Los Angeles, CA – On October 24th, 2017, CAUSE hosted the 2017 Veterans Initiative Leadership Luncheon at City Club Los Angeles.
The event kicked off with 2017 Veterans Initiative fellow, Evette Kim, inviting the audience to stand for the presentation of colors by the Los Angeles Recruiting Battalion.
CAUSE Executive Director Kim Yamasaki continued by welcoming the guests and sharing the purpose of the Veterans Initiative program.
Afterwards, 2017 Veterans Initiative fellows Jayce Wolf and Audrey Oh briefly introduced themselves and their experience in discovering the program as well as sharing how it has impacted them thus far. Jayce shared that the program, along with the support of community leaders, has allowed him to “continue [his] mission, to help veterans re-connect better with their family and community, and utilize the resources that are available to them.”
Adam Ma, CAUSE Boardmember and Community Relations & External Affairs at SoCalGas, shared the efforts of SoCalGas’s VALOR program in hiring and retaining veteran employees, while also highlighting the importance of supporting the empowerment of veterans through leadership initiatives like those at CAUSE.
Blas Villalobos, Veterans Affairs Manger at the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Squad Leader Veteran of the US Marine Corps, spoke to the audience on the status of veterans in Los Angeles. He relayed the importance of programs like the CAUSE Veterans Initiative in providing opportunities for veterans to pursue higher education and develop their professional careers. He proudly stated, “There’s nothing more powerful than a veteran who’s overcome adversity.”
The program continued with elected remarks from The Honorable Steven Ly, Mayor Pro Tem of the Rosemead City Council and Second Lieutenant of the US Army Reserves. He underscored the importance of supporting veterans in adjusting to society by taking the initiative to reach out and regularly engage fellow veterans in our community.
As the keynote speaker, Renata Simril, President & CEO of the LA84 Foundation and Military Police Officer Veteran of the US Army, shared how her experience as a military police officer shaped her approach to being a leader. She spoke on the difficulties of earning respect in the army as an African American woman, and how she ultimately overcame the challenge. Renata continued, stating, “The essence of community is a group of people organized around…a mission” and that great leadership comes from incorporating a diversity of experiences: “Your truth is not the only truth.”
As the program came to a close, guests stood for the retreat of colors and were encouraged to network with other veterans and community leaders in the audience.