Avila Now

July 5, 2024

Avila University Welcomes Five New Members to Board of Trustees

This Summer, Avila University continues to invite new experiences and perspectives into vital campus leadership roles. We are excited to announce the most recent additions to the Avila family with five new esteemed community leaders joining our Board of Trustees.

Joining the Board in preparation for the 2024-25 academic year will be Erica McGeachy Crenshaw, José Antonio Flores, Lisa A. Gioia, Matthew Mellor and Wendy Guillies.

“Our Board of Trustees is comprised of a dedicated team of community leaders with a demonstrated history of providing sound guidance and extraordinary support for our students,” said Jim Burkee, Ph.D, president of Avila University. “As we enjoy historic milestones with enrollment and introduce innovative new programs for our students, we are grateful for the expertise and insights that each new trustee will contribute to Avila’s commitment to providing Education Without Limits.”

Erica McGeachy Crenshaw brings an entrepreneurial mindset with financial expertise and strategic planning and execution. A former Wall Street equity research analyst, she launched an outsourced finance and accounting firm and after her successful direction, she sold the business to pursue local and national work in philanthropy. Crenshaw has published several articles about financial and executive leadership along with strategic initiatives related to nonprofits.

José Antonio Flores provides a wealth of knowledge in international business and education. With a mastery of team building, Flores has worked in the education realm since 1990 and led teams at multiple international education firms such as Kaplan and Angle Continental. Working with international partners, Flores co-founded Prime Education/King’s Education and remains managing director of the organization based in Los Angeles.

Lisa A. Gioia has dedicated most of her 40-year accounting career to serving the nonprofit sector. As a certified public accountant licensed by the state of Missouri, she has collaborated with executive directors, staff members and boards of directors for more than 100 nonprofit organizations to design, implement and maintain computerized financial management systems for financial decision making and reporting purposes. Her accolades also include recognition and honors from more than 20 professional, civic, and community organizations, including the Distinguished Worldwide Humanitarian Award honoree and Ingram’s Local Heroes Award.

Matthew Mellor has been sharing thought leadership and strategic planning for decades. Mellor developed an API-based decisioning tool that is the backbone of some of the largest plan enrollment platforms in the U.S. After selling the company he founded and built, Mellor continued to help the business and was instrumental in the acquisition of two other companies. He is well versed in partner and community development and continues to serve his neighbors as a volunteer, mentor, and community leader.

Wendy Guillies is a seasoned C-suite/senior executive with deep experience in strategy development and execution, talent management and culture, marketing/communications, and board engagement. In her most recent position, Guillies served as interim CEO of Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo. Previously, she was the president and chief executive officer for the $3B Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In 2024, she founded Guillies On Point, a fractional leadership consulting firm. Well-versed in governance practices, Guillies’ experience includes service on for-profit and nonprofit boards at the local, regional, and national levels. She is also a member of the Kansas City Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business program.

With these additions and the recent advancements of Dr. Bryan DePoy, Dr. Andy Jett and Jody Mitchell to chief academic officer, chief growth officer and chief people and belonging officer, respectively, Avila continues to demonstrate our commitment to providing top-of-class resources and respected leadership to our past, current and future students.


Go back to the top