Gaye Tomlinson

--- CEO, Modal Trip ---

I am very motivated to share my life and professional experiences with students, so that I can bring some insight into the world of entrepreneurship, which is the most scary, grueling yet rewarding career path there is.
You've been giving back to the academic community for several years now. What motivates you to be a guest speaker?

“During my MBA, I appreciated every professional who came to our campus and shared their experiences with us, providing a real-world view. Their advice and insights have always been priceless for me. Now, after so many experiences, I feel like it is my turn to be the source of information and hopefully inspiration to bright minds.”

How do you prepare for a speaking engagement?

Depending on the topic of the conversation, I do a lot of research and add my personal experience. I like statistics because it gives people a true insight of what is going on. Then I add real life stories from my experience as well as from other people in my professional network. I try to be as thorough but as easy to understand as possible. I believe simple, clean presentations are always the best format since students remember them easily. I also make sure my talks are as interactive as possible, because I am always curious about what people already now or think about the topic we are discussing. I also always try to leave time to discuss what their take-aways were from my talk and if my talk have changed or improved their knowledge base or point of view.

What advice would you give business owners who wish to commit to education in some way?

Be open to sharing. Be open to look into yourself and see your successes, failures, biggest learning moments and your “I wish I had…” moments. As our own careers mature, I think it is very important and rewarding to give back by sharing our life and professional lessons and Aha moments with young minds, so that they can maybe make one less mistake and get to their goals faster due to our insights. I would also suggest the business owners to talk about the subject matters that they really care about, since they will be their best and most passionate then.

Gaye Tomlinson Bio:

Born and raised in Turkey, Gaye Tomlinson, has been living in the US in the last 23 years. As an engineer, Gaye worked in one of the world’s most prominent biotechnology companies before receiving an MBA degree from Cornell University. Since then Gaye has been a serial entrepreneur, creating a branding, a renewable energy and very recently an ultra-luxury travel company within a 15-year span. Gaye’s renewable energy company , Vaha Energy, received the Best Solar Company in Orange County Award for 3 years in a row and installed solar panels for high profile clients such as Safeway/Vons, LA Lakers and The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. (vahaenergy.com). Her luxury concierge/travel company aims to provide one-in-a-lifetime experiences to her guests through hosted private jet trips to Napa & Sonoma with custom wine tasting and Michelin Star dining. (modaltrip.com) Gaye resides in Orange County, CA with her husband and two children.

Spotlights
I love talking about my work, life, and perspectives. It's a very engaging and fulfilling experience for me to be able to connect with people openly and honestly on that level.
- Adeet Deshmukh
Guest lecturing is rewarding in that it allows me to stay abreast of what the next generation is thinking and what the top academics are concerned about and it allows me to give back and share my wisdom with tomorrows society leaders.
- Rishad Tobaccowalla
There is a distance between the world of academia and industry-- giving back to students with a professional's perspective tightens that distance and gives students invaluable direction for their future.
- Jared Nicol
The divide between the industry and academia is widening. The next generation of graduates are being armed with knowledge and skills that are irrelevant by the time they graduate. Professionals must collaborate with professors and cultivate classrooms where everyone benefits.
- Richie Etwaru
Bringing in communication professionals to guest lecture in my classroom is an excellent way to bring the material home and to further inspire students and to educate them on the various opportunities in our industry.
- Michelle Truelson
One of the biggest challenges for college professors is insuring that real-world demands of work and of professions are represented. Most professors have career experience working as teachers and researchers and don’t necessarily have detailed understanding of the needs of other professions. At the same time, we are expected to help prepare the next generation to move into business and professions. Guest lectures can be one solution to this challenge. Industry experts, corporate leaders, and business professionals can help insure that class content is relevant to the world of work.
- Matthew Seeger, Ph.D.
Most rewarding experience for me is getting students excited about a career in Consumer Insights, and seeing the value of anthropological thinking to consumer research
- Timothy Malefyt, Ph.D.
I am very motivated to share my life and professional experiences with students, so that I can bring some insight into the world of entrepreneurship, which is the most scary, grueling yet rewarding career path there is.
- Gaye Tomlinson
Speaking provides an opportunity for me to teach and share information that can change lives.
- Karen I. Wilson, Ph.D.
Guest lecturing provides an opportunity to connect with community at-large
- Mugdha Yeolekar, Ph.D.
I like talking about PR because it’s something everything thinks they understand - but they really don’t know how it is different from advertising or marketing. I break it down in simple terms and make the tactics and theories very digestible.
- Andrea Holland
I have been very fortunate in my life and career. It’s my pleasure to share my experience to help others get their start.
- Don Lupo