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» 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 Jake Aguas

Jake Aguas

Clinical Faculty
Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics
Jake Aguas is an organizational consultant, entrepreneur and Professor of Management. With nearly three decades of experience in the banking and market research industries, Jake has held leadership positions with two Fortune 100 companies as well as with one of the country’s top polling firms. He spent 15 years with JPMorgan Chase as a leader in its retail bank division, notably serving as its Human Resource Manager for Talent Acquisition for the Western United States.
Jake speaks regularly on the topics of emotional intelligence, generational differences, cross-cultural leadership, entrepreneurship, change management and current topics impacting organizations. His research explores the mega-trends impacting the global business environment, specifically regarding a multi-generational and changing workforce. Jake consults internationally assisting organizations with leadership strategy, team building, training, coaching and the design and implementation of global human resource management functions.
Jake is bilingual in Spanish and is pursuing a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Regent University. He holds a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Biola University and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from UCLA. He has been recognized by the California State Assembly and the City of Los Angeles for his contributions in business and leadership.
photo of Kevin Hong

Kevin Hong

Kevin Hong is an entrepreneur, executive, author and Professor of Entrepreneurship. He has been a serial entrepreneur and has focused on tech startups where all three of his companies crossed the $1M ARR (Annual Revenue Rate) mark, two of which grew to $7M ARR and $31M ARR. He has also worked as a CSO at the Vista Group (NZE:VGL) and serves as an advisor to numerous startups. His work has been featured on CNBC, Forbes, HuffPost, NYT, LA Times, Xinhua News, Korea Times, NDR (Germany) and many more. His writings have also been published on CNBC, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, HuffPost and several others. Kevin currently advises several companies in the startup, venture capital, private equity space and has had a lot of experience working in tech companies in entertainment.
Kevin is trilingual (English, Korean and Spanish) and is finishing his MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. For his undergraduate degree, Kevin attended the University of California, Riverside. He has passed his CFA Level 1 exam and previously held several financial licenses (Series 7, 63, and 65) before becoming a serial entrepreneur.
photo of Marshall Toplansky

Marshall Toplansky

Clinical Assistant Professor
BK 402A
Marshall Toplansky is Clinical Assistant Professor of Management Science at Chapman University’s Argyros School of Business and Economics, and Research Fellow at the University’s C. Larry Hoag Center for Real Estate. He is also Senior Advisor of The Cicero Group, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Marshall is the co-author, with Joel Kotkin, of OC Focus, a multi-year research effort, that has identified strategic directions for the growth of Orange County.
A serial entrepreneur, Marshall most recently co-founded the big data sentiment analysis company Wise Window in 2008, which was acquired by KPMG in 2012. While Managing Director at KPMG, Marshall co-founded the firm’s Center of Excellence for Data & Analytics.
Marshall holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an undergraduate degree from SUNY Albany in Political Science/Chinese Studies. He serves on the board of directors of Double Check Solutions, LLC, Harvard Business School Association of Orange County and global NGO Church World Service.
Formerly CEO of Core Strategies and Chief Marketing Officer of U.S, Robotics, Marshall began his career at Ogilvy & Mather advertising in New York. He was elected to the Computing Industry Hall of Fame in 2011 for his role in creating the A+ Certification program, the world’s largest computer service professional certification program.
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.
photo of Tara Sauerbrey

Tara Sauerbrey

Leatherby Center Intern
Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics
Tara Sauerbrey is a driven junior Business Administration and Strategic and Corporate Communication double major 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.
Tara is also involved in various extracurriculars on campus such as the Chapman Residency Program and sorority and fraternity life. Her determination for long-term growth helps drive her success both inside and outside of the Leatherby Center Internship.