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Leadership @ SNU
Enterprise Creation & Management
Learn the practical tools of enterprise creation and management from professionals. Exercise those tools in competitions where you apply your entrepreneurial thinking skills. Get mentor input from the successful entrepreneurs who gravitate to the Tahoe Basin and have joined SNU Tahoe's Center for Leadership Mentors.
Join the Tahoe Entrepreneur's Assembly. Dive into Reno's growing tech scene, including the Tesla/Panasonic gigafactory, UNR Innevation Center, Switch, and a growing group of start-ups. Change the world with your next enterprise, big or small, local, national, or international.
Learn about Enterprise Creation & Management @ SNU
Meet Your Mentors
- MBA, Hofstra University
Jonathan Breiter is a 40-year veteran of the global marketing business world. His experience ranges across marketing, branding, licensing, retail and e-commerce relations, manufacturing, and product development. He has managed accounts for companies such as Wendy’s, General Mills, and Hasbro, and brands including Yoplait Yogurt, Pokémon, SpongeBob Squarepants, Elmo, Barney, Dora The Explorer, Eddie Bauer, Jeep and Carter’s. In 1994, Breiter started his own company, Oh Baby! In a remarkable move for a start-up, Oh Baby! was able to secure consumer goods licenses for both Sesame Street and Barney.
Breiter in now the Owner & Principal of Public Group LLC, an international new business development and marketing advisory with specialties in manufacturing, product development, financing, licensing, branding and retail. In January 2018 he joined Sierra Nevada University as the chair of the Entrepreneurship program.
“Nothing inspires me more than teaching students, at any level, and noticing when they magically grasp a concept and have that light bulb moment of clarity. Knowing that I can influence someone’s life by giving them the knowledge to do what they have dreamt about doing, and by giving them the skills to become practitioners of their field, is another of the many reasons why I love teaching.”
- BA, California State University, Long Beach
Tim began his career in mountain resort management in 1979. After serving as President & General Manager of Lake Tahoe’s Kirkwood Mountain Resort for 17 years, he purchased the Sierra Summit ski area outside of Fresno in 2010. He restored the original name, China Peak, and has been the resort’s Owner/Operator since.
Tim began at Sierra Nevada University in 2002, and became Program Chair of the Business Department’s Ski Business and Resort Management program in 2005. He is also a guest lecturer in business and recreation tourism at CSU Fresno and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He currently sits on both of the National and California Ski Industry Associations Boards of Directors.
- BS Business Administration, San Diego State University
- MBA, University of Southern California
- Juris Doctorate, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.
Gire has worked for a wide array of entertainment enterprises, from independent start-ups to large multinational media companies, in both production and distribution capacities during his twenty-eight years in the entertainment business. Gire, a JD/MBA and active member of the California Bar, has held senior executive positions with Columbia Pictures Television, PolyGram Television, MGM/UA, Pearson International (now Fremantle Media, producer of American Idol), Fox Family Worldwide and, most recently, Sweden’s Modern Times Group (owner of the Survivor format). In 2006, Gire designed the curricula for and taught graduate-level Business Affairs and Intellectual Property for Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon’s Masters in Entertainment Industry Management program. Gire is Chair of the Marketing program and, in addition to marketing coursework, teaches Business Law, Intellectual Property, and Corporate Finance. He also runs a boutique law practice and small independent publishing company in Truckee, CA.
- BS, Microbiology, Arizona State University
- PhD, Immunology, University of California, Berkeley
Suzanne Gollery is all about her students. Her focus is on problem-based learning that promotes understanding and application of biology facts and concepts, rather than lectures and memorization of an ever-growing body of details. Microbiology, which is easily accessible to undergraduate students, is her central research interest. She also has research experience in immunogenetics and human genetics.
As the cell biologist at SNU, Gollery teaches the general biology series and the upper-division ‘skin-and-in’ courses like anatomy and physiology, genetics, microbiology, and biochemistry. She is the advisor and research mentor for most Biology majors. At SNU, she received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002, and the Distinguished Advising Award in 2012.
For fun, Gollery loves natural history, hiking, camping, and kayaking in the Eastern Sierra. She and her husband raised their children in Incline Village. The family also makes music together with the SNU college chorus, and with TOCCATA, a regional orchestra and chorus, in which Gollery plays flute and sings soprano.
Outdoor Leadership; Environmental & Social Sustainability
- BA, Sociology and Anthropology, Colgate University
- MA, Environment and Community, Humboldt State University
Brennan is a passionate writer, educator, and mountain guide. His writing and guiding work has brought him to all seven of the world’s continents. He finds inspiration backcountry skiing, but is just as inspired facilitating open, honest, and dynamic classroom spaces. Not only does Brennan travel extensively to ski and guide, but he also presents and attends conferences ranging from the Teacher for Social Justice Conference to the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference enhancing his knowledge base and experience in the current field of sustainability.
His writing reflects a diversity of travel and a pursuit of life-long learning. He has been published as a travel, music, adventure, ski, and activist writer both domestically and also abroad. His work can be found in online media, newspapers, and magazines, and his master’s degree research is available in book form.
Brennan teaches Wilderness Survival at Truckee Meadows Community College in addition to teaching in the Interdisciplinary Studies and Environmental Science programs at Sierra Nevada College. His continued mission at SNC is to inspire his students to become aware, critical, and well-rounded liberal arts students. He hopes to use his knowledge to inspire and inform his students during their time at Sierra Nevada College – and beyond.
- BA, New College of California, San Francisco
- MFA, University of California, Davis
Chris Lanier is an artist with a background in both traditional and digital media, and a demonstrated interest in hybrid forms, having worked in multimedia performance, digital animation, web production, and comics. His animation has screened at Sundance and won awards at several international festivals, including the Grand Prize for Internet Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. His graphic novel “Combustion” was published by Fantagraphics Books, and his comics have appeared in a variety of venues, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Reader, Nickelodeon Magazine, and the Indiana Review. He is also an essayist and critic whose art criticism has appeared in a variety of online and print publications, including The Believer, HiLobrow.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon Magazine, the Bay Guardian, and the Comics Journal. Most recently, he curated the exhibit “The Art of Howl,” featuring concept and animation art from the film “Howl,” which featured James Franco as the beat poet Allen Ginsberg. He also did storyboarding for the film. He is currently the Associate Professor of Digital Art at Sierra Nevada College.
International Business and Management
- BA in International Business, Spanish, and Western European Culture, San Diego State University
- MBA in Global Management, Thunderbird School of Global Management
Justin Spees grew up here in Incline Village, and has studied, worked, volunteered, and traveled in more than 60 countries. He has been in international finance, marketing, and strategic management roles in both small and large firms. He started an investment advisory firm in 2008, and still manages the business today. While working in Europe from 2011-2015 in the telecommunications and logistics industries, he learned to speak German and Spanish.
Justin came to SNU in 2016, and became the chair of the business department in May of 2018. He is also the director of a non-profit organization called Give The Dream Foundation, and volunteers as a project manager for international humanitarian and conservation efforts. His favorite thing about living and working here at beautiful Lake Tahoe is that he can do all the things he loves between classes, whether it’s hiking, paddleboarding, mountain biking, snowboarding, or kitesurfing.
- BA, University of Pennsylvania
- MBA, Columbia University
A lifelong entrepreneur, Rick Winfield began his career in the early days of the “dot-com boom,” gaining experience working for small entrepreneurial ventures, large companies (including Microsoft and AT&T), and venture funded startups.
Rick escaped to Mexico as the dot-com bubble burst and came back inspired to start his own venture. In 2001, he founded ComputerTrainingSchools.com, a pioneer in the .edu lead generation space. He bootstrapped the company and grew it until successful acquisition. Rick also co-founded Veskritec, Inc., an early venture accelerator.
Inspired by working with young entrepreneurs and a long-time advocate of what has become known as the “lean startup” methodology, Rick returned to school in 2012 to earn his MBA (studying with the grandfather of lean startup, Steve Blank).
Rick began teaching as an Adjunct Professor at Sierra Nevada College and the University of Nevada-Reno in 2014. He joined SNC full-time in the Fall of 2015. While Rick’s primary focus is entrepreneurship, he also teaches classes in marketing and finance.
In addition to teaching, Rick is an active angel investor and startup mentor who has lived in the Reno/Tahoe area for over ten years. An accomplished adventure skier, he has skied deep powder, steep couloirs, and big volcanoes on all seven of the world’s continents.
- BS, University of California, Davis (Major: Economics; Minor: Communication)
- MBA, Arizona State
Kendra Wong began her professional career with PricewaterCoopers, LLP in their audit practice. Her experience at PwC exposed her to numerous industries, including venture capital and life science. Since leaving PwC, Kendra has worked in the ski resort, medical device, and power industries. Kendra maintains an active CPA license in California.
Although her educational foundation is in economics, Kendra’s professional concentration since 2001 has been in accounting and finance. She has extensive experience in general ledger accounting, SEC reporting, and SOX audits.
Kendra joined the Sierra Nevada College faculty as an adjunct in fall 2007, but has since expanded her role. She teaches accounting, finance, and general management courses and serves as a student academic advisor. Kendra was promoted to Business Department Chair in Fall 2013. Kendra has mentored business plan teams in the Jâlé and Warren Trepp Business Plan Competition at SNC and the statewide Governor’s Cup for the past three years. In 2013, Kendra was recognized as the Faculty Advisor of the Year by Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.
Outside of the classroom, Kendra enjoys the outdoors just as much as her students do. Kendra is an avid skier during the winter and enjoys running, hiking, and biking during the summer. Kendra and her husband, Ethan, own the Wild Alaskan Restaurant and Bar in Incline Village.
The areas of educational excellence at the Sierra Nevada College of Entrepreneurial Leadership are CREATIVITY (Studio Art, Creative Writing, & Communications), LEADERSHIP (Enterprise Creation and Management), and SUSTAINABILITY (the Environmental, Social, & Life Sciences).