Orange County Celebrates Entrepreneurs logo

Recognizing that entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the U.S. and global economies, Cal State Fullerton will host the inaugural Orange County Celebrates Entrepreneurs event on Saturday, Feb. 29, from 1 – 5 p.m. in the Titan Student Union.

Featuring entrepreneurs across many industries, investors, senior business professionals, Cal State Fullerton faculty and staff, and business students, the event will feature three panel discussions looking at various aspects and sectors of contemporary entrepreneurship.

Paul Wasserman ’87 (economics), co-founder of the world’s largest online rebating website, Ebates.com, and UCI Provost Gillian Hayes will provide keynote addresses.

The goal of the event is to help make Orange County a globally recognized leader in innovation and entrepreneurship and to create greater opportunity for people in Orange County and Southern California who want to be involved in creating new businesses.

Attendees will hear from such panelists and moderators as Mike Daniel, director of Lead SBDC; John Bradley Jackson, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship; and Ed Hart, director of the Center for Family Business. Entrepreneurs presenting will include Victor Macias ’09 and Kristoffer Quiaoit of Nui Foods, Bryan Ruef ’20 of 10-8 Systems, Janet Steiner of Thoro Packaging, Don DiCostanzo ’79 of Pedego Electric Bikes, and Michael Sawitz of FastStart.studio.

A collaboration between Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Entrepreneurship, Concordia University and UC Irvine, with sponsorships by Union Bank and Royal Business Bank, the event is free, with free parking available throughout campus.

Register online through Eventbrite.

For more information, reach out to the Center for Entrepreneurship at entrepreneurship@fullerton.edu or 657-278-3464.

Milton Gordon, Cal State Fullerton president, at commencement.

Milton A. Gordon

When Milton Gordon retired as Cal State Fullerton’s president in 2012, some of the graduates were the second generation that the Titan president, who served for 22 years, saw earn their diplomas. Only the fourth African American president in the history of the Cal State system, Gordon presided over the university as the digital age dawned, provided leadership during such crises as 9/11 and the Great Recession, and celebrated with Titans as the new millennium began.

We continue our recognition, in honor of Black History Month, of African American Titan leaders with a look at the life and legacy of the late Milton Gordon – affectionately known as “Milt” – who passed away on April 18, 2017, at age 81.

Milton Gordon’s Journey – From Chicago to CSUF

Like his predecessor and fellow African American groundbreaker, the late Jewel Plummer Cobb, Gordon was born and raised in Chicago, coming of age in the racially segregated world of the pre-Civil Rights Era Midwest. Read More

CSUF finance professor Mark Stohs and his wife, Joanne, on a board at the coast of Antarctica.

Mark Stohs and his wife, Joanne, in Antarctica

Mark Hoven Stohs has taught finance at Cal State Fullerton since 1996. His background, which includes teaching both philosophy and finance, provides a unique emphasis on business ethics.

A University of Wisconsin–Madison Ph.D. alumnus, Stohs’ research has appeared in such publications as the Journal of Business and Financial Management.

Stohs discusses how students can succeed in finance careers and why business ethics are so important. Read More

Jewel Plummer Cobb, Cal State Fullerton's third president, as a young biology student.

Jewel Plummer Cobb, Cal State Fullerton’s third president, in her college days.

In honor of Black History Month, Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics is commemorating and honoring the African American leaders of the past and present.

These groundbreaking figures include CSUF’s own Jewel Plummer Cobb, the late campus president who made history as the first black woman to lead a major university in the western United States. She left an indelible mark on the Titan identity.

Cobb passed away on New Year’s Day in 2017 at age 92, but her legacy as a true Titan, a pioneer who broke barriers in leadership and education, lives on.

Cobb was pivotal in the development of the campus’ status as a leader in educating historically underrepresented minorities, which now ranks first in California and second in the nation.

From 1920s Chicago to Cal State Fullerton: The Granddaughter of a Slave Rises to Lead One of the West Coast’s Top Universities

Jan. 17, 1924: Calvin Coolidge was president of the United States. The automobile and radio were just becoming mainstream in Western society. Discrimination against African Americans was arguably at its highest point after the Civil War, fed by deep-seated racist sentiments and pseudoscientific social Darwinist thought. And the future third president of Cal State Fullerton was born in Chicago, the granddaughter of a freed slave who pursued a pharmacy career. Read More

Yinfei Kong, ISDS professor at Cal State Fullerton

Yinfei Kong

As health demographers agree that the opioid epidemic is among the greatest health and life expectancy challenges in the United States today, with more than 47,000 deaths reported in 2017, the latest year in which statistics are available, Cal State Fullerton Assistant Professor of ISDS Yinfei Kong is leading the way in researching the gender differences among opioid users.

Kong’s research will examine differences between men and women in accessing opioids and continuing medication-assisted treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 36% of opioid deaths in 2017 involved prescription opioids.

Recognizing that women are particularly vulnerable in the opioid crisis, Kong hopes his research will save women’s lives and also help to alleviate the strain on the nation’s economy as well.

Health care policymakers in both the medical and governmental sectors will likely utilize the completed research, which is being funded by a $1.89 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, $367,000 of which has been awarded to Cal State Fullerton.

Continue reading about Kong’s research in this CSUF News article. Or read more of our articles on information systems research and academic programs.

As director of Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Entrepreneurship and the CSUF Startup Incubator, John Bradley Jackson ’77 is on the front lines preparing today’s business startups to succeed and grow. Through the incubator, which embraces a lean startup methodology, Jackson has been a part of 60 startup launches.

He was named one of the 500 most influential personalities in Orange County in both 2018 and 2019 by the Orange County Business Journal. He is also one of the Journal’s 2020 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award nominees for his work in the startup community. The final honorees will be announced in March 2020.

Jackson is an entrepreneur himself, having founded The Bird Dog Group, a company dedicated to helping small- to medium-sized businesses with digital marketing and sales strategy. He is also founder of Titan Angels LLC, an investment fund for early-stage companies and concepts. And he has decades of experience in many aspects of the business world – knowledge he’s imparted through the four books he has written. Read More

Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics may be the largest accredited business college on the West Coast, but it is also a leader in providing undergraduate business degrees to students from historically underrepresented groups, according to a December 2019 ranking from Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. 

For all minority students, the business college ranks second in the United States in awarding degrees in business administration, management and operations. Mihaylo College is also number two in the country for graduating Hispanic undergrads and Asian undergrads, respectively.

Mihaylo College’s diversity also reaches to its international student population, which at last count represented more than 50 countries across, with particularly large representations from East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Arab World and Western Europe.

For more on Cal State Fullerton’s diversity rankings – including for other disciplines such as communications, social services, education or public administration – read more in this CSUF News article.

For more on Mihaylo College and its impact and programs, visit the college online.

Image illustrating the interconnectedness of mindsAs Ryan Gottfredson, assistant professor of management at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, continues to explore what attributes make up a leader that people will follow, he has honed it down to four mindsets of effective leaders.

His study in Leadership Quarterly, “Exploring Why Leaders Do What They Do: An Integrative Review of the Situation-Trait Approach and Situation-Encoding Schemas,” featured earlier this month in the Harvard Business Review, synthesizes the latest findings from psychology, neuroscience and organizational behavior to leadership research, and concluded that mindset improvement is the best way to develop effective leaders.

This approach differs from the traditional focus on the traits that leaders need to have to succeed.

Assistant Professor of Management Ryan Gottfredson poses on the third floor courtyard of Steven G Mihaylo Hall

Ryan Gottfredson

“Mindsets dictate what leaders pay attention to, how they process information and how they behave,” Gottfredson explains. “Mindsets make it clear why two leaders with the same traits — say extroversion and charisma — can react to a situation in completely different ways.”

Gottfredson’s four mindset areas, which exist in a continuum, are growth vs. fixed, such as if one is able or unable to change one’s abilities; learning vs. performance, whether one is focused on improving their actual competence or just how people perceive them; open vs. closed, as in openness to new ideas; and promotion vs. prevention, that is, whether one is seeking to gain and win as opposed to merely seeking not to lose.

A mindset of growth, learning, openness and promotion is optimal for leadership, according to Gottfredson, though there’s no reason to panic if you don’t naturally fit the bill. The management professor suggests interventions such as group discussions, writing assignments or video trainings as a way to develop this acumen.

To read more – and have a chance to take Gottfredson’s free online mindset assessment – see this CSUF News article. Or read more of our articles on management research.

Students walk along the Titan Walk at Cal State FullertonAccording to rankings released this month from U.S. News and World Report, Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics continues to build its reputation among the nation’s leading business education providers.

In the 2020 Best Online Master’s Programs, released on Jan. 14, the college’s online master’s in business programs, such as the fully-online M.S. in information technology (MSIT), are ranked second in California, behind USC. Nationally, the ranking is 15th place, out of 131 programs.

The ranking is tied with the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Recognizing years before many colleges the importance of a distance learning-based technology program designed for working professionals, Cal State Fullerton’s business college began offering the MSIT in 2005.

The program now includes two concentrations: information technology management, which helps students understand the data communications requirements to support managed IT and cloud computing services; and a data science concentration, examining data processing and analytics in a business context.

Regularly updated to reflect the continued evolution of technology, the program currently emphasizes such applications as cybersecurity and cyberinsurance, major growth areas in the IT space in the 2020s.

Continue reading about all the rankings that Cal State Fullerton received in this CSUF News article. Or read more of our articles on information technology education and research.

Zoot Velasco poses with his wife Monette

Monette and Zoot Velasco

The Orange County chapter of the YWCA will honor Cal State Fullerton’s Zoot Velasco, the director of the Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research, and his wife, Monette, with the Couple of the Year award at the 28th Annual Pour L’Amour du Chocolat Parisian gala fundraising event on Friday, Feb. 7.

Held at the Los Coyotes Country Club in Buena Park, the event will also honor leading women business leaders, including Collete Coffman, owner of Colette’s Catering, the honoree for 2020 Business Woman of the Year.

Proceeds from the event, which will include a silent auction and dinner, will benefit more than 20,000 Orange County women, children and families through such initiatives as breast cancer screenings, career development, college re-entry scholarships, technology empowerment and veterans’ benefits.

Zoot Velasco became director of the Gianneschi Center in 2018, expanding its impact and reach as an educational and networking entity for philanthropic industry professionals. In addition to the annual G3X Conference, which brings together trendsetting or impactful nonprofit leaders from across the global spectrum, the center also hosts an ongoing lecture series, coaching and consulting initiatives, and a fellowship program providing the only CEO training for nonprofit leaders in Orange County. Velasco is also the presenter of the podcast, entitled the 501 (c)3(b)(s) podcast, which provides industry updates and professional education for those in the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors.

Velasco, who started his career as a hip-hop dancer, spent nine years as CEO of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in West Fullerton, which offers arts and culture events at a historic 1920s estate. Under Velasco’s leadership, the center had a budget of less than $500,000 and was mired in debt, but grew to $1.3 million during the recession, with the support of 45,000 patrons, under the nonprofit leader’s direction.

Monette Velasco, a Filipina American actress and alumna of Broadway’s “Miss Saigon” national tour, is noted for impacting her homeland in the aftermath of the 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan through a fundraising drive with the Rotary club, including raising $43,000 for relief aid in one week. She also works as a production editor at the RAND Corporation and sings in the choir at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, which is situated near the birthplace of the modern city of Los Angeles. Over the years, Monette also coproduced and sang at multiple benefit events at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center.