We are always looking for members to assist in organizing events, administration of the organization and general management of the Columbia Alumni Association of San Diego. If you're interested in learning more about volunteering with CAASD, please contact the organization by emailing CAASD President Alex Szabo [email protected]. In order to be considered for a role as a director of CAASD, we ask that a member first take on a volunteer role.
Board Members 2019 - 2021
Alex Szabo ’80 MBA (President) is a business executive with extensive experience and insight across several diverse business segments: consumer packaged goods, energy, manufacturing, biotechnology, communications, and the B2B and B2C service industries. After Fortune 500 experiences at IBM, Colgate-Palmolive, and Ecolab, he held senior executive positions, including President & CEO, at several companies: Benckiser USA, Inc.; Screenvision Cinema Network; Whittle Communications (Time/Warner); Petroleum Heat & Power Company; Perlucid Corporation (biotech); and currently at Topsail Group, LLC.
As an executive, Alex uses his strategic, marketing, and operating skills to increase revenues, strengthen internal operations, improve employee productivity, and grow profits. He is a results-driven leader with a Fortune 500 disciplined management philosophy who builds high performance teams with strategic vision, entrepreneurial drive, and creativity. Alex received his B.A. from Brown University and his M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Alan Hoffmanner ’87 MBA (Treasurer) is the President of Agiledge, a San Diego based boutique consulting firm focusing on two areas, selecting and developing the right people and building optimal processes for business success. He is also an adjunct professor, having taught over 100 MBA classes, and is a graduate of Miami University and CBS a couple plus decades ago. He is currently the President of the Columbia Business School Club of San Diego, the past president and current Membership VP of San Diego Business Resources, an avid mountain biker, Toastmaster and resident of San Marcos, CA.
Ina Sturlis ’14GS (Vice President) joined CAASD board in 2014 and has been an active board member since, primarily focusing on strategic regional engagement through enhanced marketing, event planning and new students coaching. She is originally from Lithuania, where she was studying Scandinavian Linguistics (Swedish) in Vilnius University prior to moving to the U.S. in 2004. Ina is fluent in three languages and has worked in sales, hospitality and fashion industries prior to getting her B.A. in Financial Economics at Columbia. While in school, she was an active member of Smart Woman Securities, which embraced financial education among women in the investment industry. She was also active in the life of School of General Studies and received “Service Award” in recognition for dedicated service and leadership.
Ina gained her experience in finance in New York by being part of UBS Wealth Management, Credit Suisse (Sell-Side Research) and Schaffer-Cullen Capital Management (Buy-Side Research). While in San Diego, she has spent three years working for innovative branchless bank Axos and Umpqua Bank. She currently holds a position of the Vice President, Senior Underwriter at the Bank of the West.
Besides her involvement with CAASD, she serves on the board of Columbia Venture Community of San Diego and is a trustee at NYC Peace Museum. Her past experience also includes serving on the board of “Upward” (Los Angeles Chapter), a global network for executive women. Ina is a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor and in her free time she also volunteers in the orphanages in Baja and travels.
Yessica Diaz Roman ’12 DrPH (Director)
Dr. Roman is actively involved in the San Diego community and has focused her efforts on promoting diversity and improving the health and well-being of those in need. She teaches at Southwestern College (SWC) in the Behavioral Sciences Department and serves on the Academic Senate for the School of Arts, Communication and Social Sciences. Her commitment to mentoring students continues as a mentor for SWC's Puente Program and as a member of the Outreach Committee for the Association of Women in Science in San Diego. As a board member for Latinas in Medicine, she supports the organization’s mission to promote and contribute to the advancement of Latinas pursuing a career in medicine. Dr. Roman is a board member for Columbia University’s Alumni Association of San Diego and member of Lead San Diego’s Advance Class of 2020. She holds a Doctorate in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and a joint Master’s in Public Health and Social Work from the University of Michigan.
Anna Belova '10PhD (Director) joined the CAASD board in 2017. Anna is an oil and gas analyst focusing on Russia and the Former Soviet Union. The past four years Anna has been with GlobalData, a research and consultancy firm based in London, building up its energy coverage while supporting the development of analytical and data tools for the global oil and gas industry.
At Columbia University, Anna focused on zero-emission coal power plants for her master’s degree from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and on carbon capture technologies for her Ph.D. degree in Environmental Engineering from the School of Graduate Arts and Science. She collaborated on research with Columbia’s Earth Institute and Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy and taught chemical and environmental engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and. Anna graduated with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and economics from William Jewell.
Anna and her family enjoy hiking and camping and are on a quest to put up tent in every US National Park. Anna is passionate about educational and conservation causes, from past involvement with Wilderness Volunteers, Learning Leaders of NYC DOE, and ATPF organizations, and looks forward to community outreach with Columbia alumni at San Diego.
Jenny Xiaoming Wang, '01 SIPA (Director) grew up in an intellectual family in China. She studied at Beijing Renmin University of China and received a Bachelor’s degree in finance. Jenny came to the United States in the early 1990s, studied at the City University of New York, received a Master’s degree in Economics, and then studied at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs and received a MPA degree. Jenny has held positions at Swiss Bank Corp, Columbia University, Lennar Corp, UCSD, etc., as a Budget Analyst, Senior Accountant, and Accounting Manager.
Nic Echevestre, '10 LAW (Director) graduated from Columbia Law School in 2010. Since then he has represented corporations, officers, and directors in a variety of complex commercial litigation matters. Nic’s experience includes defending clients against claims of securities fraud, violations of consumer protection statutes, breaches of IP licensing agreements, invasions of privacy, and breaches of fiduciary duties. Nic is also heavily involved in pro bono legal work in the San Diego community. In 2017, he was awarded the Pro Bono Publico Award from the Casa Cornelia Law Center for his work successfully representing victims of persecution and torture who were seeking asylum.
Nic is currently Of Counsel at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, which is an AmLaw 200 Firm with 25 offices across the country and over 650 attorneys. Prior to joining Dinsmore, Nic was an associate at Cooley LLP, where he was a member of the firm’s securities litigation practice group.
Nic moved to San Diego because he enjoys being active and being outdoors. His hobbies include, among others, playing basketball and beach volleyball, competing in triathlons, and going camping with his family.