Steve Scalia and I have known each other since our days at Penn, where he was studying to be a dentist, but soon realized his passion as an entrepreneur. He’s part of my personal board – a close group of friends who knows me well and can tell it to me like it really is – and shares great insights about how he’s successfully rebuilt from the ground up on a few occasions.
I’d like to fancy myself as a doughnut connoisseur. But even I was stumped when Sumter Pendergrast approached my husband and me about his desire to open a gourmet doughnut shop in Orange County. The lesson learned here is that passion drives creativity and innovation. Sumter shares his story in his laid back and unassuming way.
Jason and I became fast friends on the volleyball court. His wife and I also bonded during our years in Philly and beyond. Jason has such a competitive yet gentle spirit. But don’t talk trash under the net else you suffer the wrath of Big Red emblazoning your forehead with a 100 mph kill.
Have you met someone and thought “They can’t be that nice! No one is really that nice!” Well, I’ve been proven wrong with Courtney Reed. She exudes kindness on and off stage, and her incredible talent makes her a top choice for Broadway producers and directors. She leads with a gentle confidence in her productions and is a fan favorite. Her business acumen impresses as well as she aligns herself with creatives to produce projects that get bought by companies like Disney. Let’s go!!!
I’ve known Christy Glass Lowe since my first day in college. We shared all of the fun experiences one does during freshman year. Christy spent 20 years in investment banking helping branded consumer companies with capital strategy. She now advises and invests in firms, supporting founders in their critical decisions about when and how to fundraise for best outcomes.
Pete is my favorite Wharton professor. There I’ve said it! His deep interest in data, passion for teaching, and drawing out curiosities from his students changed my career. He shares his journey as a young professor all the way through selling an analytics company focused on customer lifetime value to Nike. Using the same concepts, Pete and his partners applied them to corporate valuation, which has been extremely appealing to investment banks, private equity companies and venture funds.
Dave Liu has an incredible story; one filled with moments of grit, perseverance, and tenacity. He calls it desperation, but I KNOW it’s what we all want to see in ourselves, our teams and kids. He battled through adversity and found his way through critical observation and study of the human psyche.
Bill Schlough is a humble, servant leader who’s incredibly thoughtful about everything he does. Whether he’s talking about team development, mentorship, or providing the Giants’ fans with a great experience, you can bet that Bill has read, researched, and thought about his approach to all aspects of his life. Bill and I spent two years in business school together, and now get a kick out of similar stories our kids’ experience playing competitive baseball!
Dan Beldy and I went to business together after he served as a Navy fighter pilot for 8 years. No big deal. We both had a sense that something big was about to happen with the internet and found our way into the early tech scene after graduation. He remains a trusted friend as we discuss potential investments and deals.
Dr. David Deyhimy is a world-renowned expert on addiction medicine who founded and is Medical Director of MyMATClinic. He’s a passionate physician who’s determined to save lives with data-driven and scientifically-proven results, which differ greatly than how most patients are treated in the US.
Matt Laessig and I met in business school and have been close friends since. He’s a 9-season America Ninja Warrior competitor and currently is Co-Founder & COO at data.world, an Austin-based start-up. We were early to the tech scene and continue to support each other through our crazy adventures!
Jeff Ayeroff was the Co-President of the WORK Group at Sony Music before I went to business school. He was at the top of the pyramid and I was the plebe assistant in the Product Management group. He’s an industry legend and while he may not have realized it, I learned so much from him and his renegade ways.
I’d never given much thought to intellectual property law until one of our investment portfolio companies ran into lawsuits by trademark trolls. I’ve since learned about the subtle nuance of protecting and defending your ideas. Susan Natland is a partner at Knobbe Martens, a law firm specializing in intellectual property and also serves as Vice Chair of the USPTO Trademark Advisory Committee and we had a fantastic chat about staying true to yourself.
When you arrive in West Philly sight unseen from SoCal, it’s comforting to meet another Californian from a surf town. Casey and I became fast friends and I’m so stoked that he’s taken time to share his story. He’s quietly run a tech consulting firm servicing governmental agencies, utilities and other clients needing deep custom technical systems software development. But what I admire most about Casey is his deep sense of commitment to his family and friends, which I also know transcends to his teams at work.
Danny Sonenshine trained as a lawyer and left after 5 years, realizing he needed to do something that he loved. He’s a dynamic leader who insists on 15 minute meetings. We shared a crazy nanny but won’t tell that story on air, but it’s a great story that brought our families together.
Alli started as an intern for Beacon Pointe a few years after my husband joined the firm. I knew from those early days that she’d have an incredible career and just 10 years later, she’s Chief Marketing Officer of the 230+ person Registered Investment Advisor. I love her competitive nature and appreciate the camaraderie she brings to her work and team.
Mark Bogh walks in the room and you know he’s your guy. He’s knowledgable, confident, magnetic personality, and unlike most engineers, says yes more than he says no. His team is loyal and his clients love him. Mark’s an inspirational leader in the construction world and his can-do approach has touched the lives of families who attend the 200+ schools or the theme park attractions he’s built during his vibrant career.
Andrew Cherng, aka Uncle Andrew, is a long-time friend of my family. My mom introduced me to Andrew when I was raising money for my dotcom snacki, in the late 90s. He had wonderfully rich insights then and now, with 2400 Panda Express locations around the world, he shares those and more with us!
Damien Hobgood is a surfing legend and has touched many lives through his example in and out of the water. He surfed professionally right out of high school when pro surfing was in its earliest days. He competed for 20 years before realizing he wasn’t loving it anymore. After deep introspection and lots of prayer, Damien has reconnected with his love of surfing and shares his journey here.
Jeff and I have known each other since our Wharton days. He was one of the few others who also hailed from the entertainment world prior to business school. I’ve always found him to be such a brilliant thinker who’s willing to take risks, and explore seemingly unsexy verticals.
I worked with Liz when I was desperately trying to get pregnant with my first child. I’d left the corporate world to start my own consulting practice and ended up meeting the most wonderful mentor one could want. Liz is a Chinese-American executive who has the most beautiful way of managing people, turning teams and businesses around, and building people up.
I met Deanna playing beach volleyball at the Malibu pier when we were 19. Despite our very different backgrounds, we became fast friends and spent much time after work playing volleyball. Through the years, Deanna continues to impress me with her creative approach to technical enterprise sales, her ability to close deals no one considers possible, all while maintaining strong relationships and building camaraderie on her teams. She works hard and plays hard and I’ve learned so much from her.
Dan and I served together on the board for the Wharton Club of Southern California for many years. He’s a former executive at Playboy, Fox and American Gladiators and is a digital marketing expert. He’s parlayed his learnings from his TV days into consumer product ventures like JIMMYCASE, and is a consummate connector as he runs Marketing Mondays for Wharton SoCal.
Fred Croshal is one of the most positive and nurturing people I know. His energy immediately permeates any room environment, making fast friends. Fred was head of sales at the WORK Group at Sony Music and he wrote one of my recommendations for my business school applications. When I opened my acceptance letters, he blasted Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” in his office at volume 11 as we danced and laughed our hearts out in celebration!
Whitney Gomez is an exceptional leader in the world of finance. Her long tenures at Morgan Stanley and PAAMCO demonstrate her acumen for marketing and leading teams. Whitney’s direct and honest approach make her stand out. I love her east coast, no nonsense approach and I’ve learned much from the way she managed through extraordinarily challenging times as Board Chair at a private school in Newport Beach.
Of all the tech people with whom I’ve had the great fortune to work, Braxton is a standout. A boy from the deep south with aspirations to attend a college within driving distance of home, this former aerospace engineer is unrivaled in global geo-political and business acumen, tech prowess and leadership skills. Braxton defies any generalization of tech executive and I’m so proud of the work he’s doing at Unfinished Labs.
I consider Gary Addeo family. He and his wife have been by our sides through the many ups and downs in life, and cares for people deeply. He’s a stellar example of treating others as you’d want to be treated and turning to scripture in times of uncertainty. He’s lead within a handful of companies as a sales executive and has also served his community as a pastor. He now does both in a small Pacific Northwest community and continues to touch the lives of many on his journey.
Coco Brown is an inspirational entrepreneur who’s served on boards and has led teams through tough economic downturns. She now is living her life’s passion to help women in the latter stages of their careers; whether they’re seeking board seats or wanting to start their own businesses. The Athena Alliance is a powerful network serving women across the US to network, learn, and support each other in their professional endeavors.
Jane and I met at the ALT-Summit in 2019 when she launched her book “Buy the Change You Want to See.” She has a servant’s heart for helping people, using her gifts and resources to provide dignified work to around the world through her ethical and sustainable supply chain management platform, To the Market. She’s dynamic, thoughtful, and inspirational!
Pilar Ramos is General Counsel & Corporate Secretary of TelevisaUnivision. She’s an inspiration for having paved a path to a fulfilling and creative career while simultaneously remaining focused on her passions and interests.
Kristin Halton is an exceptional residential real estate broker serving the SoCal area. She started in this business 22 years ago with just a single contact in the state…her mom’s 3rd cousin whom she’d never met. From that moment, she’s worked hard, proven herself, ingratiated her clients, and earned her team as a 1% producer in the U.S.