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Meet EMBA 121S

Summer 2018 Cohort

Executive MBA 121S cohort

Lakshmi Andraju

Lakshmi Andraju

SAP Applications Manager – IT Operations

Sekisui Specialty Chemical

As an experienced IT Project Leader, Lakshmi offers expertise in project transformation, SAP operations leadership, business improvement strategies, IT management and focused on defining technology road maps in collaboration with business partners and architecture teams to support business growth. Lakshmi is responsible for the oversight of Global IT operations (SAP) for Sekisui Specialty Chemicals and enjoys crossing the boundaries between Business and IT to achieve business results. Lakshmi earned her Bachelor's degree in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering at Osmania University, India.


Laz Castillo

Laz Castillo

Networking Specialist

Citrix Systems

Laz is a Software Defined - Wide Area Networking Specialist at Citrix Systems targeting the Telecommunication and Managed Service Providers in North America. With more than 20 years of experience in technology and as an entrepreneur, he has successfully run a 40-person organization for more than a decade in the telecommunications industry. When not working, he is fond of skiing the Rockies, playing tennis, and coaching his kids football teams. In addition to pursuing his EMBA at Pepperdine, Laz is leading the efforts to kick start a new division at Citrix.


Michael Gifford

Michael Gifford

Special Agent

Federal Bureau of Investigations

Michael has been a Special Agent with the FBI since 2006. Following nearly a decade of National Security experience in New York City, Michael took a Public Affairs & Media assignment with the Los Angeles Field Office in 2015, where he's currently assigned. Prior to joining the FBI, Michael had careers in both finance and the military, to include a combat deployment to Iraq's Anbar Province with the U.S. Army in 2003. In addition to his career, Michael founded and continues to serve as the Executive Director of OnBehalf.org, a nonprofit that raises funds and professional services for wounded veterans of Iraq & Afghanistan. Michael graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Union College in Schenectady, New York.


Paige Hardy-Hill

Paige Hardy-Hill

Board Member & Marketing Director

Hardy Realtors

Paige is currently a member of the Board and the Marketing Director of Hardy Realtors. As a top agent and leader of Hardy Realtors, she has effectively changed the dynamics and success of the organization in a short period of time. Paige develops and implements strategic and tactical marketing plans for the sales organization to accelerate their current market share growth. Not only does she run a successful real estate brokerage but is the International Chair of the New Generations Rotary Club and gives back to the community. Prior to joining the family business, she earned her Bachelor's degree in International Business and Culture at St. Francis College, NY where she was a Division 1 NCAA water polo player, swimmer, diver, and team captain.


Tracey Hawkins

Tracey Hawkins

CEO

Hawk and Horse Vineyards

Tracey is a Founding Partner and Executive Winemaker at Hawk and Horse Vineyards. She holds a degree in English/Creative Writing, Cum Laude, from San Francisco State University and has completed coursework in Winemaking at U.C. Davis and Marketing at Sonoma State University. Her work at Hawk and Horse Vineyards is inspired by a lifetime of experience in the wine industry, a passion for business development, and a love of the outdoors. The winery is a leader in biodynamic viticulture and a pioneer in a relatively new growing region in northern California—Lake County. Tracey is a member of the board of directors of the California Wine Institute, the premier lobbying organization of California's wine industry. Embracing a lifestyle which puts family and community first, Tracey enjoys volunteering at local schools, charity events and mentoring young people.


Marc Hayashi

Marc Hayashi, DMD

Clinical Education Director

UCLA School of Dentistry

Marc currently serves as the Director of Clinical Education in the Section of Restorative Dentistry at UCLA. Here he leads the clinical portion of the Restorative Dentistry curriculum to ensure the students are learning at the highest level, and that the 60 plus faculty members he leads are calibrated to that same standard. Marc also conducts research, maintains his technical skills in the Faculty Practice, and serves as Secretary of the Western Los Angeles Dental Society (a non-profit component of the American and California Dental Associations). Marc received his Bachelor's degree in Zoology at Washington State University and his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine.


Zach Herbert

Zach Herbert

Owner and Founder

Herbert Law Group PLLC

Zach graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law and joined the United States Marine Corps, where he honed his trial and leadership skills for four years. Upon leaving the Marine Corps, Zach joined a large personal injury litigation firm in Dallas, Texas. A passionate technology and workflow user, Zach helped develop and implement a paperless workflow system that scaled as the firm grew to over 150 employees. Eventually, Zach was put in charge of managing three teams and the assignment of caseloads for the entire Dallas office. Last year, Zach left and started his own firm, Herbert Law Group PLLC, where he specializes in personal injury and military discharge upgrades. He is a board member for F.A.R.M. (Farmers Assisting Returning Military), a nonprofit that prescribes "dirt therapy" to military veterans by teaching organic farming. He is the proud father of three and enjoys woodworking and bicycling in his limited free time.


Bobby Mahil

Bobby Mahil

Vice President, Real Estate Acquisitions

Mahil Family Group, LLC

Bobby is currently the Vice President of Mahil Family Group (MFG). He has more than eight years of experience, specializing in property management, leasing negotiations, and real estate redevelopment. MFG is a vertically integrated commercial real estate firm, with active projects within the United States, India, and the UAE. He has direct oversight of over +500,000 Square Feet of commercial office, retail, hotel, and land development projects. Before joining MFG, Bobby was a Property Manager with PM Realty Group, specializing in real estate redevelopment. He has had the opportunity to work with various organizations such as Roku, Life Factory, Google, Nest & Machine Zone. His most notable redevelopment project was the recovery of The Oakland Tribune Tower in 2011.


Harout Markarian

Harout Markarian

Principal Engineer

Esterline

With more than ten years of experience in the aerospace industry, Harout is the principal architect for all HaWC (Harms Way Controller) products at Esterline. Previously, he worked at the Boeing Company as a flight controls engineer, led the aftermarket department at Rexnord Aerospace, and was the lead engineer for all F5-T38 trainer aircrafts for the Air force. Harout earned a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, and a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering, emphasizing on Dynamics and Controls from California State University, Northridge. Harout was the recipient of the distinguished Engineering Project Achievement Award from the Engineers' Council in 2013. In addition, Harout speaks four languages, and was a former professional basketball player.


Ebi Netto

Ebi Netto

HR Manager

Fortune Builders

Ebi is a HR Leader with more than 10 years of hands-on roles in various industries including: Oil & Gas, technology, Sports & Entertainment, and transportation. He has had the opportunity to work as an expatriate in the Middle East - Qatar, and currently resides in Silicon Valley where he enjoys working and learning emerging technologies, meeting exciting and brilliant people, and expanding his network across the globe. His specialties include: talent management, learning & development, HR strategy, and building partnerships across organizations and communities. He is involved in several philanthropic organizations and enjoys social progress that touches the hearts and minds of our world.


Nicole Nilos

Nicole Nilos

Vice President

City National Bank

Nicole is Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager in commercial banking, advising commercial businesses with revenues from $20MM-$250MM, in all their operational and cash management needs. Some of her areas of expertise include financial and credit analysis, strategic development and securing services for businesses including: Commercial Real Estate, working capital lines of credit, Asset Based lending, SBA loans, Equipment Finance, Treasury Management (Cash Management) services, Merchant services and Foreign Exchange. Additionally, Nicole manages each business relationship quarterly and annually reviewing their financial statements and ensuring they remain on track to sustain and/or promote growth. Outside of her day job, Nicole remains active within her business community serving on boards for top quartile non-profits and business organizations. She remains in advisor and educator to the Small Business community, including start-up companies often teaching courses on "Access to Capital", "The Top Ten Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail", "Top Decline Reasons and how they are Preventable", and she frequently spotlights on business radio shows providing insight from a lenders perspective.


Eric Ostgarden

Eric Ostgarden

Portfolio Operations Director

AvalonBay Communities

Eric is a Portfolio Operations Director with AvalonBay Communities, one of the largest REIT's in the United States. In this role, he oversees an operations budget of $70 million annually and manages 3,000 homes in Northern California. With 20 years of leadership experience in both multi-family housing and financial services, Eric has excelled in talent development, growing revenues, and fostering new initiatives. In addition, Eric is active in the community, serving as a committee member for the Housing Industry Foundation, a non-profit that facilitates housing initiatives and emergency housing grants. Eric holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from San Jose State University. Personally, Eric enjoys traveling the world with his wife and young daughter.


Derek Otte

Derek Otte

Vice President Portfolio Management

Barrister Executive Suites, Inc.

Derek currently serves as Vice President for Portfolio Management at Barrister Executive Suites, Inc. With more than nine years of commercial real estate experience, Derek leads in the lease renewals, prospecting new locations for expansion, budgets of current locations to meeting future market trends. Before his current role at Barrister Executive Suites, he had been a sales and marketing manager, where he refreshed the image of the company through reorganization of marketing collateral, increases sales by encouraging proper team communication, developing a CRM which put the company at a competitive disadvantage. Through his previous experience as a sales associate at Newmark Knight Frank, a commercial real estate advisory firm, he developed invaluable skills to build a foundation applicable to a wide range of business challenges. In his free time, he can be found at the beach playing volleyball or at the airport traveling the world. Making a positive impact on the world by putting others before self and constant action to improve the community in which he lives. Derek earned his Bachelor's degree in Religion Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara.


Erik Purcell

Erik Purcell

Regional Sales Director

Merit Medical Systems

Erik works in the Peripheral Interventional division of Merit Medical, a global manufacturer of products used to identify, diagnose, and treat patients with end-stage renal and vascular disease. Currently, Erik is managing nine sales representatives in the western United States and accountable for delivering revenue growth while managing operating expenses and margins in his region. Before transitioning into management, Erik achieved multiple President's Club awards during his 13-year sales career in the medical device industry. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Bioengineering from Oregon State University.


Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith

Sr. Director, Public Relations and Corporate Communications

Janus Henderson Investors

Taylor is a Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Public Relations at Janus Henderson Investors, an approximately $370 billion global active asset manager. Taylor builds brands and protects the reputation of the organization, executives, and investors. Taylor brings global expertise and experience running complex, high-profile public relations programs, teams, and agencies. Prior to Janus Henderson, he served as Associate Vice President at Communications Strategy Group, leading the firm's asset management practice. Prior to that, Taylor represented large financial services clients for a New York City-based integrated communications agency.


Eric Stoneburner

Eric Stoneburner

Vice President Global Operations

Capital Brands, LLC

Eric is currently Vice President of Global Operations at Capital Brands, a multi-channel B2B and B2C consumer products company, where he is responsible for overseeing the international business division. Over his 17-year career, he has held senior leadership positions in finance, operations, sales and category management, strategic planning and business development in media/entertainment and consumer products industries. Prior to Capital Brands, Eric spent ten years at NBC Universal where he held several executive management positions in the company's Universal Pictures Home Entertainment U.S. and Canadian business, including Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance. Prior to NBC Universal, he spent five years in financial and operational management positions at General Electric. Eric earned a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Dayton.


Brandon Todd

Brandon Todd

Area Sales Manager

Ingersoll Rand Inc.

Brandon is currently an Area Sales Leader with Ingersoll Rand for the Compression Technologies division. In this role, he is focused on revenue growth through team building, technical training, negotiations, and operational excellence. This role, along with his previous roles in business development has allowed him to gain experience across all varieties of commerce. He has more than 12 years of experience growing market share via distribution channels and direct sales of engineered product. Brandon holds a Bachelor's degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Auburn University.


Suzanne Weragoda

Suzanne Weragoda

Deputy Director of Human Resources

International Medical Corps.

Suzanne Weragoda has 18 years of Human Resources experience in various industries. In her current role Suzanne is the Deputy Director of Human Resources for the International Medical Corps. A non-profit, global first responder, comprising of dedicated doctors and nurses delivering emergency health care to those affected by conflict, natural disaster, and disease.
Suzanne received her Bachelor's degree in Industrial Systems and Business Management from the University of Westminster, London, UK; and a Postgraduate Diploma in Finance and Investment from Brunel University, Middlesex, UK.


John Wittman

John Wittman

Vice President

Legacy Air

John is Vice President of Legacy Air, a leader in HVAC and Refrigeration in the retail and restaurant facility management field. Currently responsible for Operations, IT, Business Development, & assisting with Finance his leadership has stewarded Legacy into being listed as one of the fastest growing companies in America thrice by Inc.com. John started as an intern at Legacy while attending Arizona State University. Over the last 12 years, he has held positions all over the organization including Dispatcher, Installer, Account Manager, Service Manager, Branch Manager, Director, & Vice President. Prior to joining Legacy, Sergeant Wittman served with distinction as a United States Marine. He was honored on multiple occasions by the Secretary of the Navy during deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.