Emerging Leader Program Coaches & Facilitators

Dionardo Pizaña is the diversity and personnel specialist for Michigan State University Extension. He has over 25 years of experience developing, teaching, and facilitating diversity education programs through Michigan State University Extension, Adrian College, and Siena Heights University. He is a nationally-recognized, multicultural consultant, speaker and trainer. Dionardo’s work as an activist and educator is grounded in his conviction that deep and lasting institutional change requires an equally strong commitment to “working on oneself” while nurturing authentic relationships across difference. He believes that authenticity is far more than mere friendship or working affiliation. It is based on trust, honesty, risk-taking, mutual responsibility, humility, and acceptance that tension in relationships is a necessary component that leads to growth. As a lifelong learner around issues related to social justice and change, Dionardo has participated in foundational learning opportunities such as cultural bridges, VISIONS training, Opening Doors and The People’s Institute. His ongoing commitment to issues of social justice continues a legacy of community and social justice work inspired by his parents and grandparents.

Lisa Laughman, LMSW is a counselor in the MSU Employee Assistance Program and also serves as an Emotional Wellness Consultant with the MSU Health 4U Program.  In both roles Lisa is highly committed to the emotional health and wellbeing of MSU faculty and staff.  Lisa has been studying Shame Resilience Theory since 2010 and recently became a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator – Candidate and is part of a national network of clinicians and coaches who provide workshops and trainings based on the work of Dr. Brené Brown, Ph.D.   Lisa received her Bachelor’s degree in social work from Eastern Michigan University in 1988 and her Master’s in social work from Michigan State University in 1991. Lisa has served in her current roles since 2003.  Lisa is also the single mom of three dynamic teenagers.  She enjoys being outdoors, operating a small private practice, spending time with her social justice oriented girlfriend, and celebrating life with her circle of family and friends.

Frank Ruswick is retired from the State of Michigan where he capped a career of over thirty years as a leader in natural resource and environmental policy.  In addition to his role with the Great Lakes Leadership Academy, he is currently assisting the Institute of Water Research at Michigan State University by providing strategic and policy advice for the Institute’s multidisciplinary programs addressing contemporary land and water resource issues. Ruswick’s major leadership roles include Deputy Director of the Office of the Great Lakes, Stewardship Deputy Director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, and Senior Policy Advisor for the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  He has provided program and policy direction on a broad array of issues including state parks, state forests, state-owned minerals, Great Lakes, water management, and environmental protection.   He served as Special Assistant to the Director of DEQ, Assistant Chief of the Waste and Hazardous Materials Division, and Chief of the Office of Special Services.  Ruswick often represented the Departments in legislative, enforcement, and program development negotiations.  He facilitated the DEQ Environmental Advisory Council from 2003 to 2010. Ruswick served as the Executive Director of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (1982-1987) and as an Attorney for the United States Department of the Interior (1980-1982). Ruswick holds Juris Doctor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Michigan.  His undergraduate degree in Political Science is from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point.  He is a member of the Michigan and Wisconsin Bars.


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