NO-COST BUSINESS CONSULTING (TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE)
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.
Meet our SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY CONSULTANTS
Serving All of San Luis Obispo County
Stacey Aragon attained her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. She has knowledge in all aspects of business from strategic planning, marketing, finance, to HR management, organizational behavior, and organizational development. In the two years she attended Cal Poly, she received presidential recognition among her peers for her extraordinary dedication in serving a highly underrepresented population, students with children.
Stacey has brought her passion of serving people to MCSC, and she is eager to be an advocate for entrepreneurs within the local and surrounding business communities. The source of her inspiration is fueling entrepreneurs who are at a disadvantage, but have the heart and perseverance to pursue their dreams.
In addition to working with MCSC, Stacey and her son proactively volunteer at Cal Poly, local churches, and other local non-profit organizations. Originally, from San Diego County, you can find Stacey at the beach, hiking, and adventuring all over the coast.
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.
Marketing Communications, New Product Marketing, Content & Technical Writing, Public Relations, Corporate Branding, Mergers & Acquisitions
With more than 20 years of university teaching and three decades of corporate marketing management experience, Susan brings a vast set of experience and skills to her students and clients. Born in San Luis Obispo, she has traveled extensively throughout the USA and internationally.
Her areas of expertise include marketing, communications and public relations with a focus on inbound marketing. Companies she has worked for include Atlas Copco, Target, Federal Signal Corporation, Strasbaugh, DeRoyal Industries and MPD. Working with C-suite executives she was involved in several mergers and acquisitions and corporate rebranding. She volunteers as a Lead Mentor at the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) helping new start-ups to market their businesses.
Susan graduated with a BA in Technical Journalism and Public Relations from Colorado State University. She also has a MA from Western Kentucky University in Speech and Organizational Communications. She continued her education by obtaining a certificate as a Certified Trade Show Marketer from Northern Illinois University.
Susan lives by the beach with her husband and spoiled pets and enjoys art, reading, exploring the beach and tide pools, and attending live music events with friends and family.
'Start, Run, & Grow" Instructor
Liz Christoffersen, inspirational thought-leader and strategist, shares her knowledge and experience working with luxury and lifestyle brands worldwide. The experience of creating and implementing business strategies that deliver sustainable success despite economic conditions uniquely qualifies Liz to provide leadership and guidance to those who want to step out of the ordinary and embrace an extraordinary level of success.
As Founder and CEO of Empower Consulting Group, an award winning, management consulting and talent development firm; Liz serves as a trusted advisor, strategic facilitator and leadership development expert to a growing list of luxury and lifestyle clients around the globe. Her strategic and loving approach helps leaders slow down to think, reflect and get the big ideas right. Her process leads to clear goals, profound realizations and a radical approach to building a heart based business. She helps people let go of fear through teachable moments. In doing so, her clients become conscious, world-class leaders who “do well by doing good.”
An experienced leader with successful management, sales and operations experience, she has a proven track record for creating top producing sales teams and leaders. Her reputation has garnered her engagements with Cisco, Paris Luxe, Swiss Development Group, Tesla, Visuals Speak, Sotheby’s, Avison & Young, Orascom Development, and more. Her extensive client list includes luxury and lifestyle industry leaders and professionals in real estate, development, hospitality, resorts, travel and tourism.
She is passionate about inspiring others to turn work into play and to live the life of their dreams. Liz is grateful to share her life with her soulmate, her family and her little dog CHIP (Causes Happiness in People). They love living their dream life which allows them to experience and discover the wonders of the world.
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.
Rolando is a senior operations, strategy and financial planning professional. He has advised leaders over his 20+ year career at multi-billion dollar corporations such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, 3PAR, Synopsys, Cadence Design Systems and Hitachi Data Systems. Rolando also consults with small businesses and startup ventures. He helps business owners plan and prepare for growth. For several years, Rolando owned and operated Sent Sovi, a fine French restaurant nested in the hills of Saratoga, CA. He enjoys great food and drink, staying fit and anything related to soccer. Rolando holds an MBA from Santa Clara University and an Economics degree from UCLA.
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.
Elizabeth has an expertise in written communication; addressing the best practices of business writing for advertising, website copy, and social media. She prides herself on her ability to make traditionally dry and tedious writing concepts fun and easy to understand.
Elizabeth is a freelance writer, editor, speaker, and consultant with over twenty years of experience in writing, marketing, and customer service. In 2003, Elizabeth started Fine Lines Communications out of a desire to share her passion for language and help businesses locally and across the country to put their ideas into words. Her press releases have been picked up by MarketWatch.com, Yahoo! Financial, and several specialty magazines.
Elizabeth is a regular volunteer for numerous local organizations and is involved with several networking groups. She was raised in the Midwest where she attended The University of Minnesota and Lowthian College. She lives in Arroyo Grande, California.
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.
Patty has well over 20 years experience in marketing and has been in the online space since 1998 where she developed an e-commerce program for a gourmet gift company into a million dollar business. She has spent 14 years helping the wine industry gain traction online and has since branched out to help other industries grow their brands including financial, legal, health and beauty, motorsports, landscape design, political activism and non profits. Golden State Marketing and her other business, California Wine Marketing, were founded in 2006.
Patty is a California native, born and raised in Los Angeles where she attended college with an emphasis on journalism and public relations. She moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1994 and spent 21 years there helping businesses with customer support, e-commerce and marketing. She moved to San Luis Obispo in 2015. Patty is a co-chair of the marketing committee for SLO Women’s Network and active member of both SLO and Paso Robles Chamber. Patty also teaches seminars for MCSC and other local organizations on various marketing topics.
Patty lives in Los Osos, loves to ride her motorcycles, explore the central coast and play with her pugs at the beach.
Digital Marketing Consultant
Justin is a passionate communicator with 18 years experience helping small business owners develop realistic and dynamic marketing strategies. He graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of Southern California. He worked for many years as a journalist covering politics and public policy before entering the world of politics, working for members of Congress and the State Legislature.
Returning to his love of communication he now serves as a media consultant for the San Luis Obispo Tribune where he helps real estate companies develop marketing plans that combine print, digital and social media tactics to reach buyers and sellers.He is deeply versed in digital marketing with the latest technologies that target consumers by their specific interests.
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.