Ilham Ghanim, Director of Operations
Ilham received her Bachelor Degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida. Subsequently, she became Front Office Manager at the Doubletree Sea World in Orlando, Florida. After her five year career as the Front Office Manager and the Manager on Duty, PHG Management Company offered Ilham the position of the Front Office Manager at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country, which fortunately brought her to Sonoma County.
Ilham was an active member of the Hilton Care Committee, a group that focuses on improving guest scores and team recognition. Making the decision to work for SoCo Nexus, a non-profit that focuses on empowering and supporting startups was not a difficult decision for Ilham to make. We are glad she did.
Board of Directors
Lisa has over 25 years of experience in finance, accounting, and strategic planning. She spent much of her early career in the arts working for the San Francisco Opera, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. She was a co-founder of Green Building Studio,Inc., which was acquired by Autodesk in 2008. She is an active investor in both private and public equities and serves on the Board of Directors and Program Committee for the North Bay Angels. She is currently CEO of a pet wearable start-up company called Scollar, Inc., which is planning to launch their smart collar in Spring 2016.
After fifteen years in high technology industrial marketing, John desired to leverage his business background by developing a profession that would serve the environment and society. In 2000, he cofounded the world’s first graduate program in sustainable business that, in 2002, became known as the GreenMBA. The GreenMBA at Dominican University of California (www.greenmba.com) is a rigorous two-year program that transforms students’ abilities to advance environmental and social initiatives in any type of organization. John was GreenMBA Program Director for eight years. In 2010, John cofounded the Venture Greenhouse. John Stayton joins the leadership team at Sonoma State’s School of Business and Economics as Executive Director of Graduate and Executive Education, a position which will encompass both the evening and executive formats of SSU’s traditional and wine business MBA programs.
In 1997, John and his wife Ana purchased an organic fruit farm in Sonoma County as a step toward developing a more ecological lifestyle. Their 2.5 acre farm and home now model “suburban sustainability”, with natural buildings, a solar system, and extensive and diverse food production. Golden Nectar Farm (www.goldennectar.com) was featured in the New York Times on June 1, 2008.
Dave Dillwood, Partner, Dillwood Burkel & Sully LLP
Dave is a founder of the Sonoma Mountain Business Cluster. He is a founding partner at Dillwood Burkel & Sully LLP, CPAs, since July, 2000. Dave practices in the fields of taxation, estate planning, business advisory services, litigation support, and is a qualified expert witness in Alameda and Mendocino Counties. Previously, Dave worked with the Big 8 firms of Deloitte Haskins & Sells (Now Deloitte & Touche) and Price Waterhouse (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP) in San Jose. While there, Dave worked with one of the first technology business incubators, and was intrigued by the unique, collaborative environment provided in the incubator, and the success rate of businesses that begin in that environment. Dave has been a frequent speaker at tax and accounting conferences and has written articles for the Journal of Taxation and The Tax Advisor. Dave is a member of the California Society of CPAs, having chaired the Wine Industry Conference three times, and a founder of the Central Coast Wine Industry Conference. He is also a member of the AICPA, and numerous charitable and business organizations. Dave is a graduate of the University of the Pacific and its Eberhardt School of Business with degrees in Religious Studies and Accounting.
Simon Inman, Partner, Carle Mackie Power & Ross LLP
Simon Inman is a partner of Carle Mackie Power & Ross LLP, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, corporate finance, banking and general business advisory work. Formerly he was a partner with Hammonds, a leading U.K. based, pan-European law firm. Mr. Inman practiced law in the U.K. for 20 years where he represented clients in numerous national and international corporate and financial transactions. In 1998, Mr. Inman moved to Sonoma County with his California-born wife to pursue their interest in wine. The couple owns a Pinot Noir vineyard in the Russian River Valley and produce wine under their own label. Since joining CMPR in 1999, Mr. Inman has handled a wide range of business transactions including merger and acquisition transactions, start-up and venture capital financing, stock options and other equity incentive plans, public and private securities matters, real estate, tax-exempt bond transactions and other bank financings. Mr. Inman holds a LLB (Hons.) from the University of Leicester, England 1978, was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, 1981, and admitted to the State Bar of California, June 2000.
Amee Sas is an entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience in Real Estate,
investments and startup companies throughout the North Bay.
Prior to coming to the Nexus, Amee served as Leasing Director for The Barlow redevelopment project in the heart of Sebastopol, a 13 acre wonderland for foodies and people who are intrigued by wine country, the GoLocal movement, the local food movement, and the artisan community in West County. Amee has a background in professional vineyard and winery broker representation and has represented high net worth individuals in residential and commercial business mergers and transactions.
Brad Baker, Chairman, President & CEO, Codding Investments
Brad Baker is the visionary behind Sonoma Mountain Village, an internationally recognized, deeply sustainable, mixed-use community planned to feature 800,000 square feet of commercial space, provide 4,400 jobs along with convenient daily services to the community of 5,000 residents and surrounding neighborhoods. Brad is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Community Fuels Inc., an alternative energy company. Community Fuels is committed to quality, innovation, and operational excellence in biodiesel production and related research. The Company has a state-of-the art facility at the Port of Stockton in California and has plans to become the largest producer of biodiesel in the state of California. Brad formed the SMBC in 2006 to foster prosperity in sustainable resource and socially relevant start-up technologies in the North Bay Region of California. In 2007, Brad founded Codding Steel Frame Solutions, a manufacturing patented technology by Genesis Worldwide, Inc. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board for Genesis Worldwide. He also serves on the board of Aspen Air. Formerly, Brad co-founded Codding Baker, Inc., a registered advisory firm with the founder of Codding Enterprises, Hugh Codding. Codding Baker, Inc. sold in 2006 to Exchange Bank of Santa Rosa, California. Brad graduated with distinction in Economics from San Diego State University in 1988. In May of 1988, he obtained his General Securities (Series 7) license.
Laurie O’Hara, Business Development Officer, Working Solutions
Laurie O’Hara is the Business Development Officer for the North Bay of Working Solutions, a non-profit small business microlender. In 2012 Laurie joined the organization to run the Marin, Napa and Sonoma Counties’ satellite office located in the Renaissance Center for Entrepreneurship in San Rafael. She brings a strong background in marketing and acquisitions of credit products, having worked for JPMorgan Chase and Citibank for over 10 years in New York. She is an entrepreneur as well, owning a start-up consumer product business. Laurie holds an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) and a dual BA in International Affairs and Spanish Business from the University of Colorado. She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. Laurie is a commissioner on the Marin County Child Care Commission, steering committee member of the Children’s Investment Initiative, board member on the Canal Welcome Center, the Renaissance Center Marin Advisory Board and previously on the Community Action Marin Board.
Michele Chaboudy, President, MacAbbey and Associates
Michele has over 25 years of business leadership in the electronic and media industries, focusing on product management, strategic planning, and market development. Her background includes seven years in aerospace/electronics, ten years in newspaper publishing and ten years in high-tech startups. She helped obtain funding and developed revenue streams for companies in SaaS, social media, geo-mapping, online advertising and content management. Michele was an early pioneer in the Internet industry as a member of the founding team for five early stage companies (in Silicon Valley and Austin) including MarketWatch.com which had a successful IPO. Startups on her current advising schedule cover online education, online advertising, SaaS, news/content management and medical information apps. Michele has served on several non-profit Boards of Directors including Edgewood Center for Children and Families (Board President from 2002-2003), The Sea Ranch Association and Water Company (current), Ethical Metalsmiths (current), and North Bay Angels (current). Her degrees include an MLS, an MBA and a Certificate in Strategic Foresight (2015). She served as an adjunct faculty member at Golden Gate University’s School of Business for ten years and has continued to coach entrepreneurs and senior executives in many areas including market analysis, brand management and strategic foresight. She and her husband, Eron, moved to Sonoma County in 2010 from San Francisco. They have also lived in Houston, TX, Austin, TX and Natick, MA (outside Boston).
Alex Alpert, CEO, Crater
Alex Alpert’s rise in the moving business began working with clients such as the National Park Service, Verizon, John Mayer, Kara DioGuardi, ATO and Atlantic Records before starting his own international moving business in 2004. The business enjoyed much success, including being awarded multiple government contracts and the renovation of Federal Hall. Alex then moved to Wheaton World Wide Moving/Bekins Van Lines, where he was recognized as the company’s No. 1 COD Salesperson within his first 3 months. I was also responsible for landing the moving industry’s largest account and won the CARTUS Gold Service Award. As a logistics professional, he remains passionate and solution-focused, while advocating for positive change through fresh ideas. As an opportunist, he asserts we must always be open to opportunity, seize each moment, and not be afraid to take risks. That is how he lives his life and runs his business. He launched the industry disruptive logistics startup Crater with the support of the SoCo Nexus mentorship program.