“Community Reinvestment in Today’s Economy” | RISE Power Luncheon 2017

Dear RISE Partners and Friends:

On behalf of the Board of Directors of RISE Financial Pathways (formerly Los Angeles Community Reinvestment Committee d.b.a. Community Financial Resource Center), I cordially invite you to join us at Power Luncheon 2017, celebrating 24 Years of Community Reinvestment!

This year’s theme is “Community Reinvestment in Today’s Economy”

The Power Luncheon 2017 details are:


Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Time: Reception & Silent Auction 11:00 am-12:00 pm
Luncheon & Program 12:00 pm-2:00 pm
Location: The City Club (please note new 2017 location!)
555 South Flower Street, 51st Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Purchase Tickets Here!

In support of our community reinvestment efforts, we invite and encourage you to purchase one or more event sponsorships, and share this information with colleagues, to help us increase the awareness and support of community reinvestment. The sponsorship levels are describe on the attached reservation form. You may also purchase sponsorships and individual tickets through this link. All sponsorships purchased at the Investor level and above will be listed as a part of the Power Luncheon Committee. We also welcome donations for the silent auction event, which is held during the reception hour.

Our entire RISE family graciously applauds all of our clients, funders, volunteers and friends for helping to make 2016 an amazing year, and we look forward to your partnership for a great 2017! We value your support and generosity, and look forward to you joining us at Power Luncheon 2017 – see you at The City Club! To discuss any portion of this letter or for additional information, please contact Forescee Hogan-Rowles at (323) 233-1900 or Forescee@risela.org.

With Warmest Regards,

Forescee Hogan-Rowles

CEO & President


Money Mastermind Network Event


Money Mastermind Network of Los Angeles

Join real-world experts for an afternoon of masterful financial mapping and strategic planning.

Start 2017 on a positive note by attending one of the most important networking events for new entrepreneurs, investors, and growing families about money & finances.

The popular Financial Mastermind Network of Los Angeles wraps up this year with a comprehensive day of discussions from today’s financial experts on critical areas of personal finance and wealth creation. Our key speakers guide you through a strategic plan that targets your personal financial goals.

This will be a powerful experience for all in attendance.


Expect to gain insights about

  • Investment Options
  • Protection Solutions
  • Real Estate
  • Budgeting Secrets
  • Retirement & College Funds
  • Debt Reduction
  • Establishing & Rebuilding Credit
  • Home-ownership & more

Private parking available in rear | Light appetizers and beverage served

Hosted by HOPE Financial Solutions and Geyen + del Campo Small Business Curators™

Proudly sponsored by RISE Financial Pathways, a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)

Processed with VSCO with c4 preset

For the Entrepreneur, Emotion is the Difference between Success and Failure

by Hassan del Campo of Micro Business Monday™

Every day we are thrown in a perpetual whirlwind of emotions from experiences past. How you (subconsciously) decide to interact with the world begins with the memory of how you felt in a particular experience. And anytime you recall this memory it can set a precedence for how you make future decisions.

People in general are optimistic. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t take flights on planes. We wouldn’t drive our cars or smoke cigarettes. Optimistic bias tells us that we tend to believe that the odds will sway in our favor, even when history tells us differently. Experts place the failure rate of startups around 90%. For every example of a successful business you can find, there are several others that never made it – and further, the many more ideas that predate them, that live and die in the minds of their owners.

If I was completely rational I wouldn’t have started a cafe. While there aren’t any official reports, the rate of success is fairly bleak – and should have discouraged the lenders, landlords, my business partners, and I from even making the attempt as beginning restaurateurs. We shut down after one and half years. Yet, we still made the leap, in faith, with eyes completely open, confident that our Haitian burritos, Mango Magic smoothies, and worldly-inspired decor would make us a hip, foodie destination in the cozy neighborhood of Hermon. Our over-confidence led to underestimating the process. And that’s where many entrepreneurs fail.

Thinking back, I remember expressing concern to my business partners that we weren’t ready. But, I bought into the narrative that we could “make it work” and so we collectively decided that our optimism would guide us to profitability. At that moment rationality was traded for emotion, and thus became the primer of how we made decisions moving forward.

In entrepreneurship, optimism can create a false sense of security that encourages one to commit to a culture of ignorance about their business.

Optimism is what drives people to not work on a business plan, not spend enough time learning about their business, and make irrational, progress-killing decisions, that end in a failed business and a jaded entrepreneur. If you don’t have an unwavering sense of urgency about your startup, that keeps you up night after night, you might be too optimistic and dismissing real challenges that separate you from success and failure. Being cognizant of our propensity to view the world through rose-colored glasses is the first step in making purposeful, sound decisions that inch us closer to our goals. A sense of urgency is our minds communicating to our bodies that we’re thinking rationally.

Part of the reason optimism is so effective is that it’s painless, literally. When you understand this, you might come to the conclusion that most startups aren’t initiated by super zealous risk-takers, but rather those who haven’t experienced the gift of defeat.

When my business partners and I closed our cafe, only two of us decided to try another business – nearly immediately after we dissolved the partnership. The remaining partners were so jaded from the experience that they went back to their desk jobs; promising to never upset their spouses again by “playing with the family’s finances”. We had felt the Pain of failing a business.The prospect of launching a successful business now had to be considered more carefully. The Pain forced us to input reason into our emotional decision-making. This relates to why one of my favorite Shark Tank sound bytes, “you gotta have skin in the game”, is completely necessary.

You need to have something to lose for something to gain.

Reduce the risk of emotional decision-making in your business by simply investing in your business. If your mindset, for example, is to use as little of your own money to start your business, you might be projecting your own insecurities with regards to your ability to run that business.

Take ownership of the process, not just the idea. The idea helps us envision the future of our business. The process is what will take us there. Condition your mind to be critical of your business, so that you are constantly analyzing your business and developing strategies to crush your competition. As you go through this process, you will realize a genuine confidence, that is rooted in a history of overcoming obstacles and learning. This is why confidence trumps optimism, every time.

They say the rational mind is not good at being rational, but rather good at rationalizing what the emotional mind has already decided.

Here is a simple exercise you can use to make a more rational decision while confronting a  problem:

  • Identify the problem
  • Make a list of possible solutions
  • Consider the real consequences, both good and bad, of each possible solution
  • Weigh the good consequences. Do they outweigh the bad? Do they bring you closer to your goal?
  • Make a decision and act


Processed with VSCO with c4 preset

B2B: Your Best Customer is a Successful Business

by Hassan del Campo of Micro Business Monday™

Business-to-business (B2B): only approach businesses that are profitable. Businesses that are not performing cannot necessarily be assisted by your service or product (there are some exceptions, such as a business consultant who specializes in generating profits for other businesses).

Consider for a moment that business is largely psychological. In the world of business-to-business you aren’t dealing with “entities” or robots. You are engaging people. People have emotions that trigger predictably irrational decision-making. The good news is we all do this. During my career as a nonprofit professional I worked for one organization that was nearing the end of its cycle. Out of desperation to keep doors open and payroll current, we pursued funding disguised as proverbial life-jackets. We abandoned our strategic plan (actually, we never used one) and acted out of fear. We were so jaded from the stress of salvaging the organization that we wouldn’t have seen a window of opportunity if a bird flew through it.

You need to work with a business (owner) that has the resources, time, and desire to commit to growth and looks forward to utilizing your service or product to advance their bottom line. Let businesses that aren’t ready to use your service, but that you desire as a client, know that you have interest in working with them when it makes sense (pun unintended).

Find commonality with your prospects. Instead of highlighting your differences; why your business stands out from the competition – you need to find commonality. Saying we’re the best because we do X and nobody does it , and you should hire us because you don’t understand X…just alienates you from and the other person. Deepen the connection by establishing a relationship built on trust. Show you’ve been in their shoes and give yourself permission to highlight your vulnerabilities as opportunities for strength and change.

LinkedIn is an essential tool for nurturing b2b relationships. Consider your audience and give special attention to the opening summary. Here are some tips we ran across.

If the success of your business is dependent on other businesses (as customers) then it makes sense that your best customer would be a successful business.

Businesses that are struggling indicate a mechanical issue that should be resolved by the business and the owner(s) before they consider taking on and paying for additional obligations. The premise is not to be critical of businesses that aren’t producing profit. The idea is to identify your “best-fitting” customers and discern from those that in this moment in time have not reached a stage appropriate for what you have to offer. You can revisit these businesses later after they have made some adjustments. Remember, it is a two-way street. Ideally, the interaction should be rewarding and enjoyable for both parties involved. And, if you have the dedication and some particular personal interest in the business, you can always offer to get involved in a more profound way.


Processed with VSCO with c4 preset

You Need to give customers an experience, not customer service

by Hassan del Campo of Micro Business Monday™

To deepen the understanding of this term, first swap the term customer service for customer experience. What type of experience do you want your customers to have? It is important to think of interactions in this way, for the simple fact experiences, whether good, bad, or neutral, can linger for quite some time. In fact, we all use these previous impressions for all future decisions, judgement, and choice.

Every time you interact with your customer, you create an experience of varying intensity for that person that can be an extension of an old experience. Consider that the customer may channel past experiences in order to make a decision. While we can’t step into the minds of our customers to understand how to approach, there may be clues – shared experiences that  are essential to understanding how to effectively serveour customer.

While developing a strategic marketing plan for a client with a growing plumbing business I had to consider common misconceptions of plumbers and experiences the average customer may have likely had. Like the popular image of the “sleazy car salesperson”, there may exist an equally negative connotation to challenge before winning over a customer. Remember, even a neutral position on a product or service is enough to turn away a potential sale. This can be especially true when you offer something truly unfamiliar to that customer.

In 2014 I, along with two business partners, launched a social enterprise cafe. As you know, running a customer service-intensive business such as a restaurant, one in which the customer receives several “touches” from the business, requires an understanding of how to best frame that interaction.

Activity extends the experience.

I recall one day one of our regular customers came in on a particularly busy day. We were running a waffle-themed fundraiser for a local charity and I happened to be working the register at the time. Because we hadn’t discussed a system for handling orders along with the special fundraiser requests, I unfortunately forgot to put in the customer’s order. Several minutes later he reappeared asking for the status of his salad and almond milk latte. My face turned red and my chin dropped; “I’m truly sorry sir. I must’ve forgot to put your order in.” After he chewed into me with a verbal insult he left the cafe empty-handed and hungry. I offered a free meal on the house and apologized several times over, but the damage was done. I just created a very negative experience for him that day, which led to a scathing email sent to my partners about my performance.

It was embarrassing. I let my team down. I thought to myself, “Well, I guess I just caused us to lose a very good customer.” In my mind that experience was a lost cause. There was clearly nothing I could do to resolve what I had caused, or so I thought.

Looking back, I had used my negative association of that experience as an excuse to stop trying to reach out to that customer. Subsequently, the customer returned and I did my best to avoid him. Why? What I didn’t realize then that I realize now is that experience between myself and the customer was not left at the counter. In fact, it picked up where it began every time the customer walked through our doors. And each moment, each latte purchase signaled an opportunity to change the direction of that narrative to a positive ending.

Have you ever found yourself not putting as much effort to acquire a certain customer or client over another?

As business owners we must think ourselves the co-authors of our customers’ experiences. We have the ability to mold the experience so as long we can reach that customer.

If you’re seeking a guide on developing a system for great customer experiences (and what to do when things don’t go right), I highly recommend Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Customer Service. It’s an easy, short read. Don’t make the mistake of believing you’ve got customer service all figured out because you think it’s “common sense”. There is always something to be learned.

/customer service.

Processed with VSCO with c4 preset

Networking is the Art of Being Yourself in a Crowd

by Hassan del Campo of Micro Business Monday™

In its simplest form, networking is the ongoing process of nurturing relationships with people to advance a certain objective from a place of common interest. As an entrepreneur – as an agent of change – networking can be one of your most effective skills to cultivate. Why?

Relationships are essential. And in many ways who can vouch for you is a reflection of who you are as a person. The following are just five objectives (however, there are more) every entrepreneur should satisfy through their network:

  1. Build and protect your reputation
  2. Create strong connections…advocates
  3. Demonstrate your value
  4. Develop a support group
  5. Broaden your brand

In order to keep your networking effective and genuine you should first accept that every connection you make may not necessarily lead to a new job, a lucrative business deal, or any other self-interest. Here, the adage “the more you give, the more you receive” or any other variation thereof holds true. Networking gives others the opportunity to validate your worth and your work. A strong network is one in which the people within it advocate for you, especially when you need them the most. When you tap into your network you activate the power of relationships. Whether seeking a strong referral after a sudden job loss or establishing your business in a new market, with whom you shake hands and exchange smiles could be your ultimate asset. And in this digital age where long-lasting relationships can spark from a clever hashtag or a thoughtful Facebook post, we must be even more cognizant of the different ways these social interactions take place and learn how best to exploit them.

Need to grow your network? Start with LinkedIn, Meetups, and “small talk”

If there aren’t any organized groups available in your area you always have the option of creating one yourself. A co-working space, a neighborhood coffee shop (you should communicate with the owner beforehand), a shared community space, a living room – nearly any space can be formatted for hosting a networking group. If identifying a location is a challenge, online gatherings organized through a Facebook group can be just as effective.

Predictably, life happens unpredictably. It’s a wicked paradox that we must all observe and yet makes the perfect case for being seen and heard. At its core, networking reminds us of the value of relationships in every facet of life.