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Directors

Director Ben Besley

Ben Besley is Vice President of Development at City Ventures, an infill residential and mixed-use development firm active throughout California. In this role Mr. Besley oversees entitlements and permitting for more than 1,000 new homes throughout San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Prior to joining City Ventures, Mr. Besley served as Vice President at Big Rock Partners, a Los Angeles-based commercial real estate private equity fund, where he managed development, construction and operations for office, retail, hotel and residential assets. He also served as Vice President at The Olson Company, managing design and entitlement for residential and mixed-use projects throughout Los Angeles County. His accomplishments there included the successful development of high-density, mixed-use, public-private partnership projects and affordable housing communities.

Mr. Besley discovered his affinity for infill development while earning his undergraduate degree in Urban Studies at Columbia University and serving as a VISTA volunteer with the Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association in the South Bronx. He also holds an MBA from Harvard University.

Mr. Besley lives in Los Angeles with his wife Sarah MacPherson Besley.

Commissioner Besley was appointed to the Board on July 1, 2014 and appointed as Chairperson on November 19, 2015.

  

Director Lucelia Hooper

Photo of Lucelia Hooper

Director Lucelia Hooper has been a resident of Nickerson Gardens for thirty-two years. Her public service career spans over 20 years, most notably, at Nickerson Gardens Resident Management Corporation where she served as a Recording Secretary eventually being nominated to President of the management corporation. Since 1989 she has been involved in a variety of programs at the site, including the management and operation of the Food Bank, Youth Council mentor, Nickerson Gardens Safe Passage Program for Markham Middle School.  She also served as the President of Nickerson Gardens Block Captains Program.

Director Hooper’s dedication and commitment to better her community led her to her involvement with the Watts Gang Taskforce. Since 2004, she has served as the Vice President of the taskforce and works with Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s office to decrease area’s gang violence and improve the safety of residents. She is active in the church and volunteers her time and skills in a range of events and programs. Ms. Hooper also participates in the Partnership for Schools with the City of Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s initiative to improve student performance and achievement records.

A native of Mississippi, Director Hooper is the mother of four children, grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of three.

 

Director Dr. Erica L. Jacquez DPPD

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Erica L. Jacquez has been dedicated to public service for more than 15 years. Currently, she works as the Associate Vice President of Government Relations for AltaMed Health Services. In November 2011, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement Liaison at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the leadership of Secretary Donovan. In this capacity, she served as the liaison for public engagement organizations and local elected officials. She later served as a Congressional Relations Officer at HUD for the West Region, where she worked with Congressional and Senate members on HUD related issues and policies. After this role, she served as a legislative analyst at the Office of Management and Budget’s Legislative Affairs. In this capacity, she served as the lead coordinator for the President’s Statement of Administration Policy. Prior to her work in the Obama administration, Erica served Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina as the First District Field and Unincorporated Services Director. In this role, she functioned as Molina's main community liaison and oversaw the Supervisor’s satellite offices in East Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley. In addition, Erica held several leadership positions including Public Affairs Manager for the Southern California Gas Company, a Sempra Energy Utility and as the District Director for State Senator Martha Escutia serving the constituents of the 30th Senate District.

Ms. Jacquez recently received her Doctorate in Policy, Planning and Development from the University of Southern California (USC). She successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, “Latina elected officials in California. A call to action to prepare and pipeline Latinas into the political process.” She is an expert in the field of Latinas in politics, Latina/o elected officials in California and Latinos in politics. She earned a Master Degree in Public Administration from USC in addition to receiving a certificate in Political Management. She also earned her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Chicano Studies from California State University, Fullerton. She is a graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Leadership Program and the Center for Creative Leadership.

Ms. Jacquez served in various leadership roles including, the founding Co-Chair for the Latino Appointee Kitchen Cabinet and founding Co-Chair for the California Latino Caucus Institute’s Madrinas Padrinos program. She also served as the inaugural chair for the University of Southern California Mexican American Alumni Association’s Young Leaders Council. In 2014, Erica was selected Huffington Post’s 40 under 40: Latinos in American Politics. Erica was awarded with the Mujerers Destacadas Award by La Opinión, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States and second most read newspaper in Los Angeles, 2009. In 2004, she was appointed and served on the State of California’s Domestic Violence Advisory Council

In 2013, Ms. Jacquez was selected to participant in President Obama’s Inaugural Leadership Program. She was also selected to participate in the U.S. Spain Young Leaders Council, a graduate of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute and USC’s Ross Program in Real Estate. She received political training from Emily’s List, the National Women’s Political Caucus and Rutgers State University of New Jersey. Ms. Jacquez is also a graduate of the National Hispana Leadership Institute and a graduate of the Valley Leadership Institute.

Commissioner Jacquez was appointed to the Board on September 11, 2015 and appointed as Vice Chairperson on November 19, 2015.