Sarah Bowles is the Vice President, Program Officer with JPMorgan Chase where she is responsible for the firm’s philanthropic strategy and grantmaking efforts in Southern California. In this role, she partners with nonprofit organizations with demonstrated success in one of the firm’s four focus areas: jobs and skills, small business expansion, financial health and neighborhood revitalization, all aimed at expanding inclusive economic opportunity. Prior to joining JPMorgan Chase, Sarah served as the Project Manager for Special Initiatives with the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC). In this role, Sarah was responsible for the development, implementation, and oversight of high-profile strategic initiatives to combat homelessness within the City of San Diego. Before moving to San Diego, Sarah worked for several years in New York City at the Robin Hood Foundation and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Her work has focused on launching and managing large-scale initiatives that rely on public-private partnerships and collaboration across a variety of sectors.
Originally from San Diego, Sarah received her BA in Sociology from Occidental College and her MS in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from the New School University. Sarah serves on the Advisory Board for the San Diego affiliate of the Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC San Diego). In addition, she is JPMorgan Chase’s representative on the San Diego City-County Reinvestment Task Force, Orange County Grantmakers and the Inland Empire’s Funders Alliance.
Tanya Stukes has spent the last 11 years in construction, aligning inclusivity goals and compliance to key business objectives. She successfully managed complex projects for Kiewit’s Southern California District (including SoFi Stadium, Inglewood).
Tanya is a relationship builder who enjoys networking and connecting people, to leverage their strengths and maximize partnering opportunities. She is passionate about making a difference and being a great community partner.
Maria S. Salinas is the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the largest business association in Los Angeles County representing member companies and serving the interests of more than 235,000 businesses across the Los Angeles region. Ms. Salinas took the helm of the organization in August of 2018 and became the first woman and Latina to lead the Chamber in its 132-year history. An accomplished businesswoman, entrepreneur, and a determined community leader, Ms. Salinas’ business acumen and financial expertise provides her with the right experience to lead the L.A. Area Chamber. Ms. Salinas lives in Pasadena, California, with her husband and their four sons.
Kim has over six years of experience working with diverse, small, and veteran-owned businesses in the Southern California region. As the Outreach Manager, she builds relationships with diverse business partners, connects those firms to opportunities within Swinerton, and creates programs to successfully onboard firms once contracted. With a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, Kim is also involved in preparing proposals, creating outreach plans, hosting informational and partnering events, and diversity reporting.
LaMecia Butler is a Program Manager for Facebook Global Supplier Diversity whose mission is to help diverse-owned businesses do business with Facebook and with the people and communities it connects. She manages the team global partnership and supplier community engagement efforts. Prior to Facebook, LaMecia worked in previous supplier diversity roles for Super Bowl LI in Houston and Super Bowl 50 in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ricardo was born in the Voz Andes Hospital in Quito, Ecuador. At the time, his American father was a Peace Corps volunteer, and his Ecuadorian mother was the director of an orphanage. In the early ’80s, the young family eventually made their way to Raleigh, NC, where they suddenly had to adapt to a new culture and new language. That move was the start of a fascination with culture and the role media plays in shaping it.
Before founding the motion design studio in Los Angeles with Hung, Ricardo was a Partner at Myriad Media, a production company in Raleigh + Vancouver. He has 20 years of experience collaborating with brands and agencies like IBM, McKinney, 72andSunny, Red Hat, Vans, The World Bank, and Sustainable Harvest International. He once traveled to rural Honduras to direct a documentary about slash-and-burn farming. On this trip, his gear got soaked by monsoon rains, leaving him with a pair of flip-flops instead of boots. During one outing in the rural foothills near the Guatemalan border, he came face to face with a Two-Step snake. If you’re bitten, you take two steps and die. Glad that didn’t happen.
Ricardo’s ultimate goal in life is simple—be a good dad. He has a beautiful, kind wife and two young children who keep him happy, down-to-earth, and full of life. Listening to music, eating healthy foods, watching Chef’s Table, and reading books like Good to Great and Shoe Dog are what keep him inspired and curious. He also loves traveling, mainly to South America. Favorite MC: Nas. Favorite Movie: City of God. Favorite Food: Ceviche. Favorite Cities: NYC + LA + Barcelona.
Shannon Hoppes is a native Angeleno, born and raised in San Pedro, attending Leland Street Elementary and San Pedro High School. She is a 26 year veteran of the City and a passionate believer in operational excellence. Shannon is a disrupter in both her personal and professional life, always asking why and challenging the status quo. Previously, as Executive Officer of the City Clerk, she brought about multiple successful systems implementations and process improvements that brought consistency, innovation, and transparency to the City of Los Angeles. She believes her biggest accomplishment has been about shifting the internal culture and empowering employees to bring about innovative change. Shannon was one of the original members of the Mayor’s Operation Innovation Team, where she was instrumental in building the case for a holistic procurement approach in the City of Los Angeles. As the Chief Procurement Officer, Shannon will utilize her strengths in creating a robust, transparent, and fair procurement environment that will allow for increased economic prosperity for the residents of Los Angeles.
Christie Carr is a graduate from Arizona State University, holding her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Communications from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication. During her career, Ms. Carr was involved in many facets of acquisition. These included positions as a Contract/Subcontract Administrator, Lead Senior Buyer, and Contract Manager for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and most recently Los Angeles County Internal Services Department. She has over 16 years of experience in administration, construction contracting, financial planning/budgeting, operations, and supervision/management, which includes purchasing (and subcontracting) for the Federal Government and contract management for the Local Government under Los Angeles County. Ms. Carr currently manages a contract budget of over $550 million over 500 diverse contracts such as fleet repair and maintenance, custodial, landscape, parking, construction project management, architecture/engineering, energy efficiency project, and information technology services.
Ms. Carr holds a Level III certification in Contracting and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification from the University of Michigan. She is a member of the Los Angeles County Management Counsel, National Contract Management Association and the National Institute of Government Purchasing. Her decorations include three consecutive President Awards for budget and successful completion of mission critical projects, selected out of 20,000 candidates; four awards from the Directorate of JPL Interplanetary Network, and she was the recipient of the Silver Ring of Quality Award for Outstanding Personal Contributions, in her capacity at the JPL Deep Space Network.
Joseph “Joe” T. Rouzan III leads VSEDC in navigating through the evolving and expanding needs for economic and small business development solutions in South Los Angeles. Prior to joining VSEDC, Mr. Rouzan held the position of Director for the City of Los Angeles Business Source program overseeing nine Business Source Centers throughout Los Angeles and operating a 4.5 million dollar annual budget.
Joe's 29 years of City Service includes 13 with the Economic and Workforce Development Department and 16 with the Los Angeles Police Department. Prior to his most recent city service, Joe served as the Vice President and Chief of Staff for the Brotherhood Crusade, General Manager of both the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and Hawthorne Malls, and owned and operated JTA Security Management and Investigations. Joe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration, conferred by California State University, Dominguez Hills
Elizabeth "Libby" Williams has over 24 years of economic development experience working in Southern California. Through her consulting practice, she provides services to local governments, elected officials, non-profits and small businesses. Her work includes organizing an Economic Opportunity Forum for elected officials in LA County’s 2nd Supervisorial District, B2B Matchmaking events for the City and County of Los Angeles and a Transportation Infrastructure Conference for the National Association of Minority Contractors, Southern California chapter.
More recently, Ms. Williams was under contract with the USC Center for Economic Development where she served as project manager for the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California (AMP SoCal). In her role, she helped support and strengthen the aerospace and defense manufacturing ecosystem by providing needed support services through the partnership.
She worked as the Managing Director of the Office of Small Business, for the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Economic & Business Policy, where she served as an advocate for the Los Angeles small business community within City Hall. Prior to working for the City of Los Angeles, Ms. Williams was Director of the Small Business Program at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). In 2007, Ms. Williams became the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Economy and Jobs Committee, a private-sector advisory board created by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to work with him on key issues of economic development and quality job creation in Los Angeles. From 1996 to 2006, Ms. Williams worked for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation in the Business Assistance Program, and was responsible for identifying opportunities and developing community economic development programs and initiatives to stimulate economic growth.
Ms. Williams has a BA and an MPA from California State University at Long Beach, and a Master in Leadership from the University of Southern California. She has also completed the USC Lusk Center Ross Minority Program in Real Estate.
Gilbert Buchanan, MA is a 20-year veteran business compliance and management consultant who owns Buchanan & Associates, a small business planning and diversity program management firm established in 2006 to help entrepreneurs and small businesses become business-ready, contract-ready and bank loan-ready.
He has successfully worked with DBE/MBE/SBE firms within public works, construction, retail, service, and manufacturing environments.
Gilbert is one of the key business coaches and facilitators of the Southern California Edison EDGE Supplier Diversity Contract-Readiness training program for Community-based small businesses in Los Angeles, Inland Empire, Sacramento, and Moreno Valley regions.
He possesses a Master’s Degree in Organizational Development from Binghamton University at the State of New York.
Alameda Construction Services, Inc.
Back Office Operations Guru
With over 15 years with Alameda Construction Services, Inc., Traci understands what it takes to run a successful Back Office. Traci’s practical, common sense and simple approach helps in pinpointing the roadblocks that stand in the way of achieving an efficient Back Office. Her hands-on experience assists in making many companies Back Office Operations functional and profitable. She knows that before a fine tuned Back Office can be realized, processes and procedures must be created. Processes and procedures are the building blocks to a Company’s Great Back Office success and profitability.
Guadalupe Wong is a Small Business Program Coordinator for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second largest public school district in the nation. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from California Polytechnic University, Pomona. She initially began her career as a LAUSD Labor Compliance technician; auditing contractors ensuring their employees were paid prevailing wages. Now, she serves as a Small Business Program Coordinator dedicating her career to public service for the past 10 years and is on a professional career path focused on assisting the small business community.
The purpose of the LAUSD Small Business Enterprise Program (SBE) is to increase the pool of qualified vendors competing for LAUSD contracts. The SBE program provides small business vendors with information and access to compete for construction, architecture, engineering, and professional services contracts; and certification services that promote the long-term competitive capacity of SBE vendors. As a Program Coordinator, Guadalupe is responsible for certifying SBEs, coordinating trainings and workshops, facilitating the Small Business Advisory Council meetings, and host/participate in outreach events that increase awareness of contract opportunities. She was instrumental in increasing the Small Business Advisory Council membership by 100% and recently, assisting in the creation and passing of the Small Business Enterprise and Veteran Business Enterprise Procurement Goals, Strategy and Policy, which establishes a preference program and DVBE goal for Small Businesses.
Guadalupe was born in Hermosillo, Sonora and can speak English, Spanish, and Chinese. She is an alumna of Alpha Phi Gamma sorority and has served as Chapter President. In addition, she served on the National Board. Outside of professional interests, she is an avid runner who has completed multiple races, enjoys snowboarding, and loves to bake.
Rosa Penaloza joined the City of Los Angeles Economic Workforce Development Department as a Senior Project Coordinator. She directs the nine Los Angeles BusinessSource Centers which provide a broad range of programs designed to assist small businesses by promoting local economic growth and profitability. Ms. Penaloza brings more than 20 years of workforce and economic development experience. She has a passion for service and is a results-driven professional with program management and administration expertise in both private and public sector
Ms. Penaloza holds a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Redlands and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from University of Phoenix. She is a member of the National Association Workforce Board, California Association of Local Economic Development, California Workforce Association, and California Council of Excellence.Ms. Penaloza is an accomplished businesswoman, entrepreneur, and dedicated public service leader. She enjoys giving back to the community and is a proud member of Rotary International.
Robert Mancillas is the Lead Procurement Supervisor at Los Angeles County Public Works. He attended UC Berkeley where he majored in Sociology. He joined the County of Los Angeles in 2011 as an entry level Intermediate Clerk with Public Works and then promoted to Public Works Procurement Services in 2013. He will be celebrating 10 years of public service in November 2021.
Robert Murphy works for Los Angeles County Public Works - one of the largest Public Works agencies in the nation with a workforce of 4000 employees and an annual budget of over $2 billion.
Robert oversees the Business Outreach and Compliance Unit in the Business Relations and Contracts Division, which provides business-friendly contracting opportunities, as well as a broad range of programs designed to promote local economic growth and prosperity.
Robert attended Pepperdine University where he earned two business degrees with a focus on management and finance.
Sharon Evans is the CEO of Business Resource Group. She has twenty-five years of experience in business development, public accounting, finance, and professional management consulting. As a former banker and finance professional, she transitioned her expertise from the largest CPA firms in the nation to lead an agency that has have helped more than 11,000 small and minority businesses expand by winning $193+ million in contracts, access $310 million in capital, and create 7,200+ jobs throughout California.
Under Sharon’s direction, BRG founded the Alliance for Vendor Development and established the nation’s only Business Credit Institute. Sharon has trained more than 1,200 bankers and 90 nonprofit lenders across California. She is an expert in supplier diversity and a noted speaker on business scalability and equity in capital access. Sharon has served as an advisor to the SBA, MBDA, Milken Institute, and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency on minority business growth and financing strategies.
Ms. Evans is former Chair of the City of LA Minority Business Opportunity Commission, a founding board member of the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute, is a member of the Port of Long Beach EV Infrastructure Planning Committee, and So Cal Edison’s Clean Energy Advisory Board. She also serves on the Boards of NAWBO-Los Angeles, the CA African American Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Federation of Los Angeles (Bizfed- LA), where she co-chairs the Trade and Transportation committee.
Michael Aguillio currently serves as a Business Outreach Liaison for the State of California in the Office of Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Services. In this role, he educates business owners about the benefits and opportunities of pursuing a Small Business (SB) certification, Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) certification, and contract opportunities with the state of California.
Teresa Macias-Ruiz currently serves as a Bilingual Business Outreach Liaison at the Office of Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Services, California Department of General Services. In this role, she educates business owners about the benefits and opportunities of pursuing a Small Business (SB) certification, Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) certification, and contract opportunities with the state of California. Teresa previously worked as a substitute teacher at Washington Unified School District. Also, Teresa worked in various capacities in banking for about 20 years. Her background is in business and she holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Sacramento State University.