Author | Deep Dark Blue
Polo Tate was born in Lansing, Michigan, where her family has deep ties to the community. Her great great grandfather was Ransom Eli Olds (R.E. Olds), a pioneer and prolific inventor most notably responsible for inventing the first American internal combustion automobile—the Oldsmobile.
Growing up, Polo used her athletic prowess and academic aptitude to earn appointments to both the United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA), and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs (USAFA). She decided to accept the challenge to attend USAFA out of high school, where she played varsity volleyball in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Polo left during her second year, and her harrowing journey at one of our nation’s most challenging institutions can now be found in her gritty, honest and dynamic debut memoir, “Deep Dark Blue.”
After leaving USAFA, Polo restarted her college career at the University of Notre Dame. She played volleyball for the Irish in the Big East Conference and eventually graduated with a B.A. degree in Film, Television and Theatre.
She is now an actor, writer, artist and comedian, performing at companies such as the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Broadway Comedy Club, Reckless and the PIT. She lives in New York City.
Polo is a modern-day renaissance woman. Her talent is enormous; her energy, boundless. She loves people, lives every moment to the fullest, lets no one take her joy, and avidly practices the belief that you can do anything upon which you set your mind, heart and spirit.
Caitlin Tyler ‘12 is a self-proclaimed brand strategy wizard, business consultant, digital and print marketing strategist, content analyst, active listener, social entrepreneur and communications specialist. She graduated from Olivet College with a degree in visual arts, concentrating in biological illustration and commercial design. As a student, she competed at the national level on the Comet swim team. After graduation, Caitlin pursued a master’s degree in biomedical visualization (medical illustration) at the University of Illinois, Chicago. In 2014, she became board-certified as a medical illustrator and married fellow Olivet College alumnus Trevor Tyler ‘13. Shortly after, Caitlin founded her own branding and marketing business, Hook & Reel Design. Today, Caitlin is a proud mom of two daughters and her business has expanded. She serves as a branding and digital marketing strategist for real estate businesses in Michigan and medical supply companies across the U.S. Caitlin is also a member of the Association of Medical Illustrators and a youth group leader at East Saugatuck Church.
Melanie Engels ’08, Pharm.D., serves as pharmacy manager for Munson Healthcare in Traverse City, Michigan. She oversees four department lines for Munson Services, Inc., and especially enjoys opportunities to mentor students in various stages of their educational journeys.
Previously, Engels served as ambulatory process and service quality manager for the Department of Pharmacy, University of Michigan Health System; outpatient clinical pharmacist and inpatient clinical pharmacist for VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System; and pharmacy intern and certified pharmacy technician for Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital.
Engels received the ASHP Foundation’s Innovation in Pharmacy Practice Literature Award in 2017, and was honored with the Olivet College Young Alumni Award in 2016, in addition to many other recognitions. She has conducted and assisted in research, frequently pursues professional development opportunities, and maintains membership to a number of professional associations.
Engels holds a bachelor’s degree from Olivet College in biology and biochemistry, a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy and a master’s degree in healthcare management from New England College. She completed two years of post graduate residency with a PGY-1 in pharmacy practice at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System and a PGY-2 in health system pharmacy administration at Michigan Medicine.
Dominque Giroux graduated with honors from Olivet College in 2018 with a degree in psychology and English. She was a standout student-athlete, serving as the team captain of women’s soccer team. She was a member of the Global Citizen Honors Society, President’s Leadership Institute and the OC ATHENA International Leadership Program. Dominque also worked in the admissions office as a tour guide.
Presently, Dominque is taking a gap year before beginning graduate school. She is serving as a volunteer in a Camphill Community in Ireland to provide direct care for adults living with special needs.
In the fall of 2019, she will begin to pursue a master’s degree in psychology at St. John’s University, with the hopes of continuing into a doctorate program.
“The journey is never ending. There’s always going to be growth, improvement, adversity; you just have to take it all in, do what’s right, continue to grow and continue to live in the moment.”
Knowing that each day comes with different opportunities to perfect her craft is what excites ReGene the most. She is passionate about education and building strong relationships with people. ReGene works on a team of seven as a Technical Assistant (TA) for commercial lines at Michigan Millers Insurance Company.
ReGene earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications in 2017. She is the first generation in her immediate family to earn a college degree. At Olivet College, she was a member of Nu Gamma Xi Inc. The sorority’s motto, “Women of a Higher Standard,” taught ReGene to want more out of life, which began to open doors for her.
As a student, ReGene worked in the Olivet College admissions office as the face of potential students enrolling in the college, held an executive board position in Nu Gamma Xi and was a student-athlete. She says the greatest honor she received was an invitation to join the President’s Leadership Institute at Olivet College.
In her spare time, ReGene reads, writes and always looks for ways to become more knowledgeable. She says that at Olivet College she learned to be a well-rounded person, and her experience travels with her each day on her journey of purpose.
Kelly Dugan, AICI FLC | Dress for Success
Founder and President| Kelly Duggan Image Consulting (KDIC)
Kelly Duggan, Founder and President of KELLY DUGGAN Image Consulting, LLC, has been helping executives and their organizations make their best impression since 1999. Kelly is a certified image coach, speaker and consultant. Twenty-five years of experience as a healthcare professional nurtured her desire to care for people and make a difference in their lives. This same p
assion emerges when she works with individuals and groups in image development.
KDIC is an award winning member of the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), the largest professional association of personal and corporate image consultants worldwide. Kelly is a past president of the Chicago Midwest chapter. Kelly has worked with businesses throughout the Midwest, including Haworth Corporation, Kellogg Company, Oakland University and Michigan State University, and many individuals.
In addition to being a sought-after professional coach, speaker and consultant, Kelly advises with J. Hilburn menswear, and has served with a philanthropic community of image professionals (Image Impact International) collaborating to inspire groups, organizations and communities worldwide to achieve their highest personal and professional objectives. Past projects include proposed image and disability training curriculum for the Fashion Institute of Technology New York City (FIT). She has also authored several published articles.
Tom Kolassa has served as chair of the Olivet College Board of Trustees since 2014. Tom is a 1969 Olivet College graduate. While at Olivet he studied political science, and went on to earn a master’s degree from Western Michigan University in 1972.
He has led a successful careers in the insurance industry, retiring as senior vice president of HUB International of Battle Creek in 2013. He has also served as owner of Infinisource of Coldwater, a company specializing in human resources and employee benefits.
Tom served Battle Creek for two years as city commissioner, two years as vice mayor and two years as mayor, and is currently active with the boards of Starr Commonwealth and Southern Michigan Bank and Trust. He is the former board chair of Binder Park Zoo.
Maureen Mitchell | Negotiating Skills
Regional Vice President | Meijer, Central Region
Maureen Mitchell is the regional vice president for Meijer’s Central Region. In her role, Maureen oversees store operations, pharmacy operations, gas stations, asset protection, human resources and merchandising in a region of 41 stores. With Maureen’s leadership and direction, the Meijer Central Region has built a culture of leadership focused on people.
Maureen also leads the Women at Meijer Team Member Resource Group for Retail. She serves as a role model and mentor within her region and to all women in retail. She works with mentees and other mentors to establish clear goals and ensures that she recognizes success on milestone achievements along the journey. Maureen is known to always ask, “How can I help you?”
Delstene Atkinson is the special assistant to the president of Olivet College. With nearly 30 years’ career experience, Delstene came to Olivet with senior expertise and leadership in all areas of advancement and development for nonprofit organizations.
Delstene previously served as foundation specialist and major gift officer at Northern Arizona Healthcare (NAH). She was recruited by the organization’s vice president of development and marketing to advance philanthropy for the Verde Valley Medical Center Foundation and was directly responsible for the Verde Valley Hospice Home Exceptional Place, Immense Community Resource $5 million special gifts campaign.
Prior to her time at NAH, she served six years in leadership capacities at Arizona Community Foundation, most recently as managing director of affiliates. In this role, she was responsible for managing $70 million and 16 statewide affiliate/community funds in various regions. Delstene was also responsible for building local philanthropy by designing and executing major gift and planned giving fundraising plans, managing the foundation’s existing asset base and future fund acquisition, engaging in board development and guiding affiliate marketing, among other duties.
Delstene has held a number of professional positions and affiliations, including serving as executive vice president of fund development at One Hope United of Chicago; interim vice president and development director of the Chicago History Museum; and assistant director and annual fund/development associate of the University of Chicago.
She earned a bachelor of arts from DePaul University and completed graduate work at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Owner/Creator | Searchlight Healthcare Advocates
Jacqueline Bougie, DrPH, DC, is a former division I college volleyball player at California State University, Fullerton, during a historic period when the NCAA first took over the organization of collegiate women’s sports. Following her undergraduate degree, Dr. Bougie turned her competitive drive toward education, receiving her doctorate in public health from Loma Linda University with an emphasis in preventive care for lifestyle diseases. Her doctoral dissertation focused on chronic pain and coping. She also has a doctorate in chiropractic from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic in which women composed approximately 10 percent of her graduating class.
With 20 years of experience, Dr. Bougie has unique expertise related to aging, caregiving and quality of health care. She has coauthored a textbook, “The Aging Body: Conservative Management for Common Neuromusculoskeletal Conditions” and multiple peer-reviewed articles.
Following an academic career, she is the owner and creator of Searchlight Healthcare Advocates, a health care advocacy and care management company.
Traci Corey joined Olivet College along with President Corey in the fall of 2010. As presidential spouse, Traci has dedicated herself in full-time service to Olivet College as its number one volunteer.
As director of the Women’s Leadership Institute, Traci leads a group of dynamic student leaders and an advisory council made up of some of Michigan’s most prominent women leaders, including many successful Olivet College alumnae. Under her leadership, the college has developed a number of meaningful and impactful programs for girls and young women who are current and prospective students of Olivet College. This includes the Olivet College ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Program; the annual Cultivating Women Leaders Event, a leadership training and networking opportunity; the Olivet College “Ment-Her” Job Shadowing, Networking and Internship Program; and the Olivet College “Ment-Her” High School and Middle School Girls Leadership Camp.
In March 2018, Traci was honored as an ATHENA Leadership Award recipient by ATHENA International for her dedication to helping raise up other leaders, especially women. In April 2018, she was named to the ATHENA International board of directors. Presently, she is working with a group of board members to evaluate and redevelop the ATHENA International curriculum to provide meaningful and impactful programs for girls, young women and professional women.
Prior to serving Olivet College, Traci was the north central regional manager for the Arizona Community Foundation where she oversaw the daily operations of the Yavapai County Community Foundation and led the implementation and execution of fundraising programs, including major and planned gifts to build local endowments that support nonprofits in Yavapai County. While working for ACF she led one of four strategic planning statewide work groups for the Arizona Community Foundation and was elected to the Northern Arizona Association of Fundraising Professional board, serving as their secretary and vice president. She was also named the 2009 Northern Arizona New Fundraising Professional of the Year.
A native of California, Traci attended California State University, Fresno, on athletic scholarship playing volleyball, which began her more than 20 years of volleyball coaching and playing experience at the collegiate level. As a setter for Fresno State University, she was a two-time team MVP, three-time scholar-athlete, member of the All-Big West Conference team, and FSU Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Following her college-playing career, she was drafted in the fourth round of the American Professional Volleyball League by the Portland Spikers and was setter for a United States representative team to Australia.
Traci was the founding head volleyball coach for Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she directed the team to a conference championship title, was named TCAC conference coach of the year, and coached the Bruins to a second-place regional finish in just the third year of the program. During her tenure at Belmont she successfully navigated the team’s transition from NAIA to NCAA-DI. In addition, her team was tenth in the nation for all NCAA-DI teams with an overall team grade point average of 3.65 in 2001.
Following Belmont, Traci served as head volleyball coach at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona, where she led the team from the bottom of the conference to the regional championship match in less than three years’ time. She has also served as camp director, coordinator and head coach for Yavapai College and Belmont University volleyball camps.
Traci holds a bachelor of arts in physical education, recreation and health from California State University at Fresno, and a master of arts in education from Cumberland University.
Melanie Estes is a California Registered Professional Engineer and Certified Construction Manager. She graduated from Fresno State University in 1990 with a civil engineering degree after playing four years of Division I volleyball.
Melanie focused her career in the construction of transportation-related projects, including roads, bridges, railways, ports and airports. Her projects have spanned across the state of California and include the ongoing California High Speed Rail.
She has worked for California Department of Transportation, Bechtel (an international engineering and construction firm) and small engineering consulting firms. Throughout her 27-year career, Melanie has been drawn to small businesses for their focus on employee growth and being able to effect real change in how the company grows. Her latest endeavor was starting an engineering consulting firm with only three people and in only six years, she and her partners have grown the company to nearly 100 employees with $20 million in annual revenue.
Being in a male-dominated field, Melanie overcame challenges by believing in herself and being true to herself. She focuses much of her energy on mentoring young engineers and sharing her experiences with other young women in the hopes that they will pursue civil engineering.