Urbane Cafe CEO to speak at Cal Lutheran

The alumnus will discuss his career path with students

Tom Holt, who earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with departmental honors in 1995, opened Urbane Cafe in his hometown of Ventura in 2003. 

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Oct. 9, 2018) The founder of Urbane Cafe and two other California Lutheran University alumni will share their paths to success at an event designed to help students connect with business leaders.

The Mathews Leadership Forum will be held from 5:45 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in Lundring Events Center on the Thousand Oaks campus. The annual event organized by the Cal Lutheran Community Leaders Association builds relationships between students and employers and provides mentoring opportunities.

A panel discussion will feature alumni Tom Holt, president and CEO of Urbane Cafe; Emily Barany, the owner of Visionality; and Marisol Rodriguez, a Ventura County Fire Department captain. Mike Panesis, executive director of Cal Lutheran’s Center for Entrepreneurship, will moderate.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with departmental honors in 1995, Holt opened Juice Stop in Camarillo and expanded into three more locations. In 2002, he sold his juice bars to Robeks. Seeing a niche for healthy sandwiches and salads centered around bread baked on site, Holt opened Urbane Cafe in his hometown of Ventura the next year. In 2017, Panda Restaurant Group announced it was investing in Urbane Cafe to help with expansion. Recent openings in Bakersfield, Pasadena and Santa Maria have brought the total to 16 locations.

Barany graduated in 2007 with bachelor’s degrees in communication and German and a minor in philosophy. Four years later, she started Ventura-based Visionality, which runs business operations for nonprofits to allow staff members and volunteers to focus on the organizational missions. As the Thomas Fire raged, Barany leveraged her connections to launch an online platform where survivors of the fire and the subsequent Montecito mudslide could find help. 

Rodriguez is a double alumna, having earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1994 and a master’s degree in public administration in 2000. She has worked her way through the ranks of the Ventura County Fire Department for 23 years. Her current responsibilities include running fire academy programs, acting as a public information officer and serving as the on-call safety officer.

The speakers and other business and community leaders will be matched with students for roundtable discussions on the theme “Finding Your Path to Success.” 

Former Cal Lutheran President Mark Mathews started the forum as a classroom seminar in 1970.  

Tickets for business and community leaders are $55. Sponsorships are also available. Reservations can be made at CalLutheran.edu/cla. For more information, contact the University Relations office at 805-493-3151.