When the “40 Under 40” list appeared in the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal a few months ago, one name popped up more than any other: Santa Clara. Of the under-40 folds to watch in the Valley, here are the Plucky Bronco Seven.
By Alicia K. Gonzales ’09
Photos by Charles Barry
Romin Thomson J.D. ’97
Hails from Los Angeles
During his first year of law school, Thomson co-wrote the book Rage Against the Veil: The Courageous Life and Death of an Islamic Dissident with his mother, Parvin Darabi. Rage tells the life story of his aunt, Dr. Homa Darabi, an activist for women's rights in Iran, who in 1994 committed self-immolation in protest of Islamic oppression of women. Before hitting the books in the Heafey Law Library, Thomson would spend evenings working on the manuscript on his laptop. Now a partner at Sweeney Mason & Bosomworth, he specializes in corporate and business transactions and has represented a diverse selection of small and mid-sized businesses in the Silicon Valley. He is also on the executive committee of the business law section of the Santa Clara County Bar Association and is a member of the California Society of CPAs.
Alicia Gallegos-Fambrini ’99
Hails from San Jose
The principal of San Jose's Downtown College Preparatory (DCP), which primes high schoolers from underprivileged families to become first-generation college students at four-year universities. Growing up in a downtown neighborhood with close ties to the school has inspired Gallegos' work: “I wanted to be part of starting DCP and to promote the values of Ganas, Orgullo, Comunidad,” she says. Desire, pride, community. After completing her degree in political science at SCU, she went on to the Harvard School of Education, then returned to teach college-readiness courses and later serve as vice principal at DCP. She also serves on the board of the Sacred Heart Nativity School, a preparatory for underprivileged middle-school boys, co-sponsored by the Diocese of San Jose, the Parish of Sacred Heart, and the Society of Jesus.
Neda Mansoorian J.D. ’99
Grew up in Los Gatos
Lawyer, mother, and restaurateur, Mansoorian emigrated from Iran at the age of 5. Her family began operating Italian restaurants in New York before moving to the West Coast. While an undergrad at UC Berkeley, Mansoorian joined her father in a new restaurant venture and went to work full-time as the general manager of Gatti Italian Bistro in Los Altos-a job she stuck with all the way through law school.
“Work doesn't seem as hard when you enjoy what you are doing,” she says. Besides, “No one can resist a great bowl of pasta!” Now a lawyer for McManis Faulkner, Mansoorian concentrates on high-tech litigation, professional negligence, and products liability.
Kevin Holmes ’01, MBA ’09
Hails from Merced
It was while living on the third floor of the Dunne Residence Hall, playing Broncos basketball, and studying history that Holmes served as chief operating officer of his first company: AllDorm, founded as an online retail company, and later, with Holmes' guidance, transitioned to a national collegiate marketing firm. He calls his initial stint in start-up world his “real-life MBA.” He's currently enrolled in the classroom variety at SCU, and he notes that the classes in the evening program have offered new perspective on that experience. Holmes also directs SCU's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), now turning 10 years old, which he reorganized in 2005 in order to help connect, educate, and launch Bronco entrepreneurs. Some of CIE's revised support networks include an alumni advisory board, speaker series events and videos, and an entrepreneur leadership program. Lesson No. 1 Holmes offers entrepreneurs: “Always think big. The bigger the problem you are solving, the bigger the opportunity for an innovative business that can change the world for the benefit of humanity.”
Hails from Bangalore
You might not expect a lawyer from Bangalore to be a die-hard fan of the Carolina Panthers. But thanks to a stint in South Carolina, Nagarkar got hooked on football and, at least until her kids were born, spent Sundays in front of the television. Nearly a decade ago she moved to California and enrolled in the LLM program at Santa Clara. She's now an associate in the intellectual property group of the San Jose firm Hoge, Fenton, Jones, & Appel, is a member of the Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), an international organization that assists new entrepreneurs through mentoring and networking, and belongs to the Bay Area chapter of Women in Licensing.
Kevon Saber ’02
Grew up in San Jose and Fremont
As an undergrad he sported the title chief financial officer of AllDorm, which he co-founded with Kevin Holmes. He's gone on to co-found and serve as vice president of sales and marketing for GenPlay Games, Inc., an award-winning mobile video game developer and publisher. And he's put his talents to work for Rep, a nonprofit organization that places business professionals on short-term consulting projects in developing countries. Cape Town, South Africa, was his first destination for Rep, with an assignment to help trim the sails on corruption at the city's port and improve the quality of life for its employees. This fall Saber began the MBA program at Stanford. He's also a director of The Institute for Innovation, Integration, and Impact, a business consulting firm that helps corporations restructure their business approaches toward social responsibility.
Pat Hoey ’91
Grew up in Fairfield, Conn.
As vice president of the southwest region for Gartner Inc., a global information technology advising firm, Hoey is as likely to be on the road as not-we had a hard time pinning him down between business trips to Mexico City. Since completing his degree in economics, he's worked with PageNet, at the time the world's largest wireless messaging corporation; Symantec Corp., the international computer security powerhouse; and since 1999 with Gartner. His philosophy as a sales exec: “Success comes when you teach and develop others to believe they can achieve greatness.”