MEET OUR TEAM
Greater Than Tech has a diverse and dedicated team with vast professional experience in youth educational outreach, STEM enrichment, entrepreneurship and more!
Humility, alongside confidence
Respect, alongside honesty
Creativity, alongside innovation
Growth-focused, alongside accountability
Talents, alongside interests
Meet The Staff
Co-Founder & Executive Director
As a self-proclaimed change agent, Jasmine is motivated to inspire and uplift others into engineering and business by her unflinching ability to move things forward. At Collins Aerospace (A Raytheon Technologies company), she works on new business pursuits including technology inorganic growth, competitive assessment, and strategy. Previously she worked as a chief of staff for the VP of engineering on key business transformation initiatives as well as other project roles interfacing with suppliers and customers certifying air management systems and engine build-up equipment on commercial and regional jets.
One of the core ideas she attributes to her success is to “ask for forgiveness, not for permission”. She utilizes resourcefulness, strategic thinking, and motivation for continuous improvement to creatively navigate through any obstacle in her way. Throughout her career, she has always been a mentor and advocate for STEM enrichment programs as well as a diversity & inclusion leader. Jasmine has earned her BSE in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, her MSE in Interdisciplinary Engineering with a concentration in Systems Engineering at Purdue University, and her MBA at Indiana University. Jasmine has been awarded the 2022 Outstanding Engineering Service Award by the San Diego County Engineering Council, the 2021 Black Engineer of The Year Science Spectrum Award, and the 2020 Women of Color STEM Community Service in Industry Award. She was born and brought up in Flint, MI.
Dr. Brittany Wheeler
Co-Founder & Director of Education
Dr. Brittany Wheeler is a Work Transfer Manager with over 8 years’ experience in Manufacturing & Operations. She grew up in Los Angeles, California with the aspiration to break societal barriers for young African American women. She had created and managed company Employee Resource Groups as she continues to drive diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout Collins Aerospace and within her community. Dr. Wheeler holds a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with focus in Aerospace and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Redlands as well as a Doctorate in Engineering Management from George Washington University. Dr. Wheeler has received several awards and positions being a high visible driver of diversity and inclusion throughout her career. She hopes to make a striking impact on “by making the uncommon common” as an African American female tech leader. Dr. Wheeler has received the 2021 Dave Barclay Affirmative Action BEYA Award.
Meet The Board of Directors
Nicole Hollis serves as Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Greater Than Tech. With over 15 years of sales and marketing experience at multinational corporations, she offers a unique perspective on the ways emerging technology can have immediate impact on businesses and communities. Her professional career spans across the industries of software, healthcare, and retail. Currently, as a Solutions Engineer for a market leading technology company, Nicole helps organizations of all sizes optimize customer interactions using conversational Artificial Intelligence. A Los Angeles native, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from the University of Southern California. With first hand knowledge of the dynamics related to being a female technologist, Nicole has a passion for supporting young women as they discover their innate talents in technology, business, and beyond.
Marcus is a technology strategy consultant with 13 years of experience maturing data and technology landscapes across industries including Federal, Defense, Non-profit, and various corporate industries. He specializes in developing and implementing technology and data strategies that optimize current capabilities and enable the use of emerging technologies to accomplish strategic objectives. Marcus has done this across enterprises and within business units typically using a technology agnostic approach. Marcus’s current focus is on data and intelligent automation strategy, and leveraging best practices from enterprise architecture, strategic planning and change management to ensure clients success in their transformational work. He excels at analyzing and identifying areas for optimization and refinement that reduce technical debt and improve the overall health of an organization’s technology & data landscape. In each city that he has lived in, he has endeavored to create opportunity and equity for communities of color. He has led in the revitalization of homework centers in south east San Diego and sits on the board of Empowering Mentorships, which focuses on mentoring young men of color. While in Atlanta, he led the creation of a multiyear partnership to provide capital and professional services to the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs and supported the taskforce that led to the creation of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation. He recently relocated to South Florida where he is focusing his efforts on recruiting more men and women of color in tech and management consulting.
Keri Minnick is a California CPA and Senior Tax Manager for a large corporation headquartered in San Diego. Before this position, she worked at a public accounting firm preparing tax returns for a variety of businesses, including large not-for-profits. She enjoys rock climbing, playing with her toddler, helping her husband run his record store, and serving as an active board member or volunteering for local not-for-profits. Some of her key volunteer accomplishments include: Co-founding the first employee resource group for D&I at her current employer. Serving as two terms each as Treasurer and Secretary for WRISE (Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy). WRISE promotes the education, professional development, and advancement of women to achieve a strong diversified workforce and support a robust renewable energy economy. During her tenure, she improved knowledge transfer and the new board member onboarding process, as well as integrated processes and tools with National for greater efficiency and effectiveness. Reviewing, proposing, and implementing a donation and customer relationship management system for the San Diego Hunger Coalition, which fights to eliminate hunger by working collaboratively with anti-hunger organizations. Keri hopes to use her business, tax, and not-for-profit background to help Greater than Tech achieve its mission and vision.
Gina Trivellini is the Secretary of Greater Than Tech. She is part of the Raytheon Technologies Operations Leadership Program, and has previously been recognized for her technical contributions and continuous improvement efforts by Pratt & Whitney and JetBlue Airways. She currently serves as President of the Society of Women Engineers – New York as well as on the board of the Millville Army Air Field Museum. She holds her B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Wondu Wolde-Mariam was born and raised in Ethiopia. He received his education in the USA: BS (Biology) from Fairfield Univ (CT), MS (Microbiology and Immunology) from Temple Univ. Katz School of Medicine (PA), and MS (Technology Management) from Pepperdine Univ. Graziadio Business School (CA). After over 20 years in clinical laboratory R&D and management, he founded Helica Biosystems, Inc. and built it as a world class developer and manufacturer of laboratory testing devices for food safety and health science research. Helica was also recognized as an organization which practiced social responsibility and made social impact. After successfully exiting his 21-year old venture, he is now an active business mentor and free-lance consultant helping young entrepreneurs realize their own dreams. He brings his business knowledge and creativity as well as experience in success planning and problem solving to GTT.
Brandi Neloms is a small business enthusiast, proven strategist, and natural storyteller with a passion for helping brands launch, grow, and connect to customers. She has 12+ years of experience communicating strategic messages, marketing products and services, driving positive business results, creating value, managing change and fostering engagement across a number of industries, including: tech, aerospace, aviation, retail, automotive, fast-casual dining, financial services and consumer packaged goods. During her time at Amazon, she’s had the privilege to shape and share the many ways that Amazon supports and empowers small businesses. Currently, as a Sr. Business Development Manager for Amazon, Brandi’s work is focused on helping Black-owned small and medium-sized businesses leverage Amazon’s scaling mechanisms to become large enterprises.
DeAnnah is a Chicago native currently residing in the Houston, Texas area where she runs E3 Professional Services, LLC. DeAnnah has made it her life’s work to educate, equip, and empower black professionals to not secure more desirable careers but to get the increased pay they deserve as well. As an author, award nominated Certified Racial Equity Strategist and Certified Coach, DeAnnah has partnered with top Fortune 250 companies worth up to $60B+, in transformational and intentional support to create equitable and inclusive spaces where marginalized employees can thrive. When DeAnnah isn’t wearing her racial equity Jedi hat, she is traveling, attending her children’s athletic games, or finding ways to give back to the community. Every year she works with women’s shelters both in Houston and Chicago to provide career services to women needing a boost to get back on their feet. To date, DeAnnah has helped over 10,000 professionals secure higher paying roles and has been featured in a variety of media outlets including Women Exceeding, Forbes, and LinkedIn and partnered with companies such as Stanley Black and Decker, Microsoft, Raytheon Technologies, and many more!
Vanessa Ruiz is fully committed to the success of all students as lifelong learners in the classroom and beyond. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy. Additionally, she holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and an Administrative Credential. Vanessa is currently a Doctoral (Ed.D) candidate at UCSD. Her career as a classroom teacher started at King Chavez Community High School. She joined the math team at Lemon Grove Academy Middle School in 2016 and taught 7th and 8th-grade students. Within this role, she supported ELD math students through project-based learning while also serving as the Director of ASB. Outside of her commitments as an educator, Vanessa served as an instructional coach and math content lead through Teach for America. Her true passion for education lies in the belief that student achievement is formed through meaningful relationships. As an educational leader and advocate, she values empathy and actively works to shape an equitable future for all students. Vanessa is currently serving as the Assistant Principal at Lemon Grove Academy Middle School.
Tanya Hertz is the Director of the Entrepreneurship program, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, and Director of the REC Innovation Lab at San Diego Miramar College. Professor Hertz is also a Lecturer at San Diego State University’s College of Business Administration since 2011 where she teaches Entrepreneurship and Business Management. After teaching for almost a decade at SDSU, and starting several successful companies herself, Tanya recognized that there was no place for aspiring entrepreneurs to get help at the idea stage. Tanya was impressed with the success of the SDSU on-campus incubator, and proud of their accomplishments, but felt frustrated that those resources were only available to university students for a very short period of time. All of the industry incubators were for later-stage businesses that already had traction. Community college incubators focused on supporting small businesses. No one was helping regular people who had an idea and wanted to turn that idea into a high-growth startup. What was worse, Tanya realized that minorities and women were often left out of the entrepreneurship ecosystem altogether and were very rarely targeted for inclusion in incubators. Tanya Hertz started the Regional Entrepreneurship Center – REC Innovation Lab at Miramar College in March of 2020 to increase equity and inclusivity in the innovation ecosystem and to help everyone have access to cutting-edge technology and the resources needed to turn their ideas into high-growth ventures. Professor Hertz has been honored with several teaching and Entrepreneurship awards and was chosen at SDSU as “Most Influential Faculty” in 2016 & 2019 and was recently recognized for her advocacy for women and minority entrepreneurs by the Women’s Venture Summit 2020 Female Founder Advocate award and was accorded the 2021 Woman of the Year award.
Meet the advisors
Sharon Rossmark is the Chief Executive Officer of Women And Drones. Sharon is a change leader with diverse industry and functional experience in publicly traded, Fortune 100, privately held, and start-up companies. In addition, Sharon has expertise in establishing strategic partnerships, emerging market strategies, and process improvement. She is a collaborative strategic business executive who cultivates opportunities and balance details in multi-site, global, and domestic organizations. She also has a proven career record of leading and building operational performance during times of dynamic growth, acquisition, and changing environments. Her range of executive leadership experience includes key roles in board governance, insurance, financial services, sales, training, and risk management. She has served as board chair, vice-chair, audit committee chair, and governance chair. Sharon’s board experience includes serving on aviation, healthcare, and education boards. Sharon has a master’s degree from the University of Illinois – Chicago and a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University. She also holds FAA Remote Pilot certificate. Ms. Rossmark is an author, international speaker, and frequently requested speaker/panel moderator. She has established an endowed scholarship for U.S. military soldiers & veterans majoring in Business at Illinois State University. Sharon is also the executive producer of a WWII documentary.
Shirley Yager is a business and market development executive with 20+ years of experience evaluating, quantifying, and validating new markets, business opportunities, and launching high tech products. Currently, Shirley is the Director of Product Management at Qualcomm where she analyzes new growth areas, M&A deals, and formulates strategy for its $6+ billion licensing business. Her experience centers around identifying innovative opportunities, the creation of new businesses and products, and gaining trust and respect from senior executives, coworkers, and customers, earning a reputation as an outstanding leader skilled at motivating teams and building loyalty. In her spare time, Shirley exercises her entrepreneurial spirit by serving as a Startup Advisor with Execution Matters and as a Springboard Mentor with CONNECT to help entrepreneurs, startup founders and CEOs execute on their business ideas and bring their product/technology to market. As a versatile executive with breadth of experience in business strategy, high tech product development, market analysis, and fundraising, Shirley helps startups succeed. Besides serving as an advisor to the startup community, Shirley is passionate about guiding college students in their studies and their successful transition to rewarding career. In that capacity, she volunteers as a Mentor with the Aztec Mentor Program at San Diego State University. Additionally, she advocates for women as an active member of Athena, a non-profit enabling professional growth for women in STEM, where she is a member of the Male Allyship Committee, Mastermind Employee Resource Group, and formerly served as co-Chair of the Technology Special Interest Group. In 2021, Shirley was nominated for an Athena Pinnacle Award for her work in advancing women in STEM and working with various non-profits to expose school-aged girls to STEM concepts and to build a pipeline of girls who select STEM fields of study and career paths. Shirley is also a Board Member for Qwomen, a Qualcomm Employee Resource Group whose mission is to advance diversity by providing opportunities to encourage leadership, mentorship, and career development for women. Shirley graduated from San Diego State University with an MBA (Marketing and Strategy concentration).
Entrepreneur, Educator, and Community Activist are how Ms. McDougal serves her community. Founder and CEO of The Pearl Project Institute for Innovation in S.T.E.M. Literacy, a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization designed to create a pipeline of top-tier tech professionals ready for the global workforce, especially women and girls. With a goal to serve 1 million youth virtually and in real-time, Robin believes, “The Earth and the universe belong to all of us.” As a result, she has partnered with Dr. Peter Plavchan, Director of George Mason University’s Observatories to host the Interstellar Dreams Space Center dedicated to cultivating an awareness of S.T.E.M. Careers in the new commercial space economy, beyond being an astronaut. In 2020, Ms. McDougal partnered with American University’s Kogod Business School to launch the BLAZE Accelerator for the next generation of commercial space entrepreneurs. The BLAZE Accelerator identifies the next generation of frontier technology by nurturing emerging and early-stage space entrepreneurs, especially women. Robin is the Editor in Chief of COBALT Magazine highlighting inspirational S.T.E.M. leadership, Interstellar Dream Magazine dedicated to the new commercial space economy, scheduled to launch March 2022. Currently, Robin McDougal is serving as the Vice-Chair of the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, Co-Chair of the Innovation Council of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. Robin McDougal has served as Chair of Women In Technology’s, Women Business Owners, and Chair for Girls in Technology in the Washington DC Metro area.
George F. Halow has been a Professor of Practice in Aerospace Engineering since May 1, 2019 after a distinguished career as an executive at Ford Motor Company. At Ford, he held numerous positions in engineering, manufacturing, and strategy and was the Chief Program Engineer of Expedition, Navigator, Crown Victoria, Grand Marquis, Town Car, and Ranger at various points in his career. At the University of Michigan, he created an Introduction to the Aerospace Enterprise course for primarily freshmen and sophomores, covering the aerospace industry, leadership, culture, and communication, and careers in aerospace. He is in the process of launching an all-new Model-Based Systems Engineering and systems engineering leadership course series starting in fall, 2022. The course series, which is unprecedented at the undergraduate level, has garnered strong corporate interest, and corporate donations have enabled the build of an MBSE Leadership Lab for the courses and student project team collaboration. George is also the Program Director of a new online Master of Engineering in Aerospace Leadership degree which is slated to launch in January, 2023. George is co-author of US (US6745151 B2) and German (DE10319493 A1) Patents for on-vehicle data acquisition buffering, remote transmission, and analysis (2004).
- 2021 Aerospace Engineering Department Significant Achievement Award
- 2020 Sigma Gamma Tau Silver Shaft Top Teaching Award
- 2020 Aerospace Engineering Department Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Impact Award
Dr. Maisha Cobb
Dr. Maisha Cobb is an Organizational Psychologist focused on people, culture and brand strategies. She is recognized for her ability to apply fresh approaches to challenging business problems as well as helping companies to reimagine their future. Maisha has researched and studied human motivation in Fortune 500, social benefit and non-profit organizations for more than 20 years. As an applied psychologist, her work is grounded in the exploration of why we think and behave as we do, and the influence of social motivation on business outcomes. Based on her research, Maisha founded Mpact International, a tech-enabled strategy, culture, and change company devoted to building high-performing, psychologically safe and collaborative workplaces and revolutionizing the discourse surrounding diversity and inclusion. Maisha enjoys giving back. She guest lectures at local universities, participates in numerous advisory boards and provides business consulting to non-profit organizations throughout the country. In the spirit of giving, Maisha has recently joined the boards of a San Diego-based angel group as well as an independent school Trustee. Maisha holds a BA, MA and PhD in Psychology from UCLA and earned her MBA from the Rady School of Management (University of California, San Diego).
Ryan Shortill is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Positive Adventures, LLC – the nation’s premier experiential education company providing business consulting, executive leadership training & retreats, team building, and outdoor education to organizations across the country and the world. He also serves as the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Onyx Teams, which is an evolution of Positive Adventures LLC™, a 15 year old company with an impeccable reputation with top brands and Fortune 500 companies. Hailing from a small town in New Hampshire Ryan received his Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Experiential Education from the University of New Hampshire. In 2003, he was one of the founding members of Excel Academy Charter Schools in Boston, Massachusetts, a school dedicated to closing the academic achievement gap. Since then, it has been one of the highest-performing public middle school in Massachusetts on MCAS tests over the last five years. Ryan travels throughout the country to provide training for CEOs and helps shift business demographics by globally training business owners all over the world, including women and BIPOC. Some of his outstanding accomplishments include winning community leader and presenter of the year through Meeting Professionals International (MPI), 2 times award winning social entrepreneur of the year by Entrepreneurs Organization, Most innovative product/service from San Diego reg chamber of commerce, The Good neighbor award from UDLA unification of disabled Latin Americans, Most creative fundraiser by stay classy. Ryan has served with San Diego center for children, A Reason to Survive, he is a Kids Included Together committee member and is actively involved with Camp laurel camp for kids affected by HIV AIDS in Los Angeles.
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