University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Board Members

The Tyson Center Board comprises of successful leaders from diverse businesses who play an important role in connecting students and faculty with best practices and engaging with the students to mentor and promote awareness about multi-faith workplace.

John H. Tyson
Chairman, Tyson Foods

Tyson Boardpic -John Tyson

The grandson of the company's founder, Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson has worked in the company since he was a teenager in virtually every department, from operations to sales and marketing to governmental relations. He also served as President and CEO. Tyson was the architect of the acquisition of IBP, Inc., in 2001, which precipitated a major change in the size and scope of the company's operations. He then structured the "new" Tyson Foods based on Core Values that define goals and standards for personal and professional success. A key part of its core values is that Tyson Foods strives to be a company of diverse people working together to produce food, which has been and continues to be a cornerstone that has supported the growth of the company throughout the years and continues to do so. John Tyson also created the company's first Executive Diversity Business Council to provide guidance on and support of inclusion and diversity. In recent years, Tyson has also been a leader in the concept and practice of providing company chaplains and the establishment of faith-friendly workplaces. A devoted father of two, Tyson is also engaged in supporting the well-being and education of youth. As such, he is actively involved in Tyson Foods' philanthropic efforts with a focus on education and hunger relief. Tyson describes Tyson Foods as a "faith-friendly company" – one that encourages its team members to integrate their faith into their work, whatever their faith might be. Tyson led the company efforts to develop a set of core values for Tyson Foods that states, among other things, "We strive to honor God and be respectful of each other, our customers, and other stakeholders." He also guided the development of a chaplaincy program at the company that currently includes over 100 chaplains at Tyson facilities across the United States. These chaplains represent a range of denominations and provide counsel and referral to any team member that wishes to discuss issues of concern. Chaplains scrupulously respect the beliefs of team members, including those not affiliated with any religion.

Issa Abboud
Sr. Software Manager, Walmart Labs

Issa Abboud

Issa Abboud is the President and founding member of the Bentonville Islamic Center and has resided in NWA since 1999. Originally from Beirut, Lebanon, he immigrated with his parents to the US in 1989. Issa is a proud Razorback earning his Masters of Information Systems from the University of Arkansas in 2008. He and his wife, Yusra Abboud have four children, ages 3, 11, 13, and 16. He is a 21-year Walmart Associate, working in WalmartLabs/Information Systems. Issa enjoys the great outdoors that Arkansas provides, including boating, fishing, and hunting.

Fadil H. Bayyari
Founder & CEO, Bayyari Properties and Construction

Fadil Bayyari

Highly successful as a developer and builder of Bayyari Construction & Properties, Fadil Bayyari has held important positions as Board Member of various entities like Endeavor Foundation , The Jones Center and The new School , The Rotary Club and Rodeo of The Ozarks. He is currently serving as Board member of NWA Council , Springdale School Foundation ,and Hospice. He and his family have donated to many community projects, including a recent $1 million gift to the Arkansas Children's Northwest hospital. He has a passion for religious tolerance which motivated him to build the first Synagogue, Mosque, and two other churches in NWA. His acts of charity have also been printed in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, NWA Democrat Gazette and the Rotarian magazine. He is also a recipient of a Tikkun Olam Award by the Arkansas Jewish Federation. An elementary school in Springdale and two city parks are named in his honor. He has four kids David Lyle , Joseph , Sara and Sofia and two grand kids David Jon Layla and Jaime. He likes to say "I can't complain; it has been a wonderful life, I am blessed having great loving family, many friends, and if were to do it all over again, it would be the same way".

Nick Braschler
Corporate Chaplain, Simmons Foods Inc.

Nick Braschler

Nick arrived at Simmons by way of John Brown University, where completed his undergraduate studies. With intention of entering ministry/counseling fields, the opportunity to serve as "Chicken Chaplain" was offered and accepted in 2010. His heart for effective and compassionate pastoral care, as well as a passion for leadership development, has had a positive impact on people's lives and the culture of Simmons Foods. He leads a team of three Chaplains who are caring for Simmons' 6,000 employees and their immediate family members. He is personally responsible for Simmons' poultry facilities in AR, and pet food facilities in KS, NJ, and Toronto, ON. Nick is nearing completion of a Masters in Spiritual Leadership at Olivet Nazarene University this fall. He has a wonderfully supportive wife, Valerie, and together they have two children, Caleb and Caitlyn Belle.

Patricia Snell Herzog
Assistant Professor & Co-Director of Center of Social Research

Tyson Boardpic - Patricia Herzog

Patricia Herzog is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Center for Social Research at the University of Arkansas. Prior to this, Herzog was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research and before that was Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame, where she also completed her doctoral degree in sociology. Herzog's interests include social scientific investigations of youth and emerging adults, charitable giving, and religiosity, especially with attention to how social inequalities permeate, shape, and are shaped by organizational participation. With a commitment to outreach, Herzog has delivered numerous research-related talks to a variety of organizational audiences, and her research has received media attention in The New York Times, CNBC, ABC News, Seattle Times, The Atlantic, The Foundation Review, Philanthropy News Digest, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Nonprofit Times, and NPR.

Twesigye Jackson Kaguri
Founder, Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project

Tyson Boardpic - Jackson Kaguri

Born in the rural Ugandan village of Nyakagyezi, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri's pursuit of learning led him to study at Makerere University in Kampala, and subsequently to Columbia University in New York City, where he studied Human Rights Advocacy as a visiting scholar. In 2001, in response to the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS in his home village and surrounding districts, Kaguri founded Nyaka to provide free education to children who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. In 2010, he resigned from his role as Senior Director of Development in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University to focus exclusively on Nyaka. In 2015, Mr. Kaguri won the prestigious Waislitz Global Citizen Award, and in 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate and the Distinguished Alumni Award by Shenandoah University and Michigan State University, respectively. Kaguri has been named a CNN Hero, and a Heifer International Hero, and has also been recognized in Time Magazine's 'Power of One' Series, as well as spoken to the UN about his work. When not visiting the Nyaka project in Uganda or fundraising from his office in Michigan, Kaguri travels the world to speak with students and supporters about the organization.

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Greg Kessman
President, Supplypike

Greg Kessman

Greg Kessman recently transitioned to become the President at SupplyPike. Formerly, he worked as the Director of Customer Facing Supply Chain for Nestlé, where he was responsible for customer collaboration, replenishment, forecasting and annual plan execution for Nestlé USA, Nestlé Nutrition, and Nestlé Professional businesses. Prior to this role, Greg was Supply Chain Manager for the Chilled Beverage Business Unit at Nestlé USA. In this role Greg led a team of Demand and Supply Planning Professionals that were responsible for creating the Demand Plan and ensuring supply for Nestlé's Coffee-Mate and Nesquik products.
Greg holds a Bachelor's of Science in Management Science from the University of California, San Diego and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Southern California.
Greg resides in Fayetteville, AR with his wife, Lina and three children Naya, Cole and Max. In his free time, he enjoys running and playing tennis with his family.

Judi Neal
Founder & Chairman, Edgewalkers International

Judi Neal

Dr. Judi Neal is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Edgewalkers International. She was the founding director of the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas. Judi is recognized as an expert on spirituality in the workplace and speaks and consults internationally. She is the author of Edgewalkers: People and Organizations that Take Risks, Build Bridges and Break New Ground, The Spirit of Project Management, The Handbook of Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace, and Creating Enlightened Organizations.
She received her Ph.D. from Yale in Organizational Behavior. In 1988 Judi began teaching management at the University of New Haven. She focused her research on business leaders who have a strong commitment to their faith and spirituality, and began studying how they bridged the spiritual world and the material world of business. That led to her research on people she calls "Edgewalkers." Judi was a co-founder of the Management, Spirituality and Religion Interest Group at the Academy of Management, as well as co-founder of the Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion, and the International Association of Management, Spirituality and Religion. She has published widely in the field, and is a popular and inspiring international speaker. She has consulted with major organizations such as Pfizer and General Electric as well as with small entrepreneurial companies and with non-profits.
"I am passionate about organizations and teams understanding the value that Edgewalkers bring to the workplace. Usually people who have Edgewalker qualities are seen as strange and they are often marginalized. But Edgewalkers are the ones that see what others cannot see, and they have a commitment to making the world a better place. We need our Edgewalkers more than ever in this uncertain and unpredictable world. The old ways of doing business no longer work, and Edgewalker leaders, and Edgewalker organizations can show us a new and better way."

Mary Oleksiuk
Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Tyson Foods

Tyson Boardpic - Mary Oleksiuk

Mary Oleksiuk leads human resources for Tyson Foods and is responsible for the company's human resources strategy and function, including talent, leadership, culture, total rewards, and performance excellence. Oleksiuk came to Tyson from The Hillshire Brands Company where she served as the chief human resources officer. Prior to Hillshire Brands, she served as chief human resources officer and senior vice president for Discover Financial Services. Earlier in her career, she was senior vice president, global human resources for Alberto Culver Company. Before that, Oleksiuk held numerous leadership roles in human resources at companies such as Limited Brands, Inc., Orbitz, and Solucient/Thomson Reuters. She began her career at Honeywell/AlliedSignal. Oleksiuk received dual bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Biology from Wayne State University. She also completed a Master of Science in Biology at the University of Illinois.

Abhi Vallabhaneni
Founder & CEO, trulyMAD
Abhi Vallabhaneni

Abhi is the CEO and Founder of the social responsibility and crowd sourced philanthropic platform, trulyMAD – Truly Making a Difference.
He was born and raised in Bangalore, India with immense gratitude for being educated in a J. Krishnamurti school that served to give him an operational manual of navigating life with a querying mindset while working on inclusive and wholesome solutions for everyone involved. Bound for University in the U.K., he earned his BSc in Mathematics and Economics, and an MSc in Finance from the University of Warwick and the Imperial College London. Prior to founding trulyMAD, he worked extensively in the world of finance as an Investor and Hedge Fund Manager in London.
Through a process of self-realization and experiences throughout his journey, Abhi realized how uniquely poised he was to harness opportunities to bring positive social change in the world. In immersing himself in the global communities of philanthropy, technology and business, he turned to a career as a social entrepreneur in founding trulyMAD.
In building trulyMAD, he has a simple goal of creating a community and platform to empower individuals and organizations to aspire to and achieve a higher sense of consciousness and compassion through collaboration in the years to come. Abhi currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Earvin Young
Vice President of Club Support People, Sam's Club 


Earvin Young is the Vice President of Club Support People. In this role, Earvin is responsible for leading People efforts at Club Support, driving the company's diversity and inclusion initiatives and managing the HR policy strategy. Earvin most recently served as the Senior Director of Human Resources for Walmart U.S. Earvin joined Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in November of 1990 as a Shopping Cart Recovery Specialist in South Carolina. Over his 27 year career he has held several management positions in store operations including store manager. Earvin joined the Home Office as an HR Generalist supporting Texas, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts regions.

Prior to joining Wal-Mart Earvin served eight years in Marine Corps and has a B.S in Organizational Management from John Brown University.

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