Hanging in Hong Kong

Wednesday afternoon in Hong Kong, listening to overview presentation of Hong Kong Science and Technology Park.   


Just arrived today from Chengdu, China. Last four days, in China, was behind the “Great Chinese Firewall” and couldn’t get out to Facebook, to Google, to WordPress. Fortunately, could still use FaceTime and get to ESPN…

Here we were, in Chengdu yesterday.  

FEMBAs raise $12,000 for charity

FEMBAs doing well. Love this story! Thanks to Aaron and Deyan, for collaborating, making a difference, and “Sharing Success.”

Hey Dylan!

I wanted to share with you. Deyan Sabourian (FEMBA 2017 Section 4) and I (Aaron Bergman, FEMBA 2017 Section 4), teamed up to throw a fundraiser February 27th, to support my nonprofit I work for, Communities In Schools of Los Angeles

20150313 Aaron Bergman Communities-Schools-85-L

Front Row, L-R, David Zhou 17 and Rossanna Li (MBA 14) Back Row, L-R, Ethan Held 17, Terrence Winters 17, Deyan Sebourian 17, Aaron Bergman 17 and Avery Merriex 17

20150313 Aaron Bergman 5 Communities-Schools-36-L Avery Merriex

Avery Merriex 17, perusing the choices for giving.

It was an awesome event and we got some FEMBAS out to support us!  Many of our classmates wanted to come, but couldn’t, but donated anyway. Knowing that there is such a strong culture of giving inside of our FEMBA community means a lot to me, having spent most of my career inside of both nonprofits and the classroom.

I saw this firsthand, obviously with all of the folks who donated, but then was able to experience it through the help of Deyan, who brought on Society of Young Philanthropists to help throw the event for my nonprofit. Even our own Nico, our Econ professor, donated!

We ended up raising about $12K for Communities In Schools of Los Angeles. Communities In Schools of Los Angeles is the leading dropout prevention program in the country. We serve over 15,000 students in LA and post a 97% graduation for our seniors.

20150313 Aaron Bergman 4 Communities-Schools-163-L

A Party with a Purpose: Supporting  Communities in Schools, Los Angeles

We are raising money to place more of our adult experts permanently on a school’s campus to make sure all children who are at-risk of dropping out get the resources and one on one relationships they deserve to graduate.

20150313 Aaron Bergman2 Communities-Schools-87-L

L-R Terrence Winters, Aaron Bergman, David Zhou, Deyan Sabourian, Avery Merriex



Dylan: Post Script.
I hope we can recruit Aaron and Deyan into planning FEMBApalooza 4.0. I’d love to weave in a charitable giving element this year.  Hint. Hint!

Road Trippin’ 2015

We recruit year round, but lately, our team has been logging the miles. Thanks to all our current and alumni FEMBAs who meet us in all these cities and help us communicate to the next generation of FEMBAs. And thanks to my team, who make it all happen!

HOPE Latina History Day Conference March 13, 2015
Christy Marquez and Christina Marentes on our team attended this very successful conference. Wrote Christy, “…was a day full of successful and inspiring Latina guest speakers and a leadership workshop.  Guest speakers included a NASA scientist, politicians and executives, and the leadership workshop was run by a psychologist and entrepreneur who is one of Al Osborne’s mentees.”

20150313 HOPE Latina History Day V

l-r Christina Marentes and Christy Marquez greeting the public at the HOPE History Day Conference on 3/13.


Houston, March 9, 2015     Christy jetted over to Houston Monday and hosted a dinner for future FEMBAs. Thanks to Flex student Vishal Saheta (2017) and alum Oleg Melnikov (2004) who attended.
20150309 Houston Christy RecruitingBoeing, March 11, 2015   Maureen, Heather Layne 15, and I went to Boeing in El Segundo on March 11. Thanks to all our current and alumni volunteers: Patti Strong 15, Richard Pepe 14, Richard Milford 04, John Stanley 09, Theresa Huang 10 (Organizer, Thank you!), Sean Camarella 16!
20150311 Boeing El Segundo Photo

Northwest Week: March 2-4, 2015, Maureen recruited on both sides of the bridge, hosting events in both Seattle and also Redmond. Then she drove three hours and held our first-ever Portland recruiting event.

20150304 Portland Info Session Hotel Monaco Red Star Tavern

Maureen hosted FEMBA’s first-ever Portland Recruiting event, at the Red Star Tavern, at the Hotel Monaco.

20150303 Redmond WA lunch Maureen

Maureen Riley (front right) was supported in Redmond by Meera Aurora (2016 Flex) and Hyer Bercaw (1994) .

20150302 Matt at CSUN

Artist’s rendition of Matt Gorlick “wowing” his audience. Matt forgot to take a photo…

Long-Term Outreach: March 2, 2015 Matt went to CSUN and spoke to honors business students about their long-term goals and how they can spend their twenties to end up at great places like UCLA Anderson.

We had an over-capacity at Admissions 101 (an 80% show rate blew us away) led by Matt, with Christy and Raymond supporting. There’s Matt in the middle.

20150225 Admissions 101 EDR Christy Matt Raymond

Matt’s leading Admissions 101 in the Executive Dining Room, February 25.

Bay Area Week — Maureen and Christy hit the road two weeks ago, to Santa Clara and San Francisco.

Friday, February 20, was lunch in Santa Clara and we appreciate our volunteers Tim Hui 2014, Asad Sattar 2013, Jeffery Langston-Jones 2014, Sriram Puthucode 2013, and Steven Huang 2015.

20150219 Cheesecake Santa Clara

There’s Maureen, in the middle standing, welcoming everyone in Santa Clara.

Thursday, February 19, was lunch in San Francisco. Thanks to our volunteers Eric Hong 2010, Yousef Dalal 2014, Jeff Chang 2012, Asad Sattar 2013.

20150219 Cheesecake San Francisco

Lunching in San Francisco.

Wednesday evening February 18, was our Women’s Event at Yelp. Thanks to Zaina Orbai 2012, Director of HR at Yelp who hosted us, and to Anna Min 2010, Reimi Hyun 2013 and Tafflyn Toy 2011 who all joined the panel.

20150218 Yelp Maureen

That’s our own Maureen Riley leading the discussion.

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Doesn’t the furniture at Yelp make you want to chill?

Entrepreneur, Wolfen Spirit Award Winner, meet Sheeva Sairafi 15

20150219 Sheeva Sairafi 15

Sheeva Sairafi 15

I love to hear from a happy third year FEMBA. This week, meet Sheeva Sairafi ’15, Founder at Local + Lejos.

Dylan: What had you choose Anderson Sheeva?

Sheeva: I chose Anderson because of its entrepreneurial focus. I had been working in the corporate world, and always knew that I had a passion for new business. While I didn’t have an idea or a business plan in mind at the start, I wanted to spend my time at Anderson exploring these possibilities and immersing myself in the start-up culture of Los Angeles.

Dylan: You came to Los Angeles from back East right? How’d you get started once you were here?

Sheeva: I joined the Entrepreneurship Association, signed up for all classes necessary to go the BCO (Business Creation Option) track, and started working on a business plan with a fellow student, Jenny Grewal ’15. Shortly after, we both left our corporate jobs and made the leap into the world of entrepreneurship.

In between freaking out about the decision we had just made, and trying to figure out how we would pay rent until our business was cash flow positive, we learned about the Wolfen Fellowship. The fellowship is granted to four students a year based on entrepreneurial spirit and allows them to work on an idea for the summer, instead of working at an internship. Jenny and I applied, interviewed, and were chosen for the fellowship.

I can honestly say that it was one of the most pivotal moments in my career thus far. Here we had seemingly perfect strangers willing to invest in US. Not our idea, not our business plan, but us. The Wolfens are a truly remarkable part of the Anderson family. Their generosity, kindness, and interest in the advancement of Anderson students is unparalled.

They allowed me to take the summer and work on a new business idea. As it goes in the start-up world, this one did not work out. We made the decision not to move forward, and as difficult as that was; it was an incredible learning experience that has shaped a number of my decisions go forward.

Dylan: I love this Sheeva. So many great things at Anderson; embarrassing but true, I myself didn’t know about the Wolfen Fellowship until you won it! So where are you now, coming up on graduation?

20150219 Sheeva Sairafi 15 Local and Lejos

Sheeva on the website of her new company Local + Lejos.

Sheeva:  Exactly. That brings me to now. With four weeks left till my credits are complete (another perk of leaving corporate world and doubling up on classes), I could not be more excited about my next chapter. After the summer, I worked for four different start-ups–all of which I found through Anderson–while working on a passion project of my own. The passion project has turned into a real time, “OH MY GOD I’M DOING THIS,” (very) full-time job and I can only attribute my learning and experience at Anderson for giving me the guts to do it.

And I wouldn’t be a true entrepreneur if I didn’t leave you with a little pitch…. : )

Local + Lejos is a home décor brand that partners with artisans in the developing world to craft contemporary designs using the traditional techniques of each culture. We allow our customers to design their homes with intention by providing them goods they can’t find in traditional retail stores that have an impact. By providing fair wages, training, and most importantly, steady employment, the artisans we work with can provide for their family. You can take a peek at www.localandlejos.com.

Dylan: Well I hope we send some business your way! Maybe we should have a Local + Lejos booth at Mega-FEMBApalooza this summer!

P.S. Here is more about the Wolfen Award.

The Larry Wolfen Entrepreneurial Spirit Award was established so students would have the financial means to work on an entrepreneurial project…The award was created in memory of Larry Wolfen, a 1993 graduate of UCLA Anderson…Larry was a great enthusiast for promising start-up companies, and he poured his efforts into venture capital…The award is intended to help a student conduct exploratory research into an idea, or otherwise advance an entrepreneurial endeavor.



New way to spice up your Valentine

20150211 Amy Galland 06

Amy Galland ’06, CEO at NWTC, developer of Plume

One of my all-time favorite FEMBAs is Amy Galland ’06, Founder/CEO of NTWC. Amy is an Art-Professor-turned-App-Developer, and she launched Plume this week, a flirting app with heart. Amy and I had lunch recently, to catch up on her world since FEMBA.

Dylan: What are you up to these days?

20150212 Plume Logo Amy Galland 06

Plume’s logo; Amy’s first App launch.

Amy: I just launched the first product, Plume, from my new company NTWC. Plume is a flirting app – it is like WhatsApp, but with almost 400 sexy emoji and stickers and the security features you’d want when sending personal texts.

Dylan: From Art History to App Developer – How did that happen?

Amy: I had a windy career path – art history professor, production coordinator in the music industry, yoga instructor, and most recently in Corporate Social Responsibility working with publicly traded companies to improve their environment and labor practices.

With Plume, I was able to circle back to my love of art and my work in Art History. But instead of talking about representations of women and immigrants, I am in control of creating sensual images of people of different genders, races, ages, sizes and sexualities.

20150212 Plume Spice up Amy Galland 06

Plume let’s you add sizzle to your texts, as in “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

I knew what I wanted to create, the next part was finding people to make it happen. Now I work with six amazing artists and I was lucky to find the most incredible development team, Silicon Prime, based here in LA.

So along with a technical advisor who gave me the lay of the land and explained to me high-level what I needed to know and walked me through on that end, guidance from Bill Cockrum (UCLA Anderson, Adjunct Professor of Finance) on the financing side, and drawing on my network of amazing and talented friends from each stage of my life, – we were able to create an app I’m really proud of.

Dylan (aside): FEMBA is Amy’s 4th degree! Before FEMBA, she’d already earned a PhD from UCLA. During FEMBA she worked in the music business, going into the studio at noon, coming to campus for evening classes, and then heading back to the studio until 1 or 2am.

Amy used to volunteer for Open House panels. She’d have all of Korn Hall laughing, telling about buying a calculator for FEMBA after not having taken a math class in ages. She told about sitting on the floor at Staples, surrounded by every option they had, and calling a group-mate who was good at finance.

“I want the exact same calculator you have,” she told her study group friend.

“That’s more powerful than you will need,” he replied.

“No. I know that. But, when I have a question for you, I want you to be able to tell me to push the third button on the left,” she informed him. (Of course, Amy graduated FEMBA with flying colors.)

20150211 Amy Galland 06  Plume MemeDylan: In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve downloaded Plume. I can’t wait for the Android version to put it on my wife’s phone: As you say, A picture is worth a thousand words. I must ask – how do you think of so many images?

Amy: I ask a lot of people a lot of questions that would make a lot of people blush! Seriously, I just ask people. “What are the words you and your friends use about sex and dating?” And then the artists draw them.

20150212 Plume Date Night Amy Galland 06

Yeah for Date Night!

It is important to me to have images for people with different lifestyles. It was funny, when I presented the concept of the app to some friends from my FEMBA section – all of whom are married, except for me! – they suggested images related to “date night,” which they then had to define for me. And afterwards I spoke with the artists and we added dinner for two, movie night, two glasses of red wine, and images like that in addition to images like the hot dog, taco, sexy lips, and handcuffs. So I really appreciate the different perspectives and want Plume to be for everyone to play, have fun, flirt, and spice things up – whether you are single or in a long-term relationship.

Dylan: Speaking for the married-with-kids demographic, yeah for date night!

How can FEMBAs help your company take off?

Amy: We just launched on Tuesday (February 10, 2015), so I’m still recovering from that! But going forward, in March we will be starting our next round of funding, looking to hire C-level staff, and adapting the app for and expanding our marketing efforts into different countries.

It is really important to me that we have emoji that are culturally specific – we want to have visual representations of the different sexual colloquialisms from each of the countries where Plume is popular.

Dylan: How popular is Plume – you just launched 3 days ago?

Amy: Each day we get more users – but if all FEMBA were to download the app, we’d have a lot more! It’s available on iTunes – can you post the link?

Help a fellow FEMBA! Download Plume  http://bit.ly/PlumeDwnldiOS

Dylan: For sure – one more question, what is your company name, NTWC, something you learned asking around for new emoji?

Amy: Ha! No. NTWC stands for “Not The Whole Chicken.” It is based on a quote by the Chilean author, Isabel Allende. She said, “erotica is using a feather, pornography is using the whole chicken.” So my app is called feather and the LLC is called not the whole chicken.

For more information about Plume, and to get some laughs at their fun social feeds:


Tw: https://twitter.com/theplumeapp

Fb: https://www.facebook.com/theplumeapp

I: http://instagram.com/theplumeapp

Tmblr: http://theplumeapp.tumblr.com/

G+: http://bit.ly/googleplus_theplumeapp





Dropped my guacamole: SuperBowl Ad has FEMBA Nick Avallone ’11

There I was. Watching the SuperBowl. Eating my chips, when BAM!

Was that Nick Avallone, FEMBA 2011, former FEMBA Council President, Global Marketing Communications Manager, Hospira, on national TV?   Why, Yes, it was.

20150201 Nick Avallone 11 in the SuperBowl

Nick Avallone during the SuperBowl.

I tracked Nick down this week. Of course, he was in London.

Dylan: Saw the commercial. Couldn’t believe it. What was the story?

Nick: Yes, that really was me, although I was only in the teaser, not the full length Super Bowl spot, but still exciting. And, a great story about how McDonald’s has been launching a new brand image, focusing on bringing the “lovin'” back to communities, or at least highlighting that in their campaigns.

The back story in a nut shell is I had gone into a McDonald’s, and when ordering, was surprised by their “pay with lovin'” approach. Cameras were hidden, and I didn’t know I was being filmed until after I was done, when they filled me in they were creating a video, and walking out the door. This was several months ago, during a 1 store pilot, and the videos they captured have transpired into their newest campaign. (If you haven’t seen their other new commercials, check them out; one focuses on arch enemies, one highlights the signs in local communities, etc.)

I’d be happy to fill you in even more if you’re interested. I’m in London until late tomorrow…feel free to blog away. :)

At $4.5M, for 30 seconds, I figure America got to see Nick for the bargain price of $200,000. He’s on-screen at about the 4-second mark.

Meet the Roks, FEMBA power couple: Vets, Parents, Leaders

Happy Friday everyone. I love stories like this: Two FEMBAs. Two Air Force Academy grads. Two great careers. Two loving parents. One amazing couple. Meet the Roks,
Jennifer Roks ’17, Project Manager at Cordoba Corporation, and Chris Roks ’12, Senior Product and Strategy Leader at Amazon.

20150205 Roks 3  Jennifer Chris Madison  Art in Anderson

Two FEMBAs. Two Air Force Academy grads. Two great careers. Two loving parents. One lucky daughter. Chris and Jennifer Roks with daughter Madison.

Last Saturday, I saw a familiar, but not-current, FEMBA face. It’s Chris Roks ’12, on-campus with his daughter Madison, waiting outside his wife’s class.

“Dylan, what’s up? How are you?” Chris asked me standing outside C.301.

“Great. Running off to FEMBA Council. Who is this?” I said, seeing his daughter.

“This is Madison, our three-year old. Jenny’s in class and we’re waiting for her to get out.”

“I thought you were up in Seattle at Amazon. Did you fly down for the weekend?”

“No actually. We were in Seattle, but Amazon also has an Irvine location, and I’ve moved down for that. It’s perfect since Jenny’s in her first year of FEMBA,” said Chris.

“Awesome. I gotta blog about you guys. May I?” I asked, never shy to ask for a story.

20150205 Roks 2  Jennifer Chris Madison

“Making sure my Mommy’s having a good day at her school at UCLA.” – Madison, 3. “Don’t I have a pretty dress?”

Jennifer shared this:

Hi Dylan!

We would be honored to be in your blog! As you know, Chris graduated FEMBA in 2012 and after seeing him go through that transformation and witnessing the impact that it has made on his life, I had to get a piece of the action as well and started with the 2017 cohort this fall. I’m pumped about all of the awesome people in my cohort and the caliber of the professors.

I have always thought that Chris was uniquely gifted, and he proves me right everyday. He is a great FEMBA success story and is moving up the ranks very quickly at Amazon. He has even leveraged his position to help friends in need. A little over a year ago, one of our friends from the Air Force Academy was in the Dominican Republic on a missionary trip with his wife. They gave birth to a baby with a rare medical condition and needed to medevac her to a hospital in the United States, but couldn’t cover the cost. Chris raised the money, flew them to the United States, and got our Academy colleague a job at Amazon. They are living comfortably in West Seattle and everyone is healthy.

I shared that story with you because I feel like it highlights the character of an Anderson FEMBA.

I was also emailing with Chris, as I wrote their story.

Dylan: How did you and Jennifer meet anyway?

Chris: Well I first met Jenny when we were at the Air Force Academy in 2004.  It was a blind date actually.  She was hesitant to go but I finally convinced her and we have been joined at the hip ever since.  Since she graduated one year ahead of me, she always outranked me….at work and at home. Here’s a photo from back then.

20150205 Roks Jennifer in uniform

Jennifer Roks ’17, before she came to UCLA.

Dylan: How did you all choose FEMBA, since you were deployed all over the world?

Chris: Well before applying, we were stationed in Alaska.  Jenny was an Intelligence Officer and I was working in Aircraft Maintenance.  We were trying to decide on the location of our next base and oddly enough, we wanted something warmer!  I also wanted to attend business school and I read that Anderson offered the best part-time program in the country.  I couldn’t actually attend the Super Saturday interviews because my unit was on alert at the time.  You probably don’t remember Dylan but you did my admission interview over the phone.  After getting into the program, I begged my Colonel to help get me down to Los Angeles and that was that.

Dylan: What was it like having Jenny deployed while you were in FEMBA?20150205 Roks Jennifer in uniform2

Chris: Well Jenny will probably tell you that it was no big deal but from my side, I was a nervous wreck.  During my second year of FEMBA, they asked Jenny to deploy to Kandahar, Afghanistan.  I vividly remember calling her during my breaks on Saturday at Anderson when she was going to bed.  It was always an interesting day when our calls were interrupted by sirens warning of incoming mortar fire.  I remember just sitting, worrying that something had happened.  That was an interesting time but I’m super proud of her.

Dylan: And now Chris, as an alum now, looking back, tell me about FEMBA “in the rearview mirror.”

Chris: [FEMBA] Easily surpassed any expectation that I had!  I kept coming home to Jenny bragging about how much better my professors were than hers’ (she was getting her first Masters Degree at USC at the time).  I think the defining moment for me was during GAP.

As most FEMBA alums know, GAP is easily the busiest part of the program.  I guess I didn’t think I’d be busy enough though because Jenny and I had our first baby, Madison, right in the middle of it.  To make things worse, I was deep into OCR (On-Campus Recruiting) at the time which added another layer of fun.

Dylan: And how did you get to Amazon?

Chris: Through OCR.  It was really odd for me because I was actually targeting consulting companies and working really hard on the case interviews.  I got interviews at all of the big three but only made it to the final round at McKinsey in Seattle.  Jenny and I flew out to Seattle and she like the area so much that I decided to apply to all of the other companies in the area including Amazon.

One day before the final McKinsey interview, I got my offer from Amazon.  I ended up getting denied by McKinsey and it was honestly the best thing that ever happened to me.  I love leading products at Amazon and the best part is, I get to go home to Jenny and Madison every day.

Dylan: And the cherry on top, at Amazon, you’ve been in multiple meetings with Jeff Bezos. In fact, last Saturday you told me you were meeting with him this week. How did it go?

Chris: It was terrifying!  No matter how many times I meet with him, I never know what to actually expect.  I had one meeting where he found a typo that I let make it onto Amazon and he told me it was embarrassing.  Another time, I ended a product demo and he ended the meeting with a small clap and shouted “Yay!”

It’s also hard to actually listen to him when he’s talking to me because I spend the whole time thinking “smile, nod, smile, nod, don’t look down, smile, nod.”  But honestly, they are great experiences and I have UCLA FEMBA to thank.

20150205 Roks 2  Chris Madison bookbag closer

“This is my Daddy and he’s the best.” Madison, age 3.

Dylan: Well, Jennifer and Chris, thank you. Thank you for your service in the military. Thank you for bringing your leadership to FEMBA. Thank you for being such glowing parent. Please keep us informed as new chapters unfold for you both, and for Madison!