The LAUNCH Conference


Speaker Bios


Edward KennedyEdward Kennedy
Assurance Partner, Ernst &Young


Ed Kennedy, Ernst & Young Assurance Partner, has more than 18 years of experience providing assurance services to SEC registrants and high-growth private companies in the San Francisco office of Ernst & Young. Ed has significant experience working with high-growth clients in co-developing audit approaches, resolving technical accounting issues on a proactive basis throughout the year, defining deliverables, and executing audits. Ed's industry experience reflects the diversity of Ernst & Young's market share in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ed has served leading clients in many industries including real estate, hospitality, retail and consumer products, manufacturing, services, and technology. Ed is a leader in recruiting the next generation of Ernst & Young professionals in his role as the firm's Campus Coordinating Partner for the University of California at Berkeley. Ed serves on the Executive Board of the Center for Financial Reporting & Management (CFRM), which is part of the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. The CFRM provides the accounting community with opportunities to get involved in the development of academic programs and professional activities. Ed earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of California at Berkeley in 1993 and is a member of both the AICPA and the California State Society of CPAs. Ed lives in Walnut Creek with his wife and two children. He enjoys golfing, wine tasting, traveling, and watching Cal football and basketball games. Go Bears!



Eric AbramsEric Abrams
Diversity Director, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

Eric Abrams joined UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business as its Diversity Director in January 2012. Throughout a distinguished career, Abrams has gained a national reputation as a gifted administrator and outstanding public speaker who has consistently placed the needs of students first and foremost. Born in Berkeley, Abrams spent his childhood in the Bay Area and Chicago before matriculating at Stanford, where he majored in political science and drama. As a graduate student at UCLA, Abrams studied political science, as well as being elected Secretary of the Black Graduate Student Association. Shortly thereafter, he began his career in admissions at the University of Southern California. He has been successful in a number of different settings; during his tenure as Director of Admission at Pitzer College, the school had the largest applicant pool it had ever had, the mean GPA and SAT scores of the entering class were the highest in the College's history, and the entering class was the most ethnically diverse in the history of the College. At Berkeley Law, he was fortunate to be a part of a team that met with a great deal of success; enrollment of students from traditionally underrepresented groups increased by more than 600% during his time there. In two stints in the Stanford MBA Admission Office, Abrams led efforts that helped that institution become the most ethnically diverse of the nation's most selective MBA programs; in addition, he served as both an academic advisor to undergraduate students as well as a Resident Fellow in an undergraduate residence. Most recently, he served as Assistant Dean for Diversity Outreach in Stanford's Office of Undergraduate Admission. In this role, he supervised a team of professionals charged with enhancing the diversity of the Stanford undergraduate population. He met his wife, Donna, when she was a third-year student in the joint MBA-MPH program at Haas. They live in Oakland with their two teenage sons. Abrams is a huge sports fan, a motorcyclist, and an avid barbecue pitmaster.



Erika Walker Erika Walker
Executive Director, Undergraduate Program, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley


Erika Walker is the Executive Director of the Undergraduate Program at the Haas School of Business. She also teaches UGBA 156AC, Diversity in the Workplace. With over 12 years of business experience in the private and not-for-profit industries, her interest has been in higher education student services, professional development and leadership training. As a manager at INROADS/Northern California, she interacted regularly with undergraduate students and Fortune 500 employers in the professional services and other industries. She worked as Program Administrator for the Summer Youth Development Program at the McKesson Corporation and as a Project Coordinator in Community and Government Relations at the Regional Offices of Kaiser Permanente. Erika earned her BS in American Studies, with emphasis in Health Education for Minority Youth, and MA in Educational Leadership. She is currently a doctoral student in Educational Leadership at Mills College.



H. Faye C. Lawson H. Faye C. Lawson
Student Outreach Advisor, Undergraduate Program, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley


H. Faye C. Lawson is the Student Outreach Advisor of the Undergraduate Program at the Haas School of Business. Before joining the undergraduate office she also served as Director of Student Services in the MBA unit as well as Haas First Student Advocate. Having worked on the Berkeley campus for over 25 years she worked in other units and served on several Chancellor Committees, i.e. Student Conduct, New Student Welcoming Committee and many others across the campus. She also received two degrees from Berkeley, BA in Ethnic Studies and Masters in Education, before recently joining the Haas Undergraduate School of Business. Her role now is to implement programs for student outreach, recruitment and admission to the Haas School of Business.



Sara Jennifer Delgadillo Bevington
Executive Director - Office of Pre-College Programs, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley


Ms. Bevington has more than twenty-five years of experience leading innovative programs in educational institutions, including higher education, museums and community based organizations. She began her career focusing on science and natural history museums in Chicago, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. She has specialized in educational program planning, community outreach, partnership development, and fundraising. In her more than 20 years in the nonprofit sector, Jennifer has developed award-winning programs and directed education departments in distinguished natural history museums, including Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Northern California, as well as the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. She has worked with primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall in both the Bay Area as well as in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on developing afterschool clubs and environmental programs. Jennifer comes to Haas after recent work with two teams developing start-up museum projects: the Bay-Delta Center, a coalition created to develop a proposed educational facility at Fisherman's Wharf that will focus on the health and well-being of the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary and its Pacific Ocean sanctuaries, as well as the Valley Children's Museum, in the Tri-Valley (Dublin) area east of San Francisco. Jennifer's career includes educational programming for the California Museum of Science & Industry in Los Angeles (now the California Science Center), the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago, the Evanston Art Center in Evanston, Illinois, and the Putnam Natural History Museum in Davenport, Iowa. She was Vice President at the national firm Museum Management Consultants, Inc., responsible for evaluation, audience research, facility and strategic planning, program development, and executive search.



Maria NondorfMaria Nondorf
Executive Director, Center for Financial Reporting & Management, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley


Professor Nondorf joined the faculty at the Haas School of Business upon completion of her PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003. Prior to obtaining her PhD, Professor Nondorf was a senior manager in the Corporate Finance Transaction Services Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York, NY. She started her career with Deloitte and Touche in Atlanta, GA and she is a CPA in the state of Georgia where she received her BBA in accounting from Mercer University. At Berkeley-Haas, Professor Nondorf currently researches the effects of accounting on the structure of corporate financing activities, in particular, mergers and acquisitions. She is also examining the effect of regulatory involvement on the quality of firms financial reporting and disclosures. In particular, she is studying the impact of SEC comment letters on disclosure quality and the effects of Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 on smaller firms.Professor Nondorf teaches intermediate and advanced financial accounting topics to Berkeley-Haas undergraduate and MBA students. In the summer of 2010, she was named Executive Director of the Center for Financial Reporting and Management. In her role as Executive Director of the Center, Professor Nondorf strives to link the Accounting Group at Berkeley-Haas to the global financial reporting community and she serves to provide awareness and advise students about the educational pathway towards a career in the accounting and financial advisory professions.



MercedesMercedes Martin
Mercedes Martin is a dynamic senior executive with an extensive and varied management background leading high-level organizational development, talent management, and diversity initiatives for large multi-national organizations. She is recognized as a respected leader and advocate for aligning programs with the company's needs to impact growth, profitability, and human capital. She is a highly sought after speaker and consultant in the areas of organizational assessment, cultural globalization, and leadership development. She has presented to National Organizational Development Network (ODN), Society of Intercultural Education and Training and Research (SIETAR), National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE), UCBerkeley. Mercedes is currently the Associate Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Ernst & Young, a global leader in in assurance, tax, transaction, advisory services and strategic growth markets. She joined the company in 2007 as an Assistant Director and Development Consultant and was quickly promoted into her current role where she leads the design, development and implementation of employee development and talent management strategies. She also provides consulting, coaching and business partner leadership to the executive leadership group. Some of her biggest accomplishment at EY include: launching company-wide change initiatives in Midwest, Mexico City and Central America; increasing client relationships by 10% of total clients; and rolling out the internationally recognized “Team Acceleration Program" that has increased team effectiveness and employee engagement. Prior to her role at EY, Mercedes co-founded and led the day-to-day operations at InPartnership Consulting, an organizational development and strategic change firm that specialized in resolving cross-cultural conflicts and rebuilding workplace teams through Latino and African American leadership programs. In this capacity, she engaged with numerous Fortune 50 companies, including Proctor and Gamble, Shell Oil, Kellogg's and PepsiCo to assess, design and deliver programs that fostered inclusive environments in which leadership and teamwork could flourish. Earlier in her career, Mercedes served the United States as a member of the United States Air Force where she obtained the position of Staff Development Officer and achieved Master Facilitator in "Total Quality Management". One of her major responsibilities was to train officers and enlisted medical personnel towards satisfying their professional leadership requirements, which played a major role in shaping her career path. Mercedes has a Master of Science in Leadership Development from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelor of Science in Transcultural Nursing from the University of Miami. Additionally, she obtained a Facilitator and Training Certificate from UC-Berkeley. She is a member of over a dozen professional organizations and serves on the advisory board of the Women's Leadership Institute at John F. Kennedy University.



Sara Sara Beckman
Chief Learning Officer for UC Berkeley's Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation


Sara Beckman is the Chief Learning Officer for UC Berkeley's Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation. In this role she will leverage her many years of teaching innovation and design-related topics at the Haas School of Business to create a minor in design for the campus. In her time at the Haas School, she has developed, institutionalized and directed the school's Management of Technology Program, initiated new courses on design, entrepreneurship in biotechnology, and new product development, won four awards from MBA students for excellence in teaching, and received the Berkeley campus Distinguished Teaching Award. She has also taught for Stanford University's Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, and been a visiting faculty member at MIT in both 1994 and 1999 where she taught in the Leaders for Manufacturing Program. She worked for a number of years at Hewlett-Packard and in the Operations Management Services practice at Booz, Allen and Hamilton. She has B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management at Stanford University and an M.S. in Statistics from the same institution. She is a member of the advisory boards for the Corporate Design Foundation and the California College of the Arts Design MBA Program.



Berkeley Center for Financial Reporting & Management Ernst & Young Young Entrepreneurs at Haas
Haas Undergraduate Black Business Association Latino Business Student Association