Career Panel Experts

The ABC’s of Resume Writing, Interviewing, Internships, & Professional Etiquette

Darlene Cohen

Darlene Cohen, SPHR has over 20 years in Human Resources leadership working for apparel fashion industry employers such as Rampage, ABS by Allen Schwartz and Kenneth Cole.  HR is her greatest passion and in 2008 she started HROC Solutions to offer her expertise on successfully managing and engaging high functioning creative employees to fashion and retail employers.  She is an active member of PIHRA and SHRM and is PIHRA District 11 Chair, Club PIHRA Board member, Student Advisory Board Member and a frequent speaker at events for fashion students and other programs.

Sheryl Bender

Sheryl Bender, PHR, is a Human Resource Professional currently working as a Senior HR Representative at the Port of Long Beach. A Southern California native (by way of Mississippi, through her parents), Sheryl attended UCLA, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Ethnomusicology and Business, and then proceeded on to CSU Dominguez Hills for an MA in Multicultural Education, and an MBA from Cal State Long Beach. Sheryl is also an accomplished musician, with 12 years of classical piano training under her belt, as well as a concentration in Jazz Vocal Studies as part of her undergraduate degree. She is also an avid cook who makes a wicked cupcake, and she enjoys running the occasional marathon to add to her collection of finisher’s medals (14 so far!). She has made her home near the water in Long Beach for the past decade.

Janice Johnson

Janice Johnson is a human resources professional with over 7 years of experience working with high level executives of multinational organizations such as Hasbro Latin America, Inc. and Millicom International Services. Janice holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and International Business from Florida International University in Miami, FL and a Master of Business Administration and Human Resources from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She’s also is a certified Professional in Human Resources. Janice has a passion for people and serves as a volunteer for many non-profit organizations in the South Florida area.

Aida Aregaye

Aide Aregaye completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from California State University, Long Beach. In 2010, she was one of 20 applicants selected, from over 2,400 to become a Sales Leadership Associate for Coca-Cola Refreshment. This is where she began to develop my passion for leadership, training and professional development. After 2 years of service with Coca-Cola, she began to realize that her professional passion was more aligned with a Human Resources career path, as opposed to Sales Management. She then left Coca-Cola to pursue a career in staffing and recruiting, because that would be her gateway into HR. Recruiting is such a small fraction of the Human Resource realm, but she was able to incorporate some of her sales expertise being that it requires working in a fast-paced environment and was quota-driven. It has been an amazing journey with Aerotek, within the first year she received an award for “Rookie of the Year.” She was able to train and develop new recruiters who came aboard, was nominated to attend a National Summit 2014, and is involved in its Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

She was recently promoted into a new role as a Customer Service Associate, where she is gaining experience in Benefits, Affordable Healthcare Act, Payroll, Training & Development, Unemployment and Worker Compensation. Aerotek has endless possibilities and she is encouraged to continue to challenge herself and grow within the industry. In 2015, she will start her journey of obtaining her Masters Degree in Human Resource Management.

Susana Alonso

Coming soon!

How to Stand Out As A Leader in A Diverse Working Environment

Peter Fordos

Peter Fordos is an intercultural consultant, trainer and coach who specializes in global leadership development. Drawing on first-hand experience, Peter offers an insider’s look at the mindset and business practices of corporations around the world. He works with Fortune 500 companies as a consultant, facilitator and intercultural coach. Peter has worked with: 3M, Apple, Audi, Avery Dennison, Boeing, Bombardier, Bosch, Chrysler, Dell, Disney, General Motors, Graebel, Honeywell, Nestle, Procter & Gamble, Tetra Pak, Travelers Insurance, Valero and many other global companies. In addition, he has worked with the US Military, including the Navy Seals and the Special Boat Team.

Peter Fordos was born in the former Czechoslovakia and has been based in the USA since 2001. Peter has conducted training and speaking engagements with a focus on working in multicultural teams, leadership across cultural and business practices, covering a range of countries world vide. He’s a faculty member at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication, and an active member of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research.

Having worked and lived in six countries – and travelled to over 70 – Peter understands well the challenges that multinational companies encounter as well as the complex goals international executives must achieve while managing employees around the world. Before becoming an Intercultural trainer, Peter worked within multicultural teams in the Slovak military, in international engineering and in the travel industry. These experiences led to his passion to help global multicultural teams become effective when working across cultures and become exceptional global leaders.

Jennifer Cummings-Martin

Jennifer Cummings-Martin is a dynamic, experienced Human Capital Asset Manager. A results-driven leader, she has worked extensively within cross-cultural environments in academia, entertainment, government, and global technology industries. Her work with high profile organizations like Disney ABC Television Group, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Apple Computers and others has garnered a wealth of knowledge and hands-on expertise that she brings to her clients.

Ms. Cummings-Martin’s exceptional communication skills combined with a leadership philosophy based on collaboration, advocacy, mentoring and respect for others have enabled her to achieve successful results throughout her career. Her ability to push the boundaries while never losing sight of the bottom line, has served her employers and clients well.

In her role as strategic advisor to Disney ABC Television Group for Workforce Diversity, Engagement and Talent Connector, Ms. Cummings-Martin developed and implemented programs linking Disney leadership with external diverse talent pipelines. Programs included strategies for effectively engaging, recruiting, hiring, training, developing and promoting a diverse workforce in support of Disney’s business objectives.

While serving as an internal consultant at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Ms. Cummings-Martin was instrumental in efforts to advance diversity as a core issue for the organization. As Manager of Diversity Programs and Equality Opportunity Officer she oversaw policy development and provided program advice, guidance, and technical assistance. She also facilitated the Management Oversight Group for Affirmative Action (MOGGA), Section Manager training and provided consultation for Employee Relations panel reviews.Jennifer Cummings-Martin

At Apple Ms. Cummings-Martin served as Manager of Diversity with a focus on promoting an inclusive work environment through various diversity initiatives. She provided guidance and collaborated with recruiting and employee groups to attract and retain a
diverse workforce. Prior to joining Apple, Ms. Cummings-Martin held numerous line and staff positions in the technology industry. Responsibilities included shaping strategy and executing diversity programs, managing a global customer service function, and project
managing the development and implementation of an enterprise software application. Ms. Cummings-Martin is currently a consultant and facilitator for developing and integrating diversity and engagement strategies into the operations of academic and nonprofit organizations. She approaches each challenge with the goal of effecting change through collaboration and relationship building that will enhance and promote the objectives of the organization.

Monique Rodriguez

Monique Rodriguez received her Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation Administration with an emphasis in Event Management from California State University Long Beach. Hired through her college internship with the Rose Bowl Stadium she is now going on her fourth year working with the historic football venue as an Events Consultant starting up a Private Event Sales Team to sell out their newly renovated Terry Donahue Pavilion.

Alfredo Mendoza

Alfredo Mendoza is a regional director of operations for Starbucks Coffee Company. His market is located in northern Los Angeles and includes approximately 100 company operated stores. Alfredo, with the support of his 8 district managers, is responsible for the operations, talent management, real estate, and market strategy of his region. He has been with Starbucks 8 years and was previously in consumer electronics. He holds a Masters in Business Administration from California State University Dominguez Hills and a Masters in Education with a concentration in Technology from California State University East Bay. He lives in Santa Clarita with his wife and two wonderful children ages 4 and 2.

Erica McNeil

Erica McNeil is currently Diversity & Inclusion Specialist for Nestlé USA where she is highly involved in Nestlé’s internal and external diversity initiatives, driving Nestlé’s objective of recruiting and retaining a workforce that is reflective of Nestlé’s consumer base. Erica has been at Nestlé for over 8 years and is now in her fourth role, starting in Nestlé Community Affairs and expanding to Diversity & Inclusion in 2009. She played a key role in the development of the Nestlé Diversity Leadership Symposium (DLS), a successful undergraduate diversity recruiting program that is now going into its 7th year, and continues to lead the DLS team. Erica received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and is currently completing her MBA. She is a California native, assistant director of the Nestlé Choir, and a proud bandwagon Los Angeles Clippers Basketball fan.

How to Create A Million-Dollar Brand

Eddy Millis

Eddy Millis is currently president of Invincible live events company, A tenured business advisor for marketing for over 4 years, Eddy has produced over 24 live events from professional MMA shows, to concerts and mud runs. Eddy has also brought to market a top level protein supplement and appeared as a feature guest on Bravo TV’s “Thintervention” Eddy in his spare time is a contributing writer for 2 magazines and a consultant to several companies.

Nikki Sias

Nikki Sias brings a unique and expert point of view to her work as an Image Consultant and Stylist. With an extensive background in the Marketing industry, Nikki’s experience in working on corporate accounts has given her the sophistication and understanding of corporate life and its style-standards within any industry. The Orange County and Los Angeles based stylist has created a niche for herself, consulting busy corporate executive men and women in keeping their professional and personal image current and sophisticated.

Lynn Allen Jeter

Our team here at Lynn Allen Jeter & Associates consists of highly creative and experienced professionals who are always reaching above and beyond to create and execute the news worthy campaigns that will guarantee top tier press and exposure in all networks of print and online.

As experts in the areas of talent representation, publicity and marketing, Lynn Allen Jeter & Associates is the preeminent force for launching publicity campaigns that catch the attention of traditional as well as digital media. Lynn Allen Jeter & Associates’ entertainment clients and their projects are constantly being showcased in the traditional and social media, due in part to Lynn Allen Jeter & Associates’ close relationships within the television, print and radio realms.

Some our most notable clients include: Lisa Leslie (WNBA Retired player and Olympic Gold medalist), LisaRaye McCoy (actress, Single Ladies), Judge Mathis (Judge Mathis Show), Kym Whitley (actress, Animal Practice), Wesley Jonathan (actor, Soul Man), Yolanda Adams (Gospel Singer), Nicci Gilbert (R&B Divas, Brownstone) and Dr. Susan Evans (M.D Beauty Expert). Lynn Allen Jeter & Associates also provides public relations services for a variety of brands and products, such as champagne company, Moreno BHLV, fashion lines: Curvato by Nicci Gilbert, DeanZign by Angela Dean as well as renowned casting director, Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd. We are experts at creative development of unknown brands and talents.

Michael Ferrera

Michael Ferrera is the Founder and President of Michael Ferrera Custom Clothing a bespoke clothier for business professionals, athletes & entertainers. As an educator and consultant Michael Ferrera is the author of the book series titled The Perfect Gentleman’s Pocket Guidefound on Amazon and at www.PerfectGentlemanOnline.com, a pocket sized resource to being the perfect gentleman in life’s awkward situations.

Mr. Ferrera is aninvestment advisory turned fashion designer who has been in the fashion industry for over ten years. Mr. Ferrera specializes in one on one personal service to create the perfect fit suits, shirts, and accessories for men who want to look and feel their best.

In addition to business, Michael Ferrera enjoys philanthropic engagements and currently serves as the Los Angeles Urban League Young Professionals Vice President.

Sheila Coates

Be Your Own Brand (BYOB) is the culmination of Sheila Coates’ two decades of experience as a marketing executive specializing in artist development, branding and imaging. Coates understands the importance of creating and maintaining a consistent visual presentation that is authentic and generates a sense of confidence and character in order to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. She has the background and expertise to help people to “Be Their Own Brand” by combining the power of words and images to develop memorable first impressions that “Speak Volumes Without Saying A Word…”

During her tenure in the music industry, Coates worked with some of the most recognizable names in the business. She inspired, cultivated, and provided guidance to many artists who went on to achieve platinum-selling status. Her client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in popular music —Mary J. Blige, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Toni Braxton, Lenny Kravitz, Barry White, Jill Scott, Babyface, Monica, Faith Evans, Kindred, The Family Soul, Angie Stone, Q-Tip, Lalah Hathaway, and many others. She’s created images for more than 100 videos, red-carpets events and television programs such as: The GRAMMY® Awards, American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, BET Awards, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Oprah, The Tonight Show and Late Night With David Letterman.

Coates held SVP positions with Sony/BMG, Arista Records, EMI/Capitol, Virgin Records, MCA Records, Perspective Records and Hidden Beach Recordings, where she managed budgets exceeding $50 million and developed successful cross-promotional initiatives such as the soundtrack for the Academy Award-winning film “Training Day.”

Monesia Hobbs

Monesia Hobbs is your writer’s writer, often coming up with witty and captivating copy, whether it’s in 140 characters or across 50 pages. It’s the flexibility in the message that has cultivated her love for social and digital media, as well as her love for traditional forms of public relations, communications and journalism. As an experienced and educated professional with a taste for all things high profile, she brings with her an immense amount of client relations and VIP experience.

The USC master’s grad has been called a vision catcher who has a heart for people. With an uncanny ability to visualize someone’s goals from mere conversation, she can devise a plan for them and takes strides in her areas of expertise to see them succeed. Realizing a need for her unique skill set, Monesia made the decision to establish the creative strategies firm, WordPlay, in 2013. Serving entertainers, small business owners and other professionals in the areas of public relations, social media strategy, image consulting, branding and business management, Monesia works to nurture and grow the careers of her clients by organizing their business affairs, building awareness and advocacy through various media outlets and planning special events. In her experience, Monesia has mastered the art of relationship building and engagement. By first taking the time to fully understand her client’s goals, she is able to drive discussions that ultimately align with their marketing campaign objectives.

Monesia is a resident of Long Beach, CA and has one daughter, Victoria Celeste. She is active in music ministry having sung with and behind many gospel artists. Monesia enjoys mentoring young people in the areas of pr, networking and entrepreneurship and is an avid traveler.

How to Turn Networking into Your Net Worth

Sahar Andrade

Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh is a Diversity, Leadership & Culture Competence Speaker/ Consultant, as well as an International Marketing expert, Certified both as an E-marketer and Social Media Strategist.
For more than 15 years she has offered her expertise and insights to fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, Governmental agencies, Educational and healthcare institutions professionals seeking to develop a true competitive advantage for their organization through strategic global leadership development, cross-cultural competence, cross-cultural marketing and diversity practices.

Currently, Sahar is a Board member at NAAAHR (National Association of African Americans in HR) the Los Angeles Chapter for the Last two years; a Committee member of the BNLP program of the City of Burbank; a Board member at LAAMA: (Los Angeles Airline Managers Association) for the last three years and was awarded a certificate of appreciation for her role on the Board of Directors; as well as a Board member for the Circle of Change Leadership conference.

Mrs. Andrade holds an MB.BCh from Cairo University of Medicine (Double Bachelor in Medicine and Surgery: with minor in Psychiatry) Egypt, and successfully completed a Mastery of Human Resources Studies Certificate Program.

Damona Hoffman

Damona Hoffman, aka “Dear Mrs. D”, was an early adopter of the online dating trend in 2001. At the time she was working in television casting for CBS and teaching courses at night for actors on auditioning and marketing techniques. The classes were focused on personal branding and making a good impression in an audition room.

She began applying her techniques for actors towards her own online dating “career” and realized that the better her branding was and the more prepared she was to make the first impression, the better her results. In 2003, she met the man on a dating site who would later become her husband. Shortly after, friends, relatives, and friends of friends began asking for her online dating secret and eventually that turned into a new career. Her unconventional strategy has helped many people find a perfect match online.

Damona runs her website DearMrsD.com, coaches private clients in both online and offline dating, and holds regular seminars and mixers. She recently formed a partnership with online dating giant Match.com to present monthly workshops designed to help members improve their dating results. She is the first and only dating expert to be engaged by Match for a series of this kind.

In addition to writing for The Huffington Post, Damona Hoffman pens a bi-monthly column on JDate, and is a featured expert on YourTango.com. She also makes frequent radio and television appearances and has been seen on Fox, CBS, NBC, and Animal Planet. Damona also hosts her own radio show Dates & Mates with Dear Mrs D on UBN Radio. Her first book Spin Your Web: How to Brand Yourself for Successful Online Dating was released on February 1, 2013 and is currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook, Vook, and iBooks.

Ms. Hoffman holds a B.S. in Communications from Northwestern University and a Graduate Certificate from UCLA.

Rebecca Rigal

Rebecca McQuigg Rigal is a community cultivator, culture instigator, trend investigator, event curator and content creator. In her current role as the Director of Community and Culture at Maker City LA she curates events, workshops and content to activate and engage LA’s creative community. She also handles marketing, social media, community outreach and strategic partnerships.

Rebecca has held executive positions at The Intelligence Group (a leading consumer trends and insights agency), and GOOD/GOOD Projects, as the Arts & Culture Ambassador and category advisor for the Pepsi Refresh Project. She has provided strategic insights and consulting services for leading creative/trend agencies and consumer brands including: Fox Studios, Sephora, Nike, HBO, Samsung, Target, Honda, ABC/Disney, Starwood Hotels, Equinox, Adidas, Microsoft, Trendera and The Future Laboratory.

Rebecca has contributed to leading culture magazines, industry newsletters, and trade publications including GOOD/GOOD.is, C Magazine, iMedia’s Entertainment Spot, Lipsticktracez.com, Examiner.com, Hypervocal.com, and was selected by MySpace and The Wall Street Journal to cover the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as a citizen journalist and blogger.

Monesha Hobbs

Coming soon!

Brian Frankel

Brian Frankel is a hard-¬driven Marketing and Web Technology Professional with a strong record of achievement in project management, online marketing and selling into Management Services, Healthcare, Agriculture, Advertising, Fashion and IT. He is a strategic business developer trained in the leading concepts, practices, and processes of relationship management for critical results and growth.

Brian Frankel is the Managing Director and Founder of Mentor Matchmaker, a Mentor Bureau for STEM College Students and Women in Business. Mentor Matchmaker currently has programs running with Mentors from Cisco, Monsanto, Amgen, Raytheon, SpaceX, Fox, St. Jude Hospital…
When not connecting Mentors and Mentees, Mr. Frankel is providing marketing and web technology services for businesses and personalities. Throughout his career, Brian has worked with Intelligence Group at CAA, Coca Cola, MySpace, Spin Media and Keith Ferrazzi. In 2013 he successfully launched and monetized the kids fashion websiteLadysandGents.com. Currently, he is launching an eCommerce platform based in Dubai serving the entertainment industry in the Middle East and Africa.

Brian received a Bachelors Degree in Marketing from the California State University, Northridge in 2010. On his free time he enjoys cross-functional fitness, yoga, cooking and playing polo.