Beth Albrecht, Corporate Events Manager
Beth was raised in the suburbs of Los Angles and has a degree in Studio Art from UCSB as well as a Masters in Public Administration from USC. Her event planning experience includes four years as the event's chair for a creative business network in Austin, where she planned bi-annual craft shows, facilitated partnerships with non-profits, and worked with SXSW affiliates. She has volunteered all over the world and continues to work every summer as a volunteer director at a youth summer camp on Catalina Island. When she's not planning the next party or DIY'ing something, she loves running, camping, and napping at the beach.
Kami Bruner, Operations Manager
A relative newcomer to Los Angeles, Kami originally hails from Nashville, TN via New Orleans. She's interested in systems thinking, social justice and helping organizations achieve greater impact. Kami received a BA in Religious Studies from The University of the South (Sewanee) and an MS from Tulane University where she focused on sustainable community & organizational development. Between her studies, Kami interned with the U.S. Consulate in Germany, worked with the University of TN's Institute of Public Service as well as several environmental organizations, and was deeply involved in community activism in her hometown. As L.A. Works' Operations Manager, Kami provides support for all departments and facilitates capacity-building initiatives. When not at “the Works,” you'll likely find her repurposing scavenged treasures, TimeBanking, or having her ankles mauled by a tiny blind foster cat.
Deborah Brutchey, Executive Director
Prior to joining the L.A. Works team in June 2009, Deborah worked in development for a family service agency in Santa Barbara and program management for an organization serving children impacted by a parent with cancer in San Francisco. In 2001, Deborah was interim Executive Director of the AT&T Center for Service Leadership at the Pennsylvania State University. Deborah has served on the City of Los Angeles' "We Serve LA" Community Service Advisory Cabinet, is a member of the Points of Light's Corporate Institute Leadership Faculty, and is a graduate of the Los Angeles' Chamber Leadership Los Angeles class of 2014. Deborah completed her MBA degree from the USC Marshall School of Business with a focus on social entrepreneurship.
Nahtahna Cabanes, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships | Director of RSVP
Responsible for recruiting and supervising baby boomer volunteers, Nahtahna's appointment as the director of RSVP continues her life's work creating opportunity and change through advocacy, education and community outreach. With two masters degrees, she's an experienced educator having worked in high schools and colleges with low-income youth, incarcerated populations, and single-working mothers. As a Bohnett Fellow, she worked with Mayor Villaraigosa on his education reform agenda. At CASA of L.A., she recruited hundreds of volunteers to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children. She enjoys running half marathons and spending time with her morkie, Sia.
Vanessa Davis, Volunteer Corps VISTA Leader
Vanessa obtained her B.A. in Creative Writing from California State University Long Beach and is an accomplished author, published under Divine Garden Press. She has been working with AmeriCorps for the past three years, serving as a VISTA member for Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach for two years and a CalServes VIP for one year at Sonoma County Family YMCA and Inland Empire United Way. Vanessa is an upcoming Master’s candidate at California Baptist University. She loves butterflies, giraffes, crocheting, listening to music and reading (her favorite author is Sci-fi writer Octavia Butler). An active member at her home church, St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church in La Puente, she is a part of the Drama, Anointed Hands of Praise (sign language), and Arts & Crafts Ministries. Vanessa is extremely excited to encourage VISTA members and the community through the various activities at L.A. Works.
Victoria DeFreitas, Volunteer Corps Manager
Victoria was born and raised in New York City before making the move to Los Angeles in 2017. She received a B.A. from the University of Richmond as a Rhetoric and Communication Studies major. She is extremely passionate about urban education and social justice. Previously Victoria worked for non-profits such as City Year, WorldTeach and Heart for Change. She spent two years teaching abroad in South America, where she also learned to make arepas and salsa dance! In her free time, Victoria loves to go hiking or spend time with her adopted Pit Bull, Charlemagne. As a former volunteer herself, Victoria is excited to use her passion and experience to serve the Los Angeles community and give back through L.A. Works.
Max Ferguson, Program Associate, RSVP Signature Projects
Max Ferguson is originally from Seattle, but his first winter in Southern California precluded his continuing to live in the Northwest. He studied philosophy and literature at Pomona College in Claremont, California, where he developed an enthusiasm for service that led him to AmeriCorps and L.A. Works. Max has a millennial's facility with technology and extensive experience working with diverse groups of people in the hospitality, retail and education sectors. He will apply this knowledge and experience to building the capacity of nonprofits throughout greater Los Angeles through better use of technology. In his free time, Max enjoys climbing, fishing and fixing things.
Heather Lowcock, Corporate Volunteer Engagement, AmeriCorps VISTA
Heather has been a purposeful wanderer since birth, moving with her family to cities like Chicago, Phoenix, and Seattle before continuing her own travels to Kentucky and Pennsylvania for her post-secondary degrees in English Literature. Heather also spent a year mentoring youth in Northern Ireland before returning to teach High School English in Los Angeles for 10 years. All of Heather’s wanderings, both in and out of the country and in and out of the classroom, have highlighted the importance of working within diverse communities to shape effective and sustainable programs that empower both the server and the served. She loves reading, going to concerts, and exploring national parks.
Raymond McAnally, RSVP Outreach Coordinator
Raymond came to L.A. Works through a personal search for volunteer opportunities and a desire to get involved in the greater Los Angeles community. An actor by profession, Raymond received his MFA in Acting from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Raymond has been an arts educator and advocate since 2004, working with nonprofits and grant organizations while teaching acting at Universities and professional studio programs. A native of Tennessee and a resident of NY/NJ for ten years, Raymond still can't get over the sunshine, beaches, deserts, and mountains. So, when he's not organizing volunteers, acting, teaching, or writing, Raymond can be found in the outdoors or "fiddlin" around with a carpentry project.
Jessica Manzo Carrera, RSVP Senior Program Coordinator
Jessica is a Stockton native who became an Angeleno while earning her BA at Mount St. Mary’s University. Jessica went on to work at her alma mater for three years post graduation in Student Financing where she served as the Co-Chair of the Committee on Staff Affairs. As an AVID graduate and Dell Scholar Jessica feels very passionate about empowerment through education. During high school, she volunteered as a tutor and looks forward to promoting educational programs through her role in the RSVP program. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking, decorating and traveling - especially to her parent’s hometown ranch in Michoacán, Mexico.
Kim Olpin, Vice President of Corporate Engagement
Raised in LA, Kim has a Masters in Public Administration. She has a variety of non-profit event experience from Boston Pride, Los Angeles River clean-ups, and mobile medical clinics in the jungles of Panama. She loves LA and enjoys planning adventures for her friends around town. When she’s not working on some sort of event she sings in LA’s oldest LGBTQ choir, the West Coast Singers; enjoys making and drinking tasty cocktails; and reads a lot.
Gyasi Parker-Ross, Vice President of Marketing & Entertainment Philanthropy
Gyasi (Jah-C) got his start in volunteerism with HandsOn Bay Area our San Francisco affiliate back in 2009 where he served as an AmeriCorps VISTA and Corporate Project Leader. After his term of service as a VISTA, he spent two and half years with The Mosaic Project as their Youth Leadership Project Director. When he’s not promoting volunteerism here at L.A. Works, Gyasi enjoys songwriting and performing music around Los Angeles. He’s an LA native and San Francisco State University graduate with a deep passion for giving back and creating opportunities for others.
Andrew Ramaglia, RSVP Pro Bono Coordinator
Andrew, born and raised in the suburbs of northern New Jersey, spent thirteen years doing social work on a voluntary and professional basis in New York City prior to enrolling at USC for a dual masters program. Now in his final year of earning a Master in Social Work, with a concentration in social change and innovation, and Master of Urban Planning, with a concentration in community and social planning, he is continuing his professional goal of bringing equity and social justice to communities that need it. Outside of work, when he is not eating his way through the LA food scene, he is getting lost in wilderness backpacking through national parks in the US or lost in translation traveling the world.
Norberto Urrea, Event Production Coordinator
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Norberto is a college student pursuing a degree in Communications at California State University Dominguez Hills. His experience varies from construction and freelance work in film and theatre production to volunteer work at schools and elderly homes throughout LA County. Through LA Works he hopes to gain skills and knowledge that will allow him to continue helping his community as well as pursue his career ambitions in event production. In his spare time, Norberto enjoys reading and writing short stories, going out with friends, and exploring any type of new art form.
P. J. Schumacher, Schumacher Financial Consulting
PJ has been serving as a notary, business management consultant, controller, and tax accountant since 1985. He formed Schumacher Financial Consulting in 1991 to provide full-charge bookkeeping services to a wide variety of clients, as well as serving in the capacities of controller and tax accountant. P.J. joined the L.A. Works team in 1993.
Sam Ahn, Pro-Bono and Special Programs Associate
Sam is originally from South Korea, has a Masters degree in Urban Design and over 10 years of experience in various corporate sectors, including running her own company. She is passionate about building communities that work together to give hope, support, and the opportunity to thrive to those who feel like they have no other options. She recently left her successful corporate career and completed an MA in Positive Developmental Psychology and Evaluation at Claremont Graduate University (including research on poverty, leadership and social capital in relation to youth gang prevention). Through her studies and her time with L.A. Works, she hopes to better prepare for a career that contributes to increasing meaning and purpose in people’s lives.
Warda Baig, Social Media & Content Producer
Before moving to the U.S., Warda worked with Telenor Pakistan (a BU of the Telenor Group) within the Corporate Communications team. She graduated with a Bachelors in Business from the National University of Computers & Emerging Sciences (NUCES) in Islamabad. She also did freelance content creation for Mangobaaz (a Buzzfeed-like entertainment company in Pakistan) while juggling a career in comms, prior to my move. In her free time, she likes to cook and reimagine ways to take over the world… one nap at a time. As a Social Media & Content Producer Volunteer Associate at LA Works, Warda looks after the organization’s SoMe channels & and tackles challenging communications projects.
Mike Castiglione, Leadership Development Associate
Mike is originally from Niagara Falls but has been in L.A. For 12 years. He’s got 6 years of experience teaching middle and high school mathematics and was the Program Director of Teacher Leadership for the Center of Math and Science Teaching (CMAST) at Loyola Marymount University, where he worked with over 50 schools within 11 school districts, impacting over 48,000 students. He earned his MBA from Loyola Marymount University and also has a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the State University of New York at Fredonia. One of Mike’s professional passions is building instructional coaches capable of fostering sustainable change within their organizations. When he’s not helping develop leaders, he’s probably off traveling somewhere amazing!
Daniel Dougherty, Social Media & Content Producer
Daniel is a marketing-focused professional with 8+ years of experience in online advertising and digital design. He’s created promotional projects for aspiring entrepreneurs and has worked with large, global companies, such as Thomson Reuters. Having journeyed extensively to 40 countries in four continents around the world, Daniel brings an international perspective to his work and creative vision. He is particularly fascinated with the dynamism of communication and its capacity to engage, inspire, and educate. He greatly enjoys volunteering, having been a blood drive ambassador for the American Red Cross and supporting theater operations and special events for the annual Los Angeles Film Festival. He’s a voracious reader, enjoys exploring and learning about different cultures and communities, and is an avid runner.
Nikki Eclarinal, Advocacy & Special Projects Associate
Nikki grew up in San Antonio, Texas and studied Finance at the University of Texas at Austin. She became interested in law, advocacy work, and social justice after interning at the Texas House of Representatives and then moved to Los Angeles to attend law school. Nikki enjoys volunteering because it allows her to advocate for particular social issues that impact her and her community. She’s been fortunate enough to work with disability law, health justice, educational law as well as assist Amnesty International staff with lobbying efforts for the DREAM Act and the International Violence Against Women Act. Nikki enjoys hiking with her husky and hopes to one day start her own nonprofit focused on advancing education for Filipino Americans. Nikki will be focusing on advocacy strategy both for LAWD 2018 and the organization more broadly.
Jessica Hou, Newsletter & Strategic Campaigns
As a recent transplant to the city, Jessica is eager to learn more about Los Angeles and contribute to positive change in the community. A long-time champion of volunteerism, she is passionate about the work here at L.A. Works and aims to make use of her skills as a marketer. She received her Bachelors of Commerce, with a major in Marketing, from the University of Alberta in Canada. Jessica believes in trying (most) things at least once and is excited to explore everything L.A has to offer. She is *always* up for eating food, watching movies, and looking at pets.
Tom Kafka, Social Media and Content Producer (RSVP)
Tom Kafka is joining the team as the new lead for RSVP communications, working on the creation of content, selection of platforms, and programming criteria. Tom was born in New York but spent his childhood in Europe and North Africa. He got a BA in English from the University of New Hampshire and later attended Emerson College, where he studied TV and film production. He came to Los Angeles in his early 20s and has lived here ever since. His first job was on a little show called “All In The Family.” He did the sound effects and laugh tracks for all the Embassy TV shows and later went to NBC where he worked in TV production, then in post-production in various capacities. He also worked on a documentary in Nicaragua during the Contra War and on a Panavision short in Death Valley. Tom has traveled extensively in the US and around the world and enjoys cycling and the outdoors.
Stephanie Viray, Community Relations & Nonprofit Outreach Coordinator
Stephanie was born and raised in the East San Gabriel Valley. After exploring an eclectic range of interests including playing music, caring for animals, working as an administrative assistant, and living in Hawaii and the Bay Area, she discovered that sharing and leading a life of service was the common thread in the pursuits most meaningful to her. Stephanie is interested in mental health, homelessness, music, and animal welfare and currently volunteers with a mission team providing medical/surgical aid to poor communities in Mexico and the Philippines. She is also busy working on her undergrad in accounting, hoping to one day work as a nonprofit accountant since, as she puts it, no one can carry out their mission without funding or without handling those funds properly. In her free time, Stephanie loves to spend time with loved ones, travel, and get lost in her thoughts on long walks.