Board of Directors Bios

NAWBO-OC 2013/2014 Board of Directors Bios

Executive Board

Laura Neubauer, President
Dee Elliott, President–Elect
Loreen Gilbert, Immediate Past President
Elaine Gennawey, Secretary
Penny M. Fox, CPA, Treasurer
Maureen Rhyne, Ph.D., Strategy and Board Development
Kathleen P. Urquidez, CPA, Strategy and Board Development

Vice Presidents

Michelle Beauchamp, Business Development
Kari Buist-Baker, Vice President, Community Relations
Lorie Eber, Corporate Partners
Helane Cohen, Marketing and Public Relations
Trina Fleming, Member Services
Don Phravorachith, Professional Development
Jane Khalaf, Programs
Katherine Hills, Technology
Kathy Dawson, President, Women’s Business Institute


Erin Giglia, Legal Counsel
Peggy Fu, Legal Counsel

Board of Directors – Bios

Laura Neubauer

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

Dee Elliott

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

Loreen Gilbert
Immediate Past President
Loreen Gilbert is the President of WealthWise Financial Services offering securities and investment advisory services to individuals, business owners and corporations through her affiliation as a registered principal with LPL Financial.  WealthWise Financial Services helps families integrate their money and their values so that their values and their money outlive them.

Her business credentials include registration as an Investment Advisor Representative and holds the FINRA Series 7, 63, 24, and 65 through LPL Financial; Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation; Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) designation; Certified Retirement Counselor (CRC) designation; Corporation for Long Term Care (CLTC) certification; insurance licensed in Life, Disability, Variable Life, and Long Term Care; and Bachelor of Business Administration.  In 2009 Orange Coast Magazine published Ms. Gilbert as receiving the Five Star: Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Management Award.  Ms. Gilbert was also nominated for the Orange County Business Journal Women in Business Award in 2009 and 2011.

Loreen is actively involved in the Orange County community.  Loreen is a member of Women’s Philanthropy Fund and Impact Giving and serves on the Regional Board of Directors for Hope International, on the Corporate Council for Segerstrom Center and on the Advisory Board for International Princess Project (IPP).   In the business community, Loreen is on the Executive Board of NAWBO-OC as the President Elect, and an active Provisors member.  Loreen has also been involved at Mariners Church for over fifteen years.

Favorite Quote: “We make get a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Sir Winston Churchill

* The 5 Star Wealth Manager is award based on client satisfaction. Respondents evaluate criteria such as customer service, expertise, value for free charge and satisfaction as a whole. The overall evaluation score is based on an average of all respondents and may not be a representative of any one client’s evaluation.

Elaine Gennawey, CRPC ®
Elaine Gennawey, Financial Advisor and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor SM, assists individuals, families, and business owners in defining and achieving their financial goals.  Her investment and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial, the #1 independent broker/dealer in the country and she is affiliated with Basdakis Wealth Management Group, Inc. in Irvine.

As a Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM Elaine has extensive experience in pre and post retirement issues and the affect they have the financial health of retirement.  Elaine holds Series 7, 31, and 66 securities licenses, as well as Life, Health, Variable Annuity, Long Term Care, and California Partnership Long Term Care insurance licenses.  She is licensed in multiple states, and received her B.S in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge.

Elaine was recognized as an Orange County Five Star Wealth Manager for the second consecutive year (2012, 2013).  Five Star Wealth Managers are selected based on peer nominations and vetted through a rigorous process aimed at identifying advisors who provide outstanding customer service, experience high rates of client retention and have unblemished regulatory records.

Born in Brooklyn, raised in Reseda, Elaine became an Orange Countian by marriage over 31 years ago. Since moving to Laguna Niguel 28 years ago, Elaine has been an active community volunteer.  For her many years of service, Elaine has been honored as  Laguna Niguel Citizen of the Year. She has served on many City of Laguna Niguel committees and commissions including Chair of the Gift Acceptance and Campaign Contribution Policy Committee, Charter Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, and currently Laguna Niguel Military Support Committee.  Elaine is in her 20th year as a Rotarian and is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Laguna Niguel.  In her 27 years  of membership, she has twice served as president of the Laguna Niguel Woman’s Club, an affiliate of the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs.  The GFWC is the largest and oldest non-denominational volunteer organization of women in the world.  Elaine loves to read, visit historical sites, semi-gourmet cooking, and enjoys family time with her husband and three children.  Her favorite vacation spots are Washington DC for its vast wealth of American history, and Pismo Beach  to relax and recharge.

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.

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

Vice Presidents

Michelle Beauchamp
Business Development
Michelle ‘s breadth of experience includes sales, management, leadership and training. She understands the real world challenges of prospecting, following up, creating and delivering presentations, closing the deal and everything in between. She has 20+ years in the cable television industry, 12 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 Mary Kay Sr. Sales Director 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; was a teen advisor in the Jack and Jill Orange County chapter.

She is the wife of Clarke for many years, and has two young adult sons, Evan and Alex. She likes reading in the book club “Booked Solid Sisters”, walking, watching football, cooking (when she has time), and enjoys watching her family and friends enjoy her culinary skills.

Kari Buist-Baker
Vice President, Community Relations
Kari Buist-Baker is a Licensed Register Nurse, Nationally Certified Case & Care Manager, a Certified Gerontologist and Legal Nurse Consultant. She is a member of multiple professional organizations and was a Consultant for the 2011-2012 Orange County Grand Jury’s report on Elder Abuse titled: “The Perfect Storm”.  She founded Senior Life Management, Inc. with a passion to answer the critical needs of families, seniors and disabled adults who found themselves lost and struggling with care and decision-making dilemmas for themselves or their loved one. Kari’s rich background of education and years of professional experience alleviates the stressors and fragmentation that can occur in these situations.

Kari coordinates a wide-range of specialized skills and services with available vetted and community resources, physicians, and other professional entities to implement the very best care for her clients.  She and her staff are a solid communication link between aging adults, family members, all healthcare providers, facilities, and other essential components of teamwork.

Lorie Eber, JD
Corporate Partners
In addition to being a Wellness Coach, Lorie is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and a Gerontologist. She is the author of “Aging Beats The Alternative and a Sense of Humor Helps,” a blogger for the Huffington Post 50, a columnist for the Orange County Register, The Irvine World News and the Tustin News, and a nationally known keynote speaker. She also teaches Gerontology at the University of La Verne and Coastline Community College. To learn more about Wellness Coaching, visit her website:

Her motto for healthy aging is: Healthy, Healthy, Healthy, Healthy, Dead ®.

Helane Cohen
Marketing and Public Relations
With over twenty-five years of business experience in multiple industries, Helane Cohen is business professional driven by her love for the creative and mentoring. As the Business Development Specialist at the Microsoft Store at South Coast Plaza she is responsible for managing relationships between Microsoft, the small business community and acts as a liaison to the Microsoft Corporate group. Offering her expertise in Marketing, Training and Development, Helane shares her wealth of knowledge as an independent consultant.  Prior to joining Microsoft Helane worked in Senior Level Positions for several companies including; Whole Foods Market, Hewlett Packard, and Macromedia (currently Adobe). In addition, Helane was the Founder and President of a successful kids cooking company Le Petit Cookery, for over eight years where her company was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Anderson Cooper 360 and numerous other media outlets.

In the business community Helane is on the Board of Directors of NAWBO-OC as the Vice President of Marketing. Helane is actively involved in the Orange County community.  She volunteers for Girls Inc. and other organizations including Savannah’s Organic Ranch and the Ronald McDonald House. Helane is passionate about working with young women and children.

Favorite Quote: “Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” Oprah Winfrey

Trina Fleming
Member Services
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 Phravorachith
Professional Development
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 providing solutions to her employers and pursuing 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 needs. Since running one company is not enough, Don is starting up another to bring manufacturing, tourism and development into Southeast Asian countries to battle against human trafficking, which takes women and children in that region away from their families and homeland.

To add to her many responsibilities, Don previously served as Associate Director for the Education Committee at NAWBO-OC. Still bringing solutions where ever she goes, Don is now the Vice President of Professional Development for NAWBO-OC.

Favorite Quote: “One small step for a man (woman), one giant step for mankind” by Neil Armstrong

Jane Khalaf
Jane is very involved in the community with organizations such as Alzheimer’s Association Visionary Women, Girls, Inc., and she has served on the board of the Sound of Music Guild of the Segerstrom Center of the Arts as well as served on the finance committee for Thomas House Shelter. In the business community, Jane is an Ambassador for the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and actively participates in several other business organizations. Jane began her career in finance in New York City, and prior to financial services, she worked in marketing at an architectural firm and in the nonprofit sector.

Katherine Hills
Katherine Hills is owner and Managing Director of Krush Creative Group LLC, a full-service marketing, branding, advertising, design, PR and event production agency located in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. Katherine launched Krush on February 1, 2005, after acquiring the physical assets and client roster of The Eychison Group, a full-service agency she managed for three years. Prior to Eytchison Group, she worked as International Marketing Director for three companies over 10 years – IndX Software, Subscriber Computing and Wonderware, and as European Business Manager for Excellon Automation for 5 years. She has worked with clients around the globe, and has traveled to over 40 countries. Katherine has a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. In addition to serving on the board of NAWBO OC, she serves on the Dean’s Leadership Council for UCI’s School of Biological Sciences, chairs the UCI Biological Sciences Alumni Organization, and serves on the boards of Summit7, a non-profit organization, and BindFlow, a workflow software company.

Favorite Quote: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Albert Einstein

Kathy Dawson
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.”


Erin Giglia
Legal Counsel
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.

Erin graduated from Wellesley College, and was in the top of her class at the University of San Diego School of Law, where she was also a member of San Diego Law Review.

Erin has been published and quoted in various media including the ABA Journal, the Washington Post, OC Lawyer, Womanetics and was most recently named one of the Orange County’s 40 Under 40 by OC Metro magazine.

Favorite Quote: “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life.  When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote down ‘happy.’  They said I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” John Lennon

Peggy Fu
Legal Counsel
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