Local Ladies Step Up to Help Out

The Kindergarten Teacher

Joanna Curtis

Home: Pacific Palisades

Vocation: Kindergarten teacher

Philanthropy: Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club board, Room parent, Corpus Christi School, Cub Scout Den Leader and Pack Trainer, American Legion Auxiliary member

Childhood Dream: I always knew I would work with kids.

Inspiration: My parents and schooling instilled a spirit of service in me.

Rewards: Making a difference in my local community. It is satisfying to see a project from start to finish and know that I have helped others.

Advice: It is all about balance.

Accomplishments: My family—it is truly a pleasure to watch my kids grow up. I have an Educational Doctorate from Loyola Marymount and a Master’s from USC.

Future: Teaching at the collegiate level 

Fun: Cooking with my son and making jam—everyone loves to get a jar of jam as a gift! 

The Family-Minded Philanthropist

Melanie Flamminio

Home: Malibu, 32 years

Philanthropy: Pepperdine University- Board of Visitors, Friends of the Theater, The Pat Boone Center for the Family, International Guitar Competition, The David Baird Lecture Series; Pacific Palisades Lutheran Church, Feed my Starving Children

Childhood Dream: A singer and a mom

Rewards: Volunteering to me, no matter where it is, means helping to lighten the load. 

Advice: All that women can accomplish in a lifetime now is truly endless. Remember life moves fast and is truly short. Make family your top priority, because at the end of the day or one’s life, all else is just fluff.

Accomplishments: Family

Future: Get more involved with Feed My Starving Children; Get back to singing.

Fun: Keeping strong and healthy, having a long lunch with dear old friends, time with family, laughing, loving, eating; traveling.

The Youth Center Donor

Cindy Leuty Jones

Home: Bel Air; Palisades for16 years

Philanthropy: Founding the Boys and Girls Club of Mar Vista Gardens at the Jack and Cindy Jones Youth Center with my husband. Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club, teaching fitness classes; health and wellness presentations

Childhood Dream: To work in the medical profession—I became a respiratory therapist working in open heart surgery.

Inspiration: After donating a kidney, working to make more money became meaningless and I decided to use my type-A personality to better various charities. 

Rewards: Children make up 25% of the population, but they are 100% of our future. Those kids need someone to champion them into adulthood.

Advice: Love and care for yourself first.

Accomplishments: I believe in helping good people do good things.

Future: Developing an online presence to address food choices. 

Fun: Surfing, paddle boarding, gymnastic rings, yoga, animal flow…

The Adventurous Progressive

Haldis Toppel

Home: Pacific Palisades, 43 years

Vocation: Flight attendant, Continental Airlines; Private/Commercial pilot/Flight Instructor; Data Processing/Information Systems for 40 years; City of LA Information Systems Manager, for 20 years (retired).

Philanthropy: Pacific Palisades Community Council; President of the Marquez Knolls Property Owners Association; Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club

Childhood Dream: To be an engineer

Rewards: To make a difference in the quality of life of others. 

Advice: Find your passion and be the best you can be in its pursuit. 

Accomplishments: Being a supportive wife and mother; saving the MKPOA from dissolution; preserving the PPWC Clubhouse as an affordable community resource.

Future: I feel a sense of obligation to use my God-given talents when the need arises. I am looking forward to a new role in the circle of life, a soon-to-be Grandmother in July. 

Fun: Gardening 

The Kind Leader

Robin Weitz

Home: Pacific Palisades

Philanthropy: Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club, Meals on Wheels, Palisades High School Booster Club, and The Village Green

Family: I love being married and being a Mom to curious learners and thrill seekers.

Inspiration: Volunteer to most opportunities—I greet everyone with a smile.

Rewards: I am energized working with people.

Advice: Be your best self. Be a mentor and be surrounded by mentors—seek exponential growth.

Accomplishments: President of the Pacific Palisades Woman’s Club. L.O.V.E. (Ladies Operating Very Effectively) award for Inspiration in February 2018. Took a summer sabbatical in 2017.

Future: Refinement, promote community and civic engagement; implement improvements, and collaborate.

Fun: Power yoga, hiking, walking in the sand, hearing the ocean waves, travelling, reading and baking.