City Impact Lab Kicks of 2016 with Impact-Makers to Watch Reception

Luis Oliart and Neal Anderberg

Luis Oliart and Neal Anderberg

On January 19, 2016, over 150 civic, business, and community leaders of Los Angeles headed to Los Angeles City Hall to celebrate, recognize, and honor 25 Impact-Makers to Watch. Traversing the halls of the Civic Center and up to four different elevators, the group made its way to the 27th floor in the celebrated Tom Bradley room looking out over the metropolis below. No one really knew what to expect when they walked in, but the smell of hot dogs and smiling faces welcomed them as they entered the foyer. Once crossing the threshold of the main room, attendees were greeted by a buzz that included Pink's hotdogs, tacos from Yuca’s, churros from Olvera Street (Mr Churro), and a variety of adult beverages from drink sponsors Macallan Scotch Whiskey, Avion Tequila, and Colby Red Wine. The party was just getting started.

Guests and honorees began arriving and by 6 PM the program began with founder John Bwarie welcoming in the group to City Hall. He reminded them that the building was built in 1929 as a symbol, not just for Los Angeles, but for the state and beyond. Sand from every county and water from every historic Mission district was used to mix in the mortar in the building, symbolically representing the place Los Angeles city is in the world. "It's appropriate that we're in this building this evening to recognize those working to make an impact here in Los Angeles and beyond,” Bwarie said.

Councilmember Paul Krekorian and City Impact Lab Founder John Bwarie 

Councilmember Paul Krekorian and City Impact Lab Founder John Bwarie 

He then introduced Dr. Raphael Bostic, the keynote speaker of the evening, who shared insight on the perceptions of government from his days working at HUD and being director of the Bedrosian Center on governance at the Price school of public policy at USC.  "All of the award winners tonight are incredibly impressive people. They’re inspirational and kind of intoxicating because their energy and their drive inspires other people to do things as well. And it makes us all better people and our place a better place” said Bostic.

Short program concluded with the presentation of the 2500 ease, where it's reserved received an award in the form of a customized bottle of wine engraved with the recipient's name on it. Each owner he also received a copy of Under Spring by Jeremy Rosenberg, which was the inspiration for the Interstitial Spaces Roundtable the City Impact Lab hosted earlier this year at City Hall.

The awardees range from long time so will servants to current college students to business owners to nonprofit leaders – but all were worthy of watching as they work to improve Los Angeles this year. This year’s honorees are:

PIERRE ARREOLA
Co-Founder, The GR818ERS

TAFARAI BAYNE
Founder, EMH Creative Group

AUSTIN BEUTNER
Founder and Chairman, Vision to Learn

DONNA BOJARSKY
Founder and Chair, Future of Cities

SUE BRUNO
Executive Administrator, Greig Smith LAPD Devonshire Youth Center

RICK COLE
City Manager, City of Santa Monica

LEIGH COLLIER
Founder, President & CEO, Beeznee

COLEEN CORCORAN
Co-founder, CicLAvia

NAT GALE
Manager, LADOT’s Vision Zero Initiative

DAMOND JOHNSON
Navigator, Homeboy Industries

NATE KAPLAN
Founder, SeePolitical

YVETTE MCNALLY
Owner, Cordially Invited

DIANA MEDEL
I Heart Wilmington Outreach Coordinator, South Bay Center for Community
Development

MICHELLE MIRANDA
Founder, Alliance for Community Empowerment (ACE).

LUIS OLIART
Director, North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry (NHIFP)

IVETTE PINEDA
Executive Director, North Valley Caring Services

ALBERTO RETANA
President and CEO, Community Coalition

CHRISTINA RICE
Senior Librarian, Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection

ISABEL ROJAS-WILLIAMS
Executive Director, Mural Conservancy Los Angeles (MCLA)

MIGUEL SANTANA
Chief Administrative Officer, City of Los Angeles

EUGENE SHIRLEY
Founding President, Pando Populus  

RACHEL TORRES
Senior Research Analyst and Community Organizer, UNITE HERE Local 11

JENNY VINOPAL
Director of Programs, California Youth Connection (CYC)

VALERIE WATSON
City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT)

JEFF ZARRINNAM
CEO, Hollywood Hotel

(Visit cityimpactlab.com to see updates and profiles of each of these impact makers to watch posted in the coming weeks this year.)

City Hall Cookies by The Village Bakery and Cafe

City Hall Cookies by The Village Bakery and Cafe

The evening concluded with connections being made as awardees and others discussed ways they could work together to improve Los Angeles. As guests left, they were given special cookies hand drawn by the Village Bakery in Atwater Village to look like City Hall, the beacon of impact at the center of Los Angeles.

A special thanks goes out to Project Restore, the event partner, and HeyDay Books, for providing  a copy of Under Spring to each honoree.