Like many Californians, Cindy and Bill Simon enjoy many outdoor activities and sports. Bill is an avid racquet player, having played squash and tennis for Williams College where he serves as a lifetime member of the Board of Trustees. Cindy enjoys hiking all over the Santa Monica Mountains near their home in Pacific Palisades, where she and Bill have lived for close to 25 years. Bill is co-director of William E. Simon & Sons, the investment firm he founded with his father and brother. Cindy is the co-founder of Dollies Making A Difference, a non-profit organization of women who create one-of-a-kind dollies and teddy bears to send to children all over the world. Bill serves as co-chairman of the William E. Simon Foundation and he and Cindy both co-chair the Cynthia L. and William E. Simon, Jr. Foundation. Through these foundations, the Simons look for opportunities to provide assistance to children in need, support community beautification projects, and become involved in faith based endeavors.
The Simons believe regular physical activity contributes to enhanced intellect and academic achievement, and that it will increase confidence and improve self-image. Moreover, Cindy and Bill believe physical education can help enhance social performance, providing students with opportunities to practice and evaluate interpersonal skills. Choosing activities, interacting with peers, sharing equipment, and working as a team are experiences that help students prepare for their future and enable them to successfully navigate social situations. Cindy and Bill established the Sound Body Sound Mind Foundation to promote healthy lifestyle choices among high school and middle school students by providing fitness centers and academic scholarships to encourage a balance of scholarly and athletic achievement. With the help of Sound Body Sound Mind’s great team, Cindy and Bill are constantly looking forward to expanding to new schools and encouraging many more students to achieve their fitness and academic goals.
Frank E. Baxter is Chairman Emeritus of Jefferies and Company, Inc., a global investment bank. He retired as Chief Executive Officer in 2001, a position he had held since 1987. Also, he is the former Ambassador to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay where he served from November, 2006 to January, 2009. He is Co-Chairman of the Board of Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools, a charter management organization; Chairman of the Board of Fremont College, a career college; Board member of EDVOICE, an educational advocacy group in Sacramento; member of the Boards of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Los Angeles Opera; Music Center Foundation; St. John’s Health Center Foundation; and the University of California Berkeley Foundation.
He has been involved in other numerous civic activities, including: Chairman of After-School All Stars; Board Member, California Institute of the Arts; Member, Governor Schwarzenegger’s Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth; Chairman of the Executive Committee, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, while undergoing a major building campaign; and Trustee, I Have a Dream Foundation, LA Chapter. He is a former director of the NASD and served as Chairman of the committee, which resulted in the spin-off of NASDAQ. He subsequently served on the Board of NASDAQ as a member of the Executive Committee and Chairman of the CEO search committee. He is also a former director of the Securities Industry Association. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a bachelor of arts degree in economics. Ambassador Baxter has been married to his wife Kathy since 1962. They have three children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Henry J. Brandon has over 25 years of financial services experience in investment banking, commercial banking and private equity, with the last three years as a relationship manager in Wells Fargo’s Commercial Bank.
He started his career at Citibank as an investment banker where he worked for seven years before moving to William E. Simon & Sons where he was a principal in the Firm’s investment business. Mr. Brandon spent the next 15 years investing, financing and overseeing operations for a wide range of companies from start-ups to large corporates in a variety of industries. During his career Mr. Brandon has served as Chairman of the Board for four corporate entities and served as a Board Member for numerous other entities.
Henry earned an AB in Economics from Stanford University where he was a member of two NCAA Championship tennis teams, and an MBA with a concentration in Strategy and Finance from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
He lives in Los Angeles and is very active in several non-profits, all of which have a focus on education and health and wellness. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of UCLA Health Sound Body Sound Mind, he currently serves on the Board of Directors of Friends of Expo Center, The Riordan Programs at UCLA, Advocates USA, Stanford African American Alumni Association, The Stanford Athletic Board, and serves on the Advisory Board for the LA Rockstars Baseball Club.
Jesse Casso lives in Los Angeles and is Managing Director of Casmar Capital Partners. He is also Chairman of Camino Real Foods, Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors of The California Endowment and Team Santa Monica. He is a former Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs investment banker. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He was also a Fulbright Scholar. In 2003 he was named one of the most influential Hispanics by HispanicBusiness.com.
Lance T. Izumi is Koret Senior Fellow and Senior Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. He is a current member and former two-term president of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the largest system of higher education in the nation. Previously, Lance served as chief speechwriter and director of writing and research for California Governor George Deukmejian and as speechwriter to the U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III during the Reagan administration. Lance served as a commissioned officer, holding the rank of Captain, in the California State Military Reserve. During his service, he was awarded the commendation medal and the achievement ribbon.
Lance received his juris doctorate from the University of Southern California School of Law, his master of arts in political science from the University of California at Davis, and his bachelor of arts in economics and history from University of California at Los Angeles.
Jordan Kaplan is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Douglas Emmett, Inc. (DEI), an office and residential REIT listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of DEI. He co-founded Douglas Emmett Realty Advisors in 1991, which grew during the 1990’s into a large manager of institutional real estate funds and is the predecessor to DEI. Douglas Emmett went public in 2006 in what was then the largest REIT IPO in history.
Jordan is on various boards at UCLA, including the UCLA Board of Trustees. He is a dedicated environmentalist and is on the board of the Los Angeles Waterkeeper, an environmental organization devoted to cleaning the Santa Monica Bay. He is also on the board of Teen Cancer America, a charity devoted to improving the lives of teenagers and young adults with cancer. A native of Los Angeles, Jordan received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California in Santa Barbara, and his master of business administration from the Anderson School at UCLA in 1986. He lives in Pacific Palisades, California with his wife, Christine, and their three children.
Keith Legro currently serves as Brand Manager of Fender Guitars and Music in Hollywood, CA. Prior to joining Fender he worked for the Kraft Heinz company in Chicago as Brand Manager of several businesses including Kraft Mac and Cheese and Stove Top Stuffing. Keith spent the beginning of his career at the Sound Body Sound Mind Foundation where he took on several roles and served as Executive Director from 2011-2013. He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from UCLA in 2008 and his Masters of Business Administration from USC in 2015 where he focused on Marketing Strategy and Brand Development. Keith currently lives in Santa Monica, CA with his wife Lisa where they enjoy breaking a sweat running, hiking, and attending exercise classes.
Jeff Lipp is the Co-Founder and COO of the Kive Company, makers of the ARTKIVE app. Prior to the Kive Co, Jeff was the Executive Director of Gift and Loyalty Services for Heartland Payment Systems, one of the largest merchant credit card processing companies in the United States. He was the co-founder and CEO of Chockstone, Inc. (acquired by Heartland in 2008) and Pure Payments, Inc. (acquired by iMALL in 1999), building two innovative technology companies in the payments and loyalty industries. Prior to those experiences, Jeff worked in the merchant acquiring and e-commerce business of First Data Corporation, as well as in corporate finance in Lehman Brothers’ Technology Group.
Jeff holds a bachelor of arts from Williams College, a master of business administration from UCLA Anderson School of Management, and serves on the boards of the Open Doors Organization, the Los Angeles Chapter of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, and the Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.
Fred Simmons was raised in Mountain Lakes, NJ, and attended public schools there. Fred graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Williams College in 1978 and received his master of business administration from New York University in 1982. He spent eight years at Bankers Trust Company, four years in New York City and four years in Los Angeles. He joined Freeman Spogli & Co. in 1986 and has been a General Partner there for over 20 years. Fred has served on the Board of Directors of a number of public and private companies and today serves on the Boards of PETCO Animal Supplies, Inc., Smile Brands Group, Inc., and Boot Barn, Inc. Fred is also a Board Member of LAMP Community, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that works to decrease homelessness, and the Alliance for College Ready Public Schools, a group of 22 charter schools in Los Angeles. Fred and his wife, Dr. Olga Mohan, live in Manhattan Beach, California, and have three children.
Nathan Nambiar is Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Manifeste Marketing, a creative agency in the Bay Area that specializes in marketing strategy, digital design, video production, and direct response. From 2009 through 2015, Nathan served as Marketing Intern, Program Manager, Program Director, and Executive Director at the Sound Body Sound Mind Foundation. The foundation raised $1.3M over the first 9 months of Nathan stepping into the Executive Director role. He oversaw the merge of the Foundation with UCLA Health in 2015 and served as a Community Manager at UCLA Health. Leveraging a strong technical background, Nathan also co-founded a website development agency, Maynard Nambiar LLC, which designs, develops and launches e-commerce stores. Nathan lives in San Francisco. He's an avid soccer fan and enjoys running, hiking, and singing in his free time.
Johnese Spisso assumed the position of President of UCLA Health, CEO of UCLA Hospital System and Associate Vice Chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences in 2016. She is a nationally recognized academic healthcare leader with 30 years of experience, and oversees all operations of UCLA’s hospitals and clinics as well as the health system’s regional outreach strategy.
Before coming to UCLA, Spisso spent 20 years at UW Medicine where she was Chief Health System Officer and Vice President of medical affairs for the University of Washington. While there, she played a major role in expanding collaborations with regional hospitals and helped to lead development of a statewide trauma system.