NAWBO-OC 2014/2015 Board of Directors Bios
Dee Elliott, President
Penny M. Fox, CPA, President–Elect
Laura Neubauer, Immediate Past President
Lori Kenney, Treasurer
Donna Watson, Secretary
Maureen Rhyne, Ph.D., Strategy and Board Development
Kathleen P. Urquidez, CPA, Strategy and Board Development
Michelle Beauchamp, Business Development
Trina Fleming, Marketing
Don Phravorachith, Member Services
Marni Ellison-Smith, Programs
Christine Wilton, Corporate Partners
JJ San Jose, Professional Development
Aneeta Kumar, Community Relations
Board of Directors – Bios
Dee Elliott has been providing Mentoring programs to organizations for 13 years and is currently President of Dee Elliott Consulting; a company that provides customized Mentoring solutions for organizations looking to leverage talent, quickly expand capability and develop authentic leaders.
Dee’s success in business spans 25 years over which time she has gained tremendous experience in sales, operations and leadership. Dee began her career in sales and was successful in establishing new business and increasing sales volume and productivity. Dee has been recognized as an award winning sales person with every Global company she joined. Valued for her strategic thinking, Dee went on to be Vice President at Relocation Systems, Executive Moving Systems and King Companies as well as Regional Sales and Marketing Director for Beltmann Group, overseeing sales and marketing efforts for 5 states nationwide. She was known to promote creative problem solving, team building and was successful in increasing volume and productivity of all branches she oversaw. In both official and unofficial roles, Dee has trained, managed and mentored hundreds of people with her functional knowledge and educational background. Dee guides organizations with strong leadership qualities, sees the big picture and is able to envision what needs to be done to move an organization forward.
Dee chose to combine her passion for mentoring others with her business acumen and formed the DEC Mentoring Program. Dee loves meeting and working with people from all backgrounds and she thrives on the challenge of working with her client groups to determine the optimal use of mentoring based on the unique goals of each organization.
Dee genuinely cares about helping others succeed and has volunteered her considerable talent to help entrepreneurial business owners, executives and sports enthusiast’s benefit from the power of mentoring. Below are a few of the ways Dee supports the community through the DEC Mentoring Program:
- Eight-year board member of NAWBO-OC where she is currently the Vice President of Professional Development overseeing Mentoring, Education, SUCCESS Teams and Power Partner programs
- Past-President and six-term board member of Executive Women International
- California State University, Fullerton board member
- USC Athletics, Cardinal & Gold and Committee member
- Active member of Provisors, Orange County.
- Supporter of Girls Inc and Working Wardrobes
Dee is a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) and has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Education and a California Teaching Credential. She is a native Californian and resides in Irvine, CA with her restaurateur husband Mark. She has 2 children, Kacie and Matt.
Favorite Quote: “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ursula Le Guin
Penny M. Fox, CPA
Penny M. Fox, CPA specializes in tax and accounting services, including tax planning and tax return preparation, bookkeeping, retirement planning, business consulting, estate planning, trust consulting, divorce planning and bankruptcy planning. An expert in her field, she has been serving Orange County for more than 30 years.
Immediate Past President
Laura is a native of Orange County. She is a known expert in the transportation industry. Her strategic start began as she has worked in every position along the way from driver to executive. Learning from the ground up was a very important part of her success. All the while, Laura was accumulating the expertise and principles that would be the foundation of her business. By 2004, she was ready to strike out on her own. She purchased several companies in Southern California and Deliver-It opened its doors in 2005.
Laura Neubauer has treated every step of her career as an opportunity to learn. She has overcome the incredible challenge of starting a new transportation company at the most competitive time in the industry’s history. Deliver-It is an overnight delivery company that services clients from one-man operations to large corporations, yet stays competitive with industry giants like UPS and FedEx. In its first five years, Deliver-It has become a multi-million-dollar business.
Laura is also the founder of 4 Every Athletes Dream, a non-profit organization that will support young athletes in competitive sports. She believes that the playing sports keeps teens out of trouble and helps them maintain a certain level of physical activity and competition that helps these kids to develop discipline and drive that creates good community citizens with a pay-it-forward mentality for our future. She believes, these kids will be the leaders and business owners of tomorrow.
In 2009 she was recognized as Orange County’s “Entrepreneur to Watch”. And in 2011 she was honored as California’s “Business Women Of The Year” at NAWBO’s national convention. Laura’s success is based on integrity, strong relationships, and personal service. Laura is a consultant for many companies because of her creative solutions and “out of the box” business concepts and brings a new and exciting atmosphere to the business environment.
Favorite Quote: “The magic formula of successful businesses is to treat customers like guests and employees like people.” Tom Peters
With over 20 years of professional accounting experience in the business community, Lori understands the importance of having streamlined accounting processes and a strong business model that will support business growth. A proven problem-solver, Lori’s goal is to partner with business owners to not only correct problems but to build financial structures for a stronger business foundation.
Over the course of her career, Lori’s experience has ranged from Staff Accountant to Director of Accounting and Controller. In 2009, Lori’s passion for helping small businesses led her to step out and establish Trusted Financials, an Orange County accounting firm specializing in creating sound and sustainable accounting practices for bottom line performance. Since then, she has helped numerous clients streamline their accounting.
Lori received a BA in Accounting from California State University-Fullerton, and has served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for Executive Women International. Lori volunteers her time and has sat on the Board of Directors for RSM Chamber of Commerce as the Treasurer and VP of Finance. She is certified in QuickBooks, Microsoft Office with advanced Excel, Microsoft Great Plains, NetSuite, and MAS90.
Lori is a big fan of a good conversation with whomever she is spending time with. When not in the office, you can usually find Lori spending time with her family and cat, out with friends, or on a great vacation.
Favorite Quote: “Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and believe the one reason why it will”. Author unknown.
Donna Watson is “the mouse” of Designer Mouse Graphic Design, a creative services firm. Established in 1994, Designer Mouse is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Providing creative concept development, Donna assists her clients in promoting their products and services online and in print. Specialties include brand development, event and business promotion, web design, photo editing and photo restoration.
Donna has been a proud member of NAWBO-OC since August, 2012. As everyone is encouraged to get involved, she joined the Marketing Committee and took on the “My NAWBO-OC Story” Contest promotion. She has also supported the Business Development Team with their Free NAWBO Ad promotion and Shop NAWBO Rewards program.
Favorite Quote: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanor Roosevelt
Maureen Rhyne, Ph.D.
Strategy and Board Development
Maureen Rhyne, Ph.D. is owner and President of Heritage Associates, Inc. a boutique consulting and coaching firm where she heads the Executive Coaching and Consulting Division. Prior to Joining Heritage Associates in 2007, Maureen’s breadth of experience includes being co-owner/founder of Spectra Consultants, providing executive coaching services to an international consulting firm, being Director of Behavioral Medicine at Long Beach Memorial Family Medicine and serving on the faculty at California State University Long Beach. Maureen has held clinical appointments at UCI and USC Medical Schools. Since becoming an entrepreneur her clients include: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Versant Ventures, Doheny Eye Institute, Harbor UCLA Medical Center and Families Forward to name a few. She works closely with clients in their needs assessment, clarifying their goals and expected outcomes, and develops and implements plans to achieve desired results both at the individual and organizational level. Maureen earned her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern California is a Licensed Psychologist and Certified Professional Coach.
Favorite Quote: “Don’t let what you can’t do get in the way of what you can do.” John Wooden
Kathleen P. Urquidez, CPA
Strategy and Board Development
Kathleen P. Urquidez, CPA has been accounting and tax services for over 20 years, specializing in small to medium size business. Kathleen prides herself in being considered a partner with her clients to assist them in making decisions using her expertise in tax and accounting knowledge.
She received a BA in business administration with concentrations in accounting and finance from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in 1988 and obtained her CPA license from the State of California in 1993. Kathleen is the partner in charge of audit, review and accounting, Bezich, Rose & Urquídez, Certified Public Accountants. With over 20 years public accounting experience, her primary emphasis is in small business accounting and educates her clients about basic accounting requirements, internal control implementation and tax planning.
Kathleen is a member of California Society of CPAs and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Favorite Quote: “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Robert F. Kennedy
Michelle’s breadth of experience includes sales, management, leadership and training. She understands the real world challenges of prospecting, asking the right questions to get results, creating and delivering presentations, closing the deal and everything in between. She has 20+ years in the cable television industry, 13 of those years with Time Warner Cable (not consecutive). Michelle brings an entrepreneurial perspective to her current position, having owned a sales training company, a direct mail franchise, been a Sr. Sales Director with a major cosmetic firm, and worked in the franchise development business. Of utmost importance on a daily basis are: understanding the challenges and celebrating triumphs of her sales team; addressing the concerns and hopes of the businesses called on and existing clients; and keeping the corporate objectives top of mind.
Community involvement is a hobby for Michelle. She serves on two ministries at her church, current NAWBO VP Business Development; formerly served as a Mentor program of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) and a former chair of their largest Remarkable Women fundraiser. She is passionate about her involvement to conquer breast cancer, and is training for her second consecutive 39.3 mile Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
She is the wife of Clarke for many years, and has two adult sons, Evan and Alex. She likes reading in the book club “Booked Solid Sisters”, walking, watching football, and cooking.
Trina is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications of WHW (Women Helping Women/Men2Work), a non-profit organization that provides critical employment support services to empower disadvantaged men, women and teens to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Trina directs the development and implementation of WHW’s strategic marketing and public relations activities. She oversees the shaping of WHW’s brand message, communication objectives of the organization, the critical marketing and outreach to all of WHW’s constituents and effective communication between the organization and the public, including a focused outreach to local small business partners. Trina is also responsible for facilities management, the implementation and maintenance of the organization’s technology infrastructure, as well as the management of WHW’s Retail Store, Déjà New.
Favorite Quote: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in all that you do and He will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Don has acquired a background in numerous areas and industries, since graduation from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a BS degree in Chemical Engineering. She began her professional credentials in research and development with CR Bard, and progressed to senior levels of systems design, project management, sales and marketing in plastics, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Her engineering training has taught her to be a problem solver in business and in life.
Always provided solutions to her employers and pursued every position with an entrepreneurial mind, Don decided to become a business owner and a problem solver for her own clients. As founder and President of Neo Design Concepts, Inc., Don leads her team to provide print and digital marketing solutions to businesses that do not have in-house resources, or knowledge of how to develop its marketing strategies. She helps companies develop its online and offline identities to get found on internet and mobile platforms.
Don remains very involved with NAWBO Orange County where she previously served as Vice President of Professional Development. Still bringing solutions where ever she goes, Don is now the Vice President of Member Services for NAWBO-OC.
Favorite Quote: “One small step for a man (woman), one giant step for mankind” by Neil Armstrong
Marni Ellison began her career in finance, transitioning into Executive Recruiting, placing hundreds of c-level finance and accounting professionals with a notable Executive Search Firm. She has aligned some of Southern California’s biggest companies with top-tier talent, and has led business development efforts for companies on both coasts. Marni found a new niche market that been previously untapped in Orange County — lifestyle management. Voila! Portero Concierge was born.
Ms. Wilton has been licensed to practice law since 2008 and is in private practice at her firm Law Office of Christine A. Wilton. She received her Juris Doctor from Pacific Coast University School of Law (2005), and undergraduate degree from California State University, Long Beach (B.A. 1989), where she studied Speech Communication. She is admitted to practice law in California and before the United States District Court, Central District.
2012: Schaffer v. ECMC we won at trial, discharging more than $57,000 in student loans. Case no. 2:11-ap-01878-RN.
In 2010, she reached a settlement against Litton Loan Servicing, et. al. and the client received a HAMP PRA or principle reduction allowance on her mortgage that effectively brought the principle owed down to current market value. Including a waiver of fees and costs, the total savings to the client was well over $200,000.00.
She is the author and publisher of the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Law Monitor blog where she discusses issues relating to consumer bankruptcy law and useful information to debtors in the Central District of California; on the web at www.losangelesbankruptcylawmonitor.com
Ms. Wilton is a member of the following organizations:
- National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), Member
- Central District Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Association (“CDCBAA”), Member, Board of Directors since 2011
- Orange County Bar Association (OCBA), Member
- Max Gardner’s bankruptcy litigation army, Member
- National Association of Women Business Owners—Orange County Chapter, Member, Board of Directors 2014
Her practice focuses on representing debtors with mortgage issues under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. She also represents consumer clients in Chapter 7. With a focus on debt relief through Bankruptcy, attorney Wilton also handles contested matters, dischargeability proceedings, and adversary cases in bankruptcy; including student loan problems. She has been a volunteer counsel for Public Counsel and continues to support her local community through the community outreach with OCBA and the philanthropic support of Colette’s Children’s Home in Huntington Beach, CA.
Favorite Quote: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”~ Goethe
JJ San Jose
JJ San Jose is a native Californian who enjoys various aspects in real estate. This entrepreneur takes pride in helping people build their nest egg: IRA, 401k or increase their passive income by investing in real estate. She also enjoys working with sellers, Realtors and other real estate professionals looking to off load their properties quickly and seamlessly. As President of Appreciating RE, JJ’s comprehension of business structure at a departmental and corporate level has helped her build a successful system that manages a growing business with local and “virtual” team members. She currently presents at several organizations on how systems can benefit in their businesses usually in the real estate field and shares her experience as a real estate investor. She also co-founded Women’s Investment Network (WIN), an educational forum specializing in giving a hand-UP to ladies seeking financial freedom through real estate investing.
Aneeta Kumar is an attorney and partner at Kumar & Gerchick. She has decades of experience advising and representing public companies, private companies, public entities and individuals in a wide range of complex insurance recovery matters. Aneeta and her partner have assisted their clients in recovering hundreds of millions of dollars from insurance companies to pay for litigation expenses and settlements, environmental and pollution losses, general liability claims, natural disaster losses, products liability claims, business interruption and extra expense claims, employment, discrimination and harassment claims, directors’ and officers’ liabilities, errors and omissions claims, crime losses, and advertising liabilities. Aneeta also advises clients regarding general risk management concerns, insurance program audits, insurance policy reviews, and policy placement/renewal negotiations.
Prior to forming Kumar & Gerchick, Aneeta was a member of the Insurance Recovery Department at Howrey Simon Arnold & White, LLP and the Insurance Coverage Group at Troop Steuber Pasich Reddick & Tobey LLP. Aneeta received her Juris Doctor from UC Davis School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from Occidental College, where she received the Benjamin H. Culley Phi Beta Kappa Prize.
Favorite Quote: “All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
Attorney Erin Giglia has been practicing law in Orange County, California since 2001. She co-founded and co-owns Montage Legal Group with Laurie Rowen, one of the 2012 NAWBO-OC Remarkable Woman honorees. Montage Legal Group is a nationwide network of experienced freelance attorneys all with impressive credentials from top law schools and training in prestigious law firms. Montage Legal Group serves all types of law firms that need quality temporary legal work. Montage’s unique business model, which taps into previously underutilized resources, has garnered national recognition and accolades.
Peggy Fu, ESQ, CPA, the managing partner of Focus Business Law Group, is a corporate attorney with extensive experience advising middle market companies in a wide range of business transactions including mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt financing, restructuring, private equity and venture capital investments, partnership and shareholder matters, technology licensing, corporate governance, employment matters, real property purchase, sale and leasing, and cross border transactions. Prior to founding Focus Business Law Group, Peggy was a senior associate with the international law firm Paul Hastings, where she represented public and private companies, private equity firms, venture capital firms and financial institutions. Peggy started she career at Ernst & Young, where she handled a variety of audit, tax and mergers and acquisition engagements. Peggy is a member of the American Bar Association and its Business Law Section. Peggy holds a BA in Economics from Hamilton College and a JD from Loyola Law School.
Favorite Quote: “The goal of yesterday will be the starting point of tomorrow.” Thomas Carlyle
President, Women’s Business Institute
Kathy Dawson, CEO/President of Dawson & Dawson Search and Staffing, Inc. has enjoyed over 27 years of staffing experience nationally and in the Orange County market place. She has earned the prestigious designation of a Certified Staffing Professional (CSP). She runs a full service, boutique firm that places high value in developing personal relationships at all levels. Once you work with Kathy and her team you will never go back! 24 years with corporate America lead her to open her own firm where she could spend quality time earning their business one quality placement at a time. As a Regional Vice President she handled Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, California and Utah. Early in her career she worked for a Fortune 500 Communications firm that taught her the keys to running a successful business. After being introduced to staffing, she excelled at team work, superior customer service and efficient business processes. She managed over 120 staff members throughout her Region. She is a well known speaker and trainer in the industry, traveling to most of the Western United States to share her enthusiasm about the Staffing Industry. She is active in non profit work and is currently the President of NAWBO-OC and involved in Working Wardrobes, Girls Inc, Laura’s House, American Red Cross.
Favorite Quote: “Every job is a self portrait of the person who does it. Autograph your work with excellence.”