Anyone entering the West Coast Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center first saw the imposing banners featuring the two forces behind the event–Natalie Cole (CEO) and David Miller (COO)–hanging overhead observing the goings-on like watchful parents. Then they took in the panorama of the event–aisles of vendors and sponsors on each side–on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
For those seeking celebrities, there were motivational speaker Les Brown, news anchors Chris Schauble, Wendy Burch from KTLA and Christine Devine from Fox 11; reporters Beverly White from NBC 4, Michaela Pereira from KTLA and Courtney Jones from Fox Sports West; singer Abraham McDonald; rappers Dom Kennedy and Jim Gittum; actor Darrin Henson; choirs, the Ranger$ and COGIC.
For those politician-watchers, there were Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, state Senator Curren Price and Chairman of the State Board of Equalization Jerome Horton, not to mention Assembly members Warren Furutani and Isadore Hall III.
Sponsors included AT&T, Verizon, Wells Fargo, AEG Live, USBank, the Kidney Care Institute, Walmart, Bank of America, Farmers Insurance, Southern California Edison, HSBC, Union Bank, SoCalGas, Los Angeles World Airports, Time Warner Cable, I Start Monday and others.
In short, there was something for everyone.
Unbelievably, several of the more than 300 persons attending the Job Fair in one of the upstairs meeting rooms were surprised to know that that event was part of the Expo. They were simply looking for work. Job Fair panelists included Valerie D. W. Rowe, Tonya L. Haynes, Erick Saenz, Michelle James and Keuame Don. On the other hand, there were workshops assisting in such areas as resume preparation, interviewing techniques, creative ways to search for employment using social media and others.
The workshop presenters were too numerous to name, but they came from many phases of life–business, banking, technology, real estate, health, law, religion and other areas.
And those who wanted to learn new ways to prepare delicious snacks and other items, were treated to entertaining and simple food demonstrations by Chef Barbie, who during one session of The Tasting Spot even got a little help from ex-NFL player Greg Bell.
Major hits included the fashion show, concerts by rapper Dom Kennedy, singer Abraham McDonald and the Ranger$ and COGIC choirs.
Vendors sold everything from books to jewelry, from Costco memberships to clothing, from plumbing services to funeral plots.
Unquestionably, the Expo ran into competition from several other events, which affected attendance. But for a first time out, it made a strong impression.