These six citizens enrich the lives of so many, contributing to the community in countless ways with their talent, time and tenacity.
Eric Allaman, Composer
Former Malibu resident, currently in Sonoma County
Words to Live By: One day at a time!
What Makes a Great Leader? Inspiring people to reach their creative goals, because we are all creators of our own lives.
How Working as a Composer Influences My Leadership: When you write music for children, you are in effect teaching them. Like great teachers, you’re leading them on a path with your creativity. Composing music is another form of writing. It’s simply a different language. As in writing, there is an inherent intelligence in communicating through music. Music is profound in the way that it can speak to people of different ages, languages, genders and ethnicities. If done correctly, great music stands the test of time. Composers are storytellers like writers are. We communicate what we are feeling, fearing, learning and experiencing. In that way, we are developing a skillset over time to inspire or move people. The great composers over time have left behind a legacy of their work. My goal is to leave behind a certain amount of music to the best of my ability.
Inspiration: Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Frederic Chopin, Helen Keller, the Pacific Ocean, hummingbirds and Edvard Munch.
Contributions: I have worked with Kim Maselli of the Pacific Festival Ballet over the past 10 years. We have created three ballets in that time: “The Sea Princess” in 2007, “Noah’s Ark” in 2010 and “Camelot” in 2019. What I have loved about working with Kim is that we set out to write three shows that would add to the curriculum of ballets. Dance needs new stories. We specifically wanted to write story-driven dramas that would appeal to families, especially the dads and sons in families, and not just the moms and daughters. I feel we have been quite successful with this goal by witnessing the reactions from the dancers and the audiences during our shows in Thousand Oaks. I also coached Little League in Malibu for eight years, which is no small gig timewise.
Accomplishments: My two sons, Von Essex Allaman and Tristan Leif Allaman.
Rewards: Seeing the reactions of the dancers to our ballets.
R&R: I compose music. It’s something that inspires me and haunts me daily. I surf and ski and have been recently picking up golf, which I’m now convinced that I have no future in.
Future: I currently have three musicals being developed in various stages in Germany. It’s my goal to see them all produced in Europe and then to bring them to the U.S. I also want to see the work Kim and I have done on our three ballets realized in other theaters around the world to help contribute to the art of dance. I am also doing what I can do to help save the planet Earth.
Drew Brahos, Senior Vice President & Senior Portfolio Manager, Montecito Bank & Trust, Wealth Management Division
Word to Live By: Listen to everybody. Read a lot, take in a lot of input and cast a wide net when looking at opinions when developing a view on an issue.
What Makes a Great Leader? A great leader will do whatever it takes when conditions warrant. Great leaders are passionate about what they do. They are great at setting expectations and can assemble outstanding individuals who can eventually work as a team to carry out the mission or missions.
How Working in Finance Influences My Leadership: I enjoy working at Montecito Bank & Trust because the corporate culture puts our clients’ needs first. My goal every day is to be worthy of their trust and to meet and exceed their expectations. My clients have different goals and risk tolerance. Solutions are able to be customized. We have a great team inside and outside of the Wealth Division who can be assembled to help with problem solving.
Inspiration: My life is truly the sum total of wonderful experiences. Most importantly, I have a great family. My career path has taken me from teaching to banking where I have worked as a buy side equities analyst, economist, strategist and portfolio manager. Over the years, I have had an opportunity to teach brilliant, hardworking students, give speeches, appear on radio and television, meet corporate and government leaders and travel throughout the U.S. and overseas. I have also been honored to work with great clients, who are genuine success stories.
Contributions: My efforts over the years have been in support of education. I recently finished several proud and enjoyable years as a member of the Ventura County Community Foundation’s Investment Committee. Over the years I have helped the Admissions office at one of my alma maters, Duke University, with their interviewing process in our area. About 15 years ago, I established the Brahos Lecture series in the Political Science Department at Butler University in memory of my parents. The series not only has a speaker go to the university but asks the speaker to attend a dinner with political science students before the speech and to attend a debriefing breakfast the day after so that student and faculty attendees have an opportunity to continue the dialogue. I have been told that a number of other universities have asked about the format.
Accomplishments: Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Butler University, M.A. in Teaching Mathematics from Duke University, MBA from the University of Notre Dame and further graduate work at the University of Chicago.
Rewards: I enjoy working with clients and helping them solve problems. The best feeling is when my clients years later thank me for my help .
R&R: I enjoy travel, bowling, reading, watching political television shows, being a fan of the Chicago Cubs and Duke University basketball and walking my dog.
Future: I expect the next decade to be spectacular but full of surprises. I want to be ready for the many opportunities that will present themselves. I will make every effort to stay physically fit and current in my work, academic disciplines and popular culture.
Dr. Sir William Dorfman, DDS, FAACD
Century City resident
Words to Live By: There are two ideas that I try to infuse into the brain of young students: Don’t wait for opportunity in life, make them and when you do get an opportunity, don’t take it, master it.
What Makes a Great Leader? To be a great leader, you have to not be a follower and you need to inspire others to become great leaders. Leaders don’t create followers; they create more great leaders.
How Working as a Dentist Influences My Leadership: In my professional environment I try to lead by example. We’ve created an amazing team of assistants, hygienists, front office, back office and we all work in unison to create the most optimal experience that we can for our patients.
Inspiration: My parents. My mother is a three-time cancer survivor and the most tenacious person. My father is a loving, supportive man; he adopted me.
Contributions: To date, I’ve received 18 lifetime achievement awards and last year I was Knighted by the Royal Order of Constantine. Together with a group of dentists called the Crown Council, we helped raise over $42 million for children’s charities. I’ve been involved in philanthropy throughout my career; raising money for foundations is a fulfilling thing. I am also the founder of the LEAP Foundation. Every year during LEAP Week (now in its 12th year), we serve more than 450 students at UCLA, of which 60% come from impoverished families. Very successful business leaders and patient celebrities teach these students the fundamental elements of success that aren’t taught in universities. Throughout the year we also do a weekly “Meet the Mentor” on Instagram and Facebook where we introduce students to business leaders so they can learn about their secrets of success.
Accomplishments: I have two Guinness World Records, the first for making a pledge to shave my head for a children’s charity on the television show “The Doctors.” It raised $121,000 for the LEAP Foundation. The second was making (singer) Katy Perry a $1 million jewel studded grill for her “Dark Horse” music video. It’s the most expensive grill in history.
Rewards: I grew up in a modest family environment. Ever since my kids were born, I have been taking them on humanitarian trips and I help kids who are orphaned, abused and living in impoverished areas with their dental work. That’s the most fulfilling thing—I always tell my kids, he who gives, receives the greatest gift. By having my kids work side-by-side with me, I’ve seen them embrace the notion of giving back.
R&R: I’m an avid fitness fanatic—I work out every day. I’m a big time water skier and snow skier and I travel. You can view my photos @drbilldorfman on Instagram.
Future: To make the world a better place.
Tim Hagel, Chief of Police for the City of Thousand Oaks,Commander Ventura County Sheriff Office
Words to Live By: Every day, find a way to give something to somebody, pay it forward and say “hi” to someone you do not know. A perfect stranger. You don’t know what thoughts are going through their head, they may be bad or destructive thoughts, and your simple smile or spontaneous “hello” brightened them enough to give clarity and prevent a disaster like Borderline. You can potentially change our history with a sincere “hello” and smile.
What Makes a Great Leader? Curiosity, courage and compassion. Curiosity keeps a mind open to new ideas, exploring new ways of thinking while honoring the past but looking over the horizon for the future. Courage is needed in large doses to do positive actions for a unit, organization or community, even if it means making one vulnerable, being criticized, occasionally making mistakes and owning them. Compassion is the sibling to empathy. All leaders and especially police officers, need to possess and use these two core pillars as their ethos in their organization. Without compassion and empathy, a leader is rudderless.
How Working as a Police Chief Influences My Leadership: I get to work with so many other leaders across all facets of our community, from nonprofits, education, faith-based organizations and local businesses. I learn something important and useful from each encounter, every day, and all of these people make me a better person.
Inspiration: I am inspired and grateful for the community that raised me, educated me and nurtured me from infancy to adult. I am a product of their sum and thus inspired that around each corner of my day, good or bad, is an experience to learn from.
Contributions: Leading the greatest team of cops who really care and who want to protect the Conejo Valley with all their heart. On November 7, 2018, 12 friends were taken from me (Borderline Bar & Grill shooting). One was my 30-year police partner and the 11 others I had never met, but they too were friends. I truly believe we are all one in this community. We may look different, speak different languages and walk different, but we are all connected and depend on one another just like a family.
Accomplishments: Being wholehearted in doing my job every day, no matter what the day brings.
Rewards: Being entrusted with the responsibility of being Chief of Police of this incredible community where I grew up.
R&R: I spend as much time in nature as possible. Our open space is an outlet, an equalizer for not only me, but for everyone. I also love reading and writing poetry.
Future: To stay curious in life, to keep growing, learning, exploring and policing with an open mind.
Dr. Rajesh Khanna
Eye Surgeon, Medical Director, Corneal Refractive Surgeon, Khanna Vision Institute
Westlake Village resident
Words to Live By: We have control over our actions and not over the results. We love doing what we do not because of the root of the action.
What Makes a Great Leader? Someone who can inspire the people who are working for them to become better than they are or by helping people to be coached to work smarter and not just harder.
How Working in Ophthalmology Influences My Leadership: Before a person can become a leader, they have to understand people in ophthalmology. I see a lot of patients and my style is a lot of interaction; every patient that comes in is like a teacher to me. Listening to the patient is part of the therapy and how I make a diagnosis. Each one is a story in itself overcoming hardship and survival. As an example, I receive tips on how to inspire my staff and how I can coach them further and help them overcome their weaknesses.
Inspiration: So many people who work hard and go beyond their goals. Innovators like Steve Jobs, famous surgeons who have been there before me, people who excel in their field like Kobe Bryant and people who overcome hardships and adversity.
Contributions: I wrote the book, The Miracle of Pi (Presbyopia Implant) in Eye – Better than Lasik for Patients Over 45. More than 10,000 copies have been sold and more than 40,000 people have read it. It’s for people who can see far, near and middle in each eye. I give back to society by participating in a charity clinic at UCLA for anyone that can’t afford eye care. I am also on the board of the Indian Cultural Society of Conejo Valley and Field Hockey Federation.
Accomplishments: I created the “Keratoconus Treatment” and “Better Vision at Any Age” apps, they are #1 on Google Play.
Rewards: My passion is giving sight to people and preventing people from going blind. I help change their lives.
R&R: Play field hockey, hiking, yoga, swimming, camping and color runs.
Future: To take my philosophy of the way I practice medicine and pass it on. I just brought in another doctor and acquired another office (near the new NFL Stadium in Los Angeles) to bring in more doctors. I want to promote this style of practice where the patient is first, community is second and the doctor is third.
Sanyika the Firestarter
Founder of The Firestarter Nation
Westlake Village resident
Words to Live By: Your voice is the strongest weapon that has ever been created.
What Makes a Great Leader? The same thing that makes a good parent: show up, be humble, realize you’re always learning while you’re on the job, be of service to the mouths you need to feed and you’ll feed yourself, and be highly adaptive to changing environments and circumstances. Above all else, always protect the best interest of those that serve you and they will fight for you until your last day on this Earth.
How Working as a Speaker Influences My Leadership: Because my vision is never solely mine, I always have to operate in highly collaborative environments. The collective vision becomes the vision and a co-created world is a beautiful world.
Inspiration: My mother. She raised four kids on her own.
Contributions: There is a field behind my house and I use it to work out. As adults and kids walk around the track, I use every drop of my time to engage these humans, interact, create community and spread love. I think because of my presence, more people actually go for a walk. I am also involved with the Teddy Bear Campaign to Help End Gun Violence.
Accomplishments: I’ve been on national TV, launched national and global campaigns, worked with some of the biggest leaders on the Earth, and my greatest accomplishment is gratitude. Because there is absolutely nothing on the other side of this moment. For this now moment, we should all be grateful.
Rewards: Providing a platform for youth by giving the opportunity to share their voice. I value people who have opinions and are go getters. If they just need a little push, that’s what the Firestarter does.
R&R: I write music and shoot hoops.
Future: Scaling my social impact campaigns to a global level where telling these powerful stories inspires people to take transformative actions that make themselves better people and the world a better place.