Dr. Shawn Andrews, FEMBA ’96

Dr. Shawn Andrews has recently published a book titled The Power of Perception: Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and the Gender Divide. It was based on her 2013 doctoral dissertation research on leadership, emotional intelligence, and gender. Her book covers wide-ranging issues related to women and leadership. The Power of Perception can be found on Amazon and other retailers.

Dr. Andrews is also a keynote speaker, organizational consultant, workshop facilitator, and adjunct professor at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. Dr. Andrews teaches courses on Organizational Behavior, Leadership and Ethics, Diversity in Organizations, and Women in Leadership.

Dr. Andrews holds an Ed.D. degree in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine GSEP, an MBA from the Graziadio Business School Fully Employed program (1996), and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine.

Jesse Heller MA, ’04, FEMBA ’11

Jesse Heller is the creator of the goal-setting app, GoalWard. The GoalWard app was developed to raise funds for cardiovascular research to honor of his mother, who recently passed away due to heart disease and his father, who also recently passed away from cancer. The app helps track individual and team goals and can also be used by employees and managers in a corporate environment. GoalWard is available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play. All proceeds from the app go towards the UCLA Cardiovascular Discovery Fund (CDF) for cardiovascular disease research funding.

Jesse is currently the Marketing Director at FayeBSG, a software company based in Woodland Hills, CA. He received an MBA from the Graziadio Business School Fully Employed program in 2011 and his MA from the Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology in 2004. He received his B.A. in American Literature from UCLA.

Verginie Touloumian, MSML ’15

Verginie Touloumian was appointed the Executive Director of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) in October 2017. ARS, founded in 1910, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the humanitarian needs of Armenians and non-Armenians. Her duties include managing the activities of all 26 ARS branches internationally, overseeing strategic operations, planning long-term projects, and using outreach and activism to further the organization’s objectives. Previously, Touloumian worked as a project coordinator and Armenian Studies (Hai Tahd) teacher at Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School in Los Angeles. Additionally, she has served the Armenian Youth Federation – Western United States organization as a secretary for the Central Executive team and Vice-chairperson. She has also actively contributed to Haytoug Magazine, Woodbury University’s Armenian Student Association, and the ARF Shant Student Association.

Verginie Touloumian, received her B.A. in Business Management from Woodbury University, obtained a certificate in Human Resources Management from Loyola Marymount University, and graduated from the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School MSML program in 2015. More details about her recent position can be found by visiting Armenian Weekly.

William Gardner, Esq. FEMBA ’83

William Gardner was recently re-elected to the New Canaan (Connecticut) Republican Town Committee, in which he serves as Vice Chairman. Before retiring in 2014 from the federal government, he was a staff attorney with the Social Security Administration. The majority of his career has been in corporate management. He is licensed to practice law in New York and Connecticut.

William graduated from the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School Fully Employed MBA program in 1983.

Lauren Gibbs, EMBA ‘14

Los Angeles native Lauren Gibbs is a former sales executive and a competitive athlete. She was recently chosen to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, representing the United States on the women’s bobsled team.

Following completion of the EMBA program in 2014, Lauren served as Regional Sales Director for Trumaker, a San Francisco-based made to measure men’s apparel company. A lifelong athlete, she was introduced to the sport of bobsledding by a member of the USA National Rugby team (Jill Potter).

Lauren has spent the last several years competing professionally in bobsledding and training for the Olympics. She earned her undergraduate degree from Brown University, where she also played volleyball.

Aaron Young, MBA ‘13

Aaron Young serves as the head of HR for MSC Software leading talent acquisition & management, people operations, learning & development, and organizational development. In October, MSC Software was awarded Best Tech Culture Company in Orange County by Tech in Motion. Aaron joined MSC Software in 2013 leading the talent acquisition group and grew his role to include being a senior business partner. His current responsibilities include oversight of MSC HR operations as well as the divisional representation with MSC’s parent company.

Aaron is a dual graduate of Pepperdine University having completed his doctorate in Organizational Leadership from GSEP and his MBA in Dispute Resolution from GSBM. For his doctoral dissertation, Aaron’s study of cultures of innovation helped MSC Software to be recognized as a Best Tech Culture Company in Orange County by Tech in Motion.

Currently, Aaron is working in Orange County while commuting from North County San Diego where he currently resides with his wife & family.

John Miller, EMBA ‘01

John Miller has been appointed President of Swisher International, effective January 1, 2018. John joined Swisher in 2012 as its Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing after working within the Tobacco and CPG industries for more than 25 years. John worked for the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company where he rose to the position of Regional Vice President, was interim President of Goldwater’s Foods of Scottsdale and a principal in two consulting firms. During his tenure with Swisher, John positioned the sales and marketing teams for record growth by expanding the National Accounts team, developing the Trade Marketing, Business Analytics and Consumer Engagement functions and overseeing more than 150 promotions in the field sales force.

John received his Bachelor of Science degree from UNLV and his Master of Business Administration degree from Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Taj Ahmad Eldridge, MBA ‘03

Taj Eldridge accepted a position of Senior Director of Investment at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), after serving as the Accelerator Director at the University of California with the Highland Venture Fund. In this role, he directs investment in the premier companies focused on sustainability solutions. LACI is a private non-profit organization helping to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies and ensuring an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation, transforming markets and enhancing community. Founded as a cluster-driven economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI is recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI.

Taj was awarded the Innovation Honoree for 2017 for the City of Riverside from Mayor William Bailey. This award recognizes people or groups in the City of Riverside that exemplify the city’s motto as “a City of Arts and Innovation.” Mayor William Bailey has chosen Eldridge because of his passion for innovation and for his ability to evangelize the city’s commitment to entrepreneurship – a movement that has strengthened the technological ecosystem. Eldridge has been a mentor, adviser, and leader for young start-up companies in the region.

Taj earned his MBA from the Graziadio Business School in 2003.

Jack Tatar, PKE ‘90

Jack recently co-authored a book titled “Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond” along with Chris Burniske. Jack is a Bitcoin expert, and an angel investor who advises startups on cryptoassets. He has authored several books about retirement and finance, and is the co-author of one of the earliest books on Bitcoin, “What’s the Deal with Bitcoins?”

Jack also owns and runs GEM Research Solutions, and has worked extensively with startups. His company is a market research firm focusing on financial services and provides market research to businesses in many different industries.

Jack received his MBA from the Graziadio school in 1990 as part of the Presidents and Key Executives program. He has a B.A. in English and Economics from Stony Brook University.

Mary Cochran, BSM ‘85

Alumni Mary Cochran and partner Alison Werning announced they are joining forces to form Launching Labs Marketing, a digital and traditional marketing agency combined with project and sales management services.

Mary and Alison are coming together to offer small to medium businesses an effective array of marketing services. Cochran’s background is in public relations, marketing, and digital media with along with strategic operational skills. Werning spent years in logo development and editing branding for promotional materials. Her keen graphical eye and social savvy developed into digital advertising and marketing. Brought together on a long-term project they found their skills married perfectly for affecting growth in small to medium businesses.

Offering a view from the outside to provide clear communications direction is Launching Lab’s goal.