Corporate Social Responsibility and Fair Trade
Nov. 2, 2016
Warner Center Marriott, Woodland Hills (Google Maps)
- Michael Bronner - President, Dr. Bronner's
Michael Bronner is president of Dr. Bronner’s, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America and producer of organic body care and food products. Under the leadership of Michael and his brother David, who are fifth-generation soap makers, the brand grew from $4 million in 1998 to just under $100 million in annual revenue in 2015. Dr. Bronner’s was one of the first brands to certify its soaps, lotions and balms under the USDA National Organic Program in 2003. The company coordinates certified Fair Trade projects for all major ingredients, including olive oil from the West Bank and Israel, coconut oil from Sri Lanka and Kenya, peppermint oil from India and palm oil from Ghana. Bronner is primarily responsible for the company’s international expansion and manages business affairs in all markets outside the U.S. After graduating from Brown University with a degree in English, he traveled extensively, studying in Ethiopia and teaching English in Japan for three years. Today, he sits on the San Diego District Export Council and also advocates for many social and environmental justice causes advanced by the company.
The QAD Story
Jan. 24, 2017
The Fess Parker, A Doubletree by Hilton Resort, Santa Barbara (Google Maps)
- Pamela Lopker - President and Chariman, QAD
Pamela Lopker is chairman of the board and president of QAD. After working with various industries developing business software, Pam was drawn to the manufacturing niche and founded the company in 1979. She is responsible for shaping QAD’s vision and strategic direction and is the driving force behind its research and development efforts. In addition to being profiled four times by Forbes magazine, Lopker has been named a Hero of U.S. Manufacturing by Fortune, a Legend of Manufacturing by Manufacturing Systems, a manufacturing visionary by START magazine, and Entrepreneur of the Year for Greater Los Angeles by Ernst & Young. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Entertainment and App Development
March 3, 2017
Ventura Beach Marriott (Google Maps)
- Jeffrey Edell - Chariman and Co-founder, IndieU
- Natalie Edell - Chief Executive Officer and Creator, IndieU
Jeffrey Edell has extensive financial, operational and management expertise focusing on emerging technologies, brand-building and the TV/filmed entertainment arenas. Among other current roles, he is the chairman and co-founder (with his daughter Natalie) of IndieU, a new music technology company. He established Edell Ventures to invest in and provide C-level support services to entities in an array of media and technology fields. He is the CFO of public Cinedigm Entertainment, one of the largest U.S. content creators/distributors across both the physical and digital space. His work at Edell Productions, where he produced the recent indie film Taken For Ransom, follows a high-profile career in film production and international distribution/sales. One of his more notable accomplishments was as chairman of Intermix Media, the parent of social media giant MySpace. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars) and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Emmys). He obtained his B.S. degree in commerce from the University of Virginia, where he participated in varsity basketball, tennis and soccer.
A former tennis prodigy, Natalie Edell is the CEO and Creator (with her father) of IndieU, an online platform that lets independent musicians promote their work to college audiences around the country. As a student at Northwestern University, Edell saw new artists become successful at colleges without major record labels, using the Internet, the Greek system, local radio and other venues to grow their brands. So she decided to aid this process, even as she gained work experience inside the traditional industry. Beyond the website and mobile app that it uses to bring music fans together and distribute content, IndieU boasts a network of student representatives at colleges who offer insight, write reviews and discover artists. The startup operates out of Cal Lutheran’s Center for Entrepreneurship in Westlake Village.
Trends in the Hospitality Industry
May 2, 2017
Lundring Events Center, California Lutheran University (Google Maps)
- Shannon Hillygus - General Manager, Marriott Ventura Beach
- Kristen Karst - Executive Vice President and Co-Owner, AmaWaterways
- Warren Spieker - Managing Partner, Continuing Life retirement communities
Shannon Hillygus’ first job in the hospitality industry was as a dishwasher for a local seafood restaurant. Now with more than 20 years of experience, he has had opportunities to perfect his hospitality skills and travel the country. He is general manager at the Ventura Beach Marriott and joined Brighton Management in 2013. Hillygus has the ability to cultivate long and trusting relationships for great community partnerships. He sits on boards that promote the industry to many constituencies, including high school and college students, and is a Cal Lutheran Hospitality Advisory Committee member. In 2016, he was recognized with a VC Innovates Pathfinder Award for setting the standard for education and workforce collaboration.
Kristen Karst is executive vice president and co-owner of AmaWaterways, which offers high-end river cruises through cities in Europe. A native of Dresden, Germany, she has a degree in the economics of tourism and business management, as well as a Master of Business Administration from the University of Dresden. After working at American Express for eight years, she moved to the United States and entered the river cruise industry. Three years later, she accepted the opportunity to team up with Rudi Schreiner and Jimmy Murphy, co-founding AmaWaterways. Karst’s extensive knowledge of European culture and traditions as well as top-notch customer service enable her to effectively promote European river cruising with travel agents, group leaders and diverse educational and business organizations.
Warren Spieker joined Continuing Life in 2001 and, as Managing Partner, provides general management oversight for the company's operations. Spieker led the successful pre-marketing and initial occupancy efforts at University Village Thousand Oaks and now advises marketing programs at stabilized and startup Continuing Life communities. Prior to joining the retirement community management company, Spieker worked with the investment bank Alex. Brown and Sons. Spieker received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley and his Master of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.