For the second year in a row, it comes as no surprise that our most diverse class of NextGen leaders arrives in the Philanthropy, Art, & Culture space. Wide ranging in their ages, ethnicities, industries served, and causes supported, across the board the 2017 class put their communities, and those underserved living in them, above all else. Whether championing things like music and art, urban design, affordable housing, and healthy snacks or celebrating the power of celebrity-backed giving, haute cuisine, and the fine arts, these 12 individuals (and their 10 companies) represent the best in all of us.
EDDIE COTA 
Founder & CEO
A collection of content creators who use music, art, and cultural experiences to connect local and global audiences.
Residence Los Angeles
Industry Culture Marketing
Company Founded 2015
Success Taking risks and not being afraid to fail until you discover the solutions that finally work and make you happy. Then sharing that knowledge with your peers.
Local Companies Admired Dublab, LocoL, The Last Bookstore, Amoeba Music
App You Can’t Live Without Lyft
Awards & Honors APAP Leadership Fellows Program (a 20-month intensive program for those who seek to transform the world through their work as arts leaders)
Cause Closest to Your Heart Making the arts accessible to underserved communities
Importance of Philanthropy Philanthropy is at the heart of creating change. If you are an individual in a position to give back, donating your time and money will have a more immediate impact than a government agency or corporation that deals with long-term bureaucracy to decide how funds and resources are distributed.
RYAN CUMMINS  & MATT POHLSON 
Co-Founder & Vice Chairman, Co-Founder & CEO
Residence Santa Monica; Venice
Education Stanford (BA), UCLA (MBA); Stanford (BA), Wharton (MBA)
Industry Entertainment and Technology
Company Founded 2012
Advice “‘You are your memories.’ I was given this advice by the man who won a Nobel Prize for pioneering the field of memory, Dr. Eric Kandel. When one understands that the person you are is a collection of the more inspired and exciting moments of your life, it changes how you approach everything.” -Ryan
Success “Knowing that you used your gifts to their greatest capacity to do good.” – Matt
Local Companies You Admire Bad Robot, Riot Games, SnackNation, and This Bar Saves Lives (Ryan); Riot Games, Scopely, Dollar Shave Club (Matt)
App You Can’t Live Without Audible (Ryan); Lyft (Matt)
Awards & Honors EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist 2017; INC 5000 List 2017
Cause Closest to Your Heart “I met my wife at the same Boys & Girls Club of America Gala that sparked the idea for Omaze. So in terms of heart, I owe a lot to that cause, and also deeply care about kids.” – Ryan
Importance of Philanthropy “We built a business focused on empowering charities, so we think it’s very important.” – Matt
LENNON FLOWERS 
Co-founder & Executive Director
The Dinner Party
A community of 20- and 30-somethings who use a communal space and meal to discuss a significant loss they have experienced
Residence Echo Park
Industry Mental Health
Company Founded 2012
In the Morning I wish the answer was “meditate” or something more enlightened, but it’s 2017 so, check Twitter.
Before Bed I’m a sucker for print, so I try to make a point to read, even just a page or two.
Success Achieving a goal without compromising your values
Mentors Too many to name
Local Companies You Admire Homeboy Industries, TreePeople, Dignity and Power Now, CIVIC, EngAGE, Tala
App You Can’t Live Without Runkeeper (It keeps me honest!)
Awards & Honors Ashoka Fellow, Aspen Ideas Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa
Causes Closest to Your Heart The crisis of isolation, and the effects of loneliness on human agency
Importance of Philanthropy I’m inspired daily by those who help others who’ve been denied a voice to recognize and exercise those voices, and to combat the historic systems and cultural attitudes that would have them believe they don’t matter. Market forces inherently value one form of currency above all others, and consequently, place the value of one life above the value of another. Philanthropy is born out of a recognition that our ability to thrive as individuals depends on building thriving communities. We need philanthropy to do what markets alone can’t, and to address those needs that cannot wait on government or for which there isn’t an immediate policy fix.
Key to Work: Life Balance Take the time to unplug.
HELEN LEUNG  & ELIZABETH TIMME 
Urban design nonprofit that helps lower-income and underserved communities shape their future through policy and architecture
Residence Frogtown; Silverlake
Education LAUSD, UPenn, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; USC (B of Arch) and Harvard (M of Arch)
Industry Urban Design
In the Morning “Go for a trail run.” -Helen
Before Bed “Meditate.” -Elizabeth
Advice “Do the things you want, not the things you should.” -Helen
Success “Being happy, present, and with community.” -Helen
Mentors Steve Zimmer, Ana Guerrero, Heather Repenning, Alison Becker, Marian Urquilla (Helen); “The architect and developer Jon Jerde and the many others of whom there are too many to count.” -Elizabeth
Local Companies You Admire Leadership for Urban Renewal, LA Food Policy Council, East LA Community Corp (Helen); LTSC, LURN, LA Community Design Center (Elizabeth)
App You Can’t Live Without Google Maps (Helen); Instagram (Elizabeth)
Awards & Honors Women of the Year (Congressman Adam Schiff), Most Influential Women in LA (LA Mag), Great Streets Fast Pitch Competition (Mayor Eric Garcetti) (Helen); Woman of the Year (LA Mag), Young Gun Award (Curbed LA), Mayor’s Open Space Working Group, Recode LA Team (Elizabeth)
Importance of Philanthropy “It’s incredibly hard to break free of the limitations imposed on lower-income communities. When you have the benefit of having an education in these bigger systems which often are exclusionary, it is your duty to educate, mentor, and build for those who don’t have the benefit of your privilege.” -Elizabeth
Key to Work: Life Balance “Put family and friends first. Plan vacations in advance. Hang out with people that have nothing to do with your work.” -Elizabeth
JUDITH MARTINEZ 
Founder & CEO
A movement for women to live life courageously
Education Santa Clara, UPenn
Industry Social Impact
In the Morning Envision the end of the day and create what I did that day
Before Bed Go over how our day went with my partner
Advice The only time is now.
Success Making a positive social impact in every environment I am part of
Mentors My parents, fellow entrepreneurs and community leaders, and the high school girls we serve
Local Companies You Admire The Giving Keys, LACI, Cafe Gratitude, WeWork, General Assembly
App You Can’t Live Without Google Maps
Awards & Honors Next Big Thing Top 2017 Millennial Influencer, Forbes 30 Under 30 Nominee, Leon Panetta Fellow, StartingBloc Fellow, Youth Assembly UN
Causes Closest to Your Heart Financial literacy and elderly care
Key to Work: Life Balance An empowering context, clear goals, and having fun
MATTHEW MANOS 
Founder & Managing Director
Helps businesses, nonprofits, and governments expand their capacity for impact through design-driven innovation
Residence Arts District, Downtown LA
Education UCLA (BA), Art Center College of Design (MFA)
In the Morning Get jumped by my dog, Charlie.
Advice “The game is not about becoming somebody, it’s about becoming nobody.”
Mentors My parents, Jeff and Lorie Manos
Local Company You Admire LSTN Headphones
App You Can’t Live Without Google Calendar
Awards & Honors “I am a two-time TEDx speaker and I have been called ‘crazy or genius’ by Forbes and was named one of seven millennials ‘too busy changing the world’ by The Huffington Post.”
Cause Closest to Your Heart Education
Importance of Philanthropy The things we buy are just objects that break over time; the gifts we give, however small or large, leave impressions that last a lifetime.
Key to Work: Life Balance Do what you love, don’t worry about what clothes to wear, go home at 6.
KAITLIN MOGENTALE 
Founder, CEO, Chief Pulper
The Pulp Pantry
A sustainable food company which leverages upcycled juice pulp to create healthy, craveable, and affordable plant-based snacks
Education USC Industry Food and Beverage, CPG
Advice One of my professors at the USC Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab suggested that I start by thinking: What do I need to accomplish to support myself and keep myself pushing forward with the long-term vision? Focusing on the small wins step by step will keep you moving in the right direction, motivated and energized as you move toward accomplishing those big dreams.
Success Doing what you love, with the people you love, and leaving the world a better place than when you found it.
Mentors My professors from the USC Brittingham Social Entrepreneurship Lab: Abby Fifer-Mandell, Adlai Wertman, Paul Orlando of the USC Greif Center for Entrepreneurship, the mentors at the Blackstone Launchpad at USC, Eric Shellenback of Three Bakers, Mark Wong of California Snax
Local Companies You Admire Swipe Out Hunger, LA Kitchen, EveryTable, Locol, the LA Food Policy Council
Apps You Can’t Live Without Headspace, Apple Podcast
Awards & Honors USC’s Marcia Israel Social Enterprise Award, Ashoka Youth Venture Finalist, Cupid’s Cup Finalist, USC Mork Scholar, USC Dornsife Scholar, Los Angeles Business Journal Women’s Summit Nominee
Cause Closest to Your Heart Food Justice
Importance of Philanthropy I love Robert Egger of LA Kitchen’s motto when it comes to charity: it should be based on the liberation of the receiver, not the redemption of the giver. Volunteer opportunities and philanthropic opportunities need to be weighed by their impact on the community you seek to serve.
CHELSEA NEMAN 
Founder & CEO
Reinventing the art buying experience, Tappan operates in both the online and physical realms, making art comfortable, approachable, and accessible
Residence West Hollywood
Education University of Michigan
In the Morning Coffee and pilates
Before Bed Chat with my husband
Advice “At age 5 I was told that ‘no’ and ‘can’t’ are not part of my vocabulary.”
Success Making a difference, inspiring innovation, and taking pride in all that you do
Mentor My father
Local Companies You Admire Inner City Arts, LAND, Cult Gaia
App You Can’t Live Without Seesaw
Causes Closest to Your Heart Art education, youth mentorship, community arts programs, and supporting emerging artists and their practice
Importance of Philanthropy Our intention and existence creates the world we live in.
Key to Work: Life Balance Being present in both work life and personal life. Preserving the luxury of time.
MARIA NGUYEN 
The Art of Plating
Devoted to the exhibition of gastronomy as a form of high art, focusing on the process and artistry involved in creating modern haute cuisine
Residence Beverly Grove
Education Full Sail University
In the Morning I work most of the day so the only time I have for myself is in the morning. I make sure to read the news, drink coffee, and exercise before checking my emails.
Before Bed I like to read and then set my intentions for the next day so I can wake up with a clear direction.
Advice Ask why. Everything you do should have a meaningful purpose behind it that supports your vision.
Success Having a fulfilling purpose that enables you to live your happiest and most authentic life.
Mentors Matthew Zehner, CEO of ZehnerGroup–a former employer who, even after I left to start my own business, generously continued to be a great source of advice, encouragement, and support personally and professionally.
Local Companies You Admire Hedley & Bennett, Juice Served Here, Entity Mag
App You Can’t Live Without Evernote
Awards & Honors Best Instagram of the Year 2016 (Pixel Awards), Nominated Best Social Media in Art (Shorty Awards), multiple Gold and Silver awards for Art Direction w3 projects
Cause Closest to Your Heart Engaging kids from an early age about what quality food is so they are empowered to make better and healthier lifestyle decisions as they grow up.
Importance of Philanthropy Giving and helping one another is a foundation of any successful society. I truly believe the only way a community can thrive is if there’s unity and everyone is being supported.
Key to Work: Life Balance Learning to say no and only taking on projects that don’t feel like work.
JJ OWEN 
Director of Development
The Movember Foundation
Residence Culver City
Education USC (BA), University of Oregon (MBA)
In the Morning Make a bottle for my baby girl, make a coffee for myself, and then take her and our pup for a long morning walk.
Before Bed Give my beautiful bride a smooch.
Advice Focus on the process and control the controllables.
Success Success is the collective sum of little victories that happen along the process.
Mentors John Owen, Donny Killian
Local Companies You Admire I’m a bit biased because my wife works there, but WINC, LAFC, and LA 2028.
Apps You Can’t Live Without MyFitnessPal, Fitbit, Google News (to replace FB & Instagram), and Fantasy Premier League
Awards & Honors “Does the first ginger moustache hired by Movember in the U.S. count?”
Cause Closest to Your Heart This one’s easy…the Movember Foundation. It’s not a job—it’s a passion. I am honored to be part of a global community of 5 million people who have raised over $775M and funded 1,200+ projects for men’s health, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and suicide prevention in men and boys.
Importance of Philanthropy There is no better way to provide personal mindfulness, community social connectedness, and a general belief in the greater good of society than philanthropy.
Key to Work: Life Balance Open communication with those around you and a strong sense of self to know the triggers that overwhelm you in head and heart.