UNA-LA's mission is to inspire, educate, and mobilize the LA Community to support the vital work of the United Nations.
President : Jillian B.
Vice President: Varsha N., JD
Varsha is passionate about advocacy, diversity/addressing bias, healing, wellness, and resiliency amongst other important issues.
Treasurer : Candis H.
Candis Hawkes is a representative for the David Geffen Company, a business management firm. Candis has worked in the accounting and finance field since 1997 for various types of companies and industries including helping many small businesses grow into successful profitable companies. Candis is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Westchester Lodge #2050. She served as an officer from 2014-2016 and as Treasurer from 2016-2017. Candis volunteers at community events involving helping homeless women & children, veterans as well as participating in walks to support Breast Cancer research. Candis enjoys live music, reading and the outdoors, including snow sports and hiking. She also loves to meet friends out at new restaurants to enjoy new types of cuisine.
Vice President of Fundraising : Paraag Lal
An established 21 year entrepreneur in the technology, financial and real estate industries, Paraag has been an innovator, helping grow two successful $2 Billion dollar businesses at Intel & Cisco. He has leveraged his experience in venture financing, private equity, due diligence & deal analysis to consult for High Net Worth Investors investing in innovative opportunities from start-up to significant growth, while exceeding the expectations of his loyal clientele.
Vice President of Membership : Gabriela Soto
The core vision in my life is to create a world where all belong. As a Leadership, Management and Strategy Consultant, I am continuously creating new ways to empower people and organizations.
Board Member : Jennie Dean
Jennie Dean recently became the Vice President of Education and Conservation at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Prior to this role, she was a Program Director at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Jennie has worked in the field of marine conservation policy since 2007. She held a series of roles with the federal government (White House Council on Environmental Quality, U.S. Navy) and nonprofits (Pew Charitable Trusts, Global Ocean Commission, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation). Through these, she had the opportunity to engage in a wide range of ocean topics including marine spatial planning, sea turtle conservation, ocean observing systems, ridge to reef management, high seas governance, and marine debris.
Board Member : Felita Wong Shen
Born in Hollywood and raised in the Westside, Felita moved to the Bay Area and stumbled upon Yahoo! in the mid-1990s, where she got to create her own job description: internet evangelist, goodwill ambassador, developer of online sponsorships and charitable campaigns. She ‘taught’ celebrities and VIPs how to use the Internet, showed them how to expand their online presence. Within the company, she was called the “heart and soul of Yahoo’, and helped build and chair the Yahoo! Employee Fund. Retired since 1999, she is a "connector" and loves to put her energies into personal development, empowering projects and experiences (Miss California/Miss America Organization, Tony Robbins Platinum Partnership, USC Asian Pacific Alumni Association Board of Directors, USC Delta Phi Kappa Alumnae Association Board President, The Netherland’s “Free A Girl” Ambassador). Her favorite cities: Paris (2ème), NYC (Meatpacking), Kaka'ako (Honolulu), and her hometown Los Angeles (Westside). LA Faves: Gjelina and Gjusta, Rose Cafe, Sun Nong Dan (kalbi-jjim flambè), Cheng-du Taste and Sichuan Impression (Szechuan chili chicken), Destroyer (koshihikari rice porridge), Superba (kouign amann).
Board Member: Alyssa Grigoryan
Volunteer : Jennifer B.
Jennifer is passionate about affordable housing, international development and education. As a program manager in tech Jennifer has designed and led transformational projects for companies, universities, and the public sector.