Startup Monterey Bay Launchpad Mentors

Dr. John Avella

Executive Director
Sustainable Hospitality
Management Program at
Cal State Monterey Bay
35 years Senior Executive in the Hospitality industry- VP for Marriott Corp, Senior Executive Food Service at Salt Lake City Olympics. Executive Director of Sustainable Hospitality program CSUMB (Created the program, the only one like it in the US). Doctorate from Columbia University.

Executive coach for many senior managers. International speaker on application of Emotional Intelligence to Leadership and Guest service. Master trainer for the EQi, emotional intelligence assessment instrument.

Areas of Expertise

Hospitality/ Food and Beverage, Main Street/ Local Business

Dr. Brad Barbeau

Executive Director
Institute for Innovation
and Economic Development
Cal State Monterey Bay
Professor of Entrepreneurship at the CSU Monterey Bay College of Business and Executive Director of the CSUMB Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development (iiED). He teaches courses in entrepreneurship and new venture formation and finance. As Executive Director for the iiED, he devotes his efforts to building the entrepreneurial ecosystem and developing and accelerating entrepreneurial ventures in the region.

Areas of Expertise

Social business/ Non-profit, Economic Development. Accounting/ Finance/ Financial Modeling, Business Modeling, Growth, Pitch Training, Startup Business Strategy, Venture Funding, pre-revenue, Venture Funding

Areas of Expertise

Business Modeling (Business Model/ Lean/ Value Prop Canvases), Growth (user/ customer acquisition/ sales/ scalability), People Management (founding team issues/ culture/ hiring), Software Development, Startup/ Early Stage Business Strategy

Shyam Kamath

Founding Dean
College of Business at
Cal State University
Monterey Bay
Shyam Kamath, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized scholar and educator who has gained recognition as a global innovator and expert in the area of community development, experiential learning, and business program innovation. His distinguished career has also focused on building programs and institutions that benefit those who are underserved and underrepresented while focusing on economic opportunity and human excellence.
He is the founding Dean of the College of Business at CSU, Monterey Bay and has held academic and administrative positions at leading universities in the U.S., Canada, Asia, and Europe. He is the recipient of numerous teaching and research awards including the Distinguished North American Lasallian Educator of the Year in 2012, the prestigious Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education and multiple outstanding professor and educator awards. He teaches classes in international business, global management, and economics.

Areas of Expertise

Accounting/ Finance/ Financial Modeling, Business Modeling, Growth, Marketing, People Management, Pitch Training, Startup/ Early Stage Business Strategy

Lorri Koster

Koster Communications
Lorri A. Koster is the former Chairman and CEO of Mann Packing Company; a grower, shipper, processor of fresh vegetables headquartered in California’s Salinas Valley. In February of 2018, Koster finalized the sale of Mann Packing to Del Monte Fresh Produce, NA. Koster has since resumed her role as principal of Koster Communications, a marketing and public relations consultancy. She also remains the editorial director of Coastal Grower magazine.

Lorri has a Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations with a minor in business marketing from California State University, Chico. A ‚ÄúForty Niner Faithful,‚ÄĚ she resides in Salinas with her husband Tom and has two sons, Jack and Sam.

Areas of Expertise

Agriculture/ Ag-Tech, Food Manufacturing, Media/ Entertainment

Jenny Kuan

Associate Director
Institute for Innovation and
Economic Development at
Cal State Monterey Bay
Jenny Kuan is a member of the CSU Monterey Bay Entrepreneurship and Economics faculty, with a PhD from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. She studies public funding of R&D, the history of venture capital, nonprofit organizations, and platform strategy.

Prior to CSUMB, Jenny was a researcher at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. She also has a background in technology, with a decade of experience as an engineer in manufacturing at such Silicon Valley companies as Apple and Solectron. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.

Areas of Expertise

Software/ IT

Areas of Expertise

E-Commerce, Software/ IT

Areas of Expertise

Agriculture/ Ag-Tech, Cybersecurity, Hardware, IOT/ Wearables/ Sensors, Main Street/ Local Business, Med-tech, Retail/ Wholesale/ Product, Social business/ Non-profit, Software/ IT, video applications

Areas of Expertise

Agriculture/ Ag-Tech, E-Commerce, Hospitality/ Food and Beverage, IOT/ Wearables/ Sensors, Main Street/ Local Business, Media/ Entertainment, Retail/ Wholesale/ Product, Social Business/ Non-profit

Heiko Wieland

Associate Professor
California State University
Monterey Bay
Dr. Heiko Wieland is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the California State University Monterey Bay. He is a prolific researcher in the area of socio-technical innovation processes, market formation, professional selling, and value creation.

Dr. Wieland has published scholarly work in the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Industrial Marketing Management, and other top-ranked journals.

He was awarded the 2018 Shelby D. Hunt/Harold H. Maynard Award for his significant contributions to marketing theory. Prior to his academic career, Dr. Wieland held various managerial positions in sales and marketing in the technology industry.

Areas of Expertise

E-Commerce, Hardware, Retail/ Wholesale/ Product, Software/ IT

Mary Jo Zenk

Program Manager
Institute for Innovation
Economic Development (iiED)
Senior executive with a CPA and Master's degree and over 25 years of experience in managing complex operations including all aspects of project management, finance, human resources, procurement, informational technology and operational programs for public, nonprofit and social ventures.

As Program Manager of the Institute for Innovation & Economic Development (iiED) at CSUMB, she coordinates workshops, speaker series, competitions, and conferences that foster innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development on campus and in the local region. She has taught graduate and undergraduate level courses in public and non-profit finance and management and consults in the areas of nonprofit and government budgeting and community, housing and economic development programs.

Areas of Expertise

Social business/ Non-profit, Government Grant Management and Reporting