Our People

Brook Dougherty

Co-Founder/Chief Executive Officer

Brook began her career in New York as a copywriter for Ogilvy & Mather Advertising. She moved to Los Angeles where she became Vice President of Creative Affairs and International Sales for United American and Australasian Film Productions Pty, Ltd. She then headed up the film department of Pierre Cossette Productions.
After becoming a parent, Dougherty launched her own company, HandmadeMarketing, with the goal of creating custom marketing for small businesses. After partnering with Debbie Koerner, the company focused on marketing for non-profit organizations. Services included development of corporate relationships, diversifying and maximizing boards of directors, enterprise building, publicity, creation of background materials, and production of numerous specialized projects. Dougherty and Koerner founded Community Service Live in 2002, in response to the need they saw for L.A. youth to participate in meaningful community service. Under the program "Young Angels of America," the team went on to raise over $600,000 for a variety of charitable causes.  She is married to F. Jay Dougherty, a professor of entertainment and intellectual property law at Loyola Law School. He is also the lead guitar player of The Weasels Three-Car Garage Band. She has a daughter, Alicia 26, curator of the Dan Eldon Collection at Creative Visions Organization and a stepdaughter, Jenna, a lawyer. Her granddog, Kidd, is managed by her step grandson, Cisco, 8.

Debbie Koerner

Chief Financial Officer.

Debbie has created some of Los Angeles’ most extraordinary events during her 14 years with Southern California’s prestigious catering company, Rococo. Koerner served as buyer and sales manager for the largest catering company in Southern California. She worked directly with the president of corporation as his assistant in all levels of planning, organizing, and implementing programs and procedures, thereby learning the entire infrastructure of the company. In the last two years she stepped in as acting buyer & and operations manager and maintained all aspects of the business. Clients included the Emmy Awards, American Music Awards, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Phantom of the Opera premiere, Dream Girls premiere, the LA Marathon, Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, Pediatric Aids Foundation, and many more. In 1996, she moved to Phenomenex, Inc., where she was Director of Purchasing. Koerner joined Handmade Marketing in 2000, as a partner where she worked on the creation and implementation of production and event planning. Koerner has been an events and production guru there ever since. Her expertise in budget, research, financial management, night-of event management and security has been essential to the Young Angels event-production program. She is married to Philip Koerner, Ph.D., a chemist. She has a cat named cleo.

Denise Harris

Director, Strategic Alliances

As the daughter of the renowned Jazz Dancer, Al Minns, dance and the arts are rooted deep in the DNA of Denise Harris.

 She grew up in the East coast dance world, developing as a performer, and later, she became a Dance Instructor at the State University of New York at Old Westbury. However, Denise found her love of dance competing with her driving need to take action around social justice issues, so while living in New York City, she become a teacher and a community activist. 

 A move to Los Angeles allowed Denise to continue her love of dance and theater while also being involved in community activism. This is where she honed her fundraising skills on behalf of non-profits and arts organizations. The combined skill set came together in what was to become a successful, and some say legendary, fourteen-year leadership role at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA).

During those fourteen years, Denise was responsible for producing annual small and major donor fundraising events, as well as national and international festivals. But what tugged at her heart strings the most was when young artists repeatedly approached her with brilliant artistic ideas, and no idea of how to move them from a dream to a reality.

Joining the team of Community Service Live is the next logical step for Denise. This is the place where she can focus her activism on the importance of the arts in the lives of young people. Here, Denise is sharing her knowledge with the emerging artists, executives and activists the organization serves. She is also focusing on the creation of new, modern architecture for the philanthropic funding of arts programming.

Dedee Verdin

Director, Los Angeles News

Dedee Verdin's passion for art and media became evident to her early in life. Since then, this award-winning photojournalist has gone on to cover a multitude of areas including political figures, consumer events for numerous Fortune 500 brands, entertainers, protests, theater productions and non-profit organizations.

A born and bred Angeleno, life behind the camera has expanded to roles in production and stage management where she has been able to dive deeper into her creative journey.

Her work has been featured in major art shows, including the LA Artwalk, in print publications, such as LA Weekly, La Opinion, Hoy, the OC Register, and in broadcast news, including KABC, KNBC & Univision.

Alan Swayze

Development wonk 

Alan became a writer at an early age. His journey to a career in film & TV started out in the theater and went on through film school. After six years of editing film and video productions, he went back to writing, but this time for television. He worked as Writer or Story Editor on nearly 400 animated episodes, including Rainbow Fish, Silver Surfer, and Inspector Gadget, as well as live-action shows like Highlander and Earth: Final Conflict. His work on Gadget led to an invitation to come to L.A. to be Creative Assistant to the President of DIC Enterprises, where he pitched concepts for animated series to executives at ABC, CBS, and NBC. The first season he was in this position, DIC—formerly a tiny entity with one network series—became a major player in the industry, with four series at all three networks.In the print world, Alan has written for middle-grade textbooks, short stories for the Reading by 9 series in The Los Angeles Times, andthe English-language versions for the Japanese "manga" graphic novels Suikoden IIIand Brave Story. Turning his talents to the nonprofit arena in recent years, Alan has been raising millions of dollars for worthy causes. Spending most of the last 12 years on staff at such non-profits as Phoenix House and the CLARE Foundation, he has met or exceeded his fundraising goals every year. In his last year at CLARE, he raised 142% of his development goal.

Carey Odes

God of Comedy

Carey Odes is a legendary fixture on the standup scene. Touring Nationally, he can be found in Los Angeles teaching one of the more exciting and realistic standup comedy courses in the City. Making comedy accessible to anyone who has the nerve to try it has been Carey's calling card for more than a decade. He has worked with Young Angels of America in the creation of the Young Men of Comedy program where he worked in the classroom at our Watts location with a squad of emerging comics to teach high school juniors how to develop a solid five minutes. He helped orchestrate our high school comedy benefit and continues to be our "go to" for anything even remotely funny. He originated the Young Angels' Standup in Juvenile Jail program that was taught at Camp David Gonzalez and was also the producer of the Young Angels' Juvenile Justice You Tube series, "Busted."

Board of Directors

Carol Pfannkuche,
Executive Director,
Ketchem Downtown YMCA, Los Angeles

Jay Dougherty,
Loyola Law School Professor of Entertainment Law
Los Angeles, CA

Jonathan Haft,

Music Industry Executive, Retired

Leslee Feldman
Head of Casting, Dreamworks
Universal City, CA

Bridget Stennis, Automotative Consultant

Ralph Pipes, Founder/CEO Special Event Management

Rick Ramirez, Owner

RNS Audio – Tech Director Eagle Rock, CA

Steve Cron, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Cron, Israels & Stark
Santa Monica, CA

Jennifer Hamilton, Choreographer, Pro Dancer, 

Owner, Floor Dance Academy.