- Pioneer Stories
- Update Contact Info
- Class Notes
- About Us
- Get Involved
- Pioneers Of Distinction
2019 Award Recipients
Eileen Advincula ’12
B.S. Criminal Justice Administration
CEO and Founder,
After earning her bachelor’s degree, Eileen attended law school and graduated from Monterey College of Law. Learning to rise above difficult circumstances, she harbored the fierce desire to advocate for the indigent and founded Legal Links in early 2019. Eileen boasts an extensive legal background with experience in business formation, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, patent prosecution, immigration and employment disputes. Legal Links strives to connect community members with resources and knowledge, while leveraging the stark inequality of legal assistance by providing legal documentation from an innovative approach online. Eileen is a published editor in the field of law and technology, and a inspirational leader in the community and abroad. If she is not empowering community members through workshops, drafting legal documentation or providing charity to children worldwide; you will find her riding her Harley Davidson with her beloved spouse and business partner Garriemor Navarro of Byrd Coop Customs.
Lindsay Affleck ’04, ’06, ’08
B.A. Liberal Studies, Teaching Credential,
Newark Unified School District
Lindsay has dedicated her 14-year career to the students of Newark. She currently teaches fifth grade at Birch Grove Intermediate School. Lindsay embodies the belief of supporting others in the profession and has excelled in many leadership roles. Lindsay is a part of the Elementary Science Partnership, a three-year professional learning community with Cal State East Bay, Alameda County Office of Education and other districts. In this role, she is learning innovative strategies and providing professional development to teachers in the district.
Lindsay serves as a mentor for other teachers, providing support to both new and experienced teachers to improve their practice. In the classroom, Lindsay empowers students to make a positive impact in their community through project-based learning. She tirelessly seeks out community partners to make projects more meaningful, and was the driving force behind bringing the Green Schools Challenge recycling program to the district.
Maya Agnew ’12
Maya is a first-generation college graduate, whose Tongan mother and Greek father immigrated to America for a better life for their children. After Maya graduated, she went on to pursue music both writing and singing and was based in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. She was able to go on tour with various artists and experience a number of memorable moments. She also remembers singing the national anthem during an awards ceremony when she was graduating from Cal State East Bay. She has also tried her best to be a good individual and started a project of donating flowers for cancer patients. She lost both her parents to cancer and knew this was something that would be very special. She volunteers as much as possible and that it is important to give back to others. Cal State East Bay has provided her with an education, great friends and memories that will last a lifetime. Maya has learned that it is not about the destination in life but the journey, and so far the journey has been a blessed one.
Barkat Ali ’13
CompensationCloud and Open Text
Barkat earned a master’s degree in IT from India prior to receiving his MBA in global innovation from Cal State East Bay. After working almost a decade on compensation with big companies like Oracle, Barkat realized the biases in compensation allocation based on race, gender and age. Barkat started CompensationCloud to provide a technical solution to make compensation fair and rational. Barkat started his HR tech journey while working with the founder of Worldwide Compensation (Acquired by Taleo/Oracle) from his garage. After working for more than 8 years helping many companies solve their compensation issues, he realized that many pain points are not solved by the current solutions in the market. Apart from his time on CompensationCloud, he also mentors and shares experiences to MBA students at Cal State East Bay.
Alex Baker ’09
Social Worker Supervisor,
Alameda County SSA
Alex is a dedicated mental health professional who has served in Alameda County for more than 10 years. He is a proud alumnus of Cal State East Bay and Sacramento State. Alex has served in acute, sub-acute mental health facilities, community based elderly clinics, with Cal State East Bay as one of the founding pillars of the amazing Pioneers for HOPE program and currently with Alameda County Social Services. Alex strives to provide his insight, role modeling and coaching to the community with the hope of improving the life of those in the community.
Casey Bell ’12
M.A. Construction Management
After completing the Construction Management Masters Program at Cal State East Bay, Casey immersed himself in the construction industry working as a project manager for a top general contractor. He led several teams to complete complex projects in the technology, aviation and energy sectors. Drawing from his entrepreneurship course at Cal State East Bay, Casey quickly began focusing on solving the vast problems he experienced everyday managing his projects. He noticed that software created efficiencies in other industries but were not being applied within construction. Casey did not want to accept the status quo and decided it was best to start his own venture. His company was accepted into the world’s most prestigious technology accelerator, Y Combinator. He now is the CEO of X3 Builders, a technology enabled commercial general contractor, which combines both people and software to build commercial construction projects.
Doleen Chand ’15
CEO and Founder,
Doleen Chand is the Founder and CEO of Memoria Sky, Funeral Marketplace. A platform of funeral planning tools designed to help grieving friends and family plan a memorial service and commemorate the loss of a loved one. These tools include Memoria Pages, a digital remembrance page with videos and pictures, and Memoria Marketplace, a place where clients can browse and book services and products offered by empathetic local businesses. Doleen believes there are several factors which make the funeral process complex and difficult‚ planning and logistics should not be one of them. So, Doleen set out to create a digital community of caring businesses to help make celebrating a loved one’s legacy simple and memorable.
Gabriela de Queiroz ’14
Sr. Engineering and Data Science Manager,
Gabriela is a senior engineering and data science manager and a senior developer advocate at IBM where she leads the CODAIT machine learning team. She works in different open source projects and is actively involved with several organizations to foster an inclusive community.
She is the founder of R-Ladies, a worldwide organization for promoting diversity in the R community with more than 150 chapters in 45-plus countries. She likes to mentor and shares her knowledge through mentorship programs, tutorials and talks.
Meiling Elsner ’16
Senior Vice President,
Meiling’s entire life is about blending and balancing her personal and professional life, along with her many philanthropic endeavors. Growing up, Meiling was raised in a strong entrepreneurial family. Her parents taught her at an early age to give back to the community and to always think of others first. Now, married and a mother of two young children, Meiling lives and breathes these attributes and her children are learning by their mother’s example. For those close to Meiling, what initially stands out is her whirlwind of activity and sense of immediacy. She has one speed and that’s full speed ahead. She has been in the financial services business for more than 14 years. Currently Meiling is the senior vice president and area manager for Washington State at HSBC. This is one of the firm’s growth markets and key to strategic success moving forward. Her drive for excellence has allowed her to accelerate through many milestones.
Heather Greven ’15
B.A. Political Science
Heather has been winning hearts, minds and elections since 2008. Her goals: find and execute strategic campaign solutions, elect Democrats up and down the ballot, and make the world a better place. A California native and graduate of Cal State East Bay, she has served as a campaign manager and field director in key California state legislative and congressional races and currently serves as political director for the Contra Costa Young Democrats. During the 2016 cycle, she worked as a pollster on races across the country, including Bernie Sanders’ presidential primary race. Heather relocated to the Central Valley to run Andrew Janz’s Congressional challenge to Congressmen Devin Nunes in California’s 22nd district and raised over $9.2 million and performed a 25-plus point swing in this ruby red district bringing rookie candidate Andrew Janz within single digits of Nunes. Heather currently lives in Northern California with her girlfriend Kate and their dog named Bob.
George Hirniak ’11
B.S. Criminal Justice Administration
United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Special Agent Hirniak was an infantry Marine for eight years with multiple combat tours of duty (2000-2008). He graduated from Cal State East Bay in 2011 with a degree in criminal justice. In 2013, he became a special agent in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. DSS is the law enforcement arm of the U.S. State Department. DSS special agents conduct investigations and make arrests involving passport fraud. They also provide protective details for the U.S. Secretary of State, foreign leaders and visiting dignitaries. Additionally, DSS special agents are the heads of security and the lead law enforcement agency at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. Special agent Hirniak has been assigned to the New York City field office, the U.S. embassies in New Delhi, India; Baghdad, Iraq, and is currently assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. He is married to his wife Sharyll and they have a daughter named Ava.
Bethany Hobbs-Helmus ’08, ’12
B.A. English, M.A. TOSEL
Assistant Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator,
Cal State East Bay
Growing up in Michigan, Bethany dreamed of being a leader in sunny California, and through collegiate sports, these dreams have come true. Bethany fell in love with Cal State East Bay after transferring in as a\ sophomore water polo player and has since dedicated her career to serving the campus. As an assistant athletics director for Pioneer Athletics, she coordinates budget management, oversees two sports and helps lead the department as the senior woman administrator. She contributes to the university in numerous other roles, including chairing the Honorary Degrees Committee, hearing student conduct cases, and acting as co-chief reader for the writing skills requirement. She is an NCAA regional committee representative and has coordinated several conferences, regional and national championships. She is on the membership committee for Women Leaders in College Sports, coordinating local networking events and mentoring emerging leaders. Her favorite memory at Cal State East Bay is winning the water polo national championship in 2008.
Asehli Howe ’16B.A. International Studies and Spanish
CEO and Co-Founder,
Asehli is a social justice educator and entrepreneur on a mission to create supportive communities that end cycles of trauma. She is currently the CEO and co-founder of Survivor Alliance, the project manager of the Kintsugi Project, the youngest board member of the Alumni Association, and a substitute teacher for San Lorenzo Unified School District. In addition, she volunteers as a rape crisis counselor with SFWAR, and is a mentor with Girlventures. With Survivor Alliance, Asehli organizes multiple events each month for survivors of sexual assault and allies to learn, connect, and heal. She also provides workshops regarding how to support survivors of sexual violence. The Kintsugi Photography Project combines the Japanese art form of kintsugi with laser photography to creatively tell survivors’ stories. As the project manager, Asehli interviews and compiles first-hand accounts into an educational resource for allies, survivors and support systems to learn best practices from.
Dr. Leslie La Barre ’12
Eureka! Musical Minds of California Graduate Conference
Leslie is a California-based composer and conductor whose specializations include multidisciplinary collaborations, instrumental conducting and film history and scoring. Her catalog includes works for a myriad of ensembles including original works for dance, choral, chamber ensembles and orchestras. As a conductor, La Barre has directed such orchestras as the USC Thornton Symphony, Santa Clara University Orchestra and Hollywood Symphony Orchestra. Leslie is the founder and director of the Eureka! Musical Minds of California Graduate Conference. This nationally recognized multidisciplinary initiative aims to create an unprecedented environment that showcases the diverse work created in the state of California. The 2019 meeting of Eureka! took place at Cal State East Bay with conference keynote speaker, Dr. Gabriela Lena Frank. In 2017, Leslie was commissioned by the Savage Jazz Dance Company that resulted in the concert-length multidisciplinary work, Sketches of Oakland with musical director, Emily Tian ’13. La Barre earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University.
Jennifer La Corte ’13
Jennifer has been the Executive Director for Angelina Beautiful/ Clean, an East Texas nonprofit, since February of 2017 handling events, fundraising, educational projects, beautification endeavors, donations, litter abatement cleanups and many other community outreach programs. She enjoys teaching youth and community members about environmental stewardship to help keep East Texas a clean, green and beautiful place to live, work and play. Jennifer has a B.S. in Business Marketing from San Francisco State University and a M.A. in Communication from Cal State East Bay. She likes to actively volunteer with various local community organizations, craft in her free time, explore cultures through food and experience the world by traveling near and far. Jennifer has been married to her husband, Phillip La Corte, for eight years and has two young daughters, Addison and Brianna. She now calls Texas home since moving from California in 2015.
John Lane ’07, ’10
B.S. Business Administration, MBA
Certified Financial Planner,
David White and Associates
Through and through John is a Californian who has a heart for the Bay. Through his years at Cal State East Bay, he was involved in many projects ranging from the funding of the Recreation and Wellness Center to moving the university to Division II athletics. He is a firm believer in the value of a degree and encourages all youth to develop a plan to accomplish this goal with a debt-free mentality. It was through this belief that he authored a book “How to Graduate from College Debt-Free”, with the intention of helping families prepare for the rising costs of education. John’s beliefs led him to the career of personal finance. He is a certified financial planner at David White and Associates helping generations achieve financial freedom.
Garth Langley ’10
B.S. Criminal Justice Administration; B.A. Political Science
Criminal Investigator/Special Agent,
United States Secret Service,
Garth currently serves as a special agent with the Secret Service in San Francisco conducting financial crimes investigations as well as protection assignments for foreign and U.S. leaders. Prior to this, he served as a San Francisco police officer, a public affairs officer for San Francisco Fleet Week and San Diego’s LGBT Pride, and a public affairs captain in the Marine Corps. Garth grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and greater Seattle area with professional interests in community service, social justice, public affairs and public safety. Garth is currently working on his Masters in Public Policy and will soon transfer to Washington D.C. for a protective assignment for the Vice President or President of the United States.
Patrick Lew ’11
Senior Sales Associate; Professional Musician,
Chocolate Heaven Pier 39; Patrick Lew Band
Against all odds, Asian-American rock and roller Patrick Lew aims to break the walls down. He is a punk rock musician in the Patrick Lew Band and The Verse and also an actor.
Div Manickam ’11
Director of Product and Solutions Marketing,
Div is the director of product and solutions marketing at Dell Boomi. With almost 10 years of experience in B2B marketing at startups and Fortune 500 technology companies, she has helped lead product and solutions marketing efforts. Previously she held roles at UBM Tech as a business intelligence analyst and a technical product marketing manager at GoodData. In her current role, Div leads the product and solutions marketing team at Dell Boomi, enabling sales and helping customers build a connected business with the Boomi platform. Just as she is committed and passionate at work, Div is an avid traveler and a proud Google Local Guide exploring the world around the corner.
Patzia Martinez Montes de Oca ’18
Rise Up - Public Health Institute
Patzia was born and raised in Mexico, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in international business. She moved to the U.S. four years ago and just last year, she earned her master’s degree in public administration with a specialization on healthcare. Her interest in nonprofits started after working for the United States-Mexico Foundation for Science where she collaborated with government agencies, universities and local corporations, small businesses and startups in the health sector. As a project coordinator for Rise Up, Patzia is able to focus on her passion: helping more girls finish school, delay pregnancy and early marriage, overcome poverty, and pursue dignified economic livelihoods. Patzia’s experience also includes working for a medical device start up, where she participated in the early stages of the company as logistic and purchasing manager and acting as a company representative in international trade events.
Melissa Merencillo ’12, ’17
B.A. Mass Communication, M.A. Interaction Design
Melissa is currently a program manager for the Publisher Products team at Twitter, Inc. focusing on Live Brand Studio, a new service designed to help brands go live and maximize their own live content efforts to drive conversation via Twitter Media Studio and Periscope Producer. Outside of work, she is an X Reality (AR/VR/MR) enthusiast with a background in video production and interaction design. She has presented lightning talks on, “Where We are in XR” as a guest speaker at the University of San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University for the Leonardo Art and Science Evening Rendezvous, also known as the LASER Talks. Melissa is interested in exploring how new interactions and relationships with immersive digital reality systems will affect our social and personal experiences. Melissa also served as a soldier in the US Army National Guard and Reserve from 2005-2013.
Judi Nield ’03
B.A. Mass Communication
Legacy Real Estate and Associates
For the past 16 years, Judi has served the local community as a real estate marketing executive with Berkshire Hathaway (formerly known as Prudential California Realty) and Legacy Real Estate and Associates in the San Francisco Bay Area. During her tenure, Judi has led marketing operations for a large 1,400-agent company with 50 offices throughout Northern California and Nevada. She streamlined strategies on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, launched a 3D virtual realty experience for homebuyers and sellers and developed a marketing program to help agents grow their businesses. Her skills span marketing and technology realms and her dynamic presentations motivate and inspire others on a large scale. Judi prides herself on being a wife, mom, marketing guru and all-around cool gal. She volunteers at the Kaleidoscope Cancer Connection, is a gallon blood donor and is actively involved with the Walnut Elementary PTA.
Marissa Nordahl ’13
B.A. Environmental Studies
Support Systems Consultant,
Marissa started working at Google shortly after graduation. Presently, she acts as the support systems consultant for the Geo products that Google provides. During her time at Cal State East Bay, Marissa was active in Kappa Xi Sorority and found a love for volunteering while acting as philanthropy chair. Marissa became deeply involved in supporting volunteer opportunities shortly after joining the company. Each year, she works to match Googler skills with nonprofit needs and has coordinated 20-plus events with 200-plus attendees! Over her five-plus years at Google, she has learned that change is constant and that true value comes from relationships. Both have come to shape her workstyle and career.
Amer Orabi ’16
B.S. Accounting and Finance
Co-Founder and COO,
During his senior year at Cal State East Bay, Amer co-founded Pathwater, a bottled water brand that aims to tackle one of the the biggest problems we face today—plastic pollution.
Pathwater is a bottled water brand doing things differently. Instead of plastic, ultra-purified water is packaged in a refillable aluminum bottle. The mission and goal at Pathwater is to change consumer behavior by encouraging them to “refill not landfill”. There are 50 billion plastic bottles that end up in our oceans and landfills every year, Amer and his team hope to put a stop to this insanity, one refill at a time. Fifty years ago, bottled water didn’t exist.
\As the COO at Pathwater, Amer leads all internal controls of the business including the profit and loss and cash-flow management. His process-oriented approach to management has proven successful in building a sales and marketing organization of more than 100 people.
Amer received a degree in accounting and finance at Cal State East Bay.
Sysamone Phaphon ’10, ’12
B.A. Human Development, M.S. HealthCare Administration
Get Better, Inc.
Sysamone is a leader and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the tech/startup industry. She leads growth and partnerships at the healthtech startup-Get Better, Inc. Her work at Better has helped processed more than $11 million in claims and forgiven more than $7 million in medical debt. She is also the owner of the agency FilmHero which creates screening tours for independent filmmakers focused on using their film as a tool to create a social impact. She has worked with award-winning filmmakers including Michael Moore, Firas Fayyad and Sarah Moshman. She is a catalyst for change and has executed various community events with major tech companies such as Google, Yelp and Twilio, to help women thrive in tech. She has been featured in various media outlets including Forbes, USA Today and Observer, among others. Her life goal is to provide inspiration and tools that anyone can harness into action to generate more impactful businesses in society.
Miguel Pimentel ’12
B.A. Ethnic Studies and Spanish
Cal State East Bay
Miguel was born in Michoacán, Mexico, and came to the United States when he was 11-years-old. He earned two bachelor’s degrees from Cal State East Bay in 2012 and a master’s degree in Education from San Jose State University in May 2019. As a first-generation undocumented Latino college student, he was able to navigate the educational system. He qualified to apply to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that allows him to work legally in the U.S. He has worked in the K-12 and higher education setting for the past seven years. He has participated in various professional development opportunities at Harvard University and the City University of New York. He has been a keynote speaker at a middle and high school in Mexico, co-keynote speaker at the Chicanx/Latinx Graduation at Cal State East Bay, and keynote student speaker at SJSU UndocuSpartan Welcome Day.
Joshua Prasad ’11, ’12
B.A. Psychology, MBA
Founder and Director of Operations,
United Sports of America
Joshua began his career in the human resources field after completing his B.A. in Psychology and MBA at Cal State East Bay. He later founded a nonprofit organization focused on providing youth activities and programs to low to moderate income families throughout the Bay Area. His focus is impacting the lives of many youth through physical activity, education and mentoring. He also spends time being a mentor to young professionals and entrepreneurs.
Neil Prasad ’04
B.S. Business Administration
Golden State Material Handling Corp.
Neil emigrated from the Republic of Fiji in 1989 at the age of 9 with his mother and didn’t speak any English. He worked hard to settle into a new culture and language, and create a life for his family and himself. After graduating, he was employed by Wells Fargo before gaining employment with Big Joe Handling Systems as a business development consultant and salesperson. He remained at Big Joe for eight years, earning several accolades including “Rookie of the Year” and “Lead Salesperson” three years in a row. After gaining valuable experience, Neil decided to venture out on his own creating Golden State Material Handling Corporation with cofounder Wil Adajar. Today he is the chief executive officer leading the day-to-day operations for all projects, employees and still leads all sales for GSMH. He employs 15 individuals and believes in giving all a chance at success.
Vivian Prasad ’15, ’17
B.A. Human Development; MPA
Training and Outreach Manager,
State of California
Vivian earned her Bachelors’ in human development at the age of 21. She continued her education and graduated with a Master’s in Public Administration - Policy Analysis at the age of 23. Today, Vivian stands as the youngest and only training and outreach manager ever established for her agency within the State of California. She has brought her agency to greater heights through innovation, modernization and global insights.
Jesús Ramirez ’07
Photoshop Training Channel
Jesús Ramirez is a former Cal State East Bay soccer player who is now a digital graphics expert, speaker, and educator. With more than 10 years of professional design experience, Jesús has worked with clients like Adobe, Microsoft, Motorola and Condé Nast. He is best known as the founder of the Photoshop Training Channel, one of the most popular Photoshop YouTube channels in the world with close to 1 million subscribers. Through his YouTube channel, Jesús has helped hundreds of thousands of creatives follow their passions, improve their skills, and even find new careers. In the last few years, Jesús has become one of the most influential speakers in the industry and has led sessions in conferences worldwide, in events in Australia, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and all across the United States.
Roman Rogers ’17
Roman is a guidance counselor at Catholic Charities San Francisco, a group home for boys and girls. He works with troubled youth who are transitioning in and out of the juvenile justice system in the San Francisco Bay Area. Roman is the bridge of communication between the youth, families, probation officers and the San Francisco juvenile hall. He solves problems through real-life experiences, and counsels the youth giving them the necessary tools, wisdom, support, and guidance to become successful within society. His goal is to keep as many youth out of incarceration as possible with the correct guidance and support. Roman believes all youth can become successful.
Mahogany Charlton Roland ’07
Wardrobe for Opportunity
Mahogany spent her formative years in Sacramento, but fell in love with the Bay Area while studying at Saint Mary’s College of California where she received her B.A. She then went on to obtain her MPA from Cal State East Bay and earned a nonprofit certification from Golden Gate University. Mahogany has spent the last nine years working passionately in the social impact sector, striving to foster meaningful change in the Bay Area. As executive director of Wardrobe for Opportunity, Mahogany is dedicated to the organization’s mission of providing low-income Bay Area residents the tools and resources they need to achieve economic mobility.
Elnaz Sarraf ’12
Founder and CEO,
Elnaz is a serial entrepreneur with more than 12 years of experience in technology, business, sales, and marketing. Currently, Elnaz is the CEO and founder of ROYBI, a robotics company focused on early childhood education and language learning. ROYBI utilizes artificial intelligence to provide personalized educational experiences for kids across the globe and to focus on each child’s individual abilities. As an immigrant and female founder, Elnaz has made worthy accomplishments in a short duration living in the U.S. Honors include being selected as Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center Milestone Maker 2018, named the Woman of Influence through Silicon Valley Business Journal in 2016 and Entrepreneur of The Year in 2016 in Silicon Valley.
Tiffany Silas ’15, ’17
B.A. Human Development, M.S. Health Care Administration
Clinical Trials Research Coordinator,
Tiffany is the first in her family to graduate college. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cal State East Bay. As a native of San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, Tiffany has worked with a diverse group of youth and adults. She has always been passionate about helping underrepresented communities eliminate barriers to education, housing, health care, and employment. She worked in San Francisco’s nonprofit sector for more than 10 years. With the completion of her master’s degree, she has recently transitioned over to health care, specifically cancer research. In her current role as a clinical trials research coordinator, she is responsible for assisting in the operational and administrative research efforts for multiple FDA regulated clinical trials. In her spare time, she volunteers for SoOakland Collective coordinating community outreach efforts. In the future, she hopes to start her own nonprofit organization to give back to the Bayview Hunters Point community.
Harinder Singh ’17
M.S. Business Analytics
Global Director Data Strategy and Architecture,
Anheuser Busch InBev
Harinder is a known thought leader and speaker in the data strategy and management domain and serves on the governing body of the San Francisco CDO Executive Summit and Talend Customer Advisory Board. He was the 2018 recipient of the Data Masters Award for Business Excellence. He also serves as a mentor for students entering the field and helps with resume and interview preparation. Harinder earned his MSBA while working full time and has since gone on to become the global director for AB InBev. At AB InBev, he leads data strategy and architecture for a company with $60 billion in revenue, operations in 126 countries, and 200,000 employees. He is responsible for harnessing the power of data for digital transformation. Harinder has defined AB InBev’s architecture for information management and has implemented this architecture across the globe. Harinder is a 15- year veteran in the data and analytics industry and has designed and implemented data products at scale for Walmart Labs, IBM, and Stanford.
Michelle Pasaoa Soo Hoo ’02
B. S. Business Administration
Senior Manager: National Equity, Inclusion and Diversity,
Michelle is a senior manager in the department of National Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity at Kaiser Permanente where she curates and produces events and programs focused on inspiring equity and inclusion within the workplace, care delivery, and communities. For more than 15 years Michelle has amplified Kaiser Permanente’s mission through events, experiential marketing, brand strategy, and human resources. She managed the event marketing team which designed and executed conferences, sponsorship experiences and community events. She was responsible for the organization’s branded products and apparel online store. Michelle also led the implementation of an enterprisewide branded asset system. Overall, her work has been centered on delivering high-impact experiences that promote total health. Michelle was born and raised in the Bay Area. She lives in Fremont with her husband, also a Cal State East Bay alumnus, her daughter (10), and son (7).
Juliet Torome Naishorua ’16
B.A. Political Science/International Studies
Executive Assistant to Director of Finance,
City of Oakland
Juliet’s success story is one to the unlikeliest. When she was growing up in rural Kenya, chances that she would graduate from high school were extremely slim. Formal education in her Maasai community was reserved for boys. Like many girls, she was supposed to get married early. But Juliet was determined to defy the odds. With earnings from menial jobs, she managed to go to high school. After graduation, she worked as a teacher and saved money to earn an associate’s degree in journalism from East African School of Media Studies, after which she went on to work at The Star, one of Kenya’s leading daily newspapers. Juliet continues to assist, advocate for, and mentor young people in her community, both here and in Kenya. She is the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Leadership Award for “exemplary leadership and selfless acts” from the Association of the Kenyan Diaspora Organizations.
Johnny Volk ’11
B.S. Business Administration
Social Media Manager,
San Francisco 49ers
Johnny has worked in the sports and entertainment industry for the last six years previously serving as the head of social media at StubHub and currently managing the official social media accounts of the San Francisco 49ers. Johnny and his team are responsible for all content shared on the 49ers accounts globally and also help players with social media working with current and former 49ers. The 49ers have one of the largest social media followings in sports with more than 7 million followers around the world and counting. He graduated with a Bachelors of Science in 2011 and played on the Pioneer baseball team from 2007 to 2011. He met his wife, Marissa, on campus while she served on the ASI board and was captain of the Eclectic Pulse dance team.
Na’Keia Warren ’05, ’12
B.A. Ethnic Studies, MPA
A Richmond, California native, Na’Keia earned her bachelor’s degree in ethnic studies and master’s degree in public administration from Cal State East Bay. There she served as president of the Ethnic Studies Academic Society. Na’Keia has made many contributions in her community as well as her professional network. She currently serves as a board member and philanthropy chair at Girls Inc. of West Contra Costa County, a nonprofit organization serving girls ages 5-18 in underserved communities. As regional community relations co-chair of Kaiser Permanente’s African American Professional Association, she codesigns and hosts community health fairs addressing healthcare disparities for minorities, including health screenings, family violence, and suicide prevention. To further enhance Kaiser’s workforce, she co-designed a national learning and development module regarding generational diversity. Na’Keia continues to champion pipeline development for aspiring youth and millennials via mentoring and professional development throughout Northern California.
Andrew Yunker ’15, ’17
B.S. Computer Science; M.S. Computer Science
Lecturer | Business Owner
Andrew is a Lecturer at Cal State East Bay, where he develops pillars of success for incoming first-year students, including the creation of software which aids in increasing retention of second-year students. Andrew holds a masters in computer science, which he used to develop his own business in restoring computing technology for customer use. In addition to owning a business, he has developed software technology for students; giving probabilities, projections and calculations for courses that effectively increase student success in them. Recently Andrew launched a web-based scavenger hunt that uses a combination of today’s technologies along with concepts of kinesthetics to create a interactive environment to pass along information; increasing user knowledge in concepts such as critical thinking and time management.