Economic Summit | March 7, 2017 – Innovation Solutions an Economic and Community Update

SAVE THE DATE a production of Hispanic Lifestyle along with the support of Wells Fargo Bank, City of Menifee and our location host sponsor Mt. San Jacinto College are pleased to present Innovation Solutions an Economic and Community Update.  Our program includes a National & Regional Economic Update, Panel Discussions on Innovative Solutions on Housing and Business.  We have invited community and business leaders for a post-event networking event.

WHAT: Innovative Solutions Economic and Community Update
WHEN: Tuesday, March 7, 2018
WHERE: Mt. San Jacinto College “Menifee Campus”
TIME: 3:00pm – Post Networking Event: 5:30pm
COST: Be Our Guest. You must RSVP at

Mayor, City of Menifee – Neil Winter
Superintendent/President of Mt. San Jacinto College – Roger W. Schultz

3:00 pm – CHECK IN

Mark Vitner, Managing Director and Senior Economist at Wells Fargo. Presentation Topic –  National Scope, Local & Regional Implications

MARK VITNER, Managing Director and Senior Economist at Wells Fargo - BIO

Mark Vitner is a managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo, responsible for tracking U.S. and regional economic trends. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, he also writes for the company’s Monthly Economic Outlook report and the Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary, and he provides regular updates on the housing markets, commercial real estate, regional economies, consumer spending, and issues impacting small business. Mark joined a Wells Fargo predecessor institution in 1993.

Before that, he spent nine years as an economist for Barnett Banks in Jacksonville, Florida. Mark’s commentary has been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and many other publications. Originally from Atlanta, Mark earned a B.B.A. in economics from the University of Georgia and an M.B.A. from the University of North Florida. He has completed further graduate work in economics at the University of Florida. He also completed the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) Advanced Training in Economics program at Carnegie Mellon University. Mark is a member of NABE and is also a member of that group’s inaugural Certified Business Economist class.

Mark is a past president and co-founder of the NABE Charlotte chapter, The Charlotte Economics Club. He serves as a distinguished lecturer and practitioner at the University of Georgia. He is a member of the American Economic Association, the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, and the Western Economic Association. He also chaired the Economic Advisory Council for the California Chamber of Commerce for three years.

He currently serves as the chief economist for the North Carolina chapter of the CCIM Institute, which confers the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation. He is a member of the Blue Chip economic forecasting panel and the Western Blue Chip forecasts panel, and he serves on the Joint Advisory Board of Economists for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Lisa Brandl – Chief Operating Officer, County of Riverside

LISA BRANDL, Chief Operating Officer, the County of Riverside - BIO

Lisa Brandl is the Chief Operating Officer for the County of Riverside. Lisa has over 27 years of experience in local government, working on key public policy issues throughout her career, such as Court Facility Transfers, implementation of the County’s Development Impact Fee and Capital Improvement Programs and the dissolution of Redevelopment. Lisa has worked in various departments in the county, such as Information Services, Auditor-Controller, Executive Office, Regional Park and Open-Space District, and the Economic Development Agency.

Prior to her appointment as Chief Operating Officer, Lisa was the Director of the Purchasing and Fleet Services Department, and functioned as the Board of Supervisor’s Agent. She served as Chair for the Riverside County Employee Campaign, and started the first charitable 5k walk/run to benefit the campaign in Indio. She is the current Chair for the Riverside County Oversight Board of the Successor Agency.

Lisa has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from California State University, San Bernardino, a Master of Public Administration from California Baptist University, and is a Certified Public Procurement Officer.

4:15 pm 

Panel of Nonprofit Community Based Organizations and Storytelling on Innovative Programs: Housing, Small Business, and Workforce Development


  • Melinda Opperman – Chief Relationship Officer,
  • Heidi Marshall – Managing Director Riverside County Economic Development Agency (EDA)
  • Clemente A. Mojica – President and CEO, Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services (NPHS)
  • Gina Gonzalez, MA, – Economic Development Manager City of Menifee

MELINDA OPPERMAN, Chief Relationship Officer, - BIO

Melinda Opperman is the Chief Relationship Officer at, an executive level position, directing the organization’s financial literacy education initiatives, public relations strategies, compliance and quality assurance programs, and its relationship with grant funders, lending institutions, policy makers, auditors, accreditation entities, and the Board of Directors. is a nationwide 501(c)(3) nonprofit, HUD-approved housing counseling intermediary, and  personal financial education and counseling organization. For over four decades, has delivered an array of Financial Literacy, Credit and Debt Management, and Housing Counseling Programs to individuals across the nation, helping 45,000+ people a year.

Melinda has worked in the nonprofit sector for over twenty years, advocating and developing financial literacy programs that truly move the needle, especially among the most disenfranchised in our communities, from cyclical financial instability and crisis management to financial strength and resilience.  Under Melinda’s leadership the organization has received more than a dozen awards in the financial literacy field, including four National Educator of the Year awards (2008, 2012, 2013, and 2014), and being twice honored by the United Way with their Community Initiative Partner Award.  An industry expert, Melinda has been interviewed and quoted over 200 times as an expert source by various print, on-line, radio, and television outlets.

She has been a featured financial expert for the nation’s top media outlets and consumer publications, including: CNNMoney, NPR (National Public Radio), Wall Street Journal, Woman’s Day Magazine, The Economist, Money Magazine, Military Times, and   Melinda developed and launched Mobile Outreach Valuable Education (MOVE) financial education program, serving over 19,000 low- to moderate- income (LMI), minority and historically marginalized individuals, in the first two years of the program. The program typically reach families who are just one paycheck away from losing their apartment, car or home. Melinda was the principal driver of the nationally recognized Financial Instructional Training (FIT) Academy program, a highly accessible, client-friendly distance education learning center (on-line) reaching low-to-moderate income consumers and underserved communities across the United States.

Melinda championed the founding of “Inland Empire Saves” (, after serving as a panelist at the Inland Empire Community Development Forum sponsored by the Community Affairs Offices of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Office of the Comptroller of Currency. Inland Empire Saves is a research-based social marketing campaign to motivate, support, and encourage families to save money and build wealth. She championed the co-founding of “Los Angeles Saves” with the FDIC.

Melinda is committed to advancing public policies and programs that provide first-time and repeat homebuyers with the education and tools necessary to attain and maintain homeownership. Homeownership is a foundational step in growing financial independence, leading to lifelong benefits for individuals and family members of all ages.   Melinda currently provides vision and leadership at the Homeownership Training Office in National City, the second-oldest city in San Diego County. The population in National City is over 60 percent Latino and the median household income is $39,398. The Homeownership Training Office empowers the families in National City to achieve homeownership by providing financial training, personal credit building, budgeting for home acquisition and ownership, and support in accessing programs which assist families to achieve homeownership. When homeownership is a good option, the Homeownership Training Office helps the family understand different mortgage products and their eligibility for down payment assistance so they may choose the product(s) that best fit their needs.

Melinda is the Managing Editor for’s popular “Consumer Guide to Good Credit.” You can read her blog at: Melinda earned her Bachelor of Science in Consumer Economics, graduating with honors from California State University, Northridge. Melinda’s philosophy is: Financial knowledge is power when it comes to your money! Risk occurs when you don’t know what you are doing with your money. 

HEIDI MARSHALL, Managing Director Riverside County Economic Development Agency (EDA) - BIO

Heidi Marshall works for the County of Riverside as Managing Director for the Economic Development Agency (EDA). Since 2000, when her career with the county began, she has served as the Executive Director of the Housing Authority as well as the Workforce Development Board. As the new Managing Director, Ms. Marshall is responsible for the overall management of EDA, which is approximately 22 divisions including:  Communications and Marketing Division, the Office of Film and Television, the Office of Foreign Trade, Facilities Management, Aviation, etc.

Ms. Marshall is a seasoned public administrator who has over twenty years of experience in non-profit and public sector management.

Ms. Marshall holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Science in Public Administration. 

CLEMENTE A. MOJICA, President and CEO, Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services (NPHS) - BIO

Clemente A. Mojica is a social entrepreneur and a community economic development executive with over seventeen years of experience in housing policy, community revitalization, affordable housing development, and has a knack for all things technology. He has leveraged this unique mix of skills to build and manage public and private strategic partnerships that promote the development of sustainable communities and create asset-building opportunities for underserved families and individuals.

Clemente is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer for Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services (NPHS); a multifaceted Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) located in Rancho Cucamonga, California. NPHS focuses its work in five impact areas: Affordable Housing, Neighborhood Revitalization, Community Wealth-Building, Job Creation and Preservation, and Environmental Sustainability. Clemente has worked for three NeighborWorks® America organizations in Southern California throughout his seventeen years of service as a community development professional. From this experience, he has developed a deeper understanding of the needs and priorities for economic growth and affordable housing development, particularly in the Southern California communities of the Inland Empire and Los Angeles and Orange County.

Clemente graduated from the California State University of San Bernardino with a bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in Political Science with a focus on Public Policy. Clemente has resided in the Inland Empire for nearly 30 years and currently lives in the City of Rancho Cucamonga, California.

GINA GONZALEZ, MA, Economic Development Manager City of Menifee - BIO

Gina Gonzalez, MA, Economic Development Manager City of Menifee, Oversee the Operations of the Economic Development Dept and Animal Control, and serve as City Public Information Officer, all under the direction of the City Manager. Responsible for an array of top level city projects and programs including, but not limited to, land acquisitions and conveyances, fire station construction management, police storefront construction management, facility needs assessments, overseeing all city press, marketing, Menifee Matters news guide development and publication, city e-newsletter, economic development e-newsletter, town halls, re-branding efforts, website and citywide community outreach for projects and programs.

Oversee City incentive programs, business expansion and attraction and retention efforts for the City, and anything assigned by the Assistant City Manager or City Manager.

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

  • Post Networking Event featuring Community and Business Leaders

Author: Richard Sandoval

Richard Sandoval has been producing events throughout California since 1994. Mr. Sandoval is producer of Hispanic Lifestyle’s signature events such as the annual Latina Conference, SoCal Business Expo and Conference. He has been recognized by several local, state and federal agencies for his efforts to promote positive images of the Latino community. Mr. Sandoval is also a two (2) time Small Business Administration Award (SBA) Winner. Follow on twitter @RDSHLTV

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