July 2018 Highlights
Valley of the Stars Gala Awards Ceremony is not to miss!
Friday, September 7, 2018
In the News
Stars of the Valley Award Honorees Announced

By  Michael Aushenker,  San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Former Los Angeles Laker superstar Derek Fisher, Maria's Italian Kitchen founder Madelyn Alfano and the autism-animation nonprofit Exceptional Minds are among the honorees at the 21st Annual 2018 Valley of the Stars Gala Awards Ceremony in September.

The awards are hosted by the Sherman Oaks-based The Valley Economic Alliance. The awards ceremony on September 7th will take place at the City of Calabasas Convention Center, 300 Civic Center Way in Calabasas.

Fisher, a five-time NBA champion who played 18 pro seasons, mostly with Los Angeles Lakers, will received The Alliance's Arts and Entertainment Award. Fisher, who once served as president of National Basketball Players Association, most recently worked as head coach for the New York Knicks.

The Business Award will go to Alfano, founder of Maria's Italian Kitchen, whose company dates back to 1975 with a menu based on Alfano's mother Luisa's family recipes.

Education Award recipient Exceptional Minds, a Sherman Oaks non-profit vocational center and animation studio for young adults on the autism spectrum. Since its 2011 founding, this computer animation studio has been thriving. The end title sequence for "Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer" was the first assignment from Exceptional Minds students, who went on to also work on post-production visual effects for a number of Hollywood films, including rotoscoping work for David O. Russell's "American Hustle," the end credits of the 2012 crime flick "Lawless" and rotoscoping work for 20th Century Fox's 2014 summer blockbuster, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes."

Humanitarian Award recipient Patrick McClenahan, chief executive of Goodwill Southern California, heads one of the largest nonprofits in Southern California. Prior to coming to Goodwill, McClenahan served as president of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world, which includes the participation of 6,500 athletes from 164 countries.

TVEA Board of Directors July Meeting Recap

The Valley Economic Alliance (TVEA) hosted a Board of Directors Meeting on July 26th in their BFG Boardroom. 

TVEA President and CEO Kenn Phillips introduced Ford Roosevelt, President and CEO of Project Grad Los Angeles to present information on a new mural in San Fernando Valley high schools that serve Project Grad's students . Over 500 Project Grad Scholars are currently attending colleges and universities throughout California and across the nation, with another 500 students in the pipeline at their seven high schools.  
TVEA Chairman Randy Witt introduced Nickie Bonner, Marketing and Community Outreach Manager of UCLA Health to present information on UCLA Health's Community Expansion. For more than 60 years, UCLA Health has provided health care and the latest in medical technology to the people of Los Angeles and throughout the world. 

A primary/specialty hematology and oncology care center in Downtown Los Angeles, radiology and primary/specialty care center in Calabasas and outpatient surgery center in North Hollywood are set to open by 2019. 
TVEA Boardmembers Coach Business Accelerator Members

"Next Level 90" Business Accelerator Program members celebrated the completion of their first month in the program on July 19th. The program is a partnership between The Valley Economic Alliance and C-Level Roundtable, and sponsored by Comerica Bank. 
The meeting included one on one coaching sessions provided by TVEA Boardmembers including: Petros Altunyan of Comerica Bank, Charles Crumpley of San Fernando Valley Business Journal, Jane Skeeter of UltraGlas, Thomas Ohlgren of Squar Milner, Barry Cohn of Really Great Employee Benefits, Heath Patton of The Merchant Source, Nairy Ter-Hovanessian of Comerica Bank and Brian Ross of Ross Legal.   

Accelerator  members shared their one month progress and how they are propelling their businesses.

Remy Meraz, Founder & CEO, Me Tyme Network, Inc. shared that she completed her investor presentation and registered seven companies in her beta test. Jessica Joy Reveles, Owner of J Squared Communications shared that she has doubled her revenue and continues to build her team.

Charles Crumpley also presented and shared tips on how to get publicity. 

Photo 1: Business Accelerator members and mentors. 
Photo 2: Business Accelerator member Jessica Joy Reveles during her session with Thomas Ohlgren of Squar Milner (left) and Heath Patton of The Merchant Source (right.) 
Valley Hackathon IV 
Friday, September 21, 2018

The Valley Economic Alliance's fourth Valley Hackathon returns to Glendale on  Friday, September 21st  at the Downtown Central Library's Auditorium from 9:00am-5:00pm. Students and sponsors are invited to participate! 
The technology competition brings high school and college students together to develop concepts and solutions to a real world issue that is revealed at the event. Teams will create mobile applications and websites, and pitch their final ideas to a panel of industry experts. Judges will select first, second and third place winning teams and receive sponsored prizes. The event concludes with an internship fair exclusively for Hackathon participants. 

Photo from Valley Hackathon 2017.
Alliance President & CEO Amongst Most Influential Leaders in the Valley Area 

Kenn Phillips was amongst 200 influential Valley leaders for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal's "Valley 200" edition. 

"These are our leaders, the people of accomplishment, the busy ones who get stuff done throughout the Valley area. They are the most influential people in our area. We are pleased to identify them so as to give them a nod of appreciation. After all, we rely on them. Yes, they may be very busy already. But when we really need to get something done, they are the select few, the influential ones we ask for help because we know they are the people of accomplishment," said Charles Crumpley, Editor and Publisher of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. 

Many TVEA Founders and Boardmembers also made the list, including:
  • David Fleming, TVEA Founder, Former TVEA Chair and Senior Advisor to Senator Bob Hertzberg
  • Bill Allen, TVEA's First President and CEO of LAEDC
  • Randy Witt, TVEA Chair and Owner of Randy Witt Productions
  • Martha Diaz Aszkenazy, Former TVEA Chair and San Fernando Valley Sun
  • Richard Katz, Former TVEA Chair and Richard Katz Consulting
  • Robert L. Scott, TVEA Founder and Executive Director of Mulholland Institute 
  • Erika Endrijonas, President of Los Angeles Valley College 
  • Tamara Gurney, Founding President and CEO of Mission Valley Bank
  • Carmen Bowen, President of Concorde Career College 
  • David Honda, TVEA Founder and Project Operator of Commerce Department
  • John Parker of Parker Brown, Inc. 
Women's Collaborative Post Debut! 

The Valley Economic Alliance's Women's Collaborative Mentoring Program launched Women's Collaborative Post! The Post is a voice to empower, connect and promote the fastest growing force - Women in Business. 

The digital magazine s is a gathering of leading business editors and advocates that highlights issues facing women in diverse business categories to share their challenges as well as opportunities to succeed.

Whether it's authors, artists, fashion, culinary, politics or business development - The Post wants to share and feature the things that matter most to women in business. 

Visit for the debut issue featuring Avera Martin and for more information. 
Out and About

TVEA Chairman Randy Witt with Veronica Padilla, Executive Director of Pacoima Beautiful and City of Los Angeles Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez at the 2018 Environmental Justice Awards, hosted by Pacoima Beautiful  on July 12th at The Garland Hotel.

The Pacoima Beautiful Board of Directors, staff and members celebrated 22 years of commitment to environmental justice. 

This year they recognized the following honorees that have been champions for the environment; 
  • Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the Assembly, CA State Assembly, 63rd District
  • Monica Rodriguez, Los Angeles City Councilwoman, 7th District
  • Built Environment Consultants - ARUP
The Valley Economic Alliance hosted a working lunch meeting with four Valley WorkSource Centers to discuss strategies for collaboration and better assisting the community on July 27th
At the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board (LATCB) Member Mixer on July 11th at The Getty. 
Pictured from left are: TVEA's Jacqui Matsumoto; TVEA Board Member and LATCB Destination Sales Coordinator Theresa Ofstad; Madelon Wallace and Gail Lara, Director of Women's Collaborative Mentoring Program.

At LA's Largest Mixer on July 26th at the Pasadena Convention Center. 

Pictured from top left: Jeff Cohen, Director of TVEA's Business Accelerator Program and Stan Stahl, Business Accelerator Program graduate and Founder of MPress. Pictured from bottom left: TVEA's Jacqui Matsumoto and Jessica Joy Reveles, Founder of J Squared Communications.  
Councilmember Bob Blumenfield reconvened his Economic Development Community Action Team, aka BobCAT, with a meeting on July 23rd at his district office in Reseda. 

The purpose of the BobCAT is to create and strengthen businesses, spur job growth, and boost the West Valley economy through constructive and sustainable actions.
In the News
Community in Business
Photo 1 - Attendees at The Valley Economic Alliance's first program for the marijuana industry heard from speakers on tax issues, cryptocurrency and cannabis policy on June 27th at the San Fernando Valley Cultural and Arts Center. From left; Kenn Phillips, President and CEO of TVEA; Sandra Ortiz, Founder of Inspirational Leadership Group; Gail Lara, Executive Director of TVEA's Women's Collaborative Mentoring Program; and Remy Meraz, Founder of Me Tyme Network Inc.

Photo 2 - The Valley Economic Alliance held its first business event for cannabis companies on June 27th in Tarzana. Panelist Cat Packer, Executive Director of the Department of Cannabis Regulation for the City of Los Angeles, speaks on reforming policy surrounding businesses in the marijuana industry. 

Source: San Fernando Valley Business Journal, July 9, 2018
In the News
Marijuana Map - Illegal Shops

By Ethan Varian, Staff Reporter, San Fernando Valley Business Journal 

For Elizabeth Silva, business manager at Yahaira Kolb Salon in Mission Hills, the smell of marijuana wafting into her storefront has become a frequent irritation. Silva's salon is next door to a cannabis dispensary on Sepulveda Boulevard, and the pungent odor often fills the business complex. 

"The smell is super strong," Silva said. "Because we're sharing a wall, the smell is crazy."  Cannabis dispensaries and retailers are causing headaches for neighboring businesses across the San Fernando Valley. They complain that the pot shops - many of which are not licensed with state and local agencies - are an unseemly nuisance and at times make customers feel unsafe.

Silva said that dispensary patrons often leave empty cannabis containers and packaging strewn about the sidewalk. Some also smoke near the business. "Families don't feel safe because of that," she said.

Yahaira Kolb Salon is one of 48 local companies that recently completed a survey for The Valley Economic Alliance about how operating near a dispensary affects their business. It found that the smell, lack of parking and increased illegal activities were their main concerns. Fifteen of the businesses surveyed said they would consider moving to a new location if these problems aren't resolved.

Illegal shops
To ensure cannabis sellers are operating legally and not disturbing local communities, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and the Los Angeles Police Department have launched a citywide crackdown on unlicensed dispensaries. They initiated the effort after California legalized recreational marijuana in January. All businesses selling cannabis in Los Angeles are now required to obtain licenses from both the city and state.

As a part of the crackdown, Feuer has filed 14 criminal cases against marijuana businesses for allegedly operating illegally in the San Fernando Valley, according to documents obtained by the Business Journal through a public records request. Feuer's office had previously identified nine of the targeted cannabis operations in an announcement on May 30. The accompanying map shows the locations charged in Feuer's action.

The dispensary next to Silva's salon, which is located at 10247 Sepulveda Blvd., is listed as a defendant in Feuer's charges.

While both licensed and unlicensed dispensaries can cause problems for local businesses, illegal shops can also attract "significant criminal activity," according to the city attorney's office. The marijuana businesses charged by Feuer were prioritized for prosecution because of reports of additional illicit goings-on at the store locations.

Across all of Los Angeles, Feuer's office has filed a total of 61 criminal cases against 259 different defendants associated with 58 commercial operations, according to the documents.  Still, it's unclear how many underground dispensaries the city will need to shutter for the crackdown to be a success. At a February press conference, LAPD Deputy Chief John Sherman estimated there were between 200 and 300 marijuana businesses operating illegally in the city. But Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin told Curbed LA last year there could be as many as 1,700 dispensaries operating in L.A. Just 155 of those currently have approval to sell cannabis.

One Mission Hills business owner said that even after the city shut down an illegal dispensary in his building a few years ago, two new ones moved in to take its place.  "I'm starting to expect that this is going to be the new norm," said the business owner, who asked not to be identified.

Neither of the two dispensaries located on Devonshire Street appear to have been issued approvals, according to an online list posted by the newly formed Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation.

Like Silva, the business owner complained that the dispensaries' customers often smoke behind the store and toss empty marijuana containers onto the sidewalk. After raising the issues with one of the dispensary owners, he agreed to hire a security guard to watch over the area. The business owner said the guard has helped improve the situation near that dispensary.

The Valley Economic Alliance President Kenn Phillips said the Alliance's survey found that hiring security guards was one of the best ways for dispensaries to address local business' concerns.  "The ones that have armed guards on the outside, there was no problem," he said. "The majority that don't have them, that's the problem."

Integrity Coaching
August 16 and 17, 2018

On August 16 and 17, you have the privilege of joining the only West coast Integrity Coaching training. Integrity Coaching is the developmental process that equips leaders with the knowledge, skills and tools to improve performance and develop people to their highest potential. It is based on the belief that coaching builds people.  Only  2 spots remaining! 
Becoming a Person of Influence
Put your Dream to the Test
Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Starting on Wednesday, August 22, 2018, join Top Leaders at The Valley Economic Alliance to experience the power and the benefits of mastermind groups. One of the key benefits, is having the support and ideas from other focused and driven people, like yourself, that allows you to see situations differently and get a new perspective on your goals and action plans.  

There will be two 8-week groups beginning this month - "Becoming a Person of Influence" where you will apply the learned content to your life and be ready to discuss the impact and challenges with the intent to grow and help others do the same, and "Put Your Dream To The Test" where you will learn why so many fail to realize their potential and keep their dreams in hypothetical state, instead of moving their dreams from the ethereal to achievable.  
Friday, October 12, 2018

Save the Dates

Heart of Giving - learning breakfast for non-profit organizations
Friday, July 27, 2018 
Sam's Cafe - New Horizons
*invitation only

Annual Board of Governors Meeting and State of the City Reports
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Cal State University, Northridge
*invitation only

Valley of the Stars Awards Ceremony
Friday, September 7, 2018
City of Calabasas, Civic Center 

Valley Hackathon IV
Friday, September 21, 2018
Downtown Glendale Central Library

"Hero Hired" Career and Resource Fair
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Los Angeles Valley College
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The Mission of The Valley Economic Alliance is to engage and unite Valley stakeholders to raise standards 
of living and economic vitality across the San Fernando Valley.
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