TEC stands for Technology Entertainment Convergence. TEC Leimert is a non-profit community organization dedicated to bringing urban professionals, business owners, and students together with entertainment industry experts and technology entrepreneurs to bridge the digital divide, close the wealth gap, and create social capital.
TEC Leimert was created because its founders recognizes that technology has revolutionized and disrupted our lives from how we consume entertainment to how we purchase household goods. Additionally, TEC has identified that the South Los Angeles as a blue ocean of opportunity where a digital divide exist, and TEC seeks to close.
TEC Leimert seeks to close the digital divide by hosting a series of thoughtful programming taking place throughout the year. These programs include an annual conference, Camp xstream youth summer camp, Nxt Lvl professional development incubator, tech night salon.
Rashidi Jones grew up in South Los Angeles, the product of hard working parents who gave him a strong work ethic and a sense of cultural responsibility. He is currently Executive Director of Motion Picture Finance at Sony and co-founder of TEC LEIMERT where he leverages his entertainment and technological background to assist efforts in his community.
A graduate of Dorsey High School, Rashidi went on to receive his B.S. in Engineering from USC. After graduating college, he went to work for a tech company before landing his first job in the entertainment industry at Warner Bros. Here, Mr. Jones expanded his business experience by managing financial reporting and strategic planning for over 23 countries.
His ambitions later led him to the next stops on his journey, including leading a small team at Paramount Pictures, achieving an M.B.A. from USC’s Marshall School of Business, serving as a board member for community organizations and finally landing a role at Sony Pictures as executive director.
He credits each step along his journey as building blocks that enabled him to become an insightful leader. Mr. Jones is a true testament to remaining steadfast and believing his dreams can become a reality. He credits much of his success to having a strong faith in limitless possibilities and a solid family support system with good mentors.
A native of Los Angeles, Vusi moved with his family to St. Louis, MO, in the wake of the 1965 Watts Rebellion. Upon his return he attended LA High School and subsequently enrolled at UCLA, where he was a prominent student leader. Building off the blueprint laid out by UCLA students during the late 1960’s, Vusi and his peers helped to shift the paradigm concerning the role of students in campus governance regarding University policies related to investments in Southern Africa during the apartheid era, how student programs are funded and addressing systemic economic and social disadvantages in student admissions and retention rates, faculty hires and course offerings.
A long-time educator, community organizer, since 2006, Vusi is as a Student Affairs Officer at the UCLA Community Programs Office, where he advises student-initiated, student-run community service organizations and serves as a member of the UCLA Student Risk Education Committee, which he co-founded to make it safe for student to volunteer.
Through his current campus and community efforts, Vusi established MLK Remembrance Day occurs the 4th Tuesday of April each year since 2015, to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1965 visit to UCLA; a program that has impacted nearly 10,000 students K-12 and culminates with honoring a deserving recipient of the James C. Williamson Award designed by renowned local artist Nijel Binns, for their efforts to facilitate equity, diversity and inclusion and to promote the university mission. He has also co-founded the Reel Talk Film Series, TEC Leimert, the Crenshaw Corridor Consortium and the Camp X-S.T.R.E.A.M., a new innovative, collaborative summer program designed to excite P-12 campers about STEM career and learning opportunities.
More recently, inspired by the UCLA Centennial Campaign, Vusi helped launch the UCLA Beloved Community Initiative, which hosts the Beloved Community Luncheon on the third Tuesday of April each on Macy’s Bridge at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. This past year the luncheon served to hand out the inaugural UCLA Bridge Builders Award (also designed by Nijel Binns) to UCLA alumni the Hon. Diane E. Watson and aerospace pioneer Shelby Jacobs “for their efforts to engage a diverse community of people and to connected our work and or world to a deeper meaning and a higher purpose.”
A son, brother, uncle and father who lives by the motto: “It’s not about the taste. It’s about the purpose.”, Vusi is a vegan and avid recycler who loves researching almost any topic and spends much free time writing poetry, playing with his guitar or reading a good book.
Vusisizwe AzaniaVice President
Themba Nelson is one of the founding members of TEC Leimert. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Themba believes that community development should be a goal embraced by all. And he is merely doing his part to see that individuals in the South LA community thrive.
A proud graduate of Hampton University, where he studied Public Relations, Themba then attended Law School at Thomas M. Cooley Law School. Themba currently serves in a legal affairs capacity for the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Themba decided to partner with his family to create TEC Leimert because of the need to create tech programming in the South LA community. He is excited about the growth of the organization and believes that is will provide a strong platform for so many community members and other organizations to tap into.
Terry has worked at the crossroads of cultural production and social justice all his life, and unlike bluesman Robert Johnson, never had to sell his soul to the devil. He is a recent cofounder of the nonprofit Leimert Park Village, Inc. which facilitates Creative Placekeeping at the intersection of arts, heritage and economic development, elected to the Emerging Arts Leadership Council Los Angeles and is currently at Cultural Policy Fellow at Arts for LA.
An independent cultural organizer, producer & consultant for artists and nonprofit arts organizations with 20+ battle tested years in the Nonprofit Arts Industrial Complex, he developed a surreal-like agility to manage fundraising, programming, marketing, and community engagement enterprises across creative disciplines. Terry is formerly the board chair of Lesole’s Dance Project, a South African dance company in Washington DC, research fellow at Provisions Library for Art & Social Change at George Mason University and Managing Director of Junebug Production Theater Company in New Orleans. While Director of Producer Services and Tech at Black Public Media in NYC, he served as staff producer for BPM funded filmmakers, bringing their projects to fruition and broadcast on PBS. Later, as Senior Coordinator at StoryCorps, he produced their mobile recording studio tour, traveling the country collecting stories of everyday people for NPR’s Morning Edition. Experiences such as these have enabled him to work in a capacity where critical and quality storytelling is valued and not necessarily determined by commercial success.
He is currently investigating strategies for preserving arts and cultural resources that create a sense of place, identity and belonging in our communities via the urban planning tools of arts overlay zones, cultural districts and game theory.
As a creative PR and communications strategist with over 15 years of extensive hands-on experience, Romondo Locke has passionately worked to discover the hidden stories of the organizations he represents and craft that narrative into strategic PR campaigns to amplify brand awareness.
He is highly successful in building relationships with media professionals, community leaders and key local stakeholders to align his organization’s key messages with that of the community to nurture the positive way the organization is perceived.
Romondo’s experience in media relations, digital niche marketing, social media and community relations has allowed him enhance the PR efforts for his clients through various media platforms and public relations strategies to support an organization’s desire to grow market share.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Romondo received his Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public relations from Grambling State University and obtained a Master’s degree in Journalism, Mass Communication/ Public Relations from Kent State University.
Specialties include: Press Releases, Fact Sheets, PR Campaigns, Media Kits, Online Newsletters, Community Relations, Digital Media, Marketing, Strategic Communications, Special Events, Internal Communications, Email Marketing, Social Media and Storytelling.
Eric started his career as a 2D animator at MTV on Beavis & Butt Head and then moved to LA to work on King of the Hill & The Simpsons. When not working as a professional animator he spent 15 years working with the Art Institutes as an Instructor and then founded the most successful Video Game production training programs in the system.
He founded OW! (Online Worlds) Entertainment in 1997 to create virtual worlds for movie & TV properties.
For the past few years he has been focused on the emerging AR/VR industry managing productions, designing pipeline models, game/experience design, strategic planning and developing studio pitches for AR & VR based on major Hollywood IP.
He has also been hard at work developing and producing Changa and the Jade Obelisk an animated sword & soul epic fantasy adventure.
His revolutionary Game Wizards video game training program, which has helped launch the careers of some of the top talent in AAA games today, turns 16 years old this year and he is gearing up to launch the next version of the program as an XR laboratory piloted at the Crenshaw Innovation Center.
Eric T. Elder -Founder/Executive Producer, OW! (Online Worlds) Entertainment, Speaker, Educator, Video Game Career Coach