Alumni Society Board Members
Sonya Grant, chair of the UM-Dearborn Alumni Society Board, is the President and CEO of WorkSource Cobb, Cobb County’s workforce development agency which provides access to a system of employment and education services for residents and employers in the state of Georgia. Sonya graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn where she received a B.A. in communications with a minor in political science. She launched her career after obtaining a Masters of Social Work from Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan. She honed her non-profit, public health, and workforce development skills as a community and economic development Executive Director, a Senior Project Manager for the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, and as the Chief Operating Officer for Michigan’s third-largest workforce development agency.
All roads lead back to Southeast Michigan for Inkster native Matthew Carter. After his high school graduation, he proudly served as a Military Police Officer in the United States Army. Having been fortunate enough to have traveled the world with the Army, he returned to the area with a renewed passion for community betterment. Since his return, he has worked tirelessly to give back to the region that he calls home. In 2017, Matthew served on the executive team of the New Leaders Council – Detroit Chapter. A University of Michigan-Dearborn alumni, Matthew, '18 B.A., has built a solid reputation for himself as a professional in the middle market business community. Having ten years of experience in the insurance industry, he has achieved a tremendous amount of success as an insurance broker, consultant, and subject matter expert.
Garry Cole graduated with a B.S.A. from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 1979, a time when some of the classes were held in trailers but the spirit and excellence in learning were all Blue. After enjoying a successful sales & marketing career at large companies - Carnation and Pepsico, Garry launched a boutique Ad Agency serving clients such as Pepsi, A&W Restaurants, HoneyBaked Ham, and Guardian Industries. Currently, he is providing strategic support for a number of clients as Vice President of Client Solutions for SSDM, a digital marketing agency based in Troy Michigan. Although Garry considers his work status as "semi-retired" he fills his days with consulting opportunities, travel, writing, being a board member of The Legacy Medical Foundation, and continuous learning - taking online classes from some of the greatest universities in the world, including, of course, the University of Michigan.
Tyler Dalton is a Senior Associate at Kaulig Capital and the Vice President of Partnerships at Kaulig Sports and Entertainment, where he evaluates current and potential private equity, real estate, and capital markets investment opportunities, while also focusing on driving value-added partnerships across all of our Sports and Entertainment endeavors. Prior to Kaulig Capital, he worked in management consulting and family office services at Cohen & Co., collaborating with a global client base on best practices and implementing value-added solutions. Tyler graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with high distinction in 2019. A double major in finance and accounting with an economics minor, he was awarded the 2019 Chancellor’s Medallion during commencement as the class’s most outstanding business school graduate. While at the UM-Dearborn, Tyler played varsity hockey, twice serving as the team’s assistant captain. Tyler is now heavily involved in the Northeast Ohio area through his philanthropic endeavors. Currently, Tyler serves on multiple boards and organizations including: ACG’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Young Professional Committee, he is a board member at Friends of Breakthrough (benefitting Breakthrough Schools) and is the leader of the Emerging Leaders Council, Folds of Honor young professional board, and is the Cleveland chapter president of Hockey Players in Business.
Rebecca Dioso is an experienced Human Resources leader and Change Management professional. Currently, she is the VP of Human Resources for Monetate, Inc. a technology organization. Rebecca graduated from the University of Michigan Dearborn in 1993 with her BA in psychology and sociology. In 1996, she earned her MA from the University of Detroit Mercy in Industrial Organizational Psychology. While at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Rebecca was president of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority. Rebecca has a passion for Veterans and has built employment-related outreach activities to ensure that those who served our country transition to civilian employment with ease. Rebecca is an active volunteer with Boy Scout Troop 1261 and an Area Representative volunteer with Youth for Understanding, a non-profit organization for high school exchange students. She is a former Member of the Board of the Michigan Diversity Council and is currently the Vice President of the Board for the non-profit Our Community Bridge. In her free time, Rebecca travels globally, visiting her former foreign exchange students located throughout the world. Rebecca and her husband reside on Grosse Ile, MI and their son is a student at Loyola Chicago.
John Economy has been a hands-on operational entrepreneur for the past 20 years. One of John’s first endeavors was Argo Import-Export, with offices in both Detroit and Shanghai. In addition to Argo, John is currently a Managing Partner at America’s Green Line, a WBENC LED lighting company, headquartered in Detroit. With his success within the LED space, John has gone on to diversify himself further, focusing on the research and development of new green technologies and energy-efficient products and applications. John’s focus and expertise has been in sales, global manufacturing and importing. John graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where he received a B.A. in Political Science in 2001. John is a world traveler and an avid University of Michigan sports fanatic. Outside of work and family, John is an advocate for inner city youth advancement, emphasizing education and organized athletics.
Paul S. Funk joins the Alumni Society Board with over 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur and executive consultant to business, government, and nonprofit organizations. Currently, he is the chief executive connector at Paul S. Funk LLC where Paul plans for, organizes, markets, and executes various kinds of networking and fundraising events to connect professionals. Paul is a 1978 graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn earning a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) in Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering. Paul is a Livingston County Road Commissioner and is also a member of the County Planning Commission. Paul also serves in leadership roles in support of various Charities.
Michael Gillespie is currently the Director of the Faculty Development and Innovation Center and is Professor of Sociology at Eastern Illinois University. As director, Michael oversees the professional development of new and continuing faculty members, designs and develops workshops and webinars on teaching and learning, facilitates mentoring programs, and consults on best practices in pedagogy, assessment, and learning innovations for face-to-face and online courses. He has received multiple campus teaching awards and grants and has been recognized by the provost’s office as an emerging leader on campus. Michael’s teaching and research on poverty, food insecurity, and social welfare has led to the opening of a university-sponsored food pantry on EIU’s campus for students, staff, and faculty. He has also been active with community-based anti-poverty and anti-hunger organizations, Habitat for Humanity, and the local public health department board. Michael received his bachelor’s in Sociology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, a master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in Sociology from Western Michigan University.
Jeff Gordon, '68 B.B.A., is a first generation American and Detroit native. While a student at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, he participated in the co-op program and worked at American Airlines. After graduation, he volunteered with the Peace Corps, setting up supermarkets in India. Returning to the States during the recession of 1971, Jeff consulted with the UM-Dearborn placement office and obtained his first job which began his food industry experience. Jeff’s 34-year career in Michigan was as a Manufacturers’ Representative, food broker, during which he served on many of his clients’ advisory boards. Later, he became the Marketing Manager then Market Developer for a food service distributor serving the Mid-Atlantic states. Jeff completed his successful career in Washington, DC as the owner of Searidge Sales and Marketing. His commitment to service includes his membership on the Board of Iona Senior Services, a non-profit, in Washington, DC. In addition to supporting the new UM-Dearborn Engineering Lab Building, Jeff is a strong believer in our Get to Graduation Fund. Retired, he currently lives in Washington, DC with his wife Beth McGarry.
Kevin Moisan, is currently working on-site at Meta supporting their labs organization. Previously, he worked at AT&T for over 35 years, retiring in 2019. He worked in both technical (Lead Member of Technical Staff) and management (Director) positions. He worked, primarily, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California but spent five years in New Jersey (1987-1992). Kevin holds three patents. He attended the University of Michigan-Dearborn (1978-1982) graduating with a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering. In 1991, Kevin received a Master’s in Computer Science from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ (1991). He currently resides with his wife, Kathleen, in Castro Valley, CA. They have a daughter, Clare, a recent graduate of the University of California-Davis. Kevin led the UM-Dearborn Alumni Society Board as chair during the 2022-2023 academic year.
Linda Morin is currently serving as the Pastoral Presence at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Warren, Michigan. She is also a member of the Ecumenical Theological Seminary faculty, where she graduated with a Doctor of Ministry. She earned a Bachelors of Science in Finance and Information Technology from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a Masters of Business Administration from Wayne State University. She spent many years in banking IT before transitioning into database consulting. In 2016, she purchased an Internet based business, HighlandXPress.com, selling Scottish Highland Dance supplies and Scottish goods. She is a passionate advocate for Samaritas, a social services agency that serves those in need; serving on their Foundation Board for many years and now as an ambassador for the organization. She is also passionate about Michigan football having season tickets for over 40 years! Go Blue! Currently is living in South Lyon with her husband and 2 Whoodles (Wheaton Terrier/Poodle mix).
David Oberstaedt has worked in numerous Human Resources leadership roles over a 22-year career with Nissan North America, Inc., which has taken him from Farmington Hills to Chicago to the company’s headquarters in Nashville. As a Human Resources Business Partner, David has supported a variety of client groups that included Engineering, Marketing & Sales, Regional Operations, Aftersales, Parts Distribution, and Vehicle/Powertrain/Battery Manufacturing. Prior to Nissan, David worked for 10 years in various HR-related roles in the retail industry and at a non-profit employers association. David is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and maintains the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UM-Dearborn in 1991 and has minors in Business, Communications, and Sociology.
Julius Reeves is an engineering and business professional, entrepreneur, corporate talent scout, youth mentor, and community service activist. He has continuously worked to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of all the organizations he has been involved with. Early in his career, Julius earned the GM Fellowship award. He currently holds the position of Manager within the GM Advanced Vehicle Development organization. He leads strategic initiatives focused on developing product component forward strategies that maximize customer value and company profitability. Julius is a native Detroiter and graduate of Cass Technical High School. He has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering / Operations Research from Wayne State University, a master’s degree in Systems Engineering from UM-Dearborn, and an MBA from the University of Chicago with finance and business strategy concentrations. Julius was awarded the Distinguished Volunteer Award in 2020 on National Philanthropy Day by Wayne State University and currently serves as the Wayne State University Engineering Alumni Board Chair. As an entrepreneur, Julius has assisted in/or led the start-up of several business ventures related to computer/information technology services, vehicle detailing services, and investing (both real estate and the stock market).
Susan Krichbaum Robertson is retired from a decades long career in community relations and public affairs. Her most recent position was Vice President of the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition. There she worked with a unique Board of Directors, comprised of key leaders in business, labor, government and education, to tackle public policy issues and economic development projects for the betterment of the region and state. Prior to that, she was Director of Community Relations at AAA Michigan where she managed corporate contributions, community outreach, employee volunteerism, traffic safety education and information, and a variety of communications. After a brief stint as a substitute teacher in Dearborn Public Schools, she found her niche in community affairs at the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, where early in her career she had the privilege of working on major civic and special events in Detroit including the 1980 Republican National Convention, Super Bowl XVI, and the inaugural Grand Prix. Civic involvement, volunteer activities, and a strong network of community and professional contacts have been the hallmarks of her career. She credits Detroit Public Schools and UM-Dearborn ('75 B.A. in Psychology and Education) for a strong foundation, followed by graduate work at U-M, Central Michigan, and Boston College (Professional Certifications in Community Relations). She is currently a member of the League of Women Voters in Michigan and Florida, and volunteers at the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce during winter months.
May Russell is the Chief Digital Officer at Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc. Prior to her current role, she was the Chief Information Officer of Ford Commercial Solution LLC (Telematics, Data Services, Integrated Fleet Mgt Products) and Global Head of Connected Tech Vehicle Services (Maintenance, Security), API Platforms, AI\ML. She is charged with building a technology offering that scales with global volume and creating best in class software engineering organization. Before this role, May served as Global Delivery Head of Transportation as a Service, Digital City Solutions, Technology Monetization, and Tech Mergers & Acquisitions. Additionally, May was the Global Delivery Head of Consumer-facing emerging technologies. Before joining Ford Motor Company in 2002, May started her career with Ernst and Young after graduating from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a Computer Science degree. As a senior consultant with Ernst and Young, she led IT transformation programs in many industries including utilities and automotive. May also holds an Executive MBA from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. She serves as the K-8 Chief Mission Officer for Michigan Council Women in Technology (MCWT) and serves on the advisory board of the IT Women in Leadership (ITWIL) and Midwestern Technology Leaders. In those roles she has established technology summer camps for girls, a partnership with Girls Scouts and with universities to conduct events for Girls in Tech.
Mary Starr is the Executive Director of the Michigan Mathematics and Science Leadership Network and President of Starr and Associates, Education Consultants. She has spent her career fighting for the right of K-12 students to have access to high-quality learning in science and mathematics. Currently she is part of two national collaborations, OpenSciEd and Learning in Places. OpenSciEd brings K-12 science learning to all students through high-quality instructional materials, aligned to the science learning standards and consistent with science pedagogical practices. Mary is a co-Principal Investigator Learning in Places, funded by the National Science Foundation, a field-based set of learning materials that are transdisciplinary and aimed at better connecting PK-5 students to their community. Both these initiatives are Open Education Resources which means they are free to all. Mary has also written multiple books for middle school students leveraging her knowledge of project-based learning and has several peer reviewed journal articles. When not meeting with national science education leaders, she can be found presenting at National Science Teaching Association national or sitting in a middle school classroom supporting students and teachers as they learn. She earned her B.A. with teacher certification in elementary in 1986 and taught for several years after which she went to graduate school in Ann Arbor and earned a Ph.D. in science education. Mary and her husband Joe (’86 B.S.E.M.E., ’95 M.S.E., engineering) have four children and two (along with their partners) recently graduated from UM-Dearborn. She currently also serves on the Wayne County Women’s Commission, representing the western parts of Wayne County.
Alumni affiliates are organizations that relate to specific program areas, special interests, and/or special alumni activities that are recognized by UM-Dearborn. A member of each alumni affiliate will serve on the Board as a voting member. Learn more about alumni affiliate work.
The following alumni affiliates are currently recognized:
African American Alumni Affiliate
Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Alumni Affiliate
Keisha Jackson serves as a Federal Investigator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – Birmingham District (Alabama) and is charged with enforcing statutes involving employment discrimination. Prior to this, she was a Federal Judiciary Appointee for U.S. Eastern District Court – Michigan, a Processing Assistant for MDOC – Probation, and a Legal Secretary for the Michigan Office Of Administrative Hearings and Rules. Throughout her years of public service, she has always strived to incorporate the spirit of civil justice and to promote the advancement of all people; especially in academic settings. She graduated cum laude from UM-Dearborn in 2014 with her Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice and again in 2018; this time earning a Masters in Public Administration. Not only is she humbled to serve as one of the Co-Chairs for the African American Alumni Affiliate, but she is also excited to grow the affiliate and engage existing alumni both near and afar.
Rachel Leonard currently serves as the Advisor for Student Support Services within the TRIO Department at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Rachel is passionate about student success, especially for students who come from low-income backgrounds or identify as first-generation. She actively volunteers with the First-Gen Student Org on UM-Dearborn's campus and assisted with establishing the "First-Gen Fan Club" which is made up of faculty, staff, and alumni who aspire to be first-gen allies. Through her student involvement at UM-Dearborn, Rachel served in several leadership roles, including as an Orientation Leader, student employee with the Alumni Engagement Office, Talent Gateway as a Talent Ambassador, President of the Opportunity Scholar Program, and as a student-athlete. Rachel is a graduate of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters with a degree in Communications, and serves as the Graduates of the Last Decade Alumni Affiliate co-chair.
Kelly Jossart is a non-voting member and is the board's liaison to the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan. Kelly is the Director of Alumni Engagement within the Global Engagement Team at the Alumni Association where she oversees the efforts of the alumni clubs, affiliates and online communities. She started at the University of Michigan in 2017 and has been with the Alumni Association for over 4 years. Prior to her role at the Association, Kelly served as a Marketing Communications Lead at companies within the healthcare and financial services sectors. Additionally, she spent 5 years working at Columbia University as Assistant Director of Student Affairs at Columbia Business School and the School of Professional Studies. Kelly holds a B.A. from Wake Forest University and an M.S. in Communications from Columbia.
Two current UM-Dearborn students represent the student voice as ex-officio members of the Board.
Austin Kipfmiller is a Junior at the University of Michigan-Dearborn studying Economics and Political Science. Austin graduated as a dual-enrolled student through the Monroe County Community College where he worked as a Writing Tutor and was awarded Student of the Year in 2019-2020. He is employed through Student Support Services in which he assists college students at the university with mentoring, accessing different campus departments, academic tutoring in multiple subjects, course planning, weekly planning, studying, and more. Austin is also enrolled in the Honors Program and a member of the Economics Club on campus. After graduating, he hopes to attend Hillsdale College for his Master’s Degree.
Josue Rios is a fourth-year marketing major. Alongside serving the Alumni community as a Student Liaison, he serves as a Marketing Intern for Experience+, and he resides as the President of Culture: The Musician’s Club. Coming from the Engaged Scholars community, Josue understands the importance of community building and campus engagement, and he hopes to bring that impact to the Alumni community.