Board of Directors

The Long Beach Accelerator board and community partners are experts in their respective fields who are passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship, and committed to your success.

Meet the Board



Vivian Shimoyama has directed initiatives for public, non-profit, and private sector organizations setting strategic vision, and managing organization growth which resulted in economic impact. She is a recognized expert on small businesses and has advocated for thousands of small business owners through local, state, national and international initiatives. Dedicated to growing small businesses she heads two ventures — Growth Small Business and Scale Smarter Partners, LLC, these firms accelerate business growth through guided tools that allow companies to thrive. She built and directed the team for the Southern California Region Initiative for Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, and has advisee a range of organizations and Fortune 100 companies on total quality and business process improvement programs, small business programs, and economic inclusion.

  • Long Beach Economic Development Commission, Commissioner
  • California Small Business Association and CA Education Foundation, Board member
  • Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion, Founding Board
  • Honored by the U.S. Congress and U.S. Small Business Administration with the National
  • Women in Business Advocate Award
  • National Women’s Business Council, Served as federal appointee
  • Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Board; Chair Emeritus


Vice Chairperson

Brenda has played a role in launching startups for the past 20 years leading initiatives for funding, business development, branding, staffing and sales, and marketing programs. Brenda began her career in advertising and marketing. In her 20s, she started an ad agency in Seattle, WA, and experienced such great success she opened a second office in Long Beach, CA.

Previously, Brenda was CEO of Sandpiper, co-founder of OnQ Corporation (Pet Central), OnQ Media now, and Ventura Marketing and Ventura Ventures. Her experience includes local, national, and international clients. She has also developed strong comprehensive marketing and branding services for Fortune 500 organizations such as the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, MGM, Silver Crest Entertainment, The Wall Street Journal, Service Corporation International, and other tech companies.

  • Former President, Critiquelt Inc., a local Long Beach company
  • Chief Revenue Officer Scoutbee
  • Start-up Adviser



Dr. Robertson is the Business Development and Information Systems Officer at UCLA Technology Development Group. He is currently involved in the marketing, patenting, and licensing of University of California, Los Angeles’ extensive life science technology portfolio, focusing on small molecule oncology and gene therapy technologies.

With 10+ years of technology transfer experience, he brings some of the industry’s best practices to UCLA TDG to help UCLA continue being a world-wide leader in licensing and entrepreneurism. He is also responsible for the implementation and adoption of several information technology tools aimed at improving the efficiency of the office.

  • Columbia Technology Ventures, Graduate Fellow
  • AUTM, Metrics & Surveys Portfolio, Cabinet Member
  • AUTM, US Annual Licensing Survey, Chair and Committee Member



Santhosh is a successful business operator turned investor and mentor. He is the founder of Anamika Ventures, whose core mission is to invest in female founded early-stage companies.

Santhosh is driven by three fundamental beliefs:

  • We can do more together than we can as individuals.
  • Business and sense of purpose are not mutually exclusive.
  • Abundance should be continually recycled to keep it flowing back to you.

As an investor, he has invested in phenomenal female founders of companies like Manatee, Tea Drops, Root Whole Body and more. As a mentor, Santhosh has mentored 300+ business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals to succeed in their pursuit. The cornerstone of his process is to help people understand and embrace their value and purpose. It is his passion to help them find meaning in who they are, what they do and how to align their lives with what really matters the most. This translates to creating clarity and focus for them to move forward in their entrepreneurial pursuit and lead a purpose-driven life.

  • LP in Halogen Ventures, a VC Fund.
  • Mentor at Precelerator, Backstage Capital, and Virgin America.
  • Certified Business Mentor at Score Los Angeles, a small business resource.


Board Member

John P. Keisler is currently the CEO & Managing Partner for Sunstone Management Inc., a venture capital firm located in Southern California that invests in diverse early-stage technology startups through innovative public-private-partnerships that blend unique expertise across government, education, and private sectors.

Previous to Sunstone Management, Mr. Keisler spent over 20 years in public service, most recently as the Economic Development Director for the City of Long Beach. With approximately 500,000 residents, the City of Long Beach is the 7th largest city in California and a major engine of economic development for the region and the nation through its university, history of aerospace manufacturing, and its international seaport. Under his leadership, the organization created an innovative Blueprint for Economic Development, and helped to facilitate an historic increase of private sector investment in the city. The mission of the award-winning organization, and John’s personal passion, is to increase equitable economic opportunities for workers, investors, and entrepreneurs in Long Beach and throughout California.

John continues to live in Long Beach with his beautiful wife Laura and his two sons Christopher (12) and Benjamin (15), where he serves on a number of non-profit boards and coaches youth sports.

  • City of Long Beach, Management Assistant (2005)
  • Animal Care Services, Bureau Manager (2008-2011)
  • Parks, Recreation & Marine Department, Business Operations Manager (2011-2013)
  • Long Beach Police Department, CFO (2013-2015)
  • City’s First Innovation Team Director (2015-Present)

Chris Halliwell

Board Member

Chris’ specialization is fundamental technology innovation and the business value of electronics.  From her first experiences working at IBM and later at Intel, her career tracked the digital revolution in many industries and the rise of Silicon Valley, growing from a few semiconductor firms to the eras of networking, automation and software.  She contributed to the success of countless business teams over 30 years in strategic business consulting for both global firms and startups, including 8 years at storied Silicon Valley marketing firm, Regis McKenna and 17 years providing executive education in strategic technology marketing at the Caltech Industrial Relations Center.   For the past several years Chris has focused on mentoring and advising promising entrepreneurs, primarily in the Southern California startup ecosystem. 

  • Member of the Advisory Board, AONdevices (edge AI processing and inference)
  • Member of the Advisory Board, Thermaquil (drug free nerve blocks)
  • Member of the Innovation Advisor Council, Beall Applied Innovation, UC Irvine
  • Instructor, Industry Insights for STEM Scientists, UC Irvine 
  • Former Member of the Board, Printronix (printers)
  • Graduate of UCLA Anderson School of Management
  • Graduate of UCLA GSEIS Information Studies Graduate Program

Walter Larkins

Board Member

Walter is an inventor and successful serial entrepreneur. Walter has 25+ years of experience in developing marketing and sales tactics and strategies, business models and in creating new markets. Walter is currently the President of Sapphire RCMS, LLC, a proprietary software solution providing analytics that enables healthcare providers to succeed in their negotiations with and in the recovery of receivables owed them by insurance companies.

He also started CDR Financial Services, LLC, Envision Associates, and the non-profit The Education Equals Opportunity (E=O2) Foundation. Walter also founded the Endosurgical Development Corporation to develop a device (ultimately acquired by Johnson & Johnson), that enables heart surgeons to perform bypass surgery without opening the patient’s chest.

  • Long Beach Unified School District, Citizens’ Oversight Committee, Representative
  • Long Beach Economic Development Commission, Commissioner
  • Long Beach Education Foundation, Board Member
  • The California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ), Board Member

Payal Kamdar

Board Member

Payal Kamdar founded VSolvit (pronounced: “We Solve it”) in 2006 as a technology services company focused on the Federal Government. VSolvit is a successful Woman Owned technology services provider with various Federal Government customers. VSolvit’s expertise in
Data Analytics, Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, Facilities Management, Geographic Information Systems, and Application Development has been recognized at a national level.
Payal measures her success by two criteria: how well VSolvit serves its customers and community, and how well VSolvit enables its team members to elevate their performance.

Payal is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program. She has participated in the Port Hueneme Industry Council Partnership, LA Regional Small Business Development Center Board, and served as Vice President of the Channel Island AUVSI Chapter. Payal believes in “Made in USA, Stays in USA”; 100 percent of VSolvit staff works or lives within the US. Payal is a role model for her two daughters and mentors select businesses for future growth.

Sue Malone

Board Member

Sue Malone is small business advocate for all 50 states and founder of Strategies For Small Business. Her sole mission for the last five years has been to help people obtain access to capital to start or expand their businesses. In doing so, one of her specialties has been small business startups loans. She is #1 in the Nation (by number of loans) for the SBA Community Express (non-veterans) and Patriot Express (veterans and their spouses) Loan Programs.  Sue is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and one of the LBA’s most highly sought-after mentors.  

Sue holds an MBA from St. Mary’s College. In addition, she makes sure small business voices are not forgotten in Washington DC, after all, America is great because of small businesses!  

  • President and CEO of
  • President of the American Economic Empowerment
  • Co-founder of Women’s Military Exchange: Operation Next Step, and
  • Board Member of National Forum for Diversity in Construction Inc
  • Board Member of North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development 
  • Former National Chair of American Cancer Society Gala Task Force 
  • Established a nonprofit/for profit collaboration entrepreneurial program for high school students 


Honorary Director

John is a serial entrepreneur and a big advocate of entrepreneurship and US Small Businesses. A creative pioneer in both industries, he founded American Lending Center in 2009 and Sunstone Management in 2015 in Long Beach, California. Over the past decade, American Lending Center has successfully financed over 75 real estate projects in 18 different states and collectively created approximately 10,000 full time jobs in the US via the federal immigrant investor EB5 program and its strong foreign direct investment FDI resources. A leader in the innovative startup ecosystem in Long Beach, Sunstone became the private founding organization and space provider of the Long Beach Accelerator in 2019.

  • Undergraduate degree from the Law School of Peking University
  • Masters Degree from Duke University
  • Economic Development Commissioner for the City of Long Beach.
  • Honored with the “Forever Duke” award from Duke university in 2015.
  • SBA 504 Lender of the Year award for best in small business lending.


Honorary Director

Ganesh is Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research at the California State University, Office of the Chancellor. His sphere of influence includes 23 campuses, 10 systemwide affinity research groups, 300+ multicampus institutes, and 100+ deans in all disciplines. He created the first-ever CSU Strategic Plan for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities as well as a CSU STEM network. Previously, Ganesh held numerous roles at Illinois Institute of Technology: Deputy Vice Provost for Research; CoPrincipal Investigator for an $8M Department of Energy grant; Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering Department professor, and Associate Dean of Research.

  • Dr. Raman obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Case Western in 1991
  • 14 years at the NASA Glenn Research Center
  • Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics AIAA, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Royal Aeronautical Society, UK
  • California Life Sciences Association (CLSA), Board Member 
    150+ articles published in leading scientific journals.
  • The founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Aeroacoustics.


Board Member

As a board member, Wade supports the LBA in its mission to accelerate early stage startups with seed funding, mentorship and exit strategy. Wade is a professor of economics at California State University, Long Beach and Director of the CSULB Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Wade works primarily in the areas of risk and analysis related to business development and sustainability for local economic development. He has worked on research and development projects for the Downtown Long Beach Alliance, CalRecycle, The World Bank, U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Forest Service, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Government of Indonesia, and has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University Institute for International Development.

    • Dr. Martin has been published in numerous academic journals
    • Edited 3 books
    • Been a commentator on Market Place on NPR as well as for numerous newspapers
    • He has also served as editor-in-chief of the academic journal Contemporary Economic PolicyAccounting Program


Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau

Are you an expert or leader in your field? Join us.

We welcome experts and leaders from all industries and sectors to become mentors; as well as investors and partners to support our companies.