A native Angeleno with roots that go back nearly 100 years, Victoria has a true love of all things Los Angeles, including its rich architectural diversity. This love merged perfectly when she became a Realtor, allowing her to expand her knowledge of architectural styles and the history of her beloved city.
Lisa Conn is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of the workplace connection platform, Gatheround. Gatheround helps companies like Disney, Gusto, and GE build an inclusive, supportive culture, no matter where or how their employees choose to work.
Lisa has previously held leadership roles at Facebook, the MIT Media Lab, FWD.us, and President Obama’s campaign. At Facebook, Lisa led the company’s efforts to build products that reduce polarization and build empathy on the platform. At the MIT Media Lab, Lisa managed the Electome which tracked the public response on Twitter to the 2016 U.S Presidential election and produced the first visualizations of the electorate’s ideological polarization, described by Vice Magazine as “a treasure trove on how Americans discussed one of the most contentious presidential races in history.”
Lisa’s roots are in community organizing: she led large-scale community organizing programs as the National Organizing Director of FWD.us, and served as a field director in the battleground state of Florida for President Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign.
Lisa received her B.A. from NYU, and MBA from MIT. Formerly named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, her work has been featured in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Vice News, and more. She sits on the Board of Directors for Facing History and Ourselves, a global education non-profit organization that challenges teachers and students to use lessons of history to stand up to bigotry and hate.
Chris Erric Maddox attended Winchester, Massachusett’s A Better Chance Program for boarding school, Tufts University for his Bachelor’s Degree, and Columbia University for his Master of Fine Arts Degree. Since completing his education, Chris has worked as an actor, writer, and producer. After touring the country, performing Shakespeare’s canon, and landing numerous roles acting on television shows like “Accidentally on Purpose,” “The Middle,” “Modern Family,” “Mom,” “Castle,” and “Dads,” Chris began his writing career. He was accepted into the Paramount Writers Mentoring Program in 2015 and, afterward, began writing and producing television shows, including “Bull,” “A Million Little Things,” “Monarch,” and “Dynasty.”
Jake Lazere is a licensed Realtor who is trained as an architect. He brings over a decade of experience in architecture to his real estate clients at DPP Brokerage. Having worked at respected Los Angeles architecture firms including Frederick Fisher and Partners and Koning Eizenberg, he gained a discerning eye for quality design and construction as well as a keen understanding of the regulatory processes of building. For residential clients as well as institutional ones including the Los Angeles Natural History Museum and Princeton University, he honed skills to assist clients in making difficult decisions to achieve their goals. As a real estate agent he works with clients from first-time home buyers to astute investors, helping them achieve their goals with his knowledge of architecture, construction, Los Angeles city and its real estate market.
He grew up in Southern California and loves living in Los Angeles. He’s enamored by the city’s exciting diversity of residential architecture – the homes from the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts movement, the Hollywood-inspired storybook houses of the 1920s, the homes of the mid-century modernist boom, and the great contemporary architecture that is being designed and built today. He holds a Master of Architecture from the Tulane School of Architecture, where he graduated with the award for design excellence and currently sits on the school’s alumni council.
Development Director, California – Sossego, Modern Brazilian Design
Melanie Becker is a brand ambassador, product specialist and an experienced leader who specializes in the integration of European and Domestic brands within the communities of architects, designers and corporate end users in North America. She most recently held the position of Vice President, Western Region at Vitra, pioneering the brand throughout the US since 2000.
Joe is a member of O’Melveny’s Litigation and White Collar Defense & Corporate Investigations practices. Joe has a broad practice at O’Melveny, involving corporate investigations, litigation, arbitration, and counseling on regulatory matters. Joe has conducted trials in state court, federal court, and before arbitrators, argued cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and represented clients in state and local administrative proceedings. Joe has also represented undocumented clients in immigration proceedings, a prominent Mexican American artist in a legal dispute over ownership of his artwork, and a class of plaintiffs seeking significant reform of Nevada’s system of indigent defense.
Prior to joining O’Melveny, Joe served as a law clerk at the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. While in law school, Joe externed in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and in the Executive Office of then-California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. Prior to law school, Joe worked in the Antitrust Division and the Office of Legislative Affairs of the United States Department of Justice.
Joe is a Board Member of Central City Neighborhood Partners, a Trustee of the Mexican American Bar Association, and serves as the head of O’Melveny’s Latinx Attorneys employee network.
Priscilla Fraser, Director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, has been working on exhibitions, publications, and projects in the field of architecture for over fifteen years. As a senior designer and project manager for the LACMA, she supervised trail-blazing installations such as Chris Burden’s Metropolis II and a James Turrell retrospective, among others. Prior to joining the MAK Center, Fraser was LACMA’s internal project manager for architect Peter Zumthor’s expansion proposal for the new permanent collection building. In New York, Fraser was responsible for exhibitions and publications at the architectural firm of Steven Holl and worked under Barry Bergdoll in the Architecture Department of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
Photo credit: Lauren Ross
Siddhartha joined SPF:a in 2000, and some of his most notable built work includes the recently completed Rainbow Bridge in Long Beach, the 210,000-square-foot Getty Villa Museum renovation and expansion, and two UCLA projects, CENS (Center for Embedded Networked Sensing), a computer science related research facility, and UCLA Stunt Ranch, an off-the-grid reserve and biological field station in Malibu. He has also overseen several single- and multi-family residential projects and has developed expert working knowledge of the city’s various permit and bidding processes. Currently, he is managing two large city projects under construction, the Rancho Cienega Sports Complex, a $40 million, 45,000-square-foot sports facility in Baldwin Hills, and Rumblefish, a 400-foot pedestrian bridge spanning across the LA River connecting Elysian Valley to Taylor Yard.
Siddhartha began his professional career in the Office of the University Architect at University of Cincinnati, and his work on campus involved analyses of space utilization, user-satisfaction surveys, site surveys, construction phasing strategy. He also undertook programming for lecture/auditorium spaces, housing, office and recreation spaces, and prepared the Design Guidelines and Standards Manual, which became the benchmark for all new construction at the University. He has also taught design studio at the School of Architecture, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He is passionate about cricket and currently captains the Pickwick Cricket Club of the Los Angeles Social Cricket Alliance. He is a licensed architect in California and India.
A lifelong Angeleno, filmmaker Linda Kandel was always interested in ways of seeing and discovering meaning by looking at the past. She thought about perception and how images could often better convey truths about reality than words. She always had an interest in painting and photography and after studying Archaeology at Cambridge University, Gonville and Caius College, she then attended Brown University, where she majored in Religious Studies.
Her first feature film was called “Naked Jane”, and premiered in the dramatic competition at Sundance Film Festival. After the release of this film, Kandel began work on”Mascara”, about three L.A. women who were childhood friends, and find that their lives are not what they imagined them to be. With this project, she was compared to early Altman, and has a unique and thorough understanding of Los Angeles, as she was born in Hollywood herself and grew up in Los Angeles. “Mascara” features Ione Skye, Karen Black, Amanda de Cadenet, Tara Subkoff, and Steve Jones, from the Sex Pistols (in his first narrative fictional film). This film was released at the Laemmle theaters and was well received.
Linda has continued her spiritual quest by studying Buddhism and going deeper into the journey of the Soul, working on a Ph.D at Pacifica University in Archetypal and Jungian studies. Her latest project is entitled “Shadows in the Sun”, and is a character study/psychological thriller set in Los Angeles and the Middle East. Linda has also been working on a book about the actress Karen Black, who was her close friend.
She is excited to bring both a philosophical and historical perspective to her work with FORT: LA.
Writer-director-producer Christopher Munch was born in Pasadena, CA and is a passionate student of the history of Los Angeles. Many of his films deal with a lost past — re-envisioning and re-interpreting people and places that only exist in memory. He brings to FORT: LA an enthusiasm for sharing what once made Los Angeles a great city, and what of that history can still be accessed to inspire the imaginations today.
Critic Graham Fuller summed up the work of Mr. Munch by stating that his films “meditate quietly on the perennial struggle people face in communicating with those they love, on mortality, on the role of memory in the mosaic of conscious¬ness, and the evanescence that drives his restless protagonists to grasp futilely, and often nobly, at impossible dreams.” Critic and cinema historian Jonathan Rosenbaum called him “one of America’s most gifted independent filmmakers.”
He is a past Guggenheim fellow, recipient of the Wolfgang Staudte Prize at Berlin, winner of two Independent Spirit Awards, including the “Someone To Watch” Award, and has been featured in two Whitney Biennial exhibitions. He has received competitive awards from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (for a science-themed screenplay about physicist Frank Oppenheimer), Creative Capital Foundation, The American Film Institute, The Merchant and Ivory Foundation, and others. Five of his features have played at the Sundance Film Festival.