Paths to Professionalism

Thursday, April 5, 2018Paths

7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Lundring Events Center

Join a distinguished panel of professionals to learn about what defines you as a professional, challenges of the business environment, and first impressions.

If you are approaching graduation, this is a must-attend event, but all students are welcome. Get involved, interact with our panelists and engage with one another! Find your path to career success.

The April 5th event runs from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. 
(See the agenda below.)

Continental Breakfast will be available. 
Business casual attire is required.




Discussions on topics such as:

  • What defines you as a professional?
  • Challenges in the business environment
  • First impressions - What makes a candidate appear suitable or not?

Distinguished speakers panel includes: 

Grace Martinez Portrait
Grace Martinez, MBA

Deputy of Operations for Advanced Electronic Warfare Technologies, Naval Air Warfare Center, Pt. Mugu


Grace Martinez first gained national visibility at the age of 30 when she had successfully advanced her federal career in less than eight years of service from an entry-level to a high-grade level position. The Naval Command EEO Officer where Grace worked identified this as not only an unusually fast grade progression (even among engineering professionals), but also an unprecedented achievement for a minority female in the federal government. Subsequently, Grace was urged to assist her Command in developing and leading career planning and development workshops. Since then, in addition to successfully performing her professional career responsibilities as an engineer, supervisor, manager and leader, Grace has trained hundreds of people locally and abroad from diverse backgrounds and in various stages of their lives on goal setting and career planning/development.

Grace was the cover story in the Hispanic Times Magazine, has been featured in the Hispanic Engineer and various other professional magazines. Grace has also received numerous awards for her outreach efforts, support of Special Emphasis Programs, EEO Program contributions, and service to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Civilian Human Resources.

Grace has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from Trinity University, San Antonio, TX and a Master of Business Administration Degree from Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA.  During her federal career as a supervisory electronics engineer at Point Mugu, Grace has been a continuous learner, graduating from a Command management development program, a DoD executive leadership program, and the Ventura County Leadership Academy.

Alan Cohen Portrait
Alan Cohen, MBA

Chief Marketing Officer, Consultant


Alan Cohen has been a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for over 20 years. He has led iconic brands including Jim Beam, Westfield Malls, Napster and Otterbox, helping each company achieve record revenues and profitability. Most recently Alan have been involved in early stage companies, including Lifeproof and Titan Platform. He has led all of the marketing functions, including brand strategy, digital, shopper marketing, PR and marcomms. He is currently an adjunct teaching BUS 431 and MBA533 at the university.  

Payal Kamdar Portrait
Payal Kamdar, GISP, PMP, OCP, Six Sigma Green Belt, CSM

CEO and Founder, VSolvit, LLC


Payal Kamdar founded VSolvit (pronounced: “We Solve it”) in 2006 as a technology services company focused on the Federal Government. VSolvit is a successful 8(a)/SDB, 8(m)/WOSB, HUBZone company with various Government customers. VSolvit’s expertise in Data Analytics, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, Facilities Management, Geographic Information Systems, and Application Development has been recognized at a national level. Payal measures her success by two criteria: how well VSolvit serves its customers and community, and how well VSolvit enables its team members to elevate their performance.

Payal is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program. She has participated in the Port Hueneme Industry Council Partnership, LA Regional Small Business Development Center Board, and served as Vice President of the Channel Island AUVSI Chapter. Payal believes in “Made in USA, Stays in USA”; 100 percent of VSolvit staff works or lives within the US. Payal is a role model for her two daughters and mentors select businesses for future growth.


7:30 a.m. - Continental Breakfast
7:45 a.m. - Convocation
7:50 a.m. - Welcome
8:00 a.m. - Introduction to Panel Speakers
8:20 a.m. - Panel Question and Answer
8:55 a.m. - Conclusion and Adjournment


Watch 2016 and 2017 Paths to Professionalism events

2017 Panelists
  • Primo Custodio -  Vice President, Human Resources, Operations and Technical Services (rt. 2016), NBCUniversal
  • Cynthia Kiefer -  President and founder,
  • Jim Howard -  Managing partner and founder, Progression REI


2016 Panelists
  • Susan Smuck, Human Resources Professional and Chair of Cal Lutheran Board of Regents
  • Sabina Shaikh, V.P. Worldwide Strategic Alliances, Salesforce
  • Sue Coakley, Marketing Leader, Acquisition & Retention, Symantec Corp.