Greater Irvine Chamber Members Serve as Panelists for Small Business, Freelancers Workshop

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

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The Greater Irvine Chamber is partnering with Leaders from SPARK OC, a local chapter of a national freelancers union group, to moderate a discussion featuring a panel of successful small-business owners from the Chamber’s membership. The workshop will be held at the Greater Irvine Chamber on Thursday, Sept. 5, 6 – 8 p.m. Attendee is free, however, space is limited, RSVP is required.

The panel will discuss how they chose and overcame challenges to find success. Regardless of industry, attendees will leave with insights and connections that will help their business thrive.

Meet the Panel:

Vivian Atkinson – Express Employment Professionals
Vivian Atkinson is a long-term resident and business owner in Irvine, CA. She has built a reputation for exceptional customer service and support through a successful career in commercial real estate. She was a commercial broker at Colliers International and a restaurant development representative at McDonald's Restaurants. Atkinson relocated to Irvine from Canada in 2008. Despite the challenging economic conditions at the time, she purchased the Express Employment Professionals office serving the area, an office which at the time was still just getting established. Working with a team of talented recruiters and staff, Atkinson built the business into one of the most successful offices in the region with a growth rate more than twice the industry average. She serves on the Greater Irvine Chamber Board of Directors.

Massis Chahbazian – The Printery
Massis Chahbazian founded The Printery in 1989 and has adapted the Irvine-based business in response to changing print demands and the emergence of digital marketing. Innovations to his business portfolio include wide-format printing, direct mail, apparel, and promotional items. His company grew from two to 30 staff members. Chahbazian serves on the Board of Directors for the Printing Industries Association, Inc. of Southern California. He has served on event, marketing, and several other Greater Irvine Chamber committees, and was on the organization’s Board of Directors, serving as its 2010 – 2012 chair.

Dan Han – Agapay
Dan Han is the founder and president of Agapay, a payment processing company established in 2012. Its mission is to support small business and give back to the community. Agapay utilizes its own payment gateway and integrates into various billing and ecommerce software in card-not-present industries. Han has been in the Payment Processing industry for more than 10 years and is a Certified Payment Professional through the Electronic Transactions Association. He serves as chair of the Greater Irvine Chamber Board of Directors and is a partner with Cadenza Music Academy and a Virtual Assistant placement agency. Prior to Agapay, Han has owned a retail store, import company, and mortgage company. Through his experiences he has learned the importance of persistence and patience in building a business, and that every failure is a learning experience for your success.

Carlos Oregon – Thinkbox Technology Group
Carlos Oregon has more than 20 years of experience in operations and technology. He has a myriad of experience in consulting and program/project management. While at Thinkbox, Oregon spent his 10 years overseeing the growth of the company in and outside of the US. Oregon and his team support client enterprise-wide initiatives, including data center migrations, VOIP upgrades, infrastructure, low-voltage, and project recovery. He served as the interim CIO for the City of Plano for 18 months. Prior to joining Thinkbox Technology Group, he was a senior member of the engineering team at WET Design, where he was responsible for the project management and coordination of technology, production, and logistics for iconic water features, including the world’s largest water feature at the Burj, Dubai development in UAE. Oregon is also a veteran who served for 16 years as a member of the U.S. Air Force on active duty and, later, as a member of the U.S. Intelligence community on reserve duty where he supported global operations for Special Operations and Space Command while deployed to Afghanistan and other locations. He serves on the Greater Irvine Chamber Board of Directors.

Shana Starr – Bastion Elevate
Shana Starr has owned and run her own public relations and social media agency since 2008 and has worked as a small business, promoting both large and small businesses and brands through the years. Having recently been acquired by a global collective of marketing services agencies out of Australia, with the U.S. office headquartered in Irvine, she is now CEO of Bastion Elevate, a communications agency built for the new age. Starr has worked with companies large and small, having launched the first digital camera at Canon Computer Systems, to working with DreamWorks Interactive at E3, Sage, Avalara, on to start-ups such as Deal Locker, Azio Computer systems and countless others, driving effective communication strategies.


Category: Chamber News, Events