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MyOwnBusiness Institute

MOBI Contributors

Brian Moran

Founder/CEO: Brian Moran & Associates, Small Business Edge, Bricks or Sticks

Session: Develop Negotiating Skills
Business Expansion course

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Brian is dedicated to helping business owners achieve their objectives and to run better companies. With his three companies, Small Business Edge, Brian Moran & Associates, and Bricks or Sticks, along with a global team of subject matter experts, Brian leverages 30+ years of experience in the small to midsize business market to assist entrepreneurs with everything from social media to accessing growth capital to expanding into the global marketplace.

Prior to rejoining the world of entrepreneurship, Brian was an Executive Director at The Wall Street Journal where he led the sales development and marketing programs for the financial and small business categories among the many Journal brands.

From 2002-2010, Brian was President of Veracle Media and Moran Media Group, two companies that provided relevant and practical information to business owners which helped them start, manage and grow their companies. The companies published three national magazines for the small-to-midsize business market: Small Business Success, Urban Success, and Winning Bids.

In addition to magazines, the companies partnered with many leading small business organizations in running workshops, seminars and national conferences aimed at various segments of the small business market.

In 2012, Brian co-authored "Lessons From the Great Recession," a book that provided practical solutions to small business owners riding the economic rollercoaster. Also in that year, Brian was given the prestigious Lou Campanelli award at SCORE’s national conference in recognition for his years of service in the small business market.

Prior to running his own business, Brian was the Associate Publisher at Inc. Magazine, a Publisher and Associate Publisher at Entrepreneur Media and held management positions at Success Magazine and Medical Economics Magazine.

Brian sits on several boards of small business organizations and is a strategic advisor to business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide through his interviews, published articles and blog posts. He is a graduate of Marquette University’s School of Journalism.

Sarah Petschonek, Ph.D., MBA

Industrial Organizational Psychologist; President & CEO: Volunteer Odyssey

Session: Customer Experience & Feedback
Business Expansion course

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Dr. Sarah Petschonek describes herself as “an expert in optimizing your business life and enriching your personal life.” She is known for her impactful consulting work, public speaking, volunteerism, and her approach to strategic planning.

Dr. Petschonek melds the fields of business and psychology to create a positive impact on the local and national levels. More than 10 years ago, she founded Volunteer Odyssey, which connects volunteers to the people who need them the most. Since then, Volunteer Odyssey has activated more than 28,000 volunteers in 460,000 hours of service, worth an economic impact of $12.1 million for the community. 

In addition to her work at Volunteer Odyssey, Dr. Petschonek is also a consultant and public speaker. She spoke at TEDx on the topic of “Your Life’s Best Work” and applies these concepts through Sarah Petschonek Consulting, which specializes in strategic planning, program implementation, and continuous improvement. She has provided her expertise to organizations such as Consilience Group, Santa Clara University, and numerous nonprofits.

Over the last 20 years of her career, Dr. Petschonek has worked across a wide range of topics and sectors including nonprofit, for profit, government, and healthcare. She helped improve patient safety at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and evaluated training programs for the U.S. Navy. She also carved out time to share her knowledge in the higher education space, where she taught entrepreneurship with Rhodes College and was an Adjunct Professor in the MBA program at Christian Brothers University. 

Dr. Petschonek has been honored with several awards including The Memphis Business Journal as one of their “Super Women in Business” and “Top 40 Under 40.” She was appointed by Governor Haslam to serve on the board of Volunteer Tennessee for the 2017-2020 term. In 2014, she was honored as one of the 50 Under 40 Social Entrepreneurs in the US by American Express.  

As the Ukrainian Refugee Crisis unfolded, she wanted to do more to help in the international space. In 2023, Dr. Petschonek volunteered with the Ukrainian Refugee Crisis in Krakow, Poland, which sparked a passion for international disaster response. She recently became certified in First Aid and CPR, while also completing a certification through Harvard University and USAID called Building a Better Response. She serves on the board of the Community Alliance for the Homeless and volunteers with World Relief and the Red Cross.

Ean Price Murphy

Founder: Abundantly Clear LLC

Sessions: Accounting & Cash Flow, Financing Your Business
Starting a Business course

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Ean Price Murphy founded Moxie Bookkeeping & Coaching Inc. to make small-business financial information accessible and actionable, even for those who don’t think of themselves as good with numbers. Ean is a certified Mastery level Profit First Professional, Xero Platinum partner, Quickbooks ProAdvisor, and a certified business coach. 

ModFox Consulting

Nicole Ruccolo, Co-Owner, Director of Digital Marketing (right); Christina Latorraca, Co-Owner, Principal Designer (left)

Sessions: Marketing and Ecommerce
Starting a Business course

Sessions: Digital Marketing and the Marketing Funnel
Business Expansion course

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Nicole Ruccolo
Nicole is a strategic digital marketing and branding expert and spent 10 years partnering with B2C and B2B companies to research, create and implement marketing campaigns. Her expertise is in understanding the consumer purchase behavior and building a digital marketing mix using email automation and logic, SEO, and paid advertising. 
 
Nicole serves as a mentor and guest speaker for the California Program for Entrepreneurship, an incubator program for early stage ideas and startups based in Santa Clara University. She also advises for the Women’s Education Leadership League (W.E.L.L), a women’s business organization where she focuses on digital marketing. 
 
Nicole holds a BA from Rutgers University, majoring in Communication. She received her MBA from Santa Clara University with a concentration in product marketing. Originally from Manalapan, NJ, Nicole migrated to Silicon Valley in 2008 to be a part of a product launch with AT&T. When she's not working, Nicole can be found outside hiking or mountain biking in Los Altos, CA or at home working on DIY projects with her husband. 

Christina Latorraca
As Principal Designer, Christina runs the design gamut from brand identity to marketing collateral, web and UX design. Both analytical and artistic, Christina researches, creates, designs, and builds. She can take on a wide range of clients from different industries, using her understanding of the client’s world and what they are looking for to produce relevant work. 

After graduating from the University of Southern California with a BA in Fine Arts and minor in Advertising, Christina held a graphic design job at Linear Technology (Analog Devices) for 11 years, working in-house on marketing communications materials, technical papers, and managing the brand style guide. During her tenure at her corporate job, Christina obtained her MBA at Santa Clara University, with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship, sparking her interest in becoming the design lead at ModFox. 

With both an art and business background, Christina runs on the philosophy that creative work is not only about conveying messages and looking pretty, it is about increasing a company’s brand presence and defining their market positioning, with the ultimate goal of increasing business opportunities. 

In her free time, Christina enjoys baking, cooking, fitness, entertaining and decorating.

Frederick Welk

Director of Education & Communication: Community Economic Development Fund (CEDF)

Blog Posts: "Financing Your Business: Evaluating Sources of Capital" and "12 Smart Tips for Getting a Small Business Loan"

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Frederick Welk is a business advisor and serves as Director of Business Education and Communications for the Community Economic Development Fund (CEDF), a MOBI partner. CEDF is a Connecticut, U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides small business lending to companies that can’t yet qualify for bank financing. CEDF supports its borrowers with business advisory services and a wide array of business education programming. Welk is particularly proud of the organization’s internet offerings through WeTeachSuccess.org, which houses approximately 200 on-demand webinars, plus business education articles, a podcast series, and CEDF’s own online coursework in addition to the offerings from MOBI, which have been localized with Connecticut resources and state regulatory references. Before joining the organization in 2013, Welk spent more than 30 years in specialty retailing and franchise development, operating his own company for 23 years. As an adjunct lecturer in the CT State Community College system, he has taught a variety of entrepreneurship, marketing, and accounting application courses. He credits his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from what was once called North Texas State University with his interest in writing and excellent writing proficiency. His first job after getting his drivers license at age 16 was on the air at KORC-AM in Mineral Wells, TX, and later KGAF, AM & FM, Gainesville, TX. This is the kind of initiative and determination that becoming an Eagle Scout at 14 taught him. Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America.

Long Le, Ph.D.

Lecturer, Management and Director, International Business Minor: Santa Clara University; Founder: ZiM (Zero-Interest Microfinance) Bank

Session: Microfinance for Entrepreneurs
Quick Start Entrepreneur course bonus session

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Long S. Le is a Lecturer in Management and Director of the International Business Minor at Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business. His primary teaching area is a global business with interests in design thinking, global citizenship, social entrepreneurship, and spiritual leadership.

His research interests include microfinance, Jesuit business education, global Asian migration diasporas, the political economy of development in frontier markets, and state-owned enterprises in Asia. His research has been published in journals such as Journal of Management, Religion & Spirituality, Far Eastern Economic Review, Journal of Islamic Finance, Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, Education About Asia, Harvard Asia Quarterly, Harvard Asian American Policy Review, and Global Asia: A Journal of the East Foundation.

He is also a practitioner of microfinance in which he and his students founded Zero Interest Microfinance Bank (ZiM)— providing zero-interest lending and business education to small and medium-sized enterprises around the world. He has been recognized and awarded for leadership, service, and commitment to international education and service-learning. 

Prior to Santa Clara University, Long Le was a clinical professor and director of international initiatives for Global Studies at the C.T. Bauer School of Business at the University of Houston. He also had been a Visiting Researcher at the International Islamic University of Malaysia and a Research Fellow at the City University of Hong Kong. He received his B.A. from the University of Delaware, and his Ph.D. from the University of Houston.