Past Speakers

Veterans: Serving Those Who Served

 March 4, 2016 
Ron Greenwood
Ronald Greenwood

Ron Greenwood is a combat veteran who was wounded in Vietnam and decorated for service on the front lines. Upon returning from his tour of duty, he graduated from college, received his law degree and established a successful law practice with offices in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Walnut Creek. He worked closely with John Lopez, chair of the Association of Service Disabled Veterans, providing counsel pro bono in pursuit of the national legislation for disabled veterans. After the legislation became law, Greenwood and his wife and business partner Lisa opened Global Delivers Logistics. The model service-disabled veteran-owned business (SDVOB) was the first company to receive the John K. Lopez Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award from the California Department of Veterans Affairs. Greenwood is chair of the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, which he and his wife co-founded in 2009. His ongoing contribution to the disabled veteran community includes many years as legal counsel to the California Disabled Veteran Business Alliance and past service as a board member.


Innovation, Progress, Stability: The Yardi Story

January 21, 2016 

Gordon Morrell
Gordon Morrell

As executive vice president, Gordon Morrell protects Yardi Systems’ corporate and fiscal interests and oversees day-to-day operations of the company that has more than 4,000 employees and 35 offices worldwide. He also is deeply involved with nonprofit work, both through the company and on his own time. Yardi actively supports community projects in the arts, sustainability, education for disadvantaged youths, and social services. Morrell reads proposals and works with others to decide which projects to fund. Outside of work, he serves as chair of the Advisory Board of KCLU and works on activities for The Fund for Santa Barbara. He joined Yardi in 1990, following eight years as founder and president of Santa Barbara Softworks, a developer of educational software. Prior to this, he was an assistant professor of counseling psychology and human development at the University of Maine, and director of Childcare Services for Santa Barbara County Schools

Anant Yardi
Anant Yardi

Anant Yardi is president and founder of Yardi Systems. In 1982, Yardi recognized the need for an integrated accounting and property management software for the residential marketplace. As the director of systems development for Burroughs Corp. (now Unisys) and with 14 years of programming experience, Yardi had the background to design such a product. In 1984, “Basic Property Management” was created for the Apple II computer and sold to its first customer, Sabaco Realtors. Since that time, Yardi has directed the company through more than 30 years of steady growth, remaining the president and sole owner as Yardi Systems became a leader in real estate asset and property management solutions. He is recognized as one of the early pioneers in the commercial real estate automation industry, and his company continues to receive industry accolades. In 2004, he was honored with Realcomm’s “Digie” award and inducted into the Multi-Housing News “Hall of Fame.”


The State of Marijuana Legalization in California

November 13, 2015

Ron Brand
Ron Brand

Ron Brand, Esq. is a Shareholder at the Irvine office of Jackson DeMarco Tidus & Peckenpaugh. Brand provides legal advice, guidance and representation to employers in all aspects of labor and employment law, including defense against claims brought by current and former employees. He represents employers in both federal and state courts and before administrative agencies, including the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He also provides preventive advice to clients on a wide variety of human resources and personnel issues and conducts in-house management seminars and training sessions on all aspects of labor and employment law, including anti-harassment prevention training required by California law. Prior to joining JDTP, Brand was a partner at the Irvine offices of a national civil litigation firm and of a national labor and employment law defense firm. Brand is the recipient of an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

Aaron Herzberg
Aaron Herzberg

Aaron Herzberg is a strategist, attorney and entrepreneur specializing in the emerging cannabis industry. He is an equity owner of two soon-to-be-opened licensed dispensaries in Santa Ana, California and a 38,000 square foot municipally licensed cultivation and processing facility currently under construction in Desert Hot Springs, California. He was awarded a cultivation license in Las Vegas, Nevada. Herzberg is a partner at CalCann Holdings, Inc., a California Medical Marijuana holding company where he and his partners are building a portfolio of licensed medical marijuana businesses in Southern California. Herzberg has risen over $5 million in investment capital in these projects since January 2015. He was selected in 2015 as a Super Lawyer, a distinction that is limited to the top 5 percent of lawyers nationwide. He is the recipient of an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell.


Philanthropic Foundations

September 25, 2015

Vanessa Bechtel
Vanessa Bechtel

Vanessa Bechtel is president and chief executive officer of the Ventura County Community Foundation where she oversees $137 million in charitable assets. She manages a scholarship program that awarded $1.2 million to local students in 2014 and about 600 funds that grant some $4 million a year to local nonprofit organizations.She is committed to growing the Center for Nonprofit Leadership, which trained volunteers and others from nearly 830 nonprofit groups in 2014. Prior to her work with VCCF, Bechtel served as executive director of the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College, one of the most highly regarded community college foundations in the nation. She co-founded the boutique financial planning firm Monarch Wealth Strategies in 2008 and was honored as Business Woman of the Year by the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce in 2010.

Eduardo Cetlin
Eduardo Cetlin

As president of the Amgen Foundation, Eduardo Cetlin is responsible for setting the global strategic direction of the foundation and overseeing a suite of programs that support the mission of advancing excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and for strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. He has co-led the building and management of Amgen corporate philanthropy since joining the foundation in 2005. He was named president in September 2014. To date, Amgen has contributed over $100 million to support STEM programs, including providing hands-on science opportunities to more than 750,000 students globally. Cetlin also serves as director of Corporate Affairs for Amgen Inc. with responsibility for managing patient assistance programs, which provide qualifying patients with access to Amgen’s medicines. Before joining the foundation, he worked at Amgen and General Electric in various corporate finance roles.

Steve Hilton
Steve Hilton

Steve Hilton is chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation where he oversees the worldwide humanitarian work of the organization established by his grandfather in 1944. The foundation’s current assets are in excess of $2.5 billion and current annual giving is approximately $100 million. Hilton joined the foundation's grant-making department in 1983 and in 1989 was named vice president of programs and elected to the board of directors. He was named president in 1998. His responsibilities expanded to include the role of CEO in 2005 and chairman in 2012. He has been instrumental in implementing foundation strategies addressing water, homelessness and blindness as well as establishing programs to develop leadership skills of Catholic Sisters and educate younger Hilton family members about philanthropy.

Dena Jenson
Dena Jenson

Dena Jenson is former vice president and director of the Ventura County Community Foundation’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership. Under her strategic leadership and oversight, the center hosted workshops, seminars and networking events each year serving more than 800 organizations. Prior to joining the VCCF team in 2005, Jenson served as program and public policy director at the Perinatal Advisory Council in Los Angeles and as program director for the Los Angeles County Department of Health. She currently serves as a guest lecturer at Pepperdine University and California Lutheran University, fostering intergenerational learning between students and nonprofit professionals. She has served on the California Association of Nonprofits board of directors and is a past chair of the local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.


2014-2015 Series

Ted Craver

Theodore (Ted) F. Craver, Jr.

Craver earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations and his MBA from the University of Southern California. He spent four years with Bankers Trust Company of New York and seven years with Security Pacific National Bank in various capital markets sales and trading capacities. In 10 years at First Interstate Bancorp, he served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of the wholesale banking subsidiary and then as executive vice president and corporate treasurer. Craver joined Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, as executive vice president in 1996, and later held the position of chief financial officer and treasurer. He was chairman, president and chief executive officer of Edison Mission Group for three years starting in 2005. In 2008, he was elected president of Edison International and, later that year, chairman and chief executive officer. Craver is on the board and serves as chairman of the Edison Electric Institute, and is on the board of the Electric Power Research Institute. He is a member of the Business Roundtable and serves on the Board of Directors of Health Net, Inc. Craver is also on the Board of Trustees of the Autry National Center and the California Board of Trustees of The Nature Conservancy.

Lynn Maulhardt

Lynn E. Maulhardt

Lynn E. Maulhardt serves as the president of the Board of Directors for the United Water Conservation District, where he represents Division 4, northeast of Oxnard. His family has been farming since 1869, and he is a managing partner of a Ventura County farm. Maulhardt is active in community water activities and has served as chairman of Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency since 1987. He received a B.S. in physics from Loyola University in Los Angeles and an M.A. in management and human relations from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a Vietnam War veteran and a retired commercial airline pilot. Maulhardt has been a member of the UWCD Board since 1985 and had a previous tenure as president.

Susan Mulligan

Susan B. Mulligan

A native of Southern California, Mulligan earned her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Stanford University and master’s degree in business administration from UCLA. She is a registered professional engineer in the field of civil engineering and a Grade 5 water treatment plant operator. Mulligan began her career at the Pasadena Water and Power Department in 1984, working in water quality and supply. She started with the Calleguas Municipal Water District in 1993 as manager of engineering, with responsibility for design and construction of capital projects. In 2010, she assumed the position of general manager, with the goal of providing water reliability in an economically responsible manner.

Robert Saperstein

Robert Saperstein

Rob Saperstein is co-chair of the Natural Resources Department at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP and serves as office managing partner for the firm in Santa Barbara, Sacramento, San Diego and Orange County. His practice focuses on water law and related environmental issues, primarily representing public entities’ potable water and recycled water suppliers. He appears before local agencies, the California State Water Resources Control Board, various regional water quality control boards, the California Public Utilities Commission and state and federal courts. His wide-ranging experience beyond litigation includes the negotiation of sales of water systems, leases of facilities, and potable water and recycled water supply agreements, and the drafting of ordinances for municipalities.

Edgar Terry

Edgar A. Terry

Edgar Terry is president and CFO of his family company, Terry Farms Inc., which produces vegetable and strawberry crops on 1,800 acres at multiple sites in Ventura County. He is also a senior adjunct professor at Cal Lutheran, where he teaches finance in the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals and MBA programs. Terry graduated from Cal Lutheran in 1981 and earned an MBA from the university in 1983.

Ronald Werft

Ronald C. Werft

A graduate of the University of California, San Diego, Werft holds a master’s degree in hospital and health care administration from the University of Minnesota. He worked at the St. Thomas Health District in London for a year and rose to associate director at the University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinic in Minneapolis, a 586-bed university teaching hospital. He joined Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in 1987 as executive vice president and chief operating officer and was promoted in 2000 to president and chief executive officer of the Cottage Health System. The three-hospital, not-for-profit system provides acute inpatient, outpatient, and emergency care to residents of Central Coast. Werft serves on the boards of United Way of Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara Partners in Education, and Fighting Back. He is past chair of the California Hospital Association and the Hospital Association of Southern California, and serves on the board of Voluntary Hospitals of America West Coast. He and his wife, Mary, have three children.

Tom Vozzo

Tom Vozzo

Thomas Vozzo, as a global business executive in the service, retail and distribution industries, has been known for innovative ideas and strong execution, constantly exceeding earnings targets even during challenging economic times. Recently, Vozzo left the private sector to take on the role of chief executive officer at the Los Angeles nonprofit Homeboy Industries, which was founded 25 years ago by Greg Boyle, a Jesuit priest. Using his experience in leadership, marketing and sales, Vozzo is working to guide Homeboy’s social service programs and eight social enterprises on a three-year strategic plan and to build a foundation for Homeboy to thrive for another 25 years. Prior to Homeboy, he served Aramark, a $13 billion dollar corporation, as president of the uniform and career apparel group and, later, executive vice president. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Delaware and a master’s in mathematical science/engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. He is a member of the advisory board for the Salvation Army’s Southern California division and has served on executive committees of a number of industry-related boards.

Deborah Sweeney

Deborah Sweeney

As CEO of MyCorporation Business Services Inc., Deborah Sweeney is an advocate for protecting personal and business assets for business owners and entrepreneurs. She has been involved in the formation of hundreds of thousands of businesses for MyCorporation.com’s customers. Sweeney, who received her J.D. & MBA degrees from Pepperdine University, is active in the community and loves working with students and aspiring entrepreneurs. She serves on the Board of Regents at California Lutheran University and is a founding member of Partners of Pepperdine. She has served as an adjunct professor at the University of West Los Angeles and San Fernando School of Law in the areas of corporate and intellectual property law. She is a regular contributor on Forbes, American Express, Business.com and Business Insider, among many other publications and blogs. And she enjoys spending free time with her husband and two sons.

Tor Sweeney

Tor Sweeney

Tor Sweeney is the CEO of dresses.com, an online clothing company. He founded the company in 1999 immediately after graduating from law school at Pepperdine University. His goal was to use his legal knowledge and business acumen to start a store that could sell clothing domestically and internationally. The thriving company has an exclusively online presence, and all clothing sold from the website is manufactured and shipped from the factory in the San Fernando Valley. Thanks to the flexibility he enjoys as a business owner, Sweeney also spends much of his time managing a soccer club for his two sons.

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