Get to know us.
Jeff Goad joined LA’s BEST Friends Board in 2013, became Chair in 2016 and is also a member of the Board of Directors. Jeff is currently running the product supply chain for Drybar, one of the fastest-growing hair care beauty brands in consumer products, with distribution in their own shops and in retailers like Sephora, Nordstrom, and Ulta across the globe. Prior to Drybar, Jeff worked with companies including Johnson & Johnson and General Motors. Jeff earned a degree from the University of Michigan.
Jeff’s parents were career educators in inner-city public schools in Michigan and instilled the importance of availability of education for all children, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. With this inspiration, he sat on the Board of Education during his senior year in high school and worked as a Teacher’s Aide in his hometown afterschool program, further fueling his passion for youth education.
Hirak Bali is currently a Vice President at TerraMar Capital, a Los-Angeles based private equity fund. Previously, Hirak was a Vice President in TCW’s global fixed income group. Prior to TCW, Hirak was an Associate at Aurora Capital Group, a middle-market focused private equity fund. Hirak started his professional career at Jefferies & Company, a global investment banking firm.
Hirak received a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, in Business Economics, with minors in Accounting and Political Science, from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Jenna is a graduate of USC, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. In addition, she completed a doctorate of psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is currently the Managing Director of JT Homes, a real estate investment fund she founded in 2010 after building a successful business as a real estate broker for 16 years.
Jaclyn is a passionate tech marketing professional with over 10 years of experience working with startups in the Los Angeles area. She currently runs the content marketing and event programs at Factual, a location data company supporting the biggest apps and advertising companies in mobile. Before Factual, she spent three years on the marketing team at Rubicon Project, helping the company grow from a startup to a public company. It was also there that Jaclyn met Mallory (a former BEST Friends board member), her inspiration and intro to LA’s Best! Jaclyn grew up in Orange County and moved to L.A. shortly after graduating from California State University, Fullerton, in 2007, where she earned a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. She loves spending time with family and friends, sarcasm, wine, iPhone photography, and of course, volunteering and supporting events for LA’s BEST.
Justin Fredericks is the Co-Founder and CEO of Art x Co, a business that connects artists with companies and communities. Art x Co’s two primary brands are Street Art House (producing art experiences) and Paper and Fabric (producing art merchandise). Previous to this role, Justin worked in the tech industry for a decade, in business development leadership positions. On the LA’s BEST Friends Board, Justin serves as the STEAM Chair, to further art and technology afterschool programming. In addition to this volunteer role, Justin also serves on the Emerging Leaders Board of Art Share L.A. Academically, he received a B.A. in Sociology from UCLA and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. In his personal life, Justin enjoys tennis, documentaries and trying new vegetarian dishes.
Paul Keltner is a 30-year Los Angeles area resident. He leads Zurich North America’s west region Middle Markets commercial insurance underwriting team. Paul grew up hiking, camping, and fishing in Arizona. He spends his spare time raising his son and enjoying the outdoors — skiing, fly fishing, and training for triathlons. He holds a BA in Economics and MBA in Finance.
Paul was introduced to LA’s BEST by a close friend and Board Member in 2013. After attending several amazing events with LA’s BEST FRIENDS and participating grade school children, Paul was invited to join the BEST FRIENDS board.
Danielle is a born and bred Angeleno and loves all things Los Angeles, including LA’s BEST! She is a proud USC Trojan alum, holding a degree in Communications, and was excited to have an opportunity to stay in Los Angeles to begin her career. Danielle’s background is in PR, events and marketing, and she has worked with some top brands in the lifestyle industry. She is currently a Marketing Director for a start-up consulting agency, while taking on independent projects/events (and weddings!) on the side. Danielle is also an instructor at Pure Barre Downtown Los Angeles, where she teaches barre classes a few times a week.
Sandra Maciel is a health and beauty consultant who helps companies develop, launch and manufacture amazing cosmetics, lotions, and potions. She is a graduate of Yale University where she earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering, and later earned an MBA from USC’s Marshall School of Business. When she’s not making sunblocks or moisturizers, she’s spending time with her husband, Jose, and their two children, Aliyah and Nicolas.
Bill is a native second-generation Southern Californian, from Long Beach. He graduated from Pepperdine University in 1994, with a B.A. in Philosophy. In 2004, he earned an M.B.A from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship and Finance. Bill has spent nearly 20 years in Operations Management, spending most of his career with several household beauty brands including Neutrogena, Elizabeth Arden, and his current role as COO at Stila Cosmetics. Bill currently resides in Mount Washington with his fiancé, Jee, and his border terrier, Harry. In his spare time, Bill is an outdoor enthusiast, enjoying snowboarding, surfing and backpacking. Bill also enjoys great restaurants, wine, cooking, and gardening.
Miguel Melendez is a writer/producer at TMZ. He was previously a sports journalist at USA TODAY, FOX Sports, The Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News and Pasadena Star-News. His byline has also appeared in The Associated Press and Boston Globe. Miguel grew up homeless in Los Angeles and attended seven different schools as a kid. Miguel was introduced to LAs BEST in the third grade and to the music program in the fifth grade. He’s a product of the LA Unified School District and lives in Downtown LA.
Kelechi, a native of Los Angeles, is the youngest of four children. He is an experienced financial services investment professional. Currently working for Guggenheim Partners as a Senior Portfolio Manager in the company’s Santa Monica office, Kelechi leads a team managing over $10 billion in fixed income investments for a myriad of clients, such as insurance companies, high net-worth individuals and pension funds. He began his career as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch in New York. Kelechi is a graduate of Cornell University, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree with honors in Applied Economics and Management, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). While at the Wharton School, Kelechi was recognized as a Morgan Stanley Fellow, Joseph Wharton Fellow and Toigo Fellow.
Amani Roberts is a Professional DJ, Professor, Music Producer and is the Chief Musical Curator for his company, The Amani Experience. This company specializes in providing music for corporate events, social events, creating original music for commercials or videos, and teaching students of all ages how to DJ. Amani also hosts a weekly podcast called, “The Amani Experience Podcast,” where he interviews creative professionals from all over the world about why they took the leap from corporate life to the creative life. In his free time, Amani loves to read, play soccer, follow his hometown Washington DC sports teams, improve his salsa dancing skills and chase after his dog, Nyla.
Mona Sobhani, Ph.D. is an experienced researcher who currently works at the USC Center for Body Computing (CBC), a digital health research and innovation center. At the USC CBC, she oversees the multitude of research projects and collaborations with sports teams and leagues, U.S. Military divisions, doctors and health centers, as well as digital health startups. She holds a B.S. in Physiology and Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Southern California. Following her PhD, Mona worked with the MacArthur Foundation on the Law and Neuroscience Project at Vanderbilt University, exploring the impact of neuroscience on the legal system. Following her postdoc, she worked with the UCLA Venture Fund and the UCLA Office of Intellectual Property, where she supported UCLA startups. Mona is particularly passionate about helping address the challenges women face in business and in STEM fields.
Todd Terrazas is a creative technologist, social entrepreneur, community builder, and collaboration catalyst. You can always find Todd at the forefront of technological change, whether that’s finding innovative ways to create new public safety solutions for mass gatherings, or developing creative ways to capture unbiased responses for consumer research. Todd has worked with world-famous artists, music festivals, and media companies to develop feedback loops that provide insight into consumer behavior and nurture better brand ambassadors. Todd graduated from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, focusing on entertainment business and short-form storytelling. Today, Todd is working on the next-generation of purpose-driven storytelling that will transcend cultural boundaries and motivate all of us to become better humans.
Evita Wong is almost a California native, hailing from the San Gabriel Valley via a cross-country move with her family from New York at six years old. After completing a double major in Film and Journalism at the University of California, Irvine, Evita initially pursued a career in the film industry, moonlighting on music video sets as a camera assistant before joining the production team on an independent film. Evita found her calling at the socially-conscious brand, TOMS. From 2011-2017 she worked on their public-private partnerships team, building and managing relationships with non-profit organizations across Sub-Saharan Africa. After the birth of her daughter in 2017, Evita took a brief career hiatus to be a full-time mom (and part-time mommy blogger at www.momtakeone.com) before accepting her current role as West Coast Development Manager for Jhpiego, an international non-profit dedicated to improving the health of women and their families in developing countries.