Find 2015 Indianapolis National Meeting attendees by last name and connect (when available) via Email, LinkedIn and Twitter. Use alpha-navigation below to jump to particular letters.
Director, CWS Greensboro Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Program
Greensboro, North Carolina
Stephanie Adams is the director of CWS Greensboro Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Program. CWS provides resettlement, employment, education, case management and legal immigration services to refugees and immigrants living in North Carolina’s Triad region.
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Trailnet
St. Louis, Missouri
Jennifer is Director of Strategic Initiatives at Trailnet, a nonprofit that works to make walking and biking a way of life in St. Louis. Jennifer builds strategic partnerships and oversees communications, advocacy campaigns, and the Neighborhood Greenways St. Louis project. Jennifer’s work as an urban planner began in Los Angeles where she completed her Master of Arts in Urban planning at UCLA with an emphasis in housing policy and urban design. Jennifer returned to her hometown of St. Louis in 2009 to be part of the exciting work to transform St. Louis into a world-class city again.
Director Communications, The MetroHealth System
Rita Andolsen is the Director of Communications for The MetroHealth System in Cleveland, Ohio. Responsibilities include all external communications and advancing community engagment related to the hospital system’s physical transformation and expansion across the community. Prior to joining MetroHealth in 2014, Andolsen worked for WKYC TV, the NBC affiliate in Cleveland for 14 yearas as News Director and Director of Advocacy & Community Initiatives.
Legacy Fund President, Central Indiana Community Foundation
Terry is the President of Legacy Fund and an officer of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF). Terry began serving as President of Legacy Fund in 2011, when he was chosen for his efforts in advancing the strategic direction and financial well being of many charitable endeavors locally, nationally, and internationally.
His work through Legacy Fund and CICF has allowed Terry and his staff to identify challenging issues and priorities in Hamilton County, as well as opportunities to improve lives throughout the community. Under Terryâ€™s leadership, Legacy Fund has continued to facilitate a collaboration with community partners and donors, helping make Hamilton County a more attractive place to live, work and play.
Terry is also the Chairman of The Anker Consulting Group and Associate Editor and Partner of Current Publishing, LLC, whose holdings include a number of local newspapers. He is a regular guest lecturer on entrepreneurship and executive leadership nationally and internationally.
Regional Manager, Community Relations, ONE Gas
Robert Babcock has a passion for inclusion. “Everyone has a place at life’s table. Do we feel like we have a valued and respected place at the table where what we contribute is valued, respected and purposeful?”, asks Babcock. He believes that part life balance is living inclusively with the diverse world we live within. “It is important to recognize and value our differences. It is only then can we create a world of synergy which fuels our greatest potential through inclusion.” He is currently responsible for leading Diversity and Inclusion at ONE Gas a natural gas company headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Previously, he was responsible for creating and implementing the Live Smart health and wellness initiative with ONEOK. A graduate of the University of Arkansas with a BA in Geography, he spends his time training for marathons and in activities involving the Tulsa downtown renaissance.
President of Insight Development Corp., Indianapolis Housing Agency
Mr. Baird has over 21 years of experience in community economic development, affordable housing development and asset management. He has extensive working relationships with public, nonprofit and private partners — necessary for successful affordable housing development in Indianapolis. Previously, Mr. Baird served as managing director of Insight Development Corp. and director of strategic planning and development for the Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA).
Mayor Greg Ballard
City of Indianapolis
Gregory A. Ballard was elected the 48th Mayor of Indianapolis on November 6, 2007 and was re-elected to a second term on November 8, 2011. Since taking office, Mayor Ballard has presided over six consecutive balanced budgets. He has tasked his administration with increasing efficiencies in city government, improving the level of service to residents and to continue growing Indianapolis as a destination for businesses and families. For example, in 2010 Mayor Ballard launched RebuildIndy, an unprecedented $400 million+ initiative to rebuild deteriorating and long-neglected thoroughfares, residential streets, sidewalks, and bridges throughout Marion County. He has also become a national leader on issues such as energy, clean water, hunger and education reform. Mayor Ballard is committed to creating and promoting a culture of inclusiveness for business opportunities, economic growth and sustainability for minority, women and veteran business enterprises. Mayor Ballard’s leadership has helped to develop a more stable, affordable and pro-growth economic environment in Indianapolis. He continues to focus on attracting new businesses and encouraging existing companies to expand here. A native Hoosier, Mayor Ballard was raised on the east side of Indianapolis. After earning his undergraduate degree in economics from Indiana University, he entered the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in the Marines, Mayor Ballard lived all around the U.S. and the world, including serving in the Persian Gulf War. Upon his retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel after 23 years of service, he was awarded the Legion of Merit. Mayor Ballard resides in Pike Township with Winnie, his wife of 30 years. Their children, Greg, Jr. and Erica, are both graduates of Indiana University.
Jeb Banner is CEO and co-founder of SmallBox, an Indianapolis based marketing company founded in 2006. Jeb is the founder and chair of Musical Family Tree, a nonprofit dedicated to spreading Indiana music, as well as a co-founder and chair of the Speak Easy, an entrepreneurial club located in Indianapolis. Jeb lives on the north side of Indianapolis with his wife Jenny and their three lovely daughters Ramona, Georgia and Sylvia. In his spare time he collects vinyl records, records music and cooks as much as possible.
Chancellor Charles Bantz
In 2003, Charles Bantz became chancellor of IUPUI’s 30,000 student urban public research university. By focusing on Indiana’s economic clusters and student success, the number of bachelor’s degrees granted each year grew from 2,200 to more than 3,600. IUPUI initiated 25 21st-century degree programs. For example, IUPUI launched the world’s first School of Philanthropy and the Fairbanks School of Public Health with philanthropic support during the $1.36 billion IMPACT campaign. External funding for research has grown from $202 million to more than $330 million including significant support for liberal arts as well as medicine, engineering, and science. He champions IUPUI’s community engagement, which has been recognized with the U.S. President’s Award and selection for the Higher Education Honor Roll. His B.S. and M.A. degrees are from the U. of Minnesota and his Ph.D. from Ohio State U. He has published on organizational communication, student success, and television news.
Chief Giving Offiicer, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Charly Bauer is the Chief Giving Officer at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, a Columbus company founded in 2002. He serves on the development committee of Experience Columbus, and is the Vice President of the board of the Short North Alliance, a neighborhood group that fosters the Short North Arts District. Charly is originally from St. Louis but has lived in Columbus since 1997. He’s a huge fan of the Columbus Crew.
Assistant Director, Advancement and Community Engagement, Simon Youth Foundation
Jo’s career started as an AmeriCorps member in San Jose, CA developing and implementing service learning programs for middle school and high school youth. Her professional experience includes both local and national fundraising, volunteer development, and event management for multiple national non-profit organizations. Currently, Jo is charged with nationally increasing awareness and ongoing sustainability in her role with the Simon Youth Foundation. Jo volunteers with many organizations including Girls on the Run, The Arthritis Foundation and The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
Chief Collaboration Officer, The Collaboratory
Highly conceptual thinker and doer, committed to unleashing human and organizational potential in order to foster new economic, social and creative capital. Known for developing unusual collaborations to drive civic innovation, based on a proprietary “civic brands” model. Engineering education, marketing and advertising agency leadership and 23 years in the community sector provide a unique perspective into the opportunity space.
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Office of Community Engagement, IUPUI
Teresa A. Bennett is Assistant Vice Chancellor in the Office of Community Engagement with primary responsibilities for continuing education and professional development initiatives, developing and implementing strategic relationships, and community and corporate outreach and partnerships. She also serves as Executive Director for Professional Development and Corporate Education, an initiative of the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement, in which she develops programs and partnerships in support of Central Indiana strategic goals for economic development by building and retaining a talented workforce. Ms. Bennett also is an Associate Faculty member in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, teaching graduate and undergraduate capstone courses at IUPUI since 2008 in which students have conducted over 100 socially relevant community-based research projects to date for Indiana nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies. Ms. Bennett earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication majoring in Public Relations and Issue Management from Purdue University, West Lafayette, and a Master’s degree in Policy Analysis (MPA) from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indianapolis. She serves on several community and campus boards and committees.
Senior Manager, HYPE Programs, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
Julie Bernzott is the Senior Manager of HYPE Programs for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. In this role, Julie manages the Chamber’s suite of HYPE programs, which include a range of professional programs targeted to young talent in the Cincinnati USA region. Prior to joining the Chamber in 2006, she served as Manager of Enrollment and Outreach for Enjoy the Arts/START programs, a non-profit arts marketing organization in Cincinnati. Currently, Julie serves on the Leadership Council for The Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, an organization that leads the community in ensuring the economic self-sufficiency of women in our region, as well as on ArtsWave’s YP committee. She is a former board member of Visionaries and Voices, an organization that supports artists with disabilities. In 2009, she was named a â€œForty Under 40â€ winner by The Cincinnati Business Courier. A past freelance writer for Cincinnati CityBeat newspaper, Julie graduated from Xavier University with a degree in Organizational Communications and minors in English and Psychology. A lifelong Cincinnatian, Julie enjoys spending time with friends & family, and enjoys the always-increasing development in the Queen City.
VP of Planning & Real Estate, University Circle Inc
Debbie Berry currently serves as Vice President of Planning and Real Estate Development for University Circle Inc. (UCI), the non-profit development, service, and advocacy organization for the University Circle neighborhood. Her responsibilities include managing physical development projects on all UCI owned lands, coordinating development and expansion opportunities being lead by UCI’s 40+ member institutions, and overseeing needed infrastructure and neighborhood improvements. Debbie is directing the effort to transform UCI into an active development corporation that is driving a neighborhood renaissance in University Circle. She is leading multi-million dollar investments at key locations throughout the district, which include UCI’s Bring Back Euclid Avenue Campaign and eight strategic investment projects that will change the face of University Circle with a hotel, new housing, businesses, and wayfinding and streetscape amenities. Debbie is a Registered Professional Engineer in Ohio. She is currently serving as a Vice President of the Cleveland Metroparks Board of Commissioners along with several other civic appointments.
Executive Director, East Tennessee Community Design Center
Wayne Blasius, a native of Chicago and graduate of the University of Tennessee with a master’s degree in Planning, has been a resident of Knoxville for over 35 years. Prior to joining ETCDC, Blasius’s career has been balanced in both the public and private sectors, spanning planning, community development, construction, real estate development and management, plus consulting in real estate, strategic planning and energy management. His firm, InSite Development, spearheaded notable downtown redevelopments like The Phoenix and Mast General Store/Gallery Lofts. Under former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe, Blasius served as Deputy Community Development Director. He has also been a supervising planner at MPC, a vice president at Denark Construction, and a consultant at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In addition to the ETCDC, Blasius has served the community in volunteer roles with Knox Heritage, Leadership Knoxville, Introduction Knoxville, Central Business Improvement District, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Friends of Literacy, Good Shepherd Counseling Center, and Dogwood Arts Festival.
Mayor Elect, City of Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Mayor Elect Rosalynn Bliss began serving as Second Ward City Commissioner in January 2006 and is currently serving in her third term. She was recently elected as Mayor and will begin serving in January 2016. Rosalynn is also the Director of Residential Services at DA Blodgett – St. John’s. St. John’s Home provides emergency shelter and residential services for abused and neglected children. Rosalynn earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the University of South Alabama and her Masters Degree in Social Work from Michigan State University. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University’s School of Social Work. Commissioner Bliss is an active member of our community. She is Vice President of the Michigan Municipal League, a board member for the Interurban Transit Partnership, Kent County Land Bank Authority, and Dyer-Ives Foundation. She serves as a member Uptown Corridor Improvement District, the Michigan Street Corridor Improvement District, is a City Liaison with the Friends of GR Parks, Chair for the Federation for Children and Families Residential Treatment MIN and is a member of the West Michigan Environmental Leadership Network. She is current Chair of the Community Development Committee, the Cityâ€™s Legislative Team and the Economic Development Project Team. Rosalynn has been recognized and honored locally as well as statewide for her commitment, dedication and work in the field of child abuse and neglect and her leadership in the community.
Founder & CEO, ROOT
Over the course of the last 10 years as an entrepreneur I have successfully launched, managed, and sold off several businesses. Each organization has added some value to my understanding of the business world today. My philosophy has been that 9 things out of 10 that I try will fail, but that golden one is always worth the battle. In my experience that has proven to be the case and my successful businesses still operate today under the management of those whom I have sold off to.
Executive Vice President, Workforce Dev./Education, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Des Moines, Iowa
Mary Bontrager is Executive Vice President of Workforce Development/Education for the Greater Des Moines Partnership where she oversees all areas of workforce recruitment and development, diversity and education relations. Following a career in marketing and commercial interior design, Bontrager joined the staff of the Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce (now the Partnership) in 1992 where she held numerous roles prior to her current position of EVP of Workforce Development/Education. Bontrager currently serves on the Business Advisory Board for the Drake University Chapter of Enactus, Central Iowa Workforce Investment Board, the Governor’s South Central Region STEM Advisory Board, State of Iowa’s Secondary Career and Technical Education Task Force, Education Attainment Division Advisory Council for ACCE, Central Campus Advisory Council and Project Iowa Board of Directors. She is a 2008/09 alumni of Leadership Iowa and a graduate of Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute where she also served on the Board. Bontrager says she is very fortunate to be able to work her passion to grow and promote Greater Des Moines. The opportunities for all who live, work and play in greater Des Moines are endless and it’s The Partnership’s role to help those individuals and companies realize those opportunities together.
CEO, United Schools Network
Andrew E. Boy is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at the United Schools Network (USN). In 2006, Andrew began the competitive Building Excellent Schools Fellowship where he received extensive training on charter school founding and leadership, and best practices in urban education. He completed the BES Fellowship and opened his own charter school, Columbus Collegiate Academy (CCA-Main), in 2008, and the school has continually ranked among the top performing middle schools in the state. CCA’s academic results and Columbus’ need for more high-quality educational options for urban students prompted Boy to launch a Charter Management Company, United Schools Network, to deliver more high performing schools in Columbus. In addition to two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Cincinnati, Boy holds a master’s in educational administration from Xavier University.
Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Allison Bramwell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she teaches courses in urban politics, public administration, and community and economic development. Her current research focuses on collaborative urban governance and the political economy of restructuring with an emphasis on regional economic development and employment in renewable energy industries. Allison has published studies in various policy areas such as local labour market planning and workforce development, the role of colleges and universities in regional economic development, and the social dynamics of economic performance in urban regions. Her co-edited book, Governing Urban Economies: Innovation and Inclusion in Canadian City-Regions was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2014.
Director, Marketing & Business Development, Well Done Marketing
A born connector and a lover of all things Indianapolis, Linda spends her time creating relationships between organizations she loves and her fellow residents. It’s that love that brought her to Well Done Marketing, where she serves as Director of Marketing and Business Development. Prior to joining Well Done’s venerable team, Linda had the pleasure of serving as Executive Director of the IPS Education Foundation and as the Vice President for Development and Public Relations at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. In her spare time, Linda chairs the board of Near East Area Renewal, serves as a board member for Indiana Recycling Coalition, and chips in when she can for several other organizations. Linda and her new husband, Jeff, are proud residents of the Little Flower neighborhood on Indyâ€™s Near Eastside and can often be seen cheering on the Butler Bulldogs at Hinkle, cycling the Cultural Trail, or supporting their favorite local restaurants.
Chief of Community Engagement, Kapor Center fo Social Impact
Cedric Brown is the Chief of Community Engagement at the Kapor Center for Social Impact. He has over 20 years of experience as a funder and activist, steering over $60 million in grants to community efforts. He currently works to build a tech community that mirrors the dynamically diverse population of the United States. His recent projects include collaborations with the White House Office of Science and Tech Policy, the Congressional Black Caucus Tech2020 Initiative, #YesWeCode, and Vator Splash Oakland. Cedric is the founder of Brothers Code, the Oakland Summit on Blacks in Tech, and is co-founder of the College Bound Brotherhood. He was recognized as a Champion for Change by Startup Weekend Oakland – Black Male Achievement, a Champion for Youth by the East Oakland Development Center, and as a Changemaker by the San Francisco Chronicle. He was profiled on TheRoot.com for his leadership participation in President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Cedric is a proud board member and supporter of Color of Change.org. He holds degrees from the University of North Carolina and Stanford University.
Project Manager, OneCommunity
Catherine is a Project Manager with 8 years experience in project management in technology, construction, marketing, education and community & economic development. She has managed large-scale, federally-funded, fiber optic network construction projects and has had the opportunity to “decorate” that network with high-flyers using high-speed broadband in meaningful ways. She has also created an innovative summer school for youth and an annual city-wide peace celebration. In her current role at OneCommunity, she manages the 100 Gig Project and is the Director of OneCommunity’s IoT initiative, including the Cleveland [R]IoT. She leverages technology to increase permeability among systemic silos through the City as an Operating System initiative. Catherine works with technologists, city leaders, open data advocates, developers, sustainability managers, educators, healthcare professionals, and entrepreneurs to enhance the urban experience.
President, Visit Knoxville
Kim Bumpas is a national and regional leader with strong hospitality experience and nearly two decades of experience in senior management, sales and marketing. A community leader and volunteer, Bumpas serves as a tourism leader for East Tennessee and the Knoxville community.
Employed by the Knoxville Convention & Visitors Bureau (now Visit Knoxville) since 2001, she has advanced from Sales Manager to Director of Sales to Vice President of Sales to Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing and is currently the President. Bumpass’ appointments and awards include: East Tennessee Meeting Professional (ETMP) Supplier of the Year; 40 under Forty; Tennessee Society of Association Executives (TSAE) Tradeshow Chair; East Tennessee Meeting Professionals (ETMP) Secretary; Society of Government Meeting Planners (SGMP) Tourism Panelist; Tennessee Association of Convention & Visitor Bureau (TACVB) Board Member and 2014 Chair; Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) Speaker and Education Committee; Rotary Club of Knoxville; Introduction Knoxville; Leadership Knoxville and East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association and other various committees & events.
Director of Economic Development, Code for America
San Francisco, California
Efrem leads Code for Americaâ€™s efforts to help governments better leverage open data and civic technology to support their economic development efforts. Prior to joining CfA in May 2015, Efrem was a Manager, Economic Development at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation where he led EDC’s work on public policy, global strategic initiatives, and select industries, including life sciences, clean technology, and craft beer. He has also served as a Performance Auditor for the City of San Diego and as a board member of multiple organizations supporting leadership development, education, and community engagement. In his spare time, Efrem is an avid runner, snowboarder and homebrewer. Efrem has a B.S. in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and an M.P.A. from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.
Vice President for Workforce Development and Provost, Tulsa Community College
Dr. Brett Campbell currently serves as the Vice President for Workforce Development and Provost for the Southeast Campus of Tulsa Community College. As the Provost, he serves as the executive operational officer for a campus of 9,000 students and 300 employees. Dr. Campbell provides strategic leadership for TCC’s community partnerships for economic development and academic leadership for workforce development programs. He formerly served as the Associate Vice President for Operations and Special Initiatives. Providing leadership and direct support to the President for multiple College-wide implementation projects. Dr. Campbell joined TCC in 2003 as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, overseeing student services functions for the four-campus institution.
Executive Director, Leadership Lafayette
Kitty Campbell is the Executive Director of Leadership Lafayette. She grew up in Illinois with her parents and two brothers, but has lived and worked in Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana since 1987. Dr. Campbell holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Millikin University, a Master’s degree in Arts Administration from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction from Purdue University. She serves on the Board of the Indiana Leadership Association, is a member of the Association of Leadership Programs, and is an Ambassador for Greater Lafayette Commerce.
Accelerator, The Collider
Asheville , North Carolina
Robin Cape is the project manager for ABSCI overseeing a portfolio of initiatives including The Collider, a 20,000 square foot climate and innovation center in the heart of downtown Asheville. Her primary focus is on building the ecosystem of relationships and opportunities to maximize collective impact, in both economic and community resiliency. Robin served 9 years in local political office, on the Woodfin Water Board, and with Asheville City Council, where she was a leader in institutionalizing sustainability into the City’s operations and focus. Robin retired from Preservation Hall Architectural Salvage Company in 2001 and owns and operates a renovated historical commercial building in downtown Weaverville. She has a BA in Literature from the University of NC in Asheville, and is currently in the Climate and Society Certification Program as part of her Masters in Liberal Arts Degree at UNC Asheville.
Vice President of Destination Development, Visit Indy
Indianapolis, Indiana Matt Carter is the Vice President of Destination Development; Visit Indy.
A thirty-year veteran of the association, he has served in various roles. Visit Indy is a $ 14 million nonprofit association organized to promote and market the greater Indianapolis region as a major site for conventions, cultural and sporting events, corporate meeting; a destination for tourism. He serves on the board of directors of Leadership Indianapolis, Goodwill Industries and Shepherd Community Center, organizations dedicated to building a stronger Indianapolis for all. He is also the founder of MusicCrossroads strategy.
Executive Director, Leadership Tennessee
Cathy Cate is executive director of Leadership Tennessee an initiative of the College of Leadership and Public Service at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN. Cate brings over 20 years experience working in higher education, facilitating leadership development for corporate clients and managing nonprofit organizations. Cate’s experience with Leadership Tennessee has given her the opportunity to work with high level leaders across Tennessee as they share in collaborative dialogue on issues of state importance.
Community Volunteer, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Chief Customer Experience Officer, Columbus Metropolitan Library
Alison Circle, Chief Customer Experience Officer for Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), has more than 25 years marketing experience. For 13 years she was National Marketing Director for Garrison Keillor and “A Prairie Home Companion. Following that she was Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency. In 2004 she joined CML as Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning. In that capacity she rebranded the organization and won over 20 national and international awards for her work. In 2010 that work was recognized with the Library Journal’s Library of the Year. In 2012 she was promoted to Chief Customer Experience Officer where she serves on the Executive Leadership Team and oversees 23 library locations, Marketing and all programs and products. She leads programming, experience and design for the library’s building program for 10 buildings, including the Main Library.
Executive VP, Corporate Giving & Community Relations, Scripps Networks
Jim Clayton serves as executive vice president of corporate giving and community relations at Scripps Networks Interactive. In this role, he directly oversees the philanthropic and corporate social responsibility efforts for the company’s portfolio of lifestyle media brands: HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country. Clayton currently serves on the boards for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) Educational Foundation, Dogwood Arts Festival, and University of Tennessee Alumni. Clayton holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee and is a certified public accountant in Tennessee. In addition, he is a graduate of the 2003 Class of Leadership Knoxville.
SVP, Health Services, Cone Health
Greensboro, North Carolina
Tim Clontz, FACHE is the Senior Vice President, Health Services of Cone Health, a not-for-profit health system based in Greensboro, NC with six hospitals and over 100 locations. In his current role, he is responsible for non-acute institutional services across the continuum of care: skilled nursing facilities, a continuing care retirement community, several small health care business units, medical office properties, construction management, MedCenter operations and physician recruitment. Tim also serves as the Cone Health senior representative on a number of Boards and Board Committees: PACE of the Southern Piedmont (Chairman); PACE of the Triad; StayWell Senior Care; Advanced Home Care, Inc. (Chairman); Guilford Adult Health, Inc.; Cone Health Foundation and Impact Alamance. PACE of the Southern Piedmont, PACE of the Triad and StayWell all are non-profit joint ventures (member organizations) with local organizations interested in better serving the frail elderly in their communities. Tim was the driving force behind the development of these PACE organizations. Tim was the inaugural Board Chairman of the North Carolina PACE Association and serves on the Board of Directors of the National PACE Association (NPA) and is the Chairman of the NPA Public Policy Committee. He also serves on the Board of Well-Spring Services, Inc. (retirement community). Tim is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He obtained a baccalaureate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and has a MHA from Duke University.
Sr. Program Officer, Arts, George Gund Foundation
Exploring the intersection of philanthropy, urbanism and innovation, architect Jennifer Coleman is the Senior Program Officer for the Arts at the George Gund Foundation. She has over 24 years experience in the field of architecture and has been dedicated to improving life in the city through smart design, combining a traditional architectural design and planning practice with community engagement and history gathering. She also founded CityProwl, a company producing urban audiotours that can be downloaded from the Internet to digital media players for self-led urban tours.
Manager, Community Collaborations, Central Indiana Community Foundation
Alicia J. Collins serves as the Community Collaborations Manager for the Central Indiana Community Foundation. In her role, Alicia provides leadership for the Community Crime Prevention Program for the City of Indianapolis as well as direct community transformational projects in the city urban core. With over 15 years of mobilizing community resources (residents, public-private partnerships, and data) that help families change tough neighborhoods into places where children thrive, Alicia brings organizing, capacity building and leadership development strategies for residents within place-based initiatives that increases equitable solutions and deepens authentic demand for community mobilization.
Chief Operating Officer, Indy Chamber
Melissa Cotterill serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Indy Chamber overseeing membership sales and engagement, marketing and communications, events, and member and community programs. Melissa currently serves as the co-chair for the Live Indy initiative, a plan to recruit and retain residents in Indy and was responsible for developing the Chamber’s newest member program, TogetHR. The TogetHR program is designed to offer small and mid-size companies an innovative way to recruit and retain employees by offering high quality HR services and access to more affordable and more comprehensive employee benefits.
President and CEO, Cleveland Leadership Center
Marianne Crosley joined The Cleveland Leadership Center in 2010 as Executive Vice President and was named President and Chief Executive Officer six months later. She leads the civic education, leadership development, and civic engagement organization in its execution of numerous programs to build civic leadership capacity. Previously, she served as the first Executive Director of Summer on the Cuyahoga, an economic development initiative that attracts young talent to the region. Crosley graduated from Colgate University, and received her J. D. from The Ohio State University College of Law. She worked in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York and rose to be a supervisor in the Homicide Bureau. Crosley served as Trustee of Colgate University for many years, and chaired both the Legal Affairs Committee and the Committee on Admissions and Student Aid. During a decade of service on the Alumni Council, she held the positions of Chair of the University Relations Committee and Treasurer.
Mayor William Currin
City of Hudson
Mayor Bill Currin has been the Mayor of the City of Hudson, Ohio (Population 22,500) for the past 12 years. He is celebrating his 30th year of elected office. Mayor Currin served 12 years on the Hudson School Board and 6 years on Hudson City Council prior to becoming Hudson’s 48th mayor. He served as the Chairman of the Northeast Ohio Mayor’s & City Manager’s Association for 5 years. He is currently the Chairman of the Northeast Ohio Regional Prosperity Initiative.
President, Environmentalists for Effective Education
Raleigh, North Carolina
Dr. Danielsen teaches finance and real estate at North Carolina State University. He is a coauthor of the internationally best-selling textbook, Foundations of Financial Management, now in its 15th edition. Dr. Danielsen’s current research interests focuses on how charter schools, school vouchers, and other school choice initiatives impact real estate development and the environment. He has served on the board and as the treasurer of the American Real Estate Society. Dr. Danielsen is the founder and President of Environmentalists for Effective Education, a 501(c)(3) charity devoted to promoting research and awareness of the importance of educational choices in revitalizing blighted urban areas, reducing urban sprawl, and creating sustainable cities.
Mayor Rick Danner
City of Greer
Greer, South Carolina
Currently seeking a 5th term Mayor Danner has lead the City of Greer SC through a period of unparalleled growth. Appling smart growth principles in the urban core of the City including the construction of a 23 million dollar City Hall, Court House and 12 acre park has leveraged new residential, commercial and industrial development and growth throughout the city. A firm believer in regionalism, Mayor Danner works closely with with the elected officials of surrounding cities and counties to help create a vibrant, sustainable Upstate South Carolina.
Dean and Director, Lenoir-Rhyne University Asheville, Lenoir-Rhyne University
Asheville, North Carolina
Dr. Michael M. Dempsey is the dean and director of Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville, NC. In this role, he provides visionary leadership and administrative acumen to coordinate and manage all operations and services at the Center, and establishes regional partnerships that support the strategic goals of the University. Lenoir-Rhyne is a private Lutheran university founded in 1891, with a main campus in Hickory, NC. Dempsey has served in nonprofit higher education for 13 years, and, prior to that, he was a journalist based in North Carolina for eight years.
Senior Program Manager, Campus Philly
Jen’s passions lie at the intersection of innovation, sustainable design, and city living. Because of this, she loves her job of enticing young people to stay put as a program manager at Campus Philly. She does this by introducing them to internships, arts & culture, volunteer opportunities, and cool city spots in hopes they stay in Philly after graduation. She also connects regional employers to the many local colleges and universities to create a talent pipeline. She has planted her own roots in South Philly, where she is very involved in her neighborhood, sitting on several community nonprofit boards and serving as a block captain.
President, Campus Philly
Deborah joined Campus Philly as its president in 2010 and has led the organization through a period of extraordinary growth that includes doubling the number of college partners, launching new programs in internships and arts and culture, and building a robust corporate membership program. Deborah began her career as a college professor, teaching political philosophy at Columbia University and Bryn Mawr College. But after falling in love with Philadelphia as a place to live, she shifted focus and launched a career in market research. After seven years at the market research firm, The Melior Group, Deborah joined Visit Philadelphia as their first director of research and strategy. Deborah holds a BA from Bryn Mawr College and an MA and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Deborah serves on the the Bryn Mawr College Alumnae Association Executive Board and on the Board of Overseers of the Jewish Grad Network of Greater Philadelphia.
President & CEO, Employment & Training Centers, Inc.
Irma Diaz-Gonzalez is President and CEO for Employment and Training Centers, (ETC, Inc.) serving in this capacity since 1989. Her company helps companies with their human resource needs through recruitment, staffing, and employee retention strategies. She began her career as an Employment Counselor while attending college and working with the Illinois Migrant Council, an agency that assists migrant and seasonal farm workers find permanent employment eventually becoming the agency’s Executive Director. She relocated to Houston in the 1980’s and worked for the City of Houston managing its Youth Employment and Training Program, an initiative that placed over 10,000 young people in jobs every year. She serves on several boards and committees that focus on workforce, economic development, and future outlook and growth of Houston, including the Houston First Corporation, an entity that facilitates the city’s economic growth through the business of conventions and the arts and the Greater Houston Partnership’s Regional Workforce Development Task Force, which focuses on middle skills jobs. She is an active leader in the community serving on the United Way Board of Greater Houston, Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital, and the Houston Symphony Hispanic Advisory Board. She also serves on Amegy Bank’s Advisory Board and is Chairman Emeritus of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She attended Black Hawk College in Moline, IL, the University of Coahuila in Mexico, and is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School Executive Education Program.
Vice President of Government Affairs, Tulsa Regional Chamber
Nick is a transplant to Oklahoma, moving to Tulsa from his hometown in Wyoming to attend the University of Tulsa. Nick currently works for the Tulsa Regional Chamber as its Vice President of Government Affairs, which is focused on direct lobbying and advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels. He’s currently focused on the City of Tulsa’s next level of community investment, and how to position the community for future economic prosperity.
Community Organizer, Forge Columbus
I am a community organizer and strategist from Columbus. I am passionate about tackling the issues that negatively affect people and cities with solutions that create more opportunity for more people. I have a BS in City & Regional Planning from The Ohio State University, serve on multiple non-profit boards and commissions, and promote the awesomeness of Columbus to anyone who will listen.
Senior Vice President, Eaton
Barry Doggett is Senior Vice President, Public & Community Affairs for Eaton in Cleveland, Ohio. In this position he has worldwide responsibility for representing Eaton with governments at the federal, state, and local level, as well as overseeing the company’s community involvement and corporate contributions programs. Previously, Mr. Doggett was Deputy Director of Cleveland Tomorrow in Cleveland from 1996-2003, working with the business community to help support a series of initiatives in the Cleveland Municipal School District to carry out their strategic plan. Prior to joining Cleveland Tomorrow, Barry spent twenty five years with BP America and its predecessor company, Standard Oil of Ohio. Mr. Doggett holds an economics degree from Middlebury College in Vermont and a Masters in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Consultant, Kimley-Horn and Associates,Inc.
Vikram is a consultant specializing in infrastructure, sustainability and city solutions.
Lieutenant Governor, Indiana
Sue Ellspermann serves as the 50th Lieutenant Governor of Indiana. As Lt. Governor, Sue manages six state agencies including the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, the Office of Defense Development, the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Office of Tourism Development and the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. She also serves as President of the Indiana Senate and chairs the Indiana Counter Terrorism and Security Council. Sue was raised in Ferdinand, Indiana. She graduated Purdue as an industrial engineer and established a career in engineering and management at Michelin and Frito-Lay.While earning her master’s degree and doctorate in industrial engineering at the University of Louisville, she established Ellspermann and Associates and began a 20-year consulting practice. She later became the founding director of the University of Southern Indiana’s Center for Applied Research and Economic Development. In 2010, Sue was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives. In November of 2012, she was elected to serve with Governor Mike Pence. Sue is married to Jim Mehling, Principal of Forest Park High School. They have a blended family of four daughters, three sons-in-law, two grandsons, and one granddaughter.
President and CEO, The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
Robert Enlow was named President and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, an organization dedicated to promoting universal school choice, in January 2009. He joined the Friedman Foundation when it first opened in 1996, serving as fundraiser, projects coordinator and vice president before being named executive director and COO in 2007. Under his leadership the Friedman Foundation has become one of the nation’s leading advocates for school choice, working in dozens of states to advance the issue by disseminating research, sponsoring seminars, undertaking advertising campaigns, organizing community leaders and providing grants.
Co-Founder, COO, Columbus Underground
Anne Evans is the Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer for The Metropreneur and Columbus Underground. She enjoys writing features for both websites that allow readers to discover the best their city has to offer and why you should build your life in Columbus. She lives with her husband Walker and their two young children in a 100+ year old home near Downtown Columbus and actively works to improve the city school her children attend.
Executive Director, Legacy Parks Foundation
Carol brings over 20 years experience in marketing, public relations and event management to the Executive Director position of the Legacy Parks Foundation. Her prior experience includes establishing corporate marketing initiatives for the Scripps Networks as their Director of Marketing and developing marketing and fundraising campaigns for multiple clients while a principal at the Ingram Group and SRW & Associates. She served as the first marketing director for the UT Lady Vols. During her tenure the program set national attendance records in several sports, including basketball. She also served on the Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership’s leadership team as the Vice President of Marketing, and is a 1999 Leadership Knoxville class alumni.
CEO, Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation
Leigh Riley Evans is the Chief Executive Officer for Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation (MFCDC). Leigh has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Purdue University and a MBA from the University of Phoenix. Leigh is a strong believer in asset-based community development and sustainable communities. In her private time she likes to travel with family and attend sporting events. Leigh considers herself a change agent and enjoys fostering collaboration, advocating for youth & social justice and encouraging people to pursue their passion so that lives are enriched with the gifts and talents that all people can offer.
Vice President Public Affairs, Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL)
Greg Fennig, Vice President of Public Affairs, joined IPL in March of 2003. In his current position, Fennig is responsible for overseeing external communications, media relations, advertising, customer programs and community relations. Prior to joining IPL, he served for 10 years as the President of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to engaging diverse communities to create vibrant public places, helping people and nature thrive. Fennig currently serves on the Board of Directors for Visit Indy, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, the Lacy Leadership Association and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the Indianapolis Public Relations Society and the Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis.
AJ Ferguson is the Director at UpDayton, a movement of young professionals to make Dayton, Ohio a place where young, talented Daytonians thrive and play a vital role in the community’s renewal. He also directs community initiatives at the Collaboratory, Daytonâ€™s civic innovation lab. AJâ€™s passion for Dayton and for community building grew from his experiences as a student in the University of Daytonâ€™s Rivers Institute and Fitz Center for Leadership in Community. Daytonâ€™s revival story needs a new wave of talent to lead the community into a new era of prosperity. AJ & UpDayton are attracting, engaging and empowering the next generation of Dayton dreamers & doers.
High school Student, Culver Academies
I am Jose Figueroa, High School Senior and I am a passionate about helping disadvantage Hispanic young men and women succeed. I have built a program, that among other things, seeks to create a network of companies that agree to offer paid-internships to Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals students (DACA) so they can mitigate the cost of a college education. Education is vital for DACA-eligible students in order to break the poverty cycle and live productive lives. Alleviating their financial challenges is a critical pathway to success and together we can help hundreds of thousand young men and women become productive citizens of this country. I am seeking guidance, support, partnerships and any help to drive this program forward.
Associate Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, Portland State University
Erin Flynn’s career revolves around designing and executing multi-sector strategies and partnerships that drive urban and regional innovation. She is a strategic thinker and entrepreneurial leader who builds bridges between the public sector, private sector and higher education to design and advance complex, metropolitan agendas. Currently, she serves as Associate Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at Portland State University, Oregon’s largest and only urban-serving university. In this capacity she leads university-wide community engagement and economic development initiatives to deliver on shared regional priorities including economic growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, urban sustainability and cradle-to-career education reform. Over the course of her career, Erin has excelled as a national strategy and policy consultant, a city government official, and a higher education executive. Prior to joining PSU in 2011 she served as Urban Development Director for the City of Portland/Portland Development Commission. Erin currently serves as Chairwoman of the Oregon Business Commission, the state of Oregon’s economic development agency.
Director of Sales, Highland Homes
Greenville, South Carolina
I’m native to Greenville and I can’t imagine living anywhere else! I am passionate about our city and I think it’s fantastic…from the “”one-of-a-kind”” restaurants to Greenville’s outdoor cultural events and festivals to waterfalls and fantastic views, I am a self-described lover of all things Greenville! I love my career at Highland Homes where we build close to 50 homes a year in downtown Greenville SC!
Executive Director, Corporate Relations, Indiana University Foundation
Dr. Brad Fravel has been the Executive Director of Corporate Relations for the Indiana University Foundation since 2012. Prior to that, he served as the Business Development Manager for the Indiana University Research & Technology Corporation after nearly four years as a Lecturer in Chemisty at Butler University.
President, Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce
With 35 years of proven success in community and economic development, Cindy currently leads the Columbus (Indiana)Chamber of Commerce. Columbus is a city that is known for its excellence in modern design and its thriving advanced manufacturing sector.
Workforce Solutions Manager, Louisville Metro Government – Economic Development
Gloria Fuqua grew up in Lexington, KY and has lived in Louisville, KY since 1995. Gloria has over 10 years of HR experience with areas of expertise in college recruitment, employee relations, labor relations, and diversity. Currently, Gloria is the Workforce Solutions Manager for the Economic Development Office â€“ Louisville Forward with Louisville Metro Government. Gloria received a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a Master of Arts in Higher Education at University of Louisville.
Assistant Vice President for Economic Development, IUPUI
As assistant vice president for economic development, David Gard leads implementation of Indiana University’s statewide economic development strategy across the university’s eight campuses. In this role, he created and manages the IU Council for Regional Engagement and Economic Development, leveraging the university’s resources and expertise for regional economic benefit through strategic partnerships. Prior to IU, Gard served as the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s deputy state director for small business and entrepreneurship, managing Indiana’s 21st Century Research and Technology Fund. His previous private sector experience includes various roles at Duke Energy and Fifth Third Bank after beginning his career as a US Navy Supply Corps officer. Gard earned his BS in business economics and public policy and his MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
Executive Director, Indiana Commission for Women
Kristin Svyantek Garvey became the Executive Director of the Indiana Commission for Women, in July 2008. Prior to joining ICW, Kristin worked at the International Center of Indianapolis for over nineteen years in several capacities including operations, government relations, information technology, program management and training in cross-cultural awareness, etiquette and protocol. Kristin was named a 2010 Hoosier Fellow by the Randall Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence and participated in the United Way of Central Indiana’s Executive Women’s Leadership Series, the Diversity Leadership Academy of Greater Indianapolis, the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service and the Ardath Burkhart Leadership Program. She currently is Vice President of the board of directors of the National Association of Commissions for Women (NACW). Kristin received her M.S. in organizational leadership from Indiana Tech in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and received her B.A. from Butler University in Indianapolis where she graduated cum laude with high departmental honors in International Studies and French.
Executive Director, Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau
A 24-year veteran of the Irving CVB, Maura was named executive director in October 2003. A leading business travel destination, Irving is home to the world headquarters of ExxonMobil, Zale Jewelers, Flowserve and Fluor, among others. She led the team that delivered the on-time, under-budget and architecturally distinctive Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, and has oversight of its day-to-day operations. In 2015, she was honored with the La Cima Legacy Award, for her contributions to the Irving community. Maura also has been named as a Meetings Trendsetter, a Top 25 Extraordinary Mind, and has earned the designation of Fellow, Certified Destination Management Executive; she is a former chair of Destination Marketing Association International and the Dallas Advertising League.
Commissioner Pete Gerken
Lucas county Commissioner, Board of County Commissioners
Pete Gerken was elected as Lucas County Commissioner in 2005 after beating longtime incumbent Harry Barlos by more than 12 points. Commissioner Gerken has since been overwhelmingly reelected to office and served as President of the Board of Lucas County Commissioners from 2009 to 2013. Pete Gerken began his career in public service in 1996, when he was appointed to an At-Large seat on Toledo City Council. As an eight-year member of council, then Councilman Gerken chaired the Environmental, Utilities, and Public Service Committee and was strongly involved in both “Toledo Backs Jeep” campaigns. Currently, Commissioner Gerken serves on the Board of Directors for the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO). In addition, Commissioner Gerken serves as Chair of both the CCAO Metro Committee and Lucas County Solid Waste District board and is Member of the Board of Directors for the Lucas County Land Bank, Central Catholic High School, Lucas County Plan Commission, and the Lucas County Investment Advisory Board. Commissioner Gerken has taken the lead on economic development efforts in the region and his involvement was instrumental in the development of the multi-purpose Huntington Arena in downtown Toledo. He also fought for the creation of the Commissioner’s Citizen Levy Review Committee, which has provided a transparent review of tax levies since 2005. Additional policy priorities include solid waste management, public utilities advocacy, and issues of downtown revitalization. Pete Gerken was born in Toledo and grew up in the historic Old West End neighborhood. He attended Central Catholic High School, graduating in 1969. In 1991, he received a BS in Organizational Behavior from the University of Toledo. For 30 years, he worked for Jeep / Daimler-Chrysler as a member of the United Auto Workers (UAW). In December, 2004, he retired as Co-Administrator of the UAW Daimler-Chrysler Ohio Training Center. He lives in South Toledo with his wife, Polly. Together, they have four children, Christopher, Joshua, Laura and Cindy, and one grandchild, Millie.
Sr. Vice President, Community Impact and Fundraising, United Way of Central
Jay Geshay has served as Sr. Vice President of Community Impact and Fundraising at United Way of Central Indiana since November 2006. Jay works within a collaborative community based culture building relationships between corporations, foundations, government, agencies, communities, and individuals to achieve United Way’s mission. Jay oversees the relationship with 90+ non-profit agencies serving the human service needs of our community and leads the Corporate Engagement and Investor Relations teams to raise over $43 million annually. Before joining United Way, Jay worked with Eastman Kodak, IBM, and the Dodson Group. As a cofounder of the Dodson Group, Jay was an Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist as the company achieved Inc. 500 ranking for two consecutive years. Jay received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, a Master of Management from the Kellogg Graduate School at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and a Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana.
John Gest, Jr.
Managing Director, Northern Ohio Office, Philanthropy Ohio
Philanthropy Ohio is a statewide membership association that provides the network, tools and knowledge to help people engaged in philanthropy become more effective, powerful change agents in their communities. In his role managing the Cleveland-based office, Mr. Gest works to develop and deliver educational and informational programs for the philanthropic community relating to grantmaking core competencies, professional development, funding interest areas and issues of importance to the communities across Northern Ohio. He believes that community-focused funders can help solve problems. To that end, he is passionate about helping philanthropy make change, not grants.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Downtown Cincinnati Inc.
David Ginsburg has been part of Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI) since joining the organization at its inception as Vice President of Retail Development in 1994. For the past 20 years, he has been a leading member of the civic team working to achieve DCI’s mission to build downtown Cincinnati as a dynamic metropolitan center valued as the heart of the region. In July 2002, David was appointed Interim President and led the organization through a comprehensive effort to re-focus its services addressing the evolving needs of the city’s dynamic downtown. In December 2002, he was named President and Chief Executive Officer. David serves on the Board of Directors of the International Downtown Association, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau, Partner for Achieving School Success (PASS), and OKI Regional Council of Governments. He is a member of CEOs for Cities and the International Council of Shopping Centers. David also serves on the Cincinnati Police Chief’s Citizens Advisory Board, the steering committee for the Regional Chamber’s Agenda 360, and the Cincinnati New Markets Fund Advisory Board. Recently he authored the forward to Fountain Square and the Genius of Water by Gregory Parker Rogers.
Lev Gonick is an educator, technologists, and smart city architect. He has been teaching, working, and living on the Net for more than 25 years. Lev Gonick is co-founder and CEO of OneCommunity, the award-winning non-profit organization enabling and celebrating innovation, collaboration, and productivity through next generation broadband networks and services throughout Northeast Ohio. Lev was CIO at Case Western Reserve University from 2001-2013.
Vice President, Employment & Training Centers, Inc.
Roberto Gonzalez is the Executive Vice President of Employment & Training Centers, Inc., a company established in 1986 that provides workforce development, recruitment, outplacement, training, human resource consulting and related services. In addition, Mr. Gonzalez manages Employment & Training Solutions, LLC, a subsidiary that offers direct hire, staffing and HR services, and School House Management, LLC, another ETC subsidiary. Mr. Gonzalez’s other business interests include Paschal North Main, Ltd a commercial real estate management and investing firm. Mr. Gonzalez is known as a community leader and an entrepreneur. His varied experience has resulted in a unique set of skills that allow him to understand business, education, and the community from a global perspective. He is well-respected and has assembled numerous successful ventures and business models. He is an active member of the Houston community and serves on the Board of Visitors at the University of St. Thomas School of Education; The University of Houston College of Education, the Houston A+ Challenge (Annenberg Foundation), and is a Business Representative for Lamar High School’s Shared Decision Committee. Mr. Gonzalez holds a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology from Indiana University.
Executive Director, The Education & Research Consortium of The Western Carolinas
Asheville, North Carolina
Hunter Goosmann is the Executive Director of the nonprofit Education & Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas, Inc (ERC). In this role for over ten years, he is responsible for building, operating, supporting and expanding broadband Internet access across western North Carolina via the ERC middle mile network and data center. Goosmann has worked nationally and internationally in the Telecommunications and Information Technology fields. He has spoken widely about middle-mile networks and the need for the growth of rural broadband access. Additionally, he is a strong community advocate and serves on the Boards of Directors for the North Carolina Technology Association, Meet the Geeks, and is the Board President of the Bob Moog Foundation. He has served on the Boards of Directors of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, the Asheville/Buncombe Economic Development Coalition, the Health Adventure, and the Asheville Symphony.
President, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce
Wendy Gramza is the President of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. She assumed this role in July 2014 after serving as the Chamber’s Executive Vice President for eleven years. Prior to that, Ms. Gramza held several other positions within the organization, including Vice President of Small Business and Director of the Small Business Development Center.She is a graduate of the University of Toledo holding a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing. Ms. Gramza is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management at Notre Dame University. She holds the designation of Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).
Sustainability Coordinator, Board of Lucas County Commissioners
Melissa Greene serves as the Sustainability Coordinator for the Lucas County Commissioners Office. Melissa is responsible for implementing the Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Plan. She is also responsible for promoting sustainability and making improvements within Lucas County Departments. Melissa continuously provides sustainability expertise to the citizens and municipalities in Lucas County. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Policy and a Masters of Public Administration degree specializing in Environmental Management. She earned both of her degrees from Bowling Green State University.
Executive Director and CEO, Indiana Association of Cities and Towns
Matt Greller was appointed Executive Director of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT) on May 25, 2002. He previously served as the Executive Director of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns Foundation, a non-profit affiliate of the Association. Matt is an active participant in his son’s youth sports programs. He coaches school and AAU basketball teams. Matt’s family hosts a golf fundraiser in memory of his grandfather each year that provides college scholarships to Brown County High School seniors. Greller and his wife Nikki have two sons, Ben and Zach.
President, Century 3, Inc.
Greer, South Carolina
Greg Hall is President of Century 3, Inc. (C3), an engineering,construction and industrial contracting firm with US headquarters in Greer, South Carolina. He is also the Chairman of C3 China with nine offices across China and the Director of C3 Southeast Asia which includes Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Mr. Hall has over 37 years of management experience in the design and construction of large scale capital projects in China, S.E. Asia, US and Europe.
Education Consultant and Instructor, IMAGINE Middle School Program
Sherry Hamstra, MEd., is an instructor in the Department of Education Psychology at Ball State University. She is a former teacher of over 25 years and a PK-8th Grade school administrator. She has worked with students, teachers and parents throughout Indiana for the last ten years as an IDOE Field Coach and professional development presenter. She is currently consulting with schools in Indiana in the areas of curriculum, differentiation and meeting the needs of gifted students. She also serves on the board for IMAGINE: Students for Global and Local Action, a project based service learning for middle school students in Indiana.
Cyndi Harmeyer Fisher
Executive Director, EDGE, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Des Moines, Iowa
Cyndi Harmeyer Fisher is Executive Director for the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s (GDMP) workforce development/education initiative called â€œEducation Drives our Great Economy or EDGE. Recognizing the critical role that education and business play, EDGE is a Cradle through Career approach that includes early childhood, elementary, secondary, and higher education as well as adult re-skilling. EDGE is the intersection of education and business building the human talent pipeline that impacts our youth, employers and community. Fisher’s career spans over 30 year as a communications executive building integrated marketing and public relations strategies in a variety of sectors. Cyndi specializes in building long-term strategic relationships with stakeholder groups. She has an extensive understanding of strategic planning, project management, creative problem solving, and coalition building.
Senior VP Strategic Partnerships, Say Yes to Education
New York, New York
Noel Harmon is Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, for Say Yes To Education. In this capacity, she plays a central role in the organization’s efforts to forge partnerships and to raise start-up capital including from foundations and corporations. Among the goals of her work at Say Yes is to expand the Say Yes citywide strategy to additional communities. In seeking partnerships on behalf of Say Yes, Harmon works to identify and cultivate entities that share the organization’s goals of high school graduation and post-secondary completion for all public school students in the communities that it serves. She also leads the organization’s development strategy. Harmon comes to Say Yes from the Brookings Institution where she was the Associate Director of the Global Cities Initiatives, a joint project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase. Previously, she served as the Chief Program Officer and National Director of the Talent Dividend at CEOs for Cities. She led the National Talent Dividend Network and Prize, a joint initiative of Living Cities and CEOs for Cities, to foster post-secondary attainment, through cross-sector collaboration among more than 60 network cities. She has served as a senior research analyst at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) where she managed several long-term national initiatives. She spent 10 years working in administration at post-secondary institutions including Hofstra University, University of Michigan, Western Illinois University, and four years in Athletic Student Services at the University of Iowa.
Spinnaker St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
The Mind Trust
David Harris launched The Mind Trust in 2006 with former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson to help create an education landscape in Indianapolis that would give every child the opportunity to receive an excellent education. The Mind Trust is the Indianapolis-based nonprofit whose mission is to provide every Indianapolis student with access to a high-quality school. Much of The Mind Trust work revolves around its three incubators that advance innovation in education and create great schools: the Charter School Incubator, the Education Entrepreneur Fellowship and the Innovation School Fellowship. Under his leadership, The Mind Trust has impacted more than 113,000 students and raised $46 million to support its incubators and to bring nationally renowned organizations like Teach For America to Indianapolis. Matthew Tully a columnist for The Indianapolis Star wrote that The Mind Trust has singlehandedly changed the tenor of the debate surrounding the city’s schools and brought an army of education talent to Indianapolis in recent years. Before starting The Mind Trust, David spent five years as Peterson’s Charter Schools Director, where he built a charter school office that received Harvard University’s Innovations in American Government Award. He joined Peterson’s team after practicing law with the Indianapolis firm of Baker & Daniels and leading efforts to draft the Peterson Plan, the mayor’s 1999 strategy for running city government. David received a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a law degree from Indiana University. He serves on the boards of the Mitch Daniels Leadership Foundation, Teach For America Indianapolis and The Patachou Foundation. In 2007, David was among 25 education leaders selected for the Aspen Institute and NewSchools Venture Fund’s inaugural Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Program. David has received College Summit’s Let Talent Shine Award, Teachers’ Treasures Caring Spirit Award and Indy’s Best and Brightest Award from Junior Achievement of Central Indiana. In 2013, he was featured as part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s “Profiles of Change” series. He also was named one of Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 and was the inaugural winner of the St. Richard’s Episcopal School’s Eugene S. Pulliam Founders Medal for alumni who demonstrate creative leadership and service that has benefitted society.
President, Harris Restaurant Group
Papa Johns Pizza franchisee since 1992. Member Knox County School Board for three years.
Founder and President of TivaWater, a household water filter developed for Africa and South America. Board member Emerald Youth Foundation and National Christian Foundation East TN.
CoFounder & CEO, Baltimore Corps
As Co-Founder and CEO of Baltimore Corps, Fagan is a passionate evangelist for Baltimore who is proud to work everyday strengthening America’s greatest city. Fagan sets the organization’s strategic direction and supports its dedicated community of staff, fellows and community leaders. A graduate of Baltimore’s public school system, Fagan believes deeply in every individual’s right to opportunity and is committed to realizing a more just and equitable society. Fagan loves his job at Baltimore Corps because it allows him to collaborate with incredible leaders, and extraordinary communities, who come together daily to make a transformative difference in the lives of Baltimore’s children, youth and families. Prior to Baltimore Corps, Fagan worked at College Track, a national after school program dedicated to creating college-going cultures in historically underserved communities. As a Fellow at the Emerson Collective, Fagan staffed the White House Council for Community Solutions, where he supported efforts to harness the talents of Opportunity Youth. Fagan studied international human rights in Ireland as a Senator George J. Mitchell Scholar and holds a Masters of Philosophy in Comparative Social Policy from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. An Echoing Green Fellow, Fagan was recently named to Forbes Magazine “30 Under 30” list for social entrepreneurship.
President and CEO, Better Housing Coalition
Greta succeeded T.K. Somanath as President and CEO of the Better Housing Coalition in August 2013. Before joining BHC, she was vice president for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national non-profit community and economic development corporation. In this role, she provided strategic and managerial support to 10 of LISC’s local offices in southern and mid-western regions. Prior to that role, she was the senior program director for Virginia LISC, based in Richmond, which supported local organizations in developing more than $250 million in real estate in Central Virginia. Greta recently served on the City of Richmond’s Economic Development Authority and has been a member of the Federal Reserve Bank’s Board of Governors’ Consumer Advisory Council, the Virginia Housing Coalition, the Richmond Community Development Alliance and Seven Hills Boys Middle School. Among other community leadership roles she has held within the region, she is also a member of Leadership Metro Richmond’s Class of 1995. Greta earned her bachelor of architecture degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and holds a master of science in architecture and urban design from Columbia University.
Executive Director, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland
Phyllis Seven Harris has been a dynamic force in the local nonprofit community for the past 20 years. The Cleveland native has played pivotal roles in a variety of organizations dedicated to improving people’s lives throughout the region. Ms. Harris directed a major capital campaign for the Cleveland Sight Center, served as Vice President of Programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cleveland and spearheaded youth initiatives at Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio. Her leadership in local nonprofit circles also extends to service on the boards Plexus LGBTA Chamber of Commerce, SPACES, Community Shares of Greater Cleveland and Housing Research & Advocacy Center. In her current role at the helm of Cleveland’s LGBT Center, Ms. Harris has leveraged both her passion and her multi-faceted experience to lead the organization on a path of sustainable growth and vitality. Just this past summer, the Center announced it has received the largest single donation in its 39-year history; an anonymous gift of 1.8 million dollars. Together with a $500,000 matching grant from the Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation, this will allow the Center to extend its reach to even better serve the LGBT community through the purchase and renovation of a new, more accessible and versatile facility. Ms. Harris holds a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baldwin Wallace College.
2015 Award & Appointment: Human Rights Campaign Leadership Award recipient. City of Cleveland Selection Panel – Community Police Commission.
Tavonna Harris Askew
Chief of Staff and General Counsel, Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County
Tavonna Harris Askew is Chief of Staff and General Counsel for The Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County. In this role she plans and directs administrative and operational activities for the organization’s President/CEO and Board of Directors. Tavonna serves as the corporation’s chief legal officer and is responsible for protecting the corporation’s legal interests, maintaining its operations within the scope established by law, and providing risk management services. Tavonna received her Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University. Tavonna’s civic activities include the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana Advisory Board, the Indiana Health Advocacy Coalition Board, MDWise Inc. Board, the Visit Indy Tourism Master Plan Steering Committee and member of the Regional Development Authority. She is a member of various bar associations, The Links, Incorporated, and a Diamond Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Professor, Center for Houston’s Future
Dr. Jacqueline Hawkins is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological, Health, and Learning Sciences at the University of Houston (UH) and a Center Fellow at the Center for Houston’s Future. She leads degree programs at UH that generate undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral level leaders who have the knowledge and skills to transform education for students in K-12 schools. Dr. Hawkins’ work at UH and in the city of Houston has focused on helping to solve some of the challenges faced by diverse learners in an increasingly more diverse city.
Consortium Director, Guilford Nonprofit Consortium
Greensboro, North Carolina
Steve Hayes is the Director of the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium. He is on the Board of Creative Aging Network of North Carolina and Partners Ending Homelessness. He also serves on the MPA Advisory Board and the Institutional Review Board at UNC-Greensboro. He has served as a member of the Work Force Development Board and Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and has previously been engaged with the Court Watch Board, American Society for Public Administration, the N.C. Social Services Association, and the American Professional Partnership for Lithuanian Education. Hayes has also worked as a consultant and trainer.
Interim President/CEO, Downtown Greensboro, Inc.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Prior to joining Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) in January, 2015 Cyndy was President & CEO of Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina. In February, 2015 Cyndy was appointed interim CEO of DGI. Established in 1997, DGI’s core purpose is to lead the development of Downtown Greensboro as a prosperous and vibrant urban center, memorable and meaningful for those who choose to live work, play and invest here. The non-profit works in four key areas: Advocacy, Economic Development, Environmental, and Marketing to help businesses and individuals thrive in the downtown Business Improvement District.
Principal-In-Charge, Schmidt Associates
As a principal at Schmidt Associates, Sarah Hempstead leads the university studio. Her career has been dedicated to the creation of complex, beautiful spaces that serve Owner’s missions. Whether it’s on a college campus or in a downtown setting, she recognizes that architecture makes a strong impact, presenting the opportunity to enrich people’s lives. She earned her Bachelors of Architecture and Environmental Design from Ball State University. She has actively served on the board of the American Institute of Architects Indiana Chapter and is also an active member of multiple professional and non-profit organizations.
Principal , MKSK
Chris is a principal with MKSK, a Columbus-based planning, landscape architecture, and urban design firm. During his fifteen years with MKSK (formerly MSI Design), Chris has managed a wide variety of projects involving regional planning policy, comprehensive plans, downtown plans, focus area planning, community economic development, transportation planning, and public engagement and facilitation. A certified planner with 23 years of experience, Chris holds a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an undergraduate degree from Miami University. He has led the project teams for several award-winning plans including the Southwest Bexley Master Plan, the I-670 Design Enhancement Study, the Big Darby Accord, and the 2010 Downtown Columbus Strategic Plan, and most recently the Long Street Bridge and Cultural Wall. Chris authored the I-70/71 Design Enhancement Manual and has been project manager for the urban design portions of several phases of the Columbus Crossroads project.
Executive Director, Columbus Economic Development Board
Jason Hester brings fifteen years of local and state-level economic development experience to his role as executive director of the Columbus (Indiana) Economic Development Board. Building on the area’s strengths in advanced manufacturing and design, Hester leads the community’s business retention, expansion, and domestic & international attraction efforts. Before joining the Columbus EDB in 2010, Jason served as the central region director for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, where he led business attraction and expansion efforts in the state’s largest region. Over three years, he and his team successfully closed more than 220 competitive projects, calling for $5.1 billion in new capital investment and the creation of 38,000 new jobs.
Edward (Ned) Hill
Professor of Public Affairs, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University
Edward [Ned] Hill is Professor of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs where he teaches in economic development, public finance, and state and local public policy. He is also a faculty member in Ohio State’s Discovery Themes in Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability led by the Institute of Materials Research (IMR). Ned served as Dean of the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University for eight years where he was a member of the faculty for 30 years. He is a nonresident senior fellow of The Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. He was chair of the Advisory Board of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) from 2007 until 2010. His appointment to the Board ended in April 2014, making him the board’s longest serving member.
Co-founder, ScaleUp Partners
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
The Architect of Inclusive Competitiveness interdisciplinary policies, strategies, practices and metrics to improve the performance of disconnected Americans within the Innovation Economy Johnathan M. Holifield is co-founder of ScaleUp Partners LLC, a nationally networked, regionally focused consultancy advancing Inclusive Competitiveness. He is State Director of Inclusive Competitiveness, Believe in Ohio, leading efforts to create the first statewide Urban STEM Mentor Network to support education, innovation and entrepreneurship and senior consultant with Insight Center for Community Economic Development, a leading national research, consulting and legal organization building economic health and opportunity in vulnerable communities, and a blogger with The Huffington Post. He is founding Vice President of Inclusive Competitiveness at NorTech, the regional innovation development organization serving the Cleveland, Ohio region and is founding executive director of CincyTech Cincinnati’s Voice of Technology and Innovation. Mr. Holifield has held executive leadership positions with Cincinnati USA Chamber of Commerce, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Cleveland Urban League and was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL. Mr. Holifield holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from West Virginia University, where he was elected football team captain, a master’s degree in Educational Foundations and law degree from University of Cincinnati, and is a graduate of The University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.
Greenville, South Carolina
CEO of The Fieldstone Group, a diversifed investment portfolio of real estate, farm, and timber holdings. He is Executive Director of the International Transportation Innovation Center at SCTAC. He Chairs Board of Regents for Anderson University and is BIC for Fieldstone Commercial LLC in South Carolina.
Senior Fellow, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government
Albany, New York
Dr. Kenneth Howey has a long and distinguished career as a researcher and professor in the field of education, particularly in developing efforts to improve the preparation of teachers. Dr. Howey currently holds the position of Research Professor at the State University of New York at Albany and Senior Fellow at SUNY’s Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. Previously, he held the position of Research Professor in the College of Education at the University of Cincinnati. He also served on the education faculties at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ohio State University. For ten years, Dr. Howey served as Director of the Urban Network to Improve Teacher Education, (UNITE), a consortium of partnerships between universities, school districts, and teacher unions in major cities across the United States.
President, VisitTulsa/Tulsa Sports Commission
Ray Hoyt is the President of VisitTulsa and the Tulsa Sports Commission. Ray began his career in Tulsa in September 2010 as the Executive Director for the sports commission and was promoted within his first year. One of Ray’s many accomplishments includes leading the effort to raise more than $3.5 million in private monies in a capital campaign for tourism. As a result of these efforts, Ray continues to lead the rebranding of the Tulsa region as a destination for tourism and conventions.
President & CEO, Indy Chamber
Michael Huber has a diverse professional background in government, private sector, and urban development experience. Named Indy Chamber President and CEO in August 2013, Huber’s prior work experience included Senior Director of Commercial Enterprise at the Indianapolis Airport Authority and as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Huber has also held senior level roles in Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels’ administration and as Associate Faculty at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis.
Founder and President, Verge
Matt Hunckler is a committed business adventurist with a knack for online marketing, branding, and starting up. He currently leads startup community efforts with Verge, a national platform for software startup founders, developers, and investors.
Executive Director, Health Care Education and Training
Abby Hunt, MSW is the Executive Director of Health Care Education and Training (HCET) with offices in Indianapolis, IN and Madison, WI. HCET’s mission is to provide comprehensive program development, education, and training to improve reproductive and sexual health outcomes. Ms. Hunt has over 12 years of experience directing public health prevention and youth development programs and is an experience trainer and facilitator.
Vice President, Economic Competitiveness, Greenville Chamber
Greenville, South Carolina
Chamber professional with significant experience in developing entrepreneurial solutions to meet the needs of manufacturers and existing industry. Well-versed in building networks and developing research-based tools to address specific issues impacting community prosperity. Driven to meet the needs of the membership organization while tackling community change issues.
Vice President for Engagement, Florida International University
Saif Y. Ishoof, Esq. serves as Vice President for Engagement at Florida International University. He was appointed in May 2015 by President Mark B. Rosenberg and leads the office in incubating transformational partnerships. As VP for Engagement, Saif builds win-win-win partnerships that create sustainable change for the university and its students; public and private sector partners; and the global community. He is also a Green Fellow at the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs. Previously, Saif served as founding Executive Director at City Year Miami, which provides 17-24 year olds an opportunity to serve one year in high-need schools as tutors, mentors and role models to address the opportunity gap. Under Saif’s leadership, the organization more than doubled in size and scope with an expansion from 8 to 17 schools.Saif earned his bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law. His professional career includes being a startup technology entrepreneur and executive in the agricultural and engineering space. Prior to City Year, Saif served as CEO of FCT Technologies Corp., a firm involved in renewable energy, crop science and water resource management. Saif is a graduate of America’s Leaders of Change, a program of the National Urban Fellows. He served as a member of the Public Health Trust, the oversight body for Jackson Memorial Hospital. Saif is past chairman of the Miami-Dade County Asian American Advisory Board and a graduate of Leadership Florida Class 28. In the international realm, Saif participated in a U.S. State Department exchange to Turkey of Young American/Young Turkish leaders as part of a public diplomacy initiative.
Attorney, Urban Land Institute Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa
Larry James is a real estate attorney with Faegre Baker Daniels focusing on transactional real estate law. He works closely with developers on land development, historic tax credit and low income housing tax credit projects, as well as large multifamily and mixed-use developments. In addition to his real estate practice, Larry is Chair of Urban Land Institute Iowa.
Love Indy Project Manager, Project 2020
Mali uses her passion for inclusion in her role as Love Indy Project Manager for Plan 2020, Indianapolis’ bicentennial planning agenda. Center for Leadership Development awarded Mali a Minority Achievers Award in Arts and Culture in 2013. Mali was also a 2013 Indianapolis delegate for the city’s Chamber of Commerce Leadership Exchange in Cologne, Germany. The Indy native has a genuine passion for her hometown and won the Emerging Leaders Award from 100 Black Men for her work in the cultural community. Mali sits on the Board of Directors for Indiana Humanities, Big Car, The Exchange at the Indianapolis Urban League and the Indiana Avenue Cultural League. Mali is a graduate of SKL Class XXXIX.
President, Third Federal Foundation
Kurt Karakul among his many activities as Foundation director is serving as chairman of the Talent Team for the Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaboration of 67 foundations and institutions impacting economic development in Northeast Ohio. He also is heading the Broadway/Slavic Village P-16 Project with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in an effort to work with the system and community partners to create an educational program to impact children from pre-birth to college graduation.
Director of Special Projects and Civic Investment, Health & Hospital Corporation
Michael Kaufmann splits his time between doing cultural economic development work for Indy Chamber, and Health & Hospital Corporation in his role as director of special projects and civic investment. In the latter he has spent the last four years supporting art and design, and livability initiatives for Eskenazi Health. He is a recipient of Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 and is a Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series graduate. He is a member of the Next City’s Vanguard, which recognizes young urban leaders. Michael serves on the boards of VSA Indiana, Parks Foundation and the Indiana Sports Corp Presidential Council.
Director of Program Strategy and Engagement, The Miami Foundation
Stuart Kennedy is the Director of Program Strategy and Innovation at The Miami Foundation. He leads the Foundation’s civic leadership work focused on addressing critical quality of life issues in Miami-Dade County. In addition, he oversees the Our Miami Report, a biennial research platform examining the data, trends, indicators and stories behind Greater Miami’s biggest challenges and opportunities, and the Public Space Challenge, a contest for the community’s best ideas to improve, create and activate public spaces. Prior to joining the Foundation, Stuart was the Program Associate at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation working with the local and national Arts programs. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a double major in International Affairs and Spanish and Portuguese Language and Culture.
Founder & CEO, The daVinci Pursuit
Mark Kesling is a pioneering artist and designer in the field of museum education and design for more than 30 years. As the founder and CEO of the daVinci Pursuit, Mark continues to provide leadership through the design of a “museum without walls.” He possesses a unique set of skills, combining art with science in ways that engage learners of all ages. He works with neighborhood, city, institutional, artist and educational partners to create science installations in some of the most neglected neighborhoods in Indianapolis.
President/CEO, Leadership Indianapolis
Linda L. Kirby is the founding CEO of Leadership Indianapolis and is focused on strategically and intentionally building a pipeline of diverse community leaders to strengthen the Indianapolis community. Kirby has experience in strategic planning, program development and implementation, retention, fundraising, board development, organizational leadership and more. Kirby is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis and has served on numerous boards and committees.
Chief Operating Officer, The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation
Greensboro, North Carolina
Ed Kitchen currently serves as VP & COO and Board Member of the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation in Greensboro, NC. Prior to joining the foundation in 2006, Kitchen worked for the City of Greensboro for 30 years, serving the last 10 years of his tenure as City Manager. A key focus of his work involves innovative partnerships with Greensboro’s 7 higher education institutions (45,000 students) to help drive the community and regional economies. Kitchen Chairs the Board of Gateway University Research Park, home of the nation’s first Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, a unique partnership between NC A&T (the nation’s largest HBCU) and UNC Greensboro. He also Co-Chairs Opportunity Greensboro, a business-collegiate partnership of CEO’s, university Presidents/ Chancellors, and civic leaders who collaborate to enhance economic and talent development for the area. Passionate about the impact of brain development in 0-5 year olds, Kitchen co-chairs a new community initiative focused on transforming and enhancing early childhood development systems with a focus on preparing children for success in school and life. Kitchen serves on the boards of numerous organizations including Cone Health, Carolina Bank, Action Greensboro (a collaboration between 7 local philanthropic foundations), Rotary, the United Way, the UNC School of Government, and the Greensboro Police Foundation. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UNC- Chapel Hill with an undergraduate degree in Political Science and a Master’s in Public Administration.
Executive Director forRegional Workforce Development, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership
Jason Kloth joined CICP as the Executive Director for Workforce Development in July 2015. Prior to his role, he served as the Deputy Mayor of Education for the City of Indianapolis, beginning in 2012. In this capacity, he was a member of the Mayor’s Senior Cabinet and led the Office of Education Innovation’s efforts to ensure that every student in Indianapolis has access to a quality education. Jason currently serves on the boards of Early Learning Indiana, Teach For America-Indianapolis, Downtown Indy, and EmployIndy. He received his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and currently lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Ronni, and daughter, Coretta.
President, Leadership Louisville Center
In 2012, Cynthia was named President of the Leadership Louisville Center and oversees all programs: Leadership Louisville (the signature program); Focus Louisville, a 2 1/2-day community orientation; Bingham Fellows, an advanced leadership experience on a specific community issue; Ignite Louisville for young professionals and; Encore for retiring leaders. Cynthia was a founding member and the first President of the Young Professionals Association of Louisville (YPAL). Cynthia serves on the boards of Greater Louisville Inc., Metro Parks Foundation, Catholic Education Foundation and the national Association of Leadership Programs. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Louisville as well as several certifications in leadership training and organizational development.
President/CEO, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, Inc.
Kent A. Kramer joined Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana in 2002 as Vice President of Retail Operations, later serving as Chief Operating Officer. In 2015, he was named President and Chief Executive Officer – just the fourth leader in the organizations nearly 90 years. Kent leads a thriving Goodwill of more than 3,200 employees (two-thirds of whom have a significant employment barrier) that also educates more than 3,000 students and serves more than 1,000 low-income families. Kramer is a graduate of Indiana State University (BS in Business Management) and Anderson University (MBA). Kent Serves on the Alumni Association Board at Indiana State, is a member of the State Workforce Innovation Council, and is an elder at Madison Park Church of God. Kent, his wife Jamei, and their 4 children live in Pendleton, Indiana.
Clinical Professor Emeritus of Public and Environmental Affairs, IUPUI
John L. Krauss, an attorney, mediator, and arbitrator. He recently retired from Indiana University and IUPUI after 23 years. He served as director of the Indiana University Public Policy Institute and a clinical professor at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He know is a Clinical Professor Emeritus SPEA. Previously, Krauss served as Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis (1982-1991). Krauss currently serves as a senior advisor to the Chancellor of IUPUI and as adjunct professor at the Indiana University McKinney School of Law-Indianapolis. He teaches mediation and dispute resolution and has an alternative dispute resolution and mediation consultant practice. Krauss holds leadership positions with a diverse array of civic and corporate organizations, including Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, Tourism for Tomorrow, Inc., the President Benjamin Harrison Foundation Advisory Board, Arthur Jordan Foundation and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He is Past Chair of the Indiana Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education.
President and CEO, The Columbus Foundation
Douglas F. Kridler is the fifth president of The Columbus Foundation, a community foundation serving the central Ohio region since 1943. As of 12/31/14, the Foundation’s assets totaled more than $1.8 billion. Kridler is also an Independent Director and chair of the Nominating and Fund Governance Committee of Nationwide Mutual Funds, with over $80 billion in assets under management in an array of over 100 U.S. mutual funds. Prior to joining The Columbus Foundation as President & CEO in February 2002, Kridler served for eighteen years as the President of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts. In November 2014, Kridler was inducted into the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame.
Community Planner, City of Greenville
Greenville, South Carolina
Wayne Leftwich is a Community Planner with the City of Greenville. Wayne works with citizens to develop and implement master plans and supports the administration of the City’s community development programs. Wayne also managed the $1.8 million Community Challenge/TIGER II grant project, Connections for Sustainability, a 3-year planning effort to make connections between affordable housing, transportation options, and economic development opportunities in the City of Greenville with a focus on the low-to-moderate income neighborhoods on the west side. Wayne is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). He earned his Masters in City and Regional Planning from Clemson University; and a BA in Economics from Virginia Tech.
Deputy to the Mayor/Chief Policy Officer, City of Knoxville
William Lyons is Deputy to the Mayor and Chief Policy Officer for the City of Knoxville under Mayor Madeline Rogero. In this position he has major responsibility for policies regarding development of downtown and our urban core, community development, sustainability, and external policies for the city. Before joining city government he served as Professor of Political Science and Director of the Social Science Research Institute at the University of Tennessee. His research has appeared in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, and the Social Science Quarterly. He is currently on the board of the Tennessee Historical Commission.
CEO of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of East TN
Rosa had a 27 year career with Levi Strauss & Co where she held various management positons the last being the Global Sourcing Manager. Rosa currently serves on several boards: on the Board of Directors for Leadership Knoxville, she serves as the current chair for the Leadership Knoxville Facilitation Committee for which she has been the chair for the past two years; she is the president of the board of WDVX a non-profit radio station; on the board for HoLa Hora Latina Cultural Organization; and on the board of Knox Heritage to name a few. Rosa was appointed the CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of East Tennessee in March of 2014. She is a 1994 graduate of Leadership San Francisco, 2001 graduate of Leadership Knoxville, a 2013 YWCA Tribute to Women Finalist, and a graduate of the East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association Class of 2014.
General Counsel/VP, Strategic Initiatives & Research, Greater Cleveland Partnership
Shana oversees legal affairs for the Greater Cleveland Partnership and leads the organizational strategic priorities of education, talent and workforce development. Shana currently serves on the Cleveland Municipal School District School Board Nominating Panel, the Friends of Max S Hayes High School Advisory Board, the Fenn Educational Fund Advisory Committee, and the City Club of Cleveland Board of Directors. Shana has completed a fellowship on regional and sustainable development through the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) and the Ford Foundation and is currently working on a second ACCE fellowship for education attainment. She also is a member of Kaleidoscope magazine’s 40/40 Club Class of 2008, honoring distinguished African-American professionals age 40 or younger in the Cleveland area. Shana received her Juris Doctor from Tulane Law School and completed her undergraduate work at Tufts University, where she double-majored in sociology and political science.
Co Founder, Design Bank
Wil Marquez and NaShara Mitchell Co-Founded the Design Bank in 2014 in Indianapolis. The Design Bank is three dimensional space that impacts design, entrepreneurship, and community. We call it Impact 3D. We are a learning and working cooperative that share ideas, time, talent and resources. Marquez graduated from University of Minnesota (BA) in 1999 and University of Michigan (MA) in 2005.
Curator, Catalog Of Fantastic Things
Shauta Marsh is CEO of the Indianapolis art curation and consulting company Catalog of Fantastic Things. She previously worked four years as executive director of the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art. At iMOCA, exhibits organized by Marsh attracted national attention to Indianapolis via publications like Vanity Fair, Interview Magazine, and more. She is also a founding member of Big Car Collaborative and serves as curator at Big Car’s new Tube Factory art space. She began working as a curator in 2004 at Big Car Gallery.
President, Indianapolis Urban League
Tony succeeded Joe Slash as the president of the Indianapolis Urban League in October of 2014. Prior to taking on this role, Tony served as the Senior Vice President of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee, Executive Director of the Circle City Classic, and held various administrative and leadership roles with the NCAA, DEFENDERS, Indiana Black Expo, the AAU, Miami University (OH) and Wichita State University. Tony has served on the Boards of the Indianapolis Urban League and the Indiana Youth Institute. His recognitions include the Indianapolis Business Journal’s Forty Under 40, the Center for Leadership Achievement in Business, the Indiana Sports Corporation’s Pathfinder/Rev. Charles Williams Award and the McDonald’s Black History Maker of Today Award. His wife, Joy is an Indianapolis native and they have two (2) sons, Miles and John Michael.
Executive Director, Housing Authority of the City of Greenville SC
Greenville, South Carolina
n August of 2014, Ivory Mathews was named the Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the City of Greenville SC. Over the last 18 years sheâ€™s held various leadership positions in South Carolina and Ohio developing Mixed Financed Affordable Housing Communities, mostly transitioning densely populated low income communities to thriving mixed communities. Mrs. Mathews is a member of several local, state, regional and national trade, civic and community organizations. She holds a Masters of Education with a concentration in Counseling and Psychology from Troy State University-Augusta in Augusta, GA and a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Newberry College, Newberry, SC.
Community Engagement Manager, Leadership Tennessee
Patrick is a graduate of Lipscomb University, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Law, Justice & Society and a Master’s degree in Conflict Management. He brings public outreach, community organizing, and federal level facilitation experience to the Leadership Tennessee team. In his role with Leadership Tennessee, Patrick is responsible for planning and executing the organization’s public outreach efforts to engage Tennesseans in timely and relevant conversations that seek collaborative solutions to the state’s most challenging issues.
Vice President, PNC Bank
Rachel McIntosh has worked in community development for nearly twenty years. She is currently a Vice President and Community Development Advisor with PNC Bank. In that capacity, she works to advance a broad range of neighborhood revitalization efforts in Indiana, managing investments in community-based programs and real estate projects. In addition to her time with PNC, she has worked in similar roles with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, United Way of Central Ohio and Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Ms. McIntosh has a Master of Arts in Philanthropic Studies and a Masters in Public Affairs from Indiana University.
Executive Director, Midtown Indianapolis, Inc.
Michael McKillip is Executive Director of Midtown Indianapolis, Inc., a nonprofit community development organization focused on quality of life and economic development in Indy’s Midtown. After receiving his B.A. in Political Science from Indiana University Southeast Michael spent nearly a decade in government affairs at the Indiana Statehouse before turning his attention to neighborhood revitalization. In 2007 while serving as Board President of the Maple Road Development Association he helped establish Midtown, Inc. and became its first full-time Executive Director in 2012. Since that time he has lead a coalition of neighborhood leaders, business owners, and key Institutions through a series of planning and advocacy efforts, which have helped to establish a shared vision for the future of Indy’s Midtown, shaped new economic policy tools, and leveraged over $43 million in public and private investments in key Midtown area projects. He serves as a member of Indy’s CEOs for Cities Cluster and the Plan 2020 Connect Indy Committee. Michael lives in Indy’s Midtown with his wife Kristie and son Jaxon.
Kelli McKinney Rhodes
Louisville Metro Government
Judge Lawrence McSwain
Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Retired District Court Judge (2009) for Guilford County (Greensboro & High Point); Emergency District Court Judge (Present status); District Court Judge for approximately 23 years; An Assistant District Attorney for 8 ½ years; Community Activist in Guilford County and statewide; Speaker in the area of 21st Century Leadership and Community Development; Member of the World Future Society; Member of the High Point Children’s Cabinet; Presently serving on the Board of Directors of: Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, The First Tee of the Piedmont Triad, American Friends of the Bajio; Graduated from North Carolina A & T State University with a B.S in Political Science; Graduated from North Carolina Central School of Law with a Juris Doctorate
President, Lumina Foundation
Jamie Merisotis is a globally recognized leader in philanthropy, higher education and public policy. Since 2008, he has served as president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. and a driving force for increasing Americans’ success in higher education. Under his leadership, Lumina has embraced an ambitious and specific goal: to ensure that, by 2025, 60 percent of Americans hold high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials. He previously served as co-founder and president of the nonpartisan Institute for Higher Education Policy, and as executive director of a bipartisan national commission on college affordability. A highly regarded analyst and innovator, Merisotis is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and the leadership council of The Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project on national service. Merisotis also helped create the Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps), serving as an adviser to senior management on issues related to the quality and effectiveness of national service initiatives. Merisotis is author of the book, “America Needs Talent,” which will be published in September by RosettaBooks.
President, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Des Moines, Iowa
Gene Meyer, President, Greater Des Moines Partnership. Key responsibilities include supporting the Partnership’s role in implementing the region’s strategic vision plan, â€œCapital Crossroads; elevating the alliance between business and education in central Iowa, and developing strategic direction for the next phase of the Partnership’s work. Gene has extensive professional and political experience in regional strategy development and implementation. He was elected to the West Des Moines Community Schools Board, serving three terms between 1988 and 1997. He was elected Mayor of West Des Moines, serving between 1997 and 2006. Gene’s professional career spans 37 years of service to the State of Iowa’s Department of Public Safety, most recently as Commissioner under the appointment of Governor Chet Culver. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Parsons College in 1973, and graduated from the FBI National Academy. He earned his Master’s in Public Administration from Drake University in 1981. Gene serves as a board member of the Des Moines Embassy Club as well as Vice President of Trustees for the Des Moines Symphony.
Program Officer, George Kaiser Family Foundation
Aaron lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, serving as a Program Officer for Talent Recruitment & Retention at the George Kaiser Family Foundation. After graduating from the University of Michigan in 2010, Aaron joined Teach For America in Tulsa. After 2 years teaching middle school math, he started at GKFF in 2012 where he focuses on downtown development, entrepreneurship, and large-scale initiatives aimed at increasing the number of young people in Tulsa. There are 6 states in the US Aaron has yet to visit but he’s trying to get to all of them before he turns 30.
President, Greenville Technical College
Greenville, South Carolina
Independent Contractor, Prosper Waco
As a recent graduate and young professional, Kristyn is launching her career working in the areas of talent retention and economic development. Operating under the umbrella of a collective impact organization in Waco, Texas, she is working on a long-term initiative for increasing local talent retention and attraction and strengthening civic engagement with higher education through partnership with the City of Waco and Baylor University. Kristyn has an interest in social innovation and entrepreneurship as well as economic development spurred through the creative class. She is a graduate of Baylor University with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication.
Director of Economic Development, City of Boise
Nic Miller is the Director of Economic Development for the City of Boise. He has worked in economic development both locally and internationally, helping individuals and businesses reach their potential. He serves on the Trailhead board of directors, a non-profit that helps Boiseans start and scale businesses and high impact projects. Nic holds a B.A. in history from the University of Idaho and lives in Boise with his wife, Katie, and son, Joaquin.
Director of Planning Services, HNTB
Currently Director of Planning Services for HNTB’s Indianapolis office. Former director of the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and executive director of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization. Served as the City’s program manager for the planning, design and implementation of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail project. Community engagement activities include Board of Directors for Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc. and the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, member of the programming committee for Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, member of the public art advisory committee for the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and member of the Great Places 2020 Livability Committee.
Program Officer, Toledo LISC
Valerie Moffitt is a Program Officer with Toledo LISC where she oversees Toledo’s Financial Opportunity Center Network, provides technical assistance to partnering organizations, and serves as the local program administrator for LISC AmeriCorps in Toledo. Valerie is a licensed attorney, a Housing Development Finance Professional and Board Certified Coach with over fifteen years of experience creating successful community partnerships to achieve community development goals. Prior to joining LISC, Valerie served as the Assistant Director of United North Corporation, a Toledo community development corporation, where she secured the 2009 Coordination Honor Award from the Community Capacity Development Office of the U.S. Department of Justice, raised over $300,000 in local funding to launch Toledoâ€™s first Financial Opportunity Center in 2010, and led the $1.2 million Phase I re-development effort to re-open The Historic Ohio Theatre & Events Center in 2013.
Managing Director, Degrees Matter, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Steve Moore is a connector, tinkerer, developer of others, advocate of adult learning, dreamer, ENFP, lover of ideas and interconnectedness, father/husband, music geek, tennis player. By day he is the Director of Adult Student Success at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Steve is leading a team of community collaborators in Greensboro who are working collectively to increase the percentage of adults (age 25 +) who hold high quality credentials/degrees. That project, known as Degrees Matter! â€“ Connecting Lifelong Learning to a Thriving Economy, was chosen by Lumina Foundation as one of 20 pilot charter cities in Lumina’s Community Partnerships for Attainment initiative. He has published and presented on the importance of increasing talent as an economic imperative of cities. He is doing his best work when he is being creative, finding ways to create social innovation and empowering the talents of others.
Director of Communications, New Memphis Institute
Anna leads New Memphis’ communications strategy and works to broaden awareness of its programs and mission. New Memphis is a nonprofit committed to attracting, retaining and activating talent for a more prosperous city. She is a longtime Memphian with experience in non-profit administration, media, publishing, and branding. She also helped launch the digital magazine and website High Ground and currently serves as Managing Editor.
Associate Vice Chancellor, IUPUI
Dr. Khaula Murtadha serves as the Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI) Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement. In addition to her administrative responsibilities Murtadha, a faculty member in the School of Education’s Educational Leadership and Policy Studies department, teaches graduate coursework within the urban principal preparation program.
President & CEO, United Way of Central Indiana
On April 1, 2013, Ann D. Murtlow became the 13th executive to lead United Way of Central Indiana. Ann has extensive corporate and nonprofit board experience. Most recently, she was an independent consultant providing advice on strategy, execution, growth and leadership. Previously, Ann was an AES Corporation executive and president & CEO at Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) where she became one of the few female chief executives in the electric utility industry. During her nine-year tenure at IPL, she focused on providing value to company stakeholders through operating excellence in the areas of safety, environmental performance, reliability, customer service, financial performance, employee engagement and community leadership.
President/CEO, Hamilton County Tourism
Brenda Myers is President/CEO of the Hamilton County Tourism, Inc., in central Indiana, where she oversees destination management, marketing and tourism economic development for one of the fastest growing counties in the country, a position she has held for 10 years.
Founder, Forge Columbus
Reese Neader is the founder and CEO of Forge Columbus, a chamber of commerce for community businesses in Columbus. He attended Denison University and majored in political science before joining the Roosevelt Institute in 2009. Serving as policy director, he supported grassroots projects across the country and managed relationships with Congressional offices, national foundations, and the White House. He has given trainings on community development to international organizations including the United Nations and World Bank, and in 2011 was sponsored by the U.S. State Department to travel to Egypt during the Arab Spring to train and mobilize youth opposition leaders. Before moving home to Columbus in 2013, Reese served as Youth Vote Director for President Obama’s re-election campaign in Pennsylvania.
Director, Workforce Initiative, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Ms. Newton is the Director of the Workforce Initiative at the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. Previous nonprofit roles included the Director of the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium, Building Stronger Neighborhoods Liaison, and Advisor to the Greensboro Neighborhood Congress, as well as non-profit consulting. Donna is an honors graduate and a past Distinguished Alumnus of Guilford College. She worked as a medical insurance executive for more than 30 years and left that industry as a Senior Vice President with Jefferson-Pilot Life Insurance Company. She has been involved in her second career with nonprofits for 13 years. During this time Ms. Newton has been a broker of networking and a technical resource for local nonprofit organizations, neighborhood leaders, educational institutions, government entities and faith organizations. Donna has been recognized by the Triad Business Journal with the Women in Business award. She was also honored the 2009 Athena Award presented by the Greensboro Partnership primarily for her board role with the Evergreens Senior Care System, where she led the restructuring that brought 3 new state of the art skilled nursing facilities and a $30 million investment to Guilford County. She has been recognized in the News and Record as a Community Role Model and featured in the News and Record with regard to what she would hope to be The Next Big Thing for Greensboro. Most recently, Donna has been awarded the America Heart Association’s inaugural Heart of the Community Award.
Executive Director, Visitor Center, Inc
Karen Niverson is a twenty year tourism professional currently serving as the executive director of the Columbus Indiana Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is charged with developing and promoting the tourism sector of the local economy.
Managing Principal, Urban Fast Forward
Kathleen Norris (Principal/Urban Fast Forward) is a specialist in urban real estate and revitalization. She is a sought after consultant and practitioner on real estate issues pertinent to urban revitalization, known for a creative approach paired with understanding of and sensitivity to community issues. Ms. Norris is also a licensed realtor, and Managing Principal or her own firm, Urban Fast Forward.
Executive Director, Milwaukee 7
Pat O’Brien is Executive Director of the Milwaukee 7 Regional Economic Development Partnership. He is also president of the Milwaukee Development Corporation, an affiliate organization of the MMAC. O’Brien’s role is to focus on Regional Economic Development and catalytic community based real estate development. While involved in all aspects of Regional Economic Development, Pat’s primary responsibility is in business retention, expansion and attraction efforts. O’Brien spent almost 20 years with Trammell Crow Company in Houston, Detroit and Milwaukee, managing its operations and development business. He currently serves as president of Athletes for Youth, and serves as Vice President of the board of the Pettit National Ice Center Foundation, Elmbrook Baseball Association and Little League. O’Brien earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University and his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School.
Director of State Government Affairs, Eli Lilly and Company
Michael O’Connor is the Director of State Government Affairs for Eli Lilly and Company. He has primary responsibility for developing and implementing Lilly Corporate strategy as it involves Indiana government at every level and is responsible for managing Lilly’s interaction with all governmental entities in the state. O’Connor is also the Indiana Task Force Chair of PhRMA overseeing the pharmaceutical industry’s extensive involvement in the State of Indiana. Prior to joining Lilly, O’Connor was a principal with Bose Public Affairs Group, Indiana’s largest full service Lobbying and Public Affairs agency. O’Connor has served in various capacities at all levels of government, most recently serving as former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson’s Chief Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff. In that position, O’Connor acted as the Chief Operations Officer of the City and managed all economic development and public safety areas that reported to the Mayor’s office. Prior to serving as Chief Deputy Mayor, O’Connor was Associate Administrator at the U.S. EPA in Washington DC, and served as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management under Governors Bayh and O’Bannon. O’Connor is also a former elected official, serving four years on the Greenfield, IN City Council from 1987-1991.
District Manager, Duke Energy
Christopher “Chip” Orben works for Duke Energy as a District Manager in the Community and Economic Development department. Chip has been with Duke Energy, formerly Cinergy, since 1986, working the last 10 years in the Business Relations department. Today he is responsible for community, economic development and legislative affairs efforts in Duke Energy’s Columbus, Seymour, North Vernon and Madison districts.
Principal, Rundell Ernstberger Associates
Kevin Osburn is a registered landscape architect and urban designer with over 25 years of experience in the planning and design of urban spaces, parks, multimodal transportation projects, green infrastructure, and sustainable sites. As the Managing Principal at Rundell Ernstberger Associates, Kevin oversees the firm’s planning and design projects focused on transformational placemaking as an integral part of community revitalization and economic development strategies. He served as lead designer of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, an innovative, 8-mile urban greenway widely recognized for its innovative design and transformative impact. He also led the site design of the Downtown Transit Center, currently under construction. As a longtime resident of downtown Indianapolis, he is a committed advocate for complete streets, pedestrian-focused urban design, and vibrant public spaces.
Executive Director, Short North Alliance
Betsy A. Pandora is the Executive Director of the Short North Alliance. Betsy oversees a million dollar operating budget, a team of 10, all district operations, safety initiatives, artistic and cultural program development, public art master planning, strategic marketing, fundraising, and board relations for both the Short North Alliance and Short North Special Improvement District, two neighborhood serving organizations in Columbus, Ohio.
Former MPC Executive Director, Community Connectors
Former MPC Executive Director; Principal / Owner, Mauldin Parnell, Inc. (Planning and Engineering Consulting firm); Principal / Owner, Realty Trust Group, Health Care Real Estate firm (Retired 2013); Board Member & Chairman Emeritus, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital; Board Member, Legacy Parks Foundation. BA, MBA, Vanderbilt University; Master of Science, Urban / Regional Planning, UTK
Senior Vice President of Education & Workforce, Tulsa Regional Chamber
Brian Paschal is the senior vice president of education and workforce for the Tulsa Regional Chamber. In this role he advocates for raising the standards of education in the Tulsa region and keeping them relevant to the needs of business and industry by developing, attracting and retaining a well-trained workforce. Initiatives in this scope of work include: Partners in Education, Project Boomerang, Career Pathway Navigator, Tulsa’s Young Professionals, Talent Dividend, and Mosaic. Prior to his current position, Brian served as executive director of Tulsa’s Young Professionals. Brian oversaw the strategic direction of the 7,000 member organization and managed over 80 events annually with a focus on urban revitalization, diversity, sustainability, and business development His duties also included opening The Forge, an incubator and co-working space for entrepreneurs, and serving as the founding executive director. Brian oversees the regional branding council and serves on the board for Teach for America Oklahoma, Community Action Project, 36 Degrees North and the Foundation for Tulsa Public Schools.
Valerie E Patton
Vice President, Economic Inclusion and Talent Attraction and Executive Director-St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative, St. Louis Regional Chamber
St. Louis, Missouri
Valerie E. Patton serves as Vice President, Economic Inclusion and Executive Director of the Saint Louis Business Diversity Initiative. In this role, she develops strategies, solutions and programs for organizations in the St. Louis region in the area of workforce diversity and inclusion (recruitment, retention and advancement of talented people of color) through training, convening and consulting and regional economic inclusion initiatives. She is the first Executive Director of the Initiative. She is founder of the Initiative Fellows Program (a yearlong leadership development experience) and Gateway Connections (a welcoming orientation for professionals of color.) She was featured in May 2008 Black Enterprise Magazine.
Vice-Chair, CEOs for Cities Board; President and CEO, Central Indiana Community Foundation
Brian is the President and CEO of the Central Indiana Community Foundation and The Indianapolis Foundation. He is the founder and artistic director of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick, an award-winning 8-mile bicycle and pedestrian pathway that connects to every significant arts, cultural, heritage, sports and entertainment venue in Indianapolis’ dynamic downtown. The Cultural Trail is one of many projects in CICF’s Inspiring Places Leadership Initiative. CICF is a founding sponsor of CEOS for Cities and Brian serves as Vice-Chair of the CEOs for Cities Board of Directors.
Grants Manager, Detroit Regional Chamber
Kyle Peppin works as the Detroit Regional Chamber’s grants manager. In this role, he oversees grant requirements, budgeting and reporting, and is the key Chamber contact for grant partners. Peppin graduated from the London School of Economics and National University of Singapore with two master’s degrees (MPP and MPA) in public and economic policy. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from New York University. His previous work includes coordinating the grant-based Global Health Financing Initiative at the Brookings Institution.
Chief of Staff and Manager for Governmental and International Affairs, The Cleveland Foundation
Perez is the corporate secretary of the foundation and director of governance-related matters. As a member of the six-person Executive Committee, she helps set strategic priorities and policies pertaining to all areas of the foundation. She also provides management support to the President/CEO on executive leadership priorities to steer and ensure delivery of foundation objectives in local and national initiatives, including public policy and international affairs. She is the Executive Vice President of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Senoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc., Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine, and a member of the board of directors of Esperanza. She is also a member of Independent Sector’s board policy committee, Philanthropy Ohio’s board policy committee, and the Advisory Board of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Commission on Economic Inclusion.
Executive Director, Trailnet
St. Louis, Missouri
Ralph is Trailnet’s Executive Director. He uses his skills as an innovator and entrepreneur to advance Trailnet’s mission to make walking and biking a way of life in St. Louis. Prior to his position at Trailnet, Ralph was the CEO and founder of Pfoodman Holdings, a multi-unit food service management company serving education, business/retail, and senior living sectors. He used active living and sustainability as a platform for business development, promoting his companyâ€™s culture by establishing a unique presence in communities.
Executive Director, KIPP Columbus
Hannah began her career in education as a Teach for America corps member in one of Philadelphia’s most chronically underperforming schools. Hannah then joined the staff of an Ohio-based charter management organization, serving as the Director of Education Services and leading the first-ever reconstitution of an Ohio charter school. Currently, Hannah Powell is the Executive Director of KIPP Columbus, one of the highest gaining urban schools in the country. She first came to KIPP as a School Leader in 2008. Under her leadership, KIPP Columbus saw impressive academic growth, a reduced and sustainable operating budget, and the school has expanded its impact to serve over six times the number of original students. KIPP Columbus will continue to grow in order to serve six times the number of current students by the end of the decade.
Assoc. Professor, NC A&T State University
Greensboro, North Carolina
Robert Powell is an Associate Professor in the Architectural Engineering Program at NC A&T State University. He teaches aspects of architectural design and building construction based on many years of professional practice. This has included building design and construction administration as a practicing architect, building contractor, affordable housing developer, and energy consultant. He is also a long term advocate and practitioner of sustainable development consulting with neighborhoods using open participatory design methods to identify effective use of green technologies. Mr. Powell received his undergraduate degree at Stanford University in Architectural Engineering and his Masters in Architecture from M.I.T. He currently serves as a Vice Chair of the Greensboro Community Sustainability Council and on the board of the NC Advanced Energy Corporation.
President, Central College
Mark Putnam is in his sixth year as president of Central College. Founded in 1853, Central is a private, liberal arts college in Pella, Iowa â€“ a community of 10,000 rooted in Dutch heritage. Central is known for its academic rigor and strength in global experiential learning, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), sustainability education, athletics success and tradition, and leadership and service.
Council Member, City of Boise
Ben Quintana’s motto is to lead forward by giving back. Driven to serve others, Ben helps people, organizations, and communities maximize their potential and transform ideas into reality. In addition to his City Council responsibilities Ben is an Organizational Development Program Manager at St. Luke’s Health System. Previously, Ben worked at the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Boise Valley Economic Partnership, where he helped small businesses and early-stage startups grow and connect entrepreneurs and innovators. Since joining the City Council in 2011, Ben has focused on helping Boise become and remain a lasting, innovative, and vibrant city.
Vice President/CSO, Hamilton County Tourism, Inc.
Karen Radcliff is Vice President/Chief Strategy Officer for Hamilton County Tourism, Inc., located just north of Indianapolis. Her work at HCT spans 20 years. She now manages overall strategy development, including sports, marketing and economic development positioning. She also serves as the chief marketing officer for the Hamilton County Economic Development Corporation, an HCT partner.
Executive Director Mosaic & Workforce, Tulsa Regional Chamber
Denise Reid is the Executive Director of Mosaic and Workforce for the Tulsa Regional Chamber. She leads talent pipeline strategies to grow, retain and attract a skilled and diverse workforce for the region. Denise manages diversity and inclusion initiatives through Mosaic, the chamber’s diversity business council.Prior to joining the chamber Denise worked for Enterprise Holdings f/k/a Vanguard Car Rental and managed headquarter and field operations recruiting for 9,000+ employees. She possess 15+ years of experience in consulting, recruiting, diversity and inclusion programming and workforce development.
Professor, University of Toledo
Neil Reid is Professor of Geography and Planning and Director of the Urban Affairs Center at the University of Toledo. He also serves as Executive Director of the North American Regional Science Council and as Vice-Chair of the International Union’s Commission on the Dynamics of Economic Spaces.
Wellington (Duke) Reiter
Sr. Advisor to the President, Arizona State University
Wellington (Duke) Reiter, FAIA, is the Senior Vice President and Managing Director for the Solutions initiative at the Arizona State University Foundation, a position he has held since November 2011. His responsibilities include oversight of foundation and corporate relations and more specifically, building comprehensive cases for investment in the areas of sustainable urbanism, the future of healthcare, and innovation in K-20 education. Over the past twenty years, Reiter has played numerous roles: community leader, academic administrator, faculty member, architect, urban designer, and public artist. In the course of his career, he has established a track a record of highly effective partnerships with public office holders, the business community, non-profit groups, professional organizations, developers, and universities. Central to his diverse portfolio of experience has been the construction of mutually beneficial relationships between the institutions he has led and the cities in which they are located. A student of higher education, urban design, and entrepreneurship, Reiter is particularly interested in the economic, cultural, and sustainability of major US metro areas and the engagement of the top tier colleges and universities that are embedded within them. Mr. Reiter was a key player in the conceptualization and creation of the award-winning Downtown Phoenix Campus for ASU. He is presently consulting with several American cities about the role of universities in urban settings and recently authored an essay on the cities of Detroit, New Orleans and Phoenix entitled Urban Optimism. A monograph on Reiter’s work, Vessels and Fields, is available from Princeton Architectural Press as well as on the website, UrbanInstruments.com. Reiter is the past President of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the former Dean of the College of Design at Arizona State University, and a long-time faculty member at MIT in the Department of Architecture. He is the recipient of the Arizona Architect’s medal and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He is the Chairman of ULI Arizona also a national Trustee of the Urban Land Institute.
Executive VP of Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville Chamber
Rhonda Rice is the Executive Vice President of the Knoxville Chamber, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization, including membership and economic development activities. She also serves as the Executive Administrator for Innovation Valley, the regional economic development initiative managed by the Knoxville Chamber. Rhonda is active in several national associations, including IAMC, CoreNet Global, IEDC, and SEDC, as well as the state of Tennessee Economic Partnership and the Tennessee Economic Development Council. She is currently serving as chairwoman of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and also serves on the boards of the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation, Tech 2020, TVA Resource Stewardship Council, and the Episcopal School of Knoxville.
Senior Manager, Knowledge, StriveTogether
Kaci Roach serves in the role of Senior Manager, Knowledge for StriveTogether, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks. In her role, Roach organizes knowledge gained from working with communities from around the network and uses this knowledge to develop resources and interactive tools for the Cradle to Career Network. Before joining StriveTogether, Roach interned at the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE), where she developed and managed content for www.OhioMeansSuccess.org, the college and career information website from the Ohio Board of Regents. Roach earned her Master of Science of Urban Studies, with a focus on Urban Public Policy, from the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. She previously received a B.A. in Political Science from The Ohio State University.
Operations with a Purpose, Cisco Systems
San Jose, California
Stuart oversees projects for Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility group (funded, in part, by the Cisco Foundation). Before joining Cisco, he served as the chief evangelist for Metacloud and previously, was the Chief Information Officer of two companies (TriNet and Jamcracker). He is the author of “The System is a Mirror,” a collection of short stories about Silicon Valley. Though he has lived in California for many years, he grew up in Danville Illinois, attended Oberlin College with Lee, and can honestly say he “Loves Indy.”
Transformation Officer, Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health
Sherron uses her operations and leadership experience from multiple industries as Transformation Officer at Indiana University Health, Indiana’s largest healthcare provider. Her teams are responsible for utilizing Lean process improvement techniques to transform the way care is delivered for the patients and families at Riley Hospital for Children. As Transformation Officer, Sherron is accountable for improving the patient experience, improving outcomes and reducing the cost to deliver care. Sherron has a passion for neighborhood development and fulfills this commitment by lending her strategic planning and operations expertise to multiple boards and community groups.
President, University Circle Inc.
Chris Ronayne was named President of University Circle Inc (UCI) in 2005. Ronayne and his staff partner with more than 40 member institutions to oversee the growth and direction of Ohio’s fastest growing employment district, with UCI providing community planning, development, education, marketing, police, and other shared services. Before joining UCI, Ronayne served the City of Cleveland as the City’s Planning Director, Chief Development Officer, and Chief of Staff. He was the chief architect of the City’s Waterfront District Plan.
President, Ross Group
Warren Ross is the President of Ross Group, providing development, engineering and construction services nationally for Governmental, Commercial and Energy clients. Seeking solutions for complex developments, Ross Group accepts those challenges daily, working with its clients to bring them to fruition. Mr. Ross has overseen the development of over $2.0B in projects with Ross Group listed in ENR’s 400 for 2015.
President & CEO, Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber
Sean is an accomplished executive that seeks balance between his passion for strategic business building with his commitment to the community. As President and C.E.O. for the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce, he is responsible for cultivating strategic partnerships for the purpose of strengthening minority businesses and growing the business community as a whole. He is alumnus of Leadership Cincinnati, and civically, Sean is the past Board Chairman of Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) and currently serves on the boards of the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau, the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, the American Red Cross, Downtown Cincinnati Incorporated, and various City of Cincinnati commissions. His is an appointee of Ohio Governor Kasich and an Executive Committee member of the Ohio Minority Business Advisory Council, a statewide roundtable for minority business. Nationally, Sean serves on the Board of Directors for the United States Black Chambers in Washington, DC.
President, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Walker Sanders joined the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro in September 1999. Under Sanders’ leadership The Community Foundation has led the efforts of a citywide task force to determine the feasibility of a new performing arts center downtown, as well as raise more than $28 million for the project; established a local education foundation; created a new real estate venture capital entity focused on housing and community development; convened a group of foundations to establish a Building Stronger Neighborhoods Coalition; established a next generation fund — the Future Fund, consisting of 300 emerging philanthropists; established a Teen Grantmaking initiative; and managed a Mayor’s initiative of building trust through establishing diverse friendships.
In addition, Sanders, in partnership with the Board of Directors, is focused on raising $25 million in strategic endowments in the areas of women, public art, operations, housing, young professionals and venture capital for nonprofits as part of its Strategic Plan, as well as another $7 million for the creation of the new Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts.
Brand Manager, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce
Jeff Schaaf is a dynamic branding and communications professional with more than 15 years of experience in marketing and project management. As Brand & Communications Manager for the Toledo Region branding effort at the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jeff’s primary responsibilities revolve around driving adoption of the Toledo Region brand by community stakeholders as well as supporting regional economic development efforts. His day to day activities include managing the brand’s social media strategy and managing all brand related public relations and community awareness efforts. Prior to joining the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, he worked as a Project Operations Specialist for Maritz Research, a customer experience research firm, and as a Program Manager for American Identity, a promotional products distributor. Jeff earned a bachelor of business administration degree with a focus in entrepreneurship, family, and small business at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio.
Senior Vice President, Regional Business Development, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Des Moines, Iowa
Meg is the Senior Vice President, Regional Business Development for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the regional economic and community development organization serving more than 5,300 businesses across Central Iowa. Meg focuses on programs supporting small businesses and facilitates collaborative ventures and a cohesive environment among the 21 Chambers Affiliated with The Partnership. Meg works on community wellness, walkability, and has helped to launch the Urban Land Institute’s Iowa District Council.
Trustee, Harold C. Schott Foundation
Michael (Mike) W. Schott leads Business Development for Signet Enterprises aiding in the strategic expansion of Signets business operations in the central Ohio region, including investor relations. Mike has experience in early stage venture financing, business development, investor relations, fund management, and public accounting. In addition to his role with Signet Enterprises, Mike assists in the management of a private family foundation as a trustee of the Harold C. Schott Foundation, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mike serves in several advisory role positions as a board member of several non-profits such as the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus, Junior Achievement of Central Ohio and PackH20.
President, United Way of Central Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa
As United Way of Central Iowa’s chief executive, Mary Sellers leads strategies to achieve substantive community impact in the priority areas of education, income and health to improve lives and build a stronger central Iowa. Sellers joined United Way in 2012, with a 20-year track record of leadership and success in nonprofit and community organizations. For 10 years Mary was the President and CEO of the Science Center of Iowa where she guided the planning, fundraising, execution, and operations of the $62 million, 110,000 square foot facility located in downtown Des Moines. Mary earned her BA degree from the University of Florida and her MBA through the Executive MBA program at the University of Iowa Tippie School Of Management. She also graduated from the Getty Leadership Institute at the University of California Berkeley, and the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business.
Community Research & Grants Management Officer, The Columbus Foundation
Dan Sharpe has been with the Foundation since 2004, and currently serves as a Community Research and Grants Management Officer. As an Officer, he works to support the nonprofit sector through grantmaking and capacity building initiatives. He is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University with a bachelor of arts in Politics and Government and a Masters of Public Administration from the Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Affairs at Ohio University, Athens.
Chief Engagement Officer, Urbanize(D)
Christianne Sims is founder and Chief Engagement Officer of urbanize(D), an urban marketing and design consultancy based in Detroit, MI. urbanize(D) provides local-specific integrated marketing services to connect clients with city-centric audiences through purposeful communication and engagement. It works with organizations to plan, design and market their brands and programs through the complexities and opportunities of the urban environment. Christianne has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and International business from Xavier University in Ohio. Her community leadership and involvement include serving as a volunteer leader for Impact Detroit; serving on the board for the Metro Museum of Design Detroit; and the founder and coach of Detroit’s first lacrosse program, 8 Mile Lacrosse.
Vice President, Regional Initiatives, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
Mary Stagaman is vice president for regional initiatives and executive director of Agenda 360; plan to grow talent, jobs, and economic opportunity for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. Previously, Stagaman was chief marketing officer at the University of Cincinnati, serving in a time of unprecedented growth and reputation building for UC. She played a leadership role in the creation of the Uptown Consortium, an alliance of the region’s largest eds and meds, and many other key university/community partnerships. Stagaman serves on the boards of United Way of Greater Cincinnati, the Health Collaborative; Partners for a Competitive Workforce; The Corporation for Findlay Market, ArtsWave, and Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. Stagaman is a frequent speaker on the topic of collective impact, the powerful framework for transformative change followed by Agenda 360 and its partners.
Executive Director, Compassion Coalition
Grant served as the Director of Development at Compassion Coalition from November of 2004 until February of 2006. He has served as the Executive Director since February of 2006. Grant has his BA in Bible from Lubbock Christian University, his MA in Biblical and Related Studies from Abilene Christian University, and his Doctor of Ministry in Missional Theology and Spiritual Formation from Lipscomb University. He is also a certified Bridges Out of Poverty trainer. He serves on Mayor Rogero’s roundtable on homelessness, FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Board, and as one of the Community Connectors for Knoxville’s CEOs for Cities. Grant has been married to Rhoni since 1976, has three grown, married children, and five grandchildren. He preaches and teaches regularly in participating churches all over Knox County.
Director of Marketing, Downtown Cincinnati Inc.
Tricia Suit works as the director of marketing for Downtown Cincinnati Inc., where her job is to maintain and enhance the image, awareness, and use of downtown as a vibrant hub. As a life-long Cincinnatian, championing all the city has to offer is a joy. Prior to that, she was the marketing and PR manager at the Taft Museum of Art and has worked in publishing for Citysearch.com and The Sunday Challenger. She is active in the city’s arts and culture community, acts as the managing editor/test kitchen director for Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, and Light Industrial Safety, and sings and writes songs for the band Seven Speed Vortex.
Vice President, Parsons Brinckerhoff
Shelby is a civil engineer focusing on transportation and infrastructure and is the Vice President over Indiana operations for Parsons Brinckerhoff in Indianapolis. As an Indianapolis native, Shelby has enjoyed the City’s transformation into a lively, vibrant downtown and is an enthusiastic advocate for continuing that momentum.
Director EPIC Toledo, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce
As a young professional who made a conscious decision to become successful in the Toledo Region, I am passionate about living in downtown Toledo and thrilled to be a part of some of the upcoming changes and developments that will add to the landscape of our area. I’m a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a degree in Theatre. I remain active in various community theatres in plays and musicals and enjoy discovering all the wonderful things Toledo has to offer!
Program Vice-President, Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Bill serves the dual role of guiding LISC local programs in Indiana and Minnesota and shaping national economic development programs as a Program Vice-President, and he also leads the local program in Indianapolis, as he has done since 2006. He previously led 14 years of revitalization efforts in the Fountain Square neighborhood of Indianapolis through Southeast Neighborhood Development.
Executive Director, Harrison Center for the Arts
Taft is Founding Executive Director of the Harrison Center for the Arts (HCA), a leader in grassroots cultural development; Founder and Board Chair of Herron High School, a leading charter school in Indianapolis; and Founder of the City Gallery: Indy’s Urban Living Center.
President, Greater Milwaukee Committee
Julia Taylor was appointed as the first woman president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee in December 2002. The GMC fosters public-private partnerships and is a catalyst for economic development, education and effective government. Of particular interest to the GMC is promoting collaboration on regional issues and opportunities. They include economic cluster activity and supporting the Milwaukee Water Council as it leverages water-related company, research and education assets to make the region a world leader in freshwater technology and policy. MiKE (Innovation in Milwaukee) is the newest GMC initiative, which is forming a design/technology cluster. The GMC membership is comprised of 200 CEOs and leaders in various sectors including business, education, labor, and philanthropy.
Co-Creator at Gridwell
Bryan’s passion in Knoxville revolves around helping communities grow and businesses flourish. His day job is working as a “CoCreator” at GridWell, an organization and social innovation design firm. Bryan is also involved in the entrepreneurial community and is currently helping out with a few local startups as well as developing a downtown co-working space.
Deputy Director, Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee
Brooke is a certified, professional planner with over 12 years of experience working in the field of community planning and development. She has served as a trusted adviser to multiple county and municipal governments. She has firsthand knowledge of and experience in land use planning, economic development, ordinance creation and administration, environmental planning, regional transportation planning, public involvement and outreach, grant administration, and site development plan review. She is the Deputy Director for the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC), a non-profit organization that convenes representatives from all sectors of the community to address the most significant issues of concern and areas for opportunity related to the progress of the City of Indianapolis. Brooke holds a Bachelor of Urban Planning and Development from the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University, and has a minor in Sociology.
Executive Director, Action Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Cecelia Thompson currently serves as Director of Executive Action Greensboro, a consortium of foundations focused on economic development and improving quality of life in Greensboro, NC. In her role, Thompson works on a variety of efforts from attracting and retaining young professionals, managing Center City Park, collaborating with businesses and higher education institutions, as well as leading projects for downtown enhancement efforts. Thompson holds a B.A. in Political Science, Public Administration and Sociology from Elon University.
Executive Director, Boundless Impact
Greensboro, North Carolina
Executive Director of Boundless Impact, Cindy leads a nonprofit organization formed in 2012 to support global leadership and engagement initiatives across commerce, education, civic and faith sectors to ensure NC excels in an interconnected world. As a social entrepreneur, Cindy works to connect organizations across multiple sectors to mobilize around collaborative projects that achieve results to further global common good. Prior to founding Boundless Impact, Cindy enjoyed a successful 25 year career as a CFO and financial executive for mid-sized businesses and large corporations in various industries. As CFO of VIF International Education, Cindy helped launch the Global Schools Network, a public-private initiative in K-12 education to ensure students are prepared to succeed in the global economy.
Founder/Director, IMAGINE: Students for Global and Local Action Middle School Program
I am a proud lifelong resident of Indianapolis, Indiana and have spent my career in leadership positions serving my fellow residents with organizations that have helped to shape my values and passions. I am committed to facilitating programming that empowers youth to become active citizens by tapping into their own strengths to make a difference in their communities. I value the richness of differences and the multiple perspectives required to building a community of change makers who soon become the leaders of our city and state.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development and Corporate Engagement, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Bryan Toney is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development and Corporate Engagement at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he also previously served as Director of the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center. Prior to coming to Greensboro in 2011, he served as Founding Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Appalachian State and the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Georgia Tech. He began his career as founder and CEO of Information Management Inc., a high growth technology firm in Atlanta. He has extensive experience in entrepreneurial ecosystem development, working with local, regional and global partners to develop high value opportunities for students, faculty and community members.
Director of Strategic Initiatives , The University of Toledo
Margie Traband is the Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Government Relations at The University of Toledo. Traband earned a bachelor’s of arts from Bowling Green State University and her master’s of business administration in entrepreneurship and technology commercialization from the University of Toledo. She has primary responsibility for local and regional government relation. Traband also manages major university-wide projects such as the successfully submissions of the UT’s application for the APLU CICEP Designation and the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification. Previously, Traband worked in various roles at the university around clean energy initiatives.
Coordinator, Community Connectors Knoxville
James currently works part-time as the Coordinator of Community Connectors Knoxville. While earning a Masters in Public Administration degree from the University of Tennessee, he started a rock & roll band which got signed to a record label in Nashville, played headlining concerts and festivals all over the United States, and has had original recordings of their songs featured on 10 different major network television shows.
J. Laurens Tullock
President, Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville
J. Laurens Tullock is the President of Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville, a privately funded philanthropic foundation that focuses its funding on research driven strategic priorities that help the Greater Knoxville area reach toward its full potential as a community.
Chief Operating Officer, Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education
Maggie Varga is the Chief Operating Officer for the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE). In her capacity as COO, Maggie leads the SOCHEIntern Program, which employs nearly 300 students annually in cooperation with local government and small businesses, as well as the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The program provides high impact experiential learning opportunities for students while generating economic benefit and enhancing community sustainability. Her work improves the efficiency of programs that support member institutions and increase the success of more than 120,000 students in southwest Ohio. Maggie has also provided guidance and leadership in the creation and evolution of regional initiatives such as the Dayton Water Roundtable, Ohio’s Great Corridor Association, and the University of Dayton Rivers Institute and serves on the board of UpDayton.
Senior Manager, Special Projects, Lucas County Department of Planning and Development
Michael K. Veh joined the Lucas County Workforce Development Agency in 2004. When Lucas County merged its workforce and economic development organizations in 2014, he was named Senior Manager of Special Projects and is deeply involved in WorkReady Lucas County â€“ an initiative designed to document the existing skills of the region’s workforce and providing an opportunity to enhance the skills of those in need. He represents Region 5 (OH, MI, IN, IL, MN, WI) on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals and is a Certified Workforce Development Professional with a Business and Employer Services endorsement. Previous employment included working in the Career Services office at The University of Toledo and as an executive recruiter. A graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in news journalism, he also attended Bowling Green State University where he earned a Master of Public Administration degree.
Executive Director, Big Car
Jim Walker is a designer, public artist, and writer. He’s founder and executive director of Big Car Collaborative, a 10-year-old nonprofit community creativity organization based in Indianapolis. Big Car’s focus is improving the quality of life of Indianapolis residents through art and cultural collaborations. He also annually organizes TEDxIndianapolis and produces the Indianapolis 48 Hour Film Project; in addition to traveling regularly to other cities to gather information and present to others about his work. In 2013, CEOS for Cities honored Walker as a City Changemaker. And The Arts Council of Indianapolis twice selected Walker as a Creative Renewal fellow, first as a writer and most recently as a visual artist.
Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration, Washington University in St. Louis
St Louis, Missouri
Henry S. Webber is Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He is also Professor of Practice at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and the School of Architecture and Urban Design. Mr. Webber serves as the University’s chief administrative officer and oversees facilities, campus planning, capital projects, environmental safety and health, campus security, transportation, dining, off-campus real estate acquisition and development, human resources, sustainability and a variety of other administrative and external affairs areas with combined operating and capital budgets of over $400M annually and over 1,000 University and contracted staff. He chairs the University’s administrative cabinet. Since coming to Washington University in 2008, Mr. Webber has led the development of the University’s real estate master plan, long-term housing strategy and sustainability master plans and leads, along with the Provost and Chief Financial Officer, the University budget process. He is presently chairing the University’s administrative cost efficiency process. He has played a key role in the development of CORTEX, a 200 acre urban biotech redevelopment effort, and the growth of the KIPP charter school network in St. Louis. Prior to his appointment at Washington University, Mr. Webber spent 21 years at the University of Chicago, most recently as the University of Chicago’s Vice President for Community and Government Affairs. Under his guidance, the University of Chicago’s community affairs program was recognized in a national study as one of dozen strongest programs in the United States. One of Mr. Webber’s most notable achievements was to promote the revitalization of the North Kenwood/Oakland and Woodlawn neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side, which was accomplished by collaborating and forging relationships with the area’s community, religious, civic and political leaders. He also played a leading role in the establishment of the Urban Education Initiative, a University of Chicago effort which develops charter schools, offers teacher training and supports basic and applied research on educational issues. Mr. Webber was the founding chair of the Governing Board of the University of Chicago Charter School Corporation, which operates four public lottery admission charter schools on the south side of Chicago with an enrollment of more than 1,500 students. Other accomplishments included leading the public affairs components of a successful campaign to retain a five-year, $2.5 billion contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to manage the Argonne National Laboratory, one of the department’s largest research centers. As a faculty member at the University of Chicago and Washington University, Mr. Webber teaches courses on topics including community development, health policy, strategic management and social welfare policy. His research has centered around community development, mixed-income housing, and the role of anchor institutions in urban development. He is currently writing a book on recent innovations in community development in America. He is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for Research Technology and Entrepreneurial Exchange (CORTEX), and on the boards of directors of the Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corporation; Forest Park Forever; Downtown Partnership; Provident; the RISE; and the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. He previously served on the Board of Directors of Shorebank, the largest community development bank in the United States. Mr. Webber graduated with honors from Brown University and has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Webber and his wife, Christine K. Jacobs, M.D., have two children. They live in the Central West End area of the City of St. Louis.
Board of Advisors – New Richmond Ventures, New Richmond Ventures
Bill Weber is an accomplished senior executive who recently retired after a career of 33+ years at DuPont. He is a recognized Change Agent – who has repeatedly led teams into a new direction. He is looking to apply his practical experience combined with his strengths in personal/organizational dynamics in roles including board membership, executive/peer-to-peer/organizational coaching, teaching and/or business transition consulting. Of particular interest are situations that target strategic, societal and sustainable improvements, especially where new disruptive and collaborative models are required across diverse stakeholder groups (e.g. for-profit, non-for-profit, government, academic).
West Lafayette, Indiana
Chunying Wen is a professor at the Communication University of China. She got her Fulbright Visiting Scholarship for the 2014-2015 and now she is conducting her place branding research at Purdue University. Her research and teaching areas include place branding, media history and persuasive communication.
Mayor Knox White
City of Greenville
Greenville, South Carolina
Knox White has served as Mayor of the City of Greenville since December 1995. As mayor he has the goal of making Greenville “the most beautiful and livable city in America.â€ He has emphasized neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and transformational projects for the city.
President and CEO, Leadership Knoxville
Tammy White is the President / CEO of Leadership Knoxville, having served in this capacity since March of 2009. Prior to joining Leadership Knoxville she served as the Executive Director of Innovation Valley Health Information Network, where she oversaw the state’s first ePrescribing grant initiative with 17 East Tennessee counties on behalf of Governor Bredesen and the State of Tennessee. She has over 20 years of experience in the public, private and civic sectors having worked as both staff and consultant on a variety of campaigns from President to US Senate and Congress to State Senate and House to local races and referendum initiatives. From 1998-2003, Tammy served as the East Tennessee Governor’s Office Regional Representative for Governor Don Sundquist. She later joined the Department of Economic and Community Development where she was responsible for overseeing the Governor’s Three Star program in 16 East Tennessee counties.
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Center for Houston’s Future
John Wilburn joined the Center for Houston’s Future in August 2013 as Director of Strategic Initiatives. His career spans print, broadcast, and online journalism, primarily in Houston. Wilburn spent a decade at the Houston Chronicle, serving five years as managing editor and four years as opinion editor. Before joining the Chronicle he piloted newspapers and magazines in all three of Texas’ big cities: as managing editor of Houston City Magazine, creator and editor of Viva (the Sunday magazine of the San Antonio Light), managing editor of Dallas Life (the Sunday magazine of The Dallas Morning News) and founding editor of the Houston Press. Following his tenure at the Press, Wilburn spent four years as a reporter and producer for Talking With David Frost. Wilburn then enjoyed a five-year sojourn in new media, first as founder and executive producer of Microsoft’s MSN Sidewalk/Houston, then as news and operations manager of KHOU.com, the website of Houston’s CBS television affiliate.
Director of Strategic Projects, Downtown Dayton Partnership
Laura Woeste is the Director of Strategic Projects for the Downtown Dayton Partnership. She oversees various projects and programs focused making downtown Dayton a better place to live, work and visit. Laura has been with the Partnership for 12 years, and her professional background is in public relations and marketing.
Executive Director, North Market Development Authority
As Executive Director, I lead the historic North Market with a focus on being “best in class” in all we do. Annually more than 1.5 million people visit North Market making it one of the most successful public markets in the country and a significant economic engine and attraction for central Ohio. I strive to preserve the rich history of our market and neighborhood while constantly moving forward to ensure a compelling, authentic and “one-of a-kind” experience.
VP of Community Development, Lilly Foundation
Before joining the Endowment, Yakey was president of the Indianapolis Economic Development Corporation, a not-for-profit corporation responsible for the retention/expansion of existing businesses and the attraction of new businesses to the Indianapolis area. He spent 13 years in commercial real estate and development, and prior to that he was the assistant campaign director of the United Way of Central Indiana. Yakey serves as a trustee of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Indianapolis and is currently serving his third term on the church’s vestry. He also serves on the board of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the Penrod Society, and is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series. He has served as a board member on numerous community and civic organizations, including Dance Kaleidoscope, Jordan YMCA, Community Hospital Foundation, National Art Museum of Sport, Washington Township Parent Council, Greater Indianapolis Foreign Trade Zone and Mid-City Pioneer Corp. He also is a past president of the Hanover College Alumni Association. Yakey graduated from Hanover College in 1975 with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and received the Hanover College Alumni Association’s Outstanding Senior Award. Recently he was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award. Yakey earned his master of social work degree from Indiana University in 1980.
Founder and President, Venture for America
New York, New York
Andrew Yang is the Founder and CEO of Venture for America, a fellowship program that places top college graduates in start-ups for 2 years in emerging U.S. cities to generate job growth and train the next generation of entrepreneurs. Andrew has worked in start-ups and early stage growth companies as a founder or executive for more than twelve years. He was the CEO and President of Manhattan GMAT, a test preparation company that was acquired by the Washington Post/Kaplan in 2009. He has also served as the co-founder of an Internet company and an executive at a health care software start-up. He has appeared on CNBC, Morning Joe, Fox News, TIME, Techcrunch, the Wall Street Journal, and many other media outlets. Andrew was named a Champion of Change by the White House for his work with Venture for America and one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. He is a graduate of Columbia Law and Brown University. Andrew’s first book, Smart People Should Build Things, was published by Harper Business in early 2014.
President, Zahn Associates
Tamara Zahn specializes in building successful communities and teams. She has more than 35 years of downtown/community development, marketing and management experience. She oversees the Plan 2020 two year Fellowship Program and has completed several strategic plans for not-for-profit organizations. In 2012, Tamara retired as founding president of Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. (IDI) a not-for-profit organization strategically focused on developing, managing and marketing Downtown Indianapolis since its formation in 1993. She was instrumental in the revitalization of Downtown Indianapolis. During her tenure, nearly $8 billion of development were completed and IDI designed and implemented a number of innovative programs, including the development and marketing of Indianapolis’ cultural districts and the Monument Circle International Idea Competition. She mentors several non-for-profit organizations and young leaders and serves on the boards of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail/Pacers BikeShare and Pattern, Indy’s fashion community/magazine. She has served on the Host Committees for NFL Super Bowl 2012, NCAA Final Fours and other major events.
Executive Director, Tulsa’s Young Professionals
Shagah Zakerion serves as the Executive Director for Tulsa’s Young Professionals, a workforce initiative of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, whose mission is to attract and retain young professionals in the Tulsa region and develop the next generation of business and community leaders. Founded in April 2005, Tulsa’s Young Professionals has since grown is considered one of the fastest-growing and leading YP groups in the nation. Shagah oversees the entire organization, leading the efforts of eight crews, planning and implementing approximately 80 events a year and handling member and sponsor relations. An avid advocate for civic engagement, urban planning and place making, Shagah works side by side with city leaders to advance Tulsa forward. She really, really loves Tulsa.
Executive Director, Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville
Since 2002 Liza Zenni has served as Executive Director of the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville, a membership-based organization of artists, arts and culture organizations, historic homes, and arts supporters in 11 East Tennessee counties.
Chancellor, State University of New York
Albany, New York
In June 2009 Nancy L. Zimpher became the 12th Chancellor of the State University of New York. With nearly 463,000 students and 64 colleges and universities, SUNY is the nation’s largest comprehensive system of higher education. Chancellor Zimpher leads a diverse set of successful initiatives at SUNY in several key areas, including research and innovation, energy, health care, global affairs, and the education pipeline. She has been a vocal advocate for groundbreaking legislative reforms that ensure SUNY can provide broad access to higher education in an environment of declining state support, while maximizing its impact as an engine of economic revitalization across the state. Under Dr. Zimpher’s lead, SUNY is undertaking many innovative, system-enhancing initiativesâ€”including dramatic expansion of online learning opportunities and cooperative education and new partnerships with K-12 professionals always with the goal of optimally serving New York’s students and communities and preparing them to succeed in the 21st century. Chancellor Zimpher is active in numerous state and national education organizations, and is a recognized leader in the areas of teacher preparation, urban education, and university-community engagement. She currently serves as chair of the Board of Governors of the New York Academy of Sciences and the National Association of System Heads. From 2005-2011 she led the national Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, and from 2012-2013 she was chair of CEOs for Cities. As co-founder of StriveTogether, Dr. Zimpher has been instrumental in creating a national network of innovative systemic partnerships that holistically address challenges across the education pipeline. Prior to coming to SUNY, Chancellor Zimpher served as president of the University of Cincinnati, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and executive dean of the Professional Colleges and dean of the College of Education at The Ohio State University. She has authored or co-authored numerous books, monographs, and academic journal articles on teacher education, urban education, academic leadership, and school/university partnerships. Chancellor Zimpher holds a bachelor’s degree in English Education and Speech, a master’s degree in English Literature, and a Ph.D. in Teacher Education and Higher Education Administration, all from The Ohio State University.