Jonathan Larsen learned a new kind of dance in East Africa.

The Transwestern executive managing director in downtown Los Angeles took his four children and wife, Barbara, with President Reagan’s son Michael Reagan and his wife, Colleen, to Kenya and Tanzania for a 12-day vacation last month. The group visited one of the continent’s most well-known tribes, the Masai, and they brought school supplies and clothes to the remote village.

The tribal chief and some members greeted them with a customary dance, which involves jumps as high as 4 feet. But they quickly learned they wouldn’t be just observers.

“The chief got me and my boys to join them,” Larsen, 51, laughed. “We were trying to get to their (jumping) height…. They were joking that I only got about 6 inches off the ground.”

Success Story

Elinor Lester has overcome more than a couple of obstacles on her way up.

In 1994, she dropped out of college, and the next year she became a single mother. In 2005, she finally finished college, but needed to find a job right away because she’d been living on student loan money. She took what she thought was a dead-end job as a data-entry clerk at SA Recycling.

“I thought, I’m just going to do this while I find a job I want to do,” said Lester, 39.

She’s been there nearly six years. But now Lester sees herself staying for the long haul with the company, which exports scrap metal to Asia for recycling.

She was promoted to port manager last month. She now oversees operations and 150 employees at SA Recycling’s terminal at the Port of Los Angeles.

“All these obstacles I had, it’s made me a better person and a good mother and a very hard worker,” she said. “And it’s paid off.”

Net Gains

Entertainment attorney Larry Stein doesn’t stop dealing with stars when he checks out of the office on Friday afternoon.

Stein, 67, plays in a weekend beach volleyball game with the likes of Gary Sato, a coach of the U.S. men’s volleyball team, as well as numerous former and current professionals who are stars of the game.

A friend introduced him to the Santa Monica game about 10 years ago. But Stein had to wait on the sidelines for about a year and a half before getting his turn to play in the competitive game.

Now he’s a regular, playing backcourt while some of the younger players take to the net.

“I’m 5 feet, 9 inches and have zero hops,” Stein explained.

And when he’s on the court with Sato, the lawyer’s not the one giving counsel.

“He always tells me what to do,” he said. “And I listen.”

Staff reporters Jacquelyn Ryan, James Rufus Koren and Jonathan Polakoff contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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