Marin SBDCSan Rafael, CA

Our Team

Miriam Karell

Director

Miriam Karell is passionate about supporting small-medium enterprises, as she believes they are the backbone of our society and the leaders in innovation. Miriam started her own business in 2008 and has worked with hundreds of organizations assisting them to communicate authentically, build their leadership capabilities, grow and develop initiatives/products that create win-win-win scenarios (good for the business, the community and the environment). 

Miriam has a Masters in “Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability” from Blekinge Institute of Technology in Sweden, a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley, and a BA in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz.

Paul Bozzo

Financial/VC Funding/Sustainability Advisor

Paul Bozzo is a scalable entrepreneurial and technology ventures expert in the San Francisco Bay Area. Paul’s background blends over 25 years of professional experience in start-up strategy, angel and venture capital financing, strategic planning and SBA lending. His specialty is working with entrepreneurial ventures to refine their business model, create an investment-driven business plan and prepare an effective funding presentation. He also advises CEOs and founding teams on these common start-up issues: legal entity selection, equity financing structures, financial forecasting and exit strategies. Paul is an adjunct faculty member in both Sonoma State's Executive MBA program and Dominican University's Green MBA program.

Steve Cleere

Packaging and Natural (Food) Products Advisor

For over 30 years, Steve Cleere has been actively involved in the Marketing, Advertising and Promotion disciplines. In 2014, Steve founded NexxtLevel Marketing, a unique Consulting Group aimed at helping small and medium-sized companies scale and grow. His previous work was as Co-founder and Managing Partner of TradeMarketing, Inc. (TMI group), a cutting-edge retail-marketing agency. His work in Grocery, Drug, Mass and Specialty retailing, including co-op software development, promotion evaluation and key account profitability have assisted his manufacturer clients in marketing more effectively to and through the retail trade.

John DeGaetano

Business Planning, Sales and Marketing, Legal Structure and Finance
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. During his tenure, he designed and implemented marketing concepts, sales campaigns, training and quality assurance programs, client consulting/business development, operational functions, fraud awareness and security policy.
 
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, economic impact, structure and finance.  He services businesses in Marin, Sonoma Counties and other areas.

Lauren Hewett

Marketing Advisor

Lauren Hewett combines a rich background in retail sales, purchasing, marketing, and merchandising, nearly a decade of event production experience, and cutting-edge branding methods to create comprehensive, innovative, and effective marketing strategies custom-tailored to each client.

Ishwari Jay

General Marketing Advisor

Ishwari Jay is a prolific business strategist with an emphasis on mindset, marketing & holistic business approach. She has been the “secret weapon” to experts and luminaries in the field of personal and professional training and development. Herself an entrepreneur, founder of Marketing Funnels and Launches & Yogabhava, she has coached and mentored many successful business professionals. Ishwari is an international keynote speaker, author of The Power of Breath and co-author of Initiation. Her yogic background including 25 years in teaching and practicing self mastery through yoga, breathing techniques and meditation, offers a unique approach to mastering the mind which results in mastering one’s life & achieving success. She currently is the chapter president of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce of San Rafael.

Herb Liberman

Business Management/Generalist Advisor

Herb Liberman has had several in management positions; first as a school administrator, including Superintendent of Schools, and then in the business world leading various businesses in Atlanta and San Francisco. After selling his last company, he moved to Healdsburg and began working for the SBDC. The involvement with the SBDC has been a 14-year relationship. Herb has also be involved in international work, as a part owner of a macadamia and cashew nut business in Kenya, a Spanish immersion school in Costa Rica and real estate holdings in Slovakia. He is also involved in a wide variety of giving back projects both in the US and internationally.

Anni Minuzzo

Specialty Food Business Specialist

With 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 attracted international sales with a customer base that included Williams-Sonoma, Dean & Deluca, Neiman-Marcus, Whole Foods, and 1-800-FLOWERS. For the past 12 years, Minuzzo has been sharing her expertise through start-up and expansion workshops for food entrepreneurs in several Northern California Small Business Development Centers. Minuzzo proudly lists 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.

Luis Nanez

Business Start-Up/Real Estate/Generalist Advisor (Spanish Speaker)

 Luis has studies in Business Administration at San Marcos University in Lima-Peru with background in sales and small business for more than20 years. Business owner and entrepreneur himself for more than 17 years in the service industry, and real estate professional for more 14 years. He has shared his knowledge and experiences in classrooms all over the Bay Area in a very unique way. Luis combines teaching, in a “business-like” setting, with emphasis in student participation, and a quote of good sense of humor. Students experience first-hand the excitement and reality of open their small business in the classroom, and learning the possible challenges and obstacles they might face running their own business, and how to avoid them. He worked as a facilitator, master trainer and business consultant at Women’s Initiative in the North Bay region (2008-2012). Luis brings vast experience in small business operations, business planning, marketing and community outreach. In his spare time he likes to play tennis.

Ramin Ramhormozi

E-Commerce Advisor

Ramin has helped start-up ventures strategize their ecommerce goals, taking their products from concept to market. He focuses mainly on eCommerce platform selection on-site and off-site marketing initiatives, search engine optimization with keyword analysis, social marketing strategies, content curation and creation and road mapping a successful site launch. He has also addressed product data mapping, dropship and fulfillment set-up. Ramin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications from CSU Los Angeles.  He currently resides in Santa Rosa, CA with his wife and three children. You can learn more about Ramin via his LinkedIn Profile. You can also visit his other businesses at GroomStand.com and PersonalizationPop.com.

Chloe Soroquere

Generalist/Marketing/Business Development Advisor

Chloe leverages broad-based business strategy and marketing expertise in consulting with a diverse client base on a variety of product and market fit, business model definition, branding, marketing & business development strategies. Chloe has over 30 years of expertise leading marketing and sales teams for large financial institutions such as Wells Fargo and Fleet Bank as well as experience in startup management roles. Chloe’s areas of expertise include: marketing and branding strategy and implementation, market research, communications, social media, website design and development, SEO, business development and sales strategy and training & customer service satisfaction evaluation.

Robert Toering

Business Management/IP/Generalist Advisor

Robert has been the chief executive of several successful businesses – one of which he led through a transformation that created growth from $20 million to $120 million in less than two years. He was also the President of a management consulting firm where he helped numerous firms grow, restructure, raise capital, or launch new operations. Robert brings a comprehensive understanding of what is required to start and grow a successful company. He understands managing change and has direct experience developing and launching products and services in various industries including automotive, aerospace/defense, consumer durables and real estate, to name a few. He also has years of experience dealing with intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets) issues. In addition to being the chief executive of several firms, Robert’s corporate career included running product development; corporate strategic planning; and managing manufacturing operations. Robert holds a BSME degree from Purdue University and an MS degree from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design.

Mary Jane Waxler

Product Development Advisor

Mary was co-founder and part owner of CicciaBella for 18 years. She was the National Sales Manager, resulting in products being sold throughout the United States, including boutiques, catalogs and large stores such as Nordstrom. She worked with sales reps in all states organizing and managing a great national sales force. CicciaBella products were also loved by the press and were featured in many magazines including Elle, Vogue, Glamour and Cowboy's and Indians.

Janet Wentworth

Marketing/Branding Advisor

Janet advises clients in marketing and branding strategy, marketing implementation, web site design and development, search engine optimization, internet marketing, and solo entrepreneurship. Janet recently authored the book “Your Unstoppable Brand: The practical guide to engaging your ideal customers through the power of stories” based on her years of experience with small businesses struggling to create an engaging, and profitable, brand. Janet is a founding partner of The 10X group, a boutique business consultancy, a business advisor with several Northern California Small Business Development Centers, a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and has a Masters Certificate in Internet marketing from the University of San Francisco. She is a former corporate accountant, product marketing manager, sales trainer, web developer, and small business owner.

Apply Now

It all starts here. Complete the application and submit your request. A member of the SBDC will follow up with you and help you achieve your small business goals -- at no cost to you.
English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

Funded in part through cooperative agreements with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the California Governors Office for Business and Economic Development, and other private and public partners;  and nationally accredited by the association of SBDCs.