Lavin Center Board of Advisors

Growing an Entrepreneurial Culture

The Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at San Diego State University is an entrepreneurial leader in a thriving and diverse San Diego community. In order to build and maintain a world-class center we need the strategic and financial support of experienced and committed Advisory Board Members. We are always seeking individuals who can help us achieve our strategic objectives and support us in the community.

The Lavin Entrepreneurship Center Mission

The Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at San Diego State University (SDSU) is a hub on the SDSU campus uniting students, faculty, and the San Diego community in entrepreneurial activity. For students, the Lavin Center offers a wide variety of programs and experiential learning opportunities to supplement their academic experience, as well as individual counseling, various types of business competitions, internship programs, mentors, networking opportunities, workshops, and other entrepreneurship resources.

It is our mission to help students understand broad sweeping trends and see opportunities from an international and social change perspective. The acquisition of these skills and perspectives will provide a strong business foundation and prepare students to excel in an emerging global economy.

If you want to join our advisory board and make a difference, please contact Alex DeNoble at [email protected] 

Nolan Matura

Nolan Matura


Nolan is a junior at San Diego State University majoring in Finance who is interested in investing, trading, and managing money.  He is drawn to entrepreneurship because it promotes innovation, creativity, and being rewarded your own hard work.  Nolan joined the Entrepreneurship Society Executive Board as the VP of Finance his sophomore year to broaden his network and learn how to manage a student organization.  As the 2021-2022 President of the Entrepreneurship Society, Nolan is excited to grow the program and encourage as many students to pursue a career in entrepreneurship.

Sanford Ehrlich

Sanford Ehrlich, Ph.D.
Hall & Ehrlich, LLC

Sanford Ehrlich is the Vice President, Strategic Development for TVPage, a corporation that has developed an online video marketing platform to increase conversion to sales across all web properties. Previously, he served as the QUALCOMM Executive Director of San Diego State University's Entrepreneurial Management Center from 1997 to 2011 and is an Emeritus Professor of Management in the College of Business Administration. His research in leadership, technology commercialization, and entrepreneurship has appeared in journals such as the Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of High Technology Management Research, Leadership Quarterly, and IEEE Transaction on Engineering Management. Sanford serves on the Board of Directors of Nichols Corporation, Haws Corporation, and Deep Sky Software. In addition to his involvement with startup ventures, he serves on the Board of Directors and executive committee of CONNECT, a regional nonprofit organization that accelerates the creation of technology and life science startups in San Diego County by linking entrepreneurs with the resources needed for success. For his work in supporting and mentoring entrepreneurs, he is a recipient of the 2000 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the 2001 Edwin M. and Gloria W. Appel Award from the Price-Babson Foundation.

Steve Hoffman

Stephen Hoffman
Modern Postcard

Stephen Hoffman started The Iris Group in 1976 when he discovered a niche in the real estate industry - providing high quality photography of properties on the market. Steve soon moved on to developing brochures for his clients, and within six months of starting his brochure venture, moved his growing business from his apartment into a 1,200 square foot building in San Diego. Steve launched a line of postcard products that offered small runs of high quality cards at an affordable price. The success of this niche product led to a repositioning of the company and a new name - Modern Postcard. Through the years, Modern Postcard has helped over 250,000 clients grow their businesses, making us the industry leader in postcard products and solutions. 

Shelley Lightfoot

Shelley Lightfoot
Executive Director
Southern California Institute (SCI)

Shelley Lightfoot is the Executive Director of the Southern California Institute (SCI). SCI focuses on providing education and resources to small and growing businesses. The Lavin Entrepreneurship Center will be collaborating with Shelly and the SCI team, as they roll out their Family Business Forums with the purpose of this program to serve the growing needs of closely held and family businesses.

Mark Monahan

Mark Monahan
Inversiones Seguras LLC

Lavin Entrepreneurship Center’s Board of Advisors

Mark Monahan is a financial technology executive and the new Chairman of the Lavin Center’s Board of Advisors. He has run many electronic brokerage firms in various asset classes - including CEO of MTS Markets International, CEO of Ballista Securities, CEO of IEB Asia and Global Head of Sales and Service for EBS. He has played a lead role in four acquisitions in this industry. 

He is currently a board member of several institutions and was a founding board member of the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) in Asia. Mark has extensive international experience having lived and worked throughout Europe and Asia, but has recently returned to his native San Diego where he previously earned an MBA from SDSU. 


Alissa Thompson

Alissa Thompson
Chief Operating Officer
Cornerstone Managing Partners 

As Chief Operating Officer, Alissa oversees the day-to-day operation and project performance of each project from inception to completion with relentless focus on client communication and satisfaction. Before moving into the construction industry, Alissa worked for such companies as Vituity and MedAmerica providing management, operational training and financial expertise to medical groups and physician executives. Hailing from Michigan, Alissa holds a Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University and a master’s in Business Administration from San Diego State University. Alissa is actively working on obtaining her general contractors license.

Alissa began her career in the construction industry when serving as treasurer within her community’s HOA. Faced with a complicated and highly technical reconstruction project within a 43-story high-rise, Alissa’s strong understanding of client needs, finances, governing bodies and management background provided key expertise to her community and HOA.

Following her passion for development and construction, Alissa joined CMP. Alissa marries the construction team and operational team to ensure the quality and expectations of construction is exceeded and our client centric approach is executed.

Steven Osinski

Steven Osinski
3 Hour Learning

In addition to being the former Chairman of the Lavin Center’s Board of Advisors, Osinski currently teaches marketing courses at SDSU in Direct Marketing and Sales. 

Osinski is a true entrepreneur. Prior to teaching, he was the founder and CEO of the SMART Group; a national advertising agency that specialized in serving the direct marketing needs of some of the nation’s largest Mobile / Wireless carriers. He started the company with just $3,000 and built it into over $15 Million in annual revenues before being acquired by TMP WORLDWIDE / MONSTER.COM in 1998. He then served as the Vice President of Marketing for their Directional Marketing division overseeing a half billion dollars in ad revenues for two years. 

He is highly committed towards enhanced education. He is an active member of the College of Business’ Board of Directors and has financially contributed towards the establishment of SDSU’s PSSM (Professional Sales & Sales Management) program that launched in 2013. He is also the founder and CEO of 3 Hour Learning ( An online digital educational program targeted towards teaching entrepreneurs and business professionals the fundamentals of success in sales. 

Osinski attended the University of Miami where he earned a BA in Mass Communications and an MBA in Marketing.

Bruce Knowlton

Bruce Knowlton

Professional Experience Bruce provides tax services to a variety of privately held companies in the manufacturing, distribution, and real estate industries. He specializes in tax consulting with an emphasis on closely held businesses entities (partnerships, C corporations, S corporations, and LLCs). He also provides income and estate planning for individuals and business owners. Bruce leads the firm’s Private Client Services Practice for the San Diego office. He has practiced public accounting for more than 25 years, and in addition to serving as the tax partner on numerous client engagements, he continues to be a mentor for tax senior managers and managers at the firm. 

Selected Publications
“Making the Most of the New Tax Savings Opportunities” (San Diego Business Journal, March 2018) 
“Now’s the Time to Reduce Your 2014 Tax Liability,” (San Diego Business Journal, Feb 2014)
“Are You Paying the IRS Too Much? Navigating the New 2013 Tax Laws,” (San Diego Business Journal, June 2013)

Selected Speaking Engagements
What is the Best Succession Planning Strategy for Your Family Business Client? Family Firm Institute (October 2013) 

Professional Affiliations
Member and Operations Roundtable planning committee member, SME CONNECT
Member, California Society of Certified Public Accountants
Member, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants


Riju Khaterpal

Riju Khetarpal

Global Director, Health Care & Life Sciences ISV Partnerships



Riju Khetarpal is the Global Director for Healthcare and Life Sciences ISV partnerships at Google. Prior to Google Riju has held several leadership positions in the technology sector over the last 25 years with a focus on the Healthcare and the Life sciences industries . His roles have included sales management, new business growth strategies, new product introductions and go to market business development across organizations such as IBM, Computer Sciences, Salesforce, Box and Twilio. His current responsibility at Google is to build a global eco-system of software technology partnerships that utilize the Google Cloud Health platform. Additionally he is an advisor and mentor to several silicon valley start-ups, the Ceders-Sinai healthtech accelerator and is also an early stage investor. He holds a B.S in Structural Engineering from UCSD and an MBA from San Diego State. He resides in Orange County and is excited to be part of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center.

Zeynep Ilgaz

Kursat Misirlioglu
MirKa Investments, LLC

Misirlioglu is the CEO of MirKa Investments, LLC, an organization involved with affordable housing development, project finance, deal structuring and asset management. He holds a Masters degree from San Diego State University in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship. During his time in the MBA program, Kursat also took the opportunity to serve as an accounting intern at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center.


Serhat Pala


Breakaway Partners

OU & Co-Founder/ Advisor

ConfirmBio Sciences

Since his graduation from SDSU MBA Program in 2000, Serhat started and scaled up companies in a variety industries including web application development, ecommerce platform, SaaS and diagnostic fields.  Last company he co-founded, Confirm BioSciences, is a market leader in diagnostics commercialization solutions with point of care rapid and laboratory tests sold in over 30,000 pharmacies and across various B2B channel partners. Currently Serhat is a principal at Breakaway Partners, an angel investor syndicate and advisor group, focusing on high growth companies in SaaS, MedTech, Digital Health, Machine Learning areas and spends his time working with various early stage company entrepreneurs and accelerator groups.