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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

Awardee Biographies

2024 George Awards Ceremony

Amanda Auciello

Amanda Auciello

Outstanding Full-Time MBA Student

Amanda Auciello is an MBA Candidate, originally from Toronto Canada. She is pursuing an MBA with a double concentration in Dispute Resolution and Entrepreneurship. Amanda is an active member of the Pepperdine community currently holding several leadership roles. She is the Vice Chair of the Graziadio Student Advisory Board, the Vice President of Student Relations for the Graziadio Women’s Business Association, and the Vice President of Student Impact for Net Impact. Recently, she also created a mentorship program between Seaver and Graziadio students in hopes of strengthening the relationship between both schools and cultivating both personal and professional relationships. Amanda has competed in four case competitions. Following her participation at the NBCUniversal Case Competition, she developed a desire to pursue her MBA Summer Internship there. Through her studies at Pepperdine’s Straus Institute, Amanda has volunteered over 50 hours of mediation services for the Los Angeles County Small Claims Courts. She has also completed the SEER Certificate and plans to use what she has learned to have an impactful career.

Amanda has a deep love of travel and exploring the world. A personal goal of hers is to travel to every country in the world. She participated on two of Pepperdine’s Global Business Initiatives. Amanda travelled to South Africa where the focus was on Social Entrepreneurship and to Rwanda where she was a Business Consultant to a local non-profit in Kigali. Amanda’s love for connecting and staying connected turned into an incredible opportunity of becoming a board member for one of the non-profit organizations that she met in Rwanda and now serves as the Vice Chair of their International Board.

Amanda loves connecting with people and establishing relationships wherever she goes. In her time at Pepperdine, she leveraged every opportunity provided to her and feels this experience has been transformational, both personally and professionally. As her MBA journey comes to an end, Amanda feels prepared and excited for what is next. She feels her leadership skills have strengthened, her network has expanded, and her love for living in California is undeniable. Amanda leveraged all the opportunities that Pepperdine presented to her and hopes she left a positive and sustainable impact on the school. Amanda looks forward to remaining an active member of the Pepperdine community as she becomes an alumni and re-enters the corporate world. 

Briana Labe

Briana Labe

Outstanding Full-Time MSB Student

Briana Labe, a graduate of Pepperdine University in 2023, completing a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Marketing and Communications with a minor in Entrepreneurship, is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Business. She is from Los Gatos, California which is in the heart of the Silicon Valley. She currently works as a student worker in the recruitment office of Graziadio speaking to prospective students about her experience, tabling at Seaver to recruit Seaver students, and will be hosting a Seaver and Graziadio student mixer at Drescher. She will be going to Switzerland with Pepperdine Global Programs and is also a member of the Graziadio Women in Business Club. She also plays intramural soccer and fosters kittens.

In her Senior year of Pepperdine, Briana was a member of the Tri Delta Sorority, the Sweetheart of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, an intramural soccer champion, a PR intern, a full-time event coordinator for various locations around LA, all while fostering numerous kittens throughout her whole undergraduate career.

Briana led and built a team of 10+ Seaver students who would collectively bring upwards of 200 people every week to events throughout West LA. She volunteers at a special needs school and teaches a class on how to care for animals and hold them. She also likes to volunteer her time to building homes in Mexico.

During her time at Pepperdine, she was one of 13 out of 500 applicants selected to intern in the London Internship program with Pepperdine. She interned at B The Communications Agency, a fashion and makeup PR agency located in Soho. She was also a PR intern at Brown and Dutch PR firm two years in a row, and a social media intern at Pets and More.

Briana’s passion is to bring people together and help everyone who comes in her path. She wants to make the world a better place with her positive outlook on life and welcoming attitude. She makes a point to go above and beyond in everything she does. Her impeccable work ethic and ability to balance several extracurriculars at once is the reason why she is where she is today.

Following graduation, Briana will pursue a career in medical sales in the LA area, and eventually start her own business.

Troy Hernandez

Troy Hernandez

Outstanding Part-Time MBA Student

While attending school part-time, Troy works as an Investigator for the Orange County District Attorney's Office, where he investigates officer-involved shootings, custodial-related deaths, and serious criminal conduct alleged against police officers and public officials.

Troy began his life as a public servant at age fourteen as a Police Explorer and has never looked back. He has walked the streets of Los Angeles, held the hands of domestic violence victims, rescued child victims (even delivered a baby), and apprehended suspects ranging from assault, rape, kidnapping, and murder. During his career, Troy has handled over 6,000 criminal cases. Before joining the Orange County District Attorney's Office, he was a robbery-homicide detective. During his 25-year career as a police officer, Troy has been honored as a Recipient of the Medal of Valor, two-time Recipient of Lifesaving Awards, Meritorious Medal, and Officer of the Year, among many other accolades.

His life's calling is service before self. Troy is passionate about Special Olympics and is a founding member of the Law Enforcement Torch Run – Special Olympics (OCDA).

Troy is inspired by God first, Country second, and family always. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife who is a Gang Homicide Prosecutor and their two daughters.

Kim Reihman

Kim Reihman

Outstanding Online MBA Student

Kim Reihman has always had a great passion for marketing and an innate desire to learn about various aspects of business working together for the betterment of people’s lives. After graduating with her BA in Business Administration from the University at Buffalo in 2008, with minors both in Architecture and Environmental Design, she moved to San Diego, CA, where she began working at Dexcom (a medical device company) and ultimately attained the role of Inside Sales Representative. One of her favorite moments in this role was leading the training for new hires. 

In 2015, she took time off from the corporate world to focus on growing her family. That same year she welcomed her first son and in 2019 his younger brother. However, during her time away from corporate life, she volunteered at her children’s school and became a caregiver for her in-laws. It was through these acts of service that she began to imagine what else could be achieved with an MBA. Then in 2021, Kim made it a priority to reignite her passion for marketing and learning and chose Pepperdine and the Graziadio School of Business because of the core values and dedication to creating leaders that will be best for the world. 

Choosing to begin her journey back into marketing with her MBA through a school that emphasizes integrity, compassion and purpose, Kim dedicated herself to becoming a driven leader and a Pepperdine Ambassador. Kim’s strong ambition to not only lead but also to give back to her academic community granted her fulfilling and inspirational experience. During her time in the program, she enjoyed being a mentor and getting prospective students to focus on their own goals and dreams. Since graduation Kim has been able to focus on her children and is looking for work in a field that benefits diverse communities and empowers others. 

Kim dedicates this award to her children, family, and friends, who supported and inspired her to accomplish a lifelong dream and now be able to make a positive impact for the future of business. 

Kaitlyn Zee

Kaitlyn Zee

Outstanding BSM Student

Kaitlyn Zee is a multifaceted entrepreneur, advancing her knowledge and expertise as a student in the BSM/MBAJ program. Her academic endeavors are complemented by her diverse business acumen, exemplified by her leadership roles across various ventures. As co-owner and VP of Operations at The Bronzery, the leading electro-plating company in America, and founder of event planning firm Lucid Life Entertainment, she has demonstrated her ability to steer enterprises to new heights. Kaitlyn's entrepreneurial endeavors also extend into the realm of real estate, where she manages multiple properties alongside her husband and integrates her talents through KRZ Concepts, an interior design firm.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Kaitlyn is deeply involved in community service and cultural advocacy. She serves as Vice President of her HOA board, contributes to an AAPI cultural awareness club, and volunteers internationally, including regular work at Casa Hogar orphanage in Cabo. Her dedication to child welfare is further exemplified through her work with Elevate, a program that provides guidance and mentorship to disadvantaged youth in Los Angeles. Kaitlyn's personal passions encompass adventure and wellness. As a licensed pilot and scuba diver, she embraces the thrill of exploration, while tennis and yoga bring her balance. Furthermore, her love for travel has taken her to more than 25 countries, where she has not only immersed herself in diverse cultures but also learned basic Mandarin and Spanish.

In every facet of her life, Kaitlyn Zee embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship, community service, and global advocacy. Her values align seamlessly with the principles of the Graziadio program.

Elizabeth M. Adams

Elizabeth M. Adams

Outstanding Executive DBA Student

Elizabeth M. Adams is a Responsible AI influencer recognized as one of Forbes "15 AI Ethics Leaders Showing The World The Way Of The Future." She has studied the science of business and technology influences on society for over two decades while leading large-scale technology initiatives for Fortune 500 companies and various government organizations. As a scholar-practitioner, Elizabeth has developed her expertise working with technical and non-technical leaders, creating alliances with leaders that translate theory into results.

Elizabeth's commitment to inclusivity and ethical tech is evident in her work driving broader employee stakeholder engagement.

Currently pursuing a doctorate in Leadership of Responsible AI, Elizabeth's research focuses on how leaders can engage employees, particularly those exposed to AI harm, to introduce the industry to modernized technology development concepts through a societal lens. Her goal is to encourage individuals who have traditionally been excluded from the AI landscape to become active participants in building the future of AI.

Brandi Harleaux, Fully Employed MBA '12

Brandi Harleaux, Fully Employed MBA '12

Waves of Service Alumni Award

Brandi Harleaux is an award-winning entrepreneur, business owner, notable keynote speaker, mentor, recycling champion and world changer.  She is the CEO and second-generation owner of South Post Oak Recycling Center (SPORC); —Houston’s trusted metal recycling company.

Since 1994, SPORC has specialized in servicing customers with a portfolio of metal recycling service solutions designed to responsibly move material while enabling customers  to benefit financially, socially, and environmentally. SPORC thrives on two philosophies, “take care of your people” and “positively impact the communities in which we do business”. 

Prior to transitioning into the family’s recycling business in 2013 Brandi spent fifteen years leading teams within Fortune 100 companies such as Target, Northrop Grumman, and Disney in the areas of organizational development and strategy which she believes are an asset in her leadership roles today. She’s blended an M.S in Psychology, an MBA, learnings from the Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Business Program as well as certificates in Managing the Family Office and Leadership and Family Transitions to continue rounding out her experience.  

Driven by professional and educational achievement, Brandi is the distinguished recipient of the inaugural 2020 ISRI Young Executive of the Year Award, 2021 Houston International Trade Development Global Seven International Rising Star Award and the 2023 Greater Women’s Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurs of the Year Award to name a few. Also in 2023, the Small Business Administration named Brandi as the Texas Entrepreneur of the year. In addition, she has been featured in Black Enterprise, the Houston Business Journal, Texas CEO Magazine, Recycling Today and Recycling International magazine.

Brandi is passionate about using her transformative leadership skills to make a difference as well as a measurable impact in the recycling industry by actively engaging in advocacy, championing women and young executives in the industry. Brandi walks the talk by serving on the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business Board, is the Chair of the City of Houston Office of Business Opportunity Advisory Board, Director at Large for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and incoming Secretary for the ISRI Gulf Coast Region Executive Committee. 

She lives in Houston Texas with her husband and enjoys traveling, hiking, self-care activities and spending time with family and friends. 

Bala Sriraghavan, Executive MBA '16

Bala Sriraghavan, Executive MBA '16

Outstanding Alumni Award

Bala Sriraghavan, the Founder and CEO of Datanetiix Solutions, Inc., boasts 23 years of extensive technology and management experience. His expertise spans various domains, including business intelligence, strategic technology advising, and early-stage investing. With a rich background in services, product development, product life cycle management, digital applications, and enterprise management, Bala's journey is marked by diverse roles and responsibilities.

Before establishing Datanetiix Solutions Inc., Sriraghavan served as the Director of Project Development at Apolis Inc. He was also a founding employee at Emantras, Inc. (GP Strategies Corporation), holding pivotal roles such as account manager, delivery head, and Vice President of Development.

Bala leverages his passion for managing global teams and embracing innovative technologies. His adeptness in navigating challenges and overseeing cross-functional projects has enabled him to deliver comprehensive solutions in business management, IT, and workforce management to clients.

In addition to his corporate endeavors, Bala is an active member of various boards and foundations. He serves as a Board member of the Graziadio Business School at Pepperdine University. He is also a technical advisory board member of The Joyful Child Foundation. Bala volunteers with organizations such as the Project Management Institute (PMI), the US Chamber of Commerce & District Export Council, and the San Diego Blood Bank.

Sriraghavan is an engaged member of professional associations, including the International Marketing Association (IMA) and the International Executive Council (IEC). His commitment extends to mentoring early and mid-level professionals and providing support to startups and enterprises facing day-to-day challenges.

Bala Sriraghavan holds an MS in Computer Engineering and is a proud alumnus of Pepperdine University, where he earned an MBA from the Graziadio Business School.

Brian McGilvray

Brian McGilvray

Outstanding Faculty Award

Brian McGilvray received his Bachelor of Science in Management and MBA degrees from the Graziadio Business School, and his Juris Doctor degree from the Caruso School of law.  As part of the Graziadio faculty, Brian teaches courses in leadership and ethics, business law, employment law, and negotiation and conflict resolution. He currently serves as the Chair of the Economics, Law, and Marketing Department, Co-Chair of the Master of Science in Business Program, and currently serves on the Graziadio Faculty Council and the University Faculty Council.  He served as a class advisor in the Executive MBA program for many years, and was awarded a Teaching Assistant Fellowship while attending Pepperdine’s Caruso School of Law.  In 2022, he received a Transformational Teaching Award from the Graziadio Business School.  

Brian is a member of the State Bar of California and currently serves on the Board of Directors of several Southern California corporations and nonprofit organizations. He is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and holds lifetime certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).  Brian spent 25 years as a practicing attorney and remains very active in the area of emerging growth businesses, providing legal and consulting services to closely-held entities in a number of diverse industries. His business experience includes executive positions in human resources and operations, as well as the start-up, operation and sale of two businesses of his own, and he is currently the managing partner of several real estate investment companies. In addition to his business experience, Brian’s early career included five years in law enforcement as a deputy with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Dept.

Reyes Family of Businesses

Reyes Family of Businesses

Outstanding Corporate Partner

Reyes Holdings, L.L.C. is the holding company of three business units. Together, they create the Reyes Family of Businesses. Founded, and still operated, as a family-owned company, Reyes Holdings is a global leader in the production and distribution of food and beverage products. Reyes Holdings operations include Reyes Beverage Group, the largest beer distributor in the United States; The Martin-Brower Company, L.L.C., a global quick-service restaurant distribution business and the largest supplier worldwide of distribution services to the McDonald’s restaurant system; and Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling, a Midwest and West Coast bottler and distributor of Coca-Cola products. Reyes Holdings is the 6th largest privately held company in the United States with +35,000 employees across 18 countries and 48 states and annual sales exceeding $40 billion globally.

Since its launch in 1976, Reyes Holdings has been dedicated to being the best in every segment in which they operate, adding value to their customers’ supply chain and achieving unmatched value for their customers while creating an outstanding work environment for their employees and making a positive difference in our communities. For more information about Reyes Holdings, visit the company website at www.reyesholdings.com.