Rikki Mendias, Executive Director & Founder
As Founder, Rikki has been the driving force behind Hav A Sole and has been involved in every aspect of its development. He is responsible for product collection, domestic distribution, national travel, organizing events and developing strategic partnerships within the community.
As a young boy, Rikki, spent over five years in a shelter so he knows what’s it feels like to go without. His mother, who was struggling to make ends meet, couldn’t afford to buy him a pair of much needed shoes. One day, a former resident spoke at the shelter and afterwards, offered to buy him two pairs of new Vans. Rikki never forgot that women’s kindness or the confidence that came from having a fresh pair of sneakers to where to school. However, due to his early deprivation, Rikki later started collecting sneakers in every style, color and brand imaginable. His sneaker obsession continued until his early thirties, when he was a fashion photographer and found his life felt meaningless to him.
One night Rikki, realizing he had more shoes than he needed decided to give some of his collection away. The next day he loaded up the back of his car with shoes and drove the streets of Los Angeles, until he found someone who could benefit from a quality pair of shoes. Afterward, he asked the recipient if he could take a before and after photograph which he posted on social media. Friends all over the country were inspired and offered to send their extra shoes to him as well. Thus, Hav A Sole was born and in ten years we have given out over ten thousand pairs of shoes to shelters, at-risk youth and to those in need.
If you were to ask Rikki today what he has learned from Hav A Sole, he will tell you, “I get more from giving a pair of shoes than I ever did from owning hundreds.”
Dash Penland, Operations Manager
Dash, who learned from a very early age to be of service found the Hav A Sole mission to easily aligned with his core beliefs. As a wardrobe stylist in the entertainment industry, Dash knows how important it is to have a comfortable pair of shoes, but fitting someone who is living on the streets in a new pair is much more rewarding for him. Dash has volunteered his time and services to Hav A Sole since day one. As Operations Manager, Dash plays a key roll in Hav A Sole’s day-to-day activities, however, it’s his warmth that make the people we meet feel so at ease.
Steve Simon, Advisor
Steve Simon, is the founder of Simon Equity Partners, LLC and has been a managing member since January 2007. From February 1997 to December 2006, Mr. Simon served as president and chief executive officer of Melvin Simon & Associates, Inc., a privately-held real estate and investment company. Mr. Simon serves on the board of directors of the Pacers Basketball Corporation, Yes To, Inc. and Coalision, Inc. Mr. Simon is a director for the Herbert Simon Family Foundation and serves on the boards of the following non-profit organizations; Conscious Alliance and HeadCount.
Steve Simon has played a key role in strategically guiding the Hav A Sole mission since its inception in 2014.
Wendy Adamson, Business Development & Marketing
Wendy is a Clinical Marketing Manager for Polaris Teen Center, a facility that provides treatment for adolescents dealing with mental health issues. Wendy brings years of experience to Hav A Sole where she continues to be instrumental in helping guide her son’s vision by implementing marketing strategies, executing outreach and building relationships within the community. Wendy is also a gifted author with numerous articles in the Huffington Post as well her own recent memoir, Mother Load and uses her writing skills to share Hav A Sole’ s message with the public.
Brennan Decker, Director of Digital Strategy
Brennan has 15 years of experience in specialty athletic footwear retail. In his roles he has lead high performing teams as well as designed and implemented digital tools utilizing low cost technology to collect, analyze, and communicate data. His tools have been deployed organizationally to increase productivity, decrease expenses and improve both decision-making speed and accuracy. He has also served as project manager for multiple projects ranging from senior leadership development, rebranding their field talent acquisition team, to developing training tools to impact their diversity and inclusion. As Director of Digital Strategy for Hav A Sole Brennan guides the strategic direction of our Digital touch points ranging for our social media outlets to website as well as the digital resources that are utilized internally.
Cathi Carlton, Board Chair
Cathi began her career as a producer of television commercials in Texas, her home state. She moved to Los Angeles in 1987 and worked for 3 years as staff production manager at PYTKA and fell in love with casting. Cathi Carlton Casting was founded in 1989. During its first 5 years in operation, the casting centered around Cathi’s two great loves – Sports and Real People. CCC has since expanded into a variety of genres, including Comedy, Beauty, and Celebrity – all the while exploring new talent. With a long list of major national campaigns to its credit, CCC leads the commercial casting industry with its keen vision for emerging trends and commitment to the highest standards of professionalism.
Eric Weinberger, Board Co-Chair
In the fall of 2015, Eric Weinberger was named President of Bill Simmons Media Group and an Executive Producer on HBO’s weekly sports and pop culture talk show franchise, Any Given Wednesday. As President and Executive Producer of BSMG, Weinberger oversees all operations, corporate budgets, human resources, the on boarding of over 70 full time staff employees, and the distribution of editorial content created by TheRinger.com, The Ringer Podcast network, scripted and non-scripted projects, short-form digital content and other creative initiatives as part of a first-look deal with HBO. Eric and The Ringer produced the Game of Thrones after show After The Thrones, and are currently in production on an Andre The Giant documentary for HBO. The Ringer and Twitter partnered on a Game of Thrones after show, The Thrones, for summer 2017. Prior to joining the Bill Simmons Media Group, Weinberger was with NFL Network where he served as Coordinating Producer for the launch in 2003 of the network’s nightly show of record, NFL Total Access.
Dana Mason, Treasurer
Dana is a creative and entertainment marketing executive with 20+ years of experience developing and managing integrated marketing campaigns in music and entertainment industries. She has a substantial track record in developing marketing plans, qualitative and quantitative marketing analysis and leading marketing teams to top performance. Dana is currently a Consultant with Marketing Marauder, a boutique artist and brand management consulting agency that offers clients personalized services including but not limited to strategic project planning and execution, sponsorship development and small business solutions. Notable projects/clients:
- Event execution for Project 2050 Agency (NYC) – clients: TARGET, Disney Pictures
- Revised company infrastructure and touring logistics for Lauryn Hill Productions, Inc.
- Management for Indie Hip Hop artist MURS & his record label MURS 316 | Strange Music
Jennifer Jackson, Secretary
Jenny is Co-Leader of the Commercial Litigation Client Service Group at Bryan Cave LLP. Her practice includes class action defense, commercial litigation, and product liability defense. Jenny currently focuses on advising and defending leading financial institutions against individual and class claims for violation of federal and state lending laws and violation of the violation of the Commodity Exchange Act, mortgage servicing claims, elder abuse and personal injury claims, and consumer protection and unfair competition claims. She has represented a wide variety of clients, including mortgage lenders, banks, residential developers, aircraft and automobile manufacturers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, consumer product manufacturers, retail chains, and insurance companies. Her trial experience includes both bench and jury trials involving such issues as non-compete agreements, residential sales contracts, and construction and insurance disputes.
Alana Weinroth, Board Member
Alana is a Development Officer at Covenant House California, where she supports fundraising efforts and manages the Board for Young Professionals, Sleep Out movement, and events. She has served on the team and been an LA resident for the past 2 years. Prior to her time here, she worked on the Development team at Covenant House International in New York, supporting fundraising for all Covenant House sites nationally. She first got introduced to Covenant House as a Board member while working a job in financial services. After 2 years as a board member, she felt great conviction to quit her job in finance and dedicate her life to serving at-risk, homeless youth. Best decision she ever made. She attended Saint Mary’s College in California and got a degree in Social Justice. She is from the Bay Area, where her family still resides. In her free time she enjoy taking and teaching yoga, going for hikes, and traveling to new places.
Camille Boothe, Board Member
Camille Boothe is passionate about people, so it comes as no surprise she works in a career where she helps organizations attract, retain, develop and support the potential of their people!
With over 20 years of HR/People experience supporting Brands like IMAX, Ralph Lauren, Lululemon and more recently as Head of People and Culture at Uninterrupted, Camille has found not only a new home in Los Angeles but also a new purpose in being of service to her community through charitable giving and worthy causes like the Hav A Sole organization. Originally from Jamaica and very humble beginnings, Camille understands the difference a new pair of shoes, socks or even just a conversation can make in a homeless person’s life, as they deal with the many challenges each day can bring.
Ed Barnett, Board Member
Edward is co-founder of PCF Restaurant Management, and owner of Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar in Los Angeles. Edward and his business partner, Karim Webb, were named 2014 California Small Business of the Year, after creating a successful model for opening inner-city restaurants. Their Baldwin Hills location—1 of 3 they own—has had the highest year-over-year growth of any Buffalo Wild Wings location in the country and is still growing. Many businesses shy away from moving into inner-city areas like South Central Los Angeles due to concerns about market viability, vandalism and gangs, but when Ed and Karim were looking for a location for their Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar franchise, they realized it didn’t make sense to look anywhere else.
Gregory Butler, Board Member
Gregory is a leader with experience implementing innovative solutions and double-digit annual growth for tech companies related to consumer and entertainment products. He is currently Global Managing Director for Whole World Band, which develops video applications that enable users worldwide to collaborate via video online. There, Gregory has created and managed a multinational organizational structure, secured several million dollars in financing, established negotiated partnerships with multiple artists and their representatives, and spearheaded the marketing and product strategies. In his career, he led the first music-centered campaign for Movember, which reached an audience of over 10 million and resulted in a multiyear contract, and developed strategic partnerships with Ryan Seacrest Productions and Atlantic Records to create TV formats and provide second screen solutions.