Alumni News

(Top Right): DNC Fundraiser with President Barack Obama Lake Mary, Florida 10/11/2011.
(Bottom): 100 meters sprint alongside University of Miami teammate and former NFL running back Willis McGahee.



Joe Bayen '99 ...CEO and Founder brings innovation home to SMC



Where are you now? 

Cornelia Meidler

Currently, I am the CEO and founder of Lenny Bike, a Santa Monica based bike sharing service which focuses on delivering a sustainable and affordable mode of transportation to students, while helping them build credit. I am also a mentor at The Founder Institute and a board member of the MBA program at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.   

How did your experience at Santa Monica College influence your life?

Dr. Mario Padilla has been instrumental in helping sharpen my writing skills. I came from France with decent speaking ability; however, I quickly realized that I needed to improve my writing in order to succeed in the United States. Professor Padilla never gave up on me. He encouraged me and gave me continuous guidance throughout the semester until I received an A.

I transferred to the University of Miami from SMC and graduated on the Dean's List in International Finance and Marketing and I owe a great portion of my educational success to Professor Padilla’s persistence. Professionally, these skills helped me immensely as I drafted most of my press releases on my own at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.

Shout out to a faculty or staff member that made a difference? 

In addition to Dr. Padilla, I could not have received a full Track and Field scholarship at the University of Miami without the training and guidance of the legendary Coach Tommie Smith who coached me in the 100m, 200m and long jump while I attended SMC. With a combination of tough love and patience, he taught me the importance of persevering through thick and thin, regardless of external circumstances. Coach Smith also taught me to leave any excuses at the door and challenged me to consistently perform at the highest level of my abilities and to remain resilient.

Words of wisdom to share with future alumni? 

"For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself." - Viktor Frankl  

What's next?

Over the past 3 years, I have been focusing on delivering solutions that help students and millennials start their post-collegiate careers on a stronger financial footing. I am proud of the fact that this solution was engineered in Santa Monica by an SMC alumni and my goal is to expand our presence nationwide and promote sustainable solutions that also positively impact students.

(Left): Selfie with Richard Branson at his famed Necker Island home, (Right): DNC Fundraiser with President Bill Clinton. 

Lake Mary, Florida. 03/05/2013

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