Please meet our esteemed Board of Directors. Thank you all for believing in our mission.
Founder - Executive Director
Ava’s Heart Founder, Ava Kaufman is herself a heart transplant recipient. Eight years ago, having always been very healthy, a rare autoimmune disease left her in dire need of an emergency heart transplant. The enormous expense and strain caused her to lose her successful business, marriage and home. Observing firsthand the service gaps for post-transplant patients, Ava vowed to create a systemic change so that others facing organ transplant could find more support, guidance, and resources, honed for their unique situation. Her passion fueled her determination and founded Ava’s Heart.
Chairman and Founder of Maple Capital Management
TV Host & Producer
Karla Gordy Bristol is CEO of Gordy Bristol Entertainment, a host of the television show, “Beverly Hills View”, host and producer of a live social media show, “Karla Dawn Live” and an entertainment producer. She grew up in the entertainment industry with many legendary family influences, and formerly worked at Motown Records. Karla’s earlier years began as a professional dancer, instructor, and choreographer from an American Bandstand regular, to Lionel Richie and Smokey Robinson music videos, to international stage shows and concerts. After a colorful career in entertainment and real estate sales, executive producing ten short films, “Destination Beverly Hills”, on her home city was rewarding.
Karla is passionate about helping others and making a difference. She is the co-founder of Friends of Fuller B. Gordy and is co-producing their 11th annual entertainment Strikefest extravaganza, where they honor non-profits. She’s been on various boards, been honored and recognized by State Congressional Leaders, and the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills City Councils, and she’s especially honored to be on the board of Ava’s Heart Foundation and to be an Ava’s Heart Hero Award recipient. The stories of the transplant patients and witnessing Ava Kaufman’s compassionate heart, compel her to help with their mission.
Karla’s grateful for her experiences, teachings and lessons learned from her parents, Iris Gordy, a former Motown Records vice president and executive producer, and the late Johnny Bristol, a Grammy nominated songwriter and artist, and producer, which taught her to show kindness to others.
Musician, Producer, Composer
Tommy Coster’s life has revolved around music from conception. At the age of 9, Tommy found himself on-stage playing keyboards in front of 60,000 people with Eric Clapton and that was only the beginning. Tommy’s father, Tom Coster, has been a fixture on the Jazz and Rock scene for more than three decades, perhaps best known for his keyboard work with Santana.
Tommy’s songwriting career began very early in life when he co-wrote the song “Zulu” in 1977 with Carlos Santana for Santana’s Moonflower album. The record went gold and Tommy was just 12 years old when he received his first gold record award.
At the age of 19 Tommy decided to moved to Boston in 1986 to attend Berklee College Of Music where he studied jazz composition . Since that time, Tommy has gone on to produce, play, and write on his father’s Jazz records including such players as Dennis Chambers, Michael Brecker, Mark Isham, Steve Smith, Frank Gambale, Armando Peraza, Scott Henderson, Dean Brown, Walter A., and Randy Jackson, to name a few.
Tommy in 1992 moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Los Angeles where he began the next chapter of his musical journey. It was in 1999 that he met Dr. Dre through his dear friend Dennis Chambers. The first collaborative project that Tommy and Dre shared was Eminem’s second record project entitled “The Marshall Mathers LP”. One of the many results of this collaboration was the writing of “The Real Slim Shady” which went on to sell over 25 million units globally. Tommy went on to score several film trailers for films such as “Serving Sara” with Matthew Perry and Elizabeth Hurley, “Barbershop” with Ice Cube and Cedric The Entertainer, and many more. Later Tommy would go on to co-write on 50 Cent’s first record, and contribute as a keyboardist on “The Game”, “D-12”. “Ice Cube”, “Snoop” and many others.
All in all Tommy has contributed to projects totaling over 75 Million units sold. Tommy’s work has been globally recognized with gold and platinum awards from all over the world including a Diamond Award from the RIAA certifying more than 10,000,000 units were sold for the “The Marshall Mather LP” in the United States alone, which only 140 projects in the history of the music industry have ever achieved.
Along with a philanthropic motif that is always playing in Tommy’s life, he has gone on to vertical into becoming and entertainment entrepreneur discovering pioneering technologies and architectures that discover and monetize IP in an attempt to preserve an industry that needs the young and talented artists of tomorrow. Like Quincy Jones said to Tommy one day years ago, “you’re the future of music”.
As an art entrepreneur, university administrator and educator Victoria Franklin has consistently mentored and guided young professionals in their pursuit of successful careers and continues to make significant contributions to Los Angeles civic life.
Her leadership roles have included Chairperson and Commissioner South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission, National Health Service Corps Ambassador, New York Sister Cities Commission Cultural Exchange Chair (linking New York and Tokyo), UCLA Transportation Service Advisory Board Chair, Susan B. Komen Foundation Circle of Promise Advisory Board, Member of the City of Los Angeles and South Bay Workforce Development Boards and Beverly Hills Lions Club.
Victoria received her BA in World Cultures with an emphasis in Art History at UCLA prior to earning her MBA from The Anderson School at UCLA.
As a former New Yorker, Sidra Franklin LoCurto began volunteering at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Upon her arrival in LA in 1996, she started volunteering at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She was assigned to the Emergency Department where she is still active after 21 years. In addition, Sidra received her hospice and bereavement training and worked with patients at Cedars-Sinai until the dissolution of those programs. She became a member of Pet Partners and visited patients at Cedars-Sinai with her Chihuahua Taj for the past six years. She visited with many patients who were awaiting heart transplants and offered support weekly.
When Sidra met Ava Kaufman in a dance class, Ava shared her story and they immediately bonded. Sidra was so impressed with Ava’s Heart Foundation and passion for her cause, that she knew that it was kismet that they met. Sidra is so proud to be a board member of Ava’s Heart Foundation. Sidra is an interior and landscape designer and has an eponymous business. Her husband Sal and her 16 year old son Wil are the lights of her life in addition to her 5 rescue dogs.
Director and Choreographer
Vincent is a world-renowned director and choreographer who creates in every genre of the entertainment industry; film, theatre, Broadway, concert tours, opera, music videos, television and commercials. He has directed & choreographed the musical Evita in Vienna, the opera Manon in Los Angeles with soprano Anna Netrebko, conducted by Placido Domingo, and Daniel Berenboim in Berlin. Vincent directed & choreographed the production of the musical CABARET at Bar Jeder-Vernunft, the longest running play in Berlin’s history. Vincent created iconic works for Madonna and Michael Jackson including directing and choreographing Madonna’s BLOND AMBITION TOUR as well as conceiving and choreographing the Marie Antoinette version of VOGUE. For Michael Jackson, with whom he worked for over 15 years, Vincent created the BAD TOUR as well as SMOOTH CRIMINAL, BLACK or WHITE, THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL and multiple other Jackson music videos and live performances, from the Grammy Awards to the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Some of the films he choreographed are THE BIRDCAGE for Mike Nichols, EVITA for Alan Parker, HOOK for Steven Spielberg. He choreographed London’s West End production of LENNY for Sir Peter Hall, and LA Opera’s GRAND DUCHESS for Garry Marshall. As well as directing commercials and music videos, he has choreographed numerous Cleo winning spots for director Joe Pytka. Vincent also wrote, directed, and co-choreographed Cirque du Soleil’s, VIVA! ELVIS, which ran in Las Vegas for over 1,000 performances.
President Walter Properties - Palm Springs Hilton