Angeleno is pleased to present a selection of extraordinary men who are leaders in their field. These men of distinction are truly accomplished and stand out as some of the best influencers and contributors of our community.
CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL ARTIST & DESIGNER, POP LAND STUDIOS
With prestigious art galleries located in luxury destinations, ranging from Palm Beach, Pacific Palisades, Hamptons to Aspen, Soho, Hong Kong, DC, Boston and major cities in between and a lengthy celebrity list of collectors, pop artist Nelson De La Nuez is kept busy nonstop, often with a wait list.
His sophisticated, yet playful, original mixed media pop artwork is always in demand with the A list, whether it be the billionaire hedge fund crowd or the music and entertainment industry executives and celebrities or the savvy art collector with the keen eye looking to round out an extensive art collection. They appreciate his unique, fun style fitting for luxury homes.
His many luxury brand collections of home decor, travel and fashion over the years have all been branded with his trademark namesake of The King of Pop Art®, after being titled that years ago via media and press; it stuck for his brand.
He has partnered with and been hired for commissions and designs for companies, such as Delta Airlines; you will see many of his pieces in the Delta One & Sky Club lounges around the country, AZUL airlines, Shoedazzle, Hermes, Corum watches, and for countless celebrity and industry executive requests.
De La Nuez has built an empire that sells his art in various formats and price points; online via his site, but also sells extensively to chosen galleries worldwide, interior designers and developers, the hospitality industry for hotels, nightclubs, restaurant decor/design.
“Part of my success is because I realized the need for art at all prices..There is something for everyone.. every stage of collecting my work,” he explains.
“People don’t buy products. They want relationships, stories and magic. That’s where I come in. We all need a little magic.”
OWNER NEWPORT BEACH VINEYARDS & WINERY
“World Domination through Vinification"
Richard Moriarty, resident and owner of Newport Beach Vineyards and Winery has been a central figure and leader amongst Orange County’s event and party planning community. Moriarty parlayed his innate ability to entertain and event plan into a lucrative business. Founded in 1998, Newport Beach Vineyards and Winery quickly filled the void in Orange County through the creation of high quality and locally produced wines, all conveniently set within a majestic event space.
Located on the Newport Beach Back Bay, Moriarty built the 3.5 acre property from the ground up, painstakingly cultivating magnificent horticultural gardens. Frequently featured for it’s architecture and design, the vineyard is the first “grape to glass” winery in Orange County and a hidden gem that has quietly become one of OC’s most sought after event spaces.
As a member of one of Orange County’s most successful families, The Segerstrom Family, Richard Moriarty has a deep understanding and respect for both land and business. For businessmen like Moriarty, once one goal is met another must be set. So, like the days of his lavished parties, Newport Beach Vineyards and Winery will be something that Richard Moriarty will be able to look back on as an imprint that he has left on Orange County and its residents. Moriarty, with wife Marilyn, are now moving on to new projects and developments, which if history has shown, will be something worth talking about and certainly a good time.
PRINCIPAL LAW OFFICE OF JASON T. CONFORTI
“Champion of the underdog”
Jason T. Conforti has built a reputation in Southern California as the go-to for criminal defense needs. Conforti, who has over 10 years of experience in federal court, specializes in federal and white-collar criminal defense for both individuals and businesses. Among his expertise include business compliance matters; administrative, civil and criminal parallel proceedings; debarment issues; and defending actions initiated by regulatory agencies. He’s achieved numerous accolades including being named to the California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists, and was recently selected to serve on the Forbes Business Council.
Through meticulous attention to detail and analysis, Conforti is able to put together a game plan to successfully navigate through the legal minefield his clients are facing. He understands the collateral consequences his business clients must deal with as a result of a federal investigation and implements a strategy to minimize their impact.
Recently, Conforti successfully defended the first federal prosecution involving allegations of selling Bitcoin for cash, the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business and drug trafficking using crypto-currency via the dark web.
Conforti credits his success to both his trial skills and his work ethic. His ability to distill complex factual scenarios down to the simplest terms allow him to effectively educate, persuade and advocate for his clients. He serves as the champion and the voice of his clients, defending and fighting for their life and liberty. When not in the courtroom, Conforti prioritizes family, spending time with his wife (also a successful lawyer!) and two children.
RNC GENTER CAPITAL MANAGEMENT PRESIDENT
“The key to my success is never knowing when to quit.”
Daniel Genter leads RNC Genter Capital Management, an investment management firm which manages money for investors in the domestic and international stock and bond market. Their clients include high net worth individuals, institutional investors such as foundations, endowments and pension plans and also clients from the entertainment industry and professional sports. Genter Capital currently manages approximately $5 billion in assets and has several offices around the country and clients in all 50 states.
When asked about his success, Genter says “I believe that like many others in this country that I am proof that the American dream is alive and well. Building a successful business, having a beautiful and smart woman in my life and a great son, being able to travel the world, race motorcycles and fly airplanes. But most importantly to have been able to touch and be touched by special people in this world that have provided me with a spark and zest for life that has defined me.”
In addition to his business achievements, Genter also is focused on giving back and mentorship. `Through board memberships in such organizations as Fellowship of Christian Athletes, USC Business School, the California Highway Patrol Foundation and the US Olympic Team, I want to be a part of mentoring the next generation of men and women who will lead this country and preserve what made it great.”
11601 Wilshire Boulevard 25th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90025
WRAPEATGO, INC. PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER
“Design, Food + Fashion... it’s all ART!”
Sean Hashemian has built a 24 year career in the interior design industry, focusing on high end residential properties and building his business based on referrals. When the coronavirus pandemic hit, like many Angelenos, Hashemian turned to cooking. After positive feedback from his recipes and cooking videos, what started as a diversion soon became a new business, the catering company “Sex on a Plate”.
Hashemian’s high end design eye helps him provide clients with a customized, full service experience, handling everything from flower arrangements to table settings. His services are exclusive and customized to his clients, able to be utilized for everything from smaller dinner parties to larger endeavors. As Hashemian explains, “Cooking is much of an art form as interior design, as fashion, as architecture … this business has brought all of my worlds together”
What’s up next for Hashemian, who’s always on the go? A new fast casual project, bringing quality food to the masses, “Wrap Eat Go”. Hashemian is currently planning brick and mortar locations in Orange County and Los Angeles, creating yet another opportunity for Angelenos to enjoy his food.
FOUNDERS CALIFINO TEQUILA
“CaliFino was a passion project that’s grown exponentially in the last two years and we’re just trying to enjoy the ride along the way!”
Miguel Luna and Phil Salvagio founded CaliFino Tequila to bring craft luxury tequila to the masses. The men met through professional soccer (Luna was playing for the San Diego Sockers, Phil was owner and coach for the San Diego Sockers) where Luna would share his family tequila in the locker room. Tequila runs in Luna’s blood - his grandfather, Don Jose Luna, would get private batches of tequila from the Highlands of Arandas in Jalisco, Mexico and share them with his family and friends, a tradition he passed down to Miguel.
As the hype around the tequila grew, Luna and Salvagio formed a partnership to launch CaliFino Tequila in October 2018, focusing on the San Diego market. CaliFino Tequila offers four expressions, Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo, all with 100% Ultra Premium Blue Weber Agave. Their tequila is for sipping - no lime and salt! - with craftsmanship and quality included in every step, from aging in American white oak barrels to the bottles designed with attention to detail, including real leather labels and rope made of the leftover agave fibers.
What’s next for Luna and Salvagio? Expanding the brand with continued distribution in Southern California as well as locations around the country, starting a new gelato line that takes the CaliFino recipes and transforms them into frozen desserts and building out a new event space to host private tastings, gatherings and to represent what the CaliFino culture means to us, “smooth sipping and fine experiences.”
San Diego, CA
THE MUSELLA GROUP PRESIDENT & CHIEF STRATEGIST
“We help shape public opinion. Bringing people together to build community and find solutions is at the core of what we do.”
Over the last two decades, John Musella has been at the forefront of the building industry helping to entitle more than 50,000 new homes and over 30 million square feet of commercial space across Los Angeles County, including masterplanned communities Playa Vista, Valencia, Newhall Ranch and Centennial at Tejon Ranch.
Musella is a Los Angeles-based public affairs executive with nearly a quarter century of experience in providing strategic communications, government relations, community relations and CSR counsel for Fortune 500 companies, startups and associations.
He has managed high-profile client regulatory and reputation issues with an emphasis in the land use industry which has resulted in the generation of over 40,000 new jobs and an equal number of construction jobs.
Musella also provides strategic political and communications counsel to C-level executives, developing client’s policy and advocacy agendas, and serving as the lead advocate representing clients before legislative and regulatory agencies.
THE PARISI GROUP FOUNDER/AGENT
“You can’t put a price on good design”
Real Estate Agent Stephen Parisi is the go-to guy for Los Angeles’ entertainment and art elite when looking for unique properties in the Hollywood area. From the Hollywood Hills to the Sunset Strip and beyond, Parisi uses a design-centric and personalized approach to best serve his clientele. Even in this new climate, where Parisi has seen more clients looking for escapes outside the city as well as a larger footprint with pools and backyards to accommodate this new work from home lifestyle, he has shown a knack for finding the right property for the right client.
What sets Parisi apart? He takes a hand-on approach and puts incredible attention to the preparation, staging, and photography of listings. He knows what will make a difference and produce a strong result and has 20+ years of success to back it up. His background and love of architecture and design gives him a unique perspective in finding the perfect fit for his clients. He also is an expert in understanding exactly what his clients want (even when they don’t know it) and finding properties that meet the needs of their lifestyle. Parisi is known for building relationships with his clients and making sure they understand every step of the process, and has built his business primarily on referrals.
For Stephen, the modern approach still comes with a healthy dose of old school…details, relationships and always placing the client first.
LA PEER HOTEL GENERAL MANAGER
“We are constantly innovating, and focused on the singular goal of emerging from the pandemic stronger than we entered into it.”
As the General Manager for La Peer Hotel, Rimedio oversees all operations for the luxury property located just off of Melrose in West Hollywood’s Design District. During coronavirus this year, La Peer Hotel has innovated to create experiences for both neighbors and visitors through a series of pop ups including local businesses displaced by the pandemic. This “Pop Up Bazaar” includes partners like WeHo favorite Olivetta for poolside dining and rooftop “wining”, an Art Studio by James Peter Henry, a fitness camp in the driveway with Dogpound, an outdoor barbershop by Saved by the Barber, and the GBK Brand Bar, a memorable and bespoke retail experience.
When asked about what the past six months have been like, Rimedio says: “Extremely challenging but equally rewarding at the same time. We are constantly innovating, and focused on the singular goal of emerging from the pandemic stronger than we entered into it.” Rimedio prefers to share the spotlight with La Peer’s team. “I am surrounded by such talented and passionate people who inspire me every day. Sounds corny, but it’s true.”
Through all of the innovation and hard work, Rimedio still finds ways to keep things fun. “My favorite movie is Rocky- I love all of the films, and own several pieces of clothing, including the replica Tiger jacket from Rocky II. I’m also a huge Star Wars geek with an extensive display of collector lightsabers hanging on the wall of my office. Needless to say, references to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or the ‘Force’ are a frequent occurrence here at La Peer Hotel.
627 N. La Peer Drive
West Hollywood, CA 90069
SOFITEL LOS ANGELES AT BEVERLY HILLS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF SALES
“Interacting with clients, building relationships, and getting to know people is what drives and motivates me”
Jason Ro is the engine of the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, overseeing everything from the Sofitel’s sales and catering teams, to the property’s PR and marketing efforts. When asked about what makes the Sofitel unique, Ro immediately points to the property’s enviable location right in the center of Los Angeles, walkable to Beverly Hills and West Hollywood hot spots so guests don’t need to rent a car, and only 20-30 minutes whether you want to go to downtown or the beach.
Like the rest of the hospitality industry, Ro and his team had to shift during the coronavirus pandemic. The Sofitel partnered with the neighboring Cedars Sinai Medical Center to provide rooms for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who were working around the clock. Additionally, the property is newly ALLSAFE Certified, which ensures the Sofitel adheres to a stringent set of cleaning standards & operational protocols, considering everything from guest check-in to the elevator ride to room cleaning to provide the safest possible experience for its guests.
Next up for Ro and the Sofitel include the reintroduction of outdoor dining at the lauded Cattle & Claw on the Sofitel’s spacious outdoor patio, as well as continuing to create virtual opportunities to still interact with clients and guests.
8555 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048
STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS DIVERSIFIED INC. PRESIDENT, CEO
“Success is not about money, it’s to be upright and to conduct one’s self honorably in all aspects of life and business.”
Tell us about your business. I established Strategic Investments Diversified Inc. (SID) as a multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Los Angeles, California with offices in Cairo, Egypt and Athens, Greece and an ever-expanding presence throughout EMEA countries. We invest in all sorts of companies from Tech, Real Estate and Automotive customization to Furniture Manufacturing, Commercial Printing and Precious Metals wholesaling. .
What are the keys to your success? I’ve had the opportunity to start many companies in my life, and the unfortunate experience of having to shut some down. Lessons learned from my failures and those of others has always been the driving force behind my relentless pursuit of achieving success in my next business.
How do you stand apart in your industry? Diversification. I approach every new business venture and investment in the same way - careful examination of financials and forecasts, close vetting of my team and the people behind the companies, and a genuine affinity for the business itself. This is what allows me to be directly involved in such a wide array of companies and brands, many of which are at the top of their industry.
What’s next on the horizon? We just created and launched an exciting new app called Wrapdate (ios and android). It’s a messaging and media/document sharing app that was designed to organize and streamline business-to-client communications. All live and archived communications through Wrapdate are fully encrypted, so you can update your clients regarding the process of ongoing projects quickly, efficiently and securely. In addition to reducing unecessarily lengthy phonecalls, the interface allows business owners to easily organize and directly chat with clients and identify individual customers and active projects. You can also provide share-access to an unlimited number of contributing employees/colleagues and can even conceal all sensitive contact information should you wish to do so. Wrapdate will revolutionize the way millions of service-based companies communicate with their clients. Think Attorneys, Concierge Services, Studio Productions, AutoBody Shops, Interior Designers, Wedding and Party Planners, General Contractors and Construction, Commissioned Artists, Property Managers and many others.
What do you want our readers to know about you? That family comes first. No matter how busy I am or who I’m in a meeting with, I will always answer the phone if my parents, wife or children call.
AVIA YACHT PARTNERS 360 MR. JET SUPER YACHTS
“My business is very relationship-based and I love helping my clients learn about jets and yachts so they can make informed decisions about their investment.”
Rolf Smith’s experience and long term relationships with numerous private aviation clients led to his start in the yachting industry, which allows him to bring his experience, talent, and trust he’s earned in the private aviation world to the world of super yacht sales. Rolf is a licensed and bonded super yacht broker under the prestigious firm of Northrop and Johnson. “We’re already changing the way UHNW individuals can combine their passions for luxury travel—on the seas and in the air.” Smith says. “My goal for Avia Yacht Partners 360 is to remove any barriers between my clients and the yachts and planes they want.”
He’s set apart in both the yachting and aviation industries through his relationships. “I have relationships with a diverse base of national and international clientele. My varied background covers the aircraft investment leasing and financing side, the management side and the sales side. And now that I’m currently working on finding the right superyacht for several clients and the right jet for others, I can bring my unique background and approach to an entirely new sector.
What has led to Smith’s success? “It sounds crazy, but I think being humble has been a big key for me. I’m very adaptable, and I have a passion for the business. But I started at the bottom and was blessed getting a head start managing the Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls Royce dealership in Beverly Hills which was owned at the time by Allen Paulson, who was the CEO of Gulfstream Aerospace. I laid down the foundation of trying to do business in a very educated, responsible and transparent way because he showed me how to build my business based on trust and relationships.”
KNEKT.TV OWNER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
“Being kind and doing things for people is generally missing in society right now; the time has come that we need to bring it back.”
Kent is a socially conscious producer who created the KNEKT TV network on Apple TV, Roku and mobile apps, with over 13,000 series, videos and films on the platform he is making it cool to care about social issues and provide viewers with practical tools to improve their lives.
Kent started off in the non-profit space working with amazing clients and partners that are doing things to make the world a better place.
He has a passion for creating socially conscious and mindfulness content and exceeding any technical or financial limitations that these partners and creators have. He has created great client partnerships with hundreds of charitable organizations which got KNEKT onto the radar of NATAS, leading to the 2017- 2019 streaming of the Daytime Emmys. This path led to earning the trust of some of the best in the industry, from Jay Shetty and Shaman Durek, to streaming the 320 Festival with Kevin Lyman and most recently the Kentucky “Derby at home”.
Kent has been very grateful with the pivot in the industry to be able to do cutting edge live events virtually as well as traditional in venue live shows.
There are exciting upcoming live music events, gender & race equality shows, the United Nations 75th Awards, two new series on spirituality and mindfulness launching this fall along with the 50+ other series on KNEKT. This man has over 40 live shows scheduled for the rest of 2020!
“I define a modern man as a conscious man that understands that it’s cool to care about social, environmental and wellness initiatives - and doesn’t need to follow the societal roles that have been present to date.“He speaks up, makes it awkward for people not aligned with a moral compass, and has a lot of fun while living a life where work and play does not have defined boundaries.
TURNKEY BEAUTY INC., VS VINCENZO LTD, INC. VINCENZO SKINCARE LLC
“Creating a world of beauty that enables clients to make the best impression in their professional lives, and during their leisure times.”
Vince Spinnato’s companies TurnKey Beauty Inc., VS Vincenzo Ltd Inc., and Vincenzo Skincare LLC provide product formulation and development for the personal care industry, everything from bath & body to haircare to cosmetics to fine fragrance. “Very simply, I create the best products by using the finest ingredients to help people look and feel their best. Excellence is the ultimate goal in all that I do for my own beauty lines and for my celebrity clientele,” Spinnato says.
To achieve this, Spinnato brought together a group of cosmetic and personal care experts to handle product development, performance testing and manufacturing all under one roof.
His keys to success include his drive to be the best. “I have very high standards in creating products that help people look and feel beautiful. I believe the work, research and time put into creating these brands have helped me build successful businesses and partnerships with celebrities and companies desiring quality signature products.”
After 25 years in development, Spinnato is ready to celebrate the launch of his long-awaited luxury skincare line, Caviar & Diamonds. Once again captivating some of the world’s finest natural materials, this product will set the new standard for skincare for the elite.
Next up, he will be releasing his book, “My Pursuit of Beauty—A Cosmetic Chemist Reveals the Glitz, the Glam and the Batsh*t Crazy of The Beauty Industry”, along with a documentary profiling his life and career coming up through the business. Spinnato recently announced his support to Orange County based charity Wells of Life, provider of clean water wells to Uganda. “As a chemist I am well aware of the toxins hiding in water in third world countries. A portion of my proceeds from my Caviar and Diamonds product line will go to fund a water well for a village in rural Uganda. “While you are nourishing your skin with my fine products, you are simultaneously nourishing a village in need with the gift of clean water.”
EVOLVE BUSINESS STRATEGIES MANAGING PARTNER
“Helping our clients succeed is at the core of everything we do, including the design and launch of a new legal management software for U.S. law firms"
In the relatively short period of time since immigrating to the United States from South Africa, Ivan Volschenk has made a big impact on businesses in greater Los Angeles.
As Managing Partner of his company, Evolve Business Strategies, Volschenk has provided strategic business consulting services as well as playing a key leadership role in reimagining a business non-profit organization and creating a successful financial turnaround in less than 12 months.
As an entrepreneur, Volschenk was the Founder and CEO of one of the most successful legal management software companies in South Africa. Headquartered in Johannesburg, SA, the financial capital of the continent of Africa, Volschenk grew the company to more than 2,500 users at 150 of the top-rated law firms across three Southern African countries.
Today, Volschenk is focusing his business acumen on the launch of a new legal management software for U.S. law firms to support practice management including the firm’s financial accounting. Volschenk plans to capitalize on the enormous success of his last software company in South Africa to create a robust platform in the U.S.
Earlier this year, Volschenk was appointed to be a key member of the Small Business Working Group of LA County’s Economic Resiliency Task Force. Ivan was selected for his business operations and management experience.
Photography by: Philip Macias