Leadership

At Alpert Barr & Grant we celebrate great leadership and leaders. Please check out our ever-changing stories of leaders from many countries and various walks of life who have each accomplished great things – both small and large while demonstrating the qualities of leaders who found solutions.

 

We welcome your suggestions to highlight additional leaders and great leadership stories. Feel free to send us your ideas at law@alpertbarr.com.

 

Leadership is a process through which a person influences and motivates others to get involved in accomplishment of a particular task. This single definition, although universally accepted, fails to define the particular paths and ways of people who are deemed as great leaders. All great leaders had something unique about them and yet they were bound by greatness that helped them to lead masses to innovation and new ideologies.

Education, Leadership and Paying It Forward

Alex Martin Chaves learned the value of a college education early in life.  Although born to parents that had worked in a family owned business their entire lives and not had the opportunity to attend college, his parents taught Alex the value of hard work, good ethics and morals and the significance of a good education.  In 1967, his father, Alex Sr., started Parking Company of America, a parking service company with only one client. Today, PCAM, over fifty years later, that venture has grown into an exceedingly well-respected industry leader providing a myriad of services including parking management, transportation and shuttle services, valet, hospitality, and airport parking  for a multiplicity of businesses,  including health care, hotels, businesses, country clubs and beyond.  With facilities, now, in five states and over 1400 employees, PCAM is one of the few minority owned and operated companies in this industry.  A true family business where Alex, his parents and siblings are all actively involved in the company’s operations and now in its successes.

 

Having been involved with PCAM since his teenage years, one could surmise that Alex grew up within the industry, and therefore possesses unrivaled insight, exposure and familiarity with its operations and management.  However, in speaking with Alex, he is quick to point out that the strides he has made with the company would not likely have been possible without his parents’ support and his Mother’s prodding hard to complete his education for his sake and that of the business.

 

As a first generation college graduate, Alex earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University (LMU).  He humbly attributes a good portion of his success to the training and education he received in college, and often refers to this as a cornerstone of who he is and what he has accomplished both personally and professionally.  Recognizing the impact the college experience has made in his life, Alex has been actively involved in the LMU community and the LMU Board of Trustees, and continually seeks ways of giving back.  In particular, he has found his involvement with the school’s scholarship board to be a fulfilling experience, as he is not only able to help encourage and enable others to complete their education, but also give back to the community that has been so good to him, his family and their business.

 

As a businessman, Alex has been a guiding force behind PCAM since the late 1980’s, when as its Chief Executive, his vision and foresight helped steer the company into exponential growth, doubling the company’s size in only three short years. His phenomenal success in business was recognized by the members of the Young President’s Organization (YPO), which eventually welcomed him into their group of young, promising and high achieving business leaders. Alex’s involvement in YPO allowed him to interact with other young leaders, who enthusiastically impart valuable knowledge, skills and insight to all the members of the organization. The mentoring Alex received from other senior YPO members was invaluable and undoubtedly helped open more opportunities for both him and PCAM.

 

Outside of business, Alex has also been actively involved with a variety of community and charitable organizations including the East Los Angeles YMCA, for which he served as a Board Member, Para Los Niños, an organization that seeks to close the achievement gap for children in poverty, and many other community-based and religious charities.

 

When asked what comes next for him, Alex mentions that he looks forward to getting more involved with an organization called Smile Train, which helps provide children born with cleft lip and palate with the proper aid and care to enable them to grow up and lead better lives. Alex recognizes that he has been so blessed by kindness of others throughout his life, and working with Smile Trains is one of the ways he can pay it forward. He believes that children just need to be given a fair chance to thrive, and there is no limit to what they can achieve.

 

If Alex could share some advice to someone just starting out in life or in business, it would be to take time to listen, to develop personal relationships and to not sweat the small stuff. In his experience, most people define leadership as running the conversation, however in doing so, one might fail to listen to other points of view and overlook important parts of the argument. As a leader, if you take a moment to step back, listen and digest what others are trying to communicate, you would be better equipped to respond and move the conversation forward. Additionally, in this day and age of impersonal emails, text messages and remote faceless relationships, Alex has found that cultivating personal relationships with peers, clients and vendors can go a long way. Making that extra effort to personally introduce yourself, and to make that connection, could set the tone for a long and productive business relationship. Furthermore, a good leader recognizes that everyone has something to offer, and it is up to that leader to tap into that strength to utilize it for the greatest good. Finally, a leader must somehow manage to strike the right balance in life and in business and recognize that they cannot control everything.   After years in the business, Alex has come to find that things have a way of working themselves out, and you don’t have to fix everything.   One should try to take some time to sit back and realize that the world will not come to an end if you decide to take some time off to spend time with your family, or watch your son or daughter in that school play or sports game, or do other things that you love.

 

Alex Martin Chaves is a business leader who was fortunate to be the recipient of so many great opportunities throughout his career. By capitalizing on those opportunities, he helped steer PCAM into what it is today, a successful industry leader with a reputation for excellence. Alex is a hard-working, focused and conscientious leader who recognizes that he is where he is today partly because of the kindness of others, and so he is doing all he can to pay it forward.   He is truly an inspiring leader!



Unexpected Path to Leadership

As children we gleefully declare, “I want to be a policeman,” or “I’m going to be a doctor,” or perhaps, “I want to be President of the United States.” Some people are fortunate to know exactly who and what they want to become at a young age. Many of them are even luckier to live out to their aspirations, but there seems to be a greater number of us who have to invest a little more time in determining our life’s paths.

 

Jeffrey Glassman intended to study chemical engineering at UC Berkeley but found that it was not a good fit, and left school after only 6 weeks. He followed his instincts, took a step back and found work at the local Fedco which allowed him some time to consider his options. Not long after, he began attending UCLA where he earned a degree in Political Science and, with some prodding from friends, continued to Loyola Law School. Although he did not plan on becoming a lawyer, Jeffrey had a natural knack for it and graduated magna cum laude. After passing the Bar, he went on to work for a number of notable law firms where he rose through the ranks and earned the position of partner, specializing in estate planning, probate and trust administration.

 

Through the course of his practice, Jeffrey was exposed to and worked closely with many affluent individuals, company executives and important decision-makers. It was during this time that he recognized the need for trustworthy, reliable and efficient wealth management. In 2003, in addition to serving as Attorney-of-Counsel at Bingham McCutchen, Jeffrey was tasked with starting the Los Angeles office of Bingham Legg Advisers LLC, the law firm’s wealth management arm. He performed very well in the new capacity and enjoyed his new role so much that several years later, when the money management firm was sold to another company, Jeffrey and a partner purchased the Los Angeles office and merged it into Covington Capital Management, a wealth management firm created by several former U.S. Trust employees. Today, Covington Capital Management employs 20 employees and manages over 2 billion dollars in investments.

 

Jeffrey’s career progressed and evolved naturally, and the same is true about his community involvement. His exposure to clients like former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and the late Hollywood producer Hal Wallis, undoubtedly leaders and heavyweights in their respective fields, inspired Jeffrey to become more actively involved in the community through their strong philanthropic inclination and commitment. Now, both Jeffrey and his wife, Cecilia, are pillars of the community, tirelessly giving of their time, energy and resources to many deserving organizations. Jeffrey currently serves on the Board of Directors or Trustees of the Wallis Foundation, the Riordan Foundation, Loyola Marymount University, Art Center College of Design, Southern California Grantmakers, and Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission. Additionally, Jeffrey served as a Director of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), a Washington based non-governmental organization which provides election assistance in emerging democracies around the world. Cecilia currently serves as Executive Director of the Los Angeles Police Foundation and is a Board Member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Board of Directors.

 

Another organization very close to Jeffrey’s heart, and for which he currently serves as Board Chairman, is the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging (JHA), a non-profit high quality comprehensive senior care provider and facility located in and the around the San Fernando Valley, and soon in West Los Angeles. JHA holds the distinction of being the largest single-source provider of senior housing in Los Angeles, and in addition, serves over 5,000 people in various capacities including community-based, in-your-home and residential care services. Jeffrey’s strong affinity to the organization can be partly attributed to the fact that both his mother and grandfather were recipients of the organization’s wonderful standard of care. JHA is an integral part of the community as it provides invaluable assistance to the often overlooked and underserved segment of our society, our elderly. It is important to note that although the care provided is mindful of the Jewish faith, a significant percentage of the JHA’s residents and beneficiaries are of other beliefs, and over 70% of all residents and care beneficiaries rely on government assistance. It is remarkable how the JHA has been providing a tremendous level service to the community, on a non-profit basis, for over 100 years. Surely, under Jeffrey’s leadership and guidance, the organization will soar to even greater heights and continue to be a terrific asset to our society.

 

Jeffrey’s path to leadership and success in so many aspects of life is truly inspiring, but his humility about it all is simply extraordinary. He cites the gift of good judgment, the willingness to listen and the ability to connect with people from different backgrounds as the reasons for his success. When asked what has kept him humble despite all that he has achieved in life, Jeffrey simply attributes it all back to the love of family and pure luck. Luck does at times play a role in our lives, but in the same way Jeffrey considers himself lucky, we are even luckier to call Jeffrey a friend and a partner in the community.