2019 Women's Council & Awards (Recap)
June 20, 2019
J.W. Marriott L.A. Live
900 W. Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
The Los Angeles Business Journal has made a conscious commitment to recognize the impact of female business leaders in and around L.A. County. As we celebrate some of the most powerful women in Los Angeles, I think it’s worth noting a quote by another powerful woman — poet and activist Maya Angelou, who said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” The growth of this event is a reflection of the important roles women play in our business community.
On June 20, we celebrated women who are all responsible for moving our economy forward and pushing the boundaries of our modern workforce. This year’s event at the JW Marriott at LA Live was a day of inspiration, education and recognition. We welcomed more than 400 executives in the morning session. Discussion topics included Recognize Your Worth and Build Wealth, The Greater Good, The New Age of Entrepreneurship and Female Founders, Creating an Inclusive Culture, and Her-story. The afternoon portion, which more than 700 people attended, was highlighted by a powerful keynote presentation by City National Bank Chief Executive Kelly Coffey and a luncheon awards program where we honored achievements by powerful women who make a difference throughout Los Angeles. These remarkable honorees and finalists are profiled in these pages. Many thanks to our events team who helped to make this event possible, and once again, congratulations to the 2019 honorees.
CEO & Publisher
Chief Executive Officer,
City National Bank
Kelly Coffey is the chief executive officer of City National Bank, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). Coffey is only the fourth CEO in City National’s 65-year history. Prior to joining City National Bank, she served as the chief executive officer of J.P. Morgan’s U.S. Private Bank. She also spent more than 20 years at the firm’s investment bank, where she held a variety of leadership positions, including the head of diversified industrials investment banking, head of equity, foreign exchange and interest rate derivatives marketing, and head of corporate finance advisory in North America. She began her career in mergers and acquisitions and spent six years working in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She also chaired J.P. Morgan’s Reputation Risk Committee in North America and led the investment bank’s Women’s Network.
Beverly Hills Council Member
City of Beverly Hills
Currently serving her second term on the Beverly Hills City Council, the honorable Lili Bosse was originally elected to the Council in 2011. She previously served as Mayor in 2014, during the City’s Centennial year, and again in 2017. Bosse has served the community for over 25 years as chair and member of many commissions, committees, foundations and boards, among them the Planning Commission, Traffic and Parking Commission, Arts and Culture Commission, Beverly Hills Education Foundation, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Wexner Leadership Program, and as co-founder of The Visionary Women’s Organization.
Region Bank President, Consumer Banking
A 28-year veteran, Alice Juarez is region bank president for Wells Fargo’s Foothill Valley region. In this role, she oversees nearly 1,220 consumer banking team members across 73 branches in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. A proven Wells Fargo leader with expertise in working with multiple segments, she was instrumental in the development and leadership of Central California region’s Diversity Council whose efforts embrace and promote diversity and inclusion in all aspects of business.
STEFANIE J. LIPSON
Greenberg Glusker LLP
Stefanie J. Lipson’s practice focuses on providing families with counsel in all aspects of their personal legacy planning, including operation and succession planning for family owned businesses, tax efficient long term wealth transfer solutions, and funding and ongoing administration of family foundations. Lipson specializes in providing tax counsel for multi generational family owned businesses, real estate entrepreneurs and high profile entertainment industry figures. Her close relationships with her clients and her understanding of their businesses and wealth structure allow her to employ a holistic approach to addressing a client’s long term planning needs.
Kalika Yap is a thriving serial (concurrent) entrepreneur whose businesses include award-winning brand and digital agency Citrus Studios, based in Santa Monica; Luxe Link, the ultimate handbag accessory that keeps women’s purses off the floor; and Orange & Bergamot, her latest startup offering a tribe and digital marketing for female founders. Her goal? 1M female entrepreneurs changing the world! Yap is also the host of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) podcast, Wonder - one of the top seven podcasts for women entrepreneurs according to Inc.
Michelson Found Animals
With over a decade of groundbreaking work creating solutions for companion animals and their owners, Aimee Gilbreath is a global leader and authority on pets at the intersection of policy, innovation, and research. Gilbreath left her consulting career to help launch Michelson Found Animals where she delivered $15 million in research funding, founded a prize and grants program, and developed proprietary pet technologies that boast millions of customers. Today, Gilbreath is a leader in the national policy discussion around pets in society and is spearheading research on the vital impacts pets have on human health and social issues.
LISE L. LUTTGENS
Girls Scouts of Greater Los Angeles
Lise L. Luttgens was appointed the first chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA), assuming her role when the six Los Angeles-area legacy Girl Scout councils merged in December 2008. Since then, Luttgens has brought a renewed sense of growth and stability to the movement and a strong sense of community and collaboration to the council. She leads a strategic vision for a reinvigorated Girl Scout presence in greater Los Angeles and is keenly focused on building a strong, passionate council that effectively serves the 47,000-girl and 25,000-adult membership.
HEATHER COOPER ORTNER
President & CEO
Alzheimer’s Los Angeles
Heather Cooper Ortner joined Alzheimer’s Los Angeles as President & CEO in Fall 2017. Since that time, she has worked with the Board of Directors and team of dedicated staff to spread the organization’s mission to improve the lives of local families affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia by increasing awareness, delivering effective programs and services, providing compassionate support, and advocating for quality care and a cure. She is a highly respected nonprofit leader, recognized for bringing an entrepreneurial spirit to the healthcare arena.
DR. LOIS M. SHELTON
Professor of Management
California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
Lois M. Shelton earned a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University. A Professor of Management at California State University, Northridge’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics and an Affiliated Professor in the Doctoral School of the Grenoble Ecole de Management, she focuses on firm growth and minority and women’s entrepreneurship in her research. She has published articles in leading academic journals and was named Co-Editor of the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research.
SHANNON O. SULLIVAN
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, California Southland Chapter
As executive director of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) California Southland Chapter, Shannon O. Sullivan brings the organization’s cancer cure and care mission to life across Greater Los Angeles. A native of Pasadena, Sullivan formerly served as chief development officer of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global nonprofit that seeks to protect children from life-threatening injuries caused by car crashes, fires, drowning and falls. She also led fundraising initiatives at the National Parkinson Foundation and Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure.
Director of the UCLA Anderson Venture Accelerator
UCLA Anderson School of Management
Trish Halamandaris returned to UCLA Anderson in 2017 as the Director of the Venture Accelerator at UCLA Anderson. The Accelerator provides a six-month curated program for early stage startups to translate their entrepreneurial visions into innovative solutions. Halamandaris is an award-winning chief marketing officer whose career has included Disney, Electronic Arts, and Procter & Gamble. Most recently, she was head of cloud marketing for Amazon’s Games, and previously was CMO for XPRIZE.
Tamra Johnson is the COO of FlexTeam, which provides on demand business projects, including market research, competitive analysis, financial models/ analysis, and business strategy. Johnson is passionate about increasing opportunities for experienced professional women to remain engaged while having families, as well as increasing the amount of capital being invested in female entrepreneurs.
CEO & Founder
An award-winning PR agency executive and entrepreneur, Wendy Watson has more than two decades of experience creating programs that spark cultural conversation, drive consumer engagement and positively impact the bottom line. Throughout her career, she has directed campaigns for the world’s most well known companies including Anheuser Busch, Disney, Hewlett Packard, Marriott, Mattel, Mercedes-Benz, MGM, Nissan, Procter & Gamble, Qualcomm and Verizon. Watson founded Clearstream Agency in 2015 and her fast-growing firm has been recognized for its innovative and pioneering work in the area of artificial intelligence.
RSM US LLP
Dara Castle is the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area Offices managing partner and is the national leader of RSM’s government contracting practice. As the market leader, she is responsible for the culture, growth and strategy of the four Washington area offices and developing employees to have deep industry expertise and to be first choice advisors to the middle market, globally. As the leader of RSM’s Women’s Initiative, Castle focuses on the retention and advancement of RSM women through the STAR employee network group. This work includes leading the strategy and development of programs and initiatives that address gender diversity in RSM’s workplace, workforce, community and marketplace.
DR. BETTY URIBE
Executive Vice President
California Bank & Trust
Dr. Betty Uribe is the Executive Vice President at California Bank & Trust, where she leads Commercial and Personal Banking throughout Southern California. With three decades in the financial industry, she is recognized as a top financial expert in her field. A recognized authority on the psychology of leadership, organizational turnarounds, and peak performance, she has been honored consistently for her strategic intellect and humanitarian endeavors.
Theresa Vevea is the Managing Director of LAX, overseeing airport operations at the airline’s Los Angeles hub. LAX is home to more than 7,300 American Airlines team members, and on peak days, the airline operates more than 200 daily flights from the hub to 70 destinations on five continents. Vevea’s strong background in large airline operations includes more than 20 years of industry experience. She started with American as a Flight Attendant Trainer in 1990 and worked her way up through various leadership positions.
Stephanie Wiggins is the Chief Executive Officer of Metrolink, a regional commuter railroad serving six Southern California counties with nearly 10 million annual boardings operating over 538 route miles with a budget of $793 million. Wiggins is a native Californian who traveled the world as the daughter of a career military father. After re-settling in her home state, Wiggins began working on a temporary assignment with the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority and fell in love with the mission of public transit. Wiggins has also held management positions at the Riverside County Transportation Authority and at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) where she rose to be Deputy CEO.
President & CEO
Information Management Resources
Founder, President & CEO
Martha Daniel is the Founder, President and CEO of Cytellix and its parent company, Information Management Resources, Inc. (IMRI). Daniel is responsible for successfully deploying network security and asset management solutions to local, national, and international organizations of every size in a wide range of industries including financial services, healthcare, biotech, education, logistics and manufacturing.
After a decade-long successful career within the financial industry, Nilou Ghodsi took a leap of faith to pursue her dream to open a store that would essentially become a bigger version of her own closet. In 2004, she opened a curated high-end women’s boutique located on Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice. Heist caters to the worldly woman who wants to explore and celebrate her individual sense of style by avoiding trends. Ghodsi’s keen eye for discovering emerging talent has garnered her a fiercely loyal niche clientele whom she lovingly refers to as “repeat offenders.”
Founder & CEO
Virgin Raw Foods
Monika Kozdrowiecka, CEO and health advocate, founded Virgin Raw Foods in 2009. Virgin Raw Foods was built on a heritage of locally sourced food at the farm where she visited her dear grandmother. What started as a personal journey of selfhealing turned into the development of Virgin Raw Foods and Bee Panacea. Bee Panacea is raw honey made from 20 of the most powerful, detoxifying and healing herbs from around the world. The creation of Bee Panacea took a great deal of research, countless meetings with herbalists and other medical professionals and travel to over 36 countries from Asia to Europe to South America.
Founder & Owner
Chickie’s Bail Bonds
Chickie Leventhal has been part of the California bail bond industry from the late 1960s, when she was first employed as secretary of a surety insurance company. In 1984, at the age of 50, Leventhal created Chickie’s Bail Bonds, a boutique bail bond agency catering to the needs of criminal defense attorneys and their clients, unique not only in its concept but also due to the fact that prior to Leventhal, bail had been a male-only profession. She is appreciated for her expertise, compassion and dedication, ever mindful that an innocent person should not remain in custody and that the accused are innocent until declared guilty by the court.
STACY D. PHILLIPS
Blank Rome LLP
Stacy D. Phillips is a partner in the Matrimonial and Family Law Practice of Blank Rome LLP in the Los Angeles office. She represents a wide variety of highnet-worth and celebrity clients as they undergo the significant and often difficult transitions involved in divorce and custody issues. In practice for more than 30 years, Phillips is known for her skilled persuasion, adept negotiation, aggressive advocacy, and compassion. She is most proud of the Adopt-A-Center Program, which she founded in 1999 to recognize a deserving local non-profit organization that helps children and families in Los Angeles.
TARYN ROSE, MD
Taryn Rose International
CEO & Co-Founder
Enrico Cuini and ALIA Technology
Dr. Taryn Rose is an orthopedic surgeon who became a shoe designer in order to give women shoes that felt good as well as looked good. Her vision for comfortmeets-fashion was disruptive in 1998 when she created the salon comfort niche in the shoe industry. Dr. Rose grew her business to $40 million before selling to private equity just before the great recession of 2008. Currently Dr. Rose is launching a new brand of footwear and technology with her partner, Enrico Cuini. Their patented technology ALIA provides a dynamic “smart” support for all shoes but is so lightweight and low profile it can be used even in stilettos.
ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR
Laura McHolm - NorthStar Moving Company
CEO OF THE YEAR
Rachel S. Moore - The Music Center
EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR
Dr. Helen Easterling Williams - Pepperdine University
RISING STAR OF THE YEAR
Rebecca Sadwick - Strategica Partners
PHILANTHROPIST OF THE YEAR
Melanie Lundquist - Partnership for Los Angeles Schools
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Christine Deschaine - Kennedy Wilson
Kelly Fisher Katz - John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Maria Salinas - Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Alyce Morris Winston - The Jeffrey Foundation
Lise L. Luttgens - Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles
For the list of Finalists:
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