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.

Alexander Messmann

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.

Jessica Dugandzic

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. 

Marian Shima

Vice President of Events

Marian Shima is an award-winning executive with more than 20 years of combined experience impacting organizational success through the creative development and leadership of high-profile projects and programs. In her role at LAWACTH, Marian is responsible for the strategic development and production of 40 events annually. Prior to joining Town Hall Los Angeles in 2010, Marian held several management positions during her 11-year tenure at the Los Angeles Times. As Executive Director of Public Affairs, her most recent position, she led the Los Angeles Times Family Fund’s $3.3M fundraising/grant-making program and oversaw signature programs such as Reading by 9, a children’s literacy collaborative between public, private and community-based organizations. Marian also managed community outreach for mayoral, gubernatorial and presidential debates hosted by The Times. Before joining the Los Angeles Times, Marian held several hotel marketing management positions at the Disneyland Resort. She has received numerous honors, including the International Reading Association “Celebrate Literacy” Award for Reading by 9, the President’s (Bush) Volunteer Service Award, the “Women as Peacemakers” award from the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center, and the United Way’s “Campaign Coordinator of the Year.” Her affiliations include Asian American Journalists Association (Los Angeles Chapter), Asian Professional Exchange (APEX) Advisory Board and Goodwill Southern California Marketing/PR committee.

Claire Krelitz

Communications and Marketing Manager

Claire Krelitz graduated from Occidental College with degrees in political science and sociology. Before joining LAWACTH, she worked at Crooked Media on two nationally-ranked political podcasts: “Pod Save America” and “Pod Save the World.” Claire is passionate about building community and strengthening civic dialogue, two things she works on daily as LAWACTH’s Communications and Marketing Manager.

Krystsina Shabanava

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.

Contact/Media Information

Los Angeles World Affairs Council
3535 Hayden Avenue, Suite 200
Culver City, CA 90232


(424) 258-6160

Email Addresses