Question: You were the first woman to be named head of the Central City Association. Was there any resistance?
Answer: There was a little, yes. After all, this was the quintessential good old boys club for decades. With few exceptions, it was all men. But this was 1995 and we were in the depths of the worst recession since the Great Depression. We were hemorrhaging members as Fortune 500 companies were leaving. We had almost no reserves and real doubts about whether we could continue as a going concern. When the times are tough, people who have worked hard and proven their effectiveness, as I had, can rise to the top.
Q: What did you do to turn the organization around?
A: First, we had to step up our advocacy efforts, making sure we pushed measures that would help the business climate and stand up against those who would harm it. But, there was something else that was missing: a vision of what a revitalized downtown would look like. Not only was there no vision, but also I found I had to make people believe it could be done. Believe me, there were a lot of naysayers who said downtown was finished.
Q: What were the main ingredients that were needed to make this happen?
A: To revitalize downtown, we first looked at what other downtowns were doing. We toured Denver, Philadelphia and Manhattan. Whatever they had done that worked had to be molded and adapted to Los Angeles.
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