Keynote Speakers

Pam O’Connor (Mayor of Santa Monica)



Throughout nearly two decades, Mayor Pam O’Connor has championed policies and partnerships that enhance community livability and wellbeing. She is particularly interested in issues that advance mobility, transportation and sustainability. Mayor O’Connor serves on the Los Angeles County Metro Board where she leads Metro’s Sustainability Committee and chairs its Planning and Programming Committee. Pam O’Connor is also Chair of the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority Board that oversees building of the light rail line that extends from Downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica. In 2012 as President of the Southern California Association of Governments, the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, she led the 8f4-member Regional Council in the unanimous adoption of the region’s first Sustainable Communities Strategy. She holds Masters’ degrees in Planning and in Technology Management from Eastern Michigan University and a B.S. in Communications from Southern Illinois University. Mayor O’Connor views community wellbeing as the natural next step in the evolution of local government, as well as a way to advance the connection between mobility and sustainability issues by looking at their impact through the lens of human flourishing.

Kaz Brecher



Founder and Chief Curious Catalyst, Curious Catalyst, Inc.

As the daughter of two rocket scientists, Kaz founded Curious Catalyst to marry investigation with action, bringing disruptive agile approaches to urban challenges, and a new take on the business of social impact through her experience with lateral thinking, rapid prototyping, and human-centered design. After years working with emerging technology platforms and solving larger cross-disciplinary problems in the digital agency space, she earned her stripes in the start-up world, leading strategy and operations for early social media innovators and then an open-source cloud computing powerhouse focused on the developing world. She is a Stanford graduate, a fellow at THNK, the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership, and a Certified Scrum Master.

Joanna Freidman



Joanna Friedman is a documentary producer and director. She creates media campaigns, PSA’s, and documentary films that bring awareness to complex social issues with a particular focus on juvenile justice, public policy reform, and advancements in education. In addition to producing short films and promo videos for non profits and innovative small businesses, Joanna has been a producer on several award winning feature documentaries such as the recently released “The Other Shore” chronicling 62 year old Diana Nyad’s attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida. Joanna’s current film “And Still I Rise” follows the journey of several courageous survivors of childhood sexual exploitation as they raise awareness about slavery in America. Empowered by the sisterhood of survivorship, these resilient young women design strategies to combat human trafficking in their communities, help liberate those who are already enslaved, and educate children in order to protect them from becoming victims. The documentary is currently in production and anticipated for release in early 2015. Joanna can be reached at

Cody Foute



Cody Foute realized at 25 years old her story had just begun.  Since she was 15 years old Cody has fought with and been exposed to sexual, physical and emotional abuse within her family. Because of the abuse and drugs at home, Cody was in and out of mental institutions, group homes and continued to run trying to find a new life.  As a result Cody responded, as any broken young person, and sought safety, love and hope from the men that came into her life. She found herself with men who promised her love, protection, and the dream of making money and making something of herself. To her surprise, what she found was a life of physical, sexual and emotional abuse with no money to show, no stability, and no self-worth or confidence. She was trapped in a world of sex slavery and saw no way out.

Having realized that the life of her daughter was at stake, Cody fled from her trafficker in hopes for something different for her daughter.

Currently Cody and her daughter are living a life of freedom and finally in a place of their own. Together they have made their own stability. Thanks to God in her life Cody has discovered the self-worth she has always wanted and found the reason to keep going.

Cody has what she calls “a real job” and is proud to be supporting herself and her daughter. She celebrates being sober since 2011 as well graduating with her GED in 2012 after having been out of school since the 9th grade.

Currently Cody is an advocate sharing her story to encourage, inspire and educate law enforcement, service providers, community, faith-based groups, and youth.  Cody is a Trainer for Runaway Girl speaking at conferences and events throughout California. Cody is a voice for many non-profits serving as a voice to communicate the realities of sex trafficking in the United States and in suburban areas.

Her motto is to be hope for the hopeless, voice for the voiceless and a prayer for the prayerless. Her passion is to educate youth, specifically at-risk youth in the foster care system. Her future plans are to go to college and work with at-risk youth.

She is a proud mother of a beautiful daughter. She loves being a mom for no matter what the day brings, her daughter can make her smile like no one else.  Her daughter teaches her, gives her purpose, and provides the reason why Cody has changed her life.

Ian McIlraith from SGI-USA



Ian McIlraith is the Director of Peace & Community Relations for Soka Gakkai International – USA (SGI-USA) based in Santa Monica, California.  SGI-USA is the U.S. branch of a global Buddhist association (SGI) that promotes peace and personal happiness based on the Nichiren school of Mahayana Buddhism. In addition to its religious mission, SGI works closely with the United Nations as an NGO by promoting the abolition of nuclear weapons and supporting the International Decade for Building a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).  Ian is also involved with several other non-profit organizations based in Santa Monica; The Santa Monica Symphony Association, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition, So. California Chapter of the Parliament of World Religions and the International Committee of Artists for Peace.

Lindsey Day



Lindsey Day co-founded Made Woman Magazine in 2009 to recognize and connect real women who are succeeding inside and outside of the board room. Before MWM, she earned her Business/Marketing degree from USC and ventured into event planning and promotions. After lending her talents to Universal Music in finance and brand management; she now spearheads the growth of the Made Woman Network on- and offline, and does business development for another major career website. She sees MWM as a way to employ her business savvy and connect and empower women of all backgrounds.

Serena Watson


Serena Watson

A graduate of Annenberg School for Communication at USC, Serena Watson holds a deep respect for the power of mass media. Serena started out at a national advertising agency in LA. No stranger to the hustle, Serena also worked double duty as the marketing coordinator for a start-up company and as a producer for an independent film. She has worked for a major film and television studios in the LA area for six years. Serena co-founded Made Woman with the hope of combining her interest in media and love of writing in order to create real dialogue on issues and generate positive commentary for women.

Kathryn Travers


Kathryn Travers

Kathryn Travers is the Director of Programmes for WICI (Women In Cities International). She leads the development, management and coordination of international programmes and projects administered by WICI. She represents WICI in various international conferences, workshops and expert group meetings on topics related to the safety of women and girls, and gender equality and inclusion in urban environments. In addition to coordinating projects, she has contributed to the development of research reports published by WICI, including the production of the reports Gender and Essential Services in Low-Income Communities (2011), Together for Women’s Safety (2010), and Women’s Safety Audits: What Works and Where?(2008). She was also a co-organizer of the Third International Conference on Women’s Safety. Before joining WICI, Kathryn worked as Analyst and Project Officer for the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC).


women, climate change & human rights