Barbara Boldt, International Communication Specialist
Barbara has more than 20 years experience training international managers and students in effective cross-cultural communication. An American national, she expatriated herself to Europe in 1994 and spent the next 19 years creating and living her career as a trainer, teacher and coach. Barbara has been teaching International Presentation Skills for more than 15 years, both in academic and corporate settings. For seven years she facilitated Pitching Contests for technical/entrepreneurial master’s students at the Swiss Federal Technical Institute in Lausanne Switzerland. Her gift is in being able to help people, especially those who are not native speakers of English, to express themselves clearly, concisely, and professionally, no matter the situation or circumstance. Barbara holds a B.A. in Nutrition from the University of Iowa and a M.A. in International Relations from University of the Pacific.
Robert Riad Sukkar, International Business Consultant
Robert has +20 years of experience in Management Consulting, Business Development, Training, Human Resources Development, and Information Technology. Robert is a certified International Management Consultant, and Certified International Trainer. He has worked for international organizations such as the European Union, European Investment Bank, United Nations for Development Program (UNDP), World Health Organization (WTO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and IFC. His practice locations included the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, Gulf countries and North America. With integrity and clarity, Robert now joins the ISM team to provide international management consulting .
Bernard P. Kanjoma, International Project Manager
Bernard P. Kanjoma holds a Masters in Management from Walsh College, Troy, Michigan, with specializations in Strategic Management, and International Business, and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management with a minor in Marketing from Rochester College, Rochester Hills, Michigan. Mr. Kanjoma continues to use his expertise in management and international business by overseeing the International programs in ISM.
Linda Anger, CC/CL, Writer/Editor, Marketing Communications Manager
Linda Anger is president of The Write Concept, Inc. She has over three decades experience in corporate communications, content development and management, and manuscript development. Linda has 20+ years of publication credits, and is the 2013-2015 President of Detroit Working Writers. She was recognized by the Detroit Chapter of National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) with the 2011 Pioneering Spirit Award. Linda is an avid and active member of several Toastmaster International clubs, and facilitates workshops on Speaking Skills for writers, introverts, and other groups.
Pat Salo, MBA, Business Coach and Trainer
Pat Salo has 30+ years’ experience working with small companies. In her early career, she served as a controller and finance officer. Later, she worked as a director for the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) consulting with small business owners. Pat was recognized by the Detroit Chapter of National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) as Advocate of the Year for her role as a business consultant. She is a certified Kauffman Foundation FastTrac trainer.
Faris Alami, Founder & CEO
Working with multi-unit national and international companies, Faris Alami has served nonprofit organizations, five-star resorts, national marketing companies, and major department store chains Under his management, one client company experienced a 1300% increase in membership. Another reduced product returns by 58%, and a third company cut employee turnover by 92%. Faris partnered with TechTown – Wayne State University’s Research and Technology Park – where he managed over 45 start-ups, and played a role in planning entrepreneurial training, talent, and several international initiatives. He is a certified FastTrac Facilitator in the internationally recognized Entrepreneurial Training program through the Kauffman Foundation. Faris facilitates the Global Trade Mission program in which high school students learn to launch a global technology company, and mentors University of Michigan MBA students. He serves on the board of several organizations.
Download Faris' CV here:
Derrin Leppek, Small Business Specialist
As a Small Business Specialist, Derrin Leppek has implemented and ran several small business investment programs, along with coaching hundreds of business owners. Derrin specializes in hi-tech and retail business development, and is an expert in business pitching. He is passionate about working with minority, and underserved groups. The investment funds Derrin has managed have funded a high percentage of women, veterans, African-American, Middle-Eastern and other disparate populations. Most recently, Derrin worked closely with JPMorgan Chase overseeing their Innovation Fund at Macomb Community College. Previously, he served as the Managing Director of Place-Based Entrepreneurship at Wayne State University’s, TechTown. There he launched several successful programs including the highly impactful SWOT City program that works with small businesses in the underserved neighborhoods of Detroit. In total, Derrin has raised more than $10M in capital for multiple programs, entrepreneurs, and his own hi-tech startup – NextCAT.
Iyinoluwa Omishope, Business Idea Coach Assistant
Iyinoluwa Omishope is currently an Industrial and Systems Engineering student at Wayne State University with a concentration in Systems Optimization. She completed an entrepreneurship through the DTX launch program at TechTown where she served as the project manager for her team and won the program’s MVP award. She is currently working on Millennial Marketing Strategies as a research assistant at Wayne State University.
ISM, Inc. works in four practice areas – what we call “pillars of business” – that frequently weave together:
Our team members come from a diverse set of backgrounds spanning across industries and disciplines. We have experience and expertise across the four ISM pillars of business as well -- Entrepreneurship, Global Leadership, Technology, and Community Outreach. Learn more about our team members individual experiences below.
Jason Beale, Small Business Specialist
Jason has over 8 years’ experience in commercial real estate and business finance. He has his Bachelor’s from Walsh College in Troy, Michigan. He has several years in business development and sales. At 1st National Financial (now 1st Financial Lending) he help build the company's commercial loan business from $20MM annual to over $400 Million in commercial loans. While the head of development for several companies including, a commercial cleaning company and a promotional marketing company, Jason grew sales over 500% at each company. Jason was the cofounder of a tech website/app called Regaingo, where Jason raised over $150K in seed funding and won several pitch competitions. Over his career Jason has worked side by side with hundreds of entrepreneurs for the last 10 years helping them acquire financing, put together business plans, market strategies, team development and investor pitches. Jason has structured creative financing and business development for several companies allowing them to acquire all of their capital needs along with provide flexibility for long term growth.
Michael Crawford, Special Advisor, Innovation
Building upon more than seven years of facilitation and scholarship in the fields of psychology, education, entrepreneurship, and human development, Michael combines theory and practice from multiple disciplines to drive creative and impactful work. Formerly of Kauffman Scholars, Inc., the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, and Story2, Michael draws upon a wealth of experience from academia, philanthropy, and startups. He is currently a PhD candidate in educational psychology, with an emphasis on development and learning, at the University of Kansas. His research and service has centered around youth development, non-formal learning environments, and adolescent neuroscience. When he's not working, you can find Michael spending time with his family, reading, and Tweeting.
Sheu-Jane Gallagher, Director of Customer Experience
Sheu-Jane was previously the director of entrepreneurial services at TechTown Detroit, where she advised entrepreneurs developing tech-based startups.
Sheu-Jane also held positions with Ford Motor Co. and Decoma International, and taught mechanical engineering at Wayne State University. She holds a PhD in mechanical engineering from Rutgers University with a special expertise in biomedical engineering. As director, she helps companies maximize the value that their products or services deliver to their customers.
Han Peng, Finance Director
Han Peng is a former investment analyst at Invest Michigan, where he supported all aspects of analysis, underwriting and monitoring of investments as well as setting up tracking and monitoring systems for Michigan Pre-Seed Fund 2.0. Prior to this, he was manager of entrepreneurial services at TechTown, providing guidance to client companies that were seeking capital. His experience includes assistance with business plans, financial statements, loan applications for state financing programs, and connecting to angel investors. Han holds an MBA from Wayne State University and a Bachelors Degree in Economics from Michigan State University.
Mojgan Mehrabi, Technology Intern
Mojgan Mehrabi is currently a student at Wayne State University, pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Computer Technology. She is a former DTX Launch Detroit program participant at TechTown, performing as the team leader. Mojgan, at present, is a student assistant and peer mentor for the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Learning Community at Wayne State University.
Kristen Sheppard, Digital Marketing Manager
Kristen is earned her Master’s of Science in Information at the University of Michigan with focuses in Human-Computer Interaction and Entrepreneurship. She has entrepreneurship experience working on her own venture and previously worked at Google where she consulted a wide variety of industries on their AdWords and digital marketing strategies. She currently works as a developer and technology evangelist for an online brokerage firm.