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Spotlight: Local Leaders

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The Man Behind the Olympics on How to Make the Valley a Better Place

By Danielle Roy

My goal with this series is to share how all these amazing leaders are an inspiration to the community and how their leadership makes the Valley and all of us better – Morale Matters!.

Behind some of the most exciting projects to grace the local community, including the strategic vision to bring the Olympic Games to the San Fernando Valley, is a man whose professional mission is to make the Valley a better place. 

Stuart Waldman is celebrating 15 years as the President of VICA, the Valley Industry & Commerce Association, a business advocacy group committed to ensure that the San Fernando Valley receives its fair share of resources and legislative support. 

Waldman shares that the Valley has been treated as a second-class citizen when assessing funding allocations throughout other areas of Los Angeles and states that it is not acceptable. He is proud to lead a team that is willing to stand up and advocate for equitable financial resources and to participate in the larger pursuit of economic advancement.

Waldman’s direction and involvement in the community started as Chief of Staff for several state legislators and led to the natural transition into his current role as President of VICA in 2008. VICA will be celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2024 and is largely responsible for assisting in the legislative correspondence and funding achievements such as Measure M, which has robust plans to develop a metro system where citizens can skip traffic and travel from one end of the Valley to the other within 14 minutes. Additional transportation projects such as the Sepulveda Transit Corridor are predicted to greatly improve travel conditions between the Valley and the Westside. Longer term goals in Measure M are to connect the Metrolink train in the north of the Valley to LAX. 

In the height of the pandemic, VICA also successfully negotiated with the City of Los Angeles in opposition of its attempts to require businesses to implement a mandatory 12-day sick policy. 

VICA’s members range from politicians to local businesses, and include 15 Chambers of Commerce. Networking events frange from congressional events with high-ranking officials to larger events such as Women in Leadership that garners over 400 attendees.

Outside of VICA, Waldman is a family man. Aligned with his professional mission, Waldman cares deeply about his family, and he works tirelessly to make their lives better. 

Regarding Valley plans post-Olympics, Waldman says LA28 will offer fellowship opportunities to Olympians to ensure not only continuous economic success, but individual growth trajectories beyond the peak achievement of an Olympic medal. Life will still be beautiful in the Valley, and Waldman is an inspiration to each of us that we have a purpose greater than ourselves.

Danielle Roy is the Founder of Morale Matters, which offers consulting services to businesses seeking to scale, sell, or both with a mission to empower inspirational leaders. Visit morale-matters.com.


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