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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.

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!

Carol Furtado


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.

Board of Directors

Ed Byers


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.

Peter Fagan

Board Member

Peter K. Fagen is a founding partner of Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost. Established in 2006, the firm is recognized as the premier full-service education law firm in California, representing nearly 500 clients across the state. An exemplary lawyer, administrator and leader, Mr. Fagen has dedicated his practice to helping clients and colleagues develop strategies to identify and achieve their goals. He is a popular speaker and frequently conducts professional development workshops for school administrators and board members. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa College of Law and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa.

Kelby Thornton

Board Member

Kelby Thornton is the Information Management leader in San Joaquin Valley Business Unit for Chevron North America Exploration & Production Operation Company. Kelby has over 15 years energy industry experience, and has held various project and leadership positions in Information Technology, recently as the Asia Pacific Regional Manager enabling Information Management on Chevron’s major capital investments in countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. Kelby is seeking to share her knowledge and experience with developing teams, delivering results with a corporation that is committed to people, communities and the environment.

Van Ajemian

Board Member

Van Ajemian is an attorney by profession and a social entrepreneur by passion. Having graduated UCLA, he now manages two charities in Montebello, California, and develops innovation meant to do much public good. His emphasis of late has been jobs for veterans and funds for veterans services. Van is continually looking for social entrepreneurs to work with. He supports SAGE and wishes to see it grow rapidly because he believes that SAGE would give teenagers much-needed experience, responsibility, and a solution-oriented world view. Van has a fascination with languages, although Chinese couples in his neighborhood wince, grimace and snicker when he tries to communicate with them.

Judy Sitton

Board Member

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.

Danielle Harmony

Board Member

Danielle Harmony has been volunteering with SAGE Global since its inception in 2002 and is proud to join the board in 2016. She is a data analyst at heart and enjoys using data to expose success stories and areas for improvement. She currently works at Saint Mary’s College within the fundraising department, managing their alumni and donor database. In her spare time, she enjoys walking around town with her hound dog rescue pup and brewing beer with the family.

Dawn Sweatt

Board Member

As a litigation associate with Berliner Cohen, my practice focuses on all aspects of commercial litigation, including corporate services, unfair competition, trade secrets, real property disputes, and other business related litigation. I have had substantial trial experience in my role as a litigator with both bench and jury trials. I received my B.A., with honors, in Economics from California State University Chico. I then graduated with distinction from the University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law where I obtained my J.D. in 2005 with a Certificate of Advocacy.

Helen Shi

Board Member

Since 2004, Helen has grown from a SAGE Student, SAGE Champion winner (2005), to college mentor of the champion team(2006) and Country Coordinator (2007-2009). She judged almost every year’s competition since 2006 and initiated the first environment focused award for SAGE China in 2015.
Helen got her Bachelor of Science degree in Life Science from Fudan University and Master of Biotechnology from University of Pennsylvania. She worked as a Research assistant for Wharton Business School while at Penn and recently got Advanced Project Management certificate from Stanford. After working in Novartis and Teva, Helen now serves as a data scientist moving innovations for eye care from bench to the market at Santen Inc. She loves violin, golfing, gardening (raising worms) and meditation.