The Launch

BY BRIANT WELLS

The art of Sparks Gallery flowed with the conversation.

The art of Sparks Gallery flowed with the conversation.

Musical artists Todo Mundo set the mood with their amazing sound.

Musical artists Todo Mundo set the mood with their amazing sound.

A starry Saturday night – both literal and emblematic. August 13th the day, a group of young leaders gather. Announcing their arrival as the present and future of leadership of Greater San Diego, this was their induction into The Collective Access.

 

The crowd: Educated and diverse – diverse and driven. A mix of lawyers, judges, business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives whose status reflected by the pitch-perfect, multifarious melodies of the breathtaking live jazz from Todo Mundo, mimicking the tone in the background.

The venue: Immaculate. Sparks Gallery draped with passionate revisitings of superhero portraits and unabashed passionate nude portraits, reflecting the bare-bones passion and desire to meet on common, elevated grounds to lend an olive branch to their community, mirroring the creativity of the host, and synergizing the energy and audacious claims of this group – the new heroes – humble servants even – the next generation of leadership.

Stunning super hero arts on the walls of Sparks Gallery.

Stunning super hero arts on the walls of Sparks Gallery.

Tailored Desserts did an exquisite job in their taste and presentation.

Tailored Desserts did an exquisite job in their taste and presentation.

 

But a beginning – the Launch – a modest peek into the ambitious – The Collective Access. The power and hope in the room breathes fresh air. These leaders are well aware of their bold claims and purposefully vague information as to who and what the Collective Access is. This night is Alpha. The secret is out. The Collective Access is here.

 

The crowd engages one another with handshakes, hugs, conversations, and hope. While enjoying a refined choice of appetizers (Brother's Signature Catering), desserts (Tailored Desserts), spirits (Mission Brewery), and artwork, which has all been carefully predetermined  with an incisive decision making skill which transcends the newness of The Collective Access.

 

Seven o’clock. On the Dot. The music. Stops. The detail, the promptness, the precision. This group is known for their organizational skills and attention to detail; the striking of seven as the sunset begins to glow through the bay windows is of no accident.

 

A beautiful, brilliant woman in decadent white dress draws the crowd’s attention to her with a command and confidence that belies her youthful energy. The mic is transformed as she speaks from a piece of audio equipment into something larger – a tool for ideas and a coming together. It’s clear the audio equipment cannot mask the perfect blend of calm and strength emanating from her voice. Introducing herself as Gena Taylor, full-well knowing that the professional community knows her simply, and respectfully, as The Assassin. A woman whose reputation for excellence proceeds her. She continues, welcoming the crowd and thanking the noteworthy guests in attendance. She then calls forth a man of youth, charisma, and a sense of self beyond his years.

 

Lance Growth. A man of of impatient mannerisms hurriedly makes his way to the front. He has been the familiar face for many in the crowd, the connecting fiber of the Collective Access. He wastes no time in addressing the crowd, “Thank you all for coming. I have many mentors, but this particular mentor has looked at me from the day I rest met her with eyes that said nothing short of ‘Mr. Growth … you can do ANYTHING. Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome the former Dean of my law school and renowned educational consultant, Beth Kransberger.’” Applause ensues.

 

From the front of the crowd, a woman with a confident and humble disposition embraces Lance as if the two are related. Even as she releases him from the warm embrace, her endearment for the young man is evident and true. She searches for the mic from her predetermined spot on the ground-level stage. The cord won’t reach. Unaffected, Beth whose lioness-like voice roars above the crowd up to the rafters and out through the door into the downtown night.

Lance Growth expressing his reasons for bringing together a powerful group of professionals to give back to the community.

Lance Growth expressing his reasons for bringing together a powerful group of professionals to give back to the community.

 

Commanding the crowds attention unaided she begins – “To whom much is given, much is expected.  How many of you graduated college?” A sea of hands raise. “How many of you have graduate degrees?” More than two-thirds of the room raises their hands.” She tells the crowd they are but twelve percent of the U.S. population and allows the fact to settle as she fearlessly stares into the crowd.  “It is your responsibility to give back.  Lance told me he wanted to mass-produce the feeling of confidence, and strength his mentors bestowed upon him.  He places tremendous value on the words of guidance and support that led him to this moment. Give back. You are the few, you are the privileged, help the next generation, help the Collective Access.”

 

Dean Beth Kransberger captivates the crowds attention while she asks each individual to look within.

Dean Beth Kransberger captivates the crowds attention while she asks each individual to look within.

A raucous applause ensues. The affirmation of the ideals of all present makes itself known. In masterful anticipation, the hosts planned to build the excitement through the night, not to let it all out in one big bang, to slowly build over a period of time so as to recreate the sense of lasting power represented by the crowd. With this in mind, a brief intermission follows. Raffle items are given away to members in the crowd. Celebratory toasts abound.

 


Police Captain Brian Ahearn takes the mic.

Police Captain Brian Ahearn takes the mic.

Gena Taylor beckons Rabeka Harrison to the mic. Rabeka makes her way through the rising tide of anticipation. Her eyes are piercing and precise as she surveys the crowd and her smile lights up the room. Visibly gathering herself, a serious wave engulfs her as she begins, “The Collective Access would like to honor Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman. Chief Zimmerman has supported us in our collective efforts to support one of the purest parts of our San Diego society… the youth.  Though she is not here to accept this plaque, police captain Brian Ahearn will accept on her behalf.  The crowd claps as Captain Brian Ahearn approaches the mic with Detective Krumb.  He thanks the crowd then proceeds to echo the familiar motto of Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman.  “We cannot do this alone, it takes an entire community to keep our city safe and protect our way of life.”  The Captain thanks The Collective Access then yields to the woman at his side.

Rabeka Harrison, Kay Crumb, and Brian Ahearn stand tall at the front of the crowd.

Rabeka Harrison, Kay Crumb, and Brian Ahearn stand tall at the front of the crowd.

 

She is Kay Crumb, an undercover detective in the SDPD sex crimes unit. She thanks the crowd in a warm tone, starkly contrasting her serious job in life. She thanks the crowd for their coming together for reasons positive and uplifting. Tactful and experienced, she segues into relations under fire – police and community. She begins to speak with a keen frankness of the fallen officer, recently killed this past week. She was close friends with Officer Jonathan “JD”DeGuzman. She speaks to the nature of his character in a manner that makes him more than just a name in the news. He becomes a human once again. He is Officer DeGuzman – friend, brother, father, son. The gravity of stakes in play between community and police hits all in attendance with a severe blow of empathy, sadness, and a resolute desire to be agents of positive change. Rabeka Harrison reassumes her place with the mic amid fervent, gracious applause for Detective Krumb’s comments and service.

 

During one last brief intermission to let the heaviness of the last comments, Lance growth moves to the front after mingling and ascends to his place as a connective tissue between business, community, and public spheres. Gripping the mic as if this is what he was born to do, he begins. But, sensing that his own voice will better hold the room, he puts the mic down to his side and raising his voice to a roar, brutish and confident, commanding the crowd’s attention one last time, launching into an impassioned soliloquy about The Collective Access: “I am not good at much, but I am good at people.  I have gathered some of the strongest members of my generation by connecting them through substance.  My generation is often criticized for being lazy, self-interested and narcissistic. However, we never get credit for the fact that we are built on efficiency.  Our generation has shortened the distance between desire and satisfaction.  The biggest hotel company owns not one hotel...Airbnb.  The largest taxicab company owns not one cab...Uber.  One hundred years from now, our generation will be known for one thing. CONNECTIVITY! We have laid a land line down to almost every single human on this planet and afforded them the ability to communicate with each other. This is our time, we are here and the problems of the world are not our topics to comment on, they are our problems to address, they are now our responsibility to solve. With that said, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to the next generation of leadership."

Lance Growth expressing the importance of helping the next generation.

Lance Growth expressing the importance of helping the next generation.

The Collective Access Members during the Ceremonial Pinning.

The Collective Access Members during the Ceremonial Pinning.

 

Anthony Lero, owner of The Lean Machine Meal Prep. Habib Abbas, franchise owner of Massage Green Spa and Zifit. Jamar Williams, owner of Dream Shore Studios. Jeff Discher, Real Estate broker at Canter Brokerage. Kevin Gupta, Civil Litigator. Patrick Fulgham, international body builder. William Mond, small business attorney. Nicole Heffel, estate planning attorney. Shadae Mayfield, events designer for Color Theory Events and SDG&E. Errol Asuncion, co-founder of Industry.  Casey Kuroda, commercial developer with Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group.  Maresa Friedman, Executive Leadership coach and founder of The Executive Cat Herder.  Rabeka Harrison, owner of Together As {3Point}.  Keeli Newbry, Organizational Culture and Compliance Architect with Vital Decisions.  Gena Taylor, Executive Assistant for Omni Holding Co. Finally, Lance Growth, Southern California Business Development Director of Asset Exchange Company.


Each member is pinned with The Collective Access pin in a ceremonial fashion as they ascend up the staircase.  Staggered atop the staircase that overlooks the crowd.  The crowd stares up at the group in awe of their collective power.  The bold words of Lance Growth no longer seem like mere words – Welcome world – these are the leaders of today and tomorrow!  A collection of individuals of this magnitude now seem like anything is possible.


 

Judge John Houston pins founder of The Collective Access, Lance Growth.

Judge John Houston pins founder of The Collective Access, Lance Growth.


Check out more photos from the Launch Event here.

Photography for this blog provided by Courtney Henderson.

Additional event photography provided by Chris Brake.