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Our Team

Who We Are
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Our Team

Ji Ahn, MA

Founder/Executive Director

After working as an animator for 8 years, Ji traveled the world to explore her passion for children and art. During her travel, Ji volunteered at orphanages, practiced mindfulness, and explored many different cultures. Upon returning to Los Angeles, she founded Million Little to provide a place where people can heal and transform their lives using the power of creativity. Ji conducted and published her research on The Power of Creativity and Its Potential for Positive Change at three locations in 2013-2014 – a domestic violence center, a local after-school program, and a special education classroom in a public school.

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Alicia Berry, BSW

Youth Program Manager

After overcoming severe adversity with foster care, Alicia developed a deep passion for youth advocacy and healing. She used her child-hood trauma to persevere and mentor at-risk youth. Over the past four years, Alicia has volunteered at various programs in her hometown, Baltimore City.

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Sarah Leibman

Youth Program Manager

Sarah has spent her educational career focused on using the power of interdisciplinary arts to teach leadership skills and social-emotional learning techniques to members of under-served communities. Over the past seven years, she has enjoyed her highly rewarding work as a teaching artist instructing students of all ages at Ohio University, CITYstage LA, Citizens of the World Charter School, California School for the Arts San Gabriel Valley, and the Books for Kids Foundation.

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Sue Choi Bawale, EdD

Facilitator/Researcher

Sue has worked with children and adults focused on early childhood settings for over 30 years across the country in Boston, New York City, Rochester, NY, Oakland and Pasadena, CA. In addition to teaching courses in human development as a core faculty member at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, she has also taught early childhood education courses for National-Louis University in Chicago (online) and local community colleges (San Diego) on an adjunct basis.

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Olga Winbush, PhD

Facilitator/Researcher

Olga was a mentor, colleague, researcher, teacher and friend who recently passed away in 2020. She was an exceptionally valued team member that truly understood the strengths of our students.  She brought her deep knowledge, passion and love to our children and families in a way that will always be remembered.  In light of what she so lovingly gave of herself to Million Little we have chosen to leave her bio up on our website as a reminder of the importance of what one person can do and the difference one can make in the lives of others.  We miss you, Olga. Your teaching and love will forever be in our hearts!

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Ji Ahn, MA

Founder/Executive Director

After working as an animator for 8 years, Ji traveled the world to explore her passion for children and art. During her travel, Ji volunteered at orphanages, practiced mindfulness, and explored many different cultures. Upon returning to Los Angeles, she founded Million Little to provide a place where people can heal and transform their lives using the power of creativity. Ji conducted and published her research on The Power of Creativity and Its Potential for Positive Change at three locations in 2013-2014 – a domestic violence center, a local after-school program, and a special education classroom in a public school.

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Cynthia G. Royster

Board Member

Cynthia majored in sociology/criminology at San Jose State University (1979) and had an internship at Green Valley preschool (1978). Her initial passion after graduating was to work with children as a mentor through affiliation with the public school system in low-income communities.

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Jocelyn Tucker, MA

Board Member

Jocelyn has been in the Early Care and Education field for over 20 years. She just completed a 3 ½ year contract with the Los Angeles County-Office of Child Care’s Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant, and served as the Lead QRIS Consultant on that project.

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Sheetal Gavankar, PhD, MBA

Board Member

Sheetal comes with over 20 years of experience as a journalist, engineer, as well as product and marketing manager, largely focused on the product development initiatives and their marketing. As a Principal at Mitr Consulting, Santa Barbara, California, Sheetal advises businesses on successful development and commercialization of their ideas and innovations.

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Jodi Walker

Board Member

Jodi is the founder and Chief Creative Catalyst for Success Alliances. She is an entrepreneur, award winning speaker, coach and consultant known for her high energy presentations. Jodi was once described by an LA Times reporter as having “seemingly endless energy.” She works with individuals and organizations who want to challenge assumptions, connect the dots and take their business to the next level.

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Donald Hellwig, CPA

Board Member

Donald Hellwig is a graduate of UCLA with a major in Business Administration. Don has been a CFO for many companies, helped start up and fund several non-profits, has served on many corporate Boards, volunteers on many community and religious organizations, and continues his private financial consulting practice for many corporations, trusts, and individual tax clients.

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Karen Boublis

Advisor

Karen served as Executive Vice President Human Resources for Datasat Digital Entertainment where she directed all aspects of Human Resources including leadership development, creation of human resources policies and practices, as well as employee health and safety and managing payroll.

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Karen Hellwig, M.N., R.N-B.C

advisor

Karen's 37-year career started when she was a public health nurse with the Los Angeles County Health Department and continued with her tenure as a nursing professor at El Camino College in Torrance, Calif.; during that time she also spent 24 years in home care nursing.

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Michelle Jenab, JD

Advisor

Michelle has practiced corporate law since 2000, starting out in Wall Street law firms in New York City. She received a B.A. in Political Science / International Relations from UCLA and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. She has also studied psychology and neuroscience while simultaneously practicing law and plans to pursue a second related graduate degree in the near future.


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Marina Williams

Advisor

Marina is an Ethics Compliance Coordinator at the Capital Group in Los Angeles. Originally from Brazil, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue work in the entertainment industry; leading to several informative roles in Artist Development, Production and Legal at The Walt Disney Company.

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Su Livingston, MA

Advisor

Su is an artist and educator who strongly believes in lifelong development through the arts. She has 30 years of teaching experience. Su taught preschool for 17 years before teaching Early Childhood Education at Santa Monica College for 13 years. During that time she concurrently taught classes for UCLA Extension. She designed Santa Monica College's course 'Creative Experiences for the Young Child; Art Music and Movement', enriched by her life experience as a professional musician and visual artist.

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Elise Tenen-Aoki, JD

Advisor

Elise has been practicing in the field of intellectual property law since 1989. She received her BA from Tufts University and her J.D from Washington College of Law at American University. Elise specializes in developing global trademark strategies to register, use and protect trademark portfolios for technology, entertainment, apparel, pharmaceutical companies, and consumer product companies.

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Jessica Pezzullo

Advisor

Jessica has a passion for helping clients solve their business and marketing problems, she is a natural consultant, calling on her experience as both a client and agency consultant across some of the best blue-chip brands, including Hearst, Ogilvy, Saks Fifth Avenue, ATT, LG, and American Express.

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Nathan Curtis

Youth Volunteer

Bella Williams

Youth Volunteer

Erica Kim

Youth Volunteer

Brooke Johnston

Youth Volunteer

Katie Luo

Youth Volunteer

Kruti Dharanipathi

Youth Volunteer

Ashley Thomas

Youth Volunteer

Alahna Duplantis

YOUTH VOLUNTEER

Ashley Park

Youth Volunteer

Isabella Landeros

Youth Volunteer

Timothy Kang

Youth Volunteer

Donyae Solo

Youth Volunteer

Learn More About Us

Our Programs

Learn more about our programs and workshops for children & youth, professional development, and the community.

Youth Resources

Explore our resources inspired by youth and created for youth.

More Ways to Help

Discover how to get involved and/or support us through donations. There are a million little ways we can transform the lives.

Our Story

Hear stories of healing from the children we work with.