Get to know us.
Laura has worked in the expanded learning field for a decade, and joined LA’s BEST in 2016. She works with the organization’s public partners – including the City of Los Angeles and LAUSD School Board – and on advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal levels, resulting in significant new investments into afterschool and summer learning programs in recent years. Prior to LA’s BEST, Laura worked at the Partnership for Children & Youth, an advocacy and capacity-building organization championing high-quality expanded learning opportunities for underserved youth. She is also an alumni of the Capital Fellows Program, where she worked on Government Affairs for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson at the California Department of Education, and was a member of the inaugural cohort of Coro Southern California’s Lead Los Angeles program. She has a B.A. in Politics from Pomona College and began her career through an AmeriCorps year of service.
Sharon began working at LA’s BEST in February 2015. As a member of the Development Department, she worked with corporate partnerships, was the liaison with the BEST Friends Board and young professionals network, and now drives LA’s BEST external communication. Sharon has more than 20 years experience as a professional in the nonprofit sector. Prior to working at LA’s BEST, Sharon worked for organizations including American Jewish World Service and GO Campaign and has developed fundraising strategies for nonprofit organizations. She earned a Master’s degree in Social Work with an emphasis in nonprofit management and a Master’s degree in International Affairs focusing on human rights, both from Columbia University.
Aretta began working at LA’s BEST in April 2016. As a member of the Development Department, her work includes managing individual, organization and corporate donor relationships. Aretta has several years of experience as a professional in both the profit and nonprofit sectors. This includes successfully directing national branding campaigns in ad tech, government, automotive, consumer packaged goods and education.
Isabel joined LA’s BEST in 2020, and writes grant proposals to secure funding for programs and operations. Previously, she taught persuasive writing at Howard University, and worked as a grant writer at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Isabel holds an MFA in Creative Writing from OSU and a BA in English from UMD. She does improv comedy in her spare time.
Christine began working at LA’s BEST in November 1998 as an Administrative Associate and transitioned into her current role in 2010. As a member of the administrative team, she manages the President & CEO’s calendar, provides overall office management and is the liaison to the Governing and Advisory Boards. In that role she supports the boards, and develops processes for strong board development and engagement. Christine has more than 19 years of experience as an administrative professional in the nonprofit sector. She earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.
Robin joined LA’s BEST in 2011, where she cultivates and manages partnerships with foundations, corporations, and government entities, and writes compelling proposals and reports to secure grants and resources in support of LA’s BEST programs and operations. Following graduation from UCLA in 2000, Robin served as an AmeriCorps VISTA, developing afterschool programs at local middle schools and earning The Grantsmanship Center’s certification. She then worked at UCLA, supporting the creation of college/career centers within under-resourced communities. In 2005, Robin became a grant writer with Venice Family Clinic, raising and reporting on funds that ensured access to medical care for homeless and low-income families.
Amber Martinez joined LA’s BEST as Vice President of Development in 2017. She provides strategic leadership in all aspects of LA’s BEST fundraising and communications as the organization enters a new era of growth and development. Prior to joining LA’s BEST, Amber was the Senior Director at the XPRIZE Foundation, leading the development team. She has previously been Director of Corporate Philanthropy at City of Hope, Interim CEO of the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director of Vision To Learn and the National Director of Corporate Development for ALPFA. Amber holds a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership & Management and a Bachelor of Science in Family & Human Development, both from Arizona State University. She is a native Angeleno, currently living in Highland Park with her husband and daughter.
Peter was first introduced to LA’s BEST in 2014 as its financial statement auditor, and has audited many private foundations, charitable organizations, and businesses across Los Angeles. In July 2021, he transitioned from auditing LA’s BEST from the outside to offering his services in support of LA’s BEST as Interim Controller. As Interim Controller, and now the permanent Controller, Peter manages the finances of the organization, maintains the accounting records, tracks budgets and compliance for restricted grants, oversees the financial systems and internal controls, and helps ensure the organization’s future monetary wellbeing. Peter is a CPA, and in addition to working as a financial statement auditor, he has worked as a contracted CFO managing businesses and nonprofits for several years. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Business Administration specializing in Finance and Management from the Master’s University.
When not combing through spreadsheets, you can find Peter enjoying a variety of outdoor activities. He enjoys skiing down mountains in winter, and hiking back up them after the snow melts. You can also find him cycling along the beach, playing volleyball, or finding a new favorite mom-and-pop shop to eat!