2012 UCLA Africa Growth Conference, April 18th, 2012

“The top African business leaders are meeting at the UCLA Anderson School of Business Campus for their annual “Africa Growth” conference exploring the most exciting business opportunities in the region. People tend to mistake Africa for a troubled continent, rife with poverty and political turmoil. But, this mischaracterization is far from the truth as some African countries represent the most thriving regions in the world.

See below for a full list of this year’s speakers. ”

Andrew Ainslie | Senior Associate Dean, UCLA Anderson School of Management
Andrew Ainslie is the Senior Associate Dean of the Full-time MBA program. His major research interests are in economic and statistical models of consumer behavior and in direct marketing. In particular, he is focused on developing variance components models for a variety of environments. Topics he has investigated include: new products and movie diffusion, model performance and consumer behavior uncovered through choice modeling. Most recently, among other areas, he is studying the effect of store characteristics on consumer purchasing behavior.

Dr. Ainslie is a member of the editorial boards for: Review of Marketing Science, Journal of Interactive Marketing and Journal of Marketing Research. He also serves as an ad-hoc reviewer for: Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, Management Science and Journal of Business and Economic Statistics.

Before joining the UCLA Anderson faculty in 2000, Dr. Ainslie was an assistant professor of marketing at Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. Prior to that, he consulted for several direct mail and not-for-profit organizations on effective modeling techniques while working on his Ph. D. degree. Earlier, he was a senior manager in marketing and development for a midsize software company specializing in customized software for the legal and paralegal market.

Dr. Ainslie teaches the core course in marketing to full-time and fully employed MBA students. He also teaches in several executive education programs. Previously, he taught “Data-Driven Marketing” at Cornell University. He received his PhD in Marketing and Statistics from the University of Chicago, and MBA and BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Giang Biscan ’09 | Founder, B Success Network, LLC
Known as “The Startup Angel”, Giang Biscan is the Founder of B Success Network, LLC and (previously B Success Network, LLC provides business consulting services and training workshops to help businesses of all sizes meet their goals and objectives. is a product of B Success Network, providing fund raising support services, private and public networking events and media exposure for early-staged tech startups.

Few times a year, she works at the MDE (Management Development for Entrepreneurs) and EBV (Entrepreneurs Bootcamp for Veterans with disabilities) programs at UCLA, coaching entrepreneurs with their launch and growth business plans. Previously, Giang was the Producer of Mixergy, a media source for video interviews of successful entrepreneurs.

Giang Biscan is a passionate evangelist for the tech startup community in Los Angeles. Since 2006, Giang has organized more than 200 business events of all sizes to bring the community together. She was an organizer of the first ever Los Angeles tech community conference, the Startup LA conference in 2006. Giang’s passion for the entrepreneurs’ community started in late 90′s when she co-founded a tech startup that was the online entertainment hub for the Vietnamese expat communities in the USA and Australia. She sold her shares in 1998 and put the money into real estate investment. Today Giang still holds a portfolio of residential properties in the USA, Australia and Asia.

Giang has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from University of Newcastle in Australia and an MBA from UCLA. In her PhD, she developed a system for processing minerals, now known as the Reflux Classifier. Her work was honored with international medals, awards and media coverage for saving the mineral industry worldwide hundreds of million dollars every year. The Reflux Classifier is now used in Australia, China, Africa and America. She is also an IP (Intellectual Property) specialist, with experience in managing a multi-million-dollar technology patent portfolio of a public company. Giang loves travel, cooking and is an advanced SCUBA diver. She has 2 children and lives in Southern California.

Richard Colback ’01 | Founder & President, Epic States
Richard has over 20 years experience in business development and strategy, working with business executives to implement effective growth strategies in emerging markets of Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Latin America. He has worked for a number of companies including Bain and Company (South Africa), The Commonwealth Development Corporation (Swaziland), Booker Tate (Swaziland and Zambia) and Epic States (Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique).

His current engagement is in the development of affordable technologies for smallholder farmers / rural communities in India, Kenya, Mozambique and Ghana. Typical engagements include the identification of key regions for activity by his clients, and the evaluation and execution of strategic partnerships with appropriate local companies. He is experienced in the integration of technical solutions and inputs, financing, market access, government relations and training to create networks of partners. Organizations engaged by him to participate in such networked solutions have included a combination of local NGOs, bilateral and multilateral funding agencies (World Bank, UN, African Dev. Bank), governmental agencies (USAID, DFID, Gov. of Kenya), research institutes (ICAR, IWMI, TERI), microfinance organizations (CGAP, UNDP, IFAD), local community groups and multinational private sector partners.

Richard is a citizen of the UK and South Africa, and completed a BSc. in Crop Science at the University of Reading, UK and an Msc. in Irrigation Engineering at the University of Southampton, UK. He completed his MBA at UCLA Anderson School of Management where he was a UK Fulbright Scholar.

Leelai Demoz | Academy Award Nominated Producer, Azmari Production
A first generation African immigrant, Mr. Leelai Demoz has had a varied and illustrious career in the arts; he received his first Screen Actors Guild job at 13 and has worked in front and behind the camera ever since. Demoz was nominated for an Academy and Emmy Award for the film “On TipToe,” which premiered on HBO. The film, shot in South Africa, is a profile of the singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Additionally, his work has been seen on MTV, Discovery, BET, VH1, Travel Channel and Lifetime. He ran Jeremy Piven’s production company, Luscious Mayhem, for several years.

He also directed a set of ‘get out the vote’ public service announcements for the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation. The spots featured LL Cool J and Alicia Keys.

Outside of the arts, Demoz has consulted with the United Institute of Peace. He served on a working group for the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation’s Rwanda initiative. He was president of the Schoolhouse Foundation in New York City. The foundation partnered with JP Morgan to provide $200 million in bond financing to build public schools in New York City. It was the first public/private partnership of its kind there.

As an actor he has appeared at leading national and international theaters, ranging from The National Theater of Great Britain to Broadway to regional theaters in the United States.

Tom Epley | Partner, Vance Street Capital
Tom Epley is a highly experienced “turn-around” CEO, his career involving taking control of over a dozen companies in a wide variety of industries and circumstances, strategizing and executing a turn-around plan to attain an on-going state of viability, and installing a long term management team. Every company was successful. The list of companies includes AMF, Bekins, Technicolor, Paradyne, Globespan, Paragon, various chemical, defense and products subsidiaries of FMC Corporation and most recently AMI, companies which range from low tech transportation to high tech semiconductors.

In 2004 Tom had an extensive, multi town visit to South Sudan as a guest of the SPLM (Southern People’s Liberation Movement), occurring exactly at the time of the Sudan/SPLM negotiations that resulted in the creation of South Sudan as a sovereign state. In that visit he traveled to Rumbeck, Julus, Yei, Kauda, and Leuri, the gateway town of Lokichoggio, Kenya, and also as meeting with all the SPLM leaders including John Garang, at that time leader of the SPLM, at Naivasha, Kenya. Subsequent to that visit, he spent three years away from business, researching and authoring the book “The Plague of Good Intentions”, an in depth analysis of the impact of foreign assistance and intervention into the cultures of subSaharan countries.

Since its publication in 2008, Tom became a partner in VSC which acquires and operates medium sized companies in the United States and Europe, but primarily California. He currently manages a collection of five acquired companies, all in technology based manufacturing. In addition he currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for the UCLA Anderson School of Management, on the Board of the Broad Stage, and on the Board of Trustees of the Rand Ph. D. Graduate School of Public Policy. He has a BSME degree from the University of Cincinnati, and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

Alison Germak Gatchev | Director, Corporate Development, Overseas Private Investment Corporation
Ms. Alison Germak Gatchev is the Director of Corporate Development in the Small & Medium Enterprise Finance department at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the primary agency of the U.S. Government tasked with facilitating U.S. private investment into emerging markets. In this role, Ms. Gatchev is responsible for counseling U.S. companies seeking financing, evaluating new project proposals and loan applications, and developing new business opportunities.

Ms. Gatchev is also responsible for leading her department’s outreach efforts to the U.S. business community and cultivating relationships with key federal and local partners. She conducts frequent trainings on OPIC programs and speaks regularly at conferences on international business and development. Ms. Gatchev joined OPIC in 2004, first serving in OPIC’s Office of External Affairs.

Ms. Gatchev holds a M.A. in International Commerce and Policy with an emphasis in Global Business from George Mason University, School of Public Policy. She is the recipient of the school’s 2010 David Ricardo Trade Award, given to the graduate representing exceptional academic ability, involvement, and promise in the fields of commerce and trade.

Ms. Gatchev graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Susquehanna University and has studied abroad at Oxford University.

Dwayne Gathers | Founder, President & CEO, Gathers Strategies, Inc.
Dwayne Gathers is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gathers Strategies, Inc., an independent business development/government relations/international consulting practice, based in Los Angeles, California. The firm provides strategic advisory services to companies, trade development organizations and governments seeking to facilitate new business opportunities in the U.S. and especially those seeking to develop strategic business partnerships and facilitate relationships with the business communities in the State of California. Over fifteen years of Dwayne’s professional career has been devoted to US-African affairs.

Dwayne served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under Ambassador Herman J. Cohen at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. In that role, he played a key role as senior staff in the Bureau of African Affairs coordinating the work of the Bureau, managing a staff of professionals, assisting in outreach to the business and trade communities, engaged on legislative matters and in preparing speeches. During that time (1991-1993), he participated in a number of important business missions to carry out the work of the Department, including to South Africa during the transition to democracy, Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Guinea, Mali, and Senegal, amongst other countries.

In 1995, Dwayne was recruited and appointed by the Governor of California to open the State of California Trade & Commerce Agency’s first trade and investment office in Africa. As first-ever Director of the California Office of Trade and Investment for Sub-Saharan Africa, Dwayne resided in Johannesburg, South Africa from 1995 to 2000.

Upon returning to the U.S. in 2000, Dwayne managed an international trade development consulting practice, based in San Francisco, working with smaller to midsized companies and foreign trade development clients. During this time, he developed and implemented several successful inbound trade and investment missions from Africa to California, including those on behalf of the Mauritius Industrial Development Authority and the Export Promotion Council of Kenya. He has also represented South African technology companies seeking to develop partnerships in the US and film production firms in South Africa.

In addition to international business, Dwayne has participated in various leadership, democracy building and education exchange missions in Africa. These include acting as a consultant to the South Africa Democracy Support project funded by the US Agency for International Development, and serving as a United Nations Election Observer for South Africa’s first all-race elections in April 1994.

A civic leader in his community, Dwayne is a graduate of the Leadership Southern California Class of 2007, serves as Chair of the Board of the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles (which has facilitated the visits by a number of civil society leaders from various African countries to the greater Los Angeles region), and serves on the Board of The Broad Stage at Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center. Dwayne began his professional career in finance, completing the Management Training program with Chemical Bank in New York City before going on to become a Corporate Banking Officer in the bank’s Energy & Minerals Division. Dwayne is a graduate of Dartmouth College (1984) with an A.B. in Economics and Government.

Bobby E. Hines | International Trade Specialist, Downtown Los Angeles Export Assistance Center, International Trade Administration
Bobby Hines is part of a global network of international trade professionals connecting U.S. exporters to key markets abroad. They assist SMEs enter international markets using customized services to locate contacts worldwide. In general those marketing services consist of locating market research, pinpointing export prospects and promoting U.S. Products and services.

U.S. companies offer a fascinating array of products to world markets. In spite of the economic difficulties many countries are facing there continues to be a demand for products made in the U.S.A. U.S. manufactures continue to win new customers and contracts abroad as a direct result of working with the U.S. Commercial Service. The institutional knowledge at fingertips of our offices is what makes our offices unique and valuable.

TS Hines joined the Department of Commerce in 1988. In addition to his current position as an International Trade Specialist, he has also worked as Trade Reference Assistant. During his tenure with the DOC he has traveled extensively, touching down on all seven continents. Bobby’s industry specialization includes cosmetics & toiletries, safety & Security, food & Agriculture, and apparel and textiles. His geographic specialization includes Africa, Near East and South East Asia. He is a recipient of the U.S. Commercial Service Director General’s Excellence award for Excellence in Innovation and the William E. Morton Memorial Award for his work in increasing economic opportunities for and with historically disadvantaged group. Prior to joining the Commerce Department Bobby was employed as a Fire and Causality Commercial Property Underwriter at Unifax Insurance Systems, a subsidiary of Unico America.

A native of Hermitage, Arkansas, Bobby attended the University of California at Los Angeles and Los Angeles City College. Bobby is a veteran of the United States Army.

Wafa J. Hoballah | Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Wafa J. Hoballah
Wafa J. Hoballah, attorney at law is admitted to practice law in the States of New York and Lebanon. She is a registered special legal consultant on the laws of Lebanon and the Middle East with The District of Columbia Bar. She is a graduate of the University of The Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law, California, University of Salzburg, Austria, the Lebanese University, Faculty of Law, and the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.

Ms. Hoballah’s International law practice specializes in business, commercial and corporate law in and between the United States, Europe, the Middle East & West Africa, and Vietnam, focusing on major aspects of international business transactions, negotiations, due diligence investigations, development & financing, and joint ventures.

Ms. Hoballah’s National practice focuses on assisting Lebanese nationals with family, probate & estate matters particularly as it relates to Religious & Civil laws and its compatibility with local United State laws. Ms. Hoballah is an expert on U.S. Lebanese Comparative laws including religious laws as applied by the Lebanese courts.

Another area of Ms. Hoballah’s practice concentrates on U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law. Combining her personal & legal experience with her cultural backgrounds, Ms. Hoballah provides legal services sensitive to the ethnic, business and cultural needs of the community including U.S Permanent residency based on business and investments.

Ms. Hoballah is the President and a founding member of the Los Angeles-Beirut Sister Cities Organization, a chartering board member of the Lebanese American Foundation “LAF” and the past Chair of the Board of the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles.

Guy Kamgaing-Kouam | Founder & CEO, MobileXL
Mr. Kamgaing-Kouam is the Founder & CEO of MobileXL. MobileXL is a California-based technology company focused on building value added services to mobile users worldwide. Mobile-XLprovides emerging markets of Africa, Latin America and the Middle-East with affordable access to communication and relevant information with the ultimate goal of putting these areas on par with parts of the world that have readily available access to PCs, the internet and WAP.

Prior to founding Mobile-XL, Mr. Kamgaing-Kouam successfully supplied telecom equipment and turn-key solutions to mobile operators in emerging markets like MTN, Orange, Celtel, Econet, Vodacom, Telecel, Etisalat, STC and other telecom companies (ISPs, VSAT providers and integrators). Before that, Mr. Kamgaing-Kouam worked for Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Management Consulting advising companies on restructuration, financial risk management and operational improvements.

Originally from Cameroon, Mr. Kamgaing-Kouam has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Paris Curie University in France and a long career as an entrepreneur.

Eric Luchs | Co-Founder, Friends of Shamwari
Erik Luchs was raised in Zimbabwe. For the past thirty years he has lived in the United States. In 2008, Erik was drawn back to his homeland. He witnessed communities struggling to fulfill basic needs in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, massive food shortages, a nationwide failed infrastructure and a failed banking system. Deeply moved by the paradox of the extreme beauty and extreme suffering found in Victoria Falls, he decided to start there. Erik spent 5 months in Africa, investigating and defining ways to give back to bring about positive change, and so Friends of Shamwari was born. Erik was in the financial world for over 18 years and his extensive experience in global financial strategic development will provide a strong backdrop to helping Friends of Shamwari accomplish its’ goals.

Clyde Sotomey | CEO, Sterling Energy Partners
Clyde Sotomey’s company is currently in the pre-development phase of facilitating a100MW solar plant in Ghana. The power produced from this plant will mainly target commercial entities such as mining companies, aluminum manufacturing plants, and other utilities, whose production output is adversely affected by inadequate power supply. The company is currently in the planning stage with other countries in the region to facilitate similar power plants.

Sterling Energy Partners is a strategic development partner with the IFC/WBG “Lighting Africa” campaign. This campaign seeks to provide power to remote and rural communities throughout the continent with no access to the national grid.

Originally from Ghana, Mr. Sotomey received his B.S. in Economics from City University of New York.

Patrick Terry ’11 | Marketing Consultant
Patrick Terry is a marketing consultant helping companies with business development initiatives in the areas of enterprise sales, mobile and online marketing.

Currently, he is putting together an investor presentation pitch event, called PitchAfrica for early-stage South African technology companies in November in Silicon Valley.

Prior to working as an independent consultant, he held roles in sales, marketing and product development for SNL Financial and Xerox Corporation. He began his career as an Investment Banker for Citigroup in New York.


Ladybrille Magazine

Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.

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