Launch is proud to offer seminars taught by a wide variety of professors, faculty and staff, and alumni within the Gordon community. These individuals share their expertise and knowledge with students, preparing Launch participants for success. All speakers are invited to a closing reception at the end of the semester with students, staff, and other guests.
Speakers for the spring 2017 semester are listed below with seminar topics in presentation order.
Personal Presence Seminar
Chris Carlson '87 is Dean of Student Success and has been in student development roles at Gordon for 25 years. Chris oversees the First Year Experience and Orientation, Advising programs, the A. J. Gordon Scholars program and serves with the Kenneth L. Pike Honors program. Chris advises Deciding majors and is co-founder and "Chief Imagineer" of Gordon's "Launch!" personal and professional development program which will further develop this year as the new Gordon360 Experience initiative takes off. He is an advocate for the student experience at Gordon, and for helping others strive to be at their best. He and his wife Sharon '88, are parents of a Gordon College student, a new Gordon grad, and along with their small dog, Mia, they live in Hamilton. Chris is active in developing both local players and coaches in the Hamilton-Wenham Youth Soccer Association as a long-serving member of their Board.
Dining Etiquette Seminar
Nancy Mering served for 30 years at Gordon College in numerous administrative positions, including as Director of Admissions and Director of Alumni and Parent Relations. Nancy graduated from Wheaton College and studied French, German and Secondary Education. Between Gordon and Wheaton, Nancy has spent a significant portion of her life invested in Christian higher education, committed to exploring the integration of faith and learning, as well as the ongoing search for congruencies between the spiritual and intellectual. She and her husband David have been active members of Christ Church for 32 years and raised their two children, Jenna and Adam, on the North Shore. Now in retirement, Nancy focuses her energies on a few areas of particular interest, including forming and supporting a nonprofit organization that partners with schools in Kenya, leading a weekly women’s Bible study, facilitating Gathering for Hope North Shore to “learn and discern ways God can use us to bring help and hope to women and girls in need of both,” serving on the board of Amirah that provides whole-person care for women survivors of human trafficking, and keeping up with her nine wonderful grandchildren.
PRESIDENT D. MICHAEL LINDSAY
Public Speaking Seminar
President D. Michael Lindsay earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University and graduate theological degrees from Wycliffe Hall at Oxford University and Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Baylor University where he has been named Outstanding Young Alumnus.
Prior to arriving at Gordon, President Lindsay was a member of the sociology faculty at Rice University for five years, where he won multiple awards both for his teaching and his scholarly research. The author of two dozen scholarly publications, Dr. Lindsay’s Faith in the Halls of Power was nominated for the nonfiction Pulitzer Prize in 2007. His most recent book, View from the Top, won two awards and has been translated into Chinese and Japanese. As a scholar and educational leader, President Lindsay has lectured on five continents and works tirelessly to create opportunities worldwide for Gordon students, faculty, and staff. His tenure as the eighth president of Gordon has coincided with record years of opportunity and growth for the Gordon community. Since his appointment in 2011, Gordon has experienced banner years in terms of enrollment, fundraising, financial strength, campus diversity, sponsored research, athletic success and faith expression on campus. President Lindsay is gratified to be working alongside talented colleagues and regards the College's gains during his tenure as evidence of a winning team.
He has been married for over twenty years to Rebecca, a writer and speaker, who serves as Gordon’s Ambassador for the College. They are the proud parents of three daughters: Elizabeth (12), Caroline (6) and Emily (6). The Lindsays live on the Gordon campus, which allows them to regularly cheer on the Fighting Scots.
Professional Writing Seminar
Pam Lazarakis is the director of career services and an alumna of Gordon College. Pam works extensively with career development topics and skills development through class presentations at the request of faculty, major career events and programs, staff training, resource cultivation and management, employer relations, department operations oversight and reporting. Her professional interests include career decision- making, theology of work, strategic résumés and networking within diverse industries, organizational partnerships and following the career progress of many Gordon students and alumni.
General Job Skills Seminar
John Buckley ’15 is a full-time Marketing Manager and the Creative Director for Trinity Cambridge Church, a new church plant north of MIT. As a student, John fell in love with Gordon and created projects like Exit 17 Live and the Highland Games/Hall Identities. He actively pursued his interests for leadership and communications, became involved in GCSA, EBO, and Presidential Fellows, and graduated with majors in Business Administration and Communication Arts. Today, John continues to chase his passions for entrepreneurship and creativity. He enjoys making short films and writing, and daydreams of working with Scorsese.
General Job Skills Seminar
Mr. Crowell's primary responsibility is to perform financial analysis and conduct due diligence on all commercial real estate and gas station and convenience store properties. In addition, Mr. Crowell assists in the production of investor reports.
Prior to joining Brookwood, Mr. Crowell served as the senior financial analyst in the Boston office of Grubb & Ellis for three years. Mr. Crowell's responsibilities included research and analysis for clients including banks, special services, regional private and institutional investors and national tenant representation assignments. As part of the Capital Markets team, he was involved in over $175 million in commercial real estate sales. Mr. Crowell worked previously for Oasis Development Enterprises and KeyBank Real Estate Capital. In those positions, he assessed acquisition opportunities, created portfolio performance reports and assisted in the underwriting and syndication of institutional loans.
Mr. Crowell holds an MBA from the Brandeis International Business School and graduated summa cum laude from Gordon College.
General Job Skills Seminar
A consistent Top Producer, Laura Crowell and her team have closed over $58 million in residential and commercial real estate sales. Clients choose to work with Laura for her experience, high ethical standards and professionalism. Laura is passionate about marketing her listings with the highest quality and consistently uses the best team of professional photographers, stagers and interior designers to maximize value for her clients. Her online marketing and social media expertise have proven to be important skills. Time after time, she has achieved outstanding results for both buyers and sellers and is proud to be part of the #1 independently owned real estate agency on the North Shore.
Laura's strong base of loyal and repeat customers and referrals contributes strongly to her ongoing success. Her clients enjoy working with the excellent team that she has formed, providing top-notch customer service that is unparalleled in the industry.
General Job Skills Seminar
Kristen works in project management and strategy execution at the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), a nonprofit research and education organization in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA. At LEI, Kristen is responsible for managing project-related activities, resources, equipment, and information in a small and quickly growing organization. Currently, the projects she is most interested in are focused in education and online learning, lean healthcare research, and strategic knowledge management. Kristen has worked in both major hospitals and small community health centers to study lean healthcare. At Gordon College, she was a student of the liberal arts and a student leader in several campus groups, including Student Government, Presidential Fellows, Launch, Women’s Ministry, and the Office of Community Engagement. She is a lifelong learner interested in systems thinking and social justice. Kristen enjoys hiking, reading, laughter, and especially conversations with friends and family.
Rick Sweeney is a Gordon alumnus, current parent and senior administrator. He returned to Gordon College in 2010 and currently serves on the President’s Cabinet as the vice president for marketing and external relations. His primary responsibilities include overseeing college-wide integrated brand marketing strategies to leverage Gordon’s nationally recognized student programs, academic disciplines and institutional distinctions with a wide range of constituencies. This includes media and public relations engagement on the regional as well as national level.
Sweeney has more than 20 years of experience in managing award-winning marketing and communications programs in higher education, after starting his career business claims and then corporate communications at Liberty Mutual. He served as Gordon’s first director of communications from 1995 to 2001, before joining Cornell University as the director of marketing and communications for the Johnson Graduate School of Management. Prior to undertaking his current position at Gordon, he was executive director of advancement communications and marketing at Boston College and has worked as an independent marketing and communications consultant.
Sweeney holds a B.A. in English from Gordon College and an M.S. in mass communication from Boston University. He teaches a Branding course at Gordon in the fall semester and is active in Rotary International, having served as president of the local (Hamilton-Wenham) chapter in 2015-16. If he’s not handling a laptop, iPhone or microphone, then he is likely playing one of his eight guitars.
Personal Finance Seminar
Nick Shultz is a 2009 graduate of Gordon College. Upon graduation, he married his college sweetheart Ashley and they founded a non-profit called “Miss Pink” benefiting local breast cancer survivors. Towards the end of 2009 Nick began a financial planning practice from scratch. The practice, known as Focus Financial, now consists of Nick, his business partner and three associates. The firm has experienced significant growth over the past several years and currently has about 900 clients. Nick passed the CFP in March of 2017.
Cross Cultural Training Seminar
Dr. Rowe, who serves as Dean of Student Engagement at Gordon College, works with his colleagues to create a campus climate of opportunity, leadership development and integrated student learning experiences for a student body that is increasingly diverse and global. This is so that, according to the College mission, they are prepared “to provide faithful leadership and service for the common good.” This will often mean looking out for specific ways for students to connect what is happening inside the classroom with what is happening outside the classroom. He oversees the administration of the Multicultural Initiatives Office, the International Student Organization, First Generation Students, the Office of Community Engagement, Campus Activities and Highland Express, and the annual LEAD conference. He also serves as a secondary advisor to student government. In addition, he teaches as an associate professor in the History Department and Peace Studies minor.
Travelling Logistics Seminar
Prior to teaching at Gordon, Professor Tsang spent most of her career as a fixed income analyst covering corporate, municipal and structured securities in several of the nation’s top financial institutions. Her extensive interactions with issuers, investment bankers, bond counsels, portfolio managers, traders and financial advisors has allowed her to bring valuable insights to help students in their professional development. Besides teaching and managing her family’s portfolios, Prof. Tsang is also an active volunteer at her church and the CFA Institute.
Civic Responsibility Seminar
Jennifer Jukanovich is Gordon College’s Vice President for Student Life, a role that includes leadership and oversight of numerous departments and programs, including Athletics, Campus Activities, Chapel, Clarendon Scholars, Counseling and Health Services, Residence Life, Gordon in Lynn and the Office of Community Engagement, La Vida Center for Outdoor Education, Multicultural Students, Orientation, Recreation Intramurals and the Bennett Center.
Prior to joining the Gordon College administration in 2013 as Associate Vice President for Student Life, Jukanovich lived and worked in Rwanda, where she served as communications director for a USAID project; founded a women’s business and a preschool; launched bi-yearly youth camps; and volunteered extensively with orphans and their caregivers, providing advocacy, training and adoption facilitation.
From 1998 to 2006, she served as the Founder and Executive Director of The Vine, a national gathering that brought thousands of young adults together across differences of Christian tradition, profession, race and ethnicity, to build unity in the body of Christ and engender cultural renewal. She founded The Vine while serving as executive assistant to the President of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities in Washington, D.C. As a non-profit consultant, she organized events for organizations including Christianity Today International and The Gathering in Amman, Jordan. From 1994 to 1997, she was the personal assistant to President Clinton's volunteer religious liaison and an associate with the Renaissance Weekends. She is a 1994 graduate of Gordon College, and earned her M.A. in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2005.