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.
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.
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.
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.
Amanda Peterson is a corporate learning specialist with a background in project management and change management. Originating her career in the entertainment industry, she is now helping launch world-leading innovation in planetary exploration for an aerospace organization. In this role, she creates and delivers skill-based trainings, as well as develops role-based curricula with a focus on knowledge transfer and succession planning. Additionally, she supports customer-facing functions within the finance division, developing training videos, guides, and web content. A Jersey girl at heart, she came to California to earn her B. A. in English at Pomona College and stayed because she enjoys not having to shovel her weather.
Director of Chapter Meetings
Tanya Thampipop has worked as a talent development professional in many industries such as music, higher education, and technology. She is currently a security learning and development specialist at Zoom. She has held leadership positions and been active in API employee resource groups at all of her past companies. She has built many training programs, diversity and inclusion events, and implemented technology from the ground up. Some of her areas of expertise include designing, developing, and delivering soft and technical skills training, analyzing data to drive business decisions, and galvanizing groups of people behind a bigger purpose. She has interdisciplinary practice focusing on the inner workings of the mind with a B.S. in Physiology and Neuroscience, B.A. in Psychology, and business minor from UC San Diego (UCSD), as well as a M.S. in Organizational and Consumer Psychology from University of Southern California (USC).
Director of Membership
Rachel Bravo is a talent development professional who is passionate about the employee experience and helping organizations produce results by developing their people. With a skillset in research and analysis, she has worked as both an external and internal consultant designing solutions and determining metrics of success. In addition, she has developed and delivered eLearning and a variety of virtual, hybrid, and instructor-led learning programs. Her experience in numerous industries, such as finance, healthcare, and retail, has given her the ability to quickly add value in each organization she has served. Rachel recently obtained an ATD certification in Human Performance Improvement and holds a Master of Science in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from California State University, San Bernardino.
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.
California 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.
California 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.
Mentor Program Manager
Conrad Moore has 15 years of experience in learning. After 5 years as a high school teacher, Conrad co-founded Mariposa Kids, a non-profit in San Francisco’s Mission District. He led that organization for 3 years before transitioning to a board of directors role where he still serves as the Board Chair. In 2015 he transitioned into adult learning, first as a professional development instructor but quickly moving into leadership, becoming the VP of Operations then the VP of Professional Development at Learn It Inc., a training and development firm in San Francisco. He has since turned his sights toward consulting, first as the Director of Learning Experience at Endpoint Learning and now as the founder and principal at MAiUS Learning, a training and development consultancy focused on delivering mindful, inclusive learning programs to organizations seeking to build more just leadership in their workplaces. Conrad holds a BA in U.S. History from San Francisco State, and is a certified Agile Project Manager and Organizational Development Practitioner.