Board of Directors

Mike Duckworth, President

Mike and his wife Sherolyn direct their charitable efforts to programs involving youth development; primarily in education and youth sports. Professionally, Mike is a Managing Director in the J.P. Morgan Private Bank where he advises successful individuals and families on strategies to preserve, protect and build wealth. Mike has spent the majority of his career in investment management, organizational leadership and finance. He has been the COO of a multi-billion dollar family office, CEO of both a $2.5B public company and a not-for-profit in higher education, a partner in a $3.5B private equity firm, and has held several board positions. Mike began his career in investment banking at Bankers Trust and later Merrill Lynch where he advised clients on debt and equity financings, mergers, and acquisitions. Mike earned an MBA from the Anderson School of Management and graduated magna cum laude from UCLA. He is actively involved with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) and plays guitar (poorly). He and Sherolyn have two wonderful daughters, Maddie (MCHS) and Jessie (MBMS).

Jeff Serota, Secretary

Originally from Long Island, New York, Jeff moved to Manhattan Beach in the early 1990s. Jeff recently retired from Senior Partner at the Ares Private Equity Group, where he specialized in providing investment banking services to financial sponsor clients of the firm. Prior to his work with Ares Private Equity Group, Jeff worked at Dabney/Resnick Inc., a boutique investment bank, and specialized in merchant banking and capital raising activities for middle-market companies. Jeff graduated magna cum laude with a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and received an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. He and his wife, Peir, have two children at Grand View elementary, where both are active volunteers.  He joined the board of the MBEF and the MBEF Endowment Fund in June 2013, and is looking forward to giving back to the city that has provided so many happy memories. He will lend his considerable expertise and knowledge to the further development of the highly successful “public/private partnership” that supports education excellence in our community.

Rich Weiss, Chief Investment Officer

In addition to serving as the Chief Investment Officer of the Endowment, Rich has been an active member of MBEF and its Manhattan Wine Auction committee for over ten years. He is a senior portfolio manager and manager of asset allocation for American Century Investments, a $100 billion investment management organization. Rich has been in the investment field for over 27 years, holding senior positions at City National Bank, Sanwa Bank California, PaineWebber and Mellon Bank. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the Wharton Business School and the University of Chicago. Rich and his wife, Virginia, have three girls: Chloe (MCHS), Caroline (MBMS), and Carmen (Meadows).

Mitch Ozawa, Treasurer

Mitch Ozawa is a Senior Vice President and Senior Client Manager for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.  In this role, he serves as the bank’s primary relationship manager for a number of privately-held and publicly-held companies located in the South Bay.  Mitch has served on the MBEF Board since 2009.  Mitch and his wife Ann have three children, Hayden (MCHS), Camryn (RHP) and Chasen (Meadows).  Mitch has a BS in Business Administration (Finance) from Cal. State University Long Beach and an MBA from USC.  Mitch also serves on the Board of Trustees for Rolling Hills Prep, has served on the Meadows PTA for the past 7 years, served on School Site Council for Meadows from 2007-2009 and is serving one last year for the 2010-2011 school year, and is on the Advisory Board for the Skechers Pier-to-Pier Friendship Walk.

Jim Armstrong

A successful and experienced early stage venture investor across a variety of enterprise and consumer facing technology companies, Jim has established himself as a leading investor based in Southern California. Jim joined Clearstone Venture Partners in 1998 from Austin Ventures, a leading venture fund, where he spent three years supporting investments in a variety of early stage companies. Jim’s invests nationwide and his work as Managing Director at Clearstone focuses on information technology investments, with particular interest in consumer Internet, gaming, application software, and Internet enabled business processes. On several occasions Forbes Magazine has recognized Jim on its “Midas List” as one of the top Venture Capitalists in the United States. Jim also worked with idealab, the incubator, in the late 90’s, helping to guide and fund a variety of early Internet companies.

Geoff Bremer, Professional Advisory Council

Geoff is Certified Public Accountant heading his own firm, G.M. Bremer & Associates. He served for many years on MBEF’s board prior to joining the MBEF Endowment Board. Geoff received a Bachelor’s degree in economics from UCLA and a Master’s degree in taxation from Golden Gate University. He is a member of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, a past member of its board of directors and a Past President of its 10,000-member Los Angeles Chapter. He is also Past Chair of the Los Angeles Chapter Taxation Committee and a member of the Chapter’s Estate Planning Committee.. He is also a Rotarian. Geoff represents both individuals and businesses, with a focus on estate and income tax planning matters. In addition, he has had considerable experience structur­ing business transactions, including sales, acquisitions, and both taxable and nontaxable mergers. He and his wife Chris have two children who have attended MBUSD schools.