Beth Waitkus, MSOD ‘04

 In fall 2002, Beth Waitkus founded the Insight Garden Program (IGP), the only evidence-based rehabilitation program in California designed to transform prisoners through connection to nature. Over the past three years, IGP has grown from a stand-alone program at San Quentin Prison to eight facilities in Northern and Southern California, two Indiana prisons (including a juvenile facility) and a re-entry program in New York City. With this substantial growth, IGP will continue its national expansion with its robust curriculum and become a “re-entry bridge” for people leaving prison and returning to our communities.

Beth has won accolades for her prison work and was featured in the book Eco Amazons: 20 Women who are Transforming the World by Dorka Keehn and she is the recipient of the Hotchkiss School’s 2013 Community Service Award. Beth has also been featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.

As part of the MSOD program at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, Beth completed a master’s thesis entitled “The impact of a garden on the physical environment and social climate of a prison yard at San Quentin State Prison.” The thesis process was critical in reframing her thinking about systems change, resulting in drastic reduction in the cycle of incarceration. Beth graduated with a M.S. in Organization Development from the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management in 2004.

 

Chris Zorn, MSML ‘14


In 2015, Chris Zorn joined Kindred Healthcare for an Executive Fellowship and he and his family relocated to Chicago, IL for his new role. After completing his fellowship in August 2016, Chris was named Assistant Administrator of Kindred’s Chicago Northlake Hospital. In October 2016, there was a leadership change at Kindred’s Chicago Central Hospital and Chris was asked to serve as interim CEO during the CEO search process.

Chicago Central is a 94-bed transitional care hospital affiliated with Kindred Healthcare, the largest provider of diversified, post-acute care services in the United States. Chicago Central provides aggressive, specialized interdisciplinary care to medically complex patients who require extended recovery time. In his role as the interim CEO, Chris led the organization’s financial and operational performance and partnered with the clinical team to provide excellent care to patients and their families.

Chris says serving as Interim CEO was a tremendous opportunity and the amount of ‘hands-on’ experience he received was invaluable. He continues to serve as Assistant Administrator at Kindred’s Chicago Central Hospital. Chris earned his M.S. in Management and Leadership from the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management in 2014.

Osei Gyamfi, MBA ‘15

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, MBA ‘16


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.

Rick Arneson, Full-Time MBA ‘05

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

Christie Hsiao, Full Time MBA ‘04

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.

Shane Skinner, Fully Employed MBA ‘08

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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, MBA ‘09

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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 franchiseclassnote-november-2 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, Executive MBA ‘03

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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.

William Sparks, MSOD ‘04

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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.