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Our March City Impact Lab was held at KPCC Radio’s Pasadena headquarters where we were joined by Charlie Woo, Co-Founder and CEO of Megatoys, and Yesenia Monsour, Associate Director of Regional Government and Community Relations at Kaiser Permanente. Here’s a snapshot of what they had to share with us…

Charlie Woo

Business grew and we were too busy running the business itself to reinvest the money. Instead we used our profits to buy neighboring industrial properties in downtown LA. Soon a lot of customers were coming to me and saying, “hey look, you started out a very small business and you didn’t really know what you were doing. I could do what you do.” Usually, if you study business you’ll find, one doesn’t want competitors. But I said, “okay, sure. You want to rent space from me to compete with me? Sure.” One thing led to another and that was the creation of the Toy District. People have written books saying it was part of the economic strategy to revitalize downtown. I was covered by The Economist magazine, Fortune magazine, about how I, a disabled immigrant who hardly speaks English, miraculously changed the rules of the game of international trade. Looking back, I didn’t really change the rules of the game. I was just there, taking advantage of the changing global environment of how business was done.

Yesenia Monsour

I learned that a lot when I was in Texas. People from L.A. are all kind of on the same page to an extent. We have certain ways of seeing the world and politics. For me, taking the time to go to a totally different environment and culture forced me to rethink some realities and truths. Being open minded to different ways and trying to understand… sometimes you have to wonder how someone can they feel or think the way they do. When you understand their story and their experiences you might realize they’re good folks too. You just have to listen and be more empathetic to their story.

Our thanks to KPCC for hosting us and we look forward to seeing you all at our next monthly lab!