Exposition Master Plan Advisory Committee

Jackie Dupont Walker, Chair

Jacquelyn “Jackie” Dupont Walker is a more than 40 year resident of Los Angeles and has been a consistent stakeholder in the West Adams/Exposition Park area with a mission of self- determination and self- reliance in the context of having a strong faith and having a commitment to community service.

“Jackie” is a pioneering graduate of Florida State University. She holds the Master of Social Work degree from Atlanta University and has completed post-graduate studies. Her credentials include certificate as a developer at U.S.C. (Commercial Dev. program), and as substance abuse advisor (Washington University, MD). Jackie is one of the most highly respected lay person in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME).

Mrs. Dupont-Walker is founding president of the Ward Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) in Los Angeles, an agency that has built/remodeled/managed low income housing-120 apartments for seniors at Ward Villas, “second chance” housing for families and singles at Tuelyn Terrace, 6-scattered sites, and recently 60 senior apartments at Rosa Parks Villas-Phase I of the Crenshaw Gateway – a mixed use community. WEDC has initiated an intergenerational asset mapping project, engaged in community empowerment, activated a census count initiative for two de-centennial efforts, and involved in the construction of Chesterfield Square, the first retail mall in South LA in over a decade which created over 600 jobs. WEDC key focus –“Civic engagement leads to community empowerment” Rosa Parks 2 will begin construction soon. This community development organization has a core mission that includes economic, housing, leadership and neighborhood development.

She joined the core team in 1992 at REBUILD LA. Additionally, she pioneered in defining the banking needs in the community as a member of the Bank of America’s Social Policy Board and initial Advisory Board for community input and the District 11 Federal Home Loan Social Policy Board.

In 2013 Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed “Jackie” to serve on the LA County METRO board- she is the only non-elected official member. Gov. Jerry Brown also appointed her to the Baldwin Hills Conservancy where she continues to serve. She was appointed to the LA City Council Re-Districting Commission at a critical time for the African American community in 1999 and again in 2011. She has appointments to the California Housing Partnership Corporation Board by Speaker Herb Wesson and re-appointed by Speaker Fabian Nunez; Elected to Charter Commission for the City of Los Angeles (2000); Housing Authority of City of Los Angeles; LISC National Board of Directors; Board member Vision LA; UNCF – LA Advisory Board; 2nd District R.E.D. Inc Board, and A.M.E V-Alert Coordinating Team. “Since 1977 Jackie has participated in Lafayette Square Association activities and served as president from 2005 – 2014. She has been an active member of Ward AME Church for over 35 years.

She is married to Buford “Sonny” Walker and in their blended family they have raised and nurtured 8 children and 24 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.

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David Galaviz

David Galaviz was named executive director of USC Local Government Relations in 2008.  As USC’s liaison with local government and large civic institutions, he is responsible for advocating on behalf of the university, establishing and maintaining relationships with city and county government leaders, and promoting the university’s academic mission, community partnerships and public service agenda.

Galaviz played a key role in developing USC’s outreach strategy for the University Village redevelopment project which resulted in hundreds of supporters attending city hearings and culminated in over 1,000 attending the final hearing. Galaviz was also responsible for the Coliseum lease negotiations community outreach strategy and is currently involved in USC’s biotech related efforts.

Galaviz joined USC in 2003 as community outreach director for the USC Health Sciences Campus. He has served as president of the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council, the Community Redevelopment Agency’s Adelante Eastside Project Area Committee and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce “Leadership Los Angeles” program. Galaviz is a past board member of the Salesian Boys and Girls Club, Boyle Heights Chamber of Commerce and CSULA Alumni Association.

Prior to joining USC, he served as legislative director for Senator Gilbert Cedillo and was the primary staff member responsible for the multi-year community outreach strategy to allow immigrants to apply for California driver’s licenses. This campaign resulted in over 500,000 Californians signing petitions and the creation of a coalition comprised of statewide community, public safety, business and religious organizations.

Galaviz holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University, Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in public administration from USC.

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Ruben Gonzalez

Ruben Gonzalez

Ruben Gonzalez is the President & founder of Gonzalez Strategic Affairs (GSA), a public affairs firm providing government affairs/advocacy, media relations, crisis communications and political/campaign consulting services. The firm’s clients include the California Association Realtors & the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce where Ruben serves as Senior Advisor for strategic affairs.

Prior to founding GSA, Ruben served as the Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Political Affairs for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, which is the oldest and largest business association in Southern California. In this role he led all public policy issue development and advocacy for the Chamber. As Senior Advisor Ruben still serves as chief advisor to the Chamber’s President & CEO, Board of Directors and senior staff on setting and implementing the organization’s political strategy, and as a spokesperson and chief strategist for general and crisis communications for the organization.

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Darryl Holter

Darryl Holter

Darryl Holter is CEO of the Shammas Group, a group of family-owned businesses, including auto retailing and commercial property with nearly a thousand employees.

In 1991, he joined the Institute of Industrial Relations at UCLA and taught in the Anderson Graduate School of Management and the Department of History. In 1995, Holter left UCLA to organize the Figueroa Corridor Business Improvement District. He chaired the Community Redevelopment Agency’s Exposition/University Park Community Advisory Committee and the California New Car Dealers Association in 2013. Holter is an Adjunct Professor in History at USC. His most recent book, Woody Guthrie L.A., 1937-1941, (Angel City Press) appeared January 15, 2016. He is a musician and songwriter with four critically acclaimed albums.

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Levi Kingston

Mr. Kingston has been a community activist within the South Central Los Angeles area for over 50 years. He is responsible for establishing Hoover Intergenerational Care, Inc. (H.I.C) a non-profit organization which provides child care services for low and moderate income families. The facility which is located in the USC/Hoover Exposition community is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and funded by the California Department of Education, Early Education and Support Division. Over a span of 40 years, H.I.C. has offered early education to thousands of children from diverse ethnic backgrounds. H.I.C. was co-founded by Mr. Kingston and is based upon a philosophy that advocates the integration and involvement of seniors in the provision of classroom instruction and enrichment activities.

The Hoover Exposition/Expo Park area has continued to be priority for Mr. Kingston in his community outreach work. He has continued to participate at meetings of the California Science Center(CSC) Board of Directors. Monthly he presents public comment related to various critical issues impacting entities in the Expo Park area and local community. During its existence, Mr. Kingston attended the Coliseum Commission Meetings to offer ongoing community input. He has hosted community events and utilized the facilities of the Museums in Expo Park such as: California Science Center, the California African American Museum, and Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Additionally, he also facilitated the participation of H.I.C. preschool children in the CSC Science Center School. During the past year, Mr. Kingston has become a member of the Expo Park Master Plan Committee. He is looking forward to his participation as a community representative. His expertise and experience in urban planning, community development, community relations, public policy, neighborhood organizing, etc. will be an asset to the committee.

In addition, Mr. Kingston has served as a Chief Executive Officer of the Community Consortium, Inc. a non-profit organization. He advocated public awareness and community outreach in the area of AIDS education and prevention. Funding for this program was provided by the California State Office of AIDS. During the 1984 Olympics, Mr. Kingston spearheaded the development of public information targeting community residents describing neighborhood changes to be expected during the Olympics and competition results. He has also organized a Hoover Jefferson Stakeholders collaborative to address critical issues impacting various organizations, schools, businesses, etc. Most recently, Mr. Kingston has been actively involved in providing community input related to the new USC developments: University Gateway and University Village currently under construction.

As an advocate of cross cultural awareness, Mr. Kingston has coordinated numerous events throughout the community and on the University of Southern California (USC) campus. In the past, he served on the USC Community Advisory Council which provided input to former USC President Steven Sample. He continues to be a community icon who has been interviewed by the news media and featured for his accomplishments/community perspectives in newspaper articles and other publications. During his extensive career, Mr. Kingston has received numerous commendations and recognition. A wall placard with his name can be found on Jefferson Boulevard near the corner of Vermont near the USC campus.

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Rev. Dr. Cecil "Chip" Murray

Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray

In April 1992, more than one thousand fires burned in the heart of Los Angeles. The acquittal of police officers charged in the Rodney King brutality trial had sparked one of the most destructive episodes of urban violence in U.S. history.

In the weeks leading up to the verdict, Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray used his connections with civic, religious and business leaders to lay the groundwork for strategies to quell the rage he knew an acquittal might unleash. When his worst fears were realized, he stepped into the fray to conciliate between rioters and police. In the aftermath of the riots, he worked ceaselessly to address the social and economic ills that had spawned the unrest. Murray’s ongoing activism at the intersection of public faith and civic life has earned him a reputation as a contemporary prophet of socially engaged Christianity.

Twice Tested By Fire: A Memoir of Faith and Service is Murray’s personal chronicle of the inspiration as well as the challenges that shaped a ministry widely credited with helping to heal a fractured metropolis in the aftermath of disaster. His insights into the legacy of the Civil Rights era and faith-based community organizing provide timely instruction to a new generation of leaders rising to the task of ensuring that the American dream of equality and justice for all is not forgotten.

“The fellowship of Christians generally and the Black Church specifically have an obligation beyond the walls of the sanctuary,” says Murray. “Our endangered communities are lost unless the churches in their midst help to provision the journey toward a new life. We must have an integration of personal salvation and social salvation, for only then is the Word made flesh.”

After retiring from his post as pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church (FAME) in 2004, Murray was named a senior fellow of the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture. He was also appointed as the John R. Tansey Chair of Christian Ethics in the School of Religion at the University of Southern California.

During his 27 years as FAME’s pastor, Murray transformed a small congregation into a megachurch that brought jobs, housing and corporate investment into South Los Angeles neighborhoods. After the 1992 civil unrest, FAME Renaissance, the economic development arm of the church, brought $400 million in investments to L.A.’s minority and low-income neighborhoods. Murray remains a vibrant force in the Los Angeles faith community through his leadership of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Civic Engagement.

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Jorge Nuno

Jorge Nuno grew up in South Central Los Angeles in the 80’s, a period also dominated by racial tensions and gang violence. As a first generation American born to immigrant parents from Jalisco, Mexico, Jorge learned the value of hard work and entrepreneurship through the lens of his self-made seamstress mother and landscaper father. Both came to the US in their late teens with little education and even less English. If the tough realities of his environment and upbringing ever worked against him, Jorge certainly wasn’t aware of them at the time. “I didn’t know any of the challenges facing me…this life I had was normal…I just knew I wanted to be the Kobe of graphic design.” After being inspired by a commercial, Jorge enrolled at Brooks College to begin his graphic design studies. He may have not been at the top of his class, but he certainly competed alongside them. He was selected among two valedictorians to interview for a design firm upon graduation. Now confident in his abilities, Jorge came to learn that grades were not a reflection of his intelligence or talent.

After a short stint interning, Jorge was eager to get in good with the industry in a big way. He began cold calling the largest and most successful design firms around LA. One day, he decided to walk right into one in a suit and tie and ready portfolio in hand. It was the right time to walk into Kiper Lascu, a successful production house making big name movie posters like Titanic. The owner happened to be there that day and gave Jorge an interview and job. Jorge hit the ground running, working at double the speed and creativity of his counterparts. Realizing his potential to make things happen in this industry, Jorge solicited the mentorship of the CEO, who schooled him on the business side of the entertainment industry. A new world opened up to Jorge, giving him new insight and interest into learning the roles of marketing, acquisition, and distribution. He educated himself by pouring over books related to graphic design, leadership, and negotiating- anything that would help him become the ‘Kobe’ of graphic design. After 2 ½ years, Jorge felt he had exhausted his learning potential at Kiper Lascu.

He asked two designer friends to join in and thus NTS Communications was born in 2004. NTS grew rapidly, allowing the company to move into their new housing location in south LA within two years. Why south LA? Jorge explains, “I want to be an economic engine in this community.” Leading a business in this largely blue-collar, minority-owned area also showed him firsthand the lack of resources and types of social injustices inherent in his own neighborhood. “Technology and entrepreneurship was the missing component,” he reveals. With the help of some community leaders, Jorge was able to found Nuevo South, a nonprofit organization whose aim is to educate by providing youth with access to state-of-the art technology, content creation, leadership training and entrepreneurial opportunities.

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Alberto Retana

Alberto was introduced to organizing at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he graduated with a degree in Political Science. As a student activist, he joined with other students to organize campaigns to defend affirmative action, lower student fees, and advance racial justice.

After UCLA, Alberto cut his teeth in community organizing at Community Coalition. There, Alberto further developed his organizing values: understanding that leadership development, building the power of collective action, and non-violence are core tenets to advancing social change. Alberto’s unwavering commitment to organizing began with South Central Youth Empowered Through Action (SCYEA). For the next eleven years, Alberto continued organizing in different capacities, leading Community Coalition through major victories in advancing racial justice, economic justice, food justice, and education equity.

From 2009 to 2011, Alberto worked for the Obama administration in the U.S. Department of Education as Director of Community Outreach. During his time in D.C., he organized the Department’s first National Youth Summit, and worked with thousands of community leaders across the country on turning around the nation’s “push-out” crisis.

In 2011, Alberto returned to Community Coalition to lead its mass based civic engagement strategy to organize 40,000 African American and Latino voters in various campaigns. Alberto also helped to build Community Coalition’s cultural arm by launching PowerFest—South Los Angeles’ premier political concert drawing thousands of South Los Angeles residents to a day of celebration and empowerment. After a rigorous national search,

Alberto was selected to be President and CEO of Community Coalition effective July 1st, 2015. Alberto is the son of Mexican and Costa Rican immigrants who came to this country in 1962. The youngest of three, Alberto is the product of his family’s hard work and sacrifice.

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Marie Rumsey

Marie Rumsey

Marie is the Managing Director of Legislative Affairs and Government Relations at the Central City Association (CCA). In her role she develops and implements the organization’s public policy agenda.

Prior to joining CCA, Marie served as the Planning Director for Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and worked on diverse land use issues. Previously, Marie was Senior Deputy for Councilmember Jan Perry and worked on issues related to the planning, economic development and housing.

Marie graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a BA in Political Science and received her MA in Humanities form Mount St. Mary’s College. Marie lives in Los Angeles with her family and serves on the Hollywood Central Park Board.

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Joanne Russell

Joanne Russell

Joanne Russell is an innovative, creative administrative director experienced in formulating people-centered strategies to maximize the reach of human services programming. She has been at the forefront of designing protocols for faith-based and service organization partnerships, effective community-driven policy and legislative advocacy, public venue educational outreach, and large scale volunteer driven projects in South Los Angeles and the Western regional states. With more than 30 years of non-profit experience, Ms. Russell continues to design and facilitate processes to synergize resources to strengthen viable community development that protects and improves ones’ quality of life.

Ms. Russell is founder and chair of Let’s Make It Happen, a 501c3, whose mission is to influence sustainable positive changes in community wellness—one person at a time—through innovative collaborative processes and redefined outcome perspectives that empower people and communities to create pathways to actively pursue their fullest potential—economically, educationally, physically, professionally, and socially.   She currently works with the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks-EXPO Center, the Pacific Southwest Region Disciples of Christ Women Ministries, and South Central My Brother’s Keeper Coalition. She is a member of the Human Services Committee of the 2nd District Empowerment Congress and the newly formed HAPPI (Healthy Aging Partnerships in Prevention) Community Council. Ms. Russell is a proud Class of 2014 graduate earning her Bachelors of Science in Human Services Management from the University of Phoenix as well as completing her USC Cecil L. Murray Center for Civic and Community Engagement’s Faith Leaders Initiative fellowship.

Ms. Russell is a longtime resident of the USC/Exposition Park area completing her formative education at Weemes, Foshay, Manual Arts, Trade Tech and L.A. Southwest Colleges. She still resides in their original family home. Joanne is a parent, small business entrepreneur (1st Aide…for your business), community and nonprofit leader. Her favorite past time is singing with the KJLH Performance Choir.

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Martha Saucedo

Martha Saucedo

Martha Saucedo, a highly-experienced public affairs and government relations specialist with expertise in both the public and private sectors developing and implementing political, communications and community engagement strategies, is responsible for developing and managing AEG’s public and community affairs policies, charitable involvement and oversight of the organization’s outreach and development programs.

 

Ms. Saucedo is Chair of the Central City Association Board of Directors and is on the Board of Inner City Arts, the Expo Center in South Los Angeles, the South Park Business Improvement District as well as the California Hospital Medical Center Community Advisory Board. She is a former elected representative on the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council and was honored as a “Mover and Shaker” by the CCA, as a “Community Builder” at the 2012 Crystal Eagle Awards hosted by CORO Southern California and in 2013 by the Sports Business Journal with their “Forty under 40” award as one of industry’s most influential sports executives under the age of 40. A native of Southern California, Ms. Saucedo attended the University of California, Los Angeles where she received her undergraduate degree in Political Science.

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Benjamin Torres

Benjamin Torres

Benjamin Torres is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Development Technologies Center (CDTech). CDTech is 501 (C3) non-profit focused on addressing issues of community and economic development in low-income areas of Los Angeles through a social justice lens that empowers residents and communities to rebuild them. Mr. Torres worked side-by-side with Dr. Denise Fairchild (previous President/CEO) over the past eight years to (1) build the Community Planning program at LA Trade-Tech College; (2) lead CDTech’s comprehensive community initiative in Vernon-Central; and (3) provide leadership to our Working Democracy Division as Vice President. He is recognized as a major social justice leader both locally and nationally through his extensive background and work in developing grassroots and youth leadership, school and community partnerships as well as shaping community benefits agreements. He was instrumental in bringing the Public Allies program to CDTech, to build out the leadership and nonprofit workforce development pipeline in our underserved communities.

He is a faculty member and Director of the Community Planning Program at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. In this capacity he has been responsible for the strategic planning and day-to-day management of the certificate and associate degree programs in community planning. He has ten years of experience teaching, curriculum design, student and faculty development and support at LATTC and is responsible for overseeing community outreach and student community service activities. He has utilized creative solutions to bring non-traditional students into the college and developed bilingual programs to provide courses for groups like the promotoras de salud and other immigrant communities of South Los Angeles.

His relevant prior experience includes two years at the Multi-Cultural Education Consortium in Santa Barbara where he developed and coordinated a project to diversify public school faculty and curriculum in the secondary school district and implemented Chicano/Latino and African American studies courses. He was the Youth Leadership Director for La Casa de la Raza in Santa Barbara. A program designed to teach youth community organizing and leadership training to address issues impacting at-risk youth. Most recently, from 1997 to 2002, he served as project director for the MultiCultural Collaborative Community School Initiative program in the Watts community of Los Angeles. He developed programs in the area of community capacity building and leadership development and served as technical assistant and trainer to their community outreach efforts with an emphasis on building grass-root African American and Latino leadership cadres. Mr. Torres holds a bachelors degree from the University of California Santa Barbara and is completing his Masters degree in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University.

He is committed to building leadership capacity in South Los Angeles and serves on the Board of Directors of key organizations; Strategic Action for a Just Economy (SAJE), Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), Figueroa Community Land Trust and the For Chicana/o Studies Foundation. Benjamin lives in Echo Park, where he proudly grew up and lives with his long-time partner Juana Mora and his daughters Aurelia and Camila Valentina.

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Jessica Vielmas

Jessica F. Vielmas Currently resides in South Los Angeles, where four years ago my husband and I were able to purchase our first home for us, and our two boys 5 and 10.

Growing up in Ohio, as a first generation Mexican American standing out was a given. At an early age I understood people and places, were going to be judged. Whether by color, appearance, name, or location. By the grace of God, wisdom from my parents, and my desire to grow. I understood the value of knowing who I was and where I came from and that I had nothing to be ashamed of. Instead of allowing negative views and actions to determine my circumstances or hinder my voice. I have used that value and courage that was instilled in me as a child and adolescents into many different activist roles throughout my youth and now as an adult within my school, church, work, and the community where I live.

I serve on several different committees and boards in South Los Angeles. I also play an active role in my children’s school here in South LA. I enjoy speaking for myself and have a desire to encourage those who are still learning to trust their own voice. I encourage collaboration, open dialogue, and different opinions. With the expectation that everyone is entitled to his or her own.

Different opinions create different options, different options provide more solutions. Collaboration must involve individuals becoming open to moving away from thoughts that are conditioned.

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Roderick Wright

Roderick Wright

Roderick “Rod” Wright is a lifelong resident of South Los Angeles, having arrived in Los Angeles from Chicago as a child. Rod attended local public schools and was a stand-out track and field athlete at George Washington High School. He was awarded an athletic scholarship to Pepperdine University, then in South Los Angeles, where he received his bachelor’s degree. Also active in community and student affairs, Rod was elected President of the Pepperdine Student Body in 1972.

After graduating from Pepperdine, Rod continued his activity in political and community affairs. Rod served in the campaigns of Tom Bradley for Mayor, in 1973; along with David Cunningham 1973 and Bob Farrell 1974 for City Council districts 10 and 8 respectively. He became a field deputy to both council members. Rod was part of the management team that elected Maxine Waters to the California State Assembly in 1976, and later became her district director.

Always active in business, Rod began managing and purchasing real estate in 1977. He is still in the rental housing business. He also spent a number of years in the public affairs business, having worked in the cable television, electricity, telecommunications, oil and gas and aviation fields. Rod holds an advanced certificate in Utility Regulation from the National Association of Utility Regulators, awarded through Michigan State University. In addition, he completed the course in Corporate Directorship at UCLA. Rod also holds a Masters Degree in International Studies from Irish/American University in Dublin, Ireland.

Rod was elected to the California State Assembly in 1996. He was the chair of the Committee on Utilities and Commerce, as well as the special committee on California Energy Crisis. In 2008, Rod was elected to the California State Senate where he chaired the Committee on Governmental Organization; which oversees gaming, alcoholic beverages and horse racing.

Rod is a father of two daughters and has two granddaughters. He is a member of Ward AME Church, and currently operates his real estate business in Inglewood.

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Jonathan Zeichner

Jonathan Zeichner

Jonathan Zeichner has worked for nearly three decades to invest in the lives of underserved youth and families; homeless and mentally ill youth, families and veterans; prisoners, and victims of violence in Southern California. In 1996 Zeichner co-founded Inside Out Community Arts, recipient of the National Coming Up Taller Award from The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Since 2009 Zeichner has been Executive Director at A Place Called Home, a community center in South Central Los Angeles that provides free programs in education, counseling, college and vocational opportunities, music, dance, visual, and digital arts, fitness, nutrition, urban agriculture and more for inner-city youth 8-21 years old and their families.

Zeichner is a Durfee Fellow and has served on nonprofit boards and been a speaker and instructor in educational, psychiatric, social service and nonprofit settings. Zeichner is a recipient of the Center for Nonprofit Management Peers’ Award for Excellence in Leadership and Innovation, and the Megan G. Cooper Leadership Award. Zeichner is also a director and screenwriter, who has worked on stage and in television and film.