In June of 2020, the MBA Research Board of Trustees chose Holly Atha as the next President/CEO of MBA Research and Curriculum Center. Holly assumed her new role on July 1, 2020.
Holly joined the MBA Research staff in 2015 and has provided leadership for standards research and business engagement. In her most recent role as Director of Business Engagement, she has facilitated numerous business focus groups around the country, recruited business speakers for Conclave, and is currently leading a team to re-engineer the standards development process.
Prior to joining MBA Research, Holly held a number of leadership positions including roles as Executive Director for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and Chief Operating Officer and Start-up Strategist for an entrepreneurial effort in Columbus. She has management experience in customer support, account management, and sales. She possesses strong skills in problem-solving and building relationships, as well as experience in developing curriculum/training/testing materials and teaching adult learners. Atha holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“My passion and enthusiasm for our team at MBA Research and the work we do together is unbridled,” says Atha. “I am grateful for the opportunity to lead, serve, and collaborate with our many partners as we continue to strengthen CTE and transform business and marketing education together.”
Rick Mangini served as interim CEO while the Board conducted their hiring process. As previously planned, he returned to his position as Executive Vice President.
Rick serves as Executive Vice President at MBA Research and is responsible operations and program of work in conjunction with senior staff. Rick led the development and implementation of a national system of accreditation for exemplary business administration programs which included the areas of management, marketing, finance, and entrepreneurship. He has also developed a system of digital micro-credentials, and works with business engagement initiatives. From October 2019 to July 2020, Rick served as Interim CEO for MBA Research, performing all of the responsibilities of the President/CEO position. Prior to joining MBA Research, his career spanned 36 plus years in career and technical education. He spent the last 25 years of his career with the Ohio Department of Education where he served as a consultant for Marketing Education before moving into the position of Assistant Director for Business, Marketing and Information Technology. He finished his career as Associate CTE State Director. While at the Ohio Department of Education, Rick was State Advisor for Ohio DECA and Business Professionals of America. He served on the Board of Directors for MBA Research, DECA and BPA. He is an Honorary Life Member of DECA and was inducted into the National Hall of Fame for BPA. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Ohio Association of Career Technical Education. Rick retired from the Ohio Department of Education in June, 2011. Rick earned both his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing Education and Master’s degree in Vocational Education from the Ohio State University.
Marsha joined us in 2002 when she assumed the challenge of providing the absolute best customer service in the world. Odds are, when you call or email, Marsha’s the one who will find the answer to your questions or solution to your challenges. She handles most order processing and you’ll also find her working our booth at trade show exhibits. She’s a major behind-the-scenes leader at the annual MBA Conclave (and has been seen at the infamous Conclave Casino). Recently, Marsha has accepted responsibility for the operations side of our online testing programs.
After many years in NYC, working in arts administration while also pursuing a dance career, Stephanie King returned to her hometown of Columbus and joined our team in 2015.
In her current role as Director of Business Engagement, Stephanie works with our standards development team to continue to strengthen our primary research efforts and our presence in business communities across the country. Prior to this, Stephanie was the project manager for High School of Business.
As Vice President of Product Development for MBA Research, April J. Miller provides guidance and support to educators involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of standards-based curriculum. She oversees the creation of a broad range of instructional materials and products, including LAP modules, curriculum guides, technical skill assessments, programs of study, and the online Learning Center. April represents MBA Research at state- and local-level workshops and seminars and has had multiple articles published in Techniques magazine.
April, who joined MBA Research in 2006, served as senior curriculum research associate prior to assuming her current role as a vice president with the organization. A graduate of Wittenberg University (OH), April is a former high school teacher and corporate trainer in the finance industry. She lives in Galloway, Ohio, with her husband Michael, daughters Maria and Alexandra, and dogs Cutie Pie and Mr. Beefy. In her spare time, April enjoys reading, crafts, and spending time with her family.
Tammy Cyrus is the Director of Professional Development for MBA Research. She has been a part of the MBA Professional Development Team since 2014 and has presented at numerous state and national conferences. She was a previous Business Administration teacher in North Carolina. She has received her Master of Arts in Business Education, National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification and holds a certification in School Administration, as well as industry recognized certifications in Adobe and Microsoft Office. Her professional experiences have included teaching at the post-secondary level, working on curriculum development at the state level, serving in leadership roles at the district and school levels, and serving as an adviser for FBLA. She is currently responsible for the PD Team, Teacher Advisory Network, Conclave, Leadership forum and the ongoing development of professional development for teachers, districts, and state departments from around the country.
Ben Steed joined the organization in 1999 as shipping/receiving clerk and over the years has assumed a wide range of additional responsibilities including website updates, purchasing, and customer service. In July of 2021 he accepted the role of director of finance and operations. Ben is originally from the small town of Mt. Orab (in Southwest Ohio) and is a graduate of U.C. Clermont College. He previously worked as the projection manager at a local cinema. (He misses the free movies, but not working weekends and holidays.) He enjoys music, exploring local parks with his wife Lynne, and spending time with his two cats, Jasper and Aries.
Mary joined the team in 1979 when we had typewriters and one new “magic machine,” our first typewriter with memory. She worked as a part-time typist and proofreader while working on her college degree. As Production Manager, Mary is responsible for all of the processes of getting a product to print, including final sign-off on all print masters. More recently, she has assumed a major role in our online publishing via the MBA Learning Center.
Mary may be the only graduate of The Ohio State University who can’t name at least ten years of OSU starting quarterbacks. (On the other hand, she’s one of the few in the world who can spot a production problem from across the room – with or without her glasses.) When she’s not locked in her office, she enjoys being in nature, listening to music, reading, spending time with family and friends, and teaching movement classes.
Laurie, who retired from the Colorado Community College System in 2016 joined our staff as a project manager working with the development of the MBA Business Coalition for Education. Currently she is the director working with the development and support for the High School of Business programs.
Laurie comes with broad experience in business and marketing education. A former high school business administration teacher, she also served as program leader for the Colorado secondary and postsecondary programs. In this capacity, she’s been instrumental in the development of Colorado MBA High School of Business™ sites.
Laurie’s leadership skills are evident in the many different responsibilities she assumed and honors she’s received. She’s served as a MBA Board Trustee, Chair of the national FBLA Board, President of the National Association of Supervisors of Business Education, and in various state leadership roles. She’s has been honored by Colorado DECA with its lifetime member recognition, National FBLA Adviser Wall of Fame, and NBEA with its Distinguished Service Award.
Chris Burke is one of our graphic designers at MBA Research. He is responsible for design of LAPs, various print and exhibit materials, and content on the MBA Learning Center. Chris is a graduate of Columbus College of Art and Design and started at MBA Research in 1989. When he isn’t working, Chris is interested in art, museums, reading, festivals, listening to and playing music (drums), concerts, movies, camping, hiking, and sports (especially OSU football, GO BUCKS! O-H, I-O).
Zulfa joined MBA Research in 2017 as a production associate and expanded her role to include marketing. Having learned so much about High School of Business™ through her marketing role, and inspired by the accomplishments of both HSB students and teachers, she took on the role of HSB program administrator in 2020. Through this role, she looks forward to helping us grow the program and provide support for HSB teachers and administrators at school across the country.
Zulfa is originally from Athens, OH where she also attended college. She earned her bachelor’s in strategic communications from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Outside of work, Zulfa enjoys all things music related, running around and exploring Columbus, thrift shopping, and cooking up a good meal.
William Kosileski has been with MBA Research & Curriculum Center since October of 2021 and helps develop curriculum and assessments as a Writer/Research Associate. A Cleveland, Ohio native, William graduated from The Ohio State University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Journalism. He worked as a sports writer for various media outlets for five years prior to joining the MBA staff. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, and enjoys spending time with his wife, watching sports and all things Marvel, going for walks, and dabbling in the art of mixology.
Co-Director of Marketing & Communications | Writer/Research Associate
Kate Terentyev joined the MBA Research team in 2019 as a Writer/Research Associate and took on the additional role of Co-Director of Marketing & Communications in 2021. Born and raised in Columbus, Kate received her B.A. in English Education from Wittenberg University (OH) and her M.A. in Rhetoric & Composition from the University of Dayton (OH).
Outside of work, Kate enjoys exploring local breweries, reading voraciously, spending time with family and friends, and singing the praises of the Oxford comma.
Katherine Smith joined MBA Research & Curriculum Center as an eLearning Developer in March 2021, and has focused on blending instructional technology with traditional MBA Research curriculum. She holds a B.A. in Classics from the University of Mary Washington and a Master of Education in Instructional Technology from Widener University. Prior to joining MBA Research, she worked in the fields of museum and elementary education. Katherine lives and works remotely from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, wine tastings, hiking, and spending time with her partner, J Andrew.
Phil is, in his words, the Technology Ombudsman and Computer Whisperer for our organization. As such, he provides the human connection between all the boxes with blinking lights in our office and our staff teams. On good days, he keeps all those blinking lights blinking harmoniously. To do so, he’s been known to curse silently at the heavens when things go wrong in his attempts to maintain, upgrade, and cajole the organization’s various computers and peripherals. Phil is instrumental in the design and operation of all things technical, including our various websites, the online MBA Learning Center, and the many different databases that support our programs and services.
We asked Phil to share a bit about his professional background. In his words: I started working with computers when I was 14 years old. No big deal you say, but when I was 14 dinosaurs roamed the earth and gas was 25 cents a gallon. I tried to get a formal education in personal computers but such a thing didn’t exist and rather then getting the electrical engineering degree that all my other peers went after I dropped out and started learning everything I could about PCs on my own. Throughout the years I’ve done a little bit of everything where computers are concerned.
Lelia Ventling is one of two graphic design specialists responsible for LAPs and a wide range of collateral materials. She has a BFA degree from the Columbus College of Art & Design. She has been with MBA for about 26 years. She has two grown sons and in her spare time, she enjoys giving back to the community through participating in environmental causes, feeding the homeless at the local Y-Family Shelter, and participating in B.R.E.A.D. organization. She also enjoys biking for exercise and gardening.
Co-Director of Marketing & Communications | Writer/Research Associate
Rachel Tennison has been with MBA Research & Curriculum Center since March of 2020. She graduated from Wittenberg University in 2016 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Communication. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, and enjoys cooking, spending time outdoors, listening to audiobooks, and filling her apartment with plants.