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Jacksonville University 2800 University Blvd North
Jacksonville, FL 32211

(904) 256-8000

DBA 3 Candidates

Waleed Alsuhaibani

Waleed AlsuhaibaniWaleed received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting in 2002 from King Saud University in Riyadh. After graduating, his first job was as an accountant at the ARASCO Company. While employed at the ARASCO Company, he made the decision to move from the industrial sector to the financial sector where opportunities were more plentiful. With this goal in mind, he accepted a new opportunity at Jazira Bank in 2004.  At Jazira Bank, he was a manager in the Investment Management Department. Dealing with clients and customers from different cultures was a challenge for him, but he had a mission--to make his customers satisfied. He learned to be professional and judicious at the same time.

He describes his personality as gregarious; he is able to quickly generate friendships with the people around him. He is also a quick learner and able to reduce the learning curve with any new venture. He likes to share with his fellow students any information that he might have; especially when the class consists of students from around the world. The sharing of his and his classmates’ experiences is something he has truly enjoyed throughout his studies.


Mohammed Alzahrane

Mohammed Alzahrane

Mohammed obtained his Bachelor Degree in Business Administration, Accounting, from King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia, in 2004-2005.  From 2003 until 2005, he was an accountant at the Arab Trading Company with duties in journal entry keeping, expense reconciliation, tax calculations and payroll and cash-flow management.   From January 2005-December 2006, he worked as a Financial Analyst with the Saudi Airline where he determined cost of operations by establishing standard costs and collecting operational data. From 2007 until recently, he worked as a lecturer at the General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational, teaching courses and tutorials in financial accounting, cost accounting, tax accounting, accounting management and enterprise technology SAP-program. 

He wants to achieve his long-term career ambitions by developing his skills and obtaining his Doctor of Business Administration in order to be able to teach at the undergraduate level in Business School. He also wants to develop his research skills to be able to develop a model for forensic accounting service that can fit all CPA corporations and the required skills to practice forensic accounting by certified Saudis public accountants.

 Mohammed is a founder and program designer of Us to U.S, a voluntary organization with the Saudi Arabia Cultural Mission that participates in food bank, nursing home, and public school volunteering in Atlanta, Georgia.   Mohammed lives in Atlanta with his family and loves travelling with them and exploring new cultures, new people and new food. He loves Turkish food.  He loves soccer and his favorite team is Madrid.


 Toni M. Bennett

Toni M. BennettToni currently serves as Dean of the College of Adult Professional Studies at Christian Brothers University where she leads the recruitment, retention, academic and marketing efforts for the institution’s adult undergraduate programs.  She is also a professor of Information Systems and a proud alumna of Christian Brothers University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and an MBA with a concentration in Information Technology Management.  Toni’s higher education experience includes nearly two decades of work in enrollment management, academic services, financial aid and marketing, as well as specializing in technology-based curriculums.

Previously, she served as Vice President for Enrollment Management, Dean of the Accelerated Evening Program and Director of Admissions and Marketing at her previous institutions,  Prior to entering the higher education sector, Toni founded and operated a computer graphics company known as Odyssey, focusing on marketing solutions for small and startup businesses.

As an active member of her community, Toni serves as a board member of Goodwill Industries and Vice Chair for the Literacy Mid-South Board of Directors.  Being a strong proponent for adult education, Toni also serves as an adult literacy and ESL volunteer tutor in Memphis, Tennessee, where she currently resides.


Timothy Bryan

Timothy BryanTimothy is a retired partner from Kemper CPA Group LLP, a regional top 100 firm, where he served in a number of roles for over 20 years including managing the firm’s 2 largest offices. He holds active CPA and CGMA designations, inactive Personal Financial Specialist and Certified Bank Auditor, and is a member of the AICPA and Indiana CPA Society.

Timothy taught auditing as an adjunct at the University of Evansville for three years prior to teaching accounting and tax full-time at the University of Southern Indiana.  He serves as the advisor for an on-campus Toastmasters Club, the university’s AICPA case study competition team, and the Royal Roads University and Business Valuation Challenge case study teams.  In 2015, he was honored by the university’s athletic department in 2015 as their Distinguished Faculty award and the Romain College of Business Service award.

His community activities include being Treasurer of the Tri-State Food Bank that provides almost 10 million pounds of food to needy children and families over the region.  He is also on the board of directors for the USI Foundation where he serves on the Executive Committee and is the Audit Committee Chair.  He is a member of a local service group, the West Side Nut Club, serving as chair of financial reporting and budgeting. 


Shatrece Buchanan

Shatrece BuchananShatrece is a leader who possesses the unique ability to synergize communities by promoting relevant social initiatives.  She serves the underprivileged and disenfranchised by using her creative gifts in writing, speaking, building teams, and uplifting.  Shatrece served in the United States Army for 24-years, retiring in 2012 as a Lieutenant Colonel in both Human Resource Management and Discrimination Law.  Some of her assignments include Professor of English at West Point Prep, MEPS Commander and Discrimination Law Advisor to two Combatant Division Generals for over 28,000 personnel in the US and Iraq.

In 1997, Shatrece founded Eagle Talon Inc(ETI), which contracts with churches, private organizations and corporations to produce high-quality Gospel/educational stage plays, films, concerts, and more.   Shatrece is the author of her first book: A Five-Time Cancer Survivor; and author of several established stageplays, serving as executitve producer, producer, and director nationally and internationally. Shatrece also works with renowned music artists such as Stellar-nominated drummer Laval Belle, renowned American Violinist Karen Briggs and so many more. She has also served as guest speaker for numerous programs, and  hosted dignitaries like Andrew Young, Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary Chu and more. She is also the co-pastor of Eagle Talon Faith and Vision Center in Jacksonville, Florida.


Ying "Caroline" Chen

Ying ChenCaroline is from Shanghai, China.  She has 10 years working experience in the field of international education, especially in ESL Teaching, business communication training and international program management.  After graduating from a university in her hometown and teaching in a college for one year, she decided to pursue further study in Australia.  While learning in the University of Queensland she worked in Hilton Hotel as banquet and restaurant supervisor. 

After attaining her Master of International Hotel Management, she returned to China and continued her career in the education field. In 2008, she started to work as the international education program manager at Shanghai Yew Wah International Education school where she was in charge of international program collaboration, overseas exchange tour arrangement, and students placemenet. In 2012, she joined Xiada College of Economics and Humanities Shanghai International Studies University where she served as a lecturer in the international educatiion division, teaching courses of customer care, business communition and English.  


Heidi Dent

Heidi DentAfter studying a variety of topics from business, technology, science and the arts at University of Miami, University of North Florida and finally Mercer University, Heidi graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in English. Heidi worked for several Fortune 500 companies, technology companies and small businesses in Human Resources and Recruitment.  She started a company with her husband in August 2003, growing it to a multimillion-dollar organization with over 160 employees, a 5-time list maker for the Inc. 500/5000 fastest growing companies and finalist for “Best Places to Work.”   Concurrently, after 15 years, she returned to school for her MBA at University of North Carolina, Pembroke.   In 2014, they decided to exit and sold the company.  Heidi spun off the software to create a small software startup, and later invested in a digital marketing agency.  Blending both organizations, Heidi focuses on creative direction, product design and user experience. A serial entrepreneur, Heidi loves design, technology, travel, new cultures, learning, innovating and thinking up new ideas that have the potential to stick.


Aaron DeSpain

Aaron DeSpainAaron has worked in the financial services industry for the past 17 years, primarily in Wealth Management (Private) Banking. During this time, he has consulted with affluent clients and business owners, providing solutions to a variety of banking and lending needs. As a dual-employee of the bank and brokerage affiliate, Aaron holds Series 7 and 63 investment licenses and has earned the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) designation. Since 2011, he has also worked as an adjunct finance instructor for St. Petersburg College, teaching a variety of finance, investment and banking courses.




Bradley Gann

Bradley Gann

Upon completion of high school, Brad entered the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman (Medic).  During his early naval career, he completed an Emergency Medical Technologist (EMT) certification, National Apprenticeship program for Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN), Field Medical Service School (Marine, battle field medic), and surgical technologist school.  In 2003 he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  After completing his bachelor’s degree, he was selected and commissioned as a Naval Officer, in 2005.  Later that year he attended the U.S. Army Baylor Program, earning dual Masters degrees in Health Care Administration and Business Administration.

As a Medical Services Corps Officer, Brad held leadership positions in several military hospitals.  In 2009, he deployed with Joint Task Force (JTF) Guantanamo Bay, Cuba serving as the JTF Medical Facility “Director for Administration”.  From 2010-2012 he was nominated and served as the Navy’s “Medical Serve Corps Recruitment Program Manager”.  His final role as a Naval Officer was the Department Head of Managed Care and Health Business Operations for Naval Hospital Rota, Spain.  He was responsible for development and implementation of the hospital’s annual 5-year business plan and its alignment with Military Medicine’s strategic policies. Additionally, he managed the daily operations of seven functional areas to include; business intelligence, access to care, referrals management, customer service, medical translations, utilization management and case management.

During Brad’s Naval career, he spent 9 of the 22 years stationed or deployed outside of the continental Unites States.


Karen Gaskill

Karen Gaskill

After twenty-two years in professional accounting practice, Karen recently transitioned into full time teaching.  She teaches financial and managerial accounting and auditing courses in the undergraduate and graduate programs in the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Karen is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) with extensive experience in public accounting and private industry.  She began her career on the audit staff of McGladrey & Pullen (now RSM) in Charlotte.  There, she had the pleasure of working primarily with the financial institution, auto dealership, and employee benefit plan teams.  In addition to audit and review services, she also provided the tax preparation for her privately held businesses and owners.  Carolina Beverage Corporation, parent company of Cheerwine, a very delicious soft drink, gave Karen her first controller opportunity.  Since then, she has worked almost exclusively with privately held companies in controller and chief financial officer roles, but also served a multi-billion dollar publicly traded company in payroll tax and energy manager positions.  Her consulting practice focuses on process improvement, profit improvement, and strategy development and execution.  She also enjoys helping individuals grow in their roles to meet the ever-changing needs of dynamic organizations.   

Karen has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC, and a Master of Science degree in Accounting with a concentration in Accounting Systems from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  In 2005, she completed a Certificate in Process Management from the University of North Carolina Charlotte.  She completed the AACSB Bridge Program in Long Beach, California in 2007.  Active in her profession, Karen has served on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA) and as a CPA Ambassador for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).  She was the first chairperson of the Financial Literacy Council of the NCACPA and continues to volunteer in financial literacy, chapter, and service events with the association and serve on church and community boards. 


Kathleen Gowin

Kathleen Gowin

Kathleen has built a career that demonstrates it is possible for financial institutions to simultaneously grow revenue and adhere to ever-evolving regulatory controls.  She is a respected leader with 35 years of experience in transaction banking and served as the worldwide Treasury Management executive for the Financial Institutions Group at a top-tier global bank.  The clients in her division drove nearly $1 trillion a day in payment transactions around the world.  She designed and implemented global compliance controls which reduced risk exposure in her division resulting in absolutely no losses in 2009-2011, the height of the financial crisis.

In 2012, Kathleen held a position in Washington, DC, as the interim President and CEO of BAFT, an international banking association.  She drove efforts to unite bankers around the world on issues related to trade payments and to develop governance standards for new trade payments regulations.  During her tenure, a new banking council in Asia began operations.

Since 2015, Kathleen has been an independent consultant advising bank executives and compliance teams on strategies to grow payments revenue while implementing effective risk controls and enterprise-wide governance policies.


Dywanda Idlebird

Dywanda Idlebird

Dywanda E Idlebird is a results-oriented call center operations leader with an impressive track record in building high performing customer centric teams and delivering best-in-class service experience in all aspects of contact center operations. Dywanda has more than 25 years of operational excellence and business solutions experience delivering strong and sustainable gains in efficiency and quality with technology innovations and cost effective solutions.  She has strong tactical experteise of call center key performance indicators, service level agreements and process improvement initiatives with six sigma methodologies. Idlebird currently holds  the role of Senior Direcor of Customer Care and Montioring at ADT Security responsible for leading multiple call centers with over 2500 team members and an annual operational budget of 125M.

A native of the northeast, Dywanda and her husband and their four children calls Florida their home.  Dywanda earned her MBA and undergraduate degree from Jacksonville University and supports her organization as a Public Affairs Representative for the 4th Congressional District and the state of Florida, promoting the interest of ADT and its associates. In addition, she also works with the ADT INROADS internship program to recruit ethnically diverse students interested in pursuing business careers. Dywanda has a strong presence in her community as a business owner and is a member of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist church.


Sweden Kwenda

Sweden Kwenda

Sweden has over 20 years of hands-on business management experience in marketing, operations, information systems, accounting and administration in various middle, senior and executive roles in both for profit and non-profit companies.  He is currently the Executive Director for Tennessee Personal Assistance Inc., a non-profit organization based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Prior to his current position, Sweden served as the Chief Financial Officer of Tennessee Personal Assistance for over eight years.  He has several years of experience in sales and marketing after having worked for National Breweries Ltd, a corporation based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Sweden is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and an active member of the Institute of Management Accountants.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Zimbabwe, a graduate diploma in marketing from the Institute of Marketing Management in South Africa, and a master’s degree in Accounting and Information Systems from Middle Tennessee State University.

Sweden, his wife and two daughters live in Nashville, Tennessee.


Matt Osborn

Matt Osborn

Matt is a results oriented senior information technology professional possessing a unique balance of business, technology, and executive leadership capabilities. He has worked in several industry verticals including insurance, financial services, healthcare and leadership development. Matt currently serves as the Chief Information Officer at National Auto Care in Ponte Vedra, FL. He has also served as an Executive Consultant, CTO, SVP of Sales Operations, SVP of Strategy and Business Development, VP of Operations, Training Manager and Minister.

Matt’s higher education started in 1980 when he attended Milligan College, a Christian Liberal Arts college in East Tennessee, where he majored in Bible and minored in Sociology and Music. He finished his Bachelor’s degree at Barry University in Miami Shores, FL in 1991 with a major in Computer Information Systems.  Matt attended Jacksonville University completing his MBA in 2007. Today he is a Candidate for the Doctor of Business Administration at Jacksonville University, class of 2019.

Matt loves to teach. He is currently a Resource Professor for Jacksonville University and an Adjunct Professor for Johnson University in Kissimmee, FL. He teaches adults in his local church, has served as the governance chair for Family Foundations, Technology Advisor for IBM/Genelco, and is active in several other local non-profits.


Deanna Smith

Deanna Smith

After beginning her career in public accounting with a specialization in Higher Education and A-133 Compliance, DeAnna Smith became the first Director of Budget and Assistant Treasurer at her alma mater, University of Montevallo (UM), Alabama’s designated public liberal arts institution with approximately 3,000 students.  Within one year, she was appointed Vice President of Business Affairs and Treasurer. In this role, DeAnna oversees accounting, human resources, student financial aid, budget, purchasing, and facilities. She advises the president and board on all matters of finance and recommends the University’s strategic allocation of scarce resources.  She serves as a Director for the Montevallo Development Cooperative District and Leadership Shelby County.  DeAnna has also served as a part-time Instructor of Accounting for UM and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

 DeAnna earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from UM in 1999. She graduated summa cum laude and with Superior Academic Achievement, having the highest cumulative grade-point average of College of Business graduates in May 1999. She also received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants Accounting Achievement Award.  DeAnna earned her Master’s in Accounting from the UAB in August 2014. DeAnna was named among Birmingham’s Top 40 under 40 in 2012 and was the recipient of the 2015 Women to Watch Award for Experienced Leaders by the Alabama Society of CPAs.  In 2010, DeAnna was honored by her alma mater with the National Alumni Association’s Nathalie Molton Gibbons Young Achiever’s Award.  DeAnna is affiliated with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Alabama Society of Public Accountants (having previously served on the young CPA task force and young CPA board), Birmingham Young CPAs (as a past president, past vice president and past public relations chair), and the Institute of Internal Auditors.  A graduate of the College Business Management Institute (CBMI), DeAnna is a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers (SACUBO) and serves on the small institution constituent committee of SACUBO.   

In August 2016, she will begin her doctoral studies at Jacksonville University (Jacksonville, FL) in pursuit of a Doctorate in Business Administration.   After a replacement is found for the VP for Business Affairs, DeAnna will transition to the role of full-time Instructor of Accounting at UM and will also serve the President as the Senior Advisor for Budget and Finance. After obtaining the DBA, she intends to become a tenure-track faculty member at an AACSB accredited institution.  DeAnna and her husband, Chris, live in Calera, Alabama with their son, Aidan who 6 years old. 


Melvin Taylor

Melvin Taylor

Melvin is originally from South Bend, Indiana, and joined the United States Marine Corps at the age of 17 in 2001.  He achieved the rank of Sergeant after his first deployment in January of 2002, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.  He was commissioned after completion of his undergraduate degree in Justice Administration.  He currently serves as a Military Officer and Human Resources Director in the Washington, DC, area.  He has held numerous positions of responsibility throughout his military career to include a leadership position within the largest battalion in 1st Marine Division.  Melvin has spent a significant amount of time volunteering in the local community with organizations like the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Melvin has completed a Masters of Public Administration and a Masters of Business Administration.  He is a Six Sigma Black Belt and a recent graduate of Expeditionary Warfare School.  Melvin and his wife Jennifer were married in 2006 and currently reside in Columbia, Maryland with their four children and dog, Brinkley.  The family enjoys walking local trails and taking in history wherever they find themselves.


Dorothy Thompson

Dorothy Thompson

Dorothy is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Florida.  She has been working as an accounting professor for the last eight years and as a corporate accountant for the eight years before that.  As the first full-time business faculty at Ave Maria University, she has had the pleasure of creating the accounting major and watching her department and university enrollment progressively grow.  Being very passionate about her subject matter, she has taught at colleges & universities in Texas, Massachusetts, California and Florida.  Prior to academia, Dorothy worked in the corporate sector for telecommunications companies: Alcatel and MCI; air conditioning manufacturer Lennox Industries and steel foundry Hensley Industries, all located in the Dallas, Texas area.

Upon completion of her DBA, Dorothy plans to pursue a position at an AACSB accredited university where she can continue to grow in her discipline.


Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams

Jennifer has been working for the Defense Contract Audit Agency for over 16 years as an auditor and financial liaison advisor.  The first 10 years, she performed audits on the Department of Defense’s contractors.  These audits were performed for the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and NASA.  The past six years she has been a financial liaison advisor to the U.S. Navy, where she provides accounting, auditing and financial advice in DCAA areas of responsibility.  She is currently a Senior Auditor at the Gulf Coast Branch Office in Pascagoula, Mississippi, where she leads several audits at Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding.

Jennifer earned a BS in Accounting from Norfolk State University and an MBA from Troy University.  Jennifer values the opportunity to be part of the 2016 cohort for Jacksonville University’s Doctor of Business Administration program and looks forward to the new challenge.  After obtaining her DBA, Jennifer plans to work as a business professor and pursue consulting opportunities within the Department of Defense.