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Thursday, Nov 30, 2023

Valley Talk

Valley of the WHAT? As a sponsor of a recent Ladies Professional Golf Association tournament in Glendale, the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley picked up international publicity for its campaign to promote the Valley. As part of the event title, “Valley of the Stars” was mentioned repeatedly in media coverage as far away as South Korea, where viewers tuned into see that country’s golf sensation, Se Ri Pak. “It was incredible. Everywhere we turned TV, newspapers, radio, Web sites the Valley of the Stars name and logo was all over the place,” said Alliance President Bill Allen. “You just can’t buy that kind of exposure.” One question dogged the three-day event, though. What exactly is the Valley of the Stars? Allen was happy to explain to the world’s media that the “Valley of the Stars” campaign is meant to promote the Valley and its connections to the entertainment industry. Still, you’ve got to figure folks in faraway lands were left scratching their heads. Speaking of Publicity Dave Fleming, an attorney and chairman of the Economic Alliance board, thought it would be fun to play in the pro-am tournament at the recent LPGA tournament, so he plunked down $6,000 to pay for a foursome. Fleming, an avid golfer, got a chance to play with his favorite tour pro, Dottie Pepper, during the pro-am, which as the name implies is an event for professionals and amateurs. To the amusement of his friends with the alliance, Fleming and his group did well enough to win. Fleming picked up a crystal trophy and bragging rights until next year’s tournament. Habla Espanol? Don’t Bother Grupo Gigante, a Mexican supermarket chain, has been in the news a lot lately now that it is moving into the Southern California market, and workers at the company’s Mexico City-based headquarters have been bracing for the media calls. One Business Journal reporter was relieved to find a bilingual receptionist who responded to her clumsily phrased request (in Spanish) to speak to the executive in charge of U.S. operations with a welcome and familiar “I’m sorry, he’s not available now. May I take a message?” But it turns out she wasn’t the only reporter who underestimated the language skills of the Gigante staff. Justo Frias, president of Gigante USA, reported that a journalist from another Los Angeles publication, fearing she would need to conduct her interview in Spanish, asked a Latino co-worker to pinch hit and ask the questions. But, after a minute of listening to that reporter’s bad Spanish, Frias suggested in perfect English that the interview be done in that language. Boss Schmoss It isn’t easy being a whiz kid. Roger S. Bloxberg and Todd J. Helfstein, the principals of Nova Development Corp., a Calabasas software developer, were still full-time students at UCLA when they founded the now 15-year-old company. As a result, they often found themselves juggling their interest in building the business with their class schedule. It wasn’t easy. “We’d be sitting in a meeting that was running late, and we’d realize we had a class starting in five minutes,” said Bloxberg. Wrapping up meetings with clients or vendors proved easy enough. But the real trick was making excuses to their employees. “It was embarrassing to have to tell them we had to leave early to go to class,” Bloxberg said.

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