Meet Harriet Zaretsky

Please welcome Harriet Zaretsky, one of two newest Ready to Succeed Board Members. She is a community activist, served on the Board of CASA LA, and is proud to honor her son’s memory and passions through the various efforts of the Dillon Henry Foundation.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

My favorite hobbies are travelling the world and following local and national politics. I also have two golden retrievers named Ringo and Pheobe.

Why did you choose the RTS board?

I have been involved with CASA for over 25 years, and I actually met Romi Lassally when she was training to be a CASA. I served on their board for many years, and I was looking for a new opportunity to help stabilize foster youth and take their growth to a new level. The Ready to Succeed board seemed like a great next step.

If you could choose anyone alive today to have lunch with who and why?

I would love the chance to sit down and talk with Barack and Michelle Obama. I admire their ability to balance their political lives and family, and how they always stay true to their own values and principles. I’d also like to hear the truth about their interactions with his successor! I would love to tell him about the Congo Peace School.

Tell us about your career- past and present. What do you like most about what you do?

I started out with my master’s in speech and language pathology, and I worked for the LA Unified School District in special education for about 11 years. After that went into real estate and after that I got my law degree. Recently, I have been a philanthropist, activist and humanist. What I enjoy most is advocating for people and trying to make their lives better. My philanthropic endeavors have been the most enjoyable for me.

Tell us something most people don’t know about you?

Most people in my life know this about me but many of my new colleagues at Ready to Succeed don’t know that I have my own non-profit in memory of my son, Dillon, and it is a big part of my life. I lost my son in 2007, and after he passed we started the Dillon Henry Foundation.  The foundation works on issues that were Dillon’s passions. We have an endowment at Surfrider Foundation and have given over 100 scholarships to students that are going to college. We have also done a lot of work in Africa, and we built and run a school in Congo for 566 kids. The Congo Peace School is in its 5th year now! I’m very proud of the work we are doing.

Read the Q&A with Deanne Yamamoto here.