Mayor Garcetti appoints Peter Marx as Chief Innovation Technology Officer

Peter Marx
Mayor Garcetti today appointed Peter Marx as the city’s first Chief Innovation Technology Officer. A key part of Mayor Garcetti’s back to basics agenda, Marx will oversee the implementation of new tools and technologies across L.A. city government better solve problems for residents and make City Hall work more efficiently and effectively. In addition, he will partner with L.A.’s growing tech industry to deploy innovative technology and promote local job creation.

Among his first projects will be improving MyLA311 for one stop customer service; revamping the City’s scores of web sites to make them more useful and user-friendly; and capitalize on sharing and analyzing data to upgrade performance throughout City government in the same way LAPD’s COMPSTAT system has been used to drive down crime.

“Incredibly talented, a force in the tech community, and an L.A. native to boot, Peter was my top choice from a very strong pool of applicants,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I’m thrilled to have him on the team and look forward to working with him to better serve Angelenos and foster the already strong tech ecosystem here in the City of Angels. Harnessing technology is critical to the future of our economy and improving city services.”

Read the full news release

Mayor Garcetti proclaims ‘EY Day in Los Angeles’ as 700 volunteer

From left, Angela Milano, Kelvin Keith, Michael Flood, Richard Fong and David Lipschutz with the proclamation from Mayor Eric Garcetti declaring Sept. 27 "EY Day in Los Angeles.” The five joined more than 170 EY accountants and other professionals who volunteered at the LA Regional Food Bank during "EY Connect Day."

From left, Angela Milano, Kelvin Keith, Michael Flood, Richard Fung and David Lipschutz with the proclamation from Mayor Eric Garcetti declaring Sept. 27 “EY Day in Los Angeles.” The five joined more than 170 EY accountants and other professionals who volunteered at the LA Regional Food Bank during “EY Connect Day.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a proclamation recognizing today as “EY Day in Los Angeles” as more than 700 hundred accountants and other professionals left their spreadsheets at the office to volunteer throughout the community. It’s all part of the firm’s national “EY Connect Day” which gives employees nationwide the day off so that they might give back to their communities.

Among the “EY Connect Day” projects this year, thirty firm volunteers worked with the United Way and YWCA to provide coaching on interviewing techniques to Job Corps students, conduct mock job interviews, offer resume feedback and assist with financial education classes.

Building on last year’s project where EY volunteers established a lending library at the Variety Boys & Girls Club in East Los Angeles, this year’s volunteers catalogued, labeled and shelved an additional 1,000 books for the club’s collection, as well as removed books the club no longer needed. The project has enabled club members to read over 500 books in the past year.

Other organizations with “EY Connect Day” projects in Los Angeles this year included the California Science Center, Habit for Humanity, a number of food banks and numerous others.

LA Entrepreneur of the Year finalists

EOYErnst & Young LLP has announced 19 finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 Award in greater Los Angeles. The finalists were selected by a panel of independent judges. Collectively, these finalists have created over 10,000 jobs. On average, they have increased their workforce by 20% and have grown their revenues by 53% since 2010.

Award winners will be announced at a special gala, with over 7o0 entrepreneurs and business leaders, on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. The 2013 finalist are:

  • Janice Bryant Howroyd, CEO, The Act 1 Group – Torrance, CA
  • Dinesh Ravishanker, CEO & Co-Founder, CallFire – Santa Monica, CA
  • Mel Elias, President & CEO, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf – Los Angeles, CA
  • Clarence Daniels Jr., Chairman & CEO, Concession Management Services – Los Angeles, CA
  •   Sam Naficy, President & CEO, DTT – Los Angeles, CA
  •   Jeff Stibel, Chairman & CEO, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. – Malibu, CA
  •   Martha de la Torre and Joe Badame, Co-Founders, El Clasificado – Norwalk, CA
  •   Jamey Edwards, CEO, Emergent Medical Associates – Manhattan Beach, CA
  •   The An Family, Founders, House of An (Crustacean, An Qi, Tiato, Thanh Long, and An Catering) – Beverly Hills, CA
  •   Ed Bagdasarian, President, Jim Freedman, Chairman, Mike Rosenberg, CEO, Intrepid Investment Bankers LLC – Los Angeles, CA
  •   Bob Sinnott, CEO, Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors, L.P. – Los Angeles, CA
  •   Moctesuma Esparza, CEO, Maya Cinemas North America, Inc – Los Angeles, CA
  •   Demian Sellfors, CEO and Co-Founder, Media Temple – Culver City, CA
  •   Rick Stollmeyer, CEO, MINDBODY Inc. – San Luis Obispo, CA
  •   Tim Cadogan, CEO, OpenX – Pasadena, CA
  •   Loren Bendele, President & Co-Founder, – Los Angeles, CA
  •   Walter Driver, CEO, Scopely – Los Angeles, CA
  •   Jessica Firestone, President & CEO, Tempest Telecom Solutions LLC – Santa Barbara, CA
  •   Jeff Green, CEO & Founder, The Trade Desk – Ventura, CA

LA Boy Scout group calls for welcoming gay adults

Boy_Scouts_of_America_universal_emblem.svgThe Western Los Angeles County Council of the Boy Scouts of America doesn’t think the new proposal to lift a ban against gay Scouts goes far enough and should include “homosexual adults as troop leaders,” reports Reuters.

“We’re hoping that by being visible on the issue, we can encourage others to have the temerity to join us,” said Alan Snyder, chairman of the board for the Western Los Angeles County Council.

POPP Program on KTLA: Changing the lives of young Angelenos

Following up on the recent LA Times article written by Bob Pool, the Police Orientation Preparation Program appeared on the morning editions at KTLA. One of the segments on KTLA displayed the students in the classroom preparing for a test. The reporter interviewed a young girl from the program, and it proved to be an incredible moment that highlighted the importance of POPP. She relayed to the reporter that she once had a 2.0 GPA, but ever since she started POPP, her GPA rose to a 3.8. Plus, she’s pursuing college. Her story serves as an example of the direct impact POPP has on changing these students lives.


Another segment on KTLA showcased the students during their PT session. A student was interviewed and commented on how the program was changing his life, because when he was growing up in his neighborhood, he saw shootings and crime everywhere. However, now that he is in the POPP Program, he has a chance to return as an officer, one day, and impact his community.


Roberta Weintraub discusses the POPP Program and a new path to the middle class

Running FBThe unemployment rate in Los Angeles is still high, and the middle class is shrinking faster and faster with every paycheck. So what does this mean for students in high school, thinking about their next step? Should they go to college and take on an exorbitant amount of loans? Or should they step straight into the workforce? And what’s the best way to find a job that will help a student take a giant leap into the middle class?

Well, in a recent article at Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine, Roberta Weintraub, founder and executive director of the Police Orientation Preparation Program (POPP), wrote an article explaining how POPP, a one of a kind education program for students interested in a career in law enforcement, is providing a new path to the middle class.

We’ve really enjoyed promoting their cause, and the article at Police showcases how extraordinary their program is in Los Angeles and the country.

Lost in translation: The cultural differences in communication

Since September 2011, I have been traveling all over the world; I have spent 7 months in Togo (West Africa), 6 months in Freiburg, Germany, and now 4 months in Los Angeles. One of the things you become aware of when living abroad is how differently people communicate. These differences can be very subtle or very bold, depending on how much a given culture differs from your own.

Marie Ebenezer has spent 7 months in Togo, teaching English in grade 6

Marie Ebenezer has spent seven months in Togo, teaching English in grade 6.

Adjusting to the life in Togo was a much bigger challenge than coming to Los Angeles, because Togo’s culture was so radically different than what I was used to. This was, if nothing else, because I had to completely rethink the way I communicated – the German or European way that I had been practicing all my life was no longer appropriate.  The challenge was not that I had to speak French (which is my second native language), but that I had to adapt to a new culture and therefore to a new way of communicating. The entire dynamic — idioms, gestures, conversational patterns — was different. From my experiences in these three continents, I have noticed the following major differences in the way people communicate.


Language is the most obvious tool of communication, and every culture has its own — or many. (While people in England obviously speak English, it is undeniably different than  the way Americans speak). If you don’t speak the language of a culture, you have to rely on gestures, pictures and facial expressions. Since I speak English very well, language has not been a barrier for me in Los Angeles. In Togo, however, language was a big obstacle — Togo has French as an official language, but many people only speak the tribal language “Ewe.” I didn’t understand anything people were saying to me – or, a lot of the time, about me. This can be frustrating. If you are so different from everyone else, then you need to explain why you are different, and what your own culture is like, to experience mutual understanding. Expressing myself became a real hurdle. I quickly learned the basics of the local language, and many people did speak French, but it was never enough to engage in a meaningful conversation. So, during my time in Togo, I never really felt like I connected with anyone in a substantial way. Certainly, language is only a small part of culture, and you also have to face differences in values, religion, education, customs, etc.


It’s a fact that media and communication go hand in hand. I have, however, seen a big discrepancy in how much of our communication goes through the media and digital devices. In Los Angeles, everybody has access to the internet, print media and broadcast, and everyone owns a cell phone and a computer. You can hardly escape this wave of communication, and we almost always use our cell phones or computers if we want to reach someone.

In theory, you could get all of these things in Togo. The big issue, however, is that  accessibility to the media is expensive. Televisions are fairly widespread and so are cell phones (but hardly any of them are charged with sufficient money). Newspapers are rare. The internet is available in internet cafes, but – as you can imagine – it is very, very slow. It is almost impossible to watch a video online, and I can remember waiting for several minutes for a picture to upload on Facebook.

New York City - a great example of the ubiquity of digital media

New York City is a great example of the ubiquity of digital media.

Think of how many texts and e-mails you write, of how many videos you watch online, of how many tweets and Facebook posts you read. How far away is the next screen or newspaper? In Togo, hardly any communication goes through print, digital, or social media. Most of it is oral communication, and if you want to talk to someone, well, you go over to their house and talk to them.

Surely, there has been an evolution of how we communicate. Not too long ago, we did not have digital media at our disposal. In Togo, however, media as such is hardly available. Oral communication is a long lasting tradition in many African countries, and this tradition is definitely threatened by the changes in communication that are going on globally.


It’s clear that different cultures use different means of communication. In our society, digital and written communication has replaced oral communication to a certain extent. The media is, however, only a small portion of how we communicate. One of the biggest challenges in intercultural communication is the subtle aspects of a culture, which can throw you off if you are not used to them. These become clear in daily interactions between people.

In Togo, written communication has been establishing itself slowly

Written communication has been establishing itself slowly in Togo.

In Togo, for instance, it is a sign of respect not to look the person you’re talking to in the eyes. I found this rather odd, especially because I did not know about this custom, and it changes the dynamic of a conversation. Imagine talking to a student who does not look you in the eyes when you are asking them a question – wouldn’t it seem like that student is insecure or evasive?

As a German, I was also bewildered by how common the phrase “I love you” is used in America. In Los Angeles, a mother says it to her child and best friends say it to each other. I hear it all the time. When I heard it for the first time, it made me extremely uncomfortable, because in Germany, this expression is only used among lovers. Germans assume that their parents and friends love them, but we don’t explicitly say it.

Our way of communicating is riddled with these small features. Most natives won’t even notice them, because they are embedded in our culture, and culture is not something you consciously carry out. This is why, a lot of the times, when you immerse yourself in a foreign culture, you learn more about yourself than you might expect. If you are faced with a different culture, you are bound to reflect on your own – and I can only encourage everyone to do this, because it is truly enriching.

Broads Circle to host ‘Marketing Me: Attorneys and Accountants’ panel

Broads Circle, the womens networking organization, will host the breakfast panel “Marketing Me: Attorneys and Accountants” at the Olympic Collection Banquet Hall on Friday, November 2.

Panelists include Joy Chudacoff, founder, Smart Women Smart Solutions; Judy Jernudd, CEO, Strategic Personal Branding and Startegiv Studios; Andi Groomes, executive business development coach, Threshold Advisors; and Deborah Rodney, regional development director, ProVisors. Tracy Williams, president and CEO of Olmstead Williams Communications, will be moderating the event. Click here to register.