Social Entrepreneur Board of Advisors

Social Entrepreneur Chair

Gary Palin

Entrepreneur - Gary Palin

Gary Palin

Gary Palin is a social entrepreneur, development partner in the USA and Canada for the Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign and senior lecturer of entrepreneurship. He brings a combination of over 30 years experience in both the academic and entrepreneurial communities. He founded the Entrepreneurship Education Initiative at NC State University in 1993 and served as the executive director until 2008. He was a faculty member of the NC State College of Management for 17 years. He also guided the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Elon University as the executive director from 2008 through 2012 with a resulting enrollment growth of over 1200%. Palin’s areas of expertise include new venture development, social entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and venture growth.

He was a founding member of the MIT Global Startup Workshop Board of Advisors, founder of the Social Entrepreneurship and Education Consortium, founder of the Entrepreneurship and Education Network and a participant in the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, Academy of Management, International Council for Small Business, North Carolina Center for Entrepreneurial Development and the North Carolina Chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs.

Palin has been named a top 25 entrepreneurship education global thought leader by Enterprise Educators UK and a recipient of the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Award from the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence. He has served as Director of NC State University’s Small Business Technology and Development Center where he assisted hundreds of business launches, expansions, and acquisitions. He has developed executive education programs in business planning, new venture launches, and technology commercialization. He has consulted for numerous entrepreneurial ventures and also with major corporations such as Texas Instruments, FMC Corporation, and Thomas Register. Palin serves on a number of high growth company advisory boards.


Ryan Budden

Entrepreneur - Ryan Budden

Ryan Budden

Ryan Budden is the founder of GreekCheck, a mobile application to increase communication and organization while decreasing social host liability. He brings a global perspective to all of his endeavors having been born in Australia and raised in Asia moving from Hong Kong to Singapore, Shanghai and Korea before coming to the USA to attend high school and college.

Budden is a recent graduate from Elon University with numerous academic accolades, majoring in entrepreneurship. He exhibited strong leadership skills as the Elon student class president for two consecutive years. He also served as vice president and then president of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity while simultaneously pursuing multiple entrepreneurial activities.

Budden has a contagious passion for entrepreneurship along with a mission to help young adults realize their potential and dreams.  He is committed to guiding them to make the first and scariest step of going against the flow after graduation. Budden’s colleagues view him as an ‘idea guy’ with a keen sense of strategic planning along with an ability to successfully execute.

Witnessing numerous social inequalities and injustices as a child left a deep impression.  A resulting focus is to assist the launch and growth of social enterprises and truly deliver value to everyone that comes to SEEC providing lasting social impact on a global scale.


Greg Chabon

Entrepreneur - Greg Chabon

Greg Chabon

As an attorney with the Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice law firm, Greg Chabon provides counsel and advice to predominately privately-held businesses on a variety of transactional, corporate and commercial matters. With his business and engineering background, his practice is focused on providing creative and efficient real-world solutions to clients’ business issues and opportunities, and to helping them succeed.

Chabon focuses his practice in three primary areas: supply chain management, healthcare transactions (working with the Firm’s Healthcare Practice Group), and mergers/acquisitions. His hands-on technical background provides a unique experience base in dealing with technology related or dependent companies. Prior to practicing law, he spent eleven years as an engineer involved in the development of tactical missile systems for the U.S. Armed Forces, and dealt with getting beyond state-of-the-art technology from the drawing board into production. This experience has proven valuable in structuring and negotiating licensing transactions for patented products and trade secrets in the furniture, software, specialty textiles and pharmaceutical hardware industries.

In addition to serving on the SEEC board of advisors, Chabon is past chair and ex-officio member of the Committee on Entrepreneurship of the Greensboro Partnership, graduate of Leadership Greensboro and serves on the board of directors of the Greensboro Partnership, the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship, and the board of advisors of the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership of Elon University.


Lori Palin

Entrepreneur - Lori Palin

Lori Palin

Lori Palin is a serial entrepreneur, an advocate of social entrepreneurship and passionate about assisting nascent entrepreneurs launch social enterprises. She is a founder of the Social Entrepreneurship and Education Consortium and has served as the executive director since its inception. Her accomplishments include orchestrating and delivering social entrepreneurship workshops and conferences in Denmark, Spain, United Kingdom and USA. She also coordinates activities and relationships with our partner and host universities.

Palin been involved in the launch of numerous ventures and entrepreneurship support activities including the Entrepreneurship and Education Network. She has worked extensively in the medical industry including 15 years at Duke University Medical Center and elderly care emphasizing the social and personal requirements of senior citizens who need some assistance with daily activities and health care but who desire to age with dignity.

In addition to her current focus supporting social enterprises, she is an advocate for gender equality, human rights protection for children and elderly, criminalization of human trafficking, management of resources and stewardship of the environment, and humane treatment of animals.

Palin’s interests include spending time with her grandson, healthy eating nutritional principles and holistic canine health care for her Rhodesian Ridgeback.


Erika Rosenthal

Entrepreneur - Erika Rosenthal

Erika Rosenthal

Erika Rosenthal is the Interim Chief Marketing Officer for COR Medical Technologies.  Previously, she was Senior Vice President of Marketing for Okyanos Heart Institute and the Laser Spine Institute (LSI), and Vice President and Executive Director running LSI’s Ambulatory Surgical Center in Philadelphia.

Rosenthal developed a chain of medical spas that were included in the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies in the United States.  The company was named Top Medical Spa Chain in the U.S. by Day Spa Magazine while she was President and Chief Executive Officer.

As a respected healthcare advocate and industry spokesperson, Rosenthal has been interviewed by The Wall Street JournalUSA TodayFortune MagazineHealth Magazine and Health.  She has also made multiple appearances on MSNBC, CNN, The WB, ABC, NBC and CBS. In addition to healthcare, Rosenthal served in executive roles for Sprint Corporation and Bell + Howell.  She is also a former Marketing and Branding instructor for the University of California – Irvine and served on the faculty advisory board.

Rosenthal has a B.A. and M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s in Digital Marketing from the University of San Francisco.  She completed executive education programs at Wharton School of Business and at Cornell University.  Rosenthal has lived or worked in six countries.  She has a passion for healthcare and enjoys spending time with her family and cycling.


Lewis Sheats

Entrepreneur - Lewis Sheats

Lewis Sheats

Lewis Sheats has extensive background in new venture planning, concept consulting, logistics, opportunity identification and analysis, manufacturing organization, marketing, and strategic planning. He is a serial entrepreneur focused on opportunity identification, execution, and education.

Sheats’s leadership has expertly guided the launch and development of several different companies from concept to profitability. Interstate Logistics, A Sweet Reminder, & Securus are the most recent success stories where he was a founder and on the management team through opportunity identification, concept development and execution.

Sheats has leveraged his experience to develop and lead the undergraduate entrepreneurship curriculum in the NC State Poole College of Management. He is devoted to preparing the next generation of entrepreneurs as a Senior Lecturer of Entrepreneurship for the NC State Poole College of Management. As an educator and consultant, he has been involved in the launch of many other ventures that range from no technology to high technology based, venture backed to bootstrapped, and high growth to lifestyle start-ups.

Sheats has a BS in Business Administration from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC and an MBA from the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business at Campbell University. He is an award-winning educator who was recently inducted into the international honor society, Beta Gamma Sigma.


Gary Tomlinson

Entrepreneur - Gary Tomlinson

Gary Tomlinson

An entrepreneur and founder of five successful businesses, Gary Tomlinson is well versed in the areas of entrepreneurship, leadership, corporate culture, strategy-execution management and effective communication skills. From the time he worked as an operating room technician, more than 35 years ago, he saw the value in learning by doing, as well as by teaching.

In 1978, when Tomlinson co-founded his first business, a medical equipment home care company, he put his teaching skills and love of learning to work creating a corporate culture that thrived on teamwork, collaborations, self-management, customer feedback, and innovative thinking – a concept that was unheard of at the time.

When Med Covers, Inc., a medical manufacturing company, was founded by Tomlinson in 1984 his creative thinking and leadership philosophy had a profound impact on the firm and its growth. Med Covers adopted a unique objective – “to lead and do business with the human spirit as the firm’s primary customer.” This style allowed Med Covers to build on and value its core competencies to not only better serve their existing customers, but to attract new customers as well.

For 22 years, Tomlinson has been a regular lecturer at North Carolina State University in the College of Management, specifically the Entrepreneurship Educational Initiative. In 2008 he began lecturing at Elon University in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business. He lectures on entrepreneurship, leadership, communication, and professional speaking education.

Today, as a strexecutionist specializing in strategy implementation, Tomlinson uses his ongoing education and his 35 plus years of experience to help businesses work on their business so that they can work better in their business. He works with executive leadership teams to establish execution management as a competency in their organizations.


Jim Wehrley

Entrepreneur - Jim Wehrley

Jim Wehrley

Dr. Jim Wehrley is the Dean of the Phillips School of Business and W. Roger Soles Professor of Management and Leadership at High Point University. He has served as dean for almost 15 years and has taught finance, computer information systems, management, and marketing courses over his 20 year academic career. Before pursuing a career in academia in 1994, Wehrley worked in commercial real estate lending at First Florida Bank (now part of Bank of America) in Florida and as a financial statistician for Standard & Poor’s in Colorado.

Wehrley holds special expertise in the field of business education and frequently employs sophisticated educational techniques and the newest technologies in the finance classes he currently teaches. His business content interests include personal financial planning, real estate, investing, and asset/capital allocation. His greatest fulfillment is when he is challenging young adults to search for where they fit into the world. He is a strong believer in mentoring and integrating students into the business community. Wehrley has received multiple teaching awards including the Meredith Clark Slane Distinguished Teaching/Service Award, the Alpha Chi Teaching Award, and the Exemplary Teacher Award presented by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.

Wehrley earned his Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech), his MBA from Baylor University, and his Bachelor of Business Administration with a Major in Finance from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.