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About us

Semantic Seed has an impressive, well-rounded team of mentors who also serve as the organization's board of directors.

LOU MYERS, Chairman

Lou Myers is chairman and chief enlightenment officer of Global Business Incubation (GBI), a 501(c)3 organization established in 1991 with Loyola Marymount University. GBI functions as a strategic “think-ubator” to promote the development and growth of global enterprises.

Myers has spoken globally on new trends in business and economic development in the urban community.

In addition to his efforts to promote business growth, Myers also serves as chairman of The Lou Myers Scenario Motion Picture Institute/Theatre. He has a long distinguished career in show business, gaining extensive experience as a singer, performer and actor.

Myers has performed in Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Most recently, he appeared on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, African American Style and Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple.

He won the NAACP Best Actor Award and off-Broadway Audience Best Actor awards for his role as Stool Pigeon in King Hedley II and his role as the tap dancing bodyguard in Fat Tuesday. He also received the coveted Living Legend Award from the National Black Theatre Festival.

For eight years, as founder and director of the Shake Ensemble Players, Myers performed the historical and educational play Foot Steps from Before, which he also wrote and produced.

Myers' most recognizable role was as the short-tempered restaurant owner Mr. Gaines on the hit TV series A Different World. His other TV credits include ER, NYPD Blue, EVE, The Cosby Show, Touched by an Angel, JAG, and The Jamie Fox Show.

His movie credits include The Fighting Temptations, Lakawanna Blues (HBO), The Wedding Planner, How Stella Got her Groove Back, Bullworth, Friday after Next, Passions of Darkly Noon (Showtime), Cobb, Tin Cup, Volcano, Everything’s Jake, The Stand In, All About You and Goodbye Lover.

Myers is currently working with Debbie Allen and Jasmine Guy on a new sitcom entitled My Parents, My Sister and Me. He can also be seen performing his acclaimed one-man cabaret show, Just a Little Bit of Somethin', at Windows Over Harlem in New York City.

The West Virginia native is working toward a PhD in Comparative Literature. He's fluent in French, German, Spanish and several African languages. More information on him can be found at

Tonia McDonald, President & CEO

Tonia McDonald is president of The Lou Myers Scenario Motion Picture Institute/Theatre and Global Business Incubation, Inc. (GBI). Through her leadership, GBI is able to provide a wide range of services from focus group development and arranging strategic alliances to training leadership teams and facilitating executive board meetings.

McDonald was selected to be among California’s top women corporate executives, business professionals, educators and state government and non-profit leaders by Leadership California, an annual prestigious program that recognizes 50 women leaders from across the state.

Through GBI, McDonald led the collaborative partnership with Los Angeles downtown community development agencies, corporations, colleges and universities to create a multimedia, entertainment and technology incubator in historic downtown LA. Over 50 companies were incubated, helping to create 300 new jobs in a depressed and high unemployment area. In April 2000, she and her GBI partner received the White House Millennium Council Award for “modeling hope, imagination and courage in incubating small businesses in Los Angeles.”

She led a partnership with the Port of Los Angeles to create a series of interactive cooperative workshops focused on small and mid-sized companies doing business successfully with China.

McDonald has designed computerized telecommunication systems for the Chicago Board Trade stock market floor; worked in the electrical manufacturing industry; served on the board of directors of several technology companies; and worked as a corporate lobbyist for the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences.

She also co-authored a book on business incubation and has published many articles in niche market magazines.

Currently, McDonald is launching The Urban Futurist Publication and Newsletter to address and track the economic, technological and educational trends of urban communities.

McDonald has served as president and coordinator of the Greater Los Angeles Area Futurist, a partner and chapter of the World Future Society, and is a strategic business futurist focusing on the human side of enterprise, education and communities.

Paul Mc Donald

Paul McDonald is founder and chief research officer for The Lou Myers Scenario Motion Picture Institute/Theatre and Global Business Incubation, Inc. (GBI). He is a highly effective researcher, innovator, futurist, communicator, facilitator and change agent.

McDonald has pioneered the incorporation of modeling, simulating and scenario planning experiential strategies into his work with cities, corporate executives, small business owners, educators and inner city youth.

Over a 25-year period, McDonald has documented and bench-marked the blueprints of successful entrepreneurs, corporations, business incubators, cooperatives, teaching and testing factories, economic development programs, and community and business wealth creation models used around the world. These include Sunkist Corporation, Control Data Corporation, Mondragon, REACH, Silicon Valley, McDonald's, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, The Irish Answer, The Ben Franklin Partnership, and The Austin Technology Incubator.

His training and facilitating experience has enabled him to test and refine his research and futurist approaches to managing change and navigating the new economy.

As part of his research, McDonald has met and interviewed famous and notable wealth creators including Walt Disney, Ray Kroc, motivational speaker W. Clement Stone, FTD founder Jack Goldsen and Teledyne founder Dr. George Kotsmetsky.

McDonald serves as the "imagineer" of the blueprint for the implementation of GBI's Collaborative Demonstration Project, which is based on the world's best practices. The project is envisioned to serve as an economic engine for the development of multimedia "edutainment"-based small businesses within underserved communities to power and broadcast the rebirth of viable new urban business communities in “zero time”.

As a nationally recognized urban futurist, McDonald has taught students, conducted workshops, and participated in strategic alliance and think tank conferences at Loyola Marymount University, a GBI sponsor and partner. He has also organized and presented at many other colleges and universities, corporations, and community groups, including Harvard University, MIT, Yale, University of Texas at Austin, Chicago State University, UCLA and San Diego State University and San Diego State.

McDonald has consulted for cities, community organizations, small businesses, non-profit agencies and high-level corporate personnel, including nationally known corporate CEO's and scientists.

He has served as a new business development consultant for Amway, Operation PUSH, IBM, Fidelity Union Life, Encyclopedia Britannica, World Bank, Philadelphia International, Curton Records, Eddie Thomas Productions, Jackson Five Productions, Major League Baseball and Professional Athletes, Equity Life Insurance, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, Port of Los Angeles, and the Economic Development Department for the City of Los Angeles.

Phil Brown

Phil Brown is executive director of The Lou Myers Scenario Motion Picture Institute/Theatre and Global Business Incubation, Inc. (GBI).

The San Diego native has followed his family's long line of successful entrepreneurs—both his grandfather and father owned businesses.

In the early '90s, Brown was the first to develop and construct a major subdivision consisting of high-end quality homes in Southeastern San Diego. He constructed the first two major subdivisions (Jarret Heights and Cypress Hills) for Carter Reese and Associates. Following this success, Brown orchestrated GBI’s establishment of the Merge Project in 1994, partnering with the San Diego Neighborhood Housing Association and Michael Knox, the inventor of Monday Night Football.

Most recently, Brown served as the executive director of the San Diego Urban League’s Urban Housing and Community Development Corporation. Brown oversaw the organization’s affordable housing and community development projects, targeting homeless veterans, low income and first-time home buyers.

Brown has served on various boards, including the San Diego Planning Commission, the Private Industry Council (The Workforce Partnership) and the San Diego-based California Southern Small Business Development Corporation, which provides loan guarantees to small businesses. He is a graduate of the National Development Council’s affordable housing finance and development training, and of the Matrix Non-Profit Leadership Training Program.

Brown continues to focus on establishing strategic alliances with community-based non-profit organizations, small business owners and entrepreneurs, educational institutions, foundations and major corporations for the purpose of implementing GBI's Collaborative Demonstration Project in underserved communities.

Toby Morning

Toby Morning is the smiling face you'll see upon arriving at Semantic Seed headquarters in San Jose, California. He serves as the local mentor for the organization's grant recipients.

Morning is a self-professed “startup addict”. In addition to Semantic Seed, he is an independent web designer and internet consultant through his firm, Blue Monitor.

As a serial entrepreneur, Morning has been involved and invested in numerous startups. With Semantic Seed his latest effort, he sees an opportunity to help web-based entrepreneurs make that leap of faith from their day job to becoming their own bosses. He wants to show entrepreneurs that “doing something you wake up 100% stoked about every single day” is attainable!

Morning was born and raised in southern California, but now lives in the Bay Area. Anyone needing web design or consulting services can find out more at

Eric Oetjen
team photo

Eric Oetjen has 18 years of business development, strategic planning and fund raising experience. Most of his expertise is in the high tech industry, including domestic and international investment deals involving hardware, software and business solutions companies.

Oetjen also possesses a substantial yet diverse background in programming, business systems design and financial investing.

Henri Duong

Henri Doung is a serial entrepreneur, social networking specialist, social media marketer, product evangelist and contributing adviser to Blue Monitor.

Duong has been involved in numerous Web 2.0 startups, including his own SocialURL, along with several “privately owned-to-Series A-C”, venture-backed web and consumer electronics startups.

His advice to new entrepreneurs: “Be scrappy, be genuine, be brave, get started young and take calculated risks while you have no obligations and while you can live off of top ramen.”

Originally from southern California, Duong now resides in northern California.

Joy Tang

Joy Tang is a former Cisco employee who has held a number of positions at the high-tech company, including serving as a Cisco fellow for community development.

In that capacity, Tang gained specialized expertise in the areas of human capacity building, education, ICT4D, corporate social responsibility, and culture learning. She put these skills to good use by assisting with Teachers Without Borders' international educational program in Nigeria; developing as a venture to provide Internet access to low-income people in America's inner city; and consulting in International Telecom Union’s Least Developed Countries Initiative to address the digital divide.

Tang then focused her efforts on developing the oneVillage Foundation (OVF). OVF’s mission is to harness the power of technology and information to empower people in developing countries so that they can live better and more fulfilling lives. With more than a decade of international development and ICT industry experience, Tang led the evolution of the oneVillage Initiative (OVI) into an integrated tool for facilitating community development.

Tang is currently a consultant to major Taiwanese public and private partnerships, assisting them in designing appropriate information and communication technology (ICT) devices and solutions to facilitate collaboration and learning. She's also promoting indigenous culture heritage through her blossoming Unity Drum program Taiwan, and working with the National Tsing Hua University to develop an eco-tourism and service learning program.

Tang is based in Taiwan.

Kumar Kneelabh

Kumar Neelabh has specialized in creating user-friendly, high quality web design and development since 1998.

A successful entrepreneur, Neelabh is the director of Softsys Global Pvt Ltd, an integrated solutions company that develops web-based software products and enterprise solutions. Softsys products range from customer relationship management tools to hosted advertising servers and more.

Neelabh earned a bachelor's degree in engineering. He is based in India.

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