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R.E.D. Talks

Thu 15th Mar 2018 PDT

Regional Economic Development (R.E.D.) Talks

Date: March 15, 2018
Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm
Venue: City National Plaza


Fireside Chat with Joanna McFarland

While attending a kids birthday party, Joanna was commiserating with other moms about the challenge of getting their children to and from after school activities safely and on time. Joanna turned this challenge into an opportunity, and before long, the ride share service, HopSkipDrive for kids was born. Join us as Joanna shares the entrepreneurial journey she and her two co-founders have been on as they’ve grown a stable and successful business. 

Following the chat with Joanna, we will transition to a panel discussion, Beyond the #MeToo Movement-What’s Next for Women in the Workplace. 

The chat with Joanna portion of the RED Talk will cover:

  • The KEY issue they had to solve for this app to work.
  • How they established trust so that parents would feel safe sending their kids (their most precious asset) with HopSkipDrive car.
  • Tips on having business partners and how to successfully move forward with three Co-founder’s.
  • How Joanna and her team effectively managed cash flow.
  • How having a baby is similar to owing a business.

Join the conversation about this R.E.D. Talk! #REDTalk

Featured Speaker

Joanna McFarland
Founder and CEO

Joanna has more than 15 years experience in product and general management. She has an MBA from Stanford University and a BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Joanna has worked for different companies in various roles—broadening her experience background. After working her way up from Director to Vice President of the Publisher Network for AT&T, she took on a Vice President role with One West Bank. She has also worked as Vice President of GM Consumer Finance. Joanna drives her two boys, Jackson (9) and Sam (6), to school, karate, T-ball and cub scouts.

Panel Discussion

Our panel discussion, Beyond the #MeToo Movement-What’s Next for Women in the Workplace, will focus on how #MeToo can bring women together and encourage them to support each other when it comes to promotions and workplace advancement–important steps towards attainment of equality and a balance of power between men and women. Joanna McFarland will also participate in the panel.


Beth Schroeder
Labor & Employment Law
Raines Feldman, LLP

Beth Schroeder is a preeminent Labor & Employment counsel. She has over three decades of experience in representing employers in all aspects of employment and labor law, including the defense of employment-related lawsuits involving wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, wage and hour issues and related claims both individual and class action. Beth works with business owners, general counsel and human resource professionals to provide extensive day-to-day counseling and advice, risk management, compliance and strategy-planning in the prevention of employment-related claims both individual and class action. She also conducts employee training classes, drafts employee handbooks and other personnel forms, documentation, prepares employment contracts and conducts extensive audits for wage and hour compliance. Beth was named Century City Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year for 2017. She currently serves as Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment practice group.

Karen Gifford
Chief People Officer
Califia Farms

Karen Gifford is Chief People Officer for Califia Farms, the California-based company that has revolutionized plant-based beverages at the retail level, and whose award-winning beverages and disruptive packaging have led it to become the number one natural nut milk brand (refrigerated), the number one natural cold brew coffee brand (refrigerated/RTD) and the fastest-growing non-dairy creamer brand. Her work nurturing Califia’s mission and core values has been key to the successful and rapid expansion of Califia Farms, which is one of the fastest growing, and most iconic, beverage brands in the US.

During her more than 28 years of management and consulting experience, Karen has focused on creating and developing human resource operations and infrastructure for visionary entrepreneurs, start-ups and hyper-growth companies. Prior to Califia Farms, she was at Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company, where she was responsible for the strategic design and management of people and organizational programs that inspired a culture of fun, innovation and excellence. She has also served as the Head of Human Resources at Riot Games, SpaceX, and Electronic Arts, where she helped build cultures that fostered employee engagement, individual career growth and a passion for tapping into creativity and talent.

Panel Moderator

Lisa Markus
Vice President of Client Experience
Bolton & Company

Lisa Markus is Vice President – Client Experience for Bolton & Company, one of the nation’s leading independent insurance brokers. There she has built the company’s approach to client experience, which includes launching client listening, journey mapping and transitioning from a traditional marketing approach to using Bolton’s corporate voice to champion its clients and the communities it serves.

Lisa’s passion is inclusion and economic empowerment. She is a recognized thought leader in belonging, diversity and inclusion and author of Living a Blessed Life; Walking in Faith, Growing in Wealth. Lisa’s work has been published in Diversity Best Practices and other trade publications, which allowed her to speak nationally on topics including the gender and ethnicity gap in economic empowerment, cognitive diversity and innovation, culturally-competent financial education, and how gamification can be used to bridge the wealth gap.

Admission Cost

General Public: $25
LAEDC Member: $15
Students: $15
*Students must present valid student-ID at event check-in

*Cancellations to registrations may be made 7 days prior to the event for a full refund.  All cancellations and substitutions must be submitted in writing to [email protected].

Register Here

About R.E.D. Talks: 

What do the brightest entrepreneurs in L.A. County’s future know that you don’t know – yet?

R.E.D. Talks is a series of three in-depth discussions with the change agents and innovators who are creating new paradigms and breaking new ground in some of the most dynamic industries across our region. Many of the thought leaders now taking the lead in the new global economy have well-established roots right here in L.A. County. This diverse group of influencers will share their visions for Regional Economic Development (R.E.D) and the role the business community can play in securing a sound future as one of the world’s most vital economic powerhouses. Engage at R.E.D. Talks with the innovators who are charting the global economy’s future right here in Los Angeles.

For more information and to explore sponsorship opportunities, contact Rick Moelis at LAEDC, at 213-236-4812  [email protected]


Thu 15th Mar 2018
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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Event Plaza, City National Plaza
515 S Flower St #3220
Los Angeles, CA 90071 United States