Business Heroes: Pathways to Success


Connecting Business Founders, Owners and Non-Profit Leaders in Order to Navigate in a VUCA* Business Climate (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous)

Our Speakers

Toby Corey

Toby Corey

Former President Global Sales and Customer Experience, Tesla (energy group), Co-founder & Former CEO, Tuul and Former Chief Revenue Officer, SolarCity.

I’m a lifelong entrepreneur turned Zentreprenuer and Stanford University Lecturer. I believe deeply in customer-centric big idea thinking. I like to be on and preferably over the edge as much as possible. I used to think that I was figuring life out over time, silly me. I learned to let my journey expand and flow and then I realized the more knowledge I acquire, the less I really know. That “less” part is what shapes me and where awe-ness exits.

Lorri A. Koster

Lorri A. Koster

Principle, Koster Communications

Lorri A. Koster is the former Chairman and CEO of Mann Packing Company; a grower, shipper, processor of fresh vegetables headquartered in California’s Salinas Valley. In February of 2018, Koster finalized the sale of Mann Packing to Del Monte Fresh Produce, NA. Koster has since reassumed her role as principal of Koster Communications, a marketing and public relations consultancy. She also remains the editorial director of Coastal Grower magazine.



Founder and CEO, Folktale Group

Gregory Ahn is the Founder and CEO of the Folktale Group, which manages the Folktale brand and a growing family of valuable businesses in wine, food, hospitality, and experiences. Founded in 2009, the Folktale Group has grown to encompass 11 national wine brands, 2 wineries, over 400 acres of vines, 4 restaurants, a national sales & distribution company, a special events business, and a craft spirits brokerage.

Judge John M. Phillips

Judge John M. Phillips

Founder, Rancho Cielo and Supervisor, District 2, County of Monterey

John Phillips is a long time resident of Monterey County, having served as Deputy District Attorney, Assistant District Attorney, Superior Court Judge and most recently, as Founder and President of Rancho Cielo Youth Campus.

Shawn Adams

Shawn Adams

President and Owner, Monterey Signs

Shawn Adams is President and Owner of Monterey Signs and Santa Cruz Signs, two full service sign companies servicing all of Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey counties. He started Monterey Signs in 2008 out of the garage of his residence and in 2014 started Santa Cruz Signs.

Bashar Al Sneeh

Bashar Al Sneeh

President and Co-Owner, Dametra Restaurants

Born and raised in Syria, Bashar was left to provide for not only himself, but his younger sister at a young age after losing his parents. In 2004, at 27 years old Bashar came to this country with not much more than the clothes on his back and unable to speak English.

Carina Cristofalo

Carina Cristofalo

Co-Founder and Vice President, Wonderwall and Mark T. Cristofalo & Company

Carina Cristofalo is an entrepreneur at heart. As a co-founder of Wonderwall and co-owner of Mark Cristofalo & Company, she delights in helping people create living spaces that reflect their own unique style. Carina utilizes timeless materials and applications with an approach that invites great design rather than dictates.

Shyam Kamath

Shyam Kamath

Dean, College of Business, CSU, Monterey Bay and Board Member and Vice Chair of the Economic Vitality Committee, Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce

Shyam Kamath is an internationally recognized scholar and educator who has gained recognition as a global innovator and expert in the area of community development, experiential learning and business program innovation.

Jennifer Kuyper

Jennifer Kuyper

Vice President & Senior Relationship Manager,1st Capital Bank and Board Member and Co-Vice Chair, Economic Vitality Committee, Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce

Jennifer Kuyper has a commercial banking career spanning over 18 years. She has served companies and investors of all sizes and industries.

Our Primary Sponsors

About The Forum

The 3rd Annual Startup Investment and Community Capital EXPO and the Monterey Business Success Forum is a collaboration between the Startup Investment Community, The Slow Money/Community Capital community in the Monterey Bay Region, CSUMB and the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

The goal of this exciting flagship event is to provide businesses, non-profits, startups, investors, Chamber members, and the larger Monterey Bay community a forum for pathways to funding local and regional startup business projects as well as provide pathways to business and non-profit success.


The Forum will be held September 27th, 2019, from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Embassy Suites in Seaside, California (1441 Canyon Del Rey Blvd, Seaside, CA 93955). With a it’s prime location off US 1 in Seaside, CA, it is the perfect venue for our special business community event.

Pure Value

Business/Non-Profit owners and people are confused and overwhelmed. The internet, social media, smartphones…

The Digital Revolution has changed the world. Every industry, every job, every business/non-profit, every life on the planet is affected.

Chamber members and business/non-profit leaders get unparalleled competitive and organizational value from their successful fellow chamber members and business/non-profit peers to power their own organizations! You get to network with your business/non-profit peers, successful business/non-profit owners/leaders, Chamber members, investors and fellow entrepreneurs.

Actionable insights! No fluff! Pure Value!

Strategies, Insights and Fresh Ideas

From our assembled outstanding panel of regional business and non-profit leaders who have succeeded in their businesses/non-profits, you will get all the needed strategies, insights and fresh ideas to succeed in such a turbulent business and economic climate. These will include:

  • Behind-the-curtain views into their successful businesses/non-profits, their strategies and tactics to show you how they work, why they work, and how you can follow their examples to succeed
  • Access tips and guides for everything from planning out Social Media, building a Marketing Strategy to powering up your Strategic Mindset
  • Proven strategies for organization, marketing and sales that will enable you to succeed
  • Actionable insights to implement right away in your business/non-profit for greater success

Who Should Attend:

  • MPCC Members and Monterey Bay Business/Non-Profit Owners/Leaders
  • Young Professionals looking to success in their organizations
  • Entrepreneurs and startup company leaders and employees
  • Finance and management professionals
  • Slow Money and Community Capital business owners and investors
  • Social Business and Non-Profit leaders
  • Community Leaders
  • Students and Aspiring Entreprenuers

Goals and Benefits of the Forum:

  • Bring together startup companies and sources of capital
  • Connect investors to startups seeking funding
  • Network with fellow business owners/leaders, Chamber members, investors and entrepreneurs
  • Learn from successful business and non-profit owners/leaders
  • Get actionable tips on how to succeed in a VUCA* world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous)

Keynote Speakers and Panelists

From our assembled outstanding panel of regional business and non-profit leaders who have succeeded in their businesses/non-profits, you will get all the needed strategies, insights and fresh ideas to succeed in such a turbulent business and economic climate.

Cost of Participation

Afternoon Session

Fees paid directly to MPCC via or check

  • $75
  • $65 for MPCC members and MPYP
  • $10 student rate
    • Lunch not included 
    • Please provide i.d. at time of registration

Afternoon Forum Only

2-4 PM – Lunch not included. Fees paid directly to MPCC via or check.

  • $25
    • Lunch not included