Our Team .

Our Network of more than 100 staff and consultants spans across generations, regions and backgrounds. We are energetic, diverse and fully committed to the success of our clients. Get to know our leadership staff or visit our location page to view more about our staff who range from current or former business owners to practicing attorneys, angel investors, procurement experts, former bankers, marketers, web designers, CPAs, student interns and more.

We speak: Arabic, Armenian, Assyrian, Cantonese, Chieu Chow, Farsi, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Marathi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Vietnamese

Lead Center SBDC Leadership and Staff

SBDC Leadership

SBDC Consultants and Staff

MikeDaniel

Mike Daniel

Regional Director

Mike Daniel is the Regional Director of the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network, which assists aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners throughout Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Mike was formerly the director of the SBDC office at Long Beach City College from 2010 to June 2015. As business owner and entrepreneur himself, he started his career as the owner of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory location in Manhattan Beach and went on to open a second location in Long Beach in 2001. At their peak, the locations had a total of 20 employees and both locations had managers and assistant managers. In 2007, Daniel sold the Manhattan Beach store for an above-market offer then invested in several additional locations as a minority shareholder. Mike currently owns a new venture located in Shoreline Village in Long Beach called, Sugar Daddies Sweet Shoppe, based on “fill-it yourself” candy options.

Mike has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.


Katrina Smith - IMG_1468

Katrina Smith

Associate Regional Director

Areas of Expertise 

  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Grant Management
  • Operation

Experience
Katrina Smith is the Associate Director for the Orange County Inland Empire Regional Small Business Development Center Network. Prior to working with the Small Business Development Center, Katrina worked for the CSU, Fullerton Auxiliary Services Corporation in the Office of Sponsored Programs as a Sponsored Programs Administrator. In this position, she financially managed all sponsored research projects in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics College, College of Education, and College of Business and Economics. Katrina was responsible for managing budgets and spending, compliance, financial reporting, and audits for these projects. She is also highlighted as an influential leader in Fortune magazine’s 40 under 40.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Don’t listen to criticism from people you would never seek advice from.


HanahKhaled

Hanah Khaled

Marketing Manger

Areas of Expertise

  • Digital and Social Media Marketing
  • Marketing Strategy and Brand Management
  • Website Development
  • PPC Management
  • Operations

 

Experience

Hanah manages the marketing for the entire network by maintaining brand identity and advertising. She is typically curating content, analyzing post-performance, and developing promotional campaigns. She has worked on state-wide initiatives that have helped small businesses. She has her Master’s in Business from the University of California, Irvine, a dual Bachelor’s in Business Administration Marketing and Business Administration Entrepreneurship from California State University, San Bernardino, and her Associates in Baking and Pastry from The Art Institute of the Inland Empire.


The best advice I have ever been given is:
Don’t take criticism from people you wouldn’t take advice from

Languages
Arabic

 

 

RickCalderon

Rick Calderon

Intake Manager

Areas of Expertise

  • Client Intake
  • Business Services
  • Customer Service


Experience

Rick oversees new client intake for the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC network. He comes with years of experience working to help support the SBDC’s initiatives to support local small businesses. Rick is a California State University, Fullerton graduate, having completed his BA in Business Administration with a concentration in Information Systems.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. – Robert H. Schuller

Languages
Spanish


Kylee Zhang

Kylee Zhang

SBDC Intel Team Lead

Areas of Expertise 

  • Market Research 
  • Data Analysis 
  • CyberSafe

Experience
Kylee received an MBA from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Science degree in Information System and Decision Science from California State University, Fullerton. She currently leads the team of market research and data analysis in the Lead Center.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Life is too short to do something you don’t love.

Languages
Mandarin


TiffanyTieu

Tiffany Tieu

Marketing & Digital Media Specialist

Areas of Expertise

  • Digital marketing
  • PPC management
  • Social media
  • Website development
  • Content marketing


Experience

Tiffany started at OCIE SBDC as a Marketing Intern and two years later, joined the team full-time as the Marketing and Digital Media Specialist. At OCIE SBDC, she manages paid search campaigns, brainstorms and implements strategic PR campaigns, and analyzes marketing data to help shape future marketing strategies. Previously, she was the Account Manager at Good Hause, a women-led marketing and branding agency where she managed client relations, assisted in strategizing marketing and paid campaigns, and wrote copy.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
If youre the smartest person in the roomyoure in the wrong room.


Jessica Juarez - Jessica Juarez

Jessica Juarez

Finance Administrator

Areas of Expertise

  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Research Administration


Experience
Jessica attended California State University, Fullerton, and received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Finance. Before joining the Lead Center, Jessica worked on campus in the Office of Sponsored Programs. She served as liaison to program administrators and university staff. Jessica also assisted in the account set-up and close-out process for all post-award grants and contracts. The four years she spent in her research administration role helped her become familiar with the Small Business Development Center’s accounts.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Never settle for the path of least resistance


BiancaPeralta

Bianca Peralta

Marketing and Special Projects Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Web Development


Experience

Bianca has experience working at a small business that provided speech and language services to children and educated parents on the use of language strategies at home. She also did pro bono work for a small non-profit and helped them with their marketing and public relations efforts.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Work smarter not harder

Languages
Spanish


IMG_0378 2

Zoe Shahbaz

Marketing and Special Projects Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Content Creation
  • Web Development


Experience
Zoe is a 4th-year Business Administration-Marketing major at Cal State Fullerton. She started working at the SBDC as a Marketing Assistant just months before the COVID-19 pandemic. As small businesses struggled to stay open, she began assisting and directing them towards the resources they needed over the phone. She looks forward to helping more small businesses through the pandemic, whether that be through her marketing efforts or when directly communicating with struggling business owners.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Nothing gets better if nothing gets better

Languages
Assyrian


HaiHaong

Hai Hoang

Program Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Economics
  • Customer Service
  • Client Outreach
  • Data Entry


Experience

Hai’s most notable accomplishments are connecting clients with the correct consultant to assist their small business.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
If you think you can’t then you probably can’t. If you think you can, then you probably can

Languages
Vietnamese


Christopher Arigan - Christopher_Arigan

Christopher Arigan

Market Research Analyst

Areas of Expertise

  • Analytics
  • Finance


Experience

Since the start of COVID-19, the amount of small businesses that Christopher has worked with has grown considerably. He has helped small businesses with obtaining information about PPP and EIDL loans. His most notable accomplishment is working with cities like Newport Beach and Huntington Beach in order to distribute their grant funds to eligible small businesses.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
You cannot change what has happened, you can only choose how you react to it.


Jennifer Gonzalez - Jennifer Gonzalez

Jennifer Gonzalez

Administrative Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Payroll Processing
  • Customer Service


Experience

Jennifer has her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration. She has worked in health care for the past 14 years and has helped grow a business from 5 employees to 45 employees. Her most notable professional accomplishment would be assisting in the purchase and renovation of a 15,000 square foot medical office building.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Trust but verify.


Hailey Jacobsen - Hailey Jacobsen

Hailey Jacobsen

Administrative Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Food Service
  • Psychological Research


Experience
Before coming to the SBDC, Hailey worked in the service industry as a Service Professional for 6 years. She has seen the joys and struggles of running a small business from the inside out. Hailey has her Bachelor’s in Psychology from CSUF and also volunteers at the Los Angeles LGBT Center as a Youth Leader.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
That knowledge and learning are never-ending and can be found wherever you are and in whatever you do.

Languages
Spanish


Jose Escatel - Jose_Escatel

Jose Escatel

Administrative Assistant

Experience
Jose has recently completed his undergrad at CSUF, where he majored in Business Administration with a Finance and Accounting concentration. During his student career, he had a leadership position in the following organizations: Latino Business Student Association, Mesa Cooperativa, and Mihaylo Student Advisory Board. Since then, he has worked with several small businesses and is happy to be taking part in further assisting them through the SBDC.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
A dream is attainable once it becomes a goal.

Languages
Spanish


BillWaldo (1)

Bill Waldo

Director, SBDC @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation

Areas of Expertise

  • Sales and Marketing
  • Food Service
  • Go-to-Market Strategies
  • Funding

 

Experience

Bill was the founder of a food service, sales, and marketing company that grew to over 85 employees with offices throughout Southern Nevada and Southern California. After more than 25 years, he decided on an exit strategy. Once he completed the sale of his company, he joined TechCoast Angels and has been an active investor, Membership Chairman, and Board Member for 14 years. Bill joined the SBDC as a Senior Consultant in 2008, and has counseled over 900 different clients and assisted them in raising over $120 million.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Maintain passion and enthusiasm, and nothing will stop you.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
JoaquinTijerina-min

Joaquin Tijerina

Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Site Selection
  • Permitting and Entitlements
  • Utility Coordination
  • Construction
  • Management
  • Licensing

Experience
Joaquin has over 25 years of experience working in economic and business development, project management, construction management, and fast-tracking entitlements with the County of Riverside. Joaquin has been the Director of the Coachella Valley Small Business Development Center for the past six years and leads a team of six consultants and two staff to assist local businesses successfully launch and grow.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Lead by example

Languages
Spanish

ManalRicha

Manal Richa

Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Start-up Assistance
  • Marketing
  • Retail
  • Software
  • Financial Projections and Micro Loans

 

Experience

Manal owns her own business and understands the challenges that small businesses face.  At the SBDC her focus has been on guiding entrepreneurs in launching and starting new businesses and helping established business owners take their companies to the next level. She is very knowledgeable of the digital world, e-commerce, SEO, and social media.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Surround yourself with people who lift you up, personally and in your career.

 

Languages

Arabic, French 


MikeHill (1)

Michael Hill

Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Financial Analysis
  • Business and Sales Strategy
  • Equity Capital
  • Brand Development
  • Prototype Design 

 

Experience

Michael is a 25-year entrepreneur and angel investor. As an entrepreneur, he created, launched, and exited two software companies and one professional service firm serving the dental industry. As an angel investor, he has worked alongside startup entrepreneurs to build operational and development teams, raise capital, and execute sales plans.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Customer before concept.

PaulNolta-min

Paul Nolta

Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Debt finance
  • Financial Analysis 
  • Startup Feasibility
  • Strategic Planning
  • Marketing 

 

Experience

Paul Nolta has been a part of the Inland Empire SBDC for over 16 years. Paul is currently serving as the director and overseeing all operations at his center. Additionally, he is on the leadership team for the Inland Empire Center of Entrepreneurship (IECE). Paul is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a graduate of San Francisco State University. Paul has an extensive background in financial analysis, business planning, and leadership. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

You will only be as strong as your network. Never stop building it. Try reaching out to at least one person a day, whether that is someone you have not spoken to in a while or someone you have been meaning to get in touch with. Then watch as, over time, good things happen and get much easier. 

 
ReubenFranco-min

Reuben Franco

Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Banking 
  • Lending
  • Small Business Assistance


Experience
Reuben is the Center Director for The Finance Center SBDC and the CEO for the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Reuben is a former commercial banker who has helped hundreds of Southern California entrepreneurs obtain funding for their businesses. Prior to that, Reuben owned and operated two successful small businesses in the medical and electronics industries. He currently serves on the Boards of the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation, the Los Angeles Mission, and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Reuben holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Live for a greater purpose than yourself.

RogerLloyd-min

Roger Lloyd

Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Retail
  • Technology
  • Startups 

 

Experience

Roger has led several startups to over $200m in revenue in both retail and artificial intelligence.  He has over 15 years of experience in the franchise industry where he led one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Embrace change and never stand still.

 
ScottBrovsky-min

Scott Brovsky

Director

Areas of Expertise 

  • Angel and Venture Capital
  • Fundraising and Go-To Market Strategy
  • Deep tech startups
  • Cleantech
  • Agtech
  • Biotech


Experience
Scott has been a Founding Executive of five tech startups including Mobile Games Studio, Muti Labs, and the Temecula-based sports tech company, NZN Labs/LIT Pro. As a brand marketing executive, Scott has a successful track record in launching and driving global product revenue for leading entertainment companies like Disney and Marvel. Scott has a Humanities honors degree from The University of Texas, Austin where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

The best advice I have ever been given is: 
Immunity from what other people think can lead to outsized results. Don’t spend too much time tranquilized by the trivial.

Ace Tarakchian - ace 1

Ace Tarakchian

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Planning and Formation
  • Finance
  • Government Contracting
  • Franchising
  • Healthcare 


Experience

Ace has been consulting for over 9 years. He has experience in healthcare, education, bioengineering, entertainment & media, wholesale, franchises, and nonprofits. Ace has consulted private SMEs throughout the U.S., Canada, South America, UK, and UAE. He currently manages a tech business accelerator in Los Angeles and is the recipient of the SBDC Network Star Award 2020.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Sometimes the one thing you need for growth is the one thing you are most afraid to do; without action, an idea is just a dream.

 

Languages

Armenian

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Screenshot_20210217-164322_Messages (1) copy (1)

Alain Chu

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Restaurant Operation
  • Debt Relief
  • Mas90 and Quicken Accounting Software
  • Payroll

 

Experience

Alain started his own import company with his brand and products. He also started a distribution company that services 150-200 accounts per day. Along with that, he owns and operates Benihana-style Japanese Restaurants. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

People do not know everything, no harm to ask for help.

 

 

Languages

Mandarin, Cantonese

 

Make an Appointment!

 

AnnieZheng-min

Annie Zheng

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Real Estate Acquisition, Investment, and Leasing
  • Property Management
  • Loans
  • Retail, Trucking, and Wholesaling 

 

Experience

Annie has been a small business owner for over 21years. She has rich experience in importing from China, wholesaling, and retailing. Over the past 15 years, she has become a professional in real estate transaction, management, and investment. She has been working as a part-time business consultant for more than 8 years and has helped hundreds of SBDC clients achieve their business goals.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Focus on one thing that you are good at and keep working on it until it becomes your niche in the market.

 

Languages

Mandarin, Cantonese

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

Arthur Salyer

Arthur Salyer

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Startups
  • Operations
  • Manufacturing
  • Overseas Operations

 

Experience

Arthur has helped start several startups in the technology, medical, media, and renewable energy industries.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Network. Friends are important in business.

 

Languages

Spanish 

 

Make an Appointment!

 
AshaVasant-min

Asha Vasant

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Franchising
  • Technology Enablement
  • Retail Operations
  • Web Development/User Interface (UI/UX) Design
  • Direct and Referral Marketing

 

Experience

With over 21 years of professional experience, Asha brings a diverse background to SBDC clients. She has expanded a multi-unit beauty franchise from zero to over 500% sales growth in 10 years. She is the go-to for understanding ‘everyday’ operation details to stay afloat:  inventory control, cost reduction,  and customer retention/marketing for a brick & mortar/retail environment. Her goal is to have small businesses embrace technology and enable them for growth and modern efficiency.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

If you want a 9to5 job then being in business is not for you. There is no 8-hour workday. Small business is about perseverance. You will conquer many storms along the way. Don’t look back. You are on your way to making things better for yourself and your team.

 

Languages

Spanish, Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

BobWright-min

Bob Wright

Associate Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Economic Development


Experience

Robert started in his first small business in 1969 with a retail storefront. Since then, has owned construction and service companies with over 40 employees. For the past 30 years, he has owned a nursery brokerage firm and is currently using this expertise while working for Riverside County and the CV SBDC.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

Brendan Ryan - Brendan Ryan-min

Brendan Ryan

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Graphic Design
  • Logo and Packaging Design
  • Branding
  • Digital Modeling
  • Prototyping 

 

Experience

Brendan Ryan is an industrial designer with 7 years of experience. He has worked largely in the automotive field on concept and production cars – there’s a chance you drive some of his work. Upon departing Karma Automotive in 2020 he became one half of a multi-disciplinary design consultancy operating in Southern California.


The best advice I have ever been given is:
A closed door is still a door. Open it, that’s how doors work.

Languages
Some Spanish


Make an Appointment!

 
Carla Panzera - Carla Panzera JPG-min

Carla Panzera

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Lending
  • Notary Public
  • Tax Preparation
  • Social Media
  • Wedding Industry


Experience

Carla Panzera brings years of experience in financial consulting, underwriting, marketing, and business development from her previous positions in banking and other community micro-lenders. Throughout her career, Carla has coordinated training events, conducted one-on-one consulting with business owners, and evaluated the financial health of small businesses in the region.


The best advice I have ever been given is:

When someone tells you no. Ask why. Then stop, think, learn and accept the challenge.


Languages

Spanish

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 
 

Chris Ponzillo

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Digital Marketing
  • Branding
  • eCommerce Development and Strategy


Experience

Chris is an award-winning marketing executive, product management specialist, and business owner with over 20 years of experience transforming innovative product and service concepts into successful, profitable, high-volume brands. He has demonstrated passion for pursuing excellence in every aspect of business including design, development, launch, omnichannel marketing, leveraging of social media, and optimization of new technology.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
“In order to succeed you have to dare to fail.”

Make an Appointment!

 

Christopher Terry

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Sales Strategies
  • Account Management
  • Operations
  • Customer Service
  • Manufacturing

 

Experience

Christopher has many years of experience working for small and large companies. Additionally, he has his own startup business selling into diverse industries, completed acquisition as a business owner, and had two successful product launches.  He has an MBA from Chapman University & Marketing Strategies Certification from Cornell University. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

There are no problems in the world, only opportunities

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 
Christos Kritikos - ChristosKritikos-min

Christos Kritikos

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Product Strategy, Design, and Launch
  • Funding
  • Leadership

 

Experience

Christos Kritikos is a startup coach/mentor, product expert, and the founder of EmergingHumanity.com that helps entrepreneurs tackle startup chaos, gain market traction, and become fundable. His education includes a Master of Science in Computer Science from UCLA and certifications in Design Thinking, Product Management, Brand Management, and Product Marketing. He focuses on consumer-facing products in health & wellness, education, travel and hospitality, economic development, and social impact.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

The treasure you seek is found in the work you are avoiding. 

 

Make an Appointment!

 
CraigRussom-min

Craig Russom

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Strategic Financial Planning
  • Cash Flow Analysis 
  • Projections
  • Project Management
  • Quickbooks
  • Debt Financing and Lending

 
Experience 
Craig Russom is the President of Arual Concepts, Inc. and has over 15 years of senior-level leadership experience solidifying sustainable business relationships and leading all aspects of bookkeeping, budgeting, forecasting, financial analysis, and project management across numerous industries. Before that, he was a Series 7 and 66 financial advisor for UBS Financial. Craig is also a California Real Estate Broker.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Know your numbers…

Make an Appointment!

 

Darshan Gajiwala

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Digital Marketing and eCommerce
  • Customer Acquisition and Retention
  • P&L Management & Budgeting
  • Global Market Expansion
  • Financial and Web Traffic Forecasting


Experience

Dashan is an experienced digital marketer with over 15 years of success. He has led marketing programs for startups, small, medium, and large multi-channel e-commerce companies. He has worked to help companies with fashion apparel, fine jewelry, electronic accessories, promotional products, and other consumer goods.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
No problem is big. Break down the problem into small bits and it won’t be as big or hard to solve. 

Languages

Hindi, Marathi, and Gujarati

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

DavidFriedman-min

David Friedman

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing & Sales
  • Strategic & Product Planning
  • Operations
  • Technology 
  • Management

     

Experience

David is a former tech executive with a couple of engineering degrees and an MBA in Econometrics. He has been a small business consultant for about 10 years and has experience working in smaller technology and service companies. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Focus and PODFU (plan, organize, delegate and follow-up).

 

Make an Appointment!

 

David Pearson - IMG_0105 headshot (1)

David Pearson

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing
  • Planning

 

Experience

David worked for twenty years in the international pharmaceutical industry before starting his career leading smaller life sciences companies in medical devices, medicinal chemistry services, biotech drug discovery, and biopharma commercialization.  His experience includes winning approval at the FDA for a novel ophthalmology medication and building the commercial organization to launch the product.  David has worked closely with scientific founders to bring new technologies forward and continues to do so in his role as Managing Director of Entrepreneurial Programs at UC Riverside.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

“Segment, Segment, Segment – reduce the problem you face to its simplest elements.” – Arnoldo Hax, MIT Sloan

 

Languages

French, German

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

 
DougKollmyer-min

Doug Kollmyer

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Biotechnology and Biology
  • Technology Research and Development
  • Fundraising
  • Business Formation
  • Patent Strategies


Experience

Doug has a background in marketing, sales management, and business operations. He worked at startups along with small and large companies. Working as the Director of Sales in these companies, he grew revenues from $700 million to $1.3 billion in three years.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Understand your customers’ wants and needs, and your competitors’ weaknesses.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 
Edna Ruiz-min

Edna Ruiz

Administrative Coordinator

Areas of Expertise

  • POS Systems
  • Microsoft Suite


Experience
Edna Ruiz is the Administrative Coordinator at the SBDC Finance Center. She is a recent graduate from the California State University, Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Her responsibilities include keeping financial records updated, preparing/organizing reports/invoices, planning events, and budgeting. She is also in charge of monitoring/developing engaging content for social media platforms and oversees daily operations.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
You have to risk it to get the biscuit

Languages
Spanish

Elena Shampaner

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Operational Planning and Audits
  • Retail Operations
  • Food and Beverage Operations
  • Hospitality Management


Experience

Spending over 20 years of her professional career working in the hospitality industry, Elena Shampaner, Ph.D., oversaw a variety of growth initiatives within the hotel, retail, and food and beverage segments. She worked cross-functionally throughout the companies to analyze the marketplace and shape business strategies to capture profitable revenue growth. She held various business development and operational roles at Las Vegas-based hospitality organizations and continues to partner with small business owners to assess improvement opportunities and grow their businesses. Elena holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Science in Hospitality Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and currently teaches hospitality courses at the University of California, Irvine Continuing Education.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
“Principle of 5 Ps: Proper preparation prevents poor performance”.

Languages

Russian

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

Elsa Kondri - Elsa Kondri Headshot-min

Elsa Kondri

Administrative Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Pitch Decks

 

Experience

Elsa is an experienced technology analyst and small business development professional with expertise in technology evaluation and entrepreneur development in the life sciences and high-tech industries. She is skilled in building partnerships with academic institutions, commercial enterprises, nonprofit sectors, and investors. Elsa received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

The greatest mistake is to be afraid of making one

 

Languages

Farsi


Eric Gosink - Eric Gosink-min

Eric Gosink

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Biomedical Technology & Cellular Biology Research
  • Intellectual Property
  • Grant & Investor Funding
  • Licensing

 

Experience

Eric has supported the development of early-stage technologies, both in licensing to established enterprises and assisting the creation of many inventor-led startup companies.  He assesses the intellectual property position of many new technologies, evaluates their market potential, and negotiates different types of contracts and licenses not only for commercialization but to support funding and investment in further development. Eric comes from a biotechnology background and has been involved in commercializing many research technologies as well as medical products and hardware, in addition to data, software, agricultural, and manufacturing processes. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

You don’t have to start this company yourself, so tell me why you want to do this.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 
FrankPlasso-min

Frank Plasso

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Amazon
  • Online Sales
  • Branding
  • Product Development
  • Wholesale and Distribution


Experience

Frank specializes in branding and online sales. He has owned, operated, licensed, and managed over 30 retail and online stores over the years. His experience with Amazon, retail, wholesale, and distribution allows him to help clients with branding and developing an effective sales strategy.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Stay the course

Make an Appointment!

Fred Delariva

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Email and Social Marketing
  • SEO
  • Web Development
  • Management
 

Experience
Fred has 20 years of experience in lead generation, marketing operations, project management, and more. Having owned two separate businesses, he understands the needs and struggles business owners go through. Fred is an AIPB Certified Bookkeeper and has a Bachelor’s degree in both Marketing and Accounting.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Bosses make deals, employees complete tasks.

Languages
Spanish

Make an Appointment!

 

GregBell

Greg Bell

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Food Purchasing
  • ServSafe
  • Customer Service
  • Quickbooks
  • Costing and Pricing 

 

Experience

Working alongside his two partners, Greg became the first operating franchisee of Blaze Pizza in Irvine. After retiring from being a Blaze Pizza franchisee, he restarted his catering company which led him to join the SBDC as a consultant in 2017. The opportunity to impart his experiences and advise others in starting their food-based business is a rewarding extension to his career in food. Greg is now the lead consultant for the SBDC EATS program and helps clients with restaurant development, operations, labor, and profit management. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Friends buy from friends. Experience is learned. 

 

Make an Appointment!

 

BQ-spCew

Hang Harper

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Accounting
  • Tax
  • Food

 

Experience

Hang has been a CPA, providing tax and business consultant for small businesses, since 2004. She also has business ventures in tax and accounting services, restaurants, and healthcare. She is very involved with the community: Director of ABAOC (Asian Business Association of Orange County), Director of VACOC (Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce), and Treasurer for Footprints Foundation. To Hang, her best accomplishments are being able to help many of her clients, from start-ups to successful businesses, develop a great net profit and buy their own commercial properties.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Everything is Perfect!

 

Languages
Vietnamese

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Hugo-min

Hugo Loyola

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Strategic Planning
  • Digital Marketing and eCommerce
  • Business Development
  • Finance
  • Educational Publishing


Experience

Hugo is an innovative senior management executive with multiple years of experience working with multi-functional teams and global business units. He is a skilled leader credited for a collaborative communication process. Hugo is also a strong bilingual communicator in English and Spanish and is also fluent in Brazilian Portuguese. He is driven by mission, vision, and results.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Read (A LOT).

Languages
Spanish, Portuguese

Make an Appointment!

 

Isabelle Bart

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Planning
  • Marketing/Digital Marketing
  • Communications/PR
  • Market Research
 

Experience
Isabelle currently leads a social enterprise incubator and accelerator, helping impact start-ups build scalable and sustainable businesses. Isabelle has been an Innovation Advisor/Expert-in-Residence at the UCI Wayfinder incubator since 2015. Her first job out of business school was CRM consultant. She has led digital transformation and medtech teams in her previous position, resulting in unprecedented growth in annual membership for the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses in 2017.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Just go for it

Languages
French and Spanish

Make an Appointment!

 

Jackie Scott - IMG_2344 Edit 2-min

Jackie Scott

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing
  • Branding
  • SEO
  • Food Distribution

 

Experience

Jackie has owned and operated her San Diego-based fresh and frozen seafood wholesale distribution company for 20 years. Her extensive knowledge of wholesale distribution, production and operations, and supply chain management is coupled with a strong command of all business functions. Since leaving the seafood business, she has polished her skills as a successful marketer and has helped clients unearth concise messaging, identify their unique value proposition, and create effective digital content resulting in increased competitiveness, market awareness, and sales growth.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Respect others.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 
Jay Allis - Headshot 01262021-min

Jay Allis

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Food Industry
  • Costing and Pricing
  • Digital Optimization and Guerilla Marketing
  • Operations
  • Licensing and Permitting

 

Experience

Jay has worked for corporate and independent restaurants and caterers for over 25 years.  In that time, he has worked at Michelin-starred establishments, worked with world-class chefs, served celebrity clientele, and traveled the country practicing his trade. He started as a busboy and worked his way up to Sous Chef, Kitchen Manager, and Executive Chef.  He brings a wealth of hands-on knowledge to help business owners start, operate, and streamline their foodservice operations.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Don’t just go through the motions.  Be invested and interested in everything.  Take ownership of everything you do whether you own it or not.

 


Languages

Cantonese

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Jenny Kim - Jenny Kim_Bio Headshot_1292021

Jenny Kim

Administrative Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Customer service
  • Branding 

 

Experience

Jenny got her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and minor in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton. She currently assists both the North and Lead Center in carrying out administrative tasks. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Choose happiness.


Languages

Korean



Jim Foreman - Jim Foreman.jpg-min

Jim Foreman

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing and e-Commerce
  • Product Release
  • Operations and Event Orchestration
  • International Customs and Protocol
     

Experience

For over 29 years, Jim worked in film and television production and post-production, both creatively and technically. Ten years ago, a career expansion led to him working on marketing campaigns and messaging for small to global companies. For 20 years, Jim continues to operate small businesses including a thriving international tour company, media marketing agency, and a top-rated technical services company for film production.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Allow yourself and your business to be successful.

Languages

Intermediate Spanish

 

Make an Appointment!

 
Joseph Wyno Headshot (1)

Joseph Wyno

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Planning
  • International Trade
  • Supply Chain Retail
  • Sales & Distribution
  • Financial Analysis 

 

Experience

As a former small business owner, Joseph prides himself on giving expert advice on strategy, problem-solving, and developing skills to SBDC clients. Whether a client is a startup or a seasoned business, he will spot challenges, implement solutions, and achieve goals. Joseph has worked as a business consultant in 8 countries ranging from Europe to Asia. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” – In other words, plan, plan more, and execute.

 

 

Languages

Japanese 

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

Joshua Roller - Joshua Roller (1)

Joshua Roller

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise 

  • Digital Strategy
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Content Marketing

 

Experience

Joshua has experience working with small businesses and international schools. Utilizing his digital media and strategy skills he revamped the branding for a Shanghai-based international school to reach expat populations within the Yangtze Delta area of China.

The best advice I have ever been given is: All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.

Languages

Chinese, Spanish 

 

Make an Appointment!

Kat Armstrong - K. Armstrong SBDC-min

Karie Armstrong

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Leasing
  • Strategic Planning
  • Team Building Training
  • Financial Analysis Projections
  • Business scaling Business Starts

     

Experience

Karie has over 25 years worth of experience in the retail industry managing and developing large malls. Prior to that, Karie was a  retailer for 6 1/2 years and ran her own consulting business. She has worked with the SBDC for 10 years and specializes in lease negotiations, site selection for retail, restaurants, and any other brick and mortar start-up or expansion.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Stay in your lane and always deliver excellence.

 

Languages

Spanish 

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

KarlaGonzalez-min

Karla Gonzalez, MBA

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Contracting
  • Business Certifications
  • Business Planning
  • Financing/Lending
  • Start-Up


Experience

Karla specializes in assisting clients to start their business by helping them through financing, licensing, the permitting process, business planning, and projections. She specializes in contracting and certifications where she assists clients in applying for the correct diverse designations and provides them with a good understanding of the contracting/procurement process. 


The best advice I have ever been given is: 

In order for a dream to become reality, you need to write it down and set goals!

 

Languages 

Spanish

 

Make an Appointment!

 

KathleenSwift

Kathleen Swift

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Retail
  • Product Development
  • Event Operations
  • Team Management
  • Customer Service

 

Experience

Kathleen is an engaged and results-centric team leader. She has an exceptional record of driving revenue growth and business success through coordinating and executing multi-faceted product sales, merchandising, and business development strategies. She offers considerable experience in high-profile venue businesses, which includes several years with the Walt Disney Company.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Never ask someone to do something you would not do yourself.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 
Ken Douglass - Head Shot-min

Ken Douglass

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing
  • Food Industry
  • P&L Analysis
  • HR, Training, and Development
  • Site Selection 

 

Experience

Ken developed a knack for turning distressed restaurants around and regaining their sales and profitability, through team building. He has further displayed servant leadership in his development of training programs for general and regional managers. When asked he will always state that his greatest achievements have been the promotion of his people and/or teams. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Be Thankful ALWAYS.

 

Make an Appointment!


Kenneth Stanigar - Kenneth Stanigar Headshot-min

Kenneth Stanigar

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Finance
  • M&A
  • Sales
  • Operations

 

Experience

Kenneth’s experience is primarily in corporate strategy and finance in large telecom, where he had years of experience doing M&A and business development. He was a key player in the company’s strategy to acquire relatively new companies in non-traditional areas of telecom and to internally develop a portfolio of startup entities to explore opportunities beyond its core telecommunications business.  He spent several years as CFO of one such entity operating in the video gaming industry.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

If you haven’t failed, then you haven’t tried hard enough.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 

Kevin Nicusanti

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing 
  • Product Development
  • Channel Management
  • Sales and Account Planning Management
  • eCommerce
 

Experience
Kevin has 30 years of experience as a corporate marketing and sales leader in several Fortune 500 companies. He now owns and operates a branded and patented automotive parts manufacturing and eCommerce company called Vent Tabs. He is heavily engaged with Amazon, eBay, Etsy, CARiD, and his company’s website. Some of his top achievements are earning patents in 2020 and building a successful eCommerce business. 

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Sit in the consumer’s seat and understand the full set of requirements to elate the end-user. This will make most brands successful in the long term.


Make an Appointment!

 

 

Larry Charpentier Jr.

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Management
  • Operations
  • Strategic Planning
 

Experience
Larry has extensive experience working with start-ups and companies under $15 million in revenue. His goal is to provide financial and management consulting services to ensure the entity is operating most efficiently and cost-effectively. He has owned and operated several small businesses since 2000 and is very intimate with every aspect of the business. He has worked closely with advertising, marketing, operations, accounting, finance, and business development professionals.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Be the best where your feet are at!

Make an Appointment!

 

Laura Beken - Laura.Beken-min

Laura Beken

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software
  • Pitch Decks
  • Go-to-Market Strategy

     

Experience

Laura Beken specializes in working with startups in the tech and healthcare space (life science and medical device/apps). Equity funding, strategy, and SBIR/STTR government funding are her specialties. She has degrees in Psychology, Visual Arts/Media, and a Healthcare MBA.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Life begins on the edge of your comfort zone. 

 

Make an Appointment!

 
Leonard Dominguez - image003-min

Leonard Dominguez

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Traditional and Digital Marketing
  • Market Research
  • Brand Management
  • Web Development and SEO

 

Experience

Leonard has extensive experience working with small businesses and assisting them with digital marketing and branding. Additionally, he assists in identifying target markets and driving digital presence for businesses. He has worked in various industries including technology, medical devices, and education. One of his most notable accomplishments is growing brands internationally. He is also a professor at the University of Redlands. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Focus on the small wins and have those small wins drive you to accomplish milestones and end goals.


Make an Appointment!

 

Li-Xing Chang

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing
  • e-Commerce
  • SaaS
  • B2B
  • B2C
  • Retail
 

Experience
Li-Xing has worked as a digital marketer with a small business consultancy for more than five years. His current client portfolio includes popular brands like 85C Bakery Cafe.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Opportunity is 90% hard work, 10% luck.

Languages
Mandarin

Make an Appointment!

 

LisaNapolitano-min

Lisa Napolitano

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Sales and Marketing
  • Operations
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Startup Planning
  • Retail, Hospitality, Restaurant, and Service Industries


Experience

Lisa Napolitano is a successful entrepreneur, trusted advisor, business coach, and skilled executive with more than 25 years of experience helping companies improve their processes and people to drive performance. From 1991 to 2006 Lisa ran an industry association, growing it from 2 employees and 150 US-based clients to 20 employees and 6,000 clients globally. Her experience extends to the hospitality industry, having owned a fine dining establishment in the largest suburb of Chicago, and managing operations of a 17-cabin resort in the Northwoods of Minnesota.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

Make an Appointment!

Liz Muñoz - 5D326AA8-3452-459F-9C3F-37C638000960-min

Liz Muñoz

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Financial Statement Review
  • Landlord/Tenant Negotiations
  • Loan preparation advisor

 

Experience

Liz has 30 years of experience in commercial real estate lending and asset and portfolio management. She is also a small business owner, real estate investor, and manager. She received her BA and MBA in Real Estate Finance from Cal Poly and USC.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

There is no substitute for hard work but accept help when offered.

 

Languages

Spanish

 

Make an Appointment!

 

LupeWatson-min

Lupe Ramos Watson

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Business Planning, Licensing, and Permitting
  • Marketing
  • Legislative and Governmental Affairs
  • Real Estate Acquisition
  • Food Industry


Experience

Over the past 30 years, Lupe has helped clients access startup capital to launch and grow their businesses. She has been a consultant for over 20 years. Additional to her work at the SBDC, Lupe serves as Councilmember/Mayor on the Indio City Council. Her span of skills runs the gamut from setting up accounting systems to securing regulatory agency approval for projects. As a member of the Indio City Council, she has relationships with local, regional, state, and federal agencies and is able to access resources that help businesses.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
In business entrepreneurship, there’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them…be the will!

Languages
Spanish

Make an Appointment!

 

Marc Bellotti - 203810012-min

Marc Bellotti

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Life-Sustaining Systems
  • Drug and Device Systems
  • Intellectual Property
  • Biomedical Development

 

Experience
Marc is highly regarded as the product of a medical system development executive, experienced at leading organizations to innovate, develop and deliver patient-based medical and therapeutic systems and associated ancillaries. He is known for bridging the gaps between business needs, customer needs, and technology. He is also renowned for solving complex technical and organizational problems. Marc offers a track record of successfully growing organizations via process-driven product and pipeline development. 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 
If someone offers unsolicited advice, ask if they have ever done what they are telling you about. If they say yes, take notes- if they say no, walk away.

Make an Appointment!

 
Maria Cruz A Lascano - Maria Cruz Lascano-min

Maria Cruz Lascano

Administrative Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Contract Negotiations
  • Microsoft Office/MAC OS

Experience
Maria Cruz Lascano has over 15 years of experience in event planning, contract negotiations, and office administration support services. Prior to joining the SBDC Maria was responsible for planning and scheduling the logistics of equipment set up and tear down for the annual Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival. She also worked on vendor and performer contracts, conducted the daily sales collection from concessionaires for the fiscal department, as well as managed all of the company bid proposals for the Fair. Maria was also responsible for negotiating service contracts for air show performers, professional services, and specialty equipment for Riverside County’s Annual Air Show.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Take life one day at a time.

Languages
Spanish

MartinKlecknerIII-min

Martin Kleckner III

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • SBIR/STTR
  • Equity Capitalization
  • Strategic Planning and Management
  • Finance and Operations
  • Research Translation and Commercialization
  • Healthcare Economics
  • Public Policy, Legislative Advocacy, and Regulatory Affairs

 

Experience

Martin has 29 years of experience in operations and business development in the life sciences, healthcare, and sustainability. He has advised over 115 emerging and Fortune 100 companies with corporate planning and strategy, commercialization, economics, and public policy throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. He founded five venture start-ups with two exits. His SpyFinder, a hidden camera locator, was showcased in an episode of CSI Miami. He is a nationally trained instructor for the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps™ having taught Lean LaunchPad® business model discovery and validation principles at universities throughout the U. S., the University of California, Riverside (an I-Corps site), and at research universities throughout Chile.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Don’t do that! You’ll poke your eyes out!

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 
 
 
MaryTakavorian-min

Mary Cervantes

Training Coordinator

Experience

Mary holds a background in planning and implementing specialized educational programming for over 10 years. She takes pride in providing access to training that assists small businesses in starting and expanding their businesses. She strives to offer relevant training that meets the needs of small businesses.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

You must listen to learn. 

 

Maryam Bakhshaei - maryam photo

Maryam Bakhshaei

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Funding
  • Retail and Restaurant Industries
  • Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Lease or Purchase Agreements 

 

Experience

Since 2016, Maryam has owned a gas station and worked to change the brand, modify the business plan, and increase profit. She is going to lease the land and build a second location from the start. Along with her experience owning and operating a gas station, Maryam has experience helping a bakery shop owner start and grow her business. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Not to give up and educate yourself.

 

Languages

Farsi 

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Michael DeDonato - A34FCD0D-39E9-482A-8072-99A7477B6DDD-min

Michael DeDonato

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Planning 
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Marketing 
  • Government Contracting 
  • Retail, Food, and Professional Services Industries

 

Experience

Michael has been a business consultant and finance and accounting professional for 35 years. He currently serves as the Managing Member of DeDonato and Johnson Advisory Group, LLC. Since 2016 he has served as a business advisor for Small Business Development Centers in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County where he mentors startups and small businesses. He has also prepared and negotiated multimillion-dollar aerospace and defense contracts and is well versed in government contracting.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Trust in God and believe in yourself. 

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Michael F

Michael Faraj

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Government Contracting
  • Contract Bonds 
  • Cost Accounting 
  • Business Certifications


Experience
Michael is a small business owner providing accounting and administrative assistance to small businesses that procure with Government Agencies. Michael has helped his core market of small businesses grow into effective and profitable companies with the Federal Government. Michael focuses on assisting socially and economically disadvantaged individuals with certifications and programs governed by The U.S. Small Business Administration and The US Department of Veterans Affairs. The essential elements of Michael’s business life revolve around government contracting and providing assistance to small businesses entering the government contracting world.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Don’t join the group to be a member, join the group to be a leader

Languages
Spanish

Make an Appointment!

Michelle Chuang

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Brand and Digital Marketing
  • Content Strategy
  • Social Media
  • Real Estate
  • Technology
 

Experience
With over 23 years of marketing experience, Michelle has helped build notable brands such as Starbucks, Chevron, and Staples. During her marketing tenure, she has helped launch the green tea lineup at Starbucks and supported the establishment of go-to-market for Chevron’s Extra Mile convenience store program. Most recently, Michelle served in a marketing leadership capacity for some technology companies, where she led rebranding initiatives that elevated brand value and increased revenue shares.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Successful marketing is about understanding your audience and delivering a solution to their needs with a tremendous amount of passion.

Languages
Mandarin and Cantonese

Make an Appointment!

 

bios_2017 (1)

Molly Schmid

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • SBIR, STTR
  • Biotech startups

 

Experience

Molly Schmid has had distinguished careers in both academia and in the biotechnology industry.  In the Molecular Biology department at Princeton University, she raised over $1.2MM in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and American Cancer Society.  Research findings from her laboratory led her to the biotech industry, she was part of executive teams that raised over $100MM in funding through venture capital, corporate partnerships, public markets, and US and Canadian federal research grants. Molly has been part of the Southern California entrepreneurial community since 2005.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Go Long!

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 
Nanci Cisneros Lopez - Nanci Lopez-min

Nanci Cisneros Lopez

Business Services Coordinator

Areas of Expertise

  • Startups
  • Marketing 

 

Experience

Nanci has been a part of the Small Business Development Center since 2006. She has worked in different roles throughout the years. Currently, she is the Business Services Coordinator; she plans, budgets, implements, and coordinates business services, training, and entrepreneurship programs and oversees the daily operations and services. Her passion is seeing entrepreneurs come in with an idea and turning their dreams into reality!

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Find a mentor and do what they’re doing.

 

 

Languages

Spanish 

Natalie Murphy - Natalie Murphy

Natalie Murphy

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Multicultural Communications
  • Crisis Management
  • Government Relations
  • Healthcare and Science

 

Experience

Natalie is an accomplished marketing and international communications expert. She has worked for global multinational companies in Europe and America and is now focusing on digital marketing and technology to support small business owners and help her clients grow.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

 

Languages

Spanish, French, German, Italian

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Nataliya Hyrych - Nataliya Hyrych-min

Nataliya Hyrych

Administrative Assistant

Experience

For almost 8 years, Nataliya has worked as an office assistant for a small HVAC company. Throughout the years of her work, she was able to see how a small business operates from within, what obstacles it has to overcome on its way to achieving goals, and how rewarding it is to be able to help people in need.

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Dream big, work hard, stay humble. 

 

Languages

Ukrainian


Ngoc Tran

Project Management Intern

Experience
Ngoc is a project management intern at the SBDC Digital Marketing Lab. She is a recent graduate from the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in General Biology. Her responsibilities include the preparation of reports, project coordination, documentation, and research.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
When you can’t control what is happening, try to control the way you react to what is happening.


Pamela Coleman (1)

Pamela Coleman

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Video Production
  • Content Planning
  • Customer Relations Expert
  • Project Management

Experience
Pamela is best known for her sense of humor and commitment to customer services, not only toward clients but with her project team members. She started Pamiz Studio, a media and video production service, in support of other small businesses. She uses her skills to help small business owners at the Digital Marketing Lab; she is dedicated to her role as a consultant, photographer, and videographer as it is her sincere goal to assist local businesses in making an impact on their community.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Always dignify others.

Make an Appointment!

Patrick Flaherty - photo-min

Patrick Flaherty

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Human Resources
  • Employee Development
  • Sales Management

 

Experience

Patrick has over 40 years of experience in operations and sales management, and 20 years of experience in the outsourced human resources field. He is currently an HR instructor at several universities and founded an HR consultancy firm in 2014. Patrick holds senior HR certifications from industry associations.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Do what you say you are going to do and treat your employees with respect and compassion.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
Paul Roberts-min

Paul Roberts

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Podcasts
  • Live Streaming Production
  • Content Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Radio and TV Production

 

Experience

Paul has over 20 years of experience in entertainment, marketing, and corporate PR. He has worked as a podcast producer and host for 10 years and created Orange County’s only online radio station and live podcasting platform, OC Talk Radio, based out of UCI Beall Applied Innovation Center. In 2018, Paul won the Innovator Award from Radio World Magazine. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

In today’s online world, perception is reality. 

 

 

Make an Appointment!

 
PaulSymczak-min

Paul Symczak

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Business development
  • Operations management
  • Board of Directors management

 

Experience

Paul has been advising start-up tech and med-tech companies for over 10 years at several SBDCs in the Southern California region. He uses the LaunchPad process to assist them in refining their investment presentations. His background is in high tech, including working with large telecom companies in new ventures and new business development.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

“A long illness is always fatal.”  Don’t continue to pursue something that is a lost cause.  Move on.

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Philip Topham-min

Philip Topham

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Pitch Decks
  • Strategic Marketing and Operations
  • Software
  • Healthcare 

 

Experience

Philip Topham is a renaissance man with a wide breadth of interests and accomplishments. As part of the executive team, Philip has experienced the wild ride when a traditional company gets a $20M venture capital infusion to become the next big thing. He has also built a company without venture backing from zero to profitability selling more than $5M to big pharma and changed the way the pharmaceutical industry operates. Since joining the SBDC, Philip focuses on helping founders build their capacity and skills so they can see their dreams come true.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Ideas are worthless. Revenues are priceless. Surround yourself with smart people. Walk around to the other side of the Elephant.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
Scharrell Jackson - Rachel Svoboda_headshot_sunday brunch agency-min

Rachel Svoboda

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Website Design and Development
  • Graphic Design and Copywriting

 

Experience

Rachel Svoboda is the CEO of Sunday Brunch Advertising/PR Agency and the Founder and visionary behind Lynxx Spirits. Svoboda has represented companies across Southern California for the past 20-years. Svoboda has handled advertising, marketing, and public relations for clients ranging across industries from restaurants to technology, real estate, design, nonprofits, and many more. She is currently an official MBA mentor at Chapman University and a featured speaker on the university’s inaugural Women in Business Association series. Svoboda was also named Women of the Year by The National Association of Professional Women.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

The harder I work, the luckier I get!

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 
 
Raul Medrano

Raul Medrano

Business Consultant

Area of Expertise 

  • Minority and Women-Owned Businesses
  • Banking


Experience
Raul J. Medrano is the owner of R.J. Medrano & Associates, a business consulting company specializing in small, minority, and women enterprises. He is Past Chairman of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, the Orange County Minority Business Council, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Orange County. Raul’s background encompasses 7 years as the Director of the Orange County Minority Business Development Center funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce. He also has over 20 years of experience in the banking and financial fields in which he last served as Chief Financial Officer for an Orange County independent bank.


Make an Appointment!

 

R J Teno - RJ Headshot 3-21-2018 (1)-min

RJ Teno

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Management
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Finance
  • Operations

 

Experience

RJ has over 35 years in real estate and mortgage and has consulted for oil supply, hospitality, construction, and auto repair companies. With over 20 years C-Suite, RJ has extensive expertise in management. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

It’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get up. Failure is a blessing.

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 
RoberUsher-min

Robert Usher

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Finance
  • Business Planning
  • Franchising

 

Experience

Robert has been exposed to small businesses from an early age due to his parents owning one. He managed a small business in college and then started consulting with convenience store franchisees (7-Eleven) shortly after graduating. He has worked with thousands of small business owners on everything from startup licensing to business plans to financing in his 21 years at the Inland Empire SBDC.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Do or do not; there is no try.

 
 
 
 
 

Russ Pollman

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Industrial, Graphic, and Packaging Design 

 

Experience

Russ has consulted with two aerospace firms in sheet metal fabrication and quality engineering.  He has worked with start-ups on the design and patenting of consumer products. In both of these areas, Russ has achieved substantial profit gains. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Revisit when you were a kid and lost hours absorbed in an activity. 

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Ryan Stull

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Digital Marketing
  • B2B and B2C Marketing
  • Web Development
  • Ecommerce Marketing Strategies
  • Content Development


Experience

Ryan has been empowering and educating clients in the digital marketing space since 2009 when he started his own business based around website development and marketing consulting. Digital Marketing is crucial to the operation of small businesses, and Ryan has helped many small businesses take charge of their platforms and ride them to success.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
“Use your fear like fuel.”

Make an Appointment!

Shaun Sanders

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing and Branding
  • Commercialization
  • Pitch Decks
  • Investor Presentations
  • Operations

 

Experience

Shaun works with companies of all sizes but is particularly passionate about startups and small businesses. In 2014, he managed the creation of an angel syndication network that tied together resources and members from more than a dozen investment groups throughout the country. Later, Shaun joined other local investors in building out the startup-focused Innovation Institute at the University of California, Irvine. Currently, in addition to advising and working with numerous startups, which has included Reddit, Hipmunk, and several Y Combinator portfolio companies, he invests much of his time into further developing the Southern California startup ecosystem.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

In the end, the “A Students” work for the “B Students,” the “B Students” lease their buildings from the “C Students,” and the “D Students” show up on a red carpet to dedicate the building.

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

 
Sierra Caldwell - IMG_8993 (2)-min

Sierra Caldwell

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Retail
  • Operations/Management
  • Sales & Marketing
  • eCommerce
  • Merchandising 

 

Experience

Sierra is a small business owner and the Retail Director for Catalina Island Company & Anaheim Angels. She has 18+ qualified years of combined experience in multi-unit operations, team development, P&L accountability, financial reporting, and more.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Do the Work. 

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Steve Sharp - Steve Photo-min

Stephen Sharp

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • B2B and B2C Marketing
  • Operations and Related Best Practices
  • Consumer Goods

 

Experience

Stephen has over 39 years’ experience as an executive, board member, and business consultant, spanning startups to F500 companies as a Sr. VP of Corporate Marketing, COO, and General Manager. He has run businesses with a collective value of > $800M. He is currently in his 4th year as an EIR at UCR, with particular depth in marketing, operations, and organizational excellence. Stephen’s background is primarily in manufacturing businesses, though he has mentored teams in medical, Agtech, diagnostics, education, and consumer goods industries. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

The first person speaking in a negotiation loses

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 
SteveMednick-min

Steve Mednick

Senior Consultant

Areas of Expertise 

  • Corporate Law
  • Venture Capital
  • Global Business Development

 

Experience

Steven has launched and been a part of a number of early-stage businesses in technology and health care. He has also been a part of the corporate counsel to a number of small businesses.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Listen to your customer. 

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Steven Barth (1)

Steven Barth

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Branded Content
  • Email Marketing
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Business Plans
  • Unified Communications
  • Digital Marketing


Experience

Steve is a digital media and marketing leader who has built a unique group of organizations in Southern California. He specializes in creating go-to-market strategies for local businesses and nonprofits to exceed organizational growth goals. He has expertise in digital executions, including search, social, programmatic targeting, and streaming video. Steve also has experience leading teams and building significant digital business units in several companies.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Match your skill and passion with market needs, and never, ever give up.

Make an Appointment!

tom mattoon - tommattoon-min

Tom Mattoon

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • General Management
  • Finance
  • Operations

     

Experience

Tom has scaled businesses from startups to over $1B. He has experience working with companies in a range of fields including Medtech, computing, communications, and software.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
Tony_Crisp_headshot_02-min

Tony Crisp

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Technology
  • Brand Strategy
  • New Product Development
  • Digital Marketing

 

Experience

Tony Crisp is a marketing consultant who is helping businesses fight commoditization to increase the sales of their own branded products. In addition to being the Founder and Chief Strategist at CRISPx, an award-winning, data-driven, creative agency, Crisp is a speaker at the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine and at the UCLA Anderson School of Business, where he is an Alumni. Crisp also sits on the Advisory Board of the Emerging Media and Design Program for the Trever Clair School of Arts at UC Irvine and serves on the Board of Directors of the Tech Coast Venture Network. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Leave it better than you found it…including humans. – Mom

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 
 
Uriel Argüelles (1)

Uriel Argüelles

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Financial Strategy Development
  • Finance
  • Cashflow Analysis
  • Loan Packaging


Experience
Uriel has held various leadership roles in several Fortune 500 financial services companies. As a Corporate Banker, he supported and guided business clients with planning, problem-solving, and navigate complex economic events. Uriel graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Management from California State University, Northridge, and earned an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. As a Financial Consultant, he prides himself on helping entrepreneurs and business owners navigate business finance complexities and obtain access to capital.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Cash flow is the fuel that runs your business; understand it and don’t take your eyes off it.

Languages
Spanish

Make an Appointment!

Screen Shot 2021-08-17 at 10.38.11 AM (1)

Violet Oh

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Website Design and Development
  • Graphic Design
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing


Experience
Violet self-started the digital marketing agency, OhViolet Agency, and is the executive coordinator of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County. She has experience working with a variety of small businesses including beauty, technology, real estate, educational institutions, lawyers, and more. She also has over nine years of experience in graphic design and has worked with National Geographic to help design their online store.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord 

Languages
Korean

Make an Appointment!

 

Vivian Nguyen - vivian nguyen-min

Vivan Nguyen

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing
  • Business Planning
  • Food Industry 

 

Experience
Vivian has 8 years of experience in both digital marketing and marketing strategy. Additionally, she has a wide range of experience in the tech, restaurant, and senior care industries. She has taken a single start-up franchise and grown it to 50 locations. She also has won first and third place in Start-up Weekend OC.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Never be afraid to ask for anything

 

Languages 
Vietnamese, Some Spanish

WendyBasulto-min

Wendy Main

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Accounting
  • QuickBooks

 

Experience

Wendy specializes in small businesses ranging from start-up to approximately $15,000,000 in gross revenues. She has worked in the medical practice, home health care agency, printing, construction, and legal and consulting firm industries. Wendy is currently certified as a QuickBooks Online Proadvisor and enjoys teaching her clients how to use the software efficiently to obtain useful information to manage their business better. She also consults on accounting, tax education, business entity selection, and overall business management and process creation.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

“Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime”

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Yadira Dominguez - YD-min

Yadira Dominguez

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Retail
  • Customer Service
  • Sales
  • Merchandising
  • Employee Training

 

Experience

Yadira is an energetic, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable consultant with over 12 years of retail experience. Yadira has worked in many different positions for a variety of large and small businesses. Because of this, she understands what it takes to be successful regardless of business size. Yadira brings a unique set of experience, skills, and perspective to any business. Her areas of expertise are transferable across many fields allowing her to assist a diverse range of clients.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Things don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.

 

 

Languages

Spanish

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

YesimErez

Yesim Erez

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing and Sales
  • Market Research
  • New Product Development
  • Global Distribution
  • Education Industry

 

Experience

Yesim has 30 years of brand management experience, managing brands in consumer goods, financial services, and high technology. She is experienced in the education industry as she owns education and education technology small businesses. Throughout her career, Yesim has gotten patents for new products, installed CRM systems in multiple companies, launched automotive and household brands in the US, Europe, and much more! 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Seek to work in environments that offer equal opportunity.

 

Languages

Turkish

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Subscribe now

Sign up to stay updated on the latest news and resources!

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: OCIE SBDC, 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, CA, 92831, http://ociesmallbusiness.org. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact