CFPCA Alumni Council

2017 CFPCA Alumni Council

Bob Doyle

Bob Doyle is Director of Communications at the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is responsible for all comprehensive communications efforts for A3. He has extensive experience in strategic communications planning, media relations, crisis communications and stakeholder relations.

Before coming to A3 in 2013, he was marketing and communications manager at EQ – The Environmental Quality Company. Prior to that, he was an environmental engineer at General Motors.

Doyle holds a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University, a M.S. in Engineering Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a M.A. in Public Relations and Organizational Communication from Wayne State University. Doyle is also a member of the Advisory Council of South Oakland Shelter, a non-profit homelessness assistance agency based in southeast Michigan.

Catia Sabak

Catia Sabak is an Assistant Account Executive at Finn Partners, performing public relations and digital media work for a variety of clients including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Olympia Development of Michigan. Prior to joining Finn Partners, Catia worked on the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's (MEDC) Pure Michigan Business Connect program. She holds a B.A. in public relations from Wayne State University (2016) where she served as the president and regional conference co-chair for the school's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Catia is a current member of the Detroit chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and serves as a member of the Ambassador Board for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Detroit.

Constance Thomas

Constance Thomas currently serves as Diversity Marketing Events Coordinator for General Motor in Detroit. In her day to day, she is the experimental expert that services all four GM Brands (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC). Her main focus is on the African American and Hispanic demographics. She helps drive the Discover The Unexpected Fellowship program along with the Rainbow PUSH Money Matters programs both sponsored by Chevrolet.

In her previous job as an Event Manager for Cobo Center, she has worked and managed events for the North American International Auto Show, NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner and the Motor Golf & Travel Show to name a few. Constance also plans events as the Founder and President of Renee Aaron Events, LLC. She has worked as a consultant in the entertainment industry with Arian Reed of Arian Simone Enterprises on social media, public relations and promotional efforts of national motion pictures, "Sparkle", "Mirror Mirror", "Immortals", "Act of Valor" and "Step Up Revolution".

A graduate of Wayne State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, Constance also holds a Master's degree from Full Sail University in New Media and Journalism, where her capstone project focused on Education Vs. Fine Arts and Finding the Balance between the Detroit Public Schools and the Detroit School of Arts.

Gabrielle Smith

Gabrielle Smith, B.S., is a social entrepreneur striving to make a better way for women and children who aspire to achieve greatness. Combining her passion of dance and fitness, Smith is fostering a way to make dance education and fitness more engaging within the Southeast Detroit Area for women and youth. Gabrielle has co-author The Teen Handbook of Self-Confidence (2010); and Single and Loving It: A Guide for the African American Female (2012) and will soon be releasing her own books The Chronicles of s Budding Entrepreneur and Memoirs of a Plus-Size Dancer.

Smith currently instructs all ages at Detroit-Windsor Dance Academy (DWDA) teaching various styles of dance. Gabrielle will be celebrating eight years teaching master classes for The Detroit School of the Arts Dance Day, prior to graduating in 2007. She is also a contract dance instructor for many afterschool programs in the Southeast Michigan area. Smith has also choreographed for many artists within the metro Detroit area.

Over the years, Gabrielle has acquired a background in ballet, tap, jazz/funk, hip-hop, African, modern, ballroom, and many more styles. Having studied with the world-renown Maggie Allessee Department of Theater and Dance, she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Dance with a minor in Communications Studies (Wayne State University) furthering her passion for dance.

Melanie Davis

Melanie D. Davis, APR is President and CEO for the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Melanie is responsible for the organization's operations and planning/execution of its strategic plan. She develops the organization's annual program of work including developing products, programs, services and events that meet member needs.

Previously, Melanie served as executive director for the Adcraft Club of Detroit, president for Macomb County Chamber and vice president of marketing and communications for the Detroit Regional Chamber. She has spent the last 20+ years in these roles developing a robust track record of increasing revenue growth, acquiring new memberships and executing an integrated approach to serving the needs of the members she served.

Melanie has also spent time as an adjunct professor in public relations for Eastern Michigan University and in marketing at Macomb Community College.

She currently serves on the Board Nominating Committee for the Girl Scouts for Southeastern Michigan and the Detroit Creative Corridor Center's Advisory Board. In the past, she has also served on the boards for the American Red Cross – Southeast Michigan Chapter, the Public Relations Society of America - Detroit Chapter and the Anton Art Center, and was a member of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Communications Committee, the Super Bowl Host Committee Communications Action Team and the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau Image TAG (tourism action group).

Melanie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in public relations and Master of Arts degree in public relations and organizational communication from Wayne State University in Detroit. Melanie is an accredited member of the public relations profession and a graduate of Institutes for Organization Management (a training program designed specifically for chamber of commerce and association management professionals), the Center for Creative Leadership, Leadership Detroit XXV and Leadership Macomb X.

Natalie Frakes

Violinist Natalie Frakes is an experienced performer and educator and believes deeply in using music as a vehicle for social change. Natalie graduated from Wayne State University's music program in 2014 with distinction where she studied with Dr. Laura Roelofs. In addition to being an advocate for music education and outreach, she is Director of Orchestras for Oxford Community Schools.

Natalie is a verstaile violinist who enjoys playing an eclectic mix of genres and styles. She has performed a diverse roster of musical talent including Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Natalie is a member electro-pop violin band NUCLASSICA. 

A passionate educator, Natalie has served as a strings instructor and teaching artist in a number of programs for underserved youth. Her experiences include positions at Wayne State University's recent String Project@Wayne, Detroit's Urban Stringz, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Civic Youth Ensembles, the Dearborn Youth Symphony, and the esteemed Sphinx Organization. She has been a summer teaching artist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's El-Sistema inspired OrchKids and traveled to Costa Rica to work with their El Sistema, Sistema de Nacional Educácion Musical.

Steve Barnaby

Steve Barnaby's varied career includes serving as a newspaper editor and publisher; as a health care governance board member; and as a mediation and facilitation practitioner. He is CEO of Century Communications Group and its affiliates Beta Business Task force and Barnaby Challenge Retreats.

His past positions include editor and publisher of the Observer & Eccentric Newspapers and chairman of Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills. He was the founding board chair of Community Emergency Medical Services (CEMS), and a charter board member and chair of Southeastern Michigan Hospice. Steve served as a member of the American Hospital Association (AHA) Leadership Development Committee and of the AHA Committee on Governance. He is a graduate Fellow of the Michigan Hospital Association's Excellence In Governance Leadership program.

He also worked at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research as a master trainer.

Steve is a 1972 Wayne State School of Journalism graduate. His honors include the Walter F. Patenge Medal of Public Service, awarded by Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Roderick J. Smith Hospital Trustee Award. 

Taylar Kobylas

Taylar Kobylas is an Account Executive at Finn Partners, a mid-size public relations firm with offices worldwide. She joined the team in 2015 with a background in social media and digital strategy in health care, B2B and consumer industries. Prior to joining Finn, she served as a specialist on the social media team at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

In her current role, Taylor serves as the day-to-day contact for various clientele, performs data measurement and analysis, executes paid social media strategy, and regularly develops social media and blog content. She is passionate about innovative content strategies and loves to develop stories that elevate brands in the social media space.

Taylar is a graduate of Wayne State University where she earned a bachelor's degree in public relations with a minor in Italian in 2014. She served on the executive board of the James S. Measell Chapter of PRSSA at Wayne State and was a member of the Lambda Pi Eta honor society. In her free time, she also writes freelance for

Maurice Draughn

Maurice Draughn is a versatile performer and experienced educator. Maurice is a native of Detroit and proud alumnus of Wayne State University where he earned a Bachelor of Music with a concentration in Harp Performance and certification in Vocal Music Education. In addition to his studies at WSU, he completed two summers of study at the Tanglewood Institute. Maurice earned a Master of Church Music with a concentration in Harp and Organ Performance from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville Kentucky. He is currently an active performer in the Metro Detroit area and beyond as a harpist, choral director and organist. In addition to performing he is also an arranger and member of the Modern Harp Quartet. As an educator, Maurice taught vocal music in schools throughout Metro Detroit. Prior to his current role as an academic advisor, Maurice served as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Music at WSU .  He is passionate about empowering students to achieve their goals in music, academics and life. One of his favorite quotes is by the harpist and composer Carlos Salzedo, "There is nothing difficult. There are only NEW things, unaccustomed things."

Laura Makar

Laura Makar was born in Buffalo, NY and grew up in Toledo, OH.  She earned her BFA, Bowling Green State University, OH, in 2009 and her MFA at Wayne State University (WSU) in 2014.  She was awarded the 2013 Thomas C. Rumble Graduate Fellowship, WSU, and recently received an award for her artwork at the 2015 MFAC Exhibition, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center.  Laura has exhibited her work locally and nationally; including exhibitions in California, Georgia, New York, and North Dakota.  Laura was recently selected for solo exhibitions at ROY G BIV Gallery, Columbus, OH, and Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH.  Currently, Laura serves as Gallery Manager at the Elaine L. Jacob Gallery and Art Department Gallery, WSU.

Thomas Pyrzewski

Thomas Pyrzewski was born in Detroit and received a his B.F.A. from the College for Creative Studies and M.F.A. from Wayne State University. He is a sculptor, performance artist and director of galleries and special programming at WSU.


Phillip Moss

Dr. Phillip W. Moss is chair of the creative and performing arts department at University Liggett School. He oversees curriculum and staff development in drama, music and visual arts in a program that spans PreK through 12th grades. Dr. Moss is a member of the Educational Theatre Association/International Thespian Society, National Arts Educational Association, Americans for the Arts, Michigan Youth Arts Association, and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Margaret Edwartowski 

Margaret Edwartowski received her BFA in acting from Wayne State University in 1996.   She was a mainstage cast member with The Second City Detroit writing and performing in ten revues.  Over the last fifteen years, Margaret spearheaded numerous improv, sketch writing, corporate theatre and play reading programs in the Detroit metro area at venues such as Planet Ant Theatre, Gem and Century Theatres, and the Boll Family YMCA.  In addition to her acting and improvisation credits, Margaret is a playwright and has had many of her plays produced and read at local theatres including:  Planet Ant Theatre, 1515 Broadway, The Ringwald Theatre, The Furniture Factory and Performance Network Theatre.  In 2013 she won a Wilde Award for Best New Script for her play Hamtown Races.  Currently Margaret is the Executive Director of Y Arts Detroit, overseeing and creating arts education and enrichment programs.