Leading Through Change
Spring 2021 Cohort

We’re thrilled to announce our Leading Through Change Spring 2021 cohort!

Cari Abrams
Events Manager
J. Paul Getty Trust
Cari Abrams is an Events Manager who oversees public and private event activity for the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center. Prior to joining the Getty in 2010, Cari was the Assistant Director of Operations & Events at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) where she honed her understanding of the inner workings of a museum for 9 years. Now, after almost 20 years of managing employees at nonprofit arts institutions, Cari recognizes that good leadership is the key to the health of an organization and feels that being a good leader is just as important as being skilled in your area of expertise. Cari is looking forward to the opportunity to participate in Leading Through Change and is excited to implement the tools and skills she takes away as she navigates a changing landscape in the workplace.

Dr. Robert Cooper
Associate Professor of Education
University of California, Los Angeles
Robert Cooper is an Associate Professor of Education at UCLA. He also serves as co-faculty Director of the UCLA Principal Leadership Institute and is the Director of California Academic Partnership Leadership Network. Professor Cooper has spent the last three decades teaching and researching issues of educational access, equity, and segregation in America’s public schooling system. His research and scholarship are conceptually and analytically linked to his interests in public policy and civic engagement, in that he seeks to identify effective policies and practices that lead to both excellence and equity in public education. As an urban sociologist of education, he has published a number of articles, book chapters, and policy reports. Active in his community, Dr. Cooper serves as the Pastor at Berean Baptist Family Fellowship of Valencia and recently ran for the 25th congressional seat vacated by Katie Hill. Dr. Cooper joins LTC to engage in meaningful conversations about how to effectively lead across differences of race/culture, political party, and ideology.

Marissa Espinoza
Senior Vice President
Southern California Region at Covenant House California
From the moment she walked into her first interview at a residential treatment facility for adolescent girls, Marissa Espinoza knew she had found her life’s calling. She currently serves as the Senior Vice President for the Southern California Region at Covenant House California, a multi-service shelter for youth ages 18-24 experiencing homelessness and human trafficking. Marissa has had the honor of working alongside youth and families for well over twenty-five years in both Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.  Receiving her BA in Sociology from the University of La Verne, her Masters in Sociology from CSU-Northridge, and her Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of Michigan and the Alliance for Children & Families, her specialties are collaboration, program development, and restructuring, particularly in times of system change. Marissa looks forward to further developing her leadership skills while creating networks with other leaders, particularly during these extraordinary times.

Myong Kim, LCSW
Senior Director of Clinical Programs
Downtown Women’s Center
Myong Kim, LCSW is the Senior Director of Clinical Programs at the Downtown Women’s Center and currently oversees DWC’s Clinical Programs that includes the Trauma Recovery Center, Mental Health Services, Case Management Services, Domestic Violence Housing Services, and the Health and Wellness Programs, which includes the Access Center, Women’s Health Clinic, and Bridge Housing Program. Her passion is for developing programs that have a low barrier to entry and deliver trauma-informed care to women experiencing homelessness. Currently, in her leadership role, Myong has had to learn to adapt and overcome various challenges to support the staff who have been doing tremendous work during the pandemic, as well as helping to develop programming to meet the needs of the participants that DWC serves. Myong is excited to join this leadership cohort in order to further develop and increase her leadership skills as well as connect and receive support from other incredible leaders.

Elizabeth Lee, LCSW
Senior Director of Housing
Downtown Women’s Center
Elizabeth Lee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Sr. Director of Housing at Downtown Women’s Center, the only agency in Los Angeles focused exclusively on serving women experiencing homelessness. She has been working in social services for over 14 years, including a decade serving unhoused populations in and out of the Skid Row area and 9 years providing psychotherapy. Elizabeth is a graduate of UCLA’s Master of Social Welfare program and has a small private practice providing individual therapy for survivors of trauma and gender-based harm. She is hoping to build sustainable and adaptive leadership skills through the Coro Leading Through Change program.

Wallis Locke
Director of Communications and Policy
South Park Business Improvement District
Wallis has served as the Director of Communications and Policy for the South Park Business Improvement District for the past four years. In that role, she is responsible for community events, communications, and streetscape programming projects in the south west corner of Downtown Los Angeles, including the Urban Backyard Wayfinding Project, which wrapped 23 utility boxes with pedestrian-scale wayfinding information. Prior to joining the BID, Wallis worked in state and local government and campaigns. Outside of her career, Wallis is passionate about youth civics education and has spent over 13 years as a volunteer leader for middle and high school model government programs. As a participant in Coro’s Leading Through Change program, she’s looking forward to developing her ability to identify and work toward larger goals, while responding quickly and effectively to the constantly changing day-to-day.

Christina Mariscal Pasten
Director, Corporate and Foundation Partnerships
Para Los Niños
Christina Mariscal Pasten is Director, Corporate and Foundation Partnerships for Para Los Niños, a non-profit dedicated to excellent education and developing strong communities in Los Angeles. Christina’s prior experience includes work for the City and County of L.A., non-profit organizations, independent schools, and most recently at High Point Academy where she increased annual giving by 53% over five years as Director of Development. Since 2005, Christina has served on the Olvera Street Merchants Association Foundation Board, focused on traditional events and historical preservation of Olvera Street, where her family has owned a business since 1930. A graduate of Loyola Marymount University, Christina holds a B.A. in History and Spanish, and a Master’s in Policy and Organizational Leadership from Stanford University. Christina looks forward to connecting with a network of leaders and learning new techniques on navigating the current virtual workspace and the effects of the pandemic on our teams.

Austin Metoyer
Economic Development & Policy Manager
Downtown Long Beach Alliance
Austin Metoyer serves as the Economic Development & Policy Manager for the Downtown Long Beach Alliance. In his role, he serves a liaison for Downtown investors, developers, businesses, and brokers through the recruitment, retention, planning, and entitlement processes. Before his arrival to the DLBA, Metoyer served under former Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa’s Office of Economic and Business Policy, as well as the National Foreign Trade Council in Washington D.C. During his stint in DC, he served as Senior Project Analyst for Brailsford & Dunlavey, a real estate development planning firm. Mr. Metoyer completed his BS in International Business at Long Beach State University and a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Southern California. During Coro’s Leading Through Change program, Austin hopes to learn from both Coro professionals and the cohort the leadership and communication skills necessary to manage an organization during a crisis.

Beth Ryan
Executive Director
Stepping Forward LA
Beth Ryan’s lifelong passion has been serving her local community.  Whether in Pennsylvania, Boston, or Los Angeles, she uses her solution-oriented collaborative skills to tackle the most prevalent problems by involving local community members. Shortly after moving to Los Angeles, she partnered with the Los Angeles Police Department after three youth were shot and killed by gang activity.  Ryan collaborated with key players from the community and received recognition from city, state, and federal officials for playing a part in reducing violent crime in the La Cienega Heights community by 80%. Ryan is the Executive Director and Founder of Stepping Forward LA. SFLA supports foster youth aging out of the system as they navigate adulthood introducing them to a variety of adult mentors and their peers, offering a hands-on paid internship, and connecting them to a variety of resources.  Mostly, she is committed to giving foster youth a sense of belonging and the tools they need to uncover and accomplish their dreams and goals. Ms. Ryan received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, a certificate in Administration and Management from Harvard University, and a Master’s Degree in Applied Community Psychology from Antioch University. 

Kristen Warren
Manager, Executive Projects and Board Liaison
The J. Paul Getty Trust 
Kristen Warren has over 25 years of experience in non-profit arts and cultural heritage, with expertise in creative and strategic planning. Kristen is Manager of Executive Projects and Board Liaison for the J. Paul Getty Trust.  In this role, Kristen supports the office of the President and Board of Trustees by managing special projects, events, travel, and VIP activity, locally and internationally. Prior to Getty, Kristen was Interim Assistant Director of Education, Special Events & Family Programs Coordinator, and Educator at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Kristen is a second-generation native of Southern California and received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles.  During this time of significant change, Kristen is eager and inspired to participate in Coro’s Leading through Change program.  She looks forward to collaboration, expanding her leadership skills, and being part of making a positive impact.