Leatherby Center Lobby
Leatherby Center

» Who We Are

The Leadership Team is responsible for hosting the Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship classes, events, programs and competitions. If you have any questions about any of these, don't hesitate to reach out.

Staff of Leatherby Center in front of Center

Leadership Team

photo of Mario Leone

Mario Leone

Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics
Mario Leone is a past Fortune 200 global executive with more than three decades of leadership roles in IT, manufacturing, business development, technology licensing, supply chain and M&A. He has managed international business and development transformation programs in many industries while living both in the US and abroad.
His career began with a twenty-year stay at Union Carbide – Dow Chemical Corporation in operating and senior management positions including the partnership through a Joint Venture with ENI, to form Polimeri Europa based in Milan, Italy to manufacture and market polyethylene.
Over the next 15 years, he followed with Executive and Chief Information Officer (CIO) roles at automotive giant FIAT, based in Turin, Italy, including concurrently the industrial vehicle business unit IVECO, auto aftermarket leader Federal Mogul based in Southfield, Michigan and at California based Ingram Micro, the largest wholesale distributor of computing and mobility products in the world. He is well known as a catalyst for business transformation and focus on company profitability.
In his present teaching role at Chapman University, he has taught more than 1,500 students over the past 5 years both in the US and Europe while continuing private equity and board work at Transient Plasma Systems and InterVision Systems. He recently assumed the Director of Entrepreneurial Studies role and oversight for the Innovation labs at the University.
Mario earned his Bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from Boston University and later an MBA from Babson College in Massachusetts.
photo of Karen Akiyama

Karen Akiyama

Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics
Karen Akiyama has been at Chapman University since 2011. Her role at the Leatherby Center consists of organizing meetings, managing databases, organizing all center events or conferences and supervising and monitoring student workers. She is the main liaison with all the student & alumni start-up teams.
no photo available for Nella Khachian

Nella Khachian

Leatherby Center Intern
Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics
Nella is a driven sophomore Business Marketing major and data analytics minor at Chapman University. She serves as the student intern at the Leatherby Center with tasks surrounding event planning, attending business and acquisition meetings, and helping assist in database management.
Nella is also involved in various extracurriculars on campus such as sorority greek life and clubs. Her determination for long-term growth helps drive her success both inside and outside of the Leatherby Center Internship.