Meet Our Consultants



MCSC provides no-cost business consultations as one of our primary services. MCSC and The Women's Business Center has an elite team of consultants that have extensive expertise in fields including marketing, organizational development, finance, management, etc. Consultations are offered as an individual service, or as a supplementary service to MCSC graduates to assist them in starting or profitably growing their business.



Serving All of San Luis Obispo County

Carla Blandon
Business Consultant

Instructor Spanish Business Start Up Class - Empezando

Carla is a Personal Banker at Wells Fargo where she has worked for nine years. In addition, Carla has been involved in the community with different organizations for the past ten years in a variety of ways. She continues to demonstrate her care for her community especially focused on the local Latino Community. Carla complements her role as a personal banker by sharing and teaching financial literacy in the Latino community. 

Carla shared the need of an organization for the Hispanic Community with Sue Hubbard and their brainstorming resulted in the idea of creating the Hispanic Business Association. Carla has dedicated her minimal spare time to the Hispanic Business Association, which she calls “her baby”. As some of the members indicate: “I see you sending emails at 11:00 p.m. It looks like you never sleep.”

Her enthusiasm, organizational skills and persistence have made the organization grow and be successful in the past years. Her goal as the president of the Association is to be able to share with the entire Central Coast, from Santa Maria to King City, the vision and mission of the Hispanic Business Association.

Gina Cinardo

Business Consultant

Advertising & Marketing, Social Media, Facebook, Wordpress Websites, Studio Photography


Owner of Ginici Studios, Gina is a Professional Photographer and Graphic Designer. She specializes in portrait photography and helping new businesses set up starter websites in WordPress and develop a social media presence.  She networks regularly in the local community and is currently the BNI SLO Founding Chapter President in San Luis Obispo. 

Gina received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art Photography from ASU in Tempe, AZ. After receiving her degree she worked as the lead photographer and manager of a very busy photography studio in Mesa, AZ for 11 years. After which she became a contractor for the Air Force Research Laboratory as a Media Specialist, designing logos, laying out presentations and signage, training packets and photographing employee and military portraits, special events and research exercises. 

In 2010 Gina moved to the Central Coast and started her own business in San Luis Obispo to help small businesses with their marketing and/or presentation challenges of their own. Her mission is to “tell a story” and develop designs and images that convey the right message effectively about a business to their customers. In the beginning of launching her business Gina successfully completed the Start, Run and Grow Your Business course offered through the MCSC Women's Business Center


Steve Mathis
Business Consultant

Banking, SBA Loans, Funding, Micro Loans

Steve was a career banker for 42 years (33 years in San Luis Obispo), most recently as a Senior Vice President/Commercial Relationship Manager specializing in business and real estate lending. After retiring from banking in 2012, Steve started his mobile Notary Public service business and became a Certified Notary Signing Agent - handling the signing of residential mortgage documents for local clients of various lenders and title insurance companies. 


Steve has served on the Board of Directors of Coastal Business Finance (SBA 504 commercial real estate financing program) since 2009 and is currently Board Secretary. Additional community involvement includes past president (and former Volunteer of the Year) of San Luis Obispo County YMCA, former Board Member of San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and past Board Member (and current volunteer) of San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. In addition, he is a longtime member of San Luis Obispo Kiwanis de Tolosa service club where he serves as incoming Board Secretary.


Steve holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology (Law Enforcement) from California State University, Fresno. In addition, he is a graduate of Pacific Coast Banking School, University of Washington, Seattle. Steve resides in San Luis Obispo, California.

Polly Mertens

Business Consultant

Polly Mertens is a strategic business and marketing consultant plus life coach serving clients both on the Central Coast and around the globe.  She worked in sales and marketing for start-ups in Silicon Valley and made the move to the Central Coast to pursue a change in lifestyle in 2001.  She went on to receive her MBA from Cal Poly in entrepreneurship and has worked for locally based companies like REC Solar/SunRun, Etna Interactive and now runs her own consulting and coaching business called Inspired Resources (website:


Her areas of expertise are business strategy, web marketing, branding and sales. While she was educated and worked in sales and marketing over her 25 year career, she also has a passion for personal development.  Polly attended dozens of workshops and personal bootcamps over 10 years and continues to be a student of success and entrepreneurship.  She brings an added layer to her consulting clients with a background in mindset coaching, habits reconditioning, and goal setting/planning.  She not only works with clients on their business, but also their entrepreneurial success mindset.


She was one of the first teachers of the original Start, Run Grow Class (formerly Vision to Venture – a 14 week business planning workshop) and has since taught numerous classes and labs for Mission Community Services over the years.  She is an inspirational speaker/blogger and enjoys exploring the US in her motorhome when she is not on the Central Coast.

Alex Milaychev

Business Consultant

Mastermind Group Facilitator

Alex Milaychev is a Certified Professional Leadership Coach from the ICF accredited Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching. She works with leaders such as entrepreneurs, small business owners, and managers to develop a personally effective style of leadership that positively influences and changes not only her clients, but also those with whom they work and interact, as well as their organization as a whole. Through the Energy Leadership Development SystemTM, she empowers her clients with the ability to motivate and inspire themselves and others, thus leading to more productivity, less effort, and more fulfillment. 


Alex has an Engineering degree from Cornell University, a professional background in software development, and 10 years of research and experience in the field of mental wellness.  She also brings 25 years of performance in ballet, ballroom, and circus arts for an integrated approach to the magnetic nature of energy. She has helped numerous entrepreneurs and managers get clear on their strengths and gaps to focus on creating what they feel called to create.

Gabe Quiroz

Business Consultant

Instructor Spanish Business Start Up Class - Empezando

Gabe Quiroz has more than 30 years of experience in management and 20 in broadcast media. A 10 year resident of San Luis Obispo County, he managed a broadcast facility that covered Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Before moving to the Central Coast, he oversaw the operations of Television and Radio Stations in Southern Nevada. He has been a member of the board for several organizations, among them Antioch University Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo Symphony and the Nevada Broadcasters Association to name a few. He is trilingual in Spanish English and French.

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Richard Sample


Start, Run, Grow Your Business

Upon graduation from Cal Poly, SLO with a degree in Economics, Rick began a twenty plus year run in the financial services industry in Southern California. Over this time he demonstrated proven leadership ability both with individuals directly as well as in significant managerial roles, which was showcased within some of the largest financial services firms in the industry, including E F Hutton & Company, Painewebber, Inc., and Van Kasper & Company. He understands the key sensitivities in helping successful companies and their senior key executives deal with succession planning, wealth creation and preservation, helping many to achieve their financial goals and dreams. He also gained extensive experience in specific corporate needs, thereby helping companies succinctly position themselves to attract institutional capital, establish creative go to market strategies and help develop fruitful exits. During the past ten years, Rick followed his own entrepreneurial call and successfully launched two startup companies in the Natural Personal Care space.


In 2013, Rick decided to re-enter the Wealth Management Business. He joined Morgan Stanley and he and his wife Julie relocated to the beautiful Central Coast of California and now reside in the Edna Valley. Rick volunteers mentoring young entrepreneurs and young companies through Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the SLO Hothouse.  His wife Julie serves on the Board of Arts Obispo as Secretary. He is an accomplished chef, avid golfer and fisherman, and is deeply devoted to his Christian faith. Rick and Julie are the parents of two adult daughters, Sara, 29 and Lisa, 27, and grandparents to Sara’s daughter Rylee James.

Jason Varley

Business Consultant

Mr. Jason Varley is a business advisor with a focus on marketing and customer engagement. He has spent most of the 2000’s in consulting roles, helping clients of all size achieve their goals for growth, change, and improving performance. Part of Jason’s success comes from his diverse professional experience of more than 25 years that includes successful tenure in marketing, product management, and engineering leadership roles. Jason has worked across a range of industries but predominately within healthcare, high-tech, and aerospace. Jason is also a lecturer at Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business, teaching upper-division marketing courses.


Areas of Emphasis
• Business development ideation, assessment, and planning
• Market research & competitive analysis
• Brand creation & growth
• Digital marketing, particularly organic growth from social, content, and SEO activities
• B2B sales enablement through effective storytelling and lead-generation
• Account-based selling
• Customer engagement

Jason has an MS degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly SLO and a BS degree in Electronics & Management from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Additionally, Jason is a certified Salesforce Administrator and was a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from 2006-2014.
Jason also a licensed California real estate broker and licensed FAA pilot.

Becki Walker

Business Consultant

Business Plans, Loans, Government Contracting, Marketing, Operations

Becki has worked extensively to help clients to define and enact business strategies that can be sustained as their companies grow and succeed. She works with a wide range of companies including tech start-ups, well-established small and mid-range companies, and with Fortune 500 leaders in a number of industries.


Becki's work with clients often includes the development of operational, financial and marketing infrastructure to support companies as their business grows. Becki is known for her work in analyzing and validating the needs of markets and in positioning companies to reach customers and influential industry leaders.


As founder of Walker & Associates, Becki has a 20-year history of working with emerging markets and in finding new opportunities in established markets for companies in technology, manufacturing and distribution. Her client list includes such companies and organizations as Apple Computer, Sun Microsystems, Maxon Mobility, Harper Collins Publishing, Wharton School of Business and Columbia University.

Lorna Whiteaker
Business Consultant

Prior to moving to San Luis Obispo in 2006, Lorna Whiteaker lived in Ventura where she was employed in the legal industry for three decades as an administrator, accounts manager and legal assistant. 

In 2008, Lorna founded MoneySmart Business Solutions which specializes in helping small businesses perfect their operations, infrastructure and money management. 

Lorna is an expert in the intricacies of bookkeeping and managing money in the electronic age and is committed to helping entrepreneurs develop healthy, viable businesses based on sound financial practices.  She has always been very active within the communities where she lives. 

She has been a PTA volunteer, Girl Scout leader and is currently the Chapter Chair for SCORE San Luis Obispo.

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Eric Yun
Business Consultant

Eric J. Yun is a Strategy Consultant for Yunique: Business & Financial Services. His consulting services aim to help businesses build strategies on market growth and organizational development. He utilizes creative problem solving, analytical thinking, and action planning to guide and facilitate strategic plans for building growth. He is an advocate for change and firmly believes in working towards progress and building unique qualities for a competitive edge.

Eric has over 13 years of experience in the commercial banking industry where he held responsibilities in marketing, business development, financial analysis, operations, and management. His professional background led to his endeavor to become a Strategy Consultant for small and medium size businesses, seeing the need to help business owners and executives structure and organize their businesses. He is actively involved with local chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations to reach out and provide assistance to local business owners looking to
grow their businesses.

Eric received his Masters Degree in Business Administration in Irvine, CA, where he specialized in Finance and Marketing. He graduated with high remarks and recommendations from the MBA Program Director and his professors. He also received his Bachelors Degree in Irvine, CA at the
University of California, Irvine, where he studied Criminology. There he studied under acclaimed professors, psychologists, and judges to learn the relational cause and effects of crime, the law, and society. He currently resides in the Central Coast and enjoys raising his family in the beautiful country.