The Dean’s Leadership Circle (DLC) is the premier philanthropic academic support group for The Paul Merage School of Business. The DLC is a group of philanthropists and change makers who support the Merage School by sharing their resources and utilizing their connections. Members assist the Merage School in fostering closer ties between its prominent alumni, the business community, and current students. Ensuring students have an unparalleled academic experience while on campus is vital to the work of the DLC.
Nick Tran, FTMBA '11 Head of Marketing - North America, TikTok
Nick recently joined Bytedance as the Head of Marketing for North America at TikTok. He oversees brand marketing, product marketing, media and partnerships, creative advertising, social media, events, and research for the company. Prior to TikTok, Nick was VP and Head of Brand Marketing at Hulu where he launched several campaigns (Better Ruins Everything, Hulu Has Live Sports, Tom Brady Super Bowl announcement), helped the company win its first Cannes Lions (World Record Egg and HHLS), and drove the business to double in two years. He served in marketing leadership roles at Samsung, Stance, and Taco Bell prior to that. He is a graduate of UCSD where he double majored in History and Psychology and lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Ramin is currently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CathWorks, an innovative global medical device company focused on transforming the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery diseases. Ramin has executive leadership and operational experience in general management, marketing, strategy, product development, and commercialization across multiple market segments. Prior to CathWorks, he held various leadership assignments at Baxter, Edwards Lifesciences, Panasonic, and Rockwell Collins. Ramin served as CathWorks Vice President of Global Marketing & Strategy and the company’s Chief Marketing Officer from 2019 to 2020.
Ramin holds BS degrees in Computer and Electrical Engineering from University of California, Irvine. He also earned an MBA from Paul Merage School of Business at UC, Irvine, and received a Healthcare Executive Leadership certificate for Business Innovation in Global Healthcare from Harvard Business School.
Pamina Barkow, EMBA '16 Owner and CEO, Orange County Pain Management
Pamina is an experienced entrepreneur and Medical Practice Administrator with a Master’s in Business Administration from The Paul Merage School of Business. She started in the field of medicine as both a professionally trained chef and a Clinical Nutritionist (CNC).
Her love of food, nutrition and science led her to connect with her late husband, Dr. Stephen H. Barkow. For a decade, they built Orange County Pain Management and dreamt of ways of making the field more integrated.
Pamina has served as an adjunct faculty member for the UCI Integrative Medicine Department, a board member of the Beall Center for Entrepreneurship, and as Chair of the Dean's Leadership Circle at the Merage School. She frequently lectures on matters pertaining to business, entrepreneurship, and healthcare administration and operations.
Ryan Kolynych, MBA '13 Vice President, M&A and Corporate Development
Ryan Kolynych joined Upland Software in 2020 and is responsible for sourcing and evaluating acquisition opportunities in the software industry. Prior to joining Upland, Ryan led the investment arm of Parallax Capital Partners, an enterprise software focused Private Equity firm based in Orange County, CA. Ryan also held investment banking positions with Infinitedge and Nollenberger Capital Partners where he worked on private placement transactions and M&A advisory services in the technology sector.
Karen is a dynamic, multi-faceted educator and entrepreneur who connects with individuals and corporations through her businesses and consulting/coaching practice. Over the past 15 years in various capacities, Karen has worked/traveled to over 50 countries. Using her hands-on experience as a business owner, Karen works with executives and entrepreneurs from start-ups to global corporate organizations to identify new market opportunities and implement practical strategies to drive incremental revenue. As a multientrepreneur in the arts/entertainment and wine industry, Karen began her first business, Inspired Art Wine, in 2015. In 2018, Karen launched Inspired Somm, where she brings an entertaining informative approach to wine education. Before entrepreneurship, Karen was head of Worldwide Partner Marketing for Western Digital, where she launched loyalty rewards programs across 90 countries and managed teams in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
In 2018, Jenny began a career at Edwards Lifesciences, and as a Senior Analyst she works with stakeholders to secure pricing for Edwards’ products. Additionally, she focuses on pricing analysis and compliance analytics across hospital systems. Jenny understands the value of process improvements to create efficiencies and has continuously improved the team’s reporting capabilities by working with a European Qlik team for end-to-end contract and sales integration. Prior to Edwards, Jenny had five years of commercial insurance experience, at the number one private broker, Lockton Companies. Prior to Lockton, Jenny’s career started in marketing at a nutritional supplement company where she focused on leading the company towards ecommerce, email marketing, and social media integration.
Kai Cheng, FEMBA '17 Managing Consultant, Artcloud Solutions
As a data analytics & marketing professional, Kai Cheng has over 8 years’ experience in data-driven marketing and over 10 years’ experience in visual design, design management. His main focuses include data marketing and analytics, making him an expert in trend analysis, outcome optimization, and forecasting. Kai also has 10 years of experience in international business between APAC & America, processing over $100 million dollar transactions. Kai founded and cofounded various startups. Through these companies, he focuses on digital, online, offline marketing and designs for new product launches and startups. His specialties include the knowledge of advanced Excel, miniTab, SQL, Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Adobe Creative Cloud (Suite), Data Analytics, Web platforms, Tableau, and SEO/SEM.
Young Alumni Chair
Katie Xiong, BA '20
Katie graduated with a B.A. in Business Administration in 2020 and joined Prudential Private Capital as an Investment Analyst post-graduation. She is part of a team responsible for sourcing, originating, and managing private placement and mezzanine investments for PPC's portfolio of $97B in AUM. Prior to graduation, Katie interned at Experian, Northrop Grumman, and Season Two Ventures. She was also involved with various campus organizations and served as a Peer Career Advisor for the Undergraduate Business Career Center.
Edward Uy, MBA '94 Vice President, Project Management Office & Data Protection Officer, PADI
Ed manages a team that is responsible for the planning and execution of PADI’s key product and enterprise initiatives, as well as establishing and managing the global privacy program. Prior to PADI, Ed held executive and leadership roles at a number of rapid growth companies ranging from start-ups to large multinationals, including Cox Automotive, Kelley Blue Book, Quest Software and Sprint PCS. For over 25 years, Ed has been a proven leader and a member of executive teams implementing strategic roadmaps, user-centered product design and development, and program & portfolio management. Ed is a frequent guest lecturer on the topics of Agile software development, project management, and digital media at Pepperdine’s Graziadio Business School.
Ed obtained his bachelor’s in electrical engineering & Minor in Mathematics from Villanova University and an MBA from the University of California at Irvine. Ed is a long-time member of the Merage Dean’s Leadership Circle, and since 2011 he has served as mentor in the Merage Executive Mentoring program.
Mitch is a consultant to Beacon Pointe institutional clients and is also responsible for new client development. He serves large foundations, endowments, non-profits, high-net-worth family offices as well as corporate 401(k) plans and institutional 403(b) plans. Mitch is a member of Beacon Pointe’s Alternative Investments Committee and Beacon Pointe’s 401(k) Committee where he helps the firm maintain fiduciary standards and mandates issued by regulatory authorities. Prior to joining Beacon Pointe, Mitch worked at Merrill Lynch with the Global Institutional Consulting Group and at J.W. Cole Financial as a financial analyst, specifically in equity research.
Dr. Diana Ramos, EMBA '20 Vice President, M&A and Corporate Development
Dr. Diana Ramos is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, adjunct clinical professor at the Keck USC School of Medicine and public health medical officer for the California Department of Public Health. She is the immediate-past president of the Orange County Medical Association, making her the first Latinx person and the first woman to hold that position. Her areas of expertise are in health disparities/equity, life-long wellness and health and quality improvement. As a recent graduate of the MBA for Executives program at the Merage School and a public health expert, Ramos is uniquely positioned to speak to themes that affect the business world today. Ramos finished her master’s program at the School remotely last year and is a member of the Dean’s Leadership Circle (DLC). Ramos received her bachelor of arts degree in communications, arts and science and medical degree from the University of Southern California. She completed her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at the LA County-USC Medical Center and obtained her master’s in public health with an emphasis in management at UCLA.
Lisa M. Leung, MSBTM '17 Senior Marketing Business Analyst, MicroVention-Terumo
Lisa is currently a Senior Marketing Business Analyst in MicroVention’s Worldwide Marketing Team, where she develops working revenue models on the global neurovascular market used to highlight areas of growth and high customer need for product development and sales programs. She also builds and manages dashboard reports that communicate global sales results for all products to executive and product management groups. Prior to her role at MicroVention Terumo, Lisa worked with the Global Marketing Team at Edwards Lifesciences Critical Care Business where she helped develop and execute strategic planning and upstream marketing projects.
Brittany Peterson, EMBA '18 Strategy Director for Consumer Information Services, Experian
Brittany is responsible for evaluating strategic partnerships, acquisition opportunities and investments in the fintech space as well as driving vertical expansion. Brittany has been with Experian for three years where she previously served as Sr. Marketing Manager for the fintech vertical. Here, her responsibilities included informing the go-to-market strategy, value propositions, and brand execution for Experian’s extensive financial services product suite. Prior to Experian, Brittany served as Director of Marketing and Director of Customer Insights for a large fintech lender specializing in digital mortgages and unsecured personal loans. Brittany is a graduate of UCI's Paul Merage School of Business, where she earned her executive MBA along with a Certificate in Digital Transformation. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Vanguard University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, and a Fintech Certification from Harvard University.
The Dean’s Leadership Circle Grant Initiative Through the DLC Grant Initiative, DLC members hear firsthand the projects, and associated funding needs, of undergraduate and graduate organizations that create programs and resources that directly impact the Merage School student body. The Dean’s Leadership Circle meets biannually to select qualifying grantees. Grant funding typically ranges from $1,500-$10,000 per organization.