Current Lavins and Mentees
Entrepreneurial SDSU students collaborating on innovative ideas
Here are the current Lavin Entrepreneurs that make up the 2018-2020 Cohort
Business and Finance
Victoriana Gonzalez is a business and finance undergraduate who was born and raised in San Diego, California. She is an energetic person with lots of ambition and great attention to detail. Her interests revolve around fashion, technology, athletics, marketing, sustainability, and web design. At the core of these interests is the main principle of giving back to the community. Victoriana aims to help improve the lives of others through analyzing problems and providing innovative solutions. Her start in entrepreneurship began at a very early age where she custom painted accessories and sold them through third party websites such as e-Bay and Etsy. In her sophomore year of high school, Victoriana decided to start designing her own websites and created an e-commerce platform to launch her handmade jewelry brand. After a few years of solely selling online, she decided to expand her brand by offering wholesale prices, marketing to local boutiques, and stocking her jewelry in-store. Intrigued by what drives human interest and people’s interaction with certain consumer goods, Victoriana also collaborates with an array of different brands to help them create content for their marketing purposes. She does this content creation and marketing though a blog based website where she utilizes photography as well as the exposure of popular social media platforms. Throughout her many entrepreneurial journeys, Victoriana has learned the value of hard work as well as the necessity of trial and error. She isn’t afraid to fail, receives criticism with a positive attitude, and feels it is of utmost importance to learn from mistakes in order to further improve upon them. Victoriana currently hopes to make new connections and gain valuable knowledge from the Lavin Entrepreneur Program so that she may apply this insight to future as well as current business endeavors.
Alireza is a transfer student from Los Angeles Pierce College. He was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. He migrated to the USA in 2015. Alireza completed his Pre-University education in Metallurgy Engineering and Mathematics. He has completed three A.A. degrees in STEM, Business Administration, Behavioral Science at Pierce College. Alireza will major in International Business at SDSU and applied for the Lavin Entrepreneurship Program.Pursuing business has been an inspired by his father’s career as industrial manufacturer in Iran. Alireza assisted his father in production and sales of machinery in the Middle East. From this work experience, Alireza has ventured into his own business aspirations that he is passionate about. He not only wants to get fully involved in business, but make it his primary vocation. Alireza has the tools for becoming a strong businessman. He continues to build with the tools he possesses. Following his experience from industrial manufacturing, Alireza became a consultant for After Sales Service, an international trading company. He immersed himself in every department, including shipping, purchasing, and sales. Alireza developed a passion in trading through this experience. Negotiating with international companies has become tool in Alireza’s arsenal. In 2007, Alireza took a risk and started his own company. He purchased a 20-foot container of birthday candles from China that he sold to different vendors in Iran. He handled the importing progress from A to Z; such as purchasing, shipping, inspection, customs, and B2B/B2C sales. This was a great start for his career as an entrepreneur.
As such, he has acquired a strong knowledge base about business, which has further compelled him to learn about its theoretical and academic frameworks at SDSU. Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in International Business; according to the world economy situation and globalization process, he aims to establish a company that provides consulting services for the international firms.
Business and Finance
Sadiq Almosawi has a passion in fitness and health and knew early on that he wanted to build and develop his own fitness training program. From being a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and working with people hands on he knew that he wanted to develop his own online training program. He became inspired in entrepreneur when he saw he can use his talents and his mind to build something great that will be helpful to everyone from across the country to across the world. His passion and drive can excite anyone, with his excellent communication skills and being able to relay his message well with clients or anyone speaking to him you can just feel the motivation. Growing up in San Diego he can see this would be a great city to start up his program because of the saying “Summer body's”. The weather feels like summer all year long so it's always “Summer body” time. Sadiq Currently reads many fitness books and personal growth books to help himself grow more with education on his field of work. What Sadiq is looking to get out of the Lavin Entrepreneur program is grow more on building his online training business and to be around like minded entrepreneurs.
Caitlin Szikszai was born in Northern California, but grew up between Canada, California and Hong Kong. When living in Hong Kong during her teenage years, she fell in love with the diverse array of cultures across Asia. Caitlin is currently a Junior, studying International Business with an emphasis in the Asia Pacific. Through this focus Caitlin is learning Mandarin for all four years of her undergraduate studies and is studying Asian culture and business customs. She hopes to move to Asia post graduation and start a music marketing and programming company which focuses on making EDM events more publicized and accessible across Asian countries. Music programming and sustainability are two of her passions. As a sophomore she was able to apply these two passions through her position Greenfest’s Executive Chair. Caitlin and her executive team of 13 members brought Lil Yachty and Vic Mensa to SDSU’s campus for their spring concert. In addition, Caitlin oversaw the programming of 14 on campus events which focused on raising awareness regarding sustainability, celebrating diversity and showcasing SDSU pride. She has also practiced her business knowledge in her role as a Business Analyst Intern at Bank Of The West in San Ramon. One of Caitlin’s biggest strengths is being able to think creatively whilst keeping a logical viewpoint.
Daniel Kelly is a Management major with a specialization in Entrepreneurship and an Interdisciplinary Studies minor through the Weber Honors College here at SDSU. Daniel’s entrepreneurial interest was kickstarted when he won a business plan competition in his hometown of Redondo Beach, California during high school. Since coming to San Diego State he has been involved in many campus organizations, most notably his business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi. Serving as President this past semester where he learned managing 100 plus college students is no easy task. Daniel was able to foster his leadership skills and learn the importance of being a positive force within an organization. In addition to on campus involvements, Daniel has also interned as a media research intern for Assembly Media in Los Angeles and as a marketing intern for Property Capsule, a real estate tech start-up here in San Diego. He is passionate about trading stocks with his paychecks and making hip-hop music in his bedroom (yes he does have an album out). After finding his place within entrepreneurship through the Lavin Entrepreneur Program, Daniel hopes to start his own music marketing agency or fintech start-up.
My name is David Alexander Sinclair, I’ve been studying at San Diego State University
for 3 years. My life in three words can be put as: Planned Chaotic Happenstance. I
have lived in San Diego my whole life, but I have moved 13 times when I was a young
kid and finally settled into one home when I was 15. Life has had its difficulties
for me, but overall it has shaped me and my goals and led me to the Lavin Program.
I have experienced living poor, living well, and not having to worry about money whatsoever.
I have talked to people from all over the world and learned that everyone is more
or less the same. Most people are good. They just want to live out their lives with
their loved ones and provide purpose to the world around them. However, there are
others that seek to change the world and after reading about how business ventures
can be the launching point for changing the world. I realized I needed to change my
major from Electrical Engineering to Business. This is where my true passion lies
and all of this was a realization I had one and a half years ago from writing this.
I realized that sometimes to get to the point where money works for you, you have
to understand what it’s like to be broke, mentally, and financially. However, the
true dividing factor between the doers, and the ones who make up excuses is the mindset.
Some people go through their lives not trying to understand other perspectives and
ultimately not trying to understand themselves. For me, I believe in empowering everyone,
and showing them that they can discover themselves and conquer their fears and insecurities.
I learned that fears and insecurities are some of the biggest factors in how successful
one’s life is, and more importantly, their level of satisfaction in life. I believe
there are only two absolutes in this world that we can not control: Life and death.
This is where everyone human thus far in existence has not been able to escape yet
some have been able to accomplish so much in between those two absolutes and they
might have even changed the world. My goal is to change the world, and I think it
starts with understanding people’s perspectives no matter if they’re black or white,
poor or rich, and no matter their creed. I believe that we all need to open our minds
and look inwards in order for us to do good. I’m not afraid to do what it takes to
get where I want to be in life. A year and a half ago I started a Mobile At Home Car
Detailing business. I started with a bucket and a towel and would go door to door
asking people if they needed their car washed. Fast forward to now, I detail for the
hospitals, car dealerships, fire departments, and I’m the exclusive San Diego Yacht
and Country Clubs car detailer. By learning how to be professional and genuine with
my clients and providing a truly enjoyable service, I believe I can apply this formula
to any industry I work in, and change the world with unification and introspection.
Thank you for reading my biography,
Major: Business with specialization in entrepreneurship
Co-Founder and COO of World Power Designs for the greater san diego area Founder and Sole Proprietor of Clarity Car Washing
Isaac Torres is a Finance major here at San Diego State University. His interest in entrepreneurship started when he was a kid, as he was able to watch both of his parents own and operate their own successful businesses. Growing up he was able to learn from their mistakes and their successes which also led to him being able to witness first-hand, the mindset and mentality it takes to become an entrepreneur. Since being at San Diego State, Isaac has gotten involved in a handful of different organizations such as the professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, Aztec Music Group where he currently serves as their Vice President of Finance and Ambassadors. Apart from his school activities, Isaac finished an internship between the summer of his Freshman and Sophomore year with Northwestern Mutual. There he learned the skills necessary to open and close a sale, as well as learning how to face rejection. Isaac is very passionate about music production, personal finance and investing, cryptocurrency, basketball, and self-improvement. He is grateful to be apart of the newest class of Lavin Entrepreneurs and is looking forward to learning from his fellow peers.
Jason is a student at SDSU pursuing a degree in Computer Science. Since he was ten, he helped out at his father’s store talking to customers, making connections and selling products. Recently, he’s helped build and grow his father’s website and social media. He attended High Tech Los Angeles, a project based high school with a focus in technology. There, he gained experience working in teams, gaining valuable leadership experience and giving presentations to hundreds of people. He always knew he was interested in entrepreneurship, but his interest grew after winning his class’s Shark Tank Project, where he created a business pitch, commercial and website for a new brand of smoothies tailored for athletes. He enjoys running, watching baseball, programming, making websites and apps and learning about technology. He’s currently a member of Helix, a Zahn team creating a wearable that measures blood pressure passively. He’s very excited to be joining the Lavin Program and to learn and grow to be a successful entrepreneur.
Joseph Wilk is a Finance Undergraduate Student that believes these four years in college are the chance of a lifetime to either kick-start your career or fail and learn everything possible while doing so. He is a task oriented free thinker who uses his creativity to solve and overcome problems in all aspects of his life. In high school he earned his Eagle Scout award as his first major accomplishment. His Freshman year he started a Statistics tutoring review with one other student in his class where he learned and enjoyed a ground up startup. He has been involved in SDSU’s entrepreneurial programs since his first semester in the Journey to Entrepreneurship Class and Entrepreneur Society. Later he privately marketed the director of the Lavin Center’s book which led him to the Marketing Assistant position for Lavin. He now holds the Lavin Program Coordinator position. Last summer he worked full time at a Start-up called LeadCrunch.[ai] which exposed him to the corporate world as well as a several year deep startup effort. This summer he will also be working full time at General Atomics as a Project Control Analyst to sharpen his finance and accounting skills. Although Joseph is business oriented, he does appreciate the automotive industry and has a large interest in cars. He also researches various other subjects from engineering to geo-politics in his free time to increase his worldly knowledge. He hopes to derive these real-world and entrepreneurial experiences for starting a business of his own. Once his education is complete, he would like to either have started a business in the financial field or will go and work for one of them to learn what he needs to start his own.
Business and Finance
Zac Solomon is a Management Information Systems major who has diverse interests including art, business, and technology. Born and raised in San Diego, California, Zac has always been interested in entrepreneurship. He had always been a self-starter, so starting his own business was always in his plans. His started working for himself in high school working as a freelance photographer and videographer, flying around the USA to produce media content for a variety of customers. After high school he decided to take heed of the new global trends and focus on his childhood love of technology. This leads him to also volunteer for San Diego State University’s Cyber Defense Team as the current System Administrator. In his future business ventures he plans to blend his loves of art and technology, as he has always considered himself equally left and right brained. In his free time Zac enjoys reading, driving, and cruising on his longboard down the Pacific Beach Boardwalk. He's always happy to have interesting conversations and especially over a good macchiato. From the Lavin Entrepreneurship Program, Zac hopes to receive guidance and mentorship to help him hone in on which of his plethora of ideas to focus in on.
Intl. Business, Marketing
Matt Kolbl is an undergraduate student of San Diego State from Northern California. Based in Northern California, his childhood consisted of ski trips to Lake Tahoe, hiking all over the Sierra Nevada’s, and spending hot summers in lakes or rivers. Raised by an entrepreneur and immigrant from the Czech Republic, Matt developed a passion for exploring other cultures, leading him to declare for a major in International Business with an emphasis in Spanish. He is also pursuing a minor in marketing and works as a digital marketing intern for a mortgage company in La Mesa. Prior to the start of his digital marketing internship, Matt interned for the Zahn Innovation Platform Idea Lab, an on-campus entrepreneurial Thinktank with a professional direction. Matt hopes to use the connections and education he gains from the Lavin Entrepreneur Program to gain insight on business management and development.
Michael Kosoff is a Statistics major from Woodland Hills, California. After being consistently inspired by many entrepreneurs who came to speak on campus in his first year at SDSU, he and a friend started a service to create and sell Instagram stories to personal brands and businesses on social media. He taught himself how to use programs such as Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and After Effects. He gained experience in sales, as he emailed, direct messaged, and cold called hundreds of realtors, small businesses, and anything in between. He is now in the process of expanding on those skill sets as he is working with a brand on Instagram creating content and with a digital marketing agency to hone his sales skillset. Michael’s dream is to one day launch a brand and work alongside talented and passionate people who want to accomplish the same goal.
Paige Doherty is a Computer Science major with interests in art, entertainment, sustainability, and marketing. Born in Portsmouth NH and raised in San Diego CA, her entrepreneurial journey began while designing websites for her artist mom then branching out to marketing consulting & web design for other artists. When she came to college, she found a passion for event planning and management; she planned SDSU Homecoming, a 200-person engineering career fair, an EnviroFashion Show, and helped orchestrate two music festivals – SDSU’s GreenFest and Creative State’s Melting Pot. After coming back from studying Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship in Rome with Professor Bernie Schroeder in January 2018, her goal was to gain insight on what drives other entrepreneurs – so she started TheMillennialCurator, an Instagram account where she interviews musicians, entrepreneurs and activists. She has been interning at Northrop Grumman for the past three summers, rotating from a systems engineering intern to managing a group of 18 interns to an embedded software intern. She recently launched a sustainable ecommerce store, and hopes to encourage corporate social responsibility in the new generation of ecommerce entrepreneurs. In addition, she is establishing a digital media marketing agency with a classmate this summer to bridge the gap between creatives and clients. Through the Lavin Program, she hopes to grow personally & professionally as a person and an entrepreneur. In the future, she hopes to continue bridging the gap between creatives and corporations.
Parker Perry is a Computer Engineer undergraduate student who moved to California in order to chase his entrepreneurial desires. Originally from Dallas, Texas: Parker has started his own ZIP Launchpad Team and as the CEO of the team Helix he has helped pioneer a new method of measuring blood pressure and is incorporating it into a device that measures passively. This is unlike every other device that requires the user to manually take a measurement throughout the day. The device is also hidden from sight which alleviates the stigma that so many patients of hypertension face. Parker was a recent recipient of the Conrad Prebys Entrepreneurship Endowed Scholarship and was very humbled by the opportunities that followed. Parker has also been a Best Buy employee for over 5 years now and works as a Magnolia Sales Consultant where he sells higher end home theater equipment and is responsible for building complex home theater systems for a variety of customers. He was also an intern for a circuit board manufacturing company named, National Circuit Assembly. He worked on the floor and operated a super computer that manufactured various circuit boards according to the command prompts that were entered by him. It required him learning a manual of commands and understanding how complex circuits work. Parker has learned different aspects about how consumer electronics are created and sold by his experiences in both retail and production fields. He has always had an interest in electronics and in middle school Parker repaired broken iPhones and installed custom software on them which required writing code, he offered his services on Craigslist and through his school. He made good money at an early age and in high school he took this one step further by learning how to take video game consoles apart and modify the hardware/software components to allow third party software to run without Microsoft's or Sony's drm protections. He considered himself an entrepreneur at an early age and always knew he wanted to lead a company that was involved within the field of consumer electronics. His passion for being an entrepreneur and love for technology only continued to grow and that is how he ultimately found himself longing to be in California so he could be apart of the technological revolution that only continues to grow.
Ben Nelson is a recent transfer student from San Diego Mesa College, and will be studying finance and real estate at SDSU. Born and raised in San Jose California, his Silicon Valley environment was extremely conducive to entrepreneurship and design with an analytical touch. As an adolescent, Ben enjoyed creating and building mechanical items that served a functional purpose. He would take electronics and assemblies apart to acquire useful components and make something new. When funding for any outing or purchase was needed, there was always a way to make it happen. He rallied up the neighborhood friends and started a gardening service, which later expanded to dog walking and other needs of established clientele. In high school, he became involved with a photography/ social media start up. At one point he was one of four individuals working to keep the company afloat. This proved to be an extremely valuable experience, as the website gained a massive amount of traffic and was able to secure two series of funding. Now a main interest of his is real estate and property development. He is currently interning under a real estate broker who owns his own commercial and residential firm. After graduation, he hopes to start his own venture, which might necessitate saving capital from real estate sales. Design and engineering is also a strong interest of his.
Chad Vardas is an ambitious and high energy student with a passion for entrepreneurship and psychology. He’s creative and thrives in a fast-paced environment. His mission is to alleviate mental suffering by releasing biotechnology solutions that help get people to their optimal psychological state. Chad’s focus is improving evidence-based mental health therapies by making them home based using AI and biometric sensors. He’s driven to understand the root of mental illness. Currently, he’s bringing a product to the market that uses 25 years of proven scientific research to provide on demand stress relief and rewire the brain to be more resilient to stress, anxiety and depression. Chad is the Founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Technology Officer at his company, Vardas. His core values include awareness of suffering and compassion. He is majoring in Business Administration Management with a Specialization in Entrepreneurship as well as minors in Neuroscience Psychology and Leadership.
Music Rec. Technology
Diego Hernandez is a transfer student pursuing a degree in Music Recording Technology and Audio design at SDSU. As a flippant and cynical youth he got himself into a lot of crazy situations that taught him the lessons of life the hard way. Impulse, stubbornness, and impatience were the recipe for many of his successes and many more failures from which he forged his character. His first foray into what is known as entrepreneurship began when he was 14 and had his heart set on buying his first MacBook to learn better how to make music, which for a child from a humble upbringing was no small financial feat. With the help of his father, he took to craigslist to flip used laptops for a small profit and with time made enough to accomplish his goal, which also kickstarted his deep interest in music and creative production. Numerous pursuits followed, including developing a homemade protein bar recipe and making a few local sales, developing a stickers app for iMessage, being part of several musical collaborative efforts, and simultaneously making and losing absurd amounts of money in the psychotic digital playground that is trading cryptocurrencies. Since his youth, Diego has shattered his worldview several times and is constantly seeking different perspectives from other people and ideas. He is looking to create something not for himself, but to bring up the people around him, to tap into the potential of friends and family as well as anyone else who comes into his life. He is a firm believer that a person’s true potential lies in being a medium for which to connect different people and ideas tother into a synergistic cohesive to achieve progress for the collective, to become a strong link in the universal network and to encourage others to do the same. He considers himself very fortunate to be able to be a part of the diverse culture of SDSU and the prestigious Lavin program and looks to contribute to every opportunity that presents itself during his time there with the hopes of creating a lasting impact.
Erick Sanchez is a general business major and has had several interests ranging from music to cars. When he graduated high school, he immediately took a job at a Valvoline, to gain experience working with cars. He quickly realized that he had a talent for managing people and getting results through them. He moved up quickly and has been a manager for about 3 years total now, and is currently running the largest, and most profitable store in California. He also gained experience in understanding how to manage expenses, maximize profits, attract sales, and maintain positive relationships with customers and suppliers. This led him to realize that anything is possible through hard work, and a strong will. He has also been interested in the music industry, being able to play the piano since he was 6, and picking up the guitar at 12. On his free time, he loves to walk/run with his dog, read, and watch movies. In the long run, Erick is interested in starting up his own business and running either his own garage, bar, or brewing company. He also wants to learn how to find potential booming markets, create a supply to satisfy them, and learn to make connections in order to get started. This, along with many others, are skills that Erick wants to learn, and master through the Lavin Entrepreneurship program.
Ali Sufi will be entering his major of Management Information Systems in the fall of 2018. Born and raised in San Diego, Ali has always had it easy when it came to school. However, the straightforward, 9-5 life that comes after graduation was never something he was interested in. Ali developed a passion for entrepreneurship at a young age. Motivated by the story of Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, Ali sought to follow in his footsteps and begin importing and exporting goods. His first successful import to the US was of Rugs and various textiles from Doha, Qatar in the summer of his Sophomore year in high school. It wasn’t about the profit but rather to know that he had the ability to do it which was enough for him. Ali loves stand up comedy and binge watching shows. He’s a sucker for a rags-to-riches story. He has plenty of business ideas but has never had the guidance of someone who has experience starting and upkeeping a business. This is what he hopes to gain from the Lavin program, the knowledge to start and maintain a successful business.
Noah Sherwin is a psychology undergraduate at San Diego State University and a transfer student from San Diego Mesa College. He was born in Cottonwood, Arizona and moved to San Diego from Boulder, Colorado at the age of 17. Noah’s main focus in life is achieving financial freedom so that he can focus his time and energy on what he really loves. He is driven and incredibly passionate about being his own boss, and is focused on not taking the traditional approach of a nine to five lifestyle. Noah is still new to the entrepreneurial game but is no stranger to hard work. He knows what it takes to be a successful business owner, and has been surrounded by successful entrepreneurs since moving to San Diego. He currently works as a professional musician, playing for everything from massive corporations across the country to small local weddings. He joined his current company when it was still in its early stages, and has watched it grow from a small group to a large company with over 30 rotating musicians. He has witnessed this ground-up growth firsthand and knows what it takes to replicate it. His goal is to eventually start a business that provides economy-sharing style services to people in San Diego, from rental cars to properties to excursions. He knows that diving into the entrepreneurial field always comes with more risk than the traditional path, but is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. He also knows that gaining as much wisdom and as many connections as possible is essential to success, and that’s what he hopes to gain from the Lavin program. He hopes that he can take the connections and information that he receives from this program to progress further towards business ownership and financial independence, and ultimately wants to help others achieve their entrepreneurial goals as well.
Tiffany Gil is a Business major, specializing in Entrepreneurship. This will be her first year at SDSU, transferring from Orange Coast College. She has always been business oriented and plans to follow after her parents’ footsteps in opening her own business. She comes up with many business ideas and likes to find more efficient ways of doing things. When she was in high school, she joined a highly competitive, global entrepreneurship program called “The Young Entrepreneurs” (TYE). In the program, she pitched some of her business ideas to her peers and mentors, and was able to form a small team, holding the position of the “CEO.” After more than six months of dedication and hard work, her and her teammates made it all the way to finals, winning the competition and the prize of Two thousand dollars. Tiffany also competed in a mock “Shark Tank” business pitch competition at her junior college. She presented her product in front of three industry professional judges and a crowd of over two hundred people. Out of two winners and competitors composed of almost all males, she won “Most Likely to Succeed.” Besides winning the competition and a cash prize, she said the greatest part about that moment was empowering many of the women in the audience. Many young girls came up to her afterwards to chat with her and talk about their aspirations and plans for their future. Someday, she hopes to serve as a guide for young children and adults, helping them with their career plans and mentoring them towards success. On the side, she is working towards a UX (User Experience) design certificate, in which she hopes to get an internship in UX/ UI (User Interface) design, while also managing an Airbnb property rental and learning more about stock trading. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, scuba diving, hiking, traveling far away and spending quality time with friends and family.