Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles Board of Directors
- Robert Shahnazarian, President
- Liz Ryan, Vice President
- Eva Plaza, Treasurer
- Rebecca Kaplan, Secretary
- Liz Levitt-Hirsch
- Julio Morales
- Robert Gandara
- Shirley Jahad
- Olivia Neece
- Morrie Goldman
- Samir Srivastava
- Tom Neff
General Manager for Noor Restaurant | Ballroom in Pasadena, Mr. Shahnazarian has over 15 years of experience in the entertainment industry as well as four years in the service industry. His career includes over twelve years of employment at Sony Music, where he worked with numerous Grammy Award wining artists including Taylor Swift, Train, John Legend and many others. In addition, his employment at the legendary Geoffrey’s restaurant in Malibu has provided him with insight and experience in providing world-class service to high-end clientele. He holds a B.A. in Communication from Pepperdine as well as an M.B.A from Pepperdine University | Graziadio School of Business and Management and sits on the Burbank Cultural Arts Committee. An international traveler with sophisticated taste, Mr. Shahnazarian brings passion of world culture and an extensive knowledge of customs and traditions to his work.
Ms. Ryan began her career working as a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley Investment Bank in New York City. A graduate of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) – Producers Training Program, she has worked as an Assistant Director, Production Manager, Producer and/or Director on over 70 film and television productions, domestically and overseas. Her credits include the films The Green Mile, Alien 3, Brokedown Palace, Waiting for Guffman, and the television series The Office and NYPD Blue, among others. She is currently an Associate on the DGA National Board, an Executive Board Member of the Directors Guild – Producers Training Plan, and Chair of the Guild’s Runaway Production Committee. A member of the DGA Diversity Task Force, Ryan works toward job parity for women and minorities in film and television. In 2008, the DGA bestowed on Liz Ryan its Frank Capra Award. Ryan is also a member of the Producers Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild, and an Elected Director of the Harvard Alumni Association. President of the entertainment company Ryanworks, she is co-founder of the firm Premiere Boards and Budgets, providing movie and television shooting schedules and budgets to the trade.
Eva Plaza is principal of Sylva, Plaza Law Group. Ms. Plaza specializes in commercial litigation, corporate litigation and municipal representation, including redevelopment law. Ms. Plaza’s work experience includes working as trial counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice, Deputy Assistant Attorney General and head of the Torts Branch in the U.S. Department of Justice and as Assistant Secretary of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Before serving in the Clinton Administration, Ms. Plaza was a trial attorney in the Washington, D.C. law firms of Seyfarth, Shaw, Fairweather & Geraldson and Arent, Fox, Kinter, Plotkin & Kahn. Ms. Plaza has received numerous awards for outstanding achievement, including the Albert Arent Pro Bono Award, 1989; the National Conference for College Women Leaders, Woman of Distinction Award in 1998; and the Hispanic Bar Association’s Equal Justice Award in 2002. She has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in America, and is a lifetime member of the American Bar Association’s American Bar Foundation. Ms. Plaza also served as President of the Hispanic Bar of Washington, D.C., and on the Boards of the Hispanic National Bar Association and Norris Square. She has been an active member of the Women’s Bar of Washington, D.C. and the Women’s Bar of Los Angeles, and is a member of MABA, the Mexican American Bar Association. Ms. Plaza graduated from Harvard College and Berkeley School of Law. She grew up in El Paso, Texas.
Elizabeth Levitt Hirsch (Liz) spearheads the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation’s venture philanthropy program and serves as Board President of Levitt Pavilions, a national nonprofit that invigorates community life in American cities by transforming neglected public spaces into welcoming music destinations where all feel welcome. Liz travels throughout the country to bring the message of Levitt Pavilions to national recognition. Her life’s passion is building community and empowering lives through the shared experience of live music, and she is honored to work with leaders across America to expand the Levitt network into 20 cities by 2020. Beyond Levitt Pavilions, Liz has a long and distinguished history of hands-on involvement with nonprofit organizations, serving on numerous boards and supporting organizations that foster social justice and access to the arts. Currently, she serves on the boards of Center Dance Arts and Hollywood Arts (both as a Founding Board Member) and has previously served on the boards of The Joffrey Ballet, the Los Angeles Music Center, Dance Camera West and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Julio Morales joined the Levitt Pavilion’s board of directors in the spring of 2011. Julio is the Financial Director for the City of El Monte. He has over 17 years of broad-based corporate and public finance experience, previously serving as a municipal finance manager at the City of Oakland, investment banker at Bank of America, and reinvestment provider at Transamerica. Julio is also on the Finance Committee for the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Chapter, the Treasurer of the Anderson Latino Management Association (UCLA), a member of the University of Michigan and Harvard University Alumni Association, the Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA), California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSFMO), the National Federation of Municipal Analysts (NMFA), and the National Association of Independent Financial Advisors (NAIPFA).
Robert Gandara joined DMI Music & Media Solutions in January 2010 as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, responsible for finance, accounting, operations, I.T. and human resources. Robert has spent the last 18 years working in music, media and technology, most recently as CFO for Ripple Networks, a pioneer in the digital out-of-home signage business. Prior to Ripple, Robert headed up the North American finance operations for entertainment giant Live Nation, where he oversaw the finance and accounting functions for 14 business units across the country, and negotiated national concert tours for artists such as Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Jimmy Buffett, and Rascal Flatts among others. Prior to Live Nation, Robert held various finance and operations positions with the major label groups including EMI, Sony BMG, and Universal Music Group, managing all cost centers of the business including a&r, marketing, sales and promotions for artists such as Janet Jackson, Beastie Boys, Alicia Keys, Santana and Mary J Blige. Robert holds a B.S. in Business Administration from California State University Northridge, and an Executive M.B.A. from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
An Award-winning journalist, Shirley Jahad has been serving listeners in Southern California for the past five years on 89.3 KPCC-FM. As an anchor, host, and correspondent covering news throughout the diverse communities all over Southern California, Shirley received the 2009 Los Angeles Press Club Award for best coverage of breaking news events. Before moving to Pasadena, she received her journalism degree from Northwestern University and worked for many years as a correspondent, host, and interim News Director and Assistant News Director for WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. In addition to her radio work, Shirley has also written and narrated award-winning documentaries for television on the History Channel and KTLA. She joined the Levitt Pavilion board of directors in 2009..
Olivia Ernst Neece is Director of Neece Associates, a Real Estate & Securities Investment Firm. Previous positions include VP in The Ernst Group & Asst. Professor at Cal State Northridge in Finance & Mgmt. Prior to 1988 she designed hotels and banks; owned her firm Olivia Neece Planning & Design for 12 years; VP at Hirsch-Bedner, VP of Design at Aircoa. She received a 4 year Certificate in Interior Design at UCLA, and became a Licensed General Contractor and Certified Interior Designer. Her BS is in Finance & Real Estate from USC, MBA from UCLA, and 5 years of post-graduate research at The Peter F. Drucker School of Mgmt., Claremont Univ, 1 ½ years research at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory & ½ year at Nortel Networks. Her work has been published in books, journals & magazines in Strategic Mgmt., Mgmt. Information Science & Interior Design, and has been awarded in all three fields. She served on the Boards of Club 100, Center Theatre Group Assoc., 3 Academy of Mgmt. Group Boards, and the Board of the LA ASID and IBD. She is a Deacon and Choir member of her church. Olivia and her husband Anthony are Lifetime Founders of the Music Center; LA Opera-Opera Council; Center Theatre Group-Inner Circle; LA County Museum of Art-President’s Circle; and support numerous other organizations, They have a daughter, a married son and three grandchildren. Olivia enjoys travel, computer research and creating jewelry and handbags.
Mr. Goldman has worked in and around local government for more than three decades. He is one of the top government strategists in California and served as Chief of Staff to two Los Angeles Councilmembers. He has also worked as a government relations liaison with the Los Angels City-County Film Office, where he developed and implemented communications and political strategies on behalf of the entertainment industry. He has worked closely with elected officials, staff and commissioners throughout the City of Los Angels. Goldman has worked extensively in bringing together business and community stakeholders with the goal of developing consensus and compromise relating to assorted proposed land use development projects. Likewise, working with the motion picture industry, he frequently negotiated on behalf of production companies seeking to utilize residential or commercial locations for sensitive on-location film shoots. These meetings were particularly challenging given the inconvenience often associated with film shoots, such as evening hours, disruption to local businesses and increased traffic and demands for parking. Goldman also has extensive expertise in managing and fundraising for political campaigns, including spearheading the creation and passage of Los Angeles City Proposition K, a $750 million bond to fund parks and recreational opportunities for young people. He also coordinated media outreach in Southern California for a former lieutenant governor’s reelection campaign and his subsequent U.S. Senate campaign, and has run numerous City Council campaigns. Goldman was a member of the Los Angeles City Council Redistricting Commission, which drew the Council’s current boundaries, and serves as the Vice-Chair of the City’s Construction Services Committee.
Mr. Srivastava is the Sole Managing Member of Advanced Business Solutions LLC (ABS)/ABS Development Company, an innovative boutique development firm founded for the purpose of acquiring and developing properties. Since Mr. Srivastava formed ABS in 2001, the firm has earned the reputation as a premiere development firm in Los Angeles. Currently ABS, with the direction of Mr. Srivastava, is developing approximately 462 mixed-use, mixed-income units with a 2006 market value of over $250 million. The ABS team is committed to the revitalization and growth of communities.