Christopher Street West (CSW), the 501(c)3 non-profit that produces the annual LA Pride Festival and Parade, is proud to announce Michaela Ivri Mendelsohn as the 2018 LA Pride Parade Grand Marshal on Sunday, June 10. Mendelsohn, CEO of Pollo West Group and Founder of TransCanWork, now sits among a number of respected LGBTQ+ activists and community leaders who have received CSW’s most prestigious honor.
“We are thrilled to have Michaela Mendelsohn – a long-time activist and respected trans woman in business today – as this year’s LA Pride Parade Grand Marshal,” said Estevan Montemayor, CSW Board President. “Michaela has been a strong LGBTQ+ advocate, especially by working to boost the hiring and inclusion of trans people in the workplace. She embodies the spirit of our #JUSTBE campaign and is the perfect person to lead this year’s LA Pride Parade.”
As the founder of TransCanWork – a program promoting trans inclusivity in the workplace that both provides resources to transgender job seekers and trains the businesses that hire them – Mendelsohn has leveraged her success and know-how as a seasoned entrepreneur to help the trans community succeed and thrive in today’s ever-evolving business world.
“LA Pride has cultivated a rich, 48-year-old history as a bold and provocative voice for the LGBTQ+ community across Los Angeles County,” said Mendelsohn. “I am excited, and deeply honored, to be named the 2018 LA Pride Parade Grand Marshal – especially in a year when self-expression, female empowerment, and trans inclusivity is at the very heart of this year’s #JUSTBE message. I am so proud to#JUSTBE at LA Pride this year!”
She also serves as the CEO of Pollo West Corp, one of the largest franchises for El Pollo Loco restaurants in the U.S. Western Region. Her unwavering dedication to diversity and inclusion in the workplace recently awarded her the 2018 Face of Diversity Award at the National Restaurant Association Public Affairs Conference.
Mendelsohn was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti to serve on the CaliforniaWorkforce Development Board, was the first transgender contestant in the Ms. Senior California Pageant, and worked extensively as a consultant with Jenji Kohan on the development of Laverne Cox’s character in Orange is the New Black.
Mendelsohn also stays busy speaking around the country about issues facing the LGBTQ+ community as well as the need for increased trans awareness and visibility in the workplace – and society as a whole. She also serves as Vice Chair for the Trevor Project, whose mission is to stop suicide among LGBTQ+ youth. She is the first transgender woman to serve on its Board.
Said Bernard Acoca, President and CEO of El Pollo Loco: “On behalf of the El Pollo Loco family, we are proud of Michaela and her accomplishments within the LGBTQ+ community. Diversity and inclusion are at the core of our Company’s ethos, and Michaela has made significant strides to ensure that these values are reflected within the El Pollo Loco system.”