Concordia's College of Business has brought together local business leaders to help in the pursuit of our mission and vision as they lend advice and expertise toward this area. Advisory Board members provide input to the Dean for the shaping of the COB program and curriculum, serve as ambassadors for Concordia University and the College of Business, and share their expertise with classes and students at different times throughout the year. The present advisory board consists of the following members:
Elizabeth Christian, a fourth-generation Austinite and journalism graduate of The University of Texas, is President of Elizabeth Christian & Associates Public Relations. Christian has a 32-year career in public relations, journalism, and political affairs and has also been active in a wide range of community affairs. Christian is involved in every aspect of support for ECPR clients. She has spearheaded several major pro bono projects of significant benefit to the entire community, including the recently-celebrated Tribute to Lady Bird Johnson’s life and “Austinites for Our Schools,” a campaign that passed $369 million in school bonds for the Austin Independent School District in 1996. In 1998, Christian coordinated all aspects of a highly successful campaign for Arts Center Stage that allowed the creation of the Long Center for the Performing Arts. She also managed the statewide public relations and grassroots lobbying effort that supported legislation allowing women direct access to their obstetricians/gynecologists. Christian was manager of Austin Mayor Bruce Todd's successful campaign for re-election in 1994. Christian is extremely active in the Austin community. She is the President of the Headliners Club, on the board of visitors for Southwestern University, the board of directors for the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the Austin Independent School District Foundation. In 2004, she was named “Public Relations Practitioner of the Year” by the Texas Public Relations Association. In 2001, she received the prestigious Profiles in Power Award given by the Austin Business Journal.
Ron Kessler is a civic leader / lawyer / executive with extensive experience in finding creative solutions to problems of clients, civic organizations, and charitable non-profits. He has held the following community leadership positions: Past Chair, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce; Past President, Austin Area Research Organization; Advisory Board, IC2 Institute; Advisory Board, Frost Bank (Austin); Board of Directors, Nature Conservancy of Texas; Board of Trustees, Center for American and International Law. Kessler is recognized for being able to positively impact public policy decisions in Texas and local communities, and credited with having started the leading public policy initiative for the technology economy in Texas for the American Electronics Association. His long background (30 years) in economic development and entrepreneurial development has encompassed advising and counseling executives, universities, and faculty on the role of the university in economic development in the 21st century. As founder of the RonKesslerGroup, Kessler is focused on high impact leadership coaching and on university-centered economic development. Kessler is frequently a speaker / teacher / facilitator on leadership and entrepreneurship. He is an executive coach in alliance with Johnnie Johnson of World Class Coaches. He is a Former Peace Corps volunteer (Venezuela).
Deborah Leverett is a consultant, speaker, and teacher on developing leaders, creating a positive and ethical culture in the workplace, and helping companies achieve competitive positioning. Her consulting firm, Entera + Partners LLC, has worked with regional, national and international organizations. The primary objective of the firm is to develop capacity in individuals, teams, and organizations. She holds an appointment as Adjunct Professor in Management at Concordia University Texas and serves on the board of the Austin Leadership Forum and Luke 4:18 Ministries. Leverett helped establish the Center for Ethical Leadership at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and has written ethical leadership curriculum for high school students, police departments, and the Texas Governor’s Center for Management Development. A native of San Antonio, Texas, Leverett received an undergraduate degree in education from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and a Master of Education from The University of Texas. She holds certifications from the Center for Creative Leadership in the most current methodologies in leadership effectiveness and development programs.
John Miri is an experienced technology executive in both the public and private sectors. He founded Bluewater Enterprise Services and serves as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Bluewater is a next-generation technology services firm. While in public service, Miri worked as a Senior Executive at the state government agency accountable for information technology in Texas. Miri led TexasOnline.com -- the world's largest self-supporting eGovernment portal -- to groundbreaking results, achieving 829 online services, 83 million citizen transactions, and $5 billion of revenue collected. He also built the state's first integrated Network and Security Operations Center. In the private sector, Miri has held executive positions at several Austin-based technology companies, including founding and serving as the CEO of a successful software and services firm, Oridian. His past private-sector clients include American Express, McDonalds, ConocoPhillips, and other leading firms. Miri earned an honors degree in Physics from Harvard University. He is also a graduate of the Governor’s Executive Development Program at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Miri is a former Board Member of the Texas Online Authority, the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Computation, and the Advisory Board for the Austin Community College Downtown Education Center. He is also an active supporter of several civic organizations that benefit low-income single mothers and their children.
F.H. (Dick) Moeller's career spans more than 35 years of executive leadership in a variety of public and private companies, startups, non-profits, faith-based organizations and community advisory boards. Currently, Dick serves as founding principal of Enovate Enterprises, LLC, a consulting firm focused on assisting entrepreneurs, founders, companies and organizations to achieve their full potential with strategic planning, mentoring/coaching, market strategy, governance design and board services. Dick is the founder and president of Water to Thrive, a faith based non-profit that works to bring fresh, safe water to rural Africa. In addition, Dick serves on the Board of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, the nation's largest fraternal organization, serving over 2.8 million members and managing $70+billion of assets. For Thrivent, Dick chairs the IT Technology Committee and is a member of the Succession Planning and Human Resources and Executive Compensation Committees.
Dan Pruett worked for more than 17 years in the private sector helping to build a business equipment company from a small one-office operation to a successful company with branches in Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. He became the Deputy Executive Director at the Capital Area Food Bank where he remained for more than 8 years and was instrumental in its growth. In 2002, Pruett accepted the President & CEO position at Meals on Wheels and More. Since then, he started two new service programs: Meals for Kids (hot, nutritious, kid-friendly meals delivered to at-risk children in after-school mentoring programs) and Country Wheels (delivering frozen meals to homebound people in rural areas). Pruett has increased the number of meals prepared from 713,000 in FY 2003 to 1 million meals in FY 2005. Pruett is the Chair-Elect of the Austin Area Human Services Association (AAHSA), Founding President of the Meals on Wheels Association of Texas, Past Chair of the United Way Partner Agency Council and serves on the United Way Board of Directors. He is also Past Chair of the Basic Needs Coalition of Central Texas. Meals on Wheels and More was named the 2006 Freescale Not-for-Profit of the Year by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Janice Ryan is a 26-year veteran in the technology industry. With management and operational experience in publicly traded and emerging growth companies, Ryan has built a successful track record in leading venture-backed entrepreneurial teams in Texas and California. Ryan most recently served as CEO of Sigma Dynamics, San Mateo, a leader in real-time predictive analytics, and sold the company to Oracle (ORCL) in August of ’06. She originally moved to Austin in l997 to join the founding executive team that launched Vignette Corporation (VIGN), an early internet software company which experienced the most successful IPO in the Southwest in 1999. Ryan currently leads a management consulting and executive coaching practice, 3Hills Group, Austin, which provides advisory services to senior management and board members of early stage technology companies. Professionally active, Ryan serves on a number of boards throughout the Southwest, including VT&T and the Center for Child Protection. She earned her BBA degree from Baylor University.
Roxanne Wilson has a unique and varied background ranging from law to entertainment, from public speaking to authoring a book. Her message throughout each of these ventures is the same--she is leading a balanced and faithful life and has shown the drive, determination, and commitment to empower others to do the same. Wilson began her professional career in Austin as a clerk with Justices Enoch and Brister of the Sumpreme Court of Texas. Following that, she joined the firm of Winstead, Sechrest, and Minnick where she practiced appellate law. During her time at Winstead, Wilson earned a spot on the immensely popular NBC television show "The Apprentice" with Donald Trump. She competed on the fifth season of the show and was the first African-American female to reach the final four, gaining rave reviews from "The Donald" himself. Following her appearance on the show, Wilson "retired" from law to embrace new opportunities and challenges. She authored the book Footprints in the Boardroom, an insider's view of "The Apprentice" that depicts how modern believers can use their faith to help them overcome modern-day challenges. She was the host of "Inspire the Desire," a Christian-based television talent show that helped aspiring singers reach their goals. She has worked as a correspondent for several high-profile media outlets, including BET's Black Carpet at the MTV Hip Hop Awards, FoxReality.com, InsidePulse.com, and Mix 94.7's Bridget & Carey Show. Wilson was a featured speaker, PSA contributor, and podcaster of Scott & White's Balance Austin. Wilson joined 102.3 The River's Family Friendly Morning Show giving her another opportunity to share her positive and inspirational message with others. Wilson is also a Jazzercise Franchisee and provides an enjoyable method for women to improve their physical condition which she believes will, in turn, help them to be stronger and more confident in all areas of life.
Dr. Kurt Senske is Chief Executive Officer of Lutheran Social Services, a multi-faceted, multi-state, social service agency with an annual operating budget of over $80 million and 1000 employees. During his tenure at LSS, he has been responsible for more than tripling the size of the agency and steering the once-troubled agency back to financial stability. Senske completed his undergraduate work at Concordia University at Austin and Valparaiso University in Indiana with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He hold a law degree from the University of Illinois, College of Law, a Master's degree in International Relations from Schiller International University in Paris, France, and a Ph.D. in Government from The University of Texas at Austin. Senske serves as the Vice Chair and Lead Director of the Board of Directors of Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 500 financial services organization. He serves on the Board of Directors of Lutheran Services in America which has over 300 member organizations and a combined budget of over $8 billion. Senske also serves on the Board of Directors of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Senske is the author of two books, Executive Values: A Christian Approach to Organizational Leadership and Personal Values: God's Game Plan For Life.
Amar Ramakrishnan is a Product Manager with Initiate Systems, Inc. In his current role, he is focused on discovering and developing products that solve problems associated with data stewardship and data governance. Amar continues to enjoy his journey through the software industry by trying on all possible hats including programming, consulting, sales consulting and technical architect. A native of Chennai, India, Amar received his Master of Science degree in Information Systems from Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India. He received his Masters in Computer Science from the University of Arizona. He continues to invest and stay current on the trends relating to product management, presentation styles, and product incubation.
Tom Stacy, President of T. Stacy and Associates, has been instrumental in acquiring, managing and enhancing the value of Austin's landmark downtown properties over the past decade. Mr. Stacy earned a business degree from Texas Tech University in 1975. Connected with Austin area real estate since 1977, Mr. Stacy has been a vocal supporter of economic development in the Central Business District. In 1997, Mr. Stacy served as the Chairman of the Downtown Austin Alliance, a group of local landowners, tenants, and developers that have sought to beautify the downtown area, reduce traffic congestion, find solutions to vagrancy issues and forge key alliances with legislators. In 1999, Mr. Stacy received the prestigious "Individual IMPACT" Award from the Downtown Austin Alliance for his contributions to downtown Austin, highlighted by his inspirational renovation of the historic Scarbrough Building and Littlefield Complex. In 2001, T. Stacy & Associates received the "Project IMPACT" Award for the restoration of the historic Stephen F. Austin Hotel. In addition to these accolades and endeavors, Mr. Stacy is a past Chairman for the Texas Association of Realtors Political Action Committee. Since 2003, Mr. Stacy has served as President of the Community Partnership of the Homeless, a non-profit organization which provides housing for the homeless and underprivileged.