Mentor Bios

Elias N. Abou-Fadel

Elias holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Chicago-Booth School of Business, and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Paris I-La Sorbonne.  Elias has more than 22 years of experience, of which 17 years in financial and management advisory across sectors in Lebanon, GCC, Europe and North Africa. He has evaluated companies, and advised clients on buy and sell-side. He led reorganization and change management programs, and implemented growth and diversification strategies enabling increases in revenues, reductions in costs, and increases in profits and return on investments.  Prior to establishing his consultancy firm, Elias worked in the banking sector in Lebanon. He developed and wrote policies and procedures according to regulatory and risk management compliance requirements, and was a key team member in the selection and implementation of the bank’s information technology system.  Elias sits on the board of directors and advisory committees of many organizations of which the university medical hospital “Notre-Dame Des Secours” Lebanon. In addition to his board member role in the hospital, for more than 10 years, Elias undertook multiple organizational projects related to activities and business process re-engineering and information system selection.  Elias wrote publications and articles, and lectured in areas related to management and finance in various industries.

Zenobein Adams

Zenobein Adams earned a Masters of Management in 2010; and is pursuing a Masters of Diversity and Inclusion at CSU. Her involvement with small businesses has a range from grass-root startups to Goldman and Sachs qualified businesses.  In 2013 Zenobein was featured on Leon Bibb’s Kaleidoscope for implementing and facilitating a community ‘Think Tank’ for entrepreneurs to formulate a package on vision, mission, breakeven analysis and other available resources for entrepreneurs. In 2016, Zenobein was selected to be the Mentor and Facilitator for CSU’s Multicultural Asian Student Government Association which has approximately 300+ members.  Previously, Zenobein she was a Mentor at CCC’s Thrive Incubator and Y.O.U. entrepreneurs projects.  Her motto is that, “strengths begins at the roots” which is the core of any sustainable business.

Cal Al-Dhubaib

Cal Al-Dhubaib is a data scientist and entrepreneur. For over five years, he has delivered analytics solutions that solve complex business challenges. His background in systems engineering, digital product development, and management puts him in a unique position to provide data analytic solutions for diverse organizations. Through his career, Cal has cultivated a wide range of skills spanning research and development to fundraising and product management. He loves learning about emerging technologies and commercialization strategies for data driven products.

Jay Apple

Jay Apple is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded TenantMagic. is an online residential rental application management system that provides the most comprehensive background screening reports available. TenantMagic is free to agents, property managers and landlords.In addition, Jay has extensive experience in operations management, market development and strategy implementation SMBs. He also focuses on integrating new technology with existing businesses to significantly improve efficiency with minimal disruption to operations, policy and procedure development, process improvement and digital applications specifically in web and mobile. His previous experience includes management consulting for Fortune 50 companies. Jay is actively involved in mentoring entrepreneurs and college students.

Brandyn Armstrong

Brandyn Armstrong currently holds an associates degree in Business Administration and is currently working on his bachelors degree in business here at Cleveland State. With the success of his recording product Studio Stick, Brandyn continues to make a lot of major moves in order to get his product off the ground. He believes that with faith mixed with effort, anything is possible.

Victoria Avi

Victoria Avi has over 9 years of experience in the sustainable business practices field. Sustainability, design, entrepreneurship and innovation are at the core of her work whether she is teaching MBA courses, managing the Sustainable Business Center at CSU or engaging in civic work. Victoria’s earliest entrepreneurial endeavor was at the age of 9 selling gum to her classmates. She is a two-time alumna of Cleveland State University, earning her BA in 2003 and her MA in 2006. A transplant from Baku, Azerbaijan, she calls Cleveland her new and forever home. #GoVikes

Anne Brower

A graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Anne Brower is extremely organized and customer focused. As an MBA graduate with a concentration in Marketing, Anne has a wide range of skills including strategic thinking, account organization, copywriting and general marketing. Anne is very hands-on and pushes the Hey Now! Media team on both the client and creative side to ensure that the work is the very best it can be. Her expertise in content and copywriting, along with a keen eye for design helps to keep the work fun, functional and different as she guides the creative process holistically and strategically.

Matt Brower

A graduate of Kent State University, Matt Brower is seriously motivated. He has a keen insight into customer needs and expertly identifies how to move your business forward. His experience as both a creative and an organizer gives him a unique ability to understand client needs and how to translate them into a workable vision.

Jim Deiotte

James Deiotte, CPA, CMA, JD and MBA; two-time Cleveland State University business alumnus (BBS Accounting 1980 and MBA and recently retired partner of EY, Jim has been an ambassador for EY throughout his career, working with many of the largest companies in the world, a variety of governmental agencies and colleagues in over 50 countries. Since retiring from EY, Jim has been busy working with a number of founders and their leadership teams supporting companies building businesses around cyber-technology, sustainability solutions and cross-border fintech solutions.

Michael Dever

Michael holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Cleveland State University. He is a systems administrator for the IS&T department at Cleveland State, where he manages projects, supports enterprise hardware and software, and coordinates, focuses and customizes services for the campus community.

Jimmy D’Orazio

As an active member of the Cleveland business community, Jim leverages his experience in teaching, marketing, consultative selling, strategy development, consensus building and project management to help prepare students for a successful career. His hope is to contribute to the Cleveland State University mission to engage and connect the student body, faculty and local business community.

Anthony Gasparro

In 2015 Anthony won third place at Startup Vikes with his company PuppyMatch which has had 2 successful years of growth. He is currently developing his next startup, The American Canine Council. The organization will be a more sophisticated concept built upon PuppyMatch’s foundation, encouraging responsible dog ownership through education. In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors Anthony is an intern at the Veale Entrepreneurship Forum, a non-profit supporting high school entrepreneurship in Northeast Ohio. Anthony will be graduating from Cleveland State University in summer of 2017 with his degree in finance.

 Colette Hart

Colette Hart is Senior Director of the Centers for Outreach & Engagement in the Monte Ahuja College of Business at Cleveland State University. In her capacity as Senior Director, she is responsible for establishing Centers of Excellence in the College of Business that provide responsive and strategic business educational programs for the Northeast Ohio business community. Colette was instrumental in establishing the Global Business Center and securing over a million dollars in funding to develop interdisciplinary academic, research and outreach programs focused on applied international business education.

Tina Habib

Tina holds a PhD in Political Marketing (Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon) and a Master’s Degree in International Business (London School of Business and Finance, England/Grenoble Graduate Business School, France). She is head of the Marketing department at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon (USEK). She has also completed an executive certificate program designed by the George Washington University around Strategic Thinking & Leadership. Tina has experience in the advertising world and has been a lecturer in marketing and consumer behavior since 2010 at USEK. She became a Fulbright scholar in 2016.

Jessica Ice

Jessica is passionate about the interplay between technology and the economy, regional economic development, connecting people, survey design, traveling and all things CLE. She coordinates the biannual Entrepreneurial Services Program (ESP) Survey and supports JumpStart’s mission by providing data-driven evaluations of ongoing initiatives.

Matthew Iorio

Matthew is a champion of the start-up and early stage venture community in Cleveland.  He holds a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering with a focus in medical devices and algorithm development.  His passion for this community has led him to combine these skills to work in technology transfer, consult for start-ups and also work for local incubators/accelerators and a venture capital firm.  He also has experience in open innovation. Currently, he works at Neuros Medical Inc., an early stage venture-capital backed company developing an implantable medical device aimed at improving the lives of those that suffer from chronic pain.

Karan Jain

Karan is a Financial and Accounting Consultant with a real passion for understanding his clients’ financial needs. Experienced in consulting, business advising, financial planning and analysis and leadership, he is currently working as a Finance and Accounting Specialist for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Cleveland State. In his role, he helps small businesses with their daily and long-term financial and planning needs. He also serves as the Director of Finance and Outreach for the Student Government Association, Treasurer of the Asian-American Student organization and President of the Multi-Cultural Student Organization at Cleveland State.

Raj Javalgi

Raj Javalgi is Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Strategic Initiatives, Professor of Marketing, and instructor for the International Business Strategy course. His areas of interest are International Marketing, International Business, Marketing Research, Multivariate Statistical Methods and Marketing Management. Raj is widely published in journals such as the Journal of International Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Consumer Research, International Business Review and the Thunderbird International Business Review to name a few. Recently, Raj was able to secure two Business International Education grants totaling $380,000 to build and sustain international business programming. He routinely works with and assists SMEs with their international marketing strategy.

 Roger Klee

Roger Klee is currently in his sixth year as a college lecturer in finance at Cleveland State University.  He teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in corporate finance, investments, derivatives, insurance, and personal finance. His professional experience is in corporate finance and accounting.

Pascale Lahoud-Abou Jaoude

Holder of a Ph.D. degree in Marketing from the University of Lille1, France. Pascale recently joined Asher Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK). Throughout her career, she tries to pass on her enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and marketing communications to students while giving them practical insights on ideation and business planning. Pascale is also an active member of several dissertation committees and a constant source of support to graduate students. Her research interests mainly revolve around regional tourism, communication, and culture. She’s the recipient of Fulbright Junior Faculty Program for Lebanon awarded by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Neleen Leslie

Neleen Leslie is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing at Cleveland State University. She earned her PhD in Communication from Florida State University. Dr. Leslie is a native of the island of Jamaica where she spent three years as a marketer in the pharmaceutical industry before earning a Fulbright scholarship to pursue graduate studies in the United States. Dr. Leslie’s industry experience includes a stint in the Jamaican marketing industry as Brand Manager at one of the country’s largest distributors. She also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS), a non- profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of graduate and professional students in the United States and was President & CEO of Association in 2014. She is also a research affiliate of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication at Florida State University.

Frank Nagorney

As a principal at Cowden Humphrey, Frank Nagorney focuses on finding business solutions for legal problems facing private- and family-owned businesses. He also advises clients on succession planning, estate taxation, insurance and wealth management. As general counsel to business clients, he advises and often represents clients on financing (banking and private equity), business structure, tax planning, restructuring debt, bankruptcy, intellectual property licensing and protection, executive compensation, environmental issues and more.

Ed O’Donnell, CPA

Ed O’Donnell is an Adjunct Accounting Professor at Cleveland State University, teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Ed is a practicing CPA with a firm located in Westlake, Ohio. Recently retired from PPG Industries where he spent 27 years, Ed earned his BBA degree from Cleveland State University in 1979 and his MBA from the University of Georgia in 1983.

Rachel Pankiw

Rachel Pankiw earned a BS in Advertising with a minor in Public Relations from Kent State University. As a former journalism major turned marketing professional, she has developed unique skillsets in content marketing, media relations, and marketing communications strategy. She recently graduated from Cleveland State with an MBA in Marketing and a Graduate Certificate in Marketing Analytics, while working as a marketing specialist and business advisor for The Small Business Development Center. She currently works as a Marketing Communications Manager for Speedeon Data, a marketing analytics/market research firm in Cleveland.

Brian Ray

Professor Brian Ray has extensive experience in eDiscovery, information governance and data privacy.  He and Candice Hoke founded and co-direct the Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection.  They also are co-editors of the Center-sponsored  SSRN Cybersecurity, Data Privacy and eDiscovery eJournal.   Brian also co-founded, with Tim Opsitnick of JurInnov, the Cleveland eDiscovery Roundtable, an informal group of lawyers, judges and academics that meets monthly to discuss issues surrounding electronic discovery, cybersecurity and data privacy issues. In 2016 Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine appointed Brian to the CyberOhio Advisory Board. He co-chairs the Northeast Ohio CyberConsortium’s Workforce Development Committee and is a member of the Sedona Conference’s Data Security and Privacy Liability Working Group. Brian also is an expert in comparative and international law law. His book, Engaging with Social Rights: Participation, Procedure and Democracy in South Africa’s Second-Wave provides a comprehensive analysis of the South African Constitutional Court’s social rights decisions.  He was a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa and has published extensively on comparative constitutional law and social rights.

Ben Richards

As a librarian, Ben Richards works with students and faculty at Cleveland State University to connect them with the wealth of information available through the Michael Schwartz Library and elsewhere. He serves as a resource to the College of Business through instruction, reference services, and managing the library’s collections. Ben received his MLIS in 2014 and has been working at Cleveland State University since 2015.

Blaise Roncagli

Dr. Roncagli has been a lecturer with the Department of Finance at CSU since Fall 2011.  Prior to that, he spent 30 years in the Software industry, working for firms like Hyland Software, Rockwell Automation, Sensormatic Electronics, Digital Equipment Corporation and Thorn Automated Systems.  He has also worked for several startup firms, one of which was an IT consulting firm he founded with two partners in the early years of his career.  Working with small startup firms established his interest in how small firms make their financing and investment decisions, which was the subject of his doctoral dissertation.  Dr. Roncagli teaches courses in Corporate Finance, International Finance and Financial Markets and Institutions.  He has maintained the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification since 1998.

Geoff Rucinski

Geoff is a business development and growth strategist in multiple industries including hardware / software, retail, web, agricultural and professional services. He is a highly motivated entrepreneur with proven ability in creating and expanding successful businesses formed as both a sole proprietorship and partnership corporation.

Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith earned a BSS in Creative Entrepreneurship from Ohio University and her MBA from Cleveland State University. She has always had a love for the self-starting zeal and boundary-pushing challenges that entrepreneurs and small businesses face. An artist at heart, she has spent the last several years honing her creative problem solving skills in application to entrepreneurial and managerial scenarios, and is currently the Manager of Entrepreneurial Education at ECDI.

Nick Stevovich

Nick Stevovich is the founder of acclaimed brand Nikola Innovation, a bike component manufacturer and designer. Nick accumulated 18 years of experiences working at in the relocation industry overseeing  operations, product development, and customer relationship before launching the Nikola brand.  He is an avid innovator and owner of three US Patents and instrumental in several clinical trials researching kinematic motion for cyclists. He speaks fluent Serbian and English and studied economics and mathematics at The Ohio State University. Nick Stevovich is originally from Milwaukee Wisconsin currently residing in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and three daughters.

Marybeth Stucker

Marybeth is the Director of Operations & Membership at LaunchHouse.  She focuses on building a community of awesome entrepreneurs and the day-to-day operations of the space.  Prior to LaunchHouse, Marybeth worked at KeyBank as a Financial Analyst.  She is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of John Carroll University University where she studied Accounting, Spanish, and Entrepreneurship.  Marybeth has many roles at LaunchHouse: accountant, office manager, mentor, and more. But what she enjoys most is helping people turn their dreams and ideas into reality.

Katie VanDyke

For the past eight years, Katie has worked in the entrepreneurial world. Currently the Director of the Small Business Development Center at Cleveland State, she served as an Entrepreneur Advisor providing assistance, training and counseling to local businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. Katie is passionate about creating experiential learning opportunities in entrepreneurship as well as training for entrepreneurs and academic entities. For the past ten years she has also developed curriculum in entrepreneurship and taught business and marketing classes as an adjunct faculty member of the Business Division at Lorain County Community College.

Nate Ward

As Director of the Global Business Center and the SBDC Export Assistance Network, Nate Ward, has extensive international experience within manufacturing and banking industries. His international business experience includes sales, logistics, marketing, pricing, research and product development. In addition to his diverse cultural knowledge, Nate speaks multiple languages including French, Spanish and Japanese.

Brett Woodard

With a background in Public Relations, Brett Woodard is a creative with a knack for design, branding, copywriting and storytelling.  A graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Brett has spent the past 15 years helping college students with personal branding and career development at Appalachian State University, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Elon University and St. Joseph’s University. As Associate Director for Entrepreneurship and Experiential Learning at The College of Wooster, he fosters students’ personal, professional and academic development, helping them learn how to impact the world through problem solving, whether as entrepreneurs or intrepreneurs.