Gerald Schafer Walsh College

Gerald Schafer

Interim President and Chief Executive Officer

Gerald Schafer retired from McDonald’s as the corporate vice president of worldwide development. Prior to that, he served as the senior vice president and chief operations officer of McDonald’s China from 2004 to 2008.

In 1970, Mr. Schafer began his career at McDonald’s as a 16-year-old crew member in a restaurant in his hometown of Eastpointe, Michigan. He began his academic career at Macomb Community College and transferred to Walsh College to complete a Bachelor of Accountancy in 1975. He earned his CPA in 1982.

With his Walsh Bachelor of Accountancy degree secured, he moved into a management position at McDonald’s in the accounting and finance department. In 1987, he became a regional real estate representative and a manager in regional headquarters until 1990. From 1990 to 1994, he held several positions, leading to his role of operations field service manager.

He served as the CFO of Chipotle from 1998 to 2002. In 2002, he became the managing director of McDonald’s Asia Pacific Division for brands and acquisitions, where he remained until 2004.

Mr. Schafer is credited with expanding McDonald’s presence in China, including the use of drive-through services. He is also a winner of the McDonald’s Presidents’ Award.

A staunch supporter of Walsh College, Mr. Schafer serves on the Board of Trustees and Foundation Board. He is also a member of the College’s Archie Waring Society.

Mr. Schafer and his wife, Brenda, reside in North Carolina, where he is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ronald McDonald House for Durham & Wake County, North Carolina and a member of the Ronald McDonald Charities of North Carolina.

Mike Levens Walsh College

Michael P. Levens

Interim Provost

Michael P. Levens is Walsh’s interim Provost and professor and chair of the Marketing department 

Dr. Levens is author of "Marketing: Defined, Explained, Applied", a marketing textbook adopted by over 200 colleges and universities, now in its 3rd edition published by Pearson. Prior to his current position Dr. Levens held an appointment to the Postdoctoral Marketing Faculty at the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University and served as interim Chief Academic Officer and Executive Vice President at Walsh. He also served as Chair of Undergraduate Business Programs at Walsh College, Administer of Research and Innovation at OnStar and Brand Manager at SAAB. Dr. Levens has extensive global experience working in 35 countries on five continents and also has award-winning entrepreneurial experience with a business start-up, receiving Global 1st Runner-up recognition in the 1996 International Entrepreneurial Challenge (MOOT CORP®).

Dr. Levens' research has been grant funded in the United States and European Union and is focused on affluent consumer behavior and non-traditional bundling strategies. Dr. Levens has conducted more than 100 research projects throughout the world and has presented his research at conferences hosted by the American Marketing Association, Advertising Research Foundation, Association of Marketing Theory and Practice, Atlantic Marketing Association, Automotive Market Research Council, and the Canadian Marketing Association. He provides consulting services to Fortune 1000 companies and consults pro bono for major not-for-profits.

Dr. Levens is a Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and is active in the American Marketing Association and Mensa. Dr. Levens also serves as a Fulbright Peer Reviewer and on the Scientific Committee of the Journal of Economics and Culture. Dr. Levens has been appointed to four different boards of directors.

Beth Barnes Walsh College

Elizabeth Barnes 

Vice President, Chief Human Resources and Administrative Officer

Secretary, Walsh College Board of Trustees

Elizabeth Barnes is responsible for human resources, career services, and institutional planning. In 1996, the Walsh College Board of Trustees appointed Barnes vice president after she had served as director of College Relations (1990-1996) and manager of Personnel and Placement (1985-1990).

Prior to joining Walsh, Barnes was an employment recruiter for Personnel Director Associates and an employment program coordinator for the South and West Washtenaw Consortium.

Barnes earned a Bachelor of Business Education degree from Eastern Michigan University and completed graduate courses in management at Walsh College.

Barnes is a member of the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan.  She served on the capital campaign committee for the Troy Boys and Girls Club and is the past secretary/treasurer of the Troy Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She is a member of the College and University Human Resources Association, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the American Society of Employers, the Society for Human Resource Management, the Michigan Wellness Council, and the WorldAtWork Association.    

Susan Foley, Walsh College

Susan Foley 

Vice President, Chief Advancement Officer

Susan Foley leads the development, alumni relations, student life, and government relations functions at the College. 

Foley has over 20 years of fundraising and leadership experience. Most recently, she served as the senior director of departments, centers, and institutes at the University of Michigan – Michigan Medicine, where she led a major gift officer team.

Previously, Foley served as the vice president for advancement at Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, with responsibility for fundraising, marketing, and government relations. She also served as a senior director of philanthropy at Henry Ford Health System. 

Foley is a lifelong resident of metro Detroit. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.

Helen Kieba-Tolksdorf, Walsh College

Helen Kieba-Tolksdorf, CPA, CGMA 

Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer

Helen Kieba-Tolksdorf is responsible for much of the College’s infrastructure, including facilities, information systems, and finance.

Prior to joining the Walsh College staff, Kieba-Tolksdorf was with Oakland Community College (OCC), serving as controller, director of special projects, and chief business officer and treasurer.

While at OCC, Kieba-Tolksdorf led a successful conversion of the financial and administrative system and chaired the Criterion II Committee in a successful NCA reaccreditation visit. In addition, she led the legal and business sections for OCC’s millage passage.

During her career, Kieba-Tolksdorf was also audit manager at Ernst and Whinney, specializing in education, financial institutions, insurance, health care, and pension plans. She has taught accounting at Walsh College and OCC.

A certified public accountant, Kieba-Tolksdorf received both Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in accounting degrees from the University of Detroit Mercy. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, the University Risk Management and Insurance Association, the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, and recently earned the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). Helen also sits on the board of the American Society of Employers and is a Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP).  Helen also improved the technology defenses of Walsh College, leading to an article published by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Patti Swanson, Walsh College

Patricia Swanson 

Vice President, Chief Marketing and Enrollment Officer

Patti Swanson is responsible for overseeing all marketing, public relations, enrollment management and related student service functions for Walsh College. She came into this role in November 2017 after filling it in an interim capacity.

Previously, Swanson has served as Vice President of Marketing at LevelSet Solutions and in various executive roles at YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit during her more than 20-year career in marketing and communications.

Over the course of her career, Swanson has delivered impressive results on behalf of several organizations. Consistently, she has effectively managed large teams, reduced costs, exceeded sales projections and developed comprehensive communications strategies for many of the companies she has been part of. Swanson brings to her position a wide variety of experiences in sales, marketing, and communications including customer service, operations, public relations, and event planning.

Swanson earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Management from Northwood University and a Master of Science Administration in Marketing from Central Michigan University.