Mathews Leadership Forum

This forum provides an opportunity for the campus community to engage in meaningful dialogue on an important topic with prominent business and community leaders.


Finding Your Path in Turbulent Times

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020

6-7:30 p.m. - Virtual

Thank you to Sonya Blake, President & Ceo of The Valley Economic Alliance, who provided candid advice to students on how to find your direction during turbulent times. Following the keynote presentation students networked with nearly 30 business leaders from a wide variety of professions.

View the Video from This Event

 2020 Speaker


Sonya Kay Blake

President & CEO, The Valley Economic Alliance


Sonya Kay Blake is the President & CEO of The Valley Economic Alliance based in Sherman Oaks, California. In this capacity, she is a leading catalyst facilitating economic development in the San Fernando Valley, a vital and burgeoning region of the City of Los Angeles comprising 5 cities, 1.9 million residents and 64,000 businesses. The Alliance’s activities include promoting business vitality, efficient mobility, workforce development, affordable housing, and other aspects of establishing and maintaining livable, sustainable, and equitable communities.

Prior to her leadership of the Alliance, Sonya served as Director of Community Business in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Economic Development, where she played a role in the City’s rollout of an $11 million small business emergency microloan program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also helped Mayor Garcetti to launch entrepreneurship training programs, formulate the economic development package of the city’s community development block grant, and undertake City-wide community revitalization efforts.

Sonya has also served as CEO of the National Association of Women Business Owners – Los Angeles, Director of the Office of the Small Business Advocate in the office of former Governor Gray Davis, Assistant Dean of the USC Roski School of Fine Arts, and Director of Corporate Giving at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Sonya graduated from Yale University and the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management. She has lived in Valley Glen since 2003 with her husband, Stephen, and has three school-age children.

2020 Sponsors
Platinum Sponsor
Gold Sponsors
Bronze Sponsor
Platform Partner


2020 Networking Table Leaders
2020 Virtual Event Video

Past Events

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