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DBA Student Profiles

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Gershon Alaluf 

Gershon Alaluf 

PetVet Care Centers, Medical Director

With over three decades of experience in the veterinary field, including 24 years as a dedicated veterinarian and two decades as a practice owner, Gershon brings a wealth of expertise to the industry. Currently finishing an MBA at Pepperdine University and pursuing a DBA, he is deeply committed to expanding his knowledge and skills. Through his academic pursuits and extensive professional background, Gershon is dedicated to contributing meaningful insights and solutions to enhance the veterinary industry's sustainability, leadership practices, and the well-being of its practitioners and teams.

Gershon's research interests lie in investigating the profound influence of private equity within the veterinary sector. He is particularly passionate about exploring the dynamics of leadership, organizational culture, trust-building, and their interconnectedness. Additionally, his keen interest in mental health advocacy within the profession motivates him to explore ways to address the unique challenges that veterinarians and support staff face.

Effie Ashu

Effie Ashu

Co-Owner, Health Spa

Effie is an experienced oil and gas finance and operations executive with 21+ years of success working across multiple business units to ensure best-in-class corporate reserve and asset management and reporting. Effie is a multi-talented business specialist who understands all facets of business. She is experienced in finance and management (Financial modeling, forecasting, due diligence, and negotiations), operations, and engineering.

Successful in operational transformation, process optimization, and M&A. Problem solver who thrives under pressure. Identifies root causes and develops innovative solutions to resolve long-standing business problems.

Expert in SEC reporting, SOX compliance, asset valuation, financial controls, internal and external audits, and statutory compliance in highly regulated industries.

Empathetic leader with high EQ. Respectful and trustworthy, wins collaboration among all stakeholders—mentors’ talent to support individual growth and organizational goals. Effie was the Director of Corporate Reserves for Chesapeake Energy for about five years; she has also had the opportunity to work for other companies like Murphy Oil, Southwestern Energy, Schlumberger Marathon Oil, and Gaffney Cline. 

Michael Beaven

Michael Beaven

Serial Entrepreneur, Green Beret, Educator

Michael Beaven is a multi-faceted professional with a distinguished career that encompasses entrepreneurship, military leadership, and education. Currently pursuing a Doctor in Business Administration (DBA) degree at Pepperdine University, he is building on a solid academic foundation that includes a Master in Business Administration (MBA).

With over two decades of exceptional service as a Special Forces (Green Beret) Warrant Officer in the United States Army, Michael brings a wealth of leadership and management experience to the academic realm. His military journey has been nothing short of extraordinary, including roles as an Executive Officer, Program Manager, and Operations Manager. He had the honor of leading diverse teams in combat, diplomatic settings, and classified operations, even providing direct security to the President of the United States.

Transitioning from military service, Michael has a deep passion for education and mentorship. He gained invaluable experience designing and delivering training programs tailored to diverse learning styles and cultural backgrounds. His philosophy of leadership revolves around recognizing and amplifying individuals' strengths, creating an environment that fosters collaboration and innovation.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Michael is committed to service and growth. His journey exemplifies resilience, adaptability, and a dedication to making a positive impact. With his unique blend of experiences, he aspires to inspire the next generation of leaders in both academic and business settings. 

André J. W. Campbell

André J. W. Campbell

Chief Strategy Officer,  Neowe Research and Development Inc. 

André J. W. Campbell is a distinguished executive with over 25 years of leadership experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. He holds degrees from Pepperdine Graziadio Business School (PKE-MBA), Andrews University Seminary (MDiv.), and Oakwood University (BS in Psychology). André’s dynamic career has seen him helm roles ranging from the CEO of an entertainment company to the COO of a vegan meat brand. Currently, he serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at Neowe Research and Development Inc., a position he has held for the past five years. 

Recently, André has re-enrolled at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School as part of the Executive Doctor of Business Administration Cohort 6, aiming to graduate in 2026. Apart from his academic pursuits, he is actively involved as a mentor in Pepperdine’s Seaver College Career Coaching program and Graziadio’s PKE Alumni Planning Committee.

Residing in Tampa, FL, with his wife of 22 years, André takes pride in being a father to two wonderful daughters and a dog named Prince. With a deep appreciation for family and personal growth, he brings a grounded and holistic approach to all his endeavors.

Stephanie Dailey

Stephanie M. Dailey

Finance Consultant

Stephanie Dailey is a finance consultant with experience in a variety of industries including private equity, investment banking operations, fashion, restaurants, and transportation.  She earned both her MBA in International Business and Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting from California State University, Fullerton.  She credits her unique business perspective to several years spent studying and working abroad in Spain, Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand.  Despite a love of living abroad and learning about foreign cultures, she always returns home to Huntington Beach, California.  In her free time, she loves boating, camping, dancing, and spending time with her family.

Bridget Donahue

Bridget Donahue  

Managing Partner / Founder, Dygnified

Offers financial services to the underserved and/or unbanked population worldwide. Passionate about providing services to establish economic equity and financial inclusion and to strengthen women’s fiscal fluency and self-determination. We merge extensive experience in organizational strategy and design with leadership and project management roles within major financial services entities, consulting houses, and government agencies to help clients succeed on multiple levels.

As a program management, business process redesign, and efficiency expert, I advance business value by designing strategies and implementing technologies that drive extraordinary ROI and enable future growth. 

Highly versatile by nature, I leverage a global background leading organizational change and program management initiatives across major financial services entities, management consulting houses, and government agencies to optimize business efficiencies, increase compliance and enhance overall customer satisfaction. A complex problem solver, project team leader and trusted advisor to the executive team, I analyze an organization and its internal operations, creating and launching the forward-thinking strategies, processes, and new technologies that advance companies to new levels of performance, productivity and business success, while improving transparency.

Michael Fallona

Michael Fallona 

Business Owner,  University of Oxford MBA

Former Owner/President at On Target Utility Services, a $40 million company and one of the largest utility contractors in the northeast serving all major public utilities. After 14 years of successful family ownership and significant growth from 2010 through 2016, the business was sold to USIC/Partners Group, a private equity group based in Switzerland.

Following the business sale, he attended the University of Oxford, receiving his MBA with distinction in 2020. He and a partner started Whitefall, LLC, a Maine-based real estate investment company during this time. He also makes angel investments, investing in startups from the University of Oxford and Launchpad Venture Group in Boston. (Lives in Scarborough, Maine, with his wife Kimberly and has three kids and golden retriever, Will, Caroline, Matthew and Flynn).

Gabe Hatfield

Gabe Hatfield

President, OK Pipe & Fittings, Inc.

Gabe Hatfield is the President and Owner of OK Pipe & Fittings, Inc. He is a member of the Steel Water Pipe Manufacturers Technical Advisory Committee (SWPMTAC), current Chairman of the San Jacinto Pipefitter’s Committee, and former member of the PVF Roundtable Young Professionals. He has both an undergraduate BBA in Marketing and an MBA from Baylor University and is currently working toward his Doctorate in Business Administration at Pepperdine University. 

Gabe is married to his wife, Krystal, of 19 years and has two children, Katie, and Curran. He and his wife work together and are also active members in the PVF Roundtable charity (his wife is on the board) that provides scholarships to students entering the pipe, valves, and fittings industry. They are also active in the charity Well Aware, an Austin-based company that digs water wells to provide clean water to villages in Africa, mainly Kenya.

Lori Hauck

Lori Hauck

Founder & Partner,  Run Your Wealth and ESIG

Lori Hauck is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who has worked with non-profits and health and fitness companies for over 15 years. Ms. Hauck is a firm owner and educator with over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, leadership, education, endurance sports, and accounting. In the accounting space she is passionate about improving the diversity and pipeline of future CPAs. She possesses a talent for bridging the gap between academia and practical application to clients, students, and new professionals. Lori consistently upholds the highest professional standards, displaying a deep commitment to ethics and social responsibility.

In her free time, Lori has been participating in running and endurance sports throughout her life. In 2021 she obtained her UESCA ultrarunning coaching certification and became an owner in Endurance Sports Investment Group, the parent company for RunTriBike Magazine. The business exemplifies her vision of a better world where every career and sport welcomes people of all abilities and demographics. Our mission at RunTriBike is that there’s a spot at the starting line for everybody and every body.

Lori holds a BA in Professional Accounting from Eastern Washington University where she was a Dean’s Leadership Scholar, and an MBA from Texas A&M University.

Tatiana lliczewa

Tatiana lliczewa, CFA


Tatiana Iliczewa is a seasoned credit risk and regulatory capital risk expert in Citi’s global risk management organization. Currently, she is the Head of Banking Book Basel Review in the Confirmation of Basel Classification Review and Analysis group. In this role, she leads a team responsible for wholesale and retail credit risk regulatory capital reviews across all businesses and regions globally.Previously, Tatiana was a Director and Credit Risk Specialist in Citi’s Capital Interpretations and Analysis Team. She started with Citi as a Senior Credit Officer in the Special Assets group. Before joining Citi, Tatiana was a Vice President in the Distressed Credits and Restructuring Group of AIG Investments. Her prior positions were with Ernst & Young Capital Advisors, LLC as a Director in Restructuring Advisory Services after a position with Ernst & Young, LLP, the parent corporation, as a Manager in the International Finance Services group. Tatiana is a CFA Charterholder with an MBA from George Mason University and an M.S. in Risk Management from New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Cheryl Ingram

Cheryl Ingram 

CEO/Founder, Inclusology

Dr. Cheryl Ingram, aka Dr. CI, is a very successful entrepreneur, blogger, content creator, and author who has dedicated her professional career to solving issues of discrimination and oppression in all workplaces, including educational institutions. Dr. CI is the CEO and founder of Inclusology (a software company that automates DEI consulting using artificial intelligence and recently acquired Diverse City LLC  (a diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting firm working with organizations across the United States). Cheryl has been training and coaching in diversity, equity, and inclusion for 23+ years. She has her Doctorate of Education with a specialization in DEI, a Master of Arts in Education, and her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, all from New Mexico State University. Cheryl's company has and continues to work with clients like Netflix, Uber, Foursquare, the University of Washington, and others to help them build sustainable and fair DEI Practices. She recently published a book called Soulful Words, a guide to help institutions navigate discrimination issues.

Angela Manalo Lalas

Angela Manalo Lalas, CPA, MBA

Executive Vice President for Finance/Chief Financial Officer, Loma Linda University Health

In her current role, Angela oversees and provides strategic leadership on the financial operations, treasury, revenue cycle, payor contracting, supply chain management, and information services for the organization’s six hospitals and eight schools. With a focus on service, excellence, and integrity, she volunteers on the Boards of nonprofit organizations such as Adventist Risk Management, Adventist Healthcare Retirement Plan, Loma Linda Academy, Adventist Health International, and several Adventist mission hospitals in Kenya.

She received several recognitions, including Becker’s Healthcare “Rising Stars: 50 Healthcare Leaders Under 40” and “150 CFOs to Know”, Modern Healthcare’s “Up and Comers in 2017”, and the Board Member of the Year Award from the Loma Linda Chamber of Commerce in 2015. She also received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Claremont Graduate University in 2021 and the 2022 Women of Distinction recognition from the 40th Assembly of the State of California.

Angela holds a B.S. in Accountancy from the Adventist University of the Philippines and an Executive MBA in Strategy and Leadership from Claremont Graduate University. She is a CPA and a Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Benjamin Lazo

Benjamin Lazo

Director of MSM Programs &  Assistant Professor at Faulkner University

Benjamin Lazo is an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Master of Science in Management (MSM) Programs at Faulkner University. He earned his MBA in Management and MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, along with his BA in Psychology from Faulkner University.

Ben is a combat veteran and culminated his military and government service career by managing all logistics for the U.S. Southern border crisis. He comes from nearly two decades as a logistician via the Army, Army Reserve, and as a government service civilian. During his time in the Army Reserve, he owned his own business in advertising (graphic design), conducted quality control and assurance within a manufacturing environment, and has held a myriad of management and consulting positions within the corporate sector.

In addition, he has worked as an Adjunct Instructor for several years, developed courses, and published two papers through the International Academy of Business & Public Administration Disciplines (both times presenting findings at the annual Dallas, Texas conference).

Ben is excited to be within Pepperdine’s Doctor of Business Administration program to bring about a relevant application of research for his alma mater and for not-for-profit private institutions.

Zhanwu Lin

Zhanwu Lin

Partner, Athena Global Capital

His career spans hedge funds, investments, financial risk management, eCommerce, and software engineering. Zhanwu has also been a professional and remarkable real estate investor. Zhanwu holds a master’s degree in economics and a BS degree in computer science, both from UC Santa Barbara. And he is also a master’s in finance candidate at Johns Hopkins University. He enjoys the philosophical mind and doctrine of the "unity of knowing and acting" and the philosophy of living in harmony with nature and natural order. His other interests include film scripts, poetry literature, and micro- to macro-scale studies about life and our universe.

Itzel Moncada

Itzel Moncada

Associate, Reinventure Capital

Itzel is an investor with Reinventure Capital, where she invests exclusively in US-based companies led and controlled by BIPOC and/or female founders, at breakeven and poised to grow profitably. With her extensive experience in private equity, mergers and acquisitions, and applied research in technology-enabled sectors, Itzel is uniquely poised to identify investment opportunities and remarkable startup founders. She remains an engaged and active member of the VC community, participating in organizations such as VCFamilia, SomosVC, and Angeles Investors.

She holds a BA from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and an MBA from the University of San Diego (USD) with an emphasis in finance. Her education focused on investments through a global lens that she continues to apply as a venture capitalist.

As a Latina in the venture capital field, Itzel is committed to leveraging her unique perspective as an investor and a researcher. Her overarching goal is to bridge the gap between academia and venture capital, offering invaluable insights into the workings of the venture capital ecosystem.

Todd Schofield

Todd Schofield

Todd Schofield is a Worldwide Industry Lead for Financial Services. He drives industry transformation through digitization, mobility and differentiated experience for customers and employees. He is a former Managing Director at Standard Chartered Bank, where he founded and managed the bank’s Global Innovation Office and established its Enterprise Mobility Group. Schofield holds Global Executive MBA degrees from UCLA and National University of Singapore, and received his Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley. He was previously an Executive-in-Residence and Open Innovation Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Jun Wang

Jun Wang

CTO, Consultant, Educator, Advisor, Investor

In his current role as CTO, Jun helps Catalyte.io use Artificial Intelligence to identify, develop, and deploy high-potential talent to organizations in need. Prior to this, he led a global organization of engineers and data scientists at Twitter, using machine learning and big data to grow the revenue of the SMB business from zero in 2013 to over $1 billion in 2022.

Before Twitter, Jun led product management and data science at a venture-backed fin-tech startup. This was followed by a five-year tenure at Google, where he managed data science, analytics, and engineering teams across various products like Google Maps, Ads, and Payments. His professional journey started in risk management at HSBC North America.

Alongside his corporate roles, Jun is an adjunct faculty member at MSU. He teaches on topics of entrepreneurship and analytics to undergraduate and MBA students, while serving as Entrepreneur-In-Residence at The Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Additionally, he owns a technical consulting business, advising clients of all sizes on areas such as software engineering, data science, machine learning, and AI.  Jun also contributes to the startup ecosystem as an advisor, angel investor, and board member, helping startups with business strategy, product management, and technical challenges.

Winnie Zhang

Winnie Zhang

CEO, Global Investment Consulting LLC

Adjunct Professor, Loma Linda University

Worked in Healthcare sector for over 16 years in accounting, finance, and strategic information. Utilized data analytics to improve decision making quality by drawing inferences from large patient and financial datasets. Built annual fixed and flex operating budgets for both community hospital such as Florida Hospital, Parkview Medical Center and large research hospital such Loma Linda University Hospital. 

Taught Accounting, Hospital Finance, Healthcare Ethics, and Organizational Behavior in Florida Hospital University for 7 trimesters. 

Taught Healthcare Finance, Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt Courses for Loma Linda 2012-2016 2020-present as an adjunct. 

Managing funding and Provide Portfolio Risk Management Education for Investors at Global Investment Consulting.


Jukka Alanen

Jukka Alanen

Managing Partner, Rebellion Ventures

Jukka Alanen is the Founder and Managing Partner of Rebellion Ventures. He is a startup investor, specializing in AI and Automation. Jukka is on a mission to help entrepreneurs revolutionize how we work and live through AI and Automation. He is focused on helping AI & Automation startups accelerate their business, raise more capital, and scale their companies, leveraging his operating experience, industry know-how, and relationship networks in the industry. Prior to Rebellion Ventures, Jukka was a senior operating executive in SaaS/Software with over 20 years in leadership roles. He helped grow three VC-backed companies to $3.5B in IPO/M&A exits, leading strategy and business & corporate development and building businesses in AI and Automation. Most recently, Jukka was SVP at PagerDuty (NYSE: PD), a SaaS company that provides the Operations Cloud for modern enterprises. Prior to building startups, Jukka was a VP at Symantec Corporation and a top management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Jukka holds M.Sc. (Economics and Business Administration) and M.Sc. (Technology) degrees with distinction from his native country of Finland. He has completed the Executive Program for Growing Companies at Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Venture Capital Executive Program at UC Berkeley, and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy program at MIT.

Nina Brown

Nina Brown

Vice President, Axiom Engineering

Nina brings over 25 years of experience navigating a broad range of roles, beginning as a software developer, and progressing through project management, program management, operations management, business innovation, and global team management. In her role at Axiom, she is responsible for driving growth across the organization while overseeing the successful delivery of structural engineering projects and supporting the Team Leaders with all aspects of business operations.  With her extensive experience across technology, process improvement, and re-engineering Nina is uniquely poised to identify opportunities for business optimization and growth.  In this way, Nina has brought technical innovation to Fortune 500 companies and government agencies for decades, helping to solve their business challenges and increase their competitive advantage.

Nina's personal mission is to help others evolve into active and thriving leaders while achieving business goals.  She seeks to do this by motivating, challenging, mentoring, and encouraging individuals to embrace and leverage diverse backgrounds and personal experiences for greater team success.

Nina Brown holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Stanford and a Master of Science in Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego. She is an ASQ-certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB) and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).  She is also routinely engaged as a subject matter expert for leadership development, business process improvement, and technology innovation, publishing webinars and videos, and speaking at industry events, tradeshows, and universities.

Luciano Cojescu

Lucian Cojescu

Chief Executive Officer, TechLiberate LLC

Visionary business executive and technology leader respected for bridging the gap between today's technology and tomorrow's innovations to ensure seamless international organizational growth, Lucian Cojescu is the Chief Executive Officer of TechLiberate LLC, a global provider of Managed Security Services (MSSP), technology services, and business strategy consulting.

One of his most recent accomplishments as the CEO of TechLiberate, Mr. Cojescu, provided business strategy services with technology implementation for a company in distress. In less than a year, he managed to bring the company back to profitability while doubling the annual revenue and started a new business in the process, Greener Motors LLC.

Before his current role at TechLiberate, Mr. Cojescu was the Global Chief Information Officer for an international entertainment and media marketing organization representing over 10,000 companies and individuals from over 65 countries on 6 continents.

He is also a renowned keynote speaker on cybersecurity topics and led Talent Exchange, a fin-tech start-up that allows the public to buy stock in the career of entertainment professionals to succeed.

Mr. Cojescu earned Presidents and Key Executives (PKE) MBA at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and holds a B.S. in Electronics and Telecommunications from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest, Romania.

Mark Cox

Mark Cox

Independent Board Director and Management Consultant

Mark Cox is a veteran Fortune 500 executive. He was Chief Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Engineering Officer for Eastman from which he retired, following a 36-year career. He has a broad global business leadership background inclusive of large P&L, innovation, and operations. At Eastman, he led transformational initiatives by establishing the corporate leadership coaching program and championing enhanced advancement opportunities for minority team members.

An experienced board member, Mark serves on the Board of Directors of J.M. Huber’s Engineered Materials business, as a Trustee of Milligan University, and as a member of the Board of Advisors for the University of Tennessee’s College of Engineering. He founded and operates a management consulting firm with clients ranging from family-owned enterprises to Fortune 500 firms.

Mark is a called upon speaker for forums ranging from university classrooms to executive leadership gatherings at major corporations, addressing subjects such as safety leadership, career development, ethics, and supply chain dynamics. He is also a recognized leader within industry as an inventor and a National Academy of Construction Inductee.

Mark holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and an MBA from Northwestern University.

Dean, Austin Hess III

Duncan Houldsworth

Managing Partner & Founder, Purseia, Inc 

Duncan founded Purseia to solve a critical gap in today’s complex business world – that even if the sea of data is rising, so few of us really are able to swim confidently through those waters and get to our destination. Purseia is founded on the premise that data, technology, and analytics should all tell the critical stories that help you shape your business’ success. 

To back this up, Duncan has over 25 years experience in both the UK and US, working for major service providers like Experian, IRI, IPG, and Omnicom.

Previously, Duncan led Analytics for Time Warner Cable and headed up Global Analytics for Hall & Partners. Throughout his career, Duncan has been involved in the application of data and insights in a variety of industries, including media, entertainment retail, consumer products, technology, telco, and automotive. 

Duncan has a BA in Political Science from Warwick University, an MSc in Marketing Strategy from Nottingham Business School, and an MBA from The Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University. Originally from a small town in England called Nottingham – most famous for Robin Hood! He’s delighted to call Southern California his home now. 

Amanda Langhorst

Amanda Langhorst

Program Director Applied Management, College of Business and Security Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Amanda Langhorst is the Program Director of the Applied Management program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Business and Security Management. As the Program Director, Amanda uses innovative solutions to support the growth and sustainability of quality education for students. Her teaching is focused on management, professional development, general business, and human resource management. Amanda is an advisor to multiple organizations, serves on the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Education and Workforce Development Committee, and is involved in many committees supporting the development of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. 

With a background in business and marketing, Amanda brings passion, excitement and experience to the classroom and her daily work. Amanda's previous experience includes leadership of the Colorado Career Development Association, teaching and career counseling at Colorado State University, and as the marketing director of a retirement planning company. Amanda holds a Master's degree in Education and Human Resource Studies, a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Colorado State University.

Nasario Mejia

Nasario Mejia

Chief Operating Officer, TRX Training 

Nasario has worked with private equity-owned health, wellness, and fitness businesses for over 26 years, where he has held leadership roles from club management to executive officer positions. While working on multiple different platforms, he has focused primarily on strategy, people development, and building operational efficiencies through systems and processes. The platforms range from startups through scaling them into large leading international brands. More significantly, Nasario has held responsibility for direct-to-consumer sales, commercial sales, supply chain management, human resources, content production, and technology development. In addition to well-recognized brands, Nasario also built a successful consulting business that allowed him the opportunity to work in many international markets directly, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. Furthermore, he has managed the international distribution of consumer goods in 59 countries through distribution networks. 

Nasario holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Sonoma State University. 

Nasario has a keen interest in Post Merger-Integration and solving the challenges of executing complex transactions. In his spare time, Nasario enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and being active outdoors. 

DeJuan Price

DeJuan Price, MBA, PMP, APR

Sr. Director of Business Development and Growth, BETAH Associates, Inc. 

DeJuan Price, M.B.A., PMP, APR, is a senior business strategist, project manager, and communications thought leader with more than 20 years of consultative experience, including strategic communications, public relations, organizational change, and program management. Ms. Price is the Senior Director of Business Development and Growth at BETAH Associates. In this role, she leads, identifies, and pursues new business opportunities, develops strategic partnerships, and expands the company's presence in the federal market. This role involves leading efforts to secure government contracts, understanding and navigating the federal procurement process, and devising strategies to meet revenue and growth targets. She works on building relationships with key stakeholders in government agencies, aligning the company's offerings with government needs, and ensuring compliance with federal regulations.

A native of the District of Columbia, Ms. Price earned a BA in Communication from George Mason University and holds a Master's in Communication, Culture, and Technology from Georgetown University. She has an Executive Master of Business Administration from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

Ms. Price is very active in professional development and community service. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the Project Management Institute (PMI), and the Society for Health Communication. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and a sustaining member of The Junior League of Washington.

Tim Webb

Tim Webb

Founder at Power Corp. Holding & PowerDfi, CBDO at Optimal Solar

Tim Webb is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Power Corp. Holding & PowerDfi, CBDO at OptimalTechnology Corp. He specializes in blockchain, renewable energy, finance, and real estate ventures. Mr. Webb has a long history of providing financial engineering and business development services for corporate and government clients globally. He has developed successful business partnerships and effectively managed major business ventures across industries and sectors, domestically and internationally, utilizing a substantial network of business, financial and political contacts.

Mr. Webb has developed utility and commercial scale solar projects including the first African American utility scale solar farm in one of the poorest counties in North Carolina. He also was the financial advisor to the District of Columbia Office of Charter School Finance and support where he took the office impact from 1:1 to 1:12 for their direct lending and credit enhancement funds.

A native of California, Mr. Webb holds a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Pennsylvania State University. In addition to being an award-winning entrepreneur, Mr. Webb is active in community service. Tim is pursuing an Executive Doctoral Business Administration degree at Pepperdine University with a research focus on fintech innovation, economic equity, and environmental justice for diverse communities.

Prince Abubakari

Prince Abubakari (DBA Candidate)

Assistant Director, NAVFAC Command Information Office

Prince Abubakari currently serves as the Assistant Director for Cybersecurity and Operational technology at the headquarters of Naval Facilities Engineering and Systems Command’s (NAVFAC) Command Information Office (CIO), where he leads efforts to address issues and solve process impediments to execution of Risk Management Framework process for the Commands Information/Operational Technology systems in the Facility Engineering Command (FEC) Area of Responsibility (AOR). He is an accomplished leader with over 15 years of comprehensive experience in business development, leading engineering operational technology, cybersecurity and facilities management organizations, as well as directing complex design and construction programs with proven success in directing strategic planning, finance, design and construction of facilities, environmental and energy programs, and facilities maintenance.

 A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Prince graduated in 2004 from the University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical/Electrics Engineering, Boston University in 2012 with a Graduate in Project Management, National University with a Master of Business Administration (Finance) in 2017, Wharton Business School in 2018 with an Executive Education in Business Analytics, and University of Maryland College Park with dual M.Eng and MCEN in Cybersecurity and Software Engineering in 2020.


Elizabeth M. Adams

Elizabeth M. Adams (DBA Candidate) 

CEO, EMA Advisory Services

Elizabeth M. Adams is a highly-sought-after resource for executives, small business owners, non-profits, educational institutions, and community leaders who are looking to expand their knowledge of AI Ethics and Leadership of Responsible AI™. As a scholar-practitioner, Elizabeth has developed her expertise working with technical and non-technical leaders, creating alliances with community that translate theory into results. Elizabeth is pursuing an executive doctoral degree at Pepperdine University with a research focus on Leadership of Responsible AI. She serves as the Global Chief Culture & Ethics Officer for Women in AI and is the Founder/CEO of EMA Advisory Services.

Shilena (Lena) Battan

Shilena (Lena) Battan (DBA Candidate)

Chief People Officer, Sameday Health

Shilena (Lena) Battan serves as Chief People Officer for Sameday Health, where she is responsible for the overall strategy to attract, develop, and retain extraordinary talent with a focus on building a thriving Sameday Health team and culture. 

Lena currently sits on the board of the Portland Workforce Alliance, which helps expose public high school students to various industries in hopes of their professional advancement and development. She has served as an advisory committee member for TechTown Portland, an arm of Prosper Portland which focuses on creating, recruiting, and retaining professionals of color to the tech community in Portland. She has also served the Oregon Health Authority as a workforce committee member to advise and draft healthcare legislation.

Battan began her career more than 15 years ago in human resources maneuvering through the fast-paced world of talent acquisition to deliver scalable solutions in the healthcare, tech, and start-up industries. She's also held previous major executive roles, such as the Head of People at Cozy, which was then acquired by CoStar Group, as well as the Director of Talent Acquisition at Vacasa, among several others.  


Yasmine Coning

Yasmeen Coning (DBA Candidate)

Global Partner, Ogilvy Consulting

Yasmeen is a Global Partner at Ogilvy Consulting, which was named to Forbes World’s Best Management Consulting Firms 2022 List. Throughout her twenty-plus years of experience, she has leveraged her ongoing active research, data-centric approach to strategy and advanced degrees to help companies achieve and sustain growth. Yasmeen specializes in building organizations from the inside out and linking employee experience to customer experience to scale brand and company performance. She leads enterprise global transformation projects; evolving and building business models, as well as using behavior, organizational design, change management and people-driven strategies to co-create value and loyalty among employees and customers. Prior to Ogilvy, she was Global Group Director for Siegel+Gale, overseeing business transformation, change and engagement for multinational brands. She has also held leadership positions at global agencies like Edelman, as well as been an CMO on the client-side in the media and technology sectors. 

Her entrepreneurial style and deep subject expertise have advanced the interests of companies such as: Microsoft, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, The Dollar Shave Club, Novartis, Bristol Meyers Squibb, JP Morgan, HP, Amex, Nike and many more.  With a deep interest in the science of human behavior, reinforced with business acumen, Yasmeen has not only built and executed brand, platform and product launches on a global scale, but she has also advised leading organizations through the IPO and M&A processes. 

Yasmeen is passionate about learning from others and applies her academic work to help clients and practitioners achieve success. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, an MBA from Pepperdine University, and an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University. In her spare time, she is a runner and fitness fanatic, mint-chip ice cream enthusiast, and Georgia gal who calls NYC home. 

Bradley Grey

Bradley Gray

Founder & CEO of Renew Chains, LLC

Bradley Gray is currently the Founder & CEO of Renew Chains, LLC, a commercial and strategic transaction advisory management consulting firm serving the U.S. clean energy industry. Prior to starting his own venture in 2019, Mr. Gray held various leadership positions at Fortune 500 companies in the energy infrastructure industry, among them Edison International, BP, and Sempra Energy.

Mr. Gray is currently pursuing his DBA at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School in Malibu, CA where his research will focus on the rate of adoption at the consumer level as part of the long-term clean energy transition in the United States. Mr. Gray currently holds a Master of Science and MBA, both from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles, CA.  Mr. Gray received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton’s College of Business and Economics.

Mr. Gray is a native of Southern California and lives in Newport Beach, CA with his wife Kristin and three boys, Hunter, Brody, and Finn.


Loreal Jiles

Loreal Jiles (DBA Candidate)

Vice President, Research and Thought Leadership, IMA (Institute of Management Accountants)

Loreal Jiles is Vice President of Research and Thought Leadership for IMA (Institute of Management Accountants). In this role, Loreal leads IMA’s research and thought leadership department in conducting applied research and fostering strategic global partnerships to fuel an evidence-based view of the future of the global accounting profession and guide actions practitioners need to take in preparation. She also contributes to the preparedness of the profession’s future leaders by strengthening the global academic offering of collegiate accounting programs through collaborative research projects and oversight of the IMA Higher Education Endorsement Program.

Prior to joining IMA, Loreal worked in the energy industry for nearly 15 years across roles spanning accounting, digital technology, financial reporting, change management, auditing, and planning & performance management, including leading a robotic process automation (RPA) implementation in a finance organization.

Loreal is a former IMA Global Board Director and current Chair of ACBSP’s Business Advisory Council. She has authored dozens of articles and research reports across global media outlets on digital technology, finance transformation, agility, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Loreal holds a B.S. in accounting from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., and MBA from Tulane University.


Claudio Ludovisi

Claudio Ludovisi (DBA Candidate) 

Assistant Dean, Marketing, Strategy, and Corporate Relations

Claudio Ludovisi is a senior strategy and marketing executive and a recognized leader in digital business transformation and fan engagement. He is passionate about building new, brand-driven businesses and leading teams to extraordinary results in our “accelerating, digital, purpose-driven” world.   

As former Head of Strategy and Business Planning for ABC Entertainment, he worked with senior leaders across the Disney ABC Television Group to develop long-term strategy and vision for the ABC brand.  Prior to ABC, Ludovisi held several senior executive roles. He was SVP of Operational Strategy at NBC Entertainment Marketing & Digital, responsible for operational efficiency across all online and offline platforms. Before that, he was VP of operations for IMAX Filmed Entertainment, VP of Business Development for Corporate Marketing at Warner Bros. Studios and head of Warner Bros. Consumer Products Licensing in Latin America. Mr. Ludovisi also worked for Booz Allen & Hamilton strategic management consulting in the Media and Technology practice. His career began at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising where he managed advertising campaigns for key Procter and Gamble brands in both the US and Europe.   

Ludovisi is on the Advisory Board of the Internet Marketing Association. He holds MBA from Kellogg and a BA in Economics from U.C.L.A and speaks four languages. 


Carol Lusk

Carol Lusk (DBA Candidate)

Assistant Dean of Academic Programs, Lipscomb University College of Business 

Carol Lusk is the Assistant Dean of Academic Programs at Lipscomb University’s College of Business. In this role, Carol advances the goals of the college by fostering an environment of continuous improvement, innovation, and growth by working closely with academic leadership to plan and implement rigorous and engaging student programming. In her 15 years at Lipscomb University, Carol has served in multiple finance roles, including her most recent position as Senior Director of Academic Finance in the Office of the Provost.

Before joining Lipscomb University, Carol worked at Deloitte and Compass Retail in Atlanta, GA.

Carol holds a B.S. in Accounting from Oglethorpe University and an MBA from Lipscomb University. Carol is passionate about learning, developing future leaders, and the intersection of faith in the marketplace to create a better world. Her research interests focus on women in leadership.


Kevin Sakamoto

Kevin Sakamoto (DBA Candidate)

Senior Director of Product Management, Dollar Shave Club

A former Product Management leader at Zappos, Target, and lululemon, Kevin has extensive experience in A/B testing, digital product development, e-commerce strategy, Product Management team development, site analytics, and social commerce. He is currently serving Dollar Shave Club as their Senior Director of Digital Product Management, where he is responsible for site strategy, design, and functionality of their US and International websites in addition to leading site analytics and UX research efforts.

Kevin holds a BA in Management and MBA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Born and raised in Hawaii, he understands the importance of community and regularly donates his time to Teens Exploring Tech, an organization dedicated to helping children of color with pursuing educational opportunities in technology.


Mariela Salas

Mariela Salas (DBA Candidate) 

Executive Director, LatinxVC

Mariela Salas is the Executive Director of LatinxVC, where together with the strong support of her Board of Directors, she has unabashedly focused on growing and supporting the Latinx venture capital ecosystem. With nearly 20 years of experience in the entrepreneurship, finance, infrastructure, and technology sectors, she has held executive leadership positions in various corporations and nonprofits, including JP Morgan, Verizon, and Ascendus (fka ACCION USA). Mariela has extensive experience in strategic management consulting in emerging and frontier markets spanning from West Africa to Central and South America.

In addition to her role at LatinxVC, Mariela is a Doctoral student at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School. Her research leverages contemporary theories, advanced analytical methods, and her executive experience to develop evidence-based insights to improve and shape the business world. Her current studies sit at the intersection of Latinx identity, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Venture Capital.

Mariela holds a Master of Science degree in Policy Analysis and Management from The New School University in New York City, and she earned her Bachelor of Science from Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas. She is an active member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. where she most recently served as the Southwestern Region’s International Expansion Chair.

As the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, Mariela was the first in her family to attend college. She grew up in Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas. After 11 years in New York City, Mariela recently moved home to Dallas to be near family. She currently lives with her two sons and two dogs.

Ben Sawyer

Ben Sawyer (DBA Candidate)

Chief Operating Officer of SIFMA Foundation

Ben Sawyer is the Chief Operating Officer of SIFMA Foundation, a financial literacy non-profit serving youth around the country. In this role, Ben leads strategy and development of stock market simulations, essay writing competitions, and the direct classroom engagement of teachers and students with financial industry professionals and members of Congress. Prior to this role, Ben was a Senior Director at the New York Stock Exchange where he led the Corporate Actions, Market Watch, and Stock Watch functions.


Ben holds a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus in Finance and an MBA, both from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. Ben is a native of Virginia Beach, VA and currently lives in New York City with his wife.

Susanne Steiner

Susanne Steiner (DBA Candidate)

Pharmaceutical Consultant, Opus Regulatory Consulting

Susanne Steiner is a seasoned pharmaceutical consultant with over 25 years of professional experience in Regulatory Affairs, Marketing, Safety and Medical Affairs.  Susanne has applied consulting expertise to several of the highest ranking pharmaceutical companies worldwide, as well as coached smaller companies through the drug approval process.

 In addition to working as a Principal Consultant for Opus Regulatory Consulting, she currently lectures at the University of Washington's Master of Biotechnology Engineering program as an expert in product labeling, advertising, and promotion. 

She is a Waves alum who received her MBA from Pepperdine University and her BA from California Lutheran University. Susanne resides in California, her native state, with her husband and two sons. 

Melanie Venture

Melanie Venture (DBA Candidate)

MV Initiatives, Marketing and Growth Strategy Consultant

Melanie Venture is a marketing and growth strategy consultant passionate about building brands, leading teams, and generating impact. Recently leaving her 5-year tenure at The Dove Agency, a boutique professional services firm in Dallas, she is now working with an array of clients on her own. Melanie’s experience spans industries such as professional services, biotechnology, consumer goods, and renewable energy.    

Melanie has a background in strategic marketing implementation and effective brand management in both domestic and international markets, with a specific focus on entrepreneurial ventures and organizations. She has 15 years of experience developing and implementing strategic marketing initiatives as well as overall operations plans that prepare companies to launch, grow, and scale. Melanie is deeply passionate about social innovation and pursuing creative opportunities for using business as a force for good in the world. She completed her MBA and MA in Sustainable International Development at Brandeis University. She also holds a BA in International Relations from the University of North Texas with minors in Business Foundations and Arabic. 

Melanie lives in Fort Worth, TX, with her husband, daughter, and dog-child. In her free time, she loves to spend time with family, travel, read, and explore the outdoors


Monica Wood

Monica Wood (DBA Candidate)

Founder/Sr. Principal, MW Consulting, Inc.

Co-Founder,/COO, Teach Ventures, Inc

CEO, Accessory Hut, LLC

Monika is a proud world traveler and serial entrepreneur who founded MW Consulting, Inc. (MWC), co-founded Teach Ventures, Inc. and her newest venture is a thriving e-Commerce business, Accessory Hut, which has been recognized by Amazon as a top performer. MWC continues to experience year over year growth and includes Fortune 100 clients. Teach Ventures is one of the Top 10 recruiting companies for China and continues to break barriers for American teachers looking to teach in China. 

Monika has consulted and run workshops for clients such as Chevron, American Heart Association, and the Small Business Association. She has earned a BBA, MBA, and MSc and is passionate about flexible work scholarship. She is currently publishing her first semi-autobiographical book, Homeless Millionaire, which is due to be released by the end of 2022.  

Aliyu Ahmed (Ali) portrait

Dr. Aliyu Ahmed (Ali)

Vice President of Consumer Banking, Bank of America

  • Dissertation: The Relationships Among Financial Literacy, Financial Behaviors, Financial Attitudes, and Holding a Mortgage Within Low-Moderate-Income (LMI) Households in Los Angeles County
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

Chair: Dr. David Smith, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Second Advisor: Dr. John Mooney, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

External Reviewer: Dr. Tonya Williams Bradford, University of California, Irvine 

 Aliyu Ahmed (Ali) is a Vice President of consumer banking at Bank of America, where he developed his banking and financial services expertise. He has acquired substantial experience in banking. His extensive knowledge of banking has led him to work with global partners across the Bank of America franchise. He has helped spearheaded projects that brought in millions of US dollars in revenue. In his current role, he manages the most ultra-affluent financial center in the nation. His most recent role was temporarily covering Santa Monica Consumer Market, tasked with overseeing all the Santa Monica and West Los Angeles area's financial centers. He currently sits on the Bank of America West Los Angeles regional council board as a committee Co-Chair-Associate Connectivity. 

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, and graduated with honors; MBA from the University of Wales, Cardiff Business School –UK, MS in Risk Management from New York University-Stern School of Business, and Program for Leadership Development from Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts. Aliyu enjoys outdoor activities. He has a passion for travel and learning about different cultures. Such passion has led him to travel to many countries of the world.

Cezhan Ambrose

Cezhan Ambrose

Director of Sales and Business Development, Systematic Ventures

Cezhan has 15 years of active experience in financial advisory, including eight years in wealth management, and as an advisor to leading equity fund managers across the US and Canada. Most recently he has been focused on transactional private equity since 2014, mainly working alongside family offices to provide insights into co-investment opportunities in leading private technology startups through both primary and secondary transactions. Recent exits including Palantir Technologies, Bloom Energy, Spotify and Lyft, among others. He has also been on faculty at Cal State University since 2016, teaching courses in Portfolio Management and Securities Analysis. Cezhan’s growing interest in impact investing over recent years has led him to Pepperdine’s DBA program, where he is currently doing research to further the understanding in the investment community of the challenges and benefits of implementing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices into modern portfolio management. When Cezhan is not analyzing companies, you might find him on a tennis court, or paddle boarding with his wife Manori, near their home in Marina del Rey, CA.

Court Carruthers

Dr. Court Carruthers

President and CEO, TricorBraun

  • Dissertation: TEffects of Corporate Cultural Distance on Private Company M&A Outcomes
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

Chair: Dr. Ann Feyerherm, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Second Advisor: Dr. Gary Mangiofico, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

External Reviewer: Dr. Amit Monga

Court is the President and CEO of TricorBraun, North America’s largest distributor of primary packaging with more than 1,000 team members in 50 offices globally. He also serves as a Director of Ryerson Steel and US Foods. Previously Court served as Group President, Americas at Grainger, leading the company's $9 billion business in North and South America, as well as eCommerce and technology innovation globally.

Court holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta, an MBA from Queen's University, is a CPA (Canada), and an Institute-Certified Director. He has completed the Director's Education Program at the University of Toronto and the Advanced Management Program at the University of Chicago.

Court lives in Lake Forest, IL with his wife Kirstin and two sons. He serves on the boards of WC Hockey and the Gorton Community Center.

Richard Chau

Dr. Richard Chau

Product Manager, Workday

  • Dissertation: Whose Home is it Anyways? A Study of Shared Homeownership Arrangment Choices 
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

Chair: Dr. Cristel Russell, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Second Advisor: Dr. Nelson Granados, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

External Reviewer: Dr. Soo Jeong (Chris) Hong

Richard combines his business accounting and engineering experience as a product manager leader for Workday’s enterprise SAAS financials solution. In his current role, Richard leads multiple product teams to define and execute on strategic product roadmaps. Prior to product management, Richard had various CPA roles as head of tax at a publicly traded company, IRS international tax auditor, and co-partner of tax and accounting consulting firm Stratys Consulting serving public and private technology clients on corporate tax compliance matters related to tax audit defense, M&A structuring, IP migrations, and S-1 preparation efforts. Richard holds a BS in Computer Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, a MBA from Cal State Eastbay, and a MS in Computer Science from Northwestern Polytechnic University.

Kevin J. “Bud” Couch

Kevin J. "Bud" Couch (DBA Candidate) 

Director of Operational Safety, US Navy

Kevin is a U.S. Navy civil servant and director of safety for the 173 ships and 200 crews who comprise the U.S. Navy Surface Force worldwide.  He developed, sustains, and improves the Force Safety Management System through policy, practices, assessments, and advanced analytics. In his prior role a management and strategy consultant, he advised on enterprise level improvements and integrated planning, winning the top corporate award for performance and ethics.  During his active-duty military career, he deployed widely and often, was a decorated U.S. Navy pilot and squadron Commanding Officer, a nuclear power plant operator, and Commanding Officer of the USS Cleveland (LPD 7).  Bud was twice pilot of the year, and his ships and squadrons were consistent ‘Battle Excellence’ winners.  Kevin is an honor graduate of Navy Nuclear Power School, holds a Master of Science (high honors) in National Resource Strategy from the National War College (Agri-business Economics), and a Bachelor of Science in Plant Science (Viticulture) from U.C. Davis. 

Matthew Foster

Dr. Matthew Foster

Enterprise Digital Portfolio Manager, Amgen

  • Dissertation: Factors Driving Enterprise Adoption of Blockchain Technology
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

Chair: Dr. Nelson Granados, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Second Advisor: Dr. Lene Martin, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

External Reviewer: Mr. Paul Brody

 Matthew helps lead enterprise data and analytics strategy at Amgen, one of the largest biotechnology firms. His two decades of experience in strategy, transformation and M&A execution spans multiple industries. Previous to Amgen, he spent a decade consulting at KPMG and EY. Prior to this, Matthew served as an officer in the US Navy as well as played professional baseball in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Florida, a Master of Engineering Management degree from Old Dominion University, as well as a Bachelor of Mathematics degree from the United States Naval Academy. He is married to his amazing wife Liz, and together they have a crazy household of three children under 5: Aiden, Hudson, and Ava.

Marlene Gonzalez

Marlene Gonzalez (DBA Candidate)

Director, Compliance, Global Trade Compliance and Supply Chain Management

Marlene has over fourteen years’ experience in supply chain management, encompassing international trade & compliance. Throughout her career, Marlene has managed several diverse teams leading organizational changes and streamlining initiatives. Marlene currently manages an array of Compliance departments consisting of IT Security, trade compliance, environmental health & safety and dangerous goods, in addition to physical security compliance, government contract management and overseeing all organizational compliance needs for North America. Marlene is currently pursuing her Executive Doctorate of Business Administration at Pepperdine University so that she may innovate and become a stronger leader and visionary in today’s world of business.

Seni Hazzan

Dr. Seni Hazzan

Senior Global Finance and M&A Executive

  • Dissertation: Entrepreneurship or Dealpreneurship: Theory Building and Failure Analysis of The Startup Vs Buy Dilemma
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

Chair: Dr. Nelson Granados, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Second Advisor: Dr. Rick Walton, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

External Reviewer: Mr. Paul Brody

Seni Hazzan is a senior global finance and M&A executive with decades of experience across investment banking (M&A and Corporate Restructuring), private equity, venture capital, and technology startup industries. 

He started his global Investment Banking career with the Goldman Sachs Group on Wall Street and worked with global financial services companies such as Arthur Andersen and PWC. He was CEO of FCMB Capital Markets Limited (the investment banking subsidiary of the First City Group, a bank holding company with operations in the U.K. and Africa). He is a respected entrepreneurial financier who invented and trademarked the terms Dealpreneur®, Dealpreneuring®, and Dealpreneurship® as mindsets and methodologies for executing new venture opportunities (the focus of his DBA dissertation at Pepperdine). He was a social entrepreneur who, through his entrepreneurship academy, worked with the Central Bank of Nigeria in overseeing Entrepreneurship Development Centers in Nigeria for training and supporting the launching of startups as a strategy for creating new businesses and employment opportunities.

Seni holds a BS in Accounting from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria where he won first prizes and was awarded a Lecturer position upon graduating, an MBA with a concentration in Finance, and a Letter of Commendation for Outstanding Performance from the Yale School of Management, an MPA with focus on Information Technology, & Entrepreneurship from the University of California, Berkeley where he was a FORM & FUND Fellow of the UC Berkeley School of Law. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA). He was recognized as the Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003 by the IDTCA, inc. in New York.

Seni is the author of two business books including Rebuilding From Ground Zero. He is a business practitioner-scholar who has held a lecturer position at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, was a Guest Lecturer at Harvard University (where he was involved in creating the Entrepreneurship In Africa course), a Guest Speaker at Yale School of Management, and held an Adjunct Professor position at Menlo College, Silicon Valley, California, and Hult International Business School.

Dean, Austin Hess III

Dean, Austin Hess III (DBA Candidate)

Business Consultant, Nike, Inc.

Dean is a portfolio planner and emerging markets business consultant for Nike Inc., in Beaverton, Oregon. His specialties include business planning, international marketing and licensing operations. Prior to Nike, Dean served in management consulting positions with major firms like Booz Allen, Freddie Mac, and ACME Business Consulting. He has more than 20 years of experience as both an internal leader and an external adviser. Dean also serves as a board member with the Portland Business Alliance Leadership Portland Steering Committee helping young leaders grow and is an adjunct business school professor at the University of Portland. Dean holds a BA in history from Principia College and an MBA from the Kogod School of Business, American University. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon with his wife, Jennifer, daughter Isabel (12) and son Alex (3).

Rod Koch

Dr. Rod Koch

Lecturer, State University of New York

  • Dissertation: Impact of Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) on The Mangement Accounting Profession
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

Chair: Dr. Jillian Alderman, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Second Advisor: Dr. John Mooney, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

External Reviewer: Dr. Paul Juras

Rod is a lecturer at State University of New York (SUNY) Cortland in the Computer Applications Program.  An accountant by training, he passed the CPA and CMA examinations after graduating with his BS in Accounting from Illinois State.  Since then, however, he has spent over 30 years working in various Information Technology (IT) roles including enterprise architecture and project management.  He is currently a global board member of the Institute of Management Accounting (IMA) where he serves as a member of the IMA Volunteer Leadership Committee and is the vice-chair of the Technology Solutions and Practices committee. 

As a Project Manager, he earned his Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Scrum Master (CSM) designations and now serves as vice president of the Syracuse chapter board of the Project Management Institute (PMI).

A life-long learner, he also holds an MBA in Management Information Systems, an MS in Communications, and an MS in Applied Data Science from Syracuse University, as well as a Master of Global Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Meeta Malhotra

Meeta Malhotra

Senior Product Manager, Cordis

Meeta Malhotra is an upstream and downstream marketing profession with 10+ years in medical device product marketing. Currently at Cordis, Meeta manages a $65M+ product portfolio within the cardiovascular space deeply involved in market research, product development and commercialization activities. 

Prior work experience includes product management roles of increasing responsibility at roCare Corporation (acquired by Smith and Nephew), Stryker Neurovascular and Abbott Vascular. 

Meeta holds an BS in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Management from the University of California, Irvine and a MS in Engineering Management with an emphasis in Mechanical Engineering from Santa Clara University. Her research interest is focused on firm-level dynamic capabilities advancing innovation in turbulence. 

Ed Pieck

Dr. Ed Piecek

Senior Project Manager Providence, St. Joseph Health

  • Dissertation: Give and You May Receive: Examining Transparent Leadership Through the Lens of Leader-Follower Relationships
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

Chair: Dr. Kevin Groves, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Second Advisor: Dr. Ann Feyerherm, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

External Reviewer: Dr. Gretchen Lester 

Ed is currently a senior project manager at Providence St Joseph Health, a large, regional non-profit Catholic healthcare system serving seven states across the western US. He coaches executives and other senior leaders on the use of lean project planning principles and concepts while leading multiple, high-value process improvement/strategic initiatives with organization-wide impact. Ed previously served as a healthcare executive at Group Health Cooperative, a medium, regional non-profit HMO, leading Specialty Services Revenue Cycle operations for the entire organization. He also is a small business owner of a consumer electronics repair franchise with five territories in western Washington. Ed is a retired Air Force logistics officer, having served on active duty, as well as in the Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard. He earned an MBA from Golden Gate University and a BBA from the University of Minnesota - Duluth.

Ruth Prato

Ruth Prato (DBA Candidate) 

Accounting Instructor, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Ruth Prato teaches accounting as well as general business courses at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management. She is the faculty coordinator for accounting student recruitment events, organizes faculty-lead travel courses and chairs the Assurance of Learning committee.

In addition to her academic responsibilities, Ruth remains active in the accounting community representing her profession as Academic Chair of the Alaska Chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors as well as the Chair of the Supervisory committee of the Spirit of Alaska Federal Credit Union. Prior to her academic career, Ruth worked as a tax accountant for Ernst & Young, Deloitte, PacifiCorp, Walsh, Kelliher & Sharp, and International Game Technology.

Ruth holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from La Sierra University, a Master’s of Accountancy degree from Auburn University. She is also licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in Alaska and has earned the designations of Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Fraud Examiner.

John M. Rose

Dr. John M. Rose

Global Intelligence, Insurance, and Risk Expert

  • Dissertation: Evaluating the Effects of Organizational Culture on Post-Merger Integration
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

Chair: Dr. Ann Feyerherm, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Second Advisor: Dr. Brian Jacobs, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

External Reviewer: Dr. John Scully

John M. Rose possesses 35 years of subject matter experience, 24 of those years as a C-Suite Executive in the Insurance, Assistance, and Intelligence industries.

John’s professional employment profile contains highly respected global industry leaders and honorable military service:

  • Current Chief Risk & Security Officer, ALTOUR/Internova
  • Six years as the COO of WorldAware
  • 15 years as the President of AIG Travel Guard Assist
  • Five years as a Program Director for the Department of Defense
  • Six years in the United States Marine Corps

John has been married for 30 years and is the father of two wonderful daughters. He is currently completing his DBA at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, where he was awarded an MBA after studying Aerospace Engineering University of Kansas. He is an active member of MENSA, and through his professional and military experience, John has visited more than 136 countries/territories and lived on three continents.

Joy Shields

Dr. Joy Shields

Marketing Consultant and Lecturer, International Programs

Dissertation: Coming To Your Senses: An Exploratory Journey Into Consumer Consumption

DBA Dissertation Committee:

Chair: Dr. Cristel Russell, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Second Advisor: Dr. Clark Johnson, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

External Reviewer: Dr. Joann Peck

Joy is an award-winning writer, editor, and marketing subject matter expert with extensive experience in planning, executing, and delivering world-class marketing initiatives and results for brands such as Mars Wrigley, Kraft Heinz, and PepsiCo. Joy is an expert in omnichannel marketing campaigns concentrating on lead-generation, acquisition, retention, and brand awareness with strong knowledge and utilization of digital ecosystems.

As a university lecturer, Joy trains EMBA students both domestically and internationally with in-depth and rigorous marketing coursework, bridging theoretical frameworks with practical applications.

Joy holds a BA in Film Production from Columbia College, an MBA in Marketing from Saint Xavier University, and an MS in Project Management from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Joy’s doctoral research focuses on sensory perceptions and consumer shopping experiences.

Shripal Shah

Shripal Shah (DBA Candidate)

Founder, Exaptation Experiments

Shripal Shah is the founder of Exaptation Experiments and a doctoral student in the 2020 cohort. His research focuses on enabling firms to develop exaptive business strategies to create, capture, and share new value. Shripal brings over 20 years of corporate experience with expertise in Finance, Sustainability, and Strategy across technology, retail, and consumer products companies. He earned a Bachelors degree from UC Berkeley, an MBA in Sustainability from Presidio Graduate School, and has spent time in experiential learning programs at leading institutions. In addition to being an avid reader, Shripal enjoys listening to podcasts and can be found hiking and exploring around the Bay Area.

Chris Brown portrait

Dr. Chris Brown

Customer-Centric Culture, Leadership and Strategy Consultant

  • Dissertation: All for One and One for All: One Market-Oriented Culture, Four CEO Leadership Styles
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair: Dr. Cristel Russell, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Kevin Groves, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Gary Gebhardt, HEC Montreal

Chris is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of MarketCulture a firm that specializes in working with companies to create customer-obsessed cultures. He is the co-author of the award winning book, The Customer Culture Imperative which won Marketing Book of the Year in 2015. His previous post as Marketing Director for Hewlett-Packard provided him firsthand experience of the challenges facing leaders trying to create a stronger external focus. Chris has consulted with more than 50 of the Fortune 500 companies as well as 100s of SMEs around the world. He also served for 4 years as EVP for the American Marketing Association in Silicon Valley.

Michael Cusumano portrait

Dr. Michael Cusumano

Cusumano Real Estate

  • Dissertation: To Leed or Not to Leed: A Data Comparison of Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Production in Multi-Family Housing Operations
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair: Dr. Abraham Park, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Kim Donn, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Steve Gibson, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Michael is the Managing Director of the Cusumano Real Estate Group, a privately owned real estate development and investment company. The firm specializes in the development of commercial, residential and mixed-use investment properties in Southern California. He has been actively involved in real estate development and investment in this region for more than 40 years and has developed a number of award winning projects in the area. Michael attended UCLA, where he graduated with a degree in Economics and has an MBA from Pepperdine University. A true Wave, Michael’s son is also a current MBA student at Pepperdine and his daughter is at the Caruso/Pepperdine School of Law. Cusumano is an active philanthropist and currently is the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Providence St. Joseph Foundation, as well as a board member for more than a dozen other community organizations.

Kevin Dowgiewicz portrait

Dr. Kevin Dowgiewicz

Logistics Manager at BNSF Railway

  • Dissertation: How Technology Can Advance Port Operations and Address Supply Chain Disruptions
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair: Dr. Nelson Granados, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. John Mooney, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Ori Marom, Head of Smart Mobility & 5G at Port of Rotterdam

Kevin is a logistics manager for the BNSF Railway. In his current position with BNSF, Kevin plans and coordinates train movements in and out of the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Kevin has been with BNSF for over ten years holding multiple roles in transportation and marketing. Prior to BNSF, Lieutenant Commander Kevin Dowgiewicz served in the United States Navy for 20 years as a Naval Aviator. As a Navy Pilot, he accumulated four overseas deployments including Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Kevin holds a BS from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in mechanical engineering and an MBA from Texas A&M. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration degree at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School.

Igor Estraykh portrait

Dr. Igor Estraykh

Director, Head of Global Procurement and Supply Chain

  • Dissertation: Beyond the green iron cage: Exploring the macro and micro-level influences on executive decisions about sustainability investments in small and medium-size firms
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair: Dr. Bobbi Thomason, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Brian Jacobs, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Sunita Sah, Cornell University

Igor is the director of procurement and supply chain at Olde Thompson, a California-based leading spice manufacturing firm. In his current role, Igor is responsible for the company's overall procurement strategy, commodity risk management, supply chain optimization, supply chain sustainability, and supporting new product introductions. He has extensive supply chain, procurement, and operations experience in consumer goods including the food and electronics industries. Prior to joining the corporate sector, Igor served as an active-duty US Army Special Forces officer with multiple deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Eastern Europe. He holds a master's in business administration from Pepperdine's Graziadio Business School, master's in international relations from Troy University, and a bachelor of arts in economics and psychology from Ripon College.

Mark Hatch portrait

Dr. Mark Hatch

CEO Maker Partners

  • Dissertation: The Power of Purpose on Performance: The Measurement of Purpose and its Influnces on Innovation
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

Chair: Dr Chris Worley

Second Advisor: John Mooney

External Reviewer: Dr. John Seely Brown (JSB) 

Mark is an award-winning CEO, best-selling author, consultant, and international speaker with an emphasis on technology innovation and the maker movement. He has spoken at the White House, the UN, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Council on Foreign Relations, many universities, and Fortune 500 firms, as well as at industry events like CES, SXSW, and TechCrunch.

He has appeared on all the major US television news and cable channels and has been quoted in most of the prominent US business magazines and newspapers.His best-selling book, The Maker Movement Manifesto, was published in 2013 by McGraw-Hill. His latest book, The Maker Revolution, was released in January of 2018 by Wiley. Some have described Mark as the “Godfather of the Maker Movement.” He holds a BA in economics from UCI, an MBA from the Claremont Graduate University, and is a US Army veteran (Special Forces, Green Beret).

Tad Machrowicz portrait

Dr. Tad Machrowicz

Principal, Founder at HEATform Americas

  • Dissertation: New Product Development System Fit for Innovative Performance
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair: Dr. Chris Worley, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Cristina Gibson, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Philip L. Fioravante, Operating PrincipalOperating Principal Industrial Opportunity Partners, LLC

Tad Machrowicz has over 30 years of experience in the automotive, aerospace, and defense sectors. He has held executive leadership roles in companies of various sizes including public multinationals, SMEs, and venture-backed start-ups. Tad is the founder and President of HEATform Americas, an advanced metal forming technology provider serving a variety of industries. In addition, he is an independent strategy consultant, specializing in product and process innovation, R&D, and organizational development and optimization. Tad holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia, and a MS in Engineering Management from the University of Dayton.

Kim McGinnis portrait

Dr. Kim McGinnis

MBA Program Director and Instructor University of Alaska Fairbanks

Kimberly McGinnis is the Director of the Business Administration Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) School of Management. She teaches corporate strategy and advises the Student Investment Fund, and chairs the School of Management curriculum committee.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Kimberly has broad financial sector communications, strategy and marketing experience spanning three continents. Based out of the U.S. and Belgium, Kimberly guided GE Capital’s global public affairs function through a period of regulatory reform. Prior to GE, she marketed HSBC’s emerging markets asset management business. She also served as a consultant to a range of American businesses operating in China through the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

Kimberly holds a BA in Political Science from Vanderbilt University, a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and an MBA from the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Susan Nakashima portrait

Dr. Susan Nakashima

Principal Manager, Regulatory Affairs and Compliance

  • Dissertation: Developing Psychological Safety in Technical Teams.
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair: Dr. Ann Feyerherm, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Zhike Lei, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Jim Davis, UCLA

Leveraging a wide range of IT senior management experience, Susan is experienced in directing the development and implementation of complex business and technical strategies ensuring global compatibility. Her current role at Southern California Edison includes providing strategic direction for IT regulatory and cybersecurity programs, controls risk assessments and governance, disaster recovery and planning, business continuity, and audit remediation. Serving on numerous committees, she is accountable for the evaluation of emerging legislative and regulatory requirements ensuring the appropriate compliance posture to meet state and federal regulations. Susan earned two degrees from the University of Redlands, Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Master’s in Business Administration, Leadership Society. She holds multiple certifications in Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT), Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma, and experienced in Incident Command System (ICS) for emergency response. Susan was elected Chairperson for UCLA IS Associates executive board of directors in 2003 and again in 2013.

Kevin Schaller portrait

Dr. Kevin Schaller

Consultant: Emergency, Crisis and Business Continuity, Faculty

  • Dissertation: Board Governance in Crisis: Director influence in executive crisis leadership.
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair: Dr. Kevin Groves, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Cole Short, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Chuck Castro, ASU

Kevin Schaller is a crisis and emergency management consulting specialist with experience spanning public and private sectors. Prior to public service and consulting, Kevin spent 20 years in the insurance sector with a national pension marketing firm, serving in various management capacities. In a consulting capacity, he led the recovery operations of a major financial concern upon the loss of it’s headquarters following Hurricane Sandy. Kevin is a graduate of the FEMA National Emergency Management Executive Academy, is a Certified Emergency Manager, and serves as faculty for the Emergency Management Homeland Security bachelorette program at Truckee Meadows College. He earned his BS from San Jose State University and a Master of Arts in Emergency & Disaster Management from the American Public University. Kevin’s doctoral research is centered on board governance in crisis.

April White portrait

Dr. Aprilfawn White

Consulting, Global Program Management, Operations Optimization

Dissertation: Adaptive Leadership During Environmental Uncertainty: Examing the Impact of Leader Psychological Capital & Empathic Engagement on Follower Outcomes 

DBA Dissertation Committee:

Chair: Dr. Kevin Groves, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Second Advisor: Jaclyn Margolis, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

External Reviewer: Blair Franklin

Aprilfawn White is a highly experienced scientist, having held several roles within the biotech industry for nearly two decades. As a global program manager, she has maintained a diverse multi-million automation portfolio, including over two dozen projects across the US, Europe, and Asia, serving companies such as Eli Lilly, Vertex, and Johnson & Johnson. While at the Genomics Institute of Novartis Research Foundation, she specialized in protein chemistry and automation projects as a peer-reviewed research scientist and co-authored 38 scientific journal publications.

At Ionian Technologies, she specialized in diagnostic development, including projects for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the Department of Defense. As a staff scientist at Millennium Health, she advanced her experience in automation, and diagnostic laboratory builds. Besides two Bachelor of Science degrees, Aprilfawn holds an Executive MBA from Pepperdine. Presently, she is pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School.

Shariffa Batts portrait

Dr. Sharifa Batts 

  • Dissertation: Social and Human Capital Contributions of Diverse Board Members
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair: Dr. Cristina Gibson, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Bobbi Thomason, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Felton Williams, Board President, Long Beach USD

Sharifa is the director of safety at Ports America, which is the largest terminal operator and stevedore in the United States. In her current position with Ports America, Sharifa provides strategic guidance and professional expertise to all business units. Sharifa has been with Ports America for almost 20 years in multiple roles including leading initiatives for safety strategies, regulatory compliance, training components, and developing/implementing the safety database. She has extensive experience in projects, people management (union and management), and business unit collaboration to drive efficiency and compliance with Ports America's goals and objectives.

Alfonso Berumen portrait

Dr. Alfonso Berumen 

  • Dissertation: Effective Use of Big Data Analytics and its Impact on Business Performance within Small to Medium-Sized Businesses.
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair and Supervisor: Dr. John Mooney, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Mark Chun, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Paul Tallon, Loyola University Maryland

Alfonso Berumen has over 10 years of experience in consulting where he has provided data-driven economic, statistical, and analytical support to law firms, Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and private companies operating in a wide range of industries. Prior to becoming an Independent Consultant, he was a senior manager at Resolution Economics LLC. In addition, Mr. Berumen has taught various courses at UCLA Extension, including introduction to data analytics (corporation education), introduction to data science, predictive analytics, and machine learning. Mr. Berumen holds a master's in predictive analytics from Northwestern University, master’s in business administration from the University of California, Irvine and a bachelor of arts in economics from Occidental College. 

Frank Betz portrait

Dr. Frank Betz 

  • Dissertation: From Trust to Truth: How Can Blockchain Reduce the Trust Gap?
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair and Supervisor: Dr. Brian Jacobs, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Nelson Granados, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Raghu Bala, CEO, NetObjex

Frank Betz is a second year DBA student interested in emerging technologies. His work seeks to examine the role of distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain, along with artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) for establishing trust and authenticity in business transactions. As a senior consultant for TI Solutions, Frank works with companies in the areas of business process, operations, planning, and blockchain technology solutions. As the former executive director and CEO of RTI, a national transportation institute focused on research, software development, and technology transfer, he was responsible for leading the overall strategic and operational direction as well as implementing the organization’s vision and mission. Frank earned his Master's in Global Business from Pepperdine University and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Rob Bikel portrait

Dr. Rob Bikel 

  • Dissertation: Sustainability Paradox Governance
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair and Supervisor: Dr. Chris Worley, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Ann Feyerherm, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Michael Crooke, Board Chairman and Avamere Professor of Practice, University of Oregon

Robert Bikel, MBA, is the director and lead faculty for the SEER (Social Ethical and Environmental Responsibility) Program at Pepperdine’s Graziadio Business School. He is also an independent strategy consultant specializing in sustainably oriented businesses, focused on strategic guidance and market intelligence for responsible companies in B-Corp/Benefit Corporations, cleantech, online media, e-commerce and food industries with clients ranging from Neil Young’s Pono Music service, Jes Maharry Jewelry, the Yes Bar, and, with ex-Patagonia CEO Michael Crooke, Fox International Channels and a major Latin American media company. A former investment banker with Smith Barney, Bikel also has over 12 years experience in entertainment as a development executive, producer and music supervisor. A Harvard graduate, he has a SEER-certified MBA from Pepperdine and has a GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) certification.

Ana Brant portrait

Dr. Ana Brant 

  • Dissertation: Self-Presentation of Cultural Capital
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair: Dr. Cristina Gibson, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Bobbi Thomason, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Kathy LaTour, Cornell University

Ana Brant serves as a director of global guest experience and innovation for London’s based Dorchester Collection. Brant's innovations in customer experience led to many articles in the Harvard Business Review and speaking engagements at many prestigious institutions such as Cornell, Harvard and Wharton University. Ana holds a bachelor's of science degree in hotel and resort management and a master's of science in service leadership and innovation, both from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. At Cornell University she earned executive certifications in strategic leadership, customer-focused product and service design, and project leadership. At Stanford University, she earned the innovation and entrepreneurship certificate. A native of Croatia and based in Los Angeles, she splits her time between North America and Europe.

George Dagliyan portrait

Dr. George Dagliyan 

  • Dissertation: Adoption of AI-enabled Technology: Taking the Bad with the Good
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair and Supervisor: Dr. Cristel Russell, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Nelson Granados, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Kathleen Grave, CEO, InBOLD, Inc

George Dagliyan is an insurance executive who serves as a chairman and chief operations officer at Commonwealth Casualty Company. His primary responsibilities are corporate operations, leadership, strategic planning, capital appropriations, and investments. George specializes in interactive strategic management and enterprise risk management systems. After spending over a decade of leading and working with other executives of multimillion-dollar organizations and startups, George knows that what really matters is the formation of an organizational culture where everyone is a part of the organization and takes ownership of its successes and shortcomings. With George's help and leadership, his organization sustained a 25% growth year-over-year for the past five years. He created an innovative diagnostic control system designed to monitor the organization’s key performance indicators as well as the performance of departments, groups, teams, and individuals.

Blair Franklin portrait

Dr. Blair Franklin 

  • Dissertation: The Effects of Employee Personality, Ethical Ideology and Justice Perceptions on Workplace Deviance: A Study From U.S. Durable Goods Distribution
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair and Supervisor: Dr. Kevin Groves, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Zhike Lei, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. David Smith, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Sandra Robinson, Sander School of Business, University of British Columbia

Blair Franklin is president and CEO of Ameripipe Supply, Inc., one of the nation's leading independent suppliers and fabricators serving the commercial fire protection and mechanical contractors. The company celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Blair is a graduate of Pepperdine's first residential MBA program (1990-1992). He and his wife Kelly reside in Carrollton, TX. Their oldest son, Sam, is a 2019 engineering graduate from Texas A&M University who is currently pursuing his master's degree in Finance. Their two younger sons, Luke and Jake, are high school students at Prestonwood Christian Academy.

Kristopher Gray portrait

Dr. Kristofer Gray

Founder and Principal at Integrity Financial Corporation

Kristofer Gray, CFP® helps entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses create a road map for both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of wealth and succession planning. Kristofer facilitates educational retreats for family offices with other nationally recognized speakers and thought leaders in the areas of wealth, family, and health. As a Certified Financial Planner®, a Certified 401(k) Professional®, and a Chartered Retirement Plan Specialist®, Kristofer helps high net-worth families evaluate and make tailored financial planning decisions on behalf of their business, which along with real estate, typically represents the majority of the family’s net worth. He earned both his Master’s degree and Bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, and he serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Washington Business. Working with Kristofer gives you access to an array of the finest quality alternative investment offerings for accredited investors, as well as access to a network of high-caliber professionals, educators, and trusted advisors for your family. Kristofer writes and presents at conferences on the topics of generational wealth, family business, succession planning, private equity, and philanthropy.

Jolie Gutentag portrait

Dr. Jolie Gutentag 

  • Dissertation: Concretizing Sustainability with Circularity: Closing the Circle on Sustainable Consumption
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair: Dr. Cristel Russell, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Cristina Gibson, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Remi Trudel, Boston University Questrom School of Business

Jolie Gutentag has held leading management positions at notable companies such as Procter & Gamble and Nestlé in Europe and has acquired extensive experience in the areas of marketing, innovation and general management. For the past five years, Jolie has worked as a consultant, facilitator, trainer and for renowned organizations, including mid-sized companies and start ups. The combination of her extensive real world business experience and strong facilitation background allows Jolie to be highly effective with both teams and individuals. Jolie holds a BA from Tufts University and an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration degree at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School.

Gil Keinan portrait

Dr. Gil Keinan 

  • Dissertation: The Impact of a Management Company's Scale on Hotel Market Value
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair and Supervisor: Dr. Dongshin Kim, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Abraham Park, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. Prashant Das, EHL Lausanne

Gil Keinan is the founder and principal at H | Obsequio, a hotel real estate asset management and lender compliance solutions provider that focuses on increasing investment value while decreasing risk. Over the last two decades and before founding H | Obsequio, Gil headed the hotel asset management practice for CIM Group (Nasdaq: CMCT), led business development for a hotel electronic distribution platform and spent over a decade in luxury hotel management around the globe. Gil holds an Executive MBA from the University of San Francisco, a bachelor's of science degree from the University of Surrey (UK), and is currently writing his doctorate dissertation on the impact of hotel operator scale on asset value premium. Languages: English, German, Hebrew, and Spanish.

Darryl Laws portrait

Dr. Darryl Laws 

  • Dissertation: Irrational Behaviors in Mergers and Acquisitions
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair and Supervisor: Dr. David Smith, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Richard Walton, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    External Reviewer: Dr. John Scully, CFO, Ecliptic Enterprises and PGBS Practitioner Faculty

Mr. Laws is chief executive officer and founder of the Jermyn Street Capital Partners, Inc. Mr. Laws brings an extensive and broad investment, private equity investment and buyout experience to the firm’s clients. Between 1976 and 1984, he held corporate finance and M&A positions: as a senior vice president with notable firms such as: Saudi ARAMCO, Trammell Crow Company , Ernest W. Hahn, Inc. and Rockefeller Center. In 1985, he was the senior vice president of Capital Markets at First City Industries. From 1998 to 2001 Darryl was a managing director of Blue – C Ventures, based in Vienna, Austria. In 2002 Mr. Laws and Pascal Vinarnic were installed by the Fortis Bank AG and Lazard Private Equity, Credit Lyonnaise Asset Mgmt. and Bank Vontabel SA in the NesBic Cte funds I, II, III as GPs to turn around and restructure a € 360 million portfolio comprised of 74 companies (investments). Since 2005 Darryl has managed and operated a private equity fund and a family office with assets in excess of $3BN.

Brian Mulligan portrait

Dr. Brian Mulligan 

  • Dissertation: A Contemporary Study on the Impact of Regulation on Business Performance
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair and Supervisor: Dr. Nelson Granados, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Ann Feyerherm, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Reviewer: Professor James Ellis, USC Marshall School of Business

Brian C. Mulligan is currently the CEO of Mulligan Investment Bankers, LLC, a broker dealer specializing in media, telecom, entertainment and technology. He is an international executive that has held global positions of CEO, COO or CFO in virtually every media/entertainment vertical for major media companies, world class advisory firms and private equity firms over a 30 year career. Positions held include COO of Universal Studios, co-chairman of Universal Pictures, CEO of Universal Television, chairman of FOX Broadcasting and Cable, EVP/CFO of a Fortune 50 Company (Seagram), SVP of MCA INC, EVP of strategic planning and corporate development at Universal, senior executive advisor at Boston Consulting, vice chairman of media/telecom of the 6th largest bank and worked extensively in/with private equity.

Graylind Wherry portrait

Graylind Wherry (DBA Candidate)

  • Dissertation: The Drivers and Inhibitors of Corporate Venturing in the Entertainment Industry
  • DBA Dissertation Committee:

    Chair and Supervisor: Dr. Kyle Murphy, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Second Advisor: Dr. Mark Tribbitt, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

    Reviewer: Dr. Deryck van Rensburg, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

Graylind R. Wherry is an MBA graduate from Rutgers University and currently a student in the inaugural cohort of the Doctor of Business Administration program at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. He is the vice president of finance of world wide post production for Technicolor, a world leader in production services for the media and entertainment business. In his current position, Graylind is responsible for all aspects of day to day financial operations in addition to all budgeting, forecasting, management reporting, and mid-range planning activities. Graylind supports business development executives in the bid/RFP process and technology and corporate development initiatives by creating business cases and financial modeling for strategic acquisitions. Graylind supports global business unit management teams in the decision-making process and ensures continuous process enhancements and efficiency gains. Additionally, Graylind facilitates internal and external audit support. Graylind also is a certified M&A advisor with the Alliance of Mergers and Acquisitions Advisors.


More About DBA Candidacy

Advancing to doctoral candidacy is a huge milestone for our students in the Graziadio Executive Doctor of Business Administration program. Reaching candidacy as a doctorate student indicates the individual has successfully completed all formal requirements apart from their final dissertation. We are very proud to recognize all our DBA candidates who are now one step closer to the completion of their doctorate degree at Pepperdine.