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School of Business & Technology Advisory Board

Collaboration for Success: Business and Technology Leaders + Capella University

The Advisory Board serves as a brain trust for leaders and key decision makers within the School of Business and Technology. Composed of leaders and influencers within a wide expanse of industries and functional areas, the board provides insights into the skills, competencies and hands-on learning experiences employees must have to successfully meet the ongoing challenges of a dynamic employment market.

Our purpose

The purpose of the Business Advisory Board is to allow members to provide insights, input, and feedback on the skills that employers demand of business management and information technology learners.

The Advisory Board will help ensure that Capella University provides:

  • Academic offerings that are designed with relevant and meaningful curricular and non-curricular learning opportunities
  • High quality, relevant educational programing that is challenging, engaging, supportive, transformative, and diverse
  • Learners with the skills and experiences necessary to lead and contribute to their organizations and communities

Capella faculty working with the advisory board

The advisory board provides industry and practice-relevant insight to Capella University leaders and faculty to enact on the mission of the school to meet the needs found within business and technology. Capella leaders and faculty collaborate with board members to ensure curricula effectively build the competencies needed in today’s complex business environment.

In addition, the interactions between the board and Capella leadership and faculty ensure Capella’s programs are professionally relevant and provide the flexibility needed for learners to succeed in their educational programs, and have a positive impact on business outcomes.

Board Members

Elisa Bannon-Jones, MS

Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer
Frontier Communications

Elisa Bannon-Jones is Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer for Frontier Communications. She is responsible for developing and executing the human resource strategy in support of the overall business plan and strategic direction of the organization. The human resource group includes compensation and benefits, talent acquisition, performance and development, labor relations, and general human resources.

Prior to joining Frontier Communications in 2016, Bannon-Jones served in human resources, sales and operations leadership roles at The Budget Group, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Brightstar Corp.

Bannon-Jones earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Leadership and a Master of Science in Higher Education, specializing in Adult Education, from Capella University. She has certifications from the Kellogg Strategic Human Resources program, Cornell Women in Executive Leadership, and a Master of Human Capital Strategist Designation in Organizational Effectiveness from the Human Capital Institute.

She is a member of the Consero Talent Management Advisory Board and the Capella University School of Business and Technology Advisory Board.

Sarah Mignona Cote

Former CTO Identity Access Management and Security

Experienced chief information security officer with a demonstrated history of performance across insurance, health care and large financial institutions. Currently a chief technology officer leading security services and identity and access management. Skilled in cybersecurity, enterprise risk management, vulnerability management, internal audit, IT strategy, and leadership. 

Offering over 25 years of securing and improving technical operations for companies such as AIG, Aetna, Bank of America, PepsiCo, and Verizon Communications. Mignona Cote has led the development and execution of security solutions that improve international and global networks. Cote’s background encompasses payments within health savings and bank card services, securing transactions, and preventing fraud.

Strong technology professional with an MBA in Business and Accounting from Louisiana State University in Shreveport and undergraduate degrees in both computer information systems and Spanish.

Carolyn Jacobson

Chief Human Resources Officer
Fairview Health Services

Carolyn Jacobson currently serves as Chief Human Resources Officer for Fairview Health Services. In this role, Jacobson is responsible for all aspects of human resources, including talent recruitment and performance management, compensation and benefits, employee and labor relations, training and development, and human resources administration. She also serves as vice president of Human Resources Shared Services.

Prior to joining Fairview, Jacobson worked as a Global Organizational Effectiveness Leader at Honeywell. She has worked in organizational development and leadership development for more than 20 years, in a variety of industries and organizations.

Jacobson earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications from the University of Minnesota.

Roderick Jefferson

Roderick Jefferson & Associates, LLC

Roderick Jefferson currently serves as CEO of Roderick Jefferson & Associates, a community of sales enablement experts focused on helping clients navigate through complexity and define clear paths to success. The firm employs trusted solutions to decrease time to revenue and increase sales productivity. 

Before launching his own firm, Jefferson served as vice president of Global Enablement at Marketo, Inc., one of the largest marketing automation software companies in the United States, where he was responsible for setting the readiness framework and strategy to support the enablement plan across all corporate learning & development, professional services, customer support, and partner sales roles across all skills/knowledge disciplines.

Prior to joining Marketo, Jefferson spent 20 years building leadership experience within enablement organizations such as Oracle Marketing Cloud,, 3PAR/HP, Business Objects, NetApp, PayPal, Siebel Systems and AT&T. This background includes experience in creating specialist sales productivity organizations responsible for the successful delivery of integrated cross-sell/up-sell methodologies, enablement, and sales execution programs.

Jefferson earned an associate’s degree from Merced College and a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Menlo College (Atherton, CA).

Beth Karlsson

Head of Business Human Resources

Beth Karlsson currently serves as the head of business human resources for Pinterest. In this role, Karlsson is responsible for the HR, recruiting and OD teams focused on the revenue management divisions for Pinterest, including sales, marketing, advertising, ad product and ad engineering, PR, finance, legal and the G&A functions. Accountable for the design and build of a growth-oriented talent strategy within a fast-paced, rapidly scaling, privately held organization.

Prior to joining Pinterest, Karlsson served in leadership roles for more than 13 years at Apple Inc., leading HR teams for Apple Retail representing more than 4,000 employees as well as building Apple Retail’s first performance management system enabling Retail’s tremendous growth.

In her last three years with Apple, she held a seat on the HR executive team with the responsibility of leading talent management supporting efforts to 150,000 employees globally.

Karlsson earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Dayton and holds a professional in human resources certification in human resources from the HR Certification Institute.

Dan McDermott, MBA

Director, Information Technology
Starkey Hearing Technologies

Dan McDermott is a director in the Information Technology group at Starkey Hearing Technologies. A business and information systems leader with over 25 years of experience in information technology, he has extensive experience with strategy development and execution.

Prior to joining Starkey Hearing Technologies, McDermott was with Regis Corporation where he was responsible for retail technology for over 6,500 locations in the US and UK and provided direction to approximately 3,000 additional franchise locations. Prior to Regis, McDermott was with US Bank where he developed and ran the bank’s business architecture practice. He has held senior roles in both the IT and business organizations of several leading financial services, consulting and retail organizations including work for Microsoft corporate, Allianz Life, Best Buy and Accenture.

McDermott earned a bachelor of science in business management & computer science from Saint John’s University (Minnesota) and master’s of business administration with a specialization in finance from the University of Oklahoma Price School of Business.

Kim Miller, MBA, FACHE

Kim Miller most recently served as the president and CEO of Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, Inc. (BDCH). Miller began her health care career as a registered nurse and completed a dual bachelor’s degree in health care administration and business at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and a Master of Business Administration at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. She has more than 20 years of experience as a hospital CEO, working for two of the largest faith-based national health care companies, as well as two independent systems, and served as CEO of BDCH for 12 years. Miller is certified in health care administration as a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and has been recognized with numerous awards including 50 Rural Hospital CEO’s to Know by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Miller believes in giving back to the local community through donation of time, talent and treasure, and serves on the Beaver Dam Economic Development Corporation Board, Beaver Dam Community Hospitals Foundation Board, and the Moraine Park Technical College Foundation Board. Miller also recently served as chair of the Vizient-Upper Midwest Region Board, and currently serves as vice chair of the Captis Business Development Committee of Vizient Upper Midwest. She is also a member of the Hospitals 100 advisory board, as well the American College of Healthcare Executives Journal of Healthcare Management editorial board.

William C. Prate, MBA

Director of Financial Planning and Analysis
Tennant Company

Prate leads Tennant Company’s Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis teams, providing leadership and financial support to the Tennant organization.

With experience in small and large organizations, Prate has a passion for the role finance plays as a strategic thought partner and investing in talent to drive business results.

Prior to his time at Tennant, Prate was at Summit Orthopedics standing up their FP&A functionality at the local Twin Cities Orthopedic group. Prate was also at Target Corporation for nearly a decade where he held various finance roles including direct support for IT, Healthcare and Treasury. During his time at Target Corporation, he also co-founded Target’s Finance and Accounting Development Program, designed to recruit and develop top talent in order to invest in Target’s long-term success.

Prate earned a bachelor of science in finance and economics from Winona State University and master’s of business administration from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.

Brendon Schrader, MBA, MEd


Brendon Schrader is the founder and CEO of Antenna, a Minneapolis-based marketing consulting company. Schrader’s insights on independent consulting and the changing nature of work, as well as Antenna’s unique business model have been highlighted in publications such as Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company and the Huffington Post.

Prior to founding Antenna, Schrader served in various roles with 3M, the University of Minnesota, Chicago Bulls and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Schrader earned an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, an MEd from the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development, and a degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He has also studied leadership, strategy, and innovation at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Roy Skillicorn, MBA

Senior Director, HR

Roy Skillicorn currently serves as Senior Director of HR for Cisco.  In this role, Skillicorn is responsible for ensuring Cisco’s services professionals have the skills and context needed to deliver extraordinary outcomes for their customers. Skillicorn focuses on helping individuals perform at their best, and studies and speaks on how individual strengths, great teams, and team-leader rituals impact performance.

Previously, Skillicorn spent 15 years as a Services General Manager, where he built, launched, and led global businesses for Cisco.

Skillicorn earned a bachelor's degree in electronics engineering from DeVry University and master’s of business administration from the University of Phoenix.

Julie Smolich, MBA

Senior Vice President
NMDP/Be the Match

Julie Smolich is the senior vice president of provider services at NMDP/Be the Match. She provides leadership and strategic direction to the teams focused on product and service delivery to transplant center customers and partners, as well as commercial entities leveraging NMDP’s vast capabilities.

Smolich is responsible for identifying and understanding market and customer needs and translating that into the development and implementation of new and/or improved services and solutions that will ultimately help more patients who may benefit from transplantation or other emerging cell and gene therapies.

She has extensive and varied experience in leadership roles, product/portfolio management, new product development, strategic planning, and process development and improvement.

Prior to joining Be the Match in 2017, Smolich spent 16 years at Capella Education Company where she held several leadership positions. Most recently, she was the vice president and general manager of a multimillion dollar business unit, where she led the innovation of a ground-breaking academic delivery model called FlexPath. Earlier in her career, she worked in the financial services industry at Piper Jaffray and EY.

Smolich earned her MBA from Capella University and holds a BS in Accounting from St. Cloud State University. She also earned her CPA early in her career (currently inactive).

Adrian Stevens

Vice President, Learning & Professional Development
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)

As Vice President of Learning & Professional Development at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Stevens is responsible for the enterprise-wide learning and development strategy, including leadership development, assessment, coaching, onboarding, professional skills, emerging technologies, functions, and compliance portfolios for HPE's people and people leaders.

Since the launch of HPE in 2015, Stevens has led the development of HPE’s leadership model, future skills, digital learning, culture activation, and people strategy.

Prior to the launch of HPE, Stevens led HP's Learning & Development separation management office, contributing to one of the largest and fastest corporate separations to-date and the successful stand up of learning ecosystems for both HPE and HP Inc.

Before pursuing a passion for people and a move to join Learning & Development, Stevens led business and go-to-market teams covering sales, marketing, and business operations within HP’s Enterprise, SMB & Consumer organizations.

Beyond HPE, Stevens is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Systems initiative focused on the Future of Education, Gender and Work as well as the WEF IT Consortium.

While residing in San Francisco’s bay area, Stevens has lived and worked in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, contributing to his belief in the strength of cultural diversity across global organizations like HPE.

John F. Thompson, MBA

Chairman, President and CEO
ShoptoCook, LLC

John Thompson currently serves as President, CEO and Chairman of ShoptoCook, LLC, the grocery industry's only digital marketing platform connecting in-store, web, and mobile into a seamless interactive experience. In this role, Thompson oversees all aspects of the company’s vision and strategic development.

Prior to ShoptoCook, Thompson was Vice President of Strategy and Retail Network Development for Insignia Systems, an in-store media and advertising company, where he managed the access to and growth of more than 20,000 retail locations. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Strategy of Inmar, Inc. where he led the strategy, development and acquisition to support Inmar’s entry into the retail digital marketing industry. Other experience includes leadership roles with Unicous Marketing, Valassis Communications where he was President and General Manager of Valassis of Canada.

Thompson earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia Institute of Technology and a master’s of business administration from West Virginia University.

Linda Vytlacil, PhD

Dr. Linda Vytlacil is the President of Indicia Insight Science. Most recently, Dr. Vytlacil served as Vice President, Retail Data Science at Walmart Labs for Walmart Stores, Inc. In this role, Dr. Vytlacil led teams engineering intelligent systems that automate retail decisions across customer, pricing, marketing, store operations, and supply chain functions. Prior to joining Walmart, Dr. Vytlacil held leadership roles in marketing science, customer strategy consulting, and public policy economics.

Prior to joining Walmart, Dr. Vytlacil held leadership roles in decision science and customer strategy consulting, where she designed customer growth strategies for clients including British Airways, Delta Airlines, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Best Buy, Safeway, and Pfizer. Dr. Vytlacil also worked as a regulatory economist in telecommunications public policy for AT&T.

Dr. Vytlacil earned a bachelor of arts degree from Anderson University, a master of arts in financial economics from Marquette University and a PhD in organization and management from Capella University.

Dr. Vytlacil serves on the Board of Directors for INTEGRIS Health in Oklahoma and as Lead Trustee and member of the Executive Committee for the Marketing Science Institute.  She is also on the Advisory Board for the McCombs School, University of Texas at Austin MSBA, and actively mentors Women in STEM globally.

Capella School of Business and Technology Leadership

Bill Dafnis, PhD

Associate Dean, Information Technology Programs, School of Business and Technology 
Capella University

Dr. Bill Dafnis serves as Associate Dean of Technology for Capella University's School of Business and Technology. Dr. Dafnis' professional background includes 25 years of information technology, project management and manufacturing and distribution leadership positions at a media conglomerate where among other things, he led strategic evolution of new technology.

Dr. Dafnis’ higher education experience began in an adjunct capacity at various institutions of higher education as a technology faculty member, progressing to Dean of Information Systems and Technology at Strayer University. His research interests, editorial contributions, scholarly presentations and publications focus on disruptive innovation, cybersecurity, Blockchain, and business process modeling. Dr. Dafnis serves and contributes as an ABET program evaluator, curriculum reviewer for National Cyberwatch Center, and a program reviewer for the NSA Center for Academic Excellence in Education. 

Dr. Dafnis is a project management professional (PMP) and holds a PhD in Information Systems from Nova Southeastern University, an MSIT in  Information Security and Assurance from Carnegie Mellon University, MBA from Lake Forest College and a BA in Liberal Arts from the University of Illinois.

Julie Diekman, MBA

Director of Portfolio Strategy, College of Business, Technology, Education and Public Service Leadership
Capella University

Julie Diekman is the director of portfolio strategy for the College of Business, Technology, Education, and Public Service Leadership at Capella University. In this role, Diekman is responsible for developing the product portfolio strategy across the college in its entirety to maximize growth opportunities.

In this role, Diekman partners with Capella University’s academic leadership team to drive exceptional experiences and outcomes for Capella learners and employer partners.

Since joining Capella in 2011, Diekman has held multiple roles in product management and leadership within a number of degree programs including nursing, health care, public health, human services, public administration non-profit management and public safety.

Her previous experience includes more than 10 years of marketing and sales with Ecolab, Inc.

Diekman holds a Master of Business Administration, Marketing from Capella University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from Concordia University, St. Paul.

Tonia Teasley, JD

Vice President, College Administration
Capella University

Tonia Teasley currently serves as Vice President & General Manager for the College of Business, Technology, Education and Public Service Leadership at Capella University.

In this role, she provides executive direction for the academic leadership and all of the faculty for Capella’s six schools. Teasley originally joined Capella in 2012 as the vice president of learner services and operations and has also served as vice president and general manager of the College of Business, Technology, Education, and Public Service Leadership.

Prior to Capella, Teasley was with Thomson Reuters where she was responsible for online learning for customers and training and development of the sales team. Prior to that, she spent most of her career in large law firms both as a practicing attorney and then as Executive Director and Managing Partner of a firm in Minneapolis.

Teasley earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from St. Olaf College (Minnesota) and a juris doctor from the University of Minnesota.

She serves as a volunteer for and former board member of The ARC Greater Twin Cities and is currently on a Board Task Force for Pain, Palliative and Integrative Medicine at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Todd C. Wilson, PhD

Dean, School of Business and Technology
Capella University

Dr. Wilson recently joined Capella University as the new dean of the School of Business and Technology. In that role, Dr. Wilson is responsible for ensuring that the school delivers education to adult learners that engages them and helps them achieve their career goals.

Dr. Wilson has vast leadership experience in medical technology/medical device organizations, where his focus was on driving results and creating and developing high performing teams.  In addition to his business acumen, Dr. Wilson has experience in teaching and developing curriculum within higher education institutions. He earned a PhD in Global Leadership from Indiana Institute of Technology, holds an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University, and bachelors’ degrees in human biology and exercise science. 

Dr. Wilson is happily married to his wife of 17 years, Rae Anne. They have an 8-year-old son, Luke. In his spare time, he enjoys being with his son and coaching his basketball and baseball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his two dogs any chance he gets. His hobbies include traveling, reading, exercising, playing guitar, and golf.

Learn More About Capella's Business and Technology Programs

The School of Business and Technology at Capella University offers online doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees, in addition to graduate and undergraduate certificates, all designed to help advance professionals seeking to advance their careers in the fields of business and information technology.

Our mission is to educate adult learners using highly relevant curriculum and exceptional instruction to deliver competency-based learning, offering the potential for immediate impact on learners’ jobs while laying the foundation for addressing challenges throughout their professional careers.

The School of Business and Technology is committed to the continual integration of relevant theory with effective practice. Through the development of business, research, and information technology knowledge, our learners are uniquely equipped to be exceptional problem-solvers who make a positive impact in their organizations and society.

Take the next step

Picture yourself in a cap and gown, ready to take on what’s ahead. Get started on your journey now by connecting with an enrollment counselor. See how Capella may be a good fit for you, and start the application process.