Fourth Annual Women’s March

For the fourth consecutive year, thousands of locals took to the streets to march downtown in support of women’s rights.  This year had a slightly different focus due to the upcoming elections but still featured female empowerment slogans along with jokes and off the cuff banners.  Other rights that jumped on the bandwagon were those from the LGBTQ community, immigrants, race, anti-war and more.  There were approximately 30,000 attendees (lower than the last two years). Featured speakers were: Eric Garcetti, Caitlyn Jenner and Maxine Waters.

The main event – as in previous years – took place in Washington. Even though there were less people marching, the “energy” was described as being “still there.”

Women’s Leadership Series

Last month women in leadership roles were invited to the home of Eric Garcetti.  The Mayor invited 200+ women to join him at the Getty House for the Women’s Leadership Series & Engage LA event series.

At the event, women were able to network with each other while getting information on the many female locally-owned and run businesses and how they can get involved in the future.  As well discussions centered on competing for city contracts within the four million residence city that comprises 500,000 businesses.

Within the city’s $10billion budget, 10% is dedicated to fund city contracts.  Back in 2013 – when Mayor Garcetti first took office – only 1½% of the contracts went to women. Since gender equality is such a high priority for Garcetti, this has changed.

One of the takeaways from this was that more women have to bid for contracts.  Not only is this going to result in the best person for the job and likely bring more women into positions that they deserve it will also benefit the city.

In addition, members of Garcetti’s Innovation Team (LA City’s first female Director of Finance Claire Bartels and Chief Procurement Officer Shannon Hoppes) have been attempting to simplify the process of getting contracts.

Jobs and Internships Fair

Next week the largest local annual career fair will be held at UCLA. Hosted by the UCLA Ackerman Union, the UBS (Undergraduate Business Society) Jobs & Internships Fair gives business owners the opportunity to present their vacancies to the public.

A wide variety of industries are presented including HR, marketing, operations, communications, sales and accounting.  More than 500 people come every year and all UCLA students are welcome.

As well as presenting opportunities, this event is a networking event for students and business owners.  Some of the student organizations that have attended in the past include: Alpha Kappa Psi, Bruin Advertising Team, Campus Events Commission (CEC) and Sigma Eta Pi.

Is LA Losing its Opportunities?

Los Angeles – the second most populous US city and the center of film and TV industry – has historically provided substantial opportunity for its inhabitants. But the concern now is a “dampening” of that promise due to increasing costs in housing. 

In this video we learn about research from the McKinsey Global Institute which estimates that approximately one million LA city homes are no longer able to afford a standard sized market rate unit in their current neighborhood without a financial stretch. That number rises to two million throughout LA county.

Encouragement of Local Female Entrepreneurs

It was recently announced by the Mayor that November 19th will from now on become a day each year to officially recognize and commend female entrepreneurs.  Women’s Entrepreneurship Day was held last month for the first time…and will now be held annually. 

The topic of this year’s event was “Together we Rise,” and women were invited by Mayor Garcetti’s Office of Economic Development to celebrate the female business owners who have had a huge impact on the LA community, economy and quality of life.  as such, women came and were inspired, encouraged and empowered, despite the tremendous obstacles they have had to overcome in reaching their success.

At the day event, female entrepreneurs – those just starting out and also those who have already enjoyed some success – spoke to the audience while others held workshops while networking with both officials and locals.

some of the attendees included representatives from Wok Star Inc., Martin & Martin, Special Needs Network, Unique Markets, Avenida Productions, NorthStar Moving Company, STartUpDTLA, and more. 

In addition, there were industry experts like coaches, authors, negotiation specialists, EI experts and financial advisors.

another company jumped on the bandwagon, using the day’s opportunity to promote the success of their own women.  Three designer bags were created by Stacy’s Pita Chips and are being sold Kroger stores in honor of this day celebrating women entrepreneurs.  On the bags are designs made by women that represent the ‘ six stages of a female entrepreneur’s journey.’ Stacy’s created a competition for the designer that would be used and the winners (Alexander Bowman, Jade Purple Brown and Nomoco) of that was announced in march – Women’s History Month. Bowman is an LA designer; Brown from New York and Nomoco is Japanese born but trained in London.

as well as promoting and encouraging the female entrepreneur, the bags commemorate Stacy’s Pita Chips first ever Rise Program – set up to support and fund women-owned businesses.

This is an important cause for Stacy’s Pita Chips given the misrepresentation of funding for female entrepreneurs.  One example of this is the fact that women own approximately 40% of businesses but are only privy to around 2 percent of private equity funding.  Stacy’s VP of Marketing, Ciara  Dilley said:

“We believe the economic empowerment of women is the single most powerful contribution we can make to advancing female equality.”

Hopefully November 19th in the future in LA will work toward facilitating this goal.

AIP in Hollywood

The Annual Architecture in Perspective (AIP) Conference this year took place in Hollywood.  Hosted by the American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI), the three day event that was held on October 3 to October 5 featured VR, cinematography, gaming and more.

It was a wonderful opportunity for anyone – professional, students, lay people – to engage in discussions, workshops, networking and more in architectural, artistic and related industries. 

The speaker lineup – which included Luxigon founder Eric de Broche des Combes, TLCD Architecture architect Melissa Weese, ASAI President Emeritus Barbara Ratner, Concept Artist and Matte Painter from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ Nick Hiatt, among others.

“This was truly an amazing event,” tourist Moshe Victor Keinig relates.  “I spend a lot of time in America now that I am retired and now that I have started sketching and taking pictures, it was so good to be rubbing shoulders with some of the most notable people in the industry.”

Centrally located in the glitzy Hollywood at the Kimpton Everly Hotel, the event was put together by ASAI President Keely Colcleugh.  Now in its 34th year, subjects covered included an urban sketch & photography tour, which was of particular interest to individuals such as Keinig. Having the opportunity to explore and sketch historic landmarks around the region was a very enjoyable way to spend the day and get in the sites.

Bringing Nutrition to Local Schools

Culinary Institute of America graduate chef Scott Lopez has prepared a menu for over 1,000 at West Hills, Chaminade High School students.  Lopez – who has cooked for some of LA’s finest establishments – began his career at 13 in his family’s restaurant. Since then he has worked with the likes of Eric Greenspan, Craig Petrella and others until setting up his own business, The Caterer Inc.

The price is right at the schools too.  For just $7, kids can get the day’s special, one example being chicken piccata and linguine and a drink. But probably the best part of this is just how healthy and nutritious the meals are while being appetizing to kids.

With 6 different salad mains to choose from (including Chinese chicken salad, low fat pasta salad), protein rich sandwiches (such as hummus wrap and oven roasted turkey sandwich), soft serve yogurt and so much more, this really is a dream come true for students.

Lopez explained some of the thinking behind his menu:

 “They’re kids, which means they’re always going to want the most unhealthy food. They want the pizzas and chicken fingers. The trick is to make that not so healthy food healthier so they really don’t know. It is kind of different going from 5-star restaurants to a school cooking for kids, but, at the end of the day food is food.”

In addition, this venture is good for the environment.  Currently using only biodegradable plates and utensils, the team is hoping to add a dishwasher to take it to the next level.  No sodas are sold and only yogurt (not ice cream and no added sugar). Most of the greens are taken from their own garden!

Developments in Van Nuys

There have been some recent developments in LA’s Van Nuys neighborhood and there are plans for more. Here we look at two: the fire station and a new development on Van Nuys Boulevard/Kittridge Street.

Earlier this month there was a celebratory grand opening at the Van Nuys fire station.  Station 39 will replace the existing fire station (currently located at 14415 Sylvan Street) which is the oldest active station in the region.   At the event guests were treated to a bouncy house, face painting and a delicious pancake breakfast.  The new address is 14615 Oxnard Street, spanning over 18,533 square feet.  It features a ladder truck, a battalion chief command vehicle, two fire engines and two rescue ambulances.

Meanwhile, a report from Urbanize.LA has just approved a mixed-use project to go ahead on Kittridge Street and Van Nuys Boulevard. The aim of this is to erect a five-floor building with over 50 units with one or two bedrooms as well as a community room and outdoor decks.  There will be 3,160 square feet of retail space and a garage on the ground floor.  The project developers are Kitvan LLC and Plus Architects.

LA Business: A Boom or Bust?

VICA’s 2019 Business Forecast Conference, 2020 Vision Required (Time for Corrective Lenses) was held at the Hilton Universal Hotel on October 25.   At this year’s all-day event, much was gleaned from the breakout panels, exhibit booths, economic forecast breakfast and more that was attended by business leaders, economists, academics, etc.

Although Wells Fargo Securities senior economist and director Sarah House began on somewhat of a low note by saying that “the economy is slowing,” cautioning against “shocks on the horizon” (such as $122 billion on Chinese goods’ tariffs), she did also say that right now “fundamentals are in really good shape.”

U.S. Bank’s Private Wealth Management Regional Investment Director A. Kravetz seemed altogether more positive, beginning by saying that:

“I love the California economy. It’s one of the most diverse economies in the world…ranking it at No. 5 in the world, right behind Germany.” She pointed out that California companies stock valuation is double the Standard & Poor 500 and in 2016 its GDP peaked at 4.5 percent growth while downshifting to 3 percent in 2017.  This, against the 2 percent increase from the national economy.  She also noted the region’s “hot” industrial market and commercial real estate with the ports faring well too.

In addition, Director of the Institute for Applied Economics at Los Angeles County Economic Development County Somjita Mitra made reference to LA’s position as the world’s 19th largest economy. She said: “Our GDP will continue to grow,” (referring to the 2.7 percent increase in the last year and the 4.3 percent unemployment drop).  She added that “Anybody who wants a job has a job,” referring to the 2.1 percent increase of personal income.