All the Inspiring Highlights from Los Angeles Magazine’s 5th Annual L.A. Woman Luncheon

Breakup advice from D.A. Jackie Lacey and a call to action from foster care expert Chanel Boutakidis

The day in the life of the L.A. woman is always jam-packed, but it was particularly packed—with inspiration—yesterday. Los Angeles magazine held its fifth annual luncheon celebrating the L.A. Woman issue. The event began with an informative (and fun) salon featuring 2014’s People’s Choice Award winner, Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, and the first female (and first African American) District Attorney of Los Angeles, Jackie Lacey, whose advice can be summed up this way: lose the jerks and your ego, too.

“In my mind, the satisfaction comes from influencing others,” she said before elaborating on why it’s important to eliminate negative forces from our lives. “I got rid of almost all the jerks at the top” she said of shaping her office after being elected in 2012. Her tried-and-true break-up line? “We’ve come to the end of the road.” Lacey’s now focused on shaping how the criminal justice system treats the mentally ill.

Senior Editor Shayna Rose Arnold, Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, D.A. Jackie Lacey
Senior Editor Shayna Rose Arnold, Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, D.A. Jackie Lacey

Photograph by Jeff Drongo

Brinton, the USC scientist who is working to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, offered up the person she looks to for inspiration: Los Angeles magazine’s 2013 People’s Choice Award honoree Dr. Jane Pisano. “She looked around the neighborhood of USC and said, there’s gold there,” said Brinton. “She was the one who created the Good Neighbors policy/strategy at USC. I looked at her and how she was able to be a transformative leader and be happy.” Brinton is looking forward to applying what she’s learned in Alzheimer’s research to understanding Multiple Sclerosis.

After the salon it was on to lunch, where honorees past and present—including Orange Is The New Black star Diane Guerrero, Muslim activist Edina Lekovic, LAPD Sergeant Emada Tingirides, and foster care advocates Yasmine Delawari Johnson and Chanel Boutakidis—joined other extraordinary women in the Sofitel’s ballroom. The group ranged in age from 9 to 70 and had women from fields as diverse as DTLA Development (Adele Yellin), beauty (Dermalogica founder Jane Wurwand), and media (Inside Edition reporter Zoey Tur). Editor-in-Chief Mary Melton heaped a little more praise on the honorees. “Naysayer just is not a word that is in the L.A. woman’s vocabulary,” she said. Boutakidis, this year’s People’s Choice Award winner, took the stage last and urged people to foster and adopt local children in need.

A packed house
A packed house

Photograph by Jeff DRongo

At the champagne reception following the luncheon, Dr. Brinton revealed something that had happened to her at the same event last year: “I just looked out over the sea of extraordinary women and thought, I found my tribe.”