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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Tiana Sanchez

Secretary

Tiana Sanchez is a Training and Development Expert, Corporate Trainer, and Consultant on developing talent and influencing organizational culture. You can say she has “an eye for talent and the skill to train.” Her passion for raising the bar in talent development spawned through years in management that was honed during an impressive and long standing career in the Retail, Food and Beverage and Financial industries.

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She played an integral role in the opening of a De Novo Retail Branch that would achieve benchmark results as part of a successful launch. Tiana is a sought after speaker and has delivered poignant workshops for educational institutions including UC Merced, Los Angeles Southwest College, University of La Verne and California State University San Bernardino. She is a two-time published author and writes a monthly article for LinkedIn Pulse. Tiana has received the Circle of Excellence Award and multiple Certificates of Appreciation for her involvement in education. Bachelor studies in Psychology and Business Management and completed certificate programs with American Management Association (AMA) and Ken Blanchard Companies.

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Claudia Alleyne, M.D.

Treasurer

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.

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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

Mary Sadeghi, M.D.

Director

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. 

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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.

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