Alumni Career Days
Villanova's Alumni and Development Department has launched a Career Day Speaker series for current students led by successful Villanova alumni to educate them about potential career paths. Alumni share their experiences and journeys with students aspiring to enter the workforce following high school and higher education. These real-life stories will help students understand what is available in the career marketplace and what to look for when pursuing their goals. Both success and diversion are needed to demonstrate the challenges that will be faced.
If you want to become a career speaker, please email Tim Bunce at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out our library of professionals below to discuss their career paths.
March 7, 2024 - Korinne Bell `96 "Cultivating Leadership: My Path to Agricultural Commisioner"
Korinne Bell is a highly accomplished professional with a distinguished educational background and a diverse career in education and agriculture. After graduating from Villanova Preparatory School, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. After graduating from college, she worked for her family’s agricultural businesses, including farming (avocados), cattle ranching, and animal feed/retail.
She later pursued a passion for education by teaching 6th grade at a local elementary school for a duration of four years. During this time, she furthered her academic pursuits by obtaining a Masters in Education from Azusa Pacific University. Her transition back into the world of agriculture began when she took on a clerical role in the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, primarily focused on data entry. In recognition of her personal and academic background in agriculture, she participated in a ride-along as an Agricultural Inspector Biologist, where her affinity for the field blossomed.
In 2006, Korinne made the pivotal decision to leave the teaching profession and join the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office full-time. Her dedication and expertise as an Inspector Biologist were quickly recognized, and she specialized in areas such as Pesticide Use Enforcement, Direct Marketing, Organics, Standardization, and Invasive Weed Management. As her career progressed, she assumed the role of Agricultural Land Use Planner, alongside her existing responsibilities. In 2012, Korinne's exemplary contributions led to her promotion to Deputy Agricultural Commissioner. In this capacity, she took on additional leadership roles, including overseeing programs such as the Pierce’s Disease Control Program (commonly known as the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter Program), Agricultural Disaster Assessment, and the Ventura County Crop & Livestock Report.
Her continued dedication to the department and it’s work earned her the opportunity to become Chief Deputy Agricultural Commissioner, which she was appointed to in 2016. As the Chief, she assumed a pivotal role in the organization, overseeing an extensive portfolio of 30 diverse programs and leading a team of over 70 dedicated employees. Her responsibilities encompassed personnel management, Human Resources matters, safety protocols as the department Safety Officer, and serving as the Public Information Officer. Korinne continues to oversee environmental analysis for land use projects involving agriculture and her related role as staff for the Ventura County Agricultural Advisory Committee. In 2022, she played a key role in the merger of the department with the Ventura County Weights & Measures Division. In September of 2023, Korinne Bell was appointed the first female Agricultural Commissioner for Ventura County.
Throughout her career, Korinne Bell has remained steadfastly committed to the department’s mission to protect and promote agriculture and equity in the marketplace while ensuring the welfare of the public, industry, and the environment. Her dedication and leadership continue to shape the future of agriculture in Ventura County.
Korinne Bell currently resides on her family’s avocado ranch in Santa Paula with her husband of 20 years, Terry Bell, and their two children, Carson (16) and Olivia (12).
January 9, 2024 - Edward Campana `12, "Journey from VPS to Firefighter-Paramedic"
Edward Campana is an accomplished professional known for his extensive experience in emergency services, combined with a solid academic and athletic background. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences/History and a minor in Religious Studies from Biola University, along with an A. A. in Paramedic Studies from Ventura College. In his current position, Edward works as a Firefighter Paramedic with the Ventura County Fire Department at Fire Station 23 in Oak View. Before that, he worked for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Ventura Fire Department, and Gold Coast Ambulance.
Additionally, Edward served as an Ocean Lifeguard for California State Parks and engaged in sales and coaching. His athletic prowess is evident from his time as an NCAA Division I Athlete in swimming at the University of Hawaii and an NAIA All-American at Biola University. In his current endeavors, Edward is active as a member of the Tactical Emergency Medical Specialists (T.E.M.S/SWAT), Ocean Rescue Swimmer Cadre, Helicopter Cadre, and Emergency Medical Equipment Cadre. His commitment to mentoring is demonstrated through his involvement with the Fire Explorer Program, and he is also a Nationally Licensed Paramedic.
When Edward isn’t out saving lives, he spends time with his wife Laura, whom he has been with for 12 years and married for the last 6, and two children, daughter Emilia Jane (4 years old) and son Franco Isaiah (8 Months).
December 7, 2023 - Alex Romo `09, "Pro Athlete + Content Creator"
I am Alex Romo, a 32-year-old professional golfer and social media influencer from Oxnard, CA. I went to Villanova HS from 2005-2009 and Cal Poly SLO from 2009-2014, graduating with a degree in marketing and a minor in Psychology.
I have competed on pro golf mini tours across the US since 2016 and have traveled to Argentina, Italy, Florida, and Nebraska for Qualifying Schools for various world tours (European Tour, Korn Ferry Tour, Latin America Tour). Throughout my 7 years as a pro, I have documented my training, tournaments, and reflections on social media and have grown an audience of 1.5M+ followers.
This has opened up opportunities for me to work with major brands like Lexus, Vital Proteins, 24-Hour Fitness, Barstool Sports, Travis Mathew, Adidas, Puma, and nearly 100 others and earn a full-time income for myself as an influencer while still competing in golf tournaments as well. I’ve also been able to travel with tourism boards and golf resorts/destinations to promote golf and health and wellness due to my online reach.
I believe in a holistic approach to golf and life that includes fitness, mindfulness, nutrition, and a myriad of other daily habits that contribute to feeling your best and having the energy to pursue your passions wholeheartedly.
I am also working on coaching and mentorship courses and communities to teach what I’ve learned and continue experimenting with in pursuing my golf, social media, and life goals. Watch presentation video
November 14, 2023 - Alex Sattler `12, "What Schools Won't Teach You"
Alex Sattler is a dynamic and accomplished individual whose journey through education and entrepreneurship has been nothing short of remarkable. Born and raised in Ojai, California, Alex graduated from Villanova Preparatory School in 2012, marking the beginning of an inspiring path to success.
After completing high school, Alex's pursuit of higher education led him to California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI). His commitment to academic excellence shone through as he graduated in 2017 with Cum Laude honors, earning a degree in Performing Arts. During his time at CSUCI, he cultivated a diverse skill set and pursued his passion of performing arts in multiple facets.
But Alex's story doesn't end with academic achievements. He is now a co-owner of an Improv Comedy School in Ventura, CA. JEST Entertainment demonstrates not only his dedication to the entertainment industry of Ventura County but also his entrepreneurial spirit. His involvement in the comedy school showcases his ability to inspire and educate others, providing a platform for aspiring comedians to hone their craft and find their comedic voice, while also navigating a global pandemic.
Alex Sattler's multifaceted journey encompasses a wide range of experiences, from his academic accomplishments at CSUCI to his thriving role in the world of comedy education in Ventura County. His unique blend of education and entrepreneurship reflects a dedication to personal growth and a commitment to helping others achieve their creative goals.
With a proven track record of success and a passion for empowering others to explore their comedic potential, Alex Sattler continues to make a significant impact in both the education and entertainment sectors of Ventura County. His story serves as an inspiration to those looking to turn their passions into fulfilling and successful careers.
August 25, 2023 - John Jenks `72, "The Secret Lives of Private Investigators — It Ain't Like the Movies"
John M. Jenks, BSW, MS, FAC
Mr. Jenks is a Forensic Social Worker, Addiction Specialist, and licensed Private Investigator. He is a court-recognized expert in the field of narcotic enforcement, police procedures, substance use disorders, process addictions, mental health disorders, and treatment.
He graduated from Villanova in 1972 and attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo as a journalism major from 1972-75. He left Cal Poly in 1975 to begin his career in the criminal justice system. He was a police officer for 12 years, 6 years on patrol, and 6 years as a detective. He was a homicide detective for 2 years and an undercover narcotics detective for 4 years. He was twice elected to the State Executive Board of the California Narcotic Officer’s Assn. He received the Officer of the Year Award for 4 separate years and a Medal of Valor for heroism in 1985.
Mr. Jenks left law enforcement in 1987 and returned to school, obtaining his BSW in Addiction Studies, his MS in Counseling Psychology, and he completed his coursework for his Ph.D. in Addictive Disorders. He was completing his doctoral dissertation when he suffered a stroke which forced him to suspend his studies.
As a forensic social worker and addiction specialist, Mr. Jenks is regularly hired by private counsel and appointed by courts throughout the State and in the U.S. Federal Court System to conduct forensic evaluations, conduct pretrial and posttrial investigations, prepare mitigation reports, and make sentencing recommendations. He has also testified as an expert witness in over 500 trials.
Mr. Jenks’s daughters, Whitney and Connelly also graduated from Villanova, and he proudly boasts that both girls were the Female Athletes of the Year. He coached softball and girls volleyball during and after his daughters’ time here. Whitney (03) holds an MS in Human Development and is the Director of homeless services for Help of Ojai. Connelly (05) holds an MSW, is an LCSW, and is the Clinical Director for a Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center in Long Beach.
April 18, 2023 - Lexi White `08, "Finding my Version of Creativity through Architectural Practice"
Lexi White is currently an architectural designer living in Los Angeles, California. She has wide-ranging experience across various scales of design, from museum exhibitions to institutional buildings—working on projects within the United States and abroad. More recently, while at Gehry Partners, she worked on civic typologies, including public gardens, pavilions, and symphonic performance spaces. Her interest in aesthetic form-finding stems from the ability of materials to affect the sensory perception of space.
Lexi graduated with honors from Washington University in St. Louis and Lehigh University, where she received her Master's in Architecture and Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degrees, respectively.
Lexi recently won the Forge Prize. Please read more about that here!
March 27, 2023 - Kelly Cox Gonzalez `12, "A Jack of All Trades"
Kelly Cox-Gonzalez, MSOP, is a graduate of the Villanova class of 2012 and is pursuing her passion for working in Orthotics and Prosthetics at Hanger Clinic, the largest O&P company in the nation. As an allied health professional, she has the ability to put her multidisciplinary set of skills and experiences into practice every day when working with patients. Her passion started as a curiosity that led her to find the intersectionality between creating and helping others, something her Villanova Augustinian and Santa Clara University Jesuit educations helped contribute to. Last May, Kelly graduated from CSU Dominguez Hills with a Master’s in Health Science, Orthotics, and Prosthetics and is currently in her first year of residency in sunny San Diego. In her free time, she enjoys exploring her new home, frequenting the zoo and beach, painting, and playing the piano. Click here to watch Kelly's presentation.
March 10, 2023 - Sophia Miles `07, "Forging Your Own Career Path"
Sophia was raised in Ojai and had the privilege of attending Villanova for high school. She played tennis and was actively involved in school spirit (she even won the most school spirit in senior year!). After high school, she attended the University of San Francisco. While in San Francisco, she immersed herself in the hospitality field and found her calling. After moving back to Ojai at 24, she became fortunate enough to become the owner of Ojai's oldest establishment, the Deer Lodge, and has now expanded to a new restaurant in town, Tres Hermanas. Sophia shared with students what college meant to her, career paths (or lack thereof), community, and how her experience at Villanova helped shape the person she is today. If you see Sophia around Ojai, tell her hi! She loves seeing the support from the community.
November 18, 2022 - Kilo Akuna '06, "The Art of Getting Your Foot in the Door"
As an entertainment industry professional and a Computer Graphics Supervisor who now specializes in post-production, Kilo has been fortunate enough to work on over a hundred projects for televisions, movies, commercials, and games. He’s also gotten to work in almost every facet of movie magic, from PA work (delivering coffee and hard drives), pitching a movie, preproduction, being on set and working in visual effects and post-production.
Kilo says: “I am a nerdy gamer who was inspired as a kid by my love of Smash Brothers, Final Fantasy, Jurassic Park, World of Warcraft, Spiderman, and FLCL. During my years at Villanova and Chapman University, I was able to find friends who also loved gaming and movies. This passion and those friendships helped give me the drive to learn as much as I could about how to work in the industry I'm in today. My close friends during my Villanova years still talk to me sixteen years later.”
Nowadays, he spends his free time with his wife, dogs, and friends, watching horror movies and anime, playing fighting games, and tending his home and garden up in the mountains which he calls home. Click here to watch Kilo's presentation.
October 27, 2022 - Anastasia Marks '17, "Journalism and the Importance of Being a Self-Starter."
After graduating from Villanova in 2017, Anastasia Marks attended the University of Maryland and earned degrees in journalism, government, and politics. In 2020, she was hired as a multiplatform editor at The Washington Post in the nation’s capital. At the beginning of 2022, she moved to the New York Times. She now edits breaking news content and long-form features covering science and health, including the coronavirus pandemic, NASA developments, and the Nobel Prizes. The most important skill she learned at Villanova was time management, which taught her to take on multiple projects and responsibilities effectively and efficiently.
Click here to listen to Anastasia's talk.
August 29, 2022 - Mike Baker '86, "Cops Uncovered"
Mike is a Ventura County Sheriff, Detective, and Mentor. Mike comes from a long line of Villanova supporters. His older brother Josef graduated from Villanova in 1984. Mike's talk is titled "Cops Uncovered."
He wants students to understand that behind the uniform and badge and sometimes mirrored sunglasses, there is a flesh and blood father, son, brother, mother, daughter, and sister.
Click here to listen to Mike's talk.
May 10, 2022 - Kim Cluff-Larkin '87, "Career Path of a Villanova Troublemaker? From VPS to Federal Indian Law"
Kim serves as the Legal Director at California Tribal Families Coalition. Kim will be presenting her career path from Villanova with an interest in tribal issues and attending law school. Her talk is titled “Career Path of a Villanova Trouble Maker? From VPS to Federal Indian Law.” We look forward to learning a bit about Indian law and hearing from Kim regarding her own experiences, which will allow the students to recognize that they have a voice and that they can make a difference in the world.
Click here to listen to Kim's talk.
April 28, 2022 - Mary McNally '83, "Moving from VPS to College, to Career, Tips from an Alumna"
Mary McNally is the Executive Assistant Dean for Administration at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. She has served in this role for the past ten years, where she leads and manages the school’s finances, facilities, capital projects, safety programs, human resources, and information technology. Prior to joining the SVM, McNally served in a similar role as the Assistant Dean for Business and Finance on the UC Davis campus in the Graduate School of Management for five years. At the UC Davis campus, she has also worked as a Chief Administrative Officer for the Land, Air, and Water Resources Department in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and as a Contracts and Grants Officer in the Sponsored Programs Office. Prior to her work with UC, she also served in the California state government for seven years, five of which were at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System as a health program manager. McNally is a UC Davis alumna who graduated with a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics in 1993. She is also an alumna of Villanova Preparatory School, graduating in 1983. She is a Davis resident, married with a son in graduate school.
Click here to listen to Mary's talk.
March 3, 2022 - Jacob Greenspan '15, "Where you start is not where you finish"
On March 3, the student body heard from alum Jacob Greenspan ’15, a 5x platinum, Grammy-nominated musician and producer. Jacob co-produced & co-wrote the radio #1 & Billboard Rap #1 song of the year, “ROXANNE,” by Arizona Zervas. He also co-wrote “Lifetime” by Justin Bieber for which he received a Grammy nomination. Jacob shared with the community how his time at Villanova impacted his career and shared advice for students looking to break into the music industry.
November 16, 2021 - Richard Hurley '05, "Exploring the Universe from NASA JPL"
We are excited to announce our last career speaker of 2021, set for next Tuesday - Mr. Richard Hurley ‘05. Mr. Hurley works for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (yes, that NASA).
He is responsible for overseeing the integrated master schedule of a satellite launch. His role is vital because if one of the many concurrent projects of the program falls behind, the entire launch date could be delayed. Additionally, he tracks progress and evaluates the entire project's value. His current project is called “SunRISE” (Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment).
To read more about Mr. Hurley and the projects he’s working on, click here.
November 9, 2021 - Michael Wilson '59
We are excited to have Mr. Michael Wilson ‘59 join us on Nov. 9. The format will be an interview followed by a Q&A session. Mr. Wilson is a film and theatre producer, screenwriter, and international photography collector-expert. He is well-known for his work as a producer and writer for the James Bond movie series.
Click here to read Mr. Wilson’s full bio, including his work in independent films, Broadway, and as a Fellow of the Science Museum in London.
November 2, 2021 - Celia Palermo '13, "From the Stands to the Sidelines: Turning Sports into a Career"
We are excited to announce our next career speaker, Celia Palermo, from the class of 2013. Ms. Palermo will join us via Zoom on Tuesday, November 2, and will share with the student body her work in sports broadcasting. Currently, she covers sports news for the University of Iowa, Iowa State, and Illinois athletics, PGA Tour golf, hockey, minor league baseball, and local sports.
April 2021 - Matt LaVere '97, "My Journey from VPS to Ventura County Supervisor"
Please join us for our first career talk of the new school year on Oct. 14 at 9:20 a.m. at the grotto led by Matt LaVere ‘97, who currently serves on the Board of Supervisors, representing District 1 (which covers San Buenaventura, Montalvo, Saticoy, Ojai Valley, City of Ojai, Upper Ojai Valley, Riverpark, Northwest Oxnard, and North Coast).
To read Matt’s full bio, click here.
April 2021 - Andrea Maahs '98, "Getting into Game Design."
Andrea Maahs (Roland) was born and raised in Ojai and graduated from Villanova’s class of 1998. She holds a degree in Game Development from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and presently lives in Henderson, Nevada, with her husband, Geoff, and four cats. She has worked on both mobile games and skill-based slot machine games in Unity and considers herself an able Photoshop Monkey. Her present hobbies include streaming video games as a Twitch Affiliate and making any craft she can get her hands on.
March 2021 - Jessica Landon '00, "Building the Career of Your Dreams."
Jessica Landon currently serves as the Construction Project Director at Cordoba Corporation, where she oversees projects for East Los Angeles College.
During her fifteen-year career in construction, Jessica has held almost every role on a construction team, and she has worked on some of the largest public works projects in the state, including the LAX Runway 7L/25R Replacement and the New Central Taxiway Project.
Jessica received her Bachelor of Civil Engineering (BCE) degree from the Catholic University of America in 2004 and is a Certified Construction Manager (CCM). To read her full bio, click here.
February 2021 - Rob Taylor '86, "Don't be afraid to take bets - They'll all work out in the end."
Rob Taylor ‘86 is currently Head of Partnerships and Alliances for a division of Google Cloud, which rents computer infrastructure to companies around the world. Previously, Rob was the Vice President of Alliances at Apigee, a provider of API management software, which was purchased by Google in 2016. Rob has held senior general management positions at no less than eight technology and investment management firms during his 22-year career in Silicon Valley.
Rob, like his twin brother Mike, attended UC Berkeley and majored in political economy. Rob received his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1995. Rob and his wife Gwen (Class of 1988) live in the Bay Area and have three children. Rob and Mike are still the best of friends and now can be seen regularly running through Huddart Park in Woodside, CA.
January 2021 - John Fuller '80, "Things I wish I knew back then that I know now, and wish someone would have told me."
John Fuller (Class of '80) currently serves as the president and CEO of the famous Wahlburgers, the burger chain that was founded by celebrity brothers Paul, Donnie, and Mark Wahlberg and got a publicity boost from a reality TV show of the same name.
Before his move to Wahlburgers, John was president and CEO of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, based in Los Angeles, CA. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is the world’s largest independent premium retailer of coffee and teas, with approximately 1,200 locations in 30 countries.
December 2020 - Dr. Monika Foster Martin '05, "An Unconventional Journey to Medicine"
Monika Foster Martin (Class of ‘05) received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2010. She attended the University of Southern California for medical school and graduated with her MD in 2015. She completed her pediatric residency at Harbor UCLA Medical Center and is in the final year of her fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at Harbor UCLA and Children’s Hospital Orange County. She and her family currently reside in Torrance, CA with their two dogs. Monika will be joining a private practice in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after graduation.
November 2020 - Mike Taylor '86, "Low Tech Roads into Hi-Tech: How Villanova Prepared me for Tesla and Microsoft"
Mike Taylor is currently Chief Financial Officer at GitHub, a sharing site for code: “Over 31 million people use GitHub to build amazing things together across 97+ million repositories.” Previously Mike was Vice President, Finance, Treasurer, and
in charge of New Markets for Tesla Motors. Mike was also CFO for Tropos Networks and Benchmark Capital and Vice President for Finance at Micromuse.
Mike attended UC Berkeley, majoring in political economy from 1986 to 1990, and received his MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 1996. Mike also received his Juris Doctorate from Stanford University Law School in that same year. Mike and his wife Tammy live in the Bay Area and have two sons currently attending university.
October 2020 - Tara Hernandez '89, "Tech is for Anybody!"
Tara Hernandez `89, is currently a senior engineering manager at Google. Tara is
a specialist in software engineering infrastructure and was an early promoter of what came to be known as the Continuous Integration revolution. Prior to Google, she was the manager of the Netscape Release and DevTools team, where she helped launch Mozilla.org and the newly open-sourced browser, as well as the corresponding developer tool stack: Bugzilla, Tinderbox, and Bonsai. Additionally, Tara is on the Technical Oversight Committee for the Continuous Delivery Foundation, is a member of the board for Women Who Code, and hosts the 'Women Who Code Radio" podcast.