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Meet Our Team

OFFICERS

David Adelman

David Adelman, Esq.

Chairman

A firm believer in the importance of community involvement, Mr. Adelman is a business lawyer assisting a variety of clients with real estate, corporate, and intellectual property needs by developing business strategies, providing business counsel, and helping to structure, negotiate, and document business deals. Referred to as a “Renaissance Lawyer,” Mr. Adelman, a partner at Greenberg & Bass LLP in Encino, was selected to Super Lawyers in 2015 and 2016.

Dee Levy

Dee Levy

President

Dee continues to live her 30+ year passion for both business and philanthropic work. Past Board positions including San Diego Cares, The Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (Balanced Mind Foundation), and Species Restoration Project. Dee is thrilled to be a part of Fit 4 The Cause. She is a proud mother to her son Beau, a US Marine on active duty. During his recess, Beau is an enthusiastic volunteer for Fit 4 The Cause.

Jenica Polakow

Jenica Polakow, LCSW, MSW

Secretary 

Jenica Polakow, LCSW is a Clinical Social Worker at Community Memorial Hosptial and specializes in the emotional wellness of older adults. She received her master’s degree in Social Welfare with a specialization in gerontology, from the University of California, Los Angeles. Polakow facilitates Caregiver Support Groups, teaches the Tools for Caregiving Series, and provides one-on-one Care Consultations to family caregivers to help them discover and develop their own coping skills to better navigate through life’s transitions. She is a certified REACH (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health) Interventionist and also supervises graduate students in the District’s Internship Program.

Juan Ros, CFP

Treasurer

Juan C. Ros, CFP®, is a partner and senior wealth advisor with Forum Financial Services. Previously, Juan had an esteemed career with various not-for-profit organizations, specializing in charitable gifting and estate planning. Juan graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.A. in Film and Video, and received his MBA with an emphasis in financial planning from California Lutheran University. He is a faculty member for the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies, a member of the Financial Planning Association, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), the Conejo Valley Estate Planning Council, ProVisors,  and the Los Angeles Council of Charitable Gift Planners. Juan is a former board member for Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties. He is thrilled to be involved with Fit 4 The Cause.

Chris Woo

Chris Woo

Marketing Chair

Chris has over twenty years of experience in the technology industry and has provided leadership and consultation to business leaders like Ernst & Young, CBRE, Pepperdine University, TBWA/CHIAT/DAY and Saatchi & Saatchi as well as numerous Los Angeles businesses, entrepreneurs and celebrities. Combining a background of creative arts with first-hand business experience and technology advocacy, Chris delights in helping organizations find technology solutions that are practical, affordable and elegant.

DIRECTORS

Becky Buck

Rebecca “Becky” Buck is the Director of Business Operations for Los Robles Homecare Services, a California licensed, Medicare-certified and CHAP accredited homecare agency located in Thousand Oaks, California. She oversees business operations and implements strategic planning for numerous departments within the organization, including the management of the administrative, HR, and accounting teams. Buck previously served as the Marketing Director for two renowned commercial real estate locations, where she was instrumental in managing a multimillion-dollar renovation and increasing overall sales through marketing campaigns. Buck has a personal interest in both philanthropy and fitness and enjoys using her business acumen for the nonprofit world.

Dana Chidekel, PhD, ABN, ABPdN

Dr. Dana Chidekel started her career as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. She subsequently completed training in neuropsychology. She is a fellow the American Academy of Pediatric Neuropsychology and the American College of Professional Neuropsychology. She is certified by the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology and by the American Board of Pediatric Neuropsychology, for which she also serves as an examiner.

Dr. Chidekel maintains a private practice in Tarzana, providing comprehensive clinical assessments to children, adolescents and adults referred for cognitive, developmental, academic, psychiatric, and behavioral difficulties. She dedicates a portion of her practice to forensic work, serving attorneys as a consultant and expert witness in matters associated with personal injury, elder law, employment law, educational law, business law, family law and criminal law. Cases involve questions of traumatic brain injury, medical malpractice, psychological trauma, harassment, discrimination, testamentary and contractual capacity, neurodevelopmental disorders and special education. She is retained by plaintiff and defense in approximate equal proportions.

Dr. Chidekel also serves as a consultant and provides continuing education to medical, mental health and legal professionals. She is a frequent presenter to lay and professional audiences. She has authored and coauthored professional articles about developmental neuropsychology and parameters of professional practice for journals such as Cerebellum, Pediatric Neurology, and Applied Neuropsychology: Child. She is co-author of ADHD as a Model of Brain-Behavior Relationships (Springer 2013) and the author of Parents in Charge: Setting Healthy, Loving Boundaries for You and Your Child (Simon and Schuster, 2001). Dr. Chidekel has appeared on many local and national radio programs and TV programs, including multiple appearances on The Today Show and a one-hour PBS special: Great Parents, Great Kids with Dr. Dana Chidekel.

Michelle Coulter

Michelle is the founder ABA Network, Inc. which is a behavioral health practice that provides evidence based approaches based on the science of  Behavior Analysis.  Michelle has over twenty years’ experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum, developmental delays, speech and language delays, behavioral challenges, related disorders, and social challenges.   She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a master’s degree in Communication Disorders and a Clinical Rehabilitation credential. Michelle has presented many local conferences and presented at number of workshops. Michelle is a proud mother of three children.

Jack Edelstein

Jack Edelstein’s passion in life is to help people who spend their time helping others.  He receives the most satisfaction when easing the burden for someone who dedicates their time to non-profit endeavors.  He generously offers his business experience, contacts and personal resources to those rare executives who are willing to accept help. As a sales outreach trainer and executive coach, he works with several CEOs in creating more efficient non-profit organizations, providing advice in fundraising, internal and external processes and public relations, helping staff members and volunteers succeed.  Jack previously worked as President/CEO of ExpressLink Inc. His past experience includes serving as a Board Member to Boys and Girls Club of Conejo and advising Caring Hand for Children in Los Angeles.  His education includes, Drug and alcohol studies/counseling at University of California along with related studies at Los Angeles Valley College. 

Henry Eshelman

Henry Eshelman

Henry Eshelman founded and owns Eshelman Red Rose, Inc., d/b/a Platform Media Group (“PMG”). Eshelman’s public relations and marketing specialties include filmed entertainment, media properties, consumer products, hospitality, technology and events. Eshelman formerly served as Managing Director of B|W|R Public Relations and as Entertainment Practice Head of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide where, over eighteen years, he supervised accounts and teams in the filmed entertainment, consumer, corporate entertainment and technology areas.

Heywood Friedman

Heywood Friedman, Esq.

Heywood Friedman is the principal attorney for the Law Offices of Friedman & Bartoumian in Westlake Village. He is recognized in the legal and insurance industries as a leading practitioner of insurance law with an emphasis in the area of workers’ compensation claims defense. During his 20-plus year legal career, Friedman has provided litigation, regulatory and transactional representation to many multi-national and Fortune 500 businesses.

Debra Gentz

A seasoned professional in the banking industry, Debra currently works as Vice President/Team Lead at Bank of the West where she manages relationships with middle market firms.  She structures customized credit solutions including commercial loans and lines of credit, real estate financing including SBA loans, asset based lines of credit and personal lines of credit.  Additionally, she assists business owners create value by developing more efficient cash management and trade/foreign exchange solutions. Having worked in commercial and corporate banking in Latin America and Europe, she can better assist clients in their global endeavors.  She holds an MBA in finance from UCLA Anderson School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.

David S. Kestenbaum, Esq.

Criminal Defense legend and former prosecutor known for his high profile cases and winning record of accomplishments has been practicing law for 36 years. Based in Ventura County, Kestenbaum Law Group, APC also has presence in Van Nuys and Century City. Measured by Martindale & Hubble, Mr. Kestenbaum has the highest AV rating in ethics and knowledge of law. Elected to a second term on the Board of Trustees of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association, serving as Chair of the Criminal Law Section, his impressive resume also includes serving on the Board of Governors of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice. He has the highest rating from AVVO and ranks in the top 5% of Preeminent Criminal Defense Attorneys by Lawyers.com. Mr. Kestenbaum earned his JD with honors from Southwestern University School of Law.

Lorne S. Label, MD, MBA, FAAN, CPE

Dr. Lorne S. Label, MD, MBA, FAAN, CPE

Dr. Label has practicing Adult and Pediatric Neurology in the Conejo Valley for over 30 years. Born and raised in Montreal, he attended McGill University and then moved with his family to Texas where he received a BA with high honors in psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He attended graduate school for Neurobiology and then medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Internal medicine internship and Neurology residency followed at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He became Board Certified in Neurology & Psychiatry in 1984. He moved to Caifornia to study with W. King Engel at USC where he completed a Neuromuscular fellowship. Besides his private practice , he has attended at the UCLA Neuromuscular Clinic and Neurology Resident Clinic for decades, obtaining a position as a Clinical Professor of Neurology. In 2013 he was elected as a Certified Physician Executive by the American College of Physician Executives.

Stephen J. Landsman, CPA

Stephen J. Landsman, CPA, is a Tax Partner with Squar Milner LLP. Stephen’s 20 years of experience feature client-oriented tax planning, preparation, and compliance services for real estate, manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, retail, professional, entertainment, and service industry clients.  He is one of the most frequently recognized Trusted Advisors by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.  Stephen’s tax planning and preparation expertise includes tax structuring for real estate entities and his financial reporting includes the audit, review, and compilation of financial statements and governmental “yellow book” auditing, compliance testing, and reporting. As a leader and active participant in engagements of due diligence, agreed upon procedures, and forensic investigations, Stephen prepares and provides custom reports, court declarations, and expert testimony.

 

Alissa Morton

Alissa Morton was born and raised in Southern California, with strong roots in the Westlake Village Community. She runs her own marketing company, Morton Marketing Systems—helping many small sized businesses. Her experience includes thirty years in the financial services industry where she worked at Morton Capital Management in Calabasas.

She moved on to pursue a career in the non-profit sector where she worked in several capacities with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater, where she became passionate about serving her community.

She served on many committees for several organizations, such as Sherwood Cares, Senior Concerns, and most recently, Fit 4 The Cause’s Gala Development Committee. I have coached AYSO (Agoura Youth Softball) for 10 years (both genders and ages) and AYBA (Agoura Youth basketball) for 3 years (boys, various ages) giving back to the two sports that gave me so much at a time I really needed them growing up.


Drawn to Fit 4 The Cause’s Board of Directors by its youth, vibrancy and grassroots action, she loves its heart and soul that gives so much of itself. She’s particularly interested in helping our seniors youth and at-risk communities stay healthy, mentally, spiritually and physically.

 

Anita Pressman

Anita Pressman, CPT

Tagging along with her mom to Jack LaLanne, Anita knew she’d become a fitness professional one day. Complementing the frequent visits to the gym, Anita also joined her mom at Weight Watcher meetings, learning the struggles of dieting and over-eating. Knowing her mission in life to keep people happy and healthy, she reveled in a life dedicated to athletic activity and dance.

In 2000, Anita became a Personal Fitness Trainer and continued to pursue her impressive certification and practice. She’s also an Advantaged Flexibility Specialist, Group Fitness Instructor, Fitness Lifestyle Coach complemented by recent Tai Chi certification. Zumba® is next on her impressive list of instructional disciplines. Exercise, nutrition and meditation have added quality, strength, balance and well-being to Anita’s life and definitely helped her survive a car crash that almost took her life.

Recently, Anita lost her boyfriend to suicide. She finds peace through yoga, meditation, tai chi and walking to alleviate the indescribable pain from this trauma. Anita lives the Fit 4 The Cause lifestyle knowing that movement does wonders for the mind, body and soul.

Michael Shore, DC

Dr. Michael Shore, DC

In practice for over 20 years, Michael Shore’s goal is assisting patients in living the healthy, pain-free, vigorous lifestyle. He believes that preventive maintenance is the key to health, and Chiropractic care, along with healthy eating and exercise, should be an integral part of fitness and disease prevention. He uses gentle and painless techniques to help restore function and to decompress spinal joints (vertebrae) and all other joints of the body and ease muscles and joints back to health. He believes in a Pro-Aging Paradigm…promoting healthy aging by maintaining a strong and stable spine (and musculoskeletal system) and advising patients on nutrition, stress and weight reduction, exercise and proper posture. These principles are essential for preventing the destructive degeneration that occurs with age.

Brian Sullivan

Brian Sullivan

Brian is a seasoned professional in the employee benefits and healthcare industry, having served the needs of large, mid-sized and small employer groups, as well as individuals for over 25 years. He is the Market Vice President for Humana, a company focused on health and well-being. Brian’s career has encompassed roles as an executive with three of the largest health plans in the nation, and as a partner with a private insurance/employee benefits practice. His specialties include Health and well-being, employee benefits, healthcare and health insurance, voluntary benefits and consumer directed healthcare for large businesses, small business and individuals.

BOARD OF GOVERNORS

Hallie Blau

Hallie Blau, Founding Board Member

Professionally, Hallie has over 30 years of experience in the legal field. For the majority of the past three-plus decades she as successfully managed all aspects of the Law Offices of Howard Blau, from administration, organization, case-work and fiduciary responsibility to client relationships and financial planning. Hallie’s past Board of Directors positions include the North Ranch Homeowners Association and Bridgehaven Homeowners Association. She also spent over six years on the Board of Directors for Hillel International, where she wrote several winning grants for the local chapter at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo.

Eric Hunt

Eric Hunt, CPA

Eric has nearly 20 years of experience in taxation including tax planning, compliance and tax provision services. Prior to joining Glass Malek in 2018, Eric gained extensive tax and accounting experience through management roles for CPA firms located in Southern California. His experience includes providing comprehensive tax services and managing client relationships for medium and small businesses in Media & Entertainment, Technology, Real Estate and Professional Services. He also works with high net worth individuals.

THE STAFF

Cindy Rakowitz

Cindy Rakowitz, SCTE (ACE)

Founder & Executive Director

PR Guru, philanthropist, author, lecturer and ACE certified Fitness Pro, Cindy Rakowitz is a highly respected, award-winning top level executive with over 30 years of experience. Known for her tenure as Division President for Playboy Enterprises, she ran global public relations, marketing, advertising, as well as the modeling agency for over 15 years. She sat on the Playboy Foundation Board and became very involved with AIDS education and fundraising. As a premier media trainer, she has a unique ability to help her clients deal with the press during unanticipated crises. She is dedicated to wellness education.

Lauren Staben

Assistant to the Executive Director

Lauren Staben is a recent college graduate with a BA in psychology from California Lutheran University. In addition to joining Fit 4 The Cause as Assistant to the Executive Director, she works at Mamba Sports Academy as an athlete advocate and as a Venture Lab technician.

Fitness and nutrition are her passions and she is always striving to stay active whether taking a boxing class, hiking on the trails in Wildwood, hitting the gym or wake surfing on the weekends. Lauren is currently studying for her NASM certification in personal training and hopes to help people in her community achieve their best health through her coaching.

Reanna Joy Duenas

Reanna Joy Duenas

Special Projects & Volunteers

This philanthropist brings passion and important skillsets to Fit 4 the Cause.  Her experience includes work at Symantec and Deloitte in audit services, compliance, fraud prevention, payment processing and authentication. Initially joining Fit 4 the Cause as a volunteer, Reanna has also worked with Second Harvest Food Bank, Gilroy Compassion Center and The Pawdestrian.  Reanna has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from Sonoma State University and is a NCCPT Certified Personal Trainer. Her family will always be a part of Fit 4 the Cause’s founding volunteer team.

Christina Young

Fitness Instruction & Events

Christina Young is an experienced public relations and communications professional with a background in TV and video production. A graduate of the California State University of Northridge, she is versed in developing and maintaining relationships with key media members as well as vendors and donors. After some of her personal friends were affected by the tragic events that occurred in Las Vegas in October of 2017, Christina was compelled to make a difference in the lives of others. A Ventura County native, Christina is devoted to giving back to her community and is enthused to make a positive impact through her work for Fit 4 The Cause.

SUPERSTAR CONSULTANTS

Sarah Wild

Sarah Wild

Grant Coordinator

Christine Hines

Christine Hines

Comptroller

Jennifer Goddard Combs

Jennifer Goddard Combs

Press Relations