The Jake Jabs Center’s distinguished faculty includes many talented professors from the CU Denver Business School, as well as experienced industry leaders and entrepreneurs from the Denver business community.

Joel Appel


Joel has been an entrepreneur and business manager most of his life. After attending Claremont McKenna College and Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Joel worked at the Quaker Oats Company for 8 years. He then founded Orange Glo International, marketers of Orange Glo, OxiClean, and Kaboom, with his parents. Joel created the famous television ads feature the late Billy Mays. In 2006 Joel and his family sold Orange Glo to Church & Dwight/Arm & Hammer.

A year later Joel co-founded Launch Pad LLC, a marketing company that backs and runs several consumer products companies such as FullBar, Brainetics, Tortle, 2 Red Hens, and Gallo en Fuego. Joel also owns the Moda Man store on Larimer Square in Denver. Joel sits on the boards of two non-profits, First Descents and the Hoffman Institute. Joel has two high-school aged kids, loves the outdoors, and has tremendous passion for personal and spiritual growth.

Kristen Blessman


Kristen Blessman has over 20 years of leadership experience, including strategic marketing, business development and executive management; working with both non-profit, for-profit as well as small business ownership experience. Kristen is a change-agent leader with a focus on revenue development through the areas of innovation, strategic planning, start-up social enterprise, rebranding, and award-winning marketing and advertising campaigns.

Currently, Blessman serves as the President and CEO of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC). As CEO of the CWCC, Blessman is responsible for executing the organization’s mission of advancing women in business. Blessman was hired in 2017 to bring value to membership through innovation, brand awareness and long-term vision. Through the creation of a new leadership program, mentoring program and unique peer group programming, Blessman has overhauled programming and curriculum at the CWCC and brought a new value proposition to CWCC members and the community. Additionally, Blessman is recreating the CWCC brand through new educational and inspiring events, enhanced digital and traditional media as well as extensive community outreach programs to create awareness and advocacy for women in the workplace. To date, Blessman’s efforts have created a unique space for the CWCC in the community as well as increased interest and membership in the organization.Prior to the CWCC, Blessman was the Chief Marketing Officer for Goodwill Industries of Denver. Having been drawn to the organization’s triple-bottom line business approach of people, profit and planet, she was responsible for the rebranding of Goodwill’s image in 2009 and started Goodwill’s first customer loyalty program, Club Blue in 2012. Blessman was appointed as innovation and business development officer in 2013, launching several new social enterprise businesses as well as doubling the organization’s fundraising revenues. Under her leadership, Goodwill opened more than 40 new retail locations and grew from $30 million in revenues to over $70 million.

Blessman has received several awards for her marketing, advertising and public relations campaigns, including the 2009 Public Relations Society of America’s Gold Pick Award. Kristen has served on multiple committees and boards of directors, including The American Marketing Association, The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Denver Press Club, The Women’s Leadership Foundation, and Arapahoe House. She also volunteers for Goodwill Industries of Denver’s youth career programs in several metro Denver high schools and has been a guest lecturer at Metro State, Argosy and Regis University.

Blessman holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from The University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Business Administration Degree in Marketing from Regis University. She enjoys the outdoor lifestyle that Colorado provides by snowboarding, running, biking and hiking. She currently lives in Denver with her 14-year old son.

Toti Cadavid


Toti Cadavid is a seasoned multicultural marketing and communications strategist with great expertise in both domestic and international markets. After a near death experience, Toti was moved to reconsider her career in terms of her inner alignment and the impact she was having on the world. She became a bestselling author, speaker, trainer, certified coach, and launched U-Fulfilled, a consulting and leadership development company that helps executives and business leaders align themselves and their organizations with their purpose and true brand. As a result, individuals develop the clarity and balance needed to be more effective leaders, and organizations reach higher levels of effectiveness and success. Toti is a co-author of Pebbles in the Pond: Wave Four which, days after its release, reached bestseller status in nine countries.

Prior to U-Fulfilled, Toti spent the first 10 years of her career in the corporate sector, designing and implementing fully integrated local and global marketing, branding, and communications efforts for companies such as AT&T and The Hallmark Channel. During the second decade of her career, Toti was president and CEO of Xcelente, a cross- cultural marketing and communications agency which under her leadership help over 152 clients launch or re-build their brands in the Hispanic marketplace. Xcelente provided its clients with marketing solutions that incorporated social, ethnic, and cultural nuances into all marketing, branding, public relations, community outreach, public information, and advertising initiatives. In 2014, Toti launched U-Fulfilled, which transformed into Essencialize in 2017 after merging with Xcelente to empower purpose-driven personal and organizational brands.Toti has been deeply committed to giving back to the community, and thus has held leadership positions in a number of local and national business and civic organizations including the Junior League of Denver, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, Hispanics in Technology and Telecommunications Association, Mi Casa Resource Center, the Denver Better Business Bureau, Visit Denver’s Multicultural Tourism Task Force, the Minority Advisory Council of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, the Leadership Council of Escuela de Guadalupe, the Community College of Denver Foundation, the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Denver International Airport’s Management Advisory Council, and the Colorado Forum. In addition, former Mayor Hickenlooper appointed her to his Denver Early Childhood Council and to his Latino Commission.

Toti currently sits on the boards of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Colorado Health Foundation, Junior Achievement, El Pomar Foundation’s Denver Council, and the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship. Toti was recognized in 2005 as one of the nation’s Top Latina Business Entrepreneurs by Hispanic Magazine, as a finalist by the Colorado Rockies for the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award, and by The Denver Business Journal as one of the “Top Forty Under 40” business leaders in Colorado. In 2006, Toti received the Businesswoman of the Year award by the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Minority Small Business Champion Award by the SBA, and was named a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts in 2007. Toti was recognized in 2016 with the HIP-Giver award by the national Hispanics in Philanthropy Foundation.

Toti holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business, a masters’ degree in Marketing, another master’s degree in Management & Organizational Development, and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship, all from the University of Colorado. Toti is also a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Executive Management Program, the 2004 Leadership Program of the Rockies, the 2005 Leadership Denver program, the 2005 National Hispana Leadership Institute, and the 2005 Dartmouth University Tuck Minority Business Executive Program. She holds a QSCA coaching certification, and is a licensed master-level graduate of the Avatar Self-Empowerment Training Program.

Toti, a native of Colombia, lives in Lone Tree, Colorado with her husband Luis Colón and their children.

Dr. Elizabeth Cooperman


Dr. Elizabeth Cooperman is a professor in the Business School at the University of Colorado Denver and currently serves as the Professional MBA Program Director. Dr. Cooperman teaches Financial Institutions Management, Entrepreneurial Finance, Financial Institutions and Markets, and Short-term Financial Management. Her research and teaching interests are in financial institution management, corporate finance, and entrepreneurial finance.

Dr. Cooperman is the coauthor of the latest revised edition of Financial Institutions Management: An Asset/Liability Approach. Her research articles have appeared in The Journal of Finance, Financial Management, The Journal of Real Estate Economics, The Review of Economics and Statistics, Financial Review, The Journal of Financial Research, The Journal of Financial Services Research, The Journal of Business Research, and other finance and economics journals. She previously served as the Program Director for the MS in Finance program, and was given the Dean’s Outstanding Service Award by for the Business School in 2002. At the University of Baltimore, where she taught previously, she won the Dean’s Faculty Service Award in 1995, the Baker Research Chair in 1993-1996, and the Outstanding Advisor of the Year Award in 1992.

Dr. Cooperman has a PhD in Finance and an MBA from the University of Georgia. She was the economist member for the Maryland State Bank Board in 1994-1996. She is a past president of the Midwest Finance Association and has served as track chair in Financial Institutions and Markets for both the Southern Finance Association and the Midwest Finance Association.

Cyrus Dioun


Dr. Cyrus Dioun is an Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Colorado Denver Business School. Dr. Dioun’s research focuses on the relationship between politics, culture, and the emergence and legitimation of new industries. His research covers a number of new and contested industries, ranging from legal cannabis markets to the do-it-yourself Maker field. His work has been published in journals, such as Socio-Economic Review and Research in the Sociology of Organizations, and cited by Time Magazine, The Hill, ABC News, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Prior to starting at the University of Colorado Denver, Dr. Dioun was a Data Science Fellow at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science. He has also worked with or consulted for tech startups, business incubators, and real estate developers. Dr. Dioun received a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, an MA in Quantitative Methods from Columbia University, and a BA in Public Policy from Pomona College.

Dr. David Forlani


Dr. David Forlani teaches courses that focus on the planning and implementation of marketing programs, especially as they relate to new market opportunities. He has taught the following courses at the University of Colorado Denver: Marketing Management, Marketing Research, Marketing Strategy, and Strategic Marketing Relationships.

Dr. Forlani’s interest in the new business creation processes has strongly influenced both his instructional preferences and his academic research program. His research activities focus on understanding the impact of individual differences and contextual factors on the risk taking behaviors of managers who make new business creation decisions. His articles have appeared in The Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, The Journal of Business Venturing, The Journal of Product Innovation Management, Psychology & Marketing, and other journals.Dr. Forlani holds a PhD in Business from the University of Minnesota, an MBA with a focus on Marketing Strategy from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, and an undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Florida.

Jim Lopresti


Jim LoPresti has worked in both corporate and academic worlds, utilizing practice and theory for over thirty-five years. He brings proven expertise to his clients in executive coaching, negotiation skills/conflict resolution, leadership through storytelling, team building, senior management alignment, introducing and leveraging change, and cultural transformation. With a strong foundation in emotional and social intelligence and the neuroscience of leadership, Jim incorporates methodologies business environments to help inspire a “big picture” perspective.

Jim has worked at all levels in corporations, from C-suite executives to senior and middle managers to front line workers. Jim has also worked with executive MBA, doctoral, and undergraduate students. Jim coaches in the United States, Europe, and Asia, working with executive clients in France, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy and Singapore. Jim consults and facilitates programs in large multinational and medium size corporations, working in a wide range of industries including private equity firms, higher education, information technology, construction, pharmaceuticals, and government.In 2013, Jim began developing a leadership institute for the American University of Rome in collaboration with a recently retired admiral from the United States Navy. In the corporate arena, Jim has held various management and leadership roles. As the Senior Services Manager for Sun Microsystem he managed a global team. At Lucent Technologies, Jim was a Distance Learning Manager and Senior Performance Analyst in education and training. Prior to Lucent, Jim served as the Aviation Administrator for The Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, and the Newark City Manager for People Express Airlines.Jim completed his coaching development through the Teleos Leadership Institute and is a certified professional coach (PCC) through the International Coaching Federation. Currently, he is also an adjunct senior instructor of management at the School of Business at the University of Colorado, Denver, and adjunct senior instructor at the Colorado State University School of Business. Jim holds a doctorate in literature from the University of Denver.

Barry McConnell

Senior Instructor & Director of Business Minor

Barry McConnell is an instructor at the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship.

Jung Park


Jung has over 20 years of consulting experience in design, branding, marketing, user experience, strategy, and business development. He also has over 15 years of experience as a start-up entrepreneur in all facets of entrepreneurship from funding to operations.

Leveraging his experience from consulting and his passion for strategy and entrepreneurship, Jung has built a unique platform of services. He provides a full suite of consulting and advisory services in entrepreneurship, strategy, culture, communication, leadership, marketing, and branding to corporate, start-up and non-profit clients. Jung also delivers key notes, seminars and facilitates workshops on the subjects of corporate/personal branding, professional/personal development, leadership, Life ROI, entrepreneurship, value, culture, diversity, and Asian-American empowerment.

Jung was born in Seoul, South Korea and migrated to New York City when he was 13. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife and two young children.

Dr. Madhavan “MP” Parthasarathy

Professor & Director, Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship

Dr. Madhavan Parthasarathy is a Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and the Academic and Executive Director of the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship. He co-teaches the entrepreneurship capstone classes (Business Plan and Model Development, as well as Digital Strategy for Entrepreneurs) with Joel Appel, one of Colorado’s great entrepreneurs. Professor Parthasarathy’s primary research area is the diffusion (and discontinuance) of disruptive innovations, and he has published extensively in journals such as Information Systems Research, Small Business Economics, and Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, among others.

Professor Parthasarathy fosters close friendships with some of Colorado’s greatest entrepreneurs and business leaders, and he was instrumental in securing a large private gift to the Center from Mr. Jake Jabs. He is an advocate of combining both academic and experiential elements to provide a balanced education to students of the Center, thereby empowering them to succeed in Colorado’s dynamic entrepreneurial eco-system. As a result of his leadership, the Jabs Center offers novel mentorship programs, hosts several cutting-edge events, and maintains close relationships with the Business community.

David Ruderman


David Ruderman has been an instructor in the Business School since 2009, and teaches a variety of courses, including Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship, Strategic Management, Leading Individuals and Teams, and Leveraging Cultural Diversity and Inclusion in Business. His focus is on creating practical and engaging courses which students can apply in their professional lives. In the entrepreneurial context, this involves imparting the practical skills necessary to aid aspiring entrepreneurs in the venture creation and business startup process. When not teaching, Mr. Ruderman serves as the faculty advisor for the Business Student Ambassador Committee (BSAC), a club supporting the Business School.

Mr. Ruderman holds an MBA with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship Studies from the University of Colorado Denver, and a BA in Broadcasting and Cable from the Pennsylvania State University. He is also a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training for Managers Program, and is a Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Certified Practitioner.In 2012, Mr. Ruderman was awarded the Outstanding Instructor Award at the Business School, and in 2013, was awarded the University of Colorado Denver Faculty Assembly Award for Outstanding Service.

Mr. Ruderman has 18 years of business experience in the fields of broadcast sales management, academic fundraising and entrepreneurship. He has worked for the United States Small Business Administration and consulted with a number of entrepreneurial upstarts in the Denver area. From 2010-2011, Mr. Ruderman served on the board of directors for PHAMALY – The Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League – where he headed their Strategic Development Committee.

Joanne Rupprecht


Joanne Rupprecht, Esq., RAC-US, RAC-Global is an experienced regulatory affairs advisor, federal agency/life sciences attorney, and educator, proficient in matters of domestic (FDA) and international regulatory affairs for software, medical device, biologics, pharmaceutical, and cellular immunotherapy (CAR-T Cell/immuno-oncology) regulatory submissions, communications, and negotiations.

Jo acquired experience in both academia and industry at the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, and Abbott Laboratories, before earning her Juris Doctor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.As an active attorney licensed in the state of Colorado and admitted to the Colorado state courts, the U.S. District Court of Colorado, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, Jo has advised a variety of clients on business formation and corporate governance matters; institutional, commercial, and government contract formation, negotiation, performance, and dispute resolution; intellectual property protections; risk mitigation programs; and business operations optimization. She also served as a Legislative Fellow, as well as an attorney-mentor to law school externs, at the Colorado General Assembly for four (4) years.

Although she attained recognition as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and as a Premier 100 Trial Attorney by the American Academy of Trial Attorneys, she gladly returned to academia and private practice, with many legal lessons learned for the benefit of those she continues to serve.

Jo currently serves in the Office of Regulatory Compliance at the University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, as a Regulatory Affairs Senior Specialist, and teaches the Regulatory Environment of Life Science Innovation (BSBT 6802) and Building Biotechnology (BSBT/ENTP 6801) courses for the Business School (ENTP) and the Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology (BSBT) graduate programs; she also serves as a Board Member for the BESST (Broadening Experiences in Scientific and Scholarly Training) Program.

She continues to bridge science, business, and law in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries as a Regulatory Affairs Consultant and Legal Advisor.

In whatever capacity she serves, Jo has dedicated her career to assisting companies of all sizes, with a special penchant for working with entrepreneurs, innovators, and disruptors in the healthcare space, with navigating complex regulatory requirements and establishing compliant operations. She prides herself on anticipating and evaluating business risks, public policy, and governmental influences so as to positively impact business operations and protect companies.

Jo dedicates much of her time empowering others through information exchanges and educational outreach, and enjoys leading others towards establishing and nurturing government, academia, and industry collaborations; she welcomes additional opportunities to contribute to the biotechnology community here in Colorado!

Jan Rutherford


Jan has over 25 years of business experience and has held executive roles in business development, marketing, sales, training, product management, and as a CEO.

As a professional speaker, Jan was recognized as one of “The Top 100 Leadership Speakers for 2018” in Inc. Jan presents the self-reliant leadership principles contained in his book The Littlest Green Beret: On Self-Reliant Leadership to business leaders across the U.S. and Europe. Half the proceeds of Jan’s book are distributed to the Green Beret and Special Operations Warrior Foundations.  Jan also serves on numerous boards, and invests time with select DOD units and veteran organizations.

Jan entered the U.S. Army at age 17 (weighing 114 pounds) where he spent six years in Special Forces as a medic and “A” team executive officer, and three years as a military intelligence officer.

In 2011, Jan founded Self-Reliant Leadership, LLC– a leadership development firm focused on helping leaders and teams develop self-reliance to create powerful results through executive workshops, custom programs, coaching, and wilderness expeditions. He is also cohost of The Leadership Podcast.

As a Senior Instructor at the University of Colorado Denver Business School for over a decade, Jan teaches ‘Leadership & Entrepreneurship in Ireland’ (delivered on-site in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) to MBA students.

Jan holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix, where his research focused on the effects of long-distance learning on job performance. He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of South Florida, and was a Distinguished Military Graduate.

Jan is a dual U.S. and Irish citizen with a special affinity for Ireland and the wilderness of the Western United States.

Manuel Serapio

Associate Professor & MS International Business Director

Dr. Manuel Serapio, Jr., is an associate professor of management and international business and the program director of the MS in International Business. He also serves as the faculty director of the Center for International Business Education and Research at UCD.

Professor Serapio’s research and teaching interests focus on international business, cross-border research and development, the globalization of services, and international entrepreneurship. He recently designed and developed the first faculty development program in international entrepreneurship (to be offered by the CIBERs at CU Denver and Indiana University). In 2001, Professor Serapio first developed and offered the international entrepreneurship course, with the objective of teaching international business from an entrepreneurial and deal-making perspective.Dr. Serapio is the author/editor of three books, four technical reports for the US Department of Commerce and over a dozen articles. His publications have appeared in leading journals, such as Management International Review, Organizational Dynamics, Research Policy, Academy of Management Executive, Asian Business Management, IEEE Spectrum, and Research Technology Management. His work has been cited or published in The Financial Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, Investors Business Daily, The Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Business Journal, Nikkei Weekly (Japan), and The Los Angeles Times.

In addition to his teaching and research, Dr. Serapio has lectured for or consulted for international organizations and multinational companies in the US and Asia. These include IBM Corporation, Lockheed Martin, First Data, StorageTek, Molson Coors Brewing Company and others. He has also coauthored several grant applications that have received over $4 million in funding for UCD.

Dr. Serapio received a PhD in International Business from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an MBA from the University of Hawaii and an undergraduate degree from Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines. He received