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STEPHANIE STEPS OUT
Lessons in Chemistry costar Stephanie Koenig sizzles in fall fashion.
The women who manufactured rocket engines at Rocketdyne in the 1950s.
FINDING THEIR VOICE
An exhibit at LACMA portrays Middle Eastern women in enlightening new ways.
34 PERFECT BLEND
The third generation of a family takes over Don Francisco Coffee.
A screenwriter pivots to launch a service aimed at sourcing bespoke items for the home.
42 BEFORE, DURING, AFTER
Author Anna Todd on her best-selling After series and her home in Sherman Oaks.
Head into the canyon for a weekend retreat aimed at yogis.
A couple with a penchant for transforming magnificent properties settles down in Toluca Lake.
MY JOURNEY WITH MOTHER AYA Embarking on a psychedelic experience in Costa Rica.
NEW ROAST ROOSTS
Two new coffee houses for enjoying a premium cup of Joe.
SCOOP ON GOOP
The founder of Mendocino Farms on how he partnered with Gwyneth Paltrow on Goop Kitchen.
PROFILES: WOMEN WHO LEAD
Meet some of the most accomplished women in the Valley.
Spectacular local listings.
When life doesn’t go according to plan.
COVER42 50 Stephanie Hoenig in an Alexander McQueen gown, Aquazzura sandals, and jewelry by XIV Karats; photographed at The Velvet Martini Lounge by Michael Becker
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Twelve years ago, we founded this lifestyle platform, believing that it could be welcomed and appreciated by the Valley community. Indeed, that has transpired. Now as we move into our 13th year, we have orchestrated a momentous shift in the brand. We have a new publishing team in place, aimed at growing the solid foundation that has been laid—and we couldn’t be more excited.
Syd Hersh, Jill Epstein and Ron Troxell are now leading advertising (print and digital), sponsorships and events at VB. All three executives have decades of experience and are Condé Nast veterans. Between them they’ve worked at some of the most iconic brands in publishing, including GQ, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone and Vogue
Syd and Jill are serving as co-publishers of VB (as well as sister publication Southbay) and Ron as
associate publisher. All three are known in the industry for developing strong client relationships and innovative marketing programs that get attention. Most importantly, they deliver results.
On the personal side—and I love this—each has local roots. Syd grew up in Tarzana. Jill lives in Hidden Hills, and Ron in Studio City. In addition to their skills and experience, they are also enthusiastic, personable and approachable. If you’d like to reach out to Syd, Jill or Ron, their contact information is on our masthead, page 8.
The trio comes on board for one of our most popular issues—the Women’s Issue. As always, it is chock-full of local women doing extraordinary things and sharing compelling stories. We hope that the articles—as well as our Women Who Lead Profiles (page 68) will inspire and enlighten you.
Follow me on Instagram @she_sez Linda Grasso, Editor-in-Chief
Take a peek into the home of a Toluca Lake couple where music is part of the charm. More on page 56.
stephanie steps out
AS THE SERIES LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY GETS SET TO STREAM ON APPLE+, COSTAR STEPHANIE KOENIG IS ON A PRECIPICE. SHE’S BEEN A WORKING ACTRESS FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, AND NOW, IN HER THIRD HIGH-PROFILE TV SERIES ROLE IN A ROW, THE ACTOR SEEMS POISED FOR SUCCESS.
Talk to Stephanie Koenig and you’d never know she had been a working actress for a decade. She has the enthusiasm of a newbie. Take what she says about her Lessons in Chemistry costar Brie Larson.
“I was really nervous to work with Brie because I’m actually quite a huge fan. I’m a geek for Marvel movies, and she’s Captain Marvel!”
Or Miles Teller, her costar in the 2022 TV series The Offer.
“I thought maybe he was going to be reserved because he’s such a big star. You know: ‘Don’t talk to me, don’t bug me about the business.’ But I drilled him. I was like, ‘How was it working with Tom Cruise? Tell me everything!’”
Maybe it is because she grew up outside of Hollywood. Along with an older sister, she was raised in Rochester Hills, Michigan. “My mom was a secretary at Chrysler under the head of design. And my dad was an electrician on an assembly line.”
Or maybe it is because she hasn’t exploded—yet. Lessons in Chemistry, based on the New York Times bestselling book by Bonnie Garmus, is set to premiere in
“I THINK NATURALLY OVER THE YEARS, I’VE LEARNED TO KEEP MY EXCITEMENT TEMPERED. I JUST DON’T GET TOO EXCITED ABOUT THINGS. I’M NOT LIKE, ‘THIS ROLE IS GOING TO CHANGE EVERYTHING!’ I’M MORE LIKE, ‘OH GOD, I HOPE THEY LIKE THE WORK. I HOPE IT TURNS OUT.’”Ivory lace blouse by L’Agence, $325 Double-breasted houndstooth blazer by Alexander McQueen, $2,900. High-waisted flare pants by Sergio Hudson, $1,095.
September. Apple+ is putting a lot of promotion behind it, and it is generating good buzz.
Still, Stephanie, who lives in Sherman Oaks with her actor husband, Chris Riggi, is pragmatic. After years of hits and misses, she understands how—from a mental standpoint—it’s important not to get ahead of your skis.
“I think naturally over the years, I’ve learned to keep my excitement tempered. I just don’t get too excited about things. I’m not like, ‘This role is going to change everything!’ I’m more like, ‘Oh God, I hope they like the work. I hope it turns out. I hope they edit it.’”
There is the constant hope that a project actually airs. Not always the case. She did a CBS pilot with Will & Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, and her costar was Julie Bowen from Modern Family. It didn’t get picked up. There were a few other jobs that included a few more disappointments, and then, in 2020, a breakthrough role in HBO TV series The Flight Attendant costarring Kaely Cuoco. It got nominated for 12 Emmys, winning one.
A year or so later, she landed an even bigger part in The Offer, the Paramount+ series that chronicles the making of The Godfather. Stephanie plays a casting agent who has an affair with the main character, played by Miles Teller.
And then last year: Lessons in Chemistry, a darkly funny and poignant story about a groundbreaking female chemist in the 1960s. Stephanie plays frumpy busybody Fran Frask, a secretary at the male-dominated Hastings Research Institute where the heroine, Elizabeth Zott, is also employed.
Each successive role has gotten more substantial. “In Flight Attendant, I died. In Offer, I lived, but only made it to episode five. In Lessons I make it to the final episode. Yippee!”
Lessons in Chemistry was shot over a three-month period in Los Angeles. She points to one scene at the historic Biltmore Hotel with lots of moving parts as one that was particularly exciting. “It’s always fun to do
period pieces because they do a lot of the work for you. You don’t have to act like you’re in the ’60s. You don’t have to talk old-timey. You just have to look like a person back in the ’60s. They always had a wig ready for me, and all of these old clothes. It was a joy to do it.”
Stephanie was grateful the Lessons shoot was local. The actress had to be on set just months after she and Chris were married, and she didn’t want to put off starting their lives together as a couple. One of their first moves: relocating from West Hollywood to Sherman Oaks.
“We have three dogs, and we needed a place for them to run around. We found this magical place that has a huge backyard, and it’s so quiet. It also has some things I consider luxuries—I just started making some good money—like central air-conditioning and a washer and dryer in the house.”
She says she and Chris love to walk to the Boulevard and hit their favorite spots.
“We go to Hank’s Bagels and The Coffee Roaster a lot. Sometimes we go eat at Casa Vega. Right now I’m thinking about putting a pickleball court in our huge driveway. I like games. I have ladder ball, cornhole, and a Frisbee game. I also bought an inflatable pool. I’m just really enjoying our first house after being married. It’s everything that I expected.” ■
Editor’s note: This photo shoot and interview took place before 7/14/23, when the
THE LONG-FORGOTTEN STORY OF THE THOUSANDS OF WOMEN WHO DEFIED CONVENTIONAL STEREOTYPES AND INSTEAD WORKED DEVELOPING AND MANUFACTURING ROCKET ENGINES AT ROCKETDYNE IN THE 1950S.Written by Christina Rice
It’s hard to imagine today, but after World War II, women, who had sustained the American workforce during the height of the conflict, were encouraged to embrace a life of domesticity and return to the family home. This was also the period when Southern California emerged as the aerospace capital of the world. Fields such as math and engineering, cornerstones of the industry, had always been male-dominated, but the gender gap became even more pronounced during this time.
While there may have been a dearth of women employees at the companies supporting the country’s space race-fueled ambitions, they were not completely absent. In recent years, books such as Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly and Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt have brought to light the careers of women at places such as NASA and JPL. Rocketdyne was another juggernaut of the aerospace industry.
Specializing in the development of liquid-propelled rocket engines, Rocketdyne came to prominence in the Cold War era, and the facility at the corner of Canoga Avenue and Victory Boulevard remained a San Fernando Valley fixture for nearly 60 years. It and a field laboratory in the Santa Susana Mountains provided jobs to thousands of Los Angeles residents, reaching a peak of more than 20,000 employees in the mid-1960s during the country’s frantic space race against the Soviet Union. Rocketdyne served as a key supplier of rocket engines for NASA, including those used for the Apollo program that ultimately landed American astronauts on the Moon in 1969.
Rocketdyne opened its Canoga Park headquarters in 1955 and described it in newspaper recruitment ads as “the most modern and complete facility of its type in
the Free World.” It anticipated staffing of around 4,000, including “engineers, technicians, skilled craftsmen, and administrative personnel.” A mere four years later, the facility had expanded to accommodate three times that number of active employees. Roughly 18% of them were women. In highlighting this minority workforce in January 1959, the Valley Times referred to Rocketdyne’s female population as the “Canoga Rockettes,” noting that they “have more precision than their dancing counterparts in New York City, and here it’s not a chorus line, but an assembly line for rocket engines.”
Setting aside the flip comparison to Radio City Music Hall’s fabled dancers, the Valley Times piece provides a fascinating statistical breakdown of close to half of Rocketdyne’s female workforce at the time, which numbered 2,260. Included in the reporting were engineers
(12 women of 1,500 total engineers), assembly workers making “little black boxes” (43), blueprint librarians (30), production control clerks (20), inspectors (30), engine assemblers (14), artists and illustrators (132), welder (1), milling machine operator (1), plating equipment operator (1), sheet metal layout specialist (1), stenographers (262), accounting clerks (more than 100), keypunch operators (50), blueprint machine operators (30), and typists (410). Additional jobs assumed by women included brazers, drill press operators, tube benders, tool crib attendants, expediters and electrical test mechanics. The newspaper would go on to feature more Rocketdyne women in subsequent years. The women’s names aren’t remembered today, but the fact remains: The women of Rocketdyne helped propel Americans to the Moon and beyond. ■
Finding Their Voice
AN EXHIBIT AT THE LA COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART PORTRAYS MIDDLE EASTERN WOMEN IN UNEXPECTED AND ENLIGHTENING NEW WAYS.Written by Diane Haithman
The first image one encounters in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s current exhibition, Women Defining Women in Contemporary Art of the Middle East and Beyond, is not what one might expect. It is not a woman whose hair is hidden by a veil and whose body is obscured by modest robes. Rather, visitors see a LACMAcommissioned photograph of actor Iman Vellani, who portrays Kamala Khan, the superhero star of the Disney+ miniseries Ms. Marvel. The Kamala character is a Pakistani-American growing up in Jersey City, and is Marvel’s first Muslim protagonist.
The photo, by Lebanese-born artist Rania Matar, shows Iman, a Canadian of Pakistani descent, in a clingy bandage dress and combat boots, her brown hair flowing free, her gaze direct. Linda Kamaroff, LACMA’s curator of Islamic art and head of the museum’s Art of the Middle East department, says the stereotype-busting image perfectly reflects the complex identities of contemporary women artists born or living in what the exhibition broadly defines as Islamic societies.
“I wanted to contradict the common American perception that women in the region are voiceless and invisible,” says Linda, who curated the show. “I want this exhibition to show these women do have voices, and they’re quite visible.”
Adds Linda, “I was also thinking about future generations. I want younger women and girls to see themselves in the art here. They can feel empowered by it.” She added that women outside of the Muslim diaspora
Laila Shawa, Disposable Bodies (Shahrazad #4), 2012
Palestinian artist Laila Shawa died in 2022, but her revolutionary spirit lives on in her multidisciplinary range of work that includes photography, silkscreen prints, sculptures and installations. Her “Disposable Bodies” series, blending glamorous feminine imagery with bullets, grenades and explosives, explores the motivations behind the shahida—the Arabic term for a female suicide bomber—which the artist has said evokes “the troubling confusion of eroticization and weaponization.”
Rania Matar, Iman, Griffith Park, 2022
Rania Matar is known for her photographs of girls and women on the edge of the culture clash between the U.S and Lebanon. The photographer’s focus on youth led LACMA to reach out to her to shoot Iman Vellani. The actor’s motivation for posing is the same as for portraying Ms. Marvel: to be “a living role model, specifically ‘for other brown girls,’” says curator Linda Komaroff.
Shirin Aliabadi, Miss Hybrid No. 3, 2008
The “Miss Hybrid” studio portrait series by Iranian photographer Shirin Aliabadi (1973–2018) captures the influence of Western culture on young women in Tehran. This shot contrasts the subject’s modest headscarf with artificial Western beauty standards including blue contact lenses, bleached hair, and a bandage suggesting a recent nose job—popular among Tehran’s youth whether or not they’ve actually had cosmetic surgery—all topped off with a provocative pink bubble of gum.
Hayv Kahraman, Search, 2016
Iraqi-born Kurdish artist Hayv Kahraman’s oil-on-linen work Search, subtitled “(Ask one prisoner to come close to translate for another),” fragments the naked female form. In a recorded interview with LACMA, the artist explains that she seeks to blast gendered stereotypes, usually generated by the “white heteronormative man…. Yeah, sometimes we need to scream to be heard. For me, the sense of indignation is what fuels my work.”
will connect with the female struggle for empowerment that transcends language, country and culture.
The exhibition comprises about 75 works by 42 artists, many of which are from LACMA’s permanent collections, as well as newly acquired works. The curator
shares another surprising fact: Of LACMA-owned works in its Middle East collection, half are created by women. The exhibition runs through September 24 at LACMA. For more go to lacma.org. ■
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LISETTE GAVIÑA LOPEZ LEADS THE CHARGE AS A THIRD-GENERATION CO-OWNER OF THE LOS ANGELES ROASTERS BEHIND DON FRANCISCO’S COFFEE.Written by Jean Trinh
Lisette says nowadays whenever her 9-year-old son catches a whiff of the robust scent on her, he’ll ask if she’s been inside the massive factory where 43 million pounds of beans are processed, roasted and packaged each year. The state-of-the-art operation, in which Lisette is a third-generation co-owner, produces coffee for her company’s retail brands such as Don Francisco’s Coffee and Café La Llave Espresso, wholesale Gaviña Gourmet Coffee (found at restaurants like Porto’s Bakery) and Costco favorite Jose’s Gourmet Coffee. They’re behind the coffee at McDonald’s too.
Lisette graduated from USC with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and worked on and off at her family’s company after 2001. But it wasn’t until January 2022 that she and her cousins, Frank and Michael Gaviña, began taking over the operational management reins from their parents. Lisette now oversees sales and marketing, Frank handles operations, and Michael is in charge of finance and accounting.
The second-generation owners—siblings Paco, Pedro, and José Gaviña, and Leonor Gaviña-Valls—still sit on the company’s board, providing guidance to the new guard. “We consider it a baton pass, like when you’re in a relay race and both runners are holding the baton at the same time until one is ready to run with it and the other one’s ready to let go,” says Lisette, who’s now the chairman of the board. “What we believe is best for the company and employees is that there’s a smooth and successful transition.”
The business is precious to the Gaviña family. Coffee has been in their bloodline since 1870, when Lisette’s great grandfather and great uncle were coffee growers
in the mountains of southern Cuba. Lisette’s grandfather, Francisco Gaviña, followed in their footsteps and made coffee his life.
But in 1960 after the Cuban revolution, the Gaviña family left everything behind, fleeing from Cuba to Spain with a suitcase and the equivalent of $150 in cash. The socialist party in power confiscated their land and property. After the Bay of Pigs invasion, it was clear to the Gaviñas that things in Cuba weren’t going to change. They emigrated to the United States, first to Miami and then to LA in 1963.
The family had to start over with what little they had. Francisco, who was already in his 60s, became a porter at The French Cafe in Montebello (now closed); Lisette’s father and uncles also worked various jobs there as waiters, dishwashers and bussers. “They all banded together and worked to survive,” says Lisette. “But my grandfather’s dream had always been to get back into the coffee business.”
In 1967, Francisco was able to procure a roaster from a Bob’s Big Boy restaurant in Carlsbad. He and his family dismantled the machine, put it in a truck and brought it to Vernon, where they reassembled it in their 1,100-square-foot commercial space.
It took time for Francisco and his children to grow the brand. Lisette’s father, José, would juggle school while working at a restaurant and finishing the night off at the coffee facility. “For the first five years of the business, none of them took a salary,” says Lisette.
It took the family some time to understand the American coffee market. While Cubans enjoyed dark espresso roasts made of 100% Arabica beans, American palates in the 1960s favored lighter roasts. At first, the Gaviñas targeted the local Cuban community, which wasn’t very large at the time, and then expanded the business into roasting beans with flavor profiles that catered to Middle Eastern and Vietnamese customers. “Now, being in the market for over 50 years, we have a very strong reputation here in Los Angeles, but it’s taken a long time,” says Lisette.
Don Francisco’s Coffee, an ode to Lisette’s grandfather, launched in 1984 and is now carried at over 12,000
When Lisette Gaviña Lopez was a child, her father would return home from a long day of work at their family-owned coffee plant, F. Gaviña & Sons Inc. in Vernon, smelling distinctively of roasted beans. “Coffee has oils, and the aromatics stick to your clothes,” she explains.
Clockwise from top: Francisco Gaviña on the family coffee farm Cuba, circa 1958; Francisco cupping at the LA roastery circa 1980; three generations of the family in 1989: Jose Gaviña, Leonor Gaviña-Valls, Don Francisco Gaviña, Pedro Gaviña, Francisco Gaviña.
retail stores in the United States, with its strongest market in Southern California. The company’s operations moved several times over the years as its business needs grew. Since 1998, F. Gaviña & Sons has been situated inside of a renovated 239,000-square-foot building that was once a Sears warehouse. (The company leases an additional 104,000-square-foot building next door.) They now employ 260 workers, and 14 Gaviña family members either work at the company or are shareholders. The company works with farms from more than 20 countries, from Colombia to Ethiopia.
There’s been considerable growth in the company since Lisette’s earliest memories of visiting the former plant when she was 7 years old, packing roasted beans into bags and cupping coffee with her family. When the La Cañada-Flintridge native first began working at the company as an adult in the early aughts, she
took the initiative to interview every employee to get feedback on how to improve the business. Out of those interviews came an interoffice email system, a 401(k) program and an organic certification for the plant.
Lisette left the company to forge her own path, getting a USC master’s degree in business administration and later working at Procter & Gamble as an assistant brand manager for several years. “I think anybody that has a family business should definitely get experience outside the company,” says Lisette, now 45. “I learned a lot, especially from a huge company like Procter & Gamble, and I could see what could be possible and how it could add value coming back to my family business.”
She returned to F. Gaviña & Sons in 2011 and has remained there since, enveloping herself in the coffee world by also being a member of the National Coffee Association and the Specialty Coffee Association of
America. “Lisette is constantly seeking to improve herself and the people around her, which has a profound impact in our business,” says her cousin Michael. “I’m very excited to see what our future holds.”
As times have changed, the new leaders of the business are growing with it. On the product side, they now make K-Cups and espresso capsules. On a community level, the company manages the Gaviña Direct Impact initiative that helps build infrastructure and provides education to farmers. They redirect more than 90% of their waste at the plant to reduce, reuse and recycle programs, and donate to more than 300 local and global charities.
“We’re growing through product innovation and continuing to be good local and global citizens,” says Lisette. “We want to be proud of the product that that carries our family name or our grandfather’s name.” ■
COFFEE: BY THE NUMBERS
3 to 5
Years for a coffee tree to grow to full size
Number of coffee trees to produce 1-pound bag of roasted coffee
Pounds of beans F. Gaviña & Sons roasted in 2022
U.S. stores that carry Don Francisco’s Coffee
Countries that F. Gaviña & Sons sources beans from
SKUs of F. Gaviña & Sons products
Years that F. Gaviña & Sons has been in business
A SCREENWRITER PIVOTS TO LAUNCH
CHLOE COLLECTS, A WEBSITE AND BESPOKE SOURCING SERVICE FOR ART, COLLECTIBLES, HOME DECOR ITEMS AND FURNITURE.Photographed by Michael Becker
There was a time in Chloe King’s life when she defined herself as Chloe the screenwriter. “Truth be told, I still am that and always will be, should I be so lucky. But as anyone in Hollywood will tell you, consistent work is hard to come by—not to mention the impact of the current writers strike—and I felt that creating another means of income was paramount.”
That’s why after 30 years in showbiz, she kicked off Chloe Collects, a virtual marketplace for vintage art, home decor objects, collectibles and furniture. The items featured on the site (chloecollects.com) are all discoveries from her travels, along with objects unearthed from estate sales and flea markets. You might say it is in her blood. She is the daughter of the late director Zalman King and screenwriter/sculptor Patricia Knop. The showbiz couple were prolific art collectors who bought pieces from galleries and discovered others by dumpster diving. Like them, Chloe enjoys the hunt.
“I’ve been sourcing treasures for friends, family and
designers for decades. I figured, if you love to do it and you’re doing it anyway, why not make a second career of it?”
As far back as she can remember, Chloe has loved “creating something compelling from nothing.” That could mean writing and being able to “stare at a blank piece of paper and conceive a story” or treasure hunting to “discover the discarded or forgotten creations of others, whether it be art or object, vintage or antique, beautiful or simply misunderstood.”
Her favorite weekend activity has always been hitting estate and garage sales and flea markets. “Some people enjoy brunch on a Sunday. Me? I’d rather be sifting through junk hoping to unearth something dazzling.”
Chloe seems to delight in each find. Two recent examples: One, discovering a treasure trove of works from well-regarded Valley artist Edgar O. Kiechle that hadn’t seen the light of day in 60 years (as featured in the Jan.-Feb. 2023 issue of VB) Another, a unique vintage
lamp. “It was purchased from the estate of an A-list director, now deceased, and it depicts a 1950s film set in miniature. There are klieg lights, a convertible, a cheerleader, a waitress, a man and two dogs. The best part—you turn one of the dogs to turn on the light.”
Chloe, who is a mom of two and lives in Sherman Oaks, describes her new business as a “bespoke sourcing service.” If customers don’t see what they are looking for on her website, she adds, they can hire her to find it.
While reinventing yourself in midlife comes with challenges, Chloe says there is also delight. “When you open an old shoebox and find a photograph of a young James Dean on a 1950s film set with Ronald Reagan that hasn’t seen the light of day since it was printed, it brings a thrill—a joyous feeling. Ultimately, though, when I see the happiness etched on the faces of my clients after I match them with something beautiful that is perfect for their home, that’s about as good as it gets.” ■
“I’VE BEEN SOURCING TREASURES FOR FRIENDS, FAMILY AND DESIGNERS FOR DECADES. I FIGURED, IF YOU LOVE TO DO IT AND YOU’RE DOING IT ANYWAY, WHY NOT MAKE A SECOND CAREER OF IT?”One of Chloe’s finds is this maquette—a study for a bronze sculpture from the late 1940s.
Before, During, After
ANNA TODD, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR OF THE AFTER SERIES OF BOOKS, ON HER AMAZING CAREER TRAJECTORY—AND LANDING IN SHERMAN OAKS.Photographed by Hong Jinwook
Being a New York Times best-selling author was something Anna Todd could never have even dreamed. She was raised in Ohio, and at 18 she married an U.S. Army soldier. The young couple had a young son with serious health issues, and Anna was consumed with trying to manage them. In 2013, while living in Fort Hood, Texas, she started typing a novel on her smartphone. She worked at it whenever she could, whether shopping at Target or working at the local Ulta Beauty store. Her novel After was an overnight sensation, ultimately spawning six more books to create the After fan fiction series.
The series has been released in over 35 languages and has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide. Anna has also served as producer and screenwriter on the film adaptations of two of the books in the series, After and After We Collided. She has also written two standalone novels as well as two other book series.
Here Anna chats with VB editor Linda Grasso about the roller-coaster ride of the past 10 years, which has culminated in her planting roots in Sherman Oaks.
It is amazing what you’ve accomplished in a relatively short period of time. Kind of against all odds. Yeah, it really is. Honestly, even now when I hear it, and it’s been almost a decade, I’m still like, wow, that was a ride. How much can life change in a 10-year period? It’s crazy to think where I am now compared to where I was my whole life.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Reading was my escapism as a child and as a teenager. I was the girl in class who loved reading the books that we were assigned to read. I’d ask for more, and my teachers would let me borrow books. I just had this
fantastical idea of like, oh, it would be such a dream to be a writer. I kept thinking, if only I could go to college. My mom was very anti-government, saying stuff like, “College is a scam; don’t do it.” So I never thought college was possible, and I thought you can’t be a writer if you don’t have a literary degree or any experience.
When you started writing After, you were a military wife working a minimum wage job and caring for a son with serious health issues.
Yes, my son has a rare genetic condition called tuberous sclerosis. In addition to seizures, he has epilepsy, autism and behavioral issues. At the time, I was going to doctor appointments and trying to learn as much as I possibly could about the condition. I was doing a research program where they would fly us from Texas to UCLA every three months. I couldn’t even afford a hotel. I remember writing on my phone during the research program, at my son’s appointments, and after he went to bed at night. I’d stay up late, and I just became addicted to it. Something just clicked in my brain.
So as I understand it, you were fascinated with One Direction fan fiction—stories featuring characters remiscent of the bandmates in imagined scenarios. After you’d devoured everything you could find, you decided to write your own fan fiction series on the social storytelling app Wattpad.
Yes. One day this idea popped in of this girl in college and this boy with tattoos. I was like, wait, this boy looks like Harry Styles. My version was covered in tattoos. It was the typical kind of bad-boy, good-girl romance. The story just went from there.
Once you started writing, what did that creative experience feel for you?
It felt like I was plugged in to a supercharger. I’d found something to do for myself. But part of me was terrified. I was almost embarrassed. Why would I have the audacity to think I can write a story? I’m just a random girl in Texas with a high school diploma taking community college classes. But part of me was thinking: This is the best thing I’ve ever done.
How and when did you realize people were actually reading your work on Wattpad?
At first, I would refresh the page and then I was like, oh, I have a read. Then I would refresh it again and be like, oh, I have two! And then I realized that they were both me. I wrote the second chapter and then the third chapter. Then it just started snowballing. Within two months I had a million reads. My phone was going crazy. I had to turn my notifications off. People asked what else I’d written.
I got a couple messages from people saying they were agents. I was like, what the heck? This is a scam. I would ignore them. Then I got emails from Wattpad. I ignored the first four or five. At Wattpad they still tease me about my ignoring them. Ultimately I signed with Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
How did you wind up moving from Texas to Los Angeles?
I started coming here because I got a film deal for the books. I’m a sensitive, empathetic person who thrives on bonding, and I had no human connection in Texas. I was married to somebody who was gone 80% of the time. (Anna and her husband are now divorced.) When I came here I thought, this is where my people are. Everybody I was coming in contact with seemed to have a spark in them, no matter what they did for a living.
What was it about the Valley that attracted you?
One of my LA friends has lived in Studio City her entire life. She told me that I’d like Studio City and Valley Village. I loved that everything I needed was
five to 10 minutes away. Plus it’s quiet. I lived in Studio City for two years, then bought a house in Valley Village, and now I live in Sherman Oaks, where I know all my neighbors.
What are some of your favorite Valley haunts?
I love Tortoni Caffe on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. It is small and family-owned, and the coffee is wonderful. They’ve got food options too. I also love Petit Trois. They’ve got a great espresso martini. I also enjoy On the Thirty for a quick drink or meeting up with someone.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Two years ago I went to Wattpad with the idea of starting an imprint together. This year we have six titles coming out that are not just my books. I want to publish voices that wouldn’t typically be published— unrecognized writers who are talented. As for my future lifestyle, I’m never moving out of the Valley. It just feels more like a community than other parts of LA. I like that. ■
For more, listen to Anna’s episode on the SheSez with Linda Grasso podcast. Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify—as well as the other platforms.
“WHY WOULD I HAVE THE AUDACITY TO THINK I CAN WRITE A STORY? BUT PART OF ME WAS THINKING: THIS IS THE BEST THING I’VE EVER DONE.”
The new Goop Kitchen in Studio City aims to please palates of all ages with healthy fresh fare. More on page 50.
New Roast Roosts
ECO VIBES, CREATIVE CONCOCTIONS, TASTY PASTRIES, AND DEEP TIES TO GROWERS DISTINGUISH
THE VALLEY’S COOLEST NEW PREMIUM COFFEE HOUSES.Written by Lauren Horowitz
THE BOY & THE BEAR
The Boy & The Bear started in 2012 with the simple goal of brewing high-quality Colombian coffee beans while forming close ties with their coffee farmers. With four locations in the LA metro area, the brand recently opened their fifth in Sherman Oaks.
Each bag of espresso beans—for sale at the front counter—displays the names of the farmers who grew them. I ordered a cappuccino made with their crowdpleasing Vibrant Espresso blend, and it was one of the best I’ve enjoyed in Los Angeles.
The cafe offers a variety of thoughtfully crafted drinks that include lattes, cortados, and their Stockholm Fog, a best-selling amalgam of mocha and chai.
A glass case displays an eclectic array of fruity pastries, croissants, and what the barista fondly described as a “fancy hot pocket” filled with lentils. I had a bombolini (Italian donut) filled with apricot jam. Delish.
Design details abound inside The Boy & The Bear, including the logo’s metallic copper finish, symbolizing the reddish tan-colored crema that foams atop their skillfully brewed coffees. (The Boy & The Bear name is derived from an old Swedish bedtime story.) Walls of pale turquoise with light woods and copper accents create a relaxed vibe for an overall enjoyable experience.
COFFEE AND PLANTS
Walk into Coffee and Plants and it’s easy to grasp their ecofriendly business model. Displayed in neon lights on a wall: “drink coffee, plant trees.” For every 100 coffees sold, the company plants one tree in partnership with the National Forest Foundation.
Founded by British singer Leona Lewis, the flora-filled cafe opened this past spring in Studio City. Their vegan menu is designed to serve both the planet and our palates. I ordered the Laurel Latte, a signature concoction named for Laurel Canyon, featuring maple flavoring and sea salt sprinkled on top. Although pleasant, it tasted like nothing more than a standard latte to me. The almond cherry muffin was more impressive: gooey hot pockets of cherry suspended in a moist almond cake.
In addition to classic coffee drinks, they also serve elaborate specialty drinks. The Blue Lavender Latte is tinted with butterfly pea powder. The Rose Bowl Latte features a rose and hibiscus syrup. The 24k Charcoal Latte is garnished with edible gold leaf.
Noshes include an assortment of pastries as well as savory tartines with JustEgg, a vegan egg alternative.
The setting seems to have been designed for photo ops—a combination of a gardener’s greenhouse and Barbie’s dreamhouse. The quaint, outdoor patio has a romantic vibe, with white wicker chairs, small round tables and artificial cascading roses on the building’s facade. ■
The Scoop On Goop Kitchen
MARIO DEL PARO SOLD THE MENDOCINO FARMS RESTAURANT CHAIN THINKING HE’D SIT BACK AND WATCH HIS KIDS GROW. INSTEAD, HE PARTNERED WITH GWYNETH PALTROW ON GOOP KITCHEN.
When Mario del Paro and wife Ellen Chen decided to sell a controlling interest in their SoCal sandwich/salad eateries Mendocino Farms to the private equity group TPG, Mario was excited about his life. He and Ellen had spent 15 years arduous years growing the chain and wanted to spend more time with their two children. Though they remained the second-largest shareholders and sit on the board, as Mario puts it, “Going from working 70 hours a week to zero emails and only texts from guys I went to college with was not a comfortable transition.”
Mario says he realized how much he loved building food companies. Plus he felt like he had a road map to avoiding some of the many blunders the couple made at Mendocino Farms.
Along with three partners, including the COO from The Cheesecake Factory, Mario founded DOM Food Group three years ago. The company’s first project was a joint venture with Goop, founded by actor-turnedlifestyle brand owner Gwyneth Paltrow.
“We created a restaurant concept based on Gwyneth’s best-selling cookbooks and recipes. We own the concept with Goop, and Gwyneth still approves every food item, every packaging, and every detail of the business,” Mario shares.
The concept is centered around clean eating: no refined sugars, processed foods, gluten, dairy, peanuts or preservatives. It quickly grew. Five Goop Kitchens are now open: Studio City/Toluca Lake, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, El Segundo and Costa Mesa. Most have no traditional storefront. The kitchens deliver locally, or customers can come in and pick up.
Mario says the Brentwood Chinese Chicken Salad is
Goop’s most popular item at all of the outlets. He adds that the protein and grain bowls sell well too. Goop Kitchen also offers a gluten-free pizza and their own pasta brand called Goop Superfina.
“While running Mendocino Farms, I spent an enormous time studying the premium fast-casual space and all the innovations around delivery,” says Mario. “I really thought there was an opportunity to do a concept more premium than Tender Greens, Sweetgreen or Chopt, but at a price point and value proposition that was better. If we could do higher volume, we could share that efficiency with a reduced price point based on the quality for the guest.”
Ellen doesn’t have a role at DOM, but keeps busy as an angel investor and advisor to other companies. The two still live in a sprawling Colfax Meadows home with their kids, and continue to take a lot of pride in the ongoing success of Mendocino Farms, which has grown to 56 eateries.
“It is like our baby is now grown up, got married and is now having kids of her own! Ellen and I are feeling like grandparents,” he laughs. ■
“WE CREATED A RESTAURANT CONCEPT BASED ON GWYNETH’S BEST-SELLING COOKBOOKS AND RECIPES.”
THE LAB AT COMMUNE TOPANGA IS A WEEKEND RETREAT AIMED AT YOGIS OR ANYONE LOOKING FOR A MIND AND BODY RESET IN A SERENE SETTING.Written by Heather David
Schuyler Grant and Jeff Krasno not only share three teenage daughters but also a lifelong passion for bringing health and wellness to people.
Schuyler, who grew up on a commune in Sonoma County, is a certified yoga instructor with more than 25 years of teaching experience. She is also the founder of the Kula Yoga Project, which owns and operates two yoga studios in New York City.
Jeff and Schuyler are also cofounders of Wanderlust, a series of large-scale events combining yoga and wellness with the arts. (The couple has since sold their interest.) The summer festival has become a global wellness platform, with events in 20 countries. Jeff is the author of Wanderlust: A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Discovering Your Best Self and the cookbook Find Your True Fork, as well as the host of the “Commune” podcast, in which he interviews health and wellness experts.
“He’s like a 52-year-old business guy who fooled around with his own system, lost 40 pounds and is feeling better than he did in his 20s,” says Schuyler. “He’s a fantastic translator of some really dense information.”
In 2018 Jeff founded Commune Media, an online learning platform that offers classes from wellness experts from all over the world. The members-only site offers thousands of classes—from yoga classes (some of which are taught by Schuyler) to meditation to inspirational courses led by wellness gurus such as Deepak Chopra and Dr. Zach Bush.
While the couple lives in Laurel Canyon with their three kids, the platform’s hub is a sprawling 10-acre Topanga Canyon property. All of Commune’s instructional videos are shot there, and a few times each month some of the wellness experts, along with
Schuyler and Jeff, lead on-site lectures and weekend retreats called The Lab at Commune Topanga.
“It is a setting where you can slow down and shift your brain to long-wave thoughts,” says Schuyler. “It is a place to practice, plant, and cook. But most of all, Commune Topanga is designed to foster deep levels of connection between people, face-to-face.”
Some of the retreats are yoga-centric—some specifically aimed at serious yogis. Others are geared more toward health and wellness, like one coming up in November with physician Sara Gottfried, author of The Hormone Cure
The serene sanctuary offers a number of guest accommodations that range from A-frame cabins to rooms inside the main house, a Spanish built in the 1920s. There is also a sauna, a cold plunge, veggie gardens and a chicken coop.
Don’t expect calorie deprivation here—all chef-prepared meals are locally sourced, with vegan and glutenfree options available. And attendees can unwind in the community room with a glass of wine after wrapping up a full day of learning and self-care.
“That’s always kind of been our style,” Schuyler says. “Intensive study and fun time. The theme of these weekends is balance.”
To learn more visit onecommune.com ■
“IT IS A SETTING WHERE YOU CAN SLOW DOWN AND SHIFT YOUR BRAIN TO LONG-WAVE THOUGHTS. IT IS A PLACE TO PRACTICE, PLANT, AND COOK. BUT MOST OF ALL, COMMUNE TOPANGA IS DESIGNED TO FOSTER DEEP LEVELS OF CONNECTION BETWEEN PEOPLE, FACE-TO-FACE.”
A COUPLE WITH A PASSION AND KNACK FOR TRANSFORMING PROPERTIES TAKES ON THEIR SECOND HISTORIC ESTATE, THIS TIME IN TOLUCA LAKE.Written by Chelsee Lowe | Photographed by Shane O’Donnell
A floating travertine staircase leads to a lofted space with two rooms where the couple’s son Brandon, 19, and daughter Alex, 17, rule the roost.
Right bottom: The kitchen features custom walnut cabinetry and lots of seating with dual islands. The painting above the console is by Nacho Moya, who is from Randy’s hometown of Gilroy, California.
Randy and Alecia Spendlove know what it is like to live in an amazing property.
They spent a decade living in The Summit, an upscale gated community on Mulholland Drive. While the privacy and views were lovely, the couple says the sense of community was nil. They eventually moved to Encino, buying an 11,000-square-foot estate once owned by Tom Petty—which Randy admits was part of the attraction. Randy is a Grammy Award-winning producer and president of worldwide music at Paramount Pictures.
He and Alecia, a commercial actor, started renovations on the Encino home, but felt “it was just too big for us and our two kids,” recalls Alecia. Plus they felt a need to
be closer to the energy and studios of the East Valley and Hollywood. In 2020, they discovered a five-bedroom, seven-bath home in Toluca Lake. It was a prized lot, with direct views of the 11th hole at Lakeside Golf Club. The home was originally built in 1951 by the Von der Ahe family, founders of the Vons supermarket chain. But the 6,200-square-foot structure was hardly perfect.
“It was choppy and nondescript,” says Randy. “But it didn’t matter what condition the house was in. We saw what it could be.”
This wasn’t their first rodeo. Randy and Alecia also own a home in Santa Barbara and have renovated several properties. With help from a construction crew they’ve worked with for years, the initial task was reconfiguring the first floor, removing walls and transforming dark, confined rooms into larger, more appealing spaces.
Forgoing any kind of structural change, Randy says
“WE TOOK STEEL, STONE, AND WOOD AND BROUGHT THOSE ELEMENTS TOGETHER, LIKE AN ORCHESTRA. LIKE WHAT I DO FOR A LIVING. I HAVE A PRODUCER’S MENTALITY.”Randy in the family room with one of his guitars. Part of Randy’s guitar collection hangs on the walls. In his earlier years, he was a session and touring musician. On the wall behind him: black-and-white photographs by Brian Bowen Smith (left) and Wolf Ademeit.
he focused on adding natural and modern elements.
“We took steel, stone, and wood and brought those elements together, like an orchestra. Like what I do for a living. I have a producer’s mentality,” he laughs.
Today the house has a breezy, open vibe. A grand piano graces the sitting area at the entry. Folding Fleetwood doors in the adjacent living room reveal epic views of the golf course. The kitchen is open. Flecked cream travertine floors flow throughout, and one-ofa-kind furniture pieces made with petrified wood warm up the space. These include a console and a glasstopped coffee table, both of which feature petrified tree
roots as their base. It all feels organic and warm.
“We love creating a home where our friends feel welcome and our kids feel comfortable,” says Alecia. “And, of course, there’s always the music element.”
Even on our midweek, midmorning visit, instrumental tunes played through a built-in sound system, and the flames of a water vapor fireplace glowed blue and purple. A gentle breeze came through the patio doors, and the family’s dogs wandered or lazed about.
“These things keep movement in the house,” Randy says. “I hate stillness; I like to come home and feel like the house is ‘on.’”
The couple’s art collection adds energy too. A wall features large-scale photos by renowned photographer and family friend Brian Bowen Smith. Stroll down the hallway and you’ll pass an iconic set of Beatles lithographs by Richard Avedon. More music gods adorn the walls in a great room at one end of the house that overlooks a pool and deck—a very young Johnny Cash, and Guns N’ Roses at Canter’s Deli “just before they got signed; they have no idea what’s about to happen,” Randy quips.
The Spendloves call their home a work in progress. Similarly, they are orchestrating projects in every
direction. They are investors in Verse, an upscale North Hollywood supper club and live-music venue, and a few years ago they purchased a ranch in Los Olivos with their friend Jennifer Wood. That enterprise has since become Olive + Lavender Farms, a property filled with olive trees that produces and sells artisanal olive oils.
Alecia says that whether she’s hosting olive oil tastings or teaching yoga, the farm is her “happy place.” And she’s working on expanding activities there. “I’d love to offer goat yoga!” Like the couple’s other properties, the vision has materialized, and it continues to grow. ■
PROFILES: MEN WHO LEAD
Do You Belong in Our Magazine?
In our upcoming October Issue, we will have the special section: Men Who Lead. It is your chance to introduce yourself and tell your story to our 88,000 affluent, educated readers who live across the Valley— from Calabasas/Hidden Hills in the west all the way east to Studio City/Toluca Lake.
These profiles are created by the Ventura Blvd team in the same sophisticated, artful style as the articles in the magazine. We do the photo shoot and create the copy. Each profile also includes promotion on our Facebook (post) and Instagram (story) social streams and placement on our website, ourventurablvd.com, for one year.
For more information, contact VB’s Associate Publisher Ron Troxell: firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-489-4043.
Deadline to reserve space is September 8; issue mails out on October 3.
My Journey With Mother AyaWritten by Maira Suro
At 5 p.m. I enter the maloca, an enormous A-frame structure held up by formidable wooden beams. For the indigenous people of the Amazon, it’s traditionally a ceremonial center. For the weeklong ayahuasca retreat I’m beginning in a Costa Rica resort, it’s where all ceremonies will take place. Comfy mattresses topped with pillows and blankets cover the floor. A bucket and a roll of toilet paper are at the foot of each one. Despite the soft music and serene vibe, they hint that things might turn hectic later.
Ayahuasca is a psychoactive, plant-derived brew, revered as sacred medicine among the indigenous people of the Amazon. Drinking it causes altered states of consciousness, which typically include hallucinations. Despite my lifelong stance against drugs, I welcomed the opportunity to reflect on my role as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and professional, and hopefully in that process, put to rest unresolved issues from my past. My focus was on letting go of childhood traumas.
I zero in on a bed in the corner by the window with a view of the enormous trees outside. Folding and refolding my blanket, I take notice of all 80 of us guests settling in for the ceremony, and do my best to ignore the inner skeptic that keeps screaming: cult!
Soon the shaman and his team parade in, calling us to gather in the main room of the maloca. Donning a feather headdress, he speaks of patience, gratitude and reverence for “the medicine” and its healing powers, and insists on the rule of noble silence—no talking allowed so as not to interrupt anyone’s journey. We are then sent back to our beds where we wait to be called up for “first cup.”
Now, you, like most of my friends and family, may be asking: How did I, a former TV executive turned full-time mom and now an empty nester, wind up on an ayahuasca trip? In a nutshell: I’d just come out of three of the most challenging years of my life—the kind that rip the rug right out from under you. Still reeling from the pandemic, I faced a series of family and health crises, as well as the death of a loved one. I needed a serious reset.
The resort is nestled in the seaside province of Guanacaste. Set up in a comfortable private room with
a king-size bed and simple bathroom, I was handed my itinerary for the next seven days. It included daily seminars to help prepare for the experience, a medical evaluation, spa appointments, access to the gym and pool, and the meal schedule. I was comforted by the trappings of a nice resort as the backdrop for this unconventional experiment.
Now, standing in line to receive my first cup of ayahuasca, I sway to the music, focused on my intention: Show me how to become a better person. I watch the shaman fill my cup, bless it, and hand me the liquid, which is like chunky prune juice. I swallow and think, “Could be worse.” Then lie down, waiting for the magic to happen.
The intensity of my journeys over those three nights was profound. Each time I drifted into darkness, visions from my childhood, interactions with relatives, dead and alive, permeated my consciousness. I saw my husband and daughters and gained insight on our family dynamic. I relived my birth and the birth of my children, and heard the soothing voice of Mother Aya (Mother Earth) telling me, “A woman can be strong and gentle; be both.” It was overwhelming and enlightening. The shaman had said to surrender to the experience, which meant letting go of old wounds and resentment and quieting my mind. In that unruly state, and as is common while journeying with ayahuasca, I reached for my bucket and purged, as if ridding my system of the wounds of my past. By the third night, I was exhausted, yet calmed by a feeling of insight and relief.
A week later as my plane lifted off, I prayed, grateful for all I experienced. My stay at this resort had been a mixed bag. Unleashing the emotional energy of 80 people in one room is chaotic, and in hindsight, the intimacy of a smaller group would have suited me better. Also, some of the staff at times were harsh, and that was difficult to manage, as I was in such a vulnerable state. But experiencing this ancient medicine is something I will always remember as a worthwhile spiritual journey. I realized I still didn’t have all the answers, but one thing was certain: A more tolerant and peaceful me was headed home. ■
With this Women Who Lead business profiles section, we celebrate some of the women in the Valley who are leading the charge in their respective professions. Whether helping people live pain-free, look and feel their best, or find their dream home, these leaders—all at the pinnacle of their careers—are bettering our community through their dedication and accomplishments.
WOMEN WHO LEAD
70 MARLEEN HAFER, RN PROVIDENCE CEDARS-SINAI TARZANA MEDICAL CENTER
72 DANIELLE PERETZ, MIA TRUDEAU, ALISON TURNER THE BEVERLY HILLS ESTATES
74 LINDA SALVIN, MPH, PHD KAYLA PRODUCTIONS, INC.
76 SHERLY SOLEIMAN, MD COSMETIC INJECTABLES CENTER
78 GINA MICHELLE THE AGENCY
79 JESSIE KORNBERG SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER
80 LINDEY LAMBERT
81 ADI LIVYATAN ADI LIVYATAN GROUP | RODEO REALTY
82 GLENNA TOLBERT, MD TOLBERT CENTER FOR REHABILITATION AND WELLNESS
83 STEPHANIE PAYAB BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOMESERVICES CALIFORNIA PROPERTIES | THE PAYAB GROUP
EDITED BY LAURA L. WATTS
MARLEEN HAFER, RN
Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center
Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center has consistently been recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s Best Hospitals for its clinical excellence. Recently, U.S. News & World Report ranked the hospital as #33 in California—with particularly high rankings in gastroenterology, GI surgery and orthopedics.
In her role as director of perioperative, cardiovascular and cardiology services, Marleen Hafer, MBA, BSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, oversees multiple departments. After graduating from Pierce College, she completed the surgical nurse training program at what was then called Tarzana Medical Center. She started working at the hospital in 1993. Her role in the surgery department has evolved from charge nurse to assistant nurse manager, nurse manager and then to her current role as director. Marleen also serves as cochair for the Providence Health System—Perioperative Resource Council.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ROLE AT THE HOSPITAL.
My days consist of optimization projects, program growth and strategic development, budgeting, finance, capital planning, physician relations, staff mentoring, performance improvement and quality assurance. I can have anywhere from one to 15 meetings on any given day, but my priority is always centered around enhancing the patient experience. We are dedicated to providing exceptional quality and compassionate care for our community.
WHY ARE YOUR CERTIFICATIONS IMPORTANT?
I am a certified perioperative nurse, and I hold the nurse executive advanced board-certified credential. The knowledge I gained through these programs helps me immeasurably with my abilities to adapt to change, listen attentively, deliver high-quality work and develop organizational agility.
HOW DO YOU FOSTER A POSITIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT?
The keys to fostering a positive work environment are maintaining open lines of communication with my staff, providing coaching, and encouraging personal and professional development and education. When we focus on uplifting each individual for their strengths and talents, teams are more successful. And of course, providing chocolate for the staff helps as well.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO GO TO WORK EVERY DAY?
I like challenges. I strive to demonstrate initiative and strategic thinking while displaying confidence and composure. Being surrounded by a talented team of great people helps me immensely. I couldn’t do what I do without them. The rhythm of the day-to-day work that the nurse managers and directors share is familiar but different every day. Managing the logistics
of operations while at the same time advocating for patients and staff is challenging yet extremely fulfilling.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ESSENTIAL QUALITIES FOR WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP ROLES TODAY?
Essential qualities for women in leadership roles today include effective communication, flexibility and creativity. Encouraging inclusivity and engagement also are vital for those in management. In health care specifically, it also is extremely important to have strong business acumen and to be a champion for change. Being open and flexible allows for advancement toward the governing goal, which is to help improve patient outcomes. Working to achieve and maintain true human connections with trust and respect among colleagues also is indispensable, because leaders are only as effective as the team around them.
US ABOUT YOUR CONNECTION TO THE VALLEY.
Originally from New Orleans, I have lived and worked in the San Fernando Valley for over 35 years! I regularly visit the Encino farmers market and enjoy the local parks, trails and golf options. Shout-out to local restaurants Greystoke Grill, Miho Sushi and VIP’s Cafe. I also love AJ’s Tex-Mex & Barbecue and spend special occasions at Mistral as often as possible.
WHAT PROJECT ARE YOU WORKING ON NEXT?
We are excited that on October 1, we will move into our new patient tower and occupy our new 22-bed prep and recovery department, GI lab and cardiology department. The next big projects are the relocation of several smaller departments and adding four new state-of-the-art operating rooms and a biplane suite to our surgery department. Exciting stuff!
SHARE A BIT ABOUT YOUR LIFE OUTSIDE THE JOB.
I enjoy Pilates, reading, and listening to podcasts. My current favorite book is The Power of When by Michael Breus. I also like to explore new things—either via travel (big fan of Palm Springs, Las Vegas and our beautiful California coast) or by taking cooking classes (pasta-making, cheese-making). My husband—wine expert and comedian Christopher Adams—is from Palm Springs via Texas, and we both have family in Georgia. We love to travel to visit them whenever we can.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR STAFF.
I’m extremely grateful to our team for their persistence over the last several years despite the significant disruptions that are an inevitable part of massive construction—and for their caring for our community and one another through the complexities of the pandemic. They are what drive me.
THE BEVERLY HILLS ESTATES
Founded in 2020, The Beverly Hills Estates is a real estate brokerage that provides its client base of celebrities, Fortune 500 executives and government officials with door-to-door, white-glove concierge service. It also provides a private members club for all things lifestyle: art, design, construction, architecture and wellness. The firm’s agents represent buyers and sellers in Malibu, Trousdale Estates, Los Feliz and the Valley.
Realtor® and real estate developer Danielle Peretz joined The Beverly Hills Estates in November 2022 after working for years with The Agency, where she ranked in the top 1% of agents in the Valley. She received the 2019 and 2020 MVP awards, the 2021 Top Agent award, and the 2020 and 2021 Chairman award. Danielle has lived and worked in Studio City for more than 20 years and oversees her own real estate team, The Peretz Group.
Originally from New York, Realtor Alison G. Turner moved to Los Angeles to attend law school. She worked in a law firm for more than a decade before deciding to parlay her legal background into real estate sales in 2012. Alison joined The Beverly Hills Estates in 2021. For years she has ranked as one of the RealTrends and Los Angeles magazine Top Realtors in LA.
Mia Trudeau is from Nebraska and worked with top design icons as a runway and print model in Italy and various other countries. A modeling contract took her to LA., where she also studied theater before transitioning to real estate in 2002. She joined The Beverly Hills Estates in October 2021. Mia also owns Plank & Stone, an architectural surfaces business for clients to use as a resource while remodeling their homes.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN REAL ESTATE?
Danielle: The sense of community. Real estate is one of the biggest financial decisions a person can make, and being a resource to guide people to their goals is very fulfilling.
SHARE A SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU ACHIEVED.
Alison: A very proud moment in my career was the first time I was listed as one of Los Angeles magazine’s top agents. I remember when I first got into the business, I saw top Realtors getting this acknowledgment every year and I thought, “I would really love to see myself on that list.” I have made the list for several years now, and I am proud every time I see my name on it.
WHAT ARE SOME KEY QUALITIES THAT ARE ESSENTIAL FOR WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP ROLES?
Mia: Having a clear vision for the future, the ability to think strategically, a strong sense of self-assurance, belief in your abilities, and empathy and understanding toward others are all important for effective leadership.
WHY ARE YOU CONSIDERED A GO-TO PERSON IN THE COMMUNITY?
Danielle: Experience and resilience. My clients’ needs are extremely important to me. Understanding their needs creates a deeper relationship with them. After years of helping people buy and sell in certain communities, you know neighborhoods and the people in them intimately. This allows me to be a resource to future and former clients.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF JUST STARTING OUT IN BUSINESS?
Alison: Trust yourself and your ability. Ignore the fear of failure and go after what you really want in life. If I had done that earlier in my career, I would have shifted from law to real estate much sooner and would have been a successful agent much earlier in my career. When I started in real estate, I had 6-month-old twins, and it was a lot to manage given that I wanted to do everything I could to be successful while juggling being a new parent.
HOW DO YOU PUSH FOR SYSTEMIC CHANGE AROUND IDEAS THAT ARE NEW OR NOT THAT POPULAR?
Mia: Develop a clear and persuasive message to convey your ideas. Identify like-minded individuals and organizations or influential stakeholders who share your vision for change. Build alliances and networks to amplify your message, increase credibility and gain support. Collaborate with others who can contribute resources, expertise or advocacy to strengthen your cause.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED PROFESSIONALLY AS A WOMAN IN BUSINESS?
Danielle: As women, we all face the challenge of not being taken seriously—especially starting out. The best way to overcome it is by being assertive and tenacious, going after what your clients need and being unwavering in your pursuit.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP?
Mia: Women make up a significant portion of the consumer real estate market. Women leaders serve as role models and inspire future generations of women to pursue leadership positions. Their presence can help break gender stereotypes, encourage girls and young women to aim high, and contribute to closing the gender gap in leadership.
Danielle: I think women are inherently empathetic and understanding. Since this is a business that revolves around communication, those tools are extremely important.
8878 W. SUNSET BLVD., WEST HOLLYWOOD | 310-626-4248 | THEBEVERLYHILLSESTATES.COM
DANIELLE: 818-644-1477, DANIELLEPERETZ.COM, DRE #01897529
MIA: 310-850-2747, ESTATESOFLA.COM, DRE #01379660
ALISON: 310-600-8229, ALISONTURNERREALESTATE.COM, DRE #01953223
LINDA SALVIN, MPH, PHD
ALos Angeles native, Linda Salvin is a metaphysical clinician, psychic/healer and veteran radio personality. She earned a bachelor’s degree in health education from San Francisco State University and a Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology from the University of Michigan. She worked as an industrial hygienist in aerospace and conducted cancer research at USC. As a health educator at CSUN, she established a drug abuse program for the campus in 1988.
Linda’s life changed when she survived a commercial airline plane crash in 1981, followed by being hit by a fire truck in 1982. In 1984 she had an auto accident where she saw the white light. Dr. Linda, as her clients call her, shares that these events opened her up psychically and spiritually in ways she never dreamed possible.
Today she provides private consultations to people all over the world. In 2008 she earned a PhD in metaphysics from the American Institute of Holistic Theology and became boardcertified by the American Alternative Medical Association. Dr. Linda has produced and hosted her own award-winning radio shows since 1995 and is the creator of the Wicks of Wisdom™ candle line.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN YOUR FIELD?
My background is in public health, but I could not return to the field after my accidents. I feel I was indoctrinated into the psychic and metaphysical world by something greater than myself.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ESSENTIAL QUALITIES FOR WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP ROLES TODAY?
Some of the essential qualities for women in leadership roles today include strength, perseverance, patience and the ability to communicate honestly. Competition is high, and people will cheat, lie, steal, backstab and berate another to get ahead. We have to hold our beliefs and keep moving forward.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF JUST STARTING OUT IN BUSINESS?
Advice to my younger self would be: “Keep believing in what you do, feel and know, regardless of the adversities and pain. Doors continue to open with faith, dedication and hard work.”
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED AS A WOMAN IN BUSINESS?
Overcoming challenges in business requires thick skin at times, as well as holding true to my beliefs, gifts and talents—which many
people shun, don’t understand or fear. Being a psychic has benefits and disadvantages, but helping people is my passion, regardless of the methodology best suited for each individual. Learning to develop trustworthy relationships has held the key for me.
WHY ARE YOU CONSIDERED THE GO-TO PERSON IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
Over the past few decades, I became well known for my accuracy and ability to integrate science with spirituality. My reputation grew over the years as I have helped people from all walks of life, from the homeless to the White House. I stepped away from the paranormal in 2018 for more integrative and metaphysical work.
SHARE A SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENT IN YOUR CAREER. I am grateful to have been chosen out of hundreds to be the nighttime psychic on KBIG 104.3 FM in 1994. My reputation grew as the original radio psychic. I have been on TV, in a documentary and written up in books. In 2008 I was given a Certificate of Recognition by the California State Assembly for my continued support for local school communities, the countless hours of service on talk radio and my efforts to help Californians.
WHAT DO YOU ENVISION FOR YOUR FUTURE?
I am expanding my Wicks of Wisdom™ line in today’s market. My goal is to publish my book this year. I have two producers interested in the story for a film. I built DrLindaRadio.com, which streams my old shows plus new content 24/7. I cohost a holistic health show with naturopath and author Sharyn Wynters and a recovery show with mental health specialist Candy Finnigan. We all bring decades of experience to enlighten.
DO YOU FEEL A CONNECTION TO THE VALLEY?
I certainly feel a connection to the Valley since I was born in Hollywood and grew up in Sherman Oaks. No matter how many times I have moved out, I always return to the Valley. I love driving up and down the Boulevard to shop, dine or visit friends. I know the various communities from Toluca Lake to Malibu. Since getting my license in 1970, driving through the canyons into town—whether Hollywood, Beverly Hills or the Westside—is a joy for me. The architecture and cultural changes that have taken place over the years are obvious, but the Valley is still the Valley. I will always hold a special love and passion for it. I will always be a Valley girl … for sure.
SHERLY SOLEIMAN, MDMedical Director/Owner, Cosmetic Injectables Center
After earning her medical degree from Loma Linda University and completing a three-year residency at the University of California Irvine, Sherly Soleiman, MD, opened Cosmetic Injectables Center in 2008. She works as an investigator with companies like Allergan (the makers of Botox, Juvéderm, Voluma, Latisse and Kybella), Merz (the makers of Radiesse, Belotero and Xeomin), and Novathreads (for thread lifts)—keeping her at the forefront of new developments, techniques and products in the field of nonsurgical cosmetic procedures.
The team at Cosmetic Injectables Center includes Catherine Rogers, a certified aesthetic nurse specialist; licensed aesthetician Mahyar Amjadi; and nurses Melody Kohagura and Ellen Drabkin. They specialize in noninvasive and minimally invasive procedures to rejuvenate and enhance aesthetic features with an emphasis on natural results. Here Dr. Soleiman answers some questions about her practice and the services offered.
WHAT ARE SOME ESSENTIAL QUALITIES FOR YOUR TEAM?
I look for the same qualities in my team that I expect from myself. Each member of my team brings unique gifts and talents to the table, which allows me to focus on what I bring to my business. The essentials for me are being open to sacrifice and feedback; setting necessary boundaries; 24/7 mental commitment; resilience and flexibility in the face of an ever-changing market; patient and attentive communication skills; the ability to compartmentalize my business and personal life; and never underestimating the importance of paying attention to the details.
WHAT MAKES YOUR PRACTICE UNIQUE?
When I became passionate about the art of aesthetic injectables, I wanted to provide experienced, skilled and focused injectable care. Patients are regularly referred to us needing corrections from cheaply advertised procedures received at other facilities. Having a medical director on-site makes us unique in our market. It’s a common misconception that injectables should be done by a physician more than a nurse. Injectable providers learn from their colleagues and experts in the field, and my handpicked seasoned master injectors benefit from the same training I have access to.
WHY ARE YOU THE GO-TO PRACTICE IN COSMETICS?
Beyond skill, my practice has earned a reputation for delivering natural-looking results, coupled with honesty and frankness with our patients. All of our master injectors listen to their patients’ concerns. Based on our knowledge of the options available to address their aesthetic goals, we recommend the procedures or products that will best help them meet their goals. If the patient is looking for results beyond the scope of the procedures we offer, we recommend their best option outside our office. It’s not about
convincing a patient to choose our options; it’s about educating them on what’s available in an ever-growing market and providing a safe and trusted relationship of care.
SHARE A SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENT IN YOUR CAREER.
Being selected as a lead investigator on my first clinical trial and hosting it at our facility, as well as being one of the most requested trainers in the country, teaching the injectable skills and techniques I've acquired to other injectors. Teaching inspires me to stay attuned to the latest our industry has to offer in order to remain a leader in an ever-evolving field.
HOW DO YOU PUSH FOR A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE IDEALS IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
Our industry is consistently misunderstood, and its value in the world of self-care should never be underestimated. Our goals are not to perpetuate unattainable beauty standards but to enhance natural beauty and facilitate confidence. Every patient is a little asymmetrical in some way or has a feature or irregularity that causes them anxiety or discomfort. Even a small, simple balancing of features with dermal filler or correcting excessive sweating with Botox can have a significant impact on a person’s sense of well-being. If we boost their confidence, they give themselves permission to be braver and live more freely.
Even in 2023, women in the workplace are still working as hard or harder than their male colleagues while raising families and managing households. Botox treatments help them look and feel calmer and more rested, which can give them a professional edge while helping them avoid the appearance of burnout. Everyone is working harder these days. Anything we can do for ourselves to look and feel healthier should be celebrated, not branded as vanity.
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?
A happy environment and peace of mind.
TELL US ABOUT A MENTOR WHO INFLUENCED YOUR CAREER. Dr. Steven Yoelin. I have seen status-hungry providers, but he actually cares about his patients and is not ego-driven. He builds positive relationships with his peers and is successful in his career. He offered me opportunities that helped me move up the ladder in my career, and I will always be grateful for his mentorship.
HOW DO YOU FOSTER A POSITIVE WORK
Allowing my staff to be themselves is key. We have professional dancers, sports fans, luthiers (she makes guitars!), musicians, artists and monowheel riders. The diverse personalities and interests foster unique contributions to every aspect of our business and our goal of a positive and caring work environment.
Gina Michelle runs a high-volume real estate team at The Agency, focusing on the Valley and Calabasas. She has achieved more than $1 billion in career sales and has been recognized among the top 1% of real estate agents nationwide by RealTrends every year from 2019 to 2023. Gina has been named as one of Los Angeles Business Journal’s Most Dynamic Brokers, and is ranked by RealTrends as #22 Small Team in California and #54 Small Team Nationwide. Additionally, Gina’s team has been named Top Team in the Valley and one of Los Angeles magazine’s Real Estate All-Stars for four consecutive years.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP?
I recently heard about a study that women in leadership roles are outperforming their male counterparts in four of the five categories that were surveyed. I think women have an incredible ability to adapt to situations quickly. It is empowering to see more and more amazing powerhouse women leading in their respective industries. I am grateful that my children are growing up in a world where women have the same opportunities available to them as men. This is in sharp contrast to when I started this business as a young 22-year-old woman. I have truly noticed the pivotal changes over the last decade!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF JUST STARTING OUT IN BUSINESS?
I would have told myself to start my career with a toptier mentor. I am completely self-taught. I was a licensed broker running my own shop at age 23 with no one to lean on or ask questions of. In operating our team, I now realize the immense value of growth under an experienced mentor. It can put you on the fast track to knowledge, lessen your liability risks and teach you quickly how to be an outstanding agent.
Disclaimer: ©2023 UMRO Realty Corp., dba The Agency. The Agency fully supports the Equal Housing Opportunity laws. The Agency, its affiliates, subsidiaries, and franchises make no representations, warranties, or guaranties as to the accuracy of the information contained herein. All material is intended for informational purposes only and has been obtained from public records, MLS, or other sources believed to be reliable, but not verified. CalDRE #01904054.
Founded in the 1980s and opened to the public in 1996, Skirball Cultural Center is an educational institution committed to Jewish values. Its exhibitions and programs foster human connections and promote social justice through literary, visual and performing arts from around the world. President and CEO Jessie Kornberg manages the Skirball’s day-to-day operations and is involved in the direction and future strategy of the organization. She has been involved in nonprofit civil rights work for two decades.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO GO TO WORK EVERY DAY?
I love going to work at the Skirball. It’s one of the most beautiful places in all of Los Angeles to spend time. Most people are here to enjoy themselves—whether it’s meeting friends in the café or taking kids to Noah’s Ark—so you’re surrounded not only by beauty but by a pretty regular dose of laughter too.
HOW DO YOU RALLY YOUR TEAM TO TAKE ON A MAJOR CHALLENGE OR GOAL?
I am a big fan of celebrating the little wins along the way. Recognizing how individuals are making their contributions toward a larger goal not only gives me confidence and pride in our team and our work, but I think it helps spread that same sense of accomplishment and progress to others.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF JUST STARTING OUT IN BUSINESS?
Don’t let fear motivate decision-making. You can drive toward passion and purpose, and just keep an eye on risk and uncertainty in the rearview mirror.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR MENTORS.
I have the best group of mentors, whom I would describe as dear friends and loving listeners. At the top of the list are my husband, my parents, my former boss Mitch, my board chair Phil, my best friend Jordana, my longtime role model Michelle, my executive assistant Susy and my executive vice president Leslie. They know me well, and I know they are on my side.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS IN THE VALLEY?
Besides the Skirball?! Fatamorgana Gelato is conveniently located on the drive home from the grandparents and is one of the best bites of anything anywhere.
Following a 10-year career in commercial and television production, branding and marketing for large national corporations including Mattel, Disney, ABC and Fox, Lindey Lambert founded Amuse Media to help businesses create marketing campaigns that increased their bottom lines. Then she shifted gears and worked in the real estate business for several years. Lindey moved into the field of branding and marketing in early 2023 with her eponymous firm, helping clients grow their businesses organically online.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE THIS CAREER?
Earlier this year, I rediscovered my passion and purpose. I have a natural talent for making dreams come true! My Lindey Lambert brand is about inspiration. What is your dream? What is your passion? What excites you and makes you want to take your business to the next level? Using the power of story, my team and I create brands that are unique, bold and memorable. We communicate with messaging that tells the ongoing story of one-of-a-kind brands. Finally, we connect clients with their ideal customers.
DO YOU FEEL A CONNECTION TO THE VALLEY?
I was raised in Toluca Lake, so Ventura Boulevard has played a role in every stage of my life. The incredible restaurants, the great shops and the Boulevard itself are constantly evolving and filled with surprises. Yet it always feels like home.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF JUST STARTING OUT IN BUSINESS?
If I had a chance, I’d give my younger self one simple piece of advice. OK, maybe three. Trust your instincts, listen to your inspiration and take consistent action. Combined, those three things will get you to where you want to be. Every. Single. Time.
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?
They say success is doing what you love. My Lindey Lambert brand was born out of a passion for blending storytelling and brands. If you tell me your story, we’ll create your brand. It’s that simple. Branding is not a “one-and-done” kind of thing. It’s continuous. Combined with the right online marketing, you’ve got a formula for successfully putting more joy into your business (and life) and more dollars in your pocket.
Adi Livyatan Group | Rodeo Realty
Realtor® Adi Livyatan’s real estate journey started when she and her husband began flipping houses. She has worked in real estate full time for the past 14 years and is in the top .5% in the nation and #1 in the Valley of all 1,400 Rodeo Realty agents. She was included in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “Leaders of Influence” list yearly from 2000 to 2022 and in RealTrends' "The Thousand" from 2018 to 2023.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS.
My primary focus is on residential properties—predominantly in the San Fernando Valley. I have garnered a reputation as an aficionado in the realm of high-end luxury residences and newly constructed properties. I am known as the “New Construction Queen,” collaborating closely with developers to identify prime land prospects suitable for construction and subsequent sale. However, I also derive immense satisfaction from intimate, meaningful deals. I approach every client and every deal with the same enthusiasm and dedication.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR TEAM.
As the owner of my business, I lead a remarkable team that has stood by my side for years, lending unwavering support. The synergy we have resonates with our clients. My business thrives on relationships, all stemming from my community connections, underpinned by trust, ethics and honesty. Genuine connections are paramount, and they drive our success.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK IN THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY?
I completed my bachelor’s degree in business law from CSUN, with aspirations of pursuing law school. Life guided me to a different path, but I have no regrets. In the past I owned and managed a home improvement enterprise. Prior to that, I was engaged in the dynamic world of online commerce, notably as one of eBay’s foremost cell phone vendors.
SHARE A BIT ABOUT YOUR LIFE OUTSIDE YOUR JOB.
I’m a wife and mother of three children, I’m invested in my Jewish community, and I believe in giving back when you’ve been fortunate. I enjoy supporting my family and friends, and my loyalty runs deep—I’m always there when they need me.
The Tolbert Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness is a state-of-the-art medical facility specializing in nonsurgical and minimally invasive procedures to give people long-term pain relief. The mission of founder Glenna Tolbert, MD, and her team is to help patients identify the root cause of chronic pain, restore quality of life and enhance their ability to function.
WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY STAND FOR?
We incorporate our love for medicine into everything we do. Our philosophy is to help people be all that God intended them to be, which is fabulous. We remove barriers and provide tools to help patients be their best.
DO YOU FACE CHALLENGES AS A WOMAN IN BUSINESS?
One challenge is remaining an independent physician business owner. Independent means I exclusively own my practice. Historically physicians chose to be in private practice and were proud to be independent so they could know, advocate and customize care for patients. Nowadays, most private practices are owned by large corporations (hospitals, health plans). I overcome this challenge daily by remembering my “why”: my patients.
SHARE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT IN YOUR CAREER.
Shortly after the death of recording artist Prince, CNN invited me to speak about the role of opioids in pain management. I was supposed to do two segments, yet I was dismissed when I would not label Prince as a drug addict. I attempted to explain the experience of pain and introduce the concepts of opioid dependence, tolerance and addiction, and that it’s important to not judge people. I learned it’s more important to stand in my truth versus gaining a superficial, short-lived spotlight.
HOW DO YOU DRIVE CHANGE IN YOUR FIELD?
By empowering patients to reclaim control over their health journey—introducing them to a realm of wellness and healing possibilities often overlooked or undermined by insurance companies and health care plans. Our repertoire includes cutting-edge nutritional testing and supplementation, precise hormone optimization, meticulously supervised exercise regimens, and revolutionary regenerative injections tailored to rejuvenate joints and potentially preclude future worries. We encourage patients to embrace these transformative services and embark on a path to fortify their well-being and vitality.
Real estate agent Stephanie Payab has worked with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties since 2003 and started The Payab Group in 2016. She has consistently earned some of the highest awards presented to agents within Berkshire Hathaway. In addition, Stephanie has been recognized nationally in the top 1% of all BHHS agents.
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?
Success is often measured by how much money you make. In real estate, it’s about your sales volume in dollars or the number of transactions. However, I don’t believe this makes you successful. It certainly puts money in your pocket, but that does not mean you are successful. The meaning of success to me is having the opportunity to affect people positively during one of the most important purchases of their lifetime. Success is being able to provide services to clients and agents year after year. Success is not chasing a transaction but being that constant pillar of strength while facing any fears head on. Success is being a role model to my children and watching them navigate adulthood. Success is being happy and fulfilled.
WHY ARE YOU CONSIDERED A GO-TO PERSON IN THE COMMUNITY?
People know me as being trustworthy, honest, dependable and real. It’s the same for my entire team. People know that we go way above and beyond. Our team has a proven track record of consistent sales, reaching elite and distinguished award levels that recognize outstanding achievements and top sales performance. I love what I do and am so thankful that I get to help people in this way. In turn, this translates to happy clients. My team is committed to every client and to finding the best fit for each transaction.
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF?
This is probably where I need the most improvement; I am always looking out for everyone else. But as a busy businesswoman, I know it’s important to prevent burnout. I can’t be only business all the time! So my manipedis and time with my friends and family all count toward my self-care. Additionally, I’ve learned the art of saying “no” and have become very efficient at delegating tasks. Because I implement these necessities, I have become more productive and work harder and smarter!
Spanish Villa With Captivating Views
Revel in the character and elegance of this Spanish villa with riveting views, vaulted beamed ceilings, dramatic arches, clean lines and natural materials. Replete with high quality finishes on both the main structure and 2-story guest house, this unique property represents the best of traditional Spanish design combined with modern elements and amenities. The house is set back from the street behind gates in the highly desirable Royal Hills Estates, and features a custom-carved wood front door from Spain that opens onto a courtyard with IPE decking and Cantera stone pillars. The guest house mirrors the main villa’s splendor and includes its own kitchen, glass walls and doors, Porcelanosa tiles and converted garage. With a resort-like vibe, the backyard is designed for enjoying the quintessential California lifestyle with a free-form infinity pool and spa, IPE decks, firepit, and builtin BBQ station.
16479 Royal Hills Drive, Encino | $5,495,000 | RoyalHillsEstate.com
Listed By Andrew Spitz & Fran Chavez | 818-370-6121 | Andrew@AndrewSpitz.com
DRE# 00924610 & 01013357 | SpitzChavezGroup.com | AKG l Christie’s International Real Estate
With its premier placement on the Wilshire Corridor, this single level penthouse in the Wilshire House is the perfect blend of prestige and contemporary style. Designed by internationally acclaimed Bauhaus architect Victor Gruen, the Wilshire House is Los Angeles’ foremost luxury high-rise building. The building boasts a wealth of amenities to enjoy, including a professional fitness facility, tennis court, pool, sun deck, library, meeting rooms, doorman, valet parking, and 24/7 concierge and security.
* Citi Mortgage Relationship Pricing — A Citibank deposit account is required to receive the interest rate discount or closing cost credit. Automated monthly transfers of the mortgage payment from a Citibank Deposit Account using automated drafting will be required. Actual interest rate discount or closing cost credit will depend on the level of the Citi Eligible Balances, which will be verified after final loan approval. Deposit Account Balances must be in the account five (5) Business Days following final loan approval and Investment Account balances must be in the account six (6) Business Days following final loan approval. Citi eligible accounts include a personal, consumer Citibank Deposit Account in which the borrower is a direct signer, Citibank IRAs, and Investments held in linked Citigroup Global Markets Inc. (“CGMI”) accounts. The borrower must be an account holder on investment accounts. IRA and annuity positions shown on linked CGMI Account statements are eligible (except tax qualified annuities under sections 401, 403, or 457 of the Internal Revenue Code). Balances from Citibank Business / Commercial accounts, ERISA accounts, Keogh accounts, Bank Collateral accounts, Foreign accounts, Fiduciary accounts, and Trust accounts where the borrower is only listed as the Beneficiary are excluded. All Custodial type accounts are excluded with the exception of Custodial IRA accounts through Citibank or Pershing LLC where the borrower(s) is the beneficiary, which are eligible unless otherwise noted. Citibank IRAs that are not linked to a Citibank Deposit Account are excluded.
The closing cost credit offer will be applied at closing and may not be used prior to closing. In Texas, the credit may not result in you receiving cash back.
$1 – $49,999.99 $500 off closing cost
$50,000 – $199,999.99 1/8% (0.125%) off interest rate
$200,000 – $499,999.99 1/4% (0.250%) off interest rate
If you are interested in Citi’s banking account relationship offers, please contact your Home Lending Officer or Mortgage Representative. Speak to your loan officer about whether the relationship offer is best for you.
Citibank Mortgage Relationship Pricing for Citibank account holders can only be applied prior to loan closing and is subject to account and balance validation. Citibank Mortgage Relationship Pricing is subject to change without notice.
$500,000 – $999,999.99 3/8% (0.375%) off interest rate
$1,000,000 – $1,999,999.99 1/2% (0.500%) off interest rate
$2,000,000 or more 5/8% (0.625%) off interest rate
Glossary of terms for this offer: Business Day means Monday through Friday and does not include federal holidays; Eligible Balances means total funds showing in the account at the time we verify the balances less any funds we determine you will need for a down payment or closing costs; Deposit Account means a Citibank personal checking and/or savings account as well as certificates of deposit and money market accounts; Investment Account means IRAs and investments held in Citigroup Global Markets Inc. accounts. Terms, conditions and fees for accounts, programs, offers, products and services are subject to change without notice at any time. Offer may be modified or withdrawn at any time without notice. Offer cannot be combined with other offers, except when applied with specific Community Lending Programs. Offers are not applicable on Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit. This is not a commitment to lend. This offer contains information about U.S. domestic financial services provided by Citibank, N.A. and is intended for use domestically in the U.S. Investment products are offered through Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
common control of Citigroup Inc.
According To Plan
A MOM OF THREE FACING AN EMPTY NEST LEARNS TO TAKE THE PLANNING OUT OF LIFE.Written by Robin Finn | Illustrated by Yuiko Sugino
After 23 years, I am done.
I sit in a folding chair in the high school auditorium and gaze at the 50 graduates in red caps and gowns, the faculty in black robes, the other parents in sundresses and jeans. My daughter and husband sit next to me. In my hand is a printed program opened to the alphabetized list of students’ names. My kid is number 27 on the list.
After 23 years of parenting, I am about to have the proverbial empty nest. My youngest, number 27, is graduating from high school. After 23 years of parenting, I ask myself, Now what? What is the plan?
Having a child with severe ADHD and two out-ofthe-box learners was not part of my plan. Neither was becoming a full-time advocate, arguing at parentteacher conferences, or publishing essays about parenting. But that’s what happened. Year after year, I doggedly attempted to plan each kid’s trajectory, but rarely did my planning come to fruition. Mothers of special-needs kids understand: The only plan that succeeds is preparing for the unexpected. Still, I could not let go of planning.
I thought if I had a plan, maybe I could force things to go my way. Maybe I could strong-arm the universe into following the program I created and was deeply attached to. The thing about planning, though, is that it keeps you out of the now.
Now, for the first time in decades, I was on the other side of what I call the rush years—the years of nonstop advocating and kid-related problem-solving. The only plan I had to make now was for myself.
I thought that in my empty nest, I would embrace being fully present in my life. Be here now, I told myself. Now I am wearing pajamas. Now I am drinking a smoothie. Now I am walking the dog. But the now did not feel sublime. It felt weird and uncomfortable.
For a mother, it takes time to adjust to the reality that your children are young adults who for the most part can fend for themselves. It takes time to redirect your thoughts to your life now instead of planning their futures. Sure, parenting has been challenging, but so is letting go.
I don’t know if I will be zen when my youngest leaves for college in the fall. I don’t know if I will celebrate the endless me time, or walk around the house bewildered, wondering what just happened. Or both. Or neither. But I do know that holding my future loosely helps me live in the present—and that the only time I have is now. ■
Robin Finn is the founder of LA-based Heart. Soul. Pen., which offers writing workshops for women. She is working on a book about writing as a means of radical selfexpression. More at robinfinn.com
Family Four Pack
FEATURING BALLET FOLKLÓRICO DE LOS ÁNGELES AND MARIACHI GARIBALDI DE JAIME CUÉLLAR