This makes for an effective experience…
From humble beginnings in the heart of the Los Angeles inner city, I have learned much over time, and have with the influence of many old souls, transformed my life into a remarkable American success story. As far back as memory allows, I was inspired by the diverse beauty of people – their eccentricities, talents and perspectives. Los Angeles was a greenhouse for ideas, creativity and perspective, and it afforded exposure to many intellectual and emotional offerings. These years would formulate an uncommon sense of wonder and inquisitiveness, and this would come to drive both my informal and formal education.
Watching the Hobos ride the rails and make sturdy camps in the gritty rail-yards down the street from my home, I wondered what it was that generated such a spirit of freedom, of new places and of new friends. What was it about these people that allowed them to welcome others from far away into their space? Why did they freely share their meager meals with newcomers? This sense of being “in it” together, a Mulligan stew of humanity, profoundly influenced my trajectory in life – working to combine the values associated with helping others with the energy and practicality of commerce. Much of my early career was dedicated to assisting others through a human service and philanthropic approach to career. From Teaching middle school students, to counseling youth, to helping others build small entrepreneurial businesses, these experiences set me on a path to blending career life and personal service.
I attended CalPoly – California State Polytechnic Institute – receiving the Bachelors of Arts Magna Cum Laude in Behavioral Science, with an emphasis in Industrial Psychology. During these years I learned to sail and conducted teambuilding adventure sailing programs to business managers, athletes and educators along the California Channel Islands Archipelago. I also learned counseling skills from mentors Roger Tilford, Dr. John H. Burma and Dr. William R. Larson, then teaching middle school math, science and social studies in San Dimas, Ca., Baldwin Park, Ca., and Rowland Heights, Ca.
These teaching experiences led to a more personal approach to assisting others in resolving problems. I began providing educational workshops and counseling services to adjudicated youth and adults suffering multiple addictions. First at the East Los Angeles Alcoholism Council and then later at Community Service Organization, a fast paced and enlightening career flourished. Business operators, managers, blue-collar workers, students from many walks of life tempered and seasoned my practice skills.
Entering the Graduate School of Social Welfare at UCLA, I studied both clinical therapy theory as well as organizational development, completing intensive annual practicum internships in both mental health treatment and community organization. Here I was mentored by Dr. Terrence Roberts, a member of the “Little Rock Nine,” the first African Americans to be integrated into Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. I was taken under the wing of Dr. Jack Rothman, the noted community development theorist and practitioner. I maintained a caseload of clients in mental health treatment for Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, Arcadia Mental Health Center, under the guidance of noted therapist Richard Cabrera, while also serving as a member of the highly lauded mobile Psychiatric Emergency Team. During this time I served as a facilitator for the Mental Health Association, Alliance for the Mentally Ill and for Adolescent Treatment and Prevention Programs in Pasadena, Ca. This was leading me to understand the profound potential, and responsibility, of true collaboration.
Having been recruited to Washington, D.C., to plan, organize and lead a new division conducting nationwide youth, family and community development programs, things were really bubbling up. From business incubators to establishment of training designs to building collaborations between business and community, I served as a structural information and skills broker to over 25 States of the union, and 5 international governments. Here I had the good fortune to lead the development and execution of America’s largest multilingual media campaign targeting health outcomes for the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
During this time, William Bogen, the philanthropic activist engaged in congressional, federal and state level initiatives mentored me. Mr. Bogen taught the difficult and complex skills of fund generation for contracts and grants – across multiple industries. These hard won skills would eventually lead to cumulative and direct accomplishment of generating over one-half billion dollars in funding of contracts, grants, awards and corporate gifts to be used for research, business start-ups, product development, services delivery, evaluation and training across many disciplines. I have authored and co-authored scholarly journal articles, guidebooks, practitioner manuals and behavioral health intervention manuals currently in use across the U.S. and abroad. I went on to lead the development of the 1st HIV Prevention Training System and Training of Trainers designs and manuals designed for women for the United States National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Washington, D.C., was abuzz, and the excitement of working across so many industries: public and private, congressional, health, education, marketing and scholarly research led to the founding of yet new entrepreneurial endeavors. Together with partners, I founded Transamerica Services, Inc., a business development, training and technical assistance firm providing services to private business, federal and state governments, overseas NGO’s and foreign governments. During this time I benefited greatly from