Our Board of Directors

Steven Poretzky

Partner, Poretzky & Associates, Principal

Steve recently retired as executive director of Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills.  Prior to that, he spent over twenty years as a financial consultant for small businesses, advising clients in strategy, financing, business planning and operations. 

Prior to his consulting work, Steve was Regional Manager for Banque Indosuez, a French bank, and CFO of Eastbrook, a New York based import-export company.  Before that, he was a Vice President at Citibank, N.A.

His other board service includes Temple Judea and Snuggle Up America.  He chairs the American Youth Soccer Organization’s (AYSO) National VIP Task Force which supports players with disabilities.

Steve holds a degree in finance and international business from the Wharton School.  He’s married to talent manager Patty Woo.  His daughter, Kaylen, works with a branding company in New York and his son, Benjamin, is a strategic planner in Silicon Valley.


Ed-Dreyfus-phdEdward A. Dreyfus, PhD

Author and Clinical Psychologist
Vice President

After 50-plus years in private practice as a psychologist in Santa Monica, California, I retired to full-time writing. Thus far, I have written five nonfiction books and six novels. My mission, through my practice, and now through my writing and my volunteer efforts, has been to help people maximize their potential and achieve their goals. I believe each of us have a hidden potential that needs to be accessed. In my clinical practice, I have been privileged to journey with many people as they discover that dormant potential. Through my writing, I hope to reach a larger audience, sharing the stories of others as they struggle with the light and dark aspects of human existence. It is through bringing the dark elements into the light that the hidden potential can be achieved.

During my entire professional life, I have been a volunteer in various nonprofit agencies (i.e., Southern California Counseling Center, Chyrsalis, New Start, Faith Communities for Families and Children, etc.), serving both on their boards and as a clinical supervisor) working with the disenfranchised and underprivileged persons in our society, e.g., homelessness, inner-city school children, at risk youth, people recently discharged from prison, and foster care. It is with our children and youth that the potential for changing the world has the greatest probability of occurring.

I received a BBA from the CCNY’s Baruch School of Business in Industrial Psychology and then went to CCNY’s School of Education where I received my MS in Education degree in School Psychology. I then went to the University of Kansas where I earned my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. I reside in Pacific Palisades, California with my wife, Barbara. I have three grown children, five grandchildren, and two dogs. I have multiple hobbies: martial arts, woodworking, photography, cycling, exercise and plant-based cooking.


Lisa Carloss

Real Estate Investor
Vice President

Lisa Gibbons Carloss lives in Studio City, CA with Alex, her husband of 24 years, her two children, her mom and two dogs. A native of Houston, Texas, she earned a BA in Spanish from the University of Dallas, and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. A job offer from Walt Disney’s International Home Entertainment group brought her to LA.  For the next seven years, she held senior positions in distribution and marketing, traveling the world extensively and helping to establish Disney as a market leader in home entertainment.  A VP role at Turner Pictures Worldwide Distribution followed, with responsibilities for marketing and distribution of theatrical and home entertainment products internationally.  She then founded her first company, which distributed independent feature films to international television markets. She named it Mambo Media in a nod to her love of Latin ballroom dancing.

After the birth of her two children, Lisa recognized that she was 1) a compulsive nurturer, and 2) a lover of all things orderly; and felt that two parents in the international entertainment business was a recipe for domestic chaos. She devised an alternate plan, and currently spends her days doing volunteer work, managing a real estate portfolio and two LLCs, and orchestrating the lives of her home and family.

She has a passion for family life, skiing, trees, great food and wine, and international travel. She is good with spreadsheets and Phillips head screwdrivers. She put herself through college and graduate school working as many as three jobs at a time; and believes that almost anybody can do almost anything, if they believe that they can.


Board Member Jesse ShapiroJesse Shapiro

Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP

Jesse Shapiro is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Department. Mr. Shapiro was named as a 2014 Southern California Super Lawyer. In 2013, both SuperLawyers and Law360 named him a “Rising Star.” Law 360 designated him as one of its six “Rising Star” Real Estate attorneys under 40 to watch nationwide.

Jesse’s practice experience includes representation of real estate funds, lenders, and institutional and non-institutional investors in all areas of real estate. He received his law degree from the New York University School of Law in 2000 and his Bachelor of Arts degree in history with a minor in math, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996. Mr. Shapiro is admitted to practice law in the States of California, New York and New Jersey. Mr. Shapiro is married with two children and joined the board of El Nido in 2014.


Mike StillMike Still

Retired Chief Financial Officer, El Nido Family Centers

Mike recently retired as CFO of El Nido Family Centers after a thirty-five-year career serving social service nonprofits in senior financial roles.   Following a twenty-year career with World Vision International, including three years in Vienna Austria leading financial operations for WVs field work from the Caucuses to the Middle East, he served several local nonprofits as CFO and/ or CEO.

Mike has been active in his church’s Board including roles of Chair, Vice Chair, leading the Personnel & Nominating Committees, and now as Treasurer.

He has degrees in Accounting (BA) and Economics (MS) from Oklahoma State University and an MBA from UC Berkeley.  His early career included teaching economics Lamar University Texas, serving as an economist for the Texas Public Utility Commission, and financial management for high wealth individuals in Los Angeles.

Mike has been married to Becky for over 30 years.  They have two adult children, Emilie who lives in Boulder and works with developmentally disabled children and Stefan who teaches English at a public school in Estonia.  With his retirement, Mike and Becky are looking forward to more international travel, especially to Europe.


Lizbeth Acobes

Early Head Start Parent
Board Member

Ex officio member of the governing board representing Early Head Start parents.  Serving on the EHS policy council. 



Stuart Berton, Esq.

Entertainment Industry Lawyer
Board Member, Past President

Formerly a lawyer with Bank of America in San Francisco, began his career as an entertainment lawyer with Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, then ran business affairs for Playboy’s film and television arm before joining Warner Bros. legal department. He returned to private practice and became head of the Entertainment Law Dept. at the boutique firm of Hayes & Hume, then opened his own firm in 1984 which he’s maintained since then except for a six year period when he was partnered in the firm of Berton & Donaldson.

Still involved in the private practice of entertainment law, he has also embarked on a new career as a film and television writer and producer. Charitable endeavors have included stints on the John Anson Ford Theater Foundation board, the Cornerstone Theater Company board, and as chairman of the boards of the Back Alley Theatre in Van Nuys and the Celebrity Outreach Foundation. He is currently on the board of Antaeus Theater Company in Los Angeles. He’s married to Susan Schwarz, a partner in SDB Partners, Inc., a talent agency, and they have one daughter, Kate, a psychotherapist.


Steve CanupSteven Canup

Managing Director, Focus Client Solutions
Board Member

Steven Canup is the Managing Director of Focus Client Solutions, joining Focus in late 2018 to launch the value-added cash management, loan placement and advisory service for partner firms and their clients.

Steven joined Focus after heading the Institutional & Corporate Banking divisions of two $10 billion+ regional banks. Previously, Steven ran a non-bank trust and lending firm launched in partnership with a large broker-dealer and family office, as well as holding roles in investment banking serving banks, asset management and commercial lending firms. He also managed corporate strategy, product development and investor relations for a large west coast regional bank.

Mr. Canup lives in Los Angeles and holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.


George DiSalvo

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region
Board Member

As senior vice president and chief financial officer for Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Region, George Di Salvo manages and monitors financial performance, oversees the development of the region’s operating plans, and ensures that appropriate actions are taken to achieve the required financial results. He is a key participant in the rate-setting and capital planning decision making processes. He also manages and provides functional area leadership for the region’s finance organization and oversees Financial Planning and Analysis, Contracting and Revenue Cycle improvements and State Programs.

In addition to his functional area responsibilities, Di Salvo participates in a number of senior leadership activities associated with the overall management of the Southern California Region. He is a member of the Southern California Leadership Team. He serves on the Joint Management Group with the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, as well as on Program-wide leadership groups.

Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Di Salvo was chief financial officer and senior vice president of Health Net’s Western Region, where he served on the boards of Health Net Life Insurance, Foundation Health Systems Life and Health, Gem Life Insurance and Health Net of Oregon. He led the consolidation and standardization of the finance functions for Health Net’s western region, composed of Arizona, California, Oregon, and Life Insurance subsidiaries. He has worked in both the for profit and non profit sectors of health care, as well as consulted internationally.

Di Salvo holds a bachelor’s degree in corporate finance and a master of business administration in international finance, both from the University of Southern California.


Meredith Fried El Nido Family Centers Board MemberMeredith Fried, MBA

Head of Operations and Administration, DME LAW LLP
Board Member

Meredith Messer Fried is the Head of Operations and Administration at DME Law LLP, a boutique entertainment and corporate law firm.  She began her career in entertainment and social good by producing and directing an educational documentary used in college orientations nationwide. She continued in entertainment working as a development executive for a number of high profile film producers until leaving the field to obtain her MBA from Harvard Business School.  When not working at DME Law and looking after her family, Ms. Fried spends her time focused on entrepreneurship, social impact and charitable fundraising.  Ms. Fried is happily married with two wonderful boys. 


Bianca L. GuzmÁn, PhD

Psychologist and Asst. Professor of Chicano Studies California State University Los Angeles
Board Member

Dr. Bianca L. Guzmán is a psychologist and assistant professor of Chicano Studies. She received her doctoral degree from Michigan State University in Ecological Community Psychology. For over 20 years she has been working in the field of health promotion and is a leading authority in the study of teenage sexuality. Since 1987 she and her colleague have been running a non-profit organization called Choices that provides teenage pregnancy prevention and safer sex education to primarily Latino youth.

She has written numerous empirical articles that have been published in peer reviewed journals, and she has also co-written/edited a book entitled “Latina Girls: Voices of Adolescent Health in the U.S.” published by New York University Press in 2006. Dr. Guzmán has many more accolades that she is proud of, however what she is most proud of is being the mother of two young daughters.


Jordan Harper WeissJordan Harper-Weiss, MA

Director of Operations, Plus Capital
Board Member

Jordan is an ex officio member of the governing board representing the junior board.  Jordan is the Director of Operations at Plus Capital, a venture firm that connects Hollywood influencers, celebrities and pro athletes with investment opportunities at early and mid-stage startups. Prior to joining Plus Capital Jordan worked at United Entertainment Group where she managed integrated global marketing campaigns of over $25 million for a portfolio of fortune 500 brands across various business categories (Fashion, Automotive, Beauty, Food and Beverage CPG, QSR/Casual Dining, and Consumer Electronics). Jordan began her career at Creative Artist Agency, working in the music and comedy tour marketing department with clients across their roster – Lana Del Rey, Twenty One Pilots, Jackson Browne, Gabriel Iglesias, Jim Gaffigan, and Trevor Noah. Jordan attended Tulane University where she earned a bachelor’s degree of Science in Management from A.B. Freeman School of Business.


Robert Hirshland

Robert Hirshland

Managing Director at JP Morgan Securities, LLC
Board Member

Bob Hirshland is currently a Managing Director at JP Morgan Securities, LLC where he leads a boutique fixed income sales team based in Los Angeles.  His fixed income sales and trading experience includes 25 years at the combined companies of Bear Stearns and JP Morgan, as well as previous positions at global financial institutions in New York and Los Angeles.

Bob’s community service involvements include nearly a decade on the Board of the LA Free Clinic (now the Saban Community Clinic).  He was also a mentor to teenage boys as part of the The Fellowship Initiative, an intensive three -year JP Morgan program providing an array of life and academic skills to prepare these young men for college and beyond. 

Bob received his BA in East Asian Studies from Colby College and an MBA in Finance from Cornell University. He is married to an architect, has two adult sons working for tech startups and enjoys tennis, skiing, hiking and making very slow progress studying the Japanese language.


Eliza Howard, MA

Owner, Principal, THinc
Board Member

Eliza Howard is a partner at THinc, an architecture and design firm she and her husband co-founded in 2005 upon moving to Los Angeles. Their projects include residential, small-scale commercial and institutional work, general architectural consultation as well as furniture and landscape design.  In addition to the work in California, Thinc has completed projects in Texas, Colorado and Vermont.  Eliza frequently lends her design skills to various non-profits in the community, assisting with a range of projects from fundraising materials to invitations to event planning. 

Prior to beginning her career in design, Eliza lived in Paris and then went on to work in Santa Fe, NM, organizing gallery exhibitions and attending to a roster of international contemporary artists.  Born and raised in Colorado, Eliza holds a Bachelor’s degree in the History of Art from Yale College and a Masters in Architecture from Rice University. Eliza currently resides in Nichols Canyon with her husband and business partner, Ben Thorne, her two children and her rescue dog.


Alma Johnson-HawkinsAlma Johnson-Hawkins, MA, MDiv, DMin

Director / Professor, Claremont School of Theology
Board Member

Alma has spent many years as a senior level administrator in higher education. She was Interim President at Los Angeles Valley College, Vice President of Student Services, LA Pierce College, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Los Angeles Mission College, Dean of Academic Affairs at East Los Angeles College, and held a variety of other director and manager positions during her career with Los Angeles Community College District.

Currently Alma holds a teaching faculty position and Director of the Contextual Theology Internship Program at Claremont School of Theology. Alma recently completed a short term engagement as Interim Executive Director for Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, CLUE.

Other experiences include; one term as Chair of the Board of Directors for Celebrate Life Cancer Ministry a non-profit organization advocating for healthcare for cancer patients who struggle with accessing treatment, Lead Pastor of Altadena United Methodist Church, Associate Pastor at Hollypark United Methodist Church in Gardena, Spiritual Director at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, Mission Hills and Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, Burbank.

Alma received degrees from California State University Northridge, Point Loma Nazrene University, and Fuller Theological Seminary. Alma is married and shares one adult son with her husband. Along with volunteer service Alma loves spending time gardening and managing a backyard orchard, exercise, singing, reading, and rediscovering how to play as forms of self-care.


Robert King

Robert King

Deputy General Manager, IT Business Management, County of Los Angeles
Board Member

Robert King has been a public servant for 26 years (and counting) working for County of Los Angeles providing Telecommunications and Information Technology leadership and expertise. Robert is currently a Deputy General Manager of IT Business Management responsible for Project Management Office, Enterprise Agreements, Software Asset Management, and Strategic Sourcing.

Working for County of Los Angeles has been the most rewarding phase of his engineering and technology-centric career, because of the positive impacts to the citizens of the County especially the under-served population sectors such as the homeless, elders, families and children in need.

Robert has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in electrical engineering from UCLA. While working full time, he also completed the Master’s of Science degree in computer engineering at Cal State Northridge.

His other career stepping stones include: design engineer of satellites for defense and aerospace company; engineering manager at Verizon, software developer for an avionics company and consulting manager for an IT consulting firm.

Robert is married to Vicky and have four daughters (three adult daughters from a previous marriage and one pre-teen step-daughter). Yes, he’s blessed and surrounded by women and outnumbered at times.

Robert loves traveling, golf (one-way love) and enjoys road cycling.


Sylvia Lopez El Nido Family Centers Board MemberSylvia Lopez

Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity
Board Member

After 30-plus years reporting and delivering the nightly news in Los Angeles, Sylvia Lopez  transitioned to the world of public health, with an emphasis on reducing health disparities experienced by disadvantaged populations. She currently serves as the Coordinator of Community Outreach and Engagement for the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity, housed at the Fielding School of Public Health, and the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. In her role, Sylvia leads efforts to implement and disseminate evidence-based interventions and programs through education and research.  Additionally, she works to strengthen ties with community stakeholders and to build community capacity to prevent and control cancer.

Prior to joining UCLA, Sylvia anchored the evening news on KCAL9 and CBS2 in Los Angeles and reported and produced stories from across the greater Los Angeles area and around the world. She filed live reports from Rome on the election of Pope Francis, from Germany for Pope Benedict’s first international trip, from Washington D.C for the first Million Man March, and from Mexico’s southern border on the Guatemalan refugee crisis, receiving several Emmy and Golden Mike awards.

In 2015, Sylvia left broadcast news to pursue a master’s degree in public health, graduating from California State University Northridge in December of 2017. She is married to Joe Ferullo, a former television news executive and contributing columnist at The Hill. They have two grown daughters, Daniella and Bella. Sylvia enjoys the outdoors, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and working on her Lindy hop dance technique.


Carlos Rosales

VP Affluent Segment Leader, Greater Los Angeles Region, Wells Fargo Bank
Board Member

Carlos Rosales has been a Wells Fargo team member for seven years and assumed his current role in May 2013. Carlos began his career at Wells Fargo as a Licensed Banker at the El Monte banking store and went on to work as Branch Manager for several Los Angeles area banking stores where he specialized in program development, strategy, goal setting, metric evaluation, team management and mentoring.

During his time at Wells Fargo, Rosales has been extremely active in the community, acting as co-chair of the Wells Fargo Los Angeles Metro Leadership Council and an engaged chamber of commerce liaison. Rosales has facilitated countless Hands on Banking financial literacy education workshops at local schools and community organizations, and home preservation workshops for individuals struggling to keep their homes. Rosales has received numerous Wells Fargo accolades during his tenure at the bank, including three wins of the respected “Leadership & Learning Conference Award.” Rosales also represents Wells Fargo at events, speaking in both English and Spanish.

In his current role, Rosales manages nearly 200 team members at 11 banking stores in the communities of Bellflower, Compton, Lakewood, Downey and Long Beach. Rosales is a graduate of the Latino Leaders program at the John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. A Boyle Heights native, Rosales currently resides in Pomona with his wife and children.


Sheri Ross

Board Member

Since 2005 Sheri Ross has been an arbitrator in the areas of discipline and discharge of employees as well as contract interpretation.    She is selected to serve from arbitration lists maintained by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and the American Arbitration Association as well as panels for various government entities.  Her diverse experience as HR Director for multiple small and medium sized business, turnaround expert for businesses in financial trouble, private practice attorney, and investigator/attorney for the National Labor Relations Board provided her with an eclectic foundation for this role.

Sheri’s other non-profit service includes Treasurer and Marketing Chair for The PLATO Society of Los Angeles, mentor for the Wo-Mentoring program at JVS, and Pepperdine University, Seaver College, Board of Visitors.   She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations; a JD from Loyola University; and an MBA in Finance from UCLA, Anderson School of Management. 

She and her husband, Phil LeVine, divide their time between their home in Santa Monica, their 36 ft. Nonsuch sailboat in San Pedro and international travel.  They have two adult children, who enjoy Phil’s masterful cooking weekly and always take home leftovers.


Fred Samulon, PhD

Management Consultant Executive Service Corps
Board Member, Past President

For more than a decade Fred Samulon has been a management consultant for non-profits. Prior to focusing on the non-profit sector, he was a Vice President of Citigroup with responsibilities including new technology development, worldwide support of Citibank’s ATMs, quality, and information security. Before going to Citi he was a section manager at TRW responsible for signal processing. Fred has served as president of the El Nido board of directors, as vice chair of the Los Angeles County Information Systems Commission, as an arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and as an advisor to the Information Systems Security Association of Los Angeles.

In the past he served as chair of the Los Angeles County Community Action Board, on the board of the Executive Service Corps, as a member of the board of Chamber Music Palisades, and as president of the board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. For two years he taught a UCLA Extension course on Multimedia Data Compression. Samulon is co-author of 4 patents. He holds a B.S. and Ph.D from UC Berkeley and a Masters from Stanford University, all in electrical engineering. He is married and has two daughters and five grandchildren.



Laurie Spivak

Board Member

Laurie Spivak has spent two decades working with nonprofits, and researching, writing, and studying nonprofit management, leadership, and philanthropy. As the founding Manager and a Research Associate for the UCLA Center for Civil Society, Laurie was responsible for the day-to-day management of the university research center, which serves as the intellectual hub for the study of nonprofit leadership, grassroots advocacy, and philanthropy within the Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Currently, as a freelance writer, Laurie develops, researches, and writes nonprofit management case studies that are used by UCLA graduate students. Previously, Laurie was the Account Manager on the Ford Foundation Corporate Involvement Initiative account where she provided strategic marketing, communications, and public relations consultation to national nonprofit organizations. Laurie received a Fulbright scholarship to study at the London School of Economics where she earned a Master of Science in the Management of Nongovernmental Organizations. She also holds a Master in Public Policy from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She is married and has two children.


Itelia Walker, BS

Owner, Printing Alternatives
Board Member

Itelia Walker earned her B.S. in Education from the University of Maryland. Since moving to California she has worked with various organizations for the benefit of mothers and children, is a past president of the Carson Women’s Club and served on the Board of Directors of Peace and Joy, Shelter for Women and Children of Domestic Violence. She is a native of Virginia, wife and a mother of two daughters and grandmother to four children. She joined the El Nido Board of Directors in September of 2009.


Lucy T. Zepp

Public Relations Executive
Board Member

Lucy Zepp is a former corporate attorney turned public relations executive with more than 15 years experience in the luxury hospitality and real estate industries. As a PR executive, Lucy develops and leads execution of strategic campaigns and media relations efforts on behalf of global and boutique brands, securing high profile new business accounts and assuming a cross-functional, senior leadership role to drive client and organizational goals. 

Lucy lives in West Hollywood with her husband and seven-year old daughter. She enjoys traveling and makes it a point to travel throughout the year with her family. She grew up in a close-knit Portuguese family and cherishes time spent with them. Lucy also enjoys cooking, Pilates and spending time with friends and family. 

Board of Advisors