Curtis L. DeBerg
Curtis L. DeBerg is a business professor at California State University, Chico. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. at Oklahoma State University in business administration and economics. Professor DeBerg is a renowned innovator and educator; he has redesigned his university classes using a “flipped classroom” model and sees SAGE as a “disruptive education” program. Dr. DeBerg founded SAGE in summer 2002 as a way to introduce a new form of capitalism to the next generation. He calls this “humanitarian capitalism.” A global traveler, Dr. DeBerg is also an avid runner and a total optimist.
Since 2003, Carol Furtado has served SAGE Global as a mentor, event planner, Executive Secretary, CFO, Vice President and is currently Senior Vice President. Carol exceeds in developing SAGE leaders, liaising in support of our global coordinators, and strategy implementation. Carol’s versatility allows her to handle anything that comes her way. In her free time Carol enjoys music, math, and traveling the globe.
Rob J. Best
Educated in Organizational Communication and Business Administration, Rob has built a career in coaching and developing professional teams & their leaders; team & employee development, leadership coaching, client experience & communication training, and general business operations are among his specialties. As COO, Rob’s responsible for SAGE Global’s growth management and oversight of all global operations. Additionally, Rob assists with all policies, procedures, legal documentation, technologies, marketing directives and strategic partnerships. When not traveling or reliving his hoop dreams, Rob enjoys surfing, paddle boarding, running, biking, hiking, or really any simple pleasure that is found in an athletic, outdoor adventure!
Director of Development
Olenka is an entreprenista extraordinaire. Her wealth of experience in fundraising, public relations, and leadership development has led to her executive position with SAGE Global. Her development goals include increasing private and corporate partnerships, increasing the number of participating SAGE teams, and providing more opportunities for youth to become leaders. Olenka is also the CEO/Founder of Rising Tycoons, where she has become one of the nation’s premiere motivational speakers and teen experts. When Olenka isn’t traveling the world, you can find her reading, writing and coaching slam poetry, or hiking.
USA Coordinator and Global Events Organizer
Liz Wendorf has been with SAGE Global since 2007, helping mentor students and planning annual competitions. She graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship from California State University, Chico in 2010. Her passion for business and entrepreneurship runs in the family – both her immediate family and her SAGE family. In her spare time, Liz enjoys singing and makes the most of spending quality time with family and friends.
Board of Directors
Ed Byers is Principal with Deloitte’s Advisory Practice in San Francisco. With over 20 years of experience at Deloitte, Ed serves primarily the Health Care practice in the West Region and has also been fortunate enough to serve many of the upstart social media and online gaming entities. Ed has been in numerous leadership capacities at Deloitte – including being a practice regional managing partner, service line leader, market offering leader, and HR leader. Ed is also on the board of Deloitte’s pro bono committee. This committee sponsors organizations such as SAGE—which allows these organizations to continue to invest in the growth and development of our youth in the United States and around the world. Prior to joining Deloitte, Ed worked for IBM and Procter and Gamble and has also served as a part-time faculty member at various universities across the U.S.
Judy Sitton, first came to Chico in 1963, when she was 18 and she and her mother were on a tour of prospective colleges. A “tall gentleman” approached them on the Chico State campus and offered to take them on a tour. It was only when they parted, that she learned this man was the college’s president. It was an act of gracious friendliness that spoke volumes about this town, she says. She met her husband, Gary, in her Psych 1A class her freshman year. After graduation—she received her lifetime teaching credential in 1969—they moved to Alberta, Canada, where he got his Ph.D. Then they returned to Chico, where she taught elementary school, and he taught computer science at the university for 16 years.
Mr. Van Ajemian
Van Ajemian, JD, is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law. He works as a social entrepreneur, conceiving and developing concepts for social enterprises, then searching for teams of university students to take charge and take ownership. He believes that youth have greater potential to become assets to their communities, even before high-school graduation, than adults generally believe or allow for. He sees a need for each individual to learn and practice self-reliance to the extent possible, because of inherent limits to humans effectively managing large systems like national governments. He is interested in supporting social enterprises which mix individual self- reliance with codependence in small communities, in the hope that this combination be optimal with regard to job security, health, emergency preparedness, sustainable communities, and a sustainable planet.
Scott Sambucci, is VP of Sales & Customer Success @ Blend; Speaker, Author, Educator. Scott specializes in Enterprise Sales, Public Speaking, Organizational Behavioral, Lean Startup. He has joined SAGE Board in 2015 and brings a wealth of expertise from US Housing Market, public and private sectors as well as private client experience. Scotts’s public speaking appearances include TEDx, The Lean Startup Conference, Technology Events & Workshops, Housing Industry & Academic Conferences.