For the past 23 years, JVS SoCal’s Strictly Business Awards Dinner has honored outstanding individuals and corporations in our community who have set the standard for social responsibility and philanthropy. These honorees, along with our generous employment partners and donors, help JVS SoCal provide underserved clients from marginalized communities with the necessary tools, resources, no-cost job training, placement assistance, and retention support to help them overcome barriers to employment.
The 2022 awards dinner, celebrating the power of partnership, brought in nearly $830,000, directly impacting the communities JVS SoCal serves.
“For more than 90 years, JVS SoCal has been a leader in workforce development, working tirelessly to provide individuals with tools, training and resources to help them transform their lives,” said Alan Levey, JVS SoCal CEO. “We are extremely grateful to our partners and supporters who share our commitment to building thriving communities. With their support, we can continue to provide critical programs and services that offer hope and economic opportunity for all.”
This year’s Corporate Partnership Award was presented to Banc of California in recognition for its corporate responsibility and role as philanthropic leaders in their industry. A multi-year partner and supporter of JVS SoCal’s work, Banc of California consistently hires from a pool of talented BankWork$ program graduates and volunteers its expertise on financial literacy and job readiness. Accepting the award on behalf of Banc of California were Chief Executive Officer Jared Wolff and Chief Operations Officer John Sotoodeh. Jared Wolff is a former member of JVS SoCal’s Board of Directors and early proponent of the agency’s industry specific, tuition-free career training programs. He was not able to attend in person, but sent his remarks by video.
The Founder’s Award, honoring an outstanding JVS SoCal volunteer who has demonstrated excellence in philanthropic leadership, guidance, and generosity was awarded to the entire Paul Family, whose dedication and passion for our mission dates back decades. They have been JVS SoCal champions, board committee members, and longtime volunteers, impacting the lives of thousands of our clients and their families.
Rounding out this year’s honorees are four Inspiration Award recipients whose journeys to build better lives for themselves inspire us all. Robert Bermudez enrolled in JVS SoCal’s BankWork$ program to develop the necessary skills and training he needed to launch his dream job in banking. He was hired by Banc of California six years ago and has worked his way up to a senior relationship banker. Carolina Hernandez, a former Naval Officer and now a Naval Reservist, came to JVS SoCal during a time of transition to civilian life. With the help of Veteran Services, she was able to participate in Lean Six Sigma training and earn an E-7 Certification.
JVS SoCal’s support has enabled her to pursue a career in fashion as the CEO of Veteran Couture. Evan Quinn left a career in investment management to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. With the assistance of a JVS SoCal scholarship, he was able to enroll in UCLA’s entrepreneurship program and utilized the skills he learned there to launch his own nonalcoholic beverage company Hiyo.
And finally, JVS SoCal’s very own Zoya Kavutskaya, emigrated to the U.S. from the U.S.S.R. nearly 30 years ago, in search of a better life for her young family. Today, she serves as JVS SoCal’s longtime Director of IT.