SHEERA GOREN – DINATING
Sheera was born and raised in Los Angeles - though has lived in Michigan (Go Blue), Barcelona and New York. She has always been surrounded by philanthropic people, but wanted to find a way to give back that she is passionate about and could identify with. Food excites Sheera. She loves the experiences that food-related activities facilitate - whether going to dinner, hosting a dinner or cooking a meal - there is something to be said about the combination of good food, good drink and good people. Special things happen for her. So by fusing her love of food experiences with her desire to give back and do something greater than herself, Dinating - a conscious way to eat - was born. Oh, and Sheera's true passion for shmooshing words together to come up with new, trademark-able words. Nothing better than a good shmoosh.
Dinating allows people to eat well and do good at the same time. Many of us go out to eat all the time to try a new restaurant or revisit a favorite restaurant, but how many of us feel like we have the leisure money to write a check to charity? Or further, how many people feel like going to a charity gala or event becomes a chore or more expensive than we want? Well, Dinating was created to facilitate experiences where we no longer have to choose what we are eating, where we are eating, who we are eating with and if we are donating. Dinating is an eat one feed one model where part of the price of each dinner goes to help feed a family of four for a day - that's 12 meals provided by each dinator. All a dinator has to do is come, eat and enjoy! We live in a "foodie" culture and I feel there is an opportunity to allow people to do what they want to be doing already while also providing an avenue to do something for the larger community, without sacrificing one over the other. Donating never tasted so good!
JESSICA HEKMAT – FURTHERMORE
Jessica is a storyteller. An MBA and marketing strategist with 10 years of experience in Communications, Jessica believes there is great power and responsibility in storytelling to shift perspectives and create change. As a publicist, she secured media coverage that significantly impacted the ultimate distribution and theatrical success for independent projects with compelling stories. While managing Global Social Media and Brand Activations for Barbie at Mattel, Jessica created life-sized stories for the 11.5-inch cultural icon, fostering an authentic connection between the brand and consumers. Now, as an entrepreneur and consultant, Jessica is focused on defining purpose, strategic vision and business goals for new brands telling their story. Jessica is subscribed to a life-long education grounded in reading, traveling and listening. From every experience, she takes a “nugget”, further evolving her personal philosophies and also sharing with friends, colleagues and clients, committed to empowering others to live consciously.
Furthermore provides a dynamic, approachable framework for relationship exploration. Our purpose is to ignite reflection, dialogue, and decision-making – to create conscious relationships grounded in integrity and intention. We facilitate authentic connections to create balanced families, and ultimately healthier communities. Furthermore will launch as a curated online portal including a curriculum anchored in topical modules such as “Parenting” or “Religion & Spirituality.” Our longer-term vision includes classes, retreats and other tools. Self-Improvement is a $10 billion industry in the US and there are a limited number of resources outside of therapy and religious counseling for Millennials seeking healthy and happy partnerships during a time when divorce rates are over 50%. Unaffiliated with any religious organization or school of psychotherapy, the Furthermore curriculum is intended to facilitate communication between partners to create emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual growth. At its core, Furthermore provides tools to deconstruct the most critical elements of successful relationships so that a couple can get clarity on what they want and expect from one another, further explore gaps and take the next step in their journey. Furthermore can be complementary and used in conjunction with traditional therapy, pre-marital counseling, religious advice, classes, or other forms of education.
MARISSA HUTTER – IT’S POSSIBLE PROJECT
Marissa received her Masters in Education and set off to positively impact the lives of children. In her nine years of teaching, she became extremely concerned about childhood obesity, prevalent in both the public and private sector. Marissa continued her education at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and began teaching nutrition and wellness to her students. A now passionate nutrition advocate for children, Marissa teamed up with social worker and life coach, Mary Traylor, to create It’s Possible Project, a teen-centric holistic approach to health and wellness, relationships and learning. Marissa believes in the power of healing through food and lifestyle changes. She believes that small lifestyle changes right now lead to major transformation later on. As It’s Possible Project’s Director of Nutritional Awareness Programs and Holistic Health Coach, she works with teens to be their best selves. She believes that everyone deserves to live healthy, happy, and radiant lives.
It’s Possible Project is based on the notion that anything and everything is possible. It is designed specifically for the healthy development and empowerment of today’s teen. Our mission is to revolutionize the way teenagers cultivate relationships with themselves, food, their body, their family and the world around them. It’s Possible Project created what we call Our Recipe for Success, which focuses on three crucial areas of development: Nutritional Awareness, Academic Development, and Personal Leadership. We custom designed individual and group coaching programs, camps, workshops, community events, and parent groups to address specific needs within these categories. As It’s Possible Project’s Director of Nutritional Awareness Programs and Holistic Health Coach, I design our health and wellness programs. I work with teens who want to lose weight, increase their energy, and live with enduring confidence. I developed a comprehensive program that combines an essential education in nutrition and mindfulness along with customized coaching to help teens actively set intentions, track their progress, and develop accountability systems. We focus on food in order to move beyond food, towards a healthy body, mind, and spirit. It’s an education beyond academics, supporting teens in all facets of their life.
Donna Maher currently works as a marketing strategist for a multicultural, mobile-first tech startup in Venice, CA. Prior to that, she assisted with the launch of the first USA division of a global executive search company, building the business through her entrepreneurial spirit and marketing and strategy skills. Donna has served as a conversational Hebrew and Judaic study teacher at several synagogues in Orange County and Los Angeles and is a recent graduate of the Maher Fellowship leadership training program. Upon her completion of the fellowship, she joined the Board of Directors of 30 Years After, serving as the Co-Alumni Relations Chair for the Fellowship. Donna holds a B.A. in Economics with a Specialization in International Studies from UC Irvine and earned an international M.B.A. from Tel Aviv University. She is a native of Seal Beach, CA and is passionate about empowering others and making an impact in her community.
With the tools provided by PresenTenseLA, I plan to create a self-esteem workshop designed to empower teenage girls and equip them with the skills to master self-compassion. The program will address topics and challenges that teenage girls experience: from self-compassion and mindfulness to body image and social media. This program will provide a safe space for teen girls in Los Angeles to learn, share and discuss the challenges that are common for their age group, especially since these topics are not addressed in schools. Having a healthy self-esteem is key for the girls in our community to reach their fullest potential. The primary goal of this program is to combat unhealthy self-esteem in our community, one girl at a time. The secondary goal is to bring girls from all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds in one place to create a space of understanding and relatedness among girls from different backgrounds. By having a better understanding about the world around them, we can empower the teenage girls in our community by nurturing them into strong, courageous women.
MARISSA NUCKELS – THE HOMESTEAD LA
Marissa is an energetic and passionate community organizer, Jewish educator, and urban farmer, dedicated to building sustainable, engaged, and meaningful communities. Born in LA and raised in Santa Barbara to an amazing interfaith family, Marissa's journey took her from a religious studies major at UCSB, to an orthodox yid in a Jerusalem seminary, to a hippie farmer in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, to a community builder and spiritual mentor in Tel Aviv, where she cofounded the Unity Kabbalat Shabbat Minyan. Driven by an insane appetite for life and desire to bring people together, and characterized by a sensitivity and openness to all peoples from all backgrounds, Marissa's hope is to be a part of the spiritual revolution of Judaism through cultivating both the soil and the soul of Los Angeles.
The Homestead is a Jewish urban farm and center for spirituality based out of LA. Not just your regular home, The Homestead is a green apartment, using energy-efficient technology, a gray-water system, and boasting a full-on urban garden that runs according to Jewish agricultural tradition. Fusing together the values and ethics of both traditional Judaism and social permaculture, The Homestead is a perfect model for spiritual, joyous, holistic living. It is a space that fosters growth of individuals and the community, as well as the garden. The Homestead hosts workshops, classes, and events having to do with everything from gardening, to urban homesteading, to Jewish holidays, to DIY projects, to mind-body wellness. In the garden, one can learn the basics of permaculture farming firsthand, while in the workshop people can partake in DIYs like candle-making, beer-brewing, etc. Other happenings include sunset yoga, meditation nights, preserving-the-harvest cooking and canning classes, Chassidic farbrengens and other not-your-average Torah classes, epic holiday events, and massive farm-to-table Shabbat dinners. Dedicated to building community, The Homestead aims to bring together all sorts of people, to grow and to celebrate, in an organic and meaningful way.
EDWARD PAKDAMAN – PROCESS GREEN
With the mind of an entrepreneur and heart of a philanthropist, Pakdaman was determined to create a business with a social conscience. In 2010, Process Green was born and became the brainchild of providing sustainable funds to nonprofit organizations. Mahatma Gandhi said it best, when he stated, "Be the change, you wish to see in the world." As a child, Pakdaman envisioned a career path towards helping others. As years went on, he aligned his academic, professional and personal interests to this vision. Some of his most life-changing and eye opening experiences originated from visits to China and South Africa, to meeting the Queen of Swaziland, and even hearing President Nelson Mandela address apartheid issues. He was exposed to global issues, such as poverty, environmental degradation, and lack of education - issues which Pakdaman holds true to his heart today that he hopes to address through Process Green.
Process Green works with registered merchant service providers who can offer discounted rates and forwards the savings to both businesses and non-profit organizations. We support organizations dedicated to healing, nurturing, and advancing our planet by donating 10% of our revenue to non-profit organizations. Our clients choose the charity of their choice, and we write the check on their behalf every year. Businesses that uses Process Green’s credit card processing solutions are able to choose any 501 c 3 organization to be the recipient of our donations. The 10% donations come from the rates and fees the business owners pays to accept credit cards. Additional benefits are to be seen for business participants as they are able to inform their customers that every credit card purchase from their establishment will now support an important cause. Process Green essentially adds value to businesses by providing credit card processing solutions to lower expenses, increase exposure and retain customers. In an industry that is typically self-serving and driven solely on financial gains, Process Green is spearheading an altruistic movement. We are becoming the first-of-its-kind in being a steady financial stream of revenue for non-profit organizations that are desperately needed to resolve our global issues.
REBECCA PLATT – Z’HOOT
Rebecca Platt is the Director of Education at Temple Judea in Tarzana, CA. She is passionate about creating out of the box experiential Jewish educational learning modalities for elementary school and high school students and their families. She believes that Jewish education in a complimentary setting must be a partnership between the family of each student and the complimentary school community, and that as much as we must help our children build and discover their Jewish identities, we also have an imperative to assist the entire family develop their "Jewish toolbox." Rebecca is working to transform the Jewish complimentary school into a dynamic, immersive, family happening!
Z'hoot, meaning "identity" in Hebrew, would redefine the complimentary Jewish school experience to combine elements of Jewish camp, family programming, and parallel adult education to inspire and engage the entire family. Z'hoot is a transformation and expansion of Temple Judea's "Nisayon" complimentary school program. It is our goal as a complimentary school to move towards an entirely immersive Jewish educational model at Temple Judea, moving away from the "traditional" Sunday complimentary school model towards less frequent but more intensive educational experiences for children and families.
JUSTIN SILVERMAN – DISCUTS
Justin Silverman is an energetic 25 year old, who after graduating from Michigan State University moved to Los Angeles from his home in a suburb of Philadelphia. Justin comes from a family of 6, and although he is a middle child, he doesn’t quite fit that stereotype. Always interested in music and technology, Silverman decided to study business at Michigan State and then move to Los Angeles to find a way to combine his two passions. After a brief stint working for Music For Relief, a 501 c-3 established by Linkin Park, Justin decided to take an opportunity at a software company, Vista Entertainment Solutions, where he is now responsible for the growth and success of a new business department. When not working, Justin can be found traveling, trying new restaurants, or taking advantage of the beautiful Los Angeles weather while hiking, playing soccer, or heading to the beach.
My venture, Discuts, is a technology (SaaS) for hair stylists to fill open time slots, and for shaggy hair guys and price conscious women to find last minute hair cut openings in their area, and be able to pay less for them by aligning supply and demand. By matching open time slots with willing buyers at discounted prices, Discuts raises the earning potential of stylists, as well as allows hair growers to save some money and look good while doing it. Not only does my venture help hair growers, it helps those who cannot grow hair due to various cancer treatments. My venture donates a portion of its revenue (in a model of for every x salons that sign up for the service we will donate x amount of hair pieces per month) to charities that help provide hair pieces to men, women and children who cannot afford them.
AARON SYMONDS – JEWISH ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK LA (JenLA)
Born in Boston to Australian parents, Aaron made aliyah to Israel when only 12 days old. He spent his formative years in Israel living around the corner from the ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Meaah-Shearim. He grew up in both the religious and secular worlds, having studied classical music and numerous instruments from the age of five. At the age of 16 he moved to Australia where he studied music at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and began working as a composer for film and theater. During that time he worked on productions for major theater companies, such as the Bell Shakespeare Company, Sydney Theater Company, etc. In 2004 he moved to LA to further his career, scoring music for film and TV. Projects he’s been involved in include Despicable Me 2, The Smurfs, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, etc. He has been married for seven years and has two children.
JenLA aims to be the primary springboard destination for all Jewish LA based professionals working in the Entertainment Industry. Our mission is to create a community that engages our members’ Jewish identity, brings together both secular and religious Jews across all denominations, and creates an environment where members support and guide each other in navigating through the Industry. We provide unparalleled access to leading Jewish Industry figures, enabling our members to benefit from their wisdom, knowledge and experience.
Jake Weiner is passionate and dedicated to provide the opportunity for young adults with special needs to explore and engage in fitness and exercise. Jake has worked with young adults with physical, sensory, cognitive, learning, emotional, and developmental disabilities for years in various settings such as adult vocational day programs, religious schools, non-profits, and summer camps. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, Certified as a personal trainer with the American College of Sports Medicine, CPR and AED certified, and is a black belt and certified instructor in the martial art of Judo. Jake is a leader and is integrally involved in our special needs community. Jake loves working with the special needs population because it gives him the opportunity to be creative, thoughtful, and compassionate while allowing him to engage and create unconventional programs and activities such as ZOOZ Fitness.
ZOOZ Fitness is an exercise company that creates adaptive, inclusive, and active workout routines designed for people with special needs. These routines are individually tailored to each client in order to maximize adherence, safety, and enjoyment. Each fitness session includes cardiovascular, strength, endurance, balance and/or flexibility training. Fear, anxiety, lack of an adaptive spaces or knowledge are a few barriers that stop people with special needs from working out. ZOOZ Fitness removes those barriers in hopes of minimizing inactivity and sedentary lifestyle choices. ZOOZ Fitness workouts incorporate state of the art equipment such as agility ladders, medicine balls, resistance bands, balance boards, sand bags, kettle bells, and so much more. Sometimes traditional exercise methods and routines do not work and can decrease desire and motivation to continue exercising. ZOOZ Fitness hopes to change the way exercise is thought of and make adaptive and fun workout routines available to the special needs community.
Jasmine Youssefzadeh is a social entrepreneur committed to finding innovative uses of new media to address social challenges. She graduated with a Master's in International Management from IE Business School in Madrid in July 2011, with a specialization Digital Business. She then went on to found a transmedia creative agency, filmanthropos (www.filmanthropos.com). Jasmine's career in social impact began as a consultant to NGOs in Johannesburg. Recognizing the necessity for purpose-driven organizations, she set out to combine her passion for storytelling with a commitment to creating impact. Jasmine founded filmanthropos to humanize social issues and empower organizations to engage constituents. filmanthropos is a creative agency specializing in storytelling and engagement campaigns. Using new media as a platform, they leverage the power of authentic storytelling to drive audiences towards action. Jasmine's mission is to catalyze a shift in entertainment by proving that socially-driven content can be used to make a real difference.
Impact Rising is a creative agency that specializes in storytelling and engagement campaigns, with a mission to scale impact through new media. They are a company of creative conspirators who tell stories, build community, and teach. They collide media, design, and technology to bring brands and ideas to life. filmanthropos excels at humanizing social issues and empowering organizations to better involve their constituents in serving their causes. Leveraging a service portfolio consisting of (1) Digital Storytelling (2) ProduceAthon Events and (3) Speaking & Brainstorming Workshops they build better brands, engage audiences, and inspire others towards action. Another innovative component to filmanthropos is their embedded commitment to pro-bono service through their Give Half business model. In an effort to go beyond activating brands, ideas, and causes with their work, and to help alleviate expenses for non-profit organizations, filmanthropos dedicates 50% of its efforts towards pro-bono services to small non-profits year-round. Using a network of volunteers to scale their pro bono offerings, they mobilize creatives to channel their talents towards serving a purpose bigger than themselves. At filmanthropos, the idea of “doing good” is around-the-clock, and the good is multi-fold, enabling causes and brands to extend their reach and impact.