With tremendous experience across the corporate, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, Alan Levey is uniquely suited to lead JVS to the next level. Though new to his position as CEO as of January, 2016, Levey has been deeply involved with the organization as a donor and volunteer for many years. It is from these vantage points that he charts the JVS course as it moves into its 85th year of service.
“I want to explore ways to increase revenue by expanding, maximizing and leveraging our resources and partnerships, so we can help more people transform their lives for the better,” he says.
Levey came to JVS from City of Hope, where he most recently served as vice president of philanthropy. During his 14-year tenure at the esteemed facility, a world leader in the research and treatment of cancer and other diseases, Levey was responsible for the oversight of all Southern California chapters and eight regional offices as well as the management of national events and the “Next Generation” fundraising departments.
Prior to City of Hope, Levey was owner, president and CEO of Normark & Associates, which grew to become the largest perishable food brokerage company in the United States. He was also a general manager and shareholder of Acosta, the country’s top sales and marketing company.
Levey earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business management at San Diego State University, with a minor in psychology. He is married to Deborah Levey, who was the Executive Director of JVS Community Care at Home, the agency’s first and most successful social enterprise venture, for seven years.
For more than 38 years, Vivian Seigel worked to develop and expand JVS’ services throughout the greater Los Angeles area, bringing the agency’s life-changing services to L.A. residents who experience the greatest need.
Seigel came to JVS in 1977 as a career counselor when the agency had fewer than 1,000 clients. When she took over as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 1996, the agency had grown to 5,000 clients with a budget of just over $1 million. Seigel ultimately oversaw one of the largest nonprofit career counseling organizations in the state with more than 20 locations and a budget of $17 million, serving more than 30,000 clients each year and earning the coveted 4-star ranking from Charity Navigator for seven consecutive years.
Seigel worked with numerous state and county agencies to address shortfalls in services to people with special needs; she co-authored a bill to provide funding for employment services allowing these individuals to enter the workplace instead of relying solely on government support. With an eye toward helping businesses streamline their hiring process, Seigel also spearheaded the expansion of JVS’ Business Development and Career Services divisions. She formed a successful partnership with the California State Department of Rehabilitation to provide job-services to people with disabilities and individuals looking to start their own businesses.
With the launch of Community Care at Home in 2000, Seigel took the nonprofit in a new direction, establishing a business that provides in-home nursing care. The program grew out of a JVS initiative providing Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) training to low-income individuals who face barriers to employment.
In 2004 Seigel facilitated JVS's acquisition of the 30-year-old nonprofit Career Planning Center, and in 2006 Seigel oversaw the partnership between JVS and the for-profit MAXIMUS on the Los Angeles County Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) contract, serving clients who are transitioning from welfare-to-work.
During her more than 25 year tenure with JVS, Claudia Finkel has helped JVS grow to a $17 million organization with a staff of more than 200. She is the executive in charge of all staff and agency services including programs that train individuals for careers in the banking industry (BankWork$™), the health care industry (HealthWorks™) assist veterans (Veterans First) and helping at-risk students, including foster and emancipated youth, land their first job.
Claudia is responsible for securing funding for these services, meeting with state and county representatives, lobbying Sacramento and developing new programs to meet the needs of Los Angeles’ ever-changing population. She is also responsible for the oversight of JVS’ WorkSource Centers in Marina del Rey, West Hollywood, the Antelope Valley and Pacoima.
Claudia studied at California State University, Northridge with the aim of being a social worker. Following stints at Hughes Aircraft, she returned to CSUN, emerging from the university with a Masters in Career Counseling. Claudia needed an internship and a friend suggested JVS, and Claudia joined the agency doing job development, employment matches and job placement out of a trailer at the JCC’s Milken campus in West Hills.
Claudia has made a difference in the lives of countless women through JVS’ innovative WoMentoring program. A concept created by Finkel, WoMentoring™ reaches out to disadvantaged, in-transition women in Los Angeles to help them successfully enter the workforce. Participants include single mothers, women on welfare, recent divorcees and professionals from organizations like Union Bank, the Los Angeles City Council. She was also instrumental in JVS’s effort to acquire the Career Planning Center and to get the facility licensed as a computer skills training school with the Bureau of Post-Secondary Education.
Licensed as a career counselor by the National Board of Certified Counselors, Claudia is also a Registered Career Counselor. She is the past president of the California Career Development Association and on the executive board of the International Career Development Conference. She is an adjunct faculty member at her alma mater, CSUN.
With a long and distinguished career as a CPA and partner at Grant Thornton LLP, Harris Smith brings a wealth of business experience to his role as President of the JVS Board of Directors. Before taking the helm in January 2016, Smith previously served five years as a board member, most recently as Board Treasurer.
“I have been a CPA for 40 years and I understand howbusinesses work; I also understand non profit organizations and am passionate about the important role that JVS plays in our community,” Smith says. “Its mission is beyond reproach. As board president, I recognize that while we must stay true to our mission we also need to run a business and focus on growth and sustainability so that we can serve even more clients.”
In his years of service to JVS, Smith has always taken a hands-on approach, attending many graduations and getting to know the diverse groups of people that JVS serves.
“It is not possible to fully understand what JVS does unless you see it first hand and talk to our clients,” Smith says. “I believe it is vitally important to be an ambassador of JVS and to spread the word to others who can join us in helping others who are less fortunate.” Harris wants to focus his energy on diversifying our Board, increasing Board engagement, fundraising and expanding our partnerships throughout the Los Angeles community.
Smith recently added Professor to his list of job titles, as he is also an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Accountancy in the Leventhal School of Accountancy at the USC Marshall School of Business. In the summer of 2016 Smith will make a significant move in his career when he retires from Grant Thornton to teach full-time.
Smith is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants. He holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Baltimore.
He is a member of the Association of Corporate Growth (ACG) LA Chapter; past president of ACG San Francisco; and past chairman of ACG Global.
Harris Smith and his wife, Jill, are the parents of twins, a daughter, Stephanie, and son, Jordan. They also have two beloved basset hounds, Ruby Wrinkles and Chloe Low E.