California Safari is a travel adventure that helps students with an interest in understanding American business principles, economic ideas, and values and practices of innovators with a historical and comparative perspective.
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The California Safari Program draws from top professors in the top schools around the world.

  • University of California Berkeley (CAL)
  • Stanford University
  • University of Southern California (USC)
  • University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • Loyola Marymount University (LMU)
Silicon Valley Faculty

Tom Kosnik
Professor, Stanford University
Advisor, National University of Singapore Entrepreneurship Center

tomTom Kosnik is Fenwick and West Consulting Professor, Stanford Technology Ventures Program, at Stanford School of Engineering; International Advisor for the National University of Singapore Entrepreneurship Centre and Co-Founder of Gear Up Ventures, a global partnership that helps entrepreneurs in organizations large and small to create new markets and disrupt existing markets. In 1995 he launched the Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurial Marketing course.


A faculty member at both California Safari and Stanford University, the courses he teaches are Global Entrepreneurial Marketing, Technology Entrepreneurship, New Venture Creation, and Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Program.


Tom Kosnik helps leaders and teams in startups, global companies, and more, to apply best-of-class tools to overcome real-world challenges. Topics include:


  • Gear up: Your Best Idea Ever! Interactive anti-book/digital models for creating or disrupting a market
  • Circles of Influence: Getting entrepreneurial players in different regions to bet on your new venture
  • Negotiating the Triple Chasms of Generation, Gender and Culture: Building trust across borders
  • Global Entrepreneurial Marketing: Creating and entering new markets
  • The STVP Case Collection: Cases on clean tech, social media, global ventures
  • Designing Systems that Summon the Spirit: Bringing the best out of people
  • Past and current clients include: Apple Computer; Applied Materials; China Mobile Communications Corporation; Clean Tech Open; Cummins Engine; Electronic Arts; National University of Singapore Entrepreneurship Centre; HP China; IBM; Microsoft; Nuance Communications; Younoodle, Yunnan Tin Company, and over 50 startups.


Tom Kosnik has served as a leadership coach and advisor to hundreds of entrepreneurial leaders and teams from 1980 to the present.


Naeem Zafar is a faculty member at the University of California Berkeley, Center of Entrepreneurship and Technology and the professor of the Practice at Brown University.  He has taught entrepreneurship and New Venture Finance at UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School since 2005. He is also a serial entrepreneur and co-founded and served as the CEO of Bitzer Mobile, an enterprise security and mobility company that was acquired by Oracle in November 2013.


Naeem started his own business at the age of 26 and subsequently went on to start, or work at, six startups. His first job out of Brown University with a degree in electrical engineering was to design chips and electronic systems.  Twenty years, two kids, one IPO and three CEO stints later, he founded Startup-Advisor, a company focused on educating and advising entrepreneurs on all aspects of starting and running a business (


Naeem works frequently with the USA State Department in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship across the world and was invited to the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington, DC to participate in a dialogue about starting an entrepreneurial ecosystem worldwide.   He is on the International Advisory Board for the North African initiative at the Aspen Institute and has travelled to 76 countries to understand cultures and how business is done. He considers himself a global citizen.


Naeem has authored five books on entrepreneurship on topics ranging from conducting market research to seeking the right funding to successful ways to start a business.  His books, including “7-Steps to a Successful Startup”, are also available on, Kindle and on the iTunes App store. Information can be found on

Mei Lin Fung – Cofounder California Safari
Member of the Board of Directors, National University of Singapore America Foundation

Mei Lin Fung is one of the pioneers of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – she saw an industry grow from the first system she worked on as part of a 2-person team, and now 30 years later, CRM is a $27 billion industry. She learned her craft at three world class companies: Shell, Intel and Oracle and co-founded together with one of the Fathers of the Internet, Vint Cerf and Manu Bhardwaj of the US State Dept., Ahmed Calvo MD of the Stanford Haas Center for Public Service, Anil Srivastava the first CEO for the Software Industry Commission in India, and Nagy Hanna former Corporate Strategist for the World Bank. The People Centered Internet works with the World Bank and the world’s largest professional organization IEEE (425,000 electrical and electronic engineer-members in 160 countries) to bring technical expertise into project funding and policy making for connecting the remaining 3 out of 5 people to the Internet. These international connections to people and projects in every continent, provide unparalleled access to people and activities that are changing lives and changing global communities. Earning her MS from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, she studied under future Nobel Economics winners: Robert Merton and Franco Modigliani.


Mei Lin serves at Global Network Outreach for HOSA/Future Health Professionals one of the largest youth organizations with almost 200,000 members in 3000 educational institutions. She is Unit Coordinator for the California Health Medical Reserve Corp after working with the US Department of Defense on the Federal Health Futures think tank (2009-2013) where she led the research on Network Leadership Competencies.


With so much activity underway for Internet connectivity, estimated at $450 Billion in spending over the next 5 years, Mei Lin is committed to developing young future leaders so they get a chance to see how the money flows, how projects get defined and how they can make a difference for the world, as the Internet connects communities to each other everywhere.


Rick Rasmussen is a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur with several lifetimes worth of experience and accomplishment. He operates flawlessly across disciplines including startups, the corporate world, government and education. He is a sought-after speaker and has keynoted many conferences around the world.


He is currently serving as Managing Director at Concordia Ventures, a leading education and advisory firm focused on International Business Development. He is a Silicon Valley native with entrepreneurial, executive, government and academic experience focusing on startups and growth stage companies.  He works extensively with governments and economic development agencies looking to connect with Silicon Valley.


Rick advises accelerators and government-led economic development initiatives for a number of countries including Canada, Korea, Austria, Armenia, Brazil, Portugal, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, Mexico and China. Prior, Mr. Rasmussen served as the Trade Commissioner for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade with responsibility for linking Canadian IT companies to the Valley.


He is an active member of the Sand Hill Angels investment group. He served as an Entrepreneur in Residence for Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) for the semiconductor and equipment sectors. He is an active mentor with a pool of five to ten companies at a given point in time. He serves as a Director of CritterPix, an animated feature film startup in Marin County, CA. and LionSharp, a presentation-based gesture control company in Yerevan, Armenia.


Rick has developed a full set of graduate-level curricula covering the range of startup development from inception through exit. This material has been extensively taught at leading accelerators and international universities as well as UC Berkeley, Stanford University and MIT.


His corporate career spans the semiconductor and networking industries and he has been a member of the executive teams of five companies that staged Initial Public Offerings including LSI Logic, C-Cube Microsystems, @Road, Sage and Intellon. All have since been acquired at an aggregate price of $10B.


Mr. Rasmussen earned an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science degree with highest honors from the University of California at Berkeley as well as a dual MBA degree from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Columbia’s Graduate School of Business in New York City with honors.

Hollywood Faculty


Denise O’Brien is the CEO & Founder of DOME Consulting and Denise O’Brien Movies & Entertainment, an award-winning boutique PR firm headquartered in Los Angeles which provides innovative communications, branding and public relations strategies for corporations, producers, authors, speakers, actors, fashion designers and performers globally.


As an award-winning public relations executive, she was voted by her peers as Publicist of the Year in Hollywood, honored in Hollywood as Humanitarian of the Year by the Los Angeles Nollywood Film Association (LANFA), esteemed for her efforts in the Entertainment Industry by the Multicultural Motion Picture Association (MMPA) with the Diamond Rose Award, and awarded Humanitarian of the Year in Canada by Vigor Awards International. In April 2012 Denise was recognized as a Distinguished Loyola Marymount University Alumna and awarded the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  A bronze plaque in her honor was dedicated on the Loyola Marymount University Entrepreneurship Wall of Honor, Conrad Hilton Business Building, Los Angeles, CA.


Denise is a former Miss Santa Monica & Miss California, newspaper editor, advertising executive, and producer at KNBC-TV. As a mistress of ceremonies, red carpet host, event and film producer, and keynote motivational speaker, she encourages others to discover their dreams and passions and has delivered her inspiring and powerful message from the Hollywood red carpet to prestigious international platforms on multiple continents. She motivates the lives of thousands globally and is a sought after TV and radio show guest, international speaker and expert on the topics of public relations, social media, copywriting, leadership, communication, fashion, philanthropy, creating your own charismatic brand and package, and becoming a master of influence in any field.


Denise will be introducing all of our California Safari students to her many powerful connections throughout Hollywood, California and the world.

Thank you for your interest in California Safari!

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