BREAK THE CYCLE'S
Kathryn Kerfes Amira, Esq.
KATHRYN KERFES AMIRA, Board Governance Co-Chair, is a member of Kelly Lytoon & Vann LLP, where she practices in the areas of business bankruptcy law and civil litigation. GGGGGGsenior counsel in the law firm of Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstreif LLP. She specializes in all areas of bankruptcy law and is certified as a Business Bankruptcy Law Specialist by the American Bankruptcy Board of Certification. Kathryn serves on the Executive Committee of the Beverly Hills Bar Association Bankruptcy Section and on the Board of Advisors of Whittier Law School. Kathryn was a founding member of the Los Angeles Women Insolvency Professionals. Kathryn is the former chair of the Bridging the Gap Committee of L.A. County Bar Association. Prior to entering private practice, she served as the Assistant Dean of Whittier Law School.
Michael V. Bales, Esq.
MICHAEL V. BALES is one of the managing partners of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger & Kinsella LLP. He maintains an active business law and finance practice generally representing entrepreneurs, emerging companies, family businesses, and companies in the entertainment industry. Michael has represented a number of nonprofit trusts and corporations, including The First School Scholarship Fund, a scholarship fund for preschoolers at The First School and Pacific Resident Theatre.
GAIL BECKER is executive vice president and general manager of Edelman Los Angeles. Gail joined Edelman after serving as vice president of publicity and communications at Warner Home Video, where she spearheaded the global public relations launch of the DVD format on behalf of Warner Bros. and Time Warner, leaders in development of the technology. Prior, she received a political appointment to serve as director of communications for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC. She also served as a member of the national press staff for Clinton and Gore during their ’92 presidential campaign. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California Los Angeles and a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University.
Meredith Blake, Esq.
MEREDITH BLAKE, Founder and Executive Director of Break the Cycle, is a public interest attorney and an advocate working in the areas of domestic violence, teen dating violence, abuse prevention and family law. Meredith held an appointment for three years as a Research Scholar at UCLA's Center for the Study of Women and served on the State Bar Committee on Women in the Law. Meredith has received a number of public interest awards including the Fay Stender Award from California Women Lawyers, the Nancy J. Mintie Public Interest Award, and the Jack Berman Award of Achievement presented by the State Bar of California. In her role as Executive Director of Break the Cycle, Meredith has appeared in local and national press from the Los Angeles Times and The Chronicle of Philanthropy to National Public Radio and Glamour magazine.
A. Elizabeth Hahn Block, M.S.W
LIZ BLOCK, a social worker and mother of two young children, currently serves as the Director of the Hahn-Block Family Foundation. The Hahn-Block Foundation includes among its endeavors a dedication to improving the quality of education, with a focus on issues specific to adolescence. Prior to the birth of her children, Liz had a private psychotherapy practice in Westlake Village, California. Liz has also worked as a psychotherapist at Family Service of Los Angeles and Cigna Health Services. Before coming to Los Angeles to earn a masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California, Liz was the Assistant Director of Admissions at a private college preparatory school in New York City.
GAIL HUANG is an associate in the Los Angeles office of Morrison & Foerster LLP where she maintains an active corporate finance practice. She received her B.A. degree with a major in East Asian Studies in 1975 from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and a J.D./M.B.A. in 1991 from the UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management. She is a long-standing member of the Asian Business League and the Southern California Chinese Lawyers’ Association. Gail belongs to the City Club of Bunker Hill and serves on the Club’s City Connections Committee, a businesswomen’s networking group, and also serves on the Club’s Member Relations Committee. In addition, she is a member and strong supporter of the Women of Los Angeles, a professional organization that focuses on the advocacy of issues of importance to women.
Eleanor M. Johnson
ELEANOR M. JOHNSON, Board Treasurer, is a tax partner in the public accounting firm of Gilderman, Johnson & Co. LLP, a firm she co-founded in 1996. Eleanor is an active member of the Century City Chamber of Commerce where she sits on the Board of Directors, is the Executive Vice President of the Executive Committee, has been on the Women's Business Council Steering Committee since 1996 and served as that committee's Chair during 1998. As a volunteer she serves as an ad hoc Board member, chairs the steering committee of the Honorary Board, and devotes a substantial amount of her time in assisting Jay Nolan Community Services Center, a non-profit agency that provides services to people with autism. Eleanor, originally from Boston, was first certified as a CPA in Massachusetts in 1989 and became certified in California in 1997.
Patricia A. Johnson
PATRICIA A. JOHNSON is a Senior Vice President at the investment firm of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. She has worked in the financial services industry since 1978 as both a Senior Manager and Investment Advisor. She holds a full range of professional licenses and believes that continuing education is essential to maintaining her financial acumen. As a former board member of the Los Angeles Women's Foundation, Pat provided fundraising support as well as financial and strategic counsel to the organization. She was an active volunteer with LAWF for over seven years and on the board for three. She has also volunteered with various proactive animal rescue groups and believes in being involved in her community.
MARLISE KARLIN is the President/Partner of WILD AT HEART FILMS, LLC, a motion picture production company based in Los Angeles. Within a year of launching the company, Marlise has studio features as well as independent and cable films set up at Disney, Fox and Showtime. Marlise's love of social contribution led her to work in the non-profit world for the SYDA Foundation as their International Director. She produced live events in major cities worldwide where she worked with celebrities, politicians and CEOs of major corporations. Marlise is a member of The Next Generation Council of The Motion Picture and Television Fund, Women in Film and is on the Advisory Board of Women of L.A.
ELSIE PON loves the food business and has been part of it since 1983. She was a partner operating an upscale Italian take-out, Pasticci, in San Francisco; and later as a frozen appetizer manufacturer in Los Angeles, with Chicken Wonton and Potstickers as the signature products. She introduced Potstickers to the food service segment in California for their Banquet, Appetizer & Room Service Menus. Since 1993, she introduced sushi to supermarkets across the nation, making it readily available to people across the country. In 2000, Elsie launched American Seltzer, with 8 flavors, in Beijing, China. She is dedicated to marketing high quality, healthy food made under the strictest production standards.
John Shaeffer, Esq.
JOHN SHAEFFER is the managing partner of O'Donnell & Shaeffer. John started his law practice at the antitrust boutique of Furth, Fahrner, & Mason in San Francisco. After two years of practice, John moved to Los Angeles and joined the New York firm of Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays, & Handler, LLP as an associate in the litigation department. After five years of practice at Kaye, Scholer, in February 1996, John partnered with Pierce O'Donnell to form O'Donnell & Shaeffer, LLP. He is a recognized expert in intellectual property law, and has vast experience in the areas of antitrust, CERCLA, complex corporate and securities litigation.
GENE STRAUB is the Senior Vice President of Studio Operations at 20th Century Fox. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 20th Century Fox lot, which includes construction, facilities management, insurance, purchasing, food services, real estate, government affairs, environmental operations and production support. All of these departments combined give Gene approximately 600 employees to oversee who are in turn responsible for keeping the studio running on a daily basis. He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Finance and in 1993 attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, graduating 2nd in his class. He lives in Hancock Park with his wife, who is the Senior Major Gifts and Planned Giving Officer with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, their daughter Juliette and son Nicholas.
Stasia E. Cato Washington
STASIA E. CATO WASHINGOTN has served as the Vice President of Northern Trust Bank since October 1996. Stasia has many years of experience in bank management and consumer compliance regulation through positions with the Federal Reserves Bank of San Francisco, Sanwa Bank California and Security Pacific National Bank. Stasia currently serves on the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles Library Foundation, the West Angeles Community Development Corporation, and College Bound.
Michael J. Yuda, C.P.A.
MICHAEL YUDA is President of Michael J. Yuda, CPA, An Accountancy Corporation ("MJY"). MJY is a full service CPA firm which has been serving the Los Angeles and Ventura County areas since 1983. In addition to the normal CPA type services offered by MJY, Michael is a registered investment advisor and is heavily involved in providing various financial planning and money management services to his clients. Michael is the former Treasurer of the Ventura County Chapter of the National Kidney Foundation, and now serves as the pro bono accountant for Break the Cycle, as well as acting Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.
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