Betty LaMarr

Founder/Chief Executive Officer

Betty is passionate about serving others through coaching and mentoring. While living in South Africa, Betty saw the devastating effects poverty and powerlessness have on girls and women. She also saw what happens when girls and women are offered even modest opportunities for empowerment: Women discover independence, girls seek education, and life changes for entire families and communities are positively altered as the cycle of poverty and dependency is broken.

More about Betty

Inspired by her experience in South Africa, Betty came back to the United States and founded EmpowHer. Its mission was to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged girls and women by offering them opportunities to enhance their lives through the development of entrepreneurial, business, and life skills that lead to economic independence. Since its inception in 2003, EmpowHer has served thousands of girls and women in the Los Angeles area.

Betty earned a BA in Business Administration from California State University at Los Angeles and an MBA from Pepperdine University. The Mayor of Los Angeles and California’s Lieutenant Governor have honored Betty for outstanding community service as an activist for change as well as for her contributions to a variety of youth organizations. Betty is an author, speaker, businesswoman, entrepreneur. She received the 2015 Services to Youth Award from Palos Verdes Chapter of Links, Inc, a 2014 Friends of Fuller Foundation Humanitarian Award , a 2013 Soroptimist International  Ruby Award by the Camino Real Region. A 2012 Pepperdine University George Award winner for Community Service she was also 2010 Los Angeles Business Journal honoree and finalist for the Women Making a Difference Award.


Ruth M. Simeon

Board Chair

Ruth M. Simeon is Principal Consultant for Improvement Technologies and has years of experience as a consultant, senior corporate manager, and nonprofit executive. Her Human Resources, Organizational Development and business management expertise has assisted companies in making major shifts in business strategies and practices.

More about Ruth

Those shifts have positively affected the capability and diversity of leadership, the visibility and career development of underrepresented employees, as well as the improved performance of managers and teams. Improvement Technologies helps companies design and implement mentoring programs which help achieve business outcomes and strengthen leadership. She wants to share this expertise within the community to help build future leaders at the earliest opportunity. She has a Masters in Psychology from Pepperdine University (top 1%). As a Hoosier Scholar, she earned a B.A. from Indiana University and completed executive coursework  in Finance at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Ruth is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources. She was recognized by the City of Los Angeles for her work as Workforce Investment Board Commissioner. She is former President of the California Diversity Council, adjunct professor at Butler University and guest lecturer at the USC Graduate School of Social Work.

Ruth Simeon

Velonne Atkins

Vice President

Velonne Atkins is currently the News Business Manager for KCBS/KCAL, the largest local station duopoly in the country. She has held positions at ABC Network News and ABC 20/20.

As an entrepreneur, Velonne and a partner, established Cahuenga Coffeehouse, converting an old check cashing space to a hip-happening alternative to the Starbucks coffee experience.

More about Velonne

The coffeehouse business was sold and now operates as Cafe Etc Hollywood, but Velonne relishes in the fact that she was at the helm of what is now a thriving comer/corridor with burgeoning businesses that used many of her plans for redevelopment of the area. In addition to her entrepreneurial ventures, Velonne enjoys travel, particularly to jazz festivals both domestic and international, event planning, and real estate activities. Velonne is originally from Fort Worth, Texas. She relocated to Los Angeles, California, where she completed her Bachelor’s degree at Pepperdine University.


Joslyn Osborn


Joslyn Osborn is a Partner with Vaco Los Angeles and is responsible for expanding, leading, and training the executive search team. She has more than ten years of client service and recruiting expertise for finance and accounting professional roles. Joslyn has expanded the Vaco Financial team, driven internal process improvement and increased revenue and EBITDA by 200 percent.


More about Joslyn

She is active in the community, launching The Grid in LA, an informal networking group for emerging CPAs and serves as a mentor for middle school girls through her work with EmpowHer Institute.

Claudia Alleyne, M.D.


Claudia Alleyne, M.D., is a neo-natologist (pediatric sub-specialist who has special training to evaluate and treat newborns’ medical problems) and Medical Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) located at the Kaiser Permanente Anaheim Medical Center.

More about Claudia

She provides medical care to newborns that are born prematurely, critically ill, or in need of surgery. Her medical career began as a graduate of Harvard Medical School with her residency at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She served on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles for six years, motivated by the belief that women deserve access to comprehensive health care and accurate education regarding contraception and reproductive choices. Claudia has been an active member of the Association of Black Women Physicians (a Southern California-based organization), serving as president, vice-president, treasurer, and chair of several committees.

Claudia Alleyne

Rosa Carrillo


Rosa Carrillo is President of Carrillo & Associates a leadership development, coaching and change management consulting firm specializing in cross cultural training (USA/Latin America) and team development.  Rosa was raised in Mexico and educated in the USA.  She is fluent in Spanish and English and has built teams, designed and implemented leadership development programs and culture change projects for major corporate and government clients, including Toyota in Tecate, Mexico, Ralston Purina in Latin America, Johnson & Johnson world wide, Southern California Edison, Mobil Chemical, Owens Corning, and Lawrence Livermore Laboratories.  The author of numerous articles, Rosa is a graduate from University of California at Los Angeles, B.A., Spanish Literature and Pepperdine University with M.S., Organization Development.


Ribka Fox


Ribka Fox is the Sr. Director for Human Resources for Quest Diagnostics’ West Region.  Quest is the nation’s largest diagnostics information services company. Quest annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States.  Prior to Quest, Ribka has held global HR leadership roles at Honeywell, Merck, and Medtronic.  Prior to transitioning into HR, Ribka held engineering positions with General Motors and Hughes Missile Systems Company.

More about Ribka

Ribka holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Michigan, as well as an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Ribka has always had a passion for advancing the status of women.  She is very active in several organizations that strive to support women to achieve and exceed their personal and professional development goals.  In addition to being an executive mentor for Women Unlimited Inc. and HBA – Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, Ribka also serves on the regional steering committee for Quest’s Women in Leadership organization, which sponsors the Getty House Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Series.

Mary Sadeghi, M.D.


Dr. Mary Sadeghi is a board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. She completed her Residency at Los Angeles County, USC Medical Center. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology from UCLA and Doctor of Medicine from Albany Medical College, Albany New York. Even with the demands of her profession, Mary spends much of her time away from the hospital volunteering in her community as well as abroad. 

More about Mary

For the past several years, she has volunteered at Homeboy Industries performing laser tattoo removal for at-risk, formerly gang-involved youth so that they may become contributing members of society. She has also volunteered her time as a physician abroad in San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Boa Lac, Vietnam, as well as an orphanage/school in Kitengela, Kenya.  Her greatest passion, however, is to help empower young girls so that they may gain the confidence and self-worth to lead successful and productive lives. She spent several years serving as a mentor to the girls in EmpowHer before joining the Board.