Career Panel Experts

How to Create A Million-Dollar Professional Brand

Sheila Coates

Be Your Own Brand (BYOB) is the culmination of Sheila Coates’ two decades of experience as a marketing executive specializing in artist development, branding and imaging. Coates understands the importance of creating and maintaining a consistent visual presentation that is authentic and generates a sense of confidence and character in order to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. She has the background and expertise to help people to “Be Their Own Brand” by combining the power of words and images to develop memorable first impressions that “Speak Volumes Without Saying A Word…”

During her tenure in the music industry, Coates worked with some of the most recognizable names in the business. She inspired, cultivated, and provided guidance to many artists who went on to achieve platinum-selling status. Her client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in popular music —Mary J. Blige, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Toni Braxton, Lenny Kravitz, Barry White, Jill Scott, Babyface, Monica, Faith Evans, Kindred, The Family Soul, Angie Stone, Q-Tip, Lalah Hathaway, and many others. She’s created images for more than 100 videos, red-carpets events and television programs such as: The GRAMMY® Awards, American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, BET Awards, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Oprah, The Tonight Show and Late Night With David Letterman.

Coates held SVP positions with Sony/BMG, Arista Records, EMI/Capitol, Virgin Records, MCA Records, Perspective Records and Hidden Beach Recordings, where she managed budgets exceeding $50 million and developed successful cross-promotional initiatives such as the soundtrack for the Academy Award-winning film “Training Day.”

Yvette Bowlin

Yvette Bowlin, co-author of ‘Impotence in the Boardroom: MySpace Caught an STD’, is founder and CEO of, the only branding and attraction psychology resource on the web. One of her passions involves studying the mind and its effect on behavior. As a dedicated writer and student of the mind, heart and human behavior, she now coaches clients on how to awaken to their own self-sabotage in life and career. She teaches that with mental clarity, we’re able to find peace, purpose, productivity and prosperity in all we do. Yvette has been featured in Huffington Post, Los Angeles Business Journal, and TinyBuddha with her message.

Chris Bryant

Chris Bryant is an expert in building brand loyalty and a trusted advisor to the National Football League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. His passion for creating world-class brands was first honed during an impressive career with Nordstrom and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. He is the CEO of Bryant Group that now equips sales and service professionals for the Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, New York Knicks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Jets, Charlotte Bobcats, San Francisco Giants, New York Rangers and the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. Mr. Bryant has been featured, published or appeared in Black Enterprise Magazine, Ebony, MSNBC, Inc. 500 Magazine, and He received his Bachelors of Science from Michigan State University and completed the Executive Management Program at the University of Southern California Marshall Graduate School of Business.

Eddy Millis

Eddy Millis is currently president of Invincible live events company, A tenured business advisor for marketing for over 4 years, Eddy has produced over 24 live events from professional MMA shows, to concerts and mud runs. Eddy has also brought to market a top level protein supplement and appeared as a feature guest on Bravo TV’s “Thintervention” Eddy in his spare time is a contributing writer for 2 magazines and a consultant to several companies.

Michael Ferrera

Michael Ferrera is the Founder and President of Michael Ferrera Custom Clothing a bespoke clothier for business professionals, athletes & entertainers. As an educator and consultant Michael Ferrera is the author of the book series titled The Perfect Gentleman’s Pocket Guidefound on Amazon and at, a pocket sized resource to being the perfect gentleman in life’s awkward situations.

Mr. Ferrera is aninvestment advisory turned fashion designer who has been in the fashion industry for over ten years. Mr. Ferrera specializes in one on one personal service to create the perfect fit suits, shirts, and accessories for men who want to look and feel their best.

In addition to business, Michael Ferrera enjoys philanthropic engagements and currently serves as the Los Angeles Urban League Young Professionals Vice President.

How to Turn Networking into Your Net Worth

Sahar Andrade

Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh is a Diversity, Leadership & Culture Competence Speaker/ Consultant, as well as an International Marketing expert, Certified both as an E-marketer and Social Media Strategist.
For more than 15 years she has offered her expertise and insights to fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, Governmental agencies, Educational and healthcare institutions professionals seeking to develop a true competitive advantage for their organization through strategic global leadership development, cross-cultural competence, cross-cultural marketing and diversity practices.

Currently, Sahar is a Board member at NAAAHR (National Association of African Americans in HR) the Los Angeles Chapter for the Last two years; a Committee member of the BNLP program of the City of Burbank; a Board member at LAAMA: (Los Angeles Airline Managers Association) for the last three years and was awarded a certificate of appreciation for her role on the Board of Directors; as well as a Board member for the Circle of Change Leadership conference.

Mrs. Andrade holds an MB.BCh from Cairo University of Medicine (Double Bachelor in Medicine and Surgery: with minor in Psychiatry) Egypt, and successfully completed a Mastery of Human Resources Studies Certificate Program.

Lynn Allen Jeter

Our team here at Lynn Allen Jeter & Associates consists of highly creative and experienced professionals who are always reaching above and beyond to create and execute the news worthy campaigns that will guarantee top tier press and exposure in all networks of print and online.

As experts in the areas of talent representation, publicity and marketing, Lynn Allen Jeter & Associates is the preeminent force for launching publicity campaigns that catch the attention of traditional as well as digital media. Lynn Allen Jeter & Associates’ entertainment clients and their projects are constantly being showcased in the traditional and social media, due in part to Lynn Allen Jeter & Associates’ close relationships within the television, print and radio realms.
Some our most notable clients include: Lisa Leslie (WNBA Retired player and Olympic Gold medalist), LisaRaye McCoy (actress, Single Ladies), Judge Mathis (Judge Mathis Show), Kym Whitley (actress, Animal Practice), Wesley Jonathan (actor, Soul Man), Yolanda Adams (Gospel Singer), Nicci Gilbert (R&B Divas, Brownstone) and Dr. Susan Evans (M.D Beauty Expert). Lynn Allen Jeter & Associates also provides public relations services for a variety of brands and products, such as champagne company, Moreno BHLV, fashion lines: Curvato by Nicci Gilbert, DeanZign by Angela Dean as well as renowned casting director, Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd. We are experts at creative development of unknown brands and talents.

Glenda Shaw

Glenda Shaw’s vast career covers every level of production, including creating shows, managing productions and talent, while mentoring many colleagues along the way. Her company, GshawMedia has a vision: to produce innovative and mindful content by generating marketing intelligence and providing a full-service production system. Her goal is to empower her clients to discover their own unique message and mission.

Glenda started her career in journalism in Santa Barbara then moved to Los Angeles and New York where she quickly rose from Producer to Supervising Producer on talk shows including “Montel,” “Rolonda,” and “Leeza.” Glenda’s experience, strength and influence solidified her as one of the top producers in the talk industry during those years. She formed her own company with Lora Wiley and created shows, selling them to King World and Buena Vista. When Lora moved to Germany, Glenda continued on this track and sold to MTV, and optioned to ITV. During these years she consulted on pilot presentations and many TV series for Columbia Television, MTV, ABC, Big Ticket, and SiTV Networks, as well as Apiteez, an online beta food network, and started a new company, GshawMedia.

Glenda has been fortunate to transfer her media and writing knowledge to serve at-risk youth by providing creative workshops in Watts and Camp David Gonzales, a juvenile facility for incarcerated teenagers. These workshops provided Glenda with significant and enduring insights into the power of constructive collaboration. Both her career and volunteer experience has helped Glenda hone her skills and inspired her to cultivate new avenues. She currently teaches a web production boot camp at Saddleback College which keeps her current and competitive with all new media. Recently, Glenda launched a new and unique brand, Super Friend Groups (, which promotes changing and empowering your life by managing and attracting inspiring friends.

Damona Hoffman

Damona Hoffman, aka “Dear Mrs. D”, was an early adopter of the online dating trend in 2001. At the time she was working in television casting for CBS and teaching courses at night for actors on auditioning and marketing techniques. The classes were focused on personal branding and making a good impression in an audition room.

She began applying her techniques for actors towards her own online dating “career” and realized that the better her branding was and the more prepared she was to make the first impression, the better her results. In 2003, she met the man on a dating site who would later become her husband. Shortly after, friends, relatives, and friends of friends began asking for her online dating secret and eventually that turned into a new career. Her unconventional strategy has helped many people find a perfect match online.

Damona runs her website, coaches private clients in both online and offline dating, and holds regular seminars and mixers. She recently formed a partnership with online dating giant to present monthly workshops designed to help members improve their dating results. She is the first and only dating expert to be engaged by Match for a series of this kind.

In addition to writing for The Huffington Post, Damona Hoffman pens a bi-monthly column on JDate, and is a featured expert on She also makes frequent radio and television appearances and has been seen on Fox, CBS, NBC, and Animal Planet. Damona also hosts her own radio show Dates & Mates with Dear Mrs D on UBN Radio. Her first book Spin Your Web: How to Brand Yourself for Successful Online Dating was released on February 1, 2013 and is currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook, Vook, and iBooks.

Ms. Hoffman holds a B.S. in Communications from Northwestern University and a Graduate Certificate from UCLA.

Charles Lee

Charles Lee is the CEO & Chief Idea-Maker at Ideation, an idea agency that specializes in helping businesses & organizations build remarkable brands via innovative business design, organizational change architecture, brand integration, design, web, and marketing. He is also the author of Good Idea. Now What?: How to Move Ideas to Execution, a practical book designed to help people move ideas to implementation. In addition, Charles is the creator of grassroots efforts including Ideation Conference, the Idea Camp, and the Freeze Project as well as the co-founder of JustOne. Charles regularly speaks on topics such as creativity, innovation, idea-making, branding, collaboration, new media, and social entrepreneurism.

How to Stand Out As A Leader in A Diverse Working Environment

Freda C. Hobbs

Freda C. Hobbs serves as the Intern Recruitment Manager for The National Society of Leadership and Success. The Society is an organization committed to helping students discover and attain their goals by offering life changing lectures from the nation’s leading presenters and fostering a community where students help one another succeed.

Freda is also a lifestyle coach and screenwriter here in Los Angeles. She holds a BA in English from the University of Virginia and spends her free time volunteering with the local alumni association.

Grant Doster

Mr. Doster’s career has spanned over 25 years in the financial services, consumer products, advertising, and entertainment industries including Pepsi Cola, Miller Brewing and Walt Disney. Grant’s experience includes leading marketing, distribution, and business development efforts coupled with strategic planning, operations and finance. He now focuses on training, facilitation and public speaking.

Grant has been a Consultant, Trainer, Motivational Speaker most of his career both inside and outside of his corporate line management roles. He has been an instructor at University of Redlands, University of California Riverside International Business School and UCR Extension the for the past 7 years where he received the Outstanding Instructor Award for Excellence. He has also been a contract facilitator /management consultant for past 7 years with Pope and Associates training thousands of corporate and public sector professionals in Diversity and Inclusion and has over 25 years experience as subject matter expert and trainer within the consumer products industry.

His last corporate assignment was Senior Vice President-Client Services, with Carol H Williams Advertising and was Vice President-Sales and Marketing at Walt Disney Company’s Global Consumer Products division overseeing sales of FMCG and five other categories. He also held general management and executive level marketing positions at Miller Brewing Company nationally and Pepsi Cola Company regionally. Mr. Doster began his career at Great American Bank, as a management trainee and excelled to Senior Vice President-Director of Retail Banking Sales.

He holds an MBA from the University of Redlands, attended the Graduate School of Retail Banking at the University of Virginia, and San Diego State University as an undergraduate.

Grant, his wife and children reside in Southern California.


Susana holds a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from California State University Long Beach. She majored in Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources Management. Currently, Susana is Director of Human Resources at Miramax. Prior to that, she was Senior Manager at Game Show Network, Staffing Manager at Universal Studios and Head of Staffing and Diversity Outreach for MTV Networks. Susana started her entertainment career at Sony Pictures Entertainment in their Human Resources department. Upon graduation, she worked at the Precept Group (a Benefits Consulting firm) in Newport Beach, CA. Susana began her actual career in HR as an Intern with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Los Angeles, CA in 1993. She’s currently on the Board of Directors for The Imagen Foundation. Susana is a native of Mexico and grew up in Southern California. She enjoys spending time with her nieces & nephews and outdoor sports and activities.

April Powers

April Powers is the Managing Director of First Impression Rx, a full service consulting firm that helps companies manage differences through training and diversity and inclusion strategy. She has been consulting for Amgen since 2010, most recently project managing a cultural dexterity roll-out and delivering certified training in the areas of Generational Diversity, Emotional Intelligence and Cultural Competence.

April began her recruiting career with Ryan, Miller & Associates, a boutique search firm specializing in accounting and finance. In 1999 she launched her own recruiting firm that focused on middle market and fortune 500 companies. She also helped staff and recruit for smaller start-up companies during the dot-com boom.

In 2005, she joined Nestlé USA as an in-house recruiter where her passion for diversity recruiting was recognized. She was soon asked to be the Manager of Diversity and Recruiting for Nestlé USA. A Southern California Leadership Fellow, April has served on the West Coast Advisory Board for the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the California Diversity Council Board and chaired the 2009 California Diversity and Leadership Conference.

A Los Angeles native, April received her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also had a focused area of study in African American Studies. She has lived in the US, South America and Europe, is bilingual and thus brings a global perspective with local understanding to her clients’ goals in the diversity space.

Peter Fordos

Peter Fordos is an intercultural consultant, trainer and coach who specializes in global leadership development. Drawing on first-hand experience, Peter offers an insider’s look at the mindset and business practices of corporations around the world. He works with Fortune 500 companies as a consultant, facilitator and intercultural coach. Peter has worked with: 3M, Apple, Audi, Avery Dennison, Boeing, Bombardier, Bosch, Chrysler, Dell, Disney, General Motors, Graebel, Honeywell, Nestle, Procter & Gamble, Tetra Pak, Travelers Insurance, Valero and many other global companies. In addition, he has worked with the US Military, including the Navy Seals and the Special Boat Team.

Peter Fordos was born in the former Czechoslovakia and has been based in the USA since 2001. Peter has conducted training and speaking engagements with a focus on working in multicultural teams, leadership across cultural and business practices, covering a range of countries world vide. He’s a faculty member at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication, and an active member of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research.

Having worked and lived in six countries – and travelled to over 70 – Peter understands well the challenges that multinational companies encounter as well as the complex goals international executives must achieve while managing employees around the world. Before becoming an Intercultural trainer, Peter worked within multicultural teams in the Slovak military, in international engineering and in the travel industry. These experiences led to his passion to help global multicultural teams become effective when working across cultures and become exceptional global leaders.

The ABC’s of Resume Writing, Interviewing, Internships, & Professional Etiquette

Debra Wessels

Debra Wessels is a Senior Human Resources Professional/Consultant for BBSI with over 25 years extensive experience providing strategic human resources services from small to large employer organizations, including a Professional Employer Organizations (PEO), where her client base (55+) is in multiple industries throughout Southern California. Throughout her career, Debra has acquired expertise and experience working in positions in both profit and non-profit organization as Senior & Executive Management. Some of these HR Practitioner and Consultant roles have been with top Fortune 500 companies such as UniHealth, Motorola, TRW, Sears, and Citi-Cards Corporations.

Sheryl Bender

Sheryl Bender, PHR, is a Human Resource Professional currently working as a Senior HR Representative at the Port of Long Beach. A Southern California native (by way of Mississippi, through her parents), Sheryl attended UCLA, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Ethnomusicology and Business, and then proceeded on to CSU Dominguez Hills for an MA in Multicultural Education, and an MBA from Cal State Long Beach. Sheryl is also an accomplished musician, with 12 years of classical piano training under her belt, as well as a concentration in Jazz Vocal Studies as part of her undergraduate degree. She is also an avid cook who makes a wicked cupcake, and she enjoys running the occasional marathon to add to her collection of finisher’s medals (14 so far!). She has made her home near the water in Long Beach for the past decade.

Nancy Buvinger

Nancy Buvinger has served as Human Resources Director for 2-1-1 LA County since 2007. Nancy has over 16 years of human resources management experience in multiple for profit and non-profit industries. Her comprehensive knowledge and skills range from administration of AAP and EEOC compliance and successful navigation of compliance enforcement systems to outstanding interpersonal skills. Nancy has been integral in increasing the competency level of the supervisory staff, enhancing leadership expertise to ensure consistency in protocol and policy application. As HR Director for 2-1-1, Nancy also has been responsible for union labor relations and has successfully led negotiations during the current and previous collective bargaining agreements.

Cody Decamp

Mr. Cody DeCamp is a Human Resources executive with over 20 years of progressive human resources leadership experience with various organizations including: Black and Decker, Harman International and his current position as Director of Human Resources with Quinn Caterpillar. He has professional expertise in talent acquisition, employee retention and development, organizational development, performance management, employee relations, compliance, benefit administration, workers compensation and the development of strategic human resources initiatives in support of company goals in both international and domestic environments. Mr. DeCamp holds a BA in Journalism from Drake University and a MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Roxanne Roske

Ms. Roxanne Roske has worked at USC since 2007 as a Senior Complaint Investigator and is responsible for investigating protected class complaints for human resources. Prior to joining the University, she was employed in various health-care related organizations, and the entertainment industry. Ms. Roske has twenty years of diverse human resources experience that includes training, recruitment, employee relations and investigative work. Ms. Roske received her master’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles and her Senior Professional in Human Resources Certification (SPHR) in 1998. She has completed mediation training through the Los Angeles County Bar Association and is an active PIHRA Board Member. Ms. Roske teaches human resources curriculum at two local colleges.

Darlene Cohen

Darlene Cohen, SPHR has over 20 years in Human Resources leadership working for apparel fashion industry employers such as Rampage, ABS by Allen Schwartz and Kenneth Cole.  HR is her greatest passion and in 2008 she started HROC Solutions to offer her expertise on successfully managing and engaging high functioning creative employees to fashion and retail employers.  She is an active member of PIHRA and SHRM and is PIHRA District 11 Chair, Club PIHRA Board member, Student Advisory Board Member and a frequent speaker at events for fashion students and other programs.