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2014 Speakers

Joy Atkinson

Joy AtkinsonJoy Atkinson is a private consultant specializing in developing and implementing community outreach programs. She served as a consultant for California Speaker Karen Bass, specializing in outreach to the African American press, the community at large, and with The Speaker?s Clergy Alliance.

Through her work with GeM Communications Group under the direction of former Assemblywoman Gwen Moore, Ms. Atkinson has prepared community outreach proposals and coordinated public relations/community outreach programs. Through Alescia Buford & Associates, she has worked on press relations and administrative support for Fortune 500 companies in their corporate responsibility programs. For 16 years she served as Chief of Staff for Former Assemblywoman Gwen Moore.

Upon graduation from the University of Southern California, Ms. Atkinson started her professional career as a Deputy Probation Officer for the County of Los Angeles and became active in the Probation Officers Union Local 685. She recently completed her master?s degree in public administration from the University of Phoenix.

She served as President of New Frontier Democratic Club; serves as chair of the political involvement committee of the Los Angeles African American Women's PAC; is a delegate to the California Democratic Party; and is the Executive Director of the L.A. African American Women's Public Policy Institute.

In March 2002 she was appointed by Mayor James Hahn as a commissioner with the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission. In November 2003, she was appointed by Mayor Hahn as a commissioner with the Los Angeles City Planning Commission. She became the first local planning commissioner to serve on the citywide planning commission. In June 2009, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed Ms. Atkinson as a commissioner to the Los Angeles Police Department?s Permit Review Panel. She was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to the Board of Neighborhood Commissions.


Helen Boutrous

Helen BoutrousDr. Helen Boutrous is the chair of Mount St. Mary’s History and Political Science department, and also teaches as an associate professor. She received her PhD from Georgetown University, her JD from the University of San Diego School of Law, and her BA in economics from UCLA. Her teaching areas include American government, public policy and law. She has extensive research experience, with interests including: presidential influence on regulatory policy; the role of courts and interest groups in the development of public policy and social change; the role of women and the law; and the shifting roles of federal, state and local governments in the development of public policy. Boutrous has served as a speaker and moderator at several public events hosted by Mount St. Mary’s College.


Aja Brown

Cristina Garcia Aja Brown is the 13th Mayor to serve the citizens of City of Compton. On June 4, 2013, she made history as the city’s youngest Mayor elected in the city's history. Mayor Brown's “Vision for Compton” is organized around 12 key points that focus on family, quality of life and economic development. Brown is a strategic visionary focused on progress and has built a legacy of developing and implementing public policies to facilitate guided growth and protect community assets.

Since her induction, Mayor Brown has made major strides towards improving the quality of life for Compton residents and stakeholders alike. Mayor Brown has launched several community initiatives including the "Compton Community Policing Task Force" the "Mayor's Monthly Clean-up," "Coffee with the Mayor" and "We Run Compton," which focus on promoting public safety, beautification, transparency and health. Mayor Brown has also introduced a First Source Hiring Agreement that will improve the City’s employment rate and provide incentives for development.

Mayor Brown is also focused on issues that negatively affect women, by bringing attention to human trafficking and child sex trafficking that is taking place in the City. Under her leadership, the city has focused efforts and resources on the eradication of trafficking and have begun to condemn and revoke operating licenses of business that incubate this illicit behavior.

Brown holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy, Urban Planning and Development and a Master's degree in Urban Planning with a concentration in Economic Development from the University of Southern California (2005). Mayor Brown is married to her best friend of 13 years, Van Brown, a Petrochemical Safety Manager and Co-Youth Director of Faith Inspirational M.B.C located in Compton, CA.


Jackie Filla

Jackie FillaJackie A. Filla is an assistant professor of political science in the Political Science Department at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles, CA. Before coming to Mount St. Mary's, Dr. Filla was an assistant professor of political science and the faculty affiliate at the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA. Jackie Filla received her PhD and MA in political science from the University of California, Riverside and her BA in political science from California State University, Fullerton. Her research interests include state and local politics, direct democracy, and women's representation in local government. She has been awarded grants from the John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation and the Women and Girls Foundation and has published articles in Urban Affairs Review and State and Local Government Review.


Cristina Garcia

Cristina GarciaCristina Garcia was elected in November of 2012 to represent California’s 58th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Downey, Commerce, Pico Rivera, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Cerritos, Artesia, Montebello and a part of Norwalk.

Prior to her election to the Assembly, Cristina Garcia taught statistics at the University of Southern California (USC), mathematics at Los Angeles City Community College, and has taught middle school and high school students through the Jaime Escalante Program at East Los Angeles Community College and Huntington Park High School.

In promoting ethical conduct in local and state government, Ms. Garcia firmly believes that doing the right thing is worth the effort and that hard work pays off. When the Bell corruption scandal broke and gained national attention, Bell residents turned to Garcia and asked her to clean up their local government. She worked with them to form BASTA -the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse, a local advocacy organization.

Ms. Garcia was raised in Bell Gardens and attended local schools. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College, a master’s degree and a secondary teaching credential from Claremont Graduate University and is presently a doctoral candidate at USC.

Last year, Ms. Garcia was recognized by California Forward with the distinguished California Forward Thinkers Award, Democrat of the Year and earned the Distinguished Woman of the Year Award from the California State Assembly.


Wendy Greuel

Wendy GreuelA lifelong Angeleno, Wendy Greuel attended public schools from Knollwood Elementary, John F. Kennedy High School, and graduated with a Bachelors in Political Science from UCLA. Wendy started her career in public service working for former Mayor Tom Bradley, eventually becoming deputy to the Mayor. While in Mayor Bradley's office, Ms. Greuel was a leader in the creation of LA's BEST, a nationally recognized afterschool program that provides a safe and supervised environment for children in the hours after school. Her commitment to strengthening our schools has been a priority throughout her career, and means even more to her now that her son attends a public school here in LA.

Following her tenure in Mayor Bradley's office, Ms. Greuel worked as a senior advisor at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. At HUD, she helped secure over a billion dollars in support for those affected by the Northridge Earthquake. In 1997, she transitioned into the private sector, working in the film industry as an executive at DreamWorks Pictures for five years.

In 2002, Ms. Greuel was elected to the Los Angeles City Council, where she was the architect of historic business tax reform. This reform returned nearly $100 million to local businesses, eliminating the business tax for over 60% of small businesses and making the tax system more comparable to neighboring jurisdictions. While pursuing major policy reforms such as the business tax, she also focused on basic city services, such as sidewalk and street repair. She became known as the "Pothole Queen" for her relentless pursuit of filing every pothole in her council district.

In 2009, Ms. Greuel was elected Controller for the City of Los Angeles, performing more than 60 audits of city departments and investigating allegations of waste, fraud and abuse. She brought greater transparency and openness to city government. She lives in the Studio City neighborhood with her husband and son and is currently running for California's 33rd Congressional District.


Patricia Horton

Patricia Horton Since 2001, has served as the Campaign Administrator to California Congressman Adam Schiff (CD-28). In that capacity, she oversees the financial, non-federal correspondence, fundraising events and political activities for the Congressman's primary campaign committee. In addition, Ms. Horton is the Finance Director for United for a Stronger America, a political action committee that works on electing candidates to the US House of Representatives from around the country. This enables her to consult with many candidates for federal public office, primarily in the western region of the United States.

Born and raised in Southern California, Ms. Horton studied commercial design at Otis/Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles. She has worked for over 20 years in advertising and print media, including supervising Client Marketing and Strategy for Colorado Colour Graphics in Colorado Springs, CO from 1993-2001.

Ms. Horton currently resides in Glendale, CA and is the proud mother of 3 sons.


Lauren Brown Jarvis

Lauren Brown JarvisHaving previously served as National Communications Director for New Leaders Council and as Community Director Fellow for Jack and Jill Ms. Brown Jarvis jumped head first into South Carolina on the campaign trail as the Political Director for Martin Skelly for Congress. Ms. Brown Jarvis’ blogs about women and technology at Digital, is a contributor to and, a Huffington Post blogger and regular guest on The Young Turks and Huff Post Live.

In 2009 Ms. Brown Jarvis was named a New Media Institute Fellow by the National Black Programming Consortium, in 2010 a New Leaders Council Fellow and in 2011 she became an alum of New Organizing Institute's BlackRoots New Media Bootcamp and also produced Digital Doyennes: Wisdom from Women who Lead in Social Media and Digital Innovation.

Ms. Brown Jarvis attended Spelman College where her passion for providing training and strategy for entrepreneurs, educators and non profits was nurtured. Her ability to make any event "social" led her to develop content, create communication plans members of the National Visionary Leadership Project, Atlanta Public Schools, Black Women's Film Network, Alliance for Women in Media, Women in Film and Television, Spelman College, Urban League of Greater Atlanta, New Leaders Council and the NAACP.


Rose Kapolczynski

Rose Kapolczynski Best known for managing all four of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s Senate campaigns, Rose Kapolczynski is a nationally recognized communications and campaign strategist, helping progressive causes and candidates win.

The American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) named Rose the "Most Valuable Player in a Democratic Campaign" for her work managing Senator Boxer's 2010 campaign. Rose directed the $30 million campaign operation and team of consultants, turning a tossup into a ten-point victory.

Rose has served as chief strategist for several ballot measure campaigns in the Pacific Northwest. In 2007, Rose was named the Public Affairs Professional of the Year by the AAPC for her exceptional work on ballot initiative campaigns.

In Washington State, Rose directed three successful campaigns on clean energy, medical malpractice and insurance reform. The No on 330 (medical malpractice) and Approve 67 (insurance reform) campaigns were extremely competitive and remain two of the most expensive state campaigns in Washington state history. In Oregon, she led the effort for the pro-choice community to defeat a parental notification ballot initiative.

After Senator Boxer’s upset election to the Senate in 1992, Rose served as State Director in the Senate office for ten years. She led development of communications and outreach strategies on priority legislation and served as a spokesperson for Senator Boxer. Earlier in her career, she worked on Capitol Hill as Deputy Chief of Staff for Senator Tim Wirth and as the Sierra Club’s national political director.

Rose managed several political campaigns in the Pacific Northwest, including former Seattle Mayor Charles Royer's unprecedented bid for a third term. After his victory, she became the Mayor's communications director and on-the-record spokesperson in City Hall.

During the 1984 election cycle, Rose worked for the Hart for President campaign. Starting as a constituency outreach organizer in the national headquarters, she ran the victorious Washington State caucus operation on Super Tuesday and worked for Hart in Oregon, Wisconsin and California.

Rose started her career as an organizer and lobbyist for the Sierra Club, Colorado Open Space Council and University of Colorado Wilderness Study Group. Specializing in public lands issues, she worked to pass landmark wilderness and wild river legislation in Colorado and the Pacific Northwest. Rose lives in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles.


Abbe Land

Abbe LandA resident of West Hollywood since 1979, Mayor Abbe Land has played an instrumental role in West Hollywood since its inception, where she was part of the successful campaign to make West Hollywood an independent city in 1984.

Mayor Land was appointed to the City's first Planning Commission in 1985. In 1986, when a council seat was vacated mid-term, she was elected to the City Council for her first term. She served with distinction as a Mayor Pro Tempore and Mayor until 1997, when she did not seek another term. In 2003, Mayor Land returned to public service when she was once again elected to the City Council, and was re-elected in 2007 and in 2011. She has previously served four terms as Mayor of West Hollywood (1989-90, 1994-95, 2005-2006, 2009-2010). In addition to her service as an elected official, Mayor Land serves as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of The Trevor Project, the nation’s leading provider of crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.

For more than two decades, Mayor Land has influenced public policy at the local, county, state and federal level on a variety of issues ranging from gun and ammunition control to choice and the environment.

Previously, Mayor Land has served on the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities & the California League of Cities, the Southern California Association of Governments, California Women Lead and she is a former President of Women in Municipal Government. Prior to working at The Trevor Project, she served as the Co-Chief Executive Officer of The Saban Free Clinic (formerly known as the Los Angeles Free Clinic). Prior to that, she was the Director of Development for the Feminist Majority Foundation.


Hannah Linkenhoker

Hannah LinkenhokerA native of Hamilton, Montana, Ms. Linkenhoker graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2009 with a major in Political Science and minors in Legal Studies and Middle East studies. She’s now working as a political consultant for NMA Partners, representing high-profile individuals and companies and advising them on a range of issues from donor advising, fundraising, government affairs, and business development.

Ms. Linkenhoker’s passion for politics was fueled while working on the Hillary Clinton for President campaign in 2007-2008. Her other key experiences have included serving as a legislative analyst for former Speaker of the California Assembly Karen Bass, working as a consumer mediator in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office under now Attorney General Kamala Harris, and serving as the Southern California Campaign Manager for former Assemblymember Pedro Nava’s campaign for State Attorney General.


Karina Macias '10

Karina Macias Karina Macias grew up in Huntington Park, California as an only child of immigrant parents. She is a product of local public schools in Huntington Park, and after high school, she attended Mount St. Mary's College where she received her BA in political science and psychology, with a minor in international studies in 2010. She obtained her master’s degree in international studies from Chapman University in 2013.

It was in high school where she came to know her passion for public service and began her involvement by participating in the immigrant rights movement, grassroots student organizing, and international human rights advocacy. Her work has taken her to Washington D.C., Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, El Salvador, Honduras and different areas of Mexico. Upon returning to her community, she began to help organize groups around different issues in the city that eventually led her to run for an open seat in the Huntington Park City Council and won on March 5, 2013 becoming the youngest person to be elected in the city at 25 years old.

In addition to her council duties, she works with the Sisters of St. Joseph as an Associate Justice Coordinator for the Social Justice Office. In her position, she provides educational information on different social justice topics (like immigration and human trafficking) to all the Sisters and Associates within the Los Angeles Province and other local organizing groups.


Nury Martinez

Nury MartinezAs a councilmember for the City of Los Angeles, Nury Martinez is Los Angeles' first Latina elected to the City Council in 25 years. In 2009, she was elected to the LAUSD Board of Education as an advocate for students, their families, and stakeholders as representing Board District 6, which encompasses most of the northeast San Fernando Valley. From 2003 until 2009, she served the City of San Fernando as Mayor and as a City Council Member.

Ms. Martinez was raised in the community of Pacoima and learned the importance of access to economic opportunities for working families from the example of her parents.

She is also the Executive Director of Pacoima Beautiful, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the Pacoima community through programs that provide environmental education, environmental justice advocacy and the cultivation of local leadership.

She is a graduate of California State University at Northridge and lives in the City of San Fernando with her husband, Gerry Guzmán, and her two year old daughter, Isabelle.


Torie Osborn

Torie Osborn Torie Osborn is an innovative leader who has guided some of the nation's most effective nonprofit organizations as they tackled tremendous challenges - including the AIDS crisis, LGBT rights and economic justice. She is currently bringing her decades of experience to her consulting and coaching business, cultivating the new generation of leaders in nonprofits and progressive political activism.

She also works on governance and fiscal reform with California Calls, a statewide community organizing network working to change California's electorate by 5% by increasing voter participation by young people, people of color and immigrants. She served as Deputy Mayor for Neighborhood and Community Services for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, overseeing the Mayor's field and civic engagement programs, constituent and volunteer services, and immigration reform strategy.

Ms. Osborn spent two years as a senior policy advisor to the Mayor on homelessness, poverty, and economic development, and co-founded LA City's Office of Strategic Partnership, seen as a national model for social innovation through collaboration between philanthropy and local government.

Ms. Osborn previously served as executive director of the Liberty Hill Foundation and of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, as well as serving a year at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington, D.C. She ran for the California Assembly in 2012, losing in the primary by less than 1%. She has a BA from Middlebury College, and an MBA from UCLA's Anderson School.


Monica Ratliff

Monica RatliffMonica Ratliff grew up in Phoenix, Arizona the daughter of a Mexican immigrant mother and Anglo-American father. From internships at the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in Los Angeles and work with Neighborhood Legal Services in Pacoima, she has been committed to improving the lives of the disadvantaged. During her tenure in law she became convinced that education can lift families out of poverty. She left Neighborhood Legal Services to pursue a Master of Education at UCLA's Teacher Education Program with a focus on social justice in education. She also attended Columbia University and Columbia Law School.

Since 2001, Ms. Ratliff has taught third, fourth, and fifth grade at a Title 1/Title 3 school in downtown Los Angeles near the garment district. Her work on the Board of Education is focused on ensuring that every child deserves an education that will impact her life for the better.


Olivia Rubio '04

Olivia RubioOlivia Rubio '04 was appointed to serve as Commissioner of the Board of Neighborhoods Commission (BONC) by Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti to represent the East and Northeast Los Angeles Areas.

As a 2004 alumna of Mount St. Mary's College, she decided that the best way to serve her community was by joining the neighborhood councils. She was motivated to run for the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council to advocate for the delivery of resources for the community and to cultivate community pride. She believes that serving as a commissioner is a unique opportunity.

As a teenager, Ms. Rubio was involved in a number of community organizations, including as a volunteer at the local library and the Boys and Girls Club. The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners has seven members appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council. The board has responsibility for setting policy and oversight for the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and Neighborhood Councils.


Julie N. Sandino-Areias

Julie N. Sandino-AreiasJulie N. Sandino–Areias is a professional event and finance expert with more than 25 years of experience leading public, private and non-profit campaigns. Ms. Sandino-Areias is a veteran campaign finance strategists who has always been innovative in implementing cutting edge fundraising techniques resulting in millions raised for her clients.

She is Founder and President of Sandino Consulting, and her clients and projects have included: The Packard Foundation, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, International Communications Fleishman-Hillard, Inc., National Women’s Political Caucus of CA, and the CA Latino Legislative Caucus.

Ms. Sandino-Areias was the Finance Director for recent successful CA Ballot initiatives including High Speed Rail and extension of term limits for State Legislators. Ms. Sandino-Areias graduated from Saint Mary's College in Moraga with a BA in Government.


Val Zavala

Val ZavalaVal Zavala is Vice President of News and Public Affairs at KCET, the largest independent public television station in the U.S. Ms. Zavala also anchors KCET's weekly newsmagazine, SoCal Connected, which has won a Peabody and Columbia-duPont Award for investigative reporting. Previously she anchored and/or produced the nightly newsmagazine Life & Times.

Since joining KCET in 1987 she has won 15 L.A. Emmy awards for her television journalism. Ms. Zavala has covered major issues in southern California politics, education, government, demographics, healthcare, environment, economy, and arts and culture. She has been honored for her community service by numerous organizations including the California Chicano News Media Association, and Hispanic Americans for Fairness in Media for integrity and longevity in broadcast journalism.

She was named one of the 100 most influential Latinas by Hispanic Business Magazine (2006). Ms. Zavala attended Stanford University as a John S. Knight Fellow, a prestigious mid-career program for journalists (1992-93). She received her MA in journalism from American University in Washington, D.C. and her BA in Latin American Studies from Yale University.