AMBITION’s mentors are the lifeblood of the program. These dedicated professionals contribute their time, energy and most emphatically their hearts, to empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs. AMBITION’s minimum requirement for mentor participation is three class visits over the course of one semester. After just one class, however, mentors are hooked. Most of the program’s mentors attend each and every class for the duration of the semester. Witnessing the growth of the students over the course of the semester is an addictively, infectiously rewarding feeling that, once introduced to, mentors find hard to abandon. AMBITION can proudly say that its number of consistently volunteering mentors is climbing rapidly, just in time for the program’s expansion!
If you are interested in becoming an AMBITION mentor, please contact email@example.com.
Kenneth Aldrich, President, The Aldrich Company, Seed Stage Investing Specialist and Public Company Director, AMBITION Business Development Advisor & Mentor
“AMBITION is the focus of energy that converts wishes to reality.”
Kenneth C. Aldrich is an investor and serial entrepreneur. He is currently Lead Independent Director and Chairman of the Nominating/Governance and Compensation Committees for Green Dot Corporation (NYSE:GDOT), the world’s largest provider of prepaid debit cards and related financial services, for which he led the original Angel round of financing. He was a Founder, and for several years, was Chairman and CEO, of International Stem Cell Corporation (OTC:ISCO), a publicly traded regenerative medicine company. Until it was sold to Alcon in 2014, he was a Director and Co-Founder of WaveTec Vision Systems, a privately held maker of optical measurement systems used by ophthalmic surgeons in custom cataract and vision corrective surgery.
Mr. Aldrich is also a board member or advisor to several other privately held companies for which he has provided seed stage financing, including Special Intelligence Service, a private provider of global security and security training for various US and foreign government agencies and corporate clients. He has been active in the investment business since 1975, and in early stage venture capital since 1993, was a founding member of the Los Angeles branch of Tech Coast Angels, a part of the largest Angel organization in the United States, and has provided early-stage funding and management assistance to a variety of successful start-up companies, including the companies listed above.
Prior to devoting full time to the investment business, Mr. Aldrich was the CFO and Chief Legal Officer of a publicly traded REIT, and was a private real estate developer and property owner in California, Arizona and Texas. As a developer, he co-developed the first Wind Energy Park in the Palm Springs, California area and was a founding member of the team that designed and built the first post-tensioned concrete high-rise building west of the Rocky Mountains, the first such building ever to meet California earthquake standards.
Mr. Aldrich holds degrees, with honors, from both Harvard University and Harvard Law School and practiced law with the Los Angeles-based firm of O’Melveny & Myers before leaving to build a career in real estate and finance. He is on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Harvard Graduate School of Education and an advisor to various non-profit groups focused on educational improvement in the U.S. and abroad.
Charles Babb, Chief Executive Officer at Fairfield Consortium
“AMBITION is the fuel toward freedom and self-determination. AMBITION is the driving force for success. It is the catalyst between potential and kinetic energy to live your own dreams.”
Charles Babb is an industry professional with experiences across a variety of industries: music, graphic novels, television, film, and video games. He has become an expert in entertainment development methodologies, process implementation, and game theory. Mr. Babb worked for TOKYOPOP, New American Dimensions, Neversoft Entertainment, Sony PlayStation, and Spark Unlimited on their development teams. At TOKYOPOP, he was the Marketing Manager on many graphic novels and the development producer on their television and film projects. Charles was a producer on Guitar Hero. He also was a project manager/producer on cinematic art asset creation for many Sony PlayStation 3 games. Charles was a producer on the unique development concept for Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z. With eight years of video game development experience stacked on years of entertainment development in other industries, Mr. Babb has sharp skills a keen sense to develop solid interactive end user experiences. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Fairchild Consortium, an interactive entertainment consultant agency and developer.
Juston Brommel, Principal at Juston Brommel Consulting
“AMBITION is doing whatever it takes to achieve your dreams and goals and inspiring others to achieve theirs.”
Juston Brommel drives revenue and user growth for Internet and mobile companies. He is a highly sought-after strategic consultant to technology and media CEOs, their boards and their teams.
Juston consults to Fortune 500 companies, capitalized startups, and investment funds in the technology and media sectors with a focus on Internet and mobile. His work creates successful results across five domains: marketing, product, technology, analytics and business management.
His Successes include: Founded and sold marketing tech company to @Responsys (acquired by @Oracle for $1.6B), Built direct response, marketing, and in?house ecommerce that garnered $1B exit (@lovephilosophy), Primary contributor to 500% growth in 2 years resulting in sale to global leader (confidential), Doubled conversion rates of primary revenue program in 120 days (@LendingTree), Solved complex UI/UX+data+marketing problem, enabling company to scale (@stubhub, sold to eBay $310M) and Led a gaming startup to cash-flow positive in 90 days and the closing of its Series A funding.
A value?based professional, Juston’s clients say he “clear-cuts a path right to bottom-?line results,” is “brilliant at bridging strategy and operations across departments.” He has an “uncanny comprehension of the marketing and technology landscapes,” and is “always presenting viable alternative options.”
His clients have been in the business, enterprise and consumer sectors, with companies in technology, SaaS, IaaS (info), DaaS (data), software, services, mobile, media, publishing, advertising, affiliate, lead generation, gaming, travel, finance, direct response, dating, info marketing, events, subscription services, CPG and retail. He has worked for companies in the US, Europe, and China.
As strategist, revenue driver, and digital growth expert, his work balances risk, reward and revenue across departments (marketing, product, technology, analytics, business management) and creates clarity between the C-?level execs and the management team.
His strategies include: Hitting goals associated with capitalization, Creating and executing plans that generate results in competitive markets , Balancing limited resources to achieve projected goals, De-?risking infrastructure, technology and marketing decisions, Accelerating timelines, Creating and achieving user and revenue growth strategies and Operationalizing strategies and tactics across departments.
He speaks and publishes on value creation and digital growth trends. He spends his personal time hiking, biking, doing yoga, meditating and progressing positive planetary change from his home base in Santa Monica.
Brittney Backos is the Co-Founder of Soirée du Jour, a company dedicated to the art and design of life’s celebrations in Los Angeles. Brittney brings pizazz and her zest for life to all of her entrepreneurial endeavors, especially Soirée du Jour, because if it’s not fun and bedazzled, it’s not worth doing. As a professional graphic designer for over 10 years, Brittney has developed brand strategy with major companies such as Fox, E! Network & Comcast. She also served on the Board of Directors for AIGA Los Angeles as Events Programming Chair. Brittney wishes to show younger minds that success never comes in a straight line and that a zig-zag or two never hurts anybody in the end.
Ryan Carmody, Co-Founder of Lunch Money Creative, AMBITION Business Development Advisor & Mentor
“AMBITION is failing regularly until you get it right.”
Ryan Carmody is the Co-Founder of Lunch Money Creative, a full service creative agency in Los Angeles. Having an established background in both the service and entertainment industries, Ryan packs a one-two punch when it comes to growing businesses. Aside from focusing on for-profit organizations, his heart lies with the empowerment and self-development of children. As the Treasurer on the Board of Directors for Leaps n Bounds, a recreational non-profit focused on enriching the lives of children with developmental disabilities in Los Angeles, Ryan cultivated a passion for grant writing and sourcing funds from private and public entities. Ryan hopes to help abolish the fear of failure in young entrepreneurs and aid them in their journey of becoming ardent leaders in their communities.
Dani Cordaro, CEO and Founder of Piccolo Public Relations
“AMBITION is enthusiasm for the fight.”
Dani founded Piccolo Public Relations in 2012 after several years with a boutique entertainment public relations firm. Prior to public relations, Dani dabbled in finance and even toyed with law school. Unable to feed her creative, bubbly personality, she found what she was willing and excited to fight for in PR. She now has the privilege of working with actors, directors, producers, designers, photographers, make-up artists, products, non-profits, and innovators
Dani holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine.
Julie Thorne Engels, CEO of Tribemint
“AMBITION is the inner drive toward personal excellence. It is the human rocket fuel that provides the initiative and power to reach for the stars and soar to new heights.”
Julie Thorne Engels is a lifelong visionary, strategist and entrepreneur with a passion for employing creativity to drive business and social change. As the CEO of TRIBEMINT, Julie is merging her talents to build a new agency experience that truly believes in the power of creating “tribes” around lifestyle brands in order for them to thrive.
Before starting TRIBEMINT, Julie founded Bettyvision, an online vision board platform empowering women to visualize their dreams and make them a reality with community support. It was through the insights gained from this tech start-up’s Millennial user-base that her team, to include Lindsey Heisser, saw a greater opportunity to help brands build communities through shared vision, culture and engagement.
Julie has a proven track record of bringing creative projects from ideation to execution in a multitude of platforms. In her last tenure agency position, Julie was the SVP, Creative and Strategy at The Regan Group a marketing agency that specializes in consumer activation strategies with measurable results. Some of the following are loyal clients:,ABC Family, ABC Entertainment, FX Networks, California Pizza Kitchen, Anthem WellPoint, USA Network, 8th Continent Soymilk, Brookside Foods, Sun-Maid, AYSO, and Katalyst/Nikon, to just name a few.
James Fenton, Private Banker at First Foundation Bank
“AMBITION is the desire that drives you to be successful; to persevere through opposition in order to reach new heights.”
Jim has more than fifteen years’ experience in banking and finance. His experience allows him to make suitable recommendations to new and existing clients in the areas of real estate loans, deposits, business loans and lines of credit and Trust services. Jim currently works in West Los Angeles and serves those in the entertainment and real estate investment sectors. Over the years, Jim has received numerous awards for both sales and service.
As an active member in his church, Jim enjoys mentoring young men who desire to lead healthy, financially sound lives. Jim is an avid short to mid distance runner, enjoys hiking and gardening, and most of all spending quality time with his wife and four children. Jim regularly volunteers and works for organizations that support education, such as Junior Achievement, PTA Council, the El Segundo Run for Education and others.
Brent Freeman, Founder & CEO of Crosscut Ventures
Serial entrepreneur and seasoned online marketing executive who was an early team member of CPADNA, a division of ad network Dedicated Media, where he cut his teeth on the ins-and-outs of affiliate marketing, direct response customer acquisition, email marketing, ecommerce optimization and data analytics while helping grow the unit into a multi-million dollar division. After his time at Dedicated Media, Brent founded Roozt.com which grew to become a seven figure ecommerce company for social good that was built from the ground up using the fundamentals of direct response customer acquisition, emailing, and affiliate marketing. Roozt was featured in Mashable, Forbes, Huffington Post, PandoDaily, on the Today Show, NBC, ABC and others — with the focus on parlaying all press related traffic into conversions, viral shares and revenue. Brent has written for INC.com on social entrepreneurship and does key note speeches regularly on the topic around the country. In his free time, Brent teaches for-profit, social entrepreneurship to low-income, at-risk high school students in the Los Angeles area.
Jessica Hardesty, Vice President at Carillon Capital
“AMBITION is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
Jessica currently works for Carillon Capital, a boutique investment bank. Prior to joining the Carillon team, Jessica was in business development for Crowdfunder, an equity crowdfunding company. While at Crowdfunder she led a number of initiatives intended to enhance the education of investors within the crowd funding space. Specifically, she led CROWDFUNDxWomen, a vertical of the CROWDFUNDx initiative, which helped propel women-owned businesses by connecting them with investors and funding sources. Before Crowdfunder, she worked as a financial analyst at BCBG MaxAzria Group, a multi-million dollar fashion company. Jessica has always been involved in entrepreneurial endeavors having started her own boutique fashion accessory company, The Brallet, in 2010. Jessica has a Bachelor of Science in Finance, cum laude, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis Real Estate Finance.
“AMBITION means using hard work and talent to succeed. It means striving to be better than what you were the day before.”
He currently consults with a list of clients based the West Coast and is on the board of startups in the domain tech. Justin has a passion in all things tech, hospitality and fashion. His inspiration comes from seeing others succeed and reaching their goals. He is currently the COO of FiveGen, the founder of J Fitzgerald Co. and consulting on tech projects yet to be launched.
Lindsey Heisser, Managing Director at Tribemint
“AMBITION is to See it. Want it. Go after it.”
Lindsey Heisser is the Managing Director of TRIBEMINT specializing in campaign ideation and execution, marketing and communication strategy and technology development. Heisser brings her entrepreneurial spirit and innate curiosity of today’s trends to deliver TRIBEMINT’S clients with fully integrated campaigns turning consumers into brand loyalists.
Prior to joining TRIBEMINT, Heisser was Director of Marketing at The Regan Group, a consumer engagement agency entrenched in entertainment and consumer packaged goods industries. It was during her 5-year tenure at the agency, Lindsey Heisser met, TRIBEMINT’s CEO, Julie Thorne Engels, and together they shaped the company culture and drove the agency’s most profitable years in business.
“AMBITION is the courage to go out into the world and work hard to be the best version of yourself.”
After serving high net-worth individuals and families since 2001 as a lead advisor in the family office space, Jenn is combining her passion and skill set in advising individuals, multi-generational families, and foundations in building strategic philanthropic and impact missions that tie their values and goals to both grants, investments and measuring the impact of both. Building 100% Impact portfolios across all asset classes.
James Kicklighter, Film writer/director, AMBITION Documentary Film Advisor & Mentor
“AMBITION is running relentlessly towards your goals with reckless abandon, heading to a destination definable, yet never attained, constantly aspirational as we aim our sights upon the next level of achievement.”
James Kicklighter is a multi-award winning writer/director whose work has been recognized by leading film publications around the world, including The Hollywood Reporter, The Times of India and FilmInk Australia. Most recently, his film Desires of the Heart was an official selection of the 2014 Cannes Marché du Film and winner of Best Foreign Film at the 2013 Los Angeles Femme Film Festival. He is currently developing several films with a southern voice, including Erk, a biopic about legendary college football coach Erk Russell for producers Richard Saperstein (The Mist, Se7en) and Beau Turpin (Counterpunch) and Escaping Bellview, a coming-of-age film about the transition from childhood to adolescence.
Outside of entertainment production, Kicklighter produced the current ad campaign for the National Student Leadership Conference, profiling the most influential leaders in America, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Co-Chair of the Republican National Committee, Director of Operations for the U.S. Peace Corps, amongst others. He serves on the Advisory Board for the Department of Communication Arts at Georgia Southern University, his alma mater, where he was recently chosen out of over 30,000 living graduates to be listed on the inaugural “40 Under 40 Alumni” for “impact in business, leadership, community, educational and/or philanthropic endeavors.”
David Lewis, Founder of Law Office of David Lewis, AMBITION Legal Advisor & Mentor
“AMBITION is working to fulfill my dreams, not someone else’s.”
A British educated Barrister, David is a fiery addition to the mentoring team with civil and criminal litigation experience in England, including cases in the High Court and the Old Bailey and civil litigation in the Los Angeles Superior Court. After being a partner with a major Los Angeles based national real estate law firm for many years, David began his own firm. Offering big firm experience at boutique firm rates, he specializes in all aspects of real estate transactional work including acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures, secured loans and business entity formation.
Brenda Maben, Costume Designer
“AMBITION is No Guts, No Glory.”
Brenda became interested in Fiber Design at the age of 11. Her first project was a total ensemble, dress, coat, shoes, gloves and hat. Although she did not know how to sew nor did she own a sewing machine, she did not let that stop her. President of her high school sewing club, she was awarded the Bank of America Scholarship. After earning her degree in Textile Design from California State University, Northridge she owned and operated a handwoven clothing business. Brenda later began work in the entertainment industry as a costume designer for television, music videos, commercials and film. Brenda’s credits include Gilmore Girls and Bunheads.
“Give me a lever, and a place to stand, and I shall move the world.” – Archimedes
Heather serves as president of A Caspian Production, a strategic conference creation and execution firm with clients such as the Skoll World Forum, Omidyar Network, Endeavor Global, Code for America and San Diego Zoo. As Founder of SUREFIRE Girls, Heather produced the first ever conference for teen girls which brought together 200 teens from over 45 schools and gathered 26 non-profit organizations to teach life skills. Previously she has worked at Fox 2000 films, Fox TV, Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Olympics, and Charles Schwab. She has served on the San Diego Biomimicry Board and the Social Media Week LA board. She received her bachelor’s from Utah State University where she attended on the President’s Leadership Scholarship, played varsity soccer and received the campus wide honor of Woman of the Year.
Lori Murphree, Finance Professional
“AMBITION is striving for greatness.”
Lori has over 15 years of experience in strategic and financial roles within business, investment banking, and private equity. Currently, Lori acts as a consultant and part-time CFO for several companies in tech, media and consumer industries advising companies on financial planning, strategy and capital raising. Her past experience includes both commercial lending and investment banking roles at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB- Palo Alto, CA & London, UK), Grant Thornton (London, UK) and boutique investment bank, Results International (London, UK). In these roles, she managed both M&A and private capital raise transitions, did analysis and due diligence on several tech and media companies and was responsible for growing both tech and digital media practices, engaging new clients such as Sapient and Velti. After spending 5 years working in London, Lori moved back to the US and became Director at Bacchus Capital Management, a Private Equity Fund that invested in wineries. There, she analyzed and managed new buy-side transactions, built initial financial models for operations and strategy; and acted as Director of Finance for newly acquired wineries.
Lori holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Chico and a Master of Business Administration and International Management from Thunderbird, The Graduate School of Global Management
Deborah “Frankie” Pardes, Writer
“AMBITION is energy. It’s not a crazy wild energy, but a steady rhythm inside of me that plays in concert with what I create, who I love and how I work.”
Deborah has thrived as a creative writing and producing partner, working with both corporate and commercial production teams. She’s worked on branding and marking campaigns in the luxury, education, health, technology, NGO and entertainment sectors. Her expertise lies in transforming complex information and ideas into accessible and memorable marketing tools for clients that include Warner Bros, Danskin, AMD, Smith & Hawken and Hyland’s Homeopathic. She has composed for and recorded 6 albums, and served as executive producer for the Songs Inspired By Literature Project, that featured works by David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Roseanne Cash and Tom Waits. Her work with this project through Artists for Literacy, has been covered by NPR, The New York Times, RollingStone and BillBoard. Educated at Columbia University and Johns Hopkins, Deborah is the co-author of Climbing Out From Under: A Handbook for Heartbreak, due out Spring of 2015. She is also an accomplished facilitator and teacher, through her agency, Brave and Brilliant.
Michael Rogers, Filmmaker, Director, Producer, AMBITION Videographer
“AMBITION is organically emerging authenticity.”
Born into the Los Angeles entertainment industry’s fertile cauldron, Michael consistently brings fresh execution to often complex concepts. A University Of California, Santa Cruz graduate, Michael synergized his childhood passions of making guerilla-style Super-8 short films while transcending into the poetry of musical artists and literary romantics.
Michael’s career in entertainment has spanned film music supervision, production and casting. Michael is presently producing several reality series, including inspiring fitness/wellness pioneer Papa Joe Aviance and STREET OUTLAWS, on classic car restoration artists who challenge other restorers to speed contests throughout the U.S.
Chirag Sagar, CEO of Destination Luxury
“AMBITION is the internal driving force that pushes individuals to accomplish goals and surpass limitations.”
Chirag served as Managing Director for the non-profit organization Moneythink, the largest and only movement of young people working to restore the economic health of America through financial education. Recognized by President Obama as one of the most promising social innovations for young people, Moneythink provides economic opportunity mentoring for teenagers from low-income backgrounds in over 30 communities across the U.S.
Chirag plays an active role in the Chicago community on the World Economic Forum’s Chicago Global Shapers Hub. He’s an advisor to the Los Angeles Moneythink chapters and Foshay Learning Center’s Academy of Finance. His work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, WSJ, Forbes and more.
Besides work, Chirag enjoys pumping iron, jumping out of planes, traveling and cheering for the LA Lakers and USC Trojans. He graduated from the University of Southern California.
“AMBITION is the breath you rely on to breathe life into the person you were truly made to be.”
Born into the fashion industry, Stella grew up in Maple street and Santee Alley with a fascination for open market settings and the personal interactions each seller would provide to their buyers. She learned from experiences working with her mom, one of the first successful fashion wholesalers during the mid-1980s in Los Angles. Stella attended university in Paris and proceeded with an internship with Intimate Apparel in New York City, where her skill sets for fashion were implemented. Throughout her career, she has had experience from wholesale to retail, which is how she developed the understanding for clothing development that she has today.
Her passion led her to open up Well*Made, her first overseas sewing company, in 2009. However, her constant pursuit of high quality fabrics and great communication with the manufacturers led her to seek a company that would assist Well*Made while preserving top quality and maintaining great pricing. A year later, she opened up its sister company, Clothio, which imports and manufactures fashion fabrics from overseas. With both companies, Stella has been able to assist clients in the process of transforming their visions and dreams in their designs into tangible realities. Today, Stella is continuing in her endeavors of finding new companies to suit her growing interests while maintaining strong customer relations. She currently has a event space in the heart of downtown L.A. where she aspires to host speaking engagements and assist designers in their brainstorming processes. She is also in the pursuit of aiding local charities to aid the surrounding community.
Sam Strasser, COO of WeezLabs
“AMBITION is a way of life that is fueled by passion, determination, working hard and all the other definitions that come with that word. I think those who wield true ambition are very hard to come by but often glorified because of the success we all interact with. AMBITION is a choice that is cemented into the foundational essence of a person which never retreats no matter the circumstance.”
Sam Strasser founded & exited 2 successful startups. His most recent one was sold in January 2015. He is currently COO of WeezLabs, where he has been since 2012.
WeezLabs is a technology development company that helps startup define, design and deploy successful mobile focused companies. They also work with later stage startups/enterprise companies scale through ongoing and dedicated development teams.
Sam started out in business by taking a sales job at Vector Marketing where he learned he had a real talent to not only sell but find new and innovative ways to engage customers with existing products. It wasn’t to much longer after that when he discovered the possibilities that technology can bring to every person on the planet. He started creating his first apps which he later sold for a large profit. He knew that he had found his path in business and have been pursuing the technology market ever since.
It took him a while to find what he loves but the road that brought him here taught him invaluable lessons that he uses in his career. At WeezLabs he continues to expand his love for technology while developing new forms of business in unique and creative ways. No day is exactly the same and no project is ever boring. He looks forward to seeing where the Lord will lead him next and who he will connect with along the way.
Specialties: Business Strategy & Development, Startups, Sales, Marketing, Mobile Technology, New Venture Development, P2P, Mobile Commerce and Sharing Economy.
Natalie Thomas, Creative Advertising at 20th Century Fox
“AMBITION is the fuel toward freedom and self-determination. AMBITION is is the inner desire that one authentically strives to fulfill by reaching towards a goal, then finding strength and determination to obtain it.”
Natalie Thomas currently works in creative advertising at 20th Century Fox, handling all music licenses for the domestic theatrical trailers. Over the past few years, Natalie has been an intern for Marie Claire Magazine, celebrity personal assistant, stunt woman, and full time event planner. Even though each job has been comprised of valuable life lessons, insight, and personal growth, she quickly realized her passion simply lies in one thing – giving back.
With a degree in Fashion Merchandising and a strong desire to help others, Cultivation Five was born. Cultivation Five is a T-shirt line that supports non-profits and giving back. $5 from each item sold is donated to Ambition to help the students build a better and brighter future. Since C5 loves nothing more than supporting charities and raising awareness for various issues, the company has launched an initiative called “Cultivating Kind.” Ckind aims to cultivate a national trend of “acts of kindness” by reaching out to peers and promoting awareness of: community needs, ways to help others, and the benefits of giving back.
Alan Zack, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications, Foundation at XPRIZE
“AMBITION is practicing until you perfect the game-winning shot.”
Alan Zack has more than 20 years of experience successfully developing marketing strategies for top entertainment brands within The Walt Disney Company, Mattel, Activision/Blizzard, as well as several startup companies. This experience helps Mr. Zack oversee all marketing, branding and communication efforts for XPRIZE and its competitions. He is responsible for designing and executing customer-facing programs that will generate both awareness and interest.
Prior to joining XPRIZE, Mr. Zack served as Director of Marketing at Encore Software, a subsidiary of Navarre Corporation. During his tenure at Encore, he created and implemented national consumer marketing campaigns for leading software brands such as PC Tools, The Learning Company, Hoyle, Broderbund and H&R Block.
Mr. Zack received a Bachelor of Science in Journalism at University of Oregon and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida.