In Loving Memory
© 2022 Gals Starting Over.
Tina Shoepe graduated from Santa Clara University with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Currently, she is a director in PwC’s Advisory practice with more than 20 years of experience specializing in business & digital transformation. Within entertainment and media, Tina focuses on business growth strategy, operations optimization, FP&A transformation, IT merger and acquisitions, application rationalization and sales and marketing transformation. As a change agent, she takes a human centric approach in leading cross functional teams to deliver results in improved customer experience, operations/process efficiencies, cost reduction, increased revenue and talent upskilling.
Tina has served as the Treasurer and VP of Events for the Seattle Opera Bravo Board, she was the President of the Santa Clara Alumni Association (Seattle & LA), and received the 2009 Presidents Award for exemplary dedication to philanthropic activities from the Junior League Alumni (Boston, DC, & LA).
Tina is the wife to a retired Air Force officer and mother of two boys who are very active in club soccer and basketball. When her family escaped Vietnam in 1975 after the fall of Saigon, they were sponsored by a Lutheran church in Portland and fully understands the importance of giving back to the community and helping people get back on their feet. A philosophy that she has adapted professionally/personally is that as you move forward in life, have one hand forward and one hand behind you.
Heather L. Mills is a Partner in the Los Angeles Office. She earned her B.A. in English Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1993, and her J.D. from Pepperdine School of Law, Dean’s List, in 1997. Heather focuses her practice on products liability, public entity, transportation and professional liability matters. She has extensive experience in other areas of practice as well, including class action litigation, commercial litigation, catastrophic tort and complex litigation. She has achieved successful results, in both State and Federal courts, for a wide range of clients, including manufacturers and distributors, public entities, transportation providers, insurance brokers and professionals, real estate brokers and other professionals, and directors and officers of partnerships and corporations. Heather has had articles published in legal publications distributed throughout the country, and is a frequent speaker on issues relating to products liability, current legal developments and issues, and trial strategy. She is “AV” rated “preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, and has been recognized as a “Southern California Super Lawyer.” Heather is a member of the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, (ASCDC) where she is the co-chair of the Products Liability Committee, a member of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (ADTA), where she serves as the California Membership Chair, is a member of Trial Attorneys of America (TAA), Defense Research Institute (DRI) and has served as Vice-President for Women Lawyers of Long Beach. She is also on the Board of Directors, and serves as Secretary, for “Gals Starting Over,” a non-profit dedicated to offering women job-skills training and helping them get back into the workforce. She is admitted to practice before all California State Courts and the United States District Court for the Central and Southern Districts of California.
Rodney Robinson, CEO and Co-Founder earned his master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University. He was employed in the capacity of Group Supervisor in the mental health ward for the State of California Youth Authority for a number of years. He spent a good portion of his career working with addicted adolescents and their families at the Positive Action Center, located at Chapman Medical Center and as a Clinical Director for Coastal Mountain Youth Academy.
Rodney’s skills were vast in his ability to direct employees in a positive and self-supporting modality and create an extremely high rate of employee morale in his workplace. His experience in the mental health and substance abuse recovery field covered almost 30 years’ time. His abilities as a therapist in the drug and alcohol treatment field were evident in the vast success rates seen in his clients. His expertise in business were consistently proven through his contributions to revenue production seen in every company he worked for and managed.
In his private practice, his clients included several well-known actors, a Hall of Fame Director, Major League Baseball players and National Basketball Association members in the chemically dependent and dual diagnosis populations. He was the subject of numerous radio, newspaper and television interviews and had a portion of his life depicted in the feature film When a Man Loves a Woman.
Rodney played a key role in the vision and creation of Gals Starting Over. Without Rodney’s pushing it never would have happened. His encouragement and his support were vital to GSO.
May his soul Rest in Peace.
Vera Koch, VP of Global Marketing, eSalon & Colorsmith
With over 15 years of professional experience, Vera Koch is Vice President of Global Marketing at eSalon and Colorsmith, leading global marketing, brand strategy and campaign development.
In her current role, Vera has been instrumental in leading the creative redesign for eSalon, its expansion into new markets, and the brand’s strategic pivots in response to a significant increase in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, among other notable achievements. Leveraging her wealth of creative and analytical expertise, Vera drove the marketing strategy and execution for the recent launch of Colorsmith – a first-to-market salon-grade, at-home hair color solution for men.
Prior to working for eSalon and Colorsmith, Vera was Vice President of Global Marketing for PRAVANA where she was responsible for spearheading the creative campaign for one of the company’s fastest color line rebrands in the company’s history. She also served as Head of Marketing for Schwarzkopf Professional USA.
Vera is a graduate in International Business from the European Business School in Germany, the University of Queensland in Australia and CERAM Grande École in France. She also earned executive education degrees at the Harvard Business School and INSEAD Business School in the U.S. When she’s not dreaming up the next big marketing campaign, she enjoys spending her time winding down with yoga, time with family and friends, and indulging in craft coffee.
Lyn A Woodruff was born, raised, and educated in Connecticut. Upon her graduation from law school, Lyn practiced law in Houston, Texas until she met her husband, Mark. The couple settled in Wilmington, Delaware where Lyn and Mark started their family. Lyn served as a Deputy Attorney General for the Department of Justice for the State of Delaware during this time. The family then moved across country to California where Lyn took and passed the California Bar and served in a variety of legal positions, which included volunteer work for Legal Aid, the Battered Women’s Task Force, and Juvenile Justice. From California, the family moved to Hawaii where Lyn worked for the Department of Justice in Hawaii in the Missing Children’s Bureau division. While living in Singapore, Lyn enrolled as a student at Singapore Bible College. Upon her return to California, she enrolled at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology, and completed the Spiritual Formation program. She subsequently completed a chaplaincy program and is currently Founder and Director of River LifeCare, a confidential outreach that provides one-on-one emotional and spiritual coaching and discipleship to move people through their challenges and adversities and into greater freedom of recognizing God’s Love, purpose, and will for their lives. She has served on the Board of GSO since 2014 and remains passionately committed to the mission of GSO!
Martin Smith was raised in San Jose and met his wife Lorraine at University of California, Los Angeles. Martin spent 20 years in both Northern and Southern California working within the high tech arena when the Lord opened the doors to seminary and pastoral ministry. He has served congregations in both Northern California and Southern California. He is also pursuing a D.Min at Fuller Seminary in missional growth. His unscheduled time is spent in the garage with cars and tools where his title is “hack mechanic”.
Martin has been part of Gals Starting Over from the beginning as a board member, he built a portion of curriculum and was one of the original instructors. He has provided spiritual guidance and technical expertise that has been appreciated by all board and team members.
Michael Cody, CPA, MBT is a Certified Public Accountant with over 20 years of experience working with individuals, as well as small and large businesses assisting them with their financial, accounting and tax needs. Mike began his career in the Philadelphia and Los Angeles offices of Price Waterhouse Coopers and spent over two years in the large and midsize business tax compliance department. After leaving PWC in 2002 he went to work for Thomas J Lieb and Co CPAs Inc. In 2016 Mike became a partner and the firm name was changed to Lieb, Cody and Co., CPAs Inc. Mike’s partner and mentor Thomas Lieb retired in September 2016 and Mike is now the sole owner of the practice.
Mike is a member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is a graduate of Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. He is also a graduate of the University of Southern California with Master’s Degree in Business Taxation. Mike, his wife Eva, and his two boys are residents of Rancho Palos Verdes and very active in their local school and community.
Mike’s firm is made up of ten professionals (five CPAs, two Enrolled Agents, one bookkeeper and two office assistants.) The firm enjoys the daily interactions with the business owners, high-net worth individuals and retirees alike and looks forward to be able to exceed your tax and accounting needs.
Mike has been part of Gals Starting Over from its inception. He provided encouragement to the founder, consulting during the tax and legal filing process and has served as the organization’s treasurer since it was founded in 2013.
Holly Richards has 40 years of project management and consulting experience. She was the first woman IT consulting partner with a Big 6 accounting firm and was a senior executive with software companies, consulting companies and an international logistics company. After a jarring divorce that left her searching for her own purpose, she founded Gals Starting Over. She has successfully transitioned from technology focused project manager to compassionate nonprofit leader and is leveraging her years of project management clarity to extend a helpful hand to women.
Gals Starting Over is a non-profit whose mission is to improve women’s self-sufficiency and self-esteem through collaborative educational programs.
Most recently, she published her first book – OPA! A top exec finds joy in God, Family and Nonprofit. She wrote this self-help book in collaboration with her marriage and family therapist, Rodney Robinson, for other men and women who are making a difficult transition.