Alumni Engagement Speaker Series

Alumni Engagement Speaker Series

Join us as we feature a UM-Dearborn alum or faculty presentation in our Alumni Engagement Speaker Series. The series will highlight Wolverine thought leaders sharing career advice, innovative ideas, leadership lessons, and more.  

Check back for exciting new videos! 

Please note, the University of Michigan-Dearborn does not necessarily endorse speakers’ views.

Leading the Conversation: Insights from UM-Dearborn Alumnae Succeeding in the C-Suite

Presentation Summary: UM-Dearborn Alumnae panelists, Lisa Bahash '89, Kim Dabbs '04, Trish Howell '93 and Mary Naber '98 are joined by moderator and UM-Dearborn Alumni Society Board Vice Chair Sonya Grant '00 for a discussion on how they shattered the glass ceiling and overcame barriers to lead top-level organizations. This panel event was hosted in partnership with the Office of Alumni Engagement and the UM-Dearborn chapters of Society of Women Engineers and Women in Business.

View the video or click on the video below.  Video Length 1:16:28

Panelists' Bios:

Lisa BahashLisa Bahash (UM-Dearborn '89), is an experienced and successful C-Suite executive and Independent Director. During her 30+ year career in the automotive OEM and Tier 1 supplier sectors, she has accumulated an impressive set of technical, operational, and business leadership experiences. She joined Syrah Resources LTD as an Independent Non-Executive Director. Syrah Resources LTD is an Australian-based minerals and technology company focused on high purity quality graphite and battery anode material processing. Her previous roles include positions within Architect Equity LLC, Shawcor LTD, Jabil Circuit Inc, Johnson Controls, Inc and President/CEO with Gabriel Ride Control, LLC. In November 2015, she was recognized as one of Automotive News Top 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry, an honor only bestowed every 5 years. She was on the Board of Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit for seven years and holds a Master of Engineering Management degree from Wayne State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Kim DabbsKim Dabbs (UM-Dearborn '04), is a change agent and advocate who builds cultures of opportunity as the Global VP of Social Innovation and ESG strategy at Steelcase. She is leading organizational change projects around the world and has given talks on her specialities in social innovation, cultural transformation, and belonging at MIT, the Aspen Institute, the Drucker Forum, and the Guggenheim. She has received numerous recognitions in the process including a Joyce Fellowship, an executive residency at the at Stanford and led a White House honored nonprofit organization that is a national best practice in both adult and teen learning models. Her personal experience and professional history of two decades creating, leading, and scaling cultures of belonging across multiple borders have given her unique insights into systemic change. As a Korean-born, American adoptee currently residing in Munich, Germany, she is currently focused on her research and writing on Belonging. Her debut book on this topic, launching in 2023, focuses on helping leaders and organizations with the tools to create cultures of belonging to create a more equitable and inclusive world. She received a Master of Public Administration degree from UM-Dearborn.

Trish HowellTrish Howell (UM-Dearborn '93), is an experienced Board Director and operating expert whose career spans automotive, medical device, and SaaS businesses. She is currently Chief Operating Officer at Element Science, developing a wearable cardiac defibrillator for hospital to home use. She is also an Independent Board Member of Knightscope Inc, and CVR Medical where she serves as Audit Committee chair for each. Most recently, she was VP of Operations at Avail Medsystems, pioneering technology in surgical telemedicine. Previously, she served as VP of Operations at Stryker (via ZipLine Medical acquisition), commercializing non-invasive wound closure solutions. Prior, she was VP of Operations at Pulmonx where she led manufacturing, quality and supply chain for the company’s diagnostic device and therapeutic implant products for COPD. Before this she served as VP of Materials Management at ArthroCare, scaling the global logistics infrastructure and launching a greenfield factory in Costa Rica. Earlier on, Trish spent 15 years in the automotive industry, predominantly with Ford Motor Company. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA in Finance from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  She is also an active member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). 

Mary NaberMary Naber (UM-Dearborn '98), is the CEO of PACE Southeast Michigan, part of the national Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).  PACE Southeast Michigan is the largest and fastest growing PACE program in Michigan and one of the top programs in the country.  PACE is an innovative health plan and full-comprehensive care provider, serving chronically ill, older adults with a Mission to keep them independent in the community. She is an authentic, energetic, and creative leader with extensive experience leading large healthcare organizational/people strategies, operations, and large-scale change initiatives. Her relentless focus is on care, culture, and people to enable the fulfillment of the Mission. Prior to PACE Southeast Michigan, her 33 years in healthcare evolved to Senior Executive roles accountable for a wide scope of services.  She ultimately became the Chief Administrative Officer for the Ascension Michigan Market. She received her MBA from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a BA from Oakland University.  She is a graduate of Leadership Detroit Class XXXII and certified as an executive coach. She is Vice Chair for the PACE Association of Michigan, and the Michigan Veterans’ Facility Authority Board of Directors. She also serves as a member on the National Pace Association Board of Directors and was recently appointed as Chair for the newly formed Alliance for PACE Innovation and Quality (APIQ) board.

Moderator's Bio:

Sonya GrantSonya Grant (UM-Dearborn '00), 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. She 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.  She is currently Vice Chair of the UM-Dearborn Alumni Society Board.

Past Alumni Engagement Speaker Series Videos

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