Date: April 17, 2014
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: TBD
Tickets: $150 per person; Alumni - $75 per person

Reserve your tickets online by April 12

The Business and Technology Partnership cordially invites you to attend the ninth annual Leadership Dinner. This special event is an annual fundraiser that benefits student scholarships at CSU Channel Islands and recognizes outstanding business and technology community members, faculty and exceptional CI students.

This year's Leadership Dinner will honor:

Business and Community Leader of the Year:

Ann Deal, Founder and CEO of Fashion Forms.

Inspired by watching celebrities walk the red carpet in daring ball gowns, Ann Deal saw the need for a lingerie solution. She started her business in her garage with a backless, strapless, adhesive bra in 1993. It was an immediate hit and the first in a long line of Fashion Forms products to revolutionize the intimate apparel industry. With her signature Southern charm, boundless enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit, she has turned Fashion Forms into the leading producer of specialty bras and accessories in the U.S., Canada and Europe, with products sold in more than 9,000 stores worldwide. The company holds 14 patents and 18 trademarks for innovative products such as the Original Water Bra. In 2009, Ann received the Femmy Award for lifetime achievement from the Underfashion Club, a council of lingerie manufacturers.

Technologist of the Year:

Steven Gill, Partner of Gills Onions.

Steve Gill is a fifth generation California farmer and onion processor who has been in the business for most of his life. Together with his brother David, Steve is the owner-partner of Gills Onions, located in Oxnard. The company was founded 1983, and at that time it had just one customer. A few decades later, Gills Onions has become one of the largest fresh-cut onion operations in the nation, processing up to a million pounds of onions daily, and delivering peeled, diced or sliced onions to industrial customers, grocery stores, and restaurants across the country. In conjunction with sister company Rio Farms, the Gill brothers manage nearly 20,000 acres of farmland and 300,000 square feet of processing and warehouse facilities in California. The farming operation has grown steadily over the years, and it is currently listed among the Top 10 growers in the West. He is also an entrepreneur who is leading the way toward a low-carbon future. In 2009, the company began using its onion waste to generate electricity at its processing plant in Oxnard. The system, called the Advanced Energy Recovery System, or AERS, uses onion juice to produce biogas to power two virtually emissions-free 300-kilowatt fuel cells, which provide 100 percent of the base-load electricity for the processing plant.

Faculty Leader of the Year:

Dr. Cynthia Wyles, Professor of Mathematics.

Cindy Wyels’ growing desire to create opportunities for students from underserved communities led her to CSU Channel Islands in 2005. Mentoring student research and creating academic support and peer mentoring programs constitute two areas to which she devotes her efforts to help students prepare themselves for yet-unimagined futures. She directs an NSF-funded intensive summer research program in Mathematics for 12 – 15 students annually, building faculty capacity to mentor undergraduate research simultaneously. As a Co-PI of Project ACCESO, she instituted Peer-Led Team Learning, STEM Tutoring, and a STEM Mentors program. Wyels has mentored more than 75 students through significant research projects. She has published in combinatorial mathematics – with several undergraduate coauthors – and pedagogy; her current sabbatical project involves mastering several advanced data analysis tools necessary to facilitate collaboration on applied projects. Wyels received one of three national teaching awards from the Mathematical Association of America in 2012; she attributes this recognition to all she has learned from her amazing students and colleagues at CSU Channel Islands.

Sponsored by

Title Sponsor

Union Bank Logo

Presenting Sponsor

Airborne Technologies Logo

Invitation Sponsor

Aera Energy’s Logo

Award Sponsor

Sheeler Moving and Storage Logo
Elise and Bill Kearney

Media Sponsor

Pacific Coast Business Times Logo

Sponsorship Opportunities

Help us meet the need of student scholarships by partnering with CI as a sponsor for the 2012 Leadership Dinner. Click here for a list of Sponsorship Opportunities (PDF, 403KB)

For more information contact Carrick Dehart, Director of Major Gifts at 805-437-8919 or email