Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Mayor Garcetti announces 2017 Entrepreneurs in Residence

New selections for EIR program will build on its extraordinary success, with a focus on sparking innovation in the biotech and restaurant industries

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced his selections for this year’s Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program, an innovative initiative that connects some of L.A.’s most accomplished entrepreneurs with future business leaders and job creators.

This year’s EIRs are Dr. Tanya Petrossian, a renowned biotech researcher and entrepreneur; and Ellen Chen and Mario Del Pero, co-founders of Mendocino Farms.

“Los Angeles has one of the most robust start-up ecosystems in the world — and I am determined to do even more to help it grow,” said Mayor Garcetti. “There are no limits to what we can accomplish when we put our heads together with the business world’s most successful entrepreneurs. I look forward to working with Tanya, Ellen and Mario to inject new thinking into our efforts to support local enterprise and create quality jobs.”

The new EIRs’ appointments begin on Sept. 22, and will focus on the restaurant and biotech industries. Over the course of their year of service, Petrossian, Chen, and Del Pero will help to shape City policy and create initiatives designed to help entrepreneurs across L.A. They will also work with local non-profit organizations and institutions to help foster entrepreneurship and business growth.

“The City of Los Angeles has all of the building blocks necessary to continue to grow a successful biotechnology ecosystem,” said Dr. Tanya Petrossian. “I am thrilled to be working with Mayor Garcetti to help grow a rich biotech and pharmaceutical sector in L.A.”

“Los Angeles continues to be one of the most innovative, entrepreneurial cities in the world,” said Mario Del Pero. “Ellen and I look forward to working with Mayor Garcetti in helping Los Angeles remain a beacon of innovative restaurant ideas and policies.”

This year’s selections will build upon the success of Eva Ho and Jason Nazar, who served as Mayor Garcetti’s two EIRs last year. Ho spearheaded the Mayor's Inaugural Venture Summit — convening 56 top international, national, and local investors and fund managers to expose them to L.A.'s thriving tech ecosystem. Nazar organized the inaugural TechFair LA, which brought together over 250 of L.A.’s leading companies and more than 11,000 job seekers.

First launched in 2014, the EIR program is made possible with support from Ernst & Young LLP, who have been advocates for the program and the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles for four years. The program enlists expert entrepreneurs to work with the City on creating initiatives aimed at supporting entrepreneurs in L.A., by helping Angelenos start and build businesses.

“EY is honored to sponsor the Mayor’s Entrepreneur in Residence Program,” said Patrick Niemann, Greater Los Angeles Managing Partner at Ernst & Young LLP. “For more than three decades, EY has been advising and guiding entrepreneurs around the world and recognizing leading innovators through the EY Entrepreneur of the Year program. We believe partnership between industry and government can create exciting and powerful solutions that will lead to thoughtful policy and a stronger economy. We commend Tanya, Ellen and Mario on this great achievement and know that their contributions to our city will be deeply felt.”  

This year, the Mayor's office expanded their signature EIR program to include an Executive in Residence, who will bring experience in strategic partnerships, new media, and consumer brand development. Mayor Garcetti selected Courtney and Carter Reum, brothers who founded M13 Group, to work on the City's branding initiatives and partner engagements in an effort to merge the arts and entertainment industries with traditional consumer product industries.

“Los Angeles is home to some of the world's most innovative artists, designers, and manufacturers,” Courtney said. “Our team at M13 is so pleased to be able to lend our years of experience, to help promote L.A. designed and made goods to markets around the world.”

The Executive in Residence program is an independent project created to build new opportunities for local designers, artists, and manufacturers.

About the Entrepreneurs and Executives

Dr. Tanya Petrossian Ph.D., is an award-winning scientist and entrepreneur, who serves as CEO and co-founder of EndoCyclic Therapeutics, a biopharmacuetical company dedicated to the development of the first non-hormone therapeutic for endometriosis. Dr. Petrossian is also Principal of Building Blocks Advisory Group, where she and her team advise both start-ups and investors in the healthcare, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. Dr. Petrossian has over 15 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical marketplace. Her scientific research has been published in numerous scholarly articles covering genomics, epigenetics, prenatal/postnatal diagnostics, cancer screening, traumatic brain injury, and T cells analysis in asthmatic patients. Dr. Petrossian received her bachelor's and Ph.D. degrees in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from UCLA. She completed her fellowship training at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and postdoctoral training in Bioinformatics & Systems Biology. She currently sits on UCLA's Innovation Proposal Review Committee, the Scientific Advisory Board for the nonprofit "The Cure is Now," and the Healthcare Board Committee on the L.A. Venture Association.

Ellen Chen and Mario Del Pero are co-founders of Mendocino farms, a sixteen unit, Southern California-based, premium fast casual restaurant concept with a menu focused on chef driven sandwiches and salads, featuring local, sustainable ingredients. Ellen and Mario wanted to build a restaurant concept that was purpose driven. They founded Mendocino Farms on three principles: creating neighborhood gathering places, building a work environment that empowers the team to sell happy, and supporting local farmers and artisans that deserve it. In 2016, Nation’s Restaurant News included Mario and Ellen in the annual Power List, which recognizes the top 50 most influential leaders in restaurant industry. This year, QSR magazine in their 40/40 Issue, selected Mendocino Farms as the top restaurant concept under 40 units in the country.

Courtney and Carter Reum of M13 are brothers, former Goldman Sachs investment bankers, entrepreneurs, operators, and investors. After co-founding and eventually successfully selling VEEV Spirits, Courtney and Carter started M13, a 21st-century investing platform that advises founders, partners, and investors on scaling their brands. Courtney and Carter serve on the board of numerous local L.A. organizations including LACMA, The Los Angeles Opera, City Year, and YPO.