Solve Your Workforce Shortage


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Phillip Quintana

General Counsel

Phillip Quintana has over 17 years of experience in higher education law. He previously served as Senior Corporate Counsel and Associate Director of Regulatory Affairs at the University of Phoenix, where he oversaw the multi-state regulatory authorization of numerous campuses and programs. Phillip also served as Assistant General Counsel at West Coast University, where he provided guidance on a broad range of institutional, academic, and business matters, and partnered with University leadership to reduce risk and promote a general atmosphere of compliance. He is a graduate of Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

Sara L. Horton-Deutsch, PhD

Dr. Sara Horton-Deutsch serves as the director of the Kaiser Permanente/USF partnership, where she mentors the next generation of nursing leaders. Her work in reflective practice has been published in two books—Reflective Practice: Transforming Education and Improving Outcomes and Reflective Organizations: On the Front Lines of QSEN & Reflective Practice Implementation. Dr. Horton-Deutch also co-edited the textbook Caritas Coaching: A Journey Toward Transpersonal Caring for Informed Moral Action in Healthcare.

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones has over 16 years of experience in business development, sales and marketing, operations, management, and leadership within the hospice industry—always with a focus on providing exceptional patient care. Before joining Maxwell Healthcare Associates, he served as the Executive Director of Hospice Compassus of Memphis. Kevin has also served on various charitable boards and committees, providing education and support to local communities on end-of-life care issues. A certified CHAP consultant, Kevin received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Belhaven University and later earned his MBA.

Jim D’Alfonso, DNP, PhD(h), RN, NEA-BC, FNAP, FAAN

Dr. Jim D’Alfonso serves as Executive Director for Professional Excellence with Kaiser Permanente in Northern California and is the Founding Executive Director of the KP Scholars Academy in Oakland. He leads award-winning partnerships, research, and development programs focused on the future of nursing, mental health, and allied health professions.
Dr. D’Alfonso has published extensively, lectured worldwide for over 30 years, and received an honorary doctorate in Caring Science and the distinguished Visionary Caring Science Leadership Award. He earned his Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of San Francisco.

Jennifer Maxwell

As co-founder and CEO of MHA and strategic advisor to Medalogix, Jennifer Maxwell works with clients to achieve greater operational, technological, regulatory, and financial efficiency. She previously held leadership positions with the Minnesota Homecare Association and a top health and hospice consulting firm. Jennifer was an adjunct professor of psychology and sociology at Colorado Christian University and led community services programs at the Mesa County Department of Human Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in accounting.

Dr. Jean Watson, PhD

A widely published author and decorated academic, Dr. Jean Watson has written over 30 books and holds 15 honorary doctorate degrees. Her caring philosophy guides transformative models of caring education and professional healing practices worldwide. Dr. Watson is a Distinguished Professor and Dean Emerita at the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Nursing. She is a founder of the original Center for Human Caring in Colorado, a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, and a past president of the National League for Nursing. Dr. Watson was inducted as a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing in 2013.

Fran Roberts, PhD, RN, FAAN

A vocal proponent of addressing the nursing shortage, Dr. Fran Roberts is the executive leader of the Fran Roberts Group, a consulting firm providing expertise in healthcare leadership and higher education. Dr. Roberts previously served with the DeVry Healthcare Group, Grand Canyon University, and the Arizona State Board of Nursing. She earned Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing and psychology from Elmhurst College. Dr. Roberts later received her Master of Science degree from Arizona State University and her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Deirdre M. Baggot, PhD, MBA, RN

Dr. Deirdre Baggot is a partner at the Oliver Wyman Health & Life Sciences Practice. She specializes in strategic thinking that helps providers transform their practices to deliver more efficient, higher-quality care. A former hospital executive, Dr. Baggot spent 10 years in academic healthcare at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and The University of Michigan Health System. She holds a PhD from the University of Colorado, an MBA from Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Southern Illinois University.

Dawna L. Cato, PhD, BSN

Dr. Dawna Cato currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Arizona Nurses Association. Her impressive nursing background includes extensive clinical and leadership experience, with 22 years of practice in the U.S. and three years in China. Dr. Cato earned her BSN and MSN from Grand Canyon University and received her PhD with a specialization in Nursing Education from Capella University. She also holds a certification in Nursing Professional Development.

Dale Beatty, PhD, DNP, RN

With two decades of experience as a Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. Dale Beatty focuses on quality of care while fostering a supportive practice environment. In 2021, Dr. Beatty was recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s Top 15 Hospital Chief Nursing Officers and by the University of Illinois Chicago with the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award. He is board-certified as a Nurse Executive Advanced and a Watson Caring Science Institute Caritas Coach. Dr. Beatty earned his BSN from Ohio Wesleyan University, a Master of Nursing Administration degree from DePaul University, and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Alice Thore Shumate

With over 30 years of expertise in the acute and post-acute spaces, Alice Thore Shumate is a polished professional specializing in home health and hospital clinical operations, strategy, and leadership. Her well-rounded experience also includes clinical informatics, SDLC and process improvement, and extensive work as a system administrator and BA for HCHB clients.

Tom McNamara

Board of Directors

Steve Hodownes

Board of Directors

Sara Cramlet

Senior Vice President of Human Resources

Sara Cramlet is a human resources professional with over 20 years of experience identifying top talent and implementing creative programs to improve performance and engagement. She is passionate about aligning employee skills with organizational needs and partnering with managers and leaders to accomplish strategic outcomes that put people first. Sara’s previous experience includes financial, software, architecture, and retail companies ranging from startups to global organizations. Sara is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (S.P.H.R) and holds a master’s degree in Human Resource Management.

Navneet Bhasin, MD

Chief Operations Officer

Dr. Navneet Bhasin is a results-driven leader with more than 13 years of higher education experience. Since joining Unitek College, Navneet has served as Program Director, Campus Director, Regional Campus Director, Senior Vice President of Operations, and now COO. His outstanding skills in research, analysis, and team-building have improved our organization and increased enrollment while maintaining excellent student outcomes. Before coming to the U.S., Dr. Bhasin practiced medicine in India. He earned his Doctor of Medicine from the Moscow Medical Academy in Russia.

Kamran Mokhtari

Chief Information Officer

Kamran Mokhtari has over 30 years of experience in information technology, leadership, and planning and executing technology strategies. Before founding Gamma Systems, Inc., he served in several IT leadership roles to provide CIO consulting services within the legal, medical, and education industries. Kamran oversees all aspects of information technology, security, and telecommunication, and collaborates with numerous business units as Unitek Learning continues to grow. Kamran is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and earned his BS in Computer Science from San Diego State University.

Janis Paulson

Chief Executive Officer
Board of Directors

Before making higher education her career, Janis Paulson gained extensive experience in accounting, finance and operations, including positions with Ernst & Young and Fidelity National Financial.

A well-rounded leader, she’s served as CEO, COO, and CFO, and was named 2008 CFO Transformation Agent of the Year by the Orange County Business Journal. Janis has experience with both regional and national accrediting organizations, and believes that with a focus on quality, a college can deliver for students, communities, and employers alike. As a first-generation college student, Janis believes education can transform entire families.

She earned her BS in Accounting from the University of Iowa.

Don Corvin

Senior Vice President of Compliance

Don Corvin is an experienced and well-rounded risk-management leader who has spent over 20 years in the higher education industry. Before joining Unitek, Don worked in the Enterprise Risk Services division of Deloitte & Touche, as Internal Audit Manager for Corinthian Colleges, and as a Compliance Executive for American Career College/West Coast University. His extensive skills include internal audits, state and federal regulatory standards, accreditation standards, and implementing more efficient processes.
Don graduated from California State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

David R. Higley

Chief Marketing Officer

David Higley is a seasoned senior executive with extensive experience in strategic marketing, advertising, and developing business partnerships. Prior to joining Unitek Learning, he served as CMO for several higher education companies, including Post University and Corinthian Colleges. In all his roles, David has consistently increased sales, market share, and profitability. He began his career as Marketing Director for Icon Health and Fitness, the world’s largest home-fitness manufacturer. David earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry from Utah State University.

Caitlin Masterson

Vice President of Workforce Development

Caitlin Masterson is a results-driven leader with more than 11 years of experience in healthcare education. She is passionate about improving access to healthcare and education, and believes strategic partnerships can create healthier communities and solve workforce shortages. Before joining Unitek Learning, Caitlin served as VP of Academic Operations and Partnerships at Orbis Education. She has also held clinic development roles at Western Michigan University and various hospital systems. Caitlin holds a B.S in Interdisciplinary Health Services and M.S in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University.

Andan Nisar

Board of Directors

Ali Bhola

Chief Financial Officer

After gaining experience with Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche, Ali Bhola sharpened his finance and strategy skills in the technology, banking, and mortgage industries. He served as CFO of Exemplis, and as Division CFO for an $800M segment of CoreLogic. Today, Ali creates value for Unitek with long-term operational and financial planning, and was nominated by the Orange County Business Journal as 2019 CFO of the Year. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business-Accounting from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and his MBA from USC.

Abdel Yosef, PhD, RN, CNE

Provost & Chief Academic Officer

Abdel is an entrepreneur who successfully turned his passions into businesses by starting three companies in higher education, health care and technology. As a senior executive leader in higher education, he is dedicated to solving the nursing workforce shortage.

He’s an expert in boards of nursing regulations in multiple states, programmatic accreditation, and higher education institutional accreditation. Abdel previously served as a co-founder and President of the California Career Institute, as founder and CFO for California School of Health Sciences, the CEO of eSmart Ideas, and as faculty at California State University.