The Young Professionals Council (YPC) is a group of dedicated allies who are committed to supporting the mission and programs of the LA Promise Fund. The group’s purpose is to engage a broad network of young professionals in the work of LA Promise Fund, to help raise awareness of all programs to new audiences, and to support fundraising efforts. Council members come from a variety of different career backgrounds and industries, but are united by their commitment to generating resources and opportunities for traditionally marginalized youth in LA County.
The Young Professional Council Members
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.
Charlie Benell is a Wealth Advisor at Morgan Stanley in Los Angeles, California. As a Los Angeles native, he has worked with multiple local non-profits and has developed a passion for growing children’s education. Prior to Morgan Stanley, Charlie was an M&A consultant at KPMG where he advised both private and public companies, in the energy and technology industries, on corporate mergers and acquisitions. He received his undergraduate degree in finance from Texas A&M University in 2016, and his M.S. in Finance from the USC Marshall School of Business in 2017. Charlie is also actively involved with Inner-City Arts in Los Angeles.
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
Shon Davis is an innovative Account Executive at independent TV measurement firm 605. Born in South Central and raised in Washington State, his focus is developing solutions that’ll serve as a pipeline to get inner city students working in Advertising and Entertainment. From his first start in the industry 8 years ago, Shon has been involved in diversifying the advertising industry through organizations like ADCOLOR, ThinkLA, and the Bill Sharp Award. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in communications from Washington State University in 2012 and is passionately working to create more opportunities for students from Compton.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
Alex Zaman is a Director within Citigroup’s Municipal Securities Division, where he works with state and local governments to finance infrastructure projects. He received his degree in Political Economy and City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley. Zaman is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR).
For questions or comments, contact Brianna Henriquez at email@example.com or (213) 745-4928
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