Tag Archives: Business

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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Alumni Spotlight: Shakira Niazi

 Shakira is the founder of Salvare La Vita Water, which launched in February 2011. Shakira earned her B.S. in Finance from California State University East Bay (CSUEB). She has worked in the banking world at credit unions, mortgage companies and in real estate. After reading Creating a world without poverty by Muhammad Yunus she was inspired to start her own business, Salvare La Vita Water, to help solve the world water crisis. The way Salvare La Vita Water functions is very different from a non-profit it does not rely on donations. Part of the proceeds from each bottle of water goes towards building wells and providing “water points” to poor villages around the world, and Shakira often gives ownership to local women.  Shakira partners with local non-government organization (NGO) in villages in countries like Afghanistan that relies on wealthy people. Shakira states that when you have to walk an hour from residence to a creek, when you are only nine years old, when do you have time for school?  Shakira wants people to choose this brand when they shop at the grocery store because choosing this brand is a noble choice. Shakira goes on to say: “Business was built by humans and they have a conscious” Shakira advice to current students is to “Marry your hobby and passions.”

Alumni Spotlight: Brian Slater

Brian Slater works as a professional Life Coach and owner of Follow Dreams Coaching. Brian earned his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from Cal state East Bay. Brian practices as a motivational life coach for Follow Dreams Coaching. He uses his life coaching skills to help people find balance, live their passions, and follow their dreams.

Alumni Spotlight: John G. Herndon

He is a consultant at Gas component and isotopic analysis manufacturer. John earned his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and Finance. John h…as been consulting for the past four years in various industries in positions ranging from Sr Cost Accountant to CFO and tasks ranging from US and international accounting, international tax, venture capital, corporate strategy, Finance. John serves as an Adjunct Professor for Accounting and Finance at CSUEB where he teaches both graduates and undergraduate students. He has been featured in the News numerous times in fact he was feature on CNN.
Read Article:
http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/pf/1108/gallery.make_extra_money/7.html

“Amazing Race” TV show a life changer for CSUEB CBE grad

Cal State East Bay alumnus Jeremy Cline ’98 competed on the last season of the CBS television show, Amazing Race, with his partner, Sandy Draghi. Although the couple finished second place on the show, Cline told Livermore Patch that he came out winning more than money. Read interview.

After the show, they were inspired to immediately hold a yard sale. Cline and Draghi realized how much ‘stuff’ they owned after seeing people around the world make do with so little.

The couple was also aware that they were cast as the couple whose relationship might not have survive the race.  But, the complete opposite happened. The Race brought the two closer together and, after filming ended, the two moved in together in Cline’s Alamo home.

After the experience they wanted to do more for others. “Growing up in the Bay Area, Jeremy and I have both been fortunate. I’ve done medical missions, but I want to do more,” Draghi says. “When you see what we have, that extreme level of poverty, it sparks you to do more for others.”

http://www20.csueastbay.edu/news/blog/2012/02/amazing-race-jeremy-cline-csueb-alumnus.html