Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
I started my journey as an entrepreneur over 12 years ago when I started my first company, a nonprofit called Wish Upon a Teen. After working as a Child Life Specialist at UCLA for many years, I noticed a huge lapse in support for severely underserved teenagers dealing with life-threatening illnesses, and wanted to create an organization to solve this issue. Wish Upon A Teen now serves over 75 pediatric hospitals across the country with our signature Design My Room® Program. The joy and fulfillment that came as a result from realizing that dream was the catalyst for me to continue building businesses that serve the community.
I am a California-born single mom to three kids, and also ran a thriving personal assistant business prior to the pandemic. During the first COVID lockdown, I was fortunate enough to spend a ton of time with my best friend Carrie, during which we organically started to share business ideas. It was over those late night glasses of wine, after putting the kids to bed, that Carrie and I realized how much our skills complemented one another. Carrie had all of this amazing design experience, while I had the community-based entrepreneurial experience. As we’d both realized how difficult it was to remain connected with loved ones during the pandemic, we conceptualized a personalized on-demand service that would make meaningful gifting easy for all, even during a global pandemic. As female entrepreneurs and single moms with special needs children, we knew that community outreach (especially supporting other women) would be central to our business. We are proud to be a women owned and run business, offering customizable and unique gift boxes with a portion of the proceeds from every box supporting Alternatives for Girls. It is also very important to me that nearly all products featured in our boxes are sourced from women-owned small businesses, whose products typically cannot be found via large distributors like Amazon. As The Little Black Box grew, Carrie and I created our very own product line, Citizen Society. Citizen Society not only allows us to produce affordable luxury products for our boxes, but also serves as a hub for the majority of our community activism. Pulling from my passion for community service, Citizen Society aims to “Inspire the Power of Community'' by bringing business and community together in a new way. We engage with important social issues via our own initiatives like our Book Club, while partnering with nonprofit organizations around the country to amplify their causes and help them produce their own merchandise.
I am also a proud member of BasBlue, Small Business Association of Michigan, NAACP, and PAC of Birmingham, MI. I am the Founder and a Board member at Wish Upon a Teen, an Autism Activist, and Parent Panelist for Spectrum Training Solutions. I was born and raised in Southern California and currently split my time between Malibu and Birmingham, Michigan.
Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer
After graduating from the New York School of Interior Design in 1999, I had the good fortune of being involved with many unique and highly creative businesses. Over the past 25 years, I have loved taking my creative sense and applying it to the design of homes and restaurants, and eventually opening my own women’s clothing store.
I am the proud mom of two amazing children. However, when my son was born with Fragile X syndrome, my focus quickly shifted toward him. I made the decision to be at home to support both of my children’s needs and help other families like ours. I began fundraising for the developmental preschool in our area, and supporting the Fragile X community. While on this journey, I met Michelle, and we became fast friends. Michelle and I both had a desire to flex our entrepreneurial muscles while still tapping into our creative side. We wanted to use business to help typically overlooked communities like those that our children belonged to, as well as to help uplift other women. Through this, The Little Black Box® was born, and Citizen Society quickly followed as a further extension of our desire to offer beautiful and reasonable luxury goods while creating a culture of giving back.
DR. GÜEZ SALINAS
Chief Strategy Officer, Citizen Society
I am a US Marine and polymath, holding Bachelors degrees in Political Science and Philosophy from Stanford University, a Masters degree in International Relations, and an interdisciplinary dual PhD from the University of Southern California with a cyber-security specialization and certification from USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering. I did my tutorial in International Political Economy at Oxford University studying the moral hazard issues contributing to the 2008 financial crisis. My primary research areas focus on (but are not limited to) cyber-security and artificial intelligence policy. I am also a member of prominent international affairs think-tank The Pacific Council, and a member of Rolling Stone Magazine's "Culture Council", serving as a contributor on the intersection of technology and culture.
Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, I Co-Founded The LEWIS Registry, the first unified, publicly-available national database documenting all police officers who were terminated or resigned due to misconduct, diminishing their chances of getting rehired at other jurisdictions. LEWIS promotes education surrounding police/community interactions, as well as academic research to help inform positive change. A friend of mine introduced me to Michelle shortly after, and we quickly connected over the importance of cultivating business that keeps community at the center and actively contributes to a better world.
In addition to handling public relations for The Little Black Box, I recently joined Chasen Creative Media as a Senior Account Executive managing clients such as OUAI, TAN-LUXE, Boys Lie, Brittany Xavier, Jackie Aina, and many more.
Previously, I joined dOMAIN Integrated in June 2017, where I focused on all things fashion, beauty, and lifestyle as well as talent relations/VIP dressing, special events, and partnerships. Prior to dOMAIN, I was an Account Coordinator in the corporate lifestyle and events division at B|W|R Public Relations for two years. I have been involved in a wide range of PR work including celebrity and influencer relations, VIP dressings, partnerships, brand campaigns, media relations, editorial placement, and special events. A native of Detroit, Michigan, I am a graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, and I currently reside in Los Angeles, California.
I am currently a student at Seaholm High School while assisting in a multitude of duties at The Little Black Box®. I enjoy volunteering at the Women's health club for the past September 2021 collecting and donating supplies for underprivileged mothers and children. During my Sophomore and Junior year, I took American Sign Language and fell in love with the language and how individuals with hearing loss affects their daily lives. Being a nanny to several families over the past several years has taught me patience, incredible organizational skills and the ability to master multi-tasking. In my free time I love to travel and volunteer with various organizations. Being a part of this company gives me the opportunity to learn and grow not only as a person but socially and broaden my experience in the workplace.