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Pepperdine University

Alumni Speaker Bios

Speaker Bios

 LaVada English

LaVada English headshot - Pepperdine University

LaVada English is a professional development coach, human resource executive, writer, seasoned instructor, community leader, and avid student of neurological science and psychology. She holds an MBA in Management and a BA in communications and journalism. With more than 20 years of experience, LaVada has been instrumental in creating strategies that improve self-esteem, presentation skills, and ability to influence others, boost self-confidence and produce significant results. She believes everyone can have a fulfilling life and career if they prepare themselves with the knowledge and skills needed to follow their true instincts.

 Melissa Welch (MBA '11)

Melissa Welch headshot - Pepperdine University

Melissa Welch is a Senior Partner at Growthink, a Los Angeles based strategic advisory and investment banking firm focused on startups and SMEs and a Growth Advisor for Guiding Metrics, a cloud based executive dashboard platform that helps executives and entrepreneurs better manage their businesses. Since joining Growthink in 2007, she has been committed to fulfilling the company's mission (and personal passion) to help entrepreneurs and executive teams launch, grow and exit their businesses. Melissa earned her MBA from Pepperdine University's Graziadio Business School in 2011 and is an active member of the Nation Association of Women MBAs.

 Ira Amilhussin (MBA '04)

Ira Amilhussin headshot - Pepperdine University Ira is a Senior Marketing Manager for LinkedIn based in the Calabasas office, where he develops content marketing strategies for the Marketing Solutions team and helps universities maximize LinkedIn to connect with their key audiences. He has two kids, Kingston (2) and Kelsey (1), who keep him very busy when he's not working. A native Californian, he earned his bachelor's degree in Criminology from UC Irvine, and his MBA from Pepperdine University. Prior to LinkedIn, he worked as a Sr. Marketing Manager at Yahoo! where he worked out of the NYC office for two years.

 Rick Leon

Rick Leon headshot - Pepperdine University

Rick Leon is the founding partner of Executive Dynamics Search, Inc. His firm is dedicated to placing Executive level talent in General Management, Sales and Marketing, and HR roles. Prior to forming Executive Dynamics Search, Inc. Rick held multiple positions at Procter and Gamble, Schering Plough, and Frito Lay.