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Woman-to-Woman conference raises $1.2M for JVS SoCal career development programs, honors outstanding leaders

Los Angeles, November 9, 2023 – The JVS SoCal Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) recently held its highly anticipated 11th Annual Woman-to-Woman Conference, centered around “The Power of Purpose.”

The event, aimed at empowering women through JVS SoCal’s life-changing career and vocational programs, highlighted inspirational speakers, featured impactful conversations, and recognized outstanding leaders.

“This year’s ‘Woman-to-Woman’ Conference is such a powerful reminder of how we can all leverage our experience, and what we feel passionate about, to create a purposeful life that can affect real change and even inspire a community-wide movement,” said WLN Executive Council Chair Lauren Kurzweil. Under her leadership, the conference addressed critical themes related to women’s empowerment.

Seven-time Emmy Award-winning journalist and anchor of “Our Morning on Spectrum News 1”, Giselle Fernández, hosted the conference. This year’s featured speakers were Susan Burton and Jessica Sarowitz. Burton is the founder of A New Way of Life Reentry Project, an award-winning author and visionary leader in the criminal justice reform movement. Sarowitz, a managing partner of Stocker Street Creative by 4SBay Partners, is a social impact investor and entrepreneur, founder, and Executive Producer of the 2023 documentary, “With this Light”.

Highlighting this year’s conference was the presentation of the prestigious Rosaline L. Zukerman WLN Women’s Empowerment Award to Alison Hoffman, the President of Domestic Networks for STARZ. Hoffman is renowned for her exceptional leadership in repositioning STARZ as the premium streaming content platform dedicated to women and underrepresented audiences.

“Over the past 11 years, we have assisted women to reach their own goals of economic independence and to find their own purpose,” said event Co-Chair and WLN Founder Debbie Powell, “That transformative change is a powerful achievement of which we can all be proud.”

Returning as Presenting sponsors were Terri and Jerry Kohl, founders of Brighton Collectibles. Other top sponsors include the Don Levin Trust; Carl W. Robertson, Cara W. Robertson, Chip & Carrie Robertson in memory of Susan W. Robertson; and the STARZ #TaketheLead initiative. Their commitment to supporting causes that uplift and empower women was evident in their generous contribution to the conference.

“For 11 years, this inspiring conference has supported JVS SoCal’s mission to assist women of diverse backgrounds tear down barriers to success and achieve meaningful careers,” said JVS SoCal’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Carr. “We thank our incredibly generous sponsors, and all [our guests] for attending, and lending your power to our shared purpose today.”

In addition to Hoffman’s recognition, the Women’s Leadership Network Impact Award was given to Celia and Joe Ward-Wallace, the founders of South L.A. Cafe Hospitality. Their innovative work focusing on equity for local, minority, and women-owned businesses exemplifies the spirit of empowerment and purpose celebrated at the conference.

Jaklin Masoudi, a case manager in JVS SoCal’s Refugee Employment and Acculturation Services (REAS), and Tina Weathers, a program graduate, shared about their achievements during the conference.

Other JVS SoCal clients featured at the event were Baki Morgan, who graduated from the JVS SoCal apartment maintenance training and WoMentoring programs, and Oriella Justin, a WoMentoring program alumni who also received a WLN Impact Grant that helped her get her coaching business started.

For inquiries about the event participants, please contact For general information about the group, visit:

About JVS SoCal

Founded in 1931, JVS SoCal is a nonprofit, non-sectarian social service agency, providing job training, career services, mentoring and placement assistance to diverse and multicultural populations, transforming lives and empowering individuals to achieve dignity and economic independence through sustainable employment. With over 20 locations throughout Southern California, JVS SoCal currently services tens of thousands of clients annually in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernadino, and Orange counties.