The Napa-Sonoma SBDC is staffed with experienced leaders who assist SBDC clients grow and develop their businesses.
Mary manages, supervises, and markets SBDC programs and services in both Napa and Sonoma Counties. Mary provides assistance with all aspects of business planning and development.
Mary's background includes 12 years in economic development for Merced County prior to locating in Sonoma County with her family in 2010. Mary holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento and a Master of Public Administration from California State University, Stanislaus.
Mariana was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. In 1997 she graduated from the University of Guadalajara with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. In the same year, she came to the U.S to study English, Math and QuickBooks.
From 2009 to 2015, Mariana worked in the management department of a large company, and, in 2015, she decided to open her own business. Mariana is also a NxLeveL graduate. In 2016, Mariana joined the Napa-Sonoma SBDC to work with the Hispanic business community and share her passion for entrepreneurship.
Cathy Balach is a marketing advisor, with experience in retail and food businesses, as well as online operations. Cathy has worked for PepsiCo, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and two startups of her own, and is passionate about all things marketing: marketing strategy and plans, internal and external communications including public relations, and online marketing -- including website design, email communications, social media and advertising. With over 10 years of experience consulting and mentoring small businesses, Cathy has worked with hundreds of start-up and growing businesses in the North Bay.
In addition to her entrepreneurial and marketing work, Cathy also has experience with education and nonprofits. An Adjunct Professor for Napa Valley College, she teaches business classes, and also works with project management for adult education. She's a former Business & Marketing Director for Sonoma Ecology Center, and has helped over a dozen of nonprofits in the North Bay with their marketing, online presence, and event management. She serves on the Regional Board for the Workforce Alliance of the North Bay. In her free time, she's a bicycling enthusiast who loves working with bicycle fundraisers and taking cycling vacations.
Marie provides assistance in the area of sustainable agriculture and hospitality.
Tom is 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, Tom's clients have covered a range of industries, and sizes and include business expansions (both organic and through acquisitions), start-ups and turnarounds.
Tom’s educational background includes Master’s Degrees in both Biochemistry and Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon University.
Louise Dawson has been active in the restaurant industry for over 30 years. She grew up in a family of restaurant owners and vintners and was the owner and operator of two successful restaurants and a large catering company that specialized in the movie industry.
After selling her last restaurant in 2004, Louise launched her restaurant consultancy, Five Star Restaurant Consultants. For the next decade, she supported over 500 restaurant, bar and nightclub owners bringing real world experience to provide guidance with business strategies and training, business plans and financials, restaurant openings, food costing, service training and exit strategies.
Louise is excited to be a part of Napa Valley College and the Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center where she will continue to provide technical assistance, training and seminars to new and existing restaurateurs.
She is a certified Business Advisor and in 2008 won congressional recognition from Nancy Pelosi for her work with small businesses.
John DeGaetano is a former bank executive with a strong background in management and leadership. DeGaetano has extensive experience in administration, marketing, sales planning, training, operations, auditing, project management and financial analysis.
John 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.
John is a graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and recently earned the national designation Northern California’s State Star for his outstanding performance in assisting small businesses. John is a certified NxLevel instructor in addition to advising new and existing business owners in the areas of business planning, sales and marketing and finance.
Evert Fernandez is a bilingual (English/Spanish) small business consultant. He has an extensive background in sales, marketing, financial planning, training, presentation and customer service. He is experienced in a variety of corporate environments with small, mid and fortune 500 companies. He has exceptional success in community involvement, projects, events and fund raising. In addition, he is a founding member of the Sonoma County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Evert meets with clients in Santa Rosa.
Carolynne provides assistance with graphic design, branding, advertising, marketing strategies, marketing plans, publications and public relations. She specializes in Facebook marketing and E-marketing campaigns in Constant Contact or Vertical Response. Carolynne has an MFA from San Francisco State in Art/Communications and a BA in English from Pepperdine University. She has been a business advisor with NVC Small Business Development Center for ten years.
From 1977 to 1985, Jerry Ann Jinnett was the owner of Sunshine Art Products, a business designing and manufacturing stained glass and pressed flower giftware sold at art/craft shows, through manufacturers’ representatives and in gift shops.
In 1986, Jinnett formed Out of Your Mind…and Into the Marketplace. As a partnership, the company specialized in writing, publishing, and marketing step-by-step “how-to” books and workshops for entrepreneurs.
Jinnett currently works with the Napa-Sonoma SBDC as a business advisor, workshop presenter, and researcher providing clients and other consultants with in-depth market research reports to enable them to create cost-effective solutions to business challenges.
Herb Liberman’s consulting work at the SBDC involves the following areas of expertise: human resource management, business start-up strategies, business plan development, acquiring capital through loans, sales and marketing, manufacturing, and finance. He also teaches a course on Business Planning for the SBDC.
Herb’s experience in these areas was developed through working in four different business and educational environments. His experience includes working as a teacher and school administrator, including Superintendent of Schools, in public education, Operations Manager for company that manufactured automotive car care products, as well as a Director of a post-secondary school, which trained students to be computer programmers, technicians and word processing specialists.
His last position, which had a 15-year tenure, was as Vice President of a printing and copying company, which had 300 employees and $30 million in sales. Following the sale of the company, Herb works part time as a consultant with the SBDC, teaches management courses to graduate students, and is the Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Healdsburg. He sees clients one on one in our Santa Rosa office.
Malinalli López is a business advisor with the Napa-Sonoma SBDC. She is also the CEO of XQL media, a company dedicated to producing films, educational and commercial videos, websites, podcasts, social media campaigns and digital tools. She teaches Cinema part-time at Sonoma State University and is a graduate of U.C.Berkeley with a B.A. in Chicano/a Studies.
Anni Minuzzo has over 30 years’ experience in the specialty food and beverage industry, 20 of which were spent owning a wholesale baking company. Anni Minuzzo has a broad network of professional associations and a long lens on the culture of food & beverage. Her products achieved international sales with a customer base that included Williams-Sonoma, Dean & Deluca, Neiman-Marcus, Whole Foods, and 1-800-FLOWERS.
For the past 10 years Minuzzo has been sharing her expertise through start-up and expansion workshops for food entrepreneurs in several Northern California Small Business Development Centers. She also provides one-on-one counseling through this program as well as coaching and consulting on a private basis.
Minuzzo is proud of several success stories within her client base: Peas of Mind, Core Foods, Ancient Organics and Tropical Traders. Her commitment is simply assisting clients in the realization of their dreams.
Sandy Stelter, JD, CPO® - owner of Strategic Organizing Solutions since 1994, provides consultation and hands on professional, customized organizing, time management and productivity coaching to individuals and businesses. She is a member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) and has served in both local and national board positions. She is an active member of the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce.
As a business advisor with the Napa-Sonoma SBDC, Sandy provides assistance with understanding the business start-up and/or expansion process. Over the years, Sandy has assisted numerous small business owners achieve their goals of owning and operating their own business. Sandy serves as the lead instructor and mentor for the SBDC's semi-annual NxLeveL® Entrepreneurial Training Program. She also teaches the Business Start-Up classes, Recordkeeping 101, Business Plan classes and TIPs® class.
Robert Toering has over a dozen years of experience consulting to CEO’s, business owners and entrepreneurs – providing strategic planning, new business / new product analysis, the development of new products and processes, business plan development and roadmaps for new venture start-up. In addition, Robert’s career includes over a decade as President/CEO of manufacturing and processing companies with 20 to 2,000 employees, and three years in the public sector leading economic development / redevelopment for an industrial city.
Robert’s early management career was in new product development – where he directed the creation and commercialization of numerous products. Robert holds a BSME degree from Purdue University and an MS degree from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design. He meets with clients one on one in our Santa Rosa office.
Janet Wentworth is a small business consultant who works with business owners to help them achieve business success. As the owner of her own marketing company, Janet works with small businesses in a variety of industries, supporting their print and online marketing needs.
More than 20 years’ experience with local technology companies such as Optical Coating Laboratory, Inc. and Computer Associates has given her a strong business, accounting and marketing background, with specific expertise in accounting, branding, product marketing, internet marketing, product introductions and partner relationships.
She has a B.S. degree from the University of California, Davis, earned certificates in Integrated Online Strategies and Search Engine Marketing and Usability from the University of San Francisco, is a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach, and is a consultant with the SBDC Technology Advisory Program. Janet meets with clients in Santa Rosa for one on one business counseling.