School of Management

Forward Together

Entrepreneur Speaker Series

We've Gone Virtual!

Even though we've had to go virtual, it's still an opportunity for entrepreneurs and people who have an entrepreneurial mindset to network with each other, and learn from other experienced entrepreneurs.

Hosted by the Cal Lutheran Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the monthly Speaker Series is a forum where like-minded and passionate people come together to share their ideas and build relationships. The community is filled with great connections and individuals who are enthusiastic about entrepreneurship and helping new businesses get their start.

The events will begin with the keynote speaker(s), followed by audience Q&A. These are held in a Zoom Meeting format (NOT a webinar). There will be networking before and after the speakers, so you will have the opportunity to meet our guest speakers and other participants! 

Please join us for an upcoming event, or watch and learn from the recorded speaker keynotes available in our YouTube channel playlist.

2020-2021 Speaker Series

Johnny Fayad Headshot
NEXT: Wednesday, December 9, 2020

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM (ZOOM Meeting)

Guest Speaker: Johnny FayadCEO & Co-Founder of  Eat Your Coffee

Eat Your Coffee began when founders Johnny Fayad and Ali Kothari, then freshmen at Northeastern University, were tired of waking up late for their 8AM classes without the time for breakfast or, more importantly, coffee. They quickly asked themselves, “Why can’t we just eat our coffee?” The answer? Eat Your Coffee - the first organic, vegan, and gluten-free energy bar infused with a full cup of real coffee (no synthetic caffeine). There are currently three delicious Eat Your Coffee Bar flavors including Mocha Latte, Coconut Mocha, and Caramel Macchiato and are available on Amazon, and at over 1000 retail locations throughout the U.S. 


Speaker Bio
Coming Soon





Haley Pavone Headshot

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

How Discomfort Drives You Forward; Solving Pain Points & Finding Resiliency in Entrepreneurship

Guest Speaker: Hayley Pavone, Founder and CEO of Passion Footwear



We are excited to have invited the founder of Pashion Footwear, Haley Pavone, who created the world’s first fully convertible high heels and an accompanying brand that strives to empower women, one step at a time. 

In this event, Haley shared how she turned a personal pain point into a successful product and business while being a full-time college student. Pashion Footwear’s patented convertible heel technology allows for quick and easy transformation from a comfortable and stylish high heel to a flexible and practical flat. Haley also shared how she created this “impossible” product and the corresponding supply chain and disrupted a highly competitive, male-dominated space with very little disruption historically. Finally, Haley discussed the realities of entrepreneurship, smashing the “highlight reel” mentality with a dose of realness and resilience.

About the Speaker

Haley Pavone (Founder & CEO at Pashion Footwear) is an entrepreneur whose ambition & passion for innovation led her to create the largest disruptive advancement women’s footwear has ever seen – the world’s first fully convertible heel. She has invented, developed, and brought to production what was once thought to be an “impossible” shoe…and she’s done it all by 24, and with no background in footwear.

Pavone founded the company as a junior in college and in the 4 years since she has developed her innovative & massively disruptive product’s technology, built out an all-star team of hustlers & shoe dogs, secured patent-pending status in 30 countries, built out and trained a full supply chain on a completely new production method, executed the first six rounds of production with phenomenal customer satisfaction ratings, developed & launched a comprehensive eCommerce site/model/funnel and raised over $2.5 million dollars in seed funding. Hard-working & efficient, Pavone built the company while still graduating on-time with her Business Entrepreneurship degree from California Polytechnic State University, SLO.

Pashion Footwear formally launched online in June of 2019. Since launching, Pavone has managed to lead her team to greatness in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic – posting 80% growth Q2/Q1 of 2020. The company has hosted over 1.8 million site visitors as brand awareness continues to skyrocket under Pavone’s guidance.

Pavone’s true talent comes from her ability to rally people behind her vision. A charismatic & persuasive public speaker, Pavone has become both the visionary and face behind this up-and-coming fashion tech brand. Her wins at several startup competitions as well as appearances on a variety of TV shows, radio shows and in print publications have earned her a reputation as an exciting and effective company spokesperson.

Pashion Footwear formally launched online in June of 2019. For more information, please visit:

ESS Packform Founders
Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Disrupting the Industry Technology Left Behind

Preston Geeting (Cal Lutheran Alumnus '02) and Philip WeinmanCofounders, Packform



We invite the cofounders of Packform, Philip Weinman and Preston Geeting (Cal Lu Alumnus ’02), who created an online marketplace that is revolutionizing the distribution industry.

In this moderated event, Weinman and Geeting shared how they developed and successfully implemented technology in an industry left behind by technology. Packform was designed to change and disrupt the current landscape by consolidating all suppliers and customers into a single marketplace with the distributors forming part of the supply chain, rather than controlling it. Within 12 months, Packform took the industry heavyweight competitors head on with a superior business model and scaled the business to become the Global Technology Startup of the Year. Weinman and Geeting also shared their ultimate vision of creating a marketplace that changes how distribution is done for all products, not just packaging.

Preston Geeting is the co-founder and director of Packform and a Cal Lutheran Alumnus from the Business Administration program '02. Preston began his packaging career as a sales representative, working his way to the top, which helped him understand all parts of the business and industry of packaging.

Philip Weinman is a self-made businessman and entrepreneur with an impressive track record in starting and developing his own companies as well as investing in start-ups. He has led the way in disruptive innovation for more than 30 years across a wide range of industries.

ESS Cara Armstrong Portrait
Wednesday, Sept 23, 2020

Mother of Invention: Finding Opportunity in Life's Everyday Challenges

Cara Armstrong,  CEO, founder and inventor, Baby Barista



We kick off Women Entrepreneurship Week 2020 with Cara Armstrong, CEO, founder and inventor of Baby Barista, a Nespresso-like machine that makes the perfect bottle in under 30 seconds, and an accompanying ecosystem that revolutionizes the infant formula feeding experience.

Cara Armstrong is the CEO, founder and inventor of Baby Barista, a Nespresso-like machine that makes the perfect bottle in under 30 seconds, and an accompanying eco-system that revolutionizes the infant formula feeding experience. She is a Certified Emergency Room Registered Nurse who spent 12 years working at Providence-Cedars Sinai hospital in Tarzana, California. During her career as a nurse, she was the recipient of many awards including the “Mission Spirit” award and the “Hospital Hero” award sponsored by the National Health Foundation. As the inventor of the Baby Barista machine, Cara holds 3 published patents. Baby Barista was named one of California's Top 10 Design innovations on the CBS show California by Design in July of 2020 and has been featured in Fast Company Magazine and USA Today. It won the Audience Choice Award at Angelcon, an event sponsored by Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo this summer.

Cara loves being a mom to her three kids Amber, Jack and Mia. Her youngest daughter Mia, born with Down Syndrome, has inspired her to be a passionate disability advocate who believes in the dignity of every human life. She has had the opportunity to share the importance of acceptance and inclusion with the world in unique ways. In 2018, Cara was honored on ABC television’s “The View” for being a “fearless mom”. She has appeared beside Mia (a SAG-Aftra actress) in campaigns for Walmart, Tommy Hilfiger, Teleflora, Samsung, Cheerios and Baby Born. Cara is a contributing author to the children’s book “Down on Safari” (part of the Super Captain Braveman book series) which won the Mother’s Choice Award in 2019. The book explains Down Syndrome in an age appropriate way to elementary school children. Cara enjoys spending time with her family and friends, taking long walks, gardening, cooking, traveling and practicing hot yoga. She lives in Simi Valley with her husband Jack and her two youngest children. evolved into the creation of a leading international brand with hundreds of employees and millions of customers.

2019-2020 Speaker Series


Susan Wolf and Marcus Tyle Headshots
Monday, April 27, 2020

Music and Technology - An entrepreneurial journey

Susan Wolf and Marcus Ryle, Co-founders, Line 6



Susan Wolf and Marcus Ryle are the co-founders of Line 6, a company that makes musical instrument technology products for guitarists. Their journey began with a shared love of music and evolved into the creation of a leading international brand with hundreds of employees and millions of customers.

In this video you will learn:

  • How they transitioned from consultants to entrepreneurs
  • How they built a company culture that fostered innovation
  • The pros and cons of venture funding
  • How to truly listen to customers
  • Acquisition of additional brands and technology
  • How they sold their company to Yamaha Corporation
The Boiling Crab logo
February 5, 2020

Mixing crawfish and cajun in building a franchise

Dada Ngo
Co-founder and Owner, The Boiling Crab



Dada Ngo, co-founder of the very popular restaurant franchise, The Boiling Crab spoke.. Earlier in our Entrepreneur Speaker Series we learned from the franchisee perspective, now we learned from a franchisers' experience about....

  • How they built The Boiling Crab from startup to franchise
  • What were the challenges and how were they overcome
  • Lessons learned along the way
  • What advice, she has to give from their years of building a franchise


About Dada

Sinh Nguyen, a fisherman by trade from Seadrift, Texas met with Dada Ngo of Kansas, back in 1995. With a love for Cajun seafood boil, the couple founded The Boiling Crab in 2004. Their first location in the heart of Orange County’s Little Saigon, was decorated with kitschy fake anchors, fishing nets, photos of Mr. Nguyen’s family, who were crabbers and shrimpers for generations in Vietnam. After 15 years, The Boiling Crab has expanded to more than 21 locations across the US including California, Texas, Nevada, Hawaii and Florida. With locations in Shanghai and Manila, 2020 is marked as the year that The Boiling Crab begins to share its secret flavorful sauce, The Whole Shabang®, to the world.

Ben Kuo Portrait
December 4, 2019

Startups: The Year That Was and The Year That's Ahead

Ben Kuo
Editor and Founder,


Ben Kuo, editor and founder of gives his annual talk on "Startups: The year that was and the year that's ahead".

Steven Richardson
November 6, 2019

We didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich.

Steven Richardson and Josh Young
Owner/Operators, Chick-fil-A Westlake Village



Josh Young and Steven Richardson are the Conejo Valley’s Chick-fil-A Owner/Operators with combined 30+ years of restaurant leadership and hospitality experience. In their talk titled, “We didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich,” Josh and Steven will explore Chick-fil-A’s entrepreneurial history, the role as an Owner/Operators, and leading, in part, of the 3rd largest U.S. restaurant chain.


People are always asking us questions about our history, food, customer service, community involvement, and even our famous cows. These are some of the cornerstones for Chick-fil-A that help us provide our guests with remarkable experiences each time they choose to dine with us. Our hope is that you’ll be able to take some of these principles back with you.

Steven Richardson
Flossie Hall
October 9, 2019

Active Duty: The Inspiring Entrepreneurial Journey of a Military Spouse

Flossie Hall
Founder, Healthy Momma



Flossie is an accomplished entrepreneur specializing in e-commerce, marketing strategy, business development, growth of operations, and sales. She generated over 7-figure revenues within the first year of launching her meal prep and delivery company Healthy Momma in 2015. She went on to create over 100 Military Spouse jobs, donate over 10k meals to homeless Veterans and mentored numerous individuals.

Flossie is now known in her role for National Military Spouse advocacy and public speaking across local and national avenues such as Fox News, NBC, CBS, PBS and was invited to the White House in December 2018 on behalf of her advocacy efforts. In 2018 Flossie served for a short period on a startup called Fokcus where she was acting Chief Marketing and Development Officer. Fokcus is an accelerator, that also offers a technology platform for startup mentoring along with software solutions.

Flossie served as the National Director of Project Initiatives at The Rosie Network, which guides military spouse and veteran entrepreneurship through curriculum, education and mentoring. She helped spearhead the Nonprofits growth from a single location to seven cities in a single year projecting to serve a thousand Military Spouses and Veterans annually.

Flossie’s most recent venture, Association of Military Spouse Entrepreneurs (AMSE) connects Military Spouse impact advocates, entrepreneurs, and freelancers with organizations who want to make an impact with their products and services and create brand awareness in the military community.

Flossie serves as a pillar in her community mentoring for numerous organizations such as SEAL Team Threes Family Readiness Group, Team RWB, Girls in Tech, Bunker Labs, various Universities and Businesses, serving as a Startup Weekend Organizer and volunteering her time for many other national community organizations and Non-Profits.

September 4, 2019

The Journey of a Serial Cereal Entrepreneur

Paul Shrater
Co-founder and COO, Minimus /



Entrepreneur Paul Shrater is currently an owner or co-owner of 6 companies and several divisions in the areas of e-commerce, third party logistics, contract packaging in food and beauty, promotional products, foodservice distribution, private equity, compostable tableware, and supplements. His 15 year old company,, is ranked in the top 1000 highest grossing e-commerce businesses in the United States. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Shrater was a film and television producer and writer, working with major studios and networks, including selling a screenplay for over $1 million.  He is a graduate of the acclaimed Wharton School of Business, a speaker at national conferences in the areas of e-commerce, and has appeared in numerous national television and print media.

Past Series

Watch All Past Speaker Keynotes

2018-2019 Speakers