The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to Michaela Ivri Mendelsohn who was selected to be the state and national recipient of the Face of Diversity Award and was recognized amongst her peers at the National Restaurant Association Public Affairs Conference in D.C., and in Sacramento at the CRA Restaurant Day (Lobby Day). The National Restaurant Association and PepsiCo Foodservice created the Faces of Diversity award to promote the importance of diversity and inclusion.
She is currently the CEO of Pollo West Corp, one of the largest franchises for El Pollo Loco restaurants in the Western Region of the United States. A groundbreaking business leader, Mendelsohn passionately advocates for trans women in the workplace through her work with the California Restaurant Association, and she is the founder of the California Trans Work Project (CTWP), which creates models for trans-positive workplaces in California and across the country. It’s the first organization of its kind and was recently awarded a large grant by the state of California.
Previously, Mendelsohn was named one of GO! Magazine’s “100 Women We Love,” alongside Ellen DeGeneres and Rachel Maddow. She is a transgender activist, professional speaker and corporate CEO with more than 40 years of entrepreneurial leadership experience.
She has worked as a consultant to Jenji Kohan in developing Laverne Cox’s character on “Orange is the New Black,” and she was the first transgender contestant to compete in the Ms. Senior California Pageant.
Congratulations also to Jonathan D. Lovitz, recently named an ‘Outstanding Young Alumni’ by the University of Florida from which he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Lovitz is a senior vice president at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). In addition to leading public affairs, media relations, supplier diversity, and political advocacy efforts, he regularly speaks to conferences and the media about LGBT economic empowerment and the vital role business plays in creating equity for the LGBT community. He is a regular commentator on MSNBC, CNBC, and NPR among others, and has often spoken and raised money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, The Trevor Project, GLSEN, the Democratic Party, and more.
Lovitz previously served as director of communications and operations for StartOut, a national nonprofit empowering LGBT entrepreneurs; and as a respected stage and television actor and news anchor for Logo TV and other networks. He regularly speaks to colleges and universities encouraging young people to get involved in public service and use the Internet to make a difference for their communities. While business and LGBT youth causes are his primary focus, Lovitz looks for any chance to serve a community in need of a voice, including serving on multiple nonprofit boards.
This year, he was also named one of the top “40 LGBTQ Leaders Under 40” by Business Equality Magazine.