Although the DLBA Board has had to adapt its priorities due to the public health crisis, its mission remains the same: to cultivate, preserve and promote a healthy, safe and prosperous Downtown. Each month, we are proud to introduce you to three more Board members, part of a governance body totaling 33 individuals that remains actively engaged with Downtown stakeholders.
Loara Cadavona, a member of the Board’s Executive Committee, lives in Downtown’s East Village. “I love walking everywhere and experiencing everything Downtown’s diverse neighborhoods have to offer,” she said.
Cadavona, born and raised in Norwalk, brings a wealth of communication and organizational skills to the table. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in English, then went on to earn an M.B.A. with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University. She has worked in a variety of development and fundraising settings and is currently the Business Integration Manager for MemorialCare Health System.
“When I moved to Downtown Long Beach 15 years ago,” said Cadavona, “I wanted to be a part of an organization that affects positive change in my neighborhood. As a Board member, I hope to support and improve the new and existing DLBA programs that promote growth of our neighborhoods and their businesses.”
According to Cadavona, the Board hasn’t lost a step during the public health crisis. “The Board has been providing input to staff about the needs of both the residential and business communities,” she said. “We are encouraging online forums to ensure that these communities are educated on support available from a variety of resources at the federal, state, and local levels.
“I invite the public to attend a virtual meeting or event hosted by DLBA,” Cadavona continued. “It will help them understand the programs and services DLBA provides, and it will show them how essential DLBA is in shaping and growing Downtown Long Beach.”
Board member Sam Pierzina, a San Diego native and UCLA graduate, recognized what he describes as “the special soul and vibrancy of Long Beach” while living in West Los Angeles and working for Ensemble Investments in Century City. Ensemble is headquartered in Downtown Long Beach.
“I was very much engaged in development projects we were doing in Long Beach and was inspired by the ongoing economic transformation of Downtown,” Pierzina said. “I made the move to Long Beach in 2018, and I joined DLBA shortly thereafter because I didn’t want to limit my involvement with the City to a professional role.”
Downtown Long Beach has experienced tremendous growth over the last five years, observed Pierzina. “In just the two years that I’ve lived here, we’ve seen over one million square feet of new residential, civic and commercial space delivered to Downtown. I’d like to see Downtown continue along this growth trajectory, but it’s important that we grow organically, in a manner that is complementary to the existing professional and cultural institutions of the City.”
Pierzina cited DLBA’s partnership with Farmers & Merchants Bank to provide emergency micro-grants to small businesses in Downtown as an example of how DLBA is adapting to the current business environment. “It’s been an incredibly challenging time for many businesses in Downtown,” he said. “In the short term, the biggest challenge for many of these struggling businesses is going to be access to capital. There are a number of financial assistance programs available, but the application processes can be very overwhelming. DLBA is really trying to be the first point of contact for these businesses as they navigate through those processes.”
Pierzina said he would encourage every Downtown stakeholder to get involved with DLBA. “There are a variety of avenues to explore, from economic development to public safety to special events, public realm, and marketing,” he said. “A love of Downtown Long Beach and a desire to see it prosper are really the only two prerequisites for the job.”
Board member Sheva Hosseinzadeh, who was born, raised and educated in Long Beach, works in commercial real estate, specializing in retail and office leasing and sales.
“I joined DLBA because I work in Downtown and wanted to give back to my community,” said Hosseinzadeh. “I felt that my knowledge would be an asset to the Board. I saw how effective the Board is in advancing the Downtown and I wanted to be a part of that. I’ve lived in Long Beach my entire life, and I have never been more proud to tell people that I was born and raised here. The Downtown area has grown and advanced more in the past five years than it did in the previous thirty years.”
Hosseinzadeh volunteers her time as Co-Chair of the DLBA Economic Development Committee. “We want new and existing businesses to know that DLBA is a resource for them at all stages of their businesses,” she said. “We are now changing our focus to ensure that we are helping Downtown business owners navigate through the current public health crisis.”