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Emerging Leaders

Nearly 100 of Los Angeles’ top young professionals gathered at the L.A. Brewing Company in downtown L.A. to enjoy valuable networking time,social camaraderie, and most importantly, come together with the common goal of breaking the cycle of poverty in L.A. County. Take a minute to enjoy this photo gallery from the event.

8740755183_d4ef8bbab2_zOn May 14, almost thirty United Way volunteers gathered at El Sereno Middle School to partake in the 2nd Annual Career Day. Volunteers from companies across Los Angeles spoke to more than 100 students, each over the course of 4 class periods. All sectors were covered – from acting to accounting – opening the eyes of students at this UWGLA partner school to a whole new world of possibilities. 

Melanie Alvarez, an 8th grade student, spoke to the group about her experience last year. She read a letter that she had written for the volunteers, stating, “You all inspired me to stay in school and never give up on anything I hope to achieve… thank you.” It was a very touching moment for both her teachers and the volunteers.

Principal Dr. Frances Gibson, who is in her first year with ESMS, thanked United Way for its many contributions over the past 2 years. Detailing the various ways UWGLA volunteers have been involved, she told them, “You are all teachers today. Thank you for being here.”

Volunteers spoke to music, science, math and social studies classes for the next 3 hours and shared their feedback with one another over lunch. While some questions were entertaining (“Can you get us into the Staples Center for free?!”- a question posited to a security firm owner), others were serious – discussing Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees and other educational paths that are important to forming a career.

Thank you VERY much to all our volunteers who participated! Your contribution cannot not be overstated. We hope to see you again next year for a new crop of students!

Click here to see photos from the event! 


2013 United Way Career Day Volunteers:

Maria Audero, Partner, Paul Hastings LLP

Brian Brummit, Actor     

Louis Castle, Police Sergeant/K-9 Handler/Instructor, Culver City Police Department (Retired)

Jessica Copenhaver, Vice President, Citi Private Bank

Josh Copenhaver, Vice President, Citi Private Bank

Jamila Fairley, Production Incentive Planning, Tax Manager, Fox Entertainment Group

Angela Fentimen, Media & Employee Communications Manager, Southern California Gas Company

Zulema Garcia, Partner, KPMG

Anthony Garrison, Interim Director, Asian Pacific Student Services, LGBT Student Services, Loyola Marymount College

Deborah Lee, Partner, International Tax, PwC

Ben Lewis, Area Sales Manager, UPS

Chad McKinsey, Musician            

Susan McNulty, Occupational Therapist/Adjunct Professor, USC

Betsy Monahan, HR Director, ACCO Engineered System

Mabel Munoz, Program Officer, First 5 LA

Lisa O’Rourke, Executive Director, Marketing and Communications, Loyola Marymount College

Aimee Quon, Mechanical Integration Engineer, JPL

James Rock, Senior Manager, Assurant Services, KPMG

Natalie Seaman, Senior Account Executive, Wellpoint/Anthem Blue Cross

Carolyn Spaeter, Account Management Executive Consultant, Anthem Blue Cross

Le Tang Story Artist, Dreamworks Animation

Cynthia Torres, Senior Account Executive, UPS

Christina Ward, Executive Team Leader – Human Resources, Target

Austin Wheelon, MEP Coordinator, PCL Construction Services, Inc.

Jeff Zisner, President & CEO, AEGIS Security &
Investigations, Inc.


13 Career Day 5.14.2013 016On Tuesday, members of United Way’s Emerging Leaders and Women Leaders presented their second annual Career Day at El Sereno Middle School in Los Angeles.

Representing organizations such as Anthem Blue Cross, the Culver City Police Department, Dreamworks, KPMG and PwC, professionals from the public, private and nonprofit sectors shared with hundreds of eager young students their tips for launching successful and rewarding careers.

Click here to see photos from the event! 


On Tuesday May 14th, almost 30 United Way volunteers convened at El Sereno Middle School’s campus to talk to students about their careers and the paths they took to arrive where they are today. Mostly made up of United Way’s Women Leaders & Emerging Leaders affinity group donors, the volunteers came from a variety of professional sectors- from acting to accounting- and took time to answer questions about education, jobs, and personal passions. Thanks so much to our volunteers!

Nearly 100 of Los Angeles’ best and brightest young professionals recently gathered at the Edison Lounge downtown for United Way’s Emerging Leaders Spring Social to network and learn how they can help break the cycle of poverty in our community.

Last Saturday, nearly 50 of United Way’s Emerging Leaders gathered at El Sereno Middle School in East Los Angeles to paint inspirational murals throughout the campus and provide hundreds of young students with an enhanced learning environment.

El Sereno is one of seven LAUSD schools participating in UWGLA’s Leadership Matters pilot program, which offers principals and their leadership teams increased resources and technical assistance in preparing economically-disadvantaged students for success in high school, college and beyond.

A very special thank you to Deloitte for sponsoring Saturday’s event!

For more info on how you can make a difference by becoming an Emerging Leader, please click here.


On Tuesday night, United Way’s Emerging Leaders hosted its latest CEO Spotlight Event at The W Hotel in Westwood for more than 100 of Los Angeles’ best and brightest young professionals.

Employees representing major corporations including Target, SunAmerica, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and ExxonMobil gathered for an evening of networking as well as a fascinating roundtable discussion entitled, “Managing Through Change: Seizing Opportunities for Growth and Success in Challenging Times.”

Special guest Jay Wintrob, President and CEO of AIG Life and Retirement, spoke candidly about the pressures of being at the helm of a multi-billion dollar corporation and the importance of taking the occasional risk.

“Being a leader,” Wintrob said, “is both a privilege and a massive responsibility. And if you aren’t making any mistakes, at least once in a while, it means that you aren’t being aggressive enough, innovative enough or brave enough.”

For more info on how to attend exclusive events such as this while also building a brighter future for our community, please contact Audrey Simmon at


Several of United Way’s most avid supporters were recently honored at the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 20th annual “Women Making a Difference” awards luncheon which recognizes the contributions of top L.A. businesswomen who are dedicated to bettering the community.

Among the day’s nominees: Emerging Leaders Councilmembers Meredith Esarey and Lisa O’Rourke (both nominated for the Rising Star of the Year award), Chair of the Women Leaders Cabinet Jan Cloyde (Volunteer of the Year) and Chair of United Way’s Corporate Board of Directors Caroline Nahas (Philanthropist of the Year).

Deloitte’s Michelle Kerrick and Marion Anderson of the Marion & John E. Anderson Foundation, both longtime advocates of UWGLA’s mission to create pathways out of poverty, were the proud winners of LABJ’s Executive of the Year and Philanthropist of the Year awards, respectively.

United Way of Greater L.A. would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the recipients of these prestigious awards and to express our gratitude for your attendance as well as for your relentless commitment to improving the overall quality of life for the residents of Los Angeles County!


Last Thursday, more than two dozen members of United Way’s Emerging Leaders and Women Leaders presented their first annual Career Day at El Sereno Middle School in Los Angeles.

Representing organizations such as the Culver City Police Department, Bank of America, JPL, Anthem Blue Cross and the ACLU of Southern California, professionals from the public, private and nonprofit sectors shared with hundreds of eager young students their tips for launching successful and rewarding careers.

For Woman Leader Maria Audero, a partner at Paul Hastings LLP, the half-day event really struck an emotional chord as it became apparent that volunteers and children alike were being left equally inspired.

“I’ve had the good fortune of being able to contribute to causes I believe in but when I have the chance to actually draw on my professional skills and assist in a leadership capacity, the experience resonates on a very different level,” she said. “Spending time with the people and the communities United Way is helping offers the kind of satisfaction you can only get through direct human contact.”

For Emerging Leader Abraham Carons of the United Nations Association of the USA, United Way’s inaugural Career Day served as a poignant reminder of the organization’s continuing battle against poverty – one which can only be won by working together.

“I choose to support United Way of Greater L.A. because of the social and economic impact it’s making on our communities,” he said. “It tackles real problems like poverty, homelessness and a failing educational system head-on. The hands-on work that United Way and its local partners are doing can only be buoyed by our willingness to donate our time as well as our dollars.”

Click here to see more photos from the event!

On April 24, United Way’s Emerging Leaders hosted its latest CEO Spotlight Event at L.A. Live’s Conga Room for more than one hundred rising young professionals.

Employees representing dozens of major corporations including HSBC, ExxonMobil, PwC, UPS and NBC Universal were treated to an evening of networking and a roundtable discussion entitled, “Rising to the Challenge: The Key to Overcoming Adversity and Promoting Positive Change” featuring Paula Madison, Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management.

Madison, who is also the current Chairman of the Los Angeles Sparks, spoke openly about her humble beginnings, her rise to the top and her lifelong connection to United Way and its core mission.

“I was one of those children who grew up with very little and who benefited a great deal from the assistance of United Way. It was a safe harbor from the storm,” she said.

“As a result, I’ve been involved with this organization in every city where I’ve ever lived – it was a way to ground myself in the community. And I know that United Way of Greater L.A., in particular, has narrowed its focus on closing the poverty gap which speaks, in more ways than I can say, to what I believe in.”

To find out how you can help build a brighter future for our community by joining United Way’s Emerging Leaders, please contact Audrey Simmon at