The Institute was founded in 2001 through a generous grant by businessman, academic, and philanthropist Charles R. “Chuck” Williams. Mr. Williams’ inaugural donation of $2.5 million to create the Williams Institute was the largest donation ever given to any academic institution in support of a gay and lesbian academic program in any discipline. Over the past decade, he has given over $13 million to fund the Institute.
In 2016, the Institute celebrated its 15th Anniversary. Over the last decade, the Institute grew from a small, part-time staff to a staff of 20, including scholars of diverse disciplines and backgrounds.
Eric completed a dual-degree Master’s program at New York University, receiving an MBA in finance from Stern School of Business and an MA in politics (focus on international relations) from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. While at NYU, Eric was honored as a Stern Fellow and worked as an internal strategy associate for Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company. Prior to graduate school, Eric worked as a marketing consultant in the tourism and hospitality industries as well as a marketing account executive in consumer packaged goods.
During his career, Eric focused on innovative financial planning solutions for ultra-high-net-worth families. His areas of emphasis include investment strategy, intergenerational wealth transfer, retirement cash flow analysis, philanthropic strategy and advisory, social and impact investing and planning for non-traditional families. In 2013 Eric spearheaded the Credit Suisse LGBT Impact Investing Initiative at Credit Suisse, which led to the creation of the first-ever LGBT equality index and portfolio.
Eric received a BS in finance and a BA in English, summa cum laude, from the University of Florida. Eric is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. Eric maintains a Series 7 and 66 and is licensed in life, health, and variable annuity products. Eric serves on the Founder’s Council of the Williams Institute of UCLA School of Law and on the Lambda Legal Legacy and Planned Giving Council.
Norman Blachford and Peter Cooper
Norman Blachford was born in Montreal, Canada where he attended local schools and Universities, obtaining a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry from Sir George University and a Business Degree from McGill University. After working for a family company, he moved to Michigan to start a firm manufacturing noise control materials for the transportation industry. His firm was sold about 15 years ago, and he retired to leisure travel and philanthropic activities. He is a former board member of the Gamma Mu Foundation and the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, and he currently serves on the boards of the AIDS Foundation San Diego, the Blachford-Cooper Foundation, and as the Treasurer of Mainly Mozart.
Peter Cooper was born in Los Angeles, California and was raised in San Diego California. He attended University of Redlands, majoring in Business Administration and Management. Mr. Cooper worked as an HIV prevention educator for AIDS Foundation San Diego for seven years, under contract for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta; he is the owner of a commercial/industrial lighting company in San Diego. Currently he serves as the Secretary of the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory, as a board member of The Old Globe Theatre, and of the Blachford-Cooper Foundation.
Mr. Blachford and Mr. Cooper reside in La Jolla, California.
After graduating from Cardozo Law School in Manhattan, Brondi Borer opened a family law and mediation practice. The focus of the practice was on gay family law issues such as donor insemination agreements, child support and co-parenting agreements, domestic partnership and dissolution agreements, and second parent adoptions. She represented many gay clients in litigated and mediated divorce actions. During this period in her professional life, Brondi came to understand some of the enormous challenges individuals and families face when a family member comes out and others are not financially and emotionally supportive. In 2001, Brondi shifted direction in her professional life and served as Vice President of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the self-regulatory body for the interactive software industry, until 2006. Since 1997, Brondi has also taught Family Law and Public Speaking in the Critical Thinking Department of Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.
Brondi is married and is the mother of two college-age children.
Bill Candelaria is a partner in the Corporate group at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP . His practice focuses on corporate transactions, private equity and capital markets. He has extensive experience in global securities offerings and private placements, structured and leveraged financings, debt restructurings, mergers and acquisitions and cross-border joint ventures. He has counseled corporate clients on U.S. securities law compliance and corporate governance matters.
Mr. Candelaria is ranked among the top Latin American investment lawyers in the United States and has represented foreign private issuers, underwriters and institutional investors. He has particular experience in energy and infrastructure finance and concentrates his practice on national oil companies and the oil and gas services industry, particularly in Mexico and the Andean region.
Mr. Candelaria has spoken on a number of legal and financing issues, including issuance of securities in the United States by foreign sovereign and private issuers. He has also spoken on the financing of refineries and other downstream infrastructure in Mexico, including public-private options, and has participated in the University of Miami’s roundtable discussions on Mexico’s energy sector. Mr. Candelaria has also taught at The Practicing Law Institute on the negotiation of underwriting agreements and IPO liability considerations for underwriters, and has organized and moderated a PLI special webcast on tender offer regulations, PIPES and considerations for U.S. investors in Mexico.
Following law school, Mr. Candelaria was a law clerk to Judge Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Mr. Candelaria currently serves on the board of directors and executive committee of the New York City Economic Development Corporation to which he was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2005. He is also a national board member of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund and is a Trustee of The Public Theater of New York.
From 1995 to 1996, Mr. Candelaria served as a law clerk to Judge Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Los Angeles. He is admitted to practice in New York and California. Mr. Candelaria received his Juris Doctor cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as Supervising Editor of the Harvard Law Review. His Law Review publication, “Liberalismo Contra Democracia: Recent Judicial Reform in Mexico,” examined Mexico’s 1994 judicial reform and its potential effects on Mexican democratic transformation. Mr. Candelaria earned his A.B. in International Relations and A.M. in Latin American Studies from Stanford University. His graduate thesis, “Development, Finance and Foreigners: The Early History of Mexico’s Banks (1821-1910),” examined the participation of U.S. and European capital in the formation of Mexico’s commercial banking system. Mr. Candelaria completed coursework at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and interned at the legal department of the Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público in Mexico City.
Mr. Candelaria was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a native English speaker and is fluent in Spanish.
Roberta Conroy was a Senior Vice President at The Capital Group Companies, Inc., where she focused on Capital’s global institutional investment management business. Among her responsibilities, she served as a trustee of the Capital Group Foundation. She retired after 23 years with capital and now dedicates significant time to community advocacy and philanthropy. Ms. Conroy serves on the Boards of Lambda Legal and Equality California. She is also a Trustee for the California Science Center Foundation. She completed her undergraduate degree at UCLA and her juris doctorate at Loyola Law School.
Anna Curren was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, which she still considers ‘home’. She lives in San Diego, CA., and is happy to tell anyone who cares that she’s in the local phone book.
Anna’s early education was in nursing. While an Associate Professor of nursing at Long Beach City College she was handed a required Refresher Math text that was unusable, so she wrote her own. In 1971 she started Wallcur, Inc. (named after her Dad, Wallace Curren), self published her text, and watched it not only take over the market but change the instructional focus to one still used by competing authors today. She also developed a line of instructional teaching materials for injection training that are used in Schools of Nursing and Allied Health throughout the continent, including her birth city of St. John’s.
Anna got involved in the gay rights movement in 1980 during the AIDS pandemic, and in the late 90s moved on to join the national mission to legislate open GLB service in the military. She served on the Governing Board of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, SLDN, in D.C. through Repeal of DADT. Anna was honored on Nov 9th, 2013, by San Diego’s City Council with an Anna M. Curren Day proclamation, and that evening by SLDN colleagues at a dinner in her honor. Anna received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from her Alma Mater, MUN, Memorial (to the generation of young men killed in WWI) University Of Newfoundland, for her contributions to both Nursing Education and DADT Repeal. She remains active in both local and national organizations that focus on Women’s Issues and Climate Change.
Mitchell Draizin is founder and President of Longview Capital Advisors, Inc. which serves as investment and mortgage banker to NYC mid-market real estate developers, operators and owner users.
He received his BA from George Washington University and his MBA from the Owen School of Management at Vanderbilt University.
Mitch has been actively involved at board level and in some cases co-founder in several national and local philanthropic, education and political initiatives and programs among which are: The Congressional Award Foundation; Point Foundation; Lambda Legal; New Leaders Council; Truman Security Project-CNP; State Innovation Exchange (SiX);Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee LGBT Council; New York City Mayor’s Fund Financial Literacy Project; Thalia Spanish Theater NYC; City University of NY (CUNY) LGBT Leadership Program and Hunter College President’s Advisory Board for its LGBT Public Policy Center. He is a co-founder of the future Bronx LGBT Center as well as the CUNY One Year Internship Program and the NYC Hispanic Cultural Center.
He created and teaches a Financial Literacy Senior year course at Hunter Manhattan Science High School.
Diane J. Fuchs
Diane Fuchs has over twenty-six years of legal experience in the areas of employee benefits and executive compensation, and is now at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. She represents business entities, employers, executives, non-profit organizations and trade associations. Diane is a recent past President of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel and continues to serve on its Board of Governors. Diane is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has been selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America and as a Super Lawyer in the Washington, DC region. Her pro bono work has included: Pro Bono Counsel to American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad, Inc., 1996-present; Member, Board of Directors, CrossCurrents Foundation, Inc., 2006-present; Member, Board of Directors, Washington Chamber Symphony, 1995-1998. Diane graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Rutgers University and attended the London School of Economics before receiving her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law.
Born in Cuba, Margarita immigrated to the United States in 1966, settling in Santa Rosa, California. She studied mathematics at UC Berkeley, and began her career in information technology in San Francisco. Later, she worked in the oil and gas industry, in Houston, Texas until 1990, where she headed the Corporate Information Systems organization at Tenneco, Inc., a $13 billion multinational corporation. After returning to the Bay Area Margarita joined Wells Fargo Bank’s MasterWorks, offering trust and recordkeeping services for defined contribution retirement plans. She remained there as Chief Information Officer until 1997, after seeing the organization through two changes in ownership. In terms of prior board and non-profit experience, Margarita has served as Board Treasurer and Co-Chair of the National AIDS Memorial Grove, Co-Chair of the Horizons Foundation, (description), and has served on the board of the Bay Area Non-partisan Alliance, a gay and lesbian political action committee.
Nanette Gartrell, M.D.
Nanette Gartrell, M.D., is a Williams Visiting Distinguished Scholar. Dr. Gartrell also has a Guest Appointment at the University of Amsterdam, and she was previously on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and UCSF. Dr. Gartrell graduated Stanford University (B.A.), University of California (M.D., and completed a psychiatry residency and fellowship at Harvard Medical School.
Gartrell is the principal investigator of the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS), which has been studying planned lesbian since the 1980s. For more than 30 years, this study has been providing information on the dynamics of lesbian-parent families and on the social, psychological, and emotional development of the offspring to specialists in healthcare, family services, adoption, foster care, sociology, feminist studies, education, ethics, same-sex marriage, and public policy.
In 2013, Dr. Gartrell was the recipient of the Association of Women Psychiatrists Presidential Commendation Award for “selfless and enduring vision, leadership, wisdom, and mentorship in the fields of Women’s Mental Health, Ethics, and Gender Research.” In 2014, Dr. Gartrell and her spouse Dr. Dee Mosbacher were awarded the Mathew O. Tobriner Public Service award from the Legal Aid Society, Employment Law Center.
Mike Gleason and David Kettel
Mike Gleason, CIMC, serves as a Senior Financial Advisor at Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. In his prior experience as a senior executive for United Parcel Service, Mr. Gleason developed and structured the company’s expansion into Asia in the mid-1980s, and negotiated mergers and acquisitions for Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China, while also spending five of his twelve years with the company living abroad in Hong Kong and Beijing. Mr. Gleason is professionally affiliated with the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA) and has served as Vice-Chairman of the Hospice of Orange County. He lives with his partner David Kettel in Los Angeles.
David A. Kettel was educated at the University of California at Davis, from which he earned a B.A. degree in Economics in 1982, and Tulane University School of Law, where he was named a Maritime Scholar and from which he received his J.D. degree in 1985. David practiced civil litigation in Los Angeles from 1985 until 2000, first as an associate and then as a partner at the Los Angeles office of Baker & Hostetler, a firm based in Cleveland, Ohio. In private practice, David tried many cases to verdict and was the lead trial attorney for Long Beach Housing Development Company (“LBHDC”), wherein LBHDC prevailed at trial and on appeal, proving its tax exempt status, Long Beach Housing Development Company v. County of Los Angeles and State Board of Equalization, NC 019229. In 2000, David left private practice and became a Director at LRN, Inc., a leading provider of software solutions for corporate governance, ethics and compliance issues. David subsequently returned to the practice of law and, in 2002, joined the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. As a federal prosecutor, David works with various federal agencies, including the FBI, IRS, DEA, ATF, Secret Service, and the Department of Homeland Security, and has investigated, prosecuted and tried numerous criminal cases, including matters involving bank fraud, identity theft, narcotics smuggling, child pornography, illegal alien smuggling, and bank robbery. In 2003, David assisted the Secret Service in shutting down one of the largest false identification document factories in Los Angeles and prosecuting its principals. U.S. v. Gary Vazquez, et al., CR 03-1260-SJO. David has also argued successfully before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. David was born in New York and resides in the Hollywood Hills with his husband, Mike Gleason.
Jeffrey S. Haber
Jeffrey Haber is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker. Mr. Haber focuses his practice in land use and real estate development. He has significant experience in all areas of entitlement law, transactional real estate, administrative law and lobbying, construction and architectural law, and political law. Mr. Haber has represented museums, hospitals and motion picture studios, as well as commercial developers of office, hotel, retail, residential and mixed-use projects. Mr. Haber is lead land use and real estate counsel for several public and private companies and entities including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, The J. Paul Getty Trust, DreamWorks Animation, IAC, and Regent Properties. Mr. Haber has hosted numerous political fund-raisers and is an active contributor to local charities. He provides pro bono counsel to AIDS Project Los Angeles, and was Chair of the Board of Directors from 2001 through 2004. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Equality California. He is a licensed California real estate broker and a registered lobbyist in the cities of Los Angeles and West Hollywood. Mr. Haber received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1987, and his B.A., magna cum laude, in English, from Yale University in 1984.
Laurie F. Hasencamp
Laurie Hasencamp spends most of her time on volunteer community service since she retired from the law in 2002. She is a co-chair of the Williams Institute Founders Council and member of the Williams Institute Legal Council, a member of the board of directors of Equality California, and a member of the National Leadership Council of GLSEN. She is on the Advisory Committee for the Alliance of Housing and Healing (AHH, formed on the merger of the Serra Project and Aid for AIDS), the Advisory Council for the newly formed LA HLPP (legal services for people living with HIV/AIDS), a member of and past chair of the USC Law School Board of Councilors, and a former member of the boards of directors of the Serra Project and the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation. Laurie is a 1985 graduate of USC Law School, and a 1980 graduate of Pomona College. She clerked for the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, following law school. She then practiced bankruptcy law with Latham & Watkins and Irell & Manella before becoming a Legal Research Director at LRN. She has come out of retirement from time to time, to be the Interim Executive Director of The Serra Project (9 months, in 2003), the Interim Managing Director of the Office of Development and Graduate Relations at USC Law School (3 months, in 2004), adjunct lecturer for a section of the USC Law School first year legal writing class, Interim Chief Operating Officer for a management consulting firm (6 months, in 2010), and Interim Executive Director of Equality California (10 months, in 2012). Before law school, she was an assistant operations officer at Lloyds Bank California. In 2008 she received a Women of Distinction award from USC as a community leader, in 2011 she received the Los Angeles Lesbian & Gay Lawyers Association Co-President’s Award and the City of West Hollywood Paul Starke Warrior Award for her community service work in the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities, in 2012 she received the Allies for Justice Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Bar Association, and in 2013 she received the Visionary Award from AHH. She is married to Mike Lurey, a recently retired bankruptcy partner at Latham & Watkins and a member of the Williams Institute Legal Council, and former President of the Board of Kehillat Israel. They live in Pacific Palisades, California.
Ambassador (ret.) David Huebner
Ambassador Huebner is a partner in the international arbitration, public international law, and intellectual property practices of Arnold & Porter LLP. He began his legal career in Los Angeles as a Fellow at the Center for Law in the Public Interest and has held senior executive positions in the Asia Pacific region, including as the American Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, chairman/CEO of a large international law firm, founding managing partner of a law office in Shanghai, and special policy assistant to a member of the lower house of the Japanese parliament. Nominated by President Obama in 2009, he was the first openly LGBT Ambassador confirmed by the Senate in U.S. history, and his passport and that of his spouse are now housed in the Smithsonian Institution’s permanent collection of American history.
A licensed solicitor in England & Wales as well as an American lawyer, he sits as an arbitrator and mediator in international and domestic disputes, and has represented corporations, sovereign entities, and individuals in proceedings in numerous jurisdictions around the world. He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Fellow of the London-based Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a Commissioner on the Paris-based ICC Commission on Arbitration & ADR, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Faculty of Business & Law of the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. He has a long history of community engagement, including the chair of the California Law Revision Commission under Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger, a founding national board member (and co-chair and general counsel) of GLAAD, adjunct professor and guest lecturer at several law schools and universities in the United States and overseas, president of the Los Angeles Quality & Productivity Commission, and member of the boards of numerous NGOs.
Born to working class parents in a coal mining town in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, Ambassador Huebner graduated from Princeton University, summa cum laude, and Yale Law School. He moved to Los Angeles after graduation where he met his spouse, Duane McWaine, MD, a fellow Princetonian. They were married in a religious ceremony in 1989. The Ambassador’s Senate confirmation hearing fell on their 20th wedding anniversary.
Barbara Jacobs is the President of World Wide Events and the Chief Operating Officer of Kinetescape Inc., the owner of Barbara Jacobs Events and co-owner of Beautiful Pictures Inc. As COO of Kinestescape, Jacobs oversees all areas of new business development and operations for all hospitality venues worldwide for The Edison in Los Angeles and Orlando Florida, The Tunnels, Orlando and Clifton’s Cafeteria, Los Angeles. Future projects include restaurant/lounges in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Florida. Additionally, she produces the live entertainment at all the Kinetescape venues and personally oversees a staff of 150+ employees.
At Kinetescape, Jacobs works to continually create and bring to fruition unique concepts for entertainment, food and beverage by working intimately with her teams to introduce new menus every three months to reflect seasonal, fresh market products and innovative ideas. Jacobs is currently working with world-renowned chefs to create an entirely new vision for both the Edison’s and Clifton’s Cafeteria dining, beverage and entertainment options.
The Kinetescape production team has grown under Jacobs’ tutelage to include full service production, and an all-inclusive management of sound, lighting and staging, to complete the impeccable food and beverage services. The Kinetescape brand has expanded under Jacobs and by 2015 the company will have grown from 150 employees to 1500 with plans for doubling within the next five years.
As the owner of Barbara Jacobs Events, Jacobs’ work has included thousands of events, including nonprofit fundraisers, food and music festivals, entertainment industry, private and corporate events and rock concerts including the first world tour of Asanee-Wasan – the biggest Asian band in the world. Jacobs has produced Rhino Retro Fest, the Scottsdale Art and Music Festival, toured with the Blind Boys of Alabama, The Robert Randolph Band and others. Her experience and hands-on approach has catapulted the Kinetescape production value to an unparalleled level in the Los Angeles area.
As President and Founder of Beautiful Pictures INC, her work includes Music Video Production and multiple reality show production and editing. Additionally, Barbara produced and directed her first short, entitled “YEO.” “YEO ” is a labor of love highlighting the ever-changing political scenery in the United States and featuring 20 young elected officials under the age of 30. From “YEO,” sprung a Documentary currently in production called “Bookends,” showcasing 700 young elected officials. A portion of the documentary proceeds benefit the Young Elected Officials Network. As part of the documentary package, Jacobs is creating a book of “Bookends” as well. Most recently, Bookends” is in pre-production as a reality show focusing on the political races of five young elected officials. Also, in pre-production is “Political Women” detailing the struggles of women in politics and highlighting the 13% female electives currently service office in the United States. For her work on this project, Jacobs recently was invited to the White House for the annual White House Holiday Party.
Barbara most prides herself on her charitable work. She has dedicated her life to non-profit fundraising, event productions and volunteerism. Currently Barbara is hosting They Ryman Spirit Awards in April 2015 and the William’s Institute T-Dance benefiting transgender research in June 2015. Jacobs co-hosted for the Spirit of Liberty awards gala featuring Leader Nancy Pelosi and benefitting the People for the American Way; co-chaired the Midnight Missions 100th Anniversary in 2014 and is a Platinum Sponsor of Aid for Aids in October 2013, 2014 and 2015. In March, 2013, Barbara was given the Carrie Chapman Hart Award for leadership by the League of Women Voters, Los Angeles. In 2010 Barbara received the Virginia Avenue Project award for her dedication to youth mentoring and in 2011 Jacobs was given the Golden Heart Award by The Midnight Mission for her work over the five years–most importantly, for creating a hiring program for Los Angeles area Mission residents and dedicating her time to personally working and hiring each Mission employee to ensure that his or her new job and new sobriety will be a success. At this time Barbara has hired fourteen Mission employees with plans to hire up to 100 more.
Jacobs produced the only all green carbon neutral fundraiser benefiting Barack Obama’s presidential campaign featuring Hilary Clinton as the keynote speaker and Bon Jovi as the special guest performance. This event drew over 500 attendees and was both financially and environmentally successful. Barbara continues her activism during this years Presidential election and will oversee multiple Obama intimate fundraisers over the next few months. Barbara is currently on the DNC Finance Committee raising funds for the Democratic Party.
A few of the nonprofit events that Jacobs has produced include the Midnight Mission, Macy’s Passport, The Williams Institute at UCLA, The Lymphoma-Leukemia Foundation, Being Alive, Break The Cycle, Youth Mentoring Connection, AIDS Healthcare
Foundation, Black AIDS Institute, Hot in Hollywood, Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team, Folsom Street Events, The Serra Project, Voice for the Animals, USC Hillel, Our House Grief Support Group, Neighborhood Legal Services, The Jewish Home for the Aging, The Professional Leaders Conference, Heart of Los Angeles Youth, and many more. Jacobs has always dedicated her life and work to giving at least one hour of time each day in hopes to end the cycle of poverty and despair in this country.
Jacobs is an Executive member of the League of Women Voters, Ryman Foundation Board member, Executive board member of the Los Angeles, the Central City Association, an Executive member of Bringing Back Broadway and the LA Streetcar board, Co-Chair of the RADD committee, LABID historic board member, and was just recently asked to join as an executive member of The Los Angeles Conservancy. Barbara works closely with LAPD, LAFD and the city to create opportunities for other businesses to succeed and is often asked to speak to new businesses within the community. Jacobs was also a member of the host committee for the December 2011 People for the America Way event at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel honoring Alec Baldwin. She was on the host committee of the 2014 PFAW fundraiser for Hilary Clinton in May.
Barbara’s life partner is music producer and Beautiful Pictures Co-Owner, Jeff Richter and she is most proud of her son, Ben Jacobs, CEO of Whistle and Ben was recently named one of the 30 under 30 in Technology by Forbes Magazine
Arnold D. Kassoy
Arnie Kassoy was born in New York City, grew up in Los Angeles and now makes his home in Santa Barbara and Palm Springs. He has multiple degrees from UCLA (BS, MBA and JD) and an L.L.M. from the London School of Economics & Political Science. He started his legal career as an entertainment and tax/estate planning attorney at Kaplan, Livingston, Berkowitz, Goodwin & Selvin, was a partner at Hardee Barovick Konecky & Braun, a principal/shareholder at Rosenfeld Kassoy & Kraus and more recently Counsel to Manatt Phelps & Phillips. He has written numerous legal articles, lectured extensively and founded and chaired the UCLA Entertainment Tax & Finance Institute. He has been named a Southern California Super Lawyer and has been involved with many non profits and charitable organizations.
For many years, Arnie provided free legal services to AIDS patients in Santa Barbara (through Pacific Pride Foundation) and in Los Angeles (through HALSA). He has served on the Boards of: the Beverly Hills Bar Association; Public Counsel; the Fund for Santa Barbara (which supports progressive, grass roots causes in the community); the Santa Barbara International Film Festival; and AIDS RESEARCH ALLIANCE (a cutting edge research organization). Arnie helped his client, Chuck Williams, create the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law where he serves as a member of the Founders Council. He served as President of the Board of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival for four years and as Chairman of the Board of AIDS RESEARCH ALLIANCE for three years. His dog loves him.
John McDonald and Rob Wright
John McDonald was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Los Angeles. His education was entirely in California. He received his BA in Geology from UCLA. He was awarded a certificate from the Executive Program at the UCLA Graduate School of Business. His J.D. was awarded by Western States University School of Law, and he is an inactive member of the California State Bar Association. In 1967, he joined Mullikin Medical Centers and became CEO of Mullikin Medical Enterprises (MME) during its expansion from Southern California to Northern California, Washington and Oregon. In 1995, he negotiated the sale of MME to Caremark RX, an NYSE publicly traded company.
Rob Wright was born and raised in Denver. He graduated from the School of Economics at the University of Colorado in Boulder during which time he worked as a ski patrolman in Vail, Colorado. He joined the microfilm division of 3M Co in 1972 and was transferred to Los Angeles in 1973. He was a partner at Irwin-Wright Advertising for many years until joining Fred Sands Realtors.
John and Rob met in 1982 through mutual friends and lived in the Los Feliz area until 1995. Together, they soon became active in supporting the Gay & Lesbian Community Services Center of Los Angeles. In 1996, they moved to Beaver Creek, Colorado where they continue to live a very social and active lifestyle of skiing, hiking and biking. They are involved in local and national charitable giving and support the Vail Valley performing arts community through various local foundations. Their primary thrust in philanthropy is seeking full and equal rights for all minorities including the gay and lesbian community. To this end, they support numerous charitable organizations, but are keenly interested and involved in the work done by the Williams Institute.
Tom Morgan is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Senior Vice President for BECU where he leads the Information Technology Division. BECU is the fourth largest credit union in the United States and the largest in Washington State. With over 30 years of financial services industry experience, Tom is a seasoned senior executive in the areas of technology, operations and finance.
Previous to joining BECU in 2014, Tom was Home Lending Chief Information Officer at both Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase and served on the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Residential Technology Steering Committee. During his tenure in the home lending segment, he oversaw the largest US servicing conversion, including development and implementation of strategies that simplified and streamlined home lending originations, capital markets, and servicing platforms. Previously, Tom served as CIO in Corporate Technology for Washington Mutual and FleetBoston Financial, where his background included managing the acquisition, integration, and divestiture of over 30 financial institutions.
While earning his Bachelor of Sciences degree at the University of Maine, Tom began his banking career serving as Treasurer of the UMO Student Federal Credit Union. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program and holds a Six Sigma Champion certification. Presently, Tom is a member of the Founders Council of The William’s Institute, a non-profit foundation that is part of the UCLA Law School and is on the Board of Directors of ArtsWest, a non-profit theater company in West Seattle. ArtsWest produces artistic events that provide conversation, incite the imagination and uses live theater as a powerful agent of change. Tom is also on the Founding Board of the University of Washington’s Information School (iSchool), a leader in preparing a rising generation of information leaders to embrace the challenges associated with the way we create, find, store, manipulate, and share information.
Mr. Morgan has also been very active within the LGBT community and was the first executive sponsor for Washington Mutual’s LGBT employee action committee. Mr. Morgan was interviewed by The Advocate for Washington Mutual’s award of being one of the best places to work for LGBT. Most recently he served on Bank of America’s Global Diversity Council and was the executive sponsor for the Bank’s global LGBT employee action committee. Early in his career, Mr. Morgan was a volunteer in Boston’s Aids Action Committee and served as a “Buddy” for Aids patients. Mr. Morgan has also been a major donor to the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT causes.
Tom Mounteer, the sixth of seven children, born in Albany, New York, moved to Washington, D.C., in 1982, to work for Congressman Gills Long (8th, Louisiana). Tom, a partner in Paul Hastings Washington office since 2001, is a nationally prominent environmental lawyer, helping businesses identify, quantify, and apportion liability as they buy, sell, finance, or lease businesses. Since 1997, Tom has taught both fall and spring semesters at his alma mater, George Washington University Law School (J.D. and LLM), receiving the Distinguished Adjunct Teaching Award in 2009. Tom has written many academic and professional articles on environmental law topics. From 2010 through 2016, Tom served on the board of directors of the Environmental Law Institute, serving as treasurer in 2013-14. Tom was a member of the board of directors of the Federal City Performing Arts Association (Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington) from 2008-14, serving as chairman of the board from 2010-12.
Michael is a Managing Director, Investments at Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. He grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Elon University. He has a passion for houses and enjoys renovating them during his free time. Maintaining physical health and well being are also very important to him.
Around the community, Michael has served on the National Board of Directors for GLAAD, the National Diversity Board and co-Chair of the Pride Network at a major Wall Street firm. He won the inaugural John J. Mack Leadership Award at Morgan Stanley for his work creating the LGBT Financial Planning Seminar series and taking it nationwide. Presently he serves on the Board of Directors for the Williams Institute. Michael consults with several Non-Profit Organizations in the LGBT space
Sandra L. Richards, Executive Director, leads the Business Development efforts focused on the Diverse and Multicultural Markets for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. The key areas in which the programs Sandra manages focuses on connectivity to existing clients, establishing new business relationships while creating an impact in the community. Sandra joined Morgan Stanley’s Global Wealth Management Group in 2007, as a Director – Diversity Specialist. She worked closely with internal and external partners to support the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Previously she was the Development Officer, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for the Jackie Robinson Foundation, in which she was responsible for raising over $3 million annually for the Foundation’s programs. At the age of 29, she was recognized by The Network Journal with the ‘40 Under Forty Award’ for her outstanding accomplishments.
Sandra holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree, both from Seton Hall University. She is also a graduate of the Rutgers University/United Way of Essex and West Hudson County Project Leadership and the National Forum for Black Public Administrator’s Young Leaders Programs.
In 2011, Sandra was named by the African American Chamber of Commerce for Rockland and Westchester Counties as a “Woman of Influence” and in 2008 for the list of “10 Influential Blacks”. Sandra is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors for the Soledad O’Brien and Brad Raymond Foundation. She resides in New York.
Thomas L. Safran, Chairman of Thomas Safran & Associates
Mr. Safran is Chairman of Thomas Safran & Associates, developers and managers of affordable multifamily residential housing. His firm specializes in both family and senior low-rent housing and mixed use developments.
Nationally, Mr. Safran has belonged to such organizations as the Home Builders, the Urban Land Institute, the National Housing Coalition, NAHRO, and the National Leased Housing Association, of which he was a member of the Board of Directors. He has been active locally in Los Angeles nonprofit housing organizations as President of Alternative Living for the Aging and as Vice President of Menorah Housing Foundation, and as a member of the Corporate Fund for Housing. In addition, Mr. Safran has volunteered in his community serving on local boards: homeowner associations in Brentwood and Bel Air, 15 years on the San Vicente Design Review Board, Chair of the San Vicente Improvement Association, Treasurer of Brentwood Green, and Business Representative on the Brentwood Neighborhood Community Council. He is also a founder of both the Museum of Contemporary Art and on the Board of The Music Center of Los Angeles County.
Mr. Safran has a Bachelors Degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut (where he was on the Board of Fellows), and an MBA from UCLA where he is a Chancellors Associate. Prior to establishing his own company in 1974, he held various positions over a five-year period with the Los Angeles Area, Chicago Regional, and Washington, D.C. Central offices of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Todd Sears is the Founder and Principal of Out Leadership, a global strategic advising firm that connects leaders across the world’s most influential industries to create business opportunities, cultivate talent, and drive LGBT equality forward.
Out Leadership began with 6 founding member firms in 2011, and now counts 66 of the world’s leading companies as members. Out Leadership operates two industry-specific business initiatives: Out on the Street and Out in Law, and two cross-industry talent initiatives for LGBT leaders: OutNEXT, the first global leadership development program for the next generation of LGBT talent, and Quorum, which seeks to increase LGBT representation on corporate boards.
A former investment banker, Todd specialized in wealth management at Merrill Lynch, creating the first national team of financial advisors on Wall Street focused on the LGBT community, which brought over $1.4 billion of new assets to the firm.
Todd then moved into diversity leadership, pioneering diversity initiatives at Merrill Lynch and then at Credit Suisse, where he served as Americas Head of Diversity and Inclusion. Both organizations continue to be ranked among the top companies in the Fortune 500 by diversity organizations including Working Mother, Black MBA, and the Human Rights Campaign.
Todd works closely with senior leaders across industries to build business opportunity through diversity innovation. He regularly speaks at conferences and meetings around the globe to share this vision.
A graduate of Duke University and Woodberry Forrest School, Todd is also an active philanthropist and community leader. He is the founding co-chair of Jeffrey Fashion Cares, a fundraiser supporting LGBT civil rights, youth and HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, which has applied an innovative cost-structure to raise millions of dollars since its inception.
Todd is a senior advisor to Christopher Street Financial. He also serves on the non-profit boards of The Williams Institute of UCLA, The Palette Fund, and Lambda Legal. In 2014 he received Aid for AIDS International’s My Hero Award; in 2015 he received the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s Paula L. Ettelbrick Award for achievements in advancing LGBT attorneys.
Stu Walter has enjoyed two very diverse careers, that of a Contractor and a Controller. While living in Pennsylvania, he was a contractor involved in numerous distinguished projects. After his return to California, Stu has served as the Controller of Aids Research Alliance of America. Stu also serves as Secretary/Treasurer of the Big Rock Mesas Property Owners Association. Stu is an avid sailor and traveler.
Charles R. Williams
Mr. Williams is the President of Williams & Associates and received his B.A. and M.B.A. from UCLA. Until 1985, Mr. Williams worked as a senior executive for Sperry Corporation, where he held several positions, including Vice President for Strategic and Business Planning and Vice President and General Manager for Worldwide Operations. Most recently, he has taught business courses in policy and strategy and consults in this area. Mr. Williams is currently a board member of the UCLA Foundation, as well as a member of the Gill Foundation’s OutGiving Advisory Committee. Mr. Williams has been recognized by various LGBT organizations and publications. In 2002, the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association honored him with their Co-President’s Award, and OUT magazine named him one of their “Out 100” in the December issue. In October 2003, the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center presented Williams with its Board of Directors Award. Mr. Williams’ inaugural donation of $2.5 million to create the Williams Institute was the largest donation ever given to any academic institution in support of a gay and lesbian academic program in any discipline. As the institute has grown, Mr. Williams has given over $12 million to support the organization’s programs. Because of his generosity and support, the Institute has impacted policy throughout the country on important LGBT issues.
Rabbi Barbara Zacky was born in Los Angeles, California. She attended San Diego State University in San Diego, California where she earned her BA in Physical Education and Health. While working, she continued her education earning her MBA in general business at National University in San Diego, California. After dedicating many years working for various manufacturing firms in California and Arizona she returned back to Los Angeles where she cared for her mother. While caring for her mother she understood her purpose in life and pursued her studies at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California and received Rabbinic Ordination and earned her Masters in Rabbinic Studies emphasizing in pastoral care. She continues to provide spiritual care to families and individuals as well as advocates for social justice.