Young Professionals Council

Young Professionals Council

Want to support students in underserved communities achieve success in college, career, and life?

Join the LA Promise Fund Young Professionals Council. Together, we’ll generate resources and opportunities to support the LA Promise Fund’s work.

Member Expectations

  • Leverage your network to help us better execute programming and fundraising efforts.
  • Provide feedback on strategies that can enhance our programming.
  • Attend meetings every other month.
  • Work to “give or get” a minimum of $1,500 annually.

Member Benefits

  • Networking opportunities across diverse industries
  • Discounted tickets to large-scale LA Promise Fund events
  • Access to LA Promise Fund leadership and education experts
  • Opportunity to align your philanthropic work with your career and professional skills

Member Benefits

To apply, complete the Young Professionals Council application for review.

  • Length of term is two years, which may be renewed up to two terms.
  • Council membership may be subject to termination if any actions of a committee member while serving are deemed to be detrimental to the mission of the LA Promise Fund and as voted upon by the Young Professionals Council.

Young Professional Council Members

Diana Becnel

Diana Becnel is a Global Business Manager for Microsoft focusing on empowering teams to deliver high-quality innovative technical solutions to customers. Diana was born and raised in Los Angeles and was brought up through the LAUSD school district. She attended Boston University where she received her Bachelors of Science in Business with a concentration in Management Information Systems. Joining Microsoft right out of college, over the last seven years Diana has been a transformative and passionate technology professional.

She has experience in consulting, project management, and business strategy planning. She is passionate about diversity in tech and currently leads the Microsoft Services Business Applications Women’s Community and serves on the SoCal Blacks at Microsoft board.

She is involved with DigiGirlz, Black Girls Code, and the American Cancer Society to help give back to her community. In her free time, Diana enjoys a good book, dancing on a bike in spin class, traveling, and cooking new recipes.

Mike Butler

Mike Butler is a native of Brooklyn, New York. It’s there he discovered his passion for the arts, in particular, dance. While still in high school, he created performance groups that traveled throughout the Southeast, where he was well-known and recognized for his prodigious artistic talent in dance. After graduation, Mike continued to focus on dance while pursuing an education in Psychology and Business.

Mike’s entrepreneurial mindset led him to start his own dance instruction non-profit called DOIT JAX, Inc. in Jacksonville, Florida; a marketing consultancy called IMAGEacg here in LA; and currently, he serves as Chief of Staff at Jogg where he gets to coalesce his passion for art, media, and business in one

Christie Hagte

Christie Hatges is FP&A at FastPay, a financial technology company exclusively serving the media sector. Canadian-born, Christie holds both a BSc with a Double major in Neuroscience and Biology from Dalhousie University and an MBA from the University of Toronto.

Prior to joining FastPay, Christie was a Senior Associate at FocalPoint and FBR and an Associate Vice President at Barclays in the Global Healthcare Investment Banking group in New York. Christie has also worked in private equity, operations improvement consulting, and tax. In her free time, Christie loves interior design, DIY home improvements, cooking, and painting.

Courtney Laster

Court Laster is an Employee and Labor Relations professional with a focus on Alternative Dispute Resolution currently working at Google. Court’s father was an active duty Air Force service member so she had the privilege of growing up in Ohio, California, Texas, Virginia and Florida. She earned a BS in Finance from Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL and her Juris Doctor from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, NY. Prior to Google, Court has worked for Exxon Mobil, Coca-Cola and Disney managing operations and as a Labor and Employee Relations partner.

She has a strong passion for supporting first generation college and law school students through mentorship, career development, and internships. She has supported these efforts for several years in New York and California through America Needs You. In her free time, Court enjoys spending time with her puppy, photography, running, book clubs and planning trips and social events for her family and friends.

Bryant Lee

Bryant Lee is a Real Estate Associate at Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Bryant was born in New York City and raised in the Los Angeles area, where he attended the University of Southern California and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. After graduating, Bryant worked in a variety of different roles—including as an intern at a local non-profit organization, seasonal tax associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers, manager at a local small business and Lyft driver—after which he eventually found his way to The George Washington University Law School. During law school, Bryant was an honors intern with the U.S.

Securities and Exchange Commission, judicial extern to the Honorable Thomas F. Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and judicial extern to the Honorable Martin Glenn of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. These experiences have given Bryant an insight into the legal and financial services industries, as well as a passion to help bridge gaps towards broader equity. In his free time, Bryant also enjoys his work as a self-professed renown pizza critic and connoisseur.

Richard Maloof

Richard Maloof is the Director of Sourcing and Leasing with Redcar Properties, LTD., a real estate development company that invests in high growth urban areas throughout Los Angeles, California and is a Partner at Industry Partners. Richard was born and raised in Los Angeles, and has developed a passion to help serve the local community. He attended The University of Southern California where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy, Planning, and Development with a concentration in Real Estate Development and a Minor in Entrepreneurship.

Over his past five years with Redcar, Richard has developed relationships with Landlords and Businesses in Los Angeles, who share his passion in seeing our city continue to evolve into a diverse, prosperous, and safe place for all to live, work, and play. He has experience in consulting, project management, and fundraising and is passionate about education and mitigating homelessness in Los Angeles.

Heather Powen

Heather Powen is a Marketing and Community Relations Director who is committed to advancing the AEC space through technology and community development. After spending nearly a decade working in marketing and research for the AEC space, Heather truly knows what drives progress and understands the hurdles to overcome – and it’s not mastering the marketing flavor of the week.

It’s how well you connect with the leaders in the industry and understand their pain points and deliver strategic solutions through technology and education. Her diverse experience in the industry includes; product material development, architectural sales representative, and is currently the Director of Marketing and Community Relations for Martin Bros.

Heather holds a Masters in Architecture from the University of Kansas.

Samantha Scott

An East Coast native, Samantha Scott relocated to Southern California almost four years ago – moving quickly into the world of Hollywood and entertainment. Looking for a way to integrate her social impact interest and blend her media and non-profit background, landing at Participant Media allowed for an ideal mix.

As Human Resources Manager, Samantha was able to lead recruitment efforts, corporate volunteerism, internship programs, and a number of other elements for Participant Media and SoulPancake. Samantha has most recently joined the HR team for NBCUniversal’s Operations & Technology division where she will focus on labor and employee relations, compensation, performance management, and reporting/analytics.

Jonathan Wheat

Jonathan graduated from St. Mary’s College of California with his BS in Business Administration and a minor in Economics. He is a principal at EPIC Insurance Brokers specializing in managing commercial insurance programs in the education, not for profit, real estate, and healthcare sectors. Outside of Insurance, Jonathan is passionate about supporting and mentoring inner city youth and advocating for mental health resources for urban communities. Jonathan enjoys snowboarding, CrossFit, and spending time with his family at their house in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles.


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Special thanks to those who help make the LA Promise Fund possible.

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Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation


City National Bank


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


California Emerging Technology Fund


Eli & Edythe Broad Foundation




Just Keep Livin Foundation


California Department of Education




Evil Geniuses


LA Rams


LA84 Foundation


Pacific Western Bank


Play Equity Fund




Verizon Foundation




Annenberg Foundation


Dwight Stuart Youth Fund


California Community Foundation




Walt Disney Company


United Way of Greater Los Angeles


California Arts Council




J. Paul Getty Trust


Weingart Foundation


Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry




U.S. Department of Education


Ballmer Group


Amgen Foundation













Get Involved

For questions or comments, contact Cindy Garcia at