Bridges Program Team
Alex Smith, Program Administrator
Alex serves as the Program Administrator for Community Capacity Initiatives and oversees USC's Bridges to Business Success and Nonprofit Resilient Leaders programs.
Alex is an Angeleno by way of New York (Go Yankees!) & Chicago. He earned his B.A. in Biological Sciences from The University of Chicago and Masters from North Park University. Alex has several years of experience in higher education settings, supporting students and advocating for organizational growth especially around issues of equity. In 2018, Alex had his first experience in small business as an Assistant Project Manager with L&B Builders, Inc. a construction contractor based in Los Angeles.
In 2021, Alex and his wife, Christina, created Curly Gurl Luv Beauty Supply in Lawndale, CA: a beauty supply dedicated to creating a safe space for people with curly and kinky hair to learn about their textured hair. Curly Gurl Luv is also dedicated to creating a positive impact in the surrounding community through campaigns like #SheFightsOn: a campaign that educated people about breast cancer and provided free human hair wigs to women currently undergoing treatment.
Alex and Christina are South LA residents along with their two toddlers. As a family, they enjoy exploring parks across LA, playing games, and making music.
Jesus Benavides, Program Coordinator
Jesus was born and raised in South Los Angeles. He is a first-generation graduate from the University of California, Riverside, and is pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy at USC with an emphasis on sustainability. He joins University Relations after being a Project Assistant for the Office of Civic Engagement and Economic Partnerships, helping support the Nonprofit Resilient Leaders and Bridges to Business Programs.
In the past, he held various roles with CivicSpark and the California Climate Action Corps, helping build local government and non-profit capacity across California to address climate change. Locally, he has worked with the South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone (SLATE-Z), where he served as a partnership coordinator. He coordinated the SLATE-Z partnership of 72 public, private, and community-based organizations dedicated to revitalizing South Los Angeles.
Additionally, he was a Judicial Intern for the Riverside Superior Court, a Congressional Intern for Congressman Pete Aguilar, and a Ronald Loveridge Fellow for the Institute for Local Government. He is passionate about helping others and supporting local communities in Los Angeles!
Anusha Vadlamani, Student Worker
Anusha Vadlamani is an undergraduate junior at USC studying Business Administration with a minor in International Relations. Outside of school, Anusha is involved with USC Troy Camp and the Office of Sustainability. She is passionate about community building efforts and has greatly enjoyed her time working with the Civic Engagement and Economic Partnerships team.
USC Civic Engagement Economic Development Programs Advisory Committee
Immediate Past President
Director of Business Development
State of California Alliance Liaison
Deputy District Director
Deputy Associate Administrator
Senior Business Advisor
Southern CA Outreach Manager
THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC ECONOMIC STUDIES
NAWBO-LA (National Association of Women Business Owners)
BOYLE HEIGHTS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
SCMSDC (Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council)
U.S. VETERANS BUSINESS ALLIANCE
PROCUREMENT & PURCHASING County of Los Angeles
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
NLBWA-LA (National Latina Business Women's Association)
CENTRO DE NEGOCIOS
LISC LOS ANGELES
SMALL BUSINESS MAJORITY