Board of Directors & Advisory Members
Founder + CEO, Walk With Sally
Nick has been a resident of Manhattan Beach for 25 years. He came to LA after he attended the American Conservatory Theater and Boise State University to pursue a career in film industry. He has worked as an actor getting his SAG card in 1994 for a stint in 90210 and has filled many production roles in movie and television. Nick created a niche business he has owned for the past 20 years as a broker negotiating deals for major productions shooting on location in LA and throughout the United States. In addition Nick has grown as an entrepreneur in the South Bay and is also passionate about the aging population, having created products and services to enhance quality of life for aging population. In 2006 he co-founded Adia InHome Care and recently started Assisted Preferred, a local information site providing customer support for placement services and quality senior care referrals. Nick was recipient of the Citizen of the Year award from MB Chamber Women in Business 2011 and Daily Breeze finalist for Most Philanthropic 2012.
Founder + Creative Director, Video Director & Still Photographer, Quiet Digital Studio
Michael is a video director and digital media producer for Quiet Digital Studio. Following a short career as an equities analyst in Hong Kong, Michael followed a path of creativity spending two years in New York City attending acting school. This led to his current career in video production, directing and producing over 200 videos for clients like Nissan, Toyota, Monster Energy, Salesforce, HP, Microsoft, and of course Walk With Sally. Michael has been a part of Walk With Sally since its inception. Michael considers it an honor to have been a small part in taking this great “idea” and seeing it blossom into friendships, programs and support for kids and families. As someone who has directly seen the impact that cancer puts on children, Michael is proud of the work Walk With Sally’s mentors, staff and volunteers do in helping kids and families grow and thrive in adversity.
Helmstetter Family Foundation
Christi is a Southern California native and graduate of UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics and a minor in Accounting. The first decade of her career was spent in business consulting and commercial finance. Christi has found the transition to the non-profit sector extremely rewarding as she now manages the Helmstetter Family Foundation which was founded by her philanthropic in laws. Christi’s mother-in-law, Jeaninne, was an inspiring woman who was committed to helping disadvantaged youth and the foundation was one of her proudest accomplishments. Jeaninne passed away from cancer in 2008 and Christi’s work, both with the foundation and Walk With Sally, hopes to continue her legacy of helping less fortunate children. Both of Christi’s parents are cancer survivors and making sure no child faces the cancer journey alone is a mission she is proud to support. Christi met her husband, Erik, at UCLA and the couple has 2 daughters.
Partner with Oder Investment Management
Erik is a partner with Oder Investment Management and has been in the financial services industry for 22 years. He was born in Tokyo, Japan and lived there for 11 years before moving to San Diego. Erik graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Business Specialization. While at UCLA he also played on the golf team. Erik met his wife and fellow board member, Christi, at UCLA and the couple has 2 daughters. Erik is also on the board of directors of the Helmstetter Family Foundation which his parents established to help less fortunate children. Erik’s mother passed away from cancer in 2008 and his father is a cancer survivor, so working with Walk with Sally is something he is very passionate about.
Senior Vice President Business Development, Cross Country Mortgage
After moving to Southern California from Chicago in 2009, Russell fell in love with the South Bay community. He has over 23 years’ experience in the mortgage industry and is currently SVP Business Development Officer for Cross Country Mortgage where his focus is on Sales and Secondary Marketing. Previously he served as an EVP for Bank of Manhattan in California where he launched the mortgage banking platform for the bank. He met Walk With Sally Founder Nick Arquette in 2010 while working at Bank of Manhattan. Once he learned about Walk With Sally he immediately wanted to get involved and helped Bank of Manhattan become one of the main corporate sponsors for Walk With Sally’s annual White Light White Night event. Although there are many worthy charities, Russell feels that Walk With Sally is unique because of its heartwarming mission to help kids who have or have had an immediate family member diagnosed with cancer. He looks forward to working with Walk With Sally and growing the organization nationally.
CEO & Founder, InTeleLabs
After spending 20+ years as a healthcare life science attorney, Erik decided to use his entrepreneurial spirit to start his own telehealth and personalized medicine company, ensuring that high quality, clinical lab testing is accessible from the comfort of home, and empowering patients to take control of their health. Erik was born in Southern California and after attending law school at Villanova in Philadelphia, returned to his roots and now lives in San Diego. Erik and his wife Stacy, are the proud parents of three amazing kids. Erik has been personally touched by cancer as he supported his mother through the journey and can happily say she is a cancer survivor for 15 years. Erik aims to bring his personal and professional experience and network to the WWS Board. The drive to continue to support and put our arms around families affected by cancer, is what drew Erik to take an active role in expanding the reach of Walk With Sally.
Stacy has been in the Pharmaceutical/Biotech industry for 20 years. She was born and raised in Southern California and graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in BioPsychology. Stacy lost both her Grandmother and Grandfather to cancer and her father is a cancer survivor. Stacy was first introduced to Walk with Sally when fellow Board Member Rich Pimentel introduced her and her husband Erik to Nick Arquette at one of the wonderful South Bay fundraising events. It was then that Stacy knew she needed to be involved with such a compassionate and amazing charity. The positive and lasting impact that WWS has on children and their families is what drives Stacy. She is focused on expanding the reach of WWS, so no child is alone during the cancer journey.
Chief Operating Officer, UPI Marketing
A Native New Yorker, Grace has always loved sun, warm weather & the BEACH! So when California came calling 13 years ago, she answered “YES!!!” And, the South Bay became her “home.” Grace loves sports so much she worked for the National Football League for several years ~ developing her strategic planning, marketing and events skills. Taking her Big League experience local, Grace is currently the Chief Operating Officer for Hermosa Beach-based UPI Marketing Inc., a retail sports licensing company specializing in official NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA and MSL products. Having been involved with Walk With Sally for over 10 years, being a part of this community provides Grace with enormous pride. Walk With Sally is not like other organizations that just write checks and then they are done. It’s people connecting with people and actually caring. It brings families with a shared story together so they do not feel alone. For Grace, the S in WWS stands for Sam, her dad. She knows firsthand how incredibly difficult it is watching a parent suffer from cancer and because of that she wants to make sure Walk With Sally is accessible to every child stricken by this deadly disease.
CalPrivate Bank, CFO
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, CalPrivate Bank and has been in the banking and financial services industry for 22 years. He was born and raised in Southern California and graduated from CalPoly Pomona with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Real Estate and Law. He lives in Redondo Beach and has been a resident of the South Bay for ten years. Richard was first introduced to Nick Arquette and Walk With Sally in 2014 and served on the advisory board prior to becoming a board member in 2020. Richard is focused on helping the team grow beyond the South Bay and is enjoys contributing to this unique cause that has a positive lifelong impact on children and their families.
Akerman LLP, Partner
Ellen was born and raised in Chicago, receiving her degree in Business Administration from University of Illinois and from there attending Harvard Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1991 with classmates Barack Obama and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. Ellen is an equity partner at Akerman LLP, where she practices commercial litigation handling large complex cases. Ellen was recently recognized among the Los Angeles Business Journal Leaders of Influence – Litigation & Trial Attorneys. Moving to Hermosa Beach in 2014, Ellen first read about Walk With Sally in the Beach Reporter and couldn’t wait to get involved, initially supporting the cause through donations and attending events such as While Light White Night. Once she qualified after her father passed away from kidney cancer in 2017, Ellen completed the training to volunteer as a Walk With Sally Mentor, first mentoring a 15 year old girl whose mom was battling lung cancer. Ellen currently mentors a 13 year old girl whose father succumbed to cancer 2 years ago. Ellen also previously served on the Advisory Board and has enthusiastically led the Strikes for Sheldon team at the Friendship Bowl for several years. Ellen’s passion for Walk With Sally stems in large part from the close knit community throughout all aspects of the organization, and the unique opportunity to become part of another family during difficult times. She is thrilled to join the Board of Directors and is excited about the prospects for growth and expansion of the organization.