Rob Vallentine is an Executive in Residence at Saginaw Valley State University. In this role, he is working closely with various departments and student organizations in an effort to reduce the stigma of mental health and strengthen access to resources within the university and the community. Over the last several years, Rob has become a community advocate, focused on breaking the stigma of mental health by sharing his own story of hope, healing and growth with thousands of people. He is a certified trainer for the SafeTALK Suicide Prevention Program and Mental Health First Aid. An employee of Dow for more than 30 years, Rob retired in December 2019 as president of the Dow Company Foundation. Rob was responsible for providing strategic direction for Dow’s $40 million annual philanthropic priorities around the world. He managed implementation of the Foundation’s contributions, with an emphasis on STEM education, sustainability and community development.
JOHN PRISTA FRESHLEY
John Prista Freshley is a serial biotech entrepreneur who co-founded, launched or led nine biotech companies in Michigan. He is now primarily focused on developing and supporting the biotech and entrepreneurial ecosystems in Michigan and Portugal. He actively engages in mentoring young scientists and entrepreneurs to develop the next generation of leaders that will bring great science from our labs to patients in need. As a biotech CEO who was diagnosed with bipolar illness at age 49 after years of deep depressive episodes, he is particularly interested in bringing awareness to the mental health challenges of entrepreneurs and start-up executives.