JVS’ 16th Annual Strictly Business L.A. Honors Agency Champions

May 10, 2013 - Nearly 500 friends, supporters, returning sponsors and inspirational clients gathered to network and celebrate the achievements of JVS at the 16th Annual Strictly Business L.A. Luncheon.

Thanks in large part to the generosity of corporate sponsor The Boeing Company and JVS Champion Award honorees Roz and Jack Zukerman, JVS raised nearly $377,000 from its annual networking and awards lunch at the Beverly Hills Hilton. These funds came in part from early commitments pledged through the 2013 JobRaising Challenge campaign as well as via honoree and donor support. A pledge drive held during the event brought in $28,000 in under 15 minutes.

The turnout – the second largest in the event’s history – enabled JVS to create new ties in the professional community. By that same afternoon, JVS executives had been contacted by a handful of attendees with possible job leads for JVS clients.

Fritz Coleman, the event’s host, lauded JVS’s mission and work in this, his first exposure to JVS.

“No one appreciates employment more than I do. This is my 31st year of regular employment being a weatherman in a community with no weather.” said Coleman, longtime NBC4 weatherman and comedian.  “I believe very strongly in the core mission of JVS:  giving people not only the tools and the resources they need to become self-sufficient, but the hope and the encouragement that can sustain them through tough times.”

Strictly Business honors individuals and agencies who are leaders in business, job creation and philanthropy. The 2013 honorees include The Boeing Company which received the Corporate Leadership Award and donors Roz and Jack Zukerman who received the Champion Award.

The Zukermans are both staunch believers in the value of philanthropy and mentoring.  Their association with JVS began three years ago when WoMentoring™ Leadership Network (WLN) co-founder and longtime supporter Debbie Powell introduced Roz to WoMentoring™, a program that pairs women in crisis or facing personal or professional transition with accomplished mentors. Roz, who attended law school at age 47 after raising four children and now heads her own family law firm, emphasized the value of mentoring.

“You can have it all, but not all at the same time,” said Roz who has mentored several women through WoMentoring™. “Becoming an attorney at 50 was my own way to continue parenting and mentoring the rest of my professional life. We try to help people follow their passion. If you love what you do, it’s not work.”

Coleman noted that JVS chose to honor The Boeing Co.  – a longtime partner in the agency’s Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA) training program, HealthWorks™ – “because they’re good corporate citizens who are deeply engaged in the life of communities where they live.”

In accepting the award, Boeing administrator Diane Shapiro called the relationship with JVS’ HealthWorks™ a model partnership.

“We believe that the most effective way to meet the needs of our communities is to address the root causes, and we look for transitional job training programs that show a history of putting people back to work,” said Shapiro, Director of Human Resources for Boeing’s Space & Intelligence Systems. “That is a true measure of success that we all benefit from.”

The event featured a screening of the latest JVS-produced video “Starting Over: JVS in Action” highlighting the stories of Inspiration Award honorees Larry Dubey, Danielle L. Vaughn and Laurence Trebaol, all former JVS clients who – via the agency’s help - have overcome substantial barriers to improve their lives.

Trebaol, a U.S. Navy veteran who had difficulty finding employment when he left the service, received training through JVS’ Veterans First, became a certified welder and wind turbine technician and is currently finishing an Associates degree with hopes to eventually transfer to a four-year college to become an aerospace engineer.  He thanked the JVS team “for helping me put my life back on track.”

After taking time off from work to care for a sick relative, Vaughn was hit by the effects of the recession and ended up turning to JVS for help. Her caseworkers at the JVS WorkSource Center provided immediate social service assistance through referrals to partner agencies in the community and then helped Vaughn find a job in a real estate firm.

During her acceptance remarks, Vaughn noted that the shoes she was wearing came from donations to a JVS clothing drive.

“Every little bit helps,” she said. “My experience has given me great empathy for anyone else who has ever had anything happen in their life and taken a step back. JVS has made me a better person and I appreciate it.”

Larry Dubey had a highly successful career in the construction industry. After an accident left him a quadraplegic, Dubey worked with the JVS' Disability and Assessment team and is currently retraining to become a consultant within his industry.

“I had a coach who used to say to us all the time, ‘It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle it,” said Dubey. “It’s your outlook and your positive attitude that resonates with everyone.”