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Sound Bites - Issue #41 - January 2017

On the Cover
Can Our Open House Get Any Better? You Bet!

Michelle King Michelle King, Director Career & Contract Ed.

Ayurvedic instructor Lois Leonhardi at last year's eventAyurvedic instructor Lois Leonhardi at last year's event

Community members lined up to sign up for classes at the 2016 Open House.Community members lined up to sign up for classes at the 2016 Open House.

Happy New Year to all our wonderful students, instructors and community members!

We're starting our year in an exciting way by holding our Third Annual Open House this Saturday, Jan. 21 that will feature class discounts, mini presentations, demonstrations and more.

The Open House, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will give you a chance to meet instructors and staff and learn about the rich variety of offerings in the Spring Semester. It will be held at the SMC Bundy Campus, Room 123, 3171 S. Bundy Dr., Los Angeles. Ample free parking is available.

More than 20 instructors will be on hand to talk about their classes, including art, Italian, French, writing, ballet, photography, health and fitness, stand-up comedy, sports, self-development and more. You'll be able to enjoy instructor mini-presentations and demos, and receive 15 percent discounts if you register for classes at the Open House. Free SMC Community Ed totes will also be given out while supplies last, and refreshments will be served.

Last year we were thrilled that we drew 120 visitors to our Open House, and many took advantage of the discounts to sign up for one or more classes each. You can drop by any time between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and we think you'll be pleased by the wide variety of classes that are being offered in spring. In fact, we have slated more than 170 classes, workshops and tours, including several new offerings, for the Spring Semester, which begins Feb. 13.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any question about the Open House or our classes. You can call us at (310) 434-3400 or email us at Visit our website at to register for classes online.

Warm regards,

Michelle King
Director of Career & Contract Education

What's New
If You Have an Interest, We Have a Class for You

Alice Meyering

Design Icons of the 20th CenturyNew lecture series: Design Icons of the 20th Century

A new tour being offered this spring will be to Joshua Tree National Park A new tour being offered this spring will be to Joshua Tree National Park

from the desk of Alice Meyering
What a great way to start the new year - by unveiling a stunning array of classes for both personal and professional development for our Spring Semester, which begins Feb. 13. In fact, we're offering more than 170 classes, workshops and tours, including several new offerings.

And, as Michelle King said in her column, you can learn more about our classes and get 15 percent discounts if you attend our Open House this Saturday, Jan. 21.

We're excited to be offering such an eclectic mix of classes, workshops and travel tours that guide our students to creative expression, healthy minds and bodies, new careers, language skills and much more.

New classes this spring include Beginning German, Bookkeeping Essentials and Reports & Bank Reconciliation (to round out the curriculum for QuickBooks). Students who enroll in the QuickBooks series receive a certificate of completion.

In addition, the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) preparation program has added three individual workshops: TOEFL Strategy Toolbox for Success to help with Writing, Speaking and Listening.

Several new classes are being offered due to popular demand, including the new QuickBooks courses and TOEFL workshops.

The popular design lecture series returns in the spring and is called "From the Elegant to the Eclectic: Design Icons of the 20th Century."

Also returning this spring are the Good Times Travel Tours with four themed trips scheduled to Joshua Tree National Park, Pomona, San Diego and more.

Registration is open and can be completed online at or by calling (310) 434-3400 or emailing

Behind the Scenes:
Can Being a Notary Enhance Your Career?

Carrie Christensen teaches Notary Public classes at SMC Community EducationCarrie Christensen teaches Notary Public classes at SMC Community Education

Being a Notary Public is an ideal way to earn an additional stream of incomeBeing a Notary Public is an ideal way to earn an additional stream of income

Carrie Christensen teaches several Notary Public classes at SMC Community Education. She is director of Los Angeles-based Notary Public Seminars, Inc., which has been a leading public course provider for well over 15 years.

What are the advantages of being a notary public?

Being a notary is a relatively easy job and it's great to have an additional stream of income.

If you're working in a bank, or as an administrative assistant, for example, does being a notary usually increase your salary?

It should, but it's not automatic. A Notary might have to negotiate with their boss when appropriate. A notary may be able to charge fees when they notarize for their company but the arrangement must be agreed upon first. It's a great resume builder when job hunting.

Notaries who worked full time earned average annual salaries of $36,000 as of 2013, according to the job website Is that accurate? Is that salary a little low compared to other professions?

That number does seem low, although it's probably an average taken from notary earnings throughout the nation. In certain areas like southern California, notaries earn more on average than notaries in northern California.

It also depends on real estate trends. When there are a lot of houses on the market, notaries are making more money. Also, since notaries in California receive a pay raise this year from $10 a signature to $15 per signature, that number will increase. It may not seem like much, but notaries are also allowed to charge for travel. There is no set cap for travel fees.

Mortgage signing agents earned average annual salaries of $45,000 as of 2013, according to the jobsite Is that accurate? That's more lucrative and so your new class would be a real benefit, right?  

We call them Loan Signing Agents and yes, this is the only way to make a serious living as a notary. We do offer a one-day class on how to notarize loan documents. It does take a bit of extra knowledge to be efficient.

Tell us briefly about yourself. Why did you become a notary public? Why did you start Notary Public Seminars? 

Directly out of college, I started working for National Notary Association. It was a perfect fit, as I love public speaking and the law. I decided to start my own company because I felt I could create a better seminar and make more money on my own. This has been a great niche for me.

Is there anything you would like to add? 

I'm very grateful to partner with Santa Monica College. I feel they truly care about their students and educational vendors.

Carrie Christensen will teach three classes this spring: Become a Notary in One Day, Renew as a Notary in One Day!, and Become a Loan Signing Agent: Build Your Own Notary Signing Business

Raul Subia Finds a Home in Real Estate

: Raul SubiaRaul Subia

Raul B. Subia came to Los Angeles in 1988 like so many before him - to seek a career as an actor-dancer-singer. Driving from San Antonio, Texas with few possessions and about $1,500 to his name, he spent the first night in L.A. in his car.

Although he landed a few gigs in Hollywood - including co-star roles on a couple of television series and a spot on the Spanish-language version of "Star Search" - he has had an eclectic career in interior design, retail, cosmetology, event planning, nonprofit management and - mostly - real estate and property management.

And it was at SMC Community Education that he took classes to prepare for his real estate license exam. He now is a licensed real estate agent and property manager with a firm in L.A.

Subia got his initial taste for real estate assisting a celebrity interior designer making high profile homes beautiful. His interest in real estate and property management grew as he moved into facilities-related positions, including overseeing prestigious high-rise buildings from a facility and operations management position and serving as a Corporate Concierge at the landmark "1888 Building" in Century City, whose tenants included major corporations such as Turner Broadcasting.

He says his real estate training at SMC Community Ed was valuable, and he has particular praise for instructor John Anderson.

"John is really knowledgeable and his passion for real estate is admirable and I?ve learned so much from him," Subia said.

SMC also gave him the opportunity to pursue his passion for sustainable living by getting his LEED Green Associate certificate from the college's Resource and Recycling Management Program.

"As a real estate professional, my commitment is driven by my troubleshooting skills and keen focus on VIP-level service," he said. "As a true people person, my inspiration is to help clients with the best in commercial development and leasing, sales transactions - or just securing that perfect place called home."

Subia says real estate is challenging and that he is learning a lot about the field.

"I used to be under the real estate umbrella, but now that I have my license," he said, "I understand the profession and all its complexities better."

John Anderson will teach Real Estate Principles this spring. Raul Subia can be reached at