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New Leaders Council

2016 Fellows

Sylvia Abdullah, Reproductive Health Advocate

Sylvia AbdullahSylvia Abdullah is a creative nonprofit program manager experienced in social issue advocacy, communications, fundraising and events planning. She recently moved to Los Angeles and is volunteering as a Job Placement Associate with the International Rescue Committee.

She was born and raised in New York City and graduated from Barnard College with a degree in history and human rights. She went on to work for several years at the Charles H. Revson Foundation, where she was most recently an Assistant Program Officer focusing on raising awareness about the role of local public libraries in the 21st century and running a fellowship program for postdoctoral researchers in biomedical science.

In her free time, Sylvia is enjoying the sun and trying new cuisines as she explores Los Angeles.


Chris Alves, Co-Founder of WeAreGiants / Co-Founder of Eagle Rock Yacht Club

Chris AlvesChris Alves is co-founder of WeAreGiants, a creative agency born in 2009 and based in Downtown Los Angeles. WeAreGiants’ highest priority is to identify the essence of a brand and to expose it in a clever, effective, and comprehendible way, and they do so by working with companies who are interested in brand building, digital marketing, and killer websites. While wearing the many hats required to run a small creative shop, Chris heads up creative strategy, general operations, and client relations at WeAreGiants. The team keeps things fun with jumping hi-fives, weekly BBQs, and ping-pong pick-ups.

Chris has worked with a range of reputable businesses such as Red Bull, Sidecar, Umami Burger as well as more civically-minded projects like the community outreach campaign for the L.A. Streetcar, marketing engagements for Jose Huizar’s Bringing Back Broadway, Pershing Square Renew, and the Los Angeles Public Library. Prior to founding WeAreGiants, Chris graduated from the Art Institute of Los Angeles in 2003 and was an art director at TBWA Chiat/Day with a focus on print, branding, and strategy. In that role he worked with many highly regarded clients like Nissan, Infiniti, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Playstation.

Chris has a deep love for community building and playing dodgeball so in 2008, he fused the two when he co-founded The Eagle Rock Yacht Club. ERYC is a non-profit adult dodgeball league with chapters in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and Detroit. Through dodgeball, The Yacht Club hopes to inspire its members to pursue the common good via civic service, relationships with rec centers, and our youth.


Teni Ayo-Ariyo, Community Advocate

Teni Ayo-AriyoTeni Ayo-Ariyo is passionate about helping mission driven individuals and organizations reach their optimal potential. In her dream world, social impact, innovation, and business strategy go hand in hand.

Teni currently works as a Management Trainee of HR at Zenith Insurance Company, where she spearheads the Career Development Task Force, and national internship programs. Outside of work, she spends her time mentoring, and volunteering with the South Central Scholars and Riordan Programs, two nonprofit organizations that contribute to the success of LAUSD high school students. She currently sits on the South Central Scholars alumni board, where she drives networking and community building amongst the organization’s growing alumni population. One of the philosophies she lives by is to "Focus not on what you get out of the world, but what you bring into the world." In April of 2015, she launched SEEDS, a pilot group consulting program that empowers women of color entrepreneurs by developing their individual projects, ideas, and visions. She is currently expanding the SEEDS program to impact more communities in the Los Angeles area.

Teni is a Los Angeles “native,” by way of Lagos, Nigeria, where she lived until the age of 9. She received a bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Women/Gender Studies from Dartmouth College, and has since relocated to Los Angeles to avoid New England winters at all cost. She is falling in love with Los Angeles all over again, and in her spare time you can find her hiking, visiting farmers markets, or dancing somewhere.


Robbie Bellamy, Senior Policy Specialist

Robbie BellamyRobbie Bellamy currently works as a Senior Policy Specialist with Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a labor union of almost 1.9 million workers, where he develops and analyzes public policy on the national higher education campaign. This includes tacking the student debt crisis and supporting federal regulations that produce better student and faculty outcomes.

Robbie recently graduated from Loyola University College of Law where he was a Student Attorney in the Workplace Justice Law Clinic, litigating on behalf of indigent and undocumented workers in wage and hour claims and breach of contract settlements, while also completing internships with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center.

An as advocate for social justice and quality education he spends his time engaging in labor organizing drives, community outreach, and representing shareholder educational interests as a board member on the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council.

In his spare time, Robbie loves to travel and cheer on the Green Bay Packers.


Carlo de la Cruz, Milken Institute

Carlo De La CruzCarlo De La Cruz works at the Milken Institute’s California Center, a non-profit economic think tank, addressing affordability issues throughout the state through public policy and research. His work focuses on workforce development, regional governance, and the job-housing-transit balance through the institute’s San Francisco Bay Area based advocacy effort. Prior to returning to Los Angeles to be closer to family, he spent the last ten years in the Bay Area working with community non-profits, foundations and local government addressing issues related to poverty, affordable housing, urban governance and voting rights.

A longtime advocate of Asian-American and LGBT issues, Carlo has pushed for greater inclusion and access for low-income and communities of color within cities and public institutions. Most recently he managed and published a joint research initiative with the Association of Bay Area Government and Resources for Community Development analyzing the environmental and economic benefits of combing affordable housing with transit.

Currently, he serves as the co-chair for the Lacuna Giving Circle, a democratic philanthropic fund committed to giving and raising money for non-profits serving the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community.

A double graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Carlo received his Master’s in City Planning and B.A. in Asian American Studies and History of Art. Carlo is an avid cyclist and hiker of National Parks; most weekends, you can find him on two wheels or in the hills.


Devon Dickau, Human Capital Consultant

Devon Dickau.pngDevon Dickau is an impassioned social impact strategist and activist, working across sectors to leverage media and technology to make the world a better place. Devon began his career teaching and community organizing around HIV/AIDS and sexual health for an NGO in Tanzania, before focusing on American higher education. At UCLA, Devon co-founded a department aimed to serve the needs of diverse and first-generation families of college undergraduates, and at Harvard he managed a public service fellowship serving children in New York City. More recently, Devon worked as a social impact researcher, strategist, and campaign manager for documentary filmmakers, nonprofits, and philanthropists. His clients included award-winning documentary film “Bully,” actor Tobey Maguire, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and the viral video “Caine’s Arcade” – for which Devon helped to launched the first-ever Global Cardboard Challenge, sparking a movement of youth-driven creativity and innovation around the world.

In June, Devon completed his M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where he focused on corporate strategy and social entrepreneurship. In February 2016, Devon will begin work as a Senior Human Capital Consultant for Deloitte, focusing on social innovation, leadership development, and diversity and inclusion.

Originally from San Diego, CA, Devon graduated from UCLA with Honors and magna cum laude with a B.A. in American Literature & Culture and Film Studies and holds a M.Ed. in Technology, Innovation & Education from Harvard University, where he was elected by peers to serve as Class Marshal. In his free time, Devon practices mindful living, appreciates art, hikes, sips tea, absorbs podcasts, travels, takes photos, samples local vegan cuisine, and cheers on the UCLA Bruins.


Liliana Funes, Dean at KIPP Ignite Academy

Liliana FunesLiliana Funes is a Los Angeles native and currently the founding Dean at KIPP Ignite Academy a new STEAM-based elementary school in South Central Los Angeles. Previous to her current role, Liliana taught at KIPP Comienza Community Prep Elementary School in Huntington Park, where she served as a teacher leader for kindergarten to third grade. She provided instructional coaching for apprentice teachers, created and facilitated on-boarding sessions for staff, and served as a grade level lead. Prior to joining KIPP LA, Liliana completed her two-year commitment as a teacher with Teach for America in New York City. There she was a grade level lead, and was elected to be in the School’s Leadership Team where she was responsible for reviewing school wide goals. Furthermore, Liliana is a founding staff member of the Teach For All summer institute in México, called Enseña Por México, where she facilitated sessions on curriculum design regarding instruction, curriculum development, and classroom management. This program provides high quality education to low-income neighborhoods in the city and rural areas of Puebla.

Liliana received her Dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Spanish from Loyola Marymount University, and a Master of Science in Elementary Education with a Bilingual/Dual Language extension from Bank Street College.

During her free time, Liliana volunteers with the Listen Feel Dance collective that provides free to low-cost salsa classes in hope to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual health through music and dance. She serves as the Day of Service Coordinator, and organizes salsa students to volunteer in Los Angeles as part of their commitment to their 10-week sessions. Liliana also enjoys running half-marathons, boxing, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her family.


Nora Gilbert, Union of Concerned Scientists

Nora Gilbert.pngNora Gilbert is the Food System Policy Researcher for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy organization. In addition to her role at UCS, she currently coordinates special projects for former New York Times columnist, Mark Bittman. Most recently, Nora served as the researcher for California Matters, a short film series for the New York Times highlighting innovative food and agriculture research across the state. During graduate school at UC Berkeley, she worked at the Berkeley Food Institute in addition to holding positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she worked on President Obama’s Promise Zones Initiative, and at PolicyLink, where she worked on healthy food access projects. Prior to graduate school, Nora worked at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where she coordinated healthy food access programming and evaluation in various food retail settings across the city.

Nora received dual Master's degrees in Public Health and City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley, with a specialty in Public Health Nutrition. She earned her B.A. in Sociology from Wesleyan University in 2010. Nora is a native Angeleno and is excited to spend her free time exploring LA after too many years (and winters) away.


Matthew González, Leadership for Education Equity (LEE)

Matthew GonzálezMatthew González currently works as Manager of Program Data and Evaluation for Leadership for Education Equity (LEE), a national non-profit that trains current and former teachers in policy advocacy, civic leadership, and community organizing. In this role, he leverages data analytics to ensure LEE’s programming provides members what they need to locally advocate for students and their communities.

Prior to working at LEE, Matthew taught for three years as a Teach For America Corps Member and Fulbright Fellow. Frustrated by the systemic barriers his students faced, he left teaching to pursue a Master’s of Public Policy at USC. While at USC, he led a team in establishing the Price Graduate Summer Internship Fund (GSIF). In its first year, GSIF provided $15,000 in scholarships to support graduate students at USC’s Price School of Public Policy taking unpaid summer internships.

After graduating from USC, Matthew worked as an Education Pioneers Graduate Fellow at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. In this role, he leveraged data analytics to evaluate the Partnership’s restorative justice program and identify strategies for improvement. When Matthew isn’t nerding out over excel spreadsheets and logic models, you can find him recharging on a hike or surfing.


Denice Gonzalez-Kim, School on Wheels

Denice Gonzalez-KimDenice Gonzalez-Kim serves as the Development and Partnerships Associate for School on Wheels, a nonprofit that works to enhance the K-12 educational opportunities for homeless children – children living in shelters, motels, downtown hotels, group foster homes, cars, or on the streets.

Denice serves as the President of the Riordan Programs Alumni Association Board of Directors, whose mission is to honor the Riordan legacy by supporting its members as they pursue their educational, professional, and charitable endeavors while making a positive impact on the community. She also serves on the Los Angeles Junior of Chamber Commerce Board of Directors, which strives to empower young professionals through professional enrichment, leadership development and community service.

She provides a wealth of experiences that were cultivated through her participation in the Forté Foundation MBALaunch Program, the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), HOPE Leadership Institute (HLI), the Riordan Leadership Institute (RLI), and the UCLA Anderson School of Management MBA Riordan Fellows program. She received her B.A. from UCLA in Global Studies with a minor in Public Affairs.

She enjoys hiking with her husband and golfing with friends through the Latina Golfers Association (LGA).


Abigail Greenspan, Trial Attorney

Abigail GreenspanAbigail Greenspan is a passionate public servant who has extensive experience in federal, regional and local government. Abigail serves as a Trial Attorney for the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”). Abigail is the Team Lead for defensive litigation for HUD Region IX (Arizona, California Hawaii and Nevada) and specializes in federal ethics, fair housing, personnel and foreclosure cases. Prior to her litigation role, Abigail served as an Attorney-Advisor and Legal Honors at HUD where she closed more than $268 million in FHA insured mortgage transactions for residential real estate and health care facilities.

Abigail previously served as the Planning Deputy for City of Los Angeles Councilmember Wendy Greuel in 2005-07. She assisted Councilmember Greuel in obtaining $1 million of Proposition K funds to acquire 80 acres of open space in the Verdugo Mountains for permanent public use and in revising the Rent Stabilization Ordinance to prevent partial building evictions. During college, Abigail worked for the City of Beverly Hills and the Southern California Association of Governments.

Abigail is a proud graduate of the University of Southern California (“USC”). At USC Gould School of Law, she earned the prestigious Shattuck Award for her outstanding contributions to public service, student programs, legal scholarship and general quality of life at the law school. Abigail was the 2009-10 Managing Editor of the Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice and a Mentor for Transfer Students. Abigail continues to be active at USC Gould School of Law by serving as an Alumni Ambassador and holding the role of Co-Chair of the 2010 Class Reunion. Abigail also graduated Magna Cum Laude from USC with a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy, Management and Planning and Minor in Cinema-Television. She was honored as a Dean Scholar of the School of Policy, Planning and Development and USC Renaissance Scholar.

Jacky Guerrero, Reinvent Communications

Jacky GuerreroJacky believes that a person’s race, gender, sexuality and or class should not determine what they can achieve in life. Moreover, she believes that local, state and federal policies should be shaped to improve the lives of low-income people of color. She firmly believes that this and future generations can correct historical inequities by shaping public policies in an inclusive and comprehensive manner if we organize together.

Jacky is the Senior Campaign Manager with Reinvent Communications, a social impact firm based out of Los Angeles that partners with philanthropic institutions, select non-profit organizations, impact-minded individuals, and civic-oriented companies to connect the dots in order to advance lasting social change.

As a former Bohnett Fellow working in the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, she was part of the launch team in the Office of Economic Development to establish President Obama’s Promise Zone efforts in Los Angeles. She also published an extensive report examining the effectiveness of the turf removal rebate policy in Los Angeles City Council District 3 for the Office of Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. In addition, as Program Associate with the Liberty Hill Foundation, she managed the Foundation’s LGBTQ portfolio that directed more funds to organizations using intersectional frameworks, and strengthened the foundation’s signature capacity building program.

On her personal time, Jacky sits on the Board for the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats and works with Los Angeles’ Women Impact Collective. For fun, Jacky enjoys finding and selling vintage items, catching up on all the latest television shows and spending time with her partner, friends and family. She graduated with a Masters in Public Policy from the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California Los Angeles and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the California State University Northridge.


Stella Kim, CA Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Stella KimStella Kim is the Senior Manager of Community Advocacy at the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), a state-wide policy organization advocating for health equity.

She was born and raised in Southern California, growing up in the city of Santa Ana. Stella comes from a family of immigrants and is accustomed to hearing a mix of many languages as her grandparents were born in Japan, her father was raised in Mexico City, and she is Korean-American.

She first experienced movement building as a student organizer at UC Berkeley working on a campaign against school budget cuts. At the time, she had no formal knowledge of the power and theory behind community organizing, but the campaign kick-started her personal and professional commitment to fight for social equity and justice.

Stella is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Prior to CPEHN, she worked as the Western Director of Strategic Campaigns at Young Invincibles and advanced statewide policies and legislation to fight poverty at the Center for Community Change’s California Partnership project. She also was selected as an Economic Justice Fellow with the Women’s Policy Institute in 2010 and worked as a graduate policy fellow at the AFL-CIO’s Washington D.C. headquarters in 2013.


Bali Kumar, Attorney at Proskauer Rose LLP

Bali Kumar.pngBali Kumar is an attorney at the global law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP, where he practices labor and employment law. Aside from his client commitments, Bali also serves as the co-chair of the Proskauer Black Lawyer Affinity Group, serves on the Proskauer Diversity Steering Committee, and sits on the board of directors of The Associates’ Committee, a non-profit organization.

Bali became very politicized while studying Ethnic Studies at Brown University. He also served as a Minority Peer Counselor, counseling his undergraduate peers on issues of race, class, gender and sexuality. While pursuing his Master’s degree at the London School of Economics, his undergraduate experience inspired his dissertation on the double glass ceiling faced by women of color in the workplace. Later, as a management consultant, he helped found and lead the company’s first ever diversity affinity group, which provided important networking and mentorship opportunities to all employees. Bali continued to work on behalf of marginalized communities while at Berkeley Law. He founded, supported, and led many organizations and also advocated on behalf of students of color and other first generational professionals.

For Bali, the law is a means to learn more about corporate governance and also to collaborate with policymakers on issues that could help level the playing field for communities of color and other disadvantaged groups. His pro bono work with the Innocence Project and the Clemency Project demonstrates his commitment to underserved groups.

Bali has developed progressive communities in many places before settling down in LA: he was born and raised in Spanish Harlem and then spent 3 years in Massachusetts, 3 years in Rhode Island, 5 years in London, and 3 years in Oakland. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling (33 countries and counting!), beach volleyball, and karaoke.


Hyeran Lee, Urban Planner

Hyeran LeeHyeran Lee is an urban planner, active transportation specialist, activist, and avid bicycle advocate with experience in data analysis, visual communication, community organizing, and program development. Hyeran was born and raised in Gwangju, South Korea, and has previously lived in Osaka, Japan, where her love affair with two wheels began. In 2011, two years after graduating her college, Hyeran moved to Los Angeles to pursue Master's degree in urban planning. She continued her inherited car-free lifestyle even in one of the most car-centric cities in the United States. It did not take so long for her to realize how built environment have huge impacts on our safety, public health, environmental issues, economic development, social justice, and many more chronic urban issues and how bicycles could be an effective tool to solve these problems.

Hyeran currently works at Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition as a Policy & Outreach Coordinator. Her role in LACBC is to organize local and regional campaigns with advocates and volunteers to make streets in LA safer and better place to walk and bike. Before joining the LACBC staff, she had been a LACBC Policy & Planning intern since 2012 and also served as the Advocacy Chair for the Bike Coalition at UCLA, a local chapter of LACBC, where she led several bike programs, events, and campaigns to promote safe bicycling in UCLA. Hyeran earned a Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA in 2014, with a specialization in active transportation planning and policy. She holds a B.E in Environmental Engineering from Osaka University.

On her spare time, she likes going for a group ride with friends to explore the city on two wheels. She has never driven a car in her life and has no plan to do so.


Ishraq Ali, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition

Ishraq AliIshraq Ali is the Membership Manager at the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition; an organization that engages cyclists of all ethnic and socio economic backgrounds to make LA an equitable place to ride. Ishraq brings his love of technology and community organizing towards building an inclusive and strong base of riders and advocates. When he moved out to LA, Ishraq was intentional to leave his car behind and navigate LA solely on bicycle and public transit. As a result, Ishraq breathes the motto- #bikeLA

Prior to LACBC, Ishraq was an organizer at NationBuilder, where he worked with nonprofits and advocacy organizations on best practices of integrating their web presence, social media and data to achieve their mission and goals.

Hailing from the east coast, Ishraq earned his M.A. in International Relations & Religion in 2011 and graduated with a B.A. in International Relations in 2008 both from Boston University. His travels abroad in Turkey, Jordan, Israel & Bangladesh have shaped his belief in the centrality of community.

He served as a fellow and later a facilitator for Bend the Arc’s Community Organizing Residency program in 2011, a fellowship that trained and guided grassroots organizers across nonprofits nationwide. He was also a fellow in the National American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute in 2013, a program that trained Muslim leaders on effective leadership development and civic growth. In his time outside of LACBC, Ishraq spends his time serving the Muslim community. He is on the board for the Zawiya Perspective- a Muslim meditation group that emphasizes spirituality, service and community for all spiritual seekers.


Lucerito Oritz, National Council of La Raza

Lucerito OrtizLucerito Ortiz, daughter of immigrant parents from Guatemala and Mexico, has always been incredibly passionate about issues of social justice and educational access and equity. Lucerito currently serves as the Escalera Manager for the National Council of La Raza, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. Lucerito oversees the program development and implementation of Escalera: Taking Steps to Success, a college and career readiness program that supports predominantly low income, first generation students across the country.

She previously served as a Senior Admissions Officer at Harvard College, where she Co-Directed the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program and the Tour Guide Program. While at Harvard, Lucerito ran an educational summer camp for youth in Boston, oversaw national outreach and recruitment efforts for students of color, served on a faculty committee for First-Generation College Student issues, served as a staff advisor for various Latino organizations, and was highly involved in issues of diversity and inclusion. She recently served as an Education Pioneers Fellow and Consultant at The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, conducting research and analysis on leadership development and human capital strategy.

Lucerito holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies with a minor in Psychology from Harvard College, and a master’s in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. life.


Kelly Osajima, Voter Engagement Manager for Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Kelly OsajimaKelly Osajima is the Voter Engagement Manager for Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, the largest civil rights organization in the nation for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI). She leads Advancing Justice's voter registration, education, and get out the vote program to strengthen the progressive political voice of the Southern California AANHPI community.

Kelly realized her passion for fighting for social change while attending UCLA and witnessing an unprecedented tuition increase of 32% her second year of college. As the Campus Organizing Director for UCLA's student government, she led direct actions, lobbied, and built coalitions to successfully advocate for a tuition freeze, the Middle Class Scholarship, and the California Dream Act. She was elected Budget Committee Chair for the UC Student Association Board of Directors in 2011 and developed the first student-led campaign to fight for long-term revenue solutions to California’s budget crisis.

After graduating, she served as a political organizer for Evolve, a grassroots non-profit working to reform Proposition 13 to make corporations pay their fair share in property taxes and fund public education. There, she helped convince hundreds of local elected officials to join the movement to reform Prop 13, started an internship for student activists, and built up a donor base of 13,000 people throughout the Bay Area.

In her spare time, Kelly enjoys singing, running, and blogging about her harrowing adventures as a twenty-something navigating post-grad life.


David Radcliff, Writer and Educator

David RadcliffA native of Omaha, Nebraska, David Radcliff holds a B.A. from USC and an M.F.A. from UCLA. Born with cerebral palsy, he seeks to illuminate disability as an often overlooked or undervalued aspect of diversity in popular culture and in professional life. He has spoken on subjects concerning disability, diversity, and inclusion for audiences at the Kennedy Center, AFI SilverDocs, the Annenberg Innovation Lab, and the Writers Guild of America, among others.

David is a member of the Committee for Writers with Disabilities at the Writers Guild of America, West, where he joins in efforts to promote and celebrate diversity in film and television. For three years, he served as Production Coordinator for the Media Access Awards, a multi-guild industry event recognizing authentic and powerful depictions of disability in media. He is also an expert judge for the Sentinel Awards, a yearly program of the Norman Lear Center that honors innovative and accurate depictions of health, science, and climate change topics.

In addition to teaching writing to students ranging in age from 6 to 68, David has developed creative work and copy for a wide variety of businesses and causes, including the Walt Disney Company, Jewish Family Services of Los Angeles, the It’s Our Story Initiative, and the Milken Foundation’s Celebration of Science. He also proudly volunteers with Reading to Kids and with Minds Matter of Los Angeles.

David has been a finalist for the Disney Writing Program and for the Sundance Episodic Story Lab. He received the Lloyd Greif Entrepreneurial Prize at USC, the George Burns & Gracie Allen Writing Fellowship at UCLA, and top honors at the Austin Film Festival.


Karla Salazar, LA County Federation of Labor

Karla Salazar.pngKarla Salazar is currently the Director of Strategic Initiatives with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL CIO. Her responsibilities consist of affiliate engagement, local union mobilization, political campaigns, lobbying, and growing the labor movement in L.A. County.

She previously worked with AFSCME International for the past 7 years, one of the largest public sector unions in the nation and in the AFL CIO. In this capacity, she followed the political activity in the region, assessed candidate's viability, lobbied, conducted political trainings, drafted and executed campaign plans and was the primary political & legislative advocate in Southern California.

Her passion and dedication to social justice began at a young age. Growing up in South Los Angeles, she experienced first-hand the 1992 L.A. riots and decided then and there to commit herself to helping her community, workers and fighting injustice. This is why after college, she got a job as a community organizer with People Organize for Westside Renewal (POWER) working and organizing low-income residences on preserving affordable housing in Venice and the Mar Vista Gardens. She then was recruited by Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) as an AGENDA organizer to help build grassroots power in South L.A. to create social and economic justice for low-income communities of color. In 2006 with SCOPE, Karla was one of the first organizers on the ground with the L.A. Apollo Alliance that fought for better jobs, government accountability and economic justice.

In her spare time Karla enjoys volunteering, mentoring, riding her bike at the beach and participating in any rally or protest where social and economic justice needs to be addressed!


Garrett Andrew Schneider, Ph.D, Writers Guild of America

Garrett Andrew SchneiderGarrett is a Research and Public Policy Analyst at the Writers Guild of America, a labor organization representing more than 8,000 professional writers in television, film, news, and interactive media. Prior to joining the Guild, Garrett completed a PhD in sociology at the University of Arizona after a two year stint as a Visiting Scholar at USC’s Marshall School of Business where he wrote a book on the strategy and management of Citigroup over the 20th century.

Garrett has fought for economic fairness and opportunity through grassroots advocacy and electoral politics. He researched California’s prison system with the American Civil Liberties Union and helped the Center for Economic Integrity curb payday lending in Arizona. He served as Field Director on Congressman Adam Schiff’s 2010 re-election campaign and as Assistant Policy Director on Bobby Shriver’s 2014 campaign for Los Angeles County Supervisor, where he wrote position papers, issue briefings, and speeches on every issue affecting LA County government’s $26 billion budget and 10 million citizens.

Recently, Garrett served as Vice President of Net Impact Los Angeles, a chapter of a national nonprofit that nurtures careers and organizations with a social and environmental impact. With Net Impact LA, Garrett worked to build the local impact community and to house LA’s homeless. In his spare time, Garrett can be found reading, running, spending time with family, and helping the Koreatown Youth and Community Center plant trees and clean up trash around his neighborhood.

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