For more information and media inquiries, contact Rachael Stoffel via

LAUPlifting, July 2017 – CEO Message

During the month of July, we as a nation celebrated our cherished freedoms through the observance of our 241st Independence Day. July 4th is a day for all of us to embrace what it means to be Americans; we are grateful to live in a country characterized by freedom, diversity, the rule of law and a belief in our common destiny. These American characteristics invite us to advance our nation’s commitment to opportunity for everyone, particularly our children who will build the future.

LAUP embraces that commitment, and continues to work toward improving the quality of early learning for the children in our region and beyond. As such, our Board of Directors elected and welcomed six new members that represent remarkable diversity in professions, culture, expertise, and interests. Each member brings a unique breadth and depth of experience to the Board. These new voices will help to elevate the impact of LAUP as we support both young children and the professionals and parents who guide their educational and life journeys.

Elected new members Tilmann Gruber, Chris Nixon, Karen Schoenbaum, Ani Shabazian, José Villa and Liem Vu join LAUP’s eight sitting board members.

Our Board of Directors has always supported a national gold standard for quality early childhood education, and I am confident the newly elected members will carry on this legacy of excellence with vigor and innovation.

I’ve provided a snapshot about each of our new members. Please welcome them in traditionally warm LAUP fashion, and continue to have a great summer!

Tilmann Gruber

Vice President of Sales Planning, Sony Pictures Television

Tilmann is a 15-year entertainment industry veteran, having excelled at strategic sales planning and finance. Prior to Sony Pictures Television, he worked at Warner Brothers Home Entertainment and New Line Cinema in various corporate and divisional capacities, with both an international and domestic focus throughout his career.

Chris Nixon

Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, AIG

Chris brings nearly 25 years’ experience in the global financial service industry to the LAUP board. She joined SunAmerica in 1993 and became part of AIG when it purchased SunAmerica in 1999. She currently serves as AIG’s general counsel for its global Consumer Insurance segment, serving on the executive leadership team and several governance committees. Chris is a member of the California State Bar, often using her law experience for pro bono service and brings with her depth of experience in corporate governance and related activities.

Karen Schoenbaum

Executive Vice President and CFO, California United Bank

Karen began her career at the Big 4 accounting services firm EY, after leaving to hold senior positions at several prominent financial institutions. She has been a member of California United Bank’s Senior Leadership Team since 2009—managing investor relations, overseeing public financial reporting, the investment department and the Treasury function as well as maintaining the SOX/COSO internal control framework for the organization and ensuring strong corporate governance. A proud USC alumnus, she loves USC football, and serves as a director with USC’s Leventhal Board of Advisors.

Ani Shabazian, Ed.M., Ph.D.

Loyola Marymount University (LMU)

Ani holds a dual appointment at LMU, where she serves as an Associate Professor in the LMU School of Education and as the Director of the Children’s Center. Ani’s research interests focus on developing best practices in caring for children in group settings. Before LMU, Ani had served as the Executive Director of the UCLA Infant Development Program, the Academic Administrator of the UCLA Applied Developmental Psychology Program, and the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Family School. Beyond her academic appointments, Ani travels extensively assisting limited resource countries develop programs to elevate the quality of care for children without guardianship residing in institutional settings.

José Villa

Founder and President, Sensis

José is the founder of Sensis, a cross-cultural marketing agency driving behavioral change. Under José’s direction, Sensis has grown into an award-winning advertising and marketing agency listed on Inc. 5000’s ranking of America’s fastest growing private companies eight years running. Before Sensis, he was the founder of José is also a regular contributor for industry publications like MediaPost, AdAge and Mashable.

Liem Vu

Managing Vice President, U.S. Markets for Pariveda Solutions

Liem brings over 25 years of expertise in the technology consulting industry to LAUP’s Board of Directors. In his current leadership position, he develops strategies and plans for market expansion across all offices in the U.S. Prior to this role, Liem held executive leadership positions at Neudesic, Hitachi Consulting and BearingPoint—while remaining active in the Southern California philanthropy community.


Scott L. Hippert, CEO

Return to LAUPlifting, July 2017