GEW Penn State is organized and managed by the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC). SBDC provides entrepreneurs with the education, information, and tools necessary to build successful businesses.

John Peterson

Interim Director and Business Consultant, Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

John Peterson joined the Penn State Small Business Development Center in 2018 as a business consultant and is the current interim director of the Center. John’s consulting efforts are primarily focused on providing free, confidential one-on-one consulting to current or prospective small business owners within Centre and Mifflin counties.

John has more than 15 years of business management experience in various industries, including private ownership, private equity, venture capital, and publicly-held businesses. Working with high-growth companies—ranging in size from early-stage development to globally-recognized organizations—has given John the opportunity to work with not only hundreds of small businesses, but also with some of the world’s largest names in consumer and industrial products. John has experience working within the manufacturing, technology, Lean, Six Sigma, safety, quality systems, environmental law, sales, supply chain, consumer products, life science, operational excellence, inventory control, engineering, product development, leadership development, purchasing, industrial products, and food and beverage industries.

John is actively involved in scouting, numerous local youth sports organizations, and as a director on the Penn State Smeal College of Business Alumni Board.


Linda Feltman

GEW Coordinator and Student Entrepreneurship ConsultantLinda Feltman

Linda Feltman accepted a faculty position with the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications in August 2018. Prior to becoming faculty, she worked with the Penn State SBDC as a business consultant for 19 years, working only with student entrepreneurs for the last two years. 

For 20 years before joining the SBDC staff in 1999, Linda was involved in several small business startups as a principal or owner. She has written a column for Pennsylvania Magazine since 1992, specializing in bed and breakfasts and profiles of interesting people and places, and is the author of several books related to those topics.

In 2005, she became an associate faculty member in the Bellisario College of Communications and continues to teach COMM 493, Entrepreneurship in the Information Age. Since 2009, she has been the faculty adviser for the Penn State student organization Happy Valley Communications, an award winning student-run public relations firm that works with the publicity initiatives of other student-run organizations as well as local small businesses. Linda also currently serves as the faculty associate for Lion LaunchPad, a special living option based on campus in North Halls for students interested in entrepreneurship, and is the faculty adviser for the GEW Club. 


Hannah Passanisi

PSECU Intern

Hannah is a senior majoring in Advertising with a double minor in Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship and International Studies. This past summer, Hannah worked as an Inside Sales intern for Kronos, a software company located in Boston. Hannah is a member of Happy Valley Communications and was the Event Team Lead for GEW 2018.


Omar Barakat

PSECU Intern

Omar is a sophomore currently studying Finance with minors in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Information Sciences and Technology. Omar is originally from Alexandria, Egypt and finds great passion in the power of entrepreneurship and the change it can bring to families, communities, and nations around the world.

Joyce Lin

Event Team Lead

Joyce is a senior majoring in Advertising and minoring in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. This past summer, she worked as a Sales Operation & Customer Success intern for Revivn, a tech startup located in Brooklyn, NY. Joyce is also the Director of Marketing for Innoblue and was selected as a Forbes Under 30 Scholar. As a GEW Event Team Lead, she looks forward to continuing to share the entrepreneurial mindset within the Penn State community.

Annalise Mara

Event Team Lead

Annalise is a sophomore majoring Advertising/Public Relations and Spanish. She is a member of Happy Valley Communications (HVC) and Volé Penn State Dance. She served as an Event Team Member for GEW 2018 and wanted to come back to lead the volunteer effort. She decided to apply for this position because her experience as a Team Member taught her about connecting with others, which was invaluable experience. In her current role, Annalise is excited to again have an opportunity to interact with so many incredible entrepreneurs who have paved their own path and learn more about their experiences to shape her own.

Cassandra Horsman

Happy Valley Communications Account Executive

Cassandra is a senior majoring in Telecommunications and minoring in Entrepreneurship & Innovation with a focus on New Media. She aims to own her own business with the help of the skills she has learned with GEW, HVC, and her classes at Penn State. Cassandra is the Account Executive overseeing GEW as a client and provides marketing and communications support to the event with the help of six other students. Working with GEW has helped Cassandra define her leadership expertise, grow her media skills, and increase experience with strategic planning. For Cassandra, the most rewarding part about GEW is the connections made between both the community and the students.