds a M.P.A. degree with honors from Harvard University’s prestigious John Fitzgerald Kennedy School of Government. Her extensive work in the arts, women’s leadership, politics, political fundraising, and social policy has established her as a leader in these areas. She currently sits on many boards, including City Year Los Angeles, The Black Economic Alliance (BEA), The Music Center—Performing Arts Center for Los Angeles County, Grammy Museum, The Smithsonian Institution/National Museum of African American History and Culture—The Council’s Capital Campaign Steering Committee, and The Smithsonian Institution Regional Council—Southern California. She was appointed by former President Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts—The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts—Washington, D.C. With respect to social policy, she serves on the Advisory Board of The Weiner Center for Social Policy at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy School, Harvard University and is a Member of the Dean’s Council. As an alum, this work is rewarding and fulfilling to work alongside former professors, thought leaders, and experts in their professional fields. Her involvement in women’s leadership, politics, and political fundraising is an example of her leadership in the community and on a national level. She is a Member of the Fair Fight, Fair Vote Initiative founded by Leader Stacey Abrams, focusing on voter suppression and election reform. Recently, she joined the Board of the Aleph Institute, focusing on criminal justice reform, supporting those in the system and their families. With respect to her family life, she is married to Ambassador Michael A. Lawson (Ret.). They have two sons, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

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Marc Merrill
Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Riot Games

Marc Merrill is the co-founder of Riot Games and co-creator of League of Legends. Marc co-founded Riot—along with Brandon Beck—in 2006 with the vision and commitment to drastically change the way video games are developed, delivered, and supported for players. Since then, he’s helped League of Legends become the most-played online game in the world and a key driver of the growth of esports.

Riot continues to uphold their “player first” vision by devoting the entire company’s activity around prioritizing the player experience, and has been acclaimed for its focus on balanced game design, community engagement, and pioneering work in establishing games as a service. Riot Games is headquartered in Los Angeles, CA and has ~3,000 employees across 23 offices around the world to support players globally. Marc is also active outside of Riot and serves on the board of several non-profit organizations, including: Unite America, focused on addressing the polarized gridlock in Washington; City Year Los Angeles, focused on increasing the graduation rate in the nation’s highest-need schools. Marc has also been recognized with several awards such as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, several Game Developers Choice Awards and a BAFTA.

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Susan Milken City Year Los Angeles Board
Sarah Milken

Sarah Milken graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.A. in Communications. After graduating, Sarah worked at the BBDO advertising agency in London. Upon returning to Los Angeles, Sarah received her M.A. and PhD in educational psychology at the University of Southern California. Upon finishing her PhD at USC, Sarah taught in the graduate school of education. Sarah’s passion for education, children’s and women’s issues is demonstrated by her active role in many organizations.

Sarah served on the Board of Trustees of Brentwood School. Sarah is also integrally involved in The HELP Group, the largest non-profit in the country serving children with special needs. Sarah serves on the Leadership Circle for Visionary Women, a women’s international leadership organization. Sarah participates in the various initiatives of the Milken Family Foundation and is a member of The National Advisory Board of Stanford University’s Sean Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma. Sarah is also the creator and host of a new podcast called The Flexible Neurotic. It is a podcast inspiring and normalizing self-invention for women in the second half of life…the “midlife remix.”

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Hannah Minghella
President, Motion Pictures, Bad Robot

Hannah Minghella serves as President of Motion Pictures at Bad Robot under the leadership of JJ Abrams and Katie McGrath. She is currently in production on Lou, a Netflix film starring Allison Janney and Jurnee Smollett and directed by Anna Foerster; as well as the animated adaptation of Charlie Mackesy’s bestselling book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. Additionally, Minghella is overseeing a broad slate of live action and animated movies for the company including the development of the next installments of Star Trek and Cloverfield as well as new adaptations of Superman, the Justice League Dark universe, an English-language remake of the beloved Japanese animated film Your Name and an animated adaptation of Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Prior to her appointment at Bad Robot, Minghella spent 14 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment. She first joined Sony in 2005 from Miramax as a director of creative affairs under then Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal. In 2008, she was appointed president of production at Sony Pictures Animation, overseeing the launch of franchises Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania and The Smurfs. In 2011, Minghella was named president of production for Columbia Pictures, overseeing all aspects of development and production for the label working on numerous movies including the Jump Street movies, The Amazing Spider-Man movies, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Sausage Party, and Skyfall. In 2015, Minghella was appointed as president of TriStar Pictures and added TriStar TV to her purview in January of 2018. Under the TriStar label, Minghella oversaw the development and production of A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood directed by Marielle Heller starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers, Baby Driver directed by Edgar Wright, and T2: Trainspotting 2 directed by Danny Boyle. Born in England, Minghella sits on the board of City Year Los Angeles and The Archer School For Girls and is a founding member of the Los Angeles Women’s Collective, a political action committee that empowers women to influence political and legislative progress. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three daughters.

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Erik Moreno
Executive Vice President, Corporate Development & M&A, Sony Pictures Ent.

Erik Moreno is Executive Vice President, Corporate Development and M&A at Sony Pictures Entertainment (“SPE”). He is responsible for overseeing the strategic planning function, developing growth strategies for the studio, identifying potential partnership or acquisition prospects and managing other business opportunities alongside SPE’s senior executive team. Moreno is also responsible for overseeing the Integration Management Office (“IMO”) that handles the integrations of acquisitions into SPE.

Moreno is a seasoned M&A and strategy executive who served as EVP and President of Corporate Development, New Ventures and Investments at Time, Inc. Prior to Time Inc., he held a number of key M&A and leadership roles including: Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, for Fox Networks Group, co-General Manager of Mobile Content Venture (a 12-company JV), Director of Corporate Development for eBay Inc., and Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategy for Level 3 Communications. Moreno began his career at Gleacher & Co., a boutique investment bank specializing in Mergers & Acquisitions. Moreno currently serves on the Board of Strada Education Network, an Indianapolis-based non-profit focusing on higher education completion and success and is a Board Overseer for The School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. He also recently joined the Board of City Year, Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Jon Neuhaus ‘91
Managing Director, Morgan Stanley

Jon Neuhaus is a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley. He and his business partner of 20 years lead a Private Wealth Management team that manages $68 billion in assets. Jon earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He received his B.A. with high honors in Political Science and History and high distinction in general scholarship from U.C. Berkeley, where he also played Ice Hockey. He is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy.

Jon served as Corps Member in City Year Boston in 1990-91, after graduating from Exeter/before Cal. He served on the Start-Up Team in City Year Chicago in the summer of 1994, helped the Start-Up Team in San Jose in 1994, and was a Founding Citizen for City Year L.A. Jon sponsored The Legacy Team at Edwin Markham Middle School in Watts. He served as the LA Red Jacket Society Chair. Jon has coached and served on multiple education and sports-related boards. He coached Little League Baseball in college and for a decade after business school.

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Pedro Noguera, Ph. D.
Dean, USC Rossier School of Education

Pedro Noguera is the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean of the Rossier School of Education and a Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Southern California.

Prior to joining USC, Noguera served as a Distinguished Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Before joining the faculty at UCLA, he served as a tenured professor and holder of endowed chairs at New York University, Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of 15 books. His most recent books are A Search for Common Ground: Conversations About the Toughest Questions in K-12 Education (Teachers College Press) with Rick Hess and City Schools and the American Dream: Still Pursuing the Dream (Teachers College Press) with Esa Syeed.

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Eloy Oakley
Chancellor, California Community Colleges

Eloy Ortiz Oakley is an American educator and a leading voice on improving equity in higher education. Growing up in the Mexican American neighborhoods of South East Los Angeles, Oakley’s experiences would shape his belief that quality education opportunities are a critical ingredient in achieving social and economic mobility.

Oakley was appointed Chancellor of the California Community Colleges in December, 2016. He leads the nation’s largest and most diverse system of higher education consisting of 116 colleges which serve more than 2.1-million students. Under his leadership the California community colleges are positioned as a vital source for maintaining global competitiveness of the California workforce. Through the implementation of innovative practices and policies the California Community Colleges have begun to close education attainment gaps and have prepared more Californians for the 21st Century economy. Oakley’s work includes the establishment of the California College Promise, the design and implementation of the systems’ strategic vision, the Vision for Success, the elimination of standardized testing, the reform of remedial education, the adoption of a student-centered funding formula and the launch of California’s first public fully online competency-based education college.

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Nkem Ogbechie
Head of Operations Strategic Planning, Risk, and Analytics, Amgen

Nkem Ogbechie is the Head of Operations Strategic Planning, Risk, and Analytics and is responsible for planning Amgen's internal network capacity and investments to enable the proper technology, platforms, and modalities for Amgen's commercial portfolio and pipeline of emerging products.

Nkem previously served as Global Product General Manager (GPGM) for the Bone Health franchise (comprised of Prolia® and EVENITY®), surpassing $3 billion in annual revenues. Nkem brings over 15 years of industry leadership as well as unique enterprise, portfolio, and product strategy experience. In addition, Nkem’s execution experience in biopharma spans therapeutic areas, drug development stages, and regions. Before his GPGM role, Nkem served as Amgen’s Head of Corporate Strategy where he led enterprise-wide strategic planning efforts and supported critically integrated actions across the portfolio, target disease areas, and key geographies. Nkem also served as Chief of Staff to the CEO and supported the CEO staff in the implementation of Amgen’s executive governance system, enabled resource allocation that connected strategy, transformation, and financial performance, and directed CEO regional operating reviews. Nkem joined Amgen in 2011 and led numerous mergers & acquisitions, licenses, collaborations, equity investments, and R&D agreements as a Transaction Lead in Business Development. Nkem joined Amgen following eight years in investment banking, starting with Goldman Sachs & Company in New York City as part of the healthcare finance group and then in mergers & acquisitions in Los Angeles. Nkem has a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University, an M.B.A. in Finance and Healthcare Management from Rice University, and a graduate certificate in Biotechnology Management from Harvard University. Nkem serves on the Board of Regents at California Lutheran University and is engaged in numerous mentoring and outreach opportunities in the greater Los Angeles area. Nkem and his wife, Angela, have three daughters and two sons and live in Santa Rosa Valley.

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Dr. Thomas Parham
President, California State University Dominguez Hills

Thomas A. Parham, Ph.D., is a family man who resides in the Southern California area with his wife, Davida. Dr. Parham is the 11th president of California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), a highly diverse, metropolitan university primarily serving the South Central and South Bay areas of Los Angeles County. Established in 1960, CSUDH is one of the 23 campuses that comprise the California State University system, the largest system of public higher education in the nation.

Dr. Parham previously served as vice chancellor of student affairs and an adjunct faculty member at the University of California, Irvine, where he had been since 1985. For the past 38-plus years, Dr. Parham has focused his research efforts in the area of psychological nigrescence and has authored or co-authored six books and 45-50 journal articles and book chapters. He has sustained a scholarly focus in the areas of racial identity development, African psychology and multicultural counseling. Dr. Parham grew up in Southern California and received his bachelor’s degree in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine, his master’s degree in counseling psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, and received his Ph.D. in counseling psychology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is licensed to practice psychology in California. In addition to his duties as president, Dr. Parham remains an active member of the community contributing his talents in the areas of social advocacy, community uplift and youth empowerment.

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Tracy Schwartz-Ward
Managing Principal, Schwartz Capital Group

Tracy Schwartz-Ward is a Partner of Schwartz Capital Group (SCG), a private investment firm and family office. Its platforms include Strand Equity, a growth-equity fund focused on emerging and dynamic consumer brands, direct real estate, minority investments in public and private businesses and OppLoans, a leading financial technology platform focused on financial inclusion.

Tracy serves on SCG’s Investment Committee and oversees the firm’s philanthropy. Previously, Tracy was Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of OppLoans. OppLoans has ranked as an Inc. 5000 company for five straight years and named the fourth fastest-growing Chicagoland company by Crain’s Chicago Business. Tracy began her career as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs. Her passion for social impact led her to Bangalore, India, where she worked with Unitus Labs to build the capacity of microfinance institutions. Tracy has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Tracy serves on the board of A Better Chicago and Northwestern’s Chemistry of Life Process Institute.

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David Shaheen III
Managing director & Group Head, J.P. Morgan Entertainment Industries & West Region

David Shaheen is a Managing Director and Head of J.P Morgan’s Entertainment Industries and West Region Corporate Client Banking Groups, which provides traditional banking services, investment banking solutions and international capabilities to private and public companies.

Based in J.P. Morgan’s Los Angeles office, Mr. Shaheen has been with the firm for over 25 years and has specialized in highly structured financings and advisory assignments for leading companies in film, television, digital media, music and exhibition globally. Key financial services provided to clients include loan syndications, public and private debt placements, public equity, asset-backed securitizations, derivatives, foreign exchange and other risk management products. Mr. Shaheen has led many of the industry’s most important financing and advisory assignments for Lionsgate, MGM Studios, Legendary Pictures, Amblin Partners, Concord Music Group, Skydance Media, and Entertainment One. Prior to moving to the Los Angeles office, he was part of the firm’s Investment Banking team in New York responsible for coverage of Diversified Industries and its leveraged buyout portfolio. Mr. Shaheen holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Anderson School at UCLA and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Boston College with a BA in Economics. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for nonprofit organizations City Year and America SCORES LA.

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Michelle Sobrino-Stearns
Chief Executive Officer, Variety/IndieWire

Michelle Sobrino-Stearns is the Chief Executive Officer for Variety & IndieWire. She is responsible for all revenue for the brands and manages the global sales and marketing teams. As Group Publisher she collaborateswith the editorial features department of both brands to develop more than 250 annual print and digital features and also oversees the development of all cross-platform initiatives, including the 50+ events and summits held annually.

Among her numerous innovations, she created Variety’s successful and prestigious “Power of Women” series, held twice a year in New York and Los Angeles. The invite-only luncheons honor influencers in entertainment and media that have contributed greatly to their chosen philanthropic organizations. Additionally, Sobrino-Stearns launched Variety’s multi-Emmy award-winning series “Actors on Actors” on PBS and serves as Executive in Charge of Production. Sobrino-Stearns joined Variety in 1997 and rose through the ranks from managing director of features to Associate Publisher to Publisher to her current role as Group Publisher/CRO. She is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles. She serves on the Executive Board of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

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Octavia Spencer
Producer & Academy Award-Winning Actress

One of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents, Octavia Spencer has become a familiar fixture in both television and the silver screen. Her performance as Minny in the DreamWorks feature film The Help won her the Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, SAG Award and Broadcast Film Critics’ Choice Award among numerous other accolades. She has since received two additional individual Academy Award nominations and recently served as an executive producer on the critically acclaimed drama, Green Book.

Spencer will next reprise her role as Poppy Parnell in the second season of Apple’s thriller, “Truth Be Told.” She also serves as an executive producer via her Orit Entertainment banner. Last year, Octavia starred in “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker.” Her performance earned her a nomination for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie” at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards as well as a nomination for the 52nd NAACP Image Awards in the category of “Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited–Series or Dramatic Special.” On the silver screen, Octavia will next be seen in Amazon Studios’ Encounter. She is currently filming Spirited, alongside Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell. Most recently, Spencer starred alongside Melissa McCarthy in the Netflix comedy Thunder Force. She also appeared in The Witches, Onward, and The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, Luce, and the psychological thriller Ma. In 2017, she starred in Guillermo del Toro’s Academy Award-winning fantasy drama, The Shape of Water. Among her many other professional achievements, Spencer has co-authored an interactive mystery series for children called Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective. Spencer is a native of Montgomery, Alabama and holds a BS in Liberal Arts from Auburn University. She currently resides in Los Angeles.

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Fernando Szew
CEO, MarVista Entertainment

Fernando Szew is Founding Partner and CEO of MarVista Entertainment (MVE), one of the world’s leading independent studios that creates, acquires and distributes content seen around the world.

Under Szew, MVE has become a fast-growing studio, producing over 2,500 hours of content and expanding its portfolio to a distribution footprint of over 125 global territories. MarVista is a preeminent supplier of content to U.S. platforms such as Disney, Lifetime, Hallmark, NBC Universal, Nickelodeon, BET, OWN and streamers Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Tubi and Pluto amongst others. Recent productions include the indie film Sightless, starring Riverdale’s Madelaine Petsch, the theatrical release Hunter Hunter, starring Devon Sawa and Nick Stahl. As well as the original Netflix movie Falling Inn Love and recent Top 10 Netflix release Midnight at the Magnolia. Prior to forming MarVista, Szew was Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Whamo Entertainment. As a native Argentinian, Szew brings a global perspective to MarVista, which transformed MVE from a distributor of third-party-produced programming to worldwide production and distribution. Szew serves on the Board of City Year LA and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Bentonville Film Festival. He is also a member of The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and a committee member of the Lincoln Center Corporate Fund and Media Council. Szew is a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE). Szew is an alumnus of the Huntsman International Studies and Business Program at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated cum laude from the Wharton School of Business.

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Kevin Westcott
Vice Chair, US Technology, Media, & Telecommunications Leader, Deloitte

Kevin is a vice chair and leads the US Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) practice of Deloitte; as well as serves as the global Telecommunications, Media and Entertainment (TME) practice leader. He has more than 30 years of experience in strategic and operational planning, as well as implementing global business change and technology projects for major TMT organizations. His industry experience spans film, television, home entertainment, broadcasting, telecommunications, over-the top video delivery, sports, publishing, licensing, and games.

During past client engagements, Kevin has worked on large scale M&A, transforming and implementing new business models, helping clients to monetize their assets, and assisting start ups to effectively enter the marketplace. Kevin leads industry projects for his clients across the TMT industry, both domestically and globally, including digital product strategy, distribution, and supply chain for TMT companies. Kevin is the lead for the Deloitte Digital Media Trends, an annual look at media consumption and speaks regularly on media and entertainment trends at Industry conferences. Kevin is also the author of Deloitte’s Digital Media Maturity Model and Deloitte’s Future of Home Entertainment. Kevin places a high importance on community involvement and works to support many civic and philanthropic organizations. Kevin is on the Board of Directors for City Year Los Angeles, a national organization focused on increasing the graduation rate for at-risk students and he also supports The United Way, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and Mending Children.

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National Strategic Partners
National Partners