PASADENA, CALIFORNIA – September 7, 2023 – Villa Esperanza Services is pleased to welcome Damon Eastman, Brian Hirrel, and Joseph Lee as the newest members to the Board of Directors, and announce our newly elected Board Chair, Hugo Nuno.
Damon Eastman is a Director and Head of Portfolio Risk Management at Payden & Rygel, a privately-owned institutional asset manager focused on fixed income investments in Downtown Los Angeles. From the northeast, he attended Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts followed by graduate school in Boston University in Brussels, Belgium. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder and an active member in the CFA Society, CFALA chapter. He serves on the Board of Directors for an Irish domiciled mutual fund complex. He and his wife, Margarita live with their three children in La Canada Flintridge.
Brian Hirrel was born in Pasadena and now lives in Topanga Canyon. He attended the USC School of Theater and then later, culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. Brian has been a chef for over a decade and currently owns companies: Dip Dip and Malibu Surf Sauce. He has cooked for several celebrities over the years, and helped start a Pasadena restaurant, Bistro de la Gare. Brian donates his time by auctioning off cooking experiences and teaching cooking classes. He is community minded and in addition to Villa, sits on the boards of the Ayrshire Foundation, the Gamble House Conservancy, and Animal Tracks Inc.
Joseph Lee is the principal attorney at the Law Office of Joseph H. Lee. Joseph is a current Villa parent, and his son Danny attends the Villa School. His experiences with having an autistic son have helped shaped his career path, which has been wide and varied. In addition to being an attorney, Joseph has been a school administrator and teacher and is also an ordained minister, with degrees from Princeton Theological seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary. Joseph is heavily involved in the community as a Board member of Villa, as well as the Pasadena Bar Association, Estate Planning Council of San Gabriel Valley, and Professional Child Development Associates (PCDA).
Newly elected Board Chair, Hugo Nuno, welcomed the members sharing, “We are delighted to have Damon, Brian, and Joseph join Villa’s Board. They bring great knowledge and expertise to the organization. We are grateful to have them supporting Villa and advocating for those that cannot speak for themselves.” Hugo is the Chief Banking Officer of First Foundation Bank and began serving on the Villa Board of Directors five years ago. He is also a Villa family member, and his brother, Senen, has been a part of Villa’s Dimensions Adult Day Program for 16 years. Kelly White, Villa’s Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Hugo has been a fantastic asset to Villa’s Board, bringing years of business experience and a deep appreciation and understanding of Villa’s mission, and we are pleased to have him as our new Board Chair.”
Villa would also like to extend our thanks to previous Board Chair, Peter Vaughn, who led the Board through the COVID-19 pandemic and stayed on an extra year as well. “We are grateful to Peter for his dedication to Villa and his outstanding leadership during an extremely challenging time,” Kelly shared. Villa is looking ahead to a bright future with the completion of Phase 2A of our capital campaign and a bold strategic plan that will strengthen our organization and keep us at the forefront of innovation in developing new programs and services that align with the evolving needs of the intellectually/developmentally disabled community.
Villa Esperanza Services, established in 1961, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing love, care, and hope for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families. We create a transformative environment to empower neurodivergent children, adults, and seniors to reach their fullest potential and lead fulfilling lives. Villa continually looks for ways to innovate new programs, to stay on the cutting edge of the latest learnings and approaches to care.
For children, our services include The Villa School, the Hjelte-Phillips Speech and Language Center, an Occupational Therapy Clinic, and a Behavioral Therapy Center. For adults, we provide “Person-Centered” services, including Adult Day Programs, a Community Integration Program, Employment Services, and our Residential Program, which includes group homes and an Independent Living Skills Program.
At Villa, we are passionate advocates working to forge pathways to a lifetime of independence and hope for people with special needs. We are a unique institution – dedicated to listening to and advocating for those who all too often do not have a voice in our confusing world. To learn more about Villa, visit www.VillaES.org.