Kavita Gupta has over 20 years of experience in education and training. She was a former corporate trainer, consultant and adjunct, and has expertise in needs assessment and the design, delivery and management of training programs for universities, the private and public sector. Kavita was actively involved with ATD Global for over a decade and is the original author of A Practical Guide to Needs Assessment (Wiley, 2014 co-published by ASTD). She is also the recipient of the LA chapter Volunteer of the Month and two ATD Global Share Our Success awards. Kavita has worked with over 2,000 professionals and volunteers, served on numerous boards and chaired over 25 committees. She currently chairs the USC Rossier School of Education Online Master’s Learning Design and Technology Advisory Board. Kavita graduated Magna Cum Laude with an MS in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University and holds an MA in Sociology from Rajasthan University and a BA in Economics from Delhi University in India.
Maura is a corporate educator and Pepperdine MBA who is passionate about helping organizations increase their competitive advantage through premier talent development strategies. She has coached talent and facilitated corporate training both domestically and around the globe. Maura aligns staff development goals with organizational business goals, leveraging her broad experience in consumer product manufacturing, recruiting, and legal industries. Prior to earning her MBA at Pepperdine University, Maura was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst. She has led talent development initiatives at Disney, Warner Brothers, and other top-tier organizations.
Chief Financial Officer
Vince LoRusso is a Certified Public Accountant who began his career in Buffalo, NY with PwC, a Big Four accounting firm, as an auditor before moving to Los Angeles in 2010. The bulk of his experience includes consulting and advisory services to prepare companies for IPOs, acquisitions, audit-readiness, as well as interim Controller and CFO type roles and ERP and software implementations. Vince is also the founder of TrueUp LLC, an e-Learning studio that develops interactive games and simulations for training platforms and universities to engage their learners and enhance learning experiences.
Member-At-Large, Director of Communities of Practice
Anupa Naik is a veteran Learning & Development professional with a comprehensive background in a variety of leadership and consulting roles, industries, and Fortune 500 companies such as AIG, L‘Oreal USA, United Airlines, and more. A Chicago native, she earned a Master’s degree in Adult Education from Loyola University Chicago, then moved to New York City where she lived, worked and also served on the Board of ATD New York. Now a new resident of the Southern California area, Anupa is excited to collaborate with the local L&D community, share experiences and explore opportunities to build our collective expertise and grow in our careers.
Mariam is an early career professional with combined experience in HR, talent acquisition, research & analysis, events, marketing and communications. Her experience spans across companies including Fortune 500, startups, and non-profits. Currently she works in People Advisory Services at Ernst & Young. Prior to that she was an Associate Partner at Proven Recruiting. Mariam’s professional interests include leadership and talent development, corporate communications, change management, organizational psychology and strategic data analysis. Mariam holds a bachelor's degree in Communication Studies with a double minor in Entrepreneurship and Digital Humanities from UCLA. In her free time, she practices competitive ballroom dancing and gives lessons to students of all ages.
Director of Chapter Meetings
Dr. Alessaundra Mills (Sandi) is a distinguished organizational leadership scholar and doctoral graduate of Pepperdine University. She works as a trainer and organizational development consultant, with 10+ years of experience working in nonprofit and education sectors. In addition to her doctorate, she holds a master’s degree in education from Loyola Marymount University and a bachelor’s degree in human behavior from Hampton University, a historically black college/university (HBCU). Applying the science of organizational behavior, learning, and wellbeing to the solutions of problems at work, such as employee engagement, culture, and leadership, is Sandi’s passion. Moreover, she specializes in facilitating appreciative inquiry, a stakeholder-inclusive methodology for achieving positive change.
Director of Volunteers
Valerie Quezada has 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry ranging from clinical to commercial manufacturing with a variety of responsibilities. Her current role at Takeda Los Angeles is Instructional System Designer, supporting multiple business units. In this capacity she develops eLearning, designs various curricula, and facilitates training sessions. She recently obtained her M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology from California State College, Fullerton and in addition holds a B.S. in Animal Science from California State Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo. In her spare time, she explores the local trails with her horse Cowgirl.
Director of Workshops & Webinars
Princess Walsh has over a decade of experience in adult education, organizational development, psychology and instructional design. Princess earned a doctorate degree in Organizational Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University. As a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) and clinical counselor (LPCC), Princess is the owner of Resonate Growth. At this private practice, she applies behavioral change techniques to promote effective interpersonal reflection and development. Students and clients rave about Princess’ unique blend of integrating mental health techniques with organizational development programs, and you will too.
Denise is the ATD-LA Association Manager and has been with the chapter since 2008. She handles the day-to-day operations, reporting, and compliances; and is your contact through email and phone. Her business, More than Just Words, is an association management and virtual assistance company. She also manages the ATD-Orange County Chapter and serves as a bridge for the two chapters.
Grant Skakun is a freelance copyeditor and business writing trainer. He is the founder of Eucrest Writing where he designs and delivers writing training seminars, writes and edits business documents, and coaches professionals on improving their writing performance. He also proofreads resumes, cover letters, and graduate and undergraduate writing. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history at the College of William & Mary. As the ATD-LA office administrator, Grant is responsible for managing email communication, updating website content, and assisting the board of directors with chapter initiatives.
Nonprofit Trainers and Instructional Designers SIG
Esther Ramirios-Mathews has over 18 years’ experience as a learning strategist. She has worked as a learning and development leader in academia, the franchise industry, healthcare, and the non-profit field. She founded Adult Learning & Workplace Education Group LLC, and helped healthcare clients engage in change management initiatives to comply with the Affordable Care Act requirements and served clients including Manhattan Physicians Group, LAC-USC Medical Center, and Kaiser Permanente. She has helped organizations develop Coaching Academies for Front Line Supervisors, institutionalized Professional Development Systems, and developed SME Training Workgroups. Esther holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management and a second Master’s Degree in Education with a specialization in Adult Learning and Curriculum Development.
SoCal Young Professionals SIG
Michelle Yang is a talent development professional with over 5 years of experience in higher education. She spent the early parts of her career helping to develop college students into their best selves. Michelle now works in the tech industry as a Talent Development Specialist at DISQO, where she supports various People Ops functions such as onboarding, training, and team development. Michelle earned an M.A. in Educational Studies from The Ohio State University and a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. As a leader for the SoCal Young Professionals SIG, Michelle is excited to create inclusive spaces in which young professionals can connect, learn, and thrive together.
SoCal Young Professionals SIG
Nairee Bedikian is an early career learning & talent development professional and story-teller at heart. She currently works at The Walt Disney Company supporting learning, inclusion, and talent development. As a young professional, she is most interested in Learning & Organizational Development across media entertainment and technology industries. Her passion is to drive high value impacts alongside unique learning opportunities for employees at all levels in an organization. She received her master's degree in Organizational Psychology from Alliant International University - Los Angeles and bachelor's degree in Psychology from California State University, Northridge.
Guy Morgenshtern is an Instructional Designer and Facilitator with a background in organizational consulting. He has worked with all types of companies, ranging from high tech start-ups to those in the airline industry. He also enjoys giving lectures and workshops on a variety of topics including career empowerment with mindfulness. Guy discovered ATD when he moved to Los Angeles in 2018 and found a community that inspires passion and creativity in talent development. Volunteering with ATD gives him the opportunity to help others and be involved in activities nurturing the field.
Social Media Manager
Luis Martiz has over 9 years of experience working in higher education. He has spent the last 6 years at the University of Southern California working with international students and faculty for the International Academy, an English language school housed within USC. Luis has worked multiple roles while at USC, from programming cultural events for students to supporting faculty on various projects. His most recent professional interests include developing effective training on policies and procedures for faculty and improving tutoring processes for the tutoring center. Luis earned a B.A. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, and is currently in the final year of his master’s program in Learning Design and Technology at USC.