Kim McCleary Blue
President & CEO
Kim McCleary Blue is the President & CEO of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall, the city’s most prominent nonprofit public speaker forum, which has hosted past presidents, key business leaders and cultural icons since 1937. Her career experience includes senior executive positions in the nonprofit and private sectors, with accomplishments resulting from her skills in public affairs, strategic planning, fundraising, program management, marketing and operations. Prior to joining LAWACTH, McCleary was Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of New Visions Foundation, which focuses on providing excellent educational opportunities to underserved youth. McCleary also spent more than 20 years at the Los Angeles Times serving in most of the major operational management roles. She is widely known for The Times’ community outreach efforts that she led as Vice President of Public Affairs. She also served as President of the paper’s charitable foundations, The Times Mirror and Los Angeles Times Foundations, and has served in a leadership position on numerous Los Angeles nonprofit boards. She holds a B.A. from Stanford University and a M.B.A. from Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management.
Executive Vice President
Alexander Messmann has been with the Los Angeles World Affairs Council & Town Hall since 1987. He studied at universities in Germany and the United States and obtained a graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Konstanz. Before starting his tenure at the Council, he had worked at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York and as a research assistant at the University of Konstanz.
Vice President of Events
Jessica joined the Council in 2013, and provides vision, strategy and management for the Council's 70-80 annual events and programs. She also provides tour coordination and delegation support for bespoke international travel programs for the Council which have included trips to Russia, Cuba, North Korea, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Iran. Jessica previously worked with both educational nonprofits and luxury corporate clients, providing brand activation, fundraising, donor recruitment, and sponsorship and community partnerships.
Vice President of Events
Marian Shima is an award-winning executive with experience in marketing communications, public relations including events, public affairs, brand and relationship management, fundraising and development. In her role at LAWACTH, Marian is responsible for strategic development of livestreams and in-person events and fundraising-development for LAWACTH programs. She served as Vice President, Events & Public Affairs, at Town Hall Los Angeles prior to the merger of the two organizations. Her previous career experience include management positions at the Los Angeles Times and the Disneyland Resort, where she led high-profile events and strategic initiatives.
Communications Manager & Digital Producer
As the Council’s Communications Manager & Digital Producer, Claire Krelitz thinks strategically about building the LAWACTH community through digital mediums. Whether working behind-the-scenes to co-produce our livestreams, or tastefully clickbaiting you with our daily email, Claire seeks to bring people together everyday around important domestic and international policy questions. She also manages our Internship Program, Young Professionals program, and web content. Before joining LAWACTH, she worked on two nationally-ranked podcasts at Crooked Media. Claire graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Occidental college with degrees in Political Science and Sociology.
Membership & Community Engagement Coordinator
Krystsina Shabanava graduated from UCLA with a degree in English. Before joining LAWACTH, she worked with organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. While at UCLA, Krystsina led campus development and philanthropy efforts as part of the UCLA Fund Executive Committee and engaged in the Astin Scholar Civic Engagement research fellowship, through which she conducted a year-long community-based study examining the state of LA gang reduction programming in relation to ethnic minority groups. Krystsina combines her interest in international affairs and public diplomacy through her engagement with event attendees, our members, and the LAWACTH High School program.