The Pavlis Honors College External Advisory Board provides support to the Honors College in its mission to cultivate thoughtful, passionate and authentic students who go on to positively impact the world as innovative scholars and leaders. The board’s mission is to advise the Dean on long-range planning, develop and enhance educational opportunities for students, and encourage relationships between Pavlis and the greater community.
The Pavlis Honors College External Advisory Board is composed of individuals with strong connections to the educational goals of the college and university. We are honored to welcome our board members listed below.
President and CEO, Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants
EAB member through May 2024
Bob Doyle is President and CEO of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA), serving in that capacity since early 2020. With over 17,500 members representing the organization in accounting, finance, administration and education, Bob continues the MICPA’s long-standing mission of serving its members and the accounting profession through advocacy, collaboration and education.
Bob holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering, a M.S. in Engineering Management, and a M.A. in Public Relations & Organizational Communication. His education and experience provide him a unique perspective on both human and technological issues, one which he has successfully leveraged throughout his career. He was previously Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Advocacy at the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) in Ann Arbor, a not-for-profit robotics and automation focused trade. Prior to his work at A3, Bob was the marketing and communications manager at the Environmental Quality Company after progressing through several engineering roles at General Motors.
Active in the community, Bob currently serves on the board of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is also a member of the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2022 Leadership Detroit Class XLII. He is on the external advisory board of the Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Technological University, as well as the executive advisory board of Winning Futures. He also mentors high school students through the Winning Futures program. Bob previously served on the board of Lighthouse (formerly South Oakland Shelter).
Ford Motor Company (retired)
EAB member through May 2025, Current EAB Chair
Lisa Genslak retired from Ford Motor Company with over 33+ years of experience in IT. Lisa Genslak was the director for the Enterprise Technology IT Operations organization at Ford Motor Company. She supported a world class infrastructure organization which was the backbone of Ford’s Global Digital transformation. This always on organization ensured the delivery of capabilities across the enterprise and a support model that ran and protected Ford Motor Company. Lisa was responsible for delivering intelligent infrastructure that is architected to support Ford’s multi-cloud strategy and best in class Enterprise Data Centers. She ran an advance infrastructure group that demonstrated innovation of emerging technologies such as edge computing, 5G, IOT, AI/ML. She also lead Ford Collaboration transformation to support the new hybrid-model for Ford employees to work. She lead the service transformation for operations by leveraging agile methods, DevSecOps and SRE process thru automation to ensure an excellent customer experience. The global services she was responsible for employed over 2,500 Infrastructure engineers and $1.0B of annual budget. The services are helping Ford become the most trusted company and deliver Mobility Solutions to create smart vehicles for a smart world.
During her 33+ years at Ford, Genslak has held many roles within IT. She has managed multiple interactions with suppliers and business partners to develop and maintain corporate strategies, operational efficiencies, and technology innovations. These roles have spanned operational support, application and product development, and IT strategy and planning. Additionally, Genslak led all IT learning and development activities and research services, and she drove the transformation of IT through effective communications and culture changes. Genslak creates a culture that fosters innovation and collaboration which “Puts people first.” Running and Protecting Ford requires her to be “Built Ford Tough.”
Genslak earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science Engineering from Michigan Technological University and a Master of Business Administration from Wayne State University.
UX Researcher, GE Aerospace
EAB member through May 2025
Erin Gustafson is a UX Researcher for GE Aerospace. She spends her days advocating for the user by applying human-centered design principles to translate needs into design concepts and requirements that speak to engineers. Erin is able to work with complex and high-consequence systems related to automated intelligence, autonomous systems, and communications across both government and commercial settings.
Erin has a passion for getting involved and making a difference in her community. She previously served on the executive council of San Diego’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) chapter as the recording secretary. She currently serves locally to the Keweenaw as the Social Media Chair for Keweenaw Wild Ones, promoting the use of native plants in home and community gardens.
Erin is a graduate of the Pavlis Honors College and visited Ghana with the program in 2016. She received both her B.S. in mechanical engineering and M.S. in applied cognitive science and human factors from Michigan Technological University. During her time on campus she was a success coach and mentor in the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success, enjoyed volunteering for several student organizations, and was granted the Vice President of Student Affairs and Advancement Award for Service.
Brand builder, entrepreneur, coach and inspirational leader
EAB member through May 2024
After a successful career in Marketing for well-known global brands, Monica struck out on a new path, and is now thriving as a Franchisee with Elements Massage,TM one of the largest retail massage franchises in North America. Monica owns and operates a massage studios in the Walnut Creek, CA (San Francisco Bay Area).
Prior to joining the Elements family, Monica spent several years as a brand strategy consultant and career coach, focused on inspiring brands and individuals to reach their potential. Before beginning her own practice, Hahn was a respected senior executive for a number of large companies, including ARAMARK, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Burger King Corporation and Whirlpool.
Monica’s passion for education and leadership development reaches outside her “day job.” For 10 years, she was a Board Member for The Leadership Investment, a Denver-based nonprofit focused on advancing the collaborative power of women and men leading together. Since 2012, she has served on the Board of Directors for Asante Africa Foundation, a nonprofit working in East Africa to educate and empower the next generation of change agents, whose dreams and actions are transforming the future for Africa and the world. Through her work in Africa, she connected with the Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Tech. Monica has also been a member of Michigan Tech’s Presidential Council of Alumnae since 2007.
In addition to the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration she earned at Michigan Tech, Monica holds an M.B.A. in Marketing from Western Michigan University.
Monica is passionate about food, travel, education and a healthy outdoor lifestyle. She and her husband live in northern California.
Director of Workshops, The Carpentries
EAB member through May 2026
SherAaron Hurt serves as the Director of Workshops for the Carpentries, and plays a crucial role in developing and overseeing the organization's workshop initiatives worldwide. Her responsibilities encompass the strategic planning and execution of workshops, ensuring high-quality content delivery, and nurturing a vibrant and diverse instructor community. SherAaron's commitment to diversity and inclusion is reflected in her efforts to create safe spaces for underrepresented communities within the Carpentries, while empowering researchers globally with data skills.
SherAaron obtained her Bachelors of Science degree in Business Management and Marketing, with a Global Technological Leadership Certificate from Michigan Tech in 2009. She was a part of the very first cohort of the Pavlis Institute that traveled to Ghana, Africa. Leaving one peninsula for another, she went to Florida International University to obtain her Masters of Science in Hospitality Management. SherAaron enjoys anything related to physical fitness, luxury travel and experiencing culture through food!
Chief Creative Officer, Transcend Creative Group
EAB member through May 2026
Maureen is a strategy developer, creative problem solver and implementer. CX, and human-centered experience design, is her business. Creating trust and focusing on how people feel are critical to her work. Currently, she is working on the most interesting aspect of retail - purposefully transforming the retail experience by implementing effective human-focused experiences. She is focused on developing leaders and disruptive, tactical customer-facing strategies.
Maureen’s experience includes working with trend-setting, luxury retail companies and start-ups - Lincoln, Ford Model e, Volvo, Maserati, EmbarkBeyond, and more - to hands-on create guest and customer experiences that are unrivaled - complete with tangible, implementable, off-the-chart results.
Co-Founder and CEO, Tern
EAB member through May 2024
David is the co-founder and CEO of Tern, a venture backed software platform focused on empowering travel advisors to supercharge their businesses and create lasting memories for their clients.
Before co-founding Tern, David was the first employee at Handshake where he saw the company grow from a living room in Houghton, Michigan to a $3.5B valuation. David spent five years building Handshake’s university business. In 2019, David, his wife Meghan, and their dog Spark moved to London where David launched Handshake’s first international market.
In 2021, they moved back to Michigan where they live today. David graduated from Michigan Tech with a degree in Computer Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. He’s a graduate of the Pavlis Honors College and spent five weeks in Chennai, India as a part of the program - an experience that opened his eyes to the world and in no small part led him to where he is today.
EAB member through May 2024
John Soyring is a philanthropist and investor, with a focus on clean energy technologies, clean water technologies and preventative healthcare innovations. He was born and raised in Michigan. Following his graduation from Michigan Technological University, he continued his graduate level studies at a variety of universities during his 36-year career with IBM.
During his IBM career, he spent the first four years designing circuits for the world’s first commercial 64-bit computer. During most of his career he held global executive positions leading IBM businesses such as the Personal Computer Software business; the IBM Software Services business; and was co-founder and leader of the IBM Industry Solutions business. He was a member of the senior leadership team of two prior IBM chairmen.
Following his IBM retirement he increased his focus on philanthropic activities and his investing work. In addition to founding and being the majority owner of several startup companies, he is currently an angel investor, member of the board of directors and president of a 510(c)(3) impact investment company, SWAN Impact Network. This company works with a large network of member angel investors to identify and support startup companies that are developing technologies and products that provide positive societal benefits as well as providing an attractive opportunity for angel investors to get a good return on their investments. He also serves on the boards of several of the companies in which he has invested.
Soyring has received honorary doctorates of engineering from Michigan Technological University and Moscow Engineering and Physics Institute. John was a member of the Industry Advisory Council of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). He was also a member of both the Michigan Tech Campaign Committee and the Michigan Tech College of Engineering Industry Advisory Board. In his spare time he does volunteer electrical work for Habitat for Humanity.
Owner and Principal Consultant, Thornton Consulting Group
EAB member through May 2025, Former EAB Chair
Otha Thornton is owner and Principal Consultant for the Thornton Consulting Group. He is also a Senior Operations Analyst with General Dynamics in Fort Stewart, Georgia and the Immediate Past National President of National PTA. He is a retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel and his last two assignments were with the White House Communications Agency and United States Forces-Iraq in Baghdad. Thornton earned the Bronze Star Medal for exceptional performance in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom 2009-2010.
Previously, Thornton served on National PTA’s Board of Directors, Legislative, Membership, Organizational Effectiveness, Communications, and Executive Search Committees. Thornton served as a member of Anne Arundel County’s Superintendent High Performing High School Task Force. In addition, he was appointed by the governor of Maryland to serve on a Maryland Education Task Force.
Thornton is active in the community. Otha serves an Advisory Group member for Georgia’s Partnership for Excellence in Education. He is an active member of Richmond Hill of Christ and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He is a life member of the National Eagle Scout Association and has more than 25 years of active service in the United States and around the world. He has won numerous awards to include: Ebony’s 2013 Power 100 List, Morehouse College Alumnus of the Year, and Michigan Technological University Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Thornton received his bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Morehouse College and a master’s degree in communications from Michigan Technological University. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Michigan Technological University.
Owner & Principal, Yarina Consulting LLC
EAB member through May 2025
Carolyn is a two-time founder/CEO with a proven track record of execution. She is currently applying her 13 years of startup CEO leadership and investor management experience as management consultant to early stage companies and new VC funds. In her most recent venture-backed startup, she raised and managed $5M and led growth of a novel surgical device from idea through the first $1M in revenue. She has deep operational expertise through every phase of new technology development; from early-stage research to design thinking, medical device regulatory, and through the first million dollars in revenue. Her extensive travel and business operations in the US, Africa, Asia, and Europe provides experience in a wide variety of healthcare environments and ensures an expansive business network.
In addition to a focus on business profitability and helping save thousands of lives through her companies, she has received over 50 company-level awards, 25 direct personal awards, and 80 global press features. Her awards include: Forbes 30 under 30 while leading her global medical device company (Sisu Global), featured as a “Best” Startup by Entrepreneur magazine for the first venture she founded (CentriCycle), and Entrepreneur of the Year at the University of Michigan while getting her Chemical Engineering Degree. Carolyn is passionate about increasing access to capital for women entrepreneurs and about improving glaring gaps in our US healthcare system, especially for women & minorities. As such, she is a regular keynote and panel speaker, a mentor in several entrepreneurship programs, serves on three Boards and is an advisor to two early-stage VC funds in the process of formation.
Carolyn is a Keweenaw native. She grew up on a sheep farm in Tapiola, took her first university classes at MTU, and was a member of the research team at two MTU research labs. After living in Turkey, India, and in 5 cities across the US including Baltimore and Ann Arbor, she is now again based in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.