Our Board - River LA

We Have Experts. We Know LA.

GOVERNING

Harry B. Chandler (Chair)

After nearly thirty years as a media executive at 20th Century Fox, Showtime, Hearst Entertainment, the Los Angeles Times and Overture Services (now Yahoo Search), Harry Chandler now devotes much of his time to the River LA board and other non-profit pursuits. 

He is a graduate of Stanford University, and attended UCLA's Graduate School of Film and Television, and the Anderson School of Management. He has also become a writer and photographer with his first book, “Dreamers in Dream City”, having been published in 2009 by Angel City Press.

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Christopher Rising (Vice-Chair)

Christopher Rising manages the day-to-day business activities of Rising Realty Partners, while also serving on its Investment Committee. 

Drawing on his experience as Senior Vice President, Asset Transactions at MPG Office Trust, Inc., Christopher is skilled at managing acquisitions and creative development. At MPG, he worked directly with the CEO to improve finances through debt reduction and restructuring.  In 2003, he founded his own company, The Rising Real Estate Group (RREG.) As the company grew, he seized the opportunity to partner with BPG and created Hamilton Capital Partners (HCP), an equity fund vehicle. He began his professional career as an associate at Pillsbury Madison & Sutro. He worked at Cushman Realty Corporation (CRC) under brokerage legend John C. Cushman, III. Christopher then served as a Director at Cushman & Wakefield of California, Inc. (C&W), joining C&W after its merger with CRC in 2001. Christopher currently serves as Chair and President of the Board of Trustees of Chandler School in Pasadena and as a member of the Board of Regents of Loyola High School, the Athletic Advisory Board at Duke University and the Board of Overseers at Loyola Law School. Formerly he served as President of the Loyola High School Alumni Association. Christopher is a graduate of Duke University and Loyola Law School.

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Leslie Lassiter - (Treasurer)

Leslie Lassiter is a Managing Director and leads our Entertainment Practice in J.P. Morgan’s Private Bank in Los Angeles. A veteran banker, Leslie joined Chase Manhattan Bank in 1979. During her more than 30 years with the firm, she has held a number of senior leadership positions in both the Private Bank and the Investment Bank. 

Leslie joined the Private Banking business in 2000. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Leslie managed a significant portion of the Private Bank’s New York City business as the market manager for the New York metro area. Previously, Leslie led the strategic planning office for Chase Manhattan’s wholesale business and prior to that, she managed corporate finance efforts for the Investment Bank’s Latin American region.

Leslie earned a bachelor’s degree in quantitative economics from Scripps College and a M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. Leslie served on the Board of Scripps College for 15 years and chaired the Institutional Advancement Committee for 10 of those years. In 2013 she joined the board of the United Way of Los Angeles and since 2014, Leslie has served on the Board of The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. 

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Steve English (Secretary)

Before co-founding Advancement Project, Steve English was a partner in the Los Angeles office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius for twelve years, helping to manage a 20-lawyer litigation department. 

Together with Co-Directors Connie Rice and Molly Munger, Steve launched a coalition lawsuit, Godinez v. Davis, that won approximately $1 billion for new school construction in Los Angeles and other urban areas —money previously slated for less crowded, more affluent suburban school districts. With these funds the Los Angeles Unified School District began its nationally recognized program to build over 66 new schools since 2001. After the court required California to develop a new system for funding schools construction, Advancement Project was instrumental in assessing the need for adequate schools to serve all children in California as well as shepherding three school construction bond initiatives that raised $25 billion for new and renovated facilities throughout the state, including $5 billion earmarked to relieve overcrowding in urban schools. This funding enabled California to build or renovate over 1 million school spaces since 2000. Steve led Advancement Project's work in crafting the bonds, advising on the implementing regulations and monitoring the state's progress in constructing schools. A committed advocate for legal services for the poor, Steve has served as board president of three major service providers: Public Counsel, the Inner City Law Center, and Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Steve also has served as President of the Los Angeles County Bar Foundation and chaired the Litigation Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He received the California State Bar President's Pro Bono Award in 1994 and, with Co-Director Molly Munger, the ACLU of Southern California's Equal Justice Advocate award in 2002. Steve is an honors graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School.

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Heather Crossner

Heather Crossner is counsel in the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins and is a member of the firm's Environmental, Land & Resources Department.

Ms. Crossner has experience working on large, complex development projects that incorporate legal, political, community and public relations issues. She assists land owners and developers through all stages of the entitlement and development process, providing counsel to clients on local planning and zoning regulations and related environmental matters.

Ms. Crossner also advises clients on land use regulations including the California Environmental Quality Act, the California Subdivision Map Act, redevelopment law and historic preservation. Her work has included representation of an international retail corporation developing properties within the City of Los Angeles and representation of a university implementing a master plan to redevelop its existing campus.

Ms. Crossner serves on the Board of Inner Circle Foster Care & Adoption, and on the Hollywood Chamber’s Economic Development Committee.

 

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Cynthia Hirschhorn

Cynthia Hirschhorn is proud to serve on the board of River LA to which she brings her passions for Public Art, Urban Gardens and the Creative Culture of Los Angeles. 

Cynthia is an environmental designer with expertise in architecture, interiors, landscaping, programing and website production. Her work spans commercial, residential and nonprofit projects. Cynthia developed and implemented a successful fundraising and community building platform for parents at Harvard-Westlake School, created unycyn.com, a curated resource site for civic revitalization, flowproject.la, a platform connecting civic patrons with projects, thecurrent enewsletter to connect and engage, and Unycyn Civic Arts, supporting civic beautification through public art and urban gardens. She enjoys hosting salons on public health and art, civic environments and the LA River, leading garden tours and urban explorations, and organizing events celebrating community. A native of Los Angeles, Cynthia attended Yale College, has a BA in Cultural History and a Masters in Architecture from UCLA.
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Krisztina Holly

Krisztina Holly, known by her colleagues as "Z" is a Hungarian American innovator and entrepreneur. She serves as Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office.

She is best known as the creator of the firstTEDx, the founding executive director of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Vice Provost for Innovation and founding executive director of the Stevens Center for Innovation at the University of Southern CaliforniaShe has been involved in various startups and was a prominent mountain bike advocate in New England for a decade. She is currently an advisor to the Obama Administration and the World Economic Forum. She is married and resides in Los Angeles.

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James Johnson

James Johnson Jr. serves as the Political Director of the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) – the non-partisan political action arm of the environmental movement in California.

 

James currently serves on the Board of the SCLC of Southern California. From 2002-04, he served on the Liberty Hill Foundation Fund for a New LA Funding Board.  James was recognized by Congresswoman Judy Chu as the 27th Congressional District 2013 Community Activist of the Year.

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Jordan Kerner

Jordan Kerner’s feature film credits include: Charlotte’s Web, Snow Dogs, Inspector Gadget, George Of The Jungle, Up Close & Personal, When A Man Loves A Woman, The Three Musketeers, The Mighty Ducks Trilogy, Fried Green Tomatoes and many others. His most recent film, The Smurfs, grossed over $500 million.

In addition to his numerous awards, Kerner was named the Producer of the Year by the Hollywood Entertainment Museum in 2006. As President of Kerner Entertainment and previously a founding partner in The Avnet/Kerner Company, Kerner began his career in the entertainment industry working in various capacities for San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX-TV. He relocated to Los Angeles and worked in the Motion Picture Department of Ball, Hunt, Brown and Baerwitz, a Beverly Hills law firm. Two years later, Kerner joined CBS as a Talent and Program Negotiator in the network’s Business Affairs Department. From 1978 to 1981 he held positions in development at Universal and QM Productions, until moving to ABC Entertainment as Director of Dramatic Series Development. He became Vice President of that division in 1983. While at ABC, Kerner was responsible for developing shows such as “Moonlighting,” “MacGyver,” “Dynasty,” “Spenser: For Hire” and “Call to Glory.” Kerner is a former Governor of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Beverly Hills Bar Association Barristers. He is the Founder and former Cochairman of the Committee for the Arts of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. He currently is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Producers Guild and the American Film Institute. A 1972 graduate from Stanford University, Kerner received a degree with distinction, and honors in Political Science and Communications. He then earned a JD-MBA degree from the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco in 1976, serving on the Law Review and founding COMM/ENT, the Journal of Communications and Entertainment Law.

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Brian Moore

Brian Moore is a seasoned manager and engineer who has planned, designed, and constructed some of the largest public works and military construction projects in Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada. 

As the Deputy District Engineer for Project Management in the Los Angeles District, Corps of Engineers, he managed a team of more than 100 project managers and professional support staff responsible for the execution of all major District projects and programs with an annual budget of nearly $1 billion. In his role as the Deputy District Engineer he served as a Deputy to the Commander, was the Senior Civilian over the 700 plus workforce in the District, and had the added responsibility for developing and maintaining the District's partnering and political relationships with local governments, other agencies, and 52 members of Congress. He received his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters Degree in Water Resources Systems from Cornell University. He is a registered professional engineer in the State of California. Upon his retirement, in recognition of his significant contributions to the Nation over his 44 year career, the Secretary of the Army awarded him the medal for Exceptional Civilian Service, the highest award the Army can bestow upon a civilian. His wife, Nancy, holds a PhD in Water Resources Systems Engineering and is a Senior Management Scientist at RAND. They divide their time between homes in Pacific Palisades and Mammoth Lakes.

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Cedd Moses

Cedd Moses is the founder and inspiration behind 213 Hospitality, a company which operates several of Los Angeles' most celebrated bars, restaurants, and breweries. Including The Varnish; Cole's Originators of the French Dip; Seven Grand Whiskey Bar; The Golden Gopher; Tony's Saloon; The Broadway Bar; Caña Rum Bar; Las Perlas; Casey's Irish Bar; Honeycut; The Normandie Club; and Arts District Brewing Company.

Moses was instrumental in bringing National recognition to LA’s craft cocktail culture in LA beginning with a dive bar called Liquid Kitty 19 years ago. Upon establishing 213 Hospitality in 2000, Moses has dedicated his professional pursuits to the revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles. He has done so by converting empty or underutilized Commercial buildings with historical and architectural significance into mixed-use developments featuring residential lofts, creative and office spaces, restaurants, breweries and cocktail lounges. Due to his contributions in Downtown LA, Moses is widely acknowledged as one of the city’s most impactful real estate developers and plans to transport that same enthusiasm to other cities like New York, Austin, and San Diego.

Cedd Moses was raised in Venice, California partly by his father, the famous Abstract Expressionist painter Ed Moses. For nearly two decades, Moses worked as a professional money manager, known for his business acumen and socially responsible investing. In the mid-90s Moses shifted gears to concentrate on hospitality projects and development, an extension of his ongoing passion for the city’s arts and underground music subculture. He currently is on the board of LASI (Los Angeles Street Car), Historic Core Business Improvement District, and The Museum of the American Cocktail.

Moses also produced Cool School, a film directed by Academy Award- winning Morgan Neville, spotlighting LA’s Ferus Gallery and the 60s avant-garde artists, including his own father.

Currently, Moses is developing a project inside the historic Fred Harvey Room within Los Angeles’ Union Station amongst other projects.

In his spare time, Moses can be found playing squash or at the racetrack.

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Dee Dee Myers

Dee Dee Myers became Executive Vice President, Worldwide Corporate Communications and Public Affairs for Warner Bros. in September 2014.  In this role, she oversees all of the company's corporate communications strategies and activities on a global basis, including media relations, public positioning, executive communications, corporate responsibility and philanthropy. 

Prior to joining Warner Bros., Myers most recently served as Managing Director of the Glover Park Group, where she used her years of experience in politics and media to counsel clients on strategic and crisis communications, reputation management and integrated marketing. 

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Gary Ross

Gary Ross is an American film director, writer, and author. He wrote and directed the film The Hunger Games, as well as Pleasantville and the Best Picture nominated Seabiscuit, among others.

Gary Ross is married to Allison Thomas and they have settled their family on the LA River in the valley. Gary bikes the LA River multiple times a week and is one of LA River Corp's newest Board Members.

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Mark Roybal

Mark Roybal served as Executive Vice President of Production at 20th Century Fox, from 2013 to 2017.  He supervised the “Planet of the Apes” franchise for the studio, including Matt Reeves’ upcoming “War for the Planet of the Apes,” and he was the production executive on David Fincher’s “Gone Girl.”  He also developed and oversaw the upcoming films for the studio: Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” Will Eubank’s “Underwater,” and David Prior’s “The Empty Man.” 

From 2010 to 2013, Roybal was the President of Production at Indian Paintbrush, a finance and production company.  There he oversaw all creative aspects of film development, production, and acquisitions, including Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” Danny Boyle’s “Trance,” Park Chan Wook’s “Stoker,” David Chase’s “Not Fade Away,” Lorene Scafaria’s “Seeking a Friend at the End of the World,” and Drake Doremus’ “Like Crazy, “ which won the Grand Jury Prize for Drama at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.  

Prior to joining Indian Paintbrush in 2010, Roybal was the President of Scott Rudin Productions, where he worked with the Academy Award®-winning producer from 1996 to 2010. He was an executive producer on Joel and Ethan Coen’s “No Country for Old Men.” The film won four Academy Awards® in 2008: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem). Roybal also produced Kim Peirce’s “Stop-Loss,” John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt,” and was an executive producer on Stephen Daldry’s “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” which was nominated for Best Picture.  

Originally from San Francisco, Roybal currently resides in Los Angeles with his family.  He is an active member of AMPAS and the PGA.

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Bruce Saito 

Bruce Saito is the Director of the California Conservation Corps. 

He started at the California Conservation Corps in 1976, working with youth at various locations throughout the state. In 1985, he opened the Los Angeles office of the Corps. He serves on the boards of the California Board of Forestry, the Los Angeles Community Gardening Council, the Little Tokyo Senior Nutrition Program, the Infrastructure Academy, and the LA Neighborhood Land Trust. He is a graduate of San Francisco State University. Bruce was appointed Director of the CCC by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2015.

 

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Richard Weintraub

Richard Weintraub, President and founder of Weintraub Real Estate Group, has distinguished himself among developers as a community oriented developer whose unparalleled vision and creativity is only match by his incredible sensitivity to the unique needs of each neighborhood in which he develops. 

Mr. Weintraub has also shown his commitment to Southern California through his philanthropic efforts. From working with the Valley Community Clinic in the San Fernando Valley, to the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu, Mr. Weinthraub is committed to bettering the communities he works in. 

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Daphne Zuniga

In addition to her successful career in film and television, which includes starring roles in Mel Brooks' Spaceballs, Melrose Place and One Tree Hill, Daphne Zuniga was a founding board member of Earth Communications Office, and has worked with such organizations as the Natural Resource Defense Council and Waterkeeper Alliance. 

She produced a short film for the nonprofit, Communities for a Better Environment, highlighting the environmental justice problems in Los Angeles’ Hispanic communities, where childhood asthma is an epidemic. Zuniga has also written for Oprah's O Magazine on environmental mercury poisoning.

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ADVISORY

Kafi Blumenfeld

Kafi D. Blumenfield is the President and CEO of Liberty Hill Foundation, one of the nation's most admired social change foundations. 

Since joining Liberty Hill in 2004, she has focused on expanding Liberty Hill's impact by strengthening the Foundation's investment in community leaders on the frontlines of change. During her tenure, Blumenfield has overseen several critical aspects of the Foundation's work in Los Angeles including the launch of the Wally Marks Leadership Institute for Change, an intensive on-the-job training for local community organizers; initiatives to increase donor diversity in social justice philanthropy including Change L.A., which is building millennial-generation giving; and a strategic refocusing of Liberty Hill's nearly $5 million annual grant investments. Blumenfield has direct experience working on an array of issues with which Liberty Hill is associated, including civic engagement, environmental justice, human rights and housing. Prior to joining Liberty Hill, she was Deputy Director of Neighbor to Neighbor, a national organization dedicated to grassroots political empowerment of working families. She also served as Director of Programs for the Fair Housing Council of San Gabriel Valley and worked for the Natural Resources Defense Council on urban air issues. Blumenfield is a board member of the Southern California Grantmakers and an advisory board member of Mayor Antonio Villariagosa’s Office of Strategic Partnerships and the Draper Center for Community Partnerships at Pomona College. Blumenfield is a member of the selection committee for the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards. Her opinions have been featured in national and local media outlets including The Tavis Smiley Show, The Los Angeles Times and Which Way L.A. She holds a law degree from UCLA and a B.A. from Pomona College. Blumenfield is married to Bob Blumenfield, the state representative from the 40th Assembly District in California. They live in Woodland Hills with their two young children.

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Cecilia Estolano

Cecilia V. Estolano is an expert in sustainable economic development and urban revitalization. The many projects she has directed as co-founder of ELP Advisors include advising local governments, non-profits and foundations on redevelopment dissolution and economic revitalization; overseeing research on green infrastructure and job creation in Philadelphia; and managing complex multi-stakeholder processes, including the creation of economic development implementation plans and the LA 2050 visioning project for the Goldhirsh Foundation.

Cecilia Estolano is a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law and holds an M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA. She received her undergraduate degree in Social Studies with honors from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges.

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Ben Goldhirsh

Benjamin Goldhirsh is the co-founder and CEO of GOOD, an editorially led, member driven community of people, NGOs, and corporations pushing our world forward. 

Active in both regional and international philanthropic endeavors, Ben is one of the Directors of The Goldhirsh Foundation, which supports dynamic social programs, environmental initiatives, innovative medical research, and leading cultural institutions. Ben serves on the Board of Millennium Promise, an organization guided by the UN’s Millennium Development goals to end extreme global poverty by 2025, as well as the Los Angeles Board of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship and the board of City Year Los Angeles.

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René Jones

René Jones is the founding Director of the UTA Foundation at United Talent Agency. As Director, Jones provides strategic guidance for UTA's clients and executives in their pursuit of meaningful philanthropy and oversees charitable, volunteer and enrichment programming for the agency.

She began her career in the U.S. Senate and went on to become Finance Director for many high-profile campaigns and national non-profit organizations. Her community involvement includes: board chair of Healthy Child Healthy World, Global Ambassador for Vital Voices, and USC Marshall Society and Business Lab Senior Fellow. Jones is an avid world traveler and resides in Los Angeles with her family.

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Richard J. Jackson

Dr. Richard Jackson has done extensive work in the impact of the environment on health, particularly relating to children. Dr. Jackson chaired the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Environmental Health. He worked to reduce pesticide threats in California, and has expertise in epidemiology, infectious diseases, toxicology and leadership. 

He also served in the highest California Public Health position where he advanced the state’s disease preparedness efforts and public health effort to reverse the obesity epidemic. He was instrumental in the re-creation of the California Department of Public Health, separated from the insurance functions from the former Department of Health Services.

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Timothy Karsten

Timothy Karsten works with business and non-profit leaders, wealthy individuals, and wealthy families who are curious about possibilities they hadn’t previously imagined for themselves. 

Karsten guides his clients to challenge inhibiting beliefs in their roles as cultural and civic leaders and stewards of wealth, especially related to business, philanthropy, economic, and environmental sustainability.  For over 20 years, Karsten has overseen family trusts, investment strategies, and asset managers. Since 2000, he has managed the investment portfolio of the Karsten Family Foundation and driven its mission through grant making focused on the environment, education, housing, and empowering girls and women. Karsten has pursued diverse paths of formal and informal study and exploration. Beyond graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in Political Economics and International Relations and earning a law degree from USC Law Center, Karsten's travels and interest in diversity of culture and customs have taken him around the world. He has immersed himself in the study of philosophy as well as the most recent advances in physics and brain science to better understand the complex interaction of human potential. He happily shares his home in Pacific Palisades, California with his wife, Karinna, and their Jack Russell Terrier, Sparky. When Karsten is not busy raising the bar of expectation and performance for his clients, you can find him entertaining friends and family, playing music, discovering unknown roads and mountain trails around the world, and bringing magic to his organic gardens.

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Donald R. Spivack

Donald R. Spivack is a professional urban planner with over 40 years’ experience.

He served as Deputy Chief of Operations for the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) for six years prior to retiring in December 2010; in that capacity he oversaw the CRA/LA’s strategic planning, policy development and professional services units, which included policy planning, resource development, housing, environmental planning, engineering, cultural arts and other professional and technical units of the CRA/LA. Previously he held positions at CRA/LA as Deputy Administrator for Community Development for four years; Director of Operations for eight years; Senior Project Manager for the Central Business District for over four years; and Transportation Manager for eight months. In these capacities he was responsible for overseeing formation and implementation activities in several redevelopment projects in Los Angeles, including those in and around the Downtown Core, Hollywood, the East Side and portions of the San Fernando Valley, and for coordinating redevelopment planning with the emerging rapid transit network in Los Angeles.

Prior to coming to the CRA/LA, Mr. Spivack was Chief of Community Planning in the Montgomery County Planning Department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in Silver Spring, MD, for close to ten years, as well as Transportation Coordinator there for one year.  Before that he was Director of Physical Planning at the Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority in Detroit, MI, for two years and Assistant Professor of Architecture and Planning at Ohio University, in Athens, OH, for three years.  Mr. Spivack retired from the CRA/LA in December 2010. Since then he has served as a consultant to several not-for-profit organizations including the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust and the Los Angeles Collaborative for Environmental Health and Justice, advising on a variety of environmental justice issues. He is also an adjunct instructor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California.

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Michael Strautmanis

Michael Strautmanis is the Vice President, Civic Engagement for The Barack Obama Foundation 

Before this position, he was the Vice President, Citizenship Strategic Programs at the Walt Disney Company after serving as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor for Strategic Engagement to the Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. In this role, Michael was responsible for coordinating communication and engagement strategies. 

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