Alumni Leadership Council Biographies
Courtney Ameli recently relocated to San Francisco with her husband Maz, a fellow Seaver graduate, for his job in the tech sector. Prior to this, she was a senior account executive at Russ Reid, a direct response agency dedicated to helping nonprofits grow in their fundraising efforts through direct mail, television, radio, and digital channels. She was a trusted advisor for multiple clients and executed strategies for both acquiring new donors and cultivating current donors across integrated campaigns and efforts.
Before working at Russ Reid, Courtney was the manager of advancement operations at Pepperdine University. She is also involved in nonprofit ventures outside her specific job. She sits on the leadership council for YoungLife in Malibu and serves as a trustee on an endowment fund for a small private school in Ghana.
Courtney graduated summa cum laude from Seaver College in 2008 with degrees in public relations and German. She and her husband Maz live in San Francisco, CA.
Charity Azadian is a professor, diplomat, and author. She served as the first special assistant on international affairs for the science and technology directorate at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Soon thereafter she served as a senior advisor on nuclear nonproliferation matters at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in the George W. Bush Administration. In that role, Charity served as a confidant to senior administration officials and scientists on a variety of homeland and national security issues. She went on to write the 2006 California State Strategy on Homeland Security, which secured grant funding for the state, while working on port security matters in the Governor's Office of Homeland Security in California.
She is currently an adjunct professor at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. She enjoys writing daily posts on her blog, as well as crafting a book on her adventures in homeland security following the events of September 11.
Jenna Blackmon is the current president of the Pepperdine University School of Law Student Bar Association. As president, Jenna works with the Student Bar Association planning social events, coordinating and providing support to School of Law student organizations, and acting as liaison between the student body, faculty, and administration. Jenna is also a graduate of Seaver College at Pepperdine University, Class of 2009.
Randy Clark served as president and CEO of Border Foods from 2008 to 2011. He sold the company and is now the chair of the board for Border Foods and a member of the executive committee for Mizkan Americas, the buyer. From 2004 to 2006 he taught at Wilberforce University in Ohio.
As board member/project manager (2003 to 2006) of the nonprofit organization Athletes in Action, he managed capital improvements
and building athletic fields. From 2004 to 2008 Clark was a founding board member of The Refuge Center, a nonprofit counseling center for underprivileged children and adults. From 1999 to 2003, Randy was a professor of accounting and marketing in the undergraduate and graduate programs at Masters College in Santa Clarita, California.
Randy started the $46 million company Golden Valley Produce and served as president, CEO, and board member from 1996 to 1999. During this time, he negotiated the licensing of the Green Giant label for a 25-year period with Pillsbury. He also played a part in the design and building of the 200,000 square foot, state-of-the-art processing plant and later negotiated the sale of the company to a competitor. Randy served as president, CEO, and board member of Mike Yurosek & Son LLC from 1994 to 1996. Under his leadership, the company went from losing $10 million in one year to making a profit of $15 million annually. He established procedures for quality output and created a desire for excellence in the leadership of the company.
He received his bachelor of arts degree in 1974 from Cedarville College, a master of science degree in accounting in 1977 from Kent State University (CPA 1978), and a doctorate in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University in 2005. He is also a GSEP Board of Visitors member.
Mike has spent the last 15 years as an entrepreneur, investment banker, author, university professor, angel investor, and motivational speaker. He has also been a pro bono fundraiser for various non-profits such as UNICEF, United Way, Pepperdine University, Children Uniting Nations, H.R.H. Princess Margarita of Romania Foundation, and Blue Heron Foundation.
Mike is a member of Tech Coast Angels (TCA), the largest network of angel investors in the world with 300 active members. Established in Southern California in 1997, TCA has invested $125 million in 200 startup companies and has raised an additional $1.4 billion from venture capital funds. Mike is the founder and chief giving officer of GeniusGiver, an online fundraising platform targeting the long tail of online charitable fundraising.
From 2006 to 2011, Mike was the president of Leo & Leo, a European management consulting company based in Romania. Some of the brands he represented or managed under a franchise included Maserati, Segway, NetJets, Sunseeker Yachts, Marsh, Miss Universe, and Rockstar Energy Drink. From 2000 to 2006, Mike served as the founding CEO of Pioneer TeleCare, an e-commerce company distributing consumer goods through 26 different websites. Annual revenues reached $2.5 million and the company employed 20 employees in Los Angeles and India. From 1998 to 2003, Mike was a senior associate at WestPark Capital, The Interlink Group, and Millennium Capital Partners; all are Los Angeles based investment banking firms with projects in China, Honduras, India, Pakistan, and South Korea.
From 2003 to 2012, Mike served on the board of directors and as the director of fundraising and strategy (pro bono) for Blue Heron Foundation, a charitable organization, which raised $1,000,000 to provide college scholarships to Romanian orphan teenagers.
Mike holds a degree in economics from Pepperdine University (1999), a certificate in dispute resolution from Pepperdine School of Law's Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution (2003), and he completed the Program on Negotiations for Senior Executives at Harvard University School of Law (2008).
Mike is currently the chairman of the advisory board for the Master of Arts in Social Entrepreneurship and Change at Pepperdine's Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Mike was born in Bucharest, Romania, migrated to Israel in 1988, and then migrated to the United States in 1992.
Sarah de Diego is an experienced Internet attorney and founder of De Diego Law. Her practice focuses on helping her clients maintain compliance with the constantly changing laws and regulations that impact Internet marketing. Among other things, her time is spent reviewing and approving creative materials and landing pages, drafting and negotiating contracts, defending against regulatory action and civil litigation, and assisting with general business matters.
Sarah travels frequently for speaking engagements and compliance training. She is licensed to practice law in the State and Federal courts of California, Colorado, and Nevada. Sarah is the vice-chair of the California State Bar's Cyberspace Law Committee and a member of its legislative sub-committee. She is an active member of the Performance Marketing Association and chairs the PMA Attorney Special Interest Group. She is in her eighth year as a sitting board member of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and is active in mentoring new attorneys. She also attends and serves on the board of Hope Church Santa Monica.
Sarah received her bachelor's degree from the University of California San Diego and her juris doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law. In her free time she enjoys scuba diving, traveling, and good books.
Alex is a junior at Pepperdine University majoring in business administration and is scheduled to graduate in 2014. Alex is the current president of Pepperdine's Student Alumni Organization (SAO), which coordinates events throughout the year helping to connect current students and alumni, while strengthening the Pepperdine legacy. He is also a member of Pepperdine's club tennis team, Colleges Against Cancer, and Judaic Cultural Awareness. After graduation, Alex plans to go into hospital administration or the medical supply industry.
Dr. Rudy B. Frias was born in Santa Ana, California and raised in Laguna Hills. He went to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and received his bachelor's degree in biology. He then attended Pepperdine University for his master's degree in psychology and his doctorate of education in organizational leadership.
Dr. Frias has been employed at Santiago Canyon College for 16 years during which time he has taught English as a SecondLanguage (ESL), applied psychology, and has counseled students. Currently he is a tenured professor and counselor in the Continuing Education Division. Along with one of his colleagues, he facilitates the Counseling Department, providing leadership to the counseling faculty and staff.
In 2002 Rudy and his brother Oz founded Kingdom Real Estate Holdings, a real estate investment limited partnership. Rudy currently serves as the chief operations officer and works directly with real estate professionals throughout Arizona, California, and Texas. He has also gone on missionary trips to Africa, Europe, and Mexico. Most recently, Rudy became a member of the Crisis Response Network of Orange County. He is currently working with a group of fellow parishioners at Christ Our Redeemer Church, Irvine, in the enrichment program with high school students and their parents.
During his free time Rudy enjoys traveling all over the world. He is also trains in Tae Kwon Do and is working towards his black belt. But, he feels his most important time is spent with family, including his two nieces.
Susan Giboney received her bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine College and her master’s degree from California State University, Long Beach. After teaching school in Los Angeles, she and her husband, Terry (’61), went to Japan to serve as missionaries and to teach at Ibaraki Christian College. Their oldest daughter was born while they were in Japan.
Upon returning to the states, they had another daughter and a son. Later, Susan taught at Pacific Christian College and is a recently retired professor in education at Pepperdine University, where she was selected for the Teaching Excellence Award. She is a Certified Family Life Educator, teacher of premarital and parenting classes, and a frequent speaker for seminars and retreats. She is also a writer for devotional magazines and has written study guides for premarital couples and caregivers. She serves on the boards of the Center for the Family, Associated Women for Pepperdine, and the Alumni Leadership Council, and is an active member of the University Church.
Susan's family is her priority and joy. Her oldest daughter, Carrie (’88), is married to Andy Wall (’85), the minister at the Conejo Valley Church of Christ. Carrie is a professor at Pepperdine University. They have three daughters, one who is currently at Seaver College ('16). Susan's second daughter, Peggy (’90), is married to Greg Grande (’87), a business banking vice president. Peggy was the personal aide to President Ronald Reagan and continues to work for the Reagan Library. Peggy and Greg have four children. Susan's son, Paul (’92), is a physician for a clinic in South Los Angeles and LA Department of Health Services. He and his wife, Paula, have three daughters. Susan's husband Terry was in public education most of his career, serving from teacher to superintendent and became an administrator at Pepperdine University. He served as an elder at the church for many years. Terry died of cancer in December of 1996, and Susan carries on much of the teaching and counseling they did as a team.
Don Goodwin is the executive vice president of The Goodwin Company. The Goodwin Company is a fifth generation family business established in 1922 with an expertise in the production, packaging, and distribution of liquid products. Its primary segments of manufacturing include: general household cleaners, automotive appearance products, industrial cleaning products, and engine additives. The Goodwin Company currently manufactures and distributes more than 60MM gallons of product annually from its facilities in Los Angeles, CA and Atlanta, GA.
Don serves as treasurer on the board of directors for a non-profit organization in Orange County, CA named Art and Creativity for Healing. The organization facilitates art projects at healing workshops for children and adults suffering from abuse, illness, grief, and stress. They work with various non-profit agencies such as Human Options, Choc Hospital, and Camp Pendleton. Don is also a member of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles (LA5), and the founding co-chair of the Pepperdine Standing Committee.
Don received his bachelor's degree in business administration and MBA from Pepperdine University. His wife also attended Pepperdine University and received her MA in clinical psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. He resides in Orange County, CA with his wife Raquel and son Shane.
In 1997, Christine Grimm founded Aria Consulting International, Inc., with the goal of providing highly effective consulting, facilitation services, and customized management training to organizations experiencing growth and change in the public and private sector.
Christine is a practice leader in the alignment of executive teams and diverse, cross-cultural work groups. She brings a broad range of business operations and organizational development experience to client engagements. She aims to help leaders create a clear path for their organization, align as a team, and develop strategy, structures, and processes that will help them exceed their strategic expectations and goals. Her interactive, high-energy approach incites groups to achieve their objectives, while participants acquire new skills and behaviors that are immediately applicable in both their personal and professional lives.
Christine is the coauthor of Training, Teaching, Transforming (Piccadilly Press, 2005), a text being applied in both corporate training and graduate-level teacher education programs. She is a member of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Christine has earned her professional certification as a senior professional in human resources (SPHR). She is a master trainer of team effectiveness and in 2006 was certified as a trainer of the DiSC® Dimensions of Behavior Model by Inscape Publishing, the leading publisher of behavior and personal effectiveness tools.
Christine received her bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University in social science and education, where she also earned a secondary teaching credential for the State of California.
Cynthia V. Guerrero, founder of CG Consulting Group, Inc., is a California state and federally registered lobbyist specializing in broad range of issues specifically relating to the technology industry providing her clients with policy and political strategy as well as business development and crisis management. Prior to returning to her private practice, she served as the California Director for TechNet, the leading bipartisan political network of CEOs that promotes growth of the innovation economy by building long-term relationships between technology leaders and policymakers both on the state and federal levels.
Before to joining TechNet, Cynthia worked with various state legislators/public officials, Members of Congress and the U.S. Senate providing political/policy strategy. In addition, prior to her consulting work and masters program, Cynthia worked at the Rand Corporation as well as in the investment securities industry for top firms such as Credit Suisse First Boston – Technology Group, Barclays Global Investors, and Merrill Lynch.
Cynthia has her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis in Pre-Law and a minor in English Literature from Mount St. Mary's College. She also graduated with a Master in Public Policy specializing in Economics and International Relations from Pepperdine University and serves on the Board of Visitors for the School of Public Policy.
In 2011, she was asked to serve on the Board of Directors for ZeroDivide. Cynthia continues to champion issues on bridging the digital divide and access to technology in underserved/underrepresented communities.
Dorothy Hammond is an HR manager at NBCUniversal supporting the Operations & Technical Services teams dedicated to E!, Style, and G4 networks. Prior to this role, she was HR manager at Universal Studios Hollywood. Dorothy managed NBCU's West Coast internship program where she recruited, mentored, and coached over 300 interns each semester. She began her NBCU career as an HR coordinator within the Work Life department. Prior to working at NBCU, Dorothy worked as an assistant with Pepperdine University's Risk Management Department.
Dorothy is a graduate of Pepperdine University where she received her bachelor's degree in industrial organizational psychology and MA in organizational development. She is a member of the LA Waves Chapter Board. She spends her free time volunteering at various organizations including the Downtown Women's Center.
Eric Hagen is a partner in the international law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP. He counsels and represents Fortune 500 clients and emerging growth companies in complex intellectual property cases involving patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and copyrights. He has successfully represented a broad array of companies in the television, Internet, marketing, life sciences, smartphone, computer, financial services, sports, and entertainment industries. He also serves on the board of advisors for the animation company JibJab Media, Inc., based in Venice, California.
Eric is the co-chair of the pro bono committee in McDermott's Los Angeles office and has been actively engaged inpro bono representations through The Alliance for Children's Rights' guardianship and adoption program, Bet Tzedek's Holocaust Survivors Justice Network, Westside Pregnancy Center, and the Daniel Pearl Foundation. In 2007, he achieved a victory for his pro bono clients in a closely-watched First Amendment case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Morse v. Frederick, 127 S. Ct. 2618 (2007). In 2011, he traveled to Uganda to work with a team of U.S. and Ugandan lawyers and law students in seeking justice for several imprisoned youths who had been unlawfully detained and whose cases had languished in an overwhelmed and back-logged court system.
Eric earned his bachelor of arts degree in biology from Pepperdine University, his master's degree from Dartmouth College, and his JD (magna cum laude) from Pepperdine University School of Law where he was the note and comment editor for the Pepperdine Law Review. He served as a law clerk for Judge Robert D. Potter of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. He currently teaches patent litigation at Loyola Law School, where he is an adjunct professor of law. Eric lives in Marina del Rey, California, with his wife Amber and their three sons.
Alonzo Hill is a special agent assigned to the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. He is currently working in the Office of Public and Congressional Affairs, where he is responsible for interfacing with members of Congress and their staffers, as well as state and local government officials. Additionally, he handles many of the entertainment industry requests made to the Los Angeles Field Office. Alonzo, a native of Bakersfield, California, received his undergraduate degree in petroleum engineering from UC Berkeley. He also earned an MBA from Pepperdine University.
Integrity Technologies founder and president, Crystal Jensen has coordinated and taught technology in rural and urban, public and private, and K-12 and higher education organizations. As a member of the Choctaw Tribe of Oklahoma, Jensen's current doctor of learning technologies research at Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) highlights the possible future of utilizing information and communication technologies (ICTs) for U.S. Indigenous Peoples' cultural preservation, revitalization, and capacity building, especially in rural and remote locations. Her extensive travels around the nation and the globe including China, Costa Rica, Washington, D.C, Atlanta, and Vancouver, have allowed her to meet with other Indigenous, governmental, and educational technology leaders.
Crystal describes herself as an empowered servant leader for the greater good, especially for communities in need. She has a long-term commitment and passion for fostering community. Therefore, she is often sought out as a guest lecturer/teacher, leader, and project designer and manager in both online and face-to-face formats. Ms. Jensen is also highly trained in four key areas: research, teaching, leadership, and community building. She has numerous U.S. and international Indigenous and educational technologies conference presentations and publications to her credit. She also serves on several non-profit leadership boards. Some of her recent honors include: 2011-2012 Phi Delta Kappa Emerging Leader, 2011-2012 American Indian Graduate Center Scholar, and 2011-2012 American Indian College Fund Scholar.
For more info, please visit: http://integritytechnologies.org
*Photo credit: Jay Roberts
Robert Katch is president of Manchester Financial, an investment counsel and wealth management group, located in Westlake Village, California. He founded Manchester Financial in 1990 while serving as Pepperdine University’s associate treasurer from 1989 to 1996. Robert was responsible for the University’s $250 million investment portfolio and corporate finance functions. He started his career with Arthur Young & Co., serving in both the International Taxation and Merger & Acquisition Departments. From 1991 to 2003, Robert taught investment, accounting, and finance courses for Pepperdine University’s undergraduate and graduate programs. Robert holds a BS in accounting and an MBA from Pepperdine University. He serves on Pepperdine’s Seaver College Board of Visitors and as Chair for Ventura County Community Foundation’s Investment Committee. Robert and his wife Loretta (’85) were married in 1987 and have two daughters attending Pepperdine and two that are pre-college. They attend Conejo Valley Church of Christ in Thousand Oaks, California.
John Katch and his wife, Linda, are Pepperdine alumni, as well as their son, daughter, and daughter-in-law. John is a former district manager for the Southern California Edison Company. His activities beyond line management included time as assistant treasurer and involvement on many special projects encompassing mergers, systems, and public affairs. Throughout most of his career, he managed multifunctional organizations and was responsible for service to 250,000 customers in west Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Ventura County, and other areas. He also received an MBA in finance from the University of Southern California. John serves on the University Board of Regents and the Seaver Board of Visitors. He also is a founding member of the Alumni Leadership Council, where he is currently serving as the regent liaison.
Ezra Landes is a partner at Spertus, Landes & Umhofer, LLP. Mr. Landes joined the firm in 2007 from Pepperdine University School of Law, where he was the note & comment editor of the Pepperdine Law Review. Mr. Landes handles a wide variety of civil and criminal matters, with a special emphasis on intellectual property and entertainment litigation. Mr. Landes has successfully authored and argued numerous motions in state and federal court; including motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and special motions to strike under California's anti-SLAPP statute.
Mr. Landes has also authored a number of successful appellate briefs in the Second and Ninth District of Columbia circuits and the California Court of Appeal. In one notable case, Mr. Landes was part of the team that obtained a $307.5 million wrongful death judgment on behalf of a victim's heir. In another case Mr. Landes was part of the team that obtained reversal of a dismissal on appeal and then successfully defeated an entertainment company's summary judgment motion in an idea theft case relating to the reality-television show "So You Think You Can Dance." Mr. Landes was also part of the team that obtained a dismissal of the California Attorney General's public corruption lawsuit against City of Bell official Robert A. Rizzo. Additionally, Mr. Landes has successfully represented clients in numerous celebrity cases involving unlawful computer hacking.
Mr. Landes is a graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where he majored in film and television production. After earning his BFA from Tisch, Mr. Landes completed a number of screenwriting assignments. For example, he wrote and directed the film "Reeling in Reality," which was an official selection of the Angelica New Filmmakers New York Summer Series.
Martin Mathers is a graduate of the Pepperdine School of Law. His wife, Liz Mathers, is also a graduate of the law school (JD ’87). He also has a bachelor of science in business administration (finance/marketing) from the University of Denver. Martin has an active civil trial practice in Phoenix, Arizona, with Gage & Mathers.
Martin is also an investor and board member of several start-up companies. His current investments include Batter Blaster-Organic Waffle and Pancake Batter, a fast-growing consumer products company based in Austin, Texas. He is also an early investor in Freedom Wireless, Inc., a holder of significant patents in prepaid cellular services based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Martin is an active Pepperdine alumnus and has been a Pepperdine Associate for over a decade. He is also an active alumnus of the law school, cohosting law school alumni receptions in Phoenix and contributing to and attending the 10th Anniversary Gala for the Geoffrey H. Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law and the annual law school dinner.
Martin and Liz live in Scottsdale, Arizona and are actively involved in the alumni associations of their sons’ universities: Nick Mathers (Santa Clara University) and Matt Mathers (University of Colorado).
T. Nicholas “Nick” Mitchell is currently the president and CEO of Sohve Corporation. Sohve offers consulting services in sales, marketing, international business, and strategic organizational development. Their clients are typically small- to mid-size high technology organizations interested in expanding their top line through fostering internal sales and marketing channels, developing external partnership relationships, and considering merger and acquisition (M&A) options.
Prior to founding Sohve, Nick had a variety of experiences within the pharmaceutical industry. From 2002 to 2008, Nick was the business development manager at Phenomenex, a mid-size chemistry company ($120 million) headquartered in Torrance, California. In this role, Nick was responsible for expanding revenues and propelling Phenomenex into new markets by identifying external industrial and academic collaborations to facilitate organic and non-organic M&A expansion.
Prior to joining Phenomenex, Nick spent five years at Wyeth, a U.S.-based multinational pharmaceutical company, as an analytical research chemist. At Wyeth, Nick was responsible for employing a variety of analytical chemistry techniques supporting drug discovery and development research.
Nick is currently the Chair Emeritus for the Pepperdine Graziadio Alumni Network–Los Angeles. In this role, Nick works to engage fellow alumni to give back to their alma mater.
Nick holds a bachelor of science in chemistry from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Pepperdine University.
Nancy Padberg is the CEO and founder of Navigate Boomer Media and Best Boomer Towns. She is a former Fortune 500 Times Mirror executive, strategist, and marketing agency vice president. Nancy has built her media, marketing, and sales career in Los Angeles for 18 years.
NavigateBoomerMedia is the largest online boomer marketing source in the world with display advertising on 120 sites delivering 112 million unique visitors per month, 20 million e-mail and a 2 million-mobile-device database with 800 data segments, e-newsletters, and custom research. Best Boomer Towns was developed and launched based on research of 40% of the 78 million U.S. baby boomers (ages 45 - 65) who will retire or relocate. The site highlights the best 21 towns through facts, stats, real time news feed, weather feed, 60-minute podcasts, and video highlights. Town selected criteria include university presence, airport access, mild climate, more doctors per capita, cultural activities, and community vibrancy.
Nancy was the 2009 Friends of George Graziadio School of Business Golf Tournament chair and committee member for five years. She has been nominated for "Women to Watch" by the Los Angeles Business Journal and as an "Outstanding Alumna" at Iowa State University. She has served on several nonprofit boards, is a guest speaker, and former Big 12 golfer. She is a MBA graduate from the Graziadio School of Business Management at Pepperdine.
She resides in Seattle with her husband David and daughter Nina. They enjoy their happy dogs Snickers and Buttercup, as well as travel, volleyball, and golf together.
Jason H. Pates is a manager of customer business transformation in the voice technology group at Cisco Systems, Inc. Cisco Systems is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, whose networking hardware, software, and services provide increased productivity and communications for individuals, education, business, and government. In his current role, Jason serves on a global team that identifies, quantifies, and demonstrates the business value of Cisco’s unified communications solutions. He is responsible for a clientele of large manufacturing, energy, and high-technology enterprises, such as General Motors, Pacific Gas and Electric, MGM Resorts, and Symantec Corporation.
Prior to his current position, Jason worked as an account manager for ChannelAdvisor Corporation, an electronic commerce startup in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, where he managed online shopping strategies for large retailers and manufacturers like Nike, Dell, and AT&T Mobility. He was previously a management consultant at both Booz Allen & Hamilton and Accenture, analyzing business processes for public and private sector clientele. He was selected as the School of Public Policy’s first U.S. Presidential Management Fellow, and was appointed in 1999 to his role as a financial economist in the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Institutions Policy.
He serves as president of the finance board and deacon at the North Raleigh Church of Christ in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is a founding member and former president of the Pepperdine Alumni Association’s Carolina Waves chapter, in addition to prior service as the president of the Washington, D.C. Waves alumni chapter.
He is a double graduate of Pepperdine University, earning his bachelor of arts in economics from Seaver College in 1995, and his master’s of public policy from the School of Public Policy in 1999.
He resides in Wake Forest, North Carolina, with his wife Olena, who is also a graduate of the School of Public Policy, Class of 1999.
Darren Pitts is an executive vice president, principal and cofounder of Velocity Retail Group and Accelerated Development. His firms provide corporate real estate strategy, brokerage, and development services to many of the nation's Fortune 500 retailers. Some current and former clients include JPMorgan Chase, Target, Wal-Mart, Lowe's Home Improvement, JCPenney, Lifetime Fitness, Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Mervyn's Department Stores, Ross Dress for Less, CVS Pharmacy, Mimi's Cafe, and others.
He was formerly a senior vice president, principal and cofounder of the Phoenix office for Staubach Retail, a Texas-based commercial real estate firm founded by NFL Hall of Fame legend Roger Staubach. He was also a principal in two of Staubach's affiliated development companies, Cypress Equities and Velocity Development Services. He recently partnered with another former NFL Hall of Fame All-Star and "Dancing with the Stars" Champion Emmitt Smith on a 240,000 square-foot retail development project in the Phoenix area.
At the age of 29, Darren became one of the youngest senior vice presidents at the nation's largest commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis (formerly CB Commercial). He led one of the firm's top retail tenant representation teams and was regularly in the firm's Top 20 ranking nationally, having won numerous awards for top performance and for leading performance-based teams.
He was a James Millikin Scholar and a 1993 magna cum laude honors graduate of Millikin University (Illinois) while lettering in three NCAA sports. He later completed his MBA with magna cum laude honors in finance in 1995 from the Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management.
Darren and his wife Denise are active members of the Camelback Church of Christ in the Phoenix area, where he frequently leads the congregational singing. Darren and his wife Denise have a 11-year old son Davis and a 10-year old daughter Denae. They are residents of Scottsdale, Arizona
Beverley Smith Royster received her bachelor's degree from George Pepperdine College (GPC) in 1965 and earned her master's degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills in 1991. Upon graduation from GPC she attended a fifth year of college in the Year-In Europe program in Heidelberg, Germany, where she was the girls' representative for all events. During her years at GPC she served as co-chairman of Spring Sing and vice president of Phi Beta. She additionally was a member of Alpha Gammas, Delta Iota, and a participant in the Religion Department's Biblical Greek Program in which she received a minor upon graduation. Beverley has participated in the Class Agent program and Founder's Day march of the flags since its inception.
She retired in 2006 from Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) after 40 years of educational commitment. She spent the first 20 years of her career as a K-6 classroom teacher, advisor, and instructional coordinator. The last 20 years of her career were spent as a K-12 administrator for the Information Technology Division, director of the $18,000,000 Technology Literacy Challenge Grant, and coordinator of Writing to Read/Voy a Leer Escribiendo classroom programs and district-wide conferences, including the first InfoTech Conference. Additionally, from 1987-2006, she was the liaison to The Riordan Foundation for LAUSD.
The teacher is out of the classroom, but the classroom is not out of the teacher as Beverley continues as an instructional technology consultant for The Riordan Foundation and an active founding board member for New Millennium Secondary School in Carson, CA. She is also an active member of Friends of the Santa Fe Dam in Irwindale, CA where she served as secretary for the passed five years. Additionally, Beverley serves in leadership for the Small Groups/Assimilation Department at Faith Community Church in West Covina, CA.
Meisha R. Sherman joined Hewlett-Packard in August 2011 and leads the accelerated development strategies, efforts, and initiatives for leaders and executives for global talent management and succession of the Hewlett-Packard Company. With over 15 years of human resources experience, she leads talent management strategies and processes, top talent pools, learning and development efforts, employee engagement initiatives, succession planning, talent review, and scorecard metric design and reporting.
Prior to her current role at Hewlett-Packard, Meisha served as manager for talent management and diversity for Raytheon, a leading Fortune 100 government aerospace defense company. Ms. Sherman was responsible for talent development, combining OE and talent management key principles to deliver pragmatic solutions, leading succession planning, and leading diversity strategies. This included execution of diversity efforts, employee resource groups, diversity and inclusion awareness training, metrics, and communication.
Prior to joining Raytheon, Ms. Sherman held various leadership positions such as director of human resources, talent management, and talent acquisition for a leading woman minority owned consulting firm. She led regional and national teams by providing solutions for clients in the telecommunications and technology industries. She was responsible for acquiring top talent and ensuring workforce diversity, developing top leaders, and retaining top talent. Additionally, Ms. Sherman was responsible for exempt and non-exempt level human resources, employee relations, and talent acquisition in corporate human resources for a top national financial institution for over five years. Ms. Sherman served in the United States Army for six years, where she was responsible for the recruitment of prospective soldiers, and the development and retention of existing soldiers.
A native of Los Angeles, CA, Ms. Sherman is an active leader in the community. She is a civic leader with the 48th District Constituent Services Center in partnership with the Los Angeles Mayor's Office, serving at risk youth in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). She is also a mentor to the second year MBA students at Pepperdine University. Additionally, Ms. Sherman is an advisory board member of the Los Angeles chapter of the California Diversity Council (CADC), is an officer of the National Association of Women MBA's (NAWMBA), serves on the Pepperdine University Graziadio Alumni Board, and serves on the board of directors with the American Red Cross Santa Monica chapter.
Ms. Sherman earned her MBA from Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management. Ms. Sherman received her bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies from California State University Dominguez Hills where she graduated magna cum laude.
Dr. Miatta R. Snetter received her undergraduate degree from Clark Atlanta University, in Atlanta, Georgia. She then went on to earn both her master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology from Pepperdine, where she gained the tools to become a life-changing psychotherapist, consultant, guest lecturer, educator, and community advocate. During her time at Pepperdine, Miatta was fortunate to serve as both a graduate assistant and a teacher’s assistant, where she was exposed to guest lecturing for master’s level psychology students. As a student, she was invited by the late Dr. David Boyd to sing with Pepperdine faculty and staff members during their annual Christmas celebration, which led to her first solo debut. In 2005, she was honored to be selected to sing the National Anthem at GSEP’s graduation ceremony. She was later selected to sing during her own graduation ceremony in 2007, one of her greatest honors and privileges.
Miatta was on the Discovery Channel’s 10-episode series The Colony as a psychology expert. Here, she provided commentary about the various threatening scenarios presented to nine individuals living in a simulated post-apocalyptic environment.
She is currently a professional consultant and sits on the board of directors for local nonprofit organization Daughters of Power, Inc., which encourages young girls to identify and pursue their full academic, social, and spiritual potential. She previously sat on the board for the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, where she cochaired the “Mind-Body Project,” promoting awareness within the community about the relationship between mental and physical health. She is also actively involved in her church, Full Harvest International Church, where she heads the counseling ministry and other service-oriented projects.
Currently, Miatta is the coordinator of the military sexual trauma treatment program at the Los Angeles Veterans Center, where she provides PTSD treatment for male and female veterans from various war eras, including WWII, Vietnam, Korean, Persian Gulf, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Jennifer is currently vice president of business & legal affairs for Eyeworks USA, a television production company that specializes in transformational reality programming, including Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, The Revolution, I Used To Be Fat, and Flying Wild Alaska. She has held this position since March 2011, overseeing all legal aspects of the television production process and advising on corporate risk and litigation matters on a daily basis.
Prior to joining Eyeworks, Jennifer practiced entertainment law at the Beverly Hills law firm of McKuin Frankel Whitehead LLP, where she developed an expertise representing production companies in unscripted and alternative television programming. Her client list included companies such as 51 Minds, Glassman Media, and Mess Media, in addition to individual writers, directors, producers, and actors. Jennifer began her legal career in 2002 at GRB Entertainment, an independent producer and distributor of unscripted television programs, including the Emmy winning show Intervention.
Jennifer received her BS degree in business administration from Pepperdine University in 1998, where she graduated magna cum laude, and obtained her juris doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law in 2002, where she graduated cum laude and was a member of the Pepperdine Law Review.
Raised in both Oregon and Indiana, Jennifer now lives in Pacific Palisades, CA with her husband. She and her husband are both avid sailors who enjoy every opportunity to explore new places and meet new people on their adventures at sea.
Brad Starkey is a partner in Jerry Johnson and Associates (JJ&A), a design firm specializing in marketing the products of entertainment and retail-based Fortune 500 Companies. JJ&A's current client base includes the Walt Disney Company, DreamWorks, Mattel Toys, Express Stores, Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures, Disney Store, and Sunkist.
Prior to JJ&A, Brad was marketing manager for Ventura County National Bank, a small business bank headquartered in Oxnard, California. From 1988 to 1992, he was in charge of marketing, including promoting the bank, its subsidiaries, and the complete line of products and services.
Brad is a graduate of Pepperdine University, Seaver College. He graduated in 1988 with a degree in advertising. He serves the University on the Seaver Board of Visitors, the Alumni Leadership Council, and as chair of Seaver's career coaching program.
Born in Akron, Ohio, and raised in Orange County, he currently lives in Westlake Village, California, with his wife Patricia and their children, Brandon and Lauren. Brad and his family are active in their church, the Conejo Valley Church of Christ, where they have actively participated in mission trips to Mexico and Nairobi, Kenya.
Alina Tishchenko is a second year graduate student at Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. Her specialization is American politics and international relations. In the summer of 2012, she interned in the public affairs section for the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany. From 2003 to 2008, she worked in the real estate industry.
Alina holds a BA in political science from California State University Northridge. She speaks fluent Russian and her background includes a wide variety of research, writing, and editing experience. She is the manager of communications for the Pepperdine Public Policy Review for 2012-2013 year. Additionally, Alina is president of Christianity and Public Policy.
Aaron Young is a human resources professional with familiarity in all facets of the discipline. His experiences include strategic level planning advisory and execution within several business functions. From Fortune 500 to SMB and startup ventures, Aaron's hands on approach has provided his organizations an accurate view in managing their vision and direction. As a result, alignment and execution have yielded outstanding results.
Aaron is currently in the process of completing his MBA with an emphasis in dispute resolution from Pepperdine's Graziadio School of Business and Management. Currently, Aaron sits as the vice chair of the Graziadio Alumni Network in Orange County.