Cal Poly

Orfalea College of Business

Setareh Pouraghabagher

Setareh Pouraghabagher

Office 03-342
Phone 805-756-1452

Setareh Pouraghabagher

SiSi Pouraghabagher is a member of adjunct faculty in the Accounting area of the Orfalea College of Business, for both the undergraduate and graduate programs.  SiSi also currently serves as a board member for State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: STFC), where she is Chair of the Audit Committee, Chair of the Independent Committee, and also a member of the Risk Committee and Nominating & Governance Committee. SiSi is additionally a board member for Point B, a private consulting firm based in Seattle, Washington. SiSi is also a Board member for CalPrivate Bank (OTC: PBAM), and serves as the Audit and Risk Committee(s) Chair, along with serving on the Compensation, Nominating & Governance Committee.

SiSi is an accomplished and networked executive and Board Director (public and private) with a strong record of collaborative leadership, inclusive of Chief roles in Finance, Operations and Administration. She is a former CFO and COO for $2B insurance division with Fortune 100 parent, and CAO for $6B division. Depth of her experience includes leading through successful large scale business transformations, mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures in complex regulatory environments.  SiSi earned herself a respected professional reputation as a collegial, trusted advisor, who cultivates followership by leading with transparency, influence and intellectual curiosity. Her diverse professional background includes public global financial service corporations, private technology companies, public accounting firms, and higher education. Her professional experience spans almost 30 years.

After Pouraghabagher graduated from Cal Poly, she began her career as a CPA at Deloitte in Orange County, California. She then went on to a variety of privately held technology companies and spent the last several years of her career at one of the top 20 public global insurers in the world, managing large scale business transformation and integration activity as well as complex divestitures, acquisitions and mergers. Pouraghabagher is an impactful leader who has proven success in driving accretive results, strategic execution, operational excellence, large scale business transformation, employee engagement, and change management. She was actively involved in several corporate governance committees, leadership boards and talent initiatives, including serving as the North American executive chair for the diversity council of a public, billion-dollar company. She has strengths in building high performing teams and motivating professionals to deliver their best outcomes, which she strives to translate to the classroom for Cal Poly’s business students. Pouraghabagher has also been an active member ofOrfalea’s Executive Partner Program, and mentors several business students on foundations of career readiness and success.


  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Accounting, 1994 (Magna Cum Laude)


  • National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Governance Fellow
  • Board member of State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: STFC)
  • Audit Committee Chair for State Auto Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: STFC), market cap ~$1.5B
  • Board Member for Point B
  • CAO of QBE
  • CFO/COO at Balboa Insurance Group (subsidiary of Bank of America)
  • Vice President, Finance & Administration at Xavor Corporation
  • CFO at Wellspring Solutions
  • CPA/Auditor at Deloitte
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license granted 1997
  • Member OCOB Dean’s Advisory Council (since Fall 2018)
  • Member OCOB Diversity & Inclusion Council (since Fall 2018)


  • 2021 Outstanding Faculty Graduate Programs, M.S. Accounting
  • 2018, 2016 Distinguished Faculty Award, Orfalea College of Business
  • 2018, 2017 Outstanding Accounting Faculty Award
  • 2018 KPMG Outstanding Educator Award
  • 2017 Deloitte Outstanding Educator Award
  • 2016 Ernst & Young Outstanding Educator Award

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