Darsha PhilipsEmcee:

Darsha Philips

NBC4 Reporter

Darsha Philips is an Emmy-nominated general assignment reporter for NBC4, reporting weekdays on the NBC4 News at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. and on weekends on the NBC4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Philips comes to NBC4 from KABC-TV and, prior to that, from the FOX affiliate, KTXL-TV, in Sacramento, CA, and the NBC affiliate, KULR-TV, in Billings, MT.

She has covered countless breaking news stories for NBC4 across all newscasts, and her tenacity, creative approach to stories and deep knowledge of communities throughout Southern California have been invaluable to the news team. Philips also has a passion for reporting inspiring stories of people and diverse neighborhoods in the southland.


Alysia BellAlysia Bell

President, UNITE-LA

Alysia Bell serves as President of UNITE-LA. After pursuing UNITE-LA for two years, Bell joined the organization in 2011. In her years with the organization, she has led our national work in partnership with the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). This partnership has raised more than $13 million, which resulted in sub-granting more than $700 thousand to chambers across the country. This led to promising practices in higher education attainment and graduated nearly 200 business organization leaders from the Fellowship for Education Attainment. Together, UNITE-LA and ACCE designed and engaged more than 600 chamber professionals in the Education and Talent Development Division, which UNITE-LA and ACCE co-launched in 2011.

At the state level, Bell has staffed the Education and Workforce Development Committee of the Regional Association of Economic Leaders (R.E.A.L.) Coalition of California and is now engaged in the California Stewardship Network. Regionally, Bell works closely with UNITE-LA's programs, policy and systems teams, plays a key role in the organization's Anti-Racism and Race Equity learning journey and leads organization-wide efforts, including CRM implementation and strategic planning.


Alberto CarvalhoAlberto M. Carvalho

Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District

Alberto M. Carvalho has served as Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second-largest school district, since February 2022. He was selected by the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education in a unanimous vote following a comprehensive community engagement process and a nationwide search.

During his 14-year tenure as Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS), Superintendent Carvalho garnered local, state, national and international recognition. His honors include Florida's 2014 Superintendent of the Year; the 2014 National Superintendent of the Year; the 2016 winner of the Harold W. McGraw Prize in Education; the 2018 National Urban Superintendent of the Year; and the 2019 National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) Superintendent of the Year Award, making him the most accomplished Superintendent in America's history.

Superintendent Carvalho currently serves on the National Assessment Governing Board, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Education. He also serves as a committee member for the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and as an Advisory Committee Member to the Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance. Superintendent Carvalho is a dedicated member of the National Board of Directors for Common Threads and the Posse Foundation.


Linda Darling-HammondRemarks by:

Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond

Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University and founding president of the Learning Policy Institute

Linda Darling-Hammond is the President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute. She is also the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University, where she founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and served as the faculty sponsor of the Stanford Teacher Education Program, which she helped to redesign.

Darling-Hammond is past president of the American Educational Research Association and recipient of its awards for Distinguished Contributions to Research, Lifetime Achievement and Research-to-Policy. She is also a member of the American Association of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Education. From 1994–2001, she was executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, whose 1996 report, What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future, was named one of the most influential reports affecting U.S. education in that decade. In 2006, Darling-Hammond was named one of the nation's 10 most influential people affecting educational policy. She led the Obama education policy transition team in 2008 and the Biden education transition team in 2020. In 2022, Darling-Hammond received the Yidan Prize for Education Research in recognition of her work that has shaped education policy and practice around the most equitable and effective ways to teach and learn.


Sen. María Elena DurazoMaría Elena Durazo

Senator, CA Senate District 26

Sen. María Elena Durazo is a life-long labor organizer and currently represents California’s Senate District 26, which encompasses Central Los Angeles, East Los Angeles and Vernon. She is a proud daughter of Mexican, immigrant farm workers, and as a child, she traveled from Oregon to California with her parents and nine siblings to work in the fields. She was the first female President of UNITE HERE Local 11 and the first female Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. Sen. Durazo is a graduate of St. Mary’s College in Moraga and earned her law degree from the People’s College of Law.




Efrain EscobedoEfrain Escobedo

President & CEO, Center for Nonprofit Management, and Board Vice Chair, UNITE-LA

Efrain Escobedo is a leading executive and dynamic strategist dedicated to increasing the civic engagement of historically underserved and marginalized communities and transforming systems through more human-centered approaches. For nearly two decades, he has worked within the philanthropic, government and nonprofit sectors to advance his professional mission. This cross-sectoral experience — paired with Escobedo's commitment to empowering local communities — allows him to bring partners together and make a meaningful impact in his work across California.

Escobedo previously served as Vice President of Public Policy and Civic Engagement at The California Community Foundation (CCF), one of the state's leading philanthropies with more than $1.8 billion in assets. He played a key role in CCF's impactful philanthropy, which disbursed more than $100 million in grants and administered multiple public-private partnerships with the County and State.


Tamika LangTamika Lang

Senior Manager, State and Local Government Operations, California, The Boeing Company

Tamika Lang is currently the Senior Manager for Boeing Government Operations in California, where she helps lead the company's government relations and community affairs work, supporting the business of more than 13,000 aerospace and defense employees in the state. Prior to this role, Lang led Boeing's philanthropic and corporate citizenship efforts across the Southwest region, with a focus on PreK-12 education and workforce pipeline strategies, racial equity and inclusion, support for veterans and military connected families and the environment.

A Leadership Southern California and Leadership Long Beach alum, Lang received her Master of Public Policy at the University of Southern California as a Housing and Urban Development Community Development Fellow and completed her undergraduate work at Loyola Marymount University.


Alessandra LezamaAlessandra Lezama

Founder and CEO, TOOTRiS

Alessandra Lezama is the founder and CEO of TOOTRiS, an award winning on-demand, child-care platform that is reinventing how parents access affordable, high-quality child care. A veteran technology executive who has enjoyed a 20+ year, high-impact career taking underperforming companies and turning them into scalable, high-performance powerhouses, Lezama's hands-on leadership across industries has earned her a reputation as a rainmaker. She was named San Diego Business Journal Woman Who Means Business in 2016; CEO of the Year in 2018 and 2020; and received the Moving San Diego Forward Award by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Minority-Owned Business of the Year Award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2021. In 2023, Lezama was named to the 2023 Top Innovative Female Founder's List by Inc. Magazine and Fast Company's 2023 Top 10 Most Innovative Businesses.

A passionate advocate for women in the workforce and early childhood education and care, she serves on the San Diego County Child Care LPC, chairing the Public-Private Resource Committee, and serves as Vice Chair of the Board at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, on the Board of the San Diego Foundation and on the California Preschool Advisory Council. Lezama was appointed to ReadyNation's CEO Taskforce for Child Care, and she was recently recognized as Woman of the District (39) by CA Senate President pro Tempore, Toni Atkins.


Amy LoydDr. Amy Loyd

Assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education

Amy Loyd, Ed.L.D., is the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education. In this role, she oversees national programs related to career and technical education; community colleges; adult education and literacy; and correctional education.

Prior to joining the Biden-Harris Administration, Dr. Loyd was a vice president at Jobs for the Future (JFF), where she designed and led programs across the United States that improve education and workforce outcomes. Her work at JFF focused on state and regional policies, practices and cross-sector partnerships that engaged K-12 education, community colleges, adult education, workforce development, economic development and employers to build systems of college and career pathways, leveraging career and technical education. She also oversaw JFF's work in workforce development with a lens on economic advancement; state and federal policy; and diversity, equity and inclusion.


Brent PartonBrent Parton

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

Brent Parton is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL's) Employment and Training Administration (ETA). In that role he helps oversee many of the Department's workforce development, employment and unemployment insurance programs, and works to ensure those programs' investments advance the Biden-Harris Administration's workforce and equity priorities.

An expert on workforce, labor and career, and technical education policies, before joining DOL, Parton was the deputy director of the Center on Education & Labor at New America, a policy and research institution based in Washington, D.C. At New America, Parton led national research and technical assistance efforts and worked closely with state and local leaders, as well as with philanthropy, business and labor to develop and implement strategies and investments that deliver more equitable labor market and education outcomes for workers, students and communities. His 2017 research on youth apprenticeship led to the establishment of the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship, a national initiative to support states and cities across the U.S. to connect high school students to apprenticeship opportunities.


Anthony RendonAnthony Rendon

Speaker Emeritus, CA Assembly District 62

Speaker Emeritus Anthony Rendon, a Los Angeles native, was elected in 2012 and represents the 62nd Assembly District in Southeast Los Angeles County. His district includes nine cities: Bellflower, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, South Gate and Walnut Park.

Prior to serving in the Assembly, Rendon worked as an educator, nonprofit executive director and environmental activist. He led Plaza de la Raza Child Development Services, Inc. as executive director. Plaza provides comprehensive child development and social and medical services to more than 2,300 children and families through its 35 child development centers throughout Los Angeles County. Before working at Plaza, Rendon served as the interim executive director of the California League of Conservation Voters from 2008 to 2009.

Rendon was first motivated to run for public office by his experience in early childhood education. Massive budget cuts made by the Schwarzenegger Administration spurred him to lobby for restored funding. When he was unsuccessful, he became determined to fight for kids more directly in the legislature.

Rendon became the 70th speaker of the California State Assembly on March 7, 2016, serving until 2023 and ushering in a new era of a decentralized speakership and member empowerment.


Lisa SalazarLisa Salazar

General Manager, Youth Development Department, City of Los Angeles

Lisa Salazar serves as the General Manager of the City of Los Angeles’ Youth Development Department (YDD). The mission of YDD is to foster an equitable and sustainable ecosystem of positive youth development in the City through inclusive, youth-centered and evidence-based policies and programs to ensure the well-being, safety and achievement of the young people of Los Angeles. Previously, Salazar served as Policy Director of Workforce and Education to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Prior to her role with the Mayor, she was Acting Chief for the City of Los Angeles for more than 14 years. Salazar received her B.S. from St. Mary's College of California and an Executive Master of Leadership from the University of Southern California.


Neil SullivanNeil Sullivan

Executive Director, Boston Private Industry Council

Neil Sullivan serves as the Executive Director of the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC). For more than 40 years, the PIC has worked at the intersection of business and community interests to connect Boston residents to promising career pathways, while creating a diverse talent pipeline for local employers. The organization’s work is grounded in the belief that meaningful employment changes lives, lifts people out of poverty and strengthens the local economy. As both the city’s MassHire Workforce Board and its school-to-career intermediary organization, the PIC brings together employers, educators and workforce organizations to help guide the agenda for education and workforce preparation.



David VelaDavid Vela

President, Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees

David Vela served as Senior Legislative Assistant to former Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg, handling Labor, Transportation and Economic Development. Vela also served as Senior Advisor to the Employment Development Department under the Gray Davis Administration. After his time in Sacramento, Vela spent 10 years as a Senior Deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, in charge of one of the largest unincorporated community pockets, with more than 130,000 residents. He also served as the political liaison to several cities in Supervisor Molina's district. He was later asked to take on the role of Chief of Staff to the CA Assembly Labor Committee Chair. Simultaneously, Vela served eight years as a Board of Education member for the Montebello Unified School District, where he increased graduation rates, student university acceptance, as well as spearheaded the district's first PLA.

After his governmental jobs, Vela created his own consulting firm, VELADA Consulting, which focuses on public outreach and social capital projects, such as low-income housing, and provides solutions for responsible businesses, technology-oriented firms and governmental agencies. Vela is also the founder of Honor PAC, a political action committee that focuses on equality in all levels of government.



Beyond Case Making: Taking Equitable and Bold Action to Close Workforce Gaps


Bianca BlomquistBianca Blomquist

California Policy Director/Northern California Outreach Director, Small Business Majority

Bianca Blomquist directs California's policy and government affairs operations in California. She leverages the collective voices of California stakeholders and small business owners to compete on a level playing field and enable them to provide quality jobs for themselves and for California workers. Blomquist serves as primary liaison for the California State Senate, California State Assembly and the Governor’s Administration on policy and legislation and represents Small Business Majority (SBM) at local, regional and state government bodies. Nationally, Blomquist oversees Small Business Majority's employment law, gig work and labor law issues.

Prior to joining SBM, Blomquist worked in Washington, D.C. as an FEC-registered federal lobbyist on labor, health care, trade and transportation issues for the ILWU, the union representing West Coast longshoremen. She also served as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill for Attorney General Keith Ellison in his capacity as congressman, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and member of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee during the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

She is on the Board for California EDGE Coalition and California Main Street, on the Advisory Group for the Northern California SBDC Network and on the Marketing, Outreach and Engagement Advisory (MOEA) Board for Covered California, California's health insurance marketplace.


Sonia Campos-RiveraSonia Campos-Rivera

Senior Vice President, Policy & Public Affairs, UNITE-LA

Sonia Campos-Rivera, Senior Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs, leads Early Childhood Education (ECE) efforts with UNITE-LA and the business community. In her role, she is tasked with drafting, identifying and supporting policies that support a coordinated system.

Previously, Campos-Rivera served as an appointed member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education, a policy-driven body tasked with developing strategic solutions to improve outcomes for California's youngest learners and their families. Additionally, Campos-Rivera served in the statewide Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force, which was tasked with developing statewide recommendations to ending deep poverty in California by 50 percent.


Jenny ChavezJenny Chavez

Senior Vice President, Stakeholder Relations, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Jenny Chavez serves as Senior Vice President of Stakeholder Relations at the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (Los Angeles Tourism). The mission of Los Angeles Tourism is to improve the quality of life for all Angelenos through the economic and community benefits of tourism. Representing more than 1,000 local tourism-related businesses, Los Angeles Tourism is a nonprofit organization responsible for promoting the City of Angels as one of the world’s premier travel destinations.




Dexter FreemanDexter Freeman

Senior Director, Education Business Coalitions, UNITE-LA

Dexter Freeman serves as Senior Director of Education Business Coalitions for UNITE-LA, where he develops, leads and executes education and talent development strategies across the country. Freeman recently accepted the role of chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's DEI Council, and he is also on the U.S. Chamber's IOM curriculum committee.

Freeman previously served as Vice President of Operations and Administration for the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) where he oversaw the operations, administration, human resources and financial management of the organization. Prior to joining the Chamber, he was Manager of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Data for the Dallas Regional Chamber and Project Assistant for APD Urban Planning & Management. He is a previous Association of Chamber of Commerce of Executives (ACCE) Education and Talent Development Division Fellow and participant in the ACCE Scholarship for Leadership Diversity program.


Anne ParmeterAnne Parmeter

Instructional Designer, Center for Justice and Economic Advancement at JFF

In her role as a member of the Employer Initiatives team at the Center for Justice and Economic Advancement, Anne Parmeter develops the curriculum and assets used to train employers on fair-chance hiring, which is the intentional practice of hiring individuals who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.





Hoai ScottHoai Scott

Senior Vice President of Human Resources, NBCUniversal

Known among her peers, colleagues and the leaders she supports as an "inspiration for change," Hoai Scott has made it her passion to inspire leaders and individuals to find their purpose as a means to living a fulfilled and joyful life. As an HR professional in the entertainment industry for 30 years, she has played a key role in educating leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion, leading with purpose, how to be an ally and how to create a culture of inclusion and belonging in the workplace.

As a refugee from the Vietnam War who came to America in 1975, and who is in a biracial marriage, she leverages the power of her story to enlighten others on how racial inequity has affected her family in the hopes to engage others to have courageous conversations on racial bias and be a part of the solution. Scott is committed to fostering work that creates more awareness, changes perspectives and inspires people to take action in the movement towards social equity and justice.

She currently serves as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for NBCUniversal, where she supports the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and provides HR leadership to NBCUniversal teams in Canada, London, EMEA and APAC.


Maggie SwitekDr. Maggie Switek

Director of Regional Economics, Research Department, Milken Institute

Maggie Switek, Ph.D., is the director of regional economics in the Milken Institute's Research Department, where she heads all projects related to access to economic opportunities and regional competitiveness in the U.S. and abroad. Before joining the Institute, Dr. Switek worked in academia and consulting, developing a broad range of expertise in antitrust, intellectual property, labor, public policy and well-being. Her experience in antitrust includes working with counsel and enforcement agencies to evaluate the impacts of mergers, acquisitions, price-fixing and other competition matters. In research, Dr. Switek's interests include well-being, migration and regional economics. She has published studies related to the effects of public social spending on the quality of life in Latin America; the impact of rapid economic growth (and accompanying economic changes) on well-being in China; and migration patterns among young adults in Sweden.



Regional Collaboration for Sustainable Economic Mobility


Dr. S. Terri GomezDr. S. Terri Gomez

Associate Vice Provost, Student Success, Equity and Innovation, Cal Poly Pomona

Dr. S. Terri Gomez serves as the inaugural Associate Vice Provost for Student Success, Equity and Innovation at Cal Poly Pomona. Dr. Gomez is a professor and former Department Chair of Ethnic and Women's Studies. She is the founding director of the PolyTransfer Program – a recruitment, retention and transitional program supporting community college transfer students. A student-centered, data-informed, energetic leader with extensive experience building intersegmental partnerships across a wide variety of stakeholders, Dr. Gomez provides direction and oversight to the university's advising, retention and graduation initiatives. Dr. Gomez serves as Principal Investigator on several transfer-focused grants, including a Department of Education, Title V HSI grant — Project CAMINOS.



Adam GottliebAdam Gottlieb

Director, Postsecondary Strategy & Policy, UNITE-LA

Adam Gottlieb, Master of Public Policy (MPP), oversees policy and systems-change strategy as they relate to higher education at local, state and federal levels. In doing so, he works with key leadership at postsecondary institutions and community-based organizations across the state to advance a student success agenda — prioritizing equitable access to education, holistic support and preparedness for the 21st century economy.

Through his policy work, Gottlieb supports the UNITE-LA agenda of preparing all youth for success from cradle-to-career by working with local and statewide government agencies, legislators and other advocacy organizations to advance policies that support student finances, postsecondary accessibility and better alignment among higher education segments, K-12 and the workforce.


Elijah SimsElijah Sims

Interim Director, Long Beach College Promise, Long Beach City College

Longtime Long Beach resident Elijah Sims was recently appointed as the Interim Director of the Long Beach College Promise, the nation's leading example of seamless education from high school, free community college tuition and guaranteed transfer to the local university.

Sims joined Long Beach City College (LBCC) in 2012 as an adjunct faculty member in Counseling. Since then, he has been an entry-services coordinator and full-time counselor and associate professor. Sims is not new to Long Beach College Promise programming, as he has worked with Promise students for the last five years as a counselor and coordinator. His recent efforts include initiating a team of completion counselors to help students earn degrees and transfer to four-year institutions; developing retention and persistence interventions for continuing students; and supporting academic probation students in returning to good standing.

Beyond working on the educational pathway, Sims works with the City and the Port to enhance opportunities for Long Beach College Promise participants, such as supporting efforts to develop internships and jobs for Long Beach College Promise students.


Ruben VallesRuben Valles

Chief Academic Officer, Los Angeles County Office of Education

Ruben Valles is the Chief Academic Officer at the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). In his role, Valles oversees the divisions of Accountability, Support & Monitoring (ASM), Curriculum & Instructional Services (CIS) and Special Education (DSE). Valles brings 31 years of experience in education with a focus on curriculum and instruction and an emphasis on student equity. Previously, he was a Community of Schools Administrator supervising all TK-12 schools, including Extended TK, in Bell, Cudahy and Maywood in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He also served seven years as an instructional director. He has served as principal at Grand View Boulevard and Graham Elementary Schools in LAUSD and at the Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH) in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.



Building Partnerships and Pathways for an Inclusive Clean Energy Future


Andrea AbregoAndrea Abrego

Student, West Los Angeles College

Andrea Abrego graduated from Santa Monica High School, and she is currently a student at West Los Angeles College pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies. She is also a graduate of UNITE-LA's inaugural LA Regional Cleantech Career Academy and was hired through the program as a lab tech intern at Veolia, where she continues to work part-time.

Her future aspirations include pursuing a career as a creative director with a focus on sustainable design.

"I am fascinated with creating solutions that are mindful of our impact towards the planet and human beings. Working minimum-wage jobs and being an active member within environmental spaces, I have experienced the need for current systems and designs to be more sustainable, equitable and regenerative. I have learned to take initiative, uplift others, be detailed oriented, solutions-focused, organized and communicative. These are skills I am ready to take into as a creative director."


Ismael HerreraIsmael Herrera

Interim CEO, CA FWD

Ismael (Ish) Herrera is the Interim CEO of CA FWD, a nonprofit organization that leads a statewide movement — bringing people together across communities, regions and interests — to improve government and create inclusive, sustainable growth for everyone. The organization is driven by the belief that this collective action will help ensure the economic, environmental and social prosperity of all people. CA FWD serves as the backbone for the California Stewardship Network, an alliance of regional leaders committed to the triple bottom line; hosts the California Economic Summit; and is the home of the California Dream Index. CA FWD is also committed to elevating the next generation of diverse and empowered leaders through its Young Leaders Advisory Council and Becky Morgan Steward Leadership Program.

Prior to joining CA FWD in 2019, Herrera spent 10 years at the Office of Community and Economic Development at California State University, Fresno (OCED), where he developed university-led activities that aligned to regional initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life and economic competitiveness of the eight-county San Joaquin Valley.


Bridget NetterBridget Netter

Senior Vice President, Programs and Talent Development, UNITE-LA

Bridget Netter leads UNITE-LA's College Access and Workforce Development programming to ensure young people have access to quality education and career pathways. She has 15+ years of experience leading corporate engagement and fostering business and career-education partnerships with regional employers representing a broad range of high-growth industries: aerospace, banking, biotechnology, energy, engineering, entertainment, media, health care, manufacturing technology and utilities. Bridget has led efforts to launch the inaugural LA Regional Cleantech Career Academy with the leadership of Avantus, the leading investor in the initiative, and the L.A. County Department of Economic Opportunity.

Netter has also served on the leadership team of the L.A. Regional Coalition for Linked Learning; developed business-education partnerships in support of LAUSD's linked learning schools, focused on STEAM, health care and biotechnology; led UNITE-LA's ABE-LA partnership with the Amgen Foundation, bringing professional biotech and research lab experiences to high school students; and worked with former Mayor Eric Garcetti's Workforce Development team in developing and implementing UNITE-LA's South L.A. Scholars program.


Estelle ReyesEstelle Reyes

Senior Vice President, Enhancing Community, Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)

At the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Estelle Reyes focuses on creating pathways for historically marginalized communities to participate in the green economy. She collaborates with her team to recruit and support promising, diverse, cleantech entrepreneurs; provide workforce development training to build a diverse talent pipeline for the growing green job market; and launch cleantech pilots in disadvantaged communities.

Prior to LACI, Reyes was the Executive Director at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Greater L.A., where she played a central role in launching and growing the NFTE program to reach more than 12,000 students locally. Reyes holds a bachelor's degree in Neuroscience from Brown University, and a master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Andrew ScheckerAndrew Schecker

Corporate Sales Manager, Los Angeles, Alaska Airlines

Andrew Schecker has more than a decade of experience in the aviation industry and has been a corporate sales manager for Alaska Airlines since 2019. Specializing in airline data analytics, he has held several roles throughout his career, including National Sales Analyst and Coordinator for All Nippon Airways.

Schecker is also the former Vice President of the San Diego Business Travel Association, where he was responsible for seminars and training sessions regarding sustainability and return to travel policies following the pandemic.



David SchneiderDavid Schneider

Vice President of Development, Veolia

David Schneider is the Vice President of Development for Veolia. Previously, he was General Manager for SUEZ, overseeing Operations and Management for three California wastewater projects, including West Basin's recycled water facilities. Schneider has more than 20 years of experience in the energy and water sectors, focused on project development and operations management. He is based in Southern California, and his experiences include developing small and large complex infrastructure projects.

Schneider and the management team at Veolia have been leading thought partners to UNITE-LA in the implementation, launch and expansion of the LA Regional Cleantech Career Academy, and he has been a chief advocate for the development of local talent to meet the sector's growing workforce needs.