In January 2015, just a few months before his graduation from Pepperdine Graziadio, Osei Gyamfi launched ChillHound, an easy-to-use web application that allows event hosts to send invitations, manage guest lists, and group-fund activities and events. Recognized as a hot startup, ChillHound received a private investment from Tech Coast Angels, one of the largest angel investment firms in Southern California, and Osei won “Best Presentation” for the 2016 Tech Coast Angels “Celebration of Entrepreneurship” Fast Pitch Competition.
With over 10,000 ChillHound users and plans to market the application nationwide, Osei continues to draw upon the leadership skills he gained from his MBA experience. Osei specialized in entrepreneurship at the Graziadio School and says his Pepperdine MBA taught him how to ask the right questions, talk to the right people, and address the right problems. Often a guest speaker for Graziadio entrepreneurship classes, Osei talks to students about his business and how he got the idea to start Chillhound. Osei earned his MBA from the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management in 2015.
Miki Teng says that the Pepperdine Graziadio Alumni Network was instrumental in helping her find mentors who opened doors to professional opportunities. Not only did Miki seek out the advice of alumni, she was very involved on campus serving as President of the Asian Business Club and the Director of Corporate Outreach of the Marketing Society.
While earning her MBA, Miki completed an eight month internship as a Direct Marketing Business Analyst Intern with Dun & Bradstreet. She credits the Career Management Center at the Graziadio School for helping her secure this great business immersion opportunity, which ultimately led to a full-time job.
During her internship at Dun & Bradstreet, Miki was able to apply the business and marketing skills she learned in the classroom to the projects she was working on. The combination of academic coursework and professional experience gave Miki the opportunity to boost her career and after completing her internship, D&B offered her a job as a Business Analyst. Miki graduated from the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management with her MBA in 2016.
Author and Pepperdine Graziadio Alumnus Rick Arneson was named a winner of 2016 Book Excellence Awards in the Sports category for his book, Plotting the Course: Life Lessons from the Sport of Sailing. For either an experienced sailor or a newcomer to the sport, Plotting the Course delivers relatable and essential lessons for personal and professional achievement, using comparisons of sailboat racing alongside historical, business, political, and everyday examples. The book was also a winner in the 2014 International Book Awards and a finalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2015 National Indie Excellence Awards and the 2015 San Diego Book Awards.
Mr. Arneson has an extensive sailing background. Growing up sailing at the San Diego Yacht Club, he won several state and district championships, match-raced 12-meter yachts in the World Scholar-Athlete Games, and took home a gold medal from the AAU Junior Olympics. As a freshman at Pepperdine University, he started the school’s sailing team, and later went on to coach sailors at the club, high school, and collegiate levels. Since 2003, he has been a member of the U.S. Snipe team at four World and three Western Hemisphere championships. He has been a marketing professional in a range of industries, and a contributing writer to Sailing World and various other sailing publications. He earned his MBA from the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management in 2005.
For more information about Plotting the Course visit http://rickarneson.com
Author, movie producer and Pepperdine MBA Alumna Christie Hsiao was recently featured by Forbes.com alongside her New York Times bestseller, Journey to Rainbow Island. Her fantasy novel tells the story of a girl, Yu-ning, who comes from a world without jealousy, judgment, anger or conflict, but is forced to venture out on a quest to find seven sacred crystals on her island. Christie wrote the book to counter the negative content that is produced in entertainment and instead inspire people with an uplifting story about empowerment and transformation. Since its 2013 release, Christie has spoken to a wide range of audiences about the book’s positive messages regarding following one’s heart, believing in oneself, and pursuing one’s dreams. Currently, Christie plans to produce a stage musical and TV series, in partnership with Korea’s MBC, and also extend the entire media franchise to China. A film adaptation of the book is also in the works, and Christie has commenced a book sequel that she expects to publish in 2017.
Christie is also the Founder and CEO of Serenity Media Group, a global entertainment company devoted to creating high quality film, TV, and digital media projects that uplift and inspire. She serves as creative director for all of Serenity’s projects, as well as overseeing all aspects of marketing strategy, business development and expansion. She works with top executives and major companies in film, TV, music, art, publishing, merchandising, concerts/events, branding and marketing in both the U.S. and China, and uses her knowledge and experience to educate, create change, and spread positive messages. Christie earned her MBA from Pepperdine University in 2004.
Tech.co named Shane Skinner one of Seattle’s top ten startup founders over 40. Mr. Skinner is the Co-founder and CEO of Record360, where he oversees business strategy and development, as well as finance and accounting. Launched in spring 2015, Record360 is a mobile app designed to help companies that rent, lease or move tangible assets collect credible condition records of those assets to decrease damage disputes and costs. By leveraging new trends in mobile applications, digital documentation and the near ubiquity of mobile devices, Record360 lets customers do away with paper documentation forms, streamline their condition review process and boost the customer service experience.
Prior to Record360, Shane served as a Controller and Business Manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Enterprise Holding for 16 years, which took him to regional offices across the US and the UK. He also held Chief Financial Officer roles at See Kai Run and Fonte Coffee Roasters. He now sits on the Board of Directors for the Special Olympics Washington. Mr. Skinner received his MBA from Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management in 2008.
Brandon Garrett joins Howard & Howard Attorneys, a full-service law firm providing legal services to businesses and business owners throughout nation and overseas. Mr. Garrett will practice out of the firm’s Los Angeles Office and concentrate his efforts on franchising and transactional business matters. He has assisted in the development and formation of dozens of franchise concepts in a variety of industries, including the preparation of disclosure documents and related agreements in the U.S. and Canada. Mr. Garrett has negotiated franchise agreements on behalf of both franchisees and franchisors, and has also represented clients in response to various state administrative actions and investigations.
Mr. Garrett serves as the outside general counsel for a number of companies, and has extensive experience in drafting and negotiating agreements relating to: partnerships, hiring and terminating employees and contractors, raising capital, the purchase and sale of assets, licensing and distribution rights, and estate planning. He also has experience counseling clients regarding compliance with various local, state and federal laws, implementing and enforcing compliance policies, and formalizing supplier and vendor relationships. Mr. Garrett earned his MBA from the Graziadio School of Business and Management in 2009 and J.D. from the Pepperdine University School of Law in 2010.
Sandra Sellani has been named the Chief Marketing Officer for See Jane Go, Inc., a ride sharing app creating a community of women helping women to achieve personal and professional goals through a women-centric platform. See Jane Go offers women a trusted alternative driver experience in comparison to its competitors Uber and Lyft, and provides an enhanced option for women to make a lucrative income driving for a company that supports women worldwide. The See Jane Go app launched in September 2016 and will soon have new features, including a way for riders to designate a portion of their fare to a charity of their choice. Although the ride hailing app is tailored for women, the service doesn’t entirely exclude men. To use the service, a male passenger must be hosted by a female driver. The Orange County based company was recently named among the Top Ten Automotive Startup Winners and featured in Fortune Magazine.
As Chief Marketing Officer, Sellani is responsible for the company’s overall brand and marketing strategy, and brings over 20 years of industry experience to See Jane Go. She previously held executive marketing positions leading teams at NVISION Laser Eye Centers in Newport Beach and Sperry Van Ness Commercial Real Estate Advisors in Irvine. Sellani earned her Executive MBA from the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management in 2003.
In October 2016, author and public speaker William Sparks published Process Mapping Road Trip: Improve organizational workflow in five steps—an organizational development guidebook to help managers and directors map out their organization’s processes to improve workflow efficiency. Based on a highly acclaimed workshop Mr. Sparks delivers annually at the InsideNGO conference in Washington, D.C., this book uses the analogy of a road trip to follow a process through its various stops to arrive at its final destination. Winner of the Dr. J.P. London Award for Promoting Ethical Behavior, Mr. Sparks has over twenty years of management and international development experience in building organizational capacity abroad. InsideNGO also awarded him the Operational Excellence Award for his contributions over the years in developing international NGOs. He currently serves as Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at ACDI/VOCA, an international organization building social and economic opportunities in over 40 countries. Mr. Sparks earned his M.S. in Organization Development from the Graziadio School of Business and Management in 2004.
The book is available for purchase on Amazon.
Pepperdine Graziadio alum Daniel Aleksander is Vice President of Sales and Business Development for Riviera Bronze Manufacturing (RBM), a custom steel and bronze door and window manufacturer in Ventura, California. The company caters to boutique commercial projects ranging from wineries to restaurants, and high-end residential construction such as beachside bungalows up to 40,000+ square foot estates.
Under his management, the company has experienced double digit growth every year for the last 5 years, while maintaining the strictest standards of ethics and quality. His leadership and communication skills have enabled him to take an incredibly complex product and a diverse group of people to create companywide growth. Previously, he served as V.P. of Commercial Sales for Ventana Fine Windows And Doors, Inc. Mr. Alexander earned his Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership and Managing Organizational Change from Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management in 2014.
Paul Martello was awarded “Product of the Year” for the Yummy Spoon at the 2016 ECRM Baby & Infant EPPS Showcase, one of the nation's largest tradeshows for baby products. The Yummy Spoon is a self-feeding baby spoon designed to puree whole fruits and vegetables, helping parents create homemade baby food. The portable and easy to use baby spoon was originally conceived by Gina Cormier, Martello’s sister and a stay-at-home mom. Martello first pitched the Yummy Spoon while earning his MBA at the Graziadio Business School.
After making it to the final round of the Graziadio 2012 Business Plan Competition, which offers student entrepreneurship teams venture capital feedback and the chance to win cash prizes, Martello refined the Yummy Spoon over the next three years and launched Martello, LLC, headquartered in Calabasas, CA. Before Yummy Spoon, Martello held marketing positions at Guitar Center and Hyland’s Inc. He is currently the President of Martello Consumer Products and Yummy Spoon. Inspired by the Pepperdine motto, “Freely ye received, freely give," he donates a portion of all sales to feed hungry children across the U.S. Martello earned his MBA from the Graziadio School of Business and Management in 2013.