June 15, 2011…IABC-LA welcomed members to the chapter’s end of the year celebration in the spirit of true kinship in a lavish 1920’s art deco setting at The Oviatt Building Penthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Past Chapter President, Christie Ly produced an outstanding event. We stepped into the historical past of L.A. while hearing keynote speaker, Father Greg Boyle, founder of HomeBoy Industries http://www.homeboy-industries.org who has gained significant respect for his model program for at-risk inner city youth. Paula Cassin, continuing as L.A. Chapter President for the 2011-2012, and Father Greg both spoke about the importance of kinship and connection, not only within the business side of things, but within our community.
The evening had that magical quality when guests rode up the detailed wood-paneled elevator to arrive in another world within the Oviatt Penthouse suite. After cocktails and roaming around the suite to see autographed headshots of Errol Flynn and Leslie Howard, Parisian-inspired 20’s décor and artworks… guests mingled and chatted before going out to the beautiful large private patio underneath L.A. skyscrapers for the June Gala festivities.
Rebecca Mikkelsen, Social Media Chair extraordinaire (2010-2011) welcomed Dana Edler, Communications Specialist, JPL, Acquisitions Division, to her first IABC event. Dana is taking on the Membership Chair position this year and we welcome Dana to the board.
For some light-hearted dinner conversation, T.J. Stevko of Mercer, Paromita Ghosh, chapter volunteer Geoff Thomas (with new haircut!), Dana and I talked about our favorite news sources, earthquake preparedness and the end of the world(!) which did not come months ago … T.J. had the best marketing shenanigans story …“we’ll take care of your pets for a fee if the world comes to an end for you.”!
Pamela Corante-Hansen, Membership Chair (2010-2011) treated guests to an engaging and humorous five-minute version of the L.A. Conservancy’s two hour tour of facts, anecdotes and historical information of The Oviatt. Pamela is a volunteer docent with The L.A. Conservancy. She brought Mr. Oviatt and his building’s history to life!
Paula Cassin noted once again, the collegial quality of the L.A. Chapter, thanked board members and chairs for their outstanding efforts, welcomed new board members and discussed the highlights of the past year.
On a more serious note as the L.A. sunset created a once again magical setting, Christie introduced Father Greg Boyle. Father Greg spoke of the seeds of HomeBoy Industries, the determination to have communities understand the importance of support even in the face of severe disdain for the most at-risk youth. While Father Greg’s guests, former street gang members Robert and Jose joined us for dinner and festivities, Father Greg told stories of young men named Bandit and Puppet. Tattooed and formerly discarded youth truly make it through HomeBoy Industries yet some are not as fortunate. Father Greg writes about kinship in his book “Tattoos on the Heart” and how he gets rival gang members to work alongside each other for the promise of jobs not jail time. “I’m so tired of being tired” is the standard reply Father Greg receives when he asks a gang member why he or she finally decides to walk through HomeBoy’s doors. The chapter thanks Father Greg for his bounteous work and has made a donation to HomeBoy Industries. After a standing ovation for Father Greg, Christie and Paula announced each attendee to receive a gift back with a HomeBoy mug and an autographed copy of the book personalized to each attendee. Wow.
Paula reiterated the theme of “kinship”. Chapter members not only enjoy tremendous connections business-wise, but we have made lifelong friends as well.
In the continued spirit of kinship, Paula Cassin presented the John F. Cartwright “Sunshine” Award to Events Board Member, Myra Jolivet, who received the award for her overall enthusiasm, infectious goodwill towards others and all-around volunteer efforts. Myra’s smile is the warmest and her talents are boundless in bringing fresh ideas to events (like the Holiday Murder Mystery event last December.)
Throughout the event, chapter sponsor Ed Carreon snapped professional grade pics. Finally, Chris Cabrera and Myra presented Paula with our heartfelt thanks for her outstanding leadership as president over the past year.
The June Gala event was a shining example of a beautiful kinship of the past, present and future.
Please check out the two-part video under “Past Events”.