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Elizabeth
Funk
Board Chair
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Christina Dickerson
Christina Dickerson
Christina
Dickerson
Board Treasurer
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Smoke
Wallin
Board Secretary
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Abigail
BloomKing
Board Member
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Ed Chan
Ed Chan
Ed
Chan
Board Member
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Jon Vein
Jon Vein
Jon
Vein
Board Member
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Elizabeth Funk
Board Chair

Elizabeth Funk’s career blends Silicon Valley high-growth start-up entrepreneurship with innovative impact initiatives that align for-profit and nonprofit approaches to accelerate positive social impact outcomes.

Elizabeth was one of the early pioneers in impact investing, founding the Dignity Fund in 2004. One of the first for-profit funds mobilizing investment capital for the microfinance industry, her fund demonstrated the benefits of harnessing capitalism to accelerate an industry that had previously been driven by philanthropy and the public sector.

At the same time she served as Chairman of the Board of Unitus, a nonprofit that was one of the world’s most innovative microfinance accelerators. Through these simultaneous roles Elizabeth developed a deep understanding of the relative roles nonprofit and for-profit approaches play in accelerating impact. Elizabeth continued her impact investing journey as Senior GP of Dev Equity, investing in companies that foster poverty alleviation, including several developers of low-income housing in regions across Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Peru, and Ecuador.

Elizabeth started her career in product design, marketing, and business development as a Product Manager for Microsoft Word and was part of the founding team of Microsoft Office. In 1995, as one of the earliest employees at Yahoo! she helped shape the early consumer internet with services such as Yahoo! Finance, Search, Auctions, Greetings, Travel, and others. Most notably, Elizabeth was behind the creation of Yahoo! Shopping, a forerunner to the booming sector now known as e-commerce.

Elizabeth’s career also extends to experience as the President and CEO of a public company, CML Global Capital, an investment conglomerate based in Canada. As CEO she oversaw several major transactions and eventually a privatization of the corporation.

Elizabeth has been actively involved in homelessness in California for nearly two decades. She served on the board and chaired Glide Memorial’s Community Housing initiative, which built two buildings for the formerly homeless in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District, on the board of LifeMoves, a leading homelessness services organization in Silicon Valley, and on the real estate advisory board of HomeRise, a permanent supportive housing developer in San Francisco.

The founding of DignityMoves was the culmination of this lifetime journey– merging her experience in high-growth disruptive entrepreneurship, helping people help themselves through microfinance and low-income housing, and accelerating impact by harnessing the power of capitalism and the private sector.
Elizabeth has served on or chaired over a dozen nonprofit and social enterprise boards including South Pacific Development Bank, Uchu (Ecuador), Candid, Root Capital, Ujjivan Small Finance Bank, Deutsche Bank’s Microfinance Consortium and FINCA’s microfinance fund.

She is an active member of Young Presidents Organization where she served on the International Board, co-founded the impact networks, and now chairs the YPO Impact Investing Initiative. She is a member of Toniic (an impact investors network) and Battery Powered, among many other prominent impact-focused organizations.

Elizabeth holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations and Economics with Honors from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School as a Baker Scholar.

Email: elizabeth@dignitymoves.org

Christina Dickerson
Board Treasurer

Christina directs corporate development and governance at Corium and holds responsibility for strategic planning for the company. Prior to joining Corium, Christina spent 16 years in investment banking, serving in both advisory and portfolio management roles at Salomon Brothers, the Jim Pattison Group and J.P. Morgan. She has been involved in leadership and fundraising positions in a variety of civic and community organizations, including Sacred Heart Schools and Stanford University. Christina holds an A.B. in International Relations and an A.B. in Economics from Stanford.

Smoke Wallin
Board Secretary

Smoke is a highly accomplished CEO, entrepreneur, M&A leader, board member, and philanthropist with leadership across the consumer products, beverage, cannabis, hospitality, health & wellness, distribution, and technology industries. Smoke is a Co-Founder & Director of DignityMoves.Org created to end unsheltered street homelessness in our communities by building Interim Supportive Housing with rapid, cost-effective, scalable solutions.

 

Smoke serves as Managing Director & Partner at STS Capital, a global boutique investment bank focused on M&A. He serves as Chair of Taliera, a company he founded in 2006 to incubate, celebrate and advise iconic beverage brands. Smoke serves on the boards of publicly traded cannabis firms, Adastra and Vencanna (CSE: XTRX.CN and VENI.CN).

 

He has led >$1.7 billion in M&A, deals and financings, publicly and privately. He served as Chair/Co-Founder of Vertical Wellness a health & wellness company. Smoke helped build National Wine & Spirits (merged into ~$14B RNDC) into one of the largest distributors of beer, wine, and spirits in the US and served as Chair/Pres. of the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA).

 

He has been an active leader in YPO Young President Organization and is the Chair for YPO’s Pacific One chapter from 2022-2024. American Freedom Fund, Advisory Board Member and served as Junior Achievement of Indiana, Chairman of the Board and of the foundation. He served for over a decade on Vanderbilt University Business School Board Member and as its President. He regularly contributes to CNBC’s Fast Money, Closing Bell, and Nightly Business Report, Fox Business’s Varney & Co., and CNN and numerous print publications & podcasts.

 

Smoke earned an MBA at Vanderbilt and a BS in Agricultural Economics at Cornell, wrestled and Sigma Nu. He is an Eagle Scout & father of two Eagle Scout sons and two amazing daughters, all four college graduates. He lives with his singer/songwriter wife Anitra in Ventura, CA.

Abigail BloomKing
Board Member

Abigail BloomKing is a business and marketing strategist with over twenty years of experience in marketing management, contract negotiations, and business development. A “serial entrepreneur,” she has helped individuals and companies grow in legal, sports management, non-profit, and technology. She has a keen eye for identifying opportunities in underserved markets and assisting early-stage companies in bootstrapping their businesses to find a market fit and scale growth. She is particularly interested in creating partnership opportunities with major corporations for women and minority-owned businesses and is passionate about social justice reform.

 

Ms. BloomKing is the founder and CEO of The BloomKing Agency, a digital marketing agency for B2B growth marketers. She continues to lead early-stage companies through launching digital marketing campaigns, research, and development initiatives, writing case studies, and advising on strategic partnerships. Her agency has helped countless businesses such as QuinStreet, Vibe, and Webinar.net succeed and grow their audiences. In addition, she serves on the Board of Directors for Bay Cities FC (a mission-driven professional sports club) and Women in Sports and Entertainment, Bay Area Chapter. She is dedicated to using her experience in both the non-profit and private sectors to broaden access to high-quality education by supporting innovation, reducing barriers to entry, and creating equal socio-economic opportunities for the next generation. Ms. BloomKing is an avid learner. She holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Golden Gate University and a Master of Arts in Sports Management from the University of San Francisco. She currently works for the Golden State Warriors on the Talent and Acquisition Team.

Ed Chan
Board Member

Ed Chan is the CEO & President of C. Pacific Foods, a 28 year importer of Asian Foods whose sole reason for existence is to delight its customers and growits leaders.  After earning a Bachelor of Science in 1997 from UCLA and gaining work experience at Northwestern Mutual Life, Ed made the decision to apply his knowledge to rejuvenate his family’s business.  He’s been with the company for over 23 years and considers himself blessed for the platform he was given.  The company’s vision is to be a thought leader and a cultural conduit into Asian cuisine.  Ed is passionate about creating a vibrant work culture where employees coach one another as they ‘wow’ their customers with innovative food solutions.  Ed would describe his strongest professional gifting is as a ‘strategist’, who enjoys filling a white board with inventive ideas.

 

Ed and his wife Elaine are entering their 13th year in marriage. Together, they share two rambunctious kids; an inquisitive 11 year old named Olivia and a happy-go-lucky 9 year old named Toby.  The family’s goal is to visit 25 countries before the kids leave for college and as of this writing they’ve conquered their 16th location and looking forward to the next trip.

 

Aside from family, God and business, Ed is most proud of having summited Mount Kilimanjaro in 2017, but is looking forward to conquering Everest basecamp in the next few years.  Apart from trekking, he is an avid cyclist, weekend soccer coach, and a men’s Radical Mentoring Bible study leader at his local church.

Jon Vein
Board Member

Jon Vein is an entrepreneur, civic leader and philanthropist. Jon co-founded and served as the CEO of MarketShare, a leading cloud-based, big data marketing analytics and software company. With eight offices around the world, MarketShare had a significant impact on allocating over $200 billion in marketing investments for more than half of the Fortune 50 companies, as well as many other businesses around the globe. In one of the largest transactions involving a Los Angeles-based technology company, MarketShare was acquired in December of 2015 by Neustar for $450m. In December of 2016, after the successful integration of MarketShare into Neustar, Mr. Vein moved on from the company to pursue other endeavors in the public and private sectors. Jon has recognized as one of the 500 Most Influential People in Los Angeles by The Los Angeles Business Journal every year that it has published the LA 500 issue, and he was a winner of the 2016 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Los Angeles.

 

Prior to MarketShare, Jon served as Chief Operating Officer of Michael Ovitz’s AMG (Artists Management Group) and APG (Artists Production Group), overseeing all divisions, including talent, literary, animation, sports, music, publishing, and feature film production. Jon engineered AMG’s sale to The Firm, which he joined as co-head of the M&A/Strategic Advisory Services Division.

 

Before joining AMG/APG, Jon was Chief Operating Officer of Film Roman,, where they produced shows such as The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy, and other award-winning shows. An Emmy Award winner, Jon produced many film and television productions, including King of the Hill, The Simpsons, and Swimming with Sharks. Jon started his entertainment career as a founding partner of entertainment law firm Dern & Vein, representing a wide range of client on deals ranging from talent and corporate level agreements to intellectual property and employment agreements.

 

Before attending law school, Jon utilized his engineering and computer science background as a practicing engineer on the space program at Hughes Electronics and Teledyne Relays.

 

Jon currently advises several companies in a variety of fields, ranging from nanotechnology and marketing analytics, to refrigerants and medical diagnostics.

 

Jon is Chapter Chair of the Young Presidents’ Organization Gold Los Angeles Chapter, as well as a former Chairman of the Golden West Chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization. Jon serves as the Ambassador for the City of Los Angeles to secure hotel and motel rooms for the most vulnerable members of the homeless community, as well as survivors of domestic violence, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jon serves as president of the board of the Los Angeles Convention Center and Tourism Development Department and the US Fund for UNICEF’s Southern California Region, as well as serving on the Board of Trustees for the California Science Center, and as a board member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, California Cultural and Historic Endowment, the Los Angeles Police Foundation, the Center for American Progress, the University of Haifa, Big Sunday, Step Up On Second, the Hancock Park Homeowners’ Association and Los Angeles Television Channel 36. Jon is also a member of Business Executives for National Security (BENS). He served on the University of California’s Regents Selection Advisory Committee to the Governor of the State of California, and sits on the Advisory Board for the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission. Jon also leads the Los Angeles Mayor’s Fund’s efforts to brand the City of Los Angeles and is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy. Jon served on the National Finance Committee for the candidacy of Hillary Clinton for President in 2016, and he served as an early member of then-Senator Barack Obama’s finance committee for the 2008 election and the President’s National Finance Committee for his re-election. Jon served as a member of Eric Garcetti’s finance committee in support of his candidacy for Mayor of the City of Los Angeles. Jon holds a US Patent in the field of tissue engineering, as well as several other patents in marketing analytics. Jon graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a B.S. Double-majoring in Material Sciences & Engineering and Electrical Engineering-Computer Science with high honors, and received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. Jon is married to entertainment executive Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and has two children, Caroline and Jack.

Dignity Council

Adam Waldman
Adam Waldman
Adam
Waldman
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Clarence
Clarence
Clarence
McAllister
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Clay Grubb 1x1 Headshot
Clay Grubb 1x1 Headshot
Clay
Grubb
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Eric Schiffer
Eric Schiffer
Eric
Schiffer
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Deanna Kangas
Deanna Kangas
Deanna
Kangas
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Adam Waldman
Advisor

Adam Waldman, based in Studio City, CA, is the co-founder & Creative Director at The Refinery. The boutique creative advertising agency creates key art, trailers, on-air promotional materials and social & digital campaigns for the entertainment industry. The Refinery’s clients include Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, Disney, Paramount, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros., and almost every other major entertainment network, studio or streamer. The agency is one of the top global forces in entertainment creative, with offices in Los Angeles and the EU.

Clarence McAllister
Advisor

Clarence is a multicultural, multilingual business leader with more than 30 years of experience in technology, engineering and construction. Having started several companies, he is the CEO and founder of Fortis Engineers, a world-class electrical and mechanical engineering firm and 3D Construction, a home builder that uses 3D printing technology to build affordable homes, both headquartered in Phoenix.

 

McAllister is also a licensed professional engineer, registered communications distribution designer and commercial pilot.

 

He was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey to the Arizona Board of Technical Registration and serves on the Arizona Supreme Court Alternative Business Structure Board.

 

He is an active member of Greater Phoenix Leadership, the Young President Organization, the honorary board of advisors for addiction and PTSD treatment center Warriors Heart and Chairman of the board of DreamSpring, a small business microlender, Board member of the ASU Alumni Association and Chairman of the Board of Western Rare Earth.

 

Clarence holds a BS in electrical engineering, MS in electrical engineering, both from Arizona State University, and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University.

Clay Grubb
Advisor

Clay Grubb is the CEO and chairman of Grubb Properties, a vertically integrated real estate fund manager founded in 1963 that is today focused on the Essential Housing space through its Link Apartments brand. Clay started working at the company at age 12, specializing in residential mortgage collection, and has seen how important long-term perspective is to successful investment strategies.

 

Since 2002, when Clay became the CEO of Grubb Properties, the company has grown significantly and been a top quartile producer of returns for its real estate investment funds. The company has received numerous sustainability designations and recognitions. It maintains corporate offices in Atlanta, Ga.; Charlotte, Cary, and Winston-Salem, N.C.; and San Jose, California.

 

Clay leads the long-term, strategic vision for Grubb Properties and plans an active role in all investment decisions. Under his leadership, Grubb Properties successfully transformed from a family-owned business to an employee- and board-owned company. The company has been profiled in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal’s Deal of the Week and the cover
of Business North Carolina.

 

Clay is an adjunct professor of real estate at Tulane University. He received his Juris Doctorate in law from The University of North Carolina School of Law and his Bachelor of Science in Management from the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University, with a concentration in finance and a second major in economics.

Eric Schiffer
Advisor

Eric Schiffer is a venture capitalist, real estate developer and business advisor to retail companies. He is a principal of Gratitude Ventures and Au Zone Investments. Eric was CEO of 99¢ Only Stores from 2005 to 2013, and its President from 2000 to 2004. He joined the company in 1991 when it had 24 stores in Los Angeles, and as an operations executive, helped lead its profitable growth to over 300 stores across multiple states and $1.5 billion in sales. Eric oversaw its successful NYSE IPO in 1996 and $1.6 billion “going private” transaction in 2012. Previously, he was a venture capitalist for Oxford Partners and an electrical design engineer for Texas Instruments. He received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an engineering degree from Duke University. Eric and his spouse live in Los Angeles and have four adult children. He serves on the boards of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and The Posse Foundation.

Deanna Kangas
Advisor

Deanna Kangas is a C-level executive with more than 25 years of experience creating and building visionary brands, Deanna Kangas is a proven industry leader when it comes to turning around both growing and established businesses. Deanna works with top private equity firms, and most recently joined New Theory Ventures, as one of the founders –buying brands to accelerate growth or incubating brands from ideation. Before that, she served as the co-president of Ouai, the social media-driven, global haircare company.

A true expert in the industry, Deanna has lent her considerable skills in growing companies and her exceptional creativity to a number of corporations in various stages of growth. She spent five years as CEO at Stila Cosmetics where she was charged with (and succeeded at) getting the company back on track. Prior to her work at Stila, Deanna turned around the Barbie Collectors division of Mattel, founded online beauty retailer Gloss.com, launched Michael Jordan Cologne at XEL, Inc., and Bath & Body Works.

Deanna is an active member of Cosmetics Executive Women (CEW), and Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

Matt Toledo
Matt Toledo
Matt
Toledo
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Mark J. Weinstein
Mark J. Weinstein
Mark
J. Weinstein
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Viken Ohanesian
Viken Ohanesian
Viken
Ohanesian
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Sandy Sigal
Sandy Sigal
Sandy
Sigal
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Ron B
Ron B
Ron
Boehm
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Matt Toledo
Advisor, Regional Council

Matt Toledo is a businessman and civic leader. He holds the title Publisher Emeritus of the Los Angeles Business Journal where he served as Publisher from 1994 -2017. Now, as CEO of ProVisors he is building the largest and fastest growing membership organization exclusively for trusted advisors.

He served as an active and engaged board member of several civic organizations: Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce (Chairman 2009), Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. (Chairman 2007), United Way of Greater Los Angeles, The Civic Alliance, Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission.

An avid traveler and endurance cyclist, Matt has traveled around the world twice and rode from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. in a solo trip and continues regular long-distance excursions throughout California. Matt earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from San Jose State University.

Mark J. Weinstein
Advisor, Regional Council

Mark J. Weinstein is the President and Founder of MJW Investments. After beginning his career as an attorney, Los Angeles native Mark J. Weinstein founded MJW Investments in 1983 when he discovered the potential of real estate investment and development through several successful ventures. Under his leadership MJW has acquired approximately 1 billion dollars of real estate holdings in all asset types.

 

He also spearheaded the adaptive reuse of Santee Village, one of Los Angeles’ largest adaptive reuse projects of over 800,000 square ft. of mixed use in the Fashion District of Downtown Los Angeles. Mr. Weinstein’s passion for, and expertise in property repositioning has been a guiding factor in the company’s growth and success.

 

Mark is the majority owner of the firm’s $800MM diversified real estate holdings. More recently, Mark has led the firm’s strategic growth into student housing and has amassed a portfolio of student housing properties at Michigan State, Washington State, Brigham Young University, UC Santa Barbara, Oregon, Arizona State and Texas Tech. The firm continues to expand its Southern California multifamily portfolio.

 

Student Housing Magazine named MJW one of the Top 25 Owners and Managers of Student Housing in 2017.

 

Throughout his career, Mr. Weinstein has maintained active associations and leadership with numerous civic and philanthropic groups. These include a three-year term as Chair of the Jewish Federation’s Real Estate Construction Division; and active associations with the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the Guardians, an agency dedicated to serving the elderly.

 

Some of the notable events and awards that Mr. Weinstein has achieved are

· The Mensch Award from Breed Street Shul. Breed Street provides social programming for Latino and Jewish communities.

· Urban Cowboy and Treasures of Los Angeles Award for leading Downtown Renaissance by the Central City Association

· AIPAC Latino Community Liaison with Congresswoman, Church and Temple

· Three times Voted 500 Most Influential People in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal

· USC Lusk Real Estate Board

· Founding Member of Venture Philanthropy group of RPO

· YPO National Multi Family chair

· International Executive Board of YPO Real Estate Division

· Vice Chair AIPAC Real Estate Council

· LA Mayor’s Council on Housing and Development

· National Chair for UJC Philanthropy Forum (JLF)

· Executive & Board Member of Jewish Federation

· Voted Icon in Real Estate by the Real Estate Forum

 

Mr. Weinstein holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara (summa cum laude), and a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School (dean’s list).

Viken Ohanesian
Advisor

Viken Ohanesian is the CEO of Boss Homes, a Harwal Group Company. Harwal Group is an international manufacturing conglomerate based out of Los Angeles, California and Dubai, UAE. With his extensive engineering background and knowledge in the manufacturing and marketing of building materials, Viken is at the forefront of leading the housing industry in advanced building systems and affordable housing.

Viken sits on several boards including the board of Harwal Group, the board of US Polymers Inc. and of Boss Homes. He also serves on various nonprofit boards including YPO California Coast Chapter as Chairman.

Viken is a graduate of Pepperdine University with an MBA in Marketing & Finance and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.

Sandy Sigal
Regional Council

On any given day, you might find Sanford “Sandy” Sigal, President and CEO, playfully maneuvering a radio-controlled car or bowling a ball down the hallways of NewMark Merrill Companies’ corporate offices in Woodland Hills, CA. Sandy, who was an incurably curious child, conjured up early dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. His parents nurtured those dreams, no matter how unrealistic, which bolstered his confidence and allowed him to not only achieve many of his early ambitions, but to also launch one of the fastest growing privately-held retail development companies in California. Although Sandy is still a playful kid at heart (he’s been to Disneyworld every year since his 30 year-old son was one), he takes his leadership role at NewMark Merrill very seriously.

Sandy’s ambitious drive emerged early. At the age of 12, he was already exploring and identifying solutions as a programmer and software developer for the personal computer industry, which at that time was in its infancy. Learning accounting and project management, he turned his newly acquired skills and knowledge into a business, writing and selling accounting software and computerizing companies of all types during his teen years. While attending UCLA (Political Science), Sandy, a self-proclaimed introvert, ventured his way into the real estate industry doing what he knew best — computer consulting. He was hired by West Venture Companies, a small Southern California-based homebuilder, for a two week assignment to computerize their accounting and financial process. That two-week assignment started his real estate career, where he founded West Venture Commercial, their shopping center division, where he built or redeveloped more than 25 shopping centers and oversaw their management. In 1993, Sandy was promoted to President and CEO of the parent company, West Venture Companies during which time he was given responsibility over the home building, shopping center, and mortgage divisions. In 1997, Sandy departed West Venture, co-founded NewMark Merrill Companies and purchased the West Venture retail assets, including 15 retail centers and 4 development projects. Since NewMark Merrill’s inception in 1997, Sandy has acquired, developed, managed and repositioned more than 100 retail centers, always infusing his technological expertise into his decision-making processes and strategy development.

The company’s accolades are many. The Los Angeles Business Journal has named NewMark Merrill as one of Los Angeles’ Fastest Growing Private Companies seven times as well as a Top 10 Property Management Firm and a Top 10 Development Firm in their prestigious annual business rankings. NewMark Merrill currently owns and manages 85 shopping centers throughout California, Colorado and Illinois representing almost 11,000,000 square feet with a collective value in excess of $2 billion dollars.

Sandy’s notable “tough and tender” leadership style extends beyond the walls of NewMark Merrill. He serves as Board Vice Chairman for Camp Bob Waldorf Foundation, a camp for underserved children, which Sandy attended when he was a child. He was the recipient of the William Shatner Humanitarian Award in 2007 for his work for this Foundation and the Camp. He also serves on the executive board of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters (JBBBS). Sandy is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the leading organization of CEO’s and Presidents in the World. He co-founded and is on the Board of YPO Pacific Coast Gold, and in 2013, his chapter YPO Education program won “Best of the Best” for all YPO Chapters Worldwide. And in 2017, he again won “Best of the Best” internationally for his Education Program, “House of Cards”, the only Learning Officer to win that distinction twice. He also served as a the Chair of the YPO Real Estate Network, developing and overseeing programing for over 3,000 real estate CEO’s.  Sandy was a finalist for the 2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM Awards Program, winning that same award in 2016 in the Services Category for Greater Los Angeles. Sandy regularly mentors young adults interested in real estate through the Community Leadership Institute (CLI) sponsored by the Jewish Federation, where he was former chair of the Real Estate Principals Organization (RPO).  In 2019, he was the honoree for the Real Estate Division of the Jewish Federation at their annual recognition dinner. Sandy is passionate about a number of causes including the blight of those experiencing homelessness and he co-founded with other YPOers, the “YPO Alliance to End Homelessness” to use his real estate and community expertise to find ways to eliminate homelessness and serve those who need support. “Doing good things” is woven into the fabric of the NewMark Merrill culture, and Sandy has made “giving back” a life mission. He finds pure joy in the community field trips he takes with company employees, making a difference in each community they serve.

Away from the office, Sandy enjoys time with his family – reading, playing pool and pinball, and skiing. He’s proudly watched every season of West Wing five times and is a huge Jeffrey Archer fan. Although he never became a Disney Imagineer (one of his early dreams), he still looks forward to those annual trips to Disney World with his family.

When asked what drives him, he unequivocally answers—the NewMark Merrill team. “How can working with the best, kindest, most driven, passionate people not drive you to do something great?”

Ron Boehm
Regional Council

“Ron is passionate about improving systems and processes for organizations involved in creating a better world.   He believes strongly in the breakthrough capabilities and potential of collaboration.
He has been married to his wife Marlys for thirty-seven years, and they have three grown children.  Ron and Marlys live in Santa Barbara, California.
Ron and Marlys are co-founder with Marlys of BOMA Investments, a family office which has invested in over fifty early stage impact companies on five continents.  Ron works primarily with the investment and financial advisory aspects, sharing with both social entrepreneurs and fellow impact investors what he learns from his failures and successes.  He was a catalyst for development of a revenue royalty approach as an alternative to equity, to  compensate impact investors in longer term, high risk investments. 
Ron has been at the center of bringing complementary organizations together for mutual benefit, including Young Presidents Organization, Ashoka, World Merit, Synergos, and Nexus.  He currently spends most of his time as the interim Executive Director of World Merit Ltd, supporting a global young adult changemaker community. 
Before BOMA and World Merit, Ron was CEO of ABC-CLIO, an international publishing company, for twenty-seven years.
Ron has a JD from Hastings College of the Law (1981), an MBA from University of California, Berkeley (1981), and the College of Wooster (1975). He is a member of California Bar and YPO.  “

Jessica Hawthorne-Castro
Jessica Hawthorne-Castro
Jessica
Hawthorne-Castro
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Henson
Henson
Bryan
Henson
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Jieho Lee (Use this one)
Jieho Lee (Use this one)
Jieho
Lee
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Remco
Remco
Remco
Waller
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Akki
Akki
Akki
Patel
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Jessica Hawthorne-Castro
Advisor

Jessica Hawthorne-Castro is the CEO of Hawthorne Advertising, an award winning technology-based advertising agency specializing in analytics and accountable brand campaigns for 35 years. Hawthorne has a legacy of ad industry leadership by being a visionary in combining the art of right-brain creativity with the science of left-brain data analytics and neuroscience. Jessica’s role principally involves fostering long-standing client relationships with the company’s expansive base of Fortune 500 brands to develop highly strategic and measurable advertising campaigns, designed to ignite immediate consumer response. From strategy, creative and production to media and analytics, Jessica is committed to premium quality and innovation throughout all agency disciplines. Hawthorne Advertising is a Women Owned Business, a certified Great Place to Work, and on the Inc. 5000 List. In addition, Jessica was named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year in Greater Los Angeles as a Transformational Leader.

Jessica is a member of many professional organizations and serves on several boards including YPO/Young Presidents’ Organization Pacific U.S. Regional Board, YPO Los Angeles Board, YPO Global Editorial Advisory Board, Association of National Advertisers ECHO Awards Board, and is a Climate Change Reality Ambassador. She and resides in Los Angeles with her husband, son and newborn daughter.

Bryan Henson
Advisor

Bryan Henson is the President and CEO of BevyHouse, with a vision is to make designing and building a home easier than it has ever been before, to make great architecture and quality design accessible to everyone, and to relentlessly drive down the cost of housing. Bryan is a nationally recognized leader in the custom residential and remodeling world. He grew his former company, Allen Construction, to one of the top five remodeling companies in the US. While at Allen he expanded the company from 45 to 130+ employees, increased the company’s geographic reach from Paso Robles, CA to Los Angeles, CA, and initiated multiple divisions within the company to serve their clients. Bryan is passionate about sustainable, healthy homes and has been a guest speaker for Dwell magazine, has taught masters level courses on sustainable design, and has personally overseen multiple LEED platinum and passive house certified projects.

Jieho Lee
Advisor

Jieho Lee is co-founder and managing partner of Knighted Ventures, a specialized company servicing the casino industries in California and Florida. Prior to Knighted, Jieho oversaw business development and marketing for the Asia territories at POM Wonderful. Jieho also served as general partner at Blue Horizon Capital, where he co-led an investment strategy team focusing on acquisitions in the business information sector. Previously, Jieho pursued a career in the entertainment field: writing and directing commercials for clients such as Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret and Tommy Hilfiger. He wrote and directed the feature film “The Air I Breathe” (starring Forest Whitaker, Andy Garcia, Brendan Fraser, Kevin Bacon and Sarah Michelle Gellar) and oversaw development of projects for Lionsgate Films and Circle of Confusion. Jieho also worked as a classical music producer with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Isaac Stern and Sarah Chang. He produced a top-selling aria album with soprano Sumi Jo, that received the South Korean presidential award for excellence by then president Kim Young-Sam. Jieho received a bachelor’s degree in the college of letters and in cinema studies at Wesleyan University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a member of YPO, Beverly Hills, and resides there with his wife, Korean film actress Min Kim, and their daughter, Shaye. Jieho is a 2018 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Remco Waller
Advisor

Remco Waller is a seasoned global executive with more than 30 years’ experience in industry leading retail, consumer goods, manufacturing and commercial real estate companies including senior roles in Europe, USA and Asia (China and Korea) and is currently co-owner and CFO of MGM Transformers. He relocated with his family to Los Angeles area in 2006 to start the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood markets franchise. During his international assignments, he has been active as Board member of multiple Chambers of Commerce, CFO forums and International School boards. He is currently a member of the United Way of LA Community Impact cabinet and serves on the Board of the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation. He holds a master’s in business economics from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, the Netherlands and a Post-Graduate Controller degree of the Vrije University of Amsterdam.

Akki Patel
Regional Council

Akki Patel is founder and CEO of LRE & Companies. LRE is comprised of number affiliated entities that has been operating for 21 years in Northern California. The holdings of LRE & Cos are comprised of hotels, franchise restaurants, franchisor for national brand and commercial real estate portfolio. Along with being one of the largest franchises in the past we have simultaneously formed real estate development company that has developed hotels, single & multi tenant retail and multi-family in Northern CA. We have formed relationship with Marriott, Hilton & Hyatt brands to developed hotels within Northern CA & Nevada.

I have also play several leadership roles within our business since past 2 decades. The roles include Chairman of local Advertising board Advertising Boards, Board Member in the Purchasing Cooperative.Akki Patel Completed his degree with a B.S. in Accountancy & MBA in Finance from University of San Diego.I live in San Francisco with my wife who is part of our company and 2 daughters.

John Medford
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Jordan Pynes
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John Medford
Regional Council

John Medford is an investment manager and capital markets advisor working with residential real estate developers and investors to address housing supply issues across the spectrum of for-sale, for-rent and affordable housing programs. Over the last 25 years he has supported the production of over 8,300 lots and units of new housing through the investment of over $535 MM of capital in 90+ transactions acting as lender, equity investor and as an intermediary.

For nearly 15 years he lead the Northern California regional business for Weyerhaeuser Company’s real estate private equity subsidiary supporting land development and homebuilding programs through a variety of debt and equity structured investments in projects with a cumulative value exceeding $1.9 billion. John holds a BA in Urban Studies from Trinity College, an MA in Urban Planning from UCLA and an MBA in Real Estate Finance from the Anderson School, also at UCLA. He has been active in the San Francisco chapter of ULI as an instructor and school champion for the Urban Plan program, is a former co-chair of the Membership Committee and is currently a member of the Local Product Council (Residential).

Jordan Pynes
Advisor, Regional Council

Jordan Pynes is the President of Thomas Safran & Associates where he oversees the development, acquisitions and management/operations for all affordable, luxury and retail properties in the TSA portfolio. Mr. Pynes has extensive experience and expertise in all facets of affordable housing operations including management, development, financing, regulatory compliance for Section 42 low-income housing tax credits and HUD (Section 8) programs, marketing, lease-up procedures, ground-up development and rehabilitation.

Mr. Pynes is an active member of YPO (Young President’s Organization), ULI (Urban Land Institute), Westside Urban Forum and volunteers for several charitable and political groups. He currently serves as a Regional Advisor for Syracuse University and served on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Southwest chapter of the Affordable Housing Management Association (AHMA) for over 12 years. He also served on the Board of Directors for The Westside Family YMCA for many years and is a mentor, speaker and advisor for many other local charities. Mr. Pynes received an MBA in Real Estate Finance from Fordham University and a B.S. from Syracuse University.

Patrick Gilrane
Regional Council

Patrick Gilrane is Chairman of the Senior Executive Advisors group at Argand Partners, a $450mm private equity fund focused on middle market industrial companies. Mr. Gilrane is a seasoned entrepreneur, CEO and operator. He founded the Wentworth Group in 2002, a private investment firm that targets investments in lower middle market consumer, industrial manufacturing and distribution companies. He is currently a board member of Stored Energy Holdings, Antenum, was a director at Lancs Industries, LimoLiner, Schultze Asset Management, Eclipse Candles LTD and Wax Lyrical LTD. Mr. Gilrane serves on several non-profit boards including President of Psi of Psi Upsilon, Chairman Emeritus Psi Upsilon Foundation, is an active YPO-YPO Gold member since 2004 and earned his B.A. at Hamilton College and M.B.A. at Columbia Business School.

Sophie Alpert
Regional Council

Sophie Alpert is the founder of Piece by Piece, a social enterprise non-profit arts organization that empowers Los Angeles residents who have experienced homelessness or economic insecurity to build confidence, earn supplementary income, promote wellness and an improved quality of life. Early in her career, Sophie was the Development Director for Para Los Niños, a non-profit day care center in Skid Row.

In addition to her ongoing leadership of Piece by Piece, Sophie is involved with organizations helping to raise awareness and seek solutions for individuals experiencing homelessness. She is on the board of the SAM Initiative, a women’s giving circle, which helps fund and support exceptional innovative programs in Los Angeles that promote social change.

Sophie is also a child advocate for refugee minors through the Young Center, and volunteers with Beth Tzedek, an organization that provides free legal services to help undocumented immigrant families.

Sophie has been recognized numerous times for her philanthropic work in the community. The Los Angeles Business Journal honored her as a “Woman Making a Difference.” She was a recipient of the Women in Philanthropy Business award from Comerica Bank’s Best of LA Women’s Business and has received commendations from the City of Los Angeles and The Links in Palos Verdes. The California Community Foundation honored Sophie as an Unsung Hero in 2013. She was also awarded the Jewish Vocational Service’s Women’s Leadership Empowerment Award in 2019. She was a featured speaker at the Global Social Enterprise Summit at UCLA in 2019. Sophie is also the 2022 keynote speaker for California Leadership and a panelist for The National Social Enterprise Alliance 2022 Summit.

Sophie is the proud mother of four children and grandmother to nine.

Will Crist
Advisor

Will is a Priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, as well as the President of GlobalMarc, where he serves as a professional Executive Coach. He collaborates with private business owners and their teams to help them reach their goals. Will brings five decades of experience providing employee assessments and in-depth training in sales, management, communications and leadership to over 500 multimillion-dollar companies. He is adept at building and leading high-performing teams, coaching business executives and turning around underperforming business units. HIs broad-based expertise includes strategic planning, marketing, sales processes and program management, social media, public relations, e-learning, public speaking, negotiation and board governance.

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Reginald “Reggie” Gilyard
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Hala Hijazi
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Nathan Falstreau
Lived Experience Advisory Board

Nathan Falstreau is a Content Designer at ridesharing network Lyft, Inc. where he focuses on improving the driver experience. Previously a content strategist at Nextdoor, Nathan led an employee advocacy group that worked to build products and create initiatives serving unhoused neighbors. Before getting into tech, he worked as a journalist and was a regular contributor to Hoodline, the San Francisco Business Times, and the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Nathan provides a unique perspective through his own lived experience with homelessness and addiction in San Francisco. In his free time he’s an aspiring fine artist.

Reginald “Reggie” Gilyard
Advisor, Regional Council

Mr. Gilyard is a Senior Advisor with The Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting company, and serves on the boards of three publicly traded corporations. From 2012 to 2017 he was Dean of the Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University. From 1996 to 2012, he held various positions with The Boston Consulting Group, including Partner and Managing Director and Education Practice Area Leader in the U.S. for non-profit institutions. Mr. Gilyard began his career as an officer serving in the United States Air Force. He earned a B.S. degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Hala Hijazi
Regional Council

Ms. Hala Hijazi, an appointed Commissioner serving on San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission, is a Public Policy Leader with 20 years of public service, government, business, and social entrepreneurship experience collaborating with and representing high-level government, Fortune 500 companies, and diverse constituency stakeholders in highly charged and sensitive environments addressing complex policy issues, delivering infrastructure, housing, economic and political solutions, and advancing human and civil rights.

Hala has dedicated her life to public service and fighting for marginalized communities. Whether as a long-time public servant at the City and County of San Francisco or now as a small business owner leading a government affairs consultancy, Hala is a champion for inclusive and sustainable development. Hala serves as a strategic advisor for large-scale infrastructure and housing developments projects in California that have led to the entitlement of over 20,000 residential units with a high percentage of affordable units.

Hala began her career in public service as Special Assistant to 2-term former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. and went on to serve as Deputy Director of Marketing, Project Director, and Project Manager in several City departments, including in the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and as a Manager in the Infrastructure and Labor Division.

Hala has dedicated herself to supporting women in public office, serving on the Board of Directors of Emerge America and Emerge California and now on the NARAL Pro-Choice California Privacy PAC.

Hala’s experiences as an immigrant and a Muslim woman led her to address bias, stereotypes, racism, and xenophobia after the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001. Hala formed and continues to manage the Professionals VIP Network, an educational forum, to address the lack of racial and cultural diversity and representation in both business and civic sectors including the lack of voter participation by engaging  citizens and public leaders in civic dialogue and calling them to action on key legislative philanthropic initiatives.

Hala has been instrumental in mobilizing resources, outreach efforts, and GOTV across California and the nation, including serving on the National Finance Committees and Leadership Councils for President Obama, President Biden, Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, and many other local, state, and federal public officials.

A trusted and an effective philanthropic and civic advocate, Hala has raised over $2,000,000 for causes.

For her public service and social entrepreneurship, Hala was honored by the League of Women Voters, San Francisco Chapter as a “Rising Star”, presented with Commendations by the City and County of San Francisco, featured by KTVU Channel 2 News, and interviewed by the NY Times and the SF Chronicle, and led the San Francisco Women’s March in 2019.

Hala has extensive experience serving in diverse leadership roles to connect marginalized communities with elected officials and policymakers:

  • Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, City & County of San Francisco
  • Board of Directors, San Francisco Interfaith Council
  • Board of Directors, NARAL Pro-Choice California Privacy PAC
  • Co-Director, SF Chapter, Truman National Security Project
  • Member, Leadership Circle, Foreign Policy for America
  • Chair, San Francisco’s Police Chief Muslim Advisory Committee
  • Appointee, AD-19 Delegate to the California Democratic Party
  • Appointee, District 2, SF County Transportation Citizens Advisory Commission
  • Board of Directors, Emerge America & Emerge California
  • Board of Directors, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation
Pam Baer
Regional Council

Pam Baer is a native Texan who graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a marketing/finance degree. Pam started her career in New York City in the financial services arena. After getting married she navigated cross country managing her business while starting her family in San Francisco. Since then Pam has used her talents and resources to become a San Francisco-based community leader whose philanthropic work includes projects related to social good and healthcare for the vulnerable.

Pam joined the board of the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation in 2002 and served until 2018. She was named a lifetime director in 2018 and remains very involved.

Pam also serves as a Founder’s Circle Member of Every Mother Counts (EMC), a Board Member of the Giants Community Fund and an Advisory Board Member of Nest, an organization dedicated to improving women’s well being and preserving important cultural traditions around the world.

In addition to her foundation work, Pam has held many trustee and board positions such as the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Jewish Women’s Giving Circle along with schools and initiatives that benefit her local community. Implementing solutions for society’s vulnerable issues is a passion.

Pam is married to Larry Baer, CEO of the San Francisco Giants, and together they have four children.

Leland Schwartz
Advisor

Leland Schwartz built and ran States News Service in Washington, which covered state-specific news in the capital for newspapers across the country for 30 years. He published the hourly news updates handed to the passengers on the New York air shuttles during the 90s, as well as the ‘news receipts’ that printed out with the diners’ checks at DC’s Old Ebbitt restaurant, among others. He is currently designing a desktop Times Square news ribbon for official Washington and its counterparts in the other capital cities. He lives in The Plains, Virginia.

Los Angeles Regional Council

Jordan Pynes
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Mark J. Weinstein
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Matt Toledo
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Reginald “Reggie” Gilyard
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Sandy Sigal
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Jordan Pynes
Advisor, Regional Council

Jordan Pynes is the President of Thomas Safran & Associates where he oversees the development, acquisitions and management/operations for all affordable, luxury and retail properties in the TSA portfolio. Mr. Pynes has extensive experience and expertise in all facets of affordable housing operations including management, development, financing, regulatory compliance for Section 42 low-income housing tax credits and HUD (Section 8) programs, marketing, lease-up procedures, ground-up development and rehabilitation.

Mr. Pynes is an active member of YPO (Young President’s Organization), ULI (Urban Land Institute), Westside Urban Forum and volunteers for several charitable and political groups. He currently serves as a Regional Advisor for Syracuse University and served on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Southwest chapter of the Affordable Housing Management Association (AHMA) for over 12 years. He also served on the Board of Directors for The Westside Family YMCA for many years and is a mentor, speaker and advisor for many other local charities. Mr. Pynes received an MBA in Real Estate Finance from Fordham University and a B.S. from Syracuse University.

Mark J. Weinstein
Advisor, Regional Council

Mark J. Weinstein is the President and Founder of MJW Investments. After beginning his career as an attorney, Los Angeles native Mark J. Weinstein founded MJW Investments in 1983 when he discovered the potential of real estate investment and development through several successful ventures. Under his leadership MJW has acquired approximately 1 billion dollars of real estate holdings in all asset types.

 

He also spearheaded the adaptive reuse of Santee Village, one of Los Angeles’ largest adaptive reuse projects of over 800,000 square ft. of mixed use in the Fashion District of Downtown Los Angeles. Mr. Weinstein’s passion for, and expertise in property repositioning has been a guiding factor in the company’s growth and success.

 

Mark is the majority owner of the firm’s $800MM diversified real estate holdings. More recently, Mark has led the firm’s strategic growth into student housing and has amassed a portfolio of student housing properties at Michigan State, Washington State, Brigham Young University, UC Santa Barbara, Oregon, Arizona State and Texas Tech. The firm continues to expand its Southern California multifamily portfolio.

 

Student Housing Magazine named MJW one of the Top 25 Owners and Managers of Student Housing in 2017.

 

Throughout his career, Mr. Weinstein has maintained active associations and leadership with numerous civic and philanthropic groups. These include a three-year term as Chair of the Jewish Federation’s Real Estate Construction Division; and active associations with the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the Guardians, an agency dedicated to serving the elderly.

 

Some of the notable events and awards that Mr. Weinstein has achieved are

· The Mensch Award from Breed Street Shul. Breed Street provides social programming for Latino and Jewish communities.

· Urban Cowboy and Treasures of Los Angeles Award for leading Downtown Renaissance by the Central City Association

· AIPAC Latino Community Liaison with Congresswoman, Church and Temple

· Three times Voted 500 Most Influential People in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal

· USC Lusk Real Estate Board

· Founding Member of Venture Philanthropy group of RPO

· YPO National Multi Family chair

· International Executive Board of YPO Real Estate Division

· Vice Chair AIPAC Real Estate Council

· LA Mayor’s Council on Housing and Development

· National Chair for UJC Philanthropy Forum (JLF)

· Executive & Board Member of Jewish Federation

· Voted Icon in Real Estate by the Real Estate Forum

 

Mr. Weinstein holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara (summa cum laude), and a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School (dean’s list).

Matt Toledo
Advisor, Regional Council

Matt Toledo is a businessman and civic leader. He holds the title Publisher Emeritus of the Los Angeles Business Journal where he served as Publisher from 1994 -2017. Now, as CEO of ProVisors he is building the largest and fastest growing membership organization exclusively for trusted advisors.

He served as an active and engaged board member of several civic organizations: Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce (Chairman 2009), Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. (Chairman 2007), United Way of Greater Los Angeles, The Civic Alliance, Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission.

An avid traveler and endurance cyclist, Matt has traveled around the world twice and rode from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. in a solo trip and continues regular long-distance excursions throughout California. Matt earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from San Jose State University.

Reginald “Reggie” Gilyard
Advisor, Regional Council

Mr. Gilyard is a Senior Advisor with The Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting company, and serves on the boards of three publicly traded corporations. From 2012 to 2017 he was Dean of the Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University. From 1996 to 2012, he held various positions with The Boston Consulting Group, including Partner and Managing Director and Education Practice Area Leader in the U.S. for non-profit institutions. Mr. Gilyard began his career as an officer serving in the United States Air Force. He earned a B.S. degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Sandy Sigal
Regional Council

On any given day, you might find Sanford “Sandy” Sigal, President and CEO, playfully maneuvering a radio-controlled car or bowling a ball down the hallways of NewMark Merrill Companies’ corporate offices in Woodland Hills, CA. Sandy, who was an incurably curious child, conjured up early dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. His parents nurtured those dreams, no matter how unrealistic, which bolstered his confidence and allowed him to not only achieve many of his early ambitions, but to also launch one of the fastest growing privately-held retail development companies in California. Although Sandy is still a playful kid at heart (he’s been to Disneyworld every year since his 30 year-old son was one), he takes his leadership role at NewMark Merrill very seriously.

Sandy’s ambitious drive emerged early. At the age of 12, he was already exploring and identifying solutions as a programmer and software developer for the personal computer industry, which at that time was in its infancy. Learning accounting and project management, he turned his newly acquired skills and knowledge into a business, writing and selling accounting software and computerizing companies of all types during his teen years. While attending UCLA (Political Science), Sandy, a self-proclaimed introvert, ventured his way into the real estate industry doing what he knew best — computer consulting. He was hired by West Venture Companies, a small Southern California-based homebuilder, for a two week assignment to computerize their accounting and financial process. That two-week assignment started his real estate career, where he founded West Venture Commercial, their shopping center division, where he built or redeveloped more than 25 shopping centers and oversaw their management. In 1993, Sandy was promoted to President and CEO of the parent company, West Venture Companies during which time he was given responsibility over the home building, shopping center, and mortgage divisions. In 1997, Sandy departed West Venture, co-founded NewMark Merrill Companies and purchased the West Venture retail assets, including 15 retail centers and 4 development projects. Since NewMark Merrill’s inception in 1997, Sandy has acquired, developed, managed and repositioned more than 100 retail centers, always infusing his technological expertise into his decision-making processes and strategy development.

The company’s accolades are many. The Los Angeles Business Journal has named NewMark Merrill as one of Los Angeles’ Fastest Growing Private Companies seven times as well as a Top 10 Property Management Firm and a Top 10 Development Firm in their prestigious annual business rankings. NewMark Merrill currently owns and manages 85 shopping centers throughout California, Colorado and Illinois representing almost 11,000,000 square feet with a collective value in excess of $2 billion dollars.

Sandy’s notable “tough and tender” leadership style extends beyond the walls of NewMark Merrill. He serves as Board Vice Chairman for Camp Bob Waldorf Foundation, a camp for underserved children, which Sandy attended when he was a child. He was the recipient of the William Shatner Humanitarian Award in 2007 for his work for this Foundation and the Camp. He also serves on the executive board of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters (JBBBS). Sandy is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the leading organization of CEO’s and Presidents in the World. He co-founded and is on the Board of YPO Pacific Coast Gold, and in 2013, his chapter YPO Education program won “Best of the Best” for all YPO Chapters Worldwide. And in 2017, he again won “Best of the Best” internationally for his Education Program, “House of Cards”, the only Learning Officer to win that distinction twice. He also served as a the Chair of the YPO Real Estate Network, developing and overseeing programing for over 3,000 real estate CEO’s.  Sandy was a finalist for the 2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM Awards Program, winning that same award in 2016 in the Services Category for Greater Los Angeles. Sandy regularly mentors young adults interested in real estate through the Community Leadership Institute (CLI) sponsored by the Jewish Federation, where he was former chair of the Real Estate Principals Organization (RPO).  In 2019, he was the honoree for the Real Estate Division of the Jewish Federation at their annual recognition dinner. Sandy is passionate about a number of causes including the blight of those experiencing homelessness and he co-founded with other YPOers, the “YPO Alliance to End Homelessness” to use his real estate and community expertise to find ways to eliminate homelessness and serve those who need support. “Doing good things” is woven into the fabric of the NewMark Merrill culture, and Sandy has made “giving back” a life mission. He finds pure joy in the community field trips he takes with company employees, making a difference in each community they serve.

Away from the office, Sandy enjoys time with his family – reading, playing pool and pinball, and skiing. He’s proudly watched every season of West Wing five times and is a huge Jeffrey Archer fan. Although he never became a Disney Imagineer (one of his early dreams), he still looks forward to those annual trips to Disney World with his family.

When asked what drives him, he unequivocally answers—the NewMark Merrill team. “How can working with the best, kindest, most driven, passionate people not drive you to do something great?”

Craig Greiwe
Regional Council

Craig Greiwe was most recently the Chief Strategy Officer of Rogers & Cowan PMK, a marketing and cultural business strategy agency. In that role, he oversaw every aspect of client marketing efforts, including content, brand, digital, social, research, insights, media, and creative. He also built a ground-up management consultancy, leading clients with over $200 billion in revenue into bold, next generation strategy and evolutions. His difference is not just his expertise in marrying marketing and business to drive results, it’s developing solutions for seemingly impossible problems, driving innovative change, restoring lost value, and doing so while still hewing to a brand and client’s core values. Greiwe left his position at R&CPMK to run an insurgent campaign for Los Angeles Mayor to bring common sense and business-driven solutions to LA’s most impossible problems, and has now returned to the private sector as an expert marketer and problem-solver. Prior to his time at R&C PMK, Greiwe had his own consulting firm, as well as worked at Warner Bros., Disney, MGM, and DreamWorks. He is a graduate of USC and Columbia Law School. Along with his long list of professional accomplishments, Greiwe is emphatically focused on social good, believing that being a good person is as important as doing good work.

Santa Barbara Regional Council

Aaron M. Edelheit
Aaron M. Edelheit
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Laurie Tumbler
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Aaron M. Edelheit
Advisor

Aaron M. Edelheit is the CEO and Founder of Mindset Capital, a private investment firm. Aaron also was the Chief Strategy Officer of FLO Technologies, after being one of the first investors in the company, helping the company grow from a pre-revenue startup to raising $28 million and launching in over 500 Home Depot stores. FLO was acquired in January of 2020 by Fortune Brands.

 

In his previous role as CEO of The American Home, Aaron founded and grew a company from 16 rental homes to one that owned 2,500 single family rental homes and was sold in April 2015 to a publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trust.

 

Aaron also founded and ran a successful money management firm, Sabre Value Management from 1998 to 2011.

 

In 2018, IdeaPress published Aaron’s first book, The Hard Break: The Case for a 24/6 Lifestyle. The book makes the case for taking one day off from work, email and smartphones for a more productive, healthier and more creative life.

 

Aaron has served on the boards of non-profits such as the Moishe House Foundation and Global Village Project. And he is also a member of Social Venture Partners in Santa Barbara, California.

 

Aaron has also been featured and quoted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, and CNBC among others and has given lectures on business and entrepreneurship in the U.S., Canada and South Africa.

Laurie Tumbler
Regional Council

Laurie Tumbler currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara. She chaired the Board from 2018-2020 and led the organization through incorporation and the formation of the new independent nonprofit organization.

Since moving to Santa Barbara in 2000, she has served on the Board of the Nonprofit Support Center and also was their interim Executive Director while they recruited a permanent Executive Director. During her tenure, the organization developed its first strategic plan and piloted a service to provide interim leaders to organizations experiencing leadership changes. The Nonprofit Support Center also developed a nonprofit consulting practice that helped regional nonprofits improve their business practices.

Laurie served on the Transition House Board for many years, chairing the Board from 2007-2008. She was part of the leadership team that shepherded the tax credit project to develop and construct the MOM’S supportive housing apartments on Cota Street providing much needed housing for families transitioning out of the Transition House emergency shelter program.

As a member of Social Venture Partners in Santa Barbara she led a team that secured a HUD grant to fund a new residential facility for homeless individuals struggling with mental illness. This project was in partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara.

For several years, she was part of grant allocation committees for both United Way of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Foundation.

After earning a B.A from the University of Illinois in History and English, Laurie pursued a career in financial services working in both insurance companies and bank trust departments. She founded and managed her own financial research company with clients in banking, investment management, and insurance on the east coast. Before moving to Santa Barbara, Laurie was a member of several nonprofit boards across the country serving agencies focused on the welfare of children and families.

Nati Smith
Regional Council

Nati Smith has a deep focus on positive impact through well being, creative arts, food, investment and philanthropy. She is a principal at Ponvalley, a family office focused on well being and empowering entrepreneurs addressing environmental challenges. She has served on Santa Barbara-area boards including KindMind, LotusLand, SB Contemporary Art Museum and has set up numerous art and children’s related programming at the Jewish Federation and more. She is publishing a children’s book series called Mish.

 

Nati, was born and raised in Jerusalem. She served in the Israeli Defense Forces and then studied at the Lauder School at Interdisciplinary College in Herzilya before moving to Los Angeles. While there, she set up a Vegan and Gluten Free bakery serving top coffee restaurants in Los Angeles and worked with several nonprofits including Stand With Us.

 

She currently resides in Santa Barbara with her husband and two children.

Rob Pearson
Regional Council

Rob Pearson served as the Executive Director of the Santa Barbara City Housing Authority from October 1988 to December 2016. He is now retired. Prior to being Executive Director, he served as its Deputy Executive Director for 6 years. The Authority currently provides over 4,600 units of low rent housing assistance to the South Coast. Their rental housing inventory has often been termed “the best public housing” in the nation. The balance of Rob’s professional career was with the City of Santa Barbara where he held various positions, the last being Housing and Redevelopment Manager. As the Redevelopment Manager for the City, Rob was responsible for the operation of the City’s Redevelopment Agency, the Community Development Block Grant program, Housing Rehabilitation program, and related planning and community development activities. He holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of California at Santa Barbara. One year of undergraduate study was completed at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. His graduate work was completed at Cal State Northridge in Environmental Planning. Rob is also active in numerous civic organizations. He is past president of the Coastal Housing Partnership, board member and past president of Casa Esperanza Homeless Center, a member of the Housing Committee pf the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association, President of San Felipe Supportive Housing for the Disabled, a member of the Santa Barbara Housing Action Coalition and a founding board member of the Housing Trust Fund for Santa Barbara County. Rob also served as Vice President of AIDS Housing Santa Barbara and served as a Trustee and Vice-Chair of Goleta Valley Community Hospital for many years.

Raina Jeanmarie Palta
Regional Council
Matt Riley
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Matt Riley
Advisory Board Member

Matt Riley leads many initiatives in renewables energy, with a specific passion to engage in the fight against climate change. As the Head of Grid-Scale Renewables at ENGIE North America, he led a global independent power producer during its transition from fossil fuel generation to a zero-carbon renewable energy future. Building more than two gigawatts of wind and solar energy projects during his tenure, ENGIE emerged as a leader in this important transition. Prior to his role at ENGIE, Matt co-founded Infinity Renewables, a leading renewable energy developer in the U.S. Infinity’s successful development of over four gigawatts of operating wind energy projects, representing the electricity use of over 1 million households, was capped by its acquisition by ENGIE in 2018.

Matt holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology and a Master’s of Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

When Matt is not working you can find him spending quality time at the beach with his family and dog in Santa Barbara, California. His weekends often include adventuring in the hills or spending time out on the water.

Email: matt@dignitymoves.org

Daalia Refaat
Regional Council

Daalia Refaat is a lawyer with 20+ years of experience in all areas of corporate, employment, and business law. She began her legal career in London as an associate in the U.S. capital markets group of an international law firm. After returning to California, Daalia held positions with a number of local Santa Barbara law firms. In addition to her legal practice, Daalia translates her lifelong passion for social justice and equity into creating more inclusive and diverse spaces for individuals, and helped form the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team at Deckers Brands. She currently works as Senior Director, Legal Counsel for Deckers.

Daalia earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Religious Studies from UCSB and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington DC. Daalia serves on the board of CALM as well as the Goleta Education Foundation, and she has previously served as a board member for the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation.

In her free time, you’ll find Daalia out running on the bluffs near Goleta, volunteering in the community, or spending time outdoors with her two very active sons.

Karen Schloss Heimberg
Regional Council

Longtime Santa Barbara resident, business owner, and advocate for families, education, and refugees