Executive Board, 2017-2018

Olena J. Cruz, President

Olena Cruz is an MBA candidate at DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. She is passionate about marketing, technology and innovation; the things that spark ideas and drive change in the world.

Olena holds a B.A. from Northwestern University in International Business & Communications. She has lived on three different continents, speaks four languages, and has experience working with non-profits, start-ups, schools, government and corporate businesses. Olena is an experienced Sales and Marketing professional, having worked in data analytics, market research, program management, and commercial development. She is also active with the Chicago entrepreneurship community and participates in local nonprofit organizations such as the ALS Association and Inspiración Chicago. Outside of work, Olena loves travel, salsa dancing, and exploring new restaurants. 

As president of the Kellstadt Marketing Group, Olena hopes to build a vibrant and collaborative community of students and professionals passionate about marketing, where KMG can serve as a hub for new ideas, engaging content, and meaningful connections.


Patrick Kirby Petersen, VP of Corporate Relations & Sponsorship

Patrick is a graduate student with a focus on strategy, execution and valuation. He learned about Kellstadt Marketing Group (KMG) during his first graduate course: MKT 555, Decisions in Marketing Management. Patrick found fascination in uncovering the challenges facing marketing managers today and business solutions created utilizing well-formulated, and effectively implemented, corporate strategy. He brings with him diverse experience, high-energy, and a passion for life-long learning.

Patrick enjoys reading, classical concerts, trying new restaurants, cycling, and much more. He appreciates long bike rides with the occasional stop for a refreshment along the way.


Gordon M. Cacioppo, VP of Finance

Gordon is currently an MBA Candidate at DePaul with a concentration in two areas: Operations Management and Strategy, Execution, and Valuation (SEV) in Accounting. As an undergraduate he attended DePaul with a double major in Accounting and Finance.

He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and a Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt (CSSYB).

During his free time, he enjoys reading, learning how to write computer code, and practicing how to speak Italian. He also enjoys cooking and traveling.


Andrea Millender, VP of Public Relations

Andrea Millender is a MBA candidate, with a concentration in Marketing at the DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business.  She is also currently working full time as a Merchandising Analyst at a pharmacy-led health, well-being and beauty company.  She comes from a strong background in marketing and communications with over five years of experience at a financial services company and her bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Marketing and Management.

Upon graduation, Andrea looks to work in areas of brand management, category management or strategy.  She possesses exceptional analytical skills, tremendous knowledge of marketing principles and practices, and has outstanding project management and organizational skills. Andrea is passionate about providing exceptional customer service and catering to consumers’ needs and desires.

Nevertheless, it’s not all work for Andrea, in her free time she enjoys reading, researching marketing trends, watching basketball games and spending time with her family.


Vanesa Sonan, VP of Organizational Development

Vanesa holds a degree in Psychology with a focus on Industrial, Organizational Psychology. She is an international student pursuing her Masters Degree in Human Resources. Previously she was worked in HR in South America for ten years at a leading global cosmetics brand. She began with recruiting and performing candidate assessments, and was quickly promoted to training and talent development. She was the head of the employee satisfaction team, where she helped employees and incoming employees establish career plans and reach their career potential.

She is fluent in English, Spanish and French. 

She is an enthusiastic leader who believes that collaboration and diversity are key factors to a businesses success.
Professionally she is interested in and focused on change management and organizational development. She is eager to learn about the challenges and opportunities human resources departments face both here in the US and globally.


Shimone Zhang, VP of Events

Shimone is Currently a M.S Marketing Analysis Candidate at DePaul University, Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. She received her bachelor's degree in Sales Management Marketing from Southeast Missouri State University. 

She is focusing on international business to business marketing, specifically the biologics pharmaceutical industry. She is passionate about international organizations and companies that value different cultures and backgrounds. She also has a very strong interest in marketing communications, event planning, marketing strategy analysis, and social media platforms. 

Shimone is an enthusiastic fan of UFC. She enjoys boxing, hiking, and tennis. Her hobbies also include reading and traveling.


Briana Shelby, VP of Membership

Briana Shelby is this year’s VP of Membership of the Kellstadt Marketing Group. Her extensive and broad background is what eased her transition into this role.  Briana obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising from the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign.  Upon graduation, she managed two retail stores to strengthen her leadership and team sense of ability.

Briana is currently working towards receiving a Master degree in Marketing within the Kellstadt College of Business and plans to land a role that challenges her capabilities where she can continue to learn and grow in her career.  She also enjoys mentoring youth and be involved with her community in her spare time.


Fern Teeraporn, VP of Digital Marketing

Fern currently studies MS in Marketing Analysis at DePaul University. Her career path has changed since she began her pre-MBA courses at Oregon State University. Funny story, she originally went to school for liberal arts and the last two years she changed majors to business and ended up studying marketing analysis. When she made the switch, she truly knew that she would struggle with Math. The struggle is real! Finally she made it through her second year of grad life!

She started her online clothing business with her friends when she was undergrad.

Her personal journey with Marketing has taken her from working on the client side to the agency side. She learned marketing through her own experience as a seller and buyer. One important thing is regardless of working in marketing or not, marketing and advertising are part of your life, especially Social Media.

She began her Instagram fashion blog based on her preference and obsession. She aspires to work in fashion industry. In her free time, she likes to go shopping and update new fashion trends.