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Since NLC, my journey has taken me down an amazing road. I scooped up a graduate degree from the USC Price School of Public Policy. I started writing for The Huffington Post. I dabbled into the start-up world but made a most welcome discovery: While I love technology and social media, that’s not my passion. No, me, I’m inspired by the stories that make up our world, and mainly those of the people living on the margins of our society.
And so I became a story teller. I’ve always had this passion to know the stories that lie obscured just beyond the statistics and data we memorize in our college textbooks. NLC gave me the opportunity to train with Allegory and helped me realize that being a storyteller is not only OK, it’s needed!
I used to always muse that I wanted to be a professional story teller, but that such a job didn’t exist. I was wrong. In my work directing immersion experiences at Loyola Marymount University, I help lead students to the stories I think matter most: those of people living on the margins, from East LA to Tijuana to Nairobi, who have stories that for too long have yearned a larger audience. I facilitate conversation, encouraging students to at once listen to the profound stories they hear and then learn to tell their own story. My story is my students, the incredible communities that have embraced us, and one of the stories I had forgotten was so special to me: My own.
I’ve taken my storytelling on the road and am happy to speak about stories of justice and solidarity, in keynotes or on panels. I’ve lately been speaking to a variety of audiences and am always happy to lend my storytelling and public speaking expertise in any way possible. So whether you need a speaker, or want to practice your own craft of storytelling, I am happy to help!
I also run immersion trips on a monthly basis, so anyone looking to organize a social justice trip, from Tijuana to Kingston, Jamaica, I’m happy to lend my expertise in the best way to pull the trip off, from creating the budget to bringing the stories home, and becoming advocates.
The NLC experience has helped foster my entrepreneurial drive and reignited my passion for community service and leadership. Through the trainings, mentoring and mixers I found a new progressive family that has helped encourage and challenge me in my career.
Currently I direct the nonprofit Youth Speak Collective, running innovative youth-driven after-school programs in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. At Youth Speak we are passionate about creating new leaders for our community through the arts, youth leadership and community engagement programs. I also have been blessed to follow my other passion in the arts, consulting for businesses and nonprofits in the areas of design and marketing. I help people tell their stories. Through giving back and volunteering with various groups I have found a passion for philanthropy, and a love for humanity. I hope that through my actions I can contribute to a larger cause, making an impact in our City of Angels.
I have also spent the last two years on the board of NLC-LA as the Marketing Lead. I am focused on making sure everyone knows about the great work we are doing and the impact this free leadership program can make.
Ask David about… Youth Development and Community Advocacy. Philanthropy and Social Enterprise Ventures. Design, Art and Social Marketing Tactics. Following your dreams and making sure you’re able to make a living doing it! I am open and willing to share my mistakes and successes I have learned along the way in hopes of helping other good people. My top 5 strengths are: Strategic, Activator, Achiever, Developer, Arranger.
Since graduating from the Institute, myself alongside 2011 Alums Adel Syed and Pauline Alvarado founded the Orange County chapter of New Leaders Council. Since our inaugural class in 2012, we have expanded this progressive network into the Inland Empire, Long Beach, and Orange County – places that have not traditionally been considered “progressive.” The training and experience for and from my cohort was so invaluable that I’m proud to say now services an entire region.
Recently, I’ve moved back to the Bay Area and have accepted a position with the City of San Josè as Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen’s Council Policy and Legislative Analyst – a job I’m not sure I would have been considered for had it not been indirectly for the NLC network up here in Silicon Valley. In my spare time, I’ve hit the ground running in reviving the Santa Clara County chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus and volunteer as a senior staff mediator at the Family Alliance for Counseling Tools & Resolution (FACTR). This fall, I am honored to also be serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the Silicon Valley area, putting my law degree to work and advocating for children in the foster care system. To NLC alums and future Fellows–I am now a Life Entrepreneurship trainer! Hopefully ill be able to come down for next January’s institute as one of the trainers for the first weekend!
When I’m not doing any of the above, I am (still) playing with my dog, Josie, calling my ELP group for updates/advice/to vent, and writing a list of things I want to blog about (i.e. things that annoy me). I’m also fairly resourceful; if I don’t know the answer to something, ill find out and keep you posted. Finally, I am an avid tweeter, and, in fact, was awarded the “best live tweeter” award in the 2011 class – something that is framed and hanging on my wall right now. Holler at me for social media tips, monthly newsletter ideas and why I love NationBuilder so much. (Shout out!)
Since graduating from New Leaders Council Los Angeles, I’ve been selected as the Central Area Director at City of Los Angeles, Office of the Mayor. While I got the interview due to my deep involvement in Mr. Garcetti’s campaign, it was my relationship with my NLC mentor Becca Doten and her understanding of who I am that made it easy for her to recommend me for the position.
Prior to becoming a NLC Fellow, I had a broad idea of what I wanted my life and career to look like. The NLC Institute, helped me find focus and clarity of purpose in my professional and personal life.
Through the trainers, I learned the ins and outs of how to be an effective communicator and leader. At times, I would email them with questions or to ask for advice and—without hesitation—they would respond and provide me with support, information, or connections. These relationships proved to be extremely important in the growth and development of the non-profit startup that I had just co-founded.
However, my relationship with Becca, who at the time was the Chief of Staff of Council Member Richard Alarcon, was by far one of my favorite things about the program. She helped me learn a lot about city politics—one of my primary areas of interest. We would meet in her office at City Hall and never had trouble finding common ground or things to talk about as we both share a passion for serving the public and our city. NLC definitely takes great consideration in the mentor matching process.
NLC helped me–someone with over 12 years of experience in real estate finance–continue to set goals, develop my resume, and seek out new employment opportunities. This paid off as I was recently recruited to join a private real estate development firm.
I previously worked as a real estate investment banker where I advised on numerous mergers and acquisitions involving notable publicly traded companies. Prior to investment banking, I served as the Director of Real Estate Development for New Economics for Women and worked with other prominent Los Angeles based real estate development firms, contributing to the development of over 35 affordable residential communities. My development experience includes complicated financing transactions involving low-income housing tax credits and funding from government sources. I also have previous experience working at Fortune 500 companies including GE Capital and Intel Corporation.
To those applying for jobs, I would encourage mock one on one interviews and a resume review exercise. I think this forces all participants to think about their candidacy for office or jobs critically. I can provider mentorship and can help with fundraising. Please don’t hesitate to ask me about housing issues and economic development.
I have focused on applying my 2013 NLC training to many of the chamber responsibilities I hold. From hosting legislative reps to managing events for our members, I have made sure to put into practice such skills as public speaking, messaging of policy reviews and/or recommendations for policy positions, and using the skills of networking at social events to get the most out of the short time at the function.
I have dedicated my life to strategic planning with my career and have help a number of former athletes and coaches, and also new colleagues and professionals, to help plan and map out their direction in their career.
I am a mentor by trade and would love to be called upon for communication and/or representation to help market, advertise, or promote whomever needs it.
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