Innovatively Speaking

Good things are just over yonder (we hope!).

Your local Chamber recently had the chance to enter the 2016 Chamber Innovation Awards Competition for the first time this fine Friday morning, and we wanted you, our proud members, to share in our excitement. The premise of this competition is to submit an innovative idea your Chamber of Commerce has put into practice and describe how it has positively impacted your Chamber and surrounding community. Hosted in partnership by LaunchGen and ChamberMaster, “the competition is about celebrating and showcasing enterprising Chambers. It is designed is to encourage innovation by recognizing programs, events, and ideas that challenge the status quo,” and we think that LAX Coworking does just that!


Here’s to hoping we get picked!


Not only is LAX Coworking a program that we are truly proud of, it is also something that we don’t mind bragging about. For most of you, you have already been introduced to LAX Coworking and been able to benefit from its resources. For the rest, LAX Coworking is a wonderful resource for the LAX Coastal community, offering collaborative office space within a supportive community to our local entrepreneurs and small business owners as an alternative to signing a lease for an expensive office. Rather than letting our empty conference rooms go to waste, we offer them to our Chamber members, startups, solopreneurs, and community organizations so that like-minded individuals can work for themselves, together. We are proud of the community this space has built, and over-the-moon at how our coworking space and LAX Coastal Chamber have strengthened each other and provided a multitude of professional partnerships.

Although, when you think about it, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. One, this community is full of amazing individuals, so of course they would develop a community worth mentioning once you put them together. And two, the traditional business model is changing each and every day, with growth and innovative happening in all of its avenues.


A day at LAX Coworking.


For example, have you noticed the success of crowdfunding? A concept barely even recognized a decade ago is now used everywhere. Sites like Indiegogo and GoFundMe allow entrepreneurs to put themselves and their ideas out to the public and allow communities far and wide to contribute. Your very own Chamber used this model to help fund our annual Fourth of July Parade (see our 2014 campaign here) and have taken the concept to heart in year’s since (looking to donate to this year’s parade?). One of our very own coworkers even started his successful journey through a Kickstarter campaign (see how Scott funded Tablift here)! When we talk about the power of the consumer, this particular innovation makes the concept literal.

In terms of growth, Silicon Valley is a prime example of the tech-boom. Silicon Valley refers to an area of Northern California and part of the San Francisco area—companies like LinkedIn and Google have made their home in Mountain View (although Google is also joining us in our neck of the woods quite soon), while other industry titans, such as Netflix, Apple, and Cisco, have made their home in Los Gatos, Cupertino, and San Jose. Our own backyard has developed as well. Once a place for aeronautic innovation, Playa Vista is now a proud home for tech, with the Campus at Playa Vista boasting such powerhouses as Google, Konami, Fox Sports, YouTube SpaceLA, Rubicon, 72andSunny, Yahoo, and more.

Inside the LAX Coastal Chamber office, our appreciation for innovation goes beyond the programs we have instigated here all the way down to the little things that help make our daily office life better. Such as, have you ever heard of Doodle? The first time someone told us they would “send us a doodle,” we nodded and smiled a little hesitantly while inside our head we went, “Huh?” And then we got one and we went, “Oh!” And now we are the people who enthusiastically say “I’ll send you a Doodle!” Seriously, Doodle is a life-saver for multi-person organizations. Need to set up a meeting with multiple people but unsure of the best date and time? Send them a Doodle with options and everyone selects the times they are available to meet and viola! You have a meeting planned. Once you’ve used it, you too will use the phrase “send you a Doodle” with confidence because why wouldn’t everyone know what you’re talking about when the item in question is so great? We are self-proclaimed Doodle-ers here at the LAX Coastal Chamber, and if you’ve ever had to set up a meeting, you should be too.


Sandra can totally swing that…


Personally, one of my favorite innovations is this nifty little app on my phone: SugarWOD. For those of you involved in Crossfit, you know what I’m talking about, but for those who aren’t SugarWOD shows you the Crossfit WOD (workout of the day). It is updated by your gym of choice—mine happens to be the fabulous Systems Training Center in Hawthorne—to let you know what workout is coming up and allows you to track your own, and your friend’s progress. You can even send a fistbump to help encourage those around you; in fact, I received one from my Instructor just this morning. Thanks, L.T.!

Innovation doesn’t always come in the package you expect it to. While new technology, time-saving programs, and functional phone applications are prolific (and often the most commonly referred), sometimes groundbreaking ideas are a little… Odd. Kirby here, hijacking a Coastal Comments paragraph to let you know that my favorite innovation is my handy dandy Pavlock. Yes, I know, Christina gave me that look too when I told her I bought it, but I swear that this is one of the best purchases I ever made. Literally the human equivalent of a shock collar, my Pavlock helps me wake up on time, keeps me focused when I am distracted online, and even warns me when I’m picking up too many bad habits. Did Kirby not go for a run this morning? Zap! Is Kirby on Facebook too long? Zap! Is Kirby pushing the snooze button fifty million times as she is apt to do? Zap! Masochistic? A little. Effective? DEFINITELY. Kirby out.


Now, what about you? What is the most innovative thing that you’ve done, personally and professionally? What is your favorite innovation? Where do you think we are going to go from here? And, by the way, what are you going to do this Memorial Day weekend?

Local Attractions: A Blog for Your Taste Buds


It should come as no surprise to anyone walking into our office that Kirby and I love food. Love it. Adore it. Are as passionate about it as we are about our jobs. If one happens to stop by your local chamber or LAX Coworking, chances are you’ll hear us talking about some kind of food. What we had yesterday or what we plan on having today. Working at this organization has many perks including being surrounding by one of strongest and tight-knit business communities, seeing all of our members take their goals to new heights, and even making some remarkable connections along the way. But I am a firm believer that the local food around here needs to be on that list. Not being a local Westsider, I’ve listened to everyone’s suggestions and happily sampled my way around town. I’ve compiled a list of yummy treats I’ve found in my journey. Feel free to suggest your favorite in our comments section!

cantalini's sign

Cantalini’s: Cantalini’s has catered our Leadership Academy meetings a few times and my eyes always light up when I see their food. Their garlic knots and chicken piccata are two of my favorite things. (Fun fact, I can’t live without carbs. But everything in moderation! I believe in a healthy lifestyle). Their garlic knots have a crusty exterior and a warm and fluffy interior. Paired with the flavorful chicken piccata and the sauce it comes in, it is a match made in heaven!


LaRocco’s Pizzeria: I had the pleasure of interviewing Paul LaRocco for our annual LAX Coastal Magazine and he is just as amazing as his pizza is ( I like to think that is the best comment a person can be given). Hailing from Brooklyn, their pizzas are full of traditional Italian flavors. My personal favorite is The Bronx special. This suggestion is for my fellow meat lovers it has pepperoni, sausage, and meatballs . I asked for it on my birthday and it is a pizza worth any special occasion.


Rainbow Acres Natural Foods: For those who don’t know, this little gem is located on Washington Blvd and aims to sell healthy food at an affordable price. Our team has bought lunch their a few times but my favorite treat from them is their amazing trail mixes. When I’m in the mood for something slightly sweet and filling, their Tropical Mix always hits the spot. It not only has a variety of flavors but also textures. And that’s always a plus.

Melody Pizza

Melody Pizza: Melody’s pizza is also delicious but I am putting them on this list for their Zeppoles. Kirby introduced me to them when we order a pizza. I’ve never had them but wow. They’re little dough balls with powdered sugar. Simple, right? No! They’re a nice, sweet little treat that demands to be eaten by the handful. Seriously, you can’t just eat one.


Truxton’s: I love Truxton’s. I love it. I wouldn’t be surprised if their wonderful team knew my name and license plate. Kirby took me there to lunch one of my first months here and I’ve never looked back. Their ahi tuna is a thing of absolute and complete magnificence. My favorite treat is their ahi burger, rare of course. But they also have a yummy ahi tuna tower with avocado and yuzu sauce and both of these items have sushi grade tuna. That’s one of the things I love, the quality of the ingredient is amazing and they give you a generous helping! Their wild mushroom pasta with shrimp is also excellent. And insider secret: they have a mimosas special on the weekends for brunch!


Ruth’s Chris Steak House: I almost cry every time I have a bite of their steaks. Kirby took me there for Christmas (thank you Kirby!) and they are worth saving your pennies to go there. Their calamari is deliciously fried, slightly sweet and spicy and when you add extra lemon juice—woo! Perfection! And then you think it can’t get any better but your steak arrives. And it’s served on a 500 degree plate with butter. And then you bite it and reach a truly transcendental place. On a side note: their coffee is fabulous. I recommend you drink it black for the full blissful effect.

Don’t see your favorite treat listed? Comment below!

Marina del Rey: Landside and Waterside Shenanigans!

Thursday, May 12 was the final Leadership Academy session before our class graduates on June 10 at the annual Installation Dinner Gala! This last session was a wonderful ending to the entire Leadership Academy experience; for the past seven months we’ve come together once a month to learn more about our surrounding community—both its history and future—and the leaders that help it succeed each day. Yesterday we were treated to the inner workings of doing business in beautiful Marina del Rey.


Tony Ps 1
Tony P’s Dockside Grill in Marina del Rey


Our day started off with a light breakfast at LAX Coastal Chamber member Tony P’s Dockside Grill in Marina del Rey. Tony Palermo, co-owner, was gracious enough to open his restaurant early to accommodate us—thank you Tony! Our first presenter was Gary Jones of the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors. Gary spoke about the improvements and renovations that are underway in Marina del Rey and the future of the area. Because Marina del Rey is an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County, it is the County that is responsible for maintaining the Marina and providing leases to business owners, and it was interesting to learn that there are a variety of issues that are specific to Marina del Rey. Questions were asked about the renovation of Fisherman’s Village, the number of slips for boats in the harbor, and the level copper in the water, and Gary did his best to answer them all.

After Gary’s presentation, our moderator Kevin Walsh took over and had us discuss causes of stress and management, changes in the work place, and the role leaders have in their organization. Quick conversation topics, right? Kevin must’ve had a plan because everything seemed to come full circle since the very first session.

When conflict arises in the workplace, two questions that people often find themselves asking are “Why are they doing that?” and “Why don’t people think like me?” When dealing with conflict and making decisions, it is important to remember both sides of the situation. Employers and employees often think differently, so we were given paperwork with different phrases (such as “Job Security,” “Good Wages,” and “Appreciation For My Work”) and told to order them by importance. After we compared our own results, Kevin showed us the results from a worldwide study. Did you know that employers believe that employees most value good wages? When in reality, it is work appreciation and a feeling of comraderie that employees feel come out on top. In fact, check out what the company Chobani did recently, I bet those people felt included! Kevin reminded us that we are all importance pieces of a system and it takes a good deal of communication and empathy to find the perfect balance.


Dusk v iew from Villa del Mar Apartments & Marina


Next up, we had the pleasure of hearing from two Marina del Rey lessees themselves: Tony Palermo of Tony P’s Dockside Grill and Kelly King of Villa Del Mar Apartments and Marina. This writer’s favorite moment was when both gentlemen spoke about doing business in Marina del Rey. As previously mentioned, because of its unincorporated status, Marina del Rey is under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County. This means that any renovations or changes that business owners want to make need to be approved by the County board. Simple things like color schemes, new equipment, even vending machines—the county needs to be notified. Needless to say, this makes for quite a complex and interesting relationship between the two groups. Tony did mention that although hoops need to be jumped through at times, there is no other place like Marina del Rey, and he is happy to be there.


Leadership Academy participants aboard a Hornblower yacht


We ended the day with a harbor tour provided by Hornblower Cruises & Events. This was a wonderful time; we had cocktails, we chatted, and we even saw some California sea lions. It was a nice and quiet moment to bond together before the real party on June 10, when we will “Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!”*

If you are looking to support this year’s graduating class (or are a part of!), please join us at this year’s Installation Dinner Gala, June 10 at the Marina del Rey Marriott. Tickets are selling quickly, and we always sell out every year, so make sure to reserve your spot today!


16 Installation_ICON


And as always, if you would like to ask more questions about how to participate in Leadership Academy yourself, let us know and we will make sure to invite you next year.

*Let the good times roll!

Moms Know Best


Mother’s Day is this Sunday!

And we hope you have something special planned for the day. Whether you are wining or dining, preparing a fun present, or even sending a simple phone call, Mother’s Day is a time to be thankful for the most amazing and influential woman in your life. But, just in case you are running behind and need a little bit of help in deciding what to do, check out our LAX Coastal Hot Deals. Your fellow LAX Coastal members and community partners pulled together and slashed prices for this occasion to give you the best gifts and experiences possible. This is the last week they will be up, so don’t miss out!

It’s no surprise that Mother’s give us so much, but something they are especially known for is their wisdom and advice (and because she’s your Ma, you’re going to get it whether you asked for it or not). In the spirit of always bettering ourselves, both personally and professionally, we asked the great people around us for their best mom’s advice—as well as did some online searching—and here is a compilation of our favorites!


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From Quora:

You can make any choice you want if you are willing to accept the consequences that come with it. Stating your position and sticking to it shows character, which can help in professional and even personal situations.

Don’t spend what you don’t have. This is just simple money cents (get it? Sense? No? No one?). Don’t go over spending to try and look like something you are not. Let us clarify, a little special super awesome treat it okay (like a yummy Ruth’s Chris dinner) but not all day everyday if you can’t afford it.


flowers 3

From Huffington Post:

Never show up at someone’s home empty-handed. It’s rude, disrespectful and thoughtless. If someone has taken the time to invite you over, whether it’s for a coffee or a full dinner, make sure to bring a token. It doesn’t have to be expensive; it could be some flowers, a plant or a box of chocolates. The key is to show your appreciation for your host’s efforts. A little thoughtfulness goes a long way.

Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about yourself. No one can make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them. So said my very smart mother and of course she was right. We teach people how to treat us, and if we accept bad behavior, that’s what we’ll keep receiving. Have some self-respect, treat yourself well and others will follow suit.

Don’t worry about it. Really. Don’t. It’s not worth it, in the long run. No matter how much you think that the situation that you’re in is the be-all and end-all of everything, you will very quickly learn that this is never really the case. Mom knew this and did her best to teach me this very important philosophy. After many, many years of stress, I think I’m finally learning. Variation on this theme: “Better days are ahead” (my mom always said this as well).

You can never be too kind. “Kill them with kindness” was always one of my mom’s favorite expressions. This is particularly the case when you’re confronted with a truculent sort. They’re usually thrown for a loop when you smile sweetly and respond positively to their crabbiness. Try it. It works.



From LAX Coworker/Mother Dr. Angie Courtney:

Treat the janitor like you would treat the king. Angie’s grandmother gave her this advice and it rings very true. People can sometimes lose sight of other’s humanity and just see their social status or occupation, but you should never let that affect how you treat them.

You will be truly happy when you stop caring about what other people think. A mother herself, Angie believes that although kids will often go through the “I want to fit in” phase, it is our differences that make us special. We shouldn’t try to hide who we are.


kirbys mom
The Israelson sisters, Aurora and Kirby, and their Mother, Conny.

From Conny Israelson (Kirby’s Mom):

Leave the bathroom cleaner than you found it. Literally and figuratively. How you leave things leaves an impression on those around you, so make sure it’s a good one. Don’t walk into a meeting and not bring something to the table, don’t volunteer for an event and not get your hands dirty, and—hopefully this is common sense—don’t use someone’s facilities and leave a mess.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. A strong work ethic can go a long way. It doesn’t matter if you’re scrubbing toilets, painting someone’s garage, or running a company. If your name is attached to the work, make sure the work is done to the best of your ability. A hard worker is always appreciated.

Work before play. Play is always more enjoyable when work isn’t hovering over your head. Don’t procrastinate. Finish what you need to get done, no matter how hard it is, and then go out and have fun.

Take credit where credit is deserved. Take credit for your actions. Don’t claim someone else’s hard work as your own and don’t take credit for something you had no control over, but when your hard work hits pay dirt, it’s okay to be proud.

Fake it till you make it. Intimidated by a new position? Unsure of how to continue on a project? Feeling a little blue? Fake it till you make it. Act confident in what you are doing, give it all you got, and before you know it, the confidence will be real. You will have made it. Plus, faking a smile is scientifically proven to genuinely increase your happiness, so why not try faking it a little?

Be okay with settling for “good enough.” If you have to choose between doing something perfectly or not doing it at all, sometimes you need to be okay with simply getting it done. Perfection is not always mandatory. Good enough doesn’t have to be a four letter word. Yes, of course you should always do your best, but good enough is better than letting people down. *Note* This is the only piece of Mom advice that Kirby has difficulty accepting… But she tries!

If you are lucky enough to be graced with a talent, use it. Everyone is born with a talent. From music to writing to kindness, if you are good at something and can use it to better the people and/or world around you, DO IT. Everyone has a purpose, and it doesn’t matter if yours can help one flower, one person, or one planet, you owe it to yourself to realize it.

If you could only follow one rule, let it be this: show respect. If every action was based around the single concept of showing respect, there would be no pollution, no abuse, no war, no hurt feelings, no kicked puppies, no unfilled coffee pots… You get my drift. If everyone showed respect—for things, animals, and people—the world would be a better place. Even one person can make a difference.


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From Sandra’s Ma:

You are not above anyone else. My mom originally came from Mexico and received her citizenship in 2000. One day, one of her coworkers was walking around, boasting to everyone that he had received his residency. My mom told me that yes, this is something he had every right to be proud of, but to then say things like, “Look at all of these little immigrants running around” was not okay and never okay. When it was her turn, I wished my mom had flaunted her citizenship with a parade, but she didn’t (that’s why she’s the adult and I’m the child…). Instead, she used it as a moment to remind me that no one is above anyone else and we should all treat one another with respect.


Happy Mother’s Day from your local chamber! Don’t forget to share your own best Mom advice in the comments below.

Thanking Life’s Educators

Happy Happy Friday!

And just like that, the month of April has essentially ended! We hope it was as successful for our readers as it was for us. Your local Chamber had a wonderful morning networking mixer, this writer personally had some early morning Crossfit sessions, and one of our staff members took a much needed vacation.

This Sunday, the month of May begins, and it is truly a month of celebrating special people. With Mother’s Day coming up on May 8 we have gathered exclusive deals from Chamber members, for Chamber members, and have even sent out a special e-blast to advertise these “Hot Deals.” Be sure to check your email for more information, or check out the website here.

15 Teacher Eddy Honorees
Our 2015 Teacher Eddy honorees.

Moms aren’t the only influential person in our lives—we are also molded by our teachers. Our annual Teacher Eddy Awards are seen as an Oscar Night for local schools and teachers within the LAX Coastal community. During this event we honor the amazing men and women who shape the leaders of tomorrow, and if you would like to join us in expressing our thanks, tickets and sponsorships are still available. With education on our minds, your LAX Coastal staff has been thinking about our time in school and the great teacher’s we’ve had in our lives. I’m sure all of us have a few stories to tell, but here are ours:


Chamberlain Made Friends

School was definitely memorable, although as I look back on it right now since you so kindly put me on the spot (laughs) it’s hard to remember something specific. Getting a D- and having to go to summer school, that was definitely memorable, but not necessarily positive. I guess I would have to say it was the social aspect to school that really made the most impact for me. I might not remember my report card, but I definitely remember the friends I made and the people I met. I think it’s right around middle school that you really start interacting with other children, and being introduced to so many different types of people from different backgrounds and cultures is a great learning experience for becoming a professional. The daily social interactions you had in school really help to prepare you for life, especially with a job like mine where I am dealing with community members, business professionals, and government officials on a daily basis. That’s my takeaway.


Sandra and friends at Ithaca College.

Sandra Loves Her Professors

I consider myself one of the lucky students that had a relatively amazing experience with my teachers. I use the word “relatively” because there was one particular professor in college (who shall remain nameless) that I got into an argument with because he didn’t believe spoken word poetry was actual poetry (are you kidding me?!). But, in the grand scheme of my education, I was fortunate to have some truly influential people in my life. College stands out particularly because professors from my alma mater became mentors and friends. It’s difficult for me to pick just one memory when there are so many—there are so many that stand out: literally every class and conversation I ever had with Dr. Ioandie, my immigration seminar with Dr. Eric Pido as a freshman, going to the Hip Hop Archive at Cornell with Dr. Bradwell, Dr. Taylor pushing me in Poetics, and Dr. Barlas’ calling me out on not talking in class (sounds weird but I’m grateful for that).

Those are the easy ones to remember, but, if we are getting more specific, I’d pick my Humorous Writing class with Professor Nick Kowalczyk. I don’t think people realized how great of a professor he was; he was so dedicated to each one of his students. He’d be the professor who was up all night just to give each student a good amount of personal feedback on their writing. I was a bit wary about that class in the first place—because I don’t consider myself funny at all—but Nick made me see the different sides of humor. For example, he made me read Kafka’s Metamorphosis under the perspective of humor. He helped me write about an embarrassing moment, which, no, I won’t repeat here because it’s embarrassing for a reason. All of my other professors had a reputation for being life changing but Nick was a pleasant surprise. I’m truly happy he’s tenured at IC because he deserves it. Like that lady who held my hand in the airplane when there was far too much turbulence, sometimes the universe puts people in your path you didn’t know you needed.  Being extremely nostalgic right now, I’m going to send him a quick thank you note.


Christina Does Public Speaking

I grew up in the Westchester community, as many of you know, so I would have to say that one of my fondest moments came right out of our very own Westchester High School. It may come as a surprise, but I really don’t enjoy public speaking. In high school I had to take an elective, and one of the few classes that was still open was Speech and Public Speaking with Mrs. Rogers. Mrs. Rogers never made me feel less than. Being a drama teacher, she encouraged a positive and fun atmosphere in her classroom by using ice breakers and encouraging students to learn the art of public speaking by writing speeches on things we were genuinely passionate about. I even wrote one on palm reading, and it was one of the first times I had to speak in front of a group of people. My fellow classmates enjoyed it since many of them didn’t know about the topic and it made me feel good. I’d say it was definitely a memorable moment because it is one of the very first times in my life that I felt empowered by my own words.


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Kirby Says Geology Rocks

As you can believe, I was—or is that am?—the quintessential teacher’s pet. I loved sitting in the front row, making friends with my teachers, and answering questions (albeit a little too much, since I was also often told to raise my hand before answering and you know sometimes other children want to answer the question too…). Ironically, my memory is absolutely atrocious, so when it comes time to actually sit down and recall all of the wonderful times I had with my teachers throughout the year, I am drawing a blank. I even called my Mom to see if she could remember any great stories and her response was, “You’re talking to the reason why you have a bad memory. This was a bad plan.”

But I can tell you about some of my favorite school stories, such as complaining to my Kindergarten teacher that how come my sister comes home with homework and I don’t, can I please have some homework, and her being sweet enough to make packets just for me to take home over the weekend. Or playing Gus-Gus in the school play about Cinderella and falling in love with my mouse tail so much that I wore it to school for 3 months believing that everyone would assume I grew it overnight. Or all of the wonderful times I spent with my art teachers throughout the years, learning new skills and mediums and getting professional training from a very young age to help me become the artist I am still, to this day, trying to be. Or English classes in the basement with a great teacher and fellow crazy cat lady who let me write an essay about the theme of necrophilia in Edgar Allan Poe’s works. Or another English professor who let me go to musicals and plays for extra credit and, since I had already read all of his assigned works, let me read whatever books I wanted for his class and opened my eyes to such amazing novels as “The Crimson Petal and the White” and “Yes We Have No.” Or my great PE teacher who let me take weight training instead of the typical PE class because I was already heavily involved in sports. Or being able to spend the day in Dorothea Dix cosplay for History… wait, I obviously remember much more than I thought I did. Hang on, let me see if I can pick out something specific.


Yes, Geology at Pasadena City College with Bryan friggin-fantastic Wilbur. I did have to do a little investigative google searching to find his name, because I forgot it and apparently never wrote it on any of my notes or assignments for his class (yes, I still have all of my notes and assignments from his class. For all of my classes, actually.), and for a moment I thought maybe he was David Douglass, but no. Bryan. Wilbur.

You sir, you rock. (Hah, get it?)

Devil’s Postpile

I have always known that I love learning and expanding my knowledge of random bits of information, but I never knew that I would love Geology so much until Wilbur’s class. From earth elements to mineral properties, from Moh’s Hardness Scale (I still remember that talc is 1, fingernails are 2.5, and diamonds are 10, but since we were a school and would be stupid to have diamonds in class our highest ranking mineral was corundum, which had a slightly rusty red and black hue to it, so that when you scratched a surface it left a dark red trail) to earthquakes, I learned so many things that fascinated me to this day that every time I go on vacation I instantly regret not packing my notes to help explain all of the amazing things I see around the world. It didn’t hurt that I had a 100% in his class (until we reached the final…), and that he inspired me to give up art and take up geology instead (although, obviously, I didn’t do that), or that we bonded daily through geology puns (isn’t that gneiss?) and our love of Lovecraft (not a pun, but still good wordplay). The time he chided me for having “At the Mountains of Madness” on my desk during a final because, since Lovecraft referenced geology throughout this novella, it could technically be considered cheating (although the first time he saw the book set at a perfect right angle in the upper left corner of my desk he stopped his lecture to pull out his hardcover copy of the same story from his bag and our friendship was then set for life). How every time I look at my earthquake kit in my house I am grateful that he built it into the curriculum so that he could make sure that each and every one of his students was a little bit safer here in earthquake country (and how a geologist—what was his name?—predicted that large earthquakes happen in California roughly every 150 years because he looked at the spaces between levels of fallen trees in the ground). And that, because of him, when I went to Devil’s Postpile in Mammoth I was able to explain to my family that those rocks were a prime example of columnar basalt, and did you know that California mountains are primarily granite (or was it quartz? Oh crap, I need my notes…), and you see how this mineral is almost perfectly flat and shiny well when a mineral has high cleavage it tends to break along a flat plane… Bryan Wilbur, it is because of you that I know Sulphur is bright yellow and smells awful, and if I need to know if the mineral in front of me is Halite just pop it into my mouth because it is salty, and you know what sometimes schist happens, but the going gets tuff you should just get going and never take anything for granite. Here’s to you, sir. Thank you.

P.S. Kirby is always around for more Geology puns if you would like to join her at the LAX Coastal Chamber, Monday through Friday, 10am to 7pm. Door is open. Come and learn what the Christmas Tree rock is.


We hope this blog inspires you to take a little time from your day and thank the educators in your life, no matter what form they take. And, of course, feel free to share your stories with us!

Spring Into Promoting

If you know me, you know that I went to Ithaca College and loved every snow filled minute of it. While I was there I became president of a poetry organization, presented at a symposium and even became a Resident Assistant—something I thought I’d never do because I am a full-fledged introvert. I recently spoke to my best friend who is currently in Ithaca for our poetry organization’s 10th anniversary. We caught up on a few weeks of news and then reminisced about the times we both ran the club. There were the usual responsibilities of keeping the executive board in check, planning programming with schools like Cornell, the locals in downtown, weekly meetings, and our annual showcase. This was the biggest event of them all and took a good four to five months of planning and rehearsing. I remember during my year as president, we had no budget. We tried to scrape together some funds but nothing really noticeable happened. It took a true community effort to get things done and we were all surprised when it finally happened. We literally had to ask friends of friends for mic stands and go into buildings after hours to rehearse in empty classrooms. We were lucky when we found out that the auditorium could be rented for free (and now it’s used for the showcase every year). Although it came together wonderfully and we celebrated into the early hours afterward, I was reminded of a similar issue I see know in businesses—Promoting and marketing.

Once we had the event all set, how did we let everyone know about it? Some of our friends had heard about it through our groaning about the organization process but how to make it so that everyone wanted to attend? We got creative and had poets stand in the quad and start free-styling, we physically went downtown and passed out invitations to local businesses, sold shirts, stickers, the whole nine yards.

Sometimes promoting and marketing can be overlooked.Perhaps people think they’re doing a good job of it already. Maybe they think it’s pointless. Because we all find ourselves in a huge spectrum of industries, here are some general tips on promoting your business.


Don’t Ignore Social Media… Even If You Want To

I’ll admit something that might surprise people—I am not tech savvy. Even though I am technically a millennial (early 90s though, I know what a tape is and how to record a song from the radio) I find technology to be difficult to deal with sometimes. And I think that many people feel the same way, which sounds counter intuitive. While many marketing gurus specifically state social media as a must, many people don’t check Twitter, don’t post on Instagram, don’t promote on Facebook. How many times have you gone to a business’ Instagram and only see one post? Most of us like to consider ourselves tech savvy. But how many of us actually are? Many people think that they don’t need this promotional tool, they’ve been around for years and have been doing amazingly. True and hooray!  But more importantly, how much business are we letting slip through our fingers by not using this tool? I don’t think there’s anyone out there that does not want to make a greater profit. I’ll leave this point with a quote I saw recently “Ignoring online marketing is like opening a business and not telling anyone.”



Spread Your Message Far and Wide

Our Creative Director Kirby is a huge fan of Swarm. Swarm is an app that allows people to check-in to different locations and write a sentence or two about what they’re doing there. You could offer prizes for your loyal customers once they check-in a certain amount of time. Yours truly also passes out flyers to spread the word about our space. Did you also know that people can check in on Yelp at your location?


Free Advertising and A Behind the Scenes Look

Are you doing everything to get your business our there? Everything? One of my favorite ways to promote our space is through blogs such as these and newsletters. It’s nice to have another avenue to communicate with everyone and show them the goings on here at your local chamber. And it’s just a wonderful way for people to get a sense of your voice. And a special heads up for our readers today, keep an eye on your inbox this Wednesday for Mother’s Day specials exclusively for you!



How do you promote your business? Tell us on Facebook!

Halls of Power

Welcome back to the best blog around! This writer (and fellow Leadership Academy participant) will gladly give you a behind-the-scenes recap of our Leadership Academy adventures this month.

Leadership Academy, an LAX Coastal Chamber program aimed at developing and enhancing the leadership skills of local professionals, had a successful 6th session on Wednesday, April 13 as they learned more about “The Los Angeles Halls of Power.” Our goal was to tour the Downtown Los Angeles area and learn more about our political system through meet-and-greets with local politicians and and inside look at the going-ons of City Hall.

The day started off exciting, to say the least. As part of the Los Angeles experience, the majority of our Leadership Academy students experienced public transportation.  many for the first time, by taking the Metro Rail to make their way downtown (check out our blog post, “LAX Coastal Does Metro,” to read more about the public transit experience). After some confusion and miscommunication, and after missing their first train, they finally started their Metro journey on the Green, Blue, and Red Lines until finally arriving a few blocks away from City Hall. Personally, while I have been warmly accepted into this LAX Coastal community, I still live in South Central Los Angeles (spitting distance from one of the Blue Line stops, in fact) and have spent years taking the Metro. I completely understand the… experience that taking public transportation can be, and while I am appreciative of the ease with which it is available, it’s no secret that some of our options deserve a facelift for a more pleasant experience. This being said—and the fact that it is a much shorter distance between my home and City Hall than my home and the LAX Coastal Chamber—I drove myself to City Hall.


Once at City Hall, our group met our very own tour guides, Thomas Flintoft of Kindel Gagan and Kristen Lonner of Burns & Bouchard, who directed us to a City Council and Committee Meeting where we watched our Councilmembers (including our very own representative, Mike Bonin), residents, and professionals discuss topics such as beautification projects, education, housing, and homelessness. It’s wonderful to see firsthand how our government allows the public to not only speak upon, but also be heard, any subject that is important to them and impacts their community. Engagement is extremely important for a cohesive community, helping our residents hold their officials accountable and learn more about the political process as a whole. But, as Bruce Wayne once said, “Gotham Los Angeles attracts some of the more… colorful citizens.” So while we learned a lot about local politics, we also got a bit of a show (where the highlight was one gentleman who came in braying like a sheep wearing sunglasses and a pillowcase). To each their own!

Our Council Chambers at City Hall.

Our group then hopped on several elevators to go further up into the bowels of City Hall (seriously, you could get lost in this place) for a tour of the Tom Bradley Room on the 27th floor. City Hall is nothing if not grand—the view was spectacular and the elevator rides are endlessly amusing if you keep the right outlook. The elevator system doesn’t connect to every floor, so to make it all the way up you need to hop on a couple different elevators. We had a bit of a scare at one point when our group packed into one elevator only to hear a horrible ringing noise (speaking for myself, I was instantly terrified that we were going to be stuck), but true to form our amazing members helped alleviated the situation by adding a bit of humor to a tense moment when Jeff Russel announced, “Don’t worry, you’re with me… Nothing bad ever happens to me.” And nothing did! Thanks for the good luck, Jeff.

Jose Quintanilla, Leadership Academy participant, posing in the Tom Bradley Room

After the amazing view from the top floor, and a few photos ops (see Jose above… We would vote for you, Jose!) we spoke to Ron Galperin, LA City Controller. Did you know that, in an effort for increased transparency, the city has an online spreadsheet that details how much they spend? Seriously. You can go in and check the amount of money spent on dog food for the K9 pups. Or gloves. Or mops. Galperin even told us a funny story about a misunderstanding where a reporter once called, asking who on his staff drove a Rolls-Royce. Apparently the spreadsheet stated “Rolls-Royce” as an item number, failing to see that it was a plane engine! (That would be interesting to see how it could be driven on the freeway…) We also had the pleasure of speaking to Councilmember Mike Bonin, Kevin James of the Public Works Commission, and Cielo Castro Transparency Officer of the City of Los Angeles. It was great learning how these amazing individuals came into their current posts, and hearing more about their plans for our great city.

After hearing these wonderful speakers, the gang headed out to have cocktails at the California Club. This writer unfortunately had to skip out on this fun adventure (due to her complete and utter lack of sense of direction and an unfortunate encounter with one-way streets*), but she heard from the group that everyone had a great time and enjoyed the Downtown Los Angeles view.

All in all, it was a great experience, both informative and memorable, and on behalf of the LAX Coastal Leadership Academy we would like to extend a thank you to Kristen, Tom, and City Hall for having us! See you next month.

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Los Angeles City Hall

*On a side note, you know it’s time to upgrade your GPS when it doesn’t know Downtown Los Angeles is full of one-way streets. But lesson learned. Next time, I’m taking the bus with everyone!


Staying Healthy – Coastal Style!

With a delicious cup of coffee in hand on this, the second only rainy day in Los Angeles, this LAX Coastal writer says hello!

If you’ve ever visited our wonderful space, then you’ve witnessed firsthand that we are a pretty healthy office. Aside from the occasional donut (or maybe a little bit more than just occasional…), your local chamber staff is a fan of fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Our very own fearless leader, Christina, often runs 3 miles before she coming into work, Chamberlain frequents a local gym, Kirby and I train martial arts together, and our coworkers and members are active as well! It comes as no surprise when a few of us gather in an unused space and do a round of squats or pushups—these small bursts of activity give us a healthy rush of blood and energy and then it’s back to productivity! In fact, one of the many highlights I have had since joining the wonderful team is holding a two minute side plank (on each side!) with our fabulous Chairman of the Board, Kristen Lonner of Burns & Bouchard.


Holding 2-minute side planks… Harder than we expected!


Although all of this sounds awesome (and it really is), sometimes being healthy is difficult. With daily challenges, packed schedules, and attempts at keeping a work/life balance, is it even possible to make time for personal fitness?

A few weeks ago we asked Chamber member and fitness extraordinaire, Jeff Blair of Jeff Blair Fitness, this exact question, and he joined us for a Lunch N Learn presentation aimed at fitness for the busy professional. Through tips, tricks, stretches, and exercises, Jeff taught us how to lose weight and build strength in your lunch break; no equipment needed, but no excuses accepted!

Are you faced with the same fitness challenges we are? Did you miss Jeff’s (co)working out presentation? Here are some of his tips, mixed in with a few of our own, to help get you started. And if you need a little more motivation, feel free to drop by our office to declare a pushup competition.


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Jeff Blair of Jeff Blair Fitness


Perspective. Your approach to changing your lifestyle can be very important. How many times have you wanted to start a healthy habit and said, “I’ll start tomorrow?” Or, my personal favorite, “I’ll start Monday?” (because somehow Monday is a clean slate…) As Jeff said, “healthy habits aren’t a light switch, they’re an evolution.” Start off small. Give yourself realistic goals. Hold yourself accountable, but don’t beat yourself up if you fall behind now and then. When you change your perspective from “I need to lose twenty pounds” to “I’m going to take the stairs instead of the elevator,” you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll start seeing progress. Little by little, you’ll get there!

Walk. Your local chamber is located in the amazing community of Westchester, where everything you need is within walking distance and the views along the way are spectacular, so it’s very easy for us to get up and move! A great tip Jeff gave us is to use 20 minutes of your lunch time walking. Not only is this a great fitness tip, it’s also a great way to de-stress and clear your head, so you’ll be more productive when you make it back to the office.

Water. You hear it all the time, right? Drink. More. Water. Drinking water is healthy for many reasons: it keeps your body hydrated (trust us, the effects of dehydration are not pretty), helps you lose weight, lessens joint pain, prevents headaches, and gives your skin a healthy glow. Ditch the fifth cup of coffee, pass by that energy drink, and reach for a glass of water!

Snack healthy. Although our Honest Bar has small goodies to satisfy your sweet, we also have an assortment of healthy snacks. And no, snacking healthy doesn’t just mean eating celery sticks (although they are delicious), it just means thinking a little but more about your options. From apples to nuts to protein shakes, find what you think is delicious and reach for that instead of your fourth donut (right, Kirby?).

Protein. Protein is your friend. Not only is protein delicious, but it is also faster at telling your system you are full and, because it takes longer to digest, helps burn off a few extra calories in the process. Thank you, Jeff, for this awesome tip!

Time. LAX Coastal and LAX Coworking are both examples of how you can squeeze activity into your work day. Be flexible. I’m one of the people who enjoys working out in the morning because I feel like I have a better attitude for the rest of the day, but if that’s not your style you can incorporate workouts anywhere into your daily routine. Do squats when you’re brushing your teeth, calf raises when you’re on a phone call, or pushups while you’re waiting for your shower to heat up. Whatever you want to do, whenever you can do it, make it work!

One-Handed Pushups. Okay, maybe not really. We can’t all be the amazing Jeff… But that doesn’t mean you can’t try! (See the video below as an example)



Looking for more? Try out some of these exercises that don’t involve anything more than your body, but can build muscle just the same! They’re definitely a few of the favorites of this office.

  • Push-ups
  • Lunges
  • Plank
  • Squats
  • Feeling ambitious? Pistol squats!

Good luck everyone! That was a great workout, and now you deserve a rest (and a weekend).

Jeff Blair and proud LAX Coworker, Angela Chen, resting after a successful workout!