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Instructor & Mentor Team


The Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership (IEL) team of instructors consists of experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders who have overcome challenges, and seen numerous successes throughout their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Dina Finta
Dina is a successful entrepreneur, mentor, and expert instructor. She joined the Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership as assistant director in October 2011. Since joining the IEL team, she has performed as a lead expert instructor and course developer for many entrepreneurship classes, and continues to serve as a lead mentor for about 25 companies annually. Her depth of expertise around courseware development and sales and marketing has been key in leading thoughtful discussions with participating student entrepreneurs and in working with corporate partners. Dina currently holds the role of director and runs strategy execution of the IEL program along with her teaching and mentoring responsibilities. She is a certified train-the-trainer and also holds coaching and incubator manager certification. Previously, Dina owned and ran a successful training firm based in Louisiana and Texas that focused on customized corporate training solutions.

Dr. Ann Blackburn
Dr. Blackburn is the founder/CEO of the Executive Advisory Forum (EAF), a business affinity organization for executives and entrepreneurs. She is also president of Blackburn Advisory Services, a firm that provides commercial real estate and business advisory services to private and public sector clients. Dr. Blackburn is a partner with Greenpoint Homes, which develops single-family homes in the East Bay, California. Dr. Blackburn is also the managing director of 631 Success, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in helping start-ups obtain the traction they need to scale.

Prior to starting her own company in 2003, Dr. Blackburn was the CEO of EPMI, a company with a portfolio of properties located in three states and hundreds of employees. Dr. Blackburn was also a deputy director for the Presidio Trust, a federal corporation and from 1995-2000, was the national public/private practice leader for Ernst & Young. As a project director for Bechtel Investments, Inc. from 1988-1995, Dr. Blackburn managed the development of business parks, the approval process for high-rise office buildings, real estate investment sales and acquisitions, and partner/investor relationships for foreign partnerships.

As a member of the Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) Board of Directors, Dr. Blackburn provided strategic counsel on strengthening the impact of women business owners at the federal legislative and executive levels, working directly with the SBA and Congress.

In addition to her board positions with WIPP, Dr. Blackburn served as a board member of the National Women's Business Council, a presidential appointment. She has previously served as a member of the Board of Regents for JFK University. She served as president of Commercial Real Estate Women San Francisco and as president of the National Network of Commercial Real Estate Women with chapters across the U.S. Dr. Blackburn was a delegate for a U.S. State Department-sponsored Middle Eastern/U.S. Businesswomen Ambassador program and continues to host visiting partners from the Middle East and China delegations. Dr. Blackburn is a member of the Association of Defense Communities and has been a frequent speaker at economic conferences, Urban Land Institute, and leadership development conferences.

Dr. Blackburn is a graduate of the FBI Academy for Citizens and continues to receive quarterly updates about FBI activities and to act as a citizen ambassador on their behalf.

Blackburn has a doctorate from the University of San Francisco in organizational leadership, an MA from Cal. State University San Francisco, and a BA from Cal State University Sacramento where she also obtained her teaching credential. She is a professor emeritus at the Chapman University graduate program for organizational leadership.

Stephen A. Goveia, CPA, MBA, GPHR
Steve is a venture mentor with over 30 years of leadership experience as an entrepreneur, consultant, and executive to businesses in healthcare technology, education, and software. He is currently an early stage consultant to three medical startups, and an expert in strategy, operations, and profit improvement. He’s had C-level success in consolidating operations after a rollup of multiple Microsoft resellers, using the art of Human Capital Management and the science of understanding finance. He enjoys teaching and speaking on entrepreneurship; is an author of his own curriculum on entrepreneurship, The 86400 Program; is an entrepreneur in residence for Dominican University; is a graduate accounting instructor at St. Mary's; has an MBA from the University of South Carolina; is a licensed CPA; and is a former army captain. He has board responsibilities as director with several Silicon Valley technology companies and nonprofit organizations.

Selected accomplishments

  • Founder of Madeira Ventures LLC, a management consulting firm, providing strategy, financing, and marketing for emerging businesses
  • Managing director for Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co. LLP, a regional public accounting firm specializing in providing single source solutions for venture capitalist and ultra-high net worth individuals.
  • CEO of Sybersay Communications, recruited by Board, to incubate hearing healthcare and Bluetooth mobile device business, streamlined acoustics research, RF engineering and industrial design staff to reduce cost and focus engineering resources on an integrated approach to OEM product development, recruited new management team, raised $12M, two venture capital funding rounds, completed joint venture with Fellowes for a consumer electronics product, moved manufacturing to China, licensed patents to Sonic Innovation, and sold the business
  • Senior vice president for Knowledge Universe, Larry Ellison’s private equity firm. The first operating executive responsible for the integration of acquisitions and the creation of over 50 companies resulting in the LeapFrog and Nextera IPOs and numerous secondary public offerings, and 14,000 employees. C-level success consolidating operations after rollup of multiple Microsoft resellers, using the art of Human Capital Management and the science of understanding finance
  • Vice president of Sega of America from start-up to $1.4 billion in revenue and a 55% share of the world-wide video game market
  • A founder of Coopers & Lybrand's Menlo Park Venture Management consulting practice, providing organizational design and employee development to venture-backed companies. Initial business development with a number of Silicon Valley technology businesses, including Cisco, Polycom, McAfee and Macromedia
  • Early career with Levi Strauss & Co., IT strategy, corporate development and transforming its European operations

Rob Lippincott
Rob has an extensive entrepreneurial track record leading innovation while achieving financial success for public and private enterprise. He is both a compassionate leader and a lifelong educator, who has built and run all aspects of an organization needed to drive learning efficacy and deliver market success.

As CEO of TEACH-NOW, he positioned a high-potential online teacher preparation/certification platform and program for rapid growth. As PBS SVP for Education, Mr. Lippincott led strategy and product development for the national public broadcasting system of 175 stations. As SVP for Discovery Education, he rebuilt and expanded Discovery’s full line of digital video streaming products for the home and school markets, reaching two thirds of U.S. classrooms. As CEO of Children’s Progress, an early-childhood assessment company, he closed a fully-subscribed “angel” capital round in preparation for its growth and sale. As VP of the Family Education Network, he engineered several acquisitions preparing the company for sale to Pearson, where he then served as senior vice president and general manager. Mr. Lippincott co-founded TimeØ, the eCommerce consulting division of Perot Systems Corporation, and created new publishing technologies for Ziff-Davis, Lotus, AT&T, and WGBH.

His products have been awarded the CoDIE, (SIIA), Golden Eagle (CINE), and Lamplighter (AEP) awards. He has served as board secretary of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and chairman of the Interactive Multimedia Association.

Mr. Lippincott taught as a member of the faculty at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, as the assistant headmaster of the Stowe School, and in three Pennsylvania schools. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a master’s degree in educational technology from Harvard University.

Ben Olmos
Ben is a business professional, academic, and entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry. Though originally from California, Ben’s professional career started in Atlanta, GA at Coca-Cola’s global headquarters. While at Coca-Cola Ben worked in sales and marketing operations where he managed or led national projects for more than 200 of Coca-Cola’s top national and regional customers in a variety of consumer channels, such as grocery stores, specialty retailers, restaurants, colleges, convenience stores, theme parks, movie theatres, sports stadiums, cruise lines, and airlines. In his role as senior manager, Ben was responsible for coordinating three departments as well as several cross-functional teams, focused on the implementation of product and equipment, as well as $500 mm in trade marketing funds. Utilizing his knowledge of supply chain operations and his Black Belt in Six Sigma, he worked to improve costs, speed, and efficiency across the organization. In 2014, Ben relocated back to California to accept a job working in the wine industry, where he provides analysis and insights for sales, marketing, and operations to executive leadership.

Since 2006, Ben has also been working as adjunct faculty in higher education teaching courses in business management, operations, project management, marketing, and leadership. Ben is currently working on his dissertation for his PhD in business administration with a focus on industrial organizational psychology. His dissertation work focuses upon cross-functional team job design, in which the difference in worker well-being is examined for those in a matrix versus a holacracy.

In addition, Ben is also principle of Satisfactionist, a consulting, training, and media company focused on providing services to help organizations improve trust, communication, processes, and routines through analysis, coaching, and media edutainment. Recently, Ben launched his podcast, The Satisfactionist Podcast, a weekly show highlighting the stories behind the success of entrepreneurs, academic professionals, and business leaders.

Christy Taylor
Christy is a C-level professional with a track record of building businesses - delivering substantial sales and profitable growth for large and small companies in consumer packaged goods, pharmaceutical /OTC healthcare categories, and specialty foods businesses. Christy started a direct mail business in the UK, managed Fortune 500 consumer brands, and built two businesses – Nelson Professional Sales from $10M to $100M and Dey Labs from $200M to $600M, selling each to publically traded companies.

For the past four years, Christy has been consulting with private businesses across a variety of issues, including strategic growth and exit planning, financial strategy, marketing plans, organization and succession planning, and establishing governance. Christy has enabled organizations large and small to transform from startup through formalization, restructure due to poor performance, manage through fast growth, and launch new products and services, both regionally and globally. Christy is a board member of several high growth B-to-B and B-to-C companies, including PCA Skin, Donsuemor (baked goods), MyAlarm, and Axis Teknologies. She is also a board member of IEL, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, teaches strategic planning classes for AT&T and various corporate supply chain companies, and mentors individuals in the program.