BOARD OF DIRECTORS
JAI ONI SLY
Jai Oni is an Los Angeles based educator, DEI consultant, and curriculum editor who values excellence, communication, and culture. Along with being a full-time teacher for 7 years, Jai Oni has been working in non-profit organizations whose mission targets working with youth, animals, and championing human rights. She is currently working on her second doctorate in Global Leadership and Change.
John H. Nunn, Managing Principal, is the principal manager of NNC Apartment Ventures LLC and is responsible for acquisitions, investor relations and the operations of the company. John formerly served as the Executive Vice President of Asset Management for BRE Properties, Inc. a publicly traded NYSE real estate investment trust from 1996 to 2001. In this role he was responsible for the asset management organization, acquisition underwriting and due diligence for over 28,000 apartment units; a total of two and one half billion dollars in value. From 1990 to 1996 John served as Vice President – Asset Manager for Real Estate Investment Trust of California (RCT) – NYSE, specializing in acquisition and ownership of apartments and commercial real estate throughout the western US. Mr. Nunn holds the designation of Certified Property Manager from the Institute of Real Estate Management and is an honors graduate of California State University Long Beach.
Rita Carton is a collaborative and passionate leader and coach with more than 25 years of working in a variety of companies with both large and small staff. Her business experience ranges from an entrepreneurial start-up to large for-profit companies.
Rita is passionate about implementing programs that support underserved communities.
Having volunteered with various organizations serving children from underserved communities, she became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in the LA County foster system. Rita also is a mentor with a non-profit organization (Minds Matter Southern California) dedicated to helping high school students from under-resourced communities unleash their talent and potential to become not just college graduates but leaders for future generations.
With an MBA from the University of Maryland, her career includes Executive Career Coaching, being Vice President of Operations during her 16 years with The Walt Disney Studios, and working for the Mattel Corporation. Rita lives in Los Angeles with her husband Stan and dog Elly.
After four years in the U.S. Air Force, Keith Buck spent 40 years working in nonprofits, mainly focused on international relief and development work. A southern California native, he spent two years in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan starting and running relief work there, and ran operations for a small nonprofit in Pasadena serving families experiencing homelessness. Retired, Keith now focuses time on his kids and grandkids, but finds time to provide coaching to nonprofit executives as a way of giving back to others what he gained during his career.
An expert in education and talent development, her work combines technology, art and design to create immersive learning opportunities that nourish and magnify talent. Abril holds an MS in Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies and a BA in Studio Arts, both from Cal State Long Beach. Abril speaks fluent Spanish and French, holds a Certificate in Educational/Instructional Media Design from the Association for Talent Development and a Master Certified Professional Coach.
Avalon Economou is an attorney and small business owner who has dedicated her professional and personal life to working with underserved communities. She has extensive experience with nonprofit finance, governance, and fundraising, having served on several nonprofit boards, most recently serving former foster youth, as well as having volunteered in a variety of organizations helping other at-risk populations and the environment. A lifelong rescue dog and cat person, she is passionate about all animals and promoting shelter dog placements.
Jennifer Hirano is a native of Los Angeles with a professional background in digital publishing and account management. She received her BA at Tufts University in International Relations. She currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Japanese American National Museum and on the Board of Councilors for the U.S.-Japan Council. She is also a steering committee member of the Next Generation Japanese American Leaders initiative, a program led by Consul General Sone of Japan in Los Angeles.
A strong advocate of mentoring and animal advocacy, she is thrilled to join the board of K9 Youth Alliance.
Larry Kay makes wildly creative projects with dogs. He’s the bestselling author of award-winning books ‘Training the Best Dog Ever’ and ‘The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever’. Larry’s dog filmmaking awards include Pet Product News Editors’ Choice Award and Dogster magazine’s Hero Award.
As a keynote speaker and guest on live TV, Larry demystifies movie dog tricks and flips myths about shelter dogs. Nearly two million dog lovers follow Larry‘s Positively Woof Facebook page.
Larry wrote, produced, and directed TV documentaries for PBS, TV cartoons for The Pink Panther, computer games and internet experiences for The Muppets and Disney. He taught at NYU’s Film/TV school, holds a M.S. in Telecommunications from Syracuse University, and a B.A. in Social Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley.
CO-FOUNDER, FOUNDING PROGRAM DIRECTOR AND ADVISORY COUNCIL
Karen earned her BA in Communications from Tulane University where she fist became involved with children with special needs through Volunteers of America. She was incredibly moved by her experience and a few years later she went back to school to earn a M.A. in Special Education as well as a California Education Specialist Mild/Moderate Disabilities from Loyola Marymount. She has recently completed a Certificate of Sustainability from UCLA. Karen worked as both a special education teacher and administrator in the non-public school setting for over 10 years. In those roles Karen worked with numerous multidisciplinary teams to help meet the challenges and unique needs of hundreds of students and families. Karen has spent the last 5 years learning about the powerful ways that connecting vulnerable young people with dogs living in shelters can uplift the lives of both. Karen is a native New Yorker and as such loves traveling to visit the Big Apple to see family and friends, among other places. One of her greatest passions is Koa, her adopted companion pooch. If you are ever in the Hollywood Hills you may have seen them taking long walks together, harvesting from their garden or just staring longingly into each other’s eyes (yes…she is that kind of dog person).
In December 2021, Glenn began his role at Senior Vice President, MEGA™and Head of the Global Building Sets Category for Mattel®. Part of the Mattel® family, MEGA™empowers fans and families to build the future they imagine. MEGA™designs & manufactures innovative, high-quality construction toys for builders of all ages to create, customize & collect. From the first years of play with MEGA Bloks® to the discovery of new worlds with older ranges for kids from 4+ and through to adult builders, MEGA™is the brand that dares to go beyond the rules of construction.
From April 2019 through November 2021, Glenn was General Manager for Moose Toys US based in Los Angeles. He was accountable for all facets of the USA business and a member of the Moose Toys Global Senior Leadership Team which is responsible for guiding commercial strategy, organizational health and product development direction.
Glenn spent the previous 16 years working for The LEGO Group, where he held various general management, sales and marketing roles in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Glenn’s most recent role was Vice President & Head of Global Ecommerce for LEGO Retail looking after the group’s owned digital commerce platform, www.LEGO.com, accountable for direct-to-consumer Ecommerce globally. Previous tohis time with The LEGO Group, Glenn worked in the US beverage industry for Evian, Dr Pepper/Seven Up and Anheuser-Busch in a variety of sales and marketing functions.
Glenn has several years of Board experience with industry bodies such as the Australia Toy Association for over 4 years where he Chaired the sub-committee for philanthropy. He also sat on internal Boards at The LEGO Group for 3 countries. Glenn is currently a Board Advisor for the K9 Youth Alliance, a non-profit that seeks to enrich the lives of young people as they help prepare abandoned dogs for permanent homes. He also sits on the Board of Joy Tops, an innovator in the e-sports gaming space. Most recently, he was appointed to the Board of Trustees for the Toy Foundation, the charitable arm of the Toy Association in the US where is also served on the Chairman’s Advisory Committee. In addition to his Board service, Glenn has been a guest lecturer with MBA/Executive MBA programs and speaks at conferences worldwide.
His 20+ years of experience in the toy and FMCG industries has given Glenn a tremendous appreciation for the power of brands and people’s ability to identify with them. Glenn, his wife and their two daughters reside in Pasadena, California.
ADVISORY COUNCIL & FOUNDING TRAINER
Paul, often referred to as the “original” Dog Whisperer, has been training dogs for 47 years and is one of the leading proponents of positive, force-free, nonviolent animal training. Paul was one of the first of 27 individuals in the world accredited by the prestigious Pet Professional Guild Accreditation Board as Professional Canine Trainer.
In 2019, he was recognized as one of the 10 Top Dog Trainers in the United States by Topdogtips.com..
Paul’s after-school violence prevention program Paws for Peace afforded hundreds of children and dogs the opportunity to build confidence and self-esteem while improving safety and the quality of their lives.