Industry Mentors

Debbie AbbotDebbie Abbott
Director of Content and Campaigns Marketing

Lecturer, Department of Accounting and Finance, Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, SJSU

Debbie has over thirty years of experience in marketing and finance with leading Silicon Valley companies. Currently, she is the Director of Content and Campaigns Marketing for Flex. She leveraged her social media network to land this role a little over a year ago. She believes networking through social media is an essential tool for all job seekers. It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know.

Debbie also has been teaching Finance at San Jose State University since 2006. After receiving her MBA in Finance from UCLA, Debbie worked as a financial manager at Xerox for ten years where she was recognized for her financial forecasting and planning. She has also held senior marketing management positions at Cisco, Xerox, Plantronics and Proxim and consulted for companies such as Charles Schwab, Symantec, Yahoo, Intuit and more.

Usha AndraUsha Andra
Sr. Product Marketing Manager

Ushais an experienced product marketer with Cisco’s Intent Based Networking Group focused on Data Center Networking (DCN), cloud and cloud-native initiatives around automation, orchestration and insights as well as AR/PR initiatives. Prior to DCN, she was responsible for developing gold-standard global thought leadership initiatives with the Cisco Service Provider marketing and Multi-Domain Marketing (MDM) teams. She was a lead contributor to the Cisco Annual Internet Report, Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) and Cisco Global Cloud Index (GCI) — the company's efforts to forecast and analyze the growth and use of the Internet, IP networks and cloud based networks worldwide — resulting in data driven market insights for the SP product portfolio and launches. Usha has been with the company for 14 years. She started her career with Cisco’s Strategic Marketing Organization focusing on the Enterprise and Consumer segments. She has earned an M.B.A. from San Jose State University and has a BSEE from Bangalore University. Usha has served as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Business at SJSU, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses.

Marjorie BaileyMarjorie Bailey
Corporate Practice Lead and CFO Consultant
Greenough Consulting Group (GCG)

Marjorie is an accomplished Chief Financial Officer and dynamic leader. She is a strategic and results oriented Financial Executive with extensive history implementing efficient and cost-effective business practices that generate revenue growth, profitability and strengthen company operations. Having over 20 years of experience in working with “C” Suite Executives in many industries, she applies her wide variety of private and public experience towards optimization, business planning, funding, culture and longevity of companies. Marjorie has a BS in Accounting from SJSU, and is a Certified Public Accountant - CPA (in-active).

Tina BelfordTina Belford
Internet Infrastructure Controller
Keysight Technologies, Inc.

Tina Belford is a certified public accountant and the Internet Infrastructure Controller at Keysight Technologies, Inc., a leading technology company that helps enterprises, service providers and governments accelerate innovation to connect and secure the world, headquartered in Santa Rosa, California. She joined Keysight in 2014. In her current role, she provides business financial leadership, support, and analysis for an $800 million business serving the commercial communications market. Prior to joining Keysight, she was with Deloitte & Touche LLP for 16 years where she assisted clients in all facets of financial reporting. She received her Bachelor’s in Accounting at Sonoma State University.

Lynda BomanLynda Boman
CPA& Founder
Boman Accounting Group

Lynda’s area of expertise is individual tax preparation and planning, as well as specializing in non-profit accounting and auditing. She knew early in her college career that she wanted to become a CPA and planned to own her own firm one day.  This goal was accomplished in 2003, through help and guidance through mentors, professors, and friends.  She has thoroughly enjoyed working in the accounting profession and cannot imagine doing anything else.

She currently serves on the Management of an Accounting Practice state committee for the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, as well as served as a Vice Chair for the California Society of Certified Public Accountants.   She currently teaches “Tax Factors of Individuals and Pass-through Entities” at SJSU.

Gabrielle CapolupoGabrielle Capolupo
Software Engineering Sr. Manager
Juniper Networks

Gabrielle is currently Software Engineering Manager Sr. Manager, Chief Development Office, Office of the CTO. She is responsible for program managing the Principal and Distinguished Engineer communities. Previously, during her more than 11 years with Cisco Systems, Inc., she was a Senior Engineering Manager for the IOS Packet Engineering Group, responsible for large-scale, corporate wide software infrastructure planning and implementation. In addition, she remotely managed the Edge Services software teams in Bangalore, India, and the collective engineering teams for the leading Broadband Aggregation platform. Prior to her employment at Cisco Systems, Ms. Capolupo spent over seven years in various positions at Novell, Inc.

Ms. Capolupo received her Master of Business Administration degree in 1994 from San Jose State University and her Bachelor of Arts, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Ms. Capolupo has been a judge for the International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition (ICBSC) for the past 27 years.

Harshika ChadhaHarshika Chadha
Technology Risk - Business Consultant 
Ernst & Young (EY)

Hershey graduated summa cum laude from SJSU with a B.S. in Business Management Information Systems (MIS). During her 4 years at SJSU, Hershey served many different roles including Salesforce lab TA team lead, Resident Advisor, President & Senior VP of MISA, and VP Alumni of Alpha Kappa Psi. As a strong advocate for Women Empowerment, Hershey has contributed to Women in Technology by founding a Women Mentorship Program as well as her research work. Hershey currently works at Ernst & Young (EY) as an Technology Risk Business Consultant and enjoys traveling, cooking, mentoring, and working out in her free time.

Annie ChenAnnie Chen
Sr. Director of Consumer Business
Trend Micro Inc.

Annie is a senior-level business professional with 20 years of software industry experience, ranging from product marketing, online marketing, e-commerce operation, to business management. She currently serves as Sr. Director at Trend Micro, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, and is in charge of the consumer business in North American and European markets. 

Annie has a track record of driving business results through strategic planning and solid execution, and she is known for her ability to build and lead talented and motivated global teams. Annie cares deeply about diversity and inclusion and is part of Trend Micro’s Trending Women’sinitiative, which is designed to help women enter and grow in the world of cybersecurity. She holds a B.S. in International Business from Taiwan University and an MBA degree from the University of Washington. 

Rebecca HaggertyRebecca Haggerty
Senior Manager, Advisory Services, MGO CPAs and Advisors

Rebecca has over 25 years of experience with local government agencies in the Bay Area. She has provided a wide range of services to local governments including auditing, advisory, and accounting. Currently, Rebecca serves as the contracted Deputy Auditor General for Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Recently, Rebecca served as the Chief Audit Officer reporting directly to the Port Commissioners at the Port of Oakland. Prior to that, she was the Internal Audit Manager at the County of Santa Clara.

BJ HardmanBJ Hardman
Chairman of the Board 
Sanarus Technologies, Inc.

There are massive changes happening in healthcare. I’ve been an executive leading change for the majority of my career in multiple industries. Today, that breadth of perspectives is helping me bring to market a medical technology that freezes and immediately kills cancerous and benign breast tumors in under 30 minutes in a doctor’s office. I’m BJ Hardman, Chairman of the Board of Sanarus Technologies, and we will bring this minimally invasive treatment to patients with breast cancer!

Sandhya JaideepSandhya Jaideep 
VP, Engineering 

Sandhya leads the development of supplier financing, spend management, and supplier onboarding products. Sandhya has spent over 25 years in the software technology industry creating and managing strong and innovative teams to deliver world-class enterprise applications in SaaS, PaaS, Cloud and Mobile environments. She is passionate with a proven track record of bringing clarity, vision and solutions to large and very complex technology problems. She is a believer in engineering excellence through collaborative resilient teams, robust design, and commitment to quality. Sandhya holds a Masters in Computer Science from Kansas State University. In her free time she enjoys creative pursuits such as cooking, painting, and gardening.

Linda KhachooniLinda Khachooni
CFO at Privacera, Inc., Advising CFO 2Predict, 19Labs

Linda has 30 years experience working for early stage growth companies. Broad spectrum of expertise in organizations structure, finance, accounting, legal, human resources, business strategy, negotiations and operational process organization. Integral member of leadership teams taking new companies from initial stages through successful organizations.  Successfully completed over 15 M&A transactions with companies that include eBay, Smith Micro, AT&T and Numera.

Tanvi KothariTanvi Kothari, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of International Business and Strategic Management School of Global Innovation and Leadership, Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, San José State University

Tanvi has extensively published in leading International Business journals including the Journal of World Business, Journal of International Management, and Management International Review. Tanvi’s research interests focus on internationalization of innovations originating in emerging markets, migrant women entrepreneurship, adoption and impact of digitalization on various organizations. Currently, Tanvi serves on journal Editorial Boards, is the treasurer for the Academy of International Business (US West Chapter), serves on the Women of Academy of International Business (WAIB) Board and is the Chair of the SJSU Faculty Diversity Committee.  

In her role as a faculty member she has led many initiatives to globalize the Campus, and is the 2013-14 Salzburg Fellow. Prior to joining SJSU in 2012, Tanvi was a faculty member at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and Fox School of Business, Temple University. She earned a PhD in Business Administration and a Master’s from Temple University and Bachelor’s from Mumbai University, India. Tanvi has held management and research positions with international companies and research organizations like Thomas Cook, Philadelphia Marriott, Melrose Hotel Co. and the National Laboratory of Tourism & eCommerce.

Cassie KwongCassie Kwong
Mighty Buns Athletics

Cassie is the founder and Creative Director of Mighty Buns Athletics. She is also working full-time as a Growth Marketer at goPuff. On her free time she focuses on helping individuals stay accountable, organized, and focused as an accountability coach. She graduated from SJSU in Spring 2017 and co-founded the WILL Conference and Women In Business in SJSU and was the President of AKPsi.

Debra Lee-RizziDebra Lee-Rizzi
The Evergreen School

Raised in New York, Debbie moved to California almost the day after she turned 18. Graduating from San Jose State in 1985, she then moved to Hawaii where she managed large resort accounting offices. Wanting to try her own thing- she opened a health center for 4 years before returning to accounting but this time in Independent Schools where she has been for the past 17 years. Currently as CFO of The Evergreen School, a PS-8 in Shoreline, WA, she oversees not only the Business Office but also Facilities and IT. When not working, she can be found traveling to really fun places or camping all over the beautiful Pacific Northwest and California.

Denise LombardDenise Lombard
Director, Responsible Procurement/Acquisition Integration

Denise is well known for her ability to build and lead high performing global teams. Her expertise in solving complex business problems and providing outstanding service to internal and external customers sets her apart in transforming operations. She just celebrated her 14th anniversary with Cisco, where she has held various leadership positions within Services, Sales, and Operations. Prior to Cisco, she was with Sun Microsystems where she led their Technical Support Organization and various Sales Operations teams. Denise currently leads Responsible Procurement, ensuring that suppliers GPS engages with are committed to the same high standards to social, economic and environmental issues as well as adherence to our ethics and code of conduct. This role is ideal for Denise because it plays to her passion to social responsibility and her goal of making a significant difference within Cisco and the community. She recently added Acquisition Integration to her portfolio, ensuring Cisco’s acquired companies are integrated into Cisco’s procurement system, tools and processes while focusing on ensuring agility and compliance. Denise also co-Leads the SJ Women of Cisco’s Community Outreach pillar, which is focussed on increasing young women’s excitement and awareness around Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers. She received Silicon Valley Business Journal's Women of Influence for 2017 and was featured in Profiles in Diversity Journal as Women Worth Watching 2018. Denise is also a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster children and board member of Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. She graduated from San Jose State University with a BS degree in Management.

Sylvia Pedder-KhannaSylvia Pedder-Khanna
Rahulia Inc - DBA Sir/Madam, thomaspaul, Siren Song, Thomas O/Brien, Martyn Thompson

Sylvia is a manufacturing and trading entrepreneur based in New York City and Mumbai. She is co-founder of the home goods brand Sir/Madam, producing partner of the brands Thomaspaul, Siren Song, Thomas O/Brien Aero, and Martyn Thompson Studio, and a third-party supplying partner to many more. Sylvia was born and raised in Mumbai, and grew up quietly learning the ropes while watching her father at work overseeing a broad network of businesses before defying the odds as a woman in the traditionally male world of Indian manufacturing. Sylvia works out of her office in New York City, travels back and forth to oversee her team in India as well as production in several other countries, and lives in New York City with her husband, where together they have raised two children. She is a proud supporter of the continuation of traditional crafts through sustainable artisan networks, and a lifelong advocate for woman in business

Giulia PontaniGiulia Pontani
Project Manager
Tetra Pak

Giulia holds a Master degree in Industrial and Management Engineering and is certified as a PMP Project Manager by the PMI. Giulia started her career in Belgium working as Project Manager in the Automotive sector where she led international teams in European Funded projects. Lately she returned to Italy to join the Food and Beverage sector where she manages international projects in the Packaging field. Thanks to those experiences Giulia has been traveling the world and is working with people from all backgrounds and cultures. Being a non-Tech in Technical industries Giulia is continuously learning how to leverage her soft skills to effectively manage teams in the projects she runs.

Sarika PruthiSarika Pruthi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, School of Global Innovation and Leadership, Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, SJSU

Sarika teaches introductory and advanced courses in entrepreneurship and international business. Her research on immigrant and social entrepreneurship, venture capital/ private equity finance, has appeared in top peer reviewed journals. Sarika is passionate about the cause of innovation and student success. She organizes the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge (SVIC), an annual business ideas competition, and advises Delta Gamma and IDEAS student clubs at SJSU. Prior to joining SJSU, Sarika taught and researched at King’s College London, University of London, and the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom (UK), where she also earned her MA and PhD.

DeAnna PursaiDeAnna Pursai
Executive Director College of Adaptive Arts

DeAnna Pursai holds a Master’s in Education Policy Analysis in the School of Education from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education from Purdue University. DeAnna has been named an Architect of Change on the Maria Shriver blog and co-awarded the Delta Kappa Gamma State Distinguished Career/Professional Service Award with CAA’s Co-Founder and Dean of Instruction, Dr. Pamela Lindsay. DeAnna is active in the downtown Rotary Club of San Jose, as a newly elected board member, as the Chair of the Rotary Play Garden Ambassadors Committee, the administrator of the newly formed Rotary Climate Action Committee with Rod Diridon, and a member of the SJSU I-House Committee. She is also a proud board member of Christmas in the Park, and she is an active member in a vibrant Bay Area leads/referrals group called MyProGroup. She is big sister to Angel Ellenberger, who happens to have Down syndrome and is an exquisite actress, entertainer and comedian. One of DeAnna’s bucket list items is to give a Ted Talk on the subject of how knowing and enjoying an individual with a disability completes those without disabilities and makes life worth living.

Natalie QuanNatalie Quan
CFO, California Society of Certified Public Accountants

Natalie is the Chief Financial Officer of the California Society of CPA's and CalCPA Education Foundation, the nation's largest state CPA society. Prior to CalCPA she was the Controller of the San Francisco Ballet Association and a non-profit audit manager in a regional CPA firm. Natalie holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from San Jose State University, is a Certified Public Accountant, graduate of the Stanford University's Emerging CFO Financial Leadership Program and graduate of the CFO Leadership Council CFO Accelerating Growth Through Leadership Executive Program at MIT. In her spare time, Natalie sits on various non-profit boards and is currently Co-Chair of Circus Center, where she also practices circus arts.

Sumita RaghuramSumita Raghuram Ph.D 
Associate Professor, Alan and Lori Kessler Endowed Professor in Human Resource Management, School of Management, Lucas College and Graduate School of Business, San José State University

Sumita received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Human Resource Management. She then was a faculty member at Fordham University, New York and at Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania. With over 30 years of teaching and research experience, she teaches subject areas in Human Resource Management at SJSU. Her primary research areas are in virtual work, international human resource management and tech workers. Topics such as employee identity, employee turnover and engagement, well-being and impact of tech work on human resource management are of particular interest to her. She has published her research in journals such as the Academy of Management Annals, Organization Science, Journal of Management, Personnel Psychology and Journal of Organization Behavior. Sumita has also been a visiting faculty at international business schools such as Copenhagen Business School, Bologna Business School, and Indian School of Business.

Giada SirianniGiada Sirianni
Finance Manager
Cisco Systems

Giada serves as Finance Manager in the Sales and Service Finance division for Cisco Systems in San Jose, CA. She is an experienced Finance leader with a demonstrated history of working in the computer networking industry. Skilled in Channel programs, Deal Negotiation, FP&A, Compliance, Sales Operations, and Strategic Planning, over the past 20 years she has been involved with many key initiatives enabling change management and process improvements in Europe, Emerging Markets and Americas to grow business and profits. 

ROI focused professional, adept at evaluating and mitigating project risks, employing strategies to maximize investment returns, defining KPI’s to monitor program performance, and monitoring margin/sales growth, she has been instrumental in in driving strategic projects, prioritizing investments, structuring/negotiating contracts, budgeting and forecasting, and conducting P&L reviews supported by MBA qualifications in Corporate Finance. She orchestrated annual financial plans, long range strategic forecasts, asset management plans and capital improvement plans. She represented the needs and goals of company management to negotiate the most favorable terms for contracts and agreements.

Sally SmithSally Smith
Senior Director Market Management
Expedia Group

Sally is the Senior Director of Market Management at Expedia Group overseeing the West Region in North America.  She leads a team who are responsible for helping lodging partners maximize sales and exposure through the portfolio of Expedia Group brands. Sally graduated from Penn State University focusing in Hospitality Management and started her career in 2005 with Starwood Hotels & Resorts.  Sally worked with a group of hotels focusing on Revenue Management and Sales Strategy.  She joined Expedia in 2012 as a Market Manager and has since worked in several US markets and roles within the company.

Sally believes that travel is a force for good and is passionate about how technology will continue to benefit the industry and help people experience the world.  She knows the power of building strong teams, is passionate about sales enablement, solving challenging problems and is a lifelong learner. Supporting Women in Leadership is very important to Sally, she has participated in many events and mentorship programs to help empower current and future leaders. Sally and her husband have two young children, enjoy being outdoors as much as possible and are dreaming about their next travel adventure.   

Maria StefanouMaria Stefanou
Chief Financial Officer
Crestwood Behavioral Health, Inc.

For the past 15 years, Maria has been the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Crestwood Behavioral Health, Inc (CBHI) Maria also oversees 35 real estate investment partnerships and a Captive Insurance Company.  She is in charge of the accounting, financing, and investing activities for the group of companies. For approximately 7 years, Maria was the controller of a Long Term Care Pharmacy in Stockton, CA.  Maria started her career at Arthur Andersen in Athens, Greece.  She worked in the Athens office auditing various shipping companies for approximately two years.  She came back to San Jose, CA and worked for Coopers & Lybrand as an audit supervisor for another 3 years.  Her audit clients included venture capital and software companies.

Maria graduated from San Jose State University with a BA in accounting.  She also received her Masters in Organizational Management from Phoenix University in 2004.

Maria is a Board Member of the Dreamcatchers Empowerment Network.  She is also a Board Member and Treasurer for the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra.

Christi WigleChristi Wigle
Co-founder and CEO
United Against Slavery

Christi is the CEO and Co-founder of United Against Slavery. She has worked on the frontlines of anti-human trafficking work for eleven years, serving in leadership and survivor advocacy for sex and labor trafficking survivors. Drawing upon two decades of business ownership and product development experience, she created an innovative methodology to perform comprehensive frontline research and data collection, using a unique Collaborative Research Model.

Today, she continues to advocate directly on behalf of sex and labor trafficking survivors and serves as a mentor to leaders across the country. She serves on the Transportation Research Board Human Trafficking in Transportation Common Interest Group Steering Committee, the Alliance 8.7 Communications Engagement and Advocacy Group, and as Co-Chair of the United Against Slavery Judicial Working Group. In addition, Christi serves as a Board Member for multiple non-profit organizations. She holds an ABA from Walters State Community College. Christi lives in East TN and is a proud mom and soon-to-be grandmom.

Yanxia ZhangYanxia Zhang
Senior Machine Learning Research Scientist
Toyota Research Institute


Yanxia is a Senior Machine Learning Research Scientist at TRI. Her area of expertise lies in inventing novel data-driven technologies to sense and understand human behaviors. Previously, Yanxia worked as a research scientist at FX Palo Alto Laboratory, focusing on vision-based activity recognition. And, prior to that she was a postdoctoral researcher in the Pattern Recognition & Bioinformatics Group at TU Delft in the Netherlands and KTH in Sweden. She received her PhD degree in Computer Science from Lancaster University, where she was also a Marie Curie research fellow. While in Lancaster, she investigated novel video-based gaze estimation techniques and the use of eye tracking for detecting dementia and health monitoring.