Marilyn A. Bennett, MA, MS, Ed.D.


Owner, Consultant
Next Step Global Consulting
Arcata, CA, USA
Industry: Business Services
Field: Educational Consulting

When looking up the word “diverse” in the dictionary, it’s easy to envision the name Marilyn A. Bennett front and center. With expertise in education, mediation, and community learning, Dr. Bennett has been going strong in her career for nearly four decades. During this time, she has traveled extensively to different places, and while her interaction with different cultures has undoubtedly made her a better educator, she believes that her experiences have also made her a better person. As the owner of Next Step Global Consulting, providing consulting services for recreation, disaster preparedness, life coaching, and organizational leadership for parents and children, Dr. Bennett wears a variety of hats. She draws upon her broad-based research and development skills as she works with county officers, teaches special education, organizes physical education programs for children, and oversees the development of manuals.

In her position of overseeing Next Step Global Consulting, Dr. Bennett feels the most satisfaction when she is working with students and helping to solve their problems. When embarking on the journey that has landed her where she is today, Dr. Bennett became a persistent seeker of higher education. In 1973, she earned a bachelor’s degree in health, recreation and physical education, and motor development from Humboldt State University, which she followed three short years later with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the same institution. Additionally, Dr. Bennett holds a master’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in kinesiology, both from Humboldt State University, along with a doctoral degree in organizational leadership from the University of La Verne. A licensed counseling psychologist, she also earned certification in preschool, elementary and secondary education teaching in 1974 and became a certified mediator in 1998.

Dr. Bennett volunteers her time to several nonprofit organizations, including a local blood bank, The American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Special Olympics. She also serves as a facilitator at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, Calif. In recognition of her services, she was named Volunteer of the Year by the American Heart Association in1998 and was given the Eudora Welty Memorial Award by The American Red Cross in 2003. A member of IBC and ABI, she feels fortunate to have the opportunity to serve as an Ambassador Representative of the United States for the World Forum, a gathering she looks forward to attending each year. As the years progress, Dr. Bennett hopes to continue providing consulting services and making presentations on mediation. Continue reading

Saundra Paschal


Paschal, Saundra 903420

Mathematics Teacher
Lake View High School
San Angelo Independent School District
San Angelo, TX, USA
Industry: Education
Field: Algebra and Precalculus Education

As a mathematics teacher at Lake View High School, Saundra Paschal spends her career working with America’s youth to develop their skill with numbers. As a specialist in algebra and pre-calculus, she develops comprehensive lesson plans designed to prepare students for standardized testing and provide them with mathematical skills that see use on a daily basis outside of the classroom. Too often, students are disillusioned with the role that mathematics plays in the world around us. As a result, these students tend to gravitate away from studying the field when given the choice of electives. Ms. Paschal believes this has led to an overall lessening of mathematics skills among high school and college students compared to years past. “Part of the challenge of being an educator in modern times is working to correct this problem and get students back on track,” she says.

The most satisfying aspect of Ms. Paschal’s career is seeing that students truly understand the concepts that she puts forth. This is common to many teachers, who feel a deep sense of gratification at seeing their students succeed. What sets her apart is her great passion for her work, as well as her exemplary work ethic. Such is her commitment that she was able to fulfill her calling even during one of the most difficult periods of her life. Following the deaths of both her parents within a period of one year, Ms. Paschal was asked by one of her former students to teach a calculus class. Rising above her personal grief, Ms. Paschal was able to pull through for her students and teach the class, showing remarkable resilience in the face of tragedy.

When asked about what advice she would pass on to future educators, Ms. Paschal recommends the following: “Be patient with yourself, students and administration. Be flexible and accept constructive criticism.” Though it may be tedious at times to deal with red tape and regulations, Ms. Paschal believes that the struggle is worth it to see her students gain valuable skills and achieve success. Continue reading

Ozzie Areu


Areu, Ozzie

President, Executive Producer
Atlanta, GA, USA
Industry: Media/Entertainment
Field: TV and Film Production

As a highly acclaimed professional in media and entertainment, Ozzie Areu has achieved success as the president of Tyler Perry Studios. In his roles as president and executive producer, Mr. Areu is responsible for overseeing all day-to-day operations of the company. His daily responsibilities also include working with crews, TV & film producers and talent managers, as well as managing all facets of the studio, including feature films, television shows and stage play productions. Throughout all of his professional endeavors, Mr. Areu maintains the Tyler Perry Studios vision: “A Place Where Even Dreams Believe,” intertwining worlds through storytelling and family-friendly entertainment while inspiring audiences with real life and thought-provoking issues.

Impressively, in addition to serving as the president of Tyler Perry Studios, Mr. Areu has produced numerous films and hit television shows for Tyler Perry. These films include, “For Colored Girls,” “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” “Good Deeds,” “Madea’s Witness Protection,” “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor,” “Peeples,” “Single Mom’s Club,” and “A Madea Christmas.” In addition, Mr. Areu executive produced the production of “Madea’s Tough Love,” which is his first foray into animated films.

Mr. Areu’s past credits in entertainment also include his role as an executive producer for numerous television shows for Mr. Perry, including, “Tyler Perry’s For Better or Worse,” “Meet the Browns,” “The Tyler Perry Show,” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.” Currently, Mr. Areu is producing two dramatic series, titled “The Haves and the Have Nots,” and “If Loving You is Wrong,” as well as a situational comedy, “Love Thy Neighbor,” which all air on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Mr. Areu began his extensive career in 1995, when he started working at Warner Bros. In this capacity, he worked for Bright Kauffman Crane Productions on the sets of NBC Universal’s hit series, “Veronica’s Closet,” “Jessie,” and the Emmy Award-winning “Friends.” He was then provided with the opportunity of assisting actors Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt for five years during their work on such films as “Ocean’s Eleven,” and “The Good Girl.” After, Mr. Areu worked with Ellen DeGeneres before joining Tyler Perry Studios in 2006. He progressed to the role of president just two years later, in 2008.

Throughout the course of his remarkable career, Mr. Areu’s work has been consistently recognized for excellence. In 2012 and 2013, “House of Payne” received four NAACP Image Awards, including Best Comedy Series. Notably, “For Colored Girls” was named Best Picture at the 2011 BET Awards. Most recently, Mr. Areu received the Georgia Entertainment Gala’s Georgia Highlight Award, in recognition of his service to entertainment.

Featured by Variety Media, LLC, as the “right-hand man inside Perry’s empire,” Mr. Areu has produced a total of nine Perry films and currently oversees 300 employees within the studio, which spans 60 acres. Additionally, he manages 34th Street Films, a film development and production company, also owned by Mr. Perry. A true asset to Mr. Perry and the studio as a whole, Mr. Areu aspires to continue to grow the company & brand on his behalf, creating intriguing family-friendly content. Continue reading