Leadership Ohio Announces Class of 2021

Forty-three Leadership Ohio Fellows join ranks to transform Ohio

Leadership Ohio announces the selection of 43 Leaders as Leadership Ohio Fellows for Cohort XXVIII of the state’s most prestigious and longest-running statewide leadership program. The Class of 2021-- the second largest class in the program’s history-- is comprised of accomplished professionals from the private sector, government, and non-profit arenas.

Within this year’s diverse cohort are a range of individuals transforming Ohio. Among them are:

  • Deborah Aubert Thomas, President and CEO of Philanthropy Ohio, an organization focused on a just and vibrant Ohio through impactful philanthropy, amid a landscape of $1.9 billion in foundation giving.

  • Thomas Henderson, MBA, CFA, the Director of Corporate Development for Ohio’s largest private sector employer—The Cleveland Clinic—who leads the team responsible for mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures in the finance division of this multinational academic medical center and health system that generates $11 billion in annual revenue for the Buckeye State. 

  • Dion Green, MBA, the Founder and CEO of Flourishing Under Distress Given Encouragement (FUDGE) Foundation who supports survivors of traumatic experiences; Green’s nonprofit was inspired by the August 2019 mass shooting that occurred in Dayton, Ohio which claimed his father’s life and many other innocent victims. 

  • Mary McDonald, Mayor of the City of Trotwood, Ohio, who has fearlessly led the growth of this 24,000-citizen city through continued recovery from the devastating 2019 tornados in addition to the Coivd-19 pandemic, and,

  • Rick Stockburger, the President and CEO of BRITE Energy Innovators, who’s transforming the post-industrial Midwest and Appalachia through technology-based economic development: In under four years, BRITE brought multiple out-of-state businesses to Ohio, increased venture capital funds and revenue times 20 for its client companies.

“Our 2021 Fellows are leading the way in everything from pandemic recovery to creating a more just society,” said Dr. Lisa Duty, Executive Director of Leadership Ohio. “Each Fellow, now a part of this very special XXVIII congress, is building a stronger Ohio, and a better quality of life for all Ohioans.” 

The Class of 2021 represents 13 major sectors and multiple cities from across the state. It includes four elected officials, multiple appointed officials, both public and private institution leadership, and 35% are minorities and more than half are women. Seventy-three percent of Fellows have earned a master’s degree or higher—and for the first time, first generation college-going individuals comprise the majority of this class of leaders. 

Over the course of the year, the Fellows will engage with LO’s unique network of scholars, activists, innovators and influencers. Leadership Ohio provides impactful civic leadership development opportunities, and provides exposure to an important network of decision makers, including high ranking state officials. Perhaps most importantly, Fellows will be supported in developing Ohio Impact Projects that respond to conditions of inequity and injustice. 

Leadership Ohio’s Alumni go on to occupy positions of influence in leading companies, key government agencies, elected office, civic organizations and boardrooms.

“I am humbled by the number of outstanding leaders that will be joining our 2021 Leadership Ohio Class. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, and together will be a powerful force of collaboration and purpose to move Ohio forward to be the best state to live and work,”  said Nan Baker, Board President. 

This year's program will launch virtually on April 16 and feature a new partnership between Leadership Ohio and the acclaimed National Institute on Civil Discourse. 

Announcing the Leadership Ohio Class of 2021

Ugochi Akoi, Consultant, Educational Service Center of Central Ohio

As a State Support Team Consultant, Ugochi Akoi is responsible for supporting the local public school districts and community schools’ personnel that are focused on improving the academic achievement of all student groups they serve. Akoi serves as a coach and directly supports the districts’ collaborative teams in their implementation of the Ohio Improvement Process and goal of sustainable improvement. 

Given that Akoi has an unrelenting passion to reduce vulnerable students’ learning and achievement gaps as well as advocate for students’ right to equitable academic opportunities that enable them to access an exemplary future, she is involved in organizations that align with that personal mission. Therefore, Akoi serves as a board member of Inspire2Teach1, Inc., a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure that vulnerable and at-risk student populations have access to critical information and resources that could increase their opportunities in the fields of education, the arts, finance, health and wellness. In addition, Akoi is the President of the Alumni Chapter of the Central Ohio Parent Leadership Training Institute (COPTLI). COPTLI’s program is geared towards developing parent leaders that would aid in improving children’s outcomes.  

Akoi earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University and her Master’s in Public Health degree from Temple University. She currently lives in Columbus with her husband and children.  

Derek Anderson, Assistant Director, Department of Public Utilities, City of Columbus 

Derek Anderson is the Assistant Director of the Department of Public Utilities overseeing community engagement and inter-departmental projects. Anderson was also elected a Lay Member of the Judicial Council (Supreme Court) of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and currently serves as the Council Secretary. 

Anderson has served as the Chairman of the Environmental Health Sciences Advisory Board for The Ohio State University College of Public Health, and President of the Central State University Foundation Board of Trustees. In addition, Anderson is a member of the National Diversity Expertise Panel for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and served as the Chairman of the Franklin County Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Board. Anderson is highlighted in Who’s Who in Black Columbus and was honored as a 40 under 40 awardee from Rejuvenate Magazine. 

Deborah Aubert Thomas, President and CEO, Philanthropy Ohio

As president and CEO of Philanthropy Ohio, Deborah Aubert Thomas brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from over 28 years in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. She is committed to leading and equipping Ohio philanthropy to be effective, powerful change agents in their communities. 

Aubert Thomas previously served as vice president, programs and learning and provided vision and oversight for all Philanthropy Ohio educational programs. She has also served as director of grants and programs at the Princeton Area Community Foundation and has experience coordinating a diversity internship program for Women & Philanthropy; developing the National Girls Inc. Media Literacy after-school program; and coordinating the Leadership Scholars program at the Institute for Women’s Leadership, Rutgers University. Aubert Thomas serves on the board of directors for Grantmakers for Effective Organizations and previously on the board of the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. She holds a Master of Arts from the Steinhardt School of Education, New York University and a Master of Science from the Milano Graduate School, New School University. 

Stephanie Baker, Principal, Highland Park Elementary School

Stephanie Baker is the principal at Highland Park Elementary School, a diverse Title 1,  K-4 elementary school in South-Western City Schools. She has been the principal there for eight years. During her time at Highland Park, the staff worked closely with the Franklin County Family and Children First Council Building Better Lives program to implement in-depth training on trauma-informed care, social-emotional learning and meeting the needs of all students. In addition, Highland Park is a Project School with Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. As a Project School, Highland Park staff receives in-depth coaching around best practices in literacy.

Prior to becoming a principal, Baker worked as the K-12 Math/Science Curriculum Coordinator in South-Western City Schools. She helped lead the implementation of new state standards and the Model Curriculum for science in the district. Before that time, Baker worked as a teacher for approximately 13 years.

Baker is dedicated to the improvement of schools to meet the needs of all children. Currently her focus is on social justice and how to address inequities within her school and district.

Rick Boggs, Executive Director and District Manager, University Hospitals

Rick Boggs is currently an Executive Director and District Manager of Environmental Services at University Hospitals Health System. Boggs has over 35 years of housekeeping management experience. Career beginnings in hospitality in NYC luxury hotels led to opportunities to lead housekeeping operations at several world-famous hotels. He has designed cleaning and customer service programs for premier retail establishments and hotel chains. Upon transitioning his skills to the healthcare sector, Boggs has served as Director, Regional Director and Executive Director of Environmental Services at some of the largest hospitals and healthcare systems in the country.

Over the past six years, Boggs has been leading the Environmental Services operations for all community hospitals within the University Hospitals Health System. Establishing cleaning standards, developing brand standards and training staff on the importance of their roles are just some of the factors that have helped raise the UH System patient experience cleanliness scores by 35 percentile points. 

Todd Bradley, Ph.D., Policy Director, Ohio Mayors Alliance 

The Ohio Mayors Alliance is a non-profit coalition of most of the largest cities in Ohio, as well as several medium-sized cities. Bradley, originally from Newark, Ohio, works with mayors throughout the state facilitating and fostering initiatives in the areas of police reform; educational attainment/equity; economic and workforce development; infrastructure; protecting home rule; strengthening democracy and confronting the opioid epidemic. 

Prior to his appointment in August 2020 as the Policy Director of the Ohio Mayors Alliance, Bradley had 17+ years of experience in Higher Education as a professor and researcher. His primary area of research was localized democratization efforts in emerging markets, including China and Cuba. As well, Bradley has served as a consultant on advisory boards in higher education, as well as a consultant for a global firm that provides consulting services for domestic and international-based multinational corporations. 

Bradley received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the State University of New York-Binghamton. He currently lives in Westerville with his wife, Vickie. 

Shon Christy, President, Shon Christy Social Media

Shon Christy is the President of Shon Christy Social Media where he specializes in social media strategy, training, consulting and management with clients all over the globe. Christy is also credited with opening Ohio’s first niche social media agency in 2010.  Ever the entrepreneur, Christy has even launched Beckett’s Buddies, a fundraising group supporting individuals with Down syndrome, in honor of his ten year-old son Beckett that has raised about $100,000 for causes locally. He is a proud native of Stow where he resides with his wife and 6 children.

Christy has a rich history steeped in community service. He is a past president of The Rotary Club of Akron, and has served as the Chili Open co-chairman (2 years), PR chairman,  and President-Elect in the club as well. Additionally, he has served on the Board of United Disability Services, The LuMind Foundation (Down syndrome cognition research), The Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs, Stow Library Foundation, Summit Housing, past Chairman of The University of Akron's Institute for Leadership Advancement, and the United Way of Summit County where he was also the past Young Leaders Society Chairman, past president of Stow Youth Football and Cheerleading. Christy is a member and Vice President of the 31st class of Leadership Akron and serves on the boards of the Greater Akron Chamber (Executive Committee), the Greater Akron Chamber Business Owners Council Chairman, Jobs for Ohio's Graduates, The University of Akron's Taylor Institute, The Marketing Department Advisory Board at The University of Akron, President of the World Elite Booster Club, and is a fourth term president of The Stow Schools Foundation. Lastly, he has been involved with his national fraternity (Sigma Nu) as an advisor for over 20 years and is currently the Division Commander for the Great Lakes Beta region.

Jason Crabill, Executive Director, Decorative Arts Center of Ohio

Jason Crabill is Executive Director of the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio (DACO), a position he has held since July 2020. During his short time at DACO, Crabill has focused on finding ways to continue engaging with all members of the community through innovative (and mostly virtual) programming during the extended closure of the museum building due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Crabill began his museum career as an educator and in exhibit development at COSI in Columbus and has spent the last 14 years at the Ohio History Connection, where he served in several capacities, primarily focused on the care of  - and increased access to - Ohio’s archival and material culture history, as well as working to ensure that the voices of Ohioans of all backgrounds and identities, both past and present, are given the agency and space to be heard. 

In addition to his work in museums, Crabill has also served in leadership positions in professional organizations at the state and national levels, and currently serves on the boards of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society and the Robbins-Hunter Museum, and is in his final year of service as Board President for the Ohio Museums Association. He holds an MLIS from Kent State University, a BA in Anthropology from Ohio University, and is a graduate of the Seminar for Historical Administration (now the History Leadership Institute), facilitated by the American Association for State and Local History. Crabill lives in Columbus with his wife, Melanie, and their 12 year old daughter.

Dr. Carmela G. Daniels, DSW, LISW-S, Department of Veteran Affairs  

Dr. Carmela G. Daniels, DSW, LISW-S is a licensed clinical social worker with the State of Ohio who holds a  DSW (Doctorate in Social Work) from Capella University. She holds an MSW (Masters of Social Work) from Florida International University, BA in Social Work from Capital University and an Associates Degree in Mental Health from Sinclair Community College. She is employed with the Department of Veterans Affairs and has a wide range of professional and clinical background experience in serving veterans and their families. 

Dr. Daniels is a strong leader in the Dayton community, working to serve all populations who are in need. She is the owner of Dr. Carmela Daniels Mentoring & Counseling; LLC. Dr. Daniels is an educator in higher learning, she provides individual mentoring and professional coaching, conducts workshops and presentations, as well as public and keynote speaking engagements throughout Ohio. Dr. Daniels is a member of various local and national organizations such as Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Top Ladies of Distinction (TLOD) and Federally Employed Women (FEW). She remains dedicated to working with people from a variety of backgrounds and enhancing the community. Dr. Daniels is a proud mother of two children, Mekhi and Morgan, and she enjoys traveling and spending time with families and friends. 

Dr. Zaria Davis, Senior Associate, Pretrial Justice Institute 

Dr. Zaria Davis is a mentor, educator, and advocate. She is Senior Associate with Pretrial Justice Institute focusing on advocacy and community engagement. Davis owns New Direction Coaching & Consulting, LLC. As Founder of Filling The Gap Reentry Services, servicing formerly incarcerated women, Davis serves on UnlockHigherEd Steering Committee, Ed Trust's Justice Fellows Advisory Board, and Executive Board for the Division of Convict Crim with American Society of Criminology.

Dr. Davis holds a DSW from Capella University, MSW from University of Cincinnati and BA in Sociology from Wilberforce University. She is pursuing her MDiv at Eden Theological Seminary. Davis is a JustLeadershipUSA Leading with Conviction 2019 Graduate, Community Leaders Institute 2019 graduate, Excel XIV 2019-20 graduate and Leadership Cincinnati Class 44. She serves as a board member for Dress for Success Cincinnati, Robert O'Neal Multicultural Art Center, and OJPC. Davis is a member of the Rotary Club, Impact 100, Junior League of Cincinnati, International Coaching Federation, NABCJ, NASW, NABSW, NACRJ, Society for Social Work and Research, and Wilberforce Alumni Association.

Dr. Davis is actively engaged in developing and training new advocates, especially those impacted by the criminal legal system. She is a Subject Matter Expert with Jamii Sisterhood. Davis has served on panels, as both a participant and moderator. She is passionate about reducing the prison population, fully restoring directly impacted people’s citizenship and access to higher education during and after incarceration through coaching, consulting, conducting workshops and presentations, facilitation, as well as public and keynote speaking engagements throughout the country. Davis enjoys hiking, boxing, and travel. She is the proud mother of a college student and two bonus children.

Shelley Dickstein, Dayton City Manager

Shelley Dickstein was appointed City Manager by the Dayton City Commission on February 3, 2016. As City Manager, Dickstein oversees a City budget of over $600 million and a workforce of approximately 1,900 employees.

Dickstein, who previously served as Interim City Manager and Assistant City Manager, has 20 years of urban administration and economic development experience. She has a demonstrated record of successful collaboration with business, community and government leaders. During her tenure, she has structured and overseen the completion of 125 development projects that created 4,800 new jobs, supported the retention of 15,000 jobs, and leveraged over $260 million of development in the Dayton community.

Her experience in the City of Dayton organization includes serving as Special Projects Administrator, Senior Development Specialist and Citizen Participation Coordinator. She has also led special efforts including the City's customer service initiative and employee wellness program. 

Dickstein has served on a number of community and partner organization boards including the Dayton Development Coalition Priority Development and Advocacy Committee, the Dayton Montgomery County Port Authority Board, the City Wide Development Corporation Board and the Downtown Dayton Partnership Board. In her spare time Dickstein enjoys fitness and recreation activities and spending time with her husband Gary and twin children, Aaron and Abigail.

Trish Factor, MPH, MCHES, CHEP, CPST, Health Commissioner, Galion City Health Department

Trish Factor is the Health Commissioner for the Galion City Health Department, a role she has been in for 6 years. Factor has worked for the last 15 years in Ohio Public Health agencies.  Factor has her Bachelor’s Degree in Allied Health Professions from the Ohio State University and a Masters Degree in Public Health Administration from the Northwest Consortium for Public Health. She started her career as a Public Health Emergency Response Planner, a role where she wrote plans for the public health response to emergencies, trained personnel, and coordinated the Medical Reserve Corps.

Factor is a member of the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners (AOHC), the Ohio Public Health Association (OPHA), and the Ohio Society for Public Health Education (OSOPHE). Factor is credentialled as a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), a Certified Healthcare Emergency Professional (CHEP) through the International Board for Certification Services and Management (IBFCSM), and a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) through Safe Kids Worldwide.

Factor is the Chairman for the Crawford County Health Partners, is a member of the Crawford County United Way Advisory Board and has been recognized as a STEM Exemplar by the Ohio Academy of Science. Factor has spoken at numerous national conferences on the topic Emergency Response and has designed training exercises and drills at the local, regional, and national levels. She has coordinated Community Health Assessments and Community Health Improvement Plans in Crawford County as well as worked with various community partners to implement the plans. She has also collaborated on the published research article “Human Development and Controlled Substance Prescribing in Ohio Counties,” Ohio Journal of Public Health. Factor lives in Mount Gilead, OH with her 2 children, Kinsey (16) and AJ (14).

Victoria Frye, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Oakmont Education LLC, Executive Director, DEI and Wellness 

Victoria Frye is a professional with 20+ years of human resource management experience, the last 17 years have been in education, state and non-profit arenas. She has extensive experience in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, training and development, strategic human resource planning, performance management, staffing, federal and state law compliance, employment contract negotiations, compensation, recruitment, and management coaching.

Frye holds an MBA from University of Phoenix, and a Bachelors in Business and a Bachelors in Human Resources from Franklin University.  Frye has worked with the prestigious National Multicultural Institute in Washington DC to become a Certified Diversity Trainer and Leader. As a past adjunct professor for Ashland College she has developed curriculum for Teachers, Principals and Public Leaders regarding culture competency, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Bias.  Frye is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and holds a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) designation/certification.  Frye also holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation/certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI).  Frye has actively participated in the Wellness/Wellbeing space for over three decades, she is a certified Yoga Instructor (over 800 hours of training) specializing in Trauma informed, Resiliency, Meditation, Inclusive Yoga, Cultural Competency and implicit Bias In Yoga.  Frye is a Trainer for several Yoga Teacher Trainee Certification Programs in Central Ohio.  

Frye is also a Certified Urban Zen Integrative Therapist and an End of Life (EOL) Doula who serves Undervalued, underrepresented and underserved populations through her Non-Profit “Black Lotus Sanctuary” (501c3 pending). Frye has in the past served on the Central Ohio American Red Cross (ARC) Blood Services Board and past Chair of the ARC Diversity Leadership Council (DLC).  Frye is currently serving on the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Ohio African American Advisory Council. 

Michael E. Gaines, R.T.(R)(CI)(ARRT), Clinical Manager Cardiac Cath Lab, Memorial Health System

Michael Gaines is the Clinical Manager of the Cardiac Cath Lab for Memorial Health System in Marietta, Ohio. Gaines has 14 years of experience working with patients in the Cardiac Cath Lab. He transitioned into his role of Clinical Manager in 2019.

Gaines earned an Associate of Applied Science degree and successfully completed the Radiology Technology program at Washington State Community College. He also earned a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree at West Virginia University – Parkersburg. He is credentialed in Diagnostic Radiography and Cardiac-Interventional Radiography by The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. He is also an active member of The American Society of Radiologic Technologists.

Gaines currently resides in Parkersburg, West Virginia with his wife and five-year-old son. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time in the outdoors and taking weekend trips with his family.

Allen Gallant, Director of Community Development, Metroparks Toledo

Allen Gallant is the Chief of Community Development for Metroparks Toledo, a park district that works to conserve, preserve and restore natural areas that provide remarkable environmental and economic value for all of northwest Ohio. In his role, he is an active participant in community conversations, ensuring that the Metroparks are constantly evolving to serve the needs of the community through efficient and effective planning and delivery of services.

As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, Allen coordinates efforts to ensure projects include equitable and inclusive community engagement. Additionally, Allen oversees Metroparks external grant requests and recently led the effort to secure a $24 million dollar federal grant for the future Glass City Riverwalk.

Allen received a B.A. in History from Rider University and an M.A. in International Development from Clark University. As part of his commitment to service, he previously served as Peace Corps volunteer in Uzbekistan and Morocco and an AmeriCorps VISTA in Bozeman, Montana. Allen currently resides in the Toledo, Ohio area with his wife and two children.

Dion Green, MBA, Founder/CEO of Flourishing Under Distress Given Encouragement (FUDGE) 

Dion Green is the Founder/CEO of Flourishing Under Distress Given Encouragement (FUDGE), a 501c3 non profit that helps survivors through traumatic experiences with resources and support. Green recently finished his MBA at Keller's Graduate School in Business Administration with a minor in Entrepreneurship, and holds a Bachelor of Science from DeVry University in Business Administration. 

Green is an advocate on gun violence and on gun legislation which was inspired by the mass shooting that occurred in Dayton, Ohio in August of 2019, which claimed his father’s life and many other innocent victims. He speaks around the country and speaks in the communities that have been impacted by gun violence. Green authored a memoir called Untitled Act of God/Act of Man sharing his tragedies and demonstrating a sense of resilience through his journey by forgiving and giving back to his community.

In addition to his Foundation, gun legislation advocacy service, and gun rally participation, he serves on the Board of Felons with a Future, Upturn Ohio and numerous other community initiatives and support networks across the country.

Green has spent the past 5 years as a real estate investor and served as a case manager with St. Vincent Depaul Homeless Shelter as a Case Manager. He currently resides in Dayton with his fiancée and 13 year old daughter.

Kristie Groves, Director of Resident Services, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA)

Kristie Groves is the Director of Resident Services for the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA). She provides leadership at all levels in the community with the goal of higher and improved program access, engagement and support for the residents of CMHA. She has executive oversight over youth and adult programming and initiatives, the US Department of Housing & Urban Development self-sufficiency grants, case management and senior services. Groves oversees the development and maintenance of partnerships with community stakeholders to connect CMHA residents to critical programs, resources and services. Her leadership helps to fulfill the CMHA mission to create safe, quality, affordable housing opportunities and improve the quality of life for the communities CMHA serves.

Groves has nearly 30 years of experience in social and human services with county government. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work and is licensed with the State of Ohio’s Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. She serves as an Advisory Board Member of the Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services. She is a fellow of the Cleveland State University Leadership Academy. Groves was awarded the 2016 Resident Service Award from Nan McKay and Associates, Inc. for the development and implementation of Conversation Over Pizza (COP), an initiative to provide a platform for residents to engage in productive dialogue around important community matters. The COP initiative also received an Honorable mention from the HAI Group in 2016 and since then, has been replicated at housing authorities throughout the nation.

Nichelle Harris Shaskus, Managing Director of Education, YWCA Columbus

Nichelle Harris Shaskus has been a passionate leader in the field of school age child care, after school and summer learning for over 30 years. Before joining the YWCA Columbus, Harris was the Executive Director of the Ohio Afterschool Network, where she worked to inform state and federal after school and summer learning policy, connect people across the state of Ohio, and helped advise the Out-of-School-Time field on national trends and best practices. At the YWCA Columbus Harris works to advance the intersection of equity and education in Central Ohio, championing the voices of disadvantaged and homeless youth through advocacy and policy work. Harris is a past C.S. Mott Foundation White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellow, a National Afterschool Association Emotional Intelligence Fellow and has chaired several national leadership committees for the Out-of-School-Time field. Harris is also a seasoned national presenter on building collaborations and adult learning strategies, presenting for the National QRIS Conference, NASA’s NOSL Conference, C.S. Mott Foundation National Network Meeting, and the National Afterschool Association’s Annual Convention. Harris holds an Education degree from the Ohio State University.

Candice Harrison, External Communications Manager, Toledo Public Schools

Candice L. Harrison is the External Communications Manager for Toledo Public Schools and owner/president of Synergy Engagement. A native Toledoan, Harrison received a bachelor’s degree from The University of Toledo and her master’s degree in communications from Spring Arbor University. She most recently served as Director of Communications for Toledo Museum of Art and Senior Communications manager for the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium. She also served as director of the School Hubs Initiative at Scott High School, where she was involved in fundraising and community engagement.

Harrison received the 20 Under 40 Leadership Award in 2014 and the Top Community Voices Award from the United Way of Greater Toledo in 2013 in recognition of her assistance as a volunteer during the annual campaign. Her many activities include past membership on the board of trustees for both the University of Toledo Alumni Association and Leadership Toledo, as well as serving on the African-American Leadership Council of United Way of Greater Toledo (AALC). Through her work with AALC as co-chair she helped to improve the areas of education, income and health for African-American families in the Toledo region.

Harrison is a member of the board of trustees for The Arts Commission and the Ohio School Public Relations Association (OHSPRA) and is also a committee chair for Rotary Club of Toledo. She is Vice President of the Press Club of Toledo and a member of Public Relations Society of America. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and the Toledo Chapter of Links Inc.

Thomas Henderson, MBA, CFA, Director of Corporate Development, Cleveland Clinic

Thomas Henderson is the Director of Corporate Development in the Finance Division at Cleveland Clinic, a multinational academic medical center and health system that generates $11 billion in annual revenue and is the largest private sector employer in Ohio. In collaboration with Cleveland Clinic's Strategy Office and Investment Office, he executes mergers, acquisitions, member substitutions, affiliations, joint ventures, direct investments, co-investments and divestitures.

Henderson supported Cleveland Clinic's strategic transactions with Akron General Health System, Martin Health System, Indian River Health System, Union Hospital and Mercy Medical Center. He recently participated in the formation of a telehealth-focused joint venture with American Well and is currently launching a private equity co-investment program with the Investment Office. Previously, Henderson supported the commissioning of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. He also has prior experience in management consulting and investment banking.

Henderson earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance from Case Western Reserve University and completed an executive education program in Competitive Strategy at Harvard Business School. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and a Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (FHFMA). He is also Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV).

Henderson is a Parish Council member at Saint Raphael in Bay Village. He served two terms as a City Council representative in Bay Village and was a Trustee for the Bay Village Foundation. He also served on the Board of Directors of Promise Partners, a non-profit organization that helps entrepreneurs buy, grow and sell businesses while creating jobs.

Maria E. Iafelice, Senior Manager of Learning, Toledo Museum of Art

Maria E. Iafelice is an innovative educator and creative leader with experience in art museums and the nonprofit sector. Dedicated to making art accessible, she joined the Toledo Museum of Art in 2015, where she currently serves as the senior manager of learning and leads key art making and outreach initiatives including TMA’s award-winning Teen Leaders program and Circle, an affinity group dedicated to inclusive and innovative programming. Iafelice previously held positions at the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning in Cleveland, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Akron Art Museum. Iafelice was selected to be part of the Museum Leadership Institute’s 2018 Next Gen leadership program and recently recognized as the 2019 Emerging Professional of the Year by the Ohio Museums Association. 

Iafelice sits on the Collingwood Art Center’s board of directors and is a member of The Arts Commission’s artist services committee. A youth advocate, Iafelice previously volunteered as a mentor for first generation college students with College Now Greater Cleveland and as co-chair for the City of Toledo’s youth empowerment & engagement committee. Iafelice’s research expertise is an intersection between contemporary art practice and pedagogy with publication in the Journal of Childhood Studies and has exhibited art locally and internationally; she has earned a M.A. and B.A. in Art Education from Kent State University.

Emily A. Keeler, MA, Council President, City of Grandview Heights; Wellness and Community Builder, The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy

Emily A. Keeler, MA, currently works at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy as the Wellness and Community Builder where she connects the university and local community in outreach and engagement efforts. She was awarded the Outstanding Staff Award in 2017 and has helped to secure numerous grants and awards for the college. In addition to outreach efforts, Keeler also plans and executes wellness efforts for the College of Pharmacy and serves on the interdisciplinary Medicine and the Arts Board.

In addition to her duties at Ohio State, Keeler serves as Council President in Grandview Heights, Ohio where she has supported multimodal transportation efforts, transparency and communications in government, expanding environmentally-conscious legislation, and arts programming. During her tenure she has served many roles including the liaison for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), Finance Committee Chair, and member of the Traffic Advisory Group.

Previously she has worked with The Florida State University College of Music, The Florida State University College of Education, Marcus Roberts and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. Keeler received her Master of Art in Arts Administration from Florida State University and her Bachelor of Art and Bachelor of Music in horn performance from The University of Akron. 

Emily Kerber, Utility Operations Manager, City of Lima

Emily Kerber is the Utility Operations Manager for the City of Lima. She has served the City and its customers in various roles within the Utilities department for over eight years. She has Class III licenses in both water and wastewater treatment, as well as lab analyst certifications. She is a member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and Water Environment Federation (WEF). She has won state competitions within these organizations in Top Ops and Hydrant Hysteria. She is also a member of the Ohio AWWA Utility Council.  

While working full-time for the City of Lima, Kerber went to law school at Ohio Northern University (ONU) and graduated Valedictorian in 2018. She was an associate editor for the ONU Law review, in which she has one article published. She was sworn into the Ohio Bar in November, 2018.  Kerber received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Psychology, with a minor in Spanish, from the University of the Cumberlands in 2012.   

Kerber currently resides in Lima, Ohio with her eight year old son. Kerber enjoys volunteering and working with children. She is actively involved in her church and teaches junior worship.  From 2013-2015, she volunteered with Teens for Christ at the Rally Point Youth Center. She has coached youth basketball, soccer, and track. She was a member of the 2019 Allen Lima Leadership (ALL) class and is now on the ALL Alumni committee.  

Jonathan Khouri, J.D., General Counsel, Carnegie Management and Development Corporation

Jonathan Khouri is the General Counsel at Carnegie Management and Development Corporation, a privately held real estate development and management company based in Westlake, Ohio, with commercial, residential, office and government properties across the country. As General Counsel, Khouri handles the company’s legal matters, including everything from acquisition and compliance, to leasing and litigation management. Prior to joining Carnegie, Khouri began his legal career as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Ohio, enforcing minimum wage and collective bargaining laws, as well as representing the state in response to habeas corpus petitions, successfully arguing cases before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Outside of the office, Khouri is passionate about adult literacy – serving as a volunteer tutor and the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Seeds of Literacy, at which he also chairs the Program Committee. Seeds of Literacy is an award-winning non-profit organization that provides free basic education and GED preparation for adults, with two locations in Cleveland, and a growing virtual classroom now serving adult learners in over 20 states. 

Khouri is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Loyola University Maryland. Khouri lives in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood of Cleveland with his wife Sarah and their two black cats. 

Ben Leece, Engineering Supervisor, American Electric Power

Ben Leece is an Engineering Supervisor at American Electric Power (AEP). He has worked at AEP for 8 years in various capacities, including time as a technical subject matter expert for AEP substation design, substation equipment, and in leadership roles. Leece serves as a mentor, has led learning and development programs and initiatives, and is a 2019 AEP KEY Contributor Award recipient. He currently leads a team focused on Engineering QA/QC processes and metrics, continuous improvement, and Engineering software tools in AEP's Energy Delivery organization. 

Leece holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from The Ohio State University. He grew up in Warren, Ohio and currently lives in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus with his girlfriend Heather. In his free time Leece enjoys working on his 100 year old house, golf, gardening, traveling, and playing frisbee with his and his girlfriend's dog, Harry. 

Marisa Long, Executive Vice President, Inspire PR Group

Marisa Long is executive vice president of Inspire PR Group. In her role, she provides leadership and mentorship to the Inspire team, guides agency operations and client management and works to expand Inspire’s portfolio and services. She is a recognized strategist with strength in media relations, policy and advocacy communications, social media and integrated marketing. Long  brings to Inspire expertise and passion in sustainability and social impact communications, and she leads the agency’s practice in those areas.

Prior to Inspire, Long spent nearly a decade at the Washington D.C.-based global non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), best known as the creators of LEED, the world’s most widely used green building rating system. As vice president of PR and communications, she led a team that produced several award-winning campaigns; oversaw the development and launch of multiple studies, reports and partnerships; created promotional opportunities for USGBC’s 13,000 member companies; and supported the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo and other USGBC events throughout the country and around the world.

Long was previously a vice president at Quinn PR, a NYC-based lifestyle public relations agency where she managed a wide-ranging portfolio of clients. She has been recognized as one of PR News’ Top Women in PR and is a sought-after industry speaker and trainer. She graduated with honors from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Long lives in Columbus with her husband and two sons.

William Lutz, President, City Council of Troy; Executive Director, The New Path, Inc.

As Executive Director of New Path, William Lutz uses collaboration and stewardship as guiding principles to help take care of neighbors in Miami County, Ohio by leading one of the region’s largest charitable non-profit organizations. A native of the Miami Valley, Lutz received both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Public Administration degree from Wright State University in Dayton.

In addition to his role at New Path, Lutz also currently serves as President of City Council in his hometown of Troy, where he was first elected to the role in 2019, previously serving as an At-Large Council Member from 2018 to 2019. Lutz also currently serves as the Board President of Council on Rural Services, Inc., an educational based non-profit that provides Head Start, Early Head Start and other educational services throughout Western Ohio. Lutz is also a board member for the Miami County Continuum of Care, Inc. and helped establish the Miami County Food Insecurity Alliance, Inc. and Neighborlink Miami Valley, Inc. Lutz is also active by mentoring other non-profit leaders through the Duke Foundation Graduate Academy of Community Leadership at Edison State Community College in Piqua.

Lutz held positions in local government leadership serving at the City of Troy, City of Piqua and Bethel Township, Miami County. He currently lives in Troy with his wife Ashley and two children, Jackson and Charlotte.

Jamie Martin, MBA, Director of Customer Experience, Vartek Services

Jamie Martin is the Director of Customer Experience for Vartek Services, a technology managed services firm serving the K-12 school market. As Director of Customer Experience, Martin manages business development efforts and provides operational leadership to several partnerships. Schools that partner with Vartek benefit from a professionally-managed technology partnership covering critical expertise from leadership and vision to daily technology operations excellence. 

A parent of one school-aged child and another in preschool, Martin is active in school initiatives, while also serving the Beavercreek and surrounding community in her role as a fitness program designer at Dayton Strength and Conditioning. 

Martin holds an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management, and a Bachelor of Art from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Martin resides in Beavercreek, Ohio with her husband Daniel, and two kids, Kennedy (8) and Grayson (4). 

Julie Miller, RN, MSN, Health Commissioner, Knox Public Health

Julie Miller has been the Health Commissioner for the Knox County General Health District for 11 years. Miller has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and a Master’s Degree in Nursing Service Administration. She started her career in nursing over 40 years ago with 29 of those years in local public health in Ohio. As President, Association of Ohio Health Commissioners she worked with legislators on the State biennium budget (2019-2021)and changes to the Ohio Revised code to allow local public health agencies to work more autonomously. Miller is also a member of the Ohio Public Health Association (OPHA); and a member of the National Association of City and County Health Officials.

At a local level Miller is a member of the Family and Children First Council of Knox County; Executive member of the Knox Substance Abuse Action Team; Executive member and volunteer of the Winter Sanctuary Homeless Shelter Board, a member of the Board for the YMCA of Knox County and the New Directions Domestic Violence Shelter.

Recent accomplishments for Miller include planning and implementing a Federally Qualified Health Center in her agency; leading her agency to National Public Health Accreditation; and coordinating four Community Health Assessments and Community Health Improvement Plans in Knox County. Other professional accomplishments for Miller include roles as a collaborator on a published research article: “A Large Outbreak of Measles in an Under-immunized Amish Community in Ohio.” Ms. Miller has been awarded the Ohio March of Dimes Nurse of the Year 2014; Women in Business Leadership from the Knox County Chamber of Commerce 2018;  Excellence in Nursing Leadership from Ashland & Mount Vernon Nazarene Universities 2019; the  Mental Health & Wellness Guardian award from Mental Health & Recovery Board of Licking & Knox Counties 2019 and, in 2020,  the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Knox County Chamber.

Mary McDonald, Mayor, City of Trotwood, Ohio

Mayor McDonald has served the city of Trotwood for a total of sixteen years. She is currently in her second term as mayor, after several years as council member to Ward 4 of the city. 

Under her leadership Trotwood has experienced a revitalization unseen in the past 25 years. Economic Development in the areas of businesses, housing and finances to the city have grown by leaps and bounds. 

She is a small business owner and community volunteer serving on many area boards. Through her work in Trotwood and neighboring communities Mayor McDonald has been recognized for her work by the business and local community at large and is also the recipient of a national humanitarian award for service.

Mayor McDonald is committed to her community with passion and love for all people.

Susan B. Noonan, President, FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association; Vice Chair, Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation

Susan B. Noonan received a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati and continued Post Graduate work in Sociology. During that time, Noonan worked as a project coordinator on a National Institute of Corrections project, and co authored the "Impact of Technology in Corrections." 

Noonan worked with the Cincinnati Human Relations commission (CHRC) as police - community relations coordinator from 1988 to 1998, and as Acting Executive Director until February 2000. Noonan then started a consulting service, SBN Consulting providing criminal justice consulting, fund development and human and government relations. During 2 election cycles, she was Finance/Fundraising Director for Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune. 

Noonan is active on several boards: President of FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association, Vice Chair of Greater Cincinnati Sports Corporation, Secretary of The Cincinnatus Association, West Chester Citizens Police Academy Alumni, Secretary CrimeStoppers, and numerous committees in Women’s City Club. She has chaired a Cincinnatus Spirit of America Awards Dinner for 6 years in honor of Marian and Donald Spencer – civil rights icons of Cincinnati. 

Her awards include: Lions Award of Urban League; Community Hero Award from Artworks; FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award; Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Service Award; Women of Distinction Award - Great Rivers Girl Scout Council; Ohio Brain Injury Association - Mary K. Amer Service Award; President's Award of Merit - Ohio Crime Prevention Association (3 times); and the Alpha Sigma Kappa Honor Society Award.

Jasper T. Person III, Co-Owner, Tailored Fit Consulting

Jasper T. Person III is a man of Faith, Servant-Leader. He is a Coach of Coaches, an Executive Leadership Trainer, a Technology Guru, and an avid sports enthusiast. Person cut his teeth at an early age from the model of his parents, who were dedicated to stewardship and service. He developed a passion for connecting and providing solutions for the community and the world. His life philosophy is for every generation to become pillars for the next by uprooting issues and building a new foundation for the next generation. Person determined that society should always invest in people, not just the systems, for solutions. An academic, Person is the first male in his family to graduate from college. He has multiple degrees and has set a new familial standard.

Person is co-owner and operator of Tailored Fit Consulting where inspiration, navigation, motivation, and education converge to provide solutions for families, teachers, schools, and communities. Drawing from African, Western, and Eastern philosophies, Person states that the foundation and understanding that it takes a village to raise a child is what engages him into these spaces of transformation. His influence leaves a mark in the education arena through coaching, consulting, and speaking.

Person is the founder of the nonprofit, The Village 2.0 and its sister social enterprise, The Blueprint 2.0. These organizations focus on providing youth educational empowerment and strategies to successfully graduate high school and graduate from college. Person is currently the Board Chair and a founding member of The Masters Preparatory Academy, the first University-based African American male boarding school in the country. 

He is the proud recipient of many accolades on the precision of his work and dedication to his craft. His reputation truly precedes him as a young vibrant visionary whose dedication and practice has equipped him to lead and influence the culture of today. He is an active and loving father of three beautiful children, Jeremiah, Jada, and Joshua.

Carolyn Rice, MBA, Montgomery County Commissioner

Carolyn Rice has been a Montgomery County Commissioner since January 2019 and served as the Montgomery County Treasurer from 2007 to 2018.  As County Commissioner, she focuses on issues such as birth-to-age-3 child development, homeless solutions, youth internships and work-based learning, drug abuse and addiction prevention, criminal justice, and community resiliency. She champions Montgomery County’s participation in the Governor’s Imagination Library that mails free books to children birth to age 5.

Rice serves as the Chair of the Montgomery County Land Reutilization Corporation (Landbank), and on the boards of Miami Valley Community Action Partnership, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, and Downtown Dayton Special Improvement District.  She serves on the County Commissioner Association of Ohio’s Investment Committee and as Vice Chair of the Human Services Committee. She serves on Ohio’s state-wide advisory board for Infant Toddler Courts. 

Rice began her career as a special needs elementary school teacher, and later worked for Reynolds & Reynolds, LexisNexis, Dames & Moore, and Wright State University. She has twice been named one of Dayton Business Journal’s Power 50 and a 2016 Dayton International Peace Museum Peace Hero. Rice has been active in many community activities, particularly with a focus on youth. 

A Dayton native, Rice received her BS in Education from Miami University of Ohio and her MBA from Wright State University. She completed the Genesee Institute’s Community Land Reform Initiatives executive education program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School in 2009. She has been married to her husband Mike for more than 45 years, has two children, four grandchildren, and a rescue dog. 

Chris Schmiesing, Community and Economic Development Director, City of Piqua

Chris Schmiesing is an economic and community developer with a degree in civil engineering and experience in urban planning and design. Schmiesing has been employed by the City of Piqua his entire career, spanning over the past 30 years. 

Schmiesing started out of college as an engineering technician before moving on to supervise the engineering department. In 2005 he shifted into the role of City Planner to help stand up a newly formed development department. In 2018 Schmiesing was appointed interim director of the development department and was named the Community and Economic Development Director in January 2019. 

During his career Schmiesing has managed numerous roadway, park and public space improvement projects, led the preparation and implementation of a number of community and neighborhood planning projects, and administered various plans, policies, and strategies fulfilling a wide range of roles and responsibilities in local government. 

Schmiesing serves on the board or otherwise supports the efforts of various organizations, including Grow Piqua Now, Piqua Improvement Corporation, Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce,  Mainstreet Piqua, the Piqua Arts Council, Bike Piqua, The Great Miami Riverway Coalition, and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission. He and his wife Paula have 3 sons, Jack, Ben and Sam, and reside in Piqua.

Ibrahima Sow, MBA, Chairperson, Ohio New African Immigrants Commission

Ibrahima Sow is the co-founder of Baobab Cultural Consulting, specializing in cultural competency, workplace inclusivity, and underserved community engagement strategies. 

Sow’s service spans over 12 years of community engagement and project management. Prior to Baobab, he served as the Project Director of Emerging New American Community Team (ENACT), a +$500,000 refugee leadership development program with Ohio History Connection and the Institute for Museum & LIbrary Services where he managed over 2 cohorts and +15 community regional organizations. In service to Ohio residents, Sow has done work in the Ohio Treasurer of State’s Office and the Ohio House of Representatives supporting inclusive initiatives and legislation. 

In 2015, Sow was inspired to run for Columbus City Council on a platform of resource access and equity for the city's most economically challenged neighborhoods. Though unsuccessful, Sow led a campaign team of 9 to become the first foreign-born to make a general election in Columbus history, finishing with more than 24,000 votes. 

Sow is a longtime resident of Central Ohio and a Buckeye with a dual Bachelor of Arts in Political Science & International Studies from The Ohio State University. Sow received his Masters of Business Administration from Ashland University with a specialization in Executive Management. He holds certifications in Inclusive Leadership, Human Resource Management, and Public Relations.

Currently, Sow serves as the Chairperson of the Ohio African Commission, a state body of 11 commissioners with the mission to advocate for the self-sufficiency of sub-Saharan African residents in Ohio, along with serving on numerous local non profit boards including Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services. 

Believing that one should always ask how ‘I can be of service?’, Sow charges everyone to look beyond themselves to inspire, be inspired, and serve. He lives in Blacklick, Ohio with his wife and 1 year old twin boys. 

Rick Stockburger, President and CEO, BRITE Energy Innovators

Rick Stockburger is the president and CEO of BRITE Energy Innovators. At BRITE, Stockburger  helps energy tech startups get on their feet and step out into the world by providing them with access to funding, advanced technology, a diverse partner network, and a space to call home. In just under four years of employment at BRITE, Stockburger has brought out-of-state businesses to Ohio, increased venture capital funds and revenue times 20 for BRITE’s client companies, and multiplied BRITE’s revenue by five. He has also developed professional partnerships between BRITE and high-profile industry leaders, including Lordstown Motors, Ultium, and General Motors. Stockburger is an opportunist and always looking for ways to increase company and community growth.

Stockburger completed his undergraduate education at Kent State University and his master’s coursework in economic development at Penn State University. While his list of credentials is lengthy and his expertise wide-ranging, it is Stockburger’s people-first mindset and his unique ability to connect with underserved populations that make him an exceptional leader.

Prior to his work at BRITE, Stockburger served in various leadership roles where he developed industry networks, founded companies centered on urban revitalization and community development, and created innovative educational programming to mitigate the manufacturing skills gap. His career achievements are impressive, but they would not have been reached without his military service.

From 2003 to 2010, Stockburger served in the United States Army as a non-commissioned officer. He is a decorated combat veteran, and his experience in the Army helped him develop the skills that took him from leading combat operations to corporations. Stockburger’s mission to make lasting, positive change in the post-industrial Midwest and Appalachia through technology-based economic development drives his career.

He currently resides in Warren, Ohio with his three greatest accomplishments: his two amazing children and the love of his life, his wife, Carly.

Ken Surratt, MBA, Outreach Manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Ken Surratt is the Outreach Manager in the Community Development Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. He manages the development and execution of the department’s regional outreach and engagement strategy across the Bank’s four-state district, which includes Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Prior to joining the Cleveland Fed, Surratt worked as Deputy Director of Housing and Community Development at Cuyahoga County. There, he led the effort to create the county’s first housing plan, resulting in a $30 million program focused on creating and maintaining affordable housing. As part of his role, he served on the Board of the County Land Bank and the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission. Surratt held two prior roles at the county - Acting Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations and Special Assistant to the County Executive.

Prior to Cuyahoga County, Surratt served as the CFO of Breakthrough Schools, a high-performing network of charter schools in Cleveland. Surratt previously served as the Assistant Director of the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University, Policy Analyst with San Francisco Unified School District, and Manager of School Inspections with KIPP Foundation.

Surratt also possesses years of experience in finance and consulting. He holds a BS in Commerce from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Duke University. He currently lives in Cleveland Heights, OH with his wife and three children.

Jeremy Tomb, J.D., Managing Partner, Waite, Tomb & Eberly, LLP

Jeremy Tomb has been an Ohio Licensed Attorney at Law since 2005 serving a wide variety of clients. He received his Juris Doctorate from The University of Toledo College of Law and is the Managing Partner of Waite, Tomb & Eberly, LLP.  

While his law firm is based in Troy, Ohio, his past and current clients come from all over Ohio, America, and even include international clients. Focusing primarily on matters that are in litigation or where litigation appears imminent, Tomb typically works as lead trial counsel on a variety of legal matters including (but not limited to) business litigation, trade practices acts, white collar criminal defense, criminal defense, land use cases, construction disputes, defamation cases, Open Meeting Act Violations, Governmental Compliance issues, and Domestic Relations Matters. When not in active litigation, Tomb advises clients on best practices for litigation avoidance or mitigation through review and cultivation of procedures for document creation, retention, and management. Tomb commonly consults businesses on working with governmental agencies in various capacities, such as land use, quasi-governmental partnerships, qualification for local, state, and federal financial assistance for business development.

Before becoming an attorney, Tomb was involved in residential and commercial land development and construction in the Greater Dayton Area. Tomb has previously been awarded the Dayton Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award, the City of Dayton Leaders of the New Millennium, and the Dayton Home Builders Association Foundation Charity House Builder Award for Dayton’s 1998 Homearama. Tomb also partnered in the City of Dayton’s 1997 CitiRama and 1998 Rehabarama that focused on initiation of inner city residential redevelopment in the City of Dayton. Tomb was also a Founding Member of the nonprofit community development organization known as Troy Community Works! which has been an integral member in revitalization of the City of Troy’s stabilization and redevelopment efforts for its historic buildings.

Louise Valentine, Deputy Director, LEAD Ohio

Louise Valentine has been the Deputy Director for LEAD Ohio since February, 2019, where she is proud to be part of a team that helps bring valuable training, support and networking opportunities to emerging progressive leaders around the state. Before joining the team at LEAD Ohio, Valentine was a graduate of the 2018 LEAD Academy herself, which helped prepare her to run for a seat in the Ohio Senate that same year. Although she did not win that race, she improved Democratic vote share by over 19 points in the district and is now happy to use what she learned in her race to help others run competitive campaigns and work towards implementing policies that help create a more equitable Ohio for all.  

Valentine is a lifelong resident of Ohio, born and raised in Elyria. She came to the Columbus area in 2000 to attend The Ohio State University where she graduated with both a B.S. and M.S. in Consumer Sciences. Valentine spent over 12 years in various roles in corporate retail in Central Ohio before making the switch to politics and government. In her last position in retail, she managed the internal consumer testing program for the Victoria’s Secret and PINK brands, which included over 2,000 participants and hundreds of test products each year.  

Valentine lives in Genoa Township just outside of Westerville with her husband, twin 8-year-old sons and two Shiba Inu fur-babies. She is an active volunteer at her children’s elementary school as well as a mentor and volunteer for local progressive candidates and causes. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and gardening.

Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss, Director of Strategic Engagement, ServeOhio

Rebeccah Verhoff-Kiss is an innovative and strategic thinker with experience in the nonprofit and government sectors. She currently serves as the Director of Strategic Engagement at ServeOhio, Ohio’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism, where she establishes the vision and operating parameters for volunteer and outreach programs to increase AmeriCorps service and community volunteer engagement in communities across Ohio. She previously served as Vice President of Community Engagement & Strategic Partnerships at HandsOn Central Ohio, leading programs that mobilized over 10,000 volunteers per year. 

Verhoff-Kiss holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management from The John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University and a Bachelor’s in Women’s Studies and Sociology, also from Ohio State. She has served as a board and committee member for multiple organizations including Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations (OANO), Association for Leaders of Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE), Besa, Volunteer Administrators Network of Central Ohio, and United Way of Central Ohio.   

Brandi Weekley, J.D., Partner, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

Brandi Weekley is a Partner in the Business practice group at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP.  Weekley's legal practice primarily focuses on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital transactions. She counsels private equity funds, venture capital funds, and emerging growth companies on all aspects of acquisitions, dispositions, capital formation and private placements. Weekley has a wide range of experience with structuring and consummating complex early-stage and growth-stage capital formation transactions. She counsels buyers and sellers on all aspects of mergers and acquisitions. She also has experience with corporate organization, governance and general corporate matters. Through her legal work and her extracurricular participation in prominent associations, Weekley has devoted her efforts to assisting, recruiting and retaining entrepreneurs in the greater Cleveland area. In 2020, Weekley was appointed as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Alumni Association. She is also actively involved with Taft’s Gender Advancement Committee, which helps to develop, promote, and advance women attorneys within Taft, the legal profession, and the community. Weekley received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2006, where she graduated summa cum laude with university honors. She received her J.D., summa cum laude, from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 2010. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, wine tastings and pleasure reading.   

Mackensie Wittmer, Executive Director, National Aviation Heritage Alliance

Mackensie Wittmer is the Executive Director of the National Aviation Heritage Alliance. The Alliance is the management entity of the National Aviation Heritage Area, one of 55 national heritage areas designated by Congress as having a cohesive, distinctive landscape of historic and cultural resources of national importance. The National Aviation Heritage Area shares our nation’s aviation story sustaining the legacy of the Wright brothers and all men, women, and flying machines that changed our world. Wittmer works closely with the National Park Service, National Museum of the USAF, other aviation heritage organizations, and numerous informal partners to leverage cultural heritage as an economic catalyst in the region. Wittmer serves on the Wright-Dunbar Inc. board of trustees, an economic development group in Dayton. She serves as a volunteer for the Dayton Metro Library Foundation. She is a graduate of Leadership Dayton, class of 2015. In addition to her work assignments, Wittmer manages two youth teams in Destination Imagination, a K-12 creativity/STEM program. Wittmer graduated from Miami University with a BA in History and Political Science and with a MA from Wright State University in Public History. She has served in her current role since August 2018 and with the organization since 2014.

Daniel Woodcock, President and CEO, Peacock Social

Daniel Woodcock is president and CEO of Peacock Social, a social media consulting firm that focuses on non-profits and mission based organizations, and Drone Works Media. Woodcock is very active in volunteering and philanthropy, serving as the Chairman of the Rotary Club of Toledo's International Services Committee, board member of the Regional Growth Partnership of Northwest Ohio, and the Foundation Board for the Epilepsy Center of Northwest Ohio. Woodcock previously served as President of EPIC Toledo, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals program, President of the Board of Trustees to the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority, and as a marketing advisor and event director for the University of Toledo’s Launchpad Incubator. Outside of work, he enjoys bicycling, squash and tennis, golf, kayaking, traveling with his wife, and spending time with his two dogs Atlas and Cairo. 

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