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2020 Notable Alumni

We are very proud to share some of our most esteemed and notable alumni who have made a positive impact on their communities through their strategic and entrepreneurial acumen and their commitment to advancing the frontiers of business.

We are thrilled to say that these alumni embody Graziadio’s vision of Best for the World Leaders. We look forward to the future of Graziadio, and continuing to recognize our celebrated alumni who create a positive impact in their industries and community.


Jump to: Benefits and Services  |  Annual Report  |  Getting Involved  |  Social Media  |  Alumni Successes


 

Bill Allen portrait

Chief Executive Officer
Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC)

Bill Allen, Fully Employed MBA ‘83

After a successful career in Hollywood with the CBS television network and MTM, one of the most prolific and respected television production companies of the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, Bill Allen turned his attention to helping the San Fernando Valley recover from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. As the first CEO of The Valley Economic Alliance, Bill raised more than five million dollars that was used to launch programs to attract investment and jobs, improve local education and workforce development, and develop viable solutions to regional transportation challenges. Bill has served as the CEO of the LAEDC for the last 14 years and has leveraged the power of economic development to advance opportunities and prosperity for hundreds of thousands of Angelenos who have jobs today because of the direct service programs delivered by the LAEDC.

At Graziadio, Bill was able to learn how to work in teams on complex case studies and value the contributions made by fellow classmates, whose different life experiences brought different perspectives to the work, which has influenced his leadership style to this day. The LAEDC is led by a gifted team of officers who collectively inspire the entire staff and advance the mission far more effectively than anyone could do on their own.

Bill enjoys traveling and photographing the beauty of this planet and the people who inhabit it. The photos serve as daily reminders of the extraordinary diversity that surrounds us and the opportunity we each have to help others reach their full human potential and share in the bounty and prosperity of our world.

Marissa Andrada portrait

Chief People Officer
Chipotle

Marissa Andrada, Fully Employed MBA ‘92

As chief people officer for Chipotle, Marissa Andrada’s responsibilities go beyond traditional human resource tasks. Working directly with Chipotle leadership, Marissa has created a foundation fostering a culture where employees are encouraged to thrive and pursue their passions. Prior to Chipotle, Marissa worked for Kate Spade & Company, Starbucks, and GameStop Corporation. During her time at GameStop, the company doubled in business from $5 billion to $10 billion. A large part of this growth came from Marissa’s role in establishing a support system that provides opportunities to employees to become leaders and grow.

Marissa has supported and watched several of her apprentices become leaders such as Dan Spalding, chief people officer at  Zillow and Laura Langehaug, vice president of human resources at Artemis Health.

Graziadio Business School further solidified Marissa’s strengths in developing and executing human resource strategies. During a study group comprised of team members from a variety of disciplines, there was one member who was not participating equally. The group unanimously elected Marisa to coach the individual to empower and encourage them to work collectively with the team, a talent that came naturally to Marissa. Marissa’s authentic and uniqueness is reflected in her love for fashion and styling. “There is a transformative nature of fashion that also translates to business. I own my personal sense of style and help encourage others to do the same; bring your authentic self to work with pride and passion.”

Steve Bilt portrait

Chief Executive Officer
Smile Brands Inc.

Steve Bilt, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘01

Ranked as a Top 100 Large Company CEO in America by Glassdoor each of the last two years (#12 & #29) with a 98% employee approval rating and #35 Best CEOs in the United States by CEOWORLD Magazine, Steve Bilt manages 400+ practices and 5,000+ providers and employees that provide annual care to more than 1.5 million people across the United States. Under his leadership, Smile Brands Inc. won four Stevie Awards at the 2018 & 2019 American Business Awards, including Employer of the Year (Gold), Top Employee Focused CEO (Gold), CEO/Executive of the Year (Gold) and Company of the Year (Silver).

As a first time CEO, Steve acquired public companies that were nearly five times the size of Smile Brands and was able to stop the three-year earnings slide in a two-month period. He was integral in Smile Brand Inc.’s three initial platform acquisitions and reacquiring Smile Brands after a three-year absence and 70% earnings decline. Steve was able to reestablish Smile Brand’s growth and industry leadership within six months and structure the company as a dominant player in the dental space.

The Pepperdine Graziadio MBA program challenged Steve to dig deep within himself before learning to become a successful leader. During the course work, he learned the importance of shared mental models and applied the ideology to his operations and business. Today, Smile Brands Inc. is ranked #1 in Best Places to Work in Multi-Site Healthcare and #25 in the Top 100 Best Places to Work by Glassdoor.

Candi Castleberry-Singleton, Executive MBA ‘06 portrait

Vice President of Diversity Partnership Strategy & Engagement
Twitter

Candi Castleberry-Singleton, Executive MBA ‘06

As vice president of diversity partnership strategy + engagement at Twitter, Candi Castleberry-Singleton is focused on building trust, advancing inclusivity in our industry and diverse communities through partnerships with NGOs, academia, and corporations, resulting in Twitter being recognized as a true leader for its commitment and collaboration. A visionary, change-agent, she is the founder of the award-winning Dignity & Respect Campaign, helping organizations create environments of dignity and respect.

Candi’s business acumen enhances her approach of partnering with senior executives, business process owners, and community leaders to build sustainable practices for the workplace, marketplace, and community. A recognized leader, she has been awarded as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Corporate America by Savoy Magazine.

While attending Pepperdine Graziadio, Candi and her cohort traveled to Asia where they were introduced to healthcare, law firms, and manufacturing companies, their work culture, the impact of government on business, and how they conduct business locally and globally. Candi recounts this as a highlight of her EMBA experience.

Candi has delivered inspiring keynote and lectures around the world, one being in Washington, D.C. immediately following then-Senator Barack Obama and immediately before Senator Hillary Clinton. By far, one of her most treasured life experiences was spending a weekend at the home of the late Dr. Maya Angelou learning about her and the stories of her life.

Sye Kyun Chung, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘90 portrait

Prime Minister
South Korea

Sye Kyun Chung, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘90

Sye Kyun Chung began his political career in 1995 as a special advisor to then President Dae Jung Kim, an icon of South Korea’s democratization. During the 15th Presidential Election, Sye Kyun contributed in establishing the first peaceful regime change in the history of South Korea as chairman of the National Youth Association under President Dae Jung Kim. As the speaker of the first half of the 20th National Assembly, the impeachment of President Park was a significant issue. In the absence of the administration and overcoming the national crisis, Sye Kyun showed leadership as the head of the Assembly and helped the new administration settle in. Recognized for his accomplishments, he has received the “Baekbong’ Gentleman Award,” which is given to exemplary politicians 14 times since it was founded in 1999.

Sye Kyun continues to proudly practice politics with dignity. He builds relationships upon trust, which he attributes to his successful political career. The language barrier and full-time position made Pepperdine Graziadio evermore challenging and pushed him to work twice as hard to make sure all the reading and assignments were done correctly. Luckily, Sye Kyun’s cohort and family provided a great support system throughout the program and empowered him to earn his degree.

Christos M. Cotsakos, PhD, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘83

Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Pennington Ventures

Christos M. Cotsakos, PhD, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘83

As founder, chairman, and CEO of Pennington Ventures, LLC, a digital media and strategic management company, Christos Cotsakos disrupted and transformed the traditional brokerage industry with the listing of E*TRADE on NASDAQ. Through his extensive international experience in multinational corporations, start-ups, venture capital, board memberships, and advisory services, Christos has helped companies raise significant equity and debt financing in both the private and public markets. Christos is also co-founder of Cobuna Brands and is co-developing the company’s patent-pending Community-as-a-Service platform, products, and services for specialty retailing and shared economy. With his wife and daughter, they founded Mutasian Entertainment, an entertainment and storytelling company to inspire creativity and self-acceptance in children.

Christos describes the Graziadio MBA program as a simulation-based competitive learning module where he was able to learn invaluable business tools to resolve complex commercial problems. The program connects causality with reality and unintended consequences.

Christos holds a PhD in Economics from the University of London. He also received an MBA (summa cum laude) from Pepperdine University and a BA (cum laude) in Communications from William Paterson University, one of the nine state colleges and universities in New Jersey. In 2001, William Paterson named its business school the Cotsakos College of Business in honor of Christos. He is a decorated combat veteran who served with the 101st Airborne Infantry.

David Danon Bachelor of Science in Management ‘95

Senior Vice President of Operations and Technical Services
Universal Studios Japan

David Danon, Bachelor of Science in Management ‘95

With more than three decades of experience in the U.S. theme park industry, David Danon started as a front-line employee and ultimately received the title of senior vice president for Universal Studios Japan. He led the operational development and opening of nearly every new attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood for the past 30 years, driving up record attendance levels. As part of the leadership team, responsible for re-imagining and re-building 75% of Universal Studios Hollywood, David and the team revived the park with new lands and attractions. Inclusivity and safety are focal points for David. He is a two-time U.S. patent holder for inventions that enable theme park guests with disabilities to equally enjoy rides and aid theme park guests of safe egress from queue areas during emergency situations.

Most recently, David accepted the senior executive role at Universal Studios Japan where he manages thousands of front line team members and hundreds of management members.

David fondly remembers his first semester and meeting his new professor who altered his perception of Accounting. “The professor would enter the night class after a long day at work and dive into stories of his experience in the business world, seamlessly intertwining lesson material into his engaging stories. Not only did this class allow me to comprehend the real-world value of my education, but it also bestowed upon me one of the greatest engagement techniques that I employ in my executive role: storytelling.”

Stanley Deal Fully Employed MBA ‘93

Executive Vice President
The Boeing Company

President and Chief Executive Officer
Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Stanley Deal, Fully Employed MBA ‘93

Responsible for defining and implementing a new aerospace services development and delivery model for commercial and government customers worldwide, Stan Deal oversaw the formal standup of Boeing Global Services in 2017 and led the transition into the fully operational business that is today with more than 300 Boeing locations worldwide. Under Stan’s leadership, this dedicated services business brings commercial and defense customers the strength of Boeing’s unified resources, innovation and investment to optimize fleet and asset operations and decrease operational cost. Stan also serves on the board of directors for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, supporting its mission to commemorate the past and educate and inspire an appreciation for the importance of flight to humanity.

Stan says Graziadio was a time for personal growth, developing a deeper understanding of the world, and understanding the importance of making an impact that matters. Stan remembers that each day was an opportunity to learn from professors, collaborate with peers, and pursue new challenges. These interactions played a huge role in preparing him for his future leadership roles.

Stan enjoys sport fishing and cooking, which help him relax and focus on enjoying time with his family and friends.

Jeffrey Dunn Fully Employed MBA ‘84

Chief Executive Officer
Bolthouse Farms

Jeffrey Dunn, Fully Employed MBA ‘84

With over 30 years of experience in food & agriculture, Jeff Dunn has held senior leadership positions with Bolthouse Farms, Campbell Soup Company and The Coca-Cola Company, among other top food and beverage organizations and startups. Jeff is now CEO of Bolthouse Farms, an innovation leader in growing and distributing carrots. In addition, Bolthouse Farms produces and sells super-premium juices, smoothies, protein shakes, plant protein milk, café beverages and premium refrigerated yogurt dressings under the Bolthouse Farms® brand name.

In 2012, Jeff lead Bolthouse Farms through its private equity backed buyout and sale to Campbell Soup Company for $1.55 billion. Most recently, Jeff spearheaded the successful repurchase of Bolthouse Farms from Campbell Soup Company by Jeff’s investment group and his partners, Butterfly Equity Partners, with the overarching goal to lead the way in creating a new plant-based food ecosystem.

During his first year at Graziadio Business School, Jeff’s management professor taught the entire class how to manage the stress of working and attending an MBA program through practicing meditation. This lesson was life changing and something he still practices today.  As Jeff’s career continued to develop and advance, he worked with CEOs from both public and private companies and was able to share lessons learned and play a small role in helping these individuals grow and become incredible leaders.

The food industry and food culture has been Jeff’s leading passion, professionally and personally. As a self-classified amateur chef, Jeff enjoys the process of growing and preparing fresh delicious food for his family and friends.

Tom Emrey Fully Employed MBA ‘98

Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer
Munchkin Inc.

Tom Emrey, Fully Employed MBA ‘98

With over two decades of experience as an executive leader for prominent businesses, Tom Emrey started with Munchkin Inc. in March 2017 as COO and CFO of the industry-leading infant and toddler consumer products company. With seven global offices, Munchkin Inc. serves customers worldwide. Previously, Tom served as CFO at DineEquity, Inc. and was executive vice president and COO of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal. Tom has led diverse teams in a variety of industries throughout his career, including large IT projects as well as large integration projects. Graziadio was unique and Tom valued the focus on the students and people. His experience at Graziadio challenged him and taught him how to be part of a team, which has been very beneficial to his career. A lifelong sailor, Tom enjoys being on the water and testing his skills.

Luis Faura, PhD Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘04

President and Chief Executive Officer
C&F Food’s, Inc.

Luis Faura, PhD, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘04

As President and CEO of C&F Food’s Inc., a major originator and packer of dried beans, peas, rice, popcorn and ancient grains, Luis Faura oversees the product operations, new business development, acquisitions, procurement, global sales, finances, personnel, product innovation and marketing, along with managing policies and procedures. With Mr. Faura’s leadership, C&F Food’s has expanded its market presence, diversified product lines, and created innovative teams that have accelerated the company’s growth.

While at Graziadio, Luis built lifelong connections with his cohort and learned the essence of building a dynamic team. The coursework and lessons renewed his commitment to be a lifelong learner. Luis attributes the Graziadio MBA program for bringing out the leader in him and teaching him how to be an effective leader.

In 2015, Luis was appointed by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to serve on the Los Angeles Branch board of directors. He also serves as chairman of the board of trustees at the University of La Verne, board of directors member for Armstrong/Pikes Nurseries, and serves on the advisory board for Padres Contra El Cancer.

An avid cyclist, he has cycled the same routes as the Tour De France and Giro d’Italia.

David Feinberg Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘02

Vice President
Google Health

David Feinberg, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘02

Spending an entire career caring for people’s health and wellbeing, Dr. David Feinberg is the vice president for Google Health, which brings together groups from across Google and Alphabet that are using AI, product expertise and hardware to take on big healthcare challenges. Starting his career as a child psychiatrist at UCLA, David went from treating dozens of patients to overseeing the UCLA health system and more than a million patients in care. After spending two decades rising through the ranks at UCLA Health, he led Geisinger where he introduced a plan to let patients who were dissatisfied with their care request refunds up to $2,000.

Driven by passion, humility, and integrity, David sees the potential Google has with helping billions of people and improving the lives of as many people as possible. Today, Google already plays an essential role in helping community members search for health questions, maps to help get people to the nearest hospital, and other tools and products, addressing issues tangential to health. David believes Google has the DNA of a healthcare company and has the potential to address healthcare challenges that will improve people’s health and lives.

Attending Pepperdine Graziadio allowed David to surround himself with a cohort that taught him valuable lessons which continue even 17 years later.

John Figueroa Fully Employed MBA ‘97

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner
Bailey Cavan Capital

John Figueroa, Fully Employed MBA ‘97

A frequent guest lecturer at the Wharton School of Business and Stanford Graduate School of Business, John Figueroa teaches students lessons from his career experiences and the Graziadio fundamentals for business excellence. John was CEO of Genoa Healthcare, the nation’s leading behavioral health pharmacy and telepsychiatry company serving more than 700,000 individuals annually. He recently sold Genoa to United Healthcare in 2018.  He also served dual roles of chairman and CEO of Apria Healthcare Group Inc. and remains the chairman of Apria Healthcare Group Inc.’s Board of Directors, was CEO and board member of Omnicare, Inc., president of McKesson Corporation’s U.S. Pharmaceutical Group, and served with Baxter Healthcare Corporation’s Hospitex and Medical Surgical divisions. Currently, he is the CEO and managing partner for Bailey Cavan Capital, a company that invests in private equity and healthcare related companies.

As an officer in the U.S. Army, he served as a ranger and with special forces developing the basis of his leadership skills. At Graziadio, he was able to improve and fine-tune these skills as well as his financial discipline and unwavering concept of ethics and integrity for the business world. Today, he is still actively involved as a member of the Graziadio Board.

Kim Folsom Fully Employed MBA ‘02

Co-Founder, Managing Partner, and Chief Executive Officer
Founders First Capital Partners LLC

Founder and Interim Chief Executive Officer
LIFT Development Enterprises, Inc.

Kim Folsom, Fully Employed MBA ‘02

Kim Folsom co-founded Founders First Capital Partners in San Diego in 2015 to provide a virtual small business growth accelerator and revenue-based venture fund focused on helping underserved, small businesses achieve exponential growth. Driven to help micro-businesses succeed, Kim also founded LIFT Development Enterprises, Inc., a not-for-profit community development organization, to help underserved and underrepresented small business owners overcome the challenges they face due to lack of access to capital. Both organizations represent a new, innovative breed of programs that address the gap in funding companies led by diverse founders.

Prior to launching LIFT and Founders First, Kim was a high-tech executive and serial entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience growing innovative technology companies. She has experience founding, leading, and building startups for which she has raised $30 million in institutional venture financing. Kim has leveraged her unique entrepreneurial experience to launch six companies, successfully exited three, and launch her seventh firm with a revenue-based venture fund of $100 million in committed capital.

Prior to Pepperdine Graziadio, Kim spent eight years trying to find a way to launch her own venture-backed tech entrepreneurial journey as an underrepresented founder. While enrolled in the MBA program, her cohort helped her discover her unique path to entrepreneurship. The interaction with her classmates, rigorous class assignments, and discussion with professors aided her to develop the confidence and strategy to launch her first start-up tech company, SeminarSource.com.

Kim successfully carries out the mission of Founders First by leveraging her years of entrepreneurial experience to help hundreds of other underrepresented founders get funding for growing their companies.

Lauren Gibbs Executive MBA ‘14

Olympic Silver Medalist
Professional Bobsledder

Lauren Gibbs, Executive MBA ‘14

As an Olympic athlete, Lauren Gibbs embodies perseverance and determination. She won a silver medal in the women’s bobsled competition in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang only four years after she started bobsledding. Lauren made the national team in her first year of bobsledding and has since received numerous awards and accolades. Lauren’s drive and ability to excel shines through in all that she does, including her time at Pepperdine Graziadio.

Lauren says that one of the highlights while earning her Executive MBA was getting to know her classmates. "We all came to the program with different life experiences and goals, but one that we all had in common was excitement for learning."

Lauren was already an experienced manager when she started at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, but she was nervous about starting the program. She was relieved to find out that many of her classmates felt the same way; those worries quickly faded as she and the cohort bonded and developed long-lasting relationships with each other and the faculty.

In addition to the honor of representing her country in the Olympics at age 33, Lauren says another career highlight was giving a TEDx Talk where she shared her journey from working in corporate America to becoming an Olympic athlete. She inspired her audience with the message that “it is never too late to be who you are meant to be.”

William Roger Hall Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘14

Executive Vice President of Manufacturing and Engineering
Niagara Bottling

William Roger Hall, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘14

As a skilled engineer and an operational professional with 20 years of manufacturing management experience, William Roger Hall has a unique ability to focus on problems and devise resourceful solutions. Throughout the years Bill developed a narrow viewpoint when analyzing problems. The Pepperdine Presidents and Key Executives MBA program guided Bill to raise his eyes, think outside of the box, and look at problems through a wider lens.

After putting himself through college, Bill began his career in packaging as a Plant Engineer for Reid Plastics, Inc. In 2004, Bill joined Niagara Bottling as a Plant Manager for their single facility in Ontario, California. Fifteen years later, Bill has assisted in building the largest bottled water company in North America and makes most of the private labeled water bottles for large U.S. retailers such as Costco, Walmart, and Kroger. Bill has enabled growth rates in excess of 25% year-over-year and leads 4,000+ employees across 37 global factories. Bill’s leadership creates a competitive, fast-paced environment for Niagara’s Manufacturing operations.

Always a true manufacturing engineer, Bill convinced his wife to honeymoon in Tennessee so he could take a plant tour of the Jack Daniels distillery.

Daphne Harvey Executive MBA ‘98

Senior Vice President of Global Sourcing and Procurement
Comcast/NBCUniversal

Daphne Harvey, Executive MBA ‘98

As senior vice president of global sourcing and procurement at Comcast/ NBCUniversal, Daphne Harvey oversees strategy development, negotiations, and contracting, with annual team spending of over $12 billion. She has built global sourcing and procurement organizations for two entertainment industry giants and institutionalized best practices and procedures that have resulted in process efficiency, cost savings, and tighter financial controls across the business. A major takeaway from the Pepperdine Graziadio experience was an appreciation of elevated results through effective teamwork. Daphne has implemented a “cross-functional team-based sourcing strategy” which includes attacking projects with a team of business experts from relevant disciplines, and leading those teams through systematic processes to reveal value improvement opportunities.

The inclusive approach earned Daphne and her team the trust of their business partners, which was a key factor in generating over $100 million in annual cost savings. Daphne championed the Edge Accelerator Program at NBCUniversal/ Comcast, which teaches diverse suppliers to develop skills to compete with larger businesses for lucrative contracts. In addition, Comcast/NBCU maintains $4 billion in annual spending with diverse businesses.

Daphne is proud to be part of three generations of higher education in her family—all from Pepperdine. Her aunt Edna Wilson earned her PhD in Education, Daphne Harvey completed the EMBA program and her daughter recently graduated cum laude from the Pepperdine MBA program in May of 2019.

Zack Hicks Bachelor of Science in Management ‘97

Executive Vice President and Chief Digital Officer
Toyota Motor North America

Chief Executive Officer and President
Toyota Connected North America

Chairman
Toyota Connected Europe

Zack Hicks, Bachelor of Science in Management ‘97

Zack Hicks is chief executive officer and president of Toyota Connected North America, and EVP/chief digital officer of Toyota Motor North America (TMNA). At Toyota Connected, Zack leads global efforts to accelerate the consumer experience through utilization of advanced technology and predictive intelligence. Zack is also a member of TMNA’s North American Management Committee, board member of The Toyota Foundation and Toyota Insurance Management, Toyota Diversity Board, Toyota PAC Board, and chairs the Executive Steering Committee.

In his roles at Toyota, Zack re-envisioned the company’s communication through a global telematics ecosystem, deployed mobile devices and mobile reporting capabilities, and facilitated the implementation of cloud-based collaboration tools for Toyota employees, accelerating communication across the company. Zack considers the importance of getting ahead of trends and problems, rather than purely reacting to issues as they come up within the company. This proactive, assertive approach to management challenges – a key teaching at Pepperdine Graziadio – led Zack to being awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award at the Pepperdine Graziadio graduation in 2013.

In 2019, Zack was named an inductee to the CIO Hall of Fame, an honor CIO Magazine bestows to IT executives who have had a significant impact on the profession. In addition, he was named one of Dallas Business Journal’s “Most Admired CEOs of 2018,” and received the “2018 Leadership Excellence Award” from the Association for Information Systems. He received the “Innovator of the Year” award from D-CEO Magazine in 2016, and he and his TMNA team are multiple recipients of the CIO 100 award – which honors organizations, their IT leaders and teams for driving business value and growth through digital innovation.

Blake Irving Fully Employed MBA ‘88

Board Director
Autodesk, Inc.

Board Director
Docusign

Board Director
ZipRecruiter

Advisor
McLaren Racing

Blake Irving, Fully Employed MBA ‘88

From 2013- 2018, Blake Irving served as CEO of GoDaddy, reshaping the domain-name company into a global cloud platform for small business. Under his leadership, GoDaddy doubled revenue and quadrupled market value to $10 billion. In 2015, Blake took the company public on the New York Stock Exchange. Blake lead GoDaddy’s brand and culture throughout the years and shared his business journey with the CTO of the United States, Megan Smith  at the GraceHopper conference, where he was honored as the keynote presenter. Prior to GoDaddy, Blake served as the executive vice president and chief product officer at Yahoo!, increasing the 550 million active users to one billion. Before Yahoo!, he spent 15 years in senior roles at Microsoft where he took MSN messenger from zero users to 300 million users and created a billion dollar franchise. Blake now serves on the board of directors for DocuSign, ZipRecruiter, and Autodesk, as well as an advisor to McLaren Racing.

Blake recalls his first day in the program and participating in the round of introductions with his classmates. Students were instructed to share where they went to school, their major, employer, title and responsibilities. “I remember being blown away by the caliber and quality of individuals in the program and was actually surprised that I made it in. I pushed hard on the accelerator and didn’t lift.”

Blake started playing the drums at the age of seven. He continues to enjoy playing and has been fortunate enough to play with a few Grammy award-winning and world-class artists over his 30 year career in technology.

Erik Johnson Fully Employed MBA ‘97

Chief Financial Officer of Americas
Boardriders, Inc.

Erik Johnson, Fully Employed MBA ‘97

Erik Johnson is the chief financial officer of the Americas for Boardriders, Inc., a leading action sports lifestyle company that designs, produces and distributes apparel, footwear and accessories around the world. The company’s brands include Quiksilver, Roxy, DC Shoes, Billabong, RVCA, Element, Xcel Wetsuits, Von Zipper, and Honolua Surf Company. Erik was a key team member that brought Boardriders, Inc. out of bankruptcy in 2016, led the company back to profitability within two years, and merged with the Billabong Group in 2018 to create a global action sports powerhouse.   

Prior to Boardriders, Erik was the vice president of global finance at Oakley, Inc., where he helped grow operating profits at twice the rate of sales from 2010 through 2015. Erik states that his career allows him to work with people and brands that deeply inspire him.

While attending the Graziadio MBA program, Erik participated in Dr. Morrissey’s capstone strategy class where Erik and his teammates built a shoe company. The capstone project was great fun and eventually launched him into the footwear and apparel industry he is in today.

Erik’s personal hobbies are intertwined with his career for he is a passionate surfer, skier, and outdoor enthusiast. He has also taught over 40 kids to surf for their first time.

Andy Kubitz Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘11

Executive Vice President
ABC Entertainment

Andy Kubitz, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘11

With 20 plus years of television experience, Andy Kubitz oversees the ABCs of daytime, primetime, and late-night program planning and scheduling, as well as film acquisition and theatrical inventory. He also facilitates and coordinates windowing strategies for ABC Entertainment programming across all platforms.

Prior to ABC, Andy held executive positions at CBS and successfully maximized sales revenues and viewership for the company. Part of his role was to develop a corporate television content management system to improve communication, organize show metadata and reduce errors, long before it was standard procedure. Andy was part of the programming team that saw the reality TV revolution explode with the launch of Survivor. He takes pride in prioritizing programming focused on inclusivity with the airing of innovative shows like Scandal, Black-ish, and Fresh Off the Boat. Andy is most proud of giving a platform to minorities and women and of Viola Davis, for winning Best Actress Emmy for Drama on How to Get Away with Murder.

Andy recalls looking at his cohort during graduation and realizing through Graziadio Business School they each accomplished a deeply personal goal that was not possible without each other and more importantly, Pepperdine. The program and curriculum structure, top-tier professors, and individual life experiences of each student contributed to a well-rounded educational experience that is with each of them for a lifetime.

During Andy’s spare time he enjoys reading and expanding his knowledge about World History, World War II and the Greatest Generation.

Robert Kyncl Fully Employed MBA ‘97

Chief Business Officer
Youtube

Robert Kyncl, Fully Employed MBA ‘97

As chief business officer for video-sharing website Youtube, where 300 hours of video is uploaded every minute, Robert Kyncl oversees the businesses functions including content, sales, marketing, platforms, access, and strategy. Prior to Youtube, Robert was vice president of content acquisitions at Netflix, where he spearheaded the company’s content acquisition for streaming TV shows and movies over the Internet. Growing up in the Czech Republic under the constraints of the iron curtain, Robert developed important values, which motivates him to make a positive contribution to the world.

Throughout his career, Robert has leveraged his Graziadio skills, lessons and values, applying them to challenging projects. While at Graziadio, Robert recalls courses requiring team building and team brainstorming, which he learned were essential to a business and understanding new and differing perspectives. Robert has been listed in Variety’s Dealmakers Impact Report as one of their “disruptors,” Vanity Fair’s New Establishment List, Billboard’s Power 100 List and AdWeek’s 50 List of Vital Leaders in Tech, Media and Marketing.

Fresh out of business school and scouting for a job, Robert landed himself a job at a Hollywood talent agency, where he was later introduced to Netflix. Robert is also the author of a “Streampunks: Youtube and the Rebels Remaking Media.”

Fiona Ma Executive MBA ‘00

State Treasurer
State of California

Fiona Ma, Executive MBA ‘00

In November 2018, Fiona Ma was elected as California’s 34th State Treasurer. With more votes than any other candidate for treasurer in the state’s history, Fiona is the first woman of color and first woman certified public accountant elected to the position. Before being elected Treasurer, she was an elected member of the California Board of Equalization from 2015 to January 2019 and worked to protect the rights of taxpayers.

Fiona was a member of the State Assembly from 2006-2012 and served as Speaker Pro Tempore from 2010-2012, building a reputation as a solution-oriented public servant and skillfully forming unlikely coalitions to overcome California’s most complex problems. As an Assembly Member, she authored 60 bills which were signed into law during the Great Recession by two different party governors and three different Assembly House Speakers. Fiona’s successful legislation to ban toxic chemicals in baby products (phthalates), became a model for federal legislation and is now a national law. From 2002-2006, she served on the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors and championed a human rights campaign to end human trafficking.

Pepperdine Graziadio MBA stood out to Treasurer Ma because of its in-depth analysis of real-life companies instead of studying theoretical theories and case studies. During the program, Fiona and her cohort visited a white-collar prison. The experience was eye-opening, “I learned that it is not worth it to cut corners or take unnecessary risk in business or in life in general.”

Kimber Maderazzo Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘10

Executive Vice President and General Manager
Proactiv Company

Kimber Maderazzo, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘10

With 25 years of experience in the Beauty and Cosmetics industry, Kimber Maderazzo started her career at the age of 14 selling makeup. She eventually built her way to the top and has held several executive positions, one being the executive vice president of brand and general manager for the world’s #1 acne brand, Proactiv. Prior to working at Proactiv, she was the senior vice president of global product marketing at Guthy Renker where she created a number of brands for the company’s portfolio, discovered, and developed dozens of consumer products in beauty, skincare, entertainment, and wellness categories. Most recently, she led a privately held company into a sale to a Fortune 100 company. After a distinguished corporate career, Kimber wanted to break away from the corporate world and start a new venture as a business owner, wanting to build something for herself. Kimber is the founder and CEO of MILLI ROSE, a beauty brand.

After graduating from Pepperdine Graziadio, Kimber walked away achieving her goal. “I accomplished something that I set out to do and achieve. It sets me apart from most leaders and completed me as an executive.”

Kimber is the Executive Chairman for C200, a preeminent women’s leadership organization focused on creating, inspiring, educating, celebrating, and advancing current and future women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. During her spare time, she enjoys baking and applying her cake decorating skills.

Matt Marquis Executive MBA ‘99

Chief Executive Officer
Pacifica Hotels

Matt Marquis, Executive MBA ‘99

Matt Marquis began his business career on Wall Street with Dean Witter Realty Inc, where he was an analyst and asset manager for their diversified real estate portfolio valued at more than $1 billion. Matt joined Pacifica Real Estate Group as an asset manager responsible for the commercial real estate portfolio. In 2000, Matt and his father Dale Marquis, activated Invest West Financial Corp as the family’s primary business and acquired Pacifica Hotel Company. With Matt as the CEO, Pacifica Hotels now has over 40 assets and has developed two hospitality brands, The Wayfarer and The Kinney. Earlier in 2019, Matt and his team successfully sold The Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel, one of their largest assets, to Blackstone for $100+ million.

While attending the Executive MBA program, Matt recalls Professor of Strategy, Chuck Williams, holding a meeting for the board of directors to review Matt’s MBA case study. Professor Williams lead Matt and his team through a partial board meeting in which the board discussed serious issues and challenges that would require board attention, top leadership management, and strategy decision changes. This lesson was extremely helpful and contributed value to Matt’s present position as CEO.

Matt currently resides in Orange County with his wife and their four children. Matt and his children have a love for music and in his spare time he has become local DJ (free of charge!) for a variety of events in parties in both the OC and Santa Barbara communities.

Lisa McGill Executive MBA ‘08

Chief Human Resource Officer
Crowdstrike

Lisa McGill, Executive MBA ‘08

As the Chief Human Resource Officer at CrowdStrike (CRWD), a California-based cybersecurity company which recently had a successful IPO, Lisa McGill is responsible for developing the global people strategy and focuses on efficiency improvements which include talent analytics and automation. Under her leadership, CrowdStrike has more than doubled its headcount and expanded globally. CrowdStrike was awarded Best Place to Work by Fortune for two years consecutively and Top Startup by LinkedIn. She created the vision and strategy for the first women’s initiatives, focused on supporting growth and development opportunities, networking, and mentoring.

While obtaining her MBA, Lisa was promoted to her first senior executive leadership role as Chief Human Resource Officer of Foundry Networks, at the age of 34. She was able to acquire skills and knowledge that were transferable and applicable to the real business world.  She has since held the position of CHRO for over two decades. She attributes her success and accelerated career progression to Pepperdine Graziadio. “It was truly an honor meeting such diverse, intelligent and talented classmates.  We’ll always share that bond and the ability to leverage such a vast network of professionals throughout our careers.”

While accomplishing many successes, Lisa is most proud of being able to successfully integrate her full-time executive role with being a wife and mother to twins.

Steven Milovich Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘99

President
Milovich Partners

Executive in Residence
Huntsman School of Business

Steven Milovich, Presidents & Key Executives MBA ‘99

As an accomplished business and senior human resources executive, Steve Milovich has held executive positions with some of the world’s most successful and iconic companies, including Walt Disney Company, PepsiCo, and Honeywell. He is a highly effective and trusted partner to senior executives and known for bringing creative and practical solutions to both the strategic and operating human resources challenges facing organizations.

During his time at Walt Disney Company, he held several top executive human resource positions, initially serving as senior vice president of corporate human resources, organization and leadership development, and later assuming the position of senior vice president, global human resources, talent and workforce diversity for Disney | ABC Television. He led numerous initiatives that increased the engagement and efficiency of the organization and its workforce, as well as the attraction, development, and retention of key talent at all levels. 

Primarily focused on developing the talent and the next generation of business leaders in the world, Steve currently is President of Milovich Partners, strategic advisor for the Boston Consulting Group, an executive in residence and senior lecturer in the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, and a member of the leadership team for Hudson Institute of Coaching.

Steve was able to share lessons learned from Graziadio with his learning team. During Dr. Wayne Storm’s Organization Behavior course, he learned to question individuals and not the organization. The course taught him what it meant to show up for others, how to show up for others, and changes in behavior can make a more effective executive leader and a better human being.

Oscar Munoz Fully Employed MBA ‘86

Chief Executive Officer
United Airlines

Oscar Munoz, Fully Employed MBA ‘86

As CEO of United Airlines, Oscar Munoz has led an incredible turnaround with stock rising more than 50 percent, top-tier operational reliability, and improving customer satisfaction. Oscar takes great pride in the renewal of trust and purpose among United employees, which he calls the New Spirit of United. In his past career, Oscar was president and COO at CSX Railways where he led a team that successfully increased the company’s market capitalization from $6 billion to more than $40 billion, by focusing on growth and creating value for customers, stakeholders and the community.

Oscar has held various positions across the spectrum, from consumer products and branding to the telecom industry, first at PepsiCo and Coca Cola, then AT&T. Despite the diversity of those experiences, Oscar states the common denominator that binds them all is the importance of communication, authenticity, and value-driven decision-making.

In 2018, Oscar returned to his alma mater to deliver the commencement address to Pepperdine Graziadio’s graduating MBA class. Drawing upon lessons he learned throughout his career, as well as his upbringing as the oldest of nine children in a modest Hispanic immigrant household, Oscar offered important wisdom for business and life, “for too much and for too long we’ve been told that you can’t be both profitable and principled. My experience teaches the opposite: embodying good values creates the greatest value for any organization. That’s the best lesson I learned at Pepperdine.”

Quincy Newell Fully Employed MBA ‘12

Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Twentyone14

Quincy Newell, Fully Employed MBA ‘12

Guided by four main principles—integrity, stewardship, courage, and compassion—Quincy Newell believes a successful business is created by seeking the collective good along with shareholder value. With a 30+ year career in entertainment and media, after receiving his law degree in 2017, Quincy decided to launch his own entertainment and media advisory firm. He has successfully built a clientele that includes Significant Productions, Dynamic Action Design, ShadowBandit Entertainment, and Reign a First World Media/AT&T company.

Previously, Quincy was the executive vice president and general manager of Codeblack Films, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lionsgate Entertainment Corp., and co-founded Codeblack Entertainment, a joint venture with Universal Music Group Distribution. Quincy wrote and produced the 2009 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection, “Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy,” served as producer of Kevin Hart’s independent box-office hits “Laugh at My Pain” and “Let Me Explain,” Shaquille O’Neal’s “Shaq All-Star Comedy Jam” franchise, WWE’s “Blood Brother,” and T.D. Jake’s “Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day,” among others. He was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for his role as producer on “WTAL: 7th Day”.

While at Graziadio, Quincy proudly contributed to the Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports and Culture (IEMC) Diversity and Inclusion Symposium and recruited a few of his esteemed colleagues such as Mike Paseornek, President of Production at Lionsgate, and Carmi Zlotnik, President of Original Programming Starz. In 2018, he was honored with the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School Distinguished Alumnus Award.

In celebration of his 52nd birthday, Quincy is training for his 11th triathlon this September.

Stephen Olson Executive MBA ‘73

Founder and Chairman
The Olson Company

Stephen Olson, Executive MBA ‘73

With more than 30 years of experience in real estate finance and development, Stephen Olson is recognized as a leader in providing affordable urban housing throughout California. Founder and executive chairman of the Olson Company, Stephen has led the company to receive the Eliant award for Best Builder in North America in 2015, 2016, 2017, and placed second in 2018. Olson communities are designed to draw people out of their cars and onto community sidewalks and public transportation, while meeting the energy, air quality, and connectivity goals of cities. A champion for affordable housing, Stephen has been recognized by numerous California State and City agencies over the years and he was named America’s Builder of the Year in 2000.

Previously, Stephen served as president and chief executive officer for Signet Scientific Company and served as chairman for the Aquarium of the Pacific, as well as director of numerous private and public companies. He also founded Flowline, Inc. and ONX Winery on the California Central Coast.

During the program, Stephen received counsel from Dr. Duke Paige that remained valuable to him over the years. Dr. Paige taught him to emphasize the “what rather than the how,” focusing on a full team buy-in instead of rushing into the “implementation strategy.” Stephen has been recognized as a distinguished alumnus by Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, and has been awarded with an honorary doctorate from Pepperdine Graziadio.

Dan Redfern Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘97

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Offer
Jenny Craig

Dan Redfern, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘97

As executive vice president and global chief financial officer for Jenny Craig, Dan Redfern is responsible for all aspects of strategic planning, financial reporting, accounting, transaction support services, and P&L performance management. Prior to joining Jenny Craig, Dan spent over 28 years in the food and beverage industry and served as CFO for several prominent companies such as Bonduelle Fresh Americas, Popchips Inc., Tyson Foods, and PepsiCo. While at Pepsi Bottling Group Canada, Dan helped lead a significant turnaround in profitability of the $1.4 billion division of PepsiCo.

While attending the Presidents and Key Executives (PKE) program at Pepperdine Graziadio, Dan was assigned to write a strategic thesis. His thesis on “Maintaining the Lead as a Dominant Market Leader” enabled him to pull together all the valuable learnings from each of the elements of the program. Ten years after graduating the PKE program, Dan received a letter from himself. “I had such an eerie feeling when I realized my life had turned out almost exactly like the letter, I wrote myself.  I am convinced the skills learned at PKE had a dramatic and positive impact on my personal and professional career.”

In Dan’s spare time he competes competitively in triathlons and is a three-time member of Team USA competing in triathlon World Championship throughout the globe.

Donald Romano Fully Employed MBA ‘02

Chief Executive Officer and President
Hyundai Auto Canada Corp

Donald Romano, Fully Employed MBA ‘02

With a career spanning over 34 years in the automotive industry, Don Romano is now President and CEO of Hyundai Auto Canada. Over the past five years under Don’s leadership, the company has achieved record sales and market share growth.  Today, Hyundai is the fastest growing automotive brand in Canada. He also launched the industry’s first zero-emission fuel cell vehicle in Canada along with the Ioniq eco brand, positioning Hyundai as a world leader in environmentally friendly transportation.

Under Donald’s leadership, Hyundai Canada has been recognized as one of Canada’s top 50 best places to work and one of Canada’s best work environments for women to succeed. Prior to joining Hyundai, Don was president of Mazda Canada as well as chief marketing officer for Mazda operations in North America and held key executive roles for Toyota overseas and Nissan in North America.

Graziadio Business School taught Don how to be an effective leader and understand how to react to an ever-changing business environment.  “A successful business is built with an exceptional team and a strong corporate culture of respect, integrity, and innovation.  Graziadio’s focus on these critical skills combined with a strong emphasis on business fundamentals gave me the foundation necessary to achieve my career goals.”

A California native from Laguna Beach, Don used to be a routine surfer, but now calls Ontario, Canada home.

Irv Rothman Executive MBA ‘81

Chief Executive Officer and President
HP Financial Services

Irv Rothman, Executive MBA ‘81

As CEO of HPE Financial Services (HPEFS), Irv Rothman has grown the business to over $13 billion in assets, $3.7 billion in revenue, and has expanded the company’s global presence to 54 countries. Recognizing the customer need for global consistency, HPEFS is a global community with a culture that enables it to operate as one company on a worldwide basis. Prior to taking on the leadership responsibility for HPEFS, Irv was the founder of Compaq Financial Services, a greenfield startup that grew to $3.5 billion assets and $1.0 billion revenue in less than five years.

In the early development years of his career, Irv felt he lacked some essential skills and training to succeed long term. Irv selected Graziadio because of the focus on leadership skill acquisition, quantitative courses for business decision making, and an opportunity to experience a collaborative work environment with a diverse group of people. The learnings from his graduate school experience have been broadly applied in his many professional steps forward ever since.

Irv is the author of “Out Executing the Competition” (Wiley, 2012) and donates all his personal royalties to Room to Read, an international charity dedicated to promoting children’s literacy in undeveloped and disadvantaged countries.

Dan Sanders Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘10

Chief Operating Officer
Sprouts Farmers Market

Dan Sanders, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘10

A proven business leader specializing in business transformations and retail store operations, Dan Sanders oversees all Sprouts Farmers Market stores from coast to coast. Recognized as one of America’s Fastest Growing Retailers by Business Insider and awarded America’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune, Sprouts operates more than 325 stores and employs 30,000 team members. Prior to joining Sprouts, Dan spent ten years with United Supermarkets of Texas and served in various roles, including CEO. During his tenure, United Supermarkets achieved recognition for Best Places to Work in Texas and was also recognized as Texas Family Business of the Year.

Along with serving as a corporate executive, Dan enjoyed entrepreneurial ventures and was an equity partner at Adplex, a marketing company specializing in advertising production and business consultative services for high-profile corporations.  He also co-founded AdContent, a company specializing in content management, online ad building, promotions management, and digital photography for retail and entertainment organizations. Dan was instrumental in preparing both companies for sale to Windward Capital, a New York-based private investment firm.

Pepperdine Graziadio PKE curriculum is delivered with the spirit of wisdom. Dr. Wayne Storm, a legendary professor of organizational behavior, stated: “You don’t have to react.” Those five words proved to be true and shaped Dan’s behavior long after graduation.

Dan is a former United States Air Force pilot, served as a member of the Air Force One Presidential Advance Team for President George H. W. Bush, and authored two books on leadership, both published by McGraw-Hill.

Jeffrey Sprecher Fully Employed MBA ‘84

Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer
Intercontinental Exchange

Chairman
New York Stock Exchange

Jeffrey Sprecher, Fully Employed MBA ‘84

Jeff Sprecher, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE) has, for nearly two decades, led a company transforming global markets through information, technology, and transparency. Along the way, the New York Stock Exchange, which ICE owns and Jeff chairs, has helped companies around the globe raise more capital and drive more growth than any other exchange.

Starting from scratch in 2000, ICE, which went public on the NYSE in 2005, now has a market cap of over $50 billion. Jeff tends to avoid publicity and yet, in 2019, for the sixth consecutive year, Barron’s included him on their list of the World’s 30 Best CEOs.

Jeff was born in the Midwest and got his engineering degree there, but his entrepreneurial spark was lit at Graziadio. Driven to start new things, he moved to Los Angeles in the early 1980’s to open the California office of Trane, the air conditioning giant. Working hard by day, he burned the candle at both ends attending Graziadio’s night and weekend classes.

Graziadio’s case study method brought him face-to-face with new companies, industries, and issues. With Ronald Reagan in the White House and Jerry Brown as governor of California, deregulation was the rallying cry, extending into the renewable energy markets. In a roundabout way, this sparked a life-changing opportunity for Jeff while at Graziadio.

As part of his organizational behavior class, Jeff dove inside a local firm to see what made it tick, finding executives building a business model around energy deregulation. One of them tapped Jeff as his first hire at a new startup called Western Power Group. Three years later, Jeff was running that company. He credits Graziadio’s organizational behavior class. Without it, he says, might never have been a CEO at all.

Tiffany Stith Fully Employed MBA ‘09

President and Chief Operating Officer
Lawry’s Restaurant, Inc.

Tiffany Stith, Fully Employed MBA ‘09

President and chief operating officer of Lawry’s Restaurant, Tiffany Stith is the first woman and the first non-family member to lead the company. Innovative and determined for change, she led Lawry’s first major menu change and full brand revitalization with the Frank Family. She also helped build a tech startup company from the ground up during the rise of tech in the ‘90s and became a partner and board member in her 20’s. Tiffany was the first person in her family to graduate from high school, college, and earn a graduate degree. She serves as an example for future generations.

Driven to succeed and dedicated to her role at Lawry’s Restaurant, Inc., Tiffany decided to earn her MBA from Pepperdine Graziadio. While enrolled in the program she studied abroad at Oxford and in Buenos Aires where she was exposed to brilliant thought leaders on philanthropic integration of business and general economic theory. These experiences changed the way she thought about business and allowed her to have an international and geopolitical lens. Surrounded by a cultural and diverse cohort, she was able to build close ties with her colleagues.

Despite having a busy schedule, Tiffany and her husband are huge live music fans and manage to find time to see more than 100 concerts a year.

Tom Sumner Fully Employed MBA ‘03

President
Yamaha Corporation of America

Tom Sumner, Fully Employed MBA ‘03

As Yamaha Corporation of America’s first non-Japanese president in 59 years and first American operating officer of Yamaha Corporation Japan, Tom Sumner plays a central role in shaping the evolution of Yamaha. Tom led the first major restructuring of the company in 30 years, creating a company that is customer-centric and efficient by establishing a marketing discipline and streamlining operations to eliminate internal conflicts and redundancies.

After graduating from Pepperdine Graziadio, Tom was confronted with a problem that seemed to have no satisfying solution. Tom presented this challenge to his Pepperdine cohort and learned from their industry experiences and perspectives and was able to create an innovative solution. The alumni and Pepperdine Graziadio network has provided him with additional perspectives and views that he has utilized time after time.

Yamaha is the world’s largest musical instrument company with half of its employees being musicians. The nontraditional annual all-company meeting encourages employees to showcase their talents. This past year, President Tom Sumner joined the house band, played the guitar, and sang ‘Sara Smile’ to his team. The creativity and boldness found in Yamaha employees feeds back into the heart of the company and cast a spotlight on the customers.

Joshua Taub Fully Employed MBA ‘99

Chief Operating Officer
Activision Blizzard

Joshua Taub, Fully Employed MBA ‘99

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Blizzard, Inc. is the world’s largest most successful interactive entertainment company. With 400 million monthly active users in 196 countries, iconic franchises include Call of Duty®, World of Warcraft®, Starcraft®, Candy Crush Saga®, and many more. Joshua is the COO of Activision Publishing and has a key role in leading the overall organization. Key functions include, division CFO and Strategic Management, the future pipeline and Emerging Franchises business, as well as, Data and Analytics. 

In his time at Activision, he held key leadership roles in developing Guitar Hero and Skylanders Franchises, and as CFO, presided over Activision Blizzard’s best two years in history. Joining Pepperdine Graziadio early in his professional life, Joshua started his MBA while working full time, in the midst of a new marriage, the birth of his first child, and purchasing his first home. Campus flexibility throughout Southern California was crucial. Joshua’s most impressive memory at Pepperdine Graziadio was listening to guest speaker Gordon Binder, CEO of Amgen. The inspiring discussion focused on Amgen’s company vision, the care with which Amgen manages employees, and how they aggressively foster R&D as the lifeblood of the company. The positive experience has remained with Joshua and is still applied in his business today.

Lori Torres Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘14

Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Parcel Pending

Lori Torres, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘14

Lori Torres began her career in real estate and managed 44,000 apartments across the West. While working for a leading real estate development firm, Irvine Company, Lori’s staff were inundated managing packages from residents’ online shopping orders and unable to conduct day-to-day operations. Property managers were struggling to devote enough space, time, and money to managing the major boost in resident deliveries and packages, all while residents were becoming frustrated with having to pick up their packages during office hours or missing packages. Using this insight, Lori founded Parcel Pending, an innovative locker solution that ensures simple and secure delivery and retrieval of packages and online orders. Within five years the company grew by over $30 million and sold for over $100 million. Parcel Pending now has 175 employees and won Orange County Top Work Places in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

During the PKE program, she was managing operations for a billion dollar a year company with 1,200 employees and couldn’t imagine earning a degree. The PKE program was a pivotal part in her transition from Corporate America to entrepreneurship. Her cohort and professors became advisors as she began to build Parcel Pending and supported her in the success of the company.

Lori enjoys exploring the world and is curious about everything, which drives her to continue learning and growing. She loves and adores her family, friends, and people she has met along her business and life journey.

Steve Totzke Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘15

Chief Commercial Officer
Mattel North America

Steve Totzke, Presidents and Key Executives MBA ‘15

As chief commercial officer of the world’s largest toy company, Mattel products include Barbie, Polly Pocket dolls, Fisher-Price toys, Hot Wheels, American Girl Dolls and Books, and various Disney, Nickelodeon and other licensed brands. Leading the global commercial team and driving commercial excellence for Mattel, Steve Totzke inspires the next generation of kids through the world of children’s toys. Having traveled and worked in multiple countries and cultures, Steve’s main objective is to learn something new, positively contribute, and to have fun. Steve’s biggest accomplishment is achieving these objectives on a daily basis, regardless of where he is in the world.

Still fresh in his mind, Steve recalls his first day at Pepperdine Graziadio. “I vividly recall the first day winding my way up the hill to the stunning Malibu campus and beginning the personal ‘check-in’ process with my cohort that begins every session. I immediately knew this was a special program that would stay with me for a lifetime.”

As Mattel’s CCO, traveling is necessary and occurs often. With downtime in airports, airplanes, hotels and times zones, Steve uses this time to continue personal learning and development. Self-classified as a podcast addict, Steve learns about every topic that interests him and pushes himself to learn about topics that might not have caught his attention at first.

Victor Tsao Fully Employed MBA ‘86

President
Miven, Inc.

Co-founder
Linksys

Victor Tsao, Fully Employed MBA ‘86

Victor Tsao co-founded Linksys in 1988 and made significant contributions to its transformation, as well as, the transformation of the home networking market. He grew Linksys from a garage entrepreneurship into a home networking leader, generating $500 million in annual revenue. In 2003, Victor Tsao sold the company to Cisco. Due to his accomplishments at Linksys, Victor was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame in 2014.

Victor is a longtime advocate of giving back to the community and donates to charitable organizations. He created the Tsao Family Foundation to support religious, charitable, scientific, literary, cultural, and educational causes.

Betty Uribe Executive MBA ‘00

Executive Vice President Greater Southern California Business and Personal Banking
California Bank & Trust

Betty Uribe, Executive MBA ‘00

Since the age of 19, Betty Uribe has expanded and sold over five successful companies. As executive vice president at California Bank & Trust she oversees a $6 billion line of business. She has successfully turned around every organization she has led, with the latest turnaround going from 3 percent to 37.5 percent YOY pre-tax profit increase in a four-year period. Under her leadership, California Bank & Trust has been recognized as the #1 bank in Orange County by the Orange County Register for five consecutive years. 

Balancing her life and career, while writing an international best-selling book: #Values, the Secret to Top Level Performance in Business and Life, she keeps the Graziadio values of "Freely ye received, freely give" top of mind. Betty has become a global leader, being asked to speak to heads of state, dignitaries, and global leaders.

While attending Graziadio she was undergoing a challenging time. "I went to my strategy professor and asked for an extension on a critical assignment. At the time I was a full-time student, had a full-time job, and was about to become the full-time single mother of two young girls. To my surprise the professor said, 'let’s take the assignment aside, tell me what I can do to help you get through this.' I immediately felt completely supported. I turned in the project on time and was committed to step up to the plate even more."

Betty’s personal goal is to raise enough funds to provide a full college education to 100 underserved individuals in each continent by the time she is 80 years old. She has already funded over 60 scholarships, 53 of which are in Southern California.

Paul Smucker Wagstaff Master’s in International Business ‘95

Chief Executive Officer
Eagle Goods

Paul Smucker Wagstaff, Master’s in International Business ‘95

As president of consumer food for J.M. Smucker Company, Paul managed $2.3 billion in sales of heritage brands such as Smucker's fruit spreads, uncrustables PB&J sandwiches, Jif Peanut Butter, Pillsbury, and many more household food brand names. Through research and innovation he improved operational excellence, built a topnotch team, and created 30-50 new products per year, generating double-digit sales and margins. In 2014, Paul pursued his own entrepreneurial dreams by partnering with a private equity firm to buy Eagle Brand canned milk, G.H. Creators ready to eat popcorn, and Popcorn Indiana. Within two years, Eagle Goods became the fastest growing ready to eat popcorn brand in the nation. Paul established Embassy Park LLC, a merchant banking and advisory firm focused on consumer-packaged goods (CPG) and completed three acquisitions in three years.

Midway through his MIB program, Paul and his wife moved to Germany. The head of the program took the initiative to meet with Paul, provided guidance on completing the program, and helped his wife pursue her art career. The head of the program and Paul’s cohort embracing his wife as one of their own made it clear that Pepperdine Graziadio was the correct choice.

Paul enjoys playing golf and was an extra in a 1988 Michael Jackson music video.

Robin Washington Executive MBA ‘95

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Gilead Science, Inc.

Robin Washington, Executive MBA ‘95

Joining Gilead Science, Inc. in 2008 as senior vice president and chief financial officer, Robin Washington oversees the Global Finance, Information Technology, and Facilities and Corporate Operations organizations. In her leadership role, Robin has been a member of the management team that has profitably grown the biotech company and made a difference for Gilead’s patients through innovative science and curative medicines. Throughout the years, Robin has built and led a talented team of business professionals and created effective programs to support talent development and enhance efficiency and effectiveness of Gilead. In addition, Robin has been a passionate sponsor of Inclusion and Diversity initiatives to enhance representation and support of females and minorities in senior corporate roles and boardrooms.  In 2017, Robin was selected by the Financial Women of San Francisco as its "Financial Woman of the Year" and received the Bay Area CFO of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award.

Robin’s EMBA highlight experience was the amazing relationships that were formed with her classmates and professors. "We were one of the first classes at the Santa Clara location and I am still in contact with some of my classmates.  It was clearly an opportunity to work collaboratively with individuals of different backgrounds and skill sets. Very relevant experience for the roles I have had in my career following completion of the program."

Robin is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Honeywell International, Salesforce.com where she serves as audit chair, Alphabet  Inc., and the Pepperdine Graziadio Board. Robin enjoys traveling the world and embracing the cultures with her husband and two children.