The North Coast SBDC is staffed with experienced leaders who assist SBDC clients grow and develop their businesses.
Leila began serving as Director of the North Coast Small Business Development Center in August 2016. She brings to SBDC lessons learned from a 20-year career growing strong community institutions—from Philadelphia to D.C., Vermont to Bangladesh.
In twelve years with the global arm of United Way, Leila guided local business and community leaders in 45 countries who wanted to start up homegrown nonprofit organizations. Right out of college, she ran a small town Planned Parenthood clinic. Before coming to Humboldt to settle with her family, she consulted with small nonprofit and business clients across California on their marketing, PR, and sales or fundraising.
She serves on College of the Redwoods Entrepreneurship Advisory Board as well as the national Board of the Move to Amend coalition, and volunteers with the North Coast’s True North Organizing Network and Centro del Pueblo.
She has a master’s degree in the management of sustainable development. Leila is the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants from England and Morocco. She lives in Eureka with her husband John Richmond, general manager of Lost Coast Communications, and their pointy-eared dog Benny.
Leila believes thriving small independent businesses are the heart of our community and the key to our prosperity.
Louise Dawson is an SBDC Certified Business Advisor and Hospitality Specialist who brings to her clients over 30 years of industry experience: owning and operating bars, restaurants and retail consulting, advising, teaching, and training, Louise brings real-life experience to start-ups, with pre-opening education and organization and, to existing businesses, operational strategy and ongoing systems and training.
Louise is a small business advocate and won a congressional award for her work with small business from Nancy Pelosi.
Janet DePace is a longtime resident and entrepreneur of Humboldt County, one of the original founders of Yakima Products Inc., and has served her community as president of Arcata Economic Development Corp., and Chair of the Humboldt County Workforce Investment Board. Prior to coming to the North Coast SBDC she maintained her own consulting practice with an emphasis on artists and manufacturers.
Catherine DeSantis of Trinity Marketing is a Business Advisor, specializing in business issues related to marketing. She has worked in the communications field since 1980 in print media, market research and consumer goods marketing. Her advising specialties include development of sales and marketing strategy, PR, media relations, market research, identity programs, trade advertising, marketing collateral and social media.
Elizabeth “Liz” Ennis is the owner of On-Call CFO, and started her SBDC tenure in 2010 applying her 40 years of accounting experience to special projects, becoming a Primary Business Advisor in 2012. She spent almost 20 years guiding scientists with financial management and reporting of their Research & Development projects (yes, it WAS rocket science!) at Rockwell International Corporation, working with DARPA, NASA, DOD, NSA and other government agencies. As a business owner in Southern California, she joined the family commercial real estate business managing all aspects of suburban office buildings, office parks, and industrial and neighborhood shopping centers including end to end accounting, day to day management and capital improvement projects.
Since moving to Humboldt County, she has enjoyed working with small businesses owners to guide them on the road to success. She can help you start-up your business, set-up your accounting and analyze your financials, and build-up your operation. Liz is a member and avid fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka, and enjoys singing, swimming, gardening, and travel.
Amy’s experience in eCommerce sales began in 2001, and since that time she has turned an enjoyable and profitable hobby into her own small business. In addition, she has over ten years in operations and inventory management in both retail and wholesale environments.
She has combined these skills to develop multi-channel eCommerce procedures for inventory allocation, order processing and financial reconciliation. Amy enjoys working with technology and is experienced with numerous sales, inventory, shipping and financial software applications. She is also a milliner which brings the artist’s business perspective to her skill set.
Her experience helps artists and small businesses expand their exposure to relevant online sales channels, while developing the tools and best practices to streamline their operations.
Michelle Lopez owner of Michelle Lopez Accounting began working with the Small Business Development Center in 2014 as an accounting specialty advisor. Michelle has over 20 years experience in the accounting industry mostly working with small businesses. Michelle Lopez is a certified ProAdvisor for QuickBooks Online and is passionate about teaching bookkeeping and general business procedures.
Scott "Q" Marcus
After a decades-long background in media and marketing, Scott "Q" Marcus lost 70 pounds and launched his career as a "THINspirational Speaker." He now inspires organizations that are facing trying times on how to break down big barriers into small goals and move past them.
Scott is the past president of the northern California chapter of the National Speakers Association. He is a syndicated newspaper columnist, author of nine books, and the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com, a site for people who are tired of making promises they don’t keep and are really ready to change.
Prior to his speaking and writing career, has been a DJ, talk show host, Music Director, Program Director, Operations Director and later: sales manager, station manager, and general manager of various radio and TV stations. He also served as an independent representative for an advertising agency in northern California and won two national Telly awards for TV campaigns he helped devise. He still organizes marketing campaigns and does marketing and customer service presentations across the country.
Lorna has offered business advice to solopreneurs, coaching, consulting and medical professionals, and artists and arts related businesses for more than 30 years. She brings extensive personal knowledge about running small businesses as well as her coaching skills to her clients here. When not working with her North Coast SBDC clients she works with business clients as a certified financial coach.
Lorna is founder of the Make Peace with Money program and movement. She is a member of a team of licensed trainers that deliver customized trainings based on time-tested success principles and powerful coaching practices to teams and organizations across the world
Her book, Make Peace with Money: Redefine Your Relationship with Money, Master Your Personal Finances, and Discover True Wealth, recently debuted on Amazon. When not advising, coaching or training, Lorna loves hiking, climbing trees, and cooking with Humboldt County’s great organic produce. She delights in contributing of her knowledge to her community.
Melinda Pedersen is a Human Resources professional with over 20 years of experience. She has worked for start-up’s, large international non-profits, and small private businesses. Melinda enjoys helping employers create policies that reflect both legal requirements and employment culture. Aligning with business size and industry, Melinda can create scalable HR systems and programs that protect and serve both employee and employer.
A New England native, Melinda was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal and upon return moved west for love. Melinda and family live in Fieldbrook and enjoy hiking the forests and beaches of beautiful Humboldt. Staying connected to her Peace Corps roots, Melinda is the Arcata Chapter Leader of the international nonprofit, Dining for Women. www.diningforwomen.org
Bill Prescott is currently the Marketing Communications Specialist for the Sun Valley Floral Farms. He has been a contributor to the Huffington Post, The Produce News, Super Floral magazine, and many other national publications. Based in Eureka, California, Bill also runs a marketing consulting firm, www.prescottdesigns.com. Bill is active in his community as a Commissioner on the City of Eureka Economic Development Commission and as the chair of the Humboldt Made marketing committee.
Emanuel Rose is an accomplished Senior Executive, Entrepreneur, and Consultant with more than 25 years of sales and marketing success in the finance, real estate, jewelry, manufacturing, health, fitness, outdoor, and consumer electronics industries. His clients get as much as 4x the closed sales from his programs compared to previous marketing activities, and their email open rates increase over 50%. Leveraging extensive experience in branding, marketing, and advertising, Emanuel is a valuable asset for small companies with up to $25M in gross sales that are seeking expert assistance with developing a story, brand, and human connection with their customer. Emanuel’s broad areas of expertise include AI software, digital marketing, email SEO, social media content, sales process and funnel, lead capture, product development, and go-to-market strategy.
Throughout his executive career, Emanuel has held leadership positions at American Mercantile, HealthSport, C.Crane Company, Inc., and Tomas Jewelry. In 2010, Emanuel founded Strategic Marketing where he currently serves as CEO and Principal Consultant of the Strategic eMarketing firm. With marketing and advertising that incorporates mobile web, email, social media, and direct mail, Emanuel helps his clients capture the breadth of business they need to increase sales and produce an uncommon return on investment.
Previously, as Wholesale Manager at C.Crane Company, Emanuel developed triple digit LED bulb sales growth and doubled wholesale sales, in just three years. Emanuel’s strategies also increased their wholesale contribution margin by over 250% and increased key account sales in six major accounts. Emanuel previously served on the Board of Directors for The Jack and Buena Hazard Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Humboldt County.
Stilson has had a wide variety of business experience in a wide variety of industries. Among his employed careers are investment advisor for a major Wall Street firm, award winning sales rep for a Fortune 100 company, manager of a small chain of wine shops, property manager, radio announcer, flight instructor, advertising copy writer, management consultant, and Administrator of a medical clinic.
His own ventures include a car wash, video store, educational film production and distribution company, management consulting firm, pilot and flight instructor, freelance writer, and fine art photographer. He has been associated with the SBDC since 2002.
Stilson has been in a steel drum orchestra, written three novels and a screen play, and likes to be involved in the arts. His wife, Nancy, co-owns a bookstore in Old Town Eureka.
Mary Ann Testagrossa
Mary Ann Testagrossa began as a business advisor with SBDC in 2015. She specializes in helping artisans build an online presence with a combination of an online store, social media marketing and blogging.
Mary Ann is the owner of two online Etsy businesses, the oldest being her gemstone store, Adornajoy Gems, which she began in 2007. Her knowledge of Etsy is extensive, and she keeps up to date with the ongoing changes Etsy continually makes. From designing the brand or look of a store, to product photography and SEO specifically for Etsy, Mary Ann is an expert on all things Etsy.
Mary Ann also has ecommerce sales experience on other online platforms such as Ebay, Artfire, Zibbet, and Big Cartel. She has extensive knowledge of marketing on Facebook and Instagram, with proven sales directly from those platforms.
Mary Ann is also an artist. Her website is at MaryAnnTestagrossaArt.com. She has shown her artwork locally for many years in galleries and art fairs, as well as nationally. Before she began her online businesses, she ran a large local gallery for ten years, was a graphic designer and picture framer.
Debbie is the BizNet Coordinator for the North Coast Small Business Development Center. She comes with over 20 years of local small business experience along with an International business background.
As part of her role, she is responsible for providing useful information and tools for creating a small business as well as connecting clients with the right Business Advisor and promoting our services.
Debbie is a Humboldt State University graduate, having completed her BA in French with a minor in Spanish. She then obtained her Master’s degree in French at San Francisco State University. Debbie spent the last several years studying and working in Paris and Singapore. While living abroad, she had the opportunity to do what she loves most: traveling, hiking and exploring different cultures.
In her free time, Debbie enjoys spending time with her family and being back home in Humboldt County. She has a great love for her community and is ready to help it flourish.
Barbara has started four businesses: a delicatessen, restaurant (Hurricane Kate’s), small business consulting (Barbara M. Zoellner), and a travel agency specializing in introvert and small group custom itineraries (A Path Less Traveled). Much of the consulting work Barbara has done has been in bookkeeping and finance management as well as the nuts and bolts of start-up restaurants, though she is also experienced in non-profit and government entities, as well. Barbara has also been an active board member and chair of Compass Community Credit Union for over 15 years. Barbara has worked on the North Coast SBDC team in the past and is looking forward to lending assistance to the community once again.