Mathews Leadership Forum

This forum provides an opportunity for the campus community to engage in meaningful dialogue on an important topic with prominent business and community leaders.


Finding Your Path to Success

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020

5:45-9:00 p.m. in the Lundring Events Center

This evening event begins with networking followed by roundtable discussions where civic, business, and community leaders are paired with Cal Lutheran students and faculty members in order to build relationships and provide mentoring opportunities. The table topic discussions are led by a distinguished group of facilitators. This is followed by dinner and a keynote address or panel discussion.

The committee chooses an interesting and timely topic that fits into a major emphasis of the academic programs. The event is made possible through the generous support of local business and community organizations.

For more information, please click here or contact Robin Fielding in University Relations at 805-493-3084.


2019 Speakers


Melissa (Elam ’95) Baffa

Development Officer, Foundation and Corporate Relations

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History


Melissa Baffa serves as the Development Officer in charge of Foundation and Corporate Relations at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and as an instructor with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at California State University, Channel Islands. Previously, she worked for the Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast as vice president of Program and Volunteer Services, as the executive director of the Gull Wings Children's Museum and of Friends of Channel Coast State Parks. After earning her bachelor’s degree in biology, Baffa taught middle school science in Simi Valley and marine biology in the Upward Bound program based at California Lutheran University, and worked as a research associate at Amgen. 

She is a science communication fellow with the Ocean Exploration Trust, having sailed on the E/V Nautilus in 2015, 2016, and 2018, exploring the deep sea alongside Dr. Robert Ballard and sharing her experience on and through blogs and newspaper articles. An avid nature and outdoors enthusiast, Melissa is also active in her community, serving as the President of the Board of Directors of the Ventura County Leadership Academy, on the Advisory Council for the Ventura Land Trust, and as an advisor to KidSTREAM Children’s Museum. She lives in Ventura with her husband, John, and their two children. 

Kelly Culwell

Kelly Culwell ’95, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Evofem Biosciences


Dr. Kelly Culwell is an obstetrician/gynecologist specializing in women’s health and contraceptive research. She currently serves as chief medical officer for Evofem Biosciences, a San Diego-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to developing and commercializing innovative products to address unmet needs in women’s sexual and reproductive health. After graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, Culwell completed her medical training and residency at the University of California, Davis, and University of California, San Diego, respectively. She earned a Master of Public Health from Northwestern University, where she also completed a fellowship in family planning and contraceptive research. She spent several years living abroad working for global organizations including the International Planned Parenthood Federation in London and the World Health Organization in Geneva. Her current body of work includes the development of global guidelines for clinical practice, provision of clinical care for underserved populations in Southern California, frequent lectures to medical students and healthcare providers, and authoring book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles on women’s health.

Rudy Gonzales

Rudy Gonzales ’97

Government Relations Manager

Southern California Edison


 Rudy Gonzales serves Southern California Edison as the management representative for cities in western Los Angeles County and eastern Ventura County. He began his career with the company over 35 years ago as a meter reader and joined the Local Public Affairs department in 1993. Throughout his career, Gonzales has served on the boards of many non-profit, business and community organizations, including El Concilio Family Services, Ventura County Economic Development Association, Ventura County Leadership Academy, Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, Moorpark Chamber, Calabasas Chamber and the Conejo/Las Virgenes Future Foundation. He is a proud graduate of California Lutheran University, where he earned his B.S. in business management. He also is a graduate of Leadership Southern California Class V and Ventura County Leadership Academy Classes 2 and 24. He received the 2019 Ventura County Leadership Academy Founder’s Award and the Pacific Coast Business Times Latino Business Award. Gonzales resides in Thousand Oaks with his wife, Nathalie, and their teen-age daughters, Emma and Erin.

2019 Facilitators

  • Edgar Aguirre '99, Major Gift Officer, California Lutheran University 
  • Gerhard Apfelthaler, Dean, School of Management, California Lutheran University
  • Melissa Baffa '95, Development Officer, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
  • Jaime Boscarino, Deputy Finance Director, City of Thousand Oaks
  • Deana Colman, Human Resources Director, University Village Thousand Oaks / Oak View
  • Jason Corey, Accountant, Jacobs & Jacobs
  • Kelly Culwell '95, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Evofem Biosciences
  • Jim Friedl, General Manager, Conejo Recreation and Park District
  • Robbie Gluckson, Director of Marketing, Development and Community Outreach, UCLA Health
  • Rudy Gonzales ’97, Government Relations Manager, Southern California Edison
  • Tim Hagel, Chief of Police, City of Thousand Oaks
  • Shawn Howie
  • Deborah Kniss, Certified Residential Specialist, RE/MAX
  • Jill Lederer, CEO, Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Alex McIntyre, City Manager, City of Ventura
  • Tracy Noonan, City Attorney, City of Thousand Oaks
  • Jennifer Strong, Wealth Manager, Montecito Bank & Trust
  • Michael Teasdale, Trustee, Ventura County Board of Education
  • Beth (Dooley, MPPA '15) Ward, Records and Property Management, Oxnard Police Department
  • David Watson, Managing Partner, Oak Asset Management


2019 Sponsors
2019 Photo Gallery

Past Events

Learn about our last event