Home Activism Michaela Ivri Mendelsohn Named LA Pride 2018 Grand Marshal Acclaimed Transgender Activist,...

Michaela Ivri Mendelsohn Named LA Pride 2018 Grand Marshal Acclaimed Transgender Activist, Public Speaker, and Restaurateur Awarded CSW’s Top Honor

May 22, WEST HOLLYWOOD – 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 California Workforce 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 inOrange 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.”
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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.