Speaker Bios

George Abe | Lecturer; Faculty Director, Strategic Management Research Program, UCLA Anderson School of Management   

George Abe is a lecturer and Faculty Director of the Strategic Management Research (SMR) Program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. His teaching responsibilities include entrepreneurship, business plan development and field study program advisories. SMR is the field study program, required of all Executive MBA students. He was Business Development Manager for the UCLA Office of Intellectual Property, which is responsible for patent protection and commercialization of UCLA research. Previously, Abe was a venture partner with Palomar Ventures, a VC firm in Santa Monica, California. Before Palomar, he was with Cisco Systems in the office of the chief technical officer. Prior to that he was with Infonet Services Corporation (NYSE:IN, now BT) where he designed Infonet's IP data services and helped spinoff the company from its parent, Computer Sciences Corp (NYSE: CSC). From 1998 until 2006, Abe was a member of the board of directors of Switchcore AB, a publicly traded fabless semiconductor designer in Sweden. He has also held board of director positions with various startup companies and not-for-profit organizations. He is the author of Residential Broadband, which presents an analysis of high-speed residential networking, published by Cisco Press.

Alisher Ali | Founder, Silk Road Finance; Managing Partner, Silk Road Management

Alisher Ali has over 17 years of investment management, investment banking and advisory experience in emerging and frontier markets including Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Myanmar and Mozambique.

Ali is Founder of Silk Road Finance, an investment group focused on catalyst-driven frontier markets. Through Silk Road Finance, he founded Eurasia Capital, Mandalay Capital, Africa Asia Capital, investment banking and corporate finance advisory firms dedicated to Mongolia, Myanmar and Mozambique respectively. Ali is Managing Partner of Silk Road Management, the Group's investment management subsidiary investing in high growth frontier markets globally. He was Vice President of Auerbach Grayson & Co., a brokerage house in New York advising U.S. institutional investors on portfolio investments in emerging and frontier markets in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He was Head of Corporate Finance in Central Asia and the Caucasus at Ernst & Young as well as investment banker at Renaissance Capital in Moscow and Credit Suisse First Boston in Zurich and London. Ali received his Master of International Affairs from Columbia University and an MBA from Oxford University.

Jerry Braakman | Chief Investment Officer and Treasurer, First American Trust

Jerry Braakman has over 20 years of experience in investment management and is currently responsible for the investment outlook, portfolio strategy, asset allocation, risk management, treasury and investment processes. He began his career at First American Trust in 1995 and during his tenure has held various operational and investment management positions. Prior to assuming his current responsibilities, he oversaw the management of First American's $2.3 billion corporate investment portfolio.

Braakman is regularly quoted as a subject matter expert for the Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg, among other publications.  He holds a Master's degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor's degree in Economics from University of California, Irvine and is a member of the Board of Directors for First Security Business Bank in Orange, California.

Bing Chen | Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Victorious; Former YouTube Global Head of Creator Development and Management, Google

Bing Chen is Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Victorious, a mobile new media platform that powers and unites the world's most creative communities.  

Previously, Chen was the YouTube Global Head of Creator Development & Management at Google, where he was responsible for generating and aligning the global creator acquisition and development program strategy with 50+ cross-functional leads. In addition, he oversaw several company projects that engaged more than 250 million content creators worldwide-from musicians to filmmakers, chefs to beauty gurus. Chen co-founded and co-led initiatives such as the global expansion and evolution of the YouTube Partner Program; the company's talent incubation program; the YouTube Creator Institute; YouTube's presence at major industry and talent engagements like VidCon; and services to elevate YouTube's top native stars to superstardom. He began his YouTube tenure as the company's first Creator Marketing Manager and remains a trusted confidant to numerous creative artists.  

Prior to joining YouTube, Chen co-led Google's global green energy marketing efforts, launched the company's digital artifacts initiative, and was a founding member of the Google Crisis Response team. He has also spent time at the Walt Disney Company and Johnson & Johnson. Chen graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English, Psychology and Marketing. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, the A3 Foundation, the Buffer Film Festival and the STREAM TV Conference; is a One Young World Ambassador; and is a member of the Streamy Awards Blue Ribbon Panel. In 2014, he was recognized as one of Forbes' Top 30 Under 30 rising leaders.

Frederick Eck | President and Founder, The Randolph Group, Inc.

Frederick Eck is President and founder of The Randolph Group, Inc., a U.S. and Singapore based family office making majority investments in middle market companies based in the U.S. and minority and majority investments in Southeast Asia headquartered companies.

The Group focuses its investments on businesses with a tangible product and intellectual property. The Group has a Buy, Build and Hold philosophy of long-term investments and growth, and the Group's wholly and majority owned enterprises total several hundred employees mainly in the U.S. but also around the world. To date, the company has made 15 acquisitions of small and medium size enterprises, which have included Weiman Products, a specialty chemical manufacturer focusing on surfactants, enzymatics and disinfectants sold as household cleaners under the Weiman and Wright's brands, Rockford Systems, a machine guarding and factory safety products manufacturer and Plibrico, a refractory manufacturer and contract refractory installer. Prior to founding the Randolph Group in 1988, Eck was a turnaround consultant with Abrams, Jossel and Associates and prior to that a commercial banker with American National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago, now part of JP Morgan Chase, focusing on middle market commercial lending. He holds MBAs from the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Business, and the National University of Singapore; and a BA Economics from the University of Notre Dame.

Brian Felsen | Former CEO, CD Baby / Book Baby

As President of CD Baby from 2008-14, Brian Felsen was responsible for all business development, operations, customer service, marketing, and technology at the world's largest online distributor of independent music.  At CD Baby, he massively grew the company's profits and customer base, to where the company now has over 330,000 artists and 5 million tracks. He instituted agile development, and lean management in the warehouse, and launched new programs such as CD Baby Pro (foreign royalty collections) and the company's sync and YouTube monetization programs.  Felsen also founded BookBaby, which digitally distributes the works of independent authors, poets, memoirists, and publishers, making their eBooks available to digital retailers worldwide (including Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble.com, Sony's Reader Store, and Amazon.com).  Felsen first joined Disc Makers in 2003, launching and growing major new initiatives including the Merchandise and Film/DVD replication programs, before going on to head business development.  Felsen's prior roles include founding and running one of the largest independent music conferences in the world, composing several classical music works, creating art photography, poetry, and plays, and producing an award-winning documentary film about Turkish military coups d'état. 

Javon Frazier | Former Vice President, Games Marketing, Marvel Entertainment

Javon Frazier is a marketing executive with over 10 years extensive experience building relationships with various entertainment partners to create incentives for their brands and execute targeted marketing campaigns to increase revenues.  He formerly served as Vice President, Games Marketing at Marvel Entertainment where he oversaw over 35 games on all platforms worldwide including his most recent success, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, and the upcoming Disney Infinity 2.0 Marvel Super Heroes.  Prior to working in games, Frazier was the Marketing Director for Marvel Television where he launched a number of popular animated television series including Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Iron Man: Armored Adventures and Super Hero Squad.  Prior to working in television, he worked in Business Development for Marvel's theatrical division and helped with the launch of Marvel's first two self-produced theatrical films Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk.  Frazier is a native of Los Angeles and a graduate of Brentwood School.  Following Brentwood, he went on to receive his BA from the University of California at Berkeley and his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business where he also served as student body President.  Javon's wife Erika is also a Brentwood alum and they have a 3 year old daughter together named Chloe.

Carla Hayn | Professor of Accounting, UCLA Anderson School of Management

Carla Hayn is a professor in Accounting at UCLA Anderson School of Management. She recently stepped down as Senior Associate Dean of the Executive and Fully Employed MBA programs, a position she held for six years, and also served as the Senior Associate Dean of the Global Executive MBA for Asia Pacific program. She holds a Ph.D. in accounting and finance from the University of Michigan.

Hayn's research is in the areas of financial reporting and disclosures, effect of accounting numbers on stock prices, the economic consequences of taxes and tax reporting, mergers and acquisitions, as well as the information content of accounting information such as line-of-business reporting, special items and tax disclosures. Hayn has published numerous articles in leading accounting and finance journals. She has served as a financial consultant and an expert witness in securities litigation cases, focusing on financial reporting and disclosure issues, corporate valuation and risk assessment. Prior to her academic career, Hayn held the position of Chief Financial Analyst for the State of Florida Legislature and served as a commercial loan officer in a commercial bank.  Hayn teaches courses in financial accounting and financial statement analysis. She received a number of teaching awards, most recently the Outstanding Teaching Award in the UCLA - NUS Executive MBA program. In the UCLA Executive Education series, Hayn is the co-coordinator (with Professor Al Osborne) of the Directors' Training and Certification Program. Prior to joining UCLA, she was a faculty member of the Merage School of Business at the University of California-Irvine and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, where she held the Coopers & Lybrand fellowship in Mergers & Acquisitions.

Dwight Holcomb (GEMBA '11) | Founder and CEO, LifePet Organic Inc.

Dwight Holcomb is the founder and CEO of LifePet Organic, Inc., a start-up company manufacturing organic supplements, natural grooming products and over the counter treatments for the companion pet market.  LifePet, which incorporated in 2011 with headquarters in Pasadena, CA, has since opened up sales and distribution from coast to coast in the U.S., as well as Asia. A serial entrepreneur, he has over 20 years of marketing and management  experience within the consumer goods, IT and entertainment industries.

Holcomb currently serves as the Vice President of the UCLA Anderson Alumni Network Board and is also an Executive Committee Board Member for the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Los Angeles.  He holds MBAs from the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Business, and the National University of Singapore.  He resides in Pasadena (Los Angeles, CA) with his family. 

Mark C. Layton  | Founder and Certified Scrum Trainer, Platinum Edge

Mark C. Layton, known globally as Mr. Agile®, is an organizational strategist and PMI certification instructor with over 20 years in the project/program management field. He is the Los Angeles chair for the Agile Leadership Network and is the founder of Platinum Edge, Inc.-an organizational improvement company that supports businesses making the Waterfall-to-Agile transition. Prior to founding Platinum Edge in 2001, Layton developed his expertise as a consulting firm executive, program management coach, and in-the-trenches project leader. He also spent 11 years as a Cryptographic Specialist for the US Air Force, where he earned both Commendation and Achievement medals for his accomplishments.

Layton is a Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force's Leadership School, a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), and a recipient of Stanford University's advanced project management certification (SCPM).  He is the author of Wiley & Sons "Agile Project Management for Dummies" series and their "Scrum for Dummies" series and is a frequent speaker on Lean, Scrum, XP and other agile solutions.  Layton holds MBAs from the University of California, Los Angeles, and the National University of Singapore; a B.Sc. (summa cum laude) in Behavioral Science from University of La Verne; and an A.S. in Electronic Systems from the Air Force's Air College. 

John W. Mamer | Senior Associate Dean; Professor of Decisions, Operations and Technology Management

John Mamer has been a member of the UCLA Anderson faculty since 1981. He has served in the school in various administrative capacities, including as Interim Dean from 1997 to 1999. He was Chairman of the faculty and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. He currently serves as Senior Associate Dean of the Executive MBA and Global Executive MBA for Asia Pacific and for the Americas programs. Mamer specializes in applying math and computer science to problems in management, and also has developed large-scale models and software for production and distribution management for major U.S. corporations. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in business administration from UC Berkeley and received his B.S in Mathematics and B.A in Economics from UC Davis. 

Ben Savage (GEMBA '11) | VP, Innovation & Advanced Technology, Apex Supply Chain Technologies; President, Tahu Solutions  

Ben Savage is an entrepreneurial technology and business leader. He serves concurrently in two senior roles - Vice President of Innovation and Advanced Technology at Apex Supply Chain Technologies and President of Tahu Solutions.

Apex Supply Chain Technologies is defining the future of how companies manage their supply chains by providing tailored, scalable, hardware and Cloud-based software solutions, which allow customers to right-size and control the flow of materials, supplies, equipment and critical parts. As a key member of Apex' leadership team, Savage has helped drive the company's growth from a raw startup seven years ago to becoming the global industry leader serving a client base of over 10,000 corporate users in 41 countries on six continents. More than 300 of the Fortune 1000 and Forbes Global 1000 companies have implemented Apex solutions.  Tahu Solutions specializes in developing intelligent products--taking initial ideas and product concepts to "looks like, works like" prototypes. Recent projects have included a smart pill bottle, a training device for service dogs and an intelligent key lockbox and mobile app for realtors.  Prior to joining Apex and Tahu, Savage worked in the consulting group of the Computer Science Corporation (CSC) focusing on supply chain and technology projects. Before joining CSC, he was a member of the leadership development program at Maersk, the Danish shipping company.  Savage holds MBAs from the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Business, and the National University of Singapore; and a BS in Supply Chain Management from Lehigh University. 

Debbie Shon | Former CEO, Ticketmaster China; Former Assistant U.S. Trade Representative

Debbie Shon assumed the CEO post at Ticketmaster China during the high profile merger with Live Nation, the world's leading live entertainment.  Ticketmaster, the exclusive ticketing service provider for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, expanded through acquisition into live event production and sponsorships, bringing international music like Celine Dion, Maroon 5, Harry Connick Jr. and Linkin Park to China. 

Shon repositioned the company, instituted strong cash management and financial controls, developed strategic marketing alliances and expanded distribution networks with strong local partners under dynamic market conditions, including negotiating the first exclusive ticketing agreement with China Mobile, the world's largest telecom group.  In the first 4 months she realigned business units, closed 4 offices, and reduced staff without incident by over 69% in a highly regulated market and managed all legal claims effectively saving over USD$9 million.  

Earlier, she joined Ticketmaster as the Senior Vice President for International Affairs, responsible for international government affairs, public policy and advising on international commercial initiatives for Ticketmaster, and served as Chief Counsel for China. Prior to Ticketmaster, Shon was an international business and legal consultant advising corporations and governments (Vietnam & China) on international trade and legal regimes and private companies on global expansion strategies (Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the People's Republic of China, the Philippines, Eritrea, Nigeria & Brazil).  She was affiliated with the international commercial departments of US law firms, and in the Sydney office of the largest and oldest Australasian firm.  

In 1993-1995, Shon served as the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison, and appointed the WTO and NAFTA State Coordinator for the implementation of the trade agreements at the state and local levels of government. Prior to her appointment, she was a litigation partner with a major Los Angeles based national law firm. Shon is the recipient of the California State Bar Board of Governors Wiley W. Manual Pro Bono Award for her work in the community after the civil unrest in Los Angeles. She was also the first female NBA registered agent.