Meet The Panel

Get to know the esteemed CSU staff and faculty who shared their insights and predictions about where the world of work is headed.

Lonny Brooks, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Communication | Cal State East Bay

Lonny J Avi Brooks is an Associate Professor in the department of communication at California State University, East Bay, where he has piloted the integration of futures thinking into the communication curriculum for the last 15 years. Emerging in recent years as a leading voice of Afrofuturism 2.0, Dr. Brooks contributes prolifically to journals, conferences and anthologies on the subject, as well as serving as executive producer and co-creator, with Ahmed Best, of The Afrofuturist Podcast. He is currently the lead co-editor for a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Futures Studies, “When is Wakanda? Afrofuturism and Dark Speculative Futurity." He is lead organizer in Oakland and advisory board member for the Black Speculative Arts Movement (BSAM), co-founded by Reynaldo Anderson, a national and global movement dedicated to celebrating the Black imagination and design. Dr. Brooks serves as creative director for BSAM Futures, which aims to promote, publish and teach forecasting with Afrocentric perspectives in mind using gaming and facilitation for imaginative, action-oriented thinking. He has a passion for creating games to envision social justice futures, including black and queer liberation from Afro-Rithms From The Future to United Queerdom and Futurescope. He and his co-game designer, Eli Kosminsky, are committed to articulating emerging new future visions for traditionally underrepresented voices. He is currently writing his book, “Imagining Queer Futures with Afrofuturism@Futureland: Circulating Afro-Queer futuretypes of Work, Culture and Racial Identity." He recently became a research affiliate with IFTF working with IFTF Research Director Tessa Finlev on the California Equitable Futures Network initiative with the Blue Shield Blue Cross Foundation.

​Philip Greiner, DNSc, RN
Professor and Director, School of Nursing | San Diego State University

Dr. Greiner is professor and director, School of Nursing at San Diego State University, a position he has held for the past seven years. He is the project director for a DHHS/HRSA-funded Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Project linking academic primary care to clinical practice and community-based services for people with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. This project covers San Diego and Imperial Counties, networking four academic units at SDSU and UCSD, two county area agencies on aging, three federally qualified health centers, three PACE programs and four community organizations. He is a member of the CSU AR/VR Immersive Learning Common Interest Group, having worked with Pearson and Microsoft to develop holographic simulations. In addition, Dr. Greiner serves on the WASCU Substantive Change subcommittee and is a CCNE accreditation site visitor. Dr. Greiner has almost 40 years of experience in higher education.

Thomas J. Norman, Ph.D., SPHR
Professor, Management | CSU Dominguez Hills

Professor Norman teaches management at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Thomas received his B.A. from Harvard University cum laude and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Human Resource and Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on the impact of globalization on the future of the employment relationship. As the founder of the Organization Leadership Effectiveness Lab, he is currently examining management education in East Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. He also was a founder of his campus's Innovation Incubator, which teaches social entrepreneurship to more than 15 clients annually. His research teams are conducting field research and experiments to learn about the impact of using augmented reality in interviewing and the effects of workplace aggression on employees. His courses utilize a flipped classroom to enable students to develop management skills through active learning and service learning projects. Previously, Thomas worked in various management roles at several leading corporations, including Procter & Gamble, Cargill, Sun Microsystems, US Bancorp and Wells Fargo.

Sheila Thomas, Ed.D.
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Self-Support Strategy and Partnerships
Dean, Professional and Continuing Education | California State University Office of the Chancellor

Dr. Thomas is the assistant vice chancellor and dean of Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE) for the California State University (CSU) system. She is a veteran administrator in the field of continuing higher education in both public and private institutions. In her system role, Thomas facilitates workforce development opportunities, strategic communication, policy review, advocates for self-support, oversees veterans affairs and co-manages Cal State Online. She serves on industry advisory councils for healthcare and other high-demand fields. Thomas has served as a board member for the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), the National Professional Science Masters Association (NPSMA) and as an ACE women's network representative. Her research interests include women in higher education leadership.