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Potential on Fire


Potential on Fire acknowledges the Menlo College experience in which students are encouraged to take advantage of every opportunity, whether that be a mentorship, workshop, class, network, job, internship, social event or more. Students are encouraged to become involved and are continuously supported to become the best version of themselves. They create a foundation which ensures they will flourish in the future- that’s Potential on Fire. 

At Menlo, we have an impressive rapport with success. With alumni working at major companies such as Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, thriving in the start-up world, and mastering the art of entrepreneurship, there is one common factor that helped lead them to success- the Menlo College experience. At Menlo, we strive to ignite the potential of our students, to set the foundation of their future careers. Tune into the following interviews and learn how Menlo set up these wonderful alumni for success. 

You too have the power to ignite your potential – Potential on Fire!

Saeed Amidi ‘83
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Saeed Amidi was an Iranian international student at Menlo and a highly successful entrepreneur and investor. While still studying at Menlo, he was able to co-found the Amidi Group, which launched several packaging and water bottle manufacturing firms across the world. By the end of the century, Amidi transitioned his career into investments and in 2006, he founded Plug and Play, a start-up ecosystem that connects businesses and investors to new business ideas.

Today, he is still in close contact with his college friends, many of whom he visits with across the world in Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and Norway. With friends from all over the world that he has met thanks to Menlo, he encourages students to develop their relationship-building skills, which he defines as the key to any business transaction.

Amanda Byers ‘13
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Amanda Byers, formerly Amanda Utpadel, is proof that hard work, strategic networking, and dedication can yield immense rewards for college graduates. In her Business Ethics class, a group project inspired her to interview Nokia’s Head of Marketing Bret Murray, who became an advantageous mentor throughout her career.

After various jobs in the marketing industry, she worked her way up to be Amazon’s Advertising Account Executive in Seattle where she sells Amazon Advertising, a marketing program used by different companies to promote their products on the Amazon marketplace. There, she enjoys an ever-changing position with relationship management and travel opportunities.

Her future goal is to become a mentor in the programmatic advertising industry and to continue making meaningful connections with others, both inside and outside her career. Her most fond memories from Menlo College are those made when creating her now life long friends. After classes, she would attend countless sports games to support them, and years later she is still able to support them at their weddings.

Chris Garrett ‘94
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Current Board of Trustee Member Chris Garrett came to Menlo to study Marketing, but he graduated Menlo as an entrepreneur. Through an internship creating graphic art, Garrett was inspired to start his own business to continue crafting artwork. Before graduating, he also produced a complete business plan for a sustainable craft brewing company, his lifelong dream.

After gaining experience from six jobs ranging from sales to product management, the Devil’s Canyon Brewery was founded in 2001. Voted Bay Area’s “Best Beer Bar” in 2014 by San Francisco A-List readers, Garrett’s dream business is thriving, and as a Trustee he is dedicated to helping future Menlo graduates reach their life goals as well. He is in awe at how far Menlo has come in terms of career preparedness, internship opportunities, and diversity, and he affirms from his own experiences that the Menlo College experience is a life changing one.

Ngozi Harrison ’19
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Ngozi Harrison began his Menlo College journey at the age of sixteen, which doesn’t surprise many that know him, as maturity is one of his most striking features. Looking for interdisciplinary education, Ngozi found that Menlo allowed him to not only excel in mathematics and data but also art and business. It wasn’t enough to be innovative, he wanted to learn how to manage, market, and build an enterprise with his creations.

As a junior, he was accepted into the Google Gold Program where he was able to combine his passions for photography and technology as a BOLD intern at YouTube. After such an invaluable experience he was offered a full-time position upon graduation, and Ngozi now drives impact and growth for creators at YouTube as a Strategic Partner Manager. He advises current Menlo students to remember and capitalize on what makes them unique. Hobbies, passions, and well-rounded experiences play a crucial role in the success and happiness of an individual’s work and personal life.

Brittany Olguin ‘15
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Brittany Olguin made the most out of her Menlo College experience as a cheer team member, CFA Institute Research Challenge participant, and Finance major. Through her summer internship, she made a connection that would lead her to a job at MileIQ, a Silicon Valley start-up. When this small company was acquired by Microsoft, her career was propelled from office management to operations management to program management, working directly with engineering and design.

With a degree from Menlo College, Brittany has excelled in an exciting job where she has the opportunity to grow and change with it. Living in the Bay Area, she is still very close with her college friends, including Menlo alumni Holly Livolsi, her former roommate of five years. She recommends current Oaks to attend as many networking events as they can. It’s a great way to make local connections whom you can collaborate with and learn from.

John Pritzker ‘75
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John Pritzker is the founder and CEO of Geolo Capital. As the son of Jay Pritzker, the co-founder of Hyatt, John knew he would work in the hospitality industry. After taking a gap year in the San Francisco Bay Area, he decided to attend Menlo College for his general education before attending the University of Denver.

Although he only spent two years here, he developed crucial writing skills from the college’s literature classes and made many fond memories here with beloved faculty members including Señor Carlos Lopez. As an alumni he has had the honor of giving a commencement speech to Menlo graduates. Pritzker urges students to be ambitious and pragmatic in their careers, as well as to find a mentor who can guide them through challenges.

Jessica Rossi ‘16
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Jessica Rossi, a Psychology major from Hawaii, found a home away from home at Menlo College. Excelling in both basketball and her studies, Rossi made lasting memories with friends on and off the courts. As a freshman, she took part in Menlo’s victorious Women’s Basketball Cal PAC Championship of 2013.

While researching for her senior thesis, she discovered a passion for the biology and psychology behind Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and how it affects athletes transitioning out of professional sports. Combining her love of sports with her field of study fueled her ambition to earn a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and find a career that allows her to help fellow former athletes.

Recently, she has started a new position as an Adult Outpatient Clinician at Jefferson Center for Mental Health. Along the way, she advocated to have benefited greatly from her management courses at Menlo, which allow her to succeed not only as a psychologist but also as a business leader in her career.

Victoria Schultz ‘14
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Vicky Schultz made a family for herself with the Menlo Community. As an athlete pursuing soccer, she made unbreakable bonds with her coaches and teammates and thrived off the unique energy of a small college. Serving as the day student representative on the Student Government Association (SGA), Schultz was awarded SGA member of the year. In collaboration with Professor Mirar, she was also successful in forming the political advocacy group Lead Act and fostering a Human Rights class where she colectured fellow students.

Although she was nervous about attending a smaller college, she admits that after attending Menlo, that feature only worked to her advantage. A summer internship at E2Open led to her first job out of college where she single handedly doubled and quadrupled their Facebook and Twitter following bases. Currently she works as a Marketing Specialist at Compass Real Estate helping over one hundred agents utilize social media, email, and digital advertisements to pursue their unique marketing strategies.

Bob Uttenreuther ‘98
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Bob Uttenreuther transferred to Menlo College to play baseball and earn a degree in Business Administration, but he stayed to take advantage of the San Francisco Bay Area’s opportunities. Keeping busy at Menlo with sports, being an RA, and several internships taught him how to manage his time and prioritize goals. Even with his competitive nature in his sport and academics, he always made time to enjoy his college experience with trips to the city, Pasa Robles, Napa, Ano Nuevo, and along Highway 1.

His career path was unconventional but highly rewarding with his first job out of college in commercial real estate, followed by work in the telecom industry. A few years later, the start-up world was buzzing with new technology, and he was able to sample positions in various new businesses. Along the way, he made a crucial connection and secured a Marketing position at Google where he has been working for the past 17 years. Currently, Bob is currently a Senior Strategic Partner Manager who gets to develop relationships with C-Level with key stakeholders in partnership with Google Ads SMB (small to medium businesses) and assist partners with strategies to satisfy Google customers.

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