School of Business and Economics hires new executive director

This week John Stayton will step in as the new executive director of graduate and executive education for both the executive and evening MBA programs in Sonoma’s School of Business and Economics. Although he is new to Sonoma State, Stayton has already made a big splash both in Sonoma County and at Dominican University in San Rafael.

“John has built graduate programs in the past and he will bring new ideas and new concepts to help grow the programs,” said Shalyn Eyer, coordinator for the executive and professional MBA programs, and will be working closely with him upon his arrival at SSU. “He definitely has an entrepreneurial mindset which will help grow the program; he will also help us continue growing the student experience.”  

Stayton moved to Sonoma County in 1991 and graduated from Dominican in 1995 with a masters degree in international business. 

Two years later he and his wife purchased an organic farm in Windsor called Golden Nectar Farms, with the sole purpose of making the farm a model with which to help educate others about sustainable living. 

This 2.5 acre farm is open to the community and schools can take tours and learn about the different ways this farm has kept a sustainable system in place.  

By using his knowledge of sustainable living coupled with an extensive understanding of the business world, Stayton mixed these two seemingly unrelated interests and cofounded Green MBA in 2000, the first program in the world to emphasize sustainable business.  

In 2007 the program was moved to Dominican University where it continues to gain recognition and is now seen as the pacesetter in sustainable business masters programs. 

In 2010 he co-founded another groundbreaking program at Dominican called Venture Greenhouse MBA, which also seeks to blend instruction on sustainable environmental living and the business world.

Upon transferring to SSU, his focus will not be on recreating the masters program, but rather finding ways to help programs that are already in place to grow to their full potential. 

Stayton hopes to expand the program’s reach in the community so that the MBA programs at SSU may become the number one choice for students and anyone wishing to further their learning.

“Business is the most creative and powerful force mankind has developed and we need to be more environmentally and socially aware as to what is done with it,” Stayton said. “Luckily SSU already integrates sustainable ideas in business and corporate responsibility, and I look forward to continuing that integration.”

Also within the School of Business and Economics is the Wine Business Institute. This Institute is the only Wine Business Executive MBA program in the United States, and is one of only seven in the world. 

This program has already partnered with many wineries and businesses in Sonoma County, and Stayton hopes to chart the course in extending its reach in this county and beyond. 

With the leaves finally turning in Sonoma County, SSU hopes to do the same with its new opportunities.