The Advisory Board is Woodbury School of Business’ formal connectivity and guiding body for business involvement, providing insights, leadership assistance, and serving as business liaisons in the local community. The Advisory Board members provide valuable input in curricular, entrepreneurial, strategic, community engagement, and overall performance regards to the School of Business, with clear allegiance to the School’s mission. The board consists of individuals who have diverse experience in business involvement, from being founders and leaders of their own businesses, to fulfilling important roles in established business organizations.
Greg Lippe serves as the Chair of the School of Business Advisory Board. Mr. Lippe has a combined background in accounting, management and consulting. His experience spans industries such as entertainment, manufacturing and distribution, real estate, extractive (oil and gas), medical, nutraceutical, technology, space, building, printing, electronics and professional services.
Mr. Lippe’s experience in public accounting includes management of two public accounting firms for a combined period of 23 years. He is currently the president of the Gregory N. Lippe Accountancy Corporation, operating in Woodland Hills and Simi Valley, CA., and in that position, he provides outsourced CFO and consulting services. Prior to this position, he was a managing partner in Lippe, Hellie, Hoffer & Allison LLP (formerly Lever, Lippe, Hellie & Russel LLP) for 15 years., served as shareholder, senior account manager, and later, president of Solomon, Ross & Company, CFO of Riverside Lumber Yard, and as accountant at Touche, Ross & Company.
Mr. Lippe is a proud alumnus from Woodbury University (B.Sc. in Business Administration – Accounting (1967), and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1970. He holds memberships in the American Institute of CPA’s and the California Society of CPA’s. He is affiliated to numerous organizations, such as Valley Industry & Commerce Association (“VICA”), where he held a wide variety of positions; the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, where he served as Board member and Executive Council member; the California State Board of Pharmacy, the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions Board, the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, and Woodbury University’s Board of Trustees.
Greg Lippe has earned many awards for his community service, such as the 2014 Community Service Award for being a trusted advisor from the San Fernando Valley Business Journal; the 2012 Harmon Ballin Community Service Award from VICA; the 2011 “Hammer of Hope” Award from Habitat for Humanity. In 2002 and 2007, he was honored by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal as one of the Top 25 CPAs of the Valley, and in 2007, he was honored by the California Chamber of Commerce as Small Business Advocate.
Ahdee’s objective is to use his entrepreneurial and leadership experience to empower and inspire high school and college aged students to create and develop their ideas so they can achieve their ultimate life and career goals.
Ahdee Abramson is the Founder and President of Pet Ventures, a manufacturer and distributor of natural dog treats and chews under the Pet ‘n Shape brand. Abramson began the company selling dog treats store-to-store from the trunk of his car, and over the past thirteen years, has nurtured it into a nationally recognized business that continues to be a trendsetter in the pet industry. Today Pet ‘n Shape is sold nationally through a network of regional and national retailers and distributors across multiple retail channels including pet specialty, farm & feed, hardware, food drug and mass and online.
Ahdee graduated magna cum laude, spent a year teaching English overseas, and has his Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He is well traveled, multilingual (English/Spanish/Hebrew), and enjoys cycling and competitive sports when he is not working. Abramson is a proud husband and father of a 6-year-old boy and 4-year-old daughter, and counts family time as his favorite pastime. Ahdee’s ultimate goal personally and professionally is to achieve balance and prosperity, and he works diligently every day to achieve both.
Paula Bahamon, MBA, is a Vice President – Business Banker at Mission Valley Bank in Sun Valley, California. As a highly experienced business development professional, Ms. Bahamon has a history of consistent success driving the planning and execution of mission-critical projects and services. She is a leader in the integration of diverse assignments that support corporate programs and service offerings, with a solid record of exceeding both management and customer expectations with superior client relationship management and consulting expertise. Ms. Bahamon is an accomplished, dynamic and conscientious professional who facilitates organizational growth through continually delivering exceptional performance in needs assessment, business analysis, and process improvement. She is known as a results-oriented and driven manager with broad-based management traits.
Paula is particularly passionate about entrepreneurship and making meaningful contributions to business owners. She possesses a depth of experience and clear vision of the local area business climate, is a collaborative team player, and an outside the box thinker who loves using available resources to assist business owners improve their bottom line. Paula’s business strategy is based on forging strong relationships with internal and external partners; retention of affluent business clients and providing crucial support that builds and increases customer loyalty. Aside from the School of Business’ Advisory Board, Ms. Bahamon serves on the Board of Directors for two other Non-Profit organizations in San Fernando Valley, CA. and actively participate in events to support financial literacy.
Myfa Cirinna is a business strategist with a concentration in product/service positioning, business development and business retention. He currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Strategic Account Management at Entertainment Partners. In that position, he manages a multibillion dollar sales portfolio of entertainment content production clients. Since he stepped into this position in 2013, Myfa has introduced and developed a Strategic Account Management program to focus on client retention while successfully pursuing multi-year exclusivity programs with many that now includes several dozen top producing companies including most of the major Hollywood studios. Prior to his current position, Mr. Cirinna served as Sr. Vice President of sales at Entertainment Partners, managing East Coast sales in New York City, and building the business from a start up in the early 1980’s to over $600MM in annual sales. Mr. Cirinna is very knowledgeable and experienced in subjects such as entertainment unions, guilds, and their related contracts, and at a variety of institutions on production scheduling and budgeting. He is a regular guest speaker for film programs at The School of Visual Arts, The New York Film Academy, The Independent Feature Project, and Columbia University, and a guest speaker at numerous entertainment industry-related forums.
Michael Cusumano is the Managing Director of the Cusumano Real Estate Group, a Burbank, California based real estate development and investment firm. He is responsible for the current development of the $200,000,000 “Premier on First” mixed use development in Burbank California, as well as the $200,000,000 “Talaria at Burbank” mixed use development project, in addition to approximately $1,000,000,000 in other developments throughout southern California.
Cusumano is very active in philanthropic and civic endeavors. He is the Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of Providence St. Joseph’s Medical Center Foundation, Member of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of the Verdugo’s, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, Burbank Business Partners, Leadership Burbank, and several other civic organizations. Cusumano holds a California Real Estate License and California General Contractor’s License, and is a graduate of UCLA (BA-Economics-1984) and the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business (MBA-1994).
Tracy Hernandez is the Founding CEO of the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed), a nonprofit, massive grassroots alliance of 160 top business network with more than 325,000 business members, representing a diverse demographic, industry sector, and geographic array of small and large employers of nearly 3 million people in Southern California.
Tracy further oversees the BizFed Institute – A Project of Community Partners, and the BizFed Political Action Committee (PAC), which seeks to elect public officials with job creating focus and ability.
Ms. Hernandez is also President of IMPOWER Group, Inc., a business advisory company specializing in startups or strategic transition utilizing unlikely partnerships to achieve greater impact.
In 2003, Tracy served as the first female publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News in the paper’s nearly 100-year history. A 20-year veteran of the newspaper business, she held chief executive positions in a variety of major markets across the country, including the Journal Register Company of Trenton, New Jersey, as Publisher and CEO of four award-winning newspapers in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. She formerly owned/operated a group of newspapers and websites in Walla Walla, Washington.
Tracy has served on the Board of Directors of MEND (Meeting Each Need with Dignity), LA’s Best after school program, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, The American Institute of Architects, and Project Grad, and is currently active on the Board of Advisors at Woodbury University Business School, the Valley Economic Alliance, and the Long Beach Symphony.
Among her many honors: listed on the LA Business Journal’s 500 Most Influential Leaders list (2016), earning the USC Dornsife/Lee Cerrell “Trailblazing Women” award, and the South Bay Assoc. of Chambers of Commerce’ “Shaun Lumachi” award, Valley of the Stars award for Leadership by the Valley Economic Alliance (2014), and Woman of the Year by the Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (2012).
A native of Twin Falls, Idaho, Ms. Hernandez is a graduate of the College of Southern Idaho. She currently resides in Seal Beach, California, with her husband, two teenage daughters, and a step-son.
Rebecca Lienhard, MA, is CEO at the Tierra del Sol Foundation in Sunland, California. Since joining the organization in 1990, Ms. Lienhard has advanced Tierra’s ability to increase community integration for people with developmental disabilities. Ms. Lienhard serves as the key spokesperson for the agency in local, state, and national venues. She has served on numerous community boards and committees, such as the Vendor Advisory Committee for the California Department of Developmental Services’ North Los Angeles County Regional Center, the State Council on Developmental Disabilities’ Employment First Committee, and serving as Vice President of the Board of Directors for Southern California APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment First). She served a five-year term as a surveyor for CARF, providing consultative evaluation to agencies nationwide seeking CARF accreditation. Through these roles, she has gained a nation-wide view of services, relevant laws, emerging trends, and supporting adult with developmental disabilities.
Rebecca has presented at numerous conferences hosted by organizations such as VEDC’s 2019 Women+Business Conference, 2017 USC UCEDD Down Syndrome Conference, Autism Society Los Angeles, Los Angeles Valley College, Reinventing Quality, APSE and TASH. These experiences have equipped her to expand opportunities for people with disabilities in workforce development, customized employment, career in the arts, self-advocacy, and college to career opportunities.
Rebecca holds a Master’s degree in Special Education, with emphasis in Moderate/Severe Disabilities and is a graduate of the University of Delaware National Leadership Institute on Developmental Disabilities.
Formerly a Venture Partner with OurCrowd, Mr. Noam Lotan is an investor and a mentor to several privately held technology companies. He has 25 years of public company CEO and board experience.
For 20 years, Noam served as CEO of MRV Communications, (Nasdaq: MRVC), a global telecom equipment manufacturer. He led the company from a startup to a public company with 4,000 employees worldwide and $500 million in revenue, with peak valuation exceeding $5 billion. Light Reading magazine listed him as one of the “top ten movers and shakers” in Optical Networking. Light Reading magazine listed him as one of the “top ten movers and shakers” in Optical Networking. Under his leadership, MRV was recognized for eight consecutive years as one of the fastest growing public companies in Southern California. Some of the more significant products developed by MRV were the first 100Mb Ethernet Switch (licensed to Intel) and the optical transceiver that enabled the deployment of Verizon FiOS® to more than 10 million homes in the USA.
After MRV, Noam was CEO of Resonate Industries, a startup company in the clean energy sector. He also held a variety of management positions at Hewlett-Packard and at Fibronics, working in the US, UK, France and Israel.
Mr. Lotan has been the Chairman of Source Photonics, Inc. (Also known as Luminent Inc.) since June 2007. He has been an Independent Director of Capstone Turbine Corp. Mr. Lotan has been a Director of Optical Access Inc. since its incorporation in December 1999. He served as a Director of US Seismic Systems, Inc., since May 2012 and MRV Communications Inc. from May 1990 to June 30, 2010. Mr. Lotan further served as a Director at Zaffire, Inc. He is also a Member of NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors).
Mr. Lotan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, and an MBA from INSEAD, the European Institute of Business Administration, Fontainebleau, France.,He has served five years as an officer at the IDF.
Gerard Mekhsian has an innate ability to find optimal financial solutions for clients and ensure tax savings. He has an IT background, and more than 30 years of experience in accounting, tax and consulting services. Gerard uses business understanding and financial acumen to help domestic and international clients with financial statements and tax compliance. Within his global practice, Gerard focuses on taking care of his client by listening, explaining the impact of tax, and collaborating to reach the identified financial goal.
In 2012, Gerard joined Hutchinson and Bloodgood LLP, where he serves as Director. He was previously with a public accounting firm in Woodland Hills, California.
Mr. Mekhsian’s areas of expertise include, but are not limited to, Financial Reporting and Assurance, Business Planning and Consulting, Estate Planning, Exit Planning for Business Owners, International Taxation, and Tax. He has experience in a wide variety of industries such as Construction, Entertainment, Family Business, Franchises, Healthcare, Manufacturing and Distribution, Real Estate, Sports Franchises, and Education.
Mr. Mekhsian holds a B.Sc, in Business and Accounting, and an MBA with a concentration in Computer Information Systems from California State University of Los Angeles. He is a member of numerous organizations and boards, such as the Advisory Board for Woodbury University Business School, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, California Society of CPAs, Finance Committee Member of Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) M.D. School, and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Armenian Catholic Church in Glendale.
Nick Mitchell is the Vice President, Legal Affairs and Corporate Counsel at Logix Federal Credit Union, a $5 billion financial institution serving over 185,000 members headquartered in Southern California. In addition to managing the company’s legal affairs, Nick oversees the Compliance, Policies & Procedures, and Bankruptcy & Loan Services departments.
Nick pursued his formal education almost entirely while working full time, completing his Associate of Science degree at College of the Canyons, his Bachelor of Science in Business and Management at Woodbury University, and his Juris Doctorate at Southwestern Law School.
Nick has managed teams in sales, learning and development, service quality, customer loyalty, and project management. As a proponent of continuing education, Nick also completed his National Association of Federal Credit Unions Certified Compliance Officer designation, his Association for Talent Development Certified Professional in Learning and Performance credential, and his Satmetrix Certified Net Promoter designation.
Outside of work, Nick serves as the Vice President of Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors, and he is also passionate about traveling… particularly to Europe and Costa Rica.
Shawn Morey is a Realtor and Principal Broker at Dwell Real Estate group. He has over 10 years of experience in real estate and development. His passion for this field has led him to experience all aspects of the industry including architecture, multi-family brokerage, property management, development and investing. Being a real estate investor and developer himself, he is confident in knowing what it takes to get a deal done.
An entrepreneur at heart, Shawn is involved in multiple business ventures. He is managing partner at NutriShop, Northridge, which is part of a national retail nutrition chain, and owner of the Paid to Play Media Group, a diverse nightlife and entertainment group, encompassing all aspects of the nightlife industry. In addition to specializing in nightlife and event production the Paid to Play Media Group offers a wide variety of services in its consulting division.
Prior to his current professional involvements, Shawn held a variety of positions, such as Event Coordinator at the California Fight Syndicate, a promotional company licensed by the California State Athletic Commission, and specializing in sports entertainment, in conjunction with community involvement; Project Manager at Better Shelter, an LA based boutique real estate development company; Associate at Marcus & Millichap, and Architectural Draftsman at Stitch Design Studios and Zimmerman Architects.
Shawn was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA. He gained a passion for architecture, construction and development at a young age through his father and grandfather. After high school he attended Santa Barbara City College to study architecture and drafting. Shawn studied Business Finance and Real Estate at Woodbury University and holds a Master’s degree in Real Estate Development of the University of Southern California.
As a lifelong supporter of entrepreneurship, Shawn has been asked to speak at the Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization’s National Conference multiple times around the US. He enjoys giving back and mentoring undergraduate entrepreneurs on their way to creating their own business.
Dr. Walter W. Mosher, was born in Los Angeles and has resided in the San Fernando Valley most of his life. He was a co-founder of Precision Dynamics Corporation, a company manufacturing and distributing products in the health care field, and served as its President from 1957 to 2002. Since 2002 Dr. Mosher serves as a Director for Precision Dynamics Corporation.
From 1956 till 1971, Dr. Mosher was a student and faculty member at UCLA. He served as Director of the Urban Ecology and Transportation Group at the Institute of Transportation and Traffic Engineering. After serving on the committee that established the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at UCLA, he became a lecturer in this School.
Additionally, Dr. Mosher was a consultant to the Federal Government associated with setting up the National Highway Safety Bureau in the Department of Transportation, and to Systems Development Corporation on their traffic flow theory research program.
In 1971, Walt received his degree from UCLA’s School of Engineering, specializing in applied mathematics, computer technology and transportation flow theory. He subsequently assumed full-time management of Precision Dynamics Corporation. Dr. Mosher holds several patents in the patient identification field and has numerous publications in the field of highway safety and traffic flow theory.
Dr. Mosher serves on the Boards of various organizations including, Board of Directors and Past Chair of the Valley Industry Commerce Association (VICA), Board member of Valley Economic Development Center, Board Member Health Industry Business Communications Council (HIBCC), and Board member of the San Fernando Police Advisory Council. He was a founding member and Director for the Health Industry Manufacturers Association (HIMA), now AdvaMed, for 15 years and was a member of the Technical and Regulatory Committee from its inception until 2008. Dr. Mosher has been the recipient of many awards for distinguished community service and volunteerisms throughout his illustrious career including the Nelle Reagan Award from Olive View-UCLA Medical Center Foundation (1996), the prestigious Fernando Award (1998), and the Harmon Ballin Community Service Award from VICA (2001). In 1996 he was honored to be an Olympic Torch Runner.
Dr. Mosher holds an exemplary record of community involvement, and still actively supports MEND, Hathaway-Sycamore Child and Family Services, Tierra del Sol Foundation and the Valley Cultural Center.
Dr. Oliver retired from the Los Angeles Community College District in 2007 after serving 31 years in a variety of educational and administrative positions. Currently, Dr. Oliver is the President of the Board of Directors for Build Industries, a non-profit Corporation. The core business of Build Industries is to assist individuals with barriers to employment in achieving their highest potential by providing a variety of employment services that enable them to enhance their quality of life, independence, and vocational growth.
From January 2004 to January 2006, Dr. Thomas W. Oliver served as the President for Pierce College, providing continued leadership to the campus and implementing the vision and Master Plan for the College’s future. Under Dr. Oliver’s leadership, the College began a renaissance in increasing both the enrollment, and budgetary requirements.
Prior to returning to Pierce College in 2000, Tom served as Department Chairperson and Dean at Los Angeles Valley College, Vice President and President at Los Angeles Mission College. In 1980 he moved into the business community and became President of DCubed, Inc., a computer consulting company in Chatsworth. He later served as President and Owner of Edison Technical Institute.
Dr. Oliver has been involved in many statewide, community college committees which includes the Chair of the Resource Development Committee, Economic and Workforce Development Program Advisory Committee, CCC Board of Governors; the New Decisions Task Force, California Community College Foundation; Library and Learning Resources Advisory Committee; the Executive Board of the Chief Instructional Officers; and the Research and Accountability Technical Advisory Committee of the CCC Board of Governors.
Tom has received numerous awards, including, the Commitment to Education award from Ivy Academia (2013), the Los Angeles Community College District Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Service (2002 and 2006), the Executive Leadership Award by the League for Innovation (1998), Carl D. Perkins Vocational Fellow by the California Community Colleges (1992), the California Community College Association of Occupational Educators Outstanding Advisory Committee Award (1992), the Program Innovation Award by the LA Community College Board of Trustees (1991), California State University at Northridge, Volunteer Service Award, from the College of Education (2006), and the Justice Armand Arabian Award, granted to honor those who unselfishly donate their time to public service (2006).
Sunder Ramani is an active member of the surrounding communities for over thirty years. Sunder has had various careers including: commercial printing; construction; aviation; real estate; business consulting; and media. He is President of Westwind Properties.
He serves on several boards, including National Federation of Independent Business’ Leadership Council in California, Burbank Chamber of Commerce, Community Foundation of the Verdugos, Burbank Healthcare Foundation, and Woodbury University Business School Board, to name a few.
His previous service includes: Burbank Community YMCA; Burbank Rotary Clubs; Oakmont Country Club; and, Burbank Chamber of Commerce; He has held board positions for: American Red Cross; Verdugo Hills Boys Scouts; Salvation Army; Providence St. Joseph Medical Foundation; and, Glendale Adventist Medical Foundation;
He is married to Dr. Mandy Ramani, M.D. – and has two adult children. He is a graduate of California State University, Northridge, with a degree in Accounting.
Neil Sherman is the owner of Industrial Metal Supply located in 6 locations throughout Arizona and Southern California with headquarters in Sun Valley, Calif. IMS is a 70 year old family run metal distribution company with a combined warehouse space of over a half million sq. ft. and over 450 employees. IMS has retail stores within each warehouse location where they wholesale, distribute, import and export metals of all kinds to the entertainment, automotive, aerospace, construction, marine, defense, welding and manufacturing industries.
Neil just developed a 30 acre, 220 hangar space parcel of land at the Van Nuys Airport called the Park at Van Nuys which caters exclusively to propeller aircraft.
Neil grew up locally in Burbank and attended Notre Dame High School, Valley College and then went on to USC and Harvard University to get his degrees.
He is currently on the Advisory boards of the USC Roski School of Art, Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra, Children’s Cancer Network in Phoenix, Woodbury School of Business and the Metal Service Center Institute. He is past president of the National Association of Aluminum Distributors, the Metal Service Center Institute, Juvenile Diabetes Association and co-founder of the Calif. Winter Special Olympics.
Neil is an avid golfer, snow skier and sailor.
Jane Skeeter is CEO and Founder of UltraGlas, Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of all facets of designed architectural and high performance glass and glass tile. An entrepreneur, designer, artist and engineer since childhood, Jane founded her stained glass and glazing company in her garage in the early ‘70’s. Since then it matured into the global leader in its industry, serving a variety of OEM, construction, and designed building material markets. The largest project to date is 125,000 square feet of UltraGlas to clad the exterior of a hospital in Kuwait.
Prior to UltraGlas, Ms. Skeeter owned a clothing design and dressmaking business, and a Porsche restoration business. She is Past President of NAWBO-LA (National Association of Women Business Owners); has been named San Fernando Valley Business Journal’s Women in Business CEO of the Year, and was one of ten to win their Business Woman of the Decade award. She was the LA SBA’s Women in Business Champion of the Year; was named Small Business of the Year from the 23rd State Senate District (2012), and was recipient of the Pioneer Woman Award from the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women, as well as the NAWBO/Wells Fargo National Trailblazer Award, along with a variety of others.
Jane is a highly regarded consultant, popular lecturer and community activist, currently serving on the Advisory Board of Woodbury University School of Business, and on the boards of The Valley Economic Alliance, VICA, Val*Pac, The Boys & Girls Club of the West Valley, The Valley Group, NAWBO-LA Foundation, Promerica Bank Advisory Board and as a Trustee of West Hills Hospital.
Ms. Skeeter received her California Lifetime Teaching Credential, holds licenses as a General and Glazing Contractor, and is a Certified Interior Designer. She is a graduate of UCLA’s MDE program, the NAWBO-LA Peak Leadership Academy, and is a LEED AP, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional, by the USGBC. Jane has been a West Valley resident since 1959. She lives in West Hills with her husband of 39 years, Barron Postmus, who is an award-winning fine artist. They have four children and six grandchildren.
Dr. van Niekerk’s field of expertise lies in both Higher Education and the Corporate world. He is an expert at strategically positioning organizations through well-defined planning and marketing. During the past forty-six years his attention has been focused on Education (Schools of Business) and International Consulting, with major assignments in Advertising, Automotive Branding, Entertainment, Telecommunications, Health Care Technologies, Health Care Associations, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturing, and Foreign Governments.
Dr. van Niekerk’s services are often sought by major corporations before, during, and after mergers. He specializes in successfully molding often disparate cultures into cohesive and highly productive organizations. He has been a college Dean and Vice President and has held positions in business and industry as Associate Director of UCLA Medical Center as well as the UCLA Medical Group.
Dr. van Niekerk currently oversees International Recruitment at Woodbury University. Prior to this, he was the Dean of Woodbury’s School of Business (2005 – 2016), leading the School to initial AACSB accreditation; Associate Dean for Executive Programs and Executive Professor of Marketing at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School; and taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Andrews University, Michigan State University, and the University of Southern California, where he was also a lead faculty for the Center of Excellence in Health Care Management.
Dr. van Niekerk served as Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning for both National Medical Enterprises (Tenet) and UniHealth America, and as General Vice President for the Adventist Health System in their Sunbelt Division. He is considered to be one of the nation’s foremost Strategic Positioning specialists with numerous nationally and internationally recognized brands in his portfolio. His further expertise is focused on Luxury Brands – especially in the automotive industry where major clients include Mercedes-Benz, smart, BMW, and Volvo.
He holds a Ph.D. from Michigan State University, an M.A. from Andrews University, and a B.A from Pacific Union College. He has also done post-doctoral work in Marketing/Luxury Brands.
Dr. van Niekerk is very active in philanthropic endeavors and has a strong interest in corporate governance, particularly serving on corporate boards.
Wayne Ward has more than 30 years of leadership experience in driving revenue growth and profitability in both sales and commercial banking organizations. He has successfully led strategic planning and implementation, as well as organizational transformation, for commercial and mortgage bank start-ups and retail branch networks for commercial banks. As senior vice president at California Bank & Trust, Wayne manages business banking throughout West Los Angeles, the South Bay, and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys.
With a passion for leadership, teamwork, and winning, and a unique perspective on values based leadership, Wayne has developed and executed growth strategies at top community and regional banks, significantly improving performance for shareholders, clients, and communities.
A known industry expert, Wayne has broad and extensive leadership experience in financial services in both government and private sectors. His early experience as a National Bank Examiner in the U.S. Treasury Department gave him strategic insight and a deep understanding of the banking industry. Wayne joined private industry as senior vice president and credit administrator for a Monterey Park community bank. He later served commercial banks, as senior vice president, managing credit administration, mortgage banking, and numerous other business lines including sales and business development. As an entrepreneur, Wayne joined investors, taking an executive role to form, organize, and manage a California de novo bank. Wayne led the growth and expansion of the bank, where he significantly improved the bank’s revenue and fee income performance, making it one of the most profitable community banks in the nation as measured by return on assets.
Wayne’s genuine love of community and desire to give back has driven him to non-profit participation with organizations such as Junior Achievement Finance Park in Los Angeles and the Pediatric Therapy Network in Torrance. Wayne enjoys adding value for others and proudly serves as a mentor and coach in both his professional and personal endeavors.
Wayne holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance and accounting from the University of San Francisco. He is a lifetime member of the International Business Fraternity Delta Sigma Pi and serves on the Los Angeles Chapter of the University of San Francisco Regional Alumni Council. Wayne resides in Palos Verdes Estates California with his wife and has two grown children.