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.
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.
Cathy Frial is a dynamic and vibrant talent leader who uses her lifelong passion of learning to create and sustain cultures of engagement. Cathy has extensive talent, learning, and organizational development experience with a variety of industries including grocery retail, luxury goods manufacturing, and insurance. Cathy’s broad industry background combined with her deep functional expertise results in a discerning ability to identify, design, and deliver the right talent solutions for any business setting. Cathy has held a variety of leadership roles in her expansive career, sparking an absolute love for leadership development where she creates, develops, and grows high impact learning solutions that deliver long term results increasing employee engagement and improving the overall associate experience. Currently, Cathy is heading up Learning and Talent Development for Northgate Gonzalez Markets, a large grocery retailer in Southern California. Cathy believes that we have the individual ability to reach our greatest potential by utilizing our natural strengths to obtain impactful results and build strong relationships. With Cathy’s in-depth experience as a leader and passion to create meaningful workplace cultures, she effectively has created learning and development, wellness and engagement strategies leading to Best Places to Work and Employer of Choice designations throughout her career.
Director of Chapter Meetings
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 Marketing
Smita Sanbui’s career journey started at a biotech lab bench. But after a path of work experience spanning the fields of science, education, entertainment, and corporate training, she currently is the Performance and Development Manager for Grifols Biologicals. Daily she blends her storytelling skills and her passion for optimizing learning to help people achieve their potential. A lifelong learner, her interests include digital marketing and social media strategy, filmmaking, photography, writing, and coaching. She enjoys facilitating the creative process, mapping out ideas, and collaborating with others to make them happen. She also enjoys organizing events that create experiences for people coming together, whether it’s a company-wide event or a dinner party. Her original career dream included studying medicinal plants in the rainforest; however, now with VR technology and the metaverse, she hopes to still accomplish this but from her living room sofa!
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
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.