North Bay Business Leaders Join Sonoma State School of Business and Economics Dean’s Advisory Council

March 18, 2021

Sonoma County, CA - Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics announces the establishment of its new Dean’s Advisory Council. Founding members of the DAC include Council Chairman Gary Heck, owner of F. Korbel & Bros, Natalie Cilurzo, co-owner and president of Russian River Brewing Company, Blair Kellison, CEO of Traditional Medicinals, and Tony Magee, founder of Lagunitas Brewing Company. Complementing the Wine Business Institute board’s expertise in wine business, the DAC will advise the School of Business and Economics in other areas, such as entrepreneurship, craft industries, health and wellness, and accounting. More information about the council members can be found here.

Just as the Wine Business Institute board of directors helps us build upon our leadership position in wine business, the DAC will support our exploration of other possible areas of distinction, such as mission-driven business and entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Jean-Francois Coget, dean of the School of Business and Economics at SSU. “I could not be more pleased with the caliber of individuals who have agreed to serve as founding members of Sonoma State's School of Business and Economics Dean’s Advisory Council.” 

The success of the Wine Business Institute over the past 25 years has been built on the strategic partnership of all wine and wine-affiliated businesses to develop an inclusive program for the SSU wine community,” said Heck. “Building collaborative relationships with an advisory council of business leaders can only further advance Sonoma State’s School of Business and Economics’ strategic priorities.”  

As an SSU alumna, I am especially honored and excited for this opportunity to give back to my alma mater by serving on the SBE Dean’s Advisory Council. Being on this Council enables me to combine my SSU education and years of experience as a local business owner by providing guidance and leadership to future business school graduates,” said Cilurzo.

I am honored to represent Traditional Medicinals on the Sonoma State School of Business and Economics Dean’s Advisory Council,” said Kellison. “Founded in 1974, Traditional Medicinals’ purpose-driven social business model has resulted in five decades of commercial success and created a truly sustainable organization at scale. In the future, competition is not going to be between products but between business models. Forward-thinking, sustainable social business models will enjoy a competitive advantage over traditional extractive business models. I look forward to working with Dean Coget and his staff to develop a robust social business curriculum at Sonoma State.”

It’s highly gratifying to be involved with the Dean’s Advisory Council and share some of the insights I arrived at through the long years I spent growing Lagunitas,” said Magee. “I am particularly energized by the school’s growing interest in entrepreneurship, and think I can help it develop in that regard.”

The Council will be a great asset to the school. Look at the difference that our Wine Business Institute Board of Directors has made to our wine programs and research. I would expect a similar impact by the Council on the school at large. Public-Private partnerships are powerful forces for success,” said Ray Johnson, executive director of the Wine Business Institute at SSU.

For more information about the SBE and any of our degree or certificate programs, please visit http://sbe.sonoma.edu