Strategic Board and Staff

jay headshot


Jay is President and Executive Director of The Big EQ Campaign. Generally acknowledged as a media pioneer, he is founder and former CEO and Editor-in-Chief of multiple award-winning and greatly successful (broke advertising records in the industry) LA Weekly newspaper, which he sold some years ago. Since then he has focused on three areas of activity. 

(1)  Starting, growing or saving media properties that have social value. Mr. Levin is knowledgeable about most elements of media and marketing, including developing sponsorships from major companies, and has a wide network of business and institutional allies and talent. 

(2) Non-profit organizations, of which he has launched or co-launched five, including Fix Our America (money out of politics), the Community Media Project (poverty and job development), The Committee of Concern for Central America (human rights), and now The Big EQ Campaign and The California Social-Emotional Learning Alliance. He has also served on the advisory board of other non-profits, including the Liberty Hill Foundation (which earlier honored him as Man of the Year, as did the Office of the Americas) and the Green Business Network. 

(3) As a successful if not full-time life and executive coach for 19 years, this based on his life-long interest in, and study of, human development, in which he is trained as a practitioner, including via a Master’s Degree program in spiritual psychology. The same inner and outer world management skills that constitute adult social and emotional learning he believes are even more effective with – and more easily adopted by – children.



Dr. Blake is CEO of MB Ellison, Inc., and COO of Bob Blake & Associates, which services the employee benefits programs of many government organizations in the Los Angeles region. Frequently honored as a leader in the African-American business and philanthropic communities, she has established her own program to elevate the lives of young people. Dr. Blake is also on the Board of Councilors at USC’s School of Pharmacy and the  board of Getty House Foundation, and is active in the Women Presidents’ Organization, Women Impacting Political Policy, and the National Association of Women Business Owners. A graduate of University of Southern California, she is a trained pharmacist turned entrepreneur and C-suite executive. As a Big EQ board member, she will serve as Secretary and Treasurer.



Best known as co-founder and former CEO of Rhino Records, which itself became famous twice over – once as the vanguard company that founded and reprised remarkable music (and later films) and packaged these in an elegant and intelligent manner; and secondly as one of the most socially conscious businesses in America, one that encouraged company employees to mentor disadvantaged youth and donated millions to various community-based charities. After selling Rhino, he founded the company Shout! Factory and introduced to it the same social values and product focus, except with more attention to films and TV than music.

Widely respected as a philanthropist, he has served on numerous charity and non-profit social cause boards, among them the Chrysalis Foundation (homelessness and poverty) and Little Kids Rock, a national organization devoted to enriching children’s lives by providing musical instruments and training to schools across the country (more than 1,000 to date), a cause in which he is energetically active. Richard is also deeply committed to infusing SEL programs into all schools.



Amy currently serves as the Director of Expanded Learning Services for the Ventura County Office of Education; also as Co-Regional Lead for Region 8 of the California Department of Education’s Expanded Learning Division. A professional educator for nearly 20 years, she has been a teacher, school site administrator, county office administrator, and state representative for a four-county region. 

A formal and passionate SEL expert, her Doctoral study focused on Social-Emotional Learning in K-12 Education. She has since brought her SEL expertise into service in various capacities at the local, state, and national levels. Dr. Cranston holds an Ed.D. in K-12 Educational Leadership and has published several articles based on her SEL research.  Her book Creating SEL Environments is set for release in July, 2019 by Shell Education Publishing. Her additional areas of expertise include: Impact of poverty on education, social justice and educational equity for at-risk students, dropout prevention, college and career readiness, career and technical education (CTE), school climate and safety, family engagement, and afterschool expanded learning programs.



Ted is the official Futurist for Paramount Pictures and views universal emotional intelligence learning as a necessity for the future well-being of society. He spends his time and pursues his passion in a unique role in the motion picture entertainment industry. He works with studio leadership and the technology teams at Paramount/Viacom exploring forms of new and emerging technologies, with an emphasis on Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Prior to joining Paramount, Ted was the Futurist at 20th Century Fox, where he worked on the evolving art, science and technology of advanced interactive visual storytelling. He was part of the creation team for the Martian VR and Wild VR experiences, which premiered at CES and Sundance as groundbreaking projects that pushed the envelope of Virtual Reality storytelling. 

Earlier, Ted was a founding member of Red Digital Cinema (and first employee) and an integral part of the product development team. The Red One and Epic cameras have made a significant impact on the industry, winning a scientific and technical Academy Award. Many of the world’s biggest movies are now shot with these ultra high-resolution digital cameras. He is also is one of the founders/creators of the G-Tech product line of advanced hard drive storage products, and earlier was on the team that developed and launched the Macintosh desktop video division of AJA Video Systems, creating professional video products in tandem with Apple. The products from each of these endeavors are used massively worldwide for video production and on many of the world’s biggest movies, TV series and sporting events. Ted has presented worldwide at numerous conferences on the advancements in next generation visual experiences for the movie, TV and interactive entertainment industries, and has been featured in all the major entertainment and technology industries media and publishing venues, as well as in general interest media.



Mr. Duran is one of the 16 “Regional Leads” for Expanded Learning Programs in the State of California, responsible for providing technical assistance and grant compliance support to more than 50 school districts serving more than 21,000 children in 250 schools across four counties. Earlier, he managed a Boys and Girls Club department of 200 employees, overseeing multiple after-school programs.  A major supporter of Social-Emotional Learning and a frequent speaker at community events and at education and government conferences, his most recent area of focus is on SEL in the Latino community.

A research scholar as well, his latest study looks at the prevention of health disparities for children exposed to violence in under-served communities. Two earlier studies examined health disparities for farm workers and indigenous Mexican populations living and working in Ventura County. He also has provided consulting assistance and training to government institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations and marketing agencies seeking to increase their outreach and services to the growing Latino community. Mr. Durán graduated from UCLA with a double major in History and Spanish Literature and holds a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the school.



Stephen Nemeth is a feature film and documentary producer and executive producer with dozens of films to his credit – – most produced by his independent film company Rhino Films. He is best known for the feature films Sessions, Why do Fools Fall in Love, Spaceman and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; and for the documentaries Fuel, Climate Refugees, The Monopoly Story, and Dogtown and Z Boys. He also developed numerous human rights related features and documentaries for Amnesty International while on the board of Artists for Amnesty.

An activist on several fronts, Steve serves on the board of Children Uniting Nations and joined his wife Blake Lindsley in stepping into the world of raising children’s emotional intelligence by funding the training of teachers in social-emotional learning. Among other boards he serves on are Wheels for Humanity, whose focus is helping the disabled; Friends of the Earth and Star Ecostation. Film Industry boards and advisory boards include, among others, the International Documentary Association and the Hollywood, Earth X, Carmel and Zurich Film Festivals. A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, he was the recipient of the 2013 Global Action Award , the 2009 Vision Award for Documentary Producer and the 2009 Artivist Award for his advocacy and production of socially-conscious films.



Co-Founder & CEO of Tender Greens restaurant chain. A civic activist, Erik focuses on poverty youth, foster care, food justice and job training, economic empowerment and the environment. As a social entrepreneur, Erik works to change the cycle of poverty affecting at-risk youth, doing so in part with culinary training through Tender Greens’ Sustainable Life Project, which he founded. SLP enrolls economically-disadvantaged youth in a six-month farm-to-fork internship consisting of weekly farm visits, classic culinary arts classes and weekly on-the job training at Tender Greens. Graduates are eligible for full-time employment upon completion. Erik also is co-founder of P. Balistreri Salumi Company, the first of chef legacy companies incubated and brought to market through Tender Greens.

Erik serves as a board member of Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE LA), which focuses on economic development and runs eight Farmers Markets in under-served communities; and he is a board member of LA Kitchen, which aims to make an impact in food justice in LA with a focus on education and jobs training for disadvantaged youth. Organizations he supports include Covenant House, Sanctuary of Hope, The Boys and Girls Club, Inner-city Arts, and Food on Foot. Prior to co-founding Tender Greens, he spent more than over a decade working as a chef in some of the best restaurants in the world, including Bradley Ogden’s The Lark Creek Inn, Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse, Aqua with Michael Mina, Roland Passot’s Left Bank, Campton Place Hotel, and the historic Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hawaii.


Matthew Spaur – Editor
Heather E. Leitch – Parenting Editor
Angela Benedetto – Staff Writer
Lisa Deal – Art Director
Anubhooti Pareek – Ecommerce Director
Neina Dobrick – Business Outreach Coordinator
Christen Chambers and Nadini Patel
– Project Coordinators
Tuqa Youssef – Public Relations Coordinator
Harsh Gohil
– Administrative Assistant
Will Pitts III – Webmaster
Sasha Strauss – Marketing Consultant
Sidney Lam – Business Outreach Consultant
Eric Wolfson/Incite VM – Marketing Video Consultants
Gryffin Media – Social Media Managers
Ezequiel Olvera – Marketing Graphics
Alex Shapiro – Public Relations Adviser