Spring is a time of new beginnings, of change, renewal and transformation. For many of the women who have been empowered by your support, it is the opportunity to achieve dignity and economic independence, and begin life anew.
With your continued dedication to the WLN, we have assisted and uplifted hundreds of women in career crisis and transition. This was accomplished through our signature career mentoring program, WoMentoring, the JVSWorks® Career Training Programs, Veterans First for Women and our Impact Grants to women with immediate and urgent needs.
We are also pleased to extend a warm welcome to the 16 new WLN members who have joined us in the last year along with our new WLN Leadership Council Members, Kathy Suto and Deb Schwarz, profiled in this newsletter.
On behalf of the WLN Leadership Council and everyone at JVS SoCal, we appreciate your continued support and hope you will continue to join us at future member events.
Debbie Powell, Judy Flesh Rosenberg and Eileen Coskey Fracchia
In what has become one of the premier events in Los Angeles, more than 500 women gathered at the Skirball Cultural Center to learn, network and connect at the 5th Annual Woman to Woman Conference on November 14, 2017. The event highlighted the vital and impactful work of the WLN, and moved us with stories of unstoppable women, including the personal stories of women whose lives have been profoundly impacted by JVS programs.
Chaired for the second consecutive year by WLN Leadership Council members, Barbara Leanse and Nancy Paul, the event was also hosted for a second year by award-winning actress, singer and dancer Nikki Crawford.
Our three extraordinary speakers included Haifaa Al-Mansour the first female Saudi filmmaker, Barbara Morrison, acclaimed jazz singer and recording artist, and Suze Yalof Schwartz, founder and CEO of Unplug Meditation. All three shared their personal journeys to success, their achievements and the many challenges they faced along the way.
Kathy Suto, Vice President and General Manager of Bloomingdale’s Century City, was the recipient of the inaugural WLN Women’s Empowerment Award. The award is in recognition of her role in securing Bloomingdale’s ongoing sponsorship of the WLN Conference, and for her work with the Downtown Women’s Center, which serves homeless women on Skid Row. The award was presented by WLN Executive Council member Eileen Goodis.
The WLN Conference raised over $410,000 to support JVS’s wide range of programs serving female job seekers, veterans and at-risk girls. Proceeds also support the WLN’s signature career mentoring program, WoMentoring.
Special thanks to the wonderful WLN members who created and continue to promote this annual event, and to the JVS SoCal support team.
Exciting plans are underway for the 6th Annual Woman to Woman Conference so please mark your calendars for Thursday, November 15, 2018. We will be returning to the beautiful Skirball Cultural Center and look forward to another spectacular event! We’re thrilled to have Nikki Crawford return as our host. Corporate sponsors thus far include Banc of California, Bloomingdales, Union Bank, Wells Fargo and Westfield Corporation.
We are pleased to announce that Rosaline L. “Roz” Zukerman will be receiving our 2018 Women’s Empowerment Award. Roz enrolled in law school in her late 40s after raising a family with four children. She then launched her own family law firm. Over the next 35 years, she built a thriving and highly-respected practice, known for its skill in securing settlements and protecting families. She has mentored countless young women and young men, opening doors to advance their careers, and has several times been a participating mentor in the WoMentoring program.
There will be more news to come. We have received great feedback for the 2017 WLN Woman to Woman Conference, and we are already at work to make this year’s event an even greater success.
Click here to see video highlights.
If you would like to submit your idea for a future speaker at a WLN event, please use our online speaker submission survey form. The WLN is always looking for women whose stories can motivate and uplift our audience, and communicate our mission. Submit as many inspiring speakers as you’d like!
JVS Programs That Benefit From Your Support:
Helping a Mother of Two Young Children Find a Career Path in Banking
Serena (full name withheld by request) applied to the JVS BankWorks® program hoping to change the direction of her life and establish a stable career at a bank. Her experience was limited, having only worked part-time as a cashier and sales associate. She had moved to Los Angeles from Las Vegas with her two small children to be closer to their father, whom she’d hoped would provide child support. When it became clear that she was on her own, she took her children back to Las Vegas to live with her mother while she completed the BankWorks® Program.
Left with no option but to live in her car, Serena showed up every day for class - on time and ready to work. She strove to excel, participating actively in every session, asking insightful questions and determined to understand as much as she could about the banking industry.
The day she graduated, Serena received two job offers. She is now a successful team member at Bank of America. Finally able to take care of her family, she is currently looking for an apartment and planning to bring her children home.
JVS Programs That Benefit From Your Support:
JVS SoCal recently opened the first-ever Veterans America’s Job Center (AJCC) at the historic Bob Hope Patriotic Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. John Gutierrez, a Marine Veteran, is JVS Operations Manager for the Center, which has become the hub for career services to Veterans in our city. Alicia Baker is the Program Manager for our donor-funded JVS Veterans First program and is focused on increasing outreach to women veterans, an initiative supported by the WLN.
Recently, John and Alicia were invited by JVS SoCal Board Member and WLN Co-Founder Eileen Coskey Fracchia to attend the Military Transition Conference at the University of San Diego. She and her husband Don covered all of their travel expenses so they would be able to participate.
Helping a Woman Veteran Find Her Way
Erika Crenshaw was introduced to the JVS Veterans First program at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall. She had experience working as a Sonar Technician in the US Navy and was struggling to find the right job that would make use of her background and experience. She was interested in finding an industry with real opportunities for future career growth.
Erika met with a Veterans First career coach, participating in a workshop hosted by JVS SoCal and US Vets at Patriotic Hall, and attended several veteran- specific job fairs. She wanted to develop her skills as a project manager. JVS Veterans First covered the cost of the six-week intensive Project Management Professional (PMP) training program she needed in order to be competitive.
The course taught Erika the language of the industry which she needed to be successful during the interview process. Upon completion, she was able to effectively communicate her knowledge and understanding of project management. This helped her land the perfect job at USC.
“I had to do all the work, but JVS Veterans First helped open doors”, she says. “If they had not provided me with this incredible training opportunity, I would not have felt prepared to take on the job of Project Specialist in the Information and Technology Services Department at the University of Southern California. I am now a full-time employee with full benefits for my family and a retirement and pension plan. Thank you JVS.”
JVS Programs That Benefit From Your Support:
The WoMentoring program offers women in career crisis or transition the chance to be mentored for six months by a woman with an established career. JVS Program Manager Diane Shapiro recently released a report on the growing impact of the program in the lives of both mentors and mentees. The February session kicked off with 11 mentee/mentor matches, while the June 2017 group had their culmination event in January, with 14 successful matches. The current session culminates in May.
Expert Mentoring and WLN Networking Guide Mentee on Path to Success in Healthcare
Sonie K. is a 2016 graduate of the JVS HealthWorks® program. She lives alone and does not have any family that she can count on for financial support. After graduating from HealthWorks®, she worked as a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) at a senior living facility before applying to the WoMentoring Program. When she joined WoMentoring, she had recently left her job, unsure of how to move forward. Her dream was to work at Cedars Sinai.
In WoMentoring, she was paired with Anne Rosenblatt, a retired nurse manager from Cedars. This was Anne’s second time as a mentor. Together, they worked on a plan to help Sonie meet the requirements to become a qualified applicant. With Anne’s help, Sonie was able to find a job in a small, acute care facility, LA Community Hospital. She started on the night shift and has worked with her mentor to make herself valuable. Through the WLN, Sonie has also secured a volunteer opportunity at Cedars, where she still hopes to work one day.
Impact Grants Bridge the Gap in Difficult Times
Faced with a sudden emergency or urgent financial need, women who participate in JVS programs are eligible to apply to the WLN for an Impact Grant. These funds are set aside to enable the WLN to respond when a critical need arises. Ideally, the grants can be used to cover personal or professional expenses that will help the individual bridge the career gap. Initiated in 2016, the WLN has approved 21 grants, totaling just under $25,000. Each one of these grants has had a direct impact, helping to keep a woman in need on her career pathway.
We are excited to welcome our newest WLN Leadership Council Members, Kathy Suto and Deb Schwarz.
About Kathy Suto
Kathy recently celebrated her 11th year as Vice President General Manager of Bloomingdale’s in Century City. Today, her store ranks #3 in the entire Bloomingdale’s organization, with annual sales in excess of $100 million. Kathy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Penn State University, and is a graduate of the Kellogg Management Institute at Northwestern University. She has served on the Board of the Downtown Women’s Center since 2011.
About Deb Schwarz
Deb is the Founder and Chief Strategic Officer of LAC Group, a family of businesses helping law firms, corporations, government and media companies maximize the value of real-time and archived information. Under her leadership, the organization has evolved into an international corporation with offices in North America and the United Kingdom. She received her BA from the University of Michigan and her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Toronto.
To create greater equity in the workplace and lift more women out of poverty and into new careers, JVS SoCal and the WLN have launched the WLN Women’s Empowerment Fund (The WE Fund), raising funds for much needed career guidance, mentoring and job training services for women. Programs supported by this initiative include WoMentoring, JVSWorks® and the Veterans First program. With the support of the WLN Women’s Empowerment Fund, JVS SoCal will serve an additional 500+ women in 2018, positively impacting the future of women and their families throughout Southern California. We’re just getting started and the WE Fund has already raised $186,000 from supporters Well Fargo and Northrop Grumman, the Green Foundation, Sunny and Alvin Grossblatt and the Bannerman Foundation.