Speakers, Panelists and Moderators

Tom Armstrong

Investor Panel

Mr. Armstrong is a partner and heads the Central Coast office at the law firm of White Summers Caffee & James, LLP (  He has over 34 years of legal experience in representing companies and investors in venture capital financings, private placements, angel financings, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate matters. His practice includes representation of companies and investors in various industries including medical devices, software, internet, consumer goods, telematics and entertainment. 

Mr. Armstrong is also a FINRA registered investment banker holding a Series 63 license and a Series 79 license assisting companies in capital raising and mergers and acquisitions .and is a member of Angels by the Sea, an angel investment group in the Central Coast Area.

Brad Barbeau

Plenary Session Moderator
Investor Panel Moderator

Brad Barbeau, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at CSU Monterey Bay, and Executive Director of the Institute for Innovation and Economic Development at CSU Monterey Bay. He teaches courses in entrepreneurship and new venture formation and finance, and is faculty lead for the entrepreneurship concentration for the College of Business. 

His primary research is on the entrepreneurial process. Brad holds his MBA, M.A. in economics and Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Brad is also an advisor to several startup companies, and is currently on the board of California Coastal Rural Development Corporation, a lender to agriculture and small businesses. 

Robert Blair

Robert Blair

Investor Panel

Over 35 years of global executive & operating experience – including CEO, CFO, General Manager, Sales, Mktg, Biz Dev, R/D in Technology related businesses.

  • Providing Consulting Services now on Biz Dev, Technology, Funding, Positioning, Strategy, Marketing, Sales and Hiring.
  • Providing Advisory Board, BOD, Board Gov/Committee Services for SaaS, S/W, H/W, Semiconductor, Medical Devices, Systems, Mobile, Automotive companies.
  • Able to travel for scheduled Board Functions and Conferences.
  • Consulting Fees and/or Equity combination negotiable.
  • Based in N. California, lived and worked in USA, UK, Germany, US & EU citizen.

Pamela Burns

Session 2B: Community Capital – Call for Investment

Pamela is the owner and chef of the Wild Plum, a full-service Monterey cafe serving delicious soups, daily specials, and gourmet sandwiches and baked goods. She has over 30 years experience as an entrepreneur and chef, having started the Baker’s Wife, the 6th Avenue Grill, and the Monterey Pasta Company, as well.

Fred Cohen

Investor Panel

Fred Cohen helps Top Executives get high rewards in high risk situations He brings teams of experts to executive advisory boards to cover critical issues and find viable paths forward.

Fred started his first business in the 1970s, earned the title “Father of the Computer Virus” while completing his Ph.D. in the 1980s, and devised defenses used in more than 80% of computers worldwide. In 1987 he grew The Radon Project from 8 to 250 employees in under 6 months, exiting ultimately to a public company. In the 1990s, he worked on critical infrastructure and cyber warfare defenses generating more than $1B in contracts, joined Sandia National Laboratories, and worked to secure the US nuclear complex and for the President’s Commission.

Fred now heads the secure cyber committee as Pebble Beach Chapter President of Keiretsu Forum, the most active angel investment firm in the world. He is CEO of his own firm, and runs advisory boards for many companies. Fred has been featured by ABC News, 60 minutes, Nightwatch, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, Nature, Discover, Der Speigel, and other news outlets.

Richard De Andrade

Session 1A: Emerging Opportunities in the Ag Supply Chain

With more than 30 years of experience in international finance and business, Richard has provided advisory expertise on aspects of Corporate Governance/Compliance/Audit, Startup Investment/Acceleration, Business Consulting and Advisory consulting to US and International companies ranging in size from less than $2MM to greater than $5BN in annual revenue.

Richard is currently the founder, member, and CEO of Solare Holdings LLC, (, and is actively involved with the startup and entrepreneurial community locally and internationally, focusing on technology and agribusiness opportunities.

Pete Delgado

Session 2A: Emerging Opportunities in Sustainable Hospitality

Pete Delgado is president/CEO of Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, which encompasses an acute care public district hospital, 13 urgent care clinics, a group of primary care and specialty physician practices and joint venture ownership of Aspire Health Plan. Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System employs more than 2,400 people and its medical staff includes 331 board-certified physicians.

Mr. Delgado has served in various leadership positions throughout his career, including Chief Executive Officer for the Los Angeles County + University of Southern California (LAC+USC) Healthcare Network, and Chief Executive Officer for Kaiser Health Plan Hospitals in Northern California, to name a few. Mr. Delgado was a founding member of the National Forum for Latino Healthcare Executives (NFLHE) – a national organization increasing the representation of Latinos at the executive level of hospitals across the country, and Hispanic Business Magazine recognized Delgado as one of the Top 100 Influential People of 2009.

Doug Erickson

Keynote Address

Doug Erickson launched his entrepreneurial journey a year after graduating from UCSC by building a windsurf company which rose to the second largest worldwide. He then entered the tech world.  Six of the past companies have been acquired including Presenter, WebEx, and SugarCRM. He built the 4,100+ member Santa Cruz New Tech MeetUp which is the 8th largest in the US.

He also co-founded and built CruzHacks, a 1,000+ attendee 3-day hackathon.   Erickson is an angel investor in Inboard Technologies and Buoy Labs. He is also a founding member of Zentrepreneurship Life.

Mark Farr

Session 2B: Community Capital – Call for Investment

Born and raised on a family horse and cattle ranch in Monterey County, California, Mark Farr graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in AG Business. While attending college he started Corral de Tierra Cattle Company. Today, CDTCC markets grass fed beef to the local Monterey community as well as specializes in land management services utilizing both livestock and mechanical means. Mark raises cattle on several ranches on the central coast implementing regenerative landscape management practices to improve biodiversity of the land. Mark resides in Monterey County with his wife Farrah and son Coleman. 

Jereon Gerrese

Jeroen Gerrese

Session 2A: Emerging Opportunities in Sustainable Hospitality

A native of the Netherlands, Jeroen Gerrese received his Bachelor of Hotel Administration from the University of Hotel Management in Maastricht with a Post Graduate Degree from Cornell University.  Jeroen spent 5 years with Holland America (3x worldcruises) before settling in New York City for 15 years opening up an 770 room Intercontinental Hotel as Hotel Manager followed by being appointed as General Manager of the prestigious Waldorf Towers (hosting the UN Delegations for 4x consecutive years) and finally as the General Manager of the Swiss Drake Hotel.

Then, Jeroen started his international career with Marriott spending time in London-Singapore and Moscow where he oversaw 3 Marriott Hotels including the award winning Marriott Royal next door to the world famous Bolshoi Theatre.

State side Jeroen managed the 4 diamond Laguna Cliffs Resort and Spa in Southern CA for 6x years before starting his own development and asset management business in Sacramento, The Shiraz Group, for the next 12 years. 

In late 2017 Jeroen joined the Sanctuary Beach Resort and Spa here in the Peninsula as General Manager overseeing a massive repositioning and expansion plan.

Alexander Gershenson

Panel 1A: Emerging Opportunities in the Ag Supply Chain

Alex Gershenson received his PhD in Environmental Studies from UCSC, and over the course of his career was a professor at SJSU, ran a consulting firm focusing on climate action planning and carbon accounting, and is currently the CEO of SupplyShift. SupplyShift is a global platform that enables companies to understand who is in their supply chain, assess supplier performance and risk, and create more responsible products. Working with Fortune 500 companies, manufacturers, certification bodies, and global responsible product standards, SupplyShift enables procurement and supply chain professionals to gather information throughout their supplier networks and understand the risks and opportunities within their supply chain. Alex believes that greater supply chain visibility and ready access to supply chain information will lead to better products, reduced supplier risk, and more responsible production of the goods we use every day.

Arno Hesse

Arno Hesse

Session 1B: Sources of Community Capital


Arno Hesse works to empower people and communities with solutions for placing their money into the future they want to live in. Making it easier and more transparent to channel investments into local businesses through combining shifts in culture with innovations in technology.

Arno is the Founder and CEO of Credibles, and co-founder of Investibule. He also co-leader and investor for Slow Money Northern California.

Shyam Kamath

Session 2A: Emerging Opportunities in Sustainable Hospitality

Shyam Kamath, Ph.D., is Dean of the College of Business at California State University, Monterey Bay. He has held academic and administrative positions at leading universities in the U.S., Canada, Asia and Europe. Previously, he was an entrepreneur as a co-founder of three start-ups, has pioneered a number of academic start-ups and has worked for leading international firms in the energy equipment and consumer goods areas. He has been a consultant to four governments and over 100 companies and non-profits worldwide. He has published over 80 articles in leading peer-reviewed scholarly and trade journals and is the author or co-author of three books. Dean Kamath serves on the boards of four non-profits and one for-profit company, including as the CEO of a Monterey-based non-profit organization.

Seth Kinkade

Session 2B: Community Capital – Call for Investment

Seth Kinkade is the founder of Leviathan Foods, the maker of Radicle Snacks.

Seth was a North American Sales Director for the Coesia Group, a major industrial equipment company based in Bologna Italy. In this position, Seth participated in building manufacturing lines for Nestle, Daisy, Hershey’s, and other legacy food companies. This experience provided the inspiration to rethink packaged food and drives Radicle Snacks flavor bursting, healthful snacks.

Seth is a US Army veteran and holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

Roberta Lee

Investor Panel

from Saint Mary’s College.  Currently she is an angel investor with the Keiretsu Forum where she is co-chair of the Northern California Life Science Committee.  She is also an active member of Life Science Angels. 

Bethany Mayer

Luncheon Keynote

Bethany Mayer is currently an Executive Partner with Siris Capital Group LLC, a New York based private equity firm. Ms. Mayer is the former president and CEO of Ixia, a publicly traded $500M company and the market leader in test, visibility and security solutions. During her tenure at Ixia, Ms. Mayer drove the growth of the company in key new markets culminating in a successful sale of the company to Keysight Technologies Inc in 2017. Ms. Mayer brings over 25 years of technology experience serving in executive roles in companies both large and small.

Prior to Ixia, Mayer was senior vice president and general manager of HP’s $2.5B Networking business unit and the NFV business unit. In addition, Mayer served as senior vice president, marketing and alliances for Blue Coat Systems, and held leadership roles at Cisco Systems and Apple. Ms Mayer is an independent board member of Sempra Energy, Marvell Technology, DataStax Inc. and Pulse Secure Inc.

Ms. Mayer holds a BS from Santa Clara University and an MBA from California State University, Monterey Bay where she received the Distinguished Alumni award in 2018. In 2017 Mayer was awarded the Global Leader of the Year Award by Women in IT and was named Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology in both 2015 and 2016 by The National Diversity Council.

Joe Merenda

Session 1A: Emerging Opportunities in the Ag Supply Chain

Recruited from Coca-Cola by C.H. Robinson, Joe built the Fresh 1® Marketing Division from scratch to an organization that included foodservice, retail, wholesale distribution, and sales. He was later transitioned to director of business development at Foodsource, where he helped grow the business from $150MM to over $750MM. In 2010 Joe started a new company called Harbinger Group which has served as an incubator for “fresh” ideas, primarily servicing retail and foodservice outlets. Two years ago, Harbinger Group acquired Misionero Vegetables, now operating as Harbinger Group dba Misionero, where Joe serves as President and COO and continues to build the company.

Paul Michel

Session 2A: Emerging Opportunities in Sustainable Hospitality

Paul Michel has 30 years of experience in environmental protection at the local, state, federal, and international levels. He is a nationally-recognized leader in wetlands, coast, and ocean management and protection. He has extensive experience in developing and implementing comprehensive natural resource management and protection plans and managing marine protected areas. 

Mr. Michel was named Superintendent of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in April 2007. As Superintendent, he is responsible for all of the science, education, and resource protection programs involved with managing and protecting the nation’s second largest marine sanctuary at over 6,000 square miles. Mr. Michel also is Executive Co-Producer of YourSanctuaryTV, a local access cable and internet television show featuring national marine sanctuaries.

Jiri Nozicka

Session 2B: Community Capital – Call for Investment

Jiri Nozicka is the co-owner and captain of the San Giovanni, which has been fishing waters off Monterey for the last 60 years. The San Giovanni, a local icon, is the oldest and only remaining wooden fishing boat still operating in the Monterey Bay. Jiri is also the founder of People United for American Commercial Fisheries and Alliance of Communities for Sustainable Fisheries board member. Both are working to ensure that we have thriving American fisheries.

Soerke Peters

Session 2A: Emerging Opportunities in Sustainable Hospitality

Soerke Peters is an award-winning international Chef whose far-reaching experience includes everything from a mastery of cuisine to corporate managerial experience.

Chef Soerke Peters born and raised in Germany always had an interest in cooking. His experience ranges from working as an Executive Chef for prominent New York restaurant group, Toscorp Inc, to opening exclusive restaurant Froma on Melrose in West Hollywood. From there Soerke moved to Carmel to take over Basil Seasonal Dining, and eventually the Village Corner. These two restaurants were the first to be Certified Green Restaurant in Carmel, an achievement stemming from his passion for Farm-To-Table and sustainable responsibility. Peters is currently focusing on his new project changing Lafayette Kitchen & Café to Etats-Unis (United States) French American Bistro.

He is the President of the American Culinary Federation Monterey Bay Chapter and serves as Chair of the Green & Sustainable Committee. 

Gary Peterson

Gary Peterson

Session 1B: Sources of Community Capital

Gary has more than two decades’ experience in nonprofit organizations focused on farm business development, resource conservation, and policy advocacy.

His career has primarily focused on fundraising, communications, and program evaluation to advance beginning farmers and ranchers practicing sustainable and organic agriculture. Gary currently leads the nascent California FarmLink Investment Notes campaign to diversify the organization’s sources of loan capital to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers. He also serves as President of The Granary Foundation, which stewards the endowment assets of the Center for Rural Affairs, where he started his career.

Gary has a B.A. in Political Science from Minnesota State University Moorhead and a Masters of Public Administration from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Paul Powers

Session 1A: Emerging Opportunities in the Ag Supply Chain

As an early member to the Untied Rentals Mergers and Acquisitions Team, Paul was responsible for all aspects of the transaction from market assessment, deal-sourcing, diligence, negotiation, and closing. This experience launched Paul’s 20+ year career in M&A advisory services and consulting. After URI, Paul formed Powers Associates, a mid-market consulting firm focused on M&A advisory services, working closely with private equity, the capital markets and strategic partners to engineer the best outcome for his clients. 

In 2010, Paul joined one of the founders of URI and other members of the United Rentals M&A Team to found Catalyst Strategic Advisors, with a focus on M&A advisory services for the equipment rental industry.

In addition to his work as an M&A advisor, Paul has successfully launched, built and sold a number of businesses in the equipment rental, equipment sales, truck, and recreational vehicle industries. He brings the unique aspect of operating on both sides of the table to his M&A advisory projects, and has the ability to connect with sellers and buyers of a business using his past operational experiences, a rarity in investment banking and M&A advisory. 

amy stoker

Amy Stocker

Session 1B: Sources of Community Capital

Amy Stocker  is a founder of Slow Money Monterey Bay and a recent graduate of Middlebury Institute of International Studies where she completed an MBA with a concentration in Social Enterprise and Finance. Amy is currently serving as Business Manager for Gathering for Women, a local nonprofit that provides services to homeless women on the Monterey Peninsula. As a Certified Public Accountant she has previously worked for Deloitte & Touche LLP and prior to attending Middlebury, she served as CFO for Harbinger Group LLC, a local produce company who is a pioneer of innovative products in the produce industry.

Susan Szasz

Session 2B: Community Capital – Call for Investment

Susan is a co-founder of SlowMoney Monterey Bay and the Associate Director of the MBS program at Cal State University Monterey Bay. She is a strategic HR leader and trusted advisor with a broad business background and a passion for developing people and organizations. As an educator, consultant and corporate professional, Susan uses listening, data and analysis to help individuals, teams and organizations become more effective. She is a collaborative leader known for integrity, commitment, work ethic and teamwork.


Hillary Talbot

Session 1B: Sources of Community Capital

Hillary Talbot works at the grassroots level, connecting small businesses with local investors to raise up to $1,070,000 via Regulation Crowdfunding.

Jan Thoren

Investor Panel

Jan Thoren is a visionary, architect, alchemist and materials and systems engineer. She transcends the boundaries of fields and works as an interdisciplinary architect, alchemist, composite engineer and integrated building systems developer. She is a Climate Change activist and natural health advisor to sufferers of Toxic Mold and other conditions related to environmental decline.

Ms. Thoren is co-founder of NanoArchitech , an environmentally conscious nanocomposite startup company. She served as principal designer in Abode Design Associates of Boston and Nantucket Massachusetts, New York and California.

Jan currently serves as president and director of research of Biophysics Research Foundation,inc. She leads NanoArchitech with intentions to delve deeply into the infinite possibilities of nanotechnology to remain on the leading edge of environmentally conscious materials for the construction industry and the salvation of an expanding population facing climate change challenges.

Craig Vachon

Investor Panel

Craig Vachon has earned success leading P&L operations, new product development, corporate development, sales/Business Development, general marketing, finance and product marketing with start-ups and high-tech companies throughout the world. Craig has raised over $1.13M in private equity (VC) investment for 27 companies in seven countries.

Founder of Chowdahead Growth Fund []. BoD member @LifePrint . BoA member at Hera Systems, SocialRep and AnchorFree. Chair at Live Life Large Charitable Trust. TEDx Santa Cruz presenter [most-popular TED Talk in 2012 according to Mashable – ] and novelist/artist/sculptor.

Maija West

Session 1B: Sources of Community Capital

Maija West is the owner of the Law Office of Maija West, and founder of Moxie Lab, a leadership company for emerging visionaries. She is also the founder of the Healing and Reconciliation Institute, a non- profit consulting firm. Professionally, she is dedicated to supporting businesses building a forward-thinking strategy as part of their mission.

With over two decades of experience, the Law Office of Maija West provides legal and business consulting services, providing a wide range of options to her clients including business law, succession planning, mediation services and social enterprise. Her background as a civil litigator, land use consultant and community bank enterprise risk officer has provided her with a strong legal foundation as she assists her clients from the startup phase to succession and exit planning. Maija believes that helping create strong leaders is the path to growing conscious companies.

Maija has served on the boards of the Ventana Wildlife Society, the Wahine Project, and the Taos Community Foundation. She is currently the Chair of the Women’s Leadership Council for the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, as well as serving as a Board Member of both the Community Foundation for Monterey County, as well as the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center.