A native New Yorker, Barbara began a very exciting advertising and marketing career on Madison Avenue. She founded Responsive Research, Inc. and spent over thirty years as a marketing consultant, conducting focus groups for Fortune 500 companies, including Bank of America, Coca-Cola, American Airlines, Johnson & Johnson, General Motors, General Mills, IBM and 3M to name a few. In 1975, she moved to Los Angeles where she continued to work and raise two children. In 1993, she founded Salon Forum, a non-business venture, to bring women together in her home for monthly events that support personal enrichment and connection. It has grown to include over 800 women.
In March of 2008, Barbara and other women of Salon Forum were inspired by one of its speakers, Gil Garcetti, to start “Wells Bring Hope.” She saw it as an opportunity to “give back” and so decided to devote her full time to saving lives in West Africa. In January of 2009, she was one of six women who went to Niger, a life-changing experience. She began speaking to community groups and schools to inspire others to take up this cause.
Gil Garcetti spent 32 years in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, including eight years until 2000 as Los Angeles County District Attorney. His involvement with bringing safe water to the people of West Africa began in January 2001, when he visited West Africa as the guest of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The most startling fact he learned on this trip: roughly 70% of rural villages do not have access to safe water. He made four subsequent trips to West Africa and from the photographs he took, a book was born: “Water Is Key”. Since 2006, he has worked tirelessly and successfully to raise awareness and funds to drill wells in West Africa. His life goal is to continue to fund wells to save lives with safe water.
Gil is an internationally acclaimed photographer, having published five photo books since 2002. In the Fall of 2007, the UCLA Fowler Museum had an exhibition of his photographs, “Women, Water and Wells.” In 2009, many of these photos were on exhibition in the visitors lobby of the United Nations in New York. In February, 2008, these same photographs and his words inspired the founding of “Wells Bring Hope.”
Larry has over 30 years of senior level executive management and business advisory experience. He currently serves as President of Passage Foods Group, LLC the US Marketing and distribution arm of Passage Foods Pty Ltd of Australia. Additionally, Larry is the founder and CEO of LR Johnson Associates LLC, a specialty products marketing and distribution company. Larry also provides strategic marketing advice and counsel for middle market businesses in food and related industries.
Larry is an active Member of the Rotary Club of Manhattan Beach, and has served in a variety of leadership roles in Rotary International’s District organization in the Los Angeles area. He is active in the local Episcopal Church, where he currently serves as a youth leader. A Louisiana native, he is a graduate of Boston College and also has an MBA from Columbia University.
Maryann is a native Angeleno who returned after growing up in Minneapolis and attending the University of Minnesota, graduating in Occupational Therapy. She worked for California Children’s Services for several years, becoming an Administrative Director before retiring to raise three sons. While mothering, she was active for over twenty years on the Alliance Board of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, serving as president and Dinosaur Ball chairman.
In the early 90’s she started a therapy practice that continued for over 12 years, contracting occupational and physical therapy services to three school districts in Los Angeles. She later continued in private practice, working with children with autistic and Asperger’s Syndrome. A lifelong dream led her to spend a good part of three years living in Paris and learning the language.
Her deep concern for the women and children of Niger began after viewing the Wells Bring Hope video at an event in Barbara’s home. Her heart was captured, so she and friends funded one well and are working on a second one!
Laurie S. Adami began her career in 1982 in the fixed income portfolio management group at the Bank of New England in Boston. In 1984, she relocated to Los Angeles to work for Capital Management Sciences (CMS) a provider of fixed income analytical software.
At CMS, she served in various roles, including manager of client services, sales and marketing. In 1996 Ms. Adami was promoted to Chief Operating Officer of the company. In 1999, when the founder, James Kaplan, retired from CMS, she assumed the role of President. In 2001, CMS merged with Interactive Data and Laurie continued to manage the division.
After twenty four years with the company, she stepped down from her role in September 2008. Since then, she has been involved in fundraising for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and her work with Wells Bring Hope. In addition, she is on the board of directors of Governance Metrics International. Ms. Adami received her undergraduate degree from Colgate University and presently lives in Santa Monica, CA with her husband and son.