Category Archives: Inspiration

CSUEB English grad owns successful B2B web marketing firm

Dianna Huff ’86, ’93 tells college students that you don’t always know where life will take you.

She started her journey at Cal State East Bay in nursing but that didn’t go as she planned.  After struggling in science classes and receiving low grades, she decided to give business school a try. Nope. That wasn’t a good fit, either, she said.

It wasn’t until she lucked into an English course with Professor Robert V. William that Huff found her passion. It was William’s praise of her writing that gave her the confidence to choose English as her major. The degree taught her to think strategically, research, analyze well thought out plans, analyze business Web sites and support with evidence.

“One of the things that California State University, East Bay is good at is creating people who work – either for themselves or others – and who sustain the economy,” said Huff.  She currently lives in New Hampshire where she owns her own company, DH Communications, Inc., a business-to-business Web site marketing firm.

Her advice to CSUEB students, “Keep learning constantly, this doesn’t mean you need to go back to school but you should always keep learning in whatever career you end up in.”

Read previous blog story on Huff, “English grad Dianna Huff wins gold for marketing work”

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Samsung VP Mike Abary ’88 attributes success to CSUEB’s diversity and quality education

 Mike Abary ’88 earned his Business Administration degree with a concentration in marketing from Cal State East Bay and is now a senior vice president over at Samsung. “My degree provided me with a foundation on which to rely upon,” said Abary. “Skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and understanding people – these were fundamental skills I learned from Cal State East Bay that I have carried throughout my career.”

Abary wants current CSUEB students to know that pursuing their careers is a journey that should be enjoyed, and the steps taken and the skills gained are more important than the destination. He went on a journey and found his true calling in technology product marketing at Sony, a place that felt rewarding and effective in a positive way to people’s lives.

“Never stop believing in yourself, and never let perceptions about attending a state school stop you from reaching for the sky,” said Abary. He says he is proud to be a CSUEB grad because the school provided high quality academics, is down to earth, and diverse. “I was always ambitious, always driving for higher positions, and my next goal is becoming a CEO.”

We have no doubt that we’ll soon be writing a story about Mike Abary’s promotion to CEO!

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Alumni Spotlight: Sony SVP Mike Abary


Alumnus Mike Abary ‘88 Senior Vice President of Sony Electronics began his college career as a Business Administration major with a concentration in marketing. Mike said “My degree provided me with a foundation on which to rely upon. Skill sets such as critical thinking, problem solving, and understanding people – these were fundamental skills I learned from CSUEB that I have carried throughout my career.”

Mike wants students to know pursuing their careers is a journey that should be enjoyed, and the steps taken and the skills gained are more important than the destination.

In college he recalls working 20 to 30 hours per week, but found working part time without a degree   presented limited opportunities. After college he pursued a career as a stock broker but found that was not the right path for him: the dynamic wasn’t right, people in the field were much older than him and he just wasn’t passionate about that industry. So he decided to head south of CSUEB (instead of north) and discovered Silicon Valley. Later he found his true calling in  technology product marketing at Sony, a place that felt rewarding and effective in a positive way to people’s lives.

Mike said, “I often go to electronic stores and listen in on many shopper’s conversations to see why they choose Sony when they make purchases. There’s nothing more gratifying than to know your work affected their decision to purchase, and to believe you will positively affect people’s lives through the products you bring to market.”

When asked if he knew he would be a SVP of Sony, Mike replied, “I was always ambitious, always driving for higher positions, and my next goal is becoming a CEO.”

Mike’s advice to students is, “Never stop believing in yourself, and letting perceptions about attending state school stop you from reaching for the sky.” He states he is proud to be a Cal State East Bay Alumni because the school  provides high quality academics, is down to earth, diverse, and he met his wife at Cal State East Bay.

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