Since the birth of his daughter Estelle, Eric Gray has been focused on improving the opportunities and expectations for individuals with Down syndrome. He is a member of our founding team and helped to construct the vision for Club 21. Eric is committed to providing families with the tools, resources and education to help their children with Down syndrome reach their full potential. He also brings his expertise in the finance world to our Board. He is currently the Chief Financial Officer for a division of NBCUniversal, and thus has wide financial management experience.
As the mother of a child with Down syndrome, Monica Borquez is intimately connected to the needs of these children. She is actively involved in the “New Mothers” support groups in the area as a Parent Mentor. She has served as the community liaison for Children’s Hospital Home Care Executive Board. Monica’s work in “Medical Records” at an Obstetrics/Gynecological office in San Gabriel highlights her analytical and educational skills. Her focus on details and relationships with families of babies with Down syndrome are invaluable assets to this resource center. Monica is one of our First Steps coordinators. Monica is currently working at a CPA firm as a warm body at the front desk.
Wendy Jacoby joined the Club 21 board in September 2011. She had a 30-year career managing large corporate insurance programs. She brings to Club 21 her expertise in finance and project management. Wendy is actively involved in several local non-profit organizations, including Young Life and GAR Services that serve developmentally disabled individuals.
Candace Bowman Kennedy
Candie Kennedy is a mother to a son with Down syndrome and is dedicated to raising Down syndrome Awareness. She has spent the last 18 years doing corporate event planning and has worked on numerous non-profit fundraising committees. In addition to her event planning experience she has a background in recreation management and loves to bring groups of people of all abilities and ages together to achieve a common goal.
Pam Grassedonio joined the board in September of 2013. As the mother of Amanda, a little girl with Down syndrome, Pam has been an active member of Club 21 since they opened their doors. She is actively involved in all the programs Club 21 has to offer. She brings her extensive experience in operations, creative development, marketing and finance.
Mike Call has helped Club 21 from the very first day they opened their doors. He has continued to be committed throughout the years and finally in August 2015 he took the leap to join the Board of Directors. He began his career in the office equipment industry in 1988. His entrepreneurial spirit led him to launch a Los Angeles based Sharp dealership. In six years he grew the business into a multimillion dollar Sharp dealership and was named in Entrepreneur magazine Hot 100 fastest growing new businesses in America. He sold that company. He then began Pacific Business Technologies North, which is a successful Business Products Distributor in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. You can always find him in the Button Booth at the Walk-A-Thon. To quote him, “ Come on by-Buttons Make Memories!!!” “Everyone needs their very own button!”
Vicki Thompson first became involved at Club 21 in 2009 as a Girl Scout Leader. Nancy Litteken brought Timmy Borquez to read to her troop and the girls wanted to know how they could help this wonderful organization. She has been involved ever since. Vicki joined Club 21’s Board of Directors in the fall of 2016 and sits on the Finance Committee.
Vicki began her career at Arthur Andersen & Co. and left as an Audit Manager in 1995. She has since been involved in a variety of positions with non-profits including her daughters’ schools. Vicki was the Treasurer of the Parent Association of Saint Mark’s School and sat on their Board of Trustees for 7 years. For 4 of these years she chaired the Fiduciary Committee of the Board. In 2007 she joined National Charity League – Pasadena Area Chapter and later became the liaison for Club 21 and served on the Board as the VP Philanthropy.
Kate Candelora became involved at Club 21 in 2011, while she was expecting her son, Luca. Since then, she has been trained as a “First Call” mentor, guiding parents who have been given a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Prior to starting her family, Kate was an educator and also has a background in finance. She has previously served on the board of the Spiritual Care Guild at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles. Kate and her husband, Ryan, live in Altadena with their 3 children.
Jeanne’s admiration for the work Club 21 was doing in the community started when she was a volunteer with her two teenage daughters through National Charity League, Pasadena Area Chapter. Jeanne was so impressed by Club 21’s ability to serve their community with intellect and passion that she was honored when they asked her to serve on their board. Jeanne spent 20 years in the advertising agency business in both New York City and Los Angeles. She developed strategic initiatives, brand identities and advertising plans for many instantly recognizable brands. After leaving the ad agency business in search of a better work/life balance, Jeanne shifted her focus to helping non-profits raise awareness and funds to achieve their missions. As a new board member in 2016, she is eager to help Club 21 further define their long-term strategy and build a stronger link to the greater Los Angeles business community.
I came to CHLA (Children's Hospital Los Angeles) and Boone Fetter Clinic in 2014. I started working in a private practice in 2016. I am passionate about Down syndrome specifically because as a medical student and resident, I connected with a few children who have Down syndrome and their families. I always felt that the complexities of their medical profile warranted a resource for medical care, social support, and reassurance for families. I learned about Club 21 here and after meeting with Nancy, I felt as though I had met a kindred spirit, with a goal of inclusion and promoting the gifts of all individuals. We also are very passionate about educating the medical community to reduce terminology that promotes stigmas. We look to encourage medical professionals to share hope and faith for the best possible future for all children, especially those with Down syndrome.
Matt has been a supporter of Club 21 for many years and was part of the team that helped arrange for the organization to come to their current location in Pasadena. He has been impressed and inspired by the work Club 21 has done and in particular, its holistic approach of providing education and resources for individuals, their families, school teachers, and doctors to enable individuals with Down syndrome to be fully included. Matt joined the board in the fall of 2016 and brings over 20 years of management and IT experience from a variety of industries including manufacturing, engineering consulting, consumer products, financial services and utilities. He currently works for Southern California Edison as part of their IT group.
Emmy Von Der Ahe
Emmy Von Der Ahe is a former elementary school teacher and reading specialist. She taught both bilingual and single language classrooms during her ten year career. After the birth of her second son in 2000, she retired from teaching and became a full time mother and volunteer. She is an active member of the Mother’s guild at Loyola high school and sits on the Parent advisory council at St. Charles Borromeo School. She attended Loyola Marymount University receiving a Bachelor of Science degree and then went on to pursue a Multi subject teaching credential from Cal State Long Beach University. She lives with her husband and two sons, one of whom has Down syndrome.