BE VULNERABLE

“VULNERABILITY IS NOT WINNING OR LOSING; IT’S HAVING THE COURAGE TO SHOW UP AND BE SEEN WHEN WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THE OUTCOME.” ~ BRENE BROWN

On March 5, 2020 over 1,000 stakeholders gathered for the 4th Annual Homeless Initiative Conference.

The event closed with Tristen, an LA:RISE and Los Angeles LGBT Center program participant, who is continuing to hone her skills while working in a social enterprise and searching for full-time employment at a restaurant. Her advice for future LA:RISE participants is to turn your dreams into goals and then anything will become possible. YES!

I also very much appreciated the emphasis on the power of vulnerability as discussed on stage for people who are committed to serving people experiencing homelessness. It’s a courageous way to live to assure others are given the opportunity to be seen and heard.

EMBRACE OTHERS

“MEMORIES OF OUR LIVES, OF OUR WORKS AND OUR DEEDS WILL CONTINUE IN OTHERS.” ~ ROSA PARKS

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It was an invigorating time presenting and attending the National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference on February 19-21, 2020 at the Oakland Marriott City Center.

Our workshop on the “Innovative Strategies to Increase Employment and Income for People Experiencing Homelessness” had a great discussion on cash aid, employment social enterprises and the value of jobs in addressing homelessness. Shout out to the thousands of people who do the good work on a daily basis to embrace and empower people experiencing homelessness.

ADAPT AND IMPROVISE

“WITH A LITTLE BIT OF IMAGINATION, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!” ~ MACGYVER

On January 23, 2020 we gathered at Goodwill Southern California and pondered together, “What Would MacGyver Do You?” (If He Were In My Shoes). The LA:RISE program hosts quarterly trainings/meetings with partners and we often like to kick-off the morning with a little fun!

MacGyver was a genius-level intellect and had a particular ability for adaptation and improvisation! In life, there are so many ways we can stay creative with our learning opportunities. What’s in your toolkit?

TRUE PROSPERITY

“GRATITUDE FOR THE PRESENT MOMENT AND THE FULLNESS OF LIFE NOW IS THE TRUE PROSPERITY.” ~ ECKHART TOLLE

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What a way to wrap up a year of abundance!

The Department of Labor – Employment & Training Administration chose LA:RISE to spotlight as an innovative approach to the design and delivery of employment services. The interview I filmed in September was posted on WorkforceGPS, primarily focused on city partnerships, since it’s from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (DOL). DOL was our first funding source for LA:RISE before we expanded the program county-wide.

It’s ultimately meant for Workforce professionals to look at our program as a model they can learn from/best practices and maybe even replicate nationwide. The video spotlights the LA:RISE program model and was posted on December 18, 2019 for the public workforce system nationwide to access.

The same day the video posted, I attended Engage LA at The Getty House, the official residence of the mayor of Los Angeles. The event had a festive gathering for 300+ and truly embraced the theme of the day, “Gift of Giving!” Mayor Eric Garcetti and First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland gave brief remarks as carolers sang, greeting guests.

There was a section of vendors for holiday shoppers who could support social enterprises, women owned businesses or L.A. based businesses or nonprofits. Proceeds benefited Downtown Women’s Center, focused on ending women’s homelessness in greater Los Angeles through housing, wellness, employment, and advocacy. For gift giving, please consider supporting businesses that balance purpose and profit!

PAY IT FORWARD

“IF YOU HAVE KNOWLEDGE, LET OTHERS LIGHT THEIR CANDLES IN IT.” ~ MARGARET FULLER

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The10th Annual Circle of Change Leadership Conference was held on November 23, 2019. It was as always energizing! It’s wonderful to have professionals gather to talk about their area of expertise with a diverse group of student leaders from all across the country about the keys to personal, career, and leadership success. It’s even more rewarding to witness the passion and drive students convey about their dreams.

My panel this year was on “Leadership Meets Professionals Making A Social Impact.” Fellow panelists were from Bank of the West, Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, Warner Bros. Entertainment and The Walt Disney Company. I am grateful for this opportunity!

It’s important to remember how far one has come and what they can do to pave the path for others to also fulfill their career aspirations!

TIME TO DO THE WORK

“LET US TOUCH THE DYING, THE POOR, THE LONELY AND THE UNWANTED ACCORDING TO THE GRACES WE HAVE RECEIVED AND LET US NOT BE ASHAMED OR SLOW TO DO THE HUMBLE WORK. ” ~ MOTHER TERESA

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The Los Angeles Business Council hosted their annual Mayoral Housing, Transportation & Jobs Summit at UCLA on November 22, 2019.

It’s an educational and policy forum in Southern California aimed at addressing main issues around housing affordability, equitable economic development, and access to transportation. In November discussions were around how to leverage new market opportunities for growing small business, collaborative, statewide solutions to housing affordability and homelessness, as well as leveraging Los Angeles’ public transportation investments.

My knowledge expanded attending this summit and learned of a resource from McKinsey Global Institute that provided some solid facts and solutions on affordable housing in Los Angeles. Details in report https://mck.co/2QRdVdY

Agreed Mark Ridley-Thomas on your thoughts on homelessness, “I think we need to move beyond the rhetoric of thinking outside of the box and act like we have a crisis of consequence that confronts us, not only in Los Angeles but across the state.”

SERVE FIRST

“GOOD LEADERS MUST FIRST BECOME GOOD SERVANTS.” ~ ROBERT K. GREENLEAF

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Southern California Leadership Network (SCLN) envisions a more dynamic, prosperous region and state led by informed, collaborative, inspired, diverse and capable leaders. SCLN is committed to inspiring, preparing and connecting leaders to drive change.

On October 11, 2019 I was fortunate enough to graduate from the SCLN Leadership L.A. fellowship right after our last excursion in Japantown. It was intriguing to learn about various social issues in L.A. and more importantly, the people committed to doing the work in the field. The experiential learning was a highlight indeed on top of meeting some brilliant minds from different sectors.

If you want to learn more about healthy communities, education, economic development, transportation & mobility, growth & sustainability, community safety, and arts & culture, consider being a fellow!

WOMEN MOVE LA

“WOMEN HOLD UP HALF THE SKY.” ~ AN ANCIENT CHINESE PROVERB

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The Third Annual State of Women & Girls Address and Expo held on October 2, 2019 was a full house. The air was filled with excitement as accomplishments in gender equity and goals on the advancement of women and girls was announced at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live.

While there is much to focus on, it’s also good to make note that women hold more than half of all City board and commissioner positions. Women lead City operations in areas ranging from information technology to transportation and government innovation. And by elevating the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, L.A. has provided raises for 49.5 percent of its female workforce.

Let’s keep supporting gender equity in the workplace and in our community!

A PATHWAY FORWARD

“YOU ARE ME AND I AM YOU. EVERY ONE OF US IS WORTHY.” ~ INDIA.ARIE

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“One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing! And you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky.” ~Ella Fitzgerald. These powerful lyrics permeated the air the morning of September 30, 2019 as Mission to Midnight played a soulful set to kick-off A Pathway Forward: Homeless to Hired Summit at the Center at Cathedral Plaza in downtown L.A.

Over 250 attendees learned about how a public-private partnership can help solve some of society’s biggest challenges with powerful speakers from various sectors and acknowledge programmatic lessons, as we evolve LA:RISE, an innovative employment program. It was truly a rewarding event to produce and witness people rise up for the call to action to continue to cross-collaborate for the greater good of our community. For details on the agenda and speaker list, please reference the event website.

COMPASSION & KINSHIP

“KINDNESS IS THE ONLY STRENGTH THERE IS.” ~ GREGORY BOYLE

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Homeboy Industries’ Job Training Program combines on-the-job learning with comprehensive services and unconditional support. Each year Homeboy welcomes thousands of former gang members and previously incarcerated men and women to learn hard and soft skills to transform their lives.

Whether joining an 18-month employment and re-entry program or seeking discrete services such as tattoo removal or substance abuse resources, clients are embraced by a community of kinship and offered a variety of free wraparound services to facilitate healing and growth.

If you can, join Homeboy for their annual run/walk, place an order for your next catering needs with Homegirl Café or stop by one of their café locations for a delicious meal. This year’s run/walk was held on September 21, 2019 and it was a wonderful way to explore L.A. on foot while supporting a worthy program!