M3 San Francisco: Speakers
Isisara Bey is VP of Programs & Education for Count Me In, Journey Agent for its live events, retreats and workshops, and is the creator of the CMI Leadership Institute. Prior to joining CMI, she was Vice President of Corporate Affairs for SONY BMG Music Entertainment, managing the company's corporate philanthropy, strategic non-profit relationships and employee enhancement activities. Isisara began her career as a radio personality, television news producer and writer, and received several national and regional media awards for her work.
Experts & Guests
Nationally-syndicated columnist, author, and successful entrepreneur, Rhonda Abrams is passionate about small business and widely recognized as one of the nation’s foremost experts on small business & entrepreneurship. An experienced entrepreneur, Rhonda has started three successful companies. Currently, she is President and Chief Entrepreneur of The Planning Shop, a publishing company creating content for small businesses. Rhonda’s newest book – published in January, 2010 - is Hire Your First Employee: The entrepreneur’s guide to finding, choosing, and leading great people.
Karen Bevels has been cooking professionally for over 30 years. First trained in traditional Chinese cooking, Karen’s original forte was the eclectic food pairings of Shanghai cuisine. Karen began her professional career in the early 1970’s, where, from her kitchen, she created wedding & special event cakes for friends. Popularity developed solely by word-of-mouth and, by the mid 1980’s, Karen had expanded to savory catering and event planning. Karen is a full-service event planner and the caterer of choice for those in-the-know in the Bay Area.
Hilary Blair is the Teaching Artist and Voice Coach with the Denver Center Theatre Company, and has worked with finalists and awardees of the Make Mine a Million $ Business program since its inception. She is an award-winning professional stage and voice actor with over 25 years experience sharing her skills as an actor, drama teacher, voice and public speaking specialist with individuals, organizations and audiences across the country.
Bill Dueesse is the President of The Coach Connection (TCC), which he co-founded in May 2001. Over 96.5 % of TCC’s approximately 1,500 clients have achieved their initial life and career goals by connecting with their personally matched TCC Member Coach. In addition, Bill has successfully bought, started, and sold more than six businesses on two continents during the past 30 years and has helped others do the same as both a business broker and coach.
Robert Gebauer, Senior Vice President of the SBA Division at One California Bank. Robert Gebauer’s true passion is to assist small businesses achieve their dreams by funding their vision for business. He found his vocation early in life: at the age of 6 he was stocking shelves and waiting on customers for his family’s grocery store. In less than 1 year, Robert transformed One California Bank into one of the top 15 SBA lenders in the region, thereby enhancing a diversity of businesses and communities.
Sue Malone is President of Strategies for Small Business and Director of Marketing for Superior Financial Group. Sue’s involvement began in 2002. Since then, Sue has helped fund over 23,000 SBA Community Express loans. In addition, she is the nation’s #1 lender of SBA Patriot Loans and the top lender to women in the country. Her goal is to fund 100,000 small businesses. Sue holds an MBA, married and the mother of three children.
Nell Merlino is Founder and CEO of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources for women to grow their micro businesses into million $ enterprises. She is author of Stepping Out of Line: Lessons for Women Who Want It Their Way in Life, in Love, and at Work. Throughout her career, Nell Merlino has been inspiring millions of people to take action. She is the creative force behind Take Our Daughters to Work Day, which moved more than 71 million Americans to participate in a day dedicated to giving girls the opportunity to dream bigger about their future. Through Count Me In, Nell is now leading a global movement to empower women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to a million dollars and beyond by providing tools, resources, and a supportive community of peers.
Emmy award winning journalist, Valerie Coleman Morris is the former Business Anchor for CNN domestic and international. In her role, she anchored CNN Headline News’ personal finance segment Smart Assets. In March of 2007, Morris made the conscious decision to focus exclusively on financial literacy for women and young adults as an aspect of business and social economics. Morris continues to write and narrate the nationally syndicated radio column which she created in 1986 called With the Family in Mind on CBS Network Radio three times a week.
Robert Morris is an internationalist and Vice President for Business Development and Investor Relations for Living PlanIT, SA. Living PlanIT is a multinational technology company headquartered in Switzerland and is currently building Europe’s first “truly smart city” with its first project underway in Portugal. Morris is also an International subject matter expert on diversity, multiculturalism and emerging markets and provides his services to Global International in 60 countries.
Dr. Tendai Ndoro is CEO of EDC Trainers, LLC – an international development consulting firm founded in 1990 providing management consulting and business capacity-building training to the donor community, public sector and non-profit entities in microenterprise and SME development. She is Co-Founder of SLIPPA (Strategy Leadership Institute in Private & Public Affairs), furthering the academic, governance, research, training and technical assistance in Southern Africa, and fostering strategic partnerships in the Diaspora. She is the CEO of Mushaindoro Holding Company – a property asset management and hospitality services company. In addition she is Regional Director for the Rutgers-Newark Small Business Development Center, an affiliate of the Rutgers University – Rutgers Business School & NJSBDC network in Newark, NJ.
In 1997, Garnett Newcombe established Human Potential Consultants, L.L.C. (HPC) out of the desire to provide additional employment resources for individuals that were unemployed, underemployed or facing extraordinary job challenges such as returning veterans, homeless veterans, dislocated workers, emancipated youth 18 to 21 years old and individuals with background issues. HPC has grown from a very small firm operating at $400,000 to a thriving, fiscally sound organization, currently operating with contracts totaling $18 Million. Dr. Newcombe is a 2006 Make Mine a Million $ Award winner and current Board Member for Count Me In.
Ann Noder is a former television news anchor/reporter whose media and PR experience spans nearly 17 years. Ann graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and spent time as a TV producer and in news radio. For the past 7 years, Ann has been on the front lines of PR, working with small businesses and big brands to generate consistent coverage with nearly every major national media outlet including: The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today Show, CBS Early Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, Better TV, The Rachael Ray Show, The Dr. Phil Show and CNN.
Jed Scala is Vice President & General Manager of OPEN SM Credit Card Products. In this role, Jed is responsible for the Small Business Credit Card Portfolio P&L that includes all proprietary products and all co-brand cards. He is accountable for the business profitability and growth, and oversees strategy, product management & development, marketing, and partnership management. Jed is a member of the Berkshire School Advisory Board, and on the Board of Directors of Count Me In.
Mark Schroeder is senior vice president at M Booth & Associates and director of the firm’s corporate practice. He brings 16 years of policy and public relations experience across industry sectors to his work counseling senior client management on issues of brand positioning, communications strategy and message development and delivery. Mark’s team at MBooth has provided public relations to the finalists and winners of the Make Mine a Million competition since its inception.
Raised in Holland, Saskia Strick initially pursued a career as a fashion model, appearing in such venerable publications as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and starred in Milli Vanilli’s music video, Blame It on the Rain. Strick settled in Los Angeles in 1997, where she was kept busy during her spare time with requests from friends overseas anxious to acquire goods from America. Recognizing the opportunity provided by the demand of international consumers, Strick, a single mother with less than $1500 in the bank, launched International Checkout from her home. The company as ranked No. 61 on the 2009 Inc. 500 list of fastest growing privately held companies in America.
Ken Tarlow has spent the last 35 years helping hundreds of entrepreneurs take their new product ideas from napkin sketch to store shelf. Trained as a professional industrial designer, he was head of design and engineering at Casablanca Fan Company and also worked as a senior project manager for the Stansbury Company, a Beverly Hills industrial design firm. Ken started Tarlow Design LLC in 1984 and has helped design, manufacture or license over 400 products. From this vast experience Ken developed the “Mind To Money System” to help his clients navigate the mind fields of new product development. Ken has appeared on numerous TV talk shows and is regularly featured in local newspapers and magazines. He is listed in “Whose Who of American Inventors” and has won awards for his innovative product designs.
Kat Taylor is active in a variety of social business, public benefit and philanthropic ventures in the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, she focuses on beneficial banking services and food systems through two primary organizations. Kat and her husband, Tom Steyer, are the Founding Directors of One California Bank and Foundation, a triple bottom line Federal Savings Bank in Oakland CA that lends in low-income communities to support local economies and job creation. Kat is also a Founding Director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation dedicated to a return to sustainable food production through ranching, tours, research, and school lunch and garden programs.
Cheryl Walker–Robertson is acertified protocol and etiquette consultant who custom designs corporate workshops in professional etiquette including training in entertaining clients, dining skills, techno etiquette, business meeting protocol, dress for success, business development and professional image enhancement. Her clients, who represent business, government, education, and entertainment, are counseled privately and in groups. She is a contributing writer to various trade and business publications. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Ms. Walker-Robertson has been an executive in the corporate arena in sales and marketing for over 25 years and is a graduate of Saint Augustine’s College in North Carolina.
A 2008 winner of the Make Mine a Million $ Business program, Alexandra Watkins has turned her passion for naming things into a thriving company. Eat My Words is a San Francisco boutique firm known for creating names that generate buzz and revenue. Her highly conceptual “love at first sight” names makes powerful emotional connections, create instant brand affinity, and have proven ROI. Alexandra and her team have generated thousands of evocative names and taglines for clients including Altec Lansing, THX, Dreyer’s, Hasbro, Frito-Lay, InterContinental Hotels Group, Guthy-Renker, Clif Bar, Clorox, The Sydney Opera House, Del Monte, Star-Kist and Stanford University.