Posted: June 28, 2014 by PJ Abode in General

Welcome to MindSpace!

MindSpace is a space committed to a meeting of minds through sharing, and by sharing we hope to form a strong sense of community that all can rely on for joy, support, and aspiration.

By Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator of Community & Contract Education

It’s not even Halloween yet, but I’m already planning for January 2017. And the plans are exciting.

You will be able to enroll online in our Winter 2017 session in just a few days (Oct. 28), and you will find you have a choice of 111 classes, including several new ones such as Plein Air Painting, Spanish for Criminal Justice, and Beginning Modern Dance.

We will be launching new Professional Development courses and certificate programs, including World Class Manufacturing and Cisco Networking Academy.

And our Annual Open House is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Room 123 at our Bundy campus. Like last year, we will offer a special 15 percent discount for anyone who enrolls in classes at the event.



This past January’s Open House was such a success that we are looking to make the 2017 event bigger and better. The energy, enthusiasm and excitement of our 120 visitors and instructors were palpable. More than 20 instructors volunteered to be at tables to allow prospective students and others to ask questions and get a sense of the diverse mix of courses we offer. Ten of those instructors made excellent presentations on their classes and – in the case of our dance and fitness instructors – got our audience on their feet to learn some basic and fun movements.



So, please mark your calendar for Oct. 28 and Jan. 21. More details on our Winter Session and Open House will be forthcoming in Sound Bites, e-blasts and our social media outlets!

Meanwhile, we welcome your questions, comments or suggestions. You can reach us at commed@smc.edu or (310) 434-3400.

Happy Halloween!


LaWeen Salvo (center)

It’s the beginning of a new school year, an always exciting time for Community Ed as it brings in new students, new classes, new dynamics. We hear over and over from students how our program has uncovered new talents, stimulated minds and bodies, opened up new possibilities – even changed lives.

And so, because we are in a celebratory mood as the academic year begins, we decided to hold a Short Essay Contest on “Why I Love SMC Community Education.”

The results thrilled us, and we picked four winners, each with his or her unique perspective. The winners come from as far away as Palmdale and as near as Santa Monica. They come from all ethnic backgrounds and all walks of life.

Each of the contestants will receive a special Community Education gift basket – as well as a credit voucher of $20, good until June 30, 2017, to use for Community Education classes.

Please enjoy the following Short Essay Contest winning entries.


Amy Sasaki

Amy Sasaki, Culver City

I am originally from Japan and one thing that I liked about living in the U.S. is that there are so many opportunities to learn at ANY age. I took classes from both Santa Monica College and its Community Education program. The classes are offered in many different areas, and I particularly enjoyed studying subjects such as Graphic Design, Computer Programming, Hawaiian Dancing, Sewing and Sushi Making (the instructor was a Caucasian woman who learned how to make sushi in Japan, and I was the only Japanese student in my class. Cool, right?). SMC consistently keeps adding new, exciting classes and it’s always fun to check what’s new. Thank you SMC!

Amy, a former project manager currently studying to become a CPA, has taken classes at SMC Community Ed since 1999. She says, “I believe education is the most powerful tool. Taking one class won’t change your life instantly but ‘lifelong learning’ does.”


Mark Watson

Mark Watson, Palmdale

I love the SMC Community Education program because the classes have instant impact. Back in July, I went to Tourist for A Day: Cellphone Photography, taught by Brian Leng. He gave us tricks and techniques for maximizing our cellphone camera capabilities when taking photographs, like using the self-timer and burst mode to get a better picture. Two weeks later I went on my summer vacation to the New England area. Immediately I could apply my newfound knowledge, and snapped some awesome memories. I can’t wait to take my next class from SMC Community Education.

Mark, a manager at an IT company, says he is a budding photographer approaching his retirement years. He’s looking forward to traveling more, so he is learning how to capture those trip moments with his camera and phone.

LaWeen Salvo, Santa Monica

Shortly after retiring, I was fortunate to discover SMC Community Education with all its possibilities – indulge in the arts, become a notary, dabble in writing, for starters. I signed up for Carmelo Fiannaca’s Mosaic Class, and from day one I was hooked. An artist himself, Carmelo knows his stuff – design, material, technique – and he shares generously of that knowledge. He encourages each of us to tap into our own creative well, and he creates a supportive atmosphere for doing so, for getting lost in the process. I’ll branch out one day and take other SMC Community Ed classes, once I manage to unhook myself from mosaic art!

LaWeen, a retired elementary school teacher, took her first class at SMC Community Ed in January 2014. She enjoys gardening, camping in the Sierras, walking/sitting at the beach, reading, learning languages (at the moment, Italian), and doing mosaic work.


Tyrone Dyse

Tyrone Dyse, Venice

I love SMC Community Education because it has the highest ethical, conscious, intelligent worldview of education in the world. The reason it has these qualities is because SMC Community Education hires great teachers, and our whole community surrounding the college is of a very high level philosophically. Our college and community take a real-world view of our community, which is filled with people from all walks of life from all over the world and cultures. As a result, the college and community together have created a very intellectual environment that is without bias or prejudging.

Our beach community and SMC education community are dedicated to intelligence, the sharing of ideas, cultures and disciplines, and we strive to keep an open-minded approach to education. Education in its best form is here with some of the best teachers you can find in the world.

Tyrone works as a manager in standards compliance in industry and commerce. He attended SMC and received a B.A. cum laude in Philosophy from Lincoln University of Missouri and did graduate work at the University of Kansas. He also teaches Chen style tai chi, Lan su Kung Fu and Yoga.

3D Printing – Ushering in a Brave New World

Posted: September 6, 2016 by Bruce Smith in General

By Gregory van Zuyen
(SMC Community Ed will host a special one-time workshop, “The World of 3D Printing,” devoted to exploring the financial and creative potential of 3D printing for home and business. The workshop, taught by Photoshop instructor Gregory van Zuyen, will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 in Room 127 at the SMC Bundy Campus, 3171 S. Bundy Dr., Los Angeles. Join us for this exciting day of discovery as we explore the methods, machines, and materials that visionaries are claiming will become our third industrial revolution. He will also teach “Introduction to 3D Printing” Oct. 27 – Dec. 8. For more information, call (310) 434-3400 or email commed@smc.edu.)


Gary Diulio of 3D Rapid Prototyping displays his business card, a two-inch clear plastic machine, complete with moving gears.

Imagine a day when you can repair your car by going on the Internet to download the computer file you need for the new part and printing it out on your home 3D printer. That day is here.

The world as we know it is quickly changing, thanks to the innovations of 3D printing. Everything from food to medical surgery to architecture is being affected by the developments made with printers that can produce objects through the precise application of materials in x, y, and z coordinates. What may be most surprising to people is how much these machines will change business and manufacturing as we know it.

For starters, it is already altering the way companies develop new products. The introduction of 3D printing to the field of engineering is already creating light-year leaps in how products are designed, according to Rich Bernard, director of marketing for Fusion Formatics, a company specializing in the newly developed field of rapid prototyping. In addition to rapid prototyping, Fusion Formatics is also the official representative for MarkForged 3D printers.


A 3D model of a real person.

Bernard, a Lockheed Martin engineer specializing in material composition, explains how the 3D printing process accelerates the development time of new products, in everything from bicycle parts to running shoes to aeronautical components.

“In the past,” said Bernard, “engineering firms would have to portion a good deal of their development money into hiring specialized engineers whose function was to analyze the loads and stresses based on the blueprints of the proposed new product. Now, with these devices, the products can be made, the stress points can be immediately tested and changes to the product design can be made instantly.

“This is because companies no longer have to send their designs out for theoretical testing or have to budget for expensive manufacturing of prototypes that may not be fully ready to go into production,” Bernard said. “What used to cost thousands of dollars in product development is now in the hundreds. And getting cheaper. And on top of that, the time frame for development is now in terms of days and hours, not weeks and months.”

The reason for these ongoing leaps in advancement is due in part to the continual perfecting of the 3D printers but also to the innovations in the materials these devices are using. Everything from pancake batter to concrete is being poured in unique shapes through the use of precise engineering, creating an array of products. Objects can be now made seamlessly enclosed with moving parts inside. They can be printed in clear plastic, or in a host of colors.

Credit for pioneering the 3D printer industry belongs to Chuck Hull, who patented the process in 1986. Hull formed the company 3D Systems, represented in southern California by Gary Diulio of 3D Rapid Prototyping in Garden Grove.

“The capabilities of the machines are incredible,” Diulio said. “There are artists who have purchased the machines to turn out these fantastic creations. Shapes and things that weren’t possible before.


Examples of 3D printing

Diulio displayed his business card, a two-inch clear plastic machine itself, complete with moving gears. He turned its crank as it spun and pumped pistons on a cam.

“Because these objects can be laid layer-by-layer, the printers can allow for gaps in the layers that make these moving parts possible in a single printing,” he noted. “That’s how intricate these printers are. It’s only a matter now of what can be done with them.”

Among the leading industries in using 3D printing is medicine. Because of these devices, doctors have made bold moves to apply them in a host of ways.

Boston Children’s Hospital used one to make an exact-size 3D printout of a child’s brain to help guide the doctors through the difficult surgery. In Italy, scientists for the company Ira3D are working with new compounds that will allow 3D printed parts to replace bones.

Gregory van Zuyen teaches a variety of design classes, including Photo Shop, Adobe Illustrator, and Design & Publish Your Own Websites. He is an award winning graphic designer and worked as the Creative Director for Language Magazine.

The best way to tell the story of Community Ed mosaic art instructor Carmelo Fiannaca is to visit him in his stunning Tuscan-style villa with its sweeping view of the Malibu coastline.


It’s there you will see the beautiful mosaic work that this award-winning and internationally exhibited artist has done throughout the house, both indoors and outdoors and in his workshop.

It’s there you will see his outdoor pizza oven, a clue to his love for cooking for others.

View images of Carmelo Fiannaca’s work

What the house will not fully reveal is his range of artistic talents, or the impressive commissions he has received (including John Wayne’s former estate), or the journey that led him from Sicily to California via Switzerland, or how Santa Monica College changed his life, or how much he loves teaching students who all have interesting stories of their own.

Fiannaca’s deep passion for art began as a young child in Agrigento Sicily, Italy. His family moved to Switzerland when he was young, and it was during this time that he discovered drawing and painting.

By 10 years old, he gained attention through his comics and stories, whose illustrations showed advanced abilities in art. During a summer trip to Sicily, Carmelo discovered the Cathedral of Monreale in Palermo where he became inspired to explore the color, texture and surfaces of mosaic art.

He received his degree from Plattenleger Verband in Lucerne, Switzerland in design, restoration, fabrication and installation. Carmelo continued his studies through a scholarship from the National Art Association and later ended up at SMC, where he received his degree from the School of Design, Art and Architecture.

The path that led Fiannaca to SMC’s art school was actually a musical one. A guitarist, he came to Los Angeles in 1993 to study at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. Afterwards, he started playing in clubs and bars in Hollywood with a band called Big Muckamuck, whose lead signer was Tequila, a well-known vocalist.

“That’s what kept me here,” he said. “I remember thinking, ‘This is fun.’ But on the side, I was making mosaic tables.”


Eventually, he moved back to Europe, sold his house in Sicily and returned to L.A. to study sculpture and art at SMC.

“I loved the Art Department,” he said. “So many wonderful professors took me under their wing because they knew how dedicated I was. The school was like my studio, and I would often arrive before classes started and leave after the last professor left.”

Fiannaca cites two professors– sculpture professor Don Hartmann and Ronn Davis, currently Art Department chair – as particularly influential in his artistic pursuits and career. In fact, Davis, who is still a close friend, was the one who suggested Fiannaca to teach at SMC Community Ed, which he started doing five years ago.


Fiannaca not only took classes through the Art Department, but he was also admitted to SMC’s School of Design, Art and Architecture, a widely praised program for a small group of talented students who were taught by leading artists such as George Herms.

Right after graduating from SMC, Fiannaca got a significant commission to do a mural in a wealthy couple’s home in Montana. It took him a year to complete the mural in his studio before shipping it to his client.

That launched his career as an artist who designs, fabricates and installs one-of-a-kind mosaics and sculptures for gallery, architectural, community and home settings. He says his mosaics are produced using the finest materials gathered from sources around the world: smalti, gold, marble, vitreous glass, ceramic and more.

He recently completed a three-year-long installation at Duke’s Point – the former home of John Wayne – in Newport Beach. His award-winning art is exhibited both nationally and internationally and is represented in private, public and corporate collections.

An accomplished artist, he travels the world and is constantly exploring both classical and cutting-edge mosaics, sculptures and installations. He continues to draw his inspiration from the world around him, and his work reflects many of the masters: Picasso, Gaudi, Warhol, Klimt, Hundertwasse, Nikki de Saint Phalle, Simon Rodia (creator of the Watts Towers), as well as his own Italian mosaic art heritage.

Carmelo Fiannaca will teach Introduction to Mosaic Art beginning Sept. 10, Mosaic Art II beginning Sept. 10, and Mosaic Art IIbeginning Oct. 15.

By Michelle King, Director of Career & Contract Education

In our continuing effort to build industry partnerships and to help train the local community in gaining high-demand professional skills, I’m pleased to announce that Community Ed’s SMC Extension is planning to launch courses to help individuals obtain the highly regarded Avid User Certification.

Avid Certification Program, photo by Pete Brown

Photo by Pete Brown

As the leading digital editing software, the Avid User Certification is a highly regarded credential that should serve well to help students and professionals enhance and expand their career opportunities.

The test prep course for Avid’s Media Composer – the film/video editing application used in most movie and television productions – will provide instructions that are specific to passing the Avid Certification examination.  The certification-training course will be offered via a condensed schedule, with the goal of appealing to those who want a quick and focused learning opportunity. The course will conclude with proctored examination sitting.

ProTools Training photo by H. Michael Miley

Photo by H. Michael Miley

Later, we will be adding a prep course for those seeking to successfully complete the Avid Pro Tools User Certificate examination. The Avid Pro Tools user certification is highly regarded by those in the entertainment industry involved in the digital music audio composing, recording, editing and mixing.

The Avid certificate is the latest addition to our industry recognized certification offerings. Some of the other programs that lead to certification include the OMCP (Online Marketing Certified Professional) designation that offers a wide range of study including:

·         SEO & Social Media Marketing with Online Marketing Fundamentals

·         Social Media Marketing & SEO with Online Marketing Fundamentals

·         Social Media Marketing & Web Analytics with Online Marketing Fundamentals

·         Social Media Marketing with Online Marketing Fundamentals

As always, we are excited to build on our program offering to cultivate opportunities in exciting careers with great job growth potential.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want more information at commed@smc.edu or (310) 434-3400.

cecilia memorial service crpd

Spanish instructor Cecilia Dighero has had an extraordinary life – as a Fulbright Scholar, teacher, interpreter, United Nations worker and wife of a successful actor-playwright with whom she had many adventures.

And despite the very recent loss of her husband of 30 years, Ron House, she continues to teach Spanish I and Spanish II with enthusiasm at SMC Community Ed, taking particular joy in her students.

The affection goes both ways. “Cecilia is delightfully educational, entertaining and beautifully organized,” said student A. Cameron. “She shouldn’t change a thing. Hers has been the best language class I have ever taken, and I’ve taken a lot.”

Born in Valparaiso, Chile, she came to New York under a Fulbright Grant to study English. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Spanish Language, Literature & Theatre.

She has taught most of her life, mainly in New York City and Los Angeles. While in New York, she served at the Chilean Desk at the United Nations. She has also worked as an interpreter and has subtitled movies in Spanish as well as Italian (she is also fluent in French and Portuguese).

Dighero is one of – if not the – longest tenured instructors at Community Ed. Indeed, she created the Spanish program at Community Ed.

She has also taught at Pepperdine University and through SMC’s regular academic program, but she says Community Ed is her favorite place to teach “because I love working with adults who are motivated to learn.”

Dighero is still working through her grief over the loss of her husband. She has many happy memories with a man who shared her love for languages – he spoke French and Spanish fluently – and who was an accomplished actor and playwright. His play Bullshot Drummond, which he also performed in on Broadway and in San Francisco, achieved critical acclaim and was later made into a film Bullshot, produced by George Harrison.

He also co-wrote and starred in the zany musical comedy El Grande de Coca-Cola, the off-Broadway hit performed in several languages other than English.

Dighero also shares many memories of their time spent together at their property in Joshua Tree, which also serves as a bed-and-breakfast. “I try to go there as much as possible because it’s really peaceful, quiet and beautiful.”

Cecilia Dighero w husband Ron House

What kinds of students take your class?

All kinds – professional people (doctors, lawyers, dentists, accountants) artists, moms, businesspeople who need to communicate with their workers, young adults who want to learn the language of their ancestors, etc. We live in L.A., should I say more?

Tell us one to three things that most people don’t know about you.

I used to be in a theatre group In New York. I know how to ride a horse and play the piano (but not at the same time). I love art in all its forms.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

Go with my husband to a spa in Northern California for a long weekend and finding out when we got there that clothes were optional.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

Relax in nature with friends, music, a good book and a glass of wine.

What is one of the best compliments you ever received?

I love your class. I have learned a lot. You are funny, entertaining and I am always looking forward to coming.

What was the last picture you took with your phone?

A photo of the beautiful flowers we had for the Memorial Celebration of my husband’s life and achievements.

 What book(s) are on your nightstand now?

“Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair,” by Miriam Greenspan, and “Amor” by Isabel Allende.

Gian-Martin Joller in class crpd 1

To say jewelry designer Gian-Martin Joller is a popular instructor is an understatement.

Students like his Jewelry Design class, offered through SMC’s academic program, so much that they want to take it over and over again. But state regulations restrict course repetition, leaving students stranded without their beloved professor and class.

SMC Community Education came to the rescue and is offering a modified, but similar class starting this fall. And because the course is not for credit and fee-based, there are no restrictions on how many times students can repeat the course.

“I’m so pleased that Professor Joller will be able to offer this popular jewelry making class through Community Ed,” said SMC Trustee Louise Jaffe, who received calls from students asking for help. “Unfortunately, the state has imposed restrictions on how many times a student can repeat a class. It’s great that SMC can expand offerings through Community Ed to serve the community.”

Gian-Martin headshot

A Swiss-trained jeweler and artist, Joller has been working in Europe and the U.S. for many years producing fine custom-made jewelry and restoring antique jewelry for museums and private collections.

He has been teaching in the SMC Art Department nine years, and also teaches classes at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles.

Aside from his degree from Switzerland, he attended SMC for three years before transferring to California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, where he earned bachelor and master of fine arts degrees.

Why is jewelry design your passion?

I decided to become a jeweler when I was 17 years old. What initially attracted me to it was that I could do everything from designing to the fabrication of pieces. Later, through my work restoring antique jewelry for museums and private collections, I got interested in the history of jewelry and the techniques and processes that were used back then. Many of them I still use in my work today. On the other hand I’m not opposed to the use of more modern techniques such as 3-D printing. It’s the creative part of designing in combination with the technical part of fabricating that interests me.

Gian-Martin student

What kinds of students take your class?

There are many kinds of students that take my class. It ranges from art students to people in the fashion world, to the retired fire chief. I always enjoy seeing people from all walks of life and ages come together in my class.

Why do you think your students are so passionate about your class?

I hope it’s because I’m so passionate about it. The class is designed so that the students learn the basic techniques relatively quickly. Once they see the potential of this, there is no stopping them. It gives the students an opportunity to transform their ideas into a physical form.

Tell us one to three things that most people don’t know about you.

I have a passion for wood and stringed instruments. I also build electric bass guitars and guitars.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

The craziest thing was when I decided to run a 50-mile ultra-marathon in the Santa Monica Mountains last year. At the time, I didn’t think I would do something like that again. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it pushed me to my limits. I did two more since then.

Gian-Martin running

What is your idea of a perfect day?

Coming home at the end of the day and knowing that I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do. That unfortunately rarely happens. I like to set my goals high.

What was the last picture you took with your phone?

I went on a field trip with my son’s class and took a picture of him standing in front of the Space Shuttle engine at the California Science Center.

What book(s) are on your nightstand now?

“How Bad Do You Want It / Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle” by Matt Fitzgerald, a book about endurance sport psychology, and Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air”.

Gian-Martin Joller will teach Jewelry Design this fall.

Dinnertime-Winner-Frank Damon

“Dinnertime,” Frank Damon’s winning image

Congratulations to Community Ed student Frank Damon for winning our 2016 Student Photo Contest with his stunning image of sunset at the Santa Monica Pier that he calls “Dinnertime.”

Frank captured his image with a Canon 5D Mark 3 camera and a wide-angle lens. The retired Pacific Palisades lawyer has taken Ed Mangus’ “On the Street with Your Camera” class, and he has taken several SMC academic courses, including Spanish and photography.

Frank Damon 1

Frank Damon, Photo Contest Winner

“I was ecstatic about winning this award,” said Frank. “It is always reaffirming when you win an award, especially with so many entries and terrific competition. And to win an award from SMC is frosting on the cake.”

Frank, a retired attorney who lives with his wife in Pacific Palisades, has been taking pictures since he was a child, but had to put down his camera for a long stretch of time when his law practice became too busy. Over the years he has volunteered extensively with a wide range of organizations, and currently serves as a docent at the Getty Museum.


First Runner-Up Laurie McCormick’s “Countryside”

Kudos also to the other two finalists in the Photo Contest – first runner-up Laurie McCormick for her landscape “Countryside,” and second runner-up Geri-Ann Galanti for her “Sailing in Ushuaia,” a reference to the capital of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and the southernmost city in the world.

Sailing in Ushuaia-2nd Runner-Up-Geri Ann Galanti

Second Runner-Up Geri-Ann Galanti’s “Sailing in Ushuaia”

Altogether, 22 participants submitted 90 images in the 2016 Photo Contest, a significant increase over last year’s 63 images from 14 contestants.

By Rev. Dr. Louise-Diana

louise-diana 2

It’s unavoidable: there are difficult and demanding people in the world. Sometimes it feels like there are quite a few of them.

There’s always one: the toxic coworker or boss that can drive you crazy and question your self worth. They make your work life more difficult and you may feel certain that life would be easier without them. It may be a family member that you just can’t resolve an issue with.

Everyone encounters difficult people and experiences the frustrations of interacting with them. But frustration, and the outcomes of conversations with difficult people, are at least partially under YOUR control. By learning and applying various tips and strategies you can make your life easier and have fewer problems.

Although most of us have had our fair share of difficult colleagues, not many of us have mastered the art of dealing with them. Many people feel it is easier to let the hostile behavior slide and hope that it stops. Little do they know, leaving these challenging situations unaddressed will allow the behavior to continue.

The idea in dealing with difficult people is to first look at your role in the situation and then to try the following strategies:

1) When discussing problems with difficult people, keep it short and direct. It minimizes a stressful situation for both of you. Don’t argue with them, as it’s a waste of time. When you do speak, be sure your tone is non-emotional and non-confrontational.

2) Generally speaking, it is good to practice starting conversations that create goodwill. Ask people about the things they like – family, hobbies, TV programs and work in general. This is a very good way to disarm them, get them talking and make them feel more comfortable. If you are dealing with silent people who ignore you and seek safety by refusing to respond, then there should be another response. Silent people get away with not talking because most people are uncomfortable with silence. Get them to talk by asking open-ended questions that can’t be answered with just a yes or no, then wait at least one full minute and don’t try to fill the space with words to ease your own discomfort.

3) Oftentimes, indirect language works because it focuses on the work rather than the person. Instead of saying, “You need to get it to me,” you can say, “Reports must be prepared.” That way, people are less likely to feel that they are under attack.

4) Learn to admit when you’re wrong. Make apologies to all you have harmed. It can be as simple as saying, “I’m sorry for what I’ve done,” “I made a mistake” or “I could be wrong.” The more you do this, the easier it becomes.

5) Confront problems professionally and with confidence. As a matter of fact, when you get into a tough point, don’t raise your voice, as dealing with difficult people in a calm and permissive way will most likely keep the emotional level and force the person to listen to you.

6) Keep in mind that how you communicate with others has much to do with how people respond to you. Difficult people are difficult because their desires are being met through their difficult behavior. Difficult people are often fully aware they are being difficult. They continue because there is a reward in the end result. You have to analyze what you have been doing in the past that rewards or encourages the difficult person’s behavior. Then, stop rewarding them.

louise-diana yoga pose

7) Knowledge is power and it’s to our advantage to develop and practice effective conflict management practices that facilitate discussion. Read related books, attend workshops (like mine), listen to tapes or CDs. Learn how to establish an immediate rapport through a smile or eye contact. Develop as many skills as you can. This way you gain credibility, and your efforts will soften those opposing you. Effective communication is critical.

8) Build your self-confidence. Self-confident people are not as concerned with what other people think about them. They will not instinctively let the difficult person have their way in hopes of being liked. Additionally, people with high self-esteem are less likely to respond to the difficult person by being a difficult person.

If the difficult person tries to verbally bully you, just say, “I don’t allow people to treat me this way.” Then slowly and calmly walk away. So be confident and look your bully in the eye. Don’t forget to breathe (most people tend to forget to breathe when under stress). Speak in a calm and clear voice while asserting yourself by naming the behavior you don’t like and state what is expected instead.

9) If you can’t see the problem from the difficult person’s point of view, ask them. While this may not work with some, it’s usually a good idea in the case of closer relationships. The trick is, in arguments, you need to have patience with the other person, and self-restraint with yourself.

Some difficult people are experts at taking potshots and making sneak attacks in subtle indirect ways. Respond to those snipers with a question like “Are you’re making fun of me?” Although a sniper usually replies to such question with denial, it will reduce the chance for similar attacks in the future.

10) Remain open to other people’s opinions, viewpoints, and ideas. Share yours, as well. Find something to appreciate and comment on in a clever way. Too often, we focus on what people are doing wrong. Try to catch them doing something right and comment on it. It makes people feel less under attack.

Dealing with difficult people takes persistence and practice, so don’t get discouraged. Although these strategies won’t change the difficult people, they will break their ability to interfere with your daily activities. Most important, you’ll feel more confident and you’ll start to enjoy your life.

Rev. Dr. Louise-Diana will teach “Dealing with Difficult & Demanding People,” July 11-25.

In the Studio.002

Ed Mangus has big plans for his photography students.

Mangus – a Los Angeles native who has taught a wide variety of photography courses at SMC Community Ed since 2006 – is currently working with program administrators on two major proposals. The first is to create a 2017 Community Ed calendar featuring student images. The second is to do a book featuring photos taken by intermediate and advanced students in his “On the Street With Your Camera” class. To do this, each student would be assigned to a six-month project to create a broad portfolio of images.

And he has no doubt the resulting publications will be top-notch. “I tell my students there is no reason why you can not produce images that are as good or better than my images,” he says. “And you know what? They do. They produce beautiful images.”

Mangus, an award-winning photographer and instructor, has more than 35 years of professional experience working in all aspects of photography and in college-level photography and laboratory instruction.

His freelance work specializes in ad campaign photography, documentaries, environmental portraiture, and production still photography. His personal work is photographing people in their environment.

“One of my key skills is to communicate well with people, individually and as a group,” he says. “It has always been gratifying to me to provide instruction to students to enhance their technical and artistic development in photography.

Over the years he has taught, or co-taught with Craig Mohr, a wide variety of Community Ed classes, including Basic and Beyond Basic Photography, Photo Walking Malibu, After Dark: Shooting Like the Pros, Digital Monochrome, Outdoor Lighting Techniques, and Flash Photography. His next class, “On the Street With Your Camera,” begins April 23. (He has also been an adjunct photography professor in SMC’s academic program since 2007.)

In the Studio.001

Tell us a little about your students.

I’ve had an amazing diversity of students, of all ethnic backgrounds and ranging in age from 14 to 75, including actors, entertainment industry executives, doctors, attorneys, retired professors and more. At least three students that I know of went from Community Ed to our academic program, graduated and were placed in outstanding corporate photography jobs.

Which photographers do you admire and/or draw inspiration from?

Keith Carter (who has probably had the most significant influence on my work), Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Henri Cartier-Bresson, W. Eugene Smith and Gordon Parks.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

Beautiful lighting.

Mangus 12-15 crpd-Photo by Luis Herrera

What book do you currently have on your nightstand?

The books that are within arm’s reach that I am currently reading or using for visual reference are Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orlan, Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, The Sixties by Richard Avedon, Portraits by Irving Penn, The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Fireflies by Keith Carter.

What is the most meaningful image you’ve created?

A picture of my Calabrese mother with a rolling pin. She was making ravioli and I wanted to capture that. The image said everything about my mom, and it’s the only photo of mine I have on the walls of my house.

What do you like most about teaching at SMC Community Ed?

The diversity of the students, not only their ages and professions, but particularly the rich mix of cultural backgrounds. Our common bond is a love for photography. The beauty of photography is you can go anywhere in the world and you don’t need to speak the language because we all speak the language of what it takes to create an image.

Ed Mangus’ next class, “On the Street With Your Camera,” begins April 23.