Cynthia Pasky, founder and CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions, or S3, will speak at Saturday’s 10:00 a.m. ceremony and will receive an honorary doctorate of business from the Broad College. She will address graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Broad Business, Education, Music, Social Science, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities and James Madison.
Later that day, Priya Balasubramaniam, Broad College of Business Full-Time MBA alumna and vice president of iPhone operations at Apple Inc., will speak at 2:00 p.m. She will receive an honorary doctorate of engineering, and will address graduates from the colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Communication Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Natural Science, Nursing and Lyman Briggs.
Also representing the Broad College is student commencement speaker, as selected by the senior class council, Sarah Lerche (BA Hospitality Business ’17). “She is a determined and engaged student who clearly has enjoyed learning and challenging herself to succeed. She excelled in the classroom, but has also been highly involved in student clubs as a student leader for most of her career at MSU,” said Jeffrey Beck, associate professor and interim associate director of the School of HB. Lerche served as CEO for Les Gourmets 2017, as well the undergraduate representative for The School of Hospitality Business Advisory Council.
“Our commencement speakers represent the entrepreneurial spirit, grit and compassion of true Spartans,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “Whether leading the nation’s top female-owned company to being named one of the most powerful female, I’m proud to welcome these extraordinary individuals to campus to inspire our next generation of global leaders.”
Full biographies of the speakers and honorary degree recipients follow.
Pasky is founder of Strategic Staffing Solutions, an international, woman-owned $300 million IT and business services corporation based in Detroit.
She is involved in civic and community organizations, serving as chairperson of the Detroit Downtown Partnership board of directors as well as co-chair of Mayor Mike Duggan’s Workforce Development Board. Pasky is also a member of the Business Leaders for Michigan Board of Directors and founding chairperson of the American-Lithuanian Business Council. In addition, she is past chairperson of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
For her leadership, Pasky was named Most Powerful Woman in Business by dBusiness Magazine and has been inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.
With more than 3,600 consultants and 32 offices in the U.S. and Europe, S3 was named among the top 25 woman-owned businesses in the country by Women’s Enterprise USA Magazine.
Named one of most powerful female engineers by Business Insider this year, Balasubramaniam was instrumental in negotiating with the government and setting up production of Apple products in India.
Balasubramaniam is responsible for the organization that handles Apple’s supply chain and manufacturing for iPhones and most recently her organization played a critical role in bringing iPhone X to customers worldwide.
She quickly climbed the ranks at Apple, starting as procurement manager in 2001. Balasubramaniam launched her career after graduating from the Eli Broad College of Business MBA program.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Bangalore University in India.
Ceremonies will be held Friday and Saturday, December 15-16 at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center (Twitter users are invited to follow along using #MSUGrad17).