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Faculty and Executive Coaches

Demos Vardiabasis Executive Programs Faculty

Our Executive MBA faculty members are among the leading authorities in their respective disciplines. In addition to their superior academic credentials, they continue to accrue significant experience as corporate executives and board members. They are also successful entrepreneurs, and respected business advisors.

Charles Kerns

Kamran Bakhtiari
Instructor of Decision Sciences

Mr. Bakhtiari teaches within Decision Sciences at Pepperdine University's Graziadio Business School in the Executive MBA, Fully Employed MBA, Master of Science in Business Analytics, Master of Science in Human Resources, Bachelor of Science in Management, and Executive Education Programs. An authority on the Modernization of Analytics, Mr. Bakhtiari is a member of the Adobe Digital Marketing Customer Advisory Board and contributes to the company’s ongoing effort to create, refine, and validate Adobe digital marketing products. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Economics from San Diego State University, with a specialization in Quantitative Analysis, and his MBA from Pepperdine University's Graziadio Business School.

Marene Biseda

Marene Biseda
Assistant Professor of Strategy

Dr. Biseda focuses on strategic management, organizational change, and knowledge workers’ productivity in new organizational forms. Her professional experience spans the public and private sectors across multiple industries, including aerospace, education, healthcare, professional services, and telecommunications. She has worked with entrepreneurial and mid-size companies, Fortune 100 corporations, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations. She holds a masters from the University of California, an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD from Claremont Graduate University.

Mark Chun

Mark Chun
Department Chair of Decision Sciences‚ Information Systems‚ and Strategy

Dr. Mark Chun is a professor of information systems technology management at Pepperdine University's Graziadio Business School. He recently served as the Interim Associate Dean of Executive Programs. Dr. Chun earned a PhD in Information Systems from the University of Colorado at Boulder, received an MBA from the University of California, Irvine, and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in management information systems from the University of Hawaii.

Charla Griffy-Brown

Charla Griffy-Brown
Professor of Information Systems and Technology Management

As a tenured full-professor at Pepperdine University, she has trained hundreds of executives in the areas of business process redesign and enterprise architecture. Importantly, she has extensive experience working with executives and boards in the area of information systems security and risk as an element of all new technology initiatives. Dr. Griffy-Brown has a strong track record helping executives implement new initiatives in enterprise architecture, including agile, hybrid and cloud-based enterprise systems. She holds a BA from Harvard University and a PhD from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.

Charles Kerns

Gia Honnen Weisdorn
Practitioner Instructor of Business Law

Gia Honnen Weisdorn is a practicing attorney with the Law Offices of Gia Honnen Weisdorn, a firm with clients in the fields of entertainment, the Internet, biotechnology, and technology, among others. Since 2001, Professor Weisdorn has taught business law, eLaw, international law and negotiations at the Graziadio Business School. Professor Weisdorn is a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar honors graduate of Columbia Law School (LL.M.) and graduated magna cum laude from the University of San Diego School of Law (JD). She holds an MBA with a finance concentration from Pepperdine University.

Brian Jacobs

Brian Jacobs
Professor of Decision Sciences

Dr. Brian Jacobs is a professor of decision sciences at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. He teaches project management, production and operations management, and quantitative analysis in the Graziadio bachelor of science, MS, MBA, and Executive MBA programs. Prior to joining Graziadio, Brian was an associate professor of supply chain management at Michigan State University. He holds a BS in Marine Engineering Systems from the US Merchant Marine Academy, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, and a PhD in Business Administration from Georgia Tech.

Charles Kerns

Charlie Kerns
Professor of Applied Behavioral Science

Dr. Kerns has more than 30 years of business, management and consulting experience. He joined Graziadio as an associate professor of applied behavioral science and has taught in nearly every program at the Graziadio School and served as the associate dean of academic affairs. Dr. Kerns is a diplomate and holds ABPP certifications in both industrial-organizational psychology and organizational and business consulting psychology.

Clemens Kownatzki

Clemens Kownatzki
Assistant Professor of Finance

In 2010, Dr. Kownatzki joined Pepperdine University and is currently Assistant Professor of Finance. In 2020, he became the Department Chair of Accounting, Finance and Real Estate. During his tenure, he was Academic Director of the MS Applied Finance program from 2017-2019. In 2016, he received a prestigious research grant from the Chicago Mercantile Group Foundation. Dr. Kownatzki’s primary research interest focuses on the important question of how risk and market volatility affects investment returns.

Gary Mangiofico

Gary Mangiofico
Executive Professor of Organizational Theory and Management

Dr. Mangiofico has taught at the Pepperdine Graziadio School since 2002 and brings more than 20 years of experience leading strategic development, operations management and integration, and turnaround operations solving complex challenges as a CEO, COO, and as a general management executive for both start-ups and Fortune 50 companies. Dr. Mangiofico holds a BA and MA in psychology from Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and a PhD in Organizational Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology (Alameda/Berkeley).

Brian McGilvray

Brian McGilvray
Practitioner Faculty of Business Law

Brian McGilvray currently teaches courses in leadership and ethics, business law, employment law, and human resources management at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School. McGilvray previously taught at California State University, Northridge, and has guest lectured on ethics and family business issues at UCLA’s Anderson Graduate School of Management. McGilvray currently serves as the Chair of the Master of Science in Business Program in the Graziadio Business School. McGilvray earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law, and his MBA degree and Bachelor of Science in Management degree from the Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School.

Roger McMahon

Roger McMahon
Associate Professor of Marketing

Dr. Roger McMahon's MBA teaching duties at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School have focused on the areas of Marketing Management, B2B Marketing, and Marketing Consulting. In addition, he has served as the lead marketing faculty member for the full time MBA program and currently sits on the EMBA committee. He holds an MS from Pepperdine University and a DBA from Mississippi State University.

Charles Kerns

John Mooney
Professor of Information Systems and Technology Management

Dr. John G. Mooney is professor of information systems and technology management and academic director of the Executive Doctor in Business Administration at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. He also serves as the Graziadio School academic director to Pepperdine University’s Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports and Culture. Dr. Mooney holds a BS in computer science and a master of management science both from University College Dublin, and a PhD in information systems and business strategy from UC Irvine.

Kurt Motamedi

Kurt Motamedi
Professor of Strategy and Leadership

Dr. Motamedi is Professor of Strategy and Leadership at Pepperdine University. He received his PhD and MBA from UCLA - Anderson Graduate School of Management in Strategy and Organization Development, and his MSEE in semiconductor and computers from UC-Santa Barbara. Professor Motamedi helps develop and grow companies, works with management on strategic planning and execution, trains and develops high performing management teams and executive talent.

Charles Kerns

Elizabeth Olson
Practitioner Faculty of Economics

Dr. Elizabeth Olson has over 15 years of management, financial consulting, and international experience. Having started her career abroad, she has developed highly effective methods of cross-cultural communication and management. Dr. Olson has worked with both large corporations and small businesses with a focus on financial analysis, forecasting and budgeting, competitor analysis, and management. Dr. Olson received her BA from Hamline University, her MBA from the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, and her PhD from Claremont Graduate University.

Steven Rapier

Steven Rapier
Assistant Professor of Marketing

Dr. Rapier has been actively engaged in marketing as both a practitioner and lecturer since 1982. As a practitioner, he has over 25 years of experience on both the agency and client side. He has provided strategic insight to brand and marketing, advertising, public relations, and market research to a range of organizations. He holds an Executive MBA and a PhD in Philosophy from Claremont Graduate University.

Kent Rhodes

Kent Rhodes
Practitioner Lecturer of Applied Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Rhodes serves as a core faculty member with Pepperdine University's Doctoral Programs in Organizational Change and Organizational Leadership and MBA Programs where he teaches courses in leadership, applied behavioral sciences, organizational theory, and ethics. Dr. Rhodes is an entrepreneur who maintains a successful coaching and consulting practice for a variety of privately held and family-owned enterprises. He is an expert in organizational effectiveness and development and understands merger and acquisition integration. He holsd a masters from Texas Tech University and a EdD from Pepperdine University.

Jaime Salas

Jaime Salas
Assistant Professor of Marketing

Dr. Salas is an assistant professor of marketing and has more than 12 years of industry experience. His main research is focused on the implementation of service infusion strategies among traditional industrial manufacturers. His research was sponsored by the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University, where he won several teaching awards.

John Scully

John Scully
Practitioner Lecturer of Accounting and Finance

Dr. Scully's professional experience includes 25 years of finance, accounting and auditing service with Fortune 500 firms, mid-size companies and start-up organizations. This experience has been gained with aerospace, manufacturing and consulting organizations. He holds masters degrees from the University of Delaware, the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from Temple University and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.

Charles Kerns

Samual Seaman
Professor of Decision Sciences

Dr. Samuel L. Seaman is professor of Decision Sciences in the Graziadio Business School. He teaches graduate courses in applied statistics and evidence-based decision analysis and has an applied research agenda that focuses on the use of mathematical models to solve dilemmas in economics, finance, healthcare, and marketing. He holds an masters of education from Stetson University and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Florida.

Teri Tompkins

Teri Tompkins
Professor of Applied Behavioral Science

Dr. Tompkins joined the Graziadio Business School at Pepperdine University in 2001. Prior to her arrival at Pepperdine, she was faculty at The University of Redlands for eight years. During her tenure at the University of Redlands, she was nominated twice for best teacher of the year and received an outstanding service award. In addition, she served as department chair for a multi-disciplinary department and chaired several curriculum committees. Dr. Tompkins received her MBA (with an emphasis in Strategy and Marketing) and Ph.D. (with an emphasis in Management and Organizational Behavior) from Claremont Graduate University. She earned her masters and bachelors degrees respectively in Recreation and Leisure Studies for non-for-profit management from CSULB.

Mark Tribbitt

Mark Tribbitt
Associate Professor of Strategy

Dr. Tribbitt comes to academia with more than 14 years of experience within the financial services industry. During that time he has held a variety of management positions in retail, commercial and wholesale banking. His teaching focuses on strategic management, entrepreneurship, and management of technology and innovation. Dr. Tribbitt's primary research interest deals with the intersection between corporate governance and corporate entrepreneurship. He is a member of several academic associations. He earned a Ph.D. in strategic management from Drexel University, an MBA from Villanova University, and a B.S. in finance from the University of Delaware.

Demosthenes Vardiabasis

Demosthenes Vardiabasis
Professor of Economics

Dr. Vardiabasis has over 25 years of experience as a professor, entrepreneur, executive, and consultant. He has founded several companies and has served as a chairman and CEO of the IQ Now Corporation, which was acquired by a public company and of Health Windows, which provided services to such companies as American Express, Hilton, Yamaha, and Honeywell. He holds a master of arts from the University of Essex and a PhD from the University of Southern California.

Nicolai Walsilewski

Nicolai Walsilewski
Associate Professor of Strategy

Dr. Wasilewski focuses on strategic management and international business. He has broad international corporate experience with large multinational enterprises in engineering project management, consumer products market research, and international business development. He holds a masters from the University of Cincinnati, a masters from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a PhD from New York University.

Executive Advisors

The Pepperdine EMBA program is the first and only Executive MBA program to feature a dedicated executive advisor. These coaches are experienced alums of the EMBA program and are considered as important as the faculty. The executive coach remains with your class cohort throughout the duration of the program. They are an integral part of the EMBA cohort and act as mentors to provide help in individual and group situations. They read students’ papers, mediate conflict within and among groups, and maintain continuity throughout the Executive MBA program.

Zeny Agullana

Jim Emerick

Rob Ortega

Cory McKnight

Pearl Quintana

 

Testimonials

Kent Rhodes portrait

Students in the EMBA program not only learn from professors who have business leadership experience, they also develop relationships with other professionals in their cohort supported by a dedicated Executive Mentor from day one. From a values based curriculum to experientially driven learning, students are prepared to more deeply become best for the world executive leaders.

Executive MBA Program Chair