September, 2018 City Impact Lab with Kellie Hawkins and Nancy Olson

Stratiscope hosted the September 5, 2018 City Impact Lab at Southern California Leadership Network in the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Our speakers were Kellie Hawkins, Senior Vice President of Englander Knabe & Allen, and Nancy Olsen, Vice President of the LA Chamber’s Center for Leadership and Executive Director of SCLN. Here’s a snapshot of what they had to share with us...

Kellie Hawkins

When I left Los Angeles in 2010, we did not have the homeless epidemic that we currently have. It was there, but we had the Downtown Women's Center, Union Rescue Mission, all these great organizations, but with less overcrowding. People were being taken care of.

I returned in 2015 to an explosion of homelessness, as if people had been evacuated for an earthquake drill. My family and I used to bring food to a gentleman that stood at the entrance to freeway 10. His name was Mr. Green. That's who used to be on the street, Mr. Green, not Mrs. Green plus three kids.”

I visited the Downtown Women's Center after I returned to Los Angeles, joined their board, and found myself at a discussion about the pipeline to their larger governing board. I told them they needed a young professionals group to act as a pipeline, and to talk to board members about who they're grooming from their companies or organizations.

Then they asked me, “okay, well, who are you going to call? I found that I could pull from my network of colleagues that either had also just moved back and saw this explosion or those that currently lived here and wanted to be a part of the solution...

Nancy Olson

Leadership LA is a civic leadership organization that brings working professionals from across sectors together to learn about what makes LA tick. When people work in silos, work is inefficient, duplicated, and not as effective as it can be. We spark collaboration among people who may otherwise never meet.

Our program begins with a principle called non-positional thinking. For example, If you're presented with a deceivingly complex problem, you might have your own solution for that problem based on your experience and your knowledge. Non-positional thinking starts with the premise that you're wrong. So where do we go from there? What other possibilities does that open up? Are those possibilities even more productive solutions than your original?...

Our thanks to SCLN for hosting this City Impact Lab, and we look forward to seeing you all at our next monthly breakfast!



August, 2018 Social Impact Breakfast with Jenny Yang and Sarah Zurell

Stratiscope hosted the August 2, 2018 Social Impact Breakfast perched above the bustling (event at 8am) Hollywood Boulevard at Pavemint’s rooftop deck. Our two insightful speakers were Jenny Yang, the award-winning comedian, content creator, tour organizer, speaker, and professional opinion-haver, and Sarah Zurell, Pavemint’s Co-Founder, Chief Brand Officer, and Executive Vice President. Here’s what they shared with us...

 

 

Jenny Yang

One of Jenny’s earliest memories after immigrating to America is sitting atop a closed toilet and watching her mother squat next to the tub and wring water from the day’s laundry. Jenny was in awe of the strength it took to work in a garment factory all day, then come home to cook, clean, and wring clothes. When asked about her hard work, Jenny’s mother told her she brought her to America so she could have a brighter future. Jenny took that to heart and became, “the best little overachiever anyone could ever imagine.” Jenny took us through her journey from watching her mother doing laundry to embarking on a career in politics to determining that her calling was comedy, while maintaining her passion for social justice.

Jenny has made incredible contributions to the Asian American community by giving voice to an underrepresented community and providing opportunities for Asian American comedians with events such as the Comedy Comedy Festival. She gives the following ways that we too can contribute to building a more vibrant and equal society:

  • Consider who “isn’t in the room” and how you might help give voice to those who don’t yet have it

  • Tell stories that connect with people by engaging more artists and making your content more beautiful

  • Go out and use your attendance and purchasing power to support diversification efforts, such as the Comedy Comedy Tour or the movie Crazy Rich Asians

 

Sarah Zurell

Thirty percent of Los Angeles traffic is comprised of people looking for parking, a percentage which amounts to 2.5 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year. One possible solution? Pavemint, the Airbnb of parking.

When noodling a solution to the parking conundrum, Sarah Zurell and Pavemint Founder, Randall Jamail, realized that the solution might not be more parking, but smarter parking. They thought that if we can improve the efficiency of our existing parking we can simultaneously reduce carbon emissions, the need for more parking structures, and time wasted searching for a spot.

Sarah led us through her journey from the fashion world to a revolutionary parking app. Her experience has shown her that impact starts with the individual, from parking faster to reduce emissions and beyond. Here is some wisdom she shared with us about how we can be impactful in our own lives:

  • Foster happiness and fulfillment within your teams with practices such as flex days, which help balance schedules and even reduces emissions if people work from home

  • Build communities, like City Impact Lab, to share with and support each other

  • Consider how small actions can contribute to big problems and how you might be able to play a small role in a big solution

 

Jenny and Sarah both spoke to the power an individual has in contributing to large change. We hope you find motivation to get out there and know that every ounce of effort, every dollar spent, every vote cast (vote on November 8th), and every word spoken can contribute to real impact.

Thanks to Pavemint for hosting the Social Impact Breakfast, and we hope you will all join us for our next monthly breakfast.

July, 2018 Social Impact Breakfast with Raphael Sonenshein and Ruben Zaragoza

Stratiscope hosted the July, 2018 Social Impact Breakfast at the wonderful Porridge+Puffs in Historic Filipinotown. Minh Phan served up a delicious porridge breakfast and spoke to her goal of making Porridge+Puffs’ new location an integral part of the surrounding community. Our two speakers were Raphael Sonenshein, professor, author, and LA governance expert, and Ruben Zaragoza, the Government Affairs Advisor for Southwest Airlines. Here’s what they shared...

 

Raphael Sonenshein

As recently as 5-10 years ago, Raphael started to develop a great mission in his mind of getting people engaged and showing them how the world works and what their place in it could be. In the last two years, Raphael’s feeling about that mission has changed dramatically from one of desirability to one of urgent necessity.

The three goals at the Pat Brown institute, where Raphael teaches, are to inform, engage, and inspire. With so much misinformation and confusion going on these days, there is nothing more empowering than telling the truth clearly and without rabble rousing, bias, or unfairness. Here’s how Raphael informs, engages, and inspires:

Inform - “I would tell you that the media is doing a wonderful job, but they're not… half of every therapy session in LA is a discussion of the news.” And yet, Raphael has found that informing people about what is going on in a real sense is actually calming. He doesn’t listen to much radio news, but instead reads constantly. Explore the options out there and find a source of news that works for you, and hopefully doesn’t make you feel like our situation is hopeless, because it isn’t.

Engage - “Stories about people and what history tells us really does at the end of the day engage people.” Stories mean a great deal and can be terrifying in one sense, but hopeful in another. The story of Daryl Gates, for example, and how Los Angeles citizens took an authoritarian police department that was not subject to civilian authority, sent it back to the barracks, and instituted real democratic government. Now we can choose who our police chief is as opposed to having a chief who serves for life as Daryl Gates would have. And then there are stories of how the United States dealt with threats from authoritarian regimes almost a century ago. This is all history, but suddenly history has come alive, and we better learn from it.

Inspire - “I would like people to be scared enough to not take lightly the situation we are in, but not so scared that it leads to paralysis or ill-advised actions, and that's where inspiration comes in.” Inspiration is hope based on reality. For example, On December 8th, 1941 when basically the entire American fleet had been destroyed, FDR told Americans not to shrink from the truth. Our situation is no piece of cake. We have no idea how this story will end, but if we keep our heads about us, stay informed, use stories and history, and engage in this struggle intelligently, no matter how it ends, you don't want to say that you didn't put everything you had into it. That's where the inspiration is.

 

Ruben Zaragoza

At an interview for a entry-level government office position Rubin was asked where he saw himself in 10 years, and he responded “As mayor of Los Angeles.” The interview quickly changed to an interrogation, because young Ruben hadn’t factored political competition into his answer. It turns out that people working in government offices have aspirations of their own, and may not be fond of new hires with goals of competing against them later. They ended up hiring Ruben anyway.

Years later, in a different job, Ruben’s boss started a self-development practice where each employee read a certain book each month. One book really stuck with Ruben and served as the genesis for three practices that he has maintained since:

Mentoring Youth - With a mentor to guide him, Ruben may known not to draw attention to his mayoral aspirations. Youth have so much to gain from a relationship with experienced professionals. Mentoring just one person can make a world of difference.

Develop a Braintrust - Similarly, experienced professionals have so much to gain from relationships with other experienced professionals. Rely on each other, and help each other out. The sum is much greater than its parts.

The moral is, we can achieve so much more together than we can apart. Go out and find a young professional who you think has potential and help them realize that potential. You’ll be surprised how meaningful the simplest insights can be to someone just starting out. And develop your inner-circle, learn from your peers, and help them succeed as well.

 

Raphael and Ruben both know firsthand the value of helping others reach new heights. Do you know anyone you could reach out to and grab a coffee with to share your experiences? An ambitious college student who might benefit from some inspiration, tips, and tricks? How about other professionals who you could learn from or collaborate with? Get out there, make some friends, and make a difference.

Thank you to Porridge+Puffs for hosting this Social Impact Breakfast, and we hope you will all join us for our next monthly breakfast.

 

May 3, 2018 Social Impact Breakfast: Tommy Newman and Angie Jean-Marie

On May 3, 2018, the City Impact Lab community converged at the LA Kitchen headquarters with a delicious breakfast that was prepared with local food that would otherwise be wasted. LA Kitchen’s values for innovation and social good were a perfect backdrop for our monthly Social Impact Breakfast featuring Angie Jean-Marie, Managing Director at Civic Nation #VoteTogether and Tommy Newman, Director of Public Affairs at United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

Tommy began the morning by sharing that he grew up in Los Angeles and spent a lot of years outside of LA pursuing educational and professional opportunities. Ultimately, Tommy could not stay away from LA once he realized that an exciting conversation was being had of transforming LA’s identity. Tommy further explained how the following tactics contributed to his career trajectory and the opportunity to work on alleviating homelessness with United Way.

  • “I try to meet one new person a week. Whether that's a breakfast, or a lunch, or a 30 minute call.” Tommy’s dedication to learning from others is how he found himself working for Councilmember Tom LaBonge and at the center of a conversation to transform Los Angeles.  
  • Tommy went on to share the incredible moment that Measure H was passed as the first revenue measure to ever pass on a March ballot in the history of the county of LA. He says, “..so much of life is about timing, and seeing that moment [and] then just diving into it.” When United Way created a Director of Public Affairs position and offered him the opportunity, Tommy dived in to take on the hard part: the execution of a $5billion county-wide initiative.
  • Tommy emphasized that the work is just beginning, and it requires the attention of all Angelenos to get involved. “Just because we have $5billion on the table and just because we have a bunch of strategies on paper, does not mean those things will magically happen on their own,” said Tommy as he encouraged everyone to get involved with their campaign in a small or big way.

He wrapped up his talk by highlighting that the industry that he and Angie work in are tackling massive issues; and they’re human powered, and they can be changed. Angie started her talk by sharing how she grew up on the East Coast, and the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree at USC brought her to Los Angeles. Angie was intrigued by the intertwining issues of LA and the abundance of creativity to address them.

  • Angie first became passionate about enacting civic engagement when she was working with the LA2050 team and learned that less than 1 in 5 people vote in local elections in LA. An unexpected meeting with the “brain” of #VoteTogether brought Angie to pursue her passion with them. Angie says that one of their tactics is simply making voting fun!
  • She continued to explain that #VoteTogether is targeting the populations that are less likely to vote. “If you meet a certain demographic profile, you're a likely voter, so elected officials will come, and they'll talk to you. That leaves out a large portion of people: who are low income and not likely to vote, who are young and not likely to vote, who may not speak the language and are not likely to vote.” Angie is working to make sure that her team builds community cohesion and brings the conversation to everyone.

Angie wrapped up by sharing the three tactics she tries to practice everyday; 1) see every challenge as an opportunity 2) listen better 3) work with specificity.

We hope that the important conversations Angie and Tommy started at the Social Impact Breakfast will continue in your workplaces, homes, and social circles. A special thank you to LA Kitchen for providing a space for these conversations to have been had! We hope you’ll join us every first Thursday of the month for the City Impact Lab’s Social Impact Breakfast.

April 5, 2018 Social Impact Breakfast: Marissa Aho and Judy Kim

On the morning of April 5, 2018, the Degenkolb Engineers hosted the City Impact Lab’s Social Impact Breakfast. The speakers this month were Marissa Aho, Chief Resilience Officer at the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Judy Kim, Deputy Director at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

Marissa spoke about how she ended up in an unusual role that directs a city of 4 million people to become resilient in nature and structure. As the Chief Resilience Officer, Marissa coordinates and executes a wide range of resilience efforts: disaster preparedness and recovery, climate adaptation, infrastructure modernization, economic security, civic leadership, community engagement, and more. Marissa emphasized that the following three tactics allow her to approach the caliber of the resiliency plan.

  • “You have to say yes to things that maybe you don’t want to say yes to.” Marissa emphasized the power of saying yes to opportunities. To build resilience, her team has adopted a mentality for working with various and sometimes unconventional partners and platforms.
  • Partners are an inevitable thread in the resiliency plan. Marissa says, “Everyone has a role in resilience building no matter what your background, no matter what your interest.”
  • To activate over 4 million people that have a different understanding of the history of Los Angeles, Marissa’s team is identifying what “the city can do in solving for more than one problem with limited resources, in using technology and data-driven decision making, in de-siloing the conversations that we have.”

You can learn more about the resilience pivot Los Angeles is taking by reading the plan, “Resilient Los Angeles” that was prepared by Marissa and her team.

Marissa’s insightful talk showcased that there is no shortage for innovation in Los Angeles. In the arts community, Judy Kim is leading the Luca Museum of Narrative Art to become a unique space that transforms the understanding of narrative art.

  • Judy began her talk by talking about where she believes any successful project begins: a clear vision. Referring to George Lucas and her team, Judy says “We were very clear from the get-go about what we wanted to do, what impact we wanted to have in our city, in our community, and it was to really create a place where, especially young people, their imaginations could be ignited.“
  • While the concept for this museum had been crafted by the team, Judy made a point to mention that the Lucas Museum is dedicated to listening to the community and embedding them in the creation of this space. “To be a good leader… it's about gathering data from all different sources, every interaction you have so you're better informed to design your thinking.”  
  • Judy wrapped up her talk by sharing how her personal background is relative to the work she’s doing for the Lucas Museum. Throughout her career in the arts, Judy often finds herself to be the only non-white person in the room. So the Lucas Museum is redefining art to include non-traditional pieces, such as the original drawings from Black Panther or Superman, that are relatable to children from diverse backgrounds. Judy shares, “just the fact that those drawings that you understand and have access to is valuable enough to hang on the museum wall, that's a very different experience,” and she hopes to showcase that “...all forms of creativity are equally valuable.”

While Marissa and Judy are transforming Los Angeles in different fields, they shared complimentary tactics that emphasized partnership, innovation, and just showing up. Both speakers said that the most powerful thing you can do is say yes to the opportunity in front of you and to show up in your most authentic self.

Thanks to all the attendees for showing up to our Social Impact Breakfast every first Thursday of the month. We look forward to seeing you all next month!

March 2018 Social Impact Breakfast: Sarah Dusseault and Lily Holleman

Against the backdrop of Los Angeles’s historical Merry-Go-Round in Griffith Park, Stratiscope hosted the City Impact Lab’s monthly Social Impact Breakfast on March 1, 2018. The inspiring speakers this month were Sarah Dusseault, Chief of Staff to LA City Councilmember David Ryu and Lily Holleman, President of the Los Angeles Breakfast Club.

Lily spoke about her passion for the community that the Los Angeles Breakfast Club has retained since 1925. The Los Angeles Breakfast Club community is known for various Angelenos, from Will Rogers to Calvin Coolidge, to come together for breakfast once a week regardless of their political beliefs and values. Lily highlighted the following three tactics that helped her revive the  organization when she joined in 2013.

  • “My love was palpable and it still is. I allowed that to inspire my intuition.” Lily explained that when she became President and Chairman in 2015, she started by asking herself who in her network would fall in love with the LA Breakfast Club and help her grow the organization.
  • Lilly also identified Steve McAvoy as a connector in Los Angeles who had the resources to bring influencers to the organization. Lily continued to work with Steve to bring in phenomenal speakers and raise the credibility of the organization.
  • “I quickly realized that if you are not online, then it’s like your organization didn’t exist.” Lily used social media as a tool to reach an audience that had never been reached to by the organization before.

With a lot of passion, support from the right individuals, and the use of social media, Lily brought life back to an organization that was founded over 93 years ago.

After a compelling first talk, Sarah took the stage to speak about how she crafted a career in politics that is centered in her values for serving others. Currently serving as the highest staff member to Councilmember Ryu as Chief of Staff, Sarah emphasized that the following tactics led her to a successful career.  

  • “...I try and incorporate young people in absolutely everything I do.” Sarah feels that everyone has an essential perspective to offer and that why she’s cultivated a staff that ranges in age.
  • “For me, it's relationships that have been critical to my success and are critical to the success of anything I work on.” Sarah highlights that building relationships are different than networking and it’s these relationships that will move mountains for her.
  • “The other thing that I think is really important for me, as a human being, is balance.” Without taking out the time to take care of herself and her family, Sarah wouldn’t be able to succeed in her professional aspirations.

Sarah provided a bonus tactic before wrapping up the talk by emphasizing the importance of resilience. She shared her own experiences with failure, and that if she hadn’t gotten back up from the many roadblocks she faced, she wouldn’t be where she is today.

Special thanks to Julio from the Merry-Go-Round for hosting us and to Dora from Yucca’s for the delicious breakfast burritos!  

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Hollywood Impact Walk

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A dozen eager Angelenos walked the streets of Hollywood to see how the lines of public and private property are blurring. Property owners and civic leaders are partnering to create welcoming spaces where residents and visitors can mingle, dine, and find inspiration.

Led by Stratiscope’s Angela Babcock, the 90-minute tour traversed Downtown Hollywood from the intersection of Ivar and Selma (where, for the past 25 years, the streets have transformed into the Hollywood Farmers Market each Sunday morning) to the glittering Hollywood Blvd and back. More than a sightseeing excursion, this walk told the story of how things happen in Hollywood that truly make a neighborhood.

Angela brought out experts to enhance the experience for the attendees, including, Emily Bowman, Market Manager from SEE-LA (which runs and truly curates the Hollywood Farmer's Market with local produce vendors to provide home cooks and renowned restaurant chefs ingredients for their weekly menus) and staff from the Hollywood Arts Council and Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, who spoke to the insights of the daily inner-workings of getting things done in the heart of Hollywood.

Other featured impact projects included “Hollywood Pop!,” a semi permanent park space featuring fun cartoon-like amenities; the EaCa Alley, the City of Los Angeles’ first pedestrian alleyway; various murals; the public-private partnership of Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibits (LACE) on Hollywood Blvd; and The Hotel Cafe, whose entrance faces an alley currently under construction to become another pedestrian alley as part of the construction of the adjacent Dream Hotel.

The Hollywood Impact Tour wouldn’t be complete without experiencing an al fresco beverage at Saint Felix Hollywood along the EaCa Alley, where tour participants lingered and made new connections.  This tour is part of the City Impact Lab’s Impact Walk program that highlights the way neighborhoods get to be the way they are. Angela Babcock is the Director of Impact for Stratiscope and has spent years working in Hollywood to make an impact, having been a part of various civic and community projects highlighted on the tour and many more!

2016 Impact-Maker to Watch: Austin Beutner

On Tuesday, January 19, 2016 in the Tom Bradley room at Los Angeles City Hall, 25 members of the Los Angeles community were honored for their foundational work to make a positive impact in our city.

PLEASE MEET A 2016 IMPACT-MAKER TO WATCH:
Austin Beutner

...pulls no punches, leads with passion and intelligence, does not suffer fools, and has no illusions about the difficulty of the challenges he has undertaken. He remains committed to the economic, social and political power of a growing, diverse Southern California and the inherent creative leadership of this place in California, in the nation and on the planet.
— Paul Vandeventer, Community Partners

Austin Beutner is the former Publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, and the first Publisher to serve in both roles. Earlier in his career, he worked at The Blackstone Group, and at age 29 became the firm’s youngest partner. He left Blackstone to serve in the U.S. government, where he led efforts to help Russia transition to a market economy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He went on to found Evercore Partners and as President and Co-CEO built the firm into one of the leading independent investment banks in the world. In 2010, he accepted a $1 annual salary to serve as First Deputy Mayor and Jobs Czar for the City of Los Angeles. He currently serves on the Boards of CalArts, The California Nature Conservancy, The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education, the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation, the National Park Foundation, the Pacific Council on International Relations and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation; and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2012, he created Vision To Learn, a nonprofit that provides free eyeglasses to children in low-income communities in California, Delaware and Hawaii.

 

2016 Impact-Maker to Watch: Valerie Watson

On Tuesday, January 19, 2016 in the Tom Bradley room at Los Angeles City Hall, 25 members of the Los Angeles community were honored for their foundational work to make a positive impact in our city.

PLEASE MEET A 2016 IMPACT-MAKER TO WATCH:
Valerie Watson

...is one of the most hard working people in city government and has already demonstrated an incredible impact on the City of LA, with much more to come.
— Nat Gale, City of Los Angeles

Valerie Watson works for the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) as an urban designer and transportation planner. Valerie, along with her colleagues in the LADOT Active Transportation Division, works to promote implementation of pedestrian-focused design, develop active transportation plans and policies, establish effective partnerships within the City and with advocacy and community organizations, and secure funding opportunities to enhance safety for people who walk, bike and access transit. Her work has created the foundation for the City’s first ever Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan, shoring up a Complete Streets Engineering Toolbox, infusing a data-driven approach into the department’s activities, and – most recently – launching Mayor Eric Garcetti’s citywide Vision Zero initiative to eliminate traffic deaths by 2025. From 2012-2015, Valerie led the inter-disciplinary team effort resulting in the formalization of People St, a city-wide, application-based program that offers communities a process for installing plazas and parklets, low-cost and quickly installed design treatments that reallocate road space as public open space and demonstrate the benefits of investing in the public realm.