VB 2023
Honorees Byron Allen, Johnese Spisso, MPA, and Erika Kort with Howie Mandel, Jay Leno, Smokey Robinson, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Dr. Linda Liau. Photo Credit: Scott Kirkland/Shutterstock, @shutterstocknow

Visionary Ball 2023

The Department of Neurosurgery hosted the Visionary Ball for the first time since 2019! The event was held on Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The event began at 6 PM with a cocktail reception and technology showcase. At 7 PM, dinner, awards, and entertainment commenced.

We offer our congratulations to our awardees: Byron Allen, Johnese Spisso, MPA, and Erika Kort.

  • Byron Allen was presented with the Visionary Award
  • Johnese Spisso, MPA received the Medical Visionary Award
  • Erika Kort was presented with the Courage Award

The Visionary Ball is a celebration of life, a tribute to courage, and a recognition of achievement across industries. The signature celebration brings together more than 500 grateful patients, philanthropists, physicians, business leaders, and community partners to support the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery. The success of the Visionary Ball is vital to UCLA Neurosurgery’s mission to deliver high-quality patient care, advance research, and educate the next generation of leading neurosurgeons and neuroscientists. The Visionary Ball raises crucial funds and awareness in support of our patients who face the most complex neurological disorders of this era.


We are honored to announce that Howie Mandel, award-winning comedian, television personality, actor, and producer, emceed the evening's program.

Jay Leno, Emmy award-winning television host, writer, and comedian performed a comedy set.

Smokey Robinson, Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter and record producer, performed.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, Co-Founder of Hollywood Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, and DreamWorks Animation, presented Byron Allen with the Visionary Award.

"The Visionary Ball raises critical funds and awareness in support of our patients who face the most complex neurological disorders of this era."

—Linda M. Liau, MD, PhD, MBA
Professor and Chair
Department of Neurosurgery

Event Committee

  • Loic Bailly & Ted Gagliano
  • Ausaf A. Bari, MD, PhD
  • Ulrich Batzdorf, MD
  • Joel S. Beckett, MD, MHS
  • Marvin Bergsneider, MD
  • Edie B. Bronson
  • Manuel M. Buitrago Blanco, MD, PhD
  • Melvin L. Cheatham, MD
  • Geoffrey P. Colby, MD, PhD
  • Susan Dolgen
  • Michael J. Dorsi, MD
  • Richard G. Everson, MD
  • Aria Fallah, MD, MS
  • Itzhak Fried, MD, PhD
  • Christopher C. Giza, MD
  • Langston T. Holly, MD
  • Jeremiah N. Johnson, MD
  • Won Kim, MD
  • Jill & Lee Kort
  • Jean-Philippe Langevin, MD
  • Molly Levin
  • Linda M. Liau, MD, PhD, MBA
  • Daniel C. Lu, MD, PhD
  • Maya S. Newman, MD, MS
  • Tina B. Odjaghian, Esq.
  • Constance L. Padden
  • Florence & Harry Sloan
  • Gary Sommerstein, Esq.
  • Paul M. Vespa, MD
  • Andrew C. Vivas, MD
  • Anthony C. Wang, MD
  • Isaac Yang, MD

UCLA Neurosurgery Board of Advisors

  • Loic Bailly
  • Jeffrey S. Berg
  • Kate L. Berg
  • Edie B. Bronson
  • Richard "Skip" Bronson
  • Melvin L. Cheatham, MD
  • Lisa D’Andrea Schwartz
  • Jonathan L. Dolgen
  • Susan Dolgen
  • Evelyn A. Freed
  • Ted Gagliano
  • Steve Garvey
  • Robert E. Harper
  • Jill Kort
  • Patricia Neuwirth
  • Peter H. Neuwirth
  • Tina B. Odjaghian, Esq.
  • Constance L. Padden
  • John B. “Jack” Simon
  • Gary Sommerstein, Esq.