2016 Columbus National Meeting Attendees

Find 2016 Columbus National Meeting attendees by last name and connect (when available) via Email, LinkedIn and Twitter. Use alpha-navigation below to jump to particular letters.


Alderman Greg Adamson

City of Bettendorf

Bettendorf, Iowa
Greg Adamson is the Chief Instructor at Davenport Guns and Shooting Club. Prior to this he served for 31 years for the Bettendorf Iowa Police Department. He retired with the rank of Captain and was the Patrol Division Commander. He served in many other capacities during his tenure to include working as an Undercover Narcotics Officer, Patrol Officer and Supervisor, Commander of the Investigation and Administrative Divisions, Tactical Team Member and Supervisor, Department Training Officer and Firearms Instructor. Greg also retired from the U.S. Army / U.S. Army Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Military Police Corps. During his military career he served as an Infantryman, Artillery Officer and Armor Officer. He was also a member of an Army Pistol and Rifle Team and was an Instructor and OIC of several rifle ranges at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Yousef Aliakbar

Board of Lucas County Commissioners

Toledo, Ohio

Ashley Allison

Executive Director, Waco Foundation

Waco, Texas

Keira Amstutz

President & CEO, Indiana Humanities

Indianapolis, Indiana

Adam Anderson

CEO, Atlas Vault

Greenville, South Carolina

Jenn Angelo

City Fellow, CEOs for Cities

Cleveland, Ohio

Dean Roland Anglin

Dean, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University

Cleveland, Ohio

Dora Anim

Chief Operating Officer, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation – HCCC Collaborator

Cincinnati, Ohio
Dora assists the CEO in providing leadership and vision for the Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF). Her day to day management efforts ensure that GCF effectively accomplishes its mission and develops a high performing work culture. She is also responsible for ensuring the organization has the proper operational controls, reporting procedures and people systems in place to effectively grow and promote operational efficiency.


Beau Arnason

Executive Vice President, Steiner + Associates

Columbus, Ohio
BEAU ARNASON, as Executive Vice President in charge of Asset Performance for Steiner + Associates, directs the firm’s strategy and initiatives related to asset performance. Beau focuses on the core issues of asset management and project financing for all Steiner projects. He is Steiner’s primary contact with our partners, lenders and municipalities related to all operational and financial matters.

Rebecca Asmo

Columbus, Ohio

Pat Atkins

President, Waco Independent School Board

Waco, Texas


Daniel Ayars

Principal, NBBJ

Columbus, Ohio
With 11 years of experience in Seattle and six years in Shanghai, Daniel Ayars has become a design leader in mixed-use developments around the world. Now based in Columbus, he is building an international commercial practice with a local presence in Central Ohio. As the design leader for NBBJ’s Shanghai office, he integrated urban design, planning, landscape and architecture to deliver large-scale mixed-use developments at high quality despite tight schedules. This has given him an insight into how live-work-play environments influence the urban realm beyond the boundaries of their given sites. While leading the Shanghai studio he focused the design culture around computation and data-driven design.

Alderman Frank Baden

City of Bettendorf

Bettendorf, Iowa
Frank Baden was born and raised in San Diego, California and further raised in Ogden, Utah. He graduated in 1962 from Ben Lomand High School in Ogden, Utah. He received his Bachelor of Science in Health, Physical Education and Recreation Management from the University of Utah in 1972. He has lived in Bettendorf, Iowa for 36 years. Frank served as Park Superintendent in Casper, Wyoming and Fremont, Nebraska. He retired in February, 2008 from Lebanon Seaboard Corporation as a Territory Sales Manager. Frank served on the Board of Directors and President of the Nebraska Recreation and Parks Association. He served on the Board of Directors and Secretary/Treasurer of the Nebraska Turf Grass Foundation.

Steve Bahls

President, Augustana College

Rock Island, Illinois

Austin Baker

Leadership Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee

Alex Bandar

Columbus, Ohio
Dr. Alexander Bandar is an engineer by training, and an entrepreneur by accident.  Having worked ten years in the field of manufacturing software, with clients from GM to Apple to the Defense Department, he now directs the Columbus Idea Foundry – the world’s largest community workshop, or “makerspace”, which he began as a hobby and is now his full-time career.  Recently relocated to a 60,000 sf warehouse in Columbus OH, the Columbus Idea Foundry houses tools from blacksmithing to 3D printing, teaches classes on the design and fabrication resources available at the shop, and then sells memberships to anyone who wishes to use the workshop as if it were their own.  With 300 members and growing rapidly (of whom approximately half are entrepreneurs), the Columbus Idea Foundry is one of the world’s largest and most active makerspaces, and is quickly finding a place in the creative, educational, technological and business ecosystems of Central Ohio and beyond.  Dr. Bandar speaks and consults regularly about the exciting new “Maker Movement”, has presented multiple TEDx talks on the subject, and delivered the Cultural Heritage presentation on behalf of the City of Columbus at the Intelligent Cities Forum in Manhattan in 2014.

Jeb Banner

CEO, SmallBox

Indianapolis, Indiana
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.

Mark Barbash

Senior Strategic Advisor, Council of Development Finance Agencies

Columbus, Ohio
Mark Barbash has over 30 years of economic development experience, having served in the public sector at the local, state and federal levels, and in the private sector focusing on real estate and business development, and development financing. In his career, he has had senior level policy and management responsibilities, served in national association leadership positions, created new development programs, as well as working “on the ground” move projects forward to completion. Mark serves as Senior Advisor to the Council of Development Finance Agencies, the national association for private, public, governmental, and nonprofit development finance organizations. CDFA provides extensive training, education and advocacy to support and advance development financing organizations and programs.

Tammie Barney

SVP, Public Policy & Organizational Development, The Greater Indianapolis Chamber Of Commerce

Indianapolis, Indiana

Tara Barney

President & CEO, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce

Moline, Illinois

Jana Barrett

Director of Charitable Giving, Lincoln Financial Foundation

Greensboro, North Carolina

Charly Bauer

Chief Giving Offiicer, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Columbus, Ohio
Bauer is the Director of Stewardship and Community Engagement at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio. He manages the company’s philanthropic giving program that focuses on three areas: the arts, human rights, and the environment.

Shelly Beiting

Columbus Women’s Commission, Mayor’s Office

Columbus, Ohio

Lindsay Below

Executive Assistant, Lucas County

Toledo, Ohio

Barbara Benham

Chief Public Affairs Officer, Huntington

Columbus, Ohio

Malik Benjamin

Florida International University

Miami, Florida

Peter Benkendorf

Chief Collaboration Officer, The Collaboratory

Dayton, Ohio
Peter Benkendorf is the founder of The Collaboratory (www.daytoncollaboratory.org), an independent, non-profit, Civic Innovation Lab located in Dayton, Ohio. Peter has spent the past 30 years unleashing the potential of people, organizations and physical assets by fostering imagination, connectivity and action that results in new economic, civic and creative capital. A highly conceptual thinker, catalyst and implementer, his experience spans brand development, product development, marketing and civic engagement in the corporate, advertising, consulting, and community sectors. Collaboratory projects include: 3rd on Third Outdoor Market, the Dayton Sewing Collaborative, 721 Springfield – A Manufacturing Incubator and Putter Up Dayton – a community-designed Tech-Arts Miniature Golf Course and DrumDayton. Peter also consults in the “unleashing potential” space across a variety of sectors. Recent clients include the Montgomery County Office of Ex-Offender ReEntry, the Air Force Research Lab/Wright Brothers Institute and Hard Hatted Women/HHW Ohio.

Julie Bennett

Lansing, Michigan

Brian Bernstein

Urban Designer, NBBJ

Columbus, Ohio

Rick Bidne

President, The Las Colinas Association

Irving, Texas

Ilya Bodner

Founder & CEO, ROOT

Bexley, Ohio
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.

Tracy Bohrofen

Senior Program Officer, Peter Kiewit Foundation

Omaha, Nebraska

Keiron Bone Dormegnie

Membership & Events Director, Welcoming America

Decatur, Georgia
Keiron Bone Dormegnie is Membership & Events Director for Welcoming America. Welcoming America inspires people to build a different kind of community — one that embraces immigrants and fosters opportunity for all. We connect a broad network of nonprofits and local governments and support them in developing plans, programs, and policies that transform their communities into vibrant places. Bone Dormegnie spent more than 15 years in educational and artistic administration for programs focused on youth of diverse national, ethnic, and socioeconomic origins. These organizations include U.C. Berkeley’s Center for Underrepresented Engineering Students, Oakland’s Savage Jazz Dance Company, and Atlanta’s National Black Arts Festival.

Michael Bongiorno

Columbus, Ohio
Michael Bongiorno is a director and design principal at DesignGroup, an AIA Ohio Gold medal architecture and design firm in Columbus. Michael is a noted local design leader with a focus on community impacting, mission-driven architecture that supports and enhances the fabric of the city and furthers a fundamental belief that great design is the essential building block to vibrant, healthy communities. His work has garnered national recognition, most recently named The Wall Street Journal’s “Best Architecture of 2015” for the design of Columbus Museum of Art’s Margret M. Walter Wing. Current notable projects include the Franklin Park Conservatory Master Plan Implementation, the Michael B. Coleman Government Center, and the Ohio State University Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute. Recently completed award-winning projects include the Columbus Museum of Art Expansion, Battelle Darby Creek Nature Center, the McConnell Arts Center of Worthington, the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, and the John R. Maloney Health and Wellness Center. He serves on the board of trustees of the Greater Columbus Arts Council and established Columbus’ “Design Weeks”, while serving on the board of trustees for the Columbus Center for Architecture and Design, where he led the award-winning “CBUS Ideabook” and “cbus:FOTO” projects. Michael has presented and written extensively on design and creative placemaking. Michael’s 2012 TEDx Columbus talk, entitled “Looking Over the Overlooked,”took the audience on a journey to discover new ways to re-imagine cities. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, he is a cum laude graduate of the prestigious Pratt Institute School of Architecture in New York City and has lived and traveled extensively abroad.

Mary Bontrager

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.

John Boorn

Founder, Citiplanit, LLC

Covington, Kentucky

Beth Bowman

President, Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce

Irving, Texas

Colleen Bowman

Regional Field Manager, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

Washington, D.C.

Andrew Boy

CEO, United Schools Network

Columbus, Ohio
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.

Lavea Brachman

Executive Director, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

Columbus, Ohio


Heather Bradley

Director, The Center for Nonprofit Resources

Toledo, Ohio
Heather is a Director with the Toledo Community Foundation, responsible for the overall management and operation of the Center for Nonprofit Resources. The Center, founded in 2002, is dedicated to promoting professional management in the nonprofit sector by ensuring that nonprofit organizations in our region have the information and resources they require to operate in an efficient and effective manner. In addition to providing technical assistance and offering professional development workshops and webinars, The Center manages two certificate programs, the Certificate in Nonprofit Management and the Certificate of Minority Executive Leadership, which have proven to maximize success in the nonprofit sector.

Allison Bramwell

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.

Kacey Brankamp

Director of Strategic Initiatives, Capital Crossroads & Discovery Special Improvement Districts

Columbus, Ohio

Jo-Ann Bresowar

Board of Directors, Irving Convention And Visitors Bureau

Irving, Texas

Linda Broadfoot

Director, Marketing & Business Development, Well Done Marketing

Indianapolis, Indiana
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 Indy’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.

Don Brown

Columbus, Ohio
Don Brown spent more than 40 years in business and public service. While he has worn many different hats, one thing
has remained constant: my commitment to public service, transparency, and collaboration. Don have spent the
last four decades committed to these values during a career that has combined senior executive positions in
business and government with consulting experience for clients in sixteen states. Since January 2015, Don has been honored to serve as Executive Director of the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, a unique government agency responsible for owning, developing, and operating
convention facilities in Columbus. The FCCFA owns and operates the Greater Columbus Convention Center,
the Hilton Columbus Downtown Hotel, and Nationwide Arena – a professional sports and entertainment arena
– as well as four parking facilities. Every day, Don feel fortunate to be part of a team that is committed to our
community’s growth and its quality of life.

Elizabeth Brown

Columbus, Ohio

Nikole Brown

Legislative Associate, State Affairs, Michigan Municipal League

Lansing, Michigan

Commissioner Marilyn Brown

Franklin County Board of Commissioners

Columbus, Ohio

Michael Brown

VP of Strategic Development, Experience Columbus

Columbus, Ohio
As the Vice President of Strategic Development for Experience Columbus, Michael S. Brown is an advocate for building the community’s authentic brand and tourism economy.  Brown is focused on leveraging collaborations with private and public partners that raise Columbus’ national image as a smart/open community to harness the economic power of tourism, sports, conventions, conferences and events.

Mike joined Experience Columbus in 2010 after serving 11 years in the administration of Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman as Communications Director and Policy Advisor.  He currently serves on the City of Columbus Downtown Commission, Recreation and Parks Commission, Film Columbus Commission, Independents’ Day Festival and Jazz Arts Group.  Brown is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs Masters program.

Laura Brunner

President & CEO, Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority

Cincinnati, Ohio

Diana Bryant

Columbus, Ohio

Amy Budish

Beachwood, Ohio

Chelsea Burket

Fourth Economy Consulting

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Chelsea is the Director of Sustainable Communities for Fourth Economy Consulting. Based in Pittsburgh, Chelsea works with organizations across the country to create strategies for building better communities and stronger economies. Chelsea has her master’s in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan and her bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from Penn State. Chelsea serves on the board of two non-profits working to create grassroots change around the issues of vacant land and education innovation. 

Wendy Burtner-Owens

COO, Steeltown Entertainment Project

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Wendy Burtner-Owens has more than 25 years of experience managing and growing foundations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Before joining Steeltown Entertainment Project, Burtner-Owens led the Capital Region Collaborative in Richmond Virginia, was Executive Director of the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation, COO of Comfort Zone Camp, founding Manager of the CarMax Foundation, and the Director of Grantmaker Services for GuideStar. Along the way, she has also been an independent consultant to start-up businesses, foundations and nonprofit organizations. Wendy loves guiding small organizations to discover and act on their potential for growth, leading teams through the stages of organizational development, relationship building and collaboration.

Gabrielle Burton

Five Sisters Productions

Santa Monica, California
Gabrielle C. Burton helms the indie film production company FIVE SISTERS PRODUCTIONS with her five real-life sisters, who are committed to making movies that are entertaining yet also contribute to a sense of hope on a personal or social level.

Keith Burwell

President, Toledo Community Foundation

Toledo, Ohio

Grace Cammarn

Research Associate, CEOs for Cities

Cleveland, Ohio

Andrew Campbell

Columbus, Ohio

LaShaun Carter

Gahanna, Ohio

Matt Carter

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.

Patti Caudill

Diversity and Inclusion Manager, City of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Patti has been employed in the Diversity and Inclusion Office for the City of Grand Rapids since 1993. Patti’s background has been in Human Resources and Diversity in both the private and government sector.  Patti took over the management of the Diversity & Inclusion Office in 2010. The work and activities of the department have evolved and transformed over the years to the current working model with three separate divisions, Workforce Diversity, Supplier Diversity and Community Diversity.
Under her leadership, the office continues to innovate and has extended its involvement on a variety of city and community organizations including the Michigan Alliance Against Hate Crimes, the Leadership Collaborative on Civil and Human Rights and Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust (West Michigan ALPACT), and the City Manager’s Community and Police Relations Committee.
Patti received her Bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI and prior to her tenure at the City of Grand Rapids was the Human Resource Manager for Keeler Brass Automotive and Die Cast Divisions in Grand Rapids.

Molly Chavers

Executive Director, IndyHub

Indianapolis, Indiana
Molly Chavers serves as Executive Director of IndyHub, an advocate and resource for twenty- and thirty-somethings in Indianapolis. Molly also serves as co-chair of Live Indy, the city’s residential recruitment initiative.

Priyam Chokshi

Policy Advisor, City of Columbus, Mayor’s Office

Columbus, Ohio

Tate Christensen

Board Chair, Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce

Waco, Texas

Jennifer Chrysler

New Albany, Ohio

Carmella Cioffi

Project Manager/Architect, Third Palm

Greenville, South Carolina

Rick Colby

President, Colby & Company

Columbus, Ohio

David Cole

Board Vice Chair, Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau

Irving, Texas


Janelle Coleman

President, L Brands

Columbus, Ohio
Janelle N. Coleman is Chief Diversity Officer for L Brands, Inc. (NYSE: LB) and President of the L Brands Foundation. Ms. Coleman leads diversity and inclusion strategy and initiatives associated with attracting, retaining and advancing minority talent across all businesses. She also oversees $20 million in domestic and international grant making through the L Brands Foundation, multi-million dollar associate fundraising campaigns, the company’s volunteerism program, and other civic activities.

Jennifer Coleman

Sr. Program Officer, Arts, George Gund Foundation

Cleveland, Ohio
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.


The Honorable Michael Coleman

Director of Business and Government Strategies, Ice Miller

Columbus, Ohio
Michael Coleman is a partner and member of Ice Miller’s Public Affairs and Government Law Groups, and serves as the firm’s Director of Business and Government Strategies. Michael draws upon his experience as Mayor and Chief Executive Officer for the City of Columbus to guide clients through the challenges and opportunities of creating partnerships between business and government.

Kris Collins

Sr. VP of Economic Development, Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce

Waco, Texas

Marc Conte

Deputy Director of Research & Planning, Capital Crossroads & Discovery Special Improvement Districts

Columbus, Ohio

Melanie Corn

Columbus, Ohio

Grant Cothran

Intermodal Development, Norfolk Southern Corporation (City of Greenville)

Greenville, South Carolina
Passion: infrastructures of joy. #YeahThatGreenville, South Carolina with wife, dog, parents, and tiny human called Sam. Have train, will travel: 5-and-counting years marketing with Fortune 250 railroad (NYSE:NSC). Intermodal freight management + site selection = manufacturers and retailers taking trucks off highways. Previously: FDI and business attraction in Coastal Virginia. IEDC-Certified Economic Developer. Cofounded Re:vision Norfolk, 501c3 to push creative class engagement and investment. Midway through Clemson MBA (innovation). W&M undergrad. Lieblingswort: Kellertür. Made to Stick, Getting To Yes, Change By Design. I believe immersion in nature makes people more caring and generous.

Lisa Courtice

Executive Vice President, The Columbus Foundation

Columbus, Ohio
Lisa oversees the development and implementation of grant policies, program priorities, and areas of strategic grantmaking. Under her leadership, the Community Research and Grants Management team plays a unique role in convening community discussions around areas of need, and participates in community initiatives and partnerships to address these needs.

Christopher Crader

Columbus, Ohio

Scott Crane

President, United Way of the Quad Cities Area

Bettendorf, Iowa

Mayor John Cranley

City of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio
May John Cranley is Cincinnati’s 69th Mayor. Raised in Price Hill, John Cranley was infused with a deep faith and commitment to giving back at a young age. Now John and his wife, Dena, are raising their son in the city, dedicated to same ideals of hard work, service and faith. As Mayor, John is working every day to make Cincinnati the best place in America to live, raise a family and locate a business.

Chip Crawford

Forum Studio, Inc.

St. Louis, Missouri

Reggie Crenshaw

Principal, Crenshaw and Associates

Collierville, Tennessee
Crenshaw and Associates is a consulting group that helps non-profits and for profit businesses reach their growth objectives.  Reggie Crenshaw, the lead principal, is a former C-suite executive with 25 years of experience in the U.S. consumer services, financial services, and the U.S. Army. This includes both leadership and hands-on execution. Reggie is currently the Chair of Board of Directors for Leadership Memphis and Common Table Health Alliance as well as a Memphis board advisor for Facing History and Ourselves. 

Alan Crone

Memphis, Tennessee
Attorney Alan G. Crone is the founder of The Crone Law Firm, PLC, located in downtown Memphis, TN. Crone graduated from Memphis State University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree, and then completed his juris doctor at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1990. Former Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist appointed him as Chief Counsel for the Tennessee Department of Employment Security in 1995. He was an assistant Shelby County attorney from 1996 to 2002 and also served as head of the Shelby County Republican party from 1999 to 2003. Crone became a member of the Memphis City Council in 2015 and was then selected to serve as Special Counsel to the Mayor for City of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

Marianne Crosley

President and CEO, Cleveland Leadership Center

Cleveland, Ohio
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.

Kim Cutcher

Toledo, Ohio

Michael Daniels

Policy Director to Commissioner Marilyn Brown, Franklin County Board of Commissioners

Columbus, Ohio

Mayor Rick Danner

City of Greer

Greer, South Carolina
Since his election as the City of Greer Mayor in 1999, Rick Danner has helped direct the city through one of the most progressive periods in its history.

His tenure as mayor has included unprecedented industrial and commercial growth, including the construction and opening of the South Carolina Inland Port. The City of Greer Municipal Complex, which includes City Hall, the Police and Courts Complex and the 12-acre Greer City Park, opened in 2008 and have redefined service and recreation for residents and contributed to the revitalization of Greer Station.

The revival of the central business district has been paralleled by continued commercial growth along the Highway 29 corridor with diverse offerings for all members of the community. The City of Greer has recorded growth in gross retail sales for five consecutive fiscal years, growing from $452 million in 2010 to $1.3 billion in 2015.

Carmen Darland

CEO, Quad City Arts, Inc.

Rock Island, Illinois


Sharon Davies

Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, The Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio
Sharon Davies has been a member of the Moritz College of Law faculty at The Ohio State University for the past 20 years and is the current holder of the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties there. She also directs the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity at Ohio State, an engaged research institute known nationally for its work. Davies has served as the Vice Provost for Diversity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer of The Ohio State University since July 2015. She holds a 3-year appointment to the Ohio Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.


Jordan Davis

Columbus, Ohio
Jordan Davis leads member activities and community affairs for the Columbus Partnership, a nonprofit corporate CEO organization that advances the economic prosperity of the Columbus region. In this role, she curates strategic programs for the city’s top public and private sector leaders, develops education programming for the next generation of business leaders, and advances private sector engagement on key community initiatives such as Columbus’ successful USDOT Smart City Challenge Grant application.  Jordan is the Co-founder and Program Director of the Central Ohio Leadership Academy (COLA), an annual, intensive summer program for high school students that develops the region’s future leaders.  In six years, the program has impacted the lives of more than 250 students from 65 area high schools.  By mayoral and city council appointment, Jordan chairs the Create Columbus Commission (CCC), which advises city leaders on public policy to better attract and retain young professionals.   Under Jordan’s leadership, the CCC has established a productive thought-leadership platform, launched a portfolio of strategic public engagement projects, and granted nearly $250,000 to entrepreneurial non-profits that are finding innovative ways to improve the YP experience in Columbus.  

Jordan De Leon

The Miami Foundation

Miami, Florida

Diane Deaver

Board Member, Advance Waco

Waco, Texas

Mayor Kyle Deaver

City of Waco

Waco, Texas

Joe DeLoss

Owner, Hot Chicken Takeover

Columbus, Ohio
Joe DeLoss is building a fried chicken empire by changing perspectives on HR and workforce development. His restaurant, Hot Chicken Takeover, provides meaningful employment to dozens of adults affected by incarceration. With sights set on expansion, Joe anticipates creating 200 supportive jobs by 2019. This community-forward business model is founded on success Joe had previously while launching Freshbox Catering for Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio. Joe speaks frequently on HR, social enterprise, and entrepreneurship. He’s also served as an adjunct instructor at the Fisher College of Business and the John Glenn School of Public Affairs and maintains seats on several local boards.

Jeremy DeRoo

Co-Executive Director, LINC UP

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Born and raised on a dairy farm in Southern Ontario, Jeremy DeRoo came to Grand Rapids to attend Calvin College. He met his wife, Heidi, while they were both participating in a study abroad program in Nairobi, Kenya. DeRoo earned his B.A. in Psychology from Calvin College, Masters in Public Administration from Grand Valley State University and is an alumnus of the Oxford Investing Programme. As Co-Executive Director, DeRoo has led LINC Up in revitalizing neighborhoods through authentic engagement, stimulating economic development, expanding housing opportunities, creating affordable housing and developing leadership and capacity to residents and grass-root organizations. DeRoo has positioned LINC Up to create intentional connections at he block, local, state and national levels to maximize impact in the communities served.

Aparna Dial

Deputy Director, Dept. of Public Service, City of Columbus; Program Manager, Smart Columbus

Columbus, Ohio
Aparna Dial joined Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther’s leadership team in 2016 as Deputy Director of the Department of Public Service. She has more than 20 years of distinguished public service experience in executive, operational, and technical management, engineering review, strategic planning, budget preparation and management, purchasing, contract management, and regulatory compliance.

Chandra Dillard

Director, Community Relations, Furman University

Greenville, South Carolina

Myla Dodson

Administrative Services Manager, Lucas County

Toledo, Ohio

Amy Donahue

Director of Marketing and Communication, River City Company

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Amy Donahue develops and executes messaging and marketing activities for all River City Company programs and projects. Donahue joined River City Company with a background in finance specifically student lending and academia. Donahue has worked for the University of Tennessee Knoxville, the University of South Carolina Aiken and the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. Donahue holds a Master of Science in communication and information and a Bachelor of Arts in communication both with an emphasis in business from the University of Tennessee. Donahue is the past chair of the Young Leaders Council for Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, the Past President of the University of Tennessee Alumni Association of the Chattanooga Network and completed the 2015 Leadership Chattanooga program through the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.  Donahue is a graduate of the 2013 Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute and is a member of the UTK Young Alumni Council, the Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga, the past Treasurer for the Lookout Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and on the Marketing Committee for Siskin Children’s Institute. Donahue was nominated for the Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga’s Corporate Innovator Award in 2015.

Chancellor Don Doucette

Eastern Iowa Community College

Davenport, Iowa

Mara Downing

President, John Deer Foundation, Deere & Company

Moline, Illinois

Councilwoman Amy Doyle

City of Greenville

Greenville, South Carolina
Amy Ryberg Doyle has served as a member of the Greenville City Council since November 2007. A graduate of Boston College, she has lived in Boston, New York City, and Europe. While in New York City, she was a member of the launch team of the ground-breaking internet start-up ivillage.com, Inc., which went public in 1999 and was purchased by NBC Universal in 2006. Ryberg Doyle then launched Fidelity Investments online sites. She then successfully launched her own business, beauty e-tailer site ingredients.com, Inc. successfully manufacturing and selling a line of bath and beauty care products. A mother of four and avid runner, Ryberg Doyle has been an active civic volunteer serving on numerous boards and commissions in the community.

Shanna Draheim

Public Sectors Consultants

Lansing, Michigan

Lisa Droke

Cordova, Tennessee

James Dunlap

Director of Wealth & Regional Banking, Huntington Bank

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Jonathan Dworin

Research Associate, SSTI

Westerville, Ohio

Kristen Easterday

Director, Government Affairs, Columbus Regional Airport Authority

Columbus, Ohio

Pat Eikenberry

President & CEO, Missman, Inc.

Rock Island, Illinois
Patrick is responsible for developing a plan to promote the company’s mission, vision, and strategy while maintaining a profitable, developing organization. He identifies acquisition and merger opportunities and directs the implementation of activities. Patrick represents the company at legislative sessions, committee meetings, and formal functions, promoting the company to local and regional constituencies. He deals specifically with the needs of clients by serving as technical communicator. Patrick possesses a vast amount of experience with all facets of civil engineering, serving for over 25 years on public boards. He truly believes that Community, Clients, and Collaboration are the pillars of Missman’s success.

Community Involvement:
With a passion for the success of the Quad City region, Patrick has been engaged in countless organizations. Included are the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce; Bettendorf Rotary Club; John Deere Classic; Bettendorf Development Corporation; and the Development Association of Rock Island, to name a few.

Tony Elliot

Director of Parks & Recreation, City of Fishers

Fishers, Indiana

Julie Ellis

Leadership Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee

Emily Embry

Chair, Greater Waco Chamber – Waco YP’s

McGregor, Texas

Deidra Emerson

Assistant City Manager, City Of Waco

Waco, Texas

Mark Essex

President & CEO, Netalytics, LLC

Greer, South Carolina


Anne Evans

Co-Founder & COO, Columbus Underground

Columbus, Ohio
Anne Evans is the co-founder and COO of Columbus Underground and The Metropreneur, independently owned, well read, and highly regarded local online media companies for 15 years. She enjoys creating festivals and events for organizations that focus on building community. The Historical Dinner Club reimagined beloved restaurants of Columbus’ past in a new way and served as a fundraiser for the Columbus Historical Society. She conceptualized the Hubbard Lantern Festival for the Hubbard Mastery School to add another aspect to the Mandarin Chinese instruction each child receives. Anne lives in an historic Italianate home in the King-Lincoln District of Columbus and has enjoyed the opportunity and connections that living in Columbus provides.  

Walker Evans

Founder & CEO, Columbus Underground

Columbus, Ohio
Walker Evans is the co-founder and CEO of Columbus Underground and The Metropreneur, independently owned, well read, and highly regarded local online media companies for 15 years. He enjoys spending time with his family and working on the ongoing restoration of an historic brick home in the King-Lincoln District. Walker has called Columbus home for nearly twenty years and stays engaged in a variety of civic endeavors. Most recently, he has been instrumental in the development of the popular Moonlight Market and the new Sunlight Market on Gay Street. He is an active parent on the Hubbard Mastery School’s PTO and serves as a board member for PACT, Partners Achieving Community Transformation.


Amir Eylon

President, Longwoods International

Hilliard, Ohio
Amir Eylon joins Longwoods from his previous role as Vice President, Partner Engagement with Brand USA, the public-private partnership serving as the destination marketing organization dedicated to increasing international visitation to the US. Eylon led the team responsible for helping to increase Brand USA’s partnership base and ensuring that participants received excellent service throughout Brand USA’s deployment of joint marketing programs. During his tenure, Brand USA grew its partnership base to 475 partners, comprised of destination marketing organizations, convention and visitors bureaus, attractions, travel brands, airlines, and tour operators. 

Barbara Fant

Nonprofit Outreach Admin, Columbus Foundation

Columbus, Ohio

Melissa Fast

Marketing Director, Capital Crossroads & Discovery Special Improvement Districts

Columbus, Ohio

Greg Fennig

Vice President Public Affairs, Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL)

Indianapolis, Indiana
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.

Shannon Fergus

Project Manager, Capital Crossroads and Discovery SIDs

Columbus, Ohio

A.J. Ferguson

Director, UpDayton

Dayton, Ohio
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, Dayton’s civic innovation lab. AJ’s passion for Dayton and for community building grew from his experiences as a student in the University of Dayton’s Rivers Institute and Fitz Center for Leadership in Community. Dayton’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.

Leah Fiasca

Project Director, Greater Milwaukee Committee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Leah first joined the Greater Milwaukee Committee in January as the director of membership engagement and since March 2012 has served as project director, managing GMC-led initiatives including Milwaukee Talent Dividend, Teachtown MKE and Reimagining High Schools. She also works closely with partner-based initiatives including MKE Fellows, Lynde and Harry Bradley Tech & Trade High School, and Milwaukee Succeeds. Leah also administers the GMC board of directors. Leah came to the GMC from Hurley-Franks and Associates, an urban planning firm in Philadelphia.

Claire Fiddian-Green

President & CEO, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation

Indianapolis, Indiana
Claire Fiddian-Green joined the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation as President and Chief Executive Officer in February 2015. Previously, Fiddian-Green served as Special Assistant for Education Innovation to Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Co-Founder of the Center for Education and Career Innovation. Fiddian-Green also served as the founding Executive Director of the Indiana Charter School Board, a statewide charter school authorizing agency created during the 2011 legislative session. Prior roles include President of The Mind Trust, Grants Officer for the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, and Senior Analyst within Eli Lilly & Company’s Corporate Finance Investment Banking group. Fiddian-Green serves on the Board of Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, on the Executive Committee and Board of BioCrossroads, on the Board of United Way of Central Indiana, and as Vice President of theEconomic Club of Indiana. Fiddian-Green holds a B.A. from Brown University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. She is a member of Class XXXIV of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series

Adam Fischer

Director of Transportation, City of Greensboro

Greensboro, North Carolina


Alex Fischer

President & CEO, Columbus Partnership

Columbus, Ohio
Alex Fischer is the President and CEO of the Columbus Partnership, a civic organization of Columbus, Ohio’s top business leaders formed in 2002 to improve the economic and cultural base of central Ohio. The Partnership is helping to lead the Columbus 2020 economic development effort, which is a collaboration of regional economic development organizations, and is involved with education reform efforts with Columbus City Schools. The Partnership’s members include 15 Fortune 1000 CEOs, as well as the leaders of the nation’s largest university and world’s largest research and development organization.

Lee Fisher

Senior Advisor, CEOs for Cities

Cleveland, Ohio
Lee Fisher is the Senior Advisor to CEOs for Cities. Lee is also Interim Dean of Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He will return as President + CEO of CEOs for Cities at the end of his term as interim Dean. Lee is also a Senior Fellow with the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs and an Urban Scholar with the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs and the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Peggy Zone Fisher

President & CEO, The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Dale Fisseler

City Manager, City Of Waco

Waco, Texas
Dale Fisseler was selected as City Manager for the City of Waco at the end of 2013.
Fisseler is a licensed Professional Engineer and joined the City of Waco following thirty years of public service with the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth. Fisseler was born and raised in the City of Waco and graduated from Richfield High School in 1977. He attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. Fisseler joined the City of Fort Worth in 1990, as a water production superintendent, after eight years of service with Dallas Water Utilities. He was named director of Fort Worth’s Water Department in 1999 and was appointed as Fort Worth City Manager in 2007. Fisseler has served as Chair of the Texas A&M Civil Engineering Advisory Board and is a past member of the TCU Advisory Committee for Science and Engineering. He has served on the University of Texas at Arlington Civil Engineering Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. He has served as president of the Texas Municipal Utilities Association and the Tarrant County Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He and his wife, Linda, live in Waco.  They have two children, Stephanie and Ben, and two grandchildren, Avery and Gage.

Councilwoman Lillian Flemming

City Of Greenville

Greenville, South Carolina
Lillian Brock Flemming has been a member of Greenville City Council since 1981, having served as Mayor Pro Tem and Vice Mayor Pro Tem during her tenure.  She served as 2005-2006 President of the Municipal Association of South Carolina and is a graduate of the MASC Municipal Elected Officers Institute of Government.  In 2014, Councilmember Flemming received an honorary doctorate in humanities from her alma mater, Furman University.  Professionally, Councilmember Flemming is a recruiter for the School District of Greenville County.  

Councilman George Fletcher

City Of Greenville

Greenville, South Carolina

Rev. Dwight Ford

Minister, Grace City Church

Moline, Illinois

Kathleen Fox

Vice President, The Pizzuti Companies

Columbus, Ohio

Mansfield Frazier

Executive Director, Neighborhood Solutions, Inc.

Cleveland, Ohio

Cass Freeland

Capital Crossroads & Discovery Special Improvement Districts

Columbus, Ohio

Zack French

Indianapolis, Indiana

Cindy Frey

President, Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce

Columbus, Indiana
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.


Mayor Bob Gallagher

City Of Bettendorf

Bettendorf, Iowa
Mayor Gallagher was raised in Bettendorf and graduated from Bettendorf High School in 1987. He received a BA in Communication Studies and Psychology from the University of Iowa in 1991. He received a Juris Doctorate Degree from Marquette Law School in 1994. He returned to Bettendorf to practice law and raise his family in 1996. He is the proud father of two children, Jackson and Allysa. He has served as Chairperson of the Board of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce Federation, Bettendorf Chamber of Commerce, Bettendorf Civil Service Commission, Bettendorf Schools Foundation, the Iowa Quad Cities Rotary Club and Better Business and Education Partnership. Bob serves on the Board of Directors of the Eastern Iowa Community College Foundation and is a member of the Quad Cities Chamber Bettendorf Area Council. He is a volunteer coach for the youth of our community.

Rick Galloway

Director, AdvanceNet Labs

Dallas, Texas

Alex Galluzzo

Program Manager, Southwestern Ohio Council For Higher Education

Dayton, Ohio

Maura Garven

Cleveland, Ohio

Maura Gast

Executive Director, Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau

Irving, Texas
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.

John Gaudin

Board Chairman, Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

North Little Rock, Arkansas

Luis Gazitua

Gazitua Letelier

Miami, Florida


Rene Gellerman

Sr. Vice President, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce

Moline, Illinois
Rene M. Gellerman, IOM, is the senior vice president of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, a 2,000-member business and economic development organization serving a bi-state metropolitan area of 450,000. As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, Rene provides direction and insight that support Chamber priorities and informs planning and development of strategies to achieve the organization’s goals. Rene’s current responsibilities include leading Q2030, the community’s Regional Action Plan aimed to grow talent, jobs, investments and economic opportunity.

Derek Gianino

Director of Strategic Initiatives, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition

Washington, D.C.

Lee Gill

Chief Diversity Officer, Clemson University

Clemson, South Carolina

David Ginsburg

President and Chief Executive Officer, Downtown Cincinnati Inc.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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.

Mayor Andrew Ginther

City of Columbus

Columbus, Ohio
Under the leadership of Andrew J. Ginther, the City of Columbus was named America’s Opportunity City, and as mayor, Andrew J. Ginther will continue to work with labor, business, faith, and community leaders to promote opportunities for every person in every neighborhood. Andrew J. Ginther was elected the 53rd mayor of Columbus on Nov. 3, 2015, succeeding Mayor Michael B. Coleman who was the longest-serving mayor in Columbus history. Mayor Ginther previously served on Columbus City Council from 2007-2015, and served as president of Council from 2011 until assuming the Office of Mayor January 1, 2016.

Mark Giuliano

Senior Pastor, Old Stone Church

Cleveland, Ohio

Bob Gleeson

Professor and Levin Chair, Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University

Cleveland, Ohio

Angela Glover Blackwell

President & CEO, PolicyLink

Oakland, California
Angela Glover Blackwell, President and Chief Executive Officer, started PolicyLink in 1999 and continues to drive its mission of advancing economic and social equity. Under Blackwell’s leadership, PolicyLink has become a leading voice in the movement to use public policy to improve access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of color, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation, education, and infrastructure.
Prior to founding PolicyLink, Blackwell served as Senior Vice President at the Rockefeller Foundation, where she oversaw the foundation’s Domestic and Cultural divisions. A lawyer by training, she gained national recognition as founder of the Oakland (CA) Urban Strategies Council, where she pioneered new approaches to neighborhood revitalization. From 1977 to 1987, Blackwell was a partner at Public Advocates, a nationally known public interest law firm.


Shoshanah Goldberg-Miller

Assistant Professor, Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy; The Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio
Dr. Shoshanah Goldberg-Miller specializes in creative economic development, cultural policy, arts entrepreneurship, and nonprofit management. She examines the ways that cities use arts and culture in planning, fostering livable communities and creating economic development strategies to build their brand, attract residents and tourists, and distinguish themselves from other urban centers worldwide. Her forthcoming book, Planning for a City of Culture: Toronto and New York (Routledge, Taylor & Francis, March 2017) brings a new, fresh perspective to the study of creative cities by using policy theory as an underlying construct to understand both the transformation of Toronto and the revitalization of New York during the decade of the 2000s. Goldberg-Miller has published in Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship and the Arts, and Journal of Enterprising Culture, and co-authored a chapter in Creating Cultural Capital. Dr. Goldberg-Miller is Assistant Professor of Arts Administration, Education & Policy at The Ohio State University, holds a courtesy appointment in the Knowlton School of Architecture’s City and Regional Planning Section, and serves as Academic Advisor to the City of Toronto’s Department of Economic Development and Culture.


Dr. J. Daniel Good

Superintendent & CEO, Columbus City Schools

Columbus, Ohio
Daniel Good, Ph.D. (Dan Good) is the Superintendent of Columbus City Schools, Ohio’s largest school district, located in the state’s capital city. He was appointed to the position by the Columbus City Schools Board of Education on June 26, 2013, and began his duties on July 1, 2013. He oversees a school district with more than 50,000 students and 8,300 employees, located in 116 schools, covering an area of 221 square miles. Prior to his service in Columbus City Schools, Dr. Good was the Superintendent/CEO of Westerville City Schools, in Westerville, Ohio, and the former Superintendent/CEO of Wooster City Schools, in Wooster, Ohio. He also held key leadership positions within the Ohio Department Education, and has been a both a principal and teacher.


Daniel Gordon

Chief Operating Officer, City of Atlanta

Atlanta, Georgia
Dan Gordon is the Chief Operating Officer for the City of Atlanta. Mr. Gordon was appointed by Mayor Kasim Reed to directly manage and oversee all city operating departments and related agencies including Aviation, Police, Fire, Corrections, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, Planning and Community Development, Public Works, Watershed Management, Human Resources, Procurement, Information Technology, Sustainability and Enterprise Assets.


Wendy Gramza

President, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce

Toledo, Ohio
Wendy Gramza is the President of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. She assumed this role on July 1, 2014, after serving as Executive Vice President for eleven years. During her 25 years as a Chamber professional, she has also served as Vice President of Business Development Services and held several other positions within the organization.

Seth Gray

Columbus, Ohio

Kelley Griesmer

Director of Special Projects, The Columbus Foundation

Columbus, Ohio
As the Director of Special Projects, Kelley collaborates with each department at the Foundation to enhance the success of its community-wide philanthropic efforts and create new opportunities for growth and social impact. She also assists in providing customized philanthropic services to donors and their families. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kelley was one of the founding team members at Pelotonia, a grassroots bike tour that has raised more than $100 million for cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. Kelley became Pelotonia’s first director of operations in 2008 and was promoted to chief operating officer in 2011. As COO, she oversaw all operational aspects of the business, including event management, donor relations and gift processing, financial management and reporting, human resources, and legal issues.

Anneliese Grytafey

Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Grantmaking, Toledo Community Foundation

Toledo, Ohio


Sandy Gudorf

President, Downtown Dayton Partnership

Dayton, Ohio
Sandra K. Gudorf is president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. In her role, Sandy works with numerous community partners to lead a variety of programs, activities and initiatives that are focused on making Downtown Dayton a better place to work, live and be entertained. Specifically, the Downtown Dayton Partnership focuses its work in five primary areas – job attraction and retention, housing development, strengthening downtown’s amenity base, enhancing downtown’s environment and advocacy for downtown. Currently, under Sandy’s leadership, the DDP is leading the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan, a community-driven plan to strengthen our urban core. Sandy is a graduate of Wright State University and resides in Clayton with her husband.

Debbie Haacke

Board Vice Chair, Irving Convention And Visitors Bureau

Irving, Texas


Greg Haas

Columbus, Ohio
Gregory Haas has had a 38 year career in politics. He has been campaign staff for presidents and senior advisor to mayors. Haas is also the author of The Butchers Thumb, and was named 2015 Bliss Institute Democratic political practitioner of the year.

Greg Hall

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.

Kim Hall

Senior Vice President, Columbus State Community College

Columbus, Ohio

Luke Hansen

Student, Rutgers University

Hoboken, New Jersey

Sidney Hargro

Executive Director, Community Foundation of South Jersey

Haddonfield, New Jersey
Sidney is the first executive director of the Community Foundation of South Jersey (CFSJ) and a lecturer for social impact measurement in the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Under his leadership the foundation has grown from $400,000 to over $18.5 million and made over $6 million in grants and scholarships since 2009. Additionally, the Foundation has become a recognized community leader and social innovation investor with the creation of dedicated funds in the areas of food access, aging, college savings accounts, and nonprofit resilience.

Noel Harmon

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.

Lauren Harper

Center For Social Change

Miami, Florida

Amos Harris

Principal, Spinnaker St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri

Lisa Harris

CEO, Eskenazi Health

Indianapolis, Indiana

Stan Harris

Vice President, Relationship Manager, Public Finance, PNC Bank

Columbus, Ohio
Stan is the relationship manager for various federal, state and local government entities. Since 1997, Stan has been the relationship manager for the State of Ohio. He has coordinated banking relationships and various banking services for over 10 state agencies. Stan also serves as relationship manager to over 150 local governmental and public entities located in 25 central and and southern Ohio. These include county, municipal, school districts, regional port authority, airport authorities, technical colleges, housing authorities, water and sewer districts, library systems, among others. He also serviced federal agencies including various U.S. Postal Service regions, Veterans Administration facilities, U.S. District Courts.

David Harrison

President, Columbus State Community College

Columbus, Ohio
David Harrison became the fifth president of Columbus State Community College in July 2010. With more than 25,000 students, Columbus State is one of the largest and most comprehensive colleges in Ohio. Through its campuses in Columbus and Delaware County and its nine regional learning centers, the college serves students from all 88 counties in Ohio, provides more online learning opportunities than any college in the state, and contributes nearly a billion dollars in regional economic impact.

Josh Harrison

Vice President, Improving

Columbus, Ohio

Todd Hawkins

Executive Director, Irving Arts Center

Irving, Texas

Liz Hayden

Economic Development Specialist, City Of Hamilton

Hamilton, Ohio
Liz Hayden has worked for the City of Hamilton’s Economic Development Department for four years and focuses primarily on small business development and downtown revitalization. One of Liz’s main projects this year is building up the Main Street Business District. 

Lori Hazlitt

President, Indy Parks Foundation

Indianapolis, Indiana

Dave Heller

President & CEO, Main Street Baseball, L.L.C./Quad Cities River Bandits

Davenport, Iowa
Dave Heller is the president and CEO of Main Street Baseball, LLC, and the majority owner and Managing Partner of four affiliated minor league baseball teams: the Quad Cities River Bandits (Midwest League, Single-A affiliate of the Houston Astros), the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League, Advanced-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals), the Billings Mustangs (Pioneer League, short-season affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds) and, most recently, the Lowell Spinners (New York – Penn League, short-season affiliate of the Boston Red Sox). Heller’s teams are known primarily for three things: fun, innovative promotions, making significant improvements to their home ballpark, and giving back generously to each club’s home community. In Iowa, the River Bandits sparked a stunning resurgence of baseball, winning two championships in the past five seasons, repeatedly setting (and then breaking) the all-time per-game attendance record in Quad Cities (they’ve had affiliated baseball since 1931) and capturing numerous awards for their innovative promotions and ballpark improvements.

Megan Henderson

Executive Director, City Center Waco

Waco, Texas

Chris Hermann

Principal , MKSK

Columbus, Ohio
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.

Jason Hester

Executive Director, Columbus Economic Development Board

Columbus, Indiana
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.

Brandyn Hicks

Waco, Texas

Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson

City of Toledo

Toledo, Ohio
Paula Hicks was born and raised in Hamilton in Butler County, Ohio, one of eight children from a combined family. Her father worked for the city of Hamilton in the streets department garage. He encouraged his children to pursue higher education.


Ned Hill

Professor of Public Affairs, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio
Ned Hill is Professor of Public Administration and City & Regional Planning at The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs. He is also a member of the College of Engineering’s Ohio Manufacturing Institute. Hill came to OSU after serving as Dean of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. He was the editor of Economic Development Quarterly and Chair of the National Advisory Board of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and is currently a member of MAGNET’s Board of Directors. MAGNET is the Ohio MEP’s affiliate in Northeast Ohio. Hill teaches the doctoral seminar in public finance in the Glenn College and economic development and state and local public policy at both the Glenn College and in City and Regional Planning.

Charles Hillman

President & CEO, Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority

Columbus, Ohio
Charles D. Hillman assumed his duties as President and CEO of the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority(CMHA) on July 1, 2010. He manages a staff of 102 employees and an overall annual budget exceeding $701MM. CMHA contracts with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to administer HUD’s low income Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher and Shelter Plus Care programs to provide decent, safe and affordable housing for Franklin County residents. Mr. Hillman’s expertise stems from his 17 years of managerial experience in the development, construction and operation of private and publicly assisted rental properties.

Chris Hillman

City Manager, City of Irving

Irving, Texas


Lisa Hinson

Presdent & Founder, Hinson Ltd Public Relations

Columbus, Ohio
Lisa Hinson is president and founder of Hinson Ltd Public Relations, a boutique agency that advises clients on media and community relations, marketing and event management. Before founding her company in 1999, Hinson was with L Brands for nearly a decade.

John Hirschman

President, Browning

Indianapolis, Indiana

Mike Hochron

Policy Analyst to Commissioner Marilyn Brown, Franklin County Board of Commissioners

Columbus, Ohio

Robert Hofer

Medina, Ohio

Glenn Holmes

Hamilton, Ohio
Glenn Holmes is currently completing an 11-month post-graduate fellowship in city management for the City of Hamilton, OH. He received his Master of Public Administration in May of 2016, where his research centered on economic policies related to children and families. He has previously worked at the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.


Mayor Daniel Horrigan

City of Akron

Akron, Ohio
Daniel Horrigan was sworn in as the 62nd Mayor of Akron on January 1, 2016. He brings sixteen years of distinguished public service to the office of Mayor. His experience in elected office, and a family legacy rooted in Akron’s North Hill, have fueled his desire to lead Akron in the 21st century.

Ken Howey

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.

Lisa Ingram

Columbus, Ohio

Saif Ishoof

Vice President for Engagement, Florida International University

Miami, Florida
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.

Nan Johnston

Director, Clemson Center for Corporate Learning

Greenville, South Carolina

Jennifer Jones

Executive Vice President, Citizens Building and Loan

Greer, South Carolina

Sharon Sobol Jordan

Chief of Staff, Cuyahoga County

Cleveland, Ohio

Alderman Jeff Justin

6th Ward, City of Davenport

Davenport, Iowa

Ellen Katz

President & CEO, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Cincinnati, Ohio
Ellen Katz joined The Greater Cincinnati Foundation as President & CEO in May 2015. Ellen had previously been President & CEO of The Children’s Home of Cincinnati. She served that organization in various roles for 25 years, leading the total transformation of the organization from a small residential treatment center to a $20 million operation offering education and treatment services to more than 6,000 children per year. Under her leadership, The Children’s Home was twice named as one of the nation’s Top 50 Nonprofits and received multiple awards for innovation, strategy, and culture.

Tom Katzenmeyer

CEO, Greater Columbus Arts Council

Columbus, Ohio

Brett Kaufman

CEO, Kaufman Development

Columbus, Ohio

Susan Kaylor

Chief Administrative Officer, ADAMH Board of Franklin County

Gahanna, Ohio

Missy Kelley

St. Louis, Missouri

Sims Key

Partner, Equip Studio

Greenville, South Carolina

C. Robert Kidder

Board Chair, The Columbus Foundation

Columbus, Ohio

Mackenzie King

Columbus, Ohio

Linda Kirby

President/CEO, Leadership Indianapolis

Indianapolis, Indiana
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.

Lauren Kleban

Columbus, Ohio

Jason Kloth

Executive Director forRegional Workforce Development, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership

Indianapolis, Indiana
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.

Scott Kolber

CEO, Roadify Transit

Brooklyn, New York
Scott Kolber is CEO of Roadify Transit, a New York City-based data platform and mobile application for transit arrival times and service conditions. Roadify Transit aggregates and distributes this content for more than 300 cities, via API, to its own mobile apps, to 3rd party apps and for display on public signage. Scott’s background is in marketing and business development for content and technology companies including Viacom and Loral Space and Communications. He is a University of Virginia graduate.

Ken Koupal

Regional President, US Bank, N.A.

Davenport, Iowa

Kent Kramer

President/CEO, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, Inc.

Indianapolis, Indiana
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.

Nancy Kramer

Chief Evangelist, IBM iX

Columbus, Ohio
Nancy Kramer founded Resource in 1981 and has played a pivotal role in transforming the advertising industry, a distinction recognized by Ad Age when she was included among the “100 Most Influential Women in Advertising.”

Douglas Kridler

President and CEO, The Columbus Foundation

Columbus, Ohio
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.

Peggy Kriha Dye

Artistic Director, Opera Columbus

Columbus, Ohio
Described by Opera News as “a forceful presence with an intriguingly complex lyric soprano,” Peggy Kriha Dye has performed with major opera companies and orchestras throughout the world and is currently Artistic Director of Opera Columbus. Dye originated the role of Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, written and conducted by Andre Previn at the San Francisco Opera, and reprised the role with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Washington National Opera.

Scott Kuehn

Senior Manager, Economic & Business Development, American Electric Power

Columbus, Ohio

Mark Kvamme

Co-Founder & Partner, Drive Capital

Columbus, Ohio
When he’s not racing (and sometimes crashing) off-road trucks, Mark is a co-founder and partner at Drive Capital. Before Drive Capital, Mark was the Interim Chief Investment Officer and President of JobsOhio, a private, nonprofit corporation leading Ohio’s job-creation efforts. Prior to JobsOhio, Mark was a partner at Sequoia Capital for 12 years, where he led investments in Linkedin (LKND – NYSE), MarkLogic, Cast Iron (IBM), and FunnyOrDie.com. Prior to Sequoia, Mark was the Chairman and CEO of CKS Group (CKSG – NASDAQ) and a founding member of Apple France. Mark has a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.


Cynthia LaConte

CEO, Dohmen

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
With a vision of creating a more efficient, effective and easy to use health experience by more closely connecting drug and device companies with the patients they serve, Cynthia has transformed Dohmen from regional pharmaceutical wholesaler to nationally recognized BPO (business process outsourcer) and software provider for the life science industry. Since stepping into the role of CEO in 2009, Cynthia has grown the company to over 1000 employees, working from over one million square feet of space located in seven states. Dohmen has achieved a year over year growth rate of 57% and today processes billions of dollars in transactions as the trusted partner to hundreds of drug and device companies ranging in size from start up to fortune 500.
In 2008, Cynthia also founded the Dohmen Company Foundation as a way to make tangible Dohmen’s legacy of caring commitment. Each year a percentage of Dohmen’s profits fund the Foundation and its mission to connect people in need with lifesaving healthcare products and services. In the five years since inception, the Foundation has contributed more than $10 million dollars to this objective, positively affecting over 123 million lives.

Sean Lane

Columbus, Ohio

Emilee Langenkamp

Special Events Manager, Downtown Dayton Partnership

Middletown, Ohio

Elizabeth Lapidus

Simpsonville, South Carolina


Paul Larsen

Regional Vice President, SME

Indianapolis, Indiana
Paul C. Larsen, PE leads the Indianapolis and Cincinnati regional teams for SME in civil engineering design and construction including geotechnical, environmental, construction and facilities engineering. His primary area of technical expertise is related to geotechnical engineering services for underground infrastructure, transportation, institutional facilities, industrial manufacturing, energy and commercial projects. Paul has over 35 years of project experience throughout the Midwest. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio, and holds a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University.

Caryn Lavernia

AVP for Engagement, Florida International University

Miami, Florida

William Leamon

Managing Director, The Business of Good Foundation

Bay Village, Ohio
Bill Leamon is the Managing Director of The Business of Good Foundation and Founding Partner of SEA Change Ohio, responsible for starting, scaling and sustaining social enterprises and nonprofits in the areas of education, employment and entrepreneurship. Leamon is the Professor of Entrepreneurship and Leadership at Notre Dame College of Ohio, and Director of the Enterprise Development and First Generation Centers. Leamon is also the CEO of America Mentors, a technology solution that powers community and campus-based micro-mentoring programs to increase graduation rates of low-income, first-generation college students. Prior to working in engaged philanthropy and higher education, Leamon spent 15 years working for large private sector companies, including Black & Decker/DeWalt, The Stanley Works, and Akzo Nobel, in a variety of cross-functional, leadership roles. Leamon lives in Bay Village, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, with his wife of 22 years, Amy, and their four sons, Tom, Kevin, Matt and Will. 


Clem Lear

Board of Directors, Irving Convention And Visitors Bureau

Irving, Texas
Clementine “Clem” Lear retired in 2000 after a 34 year career with AT&T as Director- External Affairs responsible for governmental and community affairs. Ms. Lear began her career in Boston and held numerous positions in Mississippi, Florida and Wisconsin before moving to Dallas in 1977. After her retirement she continued her community involvement currently serving a second six year term as a board member of the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau, previously as the Chairwomen; The Greater Irving Las Colinas Chamber – former executive board and currently on the Legislative Affairs Committee; The Irving Healthcare Foundation (Baylor Scott and White) as past Chairwomen and with numerous other non-profits supporting education, arts and health issues. Ms. Lear is a native of Yonkers, NY and a graduate of Endicott College, Beverly, MA. She resides in Irving, TX where she is an avid sports and fitness fan and most enjoys spending time with her son’s family of four young grandsons.

Alison Leddy

Generalist, VentureOhio

Shaker Heights, Ohio


Commissioner Senita Lenear

City of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Senita has more than 20 years of business experience, which includes a variety of leadership positions at the largest healthcare insurance provider in Michigan and owning an event planning and business consulting firm. She was elected as Grand Rapids’ Third Ward City Commissioner in 2013. Since joining the Commission, she has served as chairwoman of the Mayor’s Safe Alliance for Everyone (SAFE) Task Force, which developed a violence-reduction strategy for the City and also served on the Great Housing Strategies committee, which provided recommendations for addressing the community’s housing needs. Senita previously served on the Michigan Board of Education and has been honored with a number of community awards, including Cornerstone University’s 2014 Alumna of the Year, a YWCA Tribute Award for community service, Zeta Phi Beta Woman of the Year and NAACP Presidential and Legacy awards, among many others. 

Mayor Jim Lienhoop

City of Columbus

Columbus, Indiana

Rick Lindsey

Board of Directors, Irving Convention And Visitors Bureau

Irving, Texas


Councilwoman Jil Littlejohn

City of Greenville

Greenville, South Carolina
Jil Littlejohn has been a member of Greenville City Council since 2009 and currently serves as Mayor Pro Tem.  She is a 2015 graduate of the MASC Municipal Elected Officers Institute of Government.  Born and raised in inner city Atlanta, Jil has an MBA from Webster University, a BA from Wofford College with studies at the Universidad de Sevilla in Seville, Spain.  Professionally, Councilmember Littlejohn is the President and CEO of the Urban League of the Upstate.

Michael Loges

Business Development Specialist, City of Columbus

Columbus, Ohio


Patrick Losinski

CEO, Columbus Metropolitan Library

Columbus, Ohio
Since 2002, Pat Losinski has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), a twenty-three branch library district serving 850,000 residents in central Ohio. Prior to joining CML, Pat was executive director of Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs and he was previously a public library director in Illinois and Ohio. Most recently, Pat helped lead a $130M capital improvement plan for CML that resulted in 12 new or remodeled library buildings.

John Lowe

Columbus, Ohio


Irwin Lowenstein

President, ReThink Advisors, Inc.

Shaker Heights, Ohio
Irwin M. Lowenstein is the President of ReThink Advisors, Inc., a full service professional project management and representation firm providing independent third party management and oversight for complex capital and urban development projects. He has special expertise working with clients in the non-profit and institutional sectors.


Dr. Lillian Lowery

President & CEO, FutureReady Columbus

Columbus, Ohio
Dr. Lillian M. Lowery is currently the president-CEO of FutureReady Columbus (OH). Previously, Dr. Lowery served as the state superintendent of schools for the Maryland State Board of Education. Her state-level service began when she was appointed as Secretary of Education for the State of Delaware, a role she assumed January 2009 where she facilitated a statewide strategic planning and grant application process, including teachers, administrators, representatives from collective bargaining unions and associations, Vision 2015 members, leading corporate and business investors, parent/family advocates, higher education, philanthropy, the Governor’s Office, General Assembly, and State Board of Education, which resulted in Delaware being selected as the First State awarded the RTTT grant to put aggressive systemic education reform in practice.

Eric Lucas

Principal, MKSK

Indianapolis, Indiana

Terry Lynch

The Southland Companies

Memphis, Tennessee
Terry Lynch is the President and co founder of The Southland Companies in Memphis, Tennessee. Terry has over 40 years of real estate experience in brokerage, development and management, with the last 30 years of his experience sole being focused on value add development properties including office buildings, shopping centers, and residential developments. He has extensive experience in structuring public/private partnerships that include federal historic tax credits, new market tax credits, low income housing tax credits, PILOTs, public parking incentives, federal transportation grants and blight remediation grants. Terry has used all of these sources to help structure various investment opportunities for his partners and the community.


Shane Lynn

President / Owner, Owens Insurance Agency Inc.

Greer, South Carolina
Shane Lynn has been a respected professional in the commercial and personal insurance field since 1990. Shane holds a MBA from Anderson University (Anderson, Indiana) Falls School of Business and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. Shane is currently the Co-owner of Owens Insurance Agency in Greer, South Carolina. Owens Insurance Agency specializes in protecting the assets of over four thousand commercial and personal clients. In his free time, Shane enjoys spending time with his wife of 26 years (Amy) and their two kids (Alleson and Zachary). Shane is passionate about his family, his business, hunting, fishing and Clemson University Football.

Steve Lyons

Executive Vice President, Columbus Partnership

Columbus, Ohio

Cathy Lyttle

Columbus, Ohio

Julie M

Columbus, Ohio

Michelle Maggiore

Associate Partner, IBM

Columbus, Ohio
Michelle Maggiore, PE, has nearly 20 years of experience in strategic planning and management for transportation agencies and local governments with a focus on performance management, program development, and predictive analytics. Her work includes the development and application of decision support tools to align infrastructure and technology investments to regional goals and performance measures.  Her methodology for optimizing transportation and technology investments was published by the National Academy of Sciences in NCHRP Report 806, where she served as Principal Investigator.  Michelle continues to support the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies Data for Decisions Committee, is a professional transportation engineer, and is currently an Associate Partner at IBM.  At IBM, Michelle applies her work in portfolio optimization to the development and evaluation of Smart Cities transportation and technology investment programs.

Darlene Magold Scott

GIS Director, Prime AE

Westerville, Ohio

Danicia Malone

Creative Director, Researcher, Rooke Life

Indianapolis, Indiana
On her way to her PhD, Danicia Malone researches the user-experience of race. Danicia’s work investigates the context of Race & Space in hopes to grow critical cultural capacity in the Built Environment. She is a creative director, interaction designer and urban planner based in Indianapolis, IN.

Sarah Mangia

Senior Director, Fisher Leadership Initiative, The Ohio State University

Bexley, Ohio

Christine Marquez-Hudson

President & CEO, The Denver Foundation

Denver, Colorado
Christine Marquez-Hudson recently joined The Denver Foundation as President & CEO in January 2016. Prior to her selection, Christine was the CEO of Mi Casa Resource Center, a well-known community-based organization dedicated to advancing the economic success of Latino and other low-income families. She is thrilled with the opportunity to lead The Denver Foundation—known for its commitment to resident leadership, inclusiveness and equity, donor engagement and accountability—toward its vision for a greater Metro Denver.

Shauta Marsh

Curator, Catalog Of Fantastic Things

Indianapolis, Indiana
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.

Brian Martin

Attorney, Brian A. Martin, LLC

Greer, South Carolina

Katie Martin

Chicago, Illinois

Elizabeth Martinez

Columbus, Ohio
Elizabeth Martinez is President and Chief Executive Officer of Big Brother Big Sisters of Central Ohio, one of the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in the country. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio served more than 7,400 children in 14 Ohio counties last year, through one-to-one mentoring programs in addition to programs at its Camp Oty’Okwa in the Hocking Hills.

Zack Matheny

President, Downtown Greensboro, Inc.

Greensboro, North Carolina

Michael McCall

Board Chair, Greater Irving-las Colinas Chamber Of Commerce

Irving, Texas

Keary McCarthy

President & CEO, Innovation Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Shannon McClure

Director, Research Services, Greater Omaha Chamber

Omaha, Nebraska


Scott McComb

Gahanna, Ohio

Gregory Scott McComb is Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Heartland Bank located in Gahanna Ohio. Heartland Bank currently has slightly over $768 Million in assets and 13 branches in the Columbus Metro Market Area. Scott is an entrepreneur who joined banking after running several of his own businesses. When he was 20 years old and while attending the Ohio State University, Scott started a security system and installation company. Following that, he started a locksmith service, and a construction, inspection and cleaning business. In 1998, he sold his security system entity to, and became Vice President of, Vector Security, then the 11th largest security system provider in the United States. Looking for new and exciting ventures, Scott joined Heartland in 1999 as the Director of Internet Banking, charged with launching the first Internet Bank offering by a community bank in the Columbus, Ohio area. Scott was then made part of the senior management team for Heartland Bank serving all aspects of the bank as Senior Vice President in charge of Customer Relationship Management. He was promoted to EVP/COO in 2004 and President in September 2008.

Bill McDonough

Columbus, Ohio

Elijah McKnight

Founding Member, Triple Play Leadership Club

Columbus, Ohio
Elijah McKnight has been a member of the Milo-Grogan Boys & Girls Club since he was 8 years old. Now 17, he attends Centennial High School and is a member of the football team and marching band, and an entrepreneur in his free time. He is considering the University of Cincinnati for an undergraduate degree in business. Elijah is a founding member of the Triple Play Leadership Club and competed in the 2016 State of Ohio Youth of the Year competition in April. Elijah understands how huge an impact the Club has made on his life. He says, “The Club has always been there for me. Without the Club, I would not be the person I am today.”

Councilwoman Lauren McLean

City of Boise

Boise, Idaho

Mayor John McNally

City of Youngstown

Youngstown, Ohio
In 1991, Mayor McNally graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Foreign Service. Mayor McNally received his Juris Doctor and Master’s in Public Administration in 1996 from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and the Levin College of Urban Affairs. From 1998 until 2002, Mayor McNally served as Assistant Law Director for the City of Youngstown. From 2002 through 2004, he served as Law Director for the City of Youngstown. Finally, he served as Mahoning County Commissioner from 2005-2012 and won the General Election to serve as Mayor of Youngstown on November 5, 2013.
Mayor McNally formerly served as a Trustee for the Mahoning Valley Historical Society and formerly served as Trustee for Youngstown Area Goodwill Industries, Park Vista Retirement Center, and the Mahoning-Youngstown Community Action Partnership. Mayor McNally was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio. He resides in Youngstown with his wife, Virginia and their two daughters, Cara and Casey

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

Lucy Meade

Director Marketing & Development, Venture Richmond, Inc.

Richmond, Virginia

Matthew Meadors

Waco, Texas
Matt Meadors became the president and CEO of the Greater Waco Chamber in September 2012. Prior to moving to Waco from Evansville, Ind., Meadors has been a career chamber executive and had been CEO of the Southwest Indiana Chamber since 2001. Among Meadors’ accomplishments at the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana are facilitating a focus on a vibrant urban core that has resulted in a downtown and riverfront renaissance, framing the importance of regionalism by forming a regional chamber coalition and securing public and legislative support for interstate transportation infrastructure. He holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Indiana University and is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Organization Management. Meadors and his wife, Kim, have two daughters.

Laquore Meadows

Columbus, Ohio

Representative Dillon Meek

City of Waco

Columbus, Ohio

Alan Melamed

President, Melamed Communications

Beachwood, Ohio

Marcy Mendenhall

CEO, SAL Family and Community Services

Moline, Illinois

Mo Merhoff

President, OneZone, Inc.

Fishers, Indiana
Mo Merhoff is President of OneZone, Inc, the organization merged in 2015 from the Carmel and Fishers Chambers of Commerce. OneZone is a member-driven business organization in one of the fastest-growing counties on the country and represents over 1,400 members. Prior to joining the Carmel Chamber in 2000, Mo spent 12 years with the United States Rowing Association, including the executive directorship of the 1994 World Rowing Championships in Indianapolis (first for the sport in the United States) and membership on the FISA (international rowing federation) Marketing and Media Commission for the sport for 10 years. She received the FISA Medal of Honor in 1994.

Gabriel Metcalf

President & CEO, SPUR

San Francisco, California
Gabriel Metcalf is the president and CEO of SPUR. He is responsible for defining the overall vision and strategy for the organization and has led SPUR through a major expansion of its work.

Corrie Meyer

President, Innovative Planning

Carmel, Indiana

Darren Meyer

Principal, MKSK

Columbus, Ohio

Robert Milbourne

Board Chair, CEOs for Cities; Chairman, RMH Advisors

New Albany, Ohio
Milbourne heads RHM Advisors, a business consulting firm, specializing in business strategy, financing, and corporate development for public and private companies. He is also a consultant to business for government affairs, governance and project development. Milbourne was the founding president and CEO of the Columbus Partnership, a civic organization of top business, education and community leaders formed in 2002 to improve the region’s economic future. He came to Columbus after serving as CEO of a similar group in Milwaukee for 17 years.

David Milenthal

Empower Gas and Electric

Columbus, Ohio
David is a co-founder, Chairman & CEO of Empower Gas and Electric, a company focused on the sale of residential energy savings and energy generation products. The company’s proprietary data analytics product, BOLT, allows Empower to digitally analyze residential utility bills in order to target sales of energy savings products and to predict energy savings in a given household.


Keith Miller

President, Greenville Technical College

Greenville, South Carolina
Dr. Keith Miller became the second president of Greenville Technical College on July 1, 2008. He brought experienced leadership to the position, having spent 12 years as a college president in Illinois, first for Spoon River College and later for Black Hawk College. Miller has served in many capacities at the colleges where he has worked including instructor, dean, and vice president. In addition, his career has taken him into the private sector, working in health care.

Kristyn Miller

Program Director, CampusTown Waco Initiative, Prosper Waco

Waco, Texas
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.

Paul Miller

Columbus, Ohio


Ruth Milligan

Milligan Communications LLC

Columbus, Ohio
Ruth Milligan’s career could be characterized as a communication quilt, with many layers, patterns and expressions of experience and accomplishments. In her early career she built an impressive portfolio of experience for then-Ohio Governor George V. Voinovich, implementing Ohio’s Americorps program and ultimately acting as the Chief of Staff and speechwriter for the First Lady by the age of 25. Her political career also included being a press secretary on the U.S. Presidential Campaign of Sen. Robert Dole. She is one of the original curators for any TEDx event (the license program for TED), having selected and chosen over 200 speakers who have taken the TEDxColumbus stage since 2009. She has authored a class on how to be a TEDx speaker coach, the only one of its kind, designed to support a speaker coaches around the world assure their speakers reach their highest potential. She is often tapped as an expert in the TED-style of speaking.

Stacey Mills

Executive Director, University of South Carolina Upstate

Greenville, South Carolina

Reginald Milton

Memphis, Tennessee

Alderman Gary Mohr

City of Bettendorf

Bettendorf, Iowa
Gary Mohr has a Masters Degree in Higher Education Administration from Iowa State University. For 41 years, he served in an administrative capacity at public and private colleges and universities in government relations, public relations, marketing, continuing education and admissions. Gary has been very active in his community by serving on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Alderman-At-Large on the Bettendorf City Council; Board of Trustees at Logan University, St, Louis, MO; and was appointed by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to the Iowa Public Information Board.


Ivette Mongalo

Owner, Mongalo-Winston Consulting, LLC

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Ivette works with communities, public and private agencies, and design professionals to improve communities by bridging the gap between design, planning and public engagement. She believes all people have the right and desire to live in healthy, safe, quality neighborhoods in order to reach their maximum potential. Therefore she uses her skills in urban design, facilitation and planning to help people understand each other and make progress together. Ivette is passionate about community building and is committed to promoting transparency throughout the life of a project. She thrives on pulling together diverse constituencies and helping them to understand each other’s opinions, concerns, and visions about development proposals. Ivette is passionate about many activities so you can usually find her running from one to the other with her husband, Gerrod, or coaching soccer with two curly haired girls and the next generation of strong women.

Jessica Monroe

Greer Trading Post

Greer, South Carolina


Marchelle Moore

Columbus, Ohio
Marchelle E. Moore is Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel for The Motorists Insurance Group. Moore leads strategic and tactical legal initiatives and provides the executive and senior leadership teams with competent legal advice on company strategies and their implementation. Prior to joining Motorists, Moore served as Central Ohio Transit Authority’s (COTA) Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs and General Counsel. Moore served on the company’s executive leadership team and oversaw all legal matters, including corporate governance, compliance, and ethics. Moore joined COTA in 2005 as Senior Legal Counsel and in 2009, she was promoted to Interim Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations, overseeing strategic goals and objectives, employee relations, labor contracts, and the implementation of training, education and employee development programs

Mary Moore

Columbus, Ohio

Randy Moore

President, Iowa American Water Company

Davenport, Iowa

Worth Morgan

Memphis, Tennessee

Ellen Moss Williams

President & CEO, Godman Guild Assn

Columbus, Ohio

Karen Mozenter

Consultant, Business of Good Foundation

Columbus, Ohio
Karen recently returned to Columbus after spending the past four years in Cleveland serving as Director of Funder Engagement for the Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaboration of funders driving economic growth and equitable access to opportunity in Northeast Ohio. In that role, Karen worked to strengthen Fund members’ engagement with each other and the Fund; improve members’ understanding of the Fund’s work and identify opportunities to connect it with their own missions and priorities; secure members’ continued financial commitments; attract additional local and national resources for Fund priorities; and represent the Fund in the external community. As a utility player within the Fund’s small professional staff, Karen also contributed to operations, strategic planning, communications, governance and grantmaking.

William Murdock

Executive Director, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

Columbus, Ohio

Brenda Myers

President/CEO, Hamilton County Tourism

Carmel, Indiana
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.

Stephen Myers

Associate Vice Provost, The Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio

Debbie Nadzam

Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge Director, CEOs for Cities

Cleveland, Ohio

Reese Neader

Founder, Forge Columbus

Columbus, Ohio
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.

Donna Newton

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.

Joseph Nickol

Senior Associate, MKSK

Columbus, Ohio

Karen Niverson

Executive Director, Visitor Center, Inc

Columbus, Indiana
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.

Amy Sackman Odum

Director of Community Development, City of Lima

Lima, Ohio


Kathy Oren

Executive Director, Community Education Coalition

Columbus, Indiana
Kathy Oren currently serves as Executive Director of the Community Education Coalition, a not-for-profit organization committed to the development of an aligned, high quality community and regional learning system supporting learners of all ages. Kathy’s work involves education, economic growth, workforce development, and quality of life initiatives. Prior to her current role, Kathy worked for Cummins Inc. in the Engine Business Unit as Leader for Marketing and Sales Functional Excellence. In that role, Kathy worked with all Cummins business units and all global regions to improve and standardize processes for marketing and sales professionals across the company.

Kevin Osburn

Principal, Rundell Ernstberger Associates

Indianapolis, Indiana
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.

Elaine Ostrowski

Board Member, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro

Greensboro, North Carolina

Deneese Owen

Diversified Systems, Inc.

Gahanna, Ohio


Rudy Painter

Vice President Division Executive, Countybanc Insurance

Greenville, South Carolina
Rudy Painter is Vice President, and Division Executive of Countybanc Insurance Services Inc., an Independent Insurance Agency with offices in Greenville and Greenwood, SC. He received his degree in Risk Management and Insurance from the University of Georgia and earned his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation. Painter has worked as an agent in the business for over 40 years. Rudy served as the First President of the Greer Day Lions Club. He has also served on the Board of the Greater Greer Chamber Of Commerce and he was also Chairman of the Board in 2003. Rudy has also served on the Greer Relief Board of Directors. Rudy has served on the Session of First Presbyterian Church in Greer. He also served as Co-Chair of the Churches Capital campaign and teaches Sunday school. Rudy served as chairman of Anderson, SC largest Festival (The Summer Soiree’) and has also served as Chairman of the Greer, SC Family Festival for over 20 years. Because of his involvement in the festival arena he has sold and consulted other festivals in the purchase of insurance. He enjoys working with all facets of the festival industry. Rudy also serves on the advisory Board of Pelham Medical Center. He also is a Graduate of the first class of Leadership Anderson and Class 15 of Leadership Greer.

Gary Palmer

Manager-Community Affairs, Replacements, Ltd.

Greensboro, North Carolina

Betsy Pandora

Executive Director, Short North Alliance

Columbus, Ohio
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 both the Short North Alliance and Short North Special Improvement District, two neighborhood serving organizations in Columbus, Ohio.

Betsy has over 13 years of experience working the creative sector and has held education, marketing, outreach, and strategic planning positions with many of Columbus’ leading arts and cultural nonprofits, most notably the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts and the Wexner Center for the Arts. Betsy has also worked abroad at the internationally acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe Festival where she was responsible for managing and promoting a multidisciplinary arts venue during the world’s largest international theatre festival.

Jenny Park

Chattanooga-Hamilton Co. Regional Planning Agency

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Jenny Park is the Strategic Capital Planner for the City of Chattanooga. In this role, Jenny coordinates the Capital Improvement Plan process, working across departments to plan and budget City investments in infrastructure, equipment, technology, and public spaces. Jenny also manages special projects, including a redevelopment of Chattanooga’s central urban park. Jenny’s previous experience includes multimodal transportation planning and funding at the regional level, community engagement, grants, and open data policy. Jenny holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Lee University and a Master of Public Administration from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is a Next City Vanguard (’14), a member of the Government Finance Officers Association, and serves on the Board of Adventure Cycling Association.

Angela Parsons

Vice President for Donor Services and Development, The Columbus Foundation

Columbus, Ohio
As the Foundation’s chief development officer, Angela leads the Donor Services and Development team while working with financial advisors and individuals, families, and businesses in creating philanthropic funds and planned gifts to strengthen and improve the community. Her extensive background in law and finance is valuable when helping donors establish and manage current and planned gifts.

Dr. Manuel Pastor

Director, University of Southern California – PERE

Los Angeles, California
Dr. Manuel Pastor is Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He directs the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE)  and Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) and is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC. He holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and was the founding director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Lisa Patt-McDaniel

Affordable Housing Trust for Franklin County & Columbus

Dublin, Ohio
Ms. Patt-McDaniel joined Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) in 2011 as Director of Community Development.  She is currently on loan to the Affordable Housing Trust of Franklin County & Columbus to certify and attract investment to a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) that will serve Franklin County. Prior to joining OCCH, Ms. Patt-McDaniel spent over 20 years at the Ohio Department of Development working in the areas of community, economic and workforce development, ending her career there as the Director of the Department and a member of the Governor’s Cabinet. Ms. Patt-McDaniel is a Certified Economic Development Professional (EDP) through the National Development Council. She sits on the board of the Franklinton Development Association, Heritage Ohio, Ohio Conference of Community Development, Greater Ohio Policy Center, and the Columbus Next Generation Development Corporation. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Miami University and a Masters of Public Administration from the John Glenn School of Public Policy at The Ohio State University.

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.

Brooke Paul

Powell, Ohio

Gail Paul

Director, Communication Strategy, Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority

Cincinnati, Ohio

Ryan Pavlov

Owner, The Pavlov Group, LLC.

Cambridge, Ohio

Brian Payne

Vice-Chair, CEOs for Cities Board; President and CEO, Central Indiana Community Foundation

Indianapolis, Indiana
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.


Jill Pecoraro

Director of (i)Cleveland, Cleveland Leadership Center

Cleveland, Ohio
Jill Pecoraro earned her B.A. in Communication from The Ohio State University and her M.Ed in Higher Education Administration from Kent State University. She returned to Cleveland in 2013 after professional positions in residence life at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA and Clarke University in Dubuque, IA, where she facilitated leadership development, self-governance, and civic engagement opportunities for college students.
As the Director of (i)Cleveland and Young Professional Programs at Cleveland Leadership Center, she is responsible for the design and implementation of leadership development and civic education programs that will develop, attract and retain the next generation of Cleveland’s leaders.

Rodney Phelps

Site President, Citi

Irving, Texas

Everett Phipps

Chair-elect, Greater Waco Chamber – Waco YP’s

Waco, Texas

Kent Pilcher

President, Estes Construction

Davenport, Iowa

The Honorable Connie Pillich

Cincinnati, Ohio
The youngest of five, Connie grew up in a working class neighborhood. She graduated from public schools with honors and put herself through college with an ROTC scholarship, student loans, and part-time work. Connie spent eight years on active duty in the Air Force where she served in support of Operation Desert Storm. She is a three-time recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal. Having achieved the rank of Captain, Connie brings her military leadership skills to public service.

Doug Podiak

Facilities Director, Lucas County

Toledo, Ohio

Matthew Polk

Executive Director, Prosper Waco

Waco, Texas

Christina Pope

Regional Manager, Welcoming America

St. Louis, Missouri
Christina Pope is the regional manager providing technical assistance and programming to the Welcoming Economies Global Network and other Welcoming America members in the Midwest and Northeast. Before joining Welcoming America, Christina managed international student programs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Prior to her time at the University, Christina served in various capacities in the areas of immigrant inclusion and international education, including roles at the immigrant community-based organization CASA in Maryland and at K-12 schools in Recife, Brazil as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Christina earned her bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature and American Studies at Oberlin College.

Hannah Powell

Executive Director, KIPP Columbus

Columbus, Ohio
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.

Mildred Powell

Organization Administrator, Fund for Democratic Communities

Greensboro, North Carolina

Scott Powell

Architect, Craig Gaulden Davis

Greenville, South Carolina

Stephanie Precht

Director, Public Policy & Economic Development, Dayton Area Chamber Of Commerce

Dayton, Ohio

Mark Putnam

President, Central College

Pella, Iowa
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 – 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.

Karen Radcliff

Vice President/CSO, Hamilton County Tourism, Inc.

Carmel, Indiana
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.

Stacy Restauskas

Columbus, Ohio

William Ratzburg

Director, Economic & Community Development, Deere & Co World Headquarters

Moline, Illinois

Laura Recchie

President, Root + Branch, Inc.

Columbus, Ohio

W. Spencer Reeder

Vulcan, Inc.

Seattle, Washington
Spencer Reeder leads Vulcan’s climate and energy work within its philanthropy group. Spencer’s career spans over two decades of academic, government, and private-sector work in domestic and international science, technology, and related policy, including leading USAID’s climate work in Vietnam under the agency’s Climate Change Resilience Development program. Spencer served as a climate policy strategist within Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire’s administration and prior to that conducted geophysical field research in Central Asia, South America, and Antarctica. Spencer is a lead author for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the 2014 National Climate Assessment and earned an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington. He was twice selected as a finalist for NASA’s astronaut program.

Denise Reid

Executive Director Mosaic & Workforce, Tulsa Regional Chamber

Tulsa, Oklahoma
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.

Neil Reid

Professor, University of Toledo

Toledo, Ohio
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.

Kevin Renois

City Center Waco

Waco, Texas

Mark Reynolds

Extraco Banks

Waco, Texas


Theresa Rhodes

Executive Director, Buckingham Foundation

Indianapolis, Indiana
Theresa is a passionate advocate deeply committed to helping the Foundation maximize its impact in the community. She enthusiastically leads the Foundation’s philanthropic and strategic plans that result in meaningful work for the companies and communities served. Theresa is a problem solver who is motivated by accomplishing tasks and accepting the next challenge. Under her leadership, teams of generous and passionate Buckingham employees who care deeply about the core value of community involvement are making a significant difference. Theresa has spent her career serving the public in her roles working for former Mayor Steve Goldsmith, and then as the president of the Lacy Leadership Association. Early in her career she was taught valuable lessons that are rooted into her work today: integrity, a commitment to a greater good, and an unflinching drive to do the right thing.

Cleve Ricksecker

President, Sid Public Services Association

Columbus, Ohio

Chet Ridenour

Location Manager, Car2go Columbus

Columbus, Ohio


Sherry Ristau

President & CEO, Community Foundation Great River Bend

Bettendorf, Iowa
Sherry currently serves as the President/CEO of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend in the Quad Cities, where she oversees more than $115 million in total assets, working with a Board of Directors, professional staff, donors, business and nonprofit leaders. The Community Foundation facilitates community philanthropy serving as a bridge for people with passion, commitment, and a collaborative spirit who want to make a difference in their community.  The foundation’s primary service area is the greater Quad Cities region in eastern Iowa and western Illinois.
She currently serves on the Council on Foundations, Orton Family Foundation, and several local groups as the leader of the Community Foundation such as the Regional Opportunity Council and Regional Vision/Q2030 Steering Committee. 
Sherry and her husband, Bruce, are natives of Blue Earth, MN.  She is Mankato State University/MnSCU alumna.


Jan W. Rivkin

Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Jan W. Rivkin is the Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, where he serves as senior associate dean for research and co-chair of the School’s project on the competitiveness of the United States.  In leading the U.S. competitiveness project, he has worked with a team of about twenty HBS faculty to explore steps that leaders–especially business leaders–can take to help firms in the U.S. win in the global marketplace and raise American living standards.


Julia Roach

Director of Marketing, Downtown Greensboro Inc.

Greensboro, North Carolina
Julia Roach, leads the marketing and communications efforts for Downtown Greensboro, Inc. Over the last year Julia has played an integral part in reviving the organization’s status with the merchants, community and city officials. As the organization adds much needed staff Julia will increase her focus on all areas of marketing, communications, social media, and outreach to merchants. She looks forward to making connections in all areas during the CEOs for Cities!

Kaci Roach

Senior Manager, Knowledge, StriveTogether

Cincinnati, Ohio
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.

Elaine Roberts

Columbus, Ohio
Elaine Roberts, President & CEO, of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, is an Accredited Airport Executive, and oversees the operations of Port Columbus, Rickenbacker International and Bolton Field Airports. Elaine began her airport management career with the Indianapolis Airport Authority beginning in 1983 through 1994 and for the next six years was Executive Director of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation which operates the T.F. Green (Providence) Airport and five other state-owned airports. Elaine serves on the Boards of Experience Columbus, Columbus Partnership, Columbus Region Logistics Council, State Auto Financial Corporation, and United Way of Central Ohio. She is Past Chair of the American Association of Airport Executives-National Board and serves on the AAAE Policy Review Committee and the Board of the International Association of Airport Executives. Elaine holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Sociology from Western Kentucky University, a Master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Louisville, and a law degree from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis.

Jessica Robinson

Director, City Solutions, Ford Motor Company

Dearborn, Michigan

Tanisha Robinson

Founder & CEO, Print Syndicate, Inc.

Columbus, Ohio
Tanisha is currently the founder and CEO of Print Syndicate, a design/technology/marketing company with an ecommerce platform devoted to providing well designed, socially relevant, high quality products to consumers, on-demand. Print Syndicate is better known for its outward facing brands, lookHUMAN.com, ActivateApparel.com, CatCollector.com, and MericaMade.com, with more brands on the way. She is also the co-founder of TicketFire, a mobile app that allows paper ticket holders to scan and digitize their event tickets, and then use, transfer, or sell those tickets to others.

Dan Roeser

Regional Vice President, SME

Commerce Township, Michigan

Mindy Rosen

SVP Communications and Strategic Initiatives, Downtown Cincinnati Inc.

Cincinnati, Ohio
Mindy Rosen is the Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing for Downtown Cincinnati Inc. She joined the organization in 2007 where she is responsible for overseeing the communication and marketing programs needed to support DCI’s mission of building a dynamic metropolitan center valued as the heart of the region. As a key member of the management team, she drives the strategy, planning and creative development of a range of consumer and corporate marketing communications, collateral and corporate presentations.

Debby Rosenthal

Columbus, Ohio

Darel Ross

Co-Executive Director, LINC UP

Grand Rapids, Michigan


Jodee Ruppel

Downtown Greensboro Inc.

Greensboro, North Carolina
Jodee Ruppel recently jumped into the exciting field of downtown development by joining the staff at Downtown Greensboro, Inc. There, she is heading strategic initiatives to help make downtown Greensboro the ideal place to live, eat, work, and play. Ruppel was most recently the U.S. Vice President for Community Engagement/Donor Recruitment for DKMS. At DKMS she worked with her team to engage U.S. communities of all ages and backgrounds to fight against blood cancer. She is looking forward to absorbing all the knowledge she can as she participates in her first CEO for Cities!


Bishop Frank Rush

Senior Pastor, Houston Praise And Worship Center

Houston, Texas
Bishop Dr. Frank A. Rush has been involved in ministry at Houston Praise and Worship Center for 29 years. Bishop Rush is well-known in ministry and in the legal profession. He has been working as a criminal and family attorney for well over 30 years. He is familiar face at the Harris County Courthouse and is well-respected throughout the city of Houston. He is licensed to practice law in both the state and federal courts, with current emphasis on helping his clients avoid or overcome foreclosure. Bishop Rush is Senior Pastor and founder of Houston Praise and Worship Center and founder of the Bishop’s Circle, a pastoral and minister’s training school. He is recognized by the State of Texas as a “senior religious advisor.” He has written a Leadership Training program for HISD students in 8th grade through high school. Bishop Rush is very concerned about urban renewal. He is an active community leader, a role model, a youth mentor and the author of “How Christians Should Handle Stress.” Bishop Rush and his wife, JoAnn, (who serves as Co-Pastor) have two children, Gerren and Cherish Rush, who are also actively involved in ministry.


Frank Russell

Director, University Of Cincinnati Community Design Center And Niehoff

Cincinnati, Ohio
Frank Russell, AIA, is a registered Architect and Urban Designer. He is the Director of the University of Cincinnati Community Design Center at the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, and the Director of the UC Niehoff Urban Studio where he is an instructor in Urban Design, Russell is a practicing architect and principal of Russell Compton Architects. In private and public practice for twenty-five years he has carried out numerous urban design plans (20+) and architecture projects (50+).


R.T. Rybak

President & CEO, Minneapolis Regional Chamber Of Commerce

Minneapolis, Minnesota
In July, 2016 R.T. Rybak began serving as the seventh CEO and President of the Minneapolis Foundation, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations. A Minneapolis native, R.T. Rybak spent almost 30 years working in journalism, the commercial real estate business, publishing and the Internet before being elected mayor of Minneapolis in his first run for public office in 2002. Most recently he served as Executive Director of Generation Next a coalition of civic, business and school leaders focused on closing the racial achievement gap in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Tara Sandercock

Senior VP, Foundation & Community Relations, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro

Greensboro, North Carolina

Walker Sanders

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.

Emily Savors

Director, Grants Management, The Columbus Foundation

Columbus, Ohio

Jeff Schaaf

Brand Manager, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce

Toledo, Ohio
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.

Brittany Scheckelhoff

Creative Director, CEOs for Cities

Cleveland, Ohio

Tim Schiffer

Executive Director, Figge Art Museum

Davenport, Iowa

Meg Schneider

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.

Steven Schoeny

Director, Dept. of Development, City of Columbus

Columbus, Ohio

Mike Schott

Business Development, Signet Equity Partners, LLC

Columbus, Ohio

William Schottenstein

Columbus, Ohio

Jane Scott

Columbus, Ohio

Alderman Jerry Sechser

Bettendorf, Iowa
Jerry Sechser received his BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. He served as the Director of Public Works at Rock Island Arsenal for 12 years before retiring. His career of 42 years includes combined military and civilian Civil Service in Facilities Management with the U.S. Army. Jerry is a Past two-term member of Bettendorf, Iowa School Board; Past Trustee for Bettendorf Community Schools Foundation; Past Member of Bettendorf Plumbing Board for over 30 years; and a Military Veteran, serving three years overseas as a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Officer. Jerry is currently serving his first year of a 4 year term as the 1st Ward Alderman for the City of Bettendorf.

Mary Sellers

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.

Julia Seward

Julia Seward Consulting

Richmond, Virginia

Heidi Shafer

Memphis, Tennessee

Dan Sharpe

Community Research & Grants Management Officer, The Columbus Foundation

Columbus, Ohio
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.

Alaina Shearer

President, Cement Marketing

Columbus, Ohio


Meagan Shinn

Program Manager, River City Company

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Meagan Shinn serves as the Program Manager at River City Company, a private nonprofit located in Chattanooga, Tennessee that works to build a healthy and vibrant Downtown. With a solid background in community engagement and event management, Shinn works each day to animate Downtown Chattanooga through community programs including live music, public art and other events. Shinn is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She is a member of the Startup Week Chattanooga Committee, the Edney Innvoation Center Advisory Board, Girls Preparatory School Alumnae Council and the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy Odyssey Committee. Shinn also serves on the Board of Directors for the Hart Gallery.


Alaina Shonkwiler

Assistant Director of Economic Development, City of Noblesville

Noblesville, Indiana
Alaina Shonkwiler is the Assistant Director of Economic Development for the City of Noblesville and her responsibilities include managing the Façade Improvement Grant Program, emphasizing Cultural Arts in downtown Noblesville, is project lead on the Riverfront Redevelopment District and Federal Hill District, and continually focuses efforts on business retention and expansion and downtown redevelopment planning. In this role, her focus is to create collaborative relationships with other Noblesville organizations as well as emphasize cultural arts in the Noblesville community.

Alex Shumate

Managing Partner, Squire Patton Boggs

Columbus, Ohio
As Managing Partner, North America of Squire Patton Boggs, Alex Shumate provides strategic and operational guidance in pursuing new business opportunities regionally, nationally and internationally and in addressing issues arising from the Firm’s 19 offices across the United States.

Mark Skinner

Vice President, SSTI

Westerville, Ohio

Larry Smith

Founder, Six-Word Memoir

Columbus, Ohio
Larry Smith is the founder of the Six-Word Memoir® project, an online community where people have shared more than 1 million six-word stories, a series of eight bestselling books, and a tool for self-expression found in environments as varied as classrooms, festivals and corporate events. In 2015, Larry moved to Columbus with his wife, Piper Kerman, and has since launched “Six in the City: Columbus” a civic engagement project that uses the simplicity and inclusivity of the six-word form to engage and connect people across all corners of Columbus.

Mark Smith

Managing Partner, Covalent Advisors

Cleveland, Ohio

W. Randy Smith

Vice Provost for Academic Programs, The Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio

Christopher Sopher

CEO, Whereby.us

Miami, Florida

Jeff Sopp

Columbus, Ohio

Laura Spears

Columbus, Ohio

Steven Spitler

Executive Assistant to Commissioner Contrada, Lucas County Commissioners

Toledo, Ohio

Jack Spurlock

Spurlock & Associates Real Estate

Irving, Texas

Greer Staples

Business Solutions Strategist, NextLevel Strategies

Pickerington, Ohio

Nicollette Staton

Fellow, City of Hamilton

Hamilton, Ohio

Joseph Stefanov

City Manager, City of New Albany

New Albany, Ohio
Joseph Stefanov has served as City Manager since January 3, 2000. As New Albany’s chief executive officer, he advises City Council on policy matters, implements council and administrative policies and oversees all city operations. Joe is the longest serving professional CEO in New Albany’s history.

Jeff Stegeman


Toledo, Ohio
Clients come to Jeff for a disciplined, unbiased investment advice that has fiduciary responsibility as its guiding principle. Using a consultative approach, Jeff gets to know every client’s history, priorities and objectives before he recommends a customized strategy. His primary focus is on asset allocation and risk management in portfolios, but also coordination with a client’s tax and legal advisors. Jeff manages wealth for high-net worth individuals, families and foundations at Key Private Bank. Prior to this, he was a portfolio manager and analyst for a local bank wealth management group, and also led the firm’s investment strategy and due diligence process. Jeff started his investment career in 2006 with Merrill Lynch, primarily focusing on executive non-qualified deferred compensation.

Brian Stephens

CEO, Caissa Public Strategy

Memphis, Tennessee
Brian J. Stephens, CEO and co-founder of Caissa Public Strategy, is a business strategist, crisis manager and attorney. His experience of leading clients through their day-to-day crises has allowed him to develop a one-of-a-kind skill set to navigate change, anticipate obstacles, and win under any circumstance. Brian also has the experience of being a business owner, knowing firsthand the pressures that owners face every day. He uses his own proven methods to mobilize public opinion, manage crises, build reputation and gain positive support for his client’s mission.

Scott Stevens

Event Marketing & Coordination, Greer Event Rentals

Greer, South Carolina

Scott Steinecker

Columbus, Ohio
Scott Stienecker is President/CEO of PromoWest Productions, Inc. based in Columbus Ohio. Originally from St. Mary’s Ohio, Scott graduated from St. Mary’s Memorial High School in 1978, attended Bowling Green University then transferred to The Ohio State University. While enrolled, he joined the OSU Pep Board and began co-promoting shows for the University with Belkin Productions including Black Sabbath and AC/DC at St. Johns Arena. Through his 38 years in the concert business, Scott has produced more than 10,000 concerts that include the most influential bands in music from Aerosmith, The Eagles, Motley Crue, Coldplay, Tom Petty, Janet Jackson, Phil Collins and George Strait to The Killers, Fall Out Boy and Jack White.

Councilman Michael Stinziano

City of Columbus

Columbus, Ohio

Chris Stone

President, Visit Greenville

Greenville, South Carolina

Jack Storey

Founder and Rustbelt Revitalist, Saving Cities

Columbus, Ohio

Tricia Suit

Director of Marketing, Downtown Cincinnati Inc.

Cincinnati, Ohio
Tricia Suit is the director of marketing at Downtown Cincinnati Inc. A life-long Cincinnatian, Suit is an active supporter of the city’s arts and cultural institutions.  For fun, she is the managing editor/test kitchen director of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, and Light Industrial Safety and sings and writes songs for the band Seven Speed Vortex. She lives in a 1925 bungalow with her husband, Eric, and pit bull, Olive.

LaDawn Sullivan

Director of Community Leadership, The Denver Foundation

Denver, Colorado

Jim Sweeney

Columbus, Ohio
Jim Sweeney earned a master’s degree in city planning from OSU. Before joining Franklinton Development Association as executive director in 2002, he was a land-use planner at MORPC and worked as a policy and planning consultant. In his 11 years at FDA Jim has led the effort to revitalize Franklinton through creation of over 150 affordable housing units, various community building activities including founding the Franklinton Arts District, and aggressive neighborhood advocacy on all levels. Jim has moved Franklinton to the center of the discussion about central Ohio development. He built consensus around the revitalization of East Franklinton as an arts destination, an initiative which gained support of city hall and has now begun the path to reality.

Sara Swisher

Director EPIC Toledo, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce

Toledo, Ohio
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!

Ty Tabing

Chicago Loop Alliance

Wichita, Kansas
Ty Tabing recently served as the inaugural executive director of the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial which highlighted architectural innovations, trends and installations by leading architects from around the world. The event is modeled after the Venice Biennale and attracted an audience of 530,000 people who enjoyed over 80 public programs during the three-month event. Prior to this, Tabing lived in Singapore where he launched a start-up place management organization in partnership with the Singapore government. At Singapore River One, Tabing created events, marketing platforms and a master plan to improve the built environment along the Singapore River.


Charleta Tavares

CEO, PrimaryOne Health

Columbus, Ohio
Charleta B. Tavares was selected to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of PrimaryOne Health (formerly Columbus Neighborhood Health Center, Inc.) in February 2015. The mission of the organization is to provide access to services that improve the health status of families including people experiencing financial, social or cultural barriers to healthcare. PrimaryOne Health (P1H) is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) system with ten sites in Columbus and Franklin and Pickaway Counties serving more than 37,000 residents. The health center has been designated PCMH Level 3 by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). P1H provides comprehensive primary care including OB/GYN, pediatrics, behavioral health, dental, vision, nutrition and specialty services such as cardiology and physical therapy.

Ms. Tavares is a local, state and nationally recognized, health, human services, cultural competence and health equity advocate and policymaker. Tavares previously served as the Executive Director of the Multiethnic Advocates for Cultural Competence (MACC), a statewide non-profit membership organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of care in Ohio’s health care system and to incorporate culturally competent models of practice into the systems and organizations that provide services to Ohio’s diverse populations.

Councilman Kyle Taylor

City of Irving

Irving, Texas

Patrick Terrien

President & CEO, Columbus Council On World Affairs

Columbus, Ohio
Mr. Terrien leads all aspects of programming and strategy for the Columbus Council on World Affairs including revenue generation, community partnerships, staffing, and strategic planning. To widespread acclaim and under Terrien’s leadership, the Council pioneered the nation’s first Global Report, a research publication cataloguing the Central Ohio region’s global assets; the Global Scholars Diploma, a high school credential for global competence; and the Global Fluency Institute, a social enterprise that trains professionals in cross cultural communication. He is responsible for securing high profile national advisors and funders such as Harvard, Asia Society, ASCD, Procter and Gamble, Gallup, Cardinal Health and Honda. Mr. Terrien often speaks for organizations such as Harvard University’s “Think Tank on Global Education” and Ohio State University Fisher College of Business on topics ranging from social enterprise to globalization to educational access and equity.

Cecelia Thompson

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.


Emily Thompson

Sr. Project Administrator, Wayne State University

Detroit, Michigan
As senior project administrator for Wayne State University’s Office of Economic Development, Emily works to build connections between campus and the greater Midtown business community—managing the University’s Show Your One Card & Save Program, producing the Midtown Deals & Discounts Guide, and working to introduce more pop-up retail on and around campus. Emily came to Wayne State from the United Community Housing Coalition, where she coordinated the organization’s tax and mortgage foreclosure prevention work. Prior to joining the Housing Coalition, Emily managed the Michigan Suburbs Alliance’s (now Metro Matters) civic engagement programs. A Michigan native, Emily earned her B.A. in history and Master of Urban Planning from the University of Michigan.

Ashley Thornton

Waco, Texas

Steve Tobocman

Director, Global Detroit

Detroit, Michigan
Since 2009, Steve Tobocman has spearheaded Global Detroit, a regional economic revitalization strategy for the Detroit area focused on immigration. Global Detroit has leveraged more than $8 million in philanthropic and government funding into innovative programs that leverage international talent to fill regional businesses’ unmet talent needs, catalyze the growth and development of immigrant entrepreneurs, and build a global region with competitive advantages in job creation, business growth, and community development. Global Detroit has served as the foundation for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s Michigan Office for New Americans. In addition to leading Global Detroit, Steve has played a leadership role in creating, growing, and launch the Welcoming Economies (WE) Global Network at Welcoming America. This first-of-its-kind, ten-state regional network of local immigrant economic development initiatives is helping to make the Rust Belt a leader in immigrant innovation. From 2003-2008, Steve served as a State Representative from Detroit and ended his term as the Majority Floor Leader, the second-ranking position in the Michigan House of Representatives.

Bryan Toney

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.

Margie Traband

Director of Strategic Initiatives , The University of Toledo

Toledo, Ohio
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.

J. Laurens Tullock

President, Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville

Knoxville, Tennessee
Laurens Tullock is president of Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville, a philanthropy that focuses on helping Knoxville reach its full potential. With a background of two law degrees, and leadership results as an Air Force officer, a white collar fraud prosecutor with the Justice Department, and a City of Knoxville official, he focused on his passion for Knoxville and Tennessee in 1997 to start Cornerstone for the private sector funder, and has been president ever since. Laurens was recognized as a change agent in Tennessee through selection for the inaugural class of Leadership Tennessee in 2013. He is also a multi-term board member of Leadership Knoxville, the opening speaker for each Introduction Knoxville class, the annual graduation speaker for Leadership Knoxville, and a founder of the Knoxville Fellows.

Jeffrey Tuttle

General Manager, Greer CPW

Greer, South Carolina

Dawn Tyler Lee

Columbus, Ohio

Councilman Peter Ujvagi

City of Toledo

Toledo, Ohio

Doug Ulman

Columbus, Ohio

Alphons Van Adrichem

Inspiring Places Coordinator, Central Indiana Community Foundation

Indianapolis, Indiana

Mayor Beth Van Duyne

City of Irving

Irving, Texas

Paul Van Duyne

President, KJWW Engineering Consultants

Rock Island

Maggie Varga

Chief Operating Officer, Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education

Dayton, Ohio
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.

Jim Walker

Executive Director, Big Car

Indianapolis, Indiana
Jim Walker is CEO and founder of the nonprofit placemaking, art and design organization, Big Car Collaborative. In 2015, he was lead artist on Spark, a partnership with the City of Indianapolis to reimagine Monument Circle with daily public programming. Jim also leads Big Car’s work utilizing art as a tool to support neighborhoods — including a current project developing 10 affordable homes for artists and three community cultural spaces in a single city block. A downtown-area resident since 1994, Walker has worked as a journalist, photographer, teacher, designer, and artist.

Patrice Watson

Editor / Publisher, Soap Box

Cincinnati, Ohio
Patrice Watson is Publisher for Soapbox Cincinnati, a digital publisher featuring stories of creatives, civic entrepreneurs + social innovators who move Cincinnati forward to set the course for a new economy. Patrice founded Raise Your Share in 2010 after a successful career as a traditional city magazine publisher and radio and sports marketing executive. By developing a real-time mindset, Patrice uses new media strategies and tools to help businesses monetize their digital and social assets and grow their databases while engaging and sharing with their customers.

Kim Way

Principal, NBBJ

Columbus, Ohio

Laura Way

Executive Director/CEO, Greenhill

Greensboro, North Carolina
Ms. Way is responsible for GreenHill, including its financial well-being, leadership and development of staff. Laura, formally director of operations and finance at Penland School of Crafts and vice president of advancement at McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte, brings over 17 years of financial, operational, development and programmatic experience to her role as executive director. Laura received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from LeMoyne College and an MBA, with concentration in Accounting from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York. She has been at GreenHill since October 2009. Since moving to Greensboro, Laura has become actively played a leadership role in the cultural community through her involvement in the Greensboro Public Art Endowment (chair, art selection committee), Greensboro Performing Art Center Task Force, CEOs for Cities and as a member of the NCAC Grant Review Panel. She serves on the board of the Forge Makerspace and Innovate NC Council, serves as a guest lecturer at UNC Greensboro and is a frequent a juror for various art events.

Alderman Scott Webster

City of Bettendorf

Bettendorf, Iowa

Arnold Weinfeld

Director, Urban Policy Initiatives, Michigan State University

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Urban Policy Initiatives for Michigan State University Outreach and Engagement. In this capacity he serves as a connector and boundary spanner, working with offices such as the Center for Community and Economic Development as well as other MSU faculty, community partners and agencies to develop university-community partnerships focused on urban and systems change. He participates in and leads community-engaged research and evaluation projects working to promote community based participatory research models of practice.

Mayor Nan Whaley

City of Dayton

Dayton, Ohio
With a focus on jobs and workforce development, Mayor Nan Whaley is working with a diverse group of business partners to strategically position Dayton for growth. She is the founder of the Dayton Region Manufacturing Task Force; a regional effort committed to advocating for manufacturing and promoting a strong manufacturing workforce. In addition, she meets regularly with local business leadership, both individually and through her Mayor’s Business Round Table meetings.

Teig Whaley-Smith

Director, Administrative Services, Milwaukee County

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Roderick Wheeler

Senior Program Director, USA Funds

Indianapolis, Indiana
Roderick Wheeler oversees USA Funds’ philanthropic activities that link priority populations of at-risk youth and disconnected young adults to employment and educational opportunities. He formerly served as community outreach and engagement manager for Indiana University Health, one of the largest health care systems in the nation. He previously served as director of community impact for Central Indiana Community Foundation, the third largest foundation in Indiana and one of the largest community foundations in the nation. Wheeler is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served during the Iraq War. He holds a master’s degrees in business administration from Franklin University of Ohio, as well as a master’s degree in public affairs and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.

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.” He has emphasized neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and transformational projects for the city.

Marcus White

VP – Civic Engagement, Greater Milwaukee Foundation

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Tammy White

President and CEO, Leadership Knoxville

Knoxville, Tennessee
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.

Wim Wiewel

President, Portland State University

Portland, Oregon
Wim Wiewel assumed the presidency of Portland State University in August 2008. Under his leadership, the University has developed five guiding themes: provide civic leadership through partnerships, improve student success, achieve global excellence, enhance educational opportunity, and expand resources and improve effectiveness. This has brought a renewed focus on expanding the university’s civic partnerships in the region and achieving a new degree of excellence through strategic investments. Prior to coming to PSU, Wiewel was the provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at the University of Baltimore. From 1979-2004, Wiewel was with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he most recently served as dean of the College of Business Administration. Wiewel also directed UIC’s Center for Urban Economic Development. He holds degrees in sociology and urban planning from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University.

Michael Wilkos

Director of Community Research, The Columbus Foundation

Columbus, Ohio
Michael is responsible for research, development, and implementation of effective social investments that strengthen and improve the community. He provides leadership to advance the Foundation’s efforts currently focused on the Weinland Park neighborhood. Michael’s depth of knowledge and experience in urban planning and community development helps position the Foundation to be one Columbus’ leaders in this area of community need. In addition, he works with the Ingram-White Castle Foundation and Columbus Youth Foundation.

Daniel Williams

Executive Director, West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Daniel Williams is the executive director of West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT). A leader in urban education and facilitator in design thinking, Daniel works to advance equity in education and workforce development. Prior to WMCAT, he served as co-founder and principal of Grand Rapids University Prep Academy, the first Centers of Innovation School in Grand Rapids Public Schools. While at UPrep, Daniel led his team to achieving a graduation rate of more than 90 percent and 100 percent college acceptance rate each year. He was also named “Principal of the Year” by Grand Rapids Public Schools for 2014-15. Daniel has presented on best practices in two-generation family supports at The Aspen Institute’s Think XChange Conference and sits on their ASCEND two-generation post-secondary work group. Daniel has also presented on design thinking at Grand Valley State University, the National Points of Light Foundation and the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce’s Business Matters series. He serves on various boards and advisory committees throughout the Grand Rapids community, including the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park and Varnum’s Diversity Council; and is a Diversity Scholar with the Association of Fundraising Professionals.  Daniel is currently an Ed.D candidate in interdisciplinary leadership at Creighton University, receiving his Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University and his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from University of Iowa.

David Williams

President/CEO, Leadership Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee
David Williams is President/CEO of Leadership Memphis, whose mission is to “prepare and mobilize leaders to work together for the good of the whole community”. He joined the organization in 2004 following five years in private consulting and a thirty-year career in healthcare administration and marketing communications. Williams has expanded Leadership Memphis from one executive program with a $380,000 annual budget, to a community-inclusive, four-program continuum complemented by two action initiatives – Graduate Memphis and Volunteer Memphis. Graduate Memphis grew out of the CEOS for Cities Talent Dividend Prize. Volunteer Memphis is the city’s volunteer center, affiliated with the national Hands on Network. The combined annual budget is $1.6M. He has served as board chair for Playhouse on the Square, Memphis’ resident professional theatre, as well as the Memphis Public Library and Information System. He currently serves on the boards of People First and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Memphis and an MBA from the University of Colorado.

Jim Williamson

Vice President, Planning & Development, River City Company

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chris Wilson

Assistant City Manager, City of Greensboro

Greensboro, North Carolina
Chris Wilson is an assistant city manager for the City of Greensboro, NC, but at heart he’s a parks and recreation guy. In his late teens, he got a job maintaining the City’s tennis courts, and later he worked at Bur-Mil Park, a regional recreation area run by the City. He liked the gig so much, he abandoned his plans to get a business degree to study leisure services at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His passion for public service was forged at Bur-Mil. Chris never forgot that once, as a child, his family was turned away from that same, previously private park, because they weren’t members. It’s a memory he carries with him when he fights to ensure all residents – no matter what their socioeconomic status – have access to facilities and programs that improve their quality of life. Chris went on to manage Bur-Mil and hold a range of management positions with Greensboro Parks and Recreation, including director. In his current assistant city manager role, he oversees the Fire Department, Metro 911, Workforce Development, Human Resources, Human Relations and Communications. He has also been an instructor at UNCG, the North Carolina Recreation and Park Society Outstanding Young Professional of the Year, and a member of the board of several nonprofit and professional organizations. He’s good with his hands and he loves a vengeful super hero. If he’s missing, check his Facebook feed. He’s probably at the city’s newest recreation area, LeBauer Park.

Denny Wojtanowski

Columbus, Ohio
Wojtanowski’s business card says, “Mostly retired volunteer.” He is a former 4 term member of the Ohio House of Representatives, executive assistant to former Ohio Governor Dick Celeste and a former district administrator for a Cleveland area member of Congress. He founded the government affairs consulting firm, The Success Group, Inc in 1984 which he sold in 2003. He created the highly successful post election conference, Impact-Ohio which has convened every other year for 32 years. His volunteer activities include serving as senior adviser to Senator Sherrod Brown’s 2012 reelection campaign. He continues his efforts on the Senator’s behalf and is active with the training institute, LEAD Ohio.

Rick Harrison Wolfe

Executive Director, North Market Development Authority

Columbus, Ohio
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.

Guy Worley

Columbus, Ohio

Victoria Wornom

Community Engagement Initiative Coordinator, Furman University

Greenville, South Carolina

Mindy Wright

Columbus, Ohio

Mo Wright

Canal Winchester, Ohio


Josh Yates

Knoxville, Tennessee
Joshua Yates is Research Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia and Director of the Program on Culture, Capitalism, and Global Change at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.  He is also the Director of the Thriving Cities Project, a multi-year interdisciplinary research initiative, featuring its distinctive Human Ecology framework and comprised of a national network of scholars from across the humanities, social sciences, urban planning, architecture, civil engineering, and design.  The research agenda of Thriving Cities provides theoretically-informed but empirically-based resources and insights for holistic assessment of community wealth and wellbeing. 


Mary Yost

Editor, Columbus CEO magazine

Columbus, Ohio
Her appointment as editor in 2014 completes a circle that began when she started working as a reporter for The Dispatch while studying journalism at Ohio State University. Her two journalism careers bookend a stint in public relations and communications for a statewide trade group, the Ohio Hospital Association. As editor, Mary assigns and edits stories for the magazine, oversees content and assures accuracy and relevance of all articles, listings, photo identifications and graphics. When time and opportunity allow, she even gets to write, which is her first love! In her first journalism career, Mary’s award-winning coverage included assignments covering local courts, the Ohio Supreme Court and the Ohio General Assembly as well as county and suburban government beats.

At Columbus CEO, her focus is to provide context, depth, analysis and profiles to help central Ohio’s business and community leaders better understand today’s news and forecast tomorrow’s trends. A Columbus native, Mary lives in Gahanna. She enjoys cooking and her favorite three Gs – gardening, golf and grandsons.

Tamara Zahn

President, Zahn Associates

Indianapolis, Indiana
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.


Al Zapanta

Board of Directors, The Las Colinas Association

Irving, Texas
Mr. Zapanta is President & CEO of the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, which operates 8 regional offices in the United States and 8 in Mexico. Mr. Zapanta is also Founder Member and Chief Executive Office of PAZ Resources, with overall responsibilities of management of the executive staff and overall business strategy. Previously, he was CEO of PAZ energy, a single purpose entity that participated in the DFW International Airport natural gas project.

Nancy Zimpher

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 initiatives—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.