The San Francisco SBDC is staffed with experienced leaders who assist SBDC clients grow and develop their businesses.
During his career Angel has counseled more than 500 clients, trained more than 1,300 workshop participants, and has implemented several entrepreneurial programs that resulted in new jobs created, approved loans, businesses started, and jobs retained.
Angel is passionate about micro-enterprise and their contribution to the local and national economy, and has dedicated his career to helping entrepreneurs develop sustainable and competitive businesses. Prior to his current position, Angel served as Director of the Coachella Valley Women’s Business Center, a program dedicated to helping aspiring and existing women business owners start and expand their own business; participated in the piloting of the Boots to Business Program, a national program dedicated to helping transitioning military personnel leverage their military training to launch their entrepreneurial careers; and designed and managed a Youth Entrepreneurship program to help young adults acquire leadership, professional, and business skills. Angel is an advocate for small business owners and is committed to helping entrepreneurs build sustainable and competitive businesses through results-oriented economic development assistance.
Angel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish, and a Master’s of Business Administration Degree in Finance.
Valerie Camarda has been a marketing consultant and advisor for the last 20 years. Prior to starting her company Marketing Sense, which serves entrepreneurial businesses and non-profits, she held positions as a marketing communications manager and marketing director in corporate America.
She served as a lead marketing and business consultant with the Oakland SBDC for several years, as well as taught the marketing segments of multi-week Business Planning courses for the SBDC and Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center.
In her role as a marketing consultant she works with company presidents, directors and partners and develops and implements strategic marketing, advertising, social media and public relations plans that include objectives, goals, strategies and tactics for a variety of industries including finance, retail, restaurant and all trade contractors.
Valerie is an award-winning communicator and has extensive experience developing marketing communications materials for non-profit, real estate, retail, high tech, health care, banking and finance, professional services, restaurants and consumer product companies.
Valerie has held a leadership position at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and held the position of vice president, communications with the American Marketing Association and was a member of their Board of Directors for three years. She has also served on the board of the Association for Women in Communications and was a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and Rebuilding Together, formerly Christmas in April, a non-profit organization that helps rebuild communities in San Francisco.
Tom Camerato has been a private consultant, a business owner, and an investor for nearly 20 years. Tom calls himself a "Financial Strategist," one who integrates Business Strategy with Financial Management. In private practice, Tom's early focus was on the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industries and their growth strategies through acquisition, licensing, and partnering. In recent years, clients have covered a range of industries and sizes, and include business expansions (both organic and through acquisitions), start-ups, and turnarounds. Tom’s work history includes more than 10 years commercializing biological technologies in the very early years of the Biotechnology Industry and has two Master’s Degrees: one in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and the other in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University.
Crystal Cole Matson is the lead Staff Attorney for LCCR’s Community Empowerment and Economic Justice Program. Through its Legal Services for Entrepreneurs (LSE) program, she empowers entrepreneurs and small businesses to break the cycles of poverty in their lives and communities. Along with providing legal counsel and transactional services, Crystal counsels businesses on risk management strategies to help their businesses thrive.
Prior to joining the Lawyers’ Committee, Crystal served as the Principal Attorney of Chrysalis Legal, a boutique business law firm. She also served as a Legal Research Attorney with the Superior Court of California-County of San Francisco and clerked at Gap Inc. in the intellectual property and real estate legal groups. Her undergraduate degree is from Spelman College and she received her J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law.
John DeGaetano is a bank executive with extensive experience in administration, marketing, sales planning, training, operations, auditing, project management and financial analysis. As a certified Business Advisor, he advises new and existing business owners in the areas of planning, sales and marketing, cost analysis, legal structure, finance and economic development. John conducts workshops on business plan writing, sales and marketing timelines, creating start up operations and analysis, financial projections and related topics. John most recently served as First Vice President and Regional Manager for a community bank in the Bay Area where he played a major role in the bank’s growth development. During his tenure, he designed and implemented marketing concepts, sales campaigns, training programs, incentive programs and business development, operational functions, security policy, compliance and elder financial abuse awareness. As a side note, John also has an extensive background in performing arts and is currently president of a non-profit theater group.
Jared Dickinson made a transition into business communication coaching after over a decade of leading and managing successful operation and sales teams within the technology industry.
For the previous five years Jared worked with Robert Half International, one of the largest specialized staffing firms in the world where he was the Division Director of their IT consulting service group responsible for the companies largest accounts. He has also had the opportunity to work in Japan and Italy for several years.
His greatest passion in leading business communication trainings is in the opportunity to empower individuals through effective communication to make a change and be more successful in their jobs.
Jared has spent years as an advisory member to a local Non-Profit, YearUp Bay Area and is passionate about social change. As a business consultant Jared has focused half his available time in the Non-Profit space. He specializes in programs for Presentation Skills (Technical or Sales Presentations), Dynamic Business Communication, Employee Development, Interviewing Skills, Negotiation, and Conflict Resolution.
President of the Paragon Strategies a management and sales training, coaching and consulting firm and founder of GrowYourselfAcademy.com an online resource to grow yourself and your business. His primary responsibilities include business development, strategic partnership, program creation and making everyone happy. Prior to creating Paragon Strategies, Jerry had spent 13 years in advertising business development where he formulated and executed successful marketing programs for dot.com businesses.
A passionate and an exceptional presenter, Jerry has been asked to speak at numerous events for large and small organizations alike across the nation. He has given outstanding lectures, seminars and workshops for countless organizations in the United States, ranging from the San Francisco Small Business Development Center to large corporations that include Wells Fargo, Organic and Southwest Airlines.
Driven by a desire to help organizations and individuals reach their highest potential, Jerry is a skilled trainer, coach and consultant. As a widely-sought after trainer, he makes sure that his customized instructional style is always a dynamic fusion of fun, theory and experiential learning – the key elements that guide the philosophy of Paragon Strategies. As a keenly perceptive executive coach, he is adept at guiding professionals in overcoming behavioral barriers by carefully examining and challenging the assumptions that underlie their behavior. As a consultant, he draws on his extensive industry experience to analyze existing business problems and assist companies in developing sound business plans that are designed to amplify the bottom-line.
With 10 years of experience as a senior business consultant, Sandra Garsele works onsite with clients to manage general ledger, payroll, accounts receivable, and accounts payable. Sandra specializes in invoicing, budget management and cash flow. Furthermore, her strong business administration, office management and customer service skills have been vital to the success of Hilliard Management Group (HMG). She can be thought of as the “back bone” of HMG, constantly ensuring that all necessary tasks are thoroughly completed in an efficient manner.
Sandra has also had extensive experience teaching. She has been a Latvian language and literature teacher at the Northern California Latvian School and Riga High School in Latvia, in which she taught grammar, composition, conversation and Latvian literature at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Sandra has taken her
instructional skills to Hilliard Management Group where she leads QuickBooks and Basic Bookkeeping workshops throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sandra Garsele received MBA in finance from Columbia southern university in 2012 and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Latvian Language and Literature with a minor in Educational Psychology from the University of Latvia School of Education and Psychology. Sandra is a certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor, which, in combination with her background as an educator, allows her to best train others in Bookkeeping andQuickBooks.
Mitch Hardin, Jr. leverages his experience as the current CEO & President of Hi-Lite Enterprises, Inc. dba: Hi-Lite Janitorial, which he started 30 years ago, to advise Contra Costa SBDC clients on government contracts, business planning and marketing strategies. A graduate from Clark Atlanta University Executive Education Program and the FastTrack Entrepreneurship Program at the Business School of Haas UC Berkeley. Developer of the BlindMaid- a mobile mini-blind cleaning system, developer of Finalcleanup.com, an on-line merchant matching lead site for cleaning service providers and the author of a how-to manual on starting a computer cleaning business. He also, has experience in product development, product research, new business start-up, business coaching and Guerrilla marketing strategies.
Bruce F. Jones
Bruce F. Jones graduated from Humboldt State University with a B.A. in Fine Art/Photography. Upon graduating, he started working in the commercial TV industry, first working on production sets then moving into post-production working as an editor. The last 12 years of his career was spent managing post-production facilities, which required P&L management, sales/marketing and operational oversight. It was this well-rounded business experience which led him to share a part of his time and knowledge with small business owners in 2008 when he began providing business planning consultation and instruction through the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center in the Bayview/Hunters Point district of San Francisco. The very rewarding experience he gained working with small business owners led him to leave his media career in 2012 to devote his time solely to small business consultation. Since 2012, Bruce has continued to assist small business owners through work with the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, San Francisco Office of Small Business and the San Francisco Small Business Development Center.
Lawrence Liu has over 20 years financial services and small business experience. In addition to a wide range of management experience in the corporate world, Lawrence had co-founded a consulting firm which provided entry strategies and executive search services to multi-national insurance companies entering the China market.
Lawrence provides business management counseling to Chinese-speaking entrepreneurs. He also organizes small business classes in Chinese which aim to provide small business entrepreneurs with essential information, knowledge and management skills for business success.
David Mitroff, Ph.D. is a Business Advisor with San Francisco SBDC where he advises clients and conducts workshop on Technology Integration, Restaurant and Retail Marketing, Customer Loyalty Programs, Social Media Marketing, and Business and Partnership Development.
David brings to the SBDC his experiences as the Founder and Chief Consultant of Piedmont Avenue Consulting through which he provides business consulting and marketing services to create brand awareness, strengthen customer loyalty and generate new opportunities. David works with a diversity of clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond such as restaurants and retail specialty stores, franchises, professional services firms, start-ups and individual entrepreneurs.
Dr. Mitroff leverages his extensive professional and education background, including a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to motivate people to create change, while understanding the psychology behind business and marketing decisions. David is an active member, on the executive board, or advisory committees for several organizations. He continually collaborates with several consultant groups, merchant associations, and charities to best serve the community.
David brings a deep knowledge of the entire San Francisco Bay Area marketplace and is a fourth generation San Franciscan who is proud to have been born in San Francisco. David is a sought after speaker on a wide range of topics from Social Media Management to the Psychology of Marketing and through his consulting, lectures, trainings, and keynotes has educated more than 15,000 business owners.
Jim Chinh Nguyen
Jim Chinh Nguyen is an entrepreneur with extensive experience in all aspects of startup development and management. His skills include: starting and running a business on a shoestring budget, developing business plans, advising small business owners, creating ownership structures, pitching and fundraising, managing investor relations, launching betas, and financial management. He also has years of experience developing high-level relationships and business opportunities in China and Vietnam.
Like you, small business coach and digital marketing expert Molly O’Kane has seen different approached to growing a successful business from scratch with limited money and time. What makes one business successful and another struggle? Is it all about the situation? Is it meant only for the chosen few who rise to the top? Or, is there a different story?
With over a decade of starting new programs from scratch, speaking, and most importantly, real-life, in-the-trenches business experience, her view on approach is radically different. She started working with the small business owners over three years ago helping others deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of starting a new business.
Gabriela is a seasoned business and financial consultant with broad background in quantitative and qualitative analysis to support solid business practices and produce profitable business. Her work experience and skills range from commercial lending underwriting, business development, financial analysis, sales negotiation, non-profit management, and thorough understanding of multi-cultural markets.
From 2009 to 2013, Gabriela was the Assistant Director for the SF Small Business Development Center where she managed business counseling and training programs for emerging and established small businesses, as well as the Hispanic Business Development Program funded by the SF Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. In 2011, Gabriela was invited to participate in the launch of Kiva Zip Pilot project (one of the first peer-to-peer lenders innovators) by providing guidance on underwriting criteria.
In 2013, Gabriela co-founded Equitable Growth Solutions, a small business consulting company that delivers business solutions and accessibility to financial resources. Gabriela is also a lead consultant for economic development programs sponsored by the City of San Francisco: BizFit SF, a business strengthening program for retailers located in commercial corridors; and Healthy RetailSF, a business technical assistance program geared to corner stores in low income neighborhoods interested in becoming healthy food retailers.
Gabriela holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from University of Lima in Peru, and a Master of Business Administration from San Francisco State University, with concentration in finance and management.
Bilingual in English and Spanish
Gedeon Tsegaye has 15 years of restaurant and hospitality experience, specializing in kitchen & bar operations, start up solutions and production logistics. Gedeon began as a chef, traveling around the world and working with top restaurant groups in fine dining and fast causal business models. Later he created bar programs and multi-unit production and delivery systems for Michelin Star clients. Since 2013 Gedeon has offered operational support to a wide range of restaurant clients from menu design and cost of goods analysis to liquor license procurement and lease negotiation. Gedeon continues to offer operational support to small business clients through SBDC services.
Gwendolyn Wright is the Managing Consultant of The Wright Consultants. Her mission is to start and grow businesses, increase entrepreneurs’ access to capital and improve their financial acumen. She has extensive experience, from ecommerce, retail and wholesale to manufacturing and distribution, consulting and coaching small and medium size businesses for over twenty years. She has earned a reputation for having a contemporary management style, combining finance, marketing, and project management skills with entrepreneurial vision and discernment. She works well with companies in various stages of development from start-up to planned growth. She is excellent with creating sales and business development strategies. Sweet spots of focus include the food industry (restaurants and cafes, specialty retailers and small craft foods and beverages) and fashion industry (designers and tech, apparel, and accessories- especially jewelry).
Clients are located nationwide from San Francisco to New York City. International projects include Italy, Cambodia and Australia. Continuous market research and trend analysis has taken her around the globe to London, Hong Kong, Beijing, Panama, Johannesburg, Accra, Paris and Tokyo. She was awarded the Small Business Finance Advocate of the Year Award by the Small Business Administration and participated in a congressional trade mission to South Africa and Ghana with Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Education includes Bachelor of Arts, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, Graduate study, Business Administration, Golden Gate University, San Francisco, Commercial Lending Graduate School, Corporate Banking Division, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma. She is one of the best small business consultants and coaches in the industry!
Tom Yeh was the CEO and Co-Founder of Siteler, Inc., the fastest growing social venture in a $35 billion dollar industry. Yeh is a five-time serial entrepreneur and investor and has served in various executive capacities for many early stage companies in both the US and Asia. In addition, Yeh was a founding member of an EB-5 Immigration Venture/Private Equity Fund. The fund focuses on socially responsible businesses that also creates jobs. Yeh's previous successful businesses encompasses renewable energy, technology, specialty trading, environmental, product development, real estate, technology, education, criminal justice and investment. In addition to his entrepreneurial path, Yeh also have extensive corporate experience serving as managers and executives at AT&T Customer Care Center, overseeing and staffing 650+ people operations and at Sony On-Premise, managing 2 departments. In both cases, Yeh had full P&L responsibility. Yeh attended University of California, Berkeley majoring in Biochemistry. Early in his academic career, Yeh was involved in International Chemistry Olympiad and was also a Howard Hughes Scholar.
In addition to serving on the board of various private companies, he is also on the Board of Trustees at Palo Alto University, serves on the executive committee of the board and is the Chair of the Investment Committee and the Finance Committee. He is a board member of Northern California Service League and Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice and is on the executive committee of the board. Yeh is the current Chairman of International Mensa Investment Club where he seed funds, hedge funds, and mutual funds. He was also the President of Northern Paradise Chapter of WMA (Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association), Golden State Coin Laundry Association. He has served as a guest lecturer, speaker at graduate level courses on UC Berkeley Extension and International School of Management. He spent a great deal of his time sharing his experiences with entrepreneurs by giving talks and serving as panelist for organizations like San Jose State University, UC Berkeley, Swissnex and SVASE (Silicon Valley Association of Start-Up Entrepreneurs). Yeh won numerous community awards and accolades including the John W. Gardner Award and was recently nominated to serve on the SBA SBDC National Advisory Board.