Business Readiness Webinar Series

Executive Leadership Series:

Contracting Opportunities

Thursday, September 14, 2023 | 5:00 – 7:00 PM PST

Location: 3720 South Flower St., 1st Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90089:

See speaker bios below!!


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About SBA Community Navigator Program

This webinar series is part of the SBA Community Navigator Program. The focus of this program is to reach and support underserved small businesses, including micro and rural businesses with emphasis on those owned by women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to help them recover from the effects of COVID-19.

Los Angeles Urban League aims to assist entrepreneurs in recovering from the effects of the pandemic within their operations and provide information and tools to stabilize and grow their businesses. Recovery services will include financial assistance, access to capital, contracting and procurement assistance, marketing, operations, and business development, export and industry specific training.

    Register for one course and you will be registered for all the webinars in the Business Readiness series.

    2023 – Q3 Schedule


    Managing Through a Recession

    Wednesday, July 12, 2023
    5:00 – 7:00 PM

    Location: via Zoom

    In this session, you’ll learn how your company can adapt its financing, staffing, and client outreach for economic resilience.

    Presented by: Chacha McGinnis [California Beacons], Greg Singer [Capital Group], and Charlene Collier [Consultant – Fmr. Netflix HR Business Partner]

    CFO’s Guide to Funding Sources

    Wednesday, July 19, 2023
    5:00 – 7:00 PM

    Location: via Zoom

    In this session, we’ll discuss financing options and best practices for developing financing strategies for SMEs.

    Presented by: Momentus Capital, PNC Bank, US SBA

    Securing Private Equity Investment

    Wednesday, July 26, 2023
    5:00 – 7:00 PM

    Location: via Zoom

    In this session, we’ll discuss leadership, managerial excellence, and best practices.

    Presented by: TELEO CAPITAL

    Become your own Business’ Landlord

    Wednesday, August 2, 2023
    5:00 – 7:00 PM

    Location: via Zoom

    Presented by: Curry Consulting, In the Building LA

    Delivering the Best: Enabling Your Team

    Wednesday, August 30, 2023
    5:00 – 7:00 PM

    Location: TBD

    Presented by: Dr. Tora Brown

    ContractING Opportunities

    Thursday, September 14, 2023
    5:00 – 7:00 PM

    Location: TBD

    In this session, we’ll discuss best practices for working with the Los Angeles region airports and the City of Los Angeles.

    Presented by:
    City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles World Airports 

    Leila Lee
    Director of Economic Policy for Office of Mayor Karen Bass’ Office


    Caprice Collins

    Greg Singer

    Greg Singer is a Senior Vice President and Investment Director for Capital Group Private Client Services. In addition, he leads our Wealth Advisory Group, is a member of the Management Committee, and a member of the Portfolio Strategy Committee. Before joining our firm in 2012, he spent seven years at Bernstein Global
    Wealth Management, where he was a senior managing director and head of the Wealth Management Group, with responsibility for investment planning and asset allocation. Prior to that, he held strategic planning and marketing roles at PepsiCo and was an analyst at Lehman Brothers. He has an MBA in finance from Northwestern University, along with a BS in finance and BAS in computer science
    from the University of Pennsylvania. Greg is also a member of the investments editorial board for Trusts & Estates magazine and is based in our New York office.

    Caprice Collins

    Marsel Watts

    Marsel Watts has a passion for helping the less fortunate and underserved, and addressing the unique challenges facing minority, women-owned businesses, in particular. Her primary role is providing business consulting and outreach. She has trained thousands of entrepreneurs with an aggressive multi-state growth component in providing outreach and risk education to small business owners in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. In 2014, Marsel was acknowledged in a Forbes article highlighting her consulting skills. She served 3 years on the Board of Directors of the Association of the Women’s Business Center (AWBC). The AWBC is an advocacy group for women entrepreneurs. She worked to secure economic justice and entrepreneurial opportunities for women by supporting and sustaining a national network of over 100 SBA Women’s Business Centers. She holds a BS in Marketing from Grambling State University in Louisiana. She has continued her education at UCLA Extension in Non-Profit Management.

    Caprice Collins

    Ashley Carr

    Ashley Carr has business in her blood. Raised in Southern California, her father and grandparents were small business owners that instilled a tireless work ethic in her from a young age. Her skill and passion for business were clear early on in her education and she started her career in Corporate and Commercial banking right out of undergrad. Ashley now has 20+ years of experience in business banking and sales leadership. Through professional development, she is trained in sales metrics, credit, call acumen and customer service management. She is passionate about supporting small business owners throughout Southern California as the Senior Vice President for Small Business Banking for PNC Bank where she leads a team of 7 across the Southern California region. She has been with PNC Bank for 3 years. She earned her B.A. from USC and M.S. from Harvard in Management. When Ashley is not helping small businesses succeed, she is spending her spare time enjoying a walk or run or reading a good book at one of her favorite LA foodie destinations.

    Caprice Collins

    Brian Willmer

    Brian Willmer is a Vice President at TELEO Capital. Brian’s primary responsibilities include deal origination and qualification, operational support, debt capital origination, leadership training and helping build / maintain the firm’s culture. Prior to joining TELEO Capital, Brian coached college football for 19 years (four of those years as a head coach).

    Brian earned a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in Higher Education and Organizational Change from the University of California, Los Angeles. He was the captain on the 1997 UCLA football team and the Defensive MVP on the 1996 team.

    He is passionate about coaching others and has spent a large portion of his career helping coach adults and young adults in their professional, personal and leadership growth. Mentoring and counseling business leaders, college football coaches at all levels, pastors, professors, teachers, college, and high school student-athletes for over the past 20 years.

    Spoken publicly to thousands of people, regarding spiritual formation, leadership growth and professional development. He is a frequent speaker with the UCLA football program and has shared with UCLA’s Anderson Graduate Business School students on numerous occasions.

    Proud father of five children (Emma 20, Addie 18, Titus 15, Gwenyth 13, and Nehemiah 13) and married his college sweetheart (also a UCLA swimmer).

    Caprice Collins

    Tora Brown, Psy.D.

    Dr. Tora Brown is an Organizational Psychologist and Coach who has spent the last 16 years of her career coaching, training and empowering leaders. Along with one-on-one coaching, Dr. Tora conducts trainings within organizations on topics of branding, diversity, unconscious bias, overcoming impostor syndrome, wellness, and living your best life. She has coached individuals using various spectrums of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to help people find their ability to manage stress and communicate with clarity and understanding. Giving them the tools to advance or make pivots in their professional careers.

    Dr. Tora is the creator of the “Build Your Best Brand” training series, and the “Becoming an Entrepreneur” a 4 week program created for the Entertainment Community Fund’s Creative Entrepreneur Program. She holds a Doctor of Psychology in Organizational Management and Consulting from Phillips Graduate University, a Master of Science in Public Administration along with numerous certificates for continuing education programs including the Management Development for Entrepreneurs Program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

    Along with running a thriving Consultancy, she is the Public/Government Relations Business Advisor for the College of the Canyons Small Business Development Center. Her dedication to helping people create a life of balance, growth and purpose led her to become a Brand Ambassador for Oola. She is also a Brand Ambassador for the Boisset Collection, a Global Luxury Lifestyle Company.

    Committed to giving back to her community, she currently serves as the Vice President of Administration for the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Black MBA Association, an Advisory Committee Member for the Entertainment Community Fund Western Region Career Center and Accountability Coach for the Good Vibes Women’s Business Roundtable.

    Dr. Tora enjoys living life to the fullest and can be found enjoying wine with friends or exploring the many restaurants, art and nightlife in her DTLA Community.

    Leila Lee-headshot

    Leila Lee

    Leila currently serves as the Director of Small Business and Policy for Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’s Office of Business and Economic Development. In this role, she is responsible for developing economic development initiatives, programs, and policies that support the establishment and growth of businesses in Los Angeles. Most recently, this includes the move to transition the Al Fresco outdoor dining program into a permanent program, procurement reform, and the signing of Executive Directive 4 by Mayor Bass in which the Mayor directs City Departments to review and assess taxes, fees, processes, and timelines to help remove barriers to economic development in the City.

    Previously, Leila served as Director of Small Business & Entrepreneurship as well as Director of Economic Policy under former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Her work under the administration led to the provision of regulatory and tax relief, small business inclusion in procurement, legal assistance, credit and debt counseling, street vendor technical support, integration of businesses to the digital marketplace through a program called LA Optimized, and $80 million in grants to name a few. She also helped the Mayor lead equity and inclusion initiatives for women and minorities such as AAPI LA, Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, and Contract Ready LA.

    Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Leila was both an entrepreneur and business owner, founding and operating several businesses in the food, logistics, beauty industries, fashion wholesale e-commerce and children’s accessories.

    John L. Reamer, Jr.-headshot

    John L. Reamer, Jr.

    John L. Reamer, Jr. has been the Inspector of Public Works, Director of the Bureau of Contract Administration since August 2004. The Bureau, one of five operating Bureaus in the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Public Works, protects the City’s interest through serving as an independent quality control and contract compliance agency.

    As the City’s Inspector of Public Works, Mr. Reamer ensures safe and quality public works construction for all work performed in the City’s Public Right-of-Way. This includes construction performed by private contractors under permit and over $6 billion in construction contracts awarded through various City departments.

    Mr. Reamer, as the Bureau’s Director, has City-wide responsibility to monitor and enforce federal, state and local wage and contracting laws. These responsibilities include overseeing the City’s state-approved Labor Compliance Program, negotiating and administering the City’s Project Labor Agreements, and administering several city ordinances such as Living Wage, Minimum Wage, and the Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring (Ban the Box).

    His responsibilities also include coordination on the City’s Business Inclusion Program, promoting opportunities for those who work on City projects by certifying minority, women, local, and small businesses and serving as the City’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Liaison Officer.

    In January 2019, while operating in the BCA Chief Executive role, Mr. Reamer served for one year as the Interim General Manager of the Economic and Workforce Development Department. In this role John led efforts to finalize a Citywide Economic Development Strategy that included establishing a Small Business Commission and coordinating the City’s BusinessSource Centers to provide economic development assistance to small businesses. John also partnered with the City’s Workforce Development Board and coordinated the City’s WorkSource Centers to enhance workforce development opportunities for Transitional and Youth workers.

    Caprice Collins

    ChaCha Mcginnis

    Chacha McGinnis is an award-winning Sales and Marketing Executive with 20 years of experience helping businesses create and execute profitable growth strategies. She has a strong track record of performance in turnaround and high-paced organizations. She utilizes keen analysis and insights with a team approach to drive organizational improvements and implementation of best practices. Currently the CEO of California Beacons in Long Beach, CA, a digital marketing agency; bringing affordable marketing services and supportive educational resources to small businesses was a top priority. More at

    Caprice Collins

    Charlene Collier

    Charlene Collier is an HR Professional with over 16yrs of experience in various areas of HR Management including employee relations, talent management, and organizational development. A native of Washington DC, Charlene received her bachelor’s degree in communications with a concentration in Public Relations from the University of Maryland College Park and obtained a dual master’s degree (HR Mgmt. and Business Administration) from the University of Maryland University College. She has held various HR roles in several industries including entertainment, healthcare, government contracting and non-profit. She most recently worked at Netflix as HR Business Partner Manager for their CREWS (Corporate Real Estate, Workplace, Safety & Security) and Aviation organizations.

    Caprice Collins

    Kenneth F. Crawford

    Kenneth F. Crawford serves as a Lender Relation Specialist for the Los Angeles District Office of the SBA. In this position Ken counsel walk-in clients, speak at various seminars, workshops and work with the Finance Division in training our network of Bankers. Ken is the Veterans Outreach Representative as well as the Faith-base Outreach Representative.

    A long time resident of Inglewood Ken Graduated from George Washington High School and Los Angeles City College, attend The University of California at Los Angeles. Ken received a Bachelor and Master Degree in Biblical Studies and is now in the Doctor of Religious Education at Next Dimension University.

    Ken is a decorated Vietnam era veteran, started his career at SBA in 1997. Ken work at the Business Information Center (BIC) until the SBA open The One Stop Capital Shop in 2001, he work there until the program end. Upon returning to the BIC he began to outreach and market SBA programs and services to the community until it became the number one BIC in the country.

    As an Lender Relations Specialist Ken is the District Office Technical Representative for the Los Angeles District Office four Women Business Centers. Ken is also the Project Officer for the Community Advantage Loan program and the Micro Loan program.

    Caprice Collins

    Matthew Gates

    Matthew Gates is a licensed agent, real estate consultant, and published researcher that brings nearly a decade in commercial real estate experience to his role with Daughrity Real Estate.
    During that time, Matthew has provided market intelligence and financial analysis on multifamily, office, and industrial assets across Southern California for investors, developers, retail tenants, and institutional
    clients. Mr. Gates is the Founder and CEO of In The Building LA – a digital media company working to demystify the
    real estate industry so that longtime residents can build wealth through ownership and active participation in the development process across the Greater South Los Angeles area.

    Caprice Collins

    Austin Curry

    Austin Curry is an engineer by training with seven years in the commercial and multifamily real estate investment, management, and development space.

    Prior to beginning his own full-time entrepreneurial journey, Austin worked for ten years across large corporations and small startups in hardware and vehicle development. Currently, Austin focuses on the syndication of multifamily
    projects in Atlanta and minority small business development in Los Angeles.

    He aids small business owners with financial analysis and operations strategy to empower them to purchase spaces, scale their profits, or launch new ventures.

    Caprice Collins

    Josh Foster

    Joshua A. Foster is an award-winning architectural designer and community partnerships consultant.
    Joshua spent the early years of his career focusing on the design and construction of affordable and market-rate housing in Los Angeles County.

    Combining that experience with his education in Real Estate Development, sustainability, and project management, Joshua launched JAF Creative Services.

    JAF provides clients with an efficient process for authentic engagement outcomes and tangible community impact returns that extend beyond the design and development world through intentional grassroots communication strategies and active implementation.

    Preston Kevin Lewis

    Preston Kevin Lewis

    As a transformational and collaborative international executive, Preston Kevin Lewis has deep experience in designing and executing effective strategic plans to drive revenue, increase market share, and support long-term profitability across global consumer organizations. He builds high-performing teams, fosters strategic cross-functional partnerships, drives expansion and growth, maintain accountability for global profit and loss (P&L), and optimizes operations across product categories.Having lived and worked in multiple countries as diverse as the US, UK, Australia, India, New Zealand, and throughout Latin America (LATAM), he brings a truly global perspective to his work. During his tenure with Warner Bros. Discovery, he has worked with and managed some of the company’s most notable brands: DC (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Justice League), Wizarding World (Harry Potter), and Classic Animation (Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo).In his current role, he serves as the senior vice president of Warner Bros.’ LATAM region, leading the expansion and branding initiatives that scale the company’s penetration of its licensing business. Additionally, he is responsible for the North American retail business and works to expand partnerships while maximizing long-term revenue growth. He attributes his ability to thrive in this high-pressure industry to his commitment to developing and leading his global teams toward common goals.Currently he serves on the Boards of the Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Conejo Valley and the Media Benefits Corporation, First Entertainment’s Credit Union Service Organization.

    Amber Meshack-headshot

    Amber Meshack

    Amber Meshack is the Director of the Business, Jobs, & Social Responsibility (BJSR) Division at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA). LAWA is the City of Los Angeles public agency that owns and operates Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), a top-five busiest airport in the world, as well as Van Nuys General Aviation Airport (VNY).

    As Director of the BJSR Division, Ms. Meshack is responsible for workforce and business opportunity programs including: supporting delivery of inclusivity commitments for the $30B LAWA capital program, overseeing LAWA’S First Source Hiring Program, managing the small contractor development and bonding assistance program, and developing policy and strategic partnerships for business and workforce development.

    Under her leadership, BJSR established LAWA’s first small contractor training program, the BuildLAX Academy; launched the Contract Finance Assistance Program to support access to financing for small construction contractors; established the first team dedicated to overseeing business and workforce commitments on capital projects; led the development of LAWA’s policy to require Inclusivity commitments as a competitively scored category in all major procurements; and directed the first study at LAWA to examine gaps in contracting equity correlated to race and gender.

    Prior to taking on the role of BJSR Director, Ms. Meshack worked on the LAX Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP), managing executive operations and procurements, including for the City’s largest ever public-private-partnership (P3) project, the $4.9B Automated People Mover, also the largest contract ever entered into by the City of Los Angeles. As part of that effort, Ms. Meshack was responsible for developing the local hire, workforce, and small, local, and disadvantaged business contracting requirements, the first such performance requirements included in the US P3 market.

    Before coming to LAX, Ms. Meshack helped to establish the City of Los Angeles Neighborhood Council system and was an organizer with the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, “The Living Wage Coalition”, helping to establish local livable wages.