Iliana Nikova, EMBA ‘15

Iliana Nikova is the General Manager at The Riveter West LA, a network of coworking and community spaces built by women, for all. The Riveter offers innovative space, learning, and development that spans industries and career stages, and flexible memberships.

They curate programming relevant to all, including conversations about implicit bias, training on salary negotiation, and breakfasts for working parents. In Los Angeles, all of their memberships include access to their spaces in West Los Angeles, Marina Del Rey, and their eastside location, as well as benefits like discounted childcare. The Riveter offers a discount to Pepperdine alumni. You can read more about The Riveter on their website www.theriveter.co.

Iliana received her MBA from Pepperdine Graziadio Business School in 2015.

Cristian Quintanilla, MBA ’16

Cristian Quintanilla launched his own business, Don Leo Coffee, the first 100% Salvadorian brand of gourmet coffee in the US. It is grown, processed, roasted, ground and packaged by the farmers in El Salvador. He named the brand after his grandfather, whom everyone used to call Don Leo. His coffee is currently sold online at www.DONLEO.coffee, and he is working on finding distribution channels.

When he was going through the MBA program at Pepperdine Graziadio School, he says the idea of creating a Salvadoran brand of gourmet coffee kept popping into his head while he worked on projects that taught him how to operate a business efficiently. After grad school, he worked in corporate finance for a Fortune 500 company, and in February 2018 he was able to raise enough capital through angel investors to get his business started.

In December 2018, Cristian was interviewed by VoyageLA. Cristian earned his MBA from the Graziadio School in 2016.

Natalie Rebot, MBA ’09

Natalie Rebot

Natalie Rebot is the creator and inventor of the Moonlite Storybook Projector, a product that turns any mobile device into a magical storytime experience for children of all ages. Moonlite uses the flashlight of your mobile device to shine children’s bedtime stories onto the ceiling or wall. Moonlite is an award-winning product that went viral with over 50M organic video views to date. The product that came to life via Kickstarter in 2017 and is now sold in retail stores worldwide. View the Moonlite video on YouTube.

Natalie is a mom to a six-year-old girl, named Chloe. Chloe was the inspiration behind Moonlite as she loved to do shadow play based-stories before bed. Natalie loved how Chloe’s whole room became part of the storytelling experience and thought she could enhance the shadow play experience, and that’s how Moonlite was born.

Natalie has a vast range of work experience. She is an ex-Googler who worked in a variety of different roles during her seven-year tenure at Google. Some of the products Natalie developed have since been integrated into Google Adwords. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering in 2005 and then went on to get her MBA at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and graduated in 2009. 

Jennie Yoon, FEMBA ’13

Jennie Yoon launched Kinn, a fine jewelry brand offering modern heirlooms designed to last a lifetime. In 2017, Yoon found the jewelry industry filled with over-priced, over-complicated jewelry, or low-quality, disposable jewelry. Through Kinn, she sought to offer a third option. Kinn’s mission is to restore the thoughtfulness and intangible value behind fine jewelry. Paired with education and transparency in the supply chain, Kinn pieces are meant to last through generations. Today, tomorrow and years to come. 

Yoon was recently interviewed by several publications including Forbes in January 2019 for starting her side hustle, splitting her days between two passions: her corporate job during the days, and Kinn after hours and before dawn.

Yoon was the former Chief Business Officer at a global tech accessories brand, Casetify, focused on maximizing growth and generating revenue through new distribution channels and strategic partnerships. Managing talent relationships and brand development, past collaboration includes celeb partnerships (Sarah Jessica Parker, Pharrell Williams), retail channels (Colette, Nordstrom, Anthropologie), and brand collaborations (Saint Laurent, Clare V.).

Jennie Yoon earned her MBA from the Graziadio Business School in 2013.

Arthur Chivichyan, MSML ‘17

Arthur Chivichyan was appointed as a faculty member and given a lead role in the self-defense department at the University of Southern California. He says he can utilize a lot of what he learned in the MSML program, to properly and efficiently run the program at USC, where he says the school’s goal is to turn the program into the “go to” school for self-defense, grow the program, and possibly start a minor. He was appointed to lead this development.

Arthur was recently interviewed by several magazines, including Black Belt Magazine in December 2018/January 2019 issue for his charity work at United States Athletic Charity, which is a charity that focuses on youth, anti-bullying, fighting obesity and more. He was also interviewed for his up and coming consulting firm, focusing on development, team building, and engagement.

Arthur is competing in Judo for the Olympic trials, for 2020 and is currently ranked 6th in the Nation.

He earned his MS in Management and Leadership from the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School in 2017.

Pramod Kunju, FEMBA ‘08

Pramod Kunju has had the honor of serving as President of the Asian Business Association of Orange County (ABAOC) from 2017 to 2018. ABAOC’s Directors on the Board, including Pramod, are all volunteers dedicated to their mission of empowering small and diverse businesses to succeed and thrive.

During his presidency, Pramod was able to take ABAOC to new heights. ABAOC more than doubled their membership and facilitated several hundred “business matchmaking” sessions between large corporations, and small/diverse businesses.

As a Pepperdine alumnus, Pramod says the accomplishment that he is personally most proud of is the launch of “ABAOC Giving,” a platform established to enable their members to give back directly to the community. 

He was humbled to receive ABAOC’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions at the Annual Gala on November 10th, 2018 at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel in Anaheim.

Pramod’s experience has inspired him to continue to give back to the community and hope to share more such stories with fellow Pepperdine alumni in the future. He says, Pepperdine certainly reinforced my guiding principle to, “give more than we receive.”

Pramod earned his MBA from the Graziadio Business School in 2008.

Mark Bowles, MSMT ’96

Mark BowlesMark was featured on SmartPlanet.com in an article about his company ecoATM. The ecoATM is an automated, consumer self-serve kiosk that quickly evaluates and buys back used consumer electronics directly from consumers for cash. The company’s website claims that the process takes just a few minutes to complete. Read more about Mark on SmartPlanet.com, a destination for savvy advice, thought-provoking analysis and expert discussion on the intersection of technology, business and life.

According to the SmartPlanet.com article:

… Bowles has been involved with no fewer than six venture-backed companies in the past two decades, most of them in the semiconductor or technology hardware space.

Mark has more than 23 years in the semiconductor and wireless industries. He has been involved in the formation and funding of 5 technology start-ups and has successfully raised 14 rounds of Venture Capital financing totaling more than $140M raised and has been part of some very nice financial exits for these investors.

Since his last update 5 years ago Mark has been quite busy. A start-up he founded, ecoATM, was acquired by a public company for $350M and he spent a couple of years earning out and left in 2015. Mark co-founded another company (his 7th) in the blood diagnostics space to dramatically lower the cost and complexity of routine blood testing. That company, Truman Sciences, is now well-funded ($20M+) and making great strides with the science, technology, and FDA.

He also sits on a number of non-profit boards, his favorite (other than Graziadio) is a research institute named La Jolla Institute of Allergy and Immunology, where the mission is literally “Life Without Disease” and they are making great strides toward that goal. Mark is also doing a lot of angel/VC investing in early stage local SoCal start-ups. In fact, he and a few investors have begun filming their investment process and have turned it into a TV Show called VCs in a Van, that just began airing episodes on cable and YouTube. Also, he has become quite involved with teaching entrepreneurship in prison to inmates through and organization called Defy Ventures.

He also works with recently released inmates to help launch their businesses when they get out. You can read about one of them here, Timothy Jackson, who recently launched a thriving cleaning service in San Diego. Finally, he is also finding a little time to relax, travel, sail, and do surf trips with his three sons.

Rossina Gil, MSOD ‘07

Rossina Gil is the author of The Corporate Looking Glass: Using Culture for Your Competitive Advantage, available on Amazon. This text is currently being used as one of the required readings for the course Global Foundations, led by Dr. Miriam Lacey at the Graziadio Business School. Gil wittily offers that her name on Dr. Lacey’s syllabus is most probably the only chance she’ll get to be sandwiched between Thomas Friedman and Al Gore. The book is also on the syllabi at California State University Northridge, and at CEFAM, Centre d’Etudes Franco-Américain de Management à Lyon (The Lyon Center for French-American Management Studies).

Gil’s book is written for anyone who is interested in applying the Behavioral Sciences towards understanding themselves, others, and organizations around the world. Based on a corporate global program usually delivered over the course of two full-working days, it is designed for both the fast-paced executive who doesn’t have time to waste, and anyone wishing to peer into the looking glass for comprehension on how systems (i.e. ourselves as individuals and organizations) can deal with change and develop productively. Once one’s cultural values are determined, the process of assimilation and strategy can begin. This is the Competitive Advantage. The reader is kept entertained by the author’s writing voice, testimonials from international executives, and general drollery.

Rossina graduated with a MS in Organization Development from the Graziadio Business School in 2007.

Daniel Carlson, FEMBA ’17

Dan CarlsonLieutenant Colonel Daniel Carlson was selected to lead the 640th Aviation Support Battalion of 450 soldiers in October, 2018 and is based at the Los Alamitos Army Airfield in Orange County, California. Army leaders are called Commanders and are solely responsible for success of the mission, and the welfare of their soldiers during peacetime and war. Daniel says the Pepperdine Graziadio School MBA helped him emerge to become a better leader by focusing on qualities that he wanted to bring forward in his style.

Lieutenant Colonel Carlson enlisted for active military service as a private first class in Fort Lewis, Washington in 1990. He was promoted to Sergeant and became an Infantry Fire Team Leader by August 1993. He received his ROTC commission as an Aviation Officer in February 1996. He completed the Aviation Officer Basic Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama in 1999. Lieutenant Colonel Carlson’s first assignment was to 1st Squadron,18th Cavalry in Los Alamitos, California. He further served in the California Army National Guard. He also served in the Army Reserves from 1993 to 1996. He is a recipient of the following awards: Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M device, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, and the Overseas Service Ribbon. LTC Carlson has been awarded the Master Army Aviator Badge, Ranger Tab, and the Parachutist Badge.

Daniel earned his MBA from the Graziadio Business School in 2017.

Manuel Robles, FEMBA ’83

Manuel Robles retired in 2012 after a fulfilling 34 year career at Rocketdyne now Aerojet Rocketdyne, a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader that provides propulsion and energetics to its space, missile defense and strategic systems, tactical missile and armaments customers throughout domestic and international markets.

At Rocketdyne, he was responsible for market planning, and then leading strategic planning and internal resources investment efforts. During that time Rocketdyne was owned by Rockwell Int’l., then Boeing, then United Technologies Pratt & Whitney, and now Aerojet, all the while remaining the premier liquid rocket engine company in the world, providing engines for the Atlas and Delta expendable launch vehicles and the world’s first reusable engines on the space shuttles. Manuel says Aerojet Rocketdyne is a great company whose heritage he is honored to be a part of with his Pepperdine MBA.

Manuel earned his MBA from the Graziadio Business School in 1983.