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Contents 10

FACES WE LOVE

10 Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez By Quinci LeGardye 12 Olympian Steve Lewis By Angela Jackson 14 Strategist & Entertainer Karen A. Clark

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16 Beloved Community Matriarch Carmen Roberts By Quinci LeGardye

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19 Renown Artist Charles Bibbs: Keeper of the Culture By Mischa Duffie Photography by Malcolm Ali Art Images courtesy of Charles Bibbs Studio B

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30 Tamica Smith Jones: Forging A Result-driven Culture of Champions – By Example By Kalaisha Totty Photography by Malcolm Ali

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34 Careers in Sports hosts Inaugural Fundraiser Designed to Introduce Youth To Career Paths Outside The Playing Arena

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EXEC SUITE

26 Ceiling Shattered, Check. Next, the Sky! Denita Willoughby becomes the First African American Woman Board Chair of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce By Mischa Duffie Photography by Kristina Dixon

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4

HERITAGE SUITE

SUITEBIZ

35 A Happy Accident: Dawn Patton discovers her untapped potential By Angela Jackson


50 35

30 40 — COVER STORY Promoting a Globally Recognized City in 2020: Ernest Wooden, Jr. Uses An International Approach To Promote Los Angeles As A Global Destination Intro By Quinci LeGardye Photography by John Tyler Curtis 44 A Voice in the Community means A Voice in the Census: Maria de la Luz Garcia mobilizes volunteers to be the faces and voices of an accurate Census count in their communities. By Quinci LeGardye

19 45 Who’s Going To Rescue Los Angeles' Missing and Abused Girls?: Tera Hilliard, Forgotten Children Inc., and Their Fight to Protect Those Lost in Sex Trafficking By Ashley Yancey Photography by Joshua Berrymon 50 Community Build: Bringing hope to South LA through Capital Development with CEO, Robert Sausedo By Faith Petrie Photography by Joshua Berrymon

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SUITETALK

53 Clifton Moseley: Rare Grooves Guru By Quinci Legardye Photos courtesy We Luvv Rare Grooves 56 Suite Picks: Podcasts By Ashley Yancey 60 Find, Live and Share Your Authentic Voice By Norma T. Hollis 62 Restoration: Seven Compelling Reminders of God’s Promise By Barbara A. Perkins

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SUITE ESSENTIALS

65 Good Food for a Better Life: Served2Enjoy with husband and wife team, Chef Luis & Ariana Sanchez By Faith Petrie Photography by Sarah Harris 70 A Turkey Tenderloin Stew Recipe for National Soup Month Story & Photos by Veronica Hendrix 72 The Suite List: An Industry Listing Guide featuring Event, Media, PR and Marketing Resources

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SUITE EVENTS

76 Riverside African American Historical Society: Celebrating The Pursuit Of Unity At Its Annual MLK Walk-a-thon By Angela Jackson Photography by Malcolm Ali 78 Bringing the Beloved Community to Life for King Month 2020 Rev. Dr. William Smart Jr. and the SCLC of Southern California to Hold Events to Honor Dr. King's Message of Love and Courage By Quinci LeGardye Photography by Joshua Berrymon

Charles Bibbs “Bagman Storyteller”

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SUITECAUSES

Limited Edition Print, 2010 Giclee Print, watercolor-textured paper

SUITELIFESOCAL.COM | WINTER 2020

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from the publisher

Taking the Leap Welcome to our rst issue for 2020. I must say, this issue is jam-packed full of several remarkable stories of determination, happen-stance, and insightfulness that gives us a glimpse into what we can expect in 2020. I will admit that it feels like we are losing our grip on what is right and the importance of protecting fundamental norms; however, I am increasingly encouraged by the strength and endurance that I see from people who keep their eyes on the prize. An example of such a person is Tera Hilliard, president and CEO of Forgotten Children, Inc. I've had the honor of witnessing her drive and passion for looking out for at-risk girls in the ght against human trafcking. Her energy and commitment are awe-inspiring. I also see Denita Willoughby making history when she will be installed as Board Chair of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce at their annual Inaugural Dinner in January. And then there's gourmet iced tea queen, Dawn Patton. She 'ain't gonna let nobody turn her around.' Bit by bit, she's busting through doors in the soft drink world, and they are like, “who's this woman coming in here getting a spot in the Banc of California stadium?” And that's just the beginning. I can't wait to see what she does this year. I could go on and on. There are so many useful nuggets in this issue, but I especially want to thank Ernest “Ernie” Wooden Jr. for offering his vision for 2020 through the impact of LA Tourism. We are delighted to have him as our cover feature. Stay Suite!

Sarah R. Harris, Publisher #suitelifesocal

C O N C I E R G E

M A G A Z I N E

Suite Life SoCal

WINTER ISSUE VOLUME 2, NUMBER 1 JAN ! FEB ! MAR

PUBLISHER-IN-CHIEF Sarah R. Harris CREATIVE DIRECTOR Sarah R. Harris SUBSCRIPTIONS & SALES Jon Harris CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Malcolm Ali Joshua Berrymon Kristina Dixon

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mischa Duffie Veronica Hendrix Norma T. Hollis Angela Jackson Quinci LeGardye Barbara A. Perkins Faith Petrie Kalaisha Totty Ashley Yancey SPECIAL THANKS Monique Bacon, Wendy Gladney, Jon Harris, Kaylee Harris, Carmen and Adrian “Dell” Roberts

CONTACT US Address: Phone / Email: Visit us online: Follow us on: SPRING 2020 ISSUE ADVERTISEMENT DEADLINE: MARCH 4, 2020

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Suite Life SoCal Magazine is published quarterly. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of the contents in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Letters to the publisher are welcome. Email submissions to suitelifesocal@gmail.com. © 2020 Suite Media


Contributors

Look out! 2020 is a Leap Year... so we’ve asked our contributors, “What leap are you taking this year?” Follow and Share with us the leap you are taking — @suitelifesocal

If you have a story idea or you are interested in writing for us, contact us at suitelifesocal@gmail.com.

WRITER

PHOTOGRAPHER

PHOTOGRAPHER

Malcolm Ali

Joshua Berrymon

“I plan to leap into the new year with increasing my faith in God. Knowing that The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want for anything. Knowing right now that all my needs are already taken care of with God's mercy and love.”

“I am taking the leap of faith in 2020, moving forward with strength and purpose. Always learning and being aware of my surrounding and my company. Stepping into the new year with “20/20” vision and a mindset to match, I plan for this to be my best year yet!”

@Falconhurse _ k9

coolin_caughtit

finaimage.com

WRITER

WRITER

Angela Jackson

Quinci LeGardye

Faith Petrie

“This year I am leaping into letting the world know that I am an accomplished writer. I will host a Writer’s Conference in Atlanta Georgia in July 2020 to help others do the same.“

“I'm taking the leap to end my delivery-driving gig and focus on my freelance journalism career.”

“This year I am taking the leap of saying yes. Yes to prospective job opportunities, yes to new experiences and yes to being authentically myself 100 percent of the time.“

@ajgrateful2be @tymaamproductions authorangelarena.com 8

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@quinciwho quinciwhowrites.com

@petriefaith petriefaith.wixsite.com/petriefaith


Plan your days with

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Subscribe Today!

WRITER

Kristina Dixon

Mischa Dufe

“For 2020, I am taking a leap of faith. A leap of faith on dealing with challenges, being fearless and staying focused on my goals.”

“As a writer and one who believes profoundly in the power of story, my leap for 2020 is to write more amazing stories. In 2019, I was hired as was the ghostwriter of two beautiful autobiographies. It was an honor.”

11onevisuals 11onevisuals.com

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Kalaisha Totty

Ashley Yancey

“2020 is a new beginning for me. I'm leaping into parenthood for the first time and diving into new career passions.”

“In 2020 I would like to either write a book and make an honest effort to land a publishing deal or attempt to write my first screenplay. "Without risk there is no reward!”

@kktotty

SoCal

fancyayancey

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faces we love

Plan

Su

CONCI

Subs

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(Pric

FOR

s

madame president

Nury Martinez A

nother portion of the glass ceiling has been shattered as, after 110 years, the Los Angeles City Council brings Latina representation to its highest ofce.

Nury Martinez is the newly (and unanimously) voted Los Angeles City Council President, with her term beginning in January 2020. She is the rst Latina City Council President in the body's history, and the second-ever female City Council President, after Pat Russel in 1983. She serves the 6th Council District in the Northeast San Fernando Valley.

Martinez was chosen in a special election called after the resignation of previous Council President Herb Wesson, who has stepped down to focus on his run for the LA County Board of Supervisors. Wesson served as Council President for the past eight years, the rst African American in the position. He supported Martinez throughout his run, as she served as President Pro-Tempore and Assistant President Pro-Tempore under him.

@CD6NURY

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@JOINNURY

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Martinez grew up in Pacoima, the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her work on the Council so far has included advocating for the $15 minimum wage, environmental justice for poor communities, and paid family leave. In a statement on Facebook announcing her new position, Martinez said she will bring a woman's perspective to the position, and also push for a “families-rst” agenda. She said, “Any feelings of pride are eclipsed by an enormous sense of duty to work hard each and every day—as my parents taught me—to do what is right and just for the residents of the City of Los Angeles.” She also shared a message for the girls and young women in Los Angeles. “To all the girls out there, no matter what you look like, the color of your skin, where you were born, what you believe in, or who you love, believe me, you WILL be next.”

BY QUINCI LEGARDYE


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faces we love

Olympian

Steve Lewis

B

eloved athlete, father, husband, active community member, and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Steve Lewis was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame on December 7, 2019, in Reno Nevada.

Lewis has a proud history as an athlete and Olympian. Before Lewis turned 20, he had already earned a spot in the history books. By the end of Lewis’ Freshman year at UCLA, he had won silver medals in the 400 meter in Pac-10 and NCAA.

Following his superior performance in his Freshmen year, Lewis tried out for the 1988 Olympics where he nished 3rd in the Olympic tryouts and earned a spot on the US Olympic Team competing in Seoul, Korea. In Seoul, Lewis walked away with the gold medal beating fellow Bruin, Danny Everett, and breaking the junior world record in the 400 meter. But Lewis wasn’t entirely done collecting medals in Seoul. He went on to collect another gold medal for the 4x400 relay, where he clinched the gold with Everett and tied the Olympic record.

@STEVELEWIS400

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After the 1988 Olympics, Lewis returned to UCLA to proudly represent the Bruin’s winning NCAA and US titles. However, this was not the end of Lewis’s Olympic run. Lewis tried out for the 1992 Olympic team and was able to land a spot on the team. He went on to compete in Barcelona, Spain, and returned with a silver medal in the 400 meter and a gold medal in the 4x400 relay. Lewis’ career in track and eld came to an end due to signicant injuries. His career, although short, was impactful and earned him a place in UCLA’s Hall of Fame in 2004. On Saturday, March 14, 2020, Lewis will be an honoree at the UCLA Black Alumni Association’s Winston C. Doby Legacy Scholarship Gala 2020 taking place at the Omni Hotel Downtown Los Angeles where they will celebrate “100 years of Black Bruin Excellence.” Other Class of 2019 inductees include; Sandra FarmerPatrick, John Powell, and the late coach Fred Thompson. +

BY ANGELA JACKSON


C E L E B R AT I N G

100 Years of

BLACK BRUIN EXCELLENCE

Legacy PRESENTS THE

WINSTON C. DOBY

2020

SCHOLARSHIP GALA

H O N O R I N G Dr. Ludlow B. Creary Chairman’s Award

Honorable Kevin Brazile

Ricky Ivie, Esq.

Steve Lewis

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge

Sr. Partner, Ivie, McNeal, & Wyatt Law Firm

Fmr. UCLA Athlete & Gold Medalist Olympian

Tom Bradley Alumnus of the Year

Jackie Robinson Trailblazer of the Year Award

Florence Griffith-Joyner Award

Catrice Munson

Bobby Smith

Porsche Taylor

SVP, Diversity & Inclusion, CBS Corporation

Ret. Sr. Associate Dir., Office of Gift Planning, UCLA

Founder & Editor, Black Girls Ride Magazine

Entertainment & Theater Arts Award

Arthur Ashe Award for Community Service

President’s Award

S A T U R D A Y

MARCH 14, 2020 6 p.m. Reception | 7 p.m. Dinner & Program

Omni Hotel Downtown Los Angeles 251 S Olive St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

For more information, contact: Sabra Waddy, Splendid A airs, Inc. (818) 605-7405 | sabra@splendida airsinc.com

uclablackalumni.org


faces we love

Strategist & Entertainer

Karen A. Clark

K

aren A. Clark, Multicultural Strategies Manager at City National Bank, creates marketing and advertising strategies to win diverse clients; and internally, she manages diversity & inclusion. Preceding City National Bank, she spent three years building US Bank’s multicultural marketing department, after managing their CRA for Southern California. Clark is also an actor, singer, songwriter, and producer. Her sophomore album, the Karen A. Clark Project, is available on iTunes and all digital outlets. Her third album and book are planned for release early 2020. Her musical revue, “Love Stories,” which features music from her second and upcoming CDs, utilizes a storytelling backdrop and relatable themes to engage the audience. She has been touring locally throughout 2019; and will hit the 2020 jazz stages in various markets. Her one-woman theatrical show, “The Women,” has been produced numerous times locally and out-of-state. Clark served as development director for the nonprot, Operation HOPE, for ve years, raising $4-6M a year, on a combined restricted and unrestricted basis. She helped to fund and open 11 ofces nationally. Before Operation HOPE, Clark served in several roles at Bank of America, from commercial real estate construction nancing to corporate diversity. In that position, for four years, she interfaced with and trained managers on how to increase bottom-line productivity by managing inclusion. Clark’s board passions are: Educating Young Minds; Duke Media (Financial Education Director); PCR SBDC; Streetlights; and LA Women’s Theatre Fest. She speaks frequently and coaches on personal branding, inclusive leadership, and multicultural marketing. She studied digital analytics at Columbia Business School (’19), strategic marketing management at Harvard Business School (‘16), BA in economics at CSUS. She holds numerous awards, including Champion of Leadership 2019 – Black Women Lawyers Association; Diversity Leadership – National Diversity Council 2019; Corporate Board Leader – NAWRB 2019; Vanguard award - LA’s Most Inuential African Americans 2017; Diversity Leadership - CA Diversity Council 2015. She was instrumental to City National Bank to achieve Forbes “Best Employer for Diversity” in 2018 and 2019. +

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faces we love

BELOVED COMMUNITY MATRIARCH

Carmen Roberts B eloved public gure Carmen Roberts has given back to the Riverside community for over 30 years. Alongside her husband and co-founder, Adrian “Dell” Roberts, she leads the Adrian Dell & Carmen Roberts Foundation and the effort to put on one of the longest-running Black History Month parades in California. This year will be the 41st Annual Black History Parade and Expo taking place on Saturday, February 8, 2020 in downtown Riverside.

employee, she has worked in the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and Caltrans' Ofces of Equal Employment Opportunity and Business Management. She has provided assistance to landlords and the public under the principles of fair housing and has received multiple awards for operations initiatives within the Department of Transportation.

Since then, the Roberts have been able to apply their years of community service and dedication to the city of Riverside to develop events that promote positive cultural interaction for the city's residents. The second signicant event that the foundation will host this year is its 18th Annual Empowering Young Women's Conference, which empowers young women ages 12-21 through interactive workshops and talks from female community leaders.

In addition to community service, Roberts also gives back in the form of “joyful noise.” She began playing music for her church at 11 or 12 years of age and has played for many ministries throughout her life. She was appointed lead church musician within her rst two years of membership at Park Avenue Baptist, and Minister of Music later on. According to her bio, she lives by her favorite scripture, Psalm 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

Roberts also gives back to her fellow man through her professional career. Throughout her years as a state government

For more information on the parade, women's conference, or the foundation, visit adcrfoundation.org. +

@ADCRFOUNDATION

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@ADCR.FOUNDATION

BY QUINCI LEGARDYE


SUITELIFESOCAL.COM | WINTER 2020

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Heritage

Suite

“KEEPER OF THE CULTURE”

Charles Bibbs


Heritage Suite

Keeper of the Culture BY MISCHA DUFFIE PHOTOS BY MALCOLM ALI ART IMAGES COURTESY OF CHARLES BIBBS STUDIO B

W

hat was scheduled as a one-hour interview ended up being a twohour and forty-ve-minute soul-stirring history lesson that will be with me always. Every wall was eloquently outtted in pieces of art from artists around the world. Every word was passionately spoken. And every moment was a refreshing reminder that Black people are indenably brilliant and unambiguously fascinating. At the secure age of 71, Charles Bibbs is an invaluable gift to the art world and humanity. He is world-renowned, but his feet are rmly planted. He is as clear as he has ever been about his calling as an artist. Mentoring, teaching, strategically placing art studios throughout California, curating art shows that feature artists across the artistic spectrum, founding a magazine, reproducing his paintings in a way that they are affordable to the everyday consumer, and philanthropically putting his money where it can serve others are just some of the ways Bibbs has answered the call to be a “Keeper of the Culture,” a self-proclaimed title inspired by one of his paintings called "Keeper". 20

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“Pillow Talk” Limited Edition Print, 2018 Giclee Print, watercolor-textured paper


Black Art While the expansion of art and the development of artists is indeed Bibbs’s life’s work – make no mistake – at the core of this work is the illumination of Blackness. For Bibbs, this work is personal, and it takes him to tell us why: “I grew up with a negative impact about myself. Everything I saw or was told about being Black was negative. Nothing was positive,” recalls Bibbs. “Then the 70s came, and we had Good Times. Then the 80s came, and we had The Cosby Show. These shows had Black people in them, but they also were the rst shows on television to showcase Black art in Black people’s homes. That was powerful because images have a profound impact on the brain.” It turns out many shared Bibb’s conviction. It turns out that showcasing Black art on Good Times and The Cosby Show invoked an art revolution. It turns out that more Black art in homes was as much of an economic opportunity as it was a revival of positive self-image. We know this because Good Times and The Cosby Show’s art revolution resulted in over 3,500 art dealers creating a $5 billiondollar sales market.

“Wings of Life II” Limited Edition Print, 2018 Giclee Print, watercolor-textured paper

Prior to this, no one thought it mattered to Black people to see themselves. No one thought Black art was worth investing in. On many levels, Black art and artists were underestimated. It takes Bibbs to remind us that the very idea that drawing was seen merely as something to do rather than as real talent. This dates all the way back to the days when slaves painted drawings of their masters and has been a thing to overcome for some of the best artists in the business. In fact, it took entering and winning a National Drawing Contest in the third grade for Bibbs to own his gift.

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Heritage Suite

Dening Moments Following the contest, and later in life, Bibbs reects upon two moments that served as dening moments for him. The rst was the day his father saw him moping around the house and says to him, “Do something with yourself. Paint the house.” Stunned by the request, Bibbs told his mother and she took him to the store to purchase the paint of which he then used to paint the entire outside of the house black. Curious as to what his father would think, Bibbs stationed himself at the front window to see his father’s reaction once he arrived home. Because his father did not specify a color, he was shocked to see black but was not upset. Two weeks passed, and after hearing all of the complaints he could take, the house was repainted to a traditional pale yellowish color. Watching people’s reactions captivated Bibbs. The second dening moment was the day he showed up at church wearing an untraditional yellow sports coat, a red polka dot tie, and a black shirt. Heads turned as his then pastor, Rev. W. J. English, said over the pulpit, “Watch out for Brother Charles!” Although he did not know in what context his pastor meant, he did not perceive the comment as a bad. It was these two moments that caused Bibbs to say to himself, “To be creative is to be noticed.” This discovery initially inspired Charles creatively and ultimately emboldened him culturally—to that end, more than anything what he wants us to notice in his work is ourselves. And so, whether talking about his Pillow Talk piece, which was inspired by their only child, Chuckie, coming into the bedroom as a toddler, climbing between he and his wife, Elaine, and talking about everything on his mind; or his Wings 22

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of Life II piece, which speaks to the freedom and independence of women; or his Bagman Collection, which highlights the varying facets of a men as they move through life, heritage is intrinsically woven into the thousands of pieces Charles Bibbs has drawn. Speaking of heritage, seeing our rich heritage in the works of younger artists who are as passionate about expressing their souls through visual art as he is, inspires Bibbs. A few of his favorites are: Nigerian-American artist, Kehinde Wiley who is known for having painted President Barack Obama’s portrait in February 2018; Los Angeles artist, Mark Bradford who is known for his abstract painting; and Haitian/Puerto Rican artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat who is known for setting a record for the highest price an American art piece sold at an auction: $110.5 million. To today, Bibbs celebrates his incredibly supportive wife of 51 years and his talented son, 47. Both have worked tirelessly by his side to attain the success that the world has affectionately come to associate with the name -- Charles Bibbs. With a “20/20 vision” to be more visible, they are preparing for the Legends of Myths & Spirits Art Show, appearing as a Division Marshal in the Riverside Black History Parade & Car Show, and his annual Black History Month Exposition at San Bernardino County Museum. Bibbs will also be featured in an upcoming documentary by Nationally Acclaimed Baltimore Artist, Larry Poncho Brown. To view Bibbs’ current and earlier collections, visit his online studio at cbibbs.com. +


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eXec

Suite

Denita Willoughby MAKING HISTORY MAKING A DIFFERENCE PLUS

Tamica Smith-Jones

UCR ATHLETICS DIRECTOR


eXEC Suite

@willoughbydenita @msdenita

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Ceiling Shattered, Check. Next, the Sky! DENITA WILLOUGHBY BECOMES THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN BOARD CHAIR OF THE LOS ANGELES AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BY MISCHA DUFFIE PHOTOGRAPHY BY KRISTINA DIXON

S

their offer, the only way she could work for IBM was if they found he is as kind as she is beautiful. Her classic reddish her a position in Los Angeles because it's where she would be colored dress was exquisitely accessorized by the living. With an initial response of the only job they had that was grandeur of her smile. If I had to use three words to in Chicago, IBM quickly realized about Willoughby what she describe her, they would be sincere, organized, and already knew about herself: she was an asset. With this present. From the moment I walked into her spacious 10th oor realization, they secured her a position in Los Angeles. corner ofce – lit up by a combination of the warmth of her spirit and the warmth of the California sun – I knew this was going to It was through her work at IBM that Willoughby rst became be a delightful conversation. involved with the business landscape of Southern California. Surrounded by pictures of her loving family and awards that And it was a desire to bring solutions to some of the problems were duly bestowed upon her, it did not take long to know I was in within that landscape that led Willoughby to the Los Angeles the presence of a woman who arrived at her current station in Area Chamber of Commerce. Today, as an eternal optimist, life with great intentionality. One does not just happen upon this Willoughby feels good about the business and commerce level of prominence. A professed planner, Denita Willoughby, indicators for Southern California. “The ports are busy. The not only serves as Vice President of Supply Management and economy is strong. Unemployment is low. The Olympic Games Support Services for Southern California Gas Company are coming in 2028. These are just some of the indicators that (SoCalGas), but she is making history as the rst African feed my optimism.” At the same time, she is not oblivious to the American woman Board Chair of the Los Angeles Area Chamber issues impacting the Chamber's members as well as Southern of Commerce. A transplant from Chicago's Southside, “The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is incredibly fortunate to have Willoughby recognized immediately a the strong and bold leadership of Denita Willoughby as our 2020 Board Chair. special connection between she and Throughout her career, she has shown immense leadership and a dedication California. “I knew when I came to for excellence that the Los Angeles region needs and deserves. This is truly an California as a junior in college that I had exciting time, and I'm looking forward to her partnership and support as we found my new home,” she shares. Her continue to chart the path to address some of our region's most complex commitment to relocating was so strong that when she was offered a job at IBM problems and drive for a thriving region for all.” straight out of college, she daringly told the — Maria S. Salinas, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce executives that while she was grateful for SUITELIFESOCAL.COM SUITELIFESOCAL.COM | WINTER | FALL 2019 2020

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eXEC Suite Californians at large. She has her nger on the pulse of matters like affordable housing, advocacy from a policy perspective, and homelessness. For over a decade that she has been with the Chamber, the Board has been tackling hard issues using several strategies, one of which is community collaborations, an essential pillar of the Chamber of Commerce. Partnering with organizations that have unique insight and specialized approaches has been instrumental in advancing many of the Chamber's objectives.

Delivering means remembering the examples of women throughout her journey who personied inuence and power—starting with her own mom, whom she calls “A real dynamo.” In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, Willoughby acknowledges that she would not be where she is today without mentors who guided her, shared their resources, and believed in her. “Believing in someone else is so powerful,” she declares as she talks about why she enjoys supporting others in any way she can. “Ask for help” is something I tell people all the time.

As one who lives by the motto, “I can't solve a problem I don't know about,” and one who believes strongly in the power of outreach, Willoughby lit up like a Christmas tree when she spoke about why she loves her job at SoCalGas. “With the gas and energy sources our company supplies, we help people cook. We help people wash their clothes. Basic human needs are met as a result of what we do here. As an engineer, who knew I'd be in a position to make life better for millions of people in this way.”

As for her vision and how she plans to help further shape California in 2020, she had this to say: “I love the ‘Keep LA Fabulous.’ diversity. I love the culture. I love the energy. I love the Hollywood Bowl. I That’s been my theme... love the beaches. I love the sun. It helps me be happy. California is I want [2020] to be a call to action where I met my husband. (And she smiles even harder.) So, I plan to for LA to stay fabulous... 'Keep LA Fabulous.' That's been my theme: 'Keep LA Fabulous' by doing I want us to build on the the things that move our city forward. strengths of our city.” For as much as she loves her job I want [2020] to be a call to action for and loves making a difference, LA to stay fabulous. I want our kids DENITA WILLOUGHBY Willoughby lets nothing stand in the educated. I want them to know the way of making sure her family knows how important they are to technology of articial intelligence. I want us to include natural her. Happily married for 25 years, she and her husband are the gas and not take away choice for energy customers. I want us to loving parents of two young adult sons. Having a balance that puts build on the strengths of our city.” her family rst is a practice she has never compromised on. Willoughby recently served as a guest lecturer at USC's MultiWhen asked about being called a woman of inuence and power, her response was, “I have a responsibility as a Black woman to live up to it and deliver.” Delivering for Denita Willoughby means staying true to the core values her parents instilled in her: education, hard work, and helping others.

Cultural Women Executive Leadership Program. On January 30, 2020, at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce 2020 Inaugural Dinner, under the banner of their theme, "Our Bold Vision: A Thriving Region For All," she will be installed as its new Board Chair. +

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce 2020 Events Unless otherwise noted, the location and contact for all events are: L.A. Area Chamber - 350 S Bixel St., Los Angeles, CA 90017 Contact: Maribel Flores, 213.580.7571 or mflores@lachamber.com JAN 7 & MAR 3 TRANSPORTATION & GOODS MOVEMENT COUNCIL 10:00 am - 11:30 am JAN 14 & FEB 6 ENERGY, WATER & ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY COUNCIL 10:00 am - 11:30 am JAN 14 TASTE OF THE CHAMBER 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Taglyan Complex 1201 Vine St., LA 90038 Contact: Pat Clark Phone: 213.580.7595 Email: pclark@lachamber.com

JAN 17 & FEB 14 EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL 10:00 am - 11:30 am Contact: Sonia Campos-Rivera Phone: 213.580.7538 Email: srivera@lachamber.com JAN 21 & MAR 17 GOVERNMENT & FISCAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL 10:00 am - 11:30 am JAN 22 & MAR 25 LAND USE, CONSTRUCTION & HOUSING COUNCIL 9:00 am - 10:30 am JAN 24, FEB 28 & MAR 27 ACCENTURE PANCAKES & POLITICS 7:45 am - 9:00 am

lachamber.com

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@LAAreaChamber

JAN 30 INAUGURAL DINNER JW Marriott at L.A. Live 900 West Olympic Blvd., LA 90015 The L.A. Area Chamber’s premier event, the Inaugural Dinner, is the annual kick-off for a year-long body of work that impacts the entire L.A. region. The dinner marks the installation of the incoming Board Chair. In the spirit of community building, the event also recognizes extraordinary leadership w i t h t h e C i v i c M e d a l o f H o n o r, Distinguished Business Leader and Corporate Leadership awards. Contact: Anahi Godinez Phone: 213.580.7561 Email: agodinez@lachamber.com FEB 7 HEALTH CARE COUNCIL 10:00 am - 11:30 am FEB 18 INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL 10:00 am - 11:30 am

@LAAreaChamber

FEB 19 & MAR 16 GLOBAL INITIATIVES COUNCIL 9:30 am - 11:00 am Contact: Jasmin Sakai-Gonzalez Phone: 213.580.7569 Email: jgonzalez@lachamber.com MAY 5 94TH ANNUAL WORLD TRADE WEEK SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA KICKOFF InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown Hotel 7:15 am Registration 8:30-11 am Program JUN 2020 BIZCON SoCal Location TBA A one-day business development conference and networking event convening entrepreneurs and business professionals from across the region for a full-day exchange of ideas, resources, connections and inspiration.

@user/losangeleschamber


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Tamica Smith Jones FORGING A RESULT-DRIVEN CULTURE OF CHAMPIONS – BY EXAMPLE BY KALAISHA TOTTY PHOTOGRAPHY BY MALCOLM ALI

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amica Smith Jones understands the struggles and triumphs of student-athletes well. Jones began her sports journey at a young age. Her brothers and the neighborhood youth would jump off the school bus, drop their bags, and immediately get into a game of basketball, football, baseball, you name it. Her parents encouraged her to be involved in sports. They dedicated their yard space to the community for sports. "My dad wanted to make sure I was picked for the games because I was always outnumbered by the boys, so he built a court in our backyard," Jones said. "We played whatever sport was in season. So, home was literally my full sports arena year-round." Jones was an All-Conference basketball player at Lithonia High School in Georgia – and was one of a handful of studentathletes from her school to receive an athletics scholarship to college. She received a full basketball scholarship to Troy University in Alabama and transferred to Alabama A&M, earning her bachelor's in management before completing her master's in public administration from Savannah State. Her student-athlete experience was highlighted by her teammates and coaches, who were supportive and strong advocates throughout her sports career. "I beneted from coaches who looked out for me not just as a player but as a person," she said. "They cared about who we were as people, guided us through challenging times, and helped prepare us for life. One of my coaches helped get me a tryout at Alabama A&M, where I wanted to transfer. It is a connection that I'm forever indebted to." Like many who advocated for her, Jones realized that she wanted to be a role model and an advocate for other studentathletes and subsequently began her path into coaching and college athletics administration. She now serves as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), a position she has held since 2015. 30

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@tj.jones.3154284 @tjsports23

Prior to her current role at UCR, a rising Division I program in the Big West Conference, she served as Senior Associate Athletics Director for Internal Affairs and Senior Woman Administrator at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) for two years. In addition, she served as the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Clark Atlanta University (NCAA Division II, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference – SIAC) from January 2008 until July 2013. Under Jones' direction, UCR teams have witnessed a renewed sense of purpose and energy for the campus and community. As a result, the Highlanders have won seven individual Big West Championships, the program's rst-ever national championship in the weight throw, the 2018 Big West Conference Men's Soccer Tournament Championship, and a rst-ever trip to the 2018 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament/ Men's College Cup.


“We're intentional and genuine in caring about our student-athletes' well-being and helping them succeed at one of the top public universities in the nation." "Our overall focus at UC Riverside is on building a resultdriven culture of champions, and in my rst year at the helm, we enjoyed our most productive season in our Division I history," she told Voyage LA. Jones published a memoir in 2017, A Ball and a Dream, sharing how she pushed through and overcame as a studentathlete, coach, administrator, and parent, to name a few. Her story is for anyone—student-athletes, aspiring coaches, and athletic administrators—in need of an illustration of hope. Jones oversees nearly 400 student-athletes, administrators, coaches, and staff, and her relationship with the students is more profound than just sports. She takes pride in leading and guiding them in their pursuit of career goals, after sports. On any given day, you may nd her drafting a letter of recommendation for her student-athletes for graduate school or connecting them with her professional network for internships

and other development opportunities. As one of the few African American women athletics directors at the Division I level, "I see students and athletes through a different lens. I understand rsthand their experiences and challenges of what they have to go through to reach their goals," she said. "I took on the role of being a model for them because they need more advocates to guide and encourage them. I approach my student-athletes in a way they learn to interact and engage with condence." UCR's student-athletes collective GPA is above a 3.0, which Jones is proud of considering their demand. She stresses to them the importance of becoming a well-rounded person, not just focusing on being exceptional in their specic sport. It's a critical priority that UCR set for its students. "We want to build a strong athletics culture by staying focused on enhancing the student-athlete experience and SUITELIFESOCAL.COM | WINTER 2020

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eXEC Suite highlighting opportunities for them to develop outside of the classroom and their respective sport," Jones said. "The ultimate goal is to build complete student-athletes who are empowered and able to focus on their professional pursuits following a holistic experience at UCR." Jones and UCR want student-athletes to win in the classroom, in competition, and in the community. Doing this will help continue to raise UCR's athletics prole. "We want to get to the point when people think of UCR they think of athletics as much as academics," she said. "We're intentional and genuine in caring about our student-athletes' well-being and helping them succeed at one of the top public universities in the nation." That also ties into student-athletes being advocates for themselves; a point addressed in the new bill making its way through California.

The bill is scheduled to go into effect in 2023, barring the NCAA from ghting against colleges and student-athletes. Jones said the bill is a progressive step for college athletics. “We don't want to lose our amateur status for student-athletes, but we believe the current model is in need of reform," she said. "There are a lot of well-qualied individuals working on this issue, and we believe collectively, we will gure this out. This is a step in the right direction and needs to be ethical across the board. There's a lot of work to be done, but as a whole, this is a shift that's necessary and should be able to benet everyone." Basketball season began in November, and Jones said the UCR Men's and Women's teams are off to a positive start. She encourages the community to invest in their student-athletes and their programs and hopes people reach out to be her guest at an upcoming game. “There are a lot of activities always going on at UC Riverside," she said, "come out and be a part of something special with us. Get to know our student-athletes – they are incredible young adults and will change the world after they graduate." +

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"Come out and be a part of something special with us. Get to know our student-athletes – they are incredible young adults and will change the world after they graduate."

TOP PHOTO BY MALCOLM ALI; BOTTOM PHOTOS COURTESY OF TAMICA SMITH JONES

The Fair Pay to Play Act, signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newson in September 2019, allows collegiate athletes in the state to be compensated for the use of their name, image, and likeness, beginning in 2023. The bill bypasses the current ban put in place by the National Collegiate Athletic Association on players earning compensation apart from scholarships.


The Nehemiah Project LA Presents

“Helping TAYs Thrive” Conference Join LA’s most dedicated organizations, businesses and donors to dialogue and collaborate on how we can better serve TAY’s - youth who have transitioned out of foster care, by “Helping them Thrive” in life. We are more impactful by collaborating together!

Who’s Invited:

Los Angeles Area nonprofit organizations, social service agency leaders, faith community, donors, businesses and government leaders, coming together to spotlight the work they do in Helping TAY’s Thrive.

For registration and vendor booth information, please email:

zoeassociation@zcf.org

Cheryl Branch

Paul Freese, J.D.

Executive Director/CEO Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches

Career Public Interest Attorney and Champion for Foster Youth

NPLA is one of those community solutions you cheer for. It’s like all these people from different places coming together. People of faith committed to putting their faith in action.

The Nehemiah Project L.A. is bringing fresh community and faith-based leadership together to help elevate awareness of the unique plight of foster youth and rally support for their needs at the critical crossroads when such youth transition to adulthood. Heeding Nehemiah Project L.A.’s call for all members of faith communities to become involved in the life of just one foster youth can be a game changer to improve their outcomes.

Jessica Chandler, MSW Children’s Social Worker Department of Children and Family Services The Nehemiah Project LA aims to be the glue to link quality services to transition-aged foster youth. We understand that even one consistently, caring adult can impact the trajectory of a young person’s life and that there are many individuals, agencies, and organizations in our community who are eager to either get involved or expand their reach in working with this vulnerable population. I look forward to connecting with you all as we push this work forward.

Michelle Ervin, MSW Supervising Children's Social Worker The Nehemiah Project LA offers critical services such as housing, counseling, mentorships, job training and more to youth transitioning from foster care. The vision is not just for the faith-based communities but to reach out to all communities around the country to those willing to be a part of assisting the youth find their place in the world.

Katherine L. Saigeon President and Executive Director Christian Foundation of America The Nehemiah Project seeks to strengthen local community response to foster youth as they approach adulthood, galvanizing the faith community to advocate for, access, and engage existing resources, so each young adult may thrive in a hope-filled future. The spirit of God’s love, tangibly expressed through focused community efforts helping Foster Youth, is what Nehemiah Project LA is all about!

Sat. March 7, 2020 10:00 - 4:00 p.m. Zoe Church Campus 10252 Mills Avenue, Whittier 90604 nehemiahprojectla.org


eXEC Suite

Inaugural Careers in Sports Fundraiser Designed to Introduce Youth To Career Paths Outside The Playing Arena, Set For Thursday February 27th at the City Club LA

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areers in Sports (CIS), a newly founded nonprot organization that connects high school student-athletes to the vast career opportunities in the sports industry, is hosting their rst annual fundraising event on Thursday, February 27th at the City Club located in downtown Los Angeles. Careers in Sports is raising funds for its 2020 programing costs which include summer internships, career workshops, college scholarships as well as their signature event, the CIS EXPO. The CIS EXPO is their focal event of the year, where students hear from professionals and former athletes about the lucrative careers in the sports industry. Legendary radio personality, Pat Prescott, will be the host for the fundraiser at the City Club located at 555 Flower Street, 51st Floor, LA, CA 90071 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be leading corporate executives and professionals from the sports industry in attendance. 34

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CIS assists students from various socioeconomic backgrounds, with the primary focus on youth in neighborhoods that have historically been challenged with poverty and lack of positive role models. Through partnerships with schools, athletic programs, and multiple community-based organizations, CIS plans to change the trajectory of youth's lives and prepare them for college and a career in a lucrative industry! "Our singular purpose is to give young student-athletes a fair chance to make it in the world outside the playing arena," said Kimberly Frelow, CIS Founder. "There are too many sad stories of young athletes being lost once their college playing careers are over. We are driven to show them there are many viable options that they can explore to keep them close to the sports they love and create a lucrative, long-lasting career." The public is invited to mark their calendars for Thursday, February 27th and attend this important fundraiser to

Pat Prescott

help youth achieve and excel in their future endeavors. Registration opens January 2nd at careersinsports.org where all are also encourage to donate to help make the inaugural fundraiser a resounding success. Careers in Sports (CIS) is a nonprot 501(c)(3) dedicated to presenting career options in the sports industry to high school student-athletes through educational workshops, internships, and scholarships. CIS believes that by providing students with the information for alternatives to becoming a professional athlete; they can still make their dream a reality and work with the pros. +


Suite Biz

GOURMET ICED TEA QUEEN

Dawn Patton PLUS ERNEST WOODEN JR.

MARIA DE LA LUZ GARCIA

CEO, LOS ANGELES TOURISM & CONVENTION BOARD

DIRECTOR, LOS ANGELES CENSUS 2020 INITIATIVE


Suite Biz

A Happy Accident Dawn Patton discovers her untapped potential BY ANGELA JACKSON

@trymyt trymyt.com

PHOTOS COURTESY OF TRY MY T 36

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TRY MY T OWNER DAWN PATTON (LEFT) AND DAUGHTER, DARRAH

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hen destiny meets purpose, it doesn't matter if you are ready — purpose and destiny simply take over. That's the story of the local beverage brand, Try My T, and owner, Dawn Patton.

In 2016, when the “Bank of Patton” closed for her college sophomore daughter, Darrah, Patton – being the supportive mother that she is – made a suggestion she never thought would even manifest. Patton encouraged her Darrah to ask her “play” aunt for the recipe to her delicious tea, which had become a household favorite. Patton proposed her daughter sell the tea to her friends and family to make extra money to help her get through college since her strenuous schedule did not allow for her to keep a conventional job. Darrah followed up and asked her “play” aunt for the recipe. Never dreaming a “yes” would come from her suggestion, Patton was surprised when her friend agreed to sell the recipe so Patton's graduate bound daughter could comfortably complete college. According to Patton, she and her husband purchased the recipe to support their daughter. With recipe and ingredients in tow, Darrah made the tea and began selling the tea, saying “Try My T.” One sip led to the purchase of a cup, and soon, the tea, without a name -- but made with lots of love -- became a hit on campus, in all the family circles, and in the community. As fate would have it, someone suggested Patton and Darrah enter the Global Tea Festival in 2017. With no real intention at all, a dutiful daughter and a hopeful mother entered the festival with a nameless tea, a treasured recipe, and gallons of tea made with love. “No bottle, no retail, just a cup. We entered blindly in our category of avored black tea,” Patton afrmed.

It turns out what Patton had was enough to win in the festivals “Best Ready To Drink” black tea category. “The night she (Patton's daughter) graduated, we got an email saying 'Congratulations' you guys took bronze in your category,” Patton proudly shared. At this moment, Patton understood her daughter could make a real living selling this alluring delightful tea.

I got a call from a man who stated he was with the Banc of California… I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t ready. He shared that I had a year to get ready because the stadium was about to break ground.

What Patton saw as a perfect segway for her daughter to take the tea business seriously turned out to be her daughter's exit. Patton explained, “That night, my daughter said, 'Momma, I don't want to do this anymore… This was never my passion.'” Poised to take the tea to the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas as bronze place winners of the Golden Tea Festival, Patton had a decision to make. Would she bow out gracefully, or would she become the CEO of the company she groomed for her daughter? Reluctantly SUITELIFESOCAL.COM SUITELIFESOCAL.COM | WINTER | FALL 2019 2020

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Suite Biz Patton went on to the World Tea Expo by herself. At the festival she connected with amazing support from the tea community and her delightful tea won again. “At the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, there were 14 other companies, we were the only one not in retail and our tea won.” At this point the people had clearly spoken and her destiny was sealed. What Patton once resisted, she now embraced. Understanding and accepting her fate Patton began to move ahead with suggestions given to her from the tea and beverage community. Try My T followed up with an ofcial label and a bottle to prepare for marketing to the public. Patton went on to enter her teas in the same prestigious competitions the next year and won again. In the process of the tea gaining recognition in the world of tea, Patton received an invitation to be a vendor for the Banc of California's new stadium in Los Angeles. “I got a call from a man who stated he was with the Banc of California…. He said he heard about my tea and they were looking for a local vendor for their new stadium,” Patton humbly shared. “I couldn't believe it. I wasn't ready. He shared that I had a year to get ready because the stadium was about to break ground.” Patton accepted this honor as a local vendor and began building her brand and her company. Patton now knew that there was no turning back. The tea she had grown to love and share would now be bottled and sold under her brand, “Try My T”. Ensuring that her tea will not be “the avor of the day,” Patton assembled a team of experts to make her company successful. Today Patton has a plan to enter markets across the country. In the years ahead, Patton will move from being a premium brand at stadiums throughout Southern California to being in stores across the country. So what drives Patton? “What drives me is that I know this tea makes people happy,” she asserts. Patton explained that she did not need another thing to do, but when her daughter chose to focus on her art, she could not let the business die because people had grown to love the tea. Patton is aware that she has entered the beverage industry in an unconventional way. “We launched the rst bottle in the stadium,” Patton declared. Normally one would start out in stores and branch into being a premium brand at a major stadium. However, Patton didn't plan to be in the beverage business, the beverage industry chose her. So what's Patton's secret to sudden success? “I do a lot of praying. It is the center of this business.” Patton declared. “I don't care to be famous. Being the best that there is – that's my goal.” + 38

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Suite Biz

Promoting a Globally Recognized City in 2020: The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board @discoverlosangeles @discoverla

INTRO BY QUINCI LEGARDYE PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN TYLER CURTIS

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE LOS ANGELES TOURISM & CONVENTION BOARD

discoverlosangeles.com


ERNEST WOODEN, JR. USES AN INTERNATIONAL APPROACH TO PROMOTE LOS ANGELES AS A GLOBAL DESTINATION

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ourism in LA has been growing steadily in recent years. LA welcomed 50 million visitors for the rst time in 2018, funneling $23.9 billion into the city's economy. This progress is thanks to the work of the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, the nonprot organization which works to promote, Los Angeles, a city that's globally recognized around the world and one of the places rst thought of when tourists refer to the United States. As multiple events and a new arena hits LA in 2020, the LA Tourism & Convention Board is heading into a critical time with an advantage.

Ernest “Ernie” Wooden, Jr. has led the organization as its President and CEO since 2013. Wooden grew up in another city that's considered synonymous with the United States — New York City. After getting into the hospitality industry while working for Hilton in high school, Wooden realized it was a life-long vocation, working his way up from a bellman position, to the accounting ofce, to eventually becoming the Executive Vice President of Global Brands at Hilton.

Wooden leads the LA Tourism & Convention Board with a steady, condent voice and a vision for LA's global impact. He is working towards a doctorate in International Business, and he uses his understanding of working across borders with an array of different cultures in his work promoting Los Angeles. Since he was a child going to school near the United Nations, Wooden has seen how hospitality involves interaction between people with diverse experiences, and that perspective helps him manage an international organization that reaches out to citizens of multiple countries.

Early on, I set forth a north star goal of welcoming 50 million annual visitors by the year 2020... and achieving it two years ahead of schedule in 2018 – is the most signicant work we have accomplished at Los Angeles Tourism during my tenure.

Wooden works toward the mission of the LA Tourism & Convention Board, which is “to advance the prosperity of the LA visitor economy and the livelihoods which depend on it.” He says, “Tourism is a powerful force in the growth and development of the Los Angeles economy, [creating] employment opportunities for our residents and producing signicant revenue that goes toward the betterment of our community.”

Wooden spoke with Suite Life SoCal about his long career in hospitality and tourism, his accomplishments so far in his position, and the future of tourism's growth in LA.

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Suite Biz SLSC: You started quite young, what inspired you to get into the hospitality industry? EW: At age 17, I was looking for a job while attending high school, so I walked into a nearby hotel – the Sheraton Russell (in New York City) – and applied for a position. I was hired as a bellman and later advanced into their accounting ofce. Over time, the hotel business developed into a lifelong career in hospitality. I was attracted to this industry because I'm a people person, and so hospitality was a natural t for me. Global travel, languages, and meeting people from all parts of the world has always intrigued me. In fact, as a young man, I attended school a block away from the United Nations in New York City and once aspired to become a translator. Born and raised in NYC, I constantly had diverse experiences with international colleagues, visitors, and patrons and felt hospitality was a natural outgrowth for what I wanted to do with my career. SLSC: How did the skillsets that you developed at Hilton assist you in your commitment toward overhauling LA Tourism? EW: When I joined the Los Angeles Tourism in 2013, I knew it was not only a unique opportunity but also a natural evolution from my work at Hilton and the hotel industry. When I served as the Executive Vice President of Global Brands at Hilton, I focused on marketing an array of Hilton brands around the world. At Los Angeles Tourism, it is a similar scope of work, except the product in an entire city, one that is globally recognized. The opportunity to brand and share the story of Los Angeles was an outgrowth of the work I did for commercial brands, but this time to bigger and much more diverse audience. What I've learned throughout my career is to excel in hospitality. You must enjoy being around others and have a broad view about different cultures. People that are extroverts and have a sincere desire to serve others with a genuine smile – these are the people that are well-suited for this industry and will do the best. SLSC: At the time, what did you see as deficient in LA Tourism? What hidden or untapped potential did you see? EW: After joining Los Angeles Tourism, I quickly realized both the organization and LA's tourism industry lacked a cohesive vision and goal. It is incumbent upon any CEO to establish a vision for their organization, dene it clearly, and then ensure everyone on the team works together to achieve it. Early on, I set forth a north star goal of welcoming 50 million annual visitors by the year 2020 and demonstrated (through data) the major positive impact it would have on the City of Los Angeles – revenue, jobs, taxes. Setting this goal – and achieving it two years ahead of schedule in 2018 - is the most signicant work we have accomplished at Los Angeles Tourism during my tenure. We identied key tactics needed to get there – both organically and inorganically, like hotel supply, infrastructure, airport connectivity, and public transportation expansion – and galvanized city leadership and the hospitality community to work together to achieve it. SLSC: How do your international studies and relationships influence your leadership at LA Tourism, and what does the state of Trade look like for LA businesses? EW: I always found it intellectually challenging and rewarding to understand the various nuances of the different cultures, including what works from a brand messaging perspective. I chose to focus my doctorate work on business in an international 42

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environment because I wanted to better understand how business was done across borders; I wanted to attain a greater understanding of potential issues that can arise due to cultural differences. These studies have deeply impacted my leadership and oversight of our international ofces based in China, the UK, Australia, and India, where we have also cultivated incredibly valuable relationships with their respective travel communities. Tourism in Los Angeles enjoyed the eighth consecutive year of record milestones in 2018, welcoming 50 million visitors for the rst time in our destination's history. We are especially proud to note tourism accelerated Los Angeles County's economic prosperity as visitors pumped an all-time high of $23.9 billion directly into the LA economy, generating a record $36.6 billion in total economic impact Tourism is a powerful force in the growth and development of the Los Angeles economy, tourism creates employment opportunities for our residents and produces signicant revenue that goes toward the betterment of our community. SLSC: What should local businesses know now in preparation for the coming of the 2028 Olympics? EW: It's a privilege and an honor to host such a signicant global event in Los Angeles, where the world's spotlight will shine bright in the summer of 2028. It's expected we'll generate at least 760,000 hotel room nights during the Olympics period, making it one of the largest events in Los Angeles history. Our local hospitality, travel and tourism businesses should be ready to roll out our signature red carpet to ensure that our visitors and athletes from around the world have an unforgettable experience in our dynamic city. Hosting [the] Olympic Games is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to amplify and inuence the perception of a destination. It's one of the most effective international marketing platforms in the world, reaching billions of people in over 200 countries and territories. Host cities thrive on its enormous marketing powers as its positive images are beamed around the world. Simply put, the Olympic Games are a robust promotional machine for a destination to strengthen and enhance its global brand. SLSC: What is a top priority or outlook for 2020? EW: One of our top priorities in 2020 will be growing visitor demand from India. Los Angeles Tourism recently became the rst US city destination marketing organization to establish a fulltime ofce in India, based in Mumbai. India is one of the fastestgrowing outbound markets in the world; we rmly believe the time is now to accelerate our strategic efforts in India, deepening our engagement to achieve long-term success. SLSC: What premiere events and/or highlights can we look forward to in 2020? EW: 2020 is set to be a major year for Los Angeles as we expect to see the debut of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which will feature more than 50,000 square feet of gallery space for a robust program of exhibitions dedicated to the history or lm, two state-of-the-art theaters, the Shirley Temple Education studio and more. We're also set to host the 2020 MLB All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium, the 2020 MLS All-Star Game at Banc of California Stadium, and will also debut the state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium in July – the future home of the NFL Rams and Chargers. +


Suite Biz

A Voice in the Community means A Voice in the Census Maria de la Luz Garcia mobilizes volunteers to be the faces and voices of an accurate Census count in their communities. BY QUINCI LEGARDYE

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n 2020, an accurate census count is a community effort. Although the Internet has made information readily available, many people still turn to their neighbors and fellow community members when making decisions. According to Director Maria de la Luz Garcia, that is the strategy of L.A.'s Census 2020 Initiative, which is mobilizing community volunteers to serve as Goodwill Ambassadors for their communities and “help us be the face and voice of outreach efforts on the ground.” Efforts have long been under way to prepare for the 2020 Census count in the City of Los Angeles. The Ofce of Mayor Garcetti's Census 2020 Initiative, led by Director Maria de la Luz Garcia, is working to ensure that traditionally underrepresented areas of L.A. get an accurate count, and receive the resources they need invested back into the community. A fervent advocate of voter outreach and community involvement in government, Garcia received her Masters of Public Administration (MPA) and Certicate in Public Policy from USC. Prior to being Director of the Census 2020 Initiative, she served as the City Clerk for the city of Long Beach, where she administered several municipal elections, including the City's June 2016 Runoff Election with the Statewide Primary Election, which had historic voter turnout levels. She has also served as Senior Project Coordinator for the Los Angeles City Clerk's Election Division. During her time there, she launched the City's rst voter outreach and education campaign, “L.A. City Votes!”

. We believe that in the most effective way of getting people to respond to the census is by having people from the communities that have been historically undercounted to be the face and voice and messenger for convincing people to respond to the census.

For the past three years, Garcia has been running the City of Los Angeles census efforts. “This is the earliest that the city of Los Angeles has brought on board a Director of the Census. And 44

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because of the city's leadership in starting so early, we've been able to implement some of the lessons that we've learned from prior efforts, which includes establishing partnerships and collaborations with our community organizations and across government agencies early on.” The bulk of the City's efforts for the census so far have been based in the community. Garcia's ofce has made hundreds of partnerships with many community organizations, school districts, and the County of Los Angeles to form a large outreach effort. At the center of the effort is the City's team of Census Goodwill Ambassadors -- volunteers that Garcia and her staff are training to be the face and voice of the census outreach efforts in the community. "We believe that in the most effective way of getting people to respond to the census is by having people from the communities that have been historically undercounted to be the face and voice and messenger for convincing people to respond to the census,” Garcia says. Garcia has even seen the efforts of the volunteers' work in regard to her parents, for whom the census had been a concern. “Both my parents are immigrants, and in talking to them about the importance of the census, it's become increasingly clear that they respond to trusted voices and trusted messengers.” “I had been speaking with my parents about the 2020 census and I did not get a commitment from them to respond until my mom went to city hall to pay a bill. [The] young lady who helped my mom pay her bill also spoke with her about the importance of the census and convinced her to respond and participate. And so, me, her daughter wasn't able to do the job. But this young lady who attended one of our trainings, was able to talk to her and engage her in a way that, you know, made her change her mind.” Since coming on as Director, Garcia has been pleasantly surprised by the outpour of community support the city's census efforts have received so far. “What's taken me aback is just the level of interest and participation we've gotten from [community] partners. Every day is just really uplifting the work alongside such incredible colleagues, both [those who] work for the mayor's ofce, [and] the folks that we have partnered with. There's a lot of energy that in momentum that we're building here in Los Angeles, and we hope to have this model the way for other municipalities and other jurisdictions in the country.” +


Scauses uite

Tera Hilliard “I followed that call.”

PLUS

Robert Sausedo Community Build


SuiteCauses

Who’s @forgottenchildreninc #nomoregirls #endexploitation forgottenchildreninc.org

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Going To Rescue Los Angeles' Missing and Abused Girls?


Tera Hilliard, Forgotten Children Inc., and Their Fight to Protect Those Lost in Sex Trafficking BY ASHLEY YANCEY PHOTOS BY JOSHUA BERRYMON

L

os Angeles has a problem. A human sex trafcking problem. “People think it's not happening here, in the U.S. They say, 'In Thailand, those are true victims,'” says Tera Hilliard, the President/CEO of Forgotten Children, Inc (FCI).“ 'That chick on Figueroa is there because she wants to be.' ”

For the last ve years, Hilliard has been at the helm of FCI, an organization that strives to minimize victim suffering caused by human trafcking and the sexual exploitation of women and girls. She is not alone. Across the country, there has been heightened awareness of just how extensive the sex trafcking epidemic has become. With January recognized as National Slavery and Human Trafcking Prevention Month, Hilliard sees this as a prime opportunity to shed a brighter light on this humanitarian issue impacting tens of thousands of American lives. “100% of the girls we've rescued have come out of the foster care system,” Hilliard shared. “When you don't have anywhere to go, where do you go? You go to the streets. It's a breeding zone for pimps and trafckers because no one is looking for you.” Sitting at Greyhound bus depot or a bare table at a McDonald's restaurant lobby, a pimp can easily spot a young, teenage runaway and is quick to offer her a warm place to sleep and something to eat. It isn't long before the victim will hear, “You owe me.” With no other option in sight, these girls-most targeted anywhere from 12 to 14 years of age- are forced into “the life” where they will remain for an average of seven years. According to national data, children of color account for over 50% of all fostered youth, and at least half of them will experience homelessness—no family or community. Fostered Black children have the least access to resources and programs. In Los Angeles, the numbers are especially staggering—of the 56,000 people who are homeless, 5% are girls who are being trafcked. Through tips from law enforcement and the community, FCI nds these vulnerable young girls on streets throughout the greater Los Angeles area, from Long Beach to San Bernardino to DTLA. Most recently, Hilliard has focused the organization's efforts on Skid Row, where there have been widespread reports of homeless young girls being trafcked at alarming rates. “She's walking the

streets and has on a plastic jumpsuit with a thong on. Her shoes are too big for her, and she's shufing along,” shares Hilliard. “She only has 20 seconds to talk to us.” Hilliard and her team of volunteers assemble mesh bags to hand to these girls that include a condom, lip balm, mints, angel pin, a nondescript FCI business card, and a “Jesus Loves Me” track. It's essential that the bags are kept simple, all part of an effort to discourage the pimp's ire. “We don't want her to get beat,” she explained. “Our safety and the girl's safety are priority, so we respect the space to coax the woman out.” Hilliard paused before continuing, “It's one thing to go and interrupt someone's life, but if you don't have a solution to the problem? Then you make it worse—you may as well leave her down there.” The pimps are always watching, keeping a close eye on their most-prized commodities. By maintaining a “stable” of 5-7 teenage girls with each girl earning a daily quota of $500-$1000, they can take home thousands of dollars daily. A $100+B industry, sex trafcking has quickly become one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises, coming in second only to drug trafcking. In Los Angeles, a city overrun by substantial gang activity, the vast majority of sex trafcking is controlled by area gangs. Fearing gang retaliation, many of these women are unable to see a way out of the life. Back in 2013, Hilliard was hard at work as the Program Manager for Great Beginnings for Black Babies, an organization that seeks to reduce the high rate of incidents in Black pregnancies. While in prayer one day, God came to her. “Today is the launch of your ministry, based on this scripture, Isaiah 61.” Hilliard opened her Bible and read, “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor of the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” She paused. “I followed that call.” Not long after, she noticed a prostitute crossing the street and was drawn to her - the prostitute needed love and to feel love. Hilliard and a small team of women she knew from her previous job began hitting the pavement, knocking on doors, asking community organizations and businesses to help support her efforts, but unfortunately, they weren't making much traction. It wasn't until a few months later in 2014 when she met Pastor Paula Daniels, the founder of FCI, and was welcomed into the SUITELIFESOCAL.COM | WINTER 2020

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SuiteCauses organization. “As women, when God calls you to do something, and you feel illequipped, he equips you and then he causes you to be noticed by people who see you. He begins to elevate you.” Initially, Hilliard questioned God about why he chose her for this cause—she herself had never been involved in the streets, and prostitution was an issue she wasn't very familiar with back then. “Then, [God] reminded me. My mother was a prostitute, a drug addict. My sister was a prostitute drug addict. I never was on the streets, but as women, we exchange sex for favors—that's trafcking.” From there, she became more aware of the vastness of sex trafcking, how she could make a difference and got to work. Privately funded, one of the biggest challenges FCI faces is a lack of nancial support. They must ght tooth and nail for income and donations. Sometimes disappointed by the lack of resources, Hilliard commits much of her time to connecting with community leaders, service organizations, and prayer to ensure FCI's needs are met. “I have a unique opportunity to create change in the lives of women that impacts generation upon generation,” said Hilliard. “And for that, this, to me, of all the things I've ever done is the most meaningful because I have the foundation of the Word of God to stand on to do it. It's also the hardest because not everybody gets it.” Another major hurdle FCI faces is addressing cultural misconceptions about the pervasiveness of the abuse, drawing awareness of how embedded it has become in our culture. Many strip clubs and adult entertainment events are overrun by trafcked victims. The infamous Player's Ball, founded in 1974 by Pimp Don Magic Juan and inspired by the 1973 blaxploitation lm The Mack, is attended by active pimps throughout the country who have been thriving in the sex trafcking industry for decades. Throughout the years, it has been coined a “ball for child molesters,” has been inundated with negative press due to several pimps being ar rested for employing underage prostitutes yet continues to attract the likes of hip hop's largest stars. 48

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In Hollywood, child actors frequently nd themselves at the mercy of desperate parents angling for exposure and sleazy agents on the hunt for a quick buck. “Parents who are looking for stardom for their kids, what price are you willing to pay for your child to be a star?” questions Hilliard. “Media portrays women as hoes who just want to trick, and if they're kids 'they're just fast.' I remember coming up, you were fast. 'Get off that man's lap!' 'Well, why does that man have me on his lap?' We put all the responsibility of being safe on the kid. We should recognize the signs.”

streets, she began complaining about pelvic pain. Upon inspection, the doctor found a 10-year old IUD embedded in her uterus. The leaking copper was making her ill. For all the heartbreak, there are success stories. Hilliard remembers one girl, in particular, Jessica. A foster child since she was 2 years old, Jessica had nowhere to turn when she ran away from her group home at 18 and was easily nabbed in an empty McDonald's lobby by a woman and her family. For the next 6 months, she was housed on an abandoned military base and serviced

“She's walking the streets and has on a plastic jumpsuit with a thong on. Her shoes are too big for her, and she's shufing along,”... “She only has 20 seconds to talk to us.”

Throughout the years, Hilliard has seen her fair share of horror stories. There was the girl who was elementaryaged when her grandfather began s e x u a l l y a b u s i n g h e r, a l w a y s remembering to give her a few dollars when he nished. By the time she was being trafcked as a teen, being paid for sexual favors was viewed as a loving transaction, not abuse or trauma. Another girl from Tennessee had been abused by her uncle starting at age 10 and was outtted with an IUD at 13. “She came [to California] when she was 16. From 13 to 23, she had never been to the doctor or had a PAP smear,” says Hilliard. After FCI rescued her from the

military personnel via Backpage ads. By a stroke of luck one day, Jessica found herself alone and unattended. She ran until she found help who contacted San Bernardino PD. Jessica's bravery broke up an entire human trafcking ring. In the four years since, Jessica has found independence, is managing her mental trauma (has since been dually diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder), and maintains a balanced life. “We are her next of kin,” Hilliard says with a tear in her eye. “She's one of the people when we need live testimony. We take her with us.” Personal balance. With so much of her life dedicated to saving young


women, Hilliard admits achieving balance within her personal life can become challenging. For her, it's essential to understand the calling. “If God has called you, then that means he called you to assist in this work. I'm the vessel he wants to use to accomplish this goal. He never told me to bear the brunt of it.” It is mandatory for the entire staff to meet with the therapist on-hand at FCI's safehouse to ensure mental health. Hilliard also receives guidance from mentors and her family. Lastly, her stronger prayer life and quarterly meetings with her Pastor, Geremy Dixon, also helps keep her accountable and aligned. “Tera is truly a leader in this community,” says Pastor Dixon, lead pastor of Center of Hope Church in Inglewood. “The work she's doing and lives she's transforming are incredible.” Having rescued hundreds of girls throughout south LA and lower California, Hilliard is ready to take on the rest of America. Moving into 2020, she has big plans. “We're going to take territory. We're going to go into cities and set up safe houses!” she shares excitedly. “Girls are on the streets for various reasons. Coming out of foster care, they age out. They don't have any resources. They don't realize that they have independent living programs.” Once the girls have reached independence, Hilliard wants to ensure her girls are economically empowered. She plans on helping them build wealth through equity. “It's going to take about ve years [to reach independence through our program], and then we can introduce homeownership to her. Every city has a rst-time home buyer's program,” explains Hilliard. “You can have a condo at 26, and can pay for it, and it's yours. We're doing it for people and for kids that never thought they could do it. That's my goal.” This January 25th, FCI is hosting “Breaking the Chains,” a community festival and car show to honor Human Trafcking Awareness Month. Partnering with the City of Lynwood and the Compton Human Trafcking Task Force, Hilliard's aim is “to bring the community together, raise awareness, and have a good time!” On hand will be vendors, rafes, food, games, health screenings, free giveaways, and a car show. Hilliard hopes to equip the community with people and services in the event they experience any sort of traumatic experience, homelessness, or trafcking. Hilliard admits that this work has exposed her biases. “We say we love people until we get somebody that's unlovable, and then we're dismissive. Or we say 'protect the sistas' until it's time to protect them, and we don't show up.” There's been too much talk, too many town hall meetings that have led nowhere, and too many girls being abused. Something has got to change. “Caring is more than talking. It's action.” +

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SuiteCauses

Community Build

Bringing hope to South Los Angeles through Capital Development BY FAITH PETRIE PHOTOS BY JOSH BERRYMON

A

n elaborate quilt hung on the wall crafted with messages of love, hope and unity from the youth supported by the programs of Community Build, Inc. is used as both to adorn the wall behind the receptionist as well as a constant reminder of the work Robert Sausedo and his committed staff tirelessly does each year. In April 2019, Sausedo was welcomed into the position of president and chief executive ofcer to infuse new and strategic objectives into the nonprot organization's goals that are aimed towards the “revitalization of South Los Angeles through human capital investment, community economic development, and commercial economic development,” as their website afrms. “When we talk about revitalization that word really should say 'bringing hope to South Los Angeles through capital development' – it's a part of our mission,” Sausedo said.

Community Community Build focuses on just that: community. As a component of revitalization, the nonprot is responsible for several programs geared at assisting those in need, something that Sausedo was familiar with as an assistant pastor at Los Angeles Community Church. Before nding himself at Community Build, Sausedo was employed as deputy of Agency Review and Support for the Ofce of Los Angeles County Board Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and had plans to become a senior vice president of government affairs in the insurance industry.

PICTURED: PRESIDENT & CEO ROBERT SAUSEDO (LEFT) AND LEON GULLETTE (RIGHT) TAKE A STROLL IN THE HEADQUARTERS’ COURTYARD IN LEIMERT PARK.

“As God was working on my heart, this opportunity came up, and it seemed to be a much better t for what I was doing in ministry, so I got derailed from my original plan and was recruited,” Sausedo said. Many of the programs that Community Build provides are pointed to at-risk youth and work toward providing the necessities to ensure an improved quality of life. Leon Gullette, vice president of the Gang Reduction and Youth Development Intervention Services, oversees the program that provides resources including employment advising, mental health services, and academic counseling. Gullette's experience boasts a concentrated history in intervention having developed the Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson's “Project SAVE” program as well as contributing to the 1992 Los Angeles gang truce movement. With his 27 years of experience, Gullette hopes that his staff can “understand the seriousness of intervention and the things we need to be doing with [their] clients.” 50

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@communitybuildinc communitybuildinc.org


“We do whatever it takes to help the client get to where that person should be,” Gullette said. “It's actually catered to each individual that comes in, and we help the individual on a case-bycase level and that way we're able to really be effective in helping that person and not just throwing them into an anger management program, which they might not need.” Another program of Community Build is the Gang Reduction and Youth Development Prevention Services, is intended to decrease the likelihood that youth from the ages 10 to 15 will become involved in gangs. As a child, Sausedo grew up in the Los Angeles area living in

both Jefferson Park and Arlington Heights. He said that these roots in the City of Angels make his position a personal but rewarding one. Sausedo's history with community affairs is not new and spans back over 30 years ago. After the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Sausedo, alongside his colleagues, conducted a rebuild and expansion effort of the Jefferson - Vassie D. Wright Memorial Branch Library. “I've always been engaged in community, but to be in this role now serving the community in a way that makes a difference this is not work to me anymore,” Sausedo said.

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SuiteCauses

Build Due to his private-sector background, Sausedo said his corporate experience brings a unique perspective to Community Build. “I know that what's missing in most communitybased organizations is being able to break through that chasm of thinking like a nonprot but thinking more like a business and running it like a business that is focused on revenue and people development so that we have long-term stability,” Sausedo said. Community Build's headquarters is located in Leimert Park Village, the cultural epicenter of the Black art scene in Los Angeles. Considering the construction due to the upcoming Leimert Park Metro line and the announcement of Destination Crenshaw, an outdoor art museum, concerns of unwarranted change to the neighborhood have come to light. “There's the conversation of gentrication right?“ Sausedo said. “I'm counting on the fact that Leimert Park will become a priority area for further development, and that development will also include [incorporate] Leimert Park as the continued center for African American culture,” With the inevitable changes these projects will bring, Sausedo said he hosted a community forum in collaboration with the Department of Culture Affairs to create a dialogue with the small businesses in the area. “One of the things I shared with the mayor's ofce is that as we look at the businesses, we really have to be clear about what's a hobby and what's a business so that as we help people think towards their future or the future of what the businesses should be in Leimert Park, that we… either help elevate those who are here into scalable businesses that make sense, that can hire people and produce revenue or bring that into Leimert Park,” Sausedo said. As of now, Community Build has unspecied plans to become involved with Destination Crenshaw “at some point in time” in the future, according to Sausedo. Nevertheless, the future of Community Build promises projects that reinforce the goals of the organization. Sausedo plans to continue expanding Gullette's Intervention program, introduce new sources of income, including ventures into three “social enterprises” including a co-owned restaurant, a landscape maintenance business, and a digital robotics company. Sausedo noted that the projects are intended to “touch all of the markets from entry-level employment to those more sophisticated that could fall into a coding space, etcetera.” “We anticipate our corporate headquarters will be redeveloped over the next ve years into additional commercial space and housing, but a for-sale product is what I'm looking at,” Sausedo asserts. “We have great plans for Leimert Park, and we have plans to really be part of the transformation of what Leimert Park will be and how it will report to the rest of Los Angeles.” + 52

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Suite

talk

Clifton Moseley RARE GROOVES GURU

SUITE PICKS

PODCASTS DISCOVER YOUR AUTHENTIC VOICE BY NORMA T. HOLLIS

RESTORATION BY BARBARA A. PERKINS


Suitetalk

Moseley with The Pointer Sisters

Clifton “C Mose” Moseley

PODCAST SPOTLIGHT

We Luvv Rare Grooves BY QUINCI LEGARDYE

Moseley with Howard Hewett, Stephanie Spruitt and DJ Regg

One podcast that stands out is "We Luvv Rare Grooves," the [music] internet show founded by Clifton' C Mose' Moseley. Moseley, a Pittsburgh native, pays tribute to soul and R&B by preserving the genre, keeping it in the public mind, and giving owers to its legends. Each week, Moseley and his co-hosts DJ DeVoux, Xiantoni Ari, Greg Sneed, Robert A. Brown, and DJ Regg, play a bounty of ballads from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, that don't usually make it on today's smooth jazz stations. They highlight both the B-sides of legends (Earth, Wind & Fire; Ohio Players; Delfonics) and rare one-hit wonders (Dynamic Superiors, DJ Rogers, Sweet Thunder). They broadcast live on Monday nights from UBNGO Radio in Burbank, and their archives are available on podcast platforms, including iHeart Radio. The show brings its audience a traditional radio show that focuses on Black music and entertainment, with conversation with the hosts interspersed between the songs. They also conduct interviews with R&B legends, with pasts guests including Dionne Warwick, Lou Price of The Temptations, Reggie Calloway, Bonnie and Anita Pointer of The Pointer Sisters, Chante Moore, Mark Woods, Jr. of Lakeside and Stanley Clark. Moseley's dedication to sharing music started when he was a kid, making mixtapes in high school in the days where Columbia sold 13 records for a penny. He began his career at WAMO in Pittsburgh and went on to a long career in sales and sales management. He's also involved in the Los Angeles chapter of the National Sales Network. 54

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The We Luvv Rare Grooves Crew with Dionne Warwick

In his bio, Moseley describes "We Luvv Rare Grooves" as a chance to "do my part in preserving R&B music." He said, "As 'We Luvv Rare Grooves' comes to take a life of its own, my team and I look forward to keeping our listening audience on the edge of hearing never released music and taking you on the musical, magical journey down memory lane as only music can do." On Friday, February 14, 2020, We Luvv Rare Grooves will host a lovers' Valentine's Day Concert featuring Grammynominated R&B singer, Michael Henderson at the Miracle Theater located in Inglewood at 226 S. Market Street. The Celebration of Love Concert will open its doors at 8:30 p.m. Listen in to We Luvv Rare Grooves on Monday nights at 8 p.m. for updates and special promotions. Tickets are available at themiracleinglewood.com. + Turn the page to check out our Suite Picks of other notable Los Angeles-based podcasts, selected by Suite Life SoCal.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF WE LUVV RARE GROOVES

T

he recent podcast boom has democratized the genre, bringing many excellent shows to the new internet airwaves. This year's listeners have found excellent podcasts of multiple types, including pop culture, business, lifestyle, and mental health. Local podcasts introduce a slice of life for many different cultures in Los Angeles.


Suitetalk 30 SOMETHING, BLACK AND GAY For nearly four years now, the three co-hosts of this witty, smartly opined podcast tackle hot topics, entertainment gossip, and current events like no other. No topic is off-limits, as they have covered Jussie Smollett’s alleged attack, Lena Waithe’s disapproval of Black Hollywood A-Listers not financing more independent projects, and debating the price we pay when defending controversial cultural legends such as R. Kelly and Michael Jackson, among others. 30smthingblkngay.libsyn.com

@30Somethngblkngay

@30SmthinBlkNGay

@30smthingblkngay

BLACKER THAN BLACK TIMES INFINITY (CALIFORNIA) For all of the gamers and geeks who want to stay plugged into industry news, media releases, and new comics being pubbed, this is the podcast for you. Sharing updates on the games they’re playing, and the latest anime drops, the collective comprised of Kronus, Cthulu’s Prodigy, Blue, Old Ninja, and Stitch engage heavily with their loyal and rabid fan base who tunes in each Wednesday for their latest updates. beenhadproductions.com/podcast

@BThanBTI

BITTER BROWN FEMMES With a tagline like “Dismantling Shit While Talking Shit,” it is abundantly clear that both Cassandra and Rubén, co-hosts of this popular Latinx/Chicanx podcast, are holding nothing back when tackling social, political, emotional, and community issues. Recently featured on Oprah.com, be sure to check out some of their more recent episodes where they discuss their disappointment with Beto O’Rourke buying into whiteness, defend their Valley Girl accents, and outline mental health. audioboom.com/channels/4939795

@bitterbrownfemmes

INNOVATION CRUSH Essentially, an interview series created by Chris Denson, an award-winning innovator, and marketer, Denson spotlights technology innovation and disruptive business models by having candid conversations with the dynamic individuals attached to the projects. With nearly one million subscribers tuned in to his weekly episodes, this one-stop-shop provides almost anything you may possibly need to know. thecrush.co

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@innovationcrush

@densonology


KISS & TELL RADIO Jayce Baron and Shar Jossell host KISS & TELL RADIO, bringing nuance conversations to the black LGBTQ+ experience. From pop culture and politics, to dating and sex; the unique transparency of #KATradio discussions generate broader ripples of thought from perspectives that are rarely heard.

soundcloud.com/kissandtellradio

@KATnetworks_

LAS DOCTORAS Bridging the gap between academia and real-life experiences as Latinas, mothers, daughters, partners, and women, these two Cal State professors of Women, Gender and Sexuality studies have made quite the splash since their Summer 2019 debut. Already having secured a feature on Oprah.com, the topics range from reproductive justice, social justice, motherhood, sexuality, race, gender, and more. With fifteen episodes already under their belts, they are showing no signs of slowing down. lasdoctorasonline.squarespace.com @las.doctoras

NOS VEMOS EN EL SWAP MEET What happens when you approach strangers in various SoCal swap meets with a single request, to share a little something about themselves? Luis Octavio does just this throughout the region, featuring stories from locals while finding amazing treasures along the way.

@NosVemosEnElSwapMeet

SHE BUILT IT PODCAST WITH MELANIE & DR. MICHELE She Built It was created with the working woman in mind, supporting her entrepreneurial and career growth and success. Encouraging women everywhere by sharing stories, resources, tips, and professional guidance, both Melanie and Dr. Michele pack a wealth of knowledge into each 15-20 minute episode. Whether you’re tuning in during your commute while working out or running errands, every Tuesday, these two are on a mission to help all women make their next leap. www.shebuiltit.com

@SheBuiltIt

BY ASHLEY YANCEY

Su e Picks

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Suitetalk

SHIFT GETS REAL Co-hosted by Dimitri and Ashley Snowden, Angelenos, who practice an unconventional lifestyle with their plural family, their weekly podcast focuses on powerful and shifting conversations to explore the roots of who we all are. Packed with special guests each Wednesday, topics range from parenting, ego, infidelity, neuropathic living, dismantling stereotypes, and everything in between. shiftgetsreal.com

@shiftgetsreal

SUPER MAMÁS Join sisters Bricia and Paulina every Tuesday where they take a break from Guelaguetzla, their family’s Oaxacan restaurant, to interview experts, friends, and each other. Focusing on topics ranging from raising bilingual children, maintaining fitness regimens, coping with mental illness, travel tips, and stories of inspiration, these super mamás are building this online community one episode at a time. supermamas.com

@_supermamas

TAMARINDO Self-described as using “levity to inform, inspire, and impact our community” co-hosts Ana Sheila Victorino and Brenda Gonzalez—two #EducatedPeleoneras—focus on the intersection of politics, pop culture, race, and identity in the Latinx community. Having been featured in several publications including Oprah Magazine, mitu, Remezcla, Latino USA, and Latina Magazine, among others, Tamarindo is one of the most popular Latinx podcasts out right now. tamarindopodcast.com

@tamarindopodcast

@tamarindocast

THE BREAKTHROUGH Thank You MA’AM Productions, a woman-owned production company presents, The Breakthrough an internet television show starring host, indie artists Sophina De Jesus aka “Sophina The Diva” and Hanif Carter aka “BillionAir Carter.” The Breakthrough discusses trending indie topics, interviews indie artists both established and up and coming while going into the streets to discover what it means to be indie. The Breakthrough can be seen on YouTube on The Thank You MA”AM Productions channel. Watch, Like, Share and Subscribe. @tymaamproductions

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Suitetalk

Find, D Live and Share Your Authentic Voice

id you know that authenticity is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself? It's true. When you know who you are, you live life from a more conscious perspective rather than the auto-pilot behaviors that most of us fall into – doing the same thing over and over again, even when we don't like what we are doing. When we are self-aware, we make better decisions, have more quality relationships, live in greater abundance, and generally experience a more meaningful and fullling life.

The secret is to nd, live, and share your authentic voice. In this article, I talk about the rst step, nding your authentic voice, which means creating a relationship with yourself. There's a GPS within you that seeks to guide you all the time. What you have to do is get on its wavelength and allow the wavelength to guide you through life. Most people know this, to some degree, but may not know how important it is or how to access their authentic inner voice.

Being able to access it and build a relationship is the rst step to nding your authentic voice, being your authentic self, and living with authenticity. Whether you are a student or CEO, self-employed or retired, a mother or a child, it's important for each of us, all of our life.

BY NORMA T. HOLLIS

I was eight years old when I started connecting with my inner voice. It was a two-year period of traumatic pain due to ongoing earaches. When the adults around me didn't understand the depth of my despair, my inner voice started to speak to me. I wasn't sure if it was the voice that I was supposed to listen to, so I gave it a challenge. I told the voice that if it is the voice I should be listening to, prove it to me by letting someone walk by with red socks, and another person mention the word 'elephant' in a conversation. Much to my delight, these happened within the week that I requested, and after I did this for ve weeks in a row, I had an understanding of how my voice speaks to me and had begun to build a relationship with it.

When we are self-aware, we make better decisions, have more quality relationships, live in greater abundance, and generally experience a more meaningful and fulfilling life."

You can do that too.

Making this connection is the rst step. As you build your connection, many things might start happening in your life. You may see life a little more clearly, have more condence, unveil your purpose. You may get answers to questions you have been asking yourself. Maybe you are considering a new job, a new relationship, or a new child. Connecting with your voice can give you the guidance you need.

In my next article, I will give you tips on three ways you can recognize your inner voice. In the meantime, learn more about your authenticity by taking the Authenticity Assessment, nine questions that will give you insight into how authentically you are living your life. Take it at AuthenticityAssessment.com.

Norma T. Hollis is an international authority on authentic leadership and self-awareness. She is a coach, consultant, speaker, trainer and author of programs, services and books that help people deepen their knowledge of self, transition difficult times, follow their authentic life path and speak with authority. Her signature program, 'The Authentic Voice System' adds depth, complexity and content to what it means to be authentic and offers success roadmaps for individuals and the organizations they work for. She's the former owner of a speakers' bureau and continues to help people, all over the world, find, live and share their authentic voice. Learn more at NormaHollis.com.

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See recipe for my delicious Turkey Stew on page 72.

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Suitetalk

Restoration: I Seven Compelling Reminders of God’s Promise

was broken. It did not happen over-night. What did I do to end up here? How is it that my joy lled life suddenly turned into a nightmarish reality? What signs did I ignore along the way? How was I going to complete my assignment with cancer in my body? What am I supposed to do now?

When these questions began to quietly invade my mind, fear stepped in obstructing any possible entrance of the truthful answers I desired. Confusion, chaos, perplexity began to spread within me as fast as bad rumors often do in society. It helped to have had almost 20 years in emergency services training and a life lled with biblical and spiritual study.

“Hold on, regardless of what it looks like”, is what I spoke to myself. Our ability to endure the rough times, ride out the storms of life and trust God even when we don't see him or feel his presence, is the key to being restored. What I knew for sure was that planted deep inside of me was strength greater than anything my eyes had seen on the outside. I knew from past experiences that running was not the answer. Nor was I willing to bail out on myself, while expecting God to pull me through. I had to trust like never before that God can restore all things. I had to believe that restoration was God's plan for my life.

BY BARBARA A. PERKINS

Foreword by Iyanla Vanzant I never believed that cancer was meant to take up permanent residence in Barbara's body. I believed she would be restored from the very beginning. A few weeks later, when she told me about writing this book, I was not a bit surprised. A book that would detail her journey to complete healing and bear witness to the unmatched power of prayer. Restoration: Seven Promises of God, paints a vivid picture of courage. Barbara shares her faith and exposes her vulnerabilities. Through her experience she gives voice to others who may be unable to articulate the raging range of emotions that become the unwelcomed guest when faced with such an unpleasant situation. Prepare yourself to read about the painful truth of cancer. You will read about the thief that cancer is and how its sole purpose is to steal your life and take away any joy you have. I trust that you will be as grateful as I am to be a witness to this victory story told with grace. + For information on Coaching Services and Professional Development, call 818-571-1097 or visit: www.imagebuildersetc.com

Barbara A. Perkins, MA, PCC is a certified Executive & Life Coach and ordained Minister of Spiritual Consciousness. She has been in private practice since January 2000. Her background includes leadership in higher education administration and instruction. She served for twenty-five years as a leader in nonprofit management and organizational development. Coach Barbara is a global inspirational speaker and author of six other books. Barbara holds a Master of Art degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California, where she served as an adjunct instructor for six years. She studied at Fielding Graduate University, in Santa Barbara, California and passed her PCC certification by the International Coaching Federation as a Life Coach. Barbara has recently moved from Los Angeles, California where she lived with her husband Stanley Perkins for 33 years. They now live in Atlanta, Georgia. They have two adult children, Kelsey and Cody Perkins, and a grandson, Emir Stanley Harrison. She has been recognized nationally for her philanthropic work as well as her advocacy work on behalf of women and girls in the United States and abroad.

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Suite

ESSENTIALS

MEET HUSBAND & WIFE TEAM

Chef Luis & Ariana Sanchez

PLUS NATIONAL SOUP MONTH A RECIPE TO WARM YOUR SOUL

THE SUITE LIST EVENT, MARKETING & MEDIA RESOURCE GUIDE


Suite eSSEntials

Good Food for a Better Life: Served2Enjoy BY FAITH PETRIE

O

n the corner of Avalon and 47th Street, a small, woodpaneled restaurant is mostly surrounded by apartments and car shops. Served2Enjoy is an anomaly compared to its surroundings in Los Angeles' District 9 — a healthy alternative to its residents. “Around us, I can't really nd a place that I can tell you [that] sells vegetables – fresh vegetables, not frozen ones, that you just put in hot water,” said Ariana Sanchez, co-owner of Served2Enjoy. Initially a catering service started by her husband, Luis Sanchez, the restaurant functions as an alternative for past and new customers to experience nutritious food. “That's why I decided to open a place so that if [past customers] really like it, they can go there with family [or] with friends to enjoy the food,” Luis said. Still a popular gourmet catering business, Served2Enjoy offers a variety of pre-packed food items, including wraps, burgers, pasta, and salads. Comparatively to the restaurant side of the business, Ariana said that there is more variety in what customers can order, and the possibilities are “endless” when choosing catering.

WINTER 2020 | SUITELIFESOCAL.COM

Being raised in Mexico, Ariana said food was an integral part of her daily and familial life up until she moved to America at the age of 10.

“Growing up with my grandma, it was almost like a ritual. There was a certain respect for food, just so many traditions in the way you prepare every single dish. It's different than here. I came here to live with my mom in the states, and here it was just sort of like a way to survive,” Ariana recalls.

I just want to make a di erence, have a better life, have my kids have a better life and also give an opportunity for people to try good food with less money.”

“We are really open to whatever our clients' needs and wants are,” Ariana said. “A couple of months ago, we catered a bar 66

mitzvah, and they wanted a baseball-themed party. We took our grills, we took our equipment, and we did the stadium type buffet where it was like the garlic french fries, regular french fries, chili hot dogs, corn dogs we had a popcorn machine.”

Similarly, Luis wants this mindset to translate to the food he creates. The majority cost of an item on the restaurant menu is $6 despite the food being made from scratch and with fresh ingredients. Luis said it's not about the money but instead what it does for the community. “I just want to make a difference, have a better life, have my kids have a better life and also give an opportunity for people to try good food with less money,” Luis stated.

Luis doubles as Served2Enjoy's chef and has an extensive history in the food industry, holding positions from kitchen manager to head chef. Creating healthy options for the neighborhood is Luis' top priority.


PHOTOS COURTESY OF SERVED2ENJOY

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Suite eSSEntials

“Everything is fresh, everything usually gets prepared a day before – marinated and what have you – and then cooked the next day. So food quality and freshness, it's a big deal for us,” Ariana said. Served2Enjoy's clientele is as diverse as its menu, welcoming everyone from city employees and families to nurses and doctors. “It's been very interesting to see that we're attracting people who are used to eating vegetables and healthier options and are very glad that we're there and people who haven't really been introduced to that kind of food that we're serving are slowly accepting us and trying out our food and realizing 'Hey, this is actually not bad,'” Ariana said. Luis shared that customers trying out their restaurant and recommending it to friends are the main drivers of their business. “Right now, the place [where] we are at, we're new there, so one person goes there, they like the food, and they come back with another ve people,” Luis said. According to Ariana, the most challenging aspect of expanding their catering business to a restaurant has been learning the ropes of the industry afresh. Although there is no denitive date in mind, they both hope to expand their restaurant to full service and rent space for customers to hold events. “Luis and I don't come from a business background or families that are wealthy, but we do come from backgrounds where hard work was instilled in us,” Ariana asserted. “You work hard for what you want.”

@served2enjoy

served2enjoy.com

Luis and Ariana want to instill this way of thinking in their two children just as their families taught them when they were younger.

4624 S. Avalon Blvd., Los Angeles 90011 ! (323) 432-2837

In expressing her guiding principle, Ariana stated, “The goal is always for your kids to do something greater than what you do so, giving [our kids] the skills and knowledge to do that is important.” +

Photos: Beautiful tall floral centerpieces give an elegant burst of color at a recently catered wedding reception. Cake table shown top left.

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Suite eatS

January is National Soup Month #nationalsoupmonth / #suiteeats

I

STORY & PHOTOS BY VERONICA HENDRIX

t could not have come at a better time, especially with the nip in the air. After weeks of non-stop eating from Thanksgiving through Christmas, National Soup Month is the gastronomic respite we all need.

Soup making dates back to over 15,000 years ago. In that time, recipes and techniques have evolved significantly. When a soup has less broth and is cooked a little longer, it is called a stew. Soups and stews are a combination of vegetables, noodles, meat, or fish cooked in liquid with spices and herbs. Today's most popular versions are creamy, brothy, thick, puréed, hearty, savory, vegan, gluten free and every variation in between. Gumbo, ramen, pho and birria are just a few that have dominated our epicurean lexicon. But one thing remains the same: people love to cradle a hot, soothing and tasty bowl of soup. It's an amalgamation of

Turkey Tenderloin Stew

goodness that warms the heart, body and soul. Not to mention, it satiates the palate and curbs the appetite. Soup just makes you feel better. According to a recent survey, Americans consume more than 10 billion bowls of soup each year and nearly 50% of us eat soup as either a part of dinner or as dinner. Soup is a big deal. Perhaps that's why we have a national observance to celebrate its goodness. In observance of National Soup Month, here's an easy recipe you can make for dinner. Turkey Tenderloin Stew is full of root veggies, seasoned with earthy herbs, has a generous splash of white wine and is easy on the waistline. It is hearty, imbued with pomp and personality, and has a multisensory impact in terms of taste and visual appeal. Translation: you will love it. Oh – and don't forget the side of cornbread. Happy National Soup Month. Now, get stewing!

See it at collardgreensandcaviar.com — just search “turkey stew” on site.

Ingredients

Method

1 ½ – 2 pounds turkey tenderloin 1 pound baby Yukon or red potatoes cut in 1 inch pieces 2 medium white sweet potatoes cut in 1 inch pieces 2 medium zucchini cut in 1 inch pieces 2 medium carrots, sliced 1 cup chopped onion 3 cloves chopped garlic ½ cup white wine 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 7 cups chicken stock 1 ~ 15 ounce can corn Salt Pepper Red pepper akes Grapeseed oil Flour

1. Cut your turkey tenderloin into chucks and generously season them with salt and pepper. 2. Lightly coat the chunks in our. 3. Add a few tablespoon of Grapeseed oil to a skillet and heat. Add turkey tenderloin chunks and brown until almost done. Remove from heat and add to a stock pot. 4. Add a little more Grapeseed oil to that same skillet if needed, heat to medium and sauté your onions and garlic about a minute then deglaze the pan with white wine and add to stock pot. 5. To stock pot add cut white sweet potatoes, Yukon potatoes and zucchini , sliced carrots, fresh thyme leaves, 2 teaspoons of salt, ¼ teaspoon black and red pepper akes, and canned corn. 6. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 1 hour. Serve with corn bread or dinner rolls. Tip: For added thickness, place 1 cup of stew stock and 2 tablespoons of corn starch in a blender. Place your hand on top of the blender lid to prevent it from dislodging. Mix well. Stir the thickened mixture into stew.

Veronica Hendrix is a food journalist, cookbook author, food blogger, food influencer & Food Network finalist. Collard Greens and Caviar is the range in which we live life and love food. Here you will find a range of human interest stories about food and the culture of food we live in featuring home cooks to food enthusiasts and culinary experts. And these stories will be accompanied by simple and tasty recipes designed to "hit you in your comfort zone.” So dive in. Cook fearless. Eat well. @collardgreenscaviar

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@collardscaviar

collardgreensandcaviar.com


PHOTOS COURTESY OF BELLA LUXE LOFT.

Suite eSSEntials

SPOTLIGHT In need for something distinctive for your next event? Check out Bella Luxe Loft. Centrally located near Playa Vista, this suite spot is available for parties, showers, art exhibits, recitals, weddings, and more. For contact information, see their listing below in our new “Event Spaces” section.

The

Suite List

An Industry Listing Guide featuring Event, Media, PR and Marketing Resources Watch this space for updates. For more information, contact us at: (323) 445-6745 or suitelifesocal@gmail.com.

Calendars & Eblasts

Consultants

Décor

Black Book LA Makiah Green info@blkbkla.com blkbkla.com FB/TW: BlackBookLA IG: blackbookla_

A Personnel Touch Faye Geyen fayer49@yahoo.com FB: fgeyen LI: in/apersonneltouch

Dazzle & Design, LLC Linda Patterson (310) 774-6537 linda@dazzleanddesign.com dazzleanddesigndecor.com

Heartsung, Inc. Lura Daniels-Ball (213) 400-3489 luraball@gmail.com www.heartsung.com FB: lura.ball

DJs

Black Cultural Events blackculturalevents.com info@blackculturalevents.com FB: BlackCulturalEvents TW: BlkCulturalEvnt LI: black-cultural-events Fusicology fusicology.com FB/TW/IG: fusicology SuiteEvents Sarah Harris events@suiteevents.com suiteevents.com The Loop 411 Gayle Corn theloop411blog@gmail.com theloop411.com FB/TW/IG: theloop411

Catering M&G Catering Micheal Chatman (909) 320-0341

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Mack Enterprises Unlimited Arnetta Mack (323) 789-6224 mackenterprises1@aol.com mackenterprises.net FB: mackenterprises Personal Services Plus Wendy Gladney (951) 313-4732 wendy.gladney@gmail.com IG: wendygladney / seasonofgreatness wendygladney.com Wade & Associates Margo Wade LaDrew (310) 674-6700 margo.wadeassociates@gmail.com FB: margo.ladrew

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DJ Higher Lvl Jon Harris (951) 347-6242 djhigherlvl.mgmt@gmail.com djhigherlvl.com @djhigherlvl Good Boy Entertainment Kerry Neal (310) 946-2321 kerryeneal@gmail.com goodboyentertainment.com

Event Production Fun-PR Events Service Tiffany Bradshaw, MBA (866) 219-8558 Tiffany@Bradshaw&Co.com Fun-pr.com

Splendid Affairs Sabra Diogioes-Waddy (818) 605-7405 sabra@splendidaffairsinc.com splendidaffairsinc.com FB: splendidaffairsinc The Baker Group Tammy Dickerson tammy@tbakergroup.com tbakergroup.com FB/TW/IG: tbakergrp The Todd Group Todd Hawkins todd@thetoddgroup.net thetoddgroup.net FB: thetoddgroupla TW: thetoddgroup WP Miller Special Events William P. Miller (310) 242-1039 wpmiller@wpmillerspecialevents.com

wpmillerspecialevents.com FB: WP MIller Special Events IG/TW: wpmillermoments

Event Space

Bella Luxe Loft Minor Details Productions 6081 Center Drive #102 Terrina Scott Los Angeles 90045 terrina@minordetailsproductions.com (323) 423-6446 minordetailsproductions.com bellaluxeloft.com FB: minordetailsproductions TW: loft_luxe / IG: bellaluxeloftla IG: mdpevents TW: MinorDProds


Photographers 11:ONE VISUALS Kristina Dixon (310) 855-2032 11onevisuals@gmail.com 11onevisuals.com muckrack.com/kristina-dixon-1 FB/TW/IG: 11onevisuals Foxx Media Group Photography by Foxx Ian Foxx ifoxx@sbcglobal.net foxxmedia.smugmug.com FB: FoxxPhotography Kai Byrd Photography Kai Byrd kaibyrd@gmail.com kaibyrdphotography.com FB: Kai.Byrd IG: kaibyrd_ Malcolm Ali Photography Malcolm Ali malcolmali@aol.com FB: malcolm.ali.98 Sabra Marie Photography Sabra Marie (909) 215-2104 photos@sabramarie.com sabramariephotography.com @sabramarie

Print & Web Design B. René Norman (323) 359-0755 blest1_two@me.com René Cross-Washington Art Director/Creative Consultant (323) 292-8302 rcwgrafx@aol.com reneella.smugmug.com/Art/ReneCross-Washington-Graphics ATTAIN Design and Marketing Communications Kelcey Newman Creative Director (805) 822-9392 kelcey@attaindmc.com FB: kelcey.newman JAGs Design Studio James Green (951) 251-4852 Info@jagsdesignstudio.com jagsdesignstudio.com Kaleidoscope Consulting Group Bonique Edwards Website Development | Graphic Design | Social Media (310) 500-2222d kconsultinggroup.com FB: kaleidoscopeconsulting IG: kaleidoscoperocks LI: kaleidoscope-consulting-group Mack Enterprises Unlimited Arnetta Mack (323) 789-6224 mackenterprises1@aol.com mackenterprises.net FB: mackenterprises

SuiteEvents Sarah Harris (323) 445-6745 sarah@suiteevents.com suiteevents.com FB/TW: @suiteevents

Printer L.A. Business Printing Eric Johnson 6840 La Cienega Blvd Inglewood, CA 90302 (310) 649-5855 eric@labusinessprinting.com

Publicists/PR/Marketing CB Communications Cheryl Brownlee (916) 806-3384 cbcommunications@ymail.com cbcommunications.net CW&Company, Public Relations Counsel Clarence R. Williams Owner (323) 979-4355 crwsm9@aol.com facebook.com/clarence.r.williams ESP Public Relations Edna Sims, Owner 310-770-8117 esppr@mac.com espr.net FD Parker & Associates Farrah Parker (310) 350-1984 fparker@fdparker.com fdparker.com FB: Farrah-Parker IG: fdparkerpr TW: LeavUrImge2FDP KRPR MEDIA FIRM KimiRhochelle Porter (909) 543-2978 kimirhochellepr@gmail.com krprmedia.com kimirhochelle.com FB: kimirhochellepr TW: kimirhochelle | krprmedia | urbanlyfestyles LAGRANT Communications Keisha Brown President President (323) 469-8680 lagrantcommunications.com Perdue Inc. Francis Perdue francis@psmediatalent.com (323) 325-1776 psmediatalent.com FB/TW: perdueinc Reinvent Communications Vincent Jones reinventcomm.com IG: reinventcomm

Edna Sims, Owner ESP Public Relations & Marketing (310) 777-8117 ! esppr@mac.com ESP PR is a full service public relations, marketing and event planning rm, providing an extensive range of media coverage for over 20 years. We organize details to perfection. We have excellent press contacts nationally and internationally with television, print, electronic and internet media platforms. Our connections with celebrities and tastemakers are some of the best in the nation.

www.espr.net

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Suite eventS so cal

Spotlights: Riverside African American Historical Society hosts its 27th Annual MLK Walk-a-Thon Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California hosts its 2020 Legacy Awards & BeneďŹ t Gala and King Month 2020

PHOTO: MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. STATUE IN RIVERSIDE, CA. PHOTOGRAPHY BY MALCOLM ALI


Suite events

Riverside African American Historical Society: Celebrating the Pursuit of Unity at its Annual MLK Walk-A-Thon BY ANGELA JACKSON

T

he 27th Annual MLK Walk-A-Thon, “Celebrating the Pursuit of Unity,” will take place on Monday, January 20, 2020, with a clear focus on “inclusivity” which is underscored by the City of Riverside's three remaining pillars: diversity, pride, and community. According to co-chair, Robert Earl Bogan Sr., the MLK Walk-A-Thon's 2020 committee plans to expand its scope with the destination of the walk-a-thon being a Riverside premier event. Bogan explains the reason for the expanded vision, “For a number of years the perception in the community has been that the Walk-A-Thon was an African American event. Everyone has beneted from Dr. King's work, regardless of what race you are and what gender you are; everyone has beneted from it. So, [our] goal is to have the Walk-A-Thon as a community event. In fact, [our] goal is to let this become one of the premier events in the city.” As a representative of the Board of Directors for the Riverside African American Historical Society and the co-chair of the 27th Annual MLK Walk-A-Thon, Bogan has made it his personal mission to build relationships that help expand the outreach of the Walk-A-Thon. “I intentionally create relationships. When I go to the City council, I extend the invitation to invite me to various groups to speak and extend a personal invitation to the MLK Walk-A-Thon.” With the committee's outreach for expansion in place, this year's Walk-A-Thon has the signs of premier and inclusiveness all over it beginning with its honorees: Gaby Plascencia, Deborah Wong, Virginia Blumenthal, and Adrian Dell Roberts. According to Bogen, “The honorees are selected or nominated by their contribution to the community, what you are doing that represents the legacy of Dr. King regardless of what ethnicity you are.” For example, Plascencia's work within the Latino community and now as a Riverside Council member gained her recognition by the MLK Walk-A-Thon committee. Her commitment to the Latino community and the youth in education for more than 20 years is an extension of the work Dr. King did with all people. Wong, a professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Riverside, stood out as she continues to educate the youth and inspire them to become leaders in their community. Wong's desire to develop young college students is reminiscent of Dr. King's work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). 76

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Blumenthal came highly recommended and was recognized for faithfully serving in Riverside as a criminal attorney for more than 40 years. She founded many programs and served on several boards. Blumenthal has been recognized nationally for her community involvement and the differences she has made for women and people of all ages. Roberts, a community favorite, is a well-respected Riverside community member who is known as a pillar in the community. He retired from the Riverside Unied School District after 38 years of service and is known for being a mentor to 100s of students. Roberts is representative of the many great men that were inspired by Dr. King and who vowed to continue the work he led around equity and access.

Virginia Blumenthal

In this prestigious diverse group of honorees, the legacy of Dr. King is preserved. Through the expansion of the program, Bogan and his committee plan to ensure that all are included. This year's agenda includes an opportunity to celebrate the people of Riverside by “showcasing local talent, food and craft vendors as a part of the nale.” The 27th Annual MLK Walk-A-Thon will begin with registration at 7:30 a.m. at Stratton Center. During registration, the Riverside Drum Corps will perform until the Walk-A-Thon begins promptly at 10 a.m. Participants will walk to the statue of Dr. King, which proudly stands on Main St. where, according to Bogan, “the honorees can speak, or participants can have a moment of reection.”

Gaby Plascencia

Adrian Dell Roberts

After a brief program, participants will walk to Riverside Community College Digital Library, where the program will culminate. Proceeds from the Walk-A-Thon will benet the Riverside African American Historical Society to support: The development of the Civil Rights Institute of Inland Southern California, a marquee component of a 92,000 square foot project providing 72 units of urban workforce housing and a new home for the ofces of the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County; Clarke & Grier College Scholarships; and for the maintenance and upkeep of the Martin Luther King Jr. statue. According to Bogen, you can expect to be a part of this historical event where its overall purpose is “to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.”

Deborah Wong

Interested participants can visit raahsinc.org to sign up. Expect a day of fun and purpose and be a part of continuing the legacy of Dr. King. +


PHOTOGRAPHY BY MALCOLM ALI SUITELIFESOCAL.COM | WINTER 2020

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Suite events

Bringing the Beloved Community to Life for King Month 2020 REV. DR. WILLIAM SMART JR. AND THE SCLC OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TO HOLD EVENTS TO HONOR DR. KING'S MESSAGE OF LOVE AND COURAGE BY QUINCI LEGARDYE

As the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gain more resonance and importance in the current political climate, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California (SCLC-SC) has extended their King Legacy Week into a month of events leading up to their 37th Annual MLK Gala which takes place Sunday, January 19, 2020. The month of activities are hosted by the many groups and campaigns under the SCLC-SC umbrella, including their Poor People's Campaign, the Women of SCLC-SC, and their MLK Young Dreamers for Justice. Since February 2013, Rev. Dr. William Smart, Jr. serves as the president and CEO of SCLC-SC and has been involved in civil rights work since he was a child growing up in the South. Rev. Smart is also co-pastor of the Christ Liberation Ministries in Los Angeles, and has headed CME congregations in Birmingham, AL; Jackson, TN; as well as Los Angeles, CA. Before SCLC-SC, he served as Director of External Training and Outreach at the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy for nine years. The theme of SCLC-SC for 2020 is Building Martin Luther King's Beloved Community. In a phone interview with Suite Life SoCal, Rev. Smart talked about the need for community action, which has grown stronger in light of the current administration. “Our country has become so hate-lled. People are vilied for so many things today, and it all can [be] trace back to who's in the White House. That makes our role more important today as we move forward to create that 'beloved community.' It's incumbent upon us to be loving, but at the same time face the challenges in society with nonviolent, persistent protests and courage.” Rev. Smart also spoke about the importance of Dr. King's message as we begin a new decade. “[People] quote him, but it's important that we challenge people that when they talk his talk, it's important for them to execute and walk that walk. We have to apply his message. We have to apply his methods. We have to apply his mission to everything we do to force this administration to follow those principles. That's why SCLC has become more viable. It's more relevant and needed today than ever before.” The nonprot's 2020 MLK Month will include their traditional activities: the SCLC Oratorical and Essay Contest for L.A.-area students, the MLK Interfaith Breakfast, and their 37th annual MLK Gala where they will honor: Bishop Noel Jones, pastor of City of Refuge Church; Maya Jupiter & Aloe Blacc of 78

WINTER 2020 | SUITELIFESOCAL.COM

Artivist Entertainment; Lola Smallwood Cuevas of the UCLA Labor Center; and the Fight For 15 Campaign in conjunction with Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU International. Awardwinning actor and singer Keith David will serve as Master of Ceremony. Some new highlights include a concert by the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (ICYOLA) and participation in the annual Women's March. SCLC-SC will also hold an MLK Homeless Resources Day as a part of their well-established Poor People's Campaign, which targets temporary relief, policy change, and workforce development for poor and homeless people in Los Angeles. “We're feeding poor people,” Rev. Smart says. “We're working with entities to create jobs for people. We're not just working on the policy aspect of it, but [also] helping people where they are right now.” A newer group that has formed under the inuence of SCLC-SC is the MLK Young Dreamers for Justice, who'll be hosting a poetry slam and social for MLK month. “With our young dreamers, that's the new generation,” Rev. Smart says. “They're our new organization of diverse young people of all religions, colors, nationalities, and they're coming together to make positive change. It's in the embryonic stages, but we're really excited about the outlook for them right now.” To help honor the legacy and continue the work of Dr. King, SCLC-SC has become more involved in current events while also looking toward the future. The organization plans to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the 15th Amendment and the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Immediately, however, the focus is on the 2020 elections. This election cycle, SCLC-SC is preparing to expand its advocacy beyond just the importance of voting. They plan to change the structure of the organization so that they can tell people to vote against the current administration. Rev. Smart says, “You know, one of the things that always happens during elections is we talk about your exercising your vote. But we cannot give specics of course in the campaign or tell people who to vote for. It has become so virulent in America today that we believe, to fulll our dream as an organization, we have to do more.” While SCLC-SC is working toward the future, they will celebrate the mission of Dr. King and his vision of a beloved community. +


“We're working with entities to create jobs for people. We're not just working on the policy aspect of it, but [also] helping people where they are right now.”

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOSHUA BERRYMON SUITELIFESOCAL.COM | WINTER 2020

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in conjunction with the

City of Lynwood and the Compton Human Trafficking Task Force Proudly Presents

Saturday,

January 25 and in honor of Human Trafficking 2020 Awareness Month 10am-3pm

Lynwood City Park 11301 Bullis Road Lynwood 90262 Vendors ! Raffles ! Food Games ! Health Screenings Free Giveaways And More.....

For more information, contact us at: (800) 445-1326 or visit us at www.forgottenchildreninc.org


SUITELIFESOCAL.COM | FALL 2019

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Profile for suitelifesocal

Suite Life SoCal Magazine Winter 2020 Issue  

Suite Life SoCal Magazine Winter 2020 Issue featuring Ernest Wooden J., President and CEO of LA Tourism & Convention Board in an interview a...

Suite Life SoCal Magazine Winter 2020 Issue  

Suite Life SoCal Magazine Winter 2020 Issue featuring Ernest Wooden J., President and CEO of LA Tourism & Convention Board in an interview a...