Our Board

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John Walikainen

Board Member

Born in a small town in Michigan. Graduated from Michigan Technological University with a degree in Computer Networks and Systems Administration. Worked for NASA out in Greenbelt Maryland. Moved back to the midwest to be closer to family. Now works as a Systems Administrator for Chicago based Threadless.

Ebonee Dawson

Board Member

She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. She later continued her passion for education and obtained a graduate degree from Concordia University and is a certified School Guidance Counselor. She has 8 years combined experience working with youth and young adults’ ages 10-24. Elizabeth’s passion has always been to enhance the development of students.

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Neha Aggarwal

Board Member

Independently managed wide product portfolio of Gillette, Old Spice and Ambi Pur aerosols in India ($20Mn business) and Vicks packaging portfolio across APAC ($20Mn business). Over the three years as a strategic sourcing manager, I have played instrumental role in identifying and executing savings opportunities amounting to 10% of the total spend through strengthening existing supplier relationships, forging new ones and identifying process improvements

Brian Rodriguez

Chairman

Brian Rodriguez was born in Chicago and raised in Puerto Rico. He has a background in computer science and user experience from DePaul University. He has worked in several different industries for 12+ years in web development and software engineering. Notable companies include Red Frog Events, Sears, One North Interactive, Imagination Publishing, and Huron Consulting Group. In May of 2015 he has founded a technology educational group called "All Things Web Tech." This group is focused on educating adults on new technology trends, user experience studies and sharing real work experiences. He also founded a development business called Cirrus Digital. This business is focused on making applications, games, building websites, and web consulting.

International Advisory Board

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Sharon Stewart

Sharon Stewart, SHRM-SCP is the Corporate Talent Acquisition Manager for Harris Health System in Houston, Texas and the owner of Peerless Consultant Group, an HR consulting company. A Nashville, TN native; Sharon has made Houston her home for the past 4 years. Sharon received her Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Mercer University in Macon, GA and her Master’s in Human Resource Management from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN.

Tony Jackson

Tony Jackson is an Organizational Development Professional who has lived in Houston, TX since 2014. Prior to that he has also lived in Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Melbourne, Fl and San Antonio, TX. He has degrees in both Journalism and Human Resource Management. His passion is helping people and organizations grow. He does so by helping people develop technical and professional skills and by helping organizations plan their corporate structure and focus in a way that brings results and benefits to the organization. In his spare time, Tony likes to spend time with his wife, of over two decades, Janice exploring the Houston restaurant and culture scene.

Marissa Walster

Marisa Walster currently serves as Director of Category Management with Aryzta, a global baking company. Currently, she also serves as an Independent Consultant where she is providing strategy and innovation consulting services to non-profit and for-profit organizations. Previously, she served with American Express, Plenti as Director of Strategy and Business Development where she reported to the Chief Commerce Officer to identify new opportunities for revenue generation. She also worked with American Express leading mobile product innovation and commerce innovation strategy. She received an AB in Economics from the University of Chicago and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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Shawn Smith

Shawn Smith is a native of Greenville, SC and an alumnus of Winthrop University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. His long-held passion for professional and organizational development led him to a career in human resources and leadership development. Currently, he is the Learning & Development Coordinator for leadership development programs at Compass Group North America, responsible for program metric reporting, process improvements, project management, internal and digital communications and event coordination.

Arien Atterberry

Arien Atterberry is an MBA Student at the Darla Moore School of Business of the University of South Carolina. He holds a Bachelors in Marketing, is 27 years old, and Speaks Mandarin, Spanish and English.

Casey Hall

Casey Hal is based in the Philadelphia area and holds a degree in Finance from the University of Maryland School of Business. After five years with a corporate conglomerate, he volunteered on a Microfinance project in underserved villages of Tanzania and now works with a social enterprise in International Development. His favorite hobbies are traveling (South America & Africa), running Tough Mudders, and hiking: summiting Mt Kilimanjaro, the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, the VolcanBaru in Panama, and Mt Ka’ala in Oahu.