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Las Positas College

Business, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship Faculty & Staff



Rajeev Chopra, MBA, MS
Department Coordinator and Instructor

Rajeev ChopraHello current and prospective students. I am excited to be part of your educational journey at Las Positas College. 

My educational background began in India with completing Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Business. After completing the Master’s program, I worked in my family business for a year and later joined a multinational company marketing and selling dyed yarn. During my three-year tenure at Vardhman Spinning Mills, I learned many aspects of yarn production and sales, including preparing sales bids and quotas, procuring raw materials, managing production and dying schedules, and negotiating dealership contracts.

After completing a Master’s Degree in Accounting and Income Tax at CSU East Bay, I worked for Grant Thornton and Chevron Corporation. During the 20-year span, I worked on corporate tax returns, analyzed financial statements, analyzed audit work papers, prepared nonprofit and individual tax returns, and accounted for revenue from oil and gas fields.

I started my teaching career as a part-time faculty member at Chabot College and CSU East Bay. During that time, I had the opportunity to teach students from different walks of life, including returning students, veterans, and first-time college students. While I was teaching part-time, I continued working full-time as a tax consultant.

I joined Business Department at LPC for a fulltime position in 2007 and enjoy all aspects of teaching—in particular, getting to know my students and see them progress. I find every semester to be a new beginning and am excited to get to know new faces and names and work with varied learning styles. In addition to teaching, I advised Business Club on campus for six years and encourage everyone to explore this opportunity.

When I am not working, I enjoy hiking, biking, playing golf, reading, and travelling. I welcome you all on this journey of learning and exploration at LPC.

 I primarily teach Financial & Managerial Accounting, Business Math, Income Tax, and Accounting for Small Businesses.


Erick Bell, CPA
(925) 424-1233

erick bell photo

I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over 16 years of experience working at 2 of the 4 largest professional services firms in the world: Deloitte and KPMG. I started my professional career as a financial statement auditor, and later transitioned into a career as a forensic accountant and fraud investigator. Today, I also manage an accounting firm that provides accounting and financial services to small businesses.

I started teaching part-time in 2005 at the University of San Francisco, and I knew then that I found my true passion. It took me 10 years, but eventually I was able to transition my part-time teaching to my full-time mission (while changing my full-time work to my part-time activities).

I have been serving at Las Positas College since 2015, I teach accounting and personal financial management classes. This may sound strange, but I love accounting! My personal mantra is to present complex accounting to non-accountants with passion and simplicity.

In additional to my professional responsibilities, I also serve as the Chairman and Executive Director of a non-profit organization, Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP), who focuses on increasing the number of high school students who pursue careers in finance and accounting. I also serve on the board of Alameda Youth Basketball, in addition to being a basketball referee and basketball coach.

When you decide to take one of my classes – you are making the decision to change your life. Be prepared to work hard and have fun (yes, even in the accounting classes).


Mary Lauffer M.A.
(925) 424-1226

Mary Lauffer PhotoThank you for visiting my webpage. I am passionate about supporting your academic and career success and helping you make the most of your journey. As a Las Positas College student, you have opportunities now that can shape the trajectory of your life. 

I have had the privilege of teaching Business and Work Experience classes at Las Positas College for 12 years. Also, I spent more than 16 years in marketing, advertising, and communications for nonprofit and for-profit organizations, including universities, a business magazine, and a Fortune 500 company. My work has won state and national awards.

I earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a specialization in Journalism and Communication from Miami University in Oxford, OH, while taking advantage of life-changing opportunities. During college, I held jobs waiting tables, making pizza, and cleaning offices, and also worked on the student newspaper and served as arts editor. The portfolio I built helped me land an internship at a magazine. Because of my portfolio and internship, I got a job as a reporter/photographer right after graduation. As an officer in the Women in Communications student chapter, I met an advertising professional who later connected me to my first job in advertising. My story is just one illustration of valuable opportunities for college students. Las Positas College offers many activities, learning communities, and more than 30 impressive clubs, including an award-winning business club.

While working full time, I started taking classes toward a master’s degree. I was employed at a university that offered tuition reimbursement, a benefit offered by many companies and organizations and one which is worth considering when job hunting. I earned a Master of Arts with distinction in Communication with a specialization in Marketing Management from the University of New Mexico.

In addition to teaching, I also have enjoyed providing marketing and photography services to Las Positas College and the district. My work can be seen on numerous marketing and display materials and many of my photos appear on the website.

My volunteer activities include serving my church and community. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking and visiting art museums with my husband and two sons.

Having worked throughout high school and college, I feel a kinship with working students and am honored to support their success as coordinator of the Work-Based Learning Program. Work Experience classes enable students to learn valuable soft skills and earn college credit for working; learn more by visiting the Work Experience website. The program also offers the Las Positas College Internship & Job Board. I encourage all students to register and take advantage of campus job fair notices, career tips, and job alerts. Your life-changing job or internship might be posted right now! 



Drew Patterson, MBA
(925) 424-1222

drew patterson photoHello current and prospective students! I am excited to be a part of your educational journey at Las Positas College. Before becoming a full-time faculty member at LPC, I worked in sales and marketing, both within companies and as an entrepreneur/freelancer. Some of the titles I held were Social Media & Communications Manager for Ann Wilson of Heart, Sales Executive at, and Owner/Manager of an E-commerce website.

I have also taught as an adjunct faculty member at the following colleges: Ohlone College, Chabot College, Diablo Valley College, and UC Berkeley Extension. In my capacity as an instructor, I had the opportunity to teach in Vietnam for a semester, as well as teach numerous cohorts of international students in UC Berkeley’s International Program.

My educational background begins with having attended community college – just like you!  I attended San Francisco College’s Culinary Arts & Hospitality Program. After graduating with my A.S. Degree, I worked in the restaurant industry while attending California State University, East Bay for my undergraduate degree in Business with an option in Marketing and Corporate Management. After earning my BS, I worked in sales & marketing, then returned to school to pursue my MBA with an option in Marketing Management, at California State University, East Bay.

When I am not working I love going on hikes, traveling, and riding anything with two wheels. I  believe that finding what you love to do and having a work/life balance are crucial for long-term success. 

I teach the following courses: Introduction to Business, Introduction to Marketing, Professional Selling, Human Relations in The Workplace, Small Business Management, Marketing Strategies, and a few others.




Jane Ayotte, MBA

 Jane Ayotte PictureMy professional background includes eighteen years experience working for Fedex in the transportation industry. During this time I performed a variety of roles, including ten years in operations management.  I have also spent the past twenty years supporting the local community. I believe it is important to give back. As a result, I have served with several non-profit organizations, I have served in a variety of roles such as Event Coordinator, Marketing Manager, Board of Directors, and more. Through this work I have developed relationships with numerous business owners in the community.  

My experience also includes an extensive background in education. I taught High School Business and Computer Graphics for seven years.​ I have developed courses, mentored students and managed events on campus. Since 2012 I have been working as an Adjunct Faculty, teaching courses in Business Administration and General Education. I have a strong background in technology education, and enjoy helping students navigate the technological tools in use at Las Positas College.

I am especially supportive of adult students, as I too was a student while working full-time. It was while working that I completed both my BA and MBA from Saint Mary's College of California. I also attended Brandman University, earning a teaching credential in Business Education. My own experiences help me to understand the difficulty of balancing business, school and personal responsibilities. I look forward to helping my students succeed as they try to find their own balance.




Yolanda Clark Brandon





Gayla Jurevich




Ray Lederer, MBA, CFP

 Ray LedererRay has been in the finance industry since obtaining his MBA in 1998. He is an Analyst on a Wealth Management Team that provides advice for businesses, non-profits and families. He holds a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification, awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

Ray was drawn to the financial services industry to help the individual investor. Following a disciplined wealth management process, his focus is on helping clients achieve their personal and financial goals. He incorporates wealth management strategies that
are consistent with their unique objectives and risk/reward tolerance.
The goal of Ray's corporate and small business engagements is twofold. First, to provide strategic alternatives for current assets, lending and qualified 401(k) plan strategies. Second is to help create and implement Financial Wellness programs designed for
employees. The goal of these programs is to increase the financial health of employees to increase productivity, increase 401(k) contributions, utilize flex spending accounts and prepare for succession planning.
Ray's commitment to charitable organizations started when he was a Peace Corps Volunteer. Since then he has been involved in many non-profit organizations. Ray's focus with non-profit corporations is to provide access to services that help craft Investment Policy Statements, and together with Merrill specialists, he helps design and implement charitable marketing strategies.
Ray has strong ties to the community through networking and speaking engagements. In his past he was afforded the opportunity to speak to audiences around the world. A gifted speaker, he is an Adjunct Business Professor and presents seminars for individuals, corporations, and organizations.



Christina Nystrom

Christina Nystrom

Hello Las Positas College students! I am so excited to work and learn with you.  

I grew up in the Bay Area and took courses at Las Positas while in high school. Being a Las Positas student is something we have in common! 

As a part-time faculty member, I teach courses including Attitude in the Workplace, Customer Service and Time Management. Winston Churchill said “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” I couldn’t agree more! I know that by focusing on positives, reframing our perspectives, and drawing on positive attitude tips and tricks, we can improve our outlook and increase success in our lives. 

I have an undergraduate business degree from Georgetown University and served as an intern on Capitol Hill during my time in Washington DC. I worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in audit and consulting before becoming the Financial Reporting Manager for a local Fortune 500 company. I also perform consulting projects through my own business.

I am currently the treasurer of a local nonprofit and have been the chairperson for a local Economic Vitality Committee for 2 years. I am very involved in my community and know that we each have the power to make our community better by showing kindness, smiling, working hard, and sharing our strengths.

I have an international family with roots in Cuba, Sweden, China, India, and Germany. I love learning about different cultures and perspectives. When I am not working, I enjoy adventuring in the Bay Area, being silly with my two kids, riding bikes, hiking, going to the beach, and spending time with friends.​



Julie Stein, M.S.

Julie Stein photo

I am a part-time instructor at Las Positas College and an Educational Effectiveness Project Manager in the office of Academic Programs and Services at California State University, East Bay.  My work focuses on university accreditation and improving faculty instruction, curriculum, and assessment.   

I have a B.S. in Industrial Psychology and an M.S. in Human Resources Management with over 25 years combined experience in corporate education in large Bay Area companies (with a specialty in training trainers) and in college and university instruction at Las Positas College and Cal State East Bay. 

I have consulted with a number of Bay Area companies on ways to improve employee performance.  I have also consulted with the California State University Chancellor’s office on General Education reform in California.  I am a graduate of the WASC Senior College and University Commission Leadership Academy. During my time in corporate education, I received 8 facilitator certifications in leadership and interpersonal skills training. While at Safeway, I won an award for the company from the Food Marketing Institute’s FMI MAXX Award for Maximizing People Potential for Safeway’s exceptional management training program.

I have conducted over 20 academic conference presentations on innovations in teaching, learning, and assessment, contributed to 8 business, communication, and college success textbooks, co-authored 3 academic publications on assessing competencies, and authored 1 business publication on teaching in business and education.

In the BUSN 30 Business Ethics and Society course I instruct, the focus is on students interpreting ethical theories, concepts, and laws in ways that will reinforce choices that line up with their values and best selves. At the heart of the BUSN 48 course, Human Relations in Business, is honest self-examination and growth in interpersonal areas that will help better reach goals with others.

I enjoy the teaching and learning process and look forward to also learning from the breadth of knowledge and skills each student brings to the learning space.


Eric Yap, MBA

eric yap photoEric Yap has over 20 years of teaching experience at universities and colleges throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.  He started his education career at California State University, East Bay.  Since then, he has been an instructor for three community colleges, University of California, and three private universities.  He has taught courses to students majoring in Accounting, Finance and other Business subjects.  He has been a member of the business faculty at Las Positas College teaching accounting courses since 2008.

In addition to teaching, Eric Yap has been working in the fields of Accounting, Finance and Supply Chain Management concurrently.  He has worked for a variety of organizations in diverse industries such as manufacturing, distribution, logistics, retail, service and government.  Serving in many different capacities, he has helped these organizations increase their revenue, grow market share, and become more profitable while maintaining high quality levels and providing excellent service.  Currently, he is serving as a Controller for a major food distribution company in their local office.