Susan Block, MBA
Professional Development Chair & Trainer
Susan has over 20 years experience as an investment banker, and strategic consultant in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group at Montgomery Securities, as a Vice President and founding partner at Mercantile Capital Corporation, and most recently as a principal with Block, Bowman & Associates, LLC. In this capacity, Ms. Block acquired extensive industry experience working with over 40 firms in operating and strategic advisory roles; including Safeway Foods and the buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis and Roberts. Ms. Block has held interim CEO and turnaround consultant positions for firms which later went public or were sold for up to $250 million and has personally managed both the growth and downsizing of firms from an organizational, marketing, financial and operational perspective.
Ms. Block is currently the Chair of their Professional Development Program at Santa Barbara City College where she is instrumental in determining workplace training needs, and subsequently designs and delivers workplace and executive and training programs for executives, staff and faculty. In this role she applies both her business experience guiding companies through change, growth and innovation; as well as her academic experience to create a blend of experience driven guided workshops and classes. Prior to joining SBCC, Ms. Block taught business and training courses as an adjunct faculty member at the University Wisconsin School of Business Administration, the University of California- Santa Barbara Technology Management Program and Department of Economics, LARTA University (LA Regional Technology Alliance) and JEPTA (Japanese Entrepreneur Program). Ms. Block teaches training courses in Management, Leadership, Strategic Planning, Innovation, Change, Entrepreneurship, Business Planning, Finance, Project Management and Teams.
Ms. Block currently serves as a board member for the MIT Enterprise Forum and previously served on the Executive Committee and as the chair of the Business Plan Review Committee and Mentoring Committee for the LARTA Venture Forum and the Central Coast Venture Forum. In this capacity, and as a Mentor for firms involved in Technology Transfer Programs and other government programs to commercialize grant funded technology, Ms. Block has assisted firms manage the change and innovation process through the commercialization stages across most industry areas. Ms. Block has also coached over 400 firms on their investor presentations and works closely with Venture Capitalists on capital raising projects. Ms Block also serves as a judge for both the nationwide SEED Business Plan competition and the local Westmont Business Competition.
Ms. Block received an MBA in Finance and a Bachelors of Science from the University of Wisconsin, and has developed and taught both undergraduate and Executive MBA finance and business management courses and training as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin - School of Business Administration, UCSB Department of Economics and the Technology Management Program at the University of California Santa Barbara – Engineering Department.
Jill Scala, M.A.
Professional Development Trainer
Jill Scala has helped companies realize increasing levels of potential by fostering effective methods of communication, including Coaching, Performance Counseling, and Conflict Resolution. Known for her energetic style and workshop approach, Jill maximizes the learning transfer by making her training fun, yet productive and effective. She has a strong understanding of communication and how it impacts a company's success. And, with extensive experience in both the corporate and academic training worlds, Jill knows how to bring the best of both to each of her training sessions.
A graduate of Pepperdine University's School of Law, Jill began her career with a mediation and arbitration firm, where, in addition to her duties as Account Executive, she gained extensive experience in small claims court mediation as well as developed MCLE accredited seminars. She then joined Select Personnel as Training Manager and designed and conducted multi-module certification programs for employees at over 50 branch offices.
Jill later entered the academic world as an Instructor of Communication with Santa Barbara City College, which afforded her the opportunity to initiate, develop and implement training for that department, including computer application training in various office programs and Internet tools. She currently is a full-time faculty member in the Professional Development Department, which allows her to design and conduct real-world workshops for both college faculty and senior-level managers from private industry.
Jill takes advantage of her position in education to stay at the forefront of the ever-evolving arenas of adult learning and professional development. She is an active member of PIHRA and ASTD, and volunteers her time to help conduct training needs assessments and develop the needed programs for such organizations as the EEOC. She holds a B.A. degree in Communication Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an M.A. degree in Dispute Resolution from the Pepperdine University School of Law.