Find 2015 City Cluster Workshop attendees by last name and connect (when available) via LinkedIn and Twitter. Use alpha-navigation below to jump to particular letters.
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Trailnet
St. Louis, Missouri
Jennifer Allen is Trailnet’s Director of Strategic Initiatives where she oversees the Neighborhood Greenways St. Louis project, helps coordinate activities for CEOs for Cities St. Louis, and assists with advocacy campaigns. Jennifer is an urban planner with a Master of Arts in Urban Planning from UCLA. Prior to her work in bicycle and pedestrian planning, Jennifer worked in affordable housing development. A native St. Louisan, Jennifer returned to her hometown in 2009 to be part of the exciting work to transform St. Louis into a world-class city again.
Senior Pastor/Founder, Overcoming Believers Church
Pastor Daryl Arnold is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Overcoming Believers Church in Knoxville, TN. He and wife, Lady Carmeisha Arnold, are divinely called to inspire believers to live abundantly and to empower them to walk in the fullness of their kingdom authority. Known nationally for his revelatory preaching and his passion for the Word of God, setting atmospheres of worship, and winning souls, Pastor Arnold is also passionate about serving the Knoxville community, committed to Reaching Out Around the Rest with outreach ministries, services, events that have impacted thousands of lives. A native of Chattanooga, TN, Daryl’s greatest joy is his beautiful wife of 20 years, Carmeisha Arnold and his four children. His hands are on his ministry, but his heart is on his family.
Executive Director, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
Des Moines, Iowa
R. Todd Ashby, AICP – is the Executive Director/CEO of the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. His previous work experience includes: Account Manager for TMS Management; Senior Project Manager, Snyder & Associates; Senior Project Manager/Planner, CH2M Hill; Assistant Director of Transportation, Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City; and Missouri Department of Transportation. He attended the University of Missouri where he received a Masters of Pubic Administration and Iowa State University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Community and Regional Planning. Todd serves on many organizations, including: Polk County Aviation Authority Board, Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations Board, National Association of Regional Councils Executive Directors Council, Iowa Freight Advisory Council, Transportation Research Board, Cyclone Gridiron Club Board, Ankeny Kiwanis Club Board, and the Ankeny Alumni Association Board. Told also enjoys traveling with his wife Kerry, golfing poorly, reading, and cooking.
Vice President, Haile/US Bank Foundation
Eric P. Avner has served as Vice President of The Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation since April, 2008, overseeing the foundation’s community development grantmaking, with a focus on supporting initiatives that strengthen Cincinnati’s distinctive urban neighborhoods, build a talented regional workforce, and encourage a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. Eric is currently launching People’s Liberty (peoplesliberty.org), the foundation’s 8,000 square foot philanthropic lab in Cincinnati’s Brewery District to explore innovative grantmaking that supports talent development and place-based interventions. Previously, Eric served as Associate Director of the Cincinnati Business Committee, advising the region’s top CEOs on economic development issues. Prior to that, while managing the City of Newport, Kentucky’s, downtown revitalization program, Eric led the efforts to convert the abandoned L&N railroad bridge across the Ohio River into an award-winning linear pedestrian park, the Purple People Bridge.
Regional Manager, Community Relations, ONE Gas
Robert Babcock has a passion for inclusion. “Everyone has a place at life’s table. Do we feel like we have a valued and respected place at the table where what we contribute is valued, respected and purposeful?”, asks Babcock. He believes that part life balance is living inclusively with the diverse world we live within. “It is important to recognize and value our differences. It is only then can we create a world of synergy which fuels our greatest potential through inclusion.”He is currently responsible for leading Diversity and Inclusion at ONE Gas a natural gas company headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Previously, he was responsible for creating and implementing the Live Smart health and wellness initiative with ONEOK. A graduate of the University of Arkansas with a BA in Geography, he spends his time training for marathons and in activities involving the Tulsa downtown renaissance.
President of Insight Development Corp., Indianapolis Housing Agency
Mr. Baird has over 21 years of experience in community economic development, affordable housing development and asset management. He has extensive working relationships with public, nonprofit and private partners — necessary for successful affordable housing development in Indianapolis. Previously, Mr. Baird served as managing director of Insight Development Corp. and director of strategic planning and development for the Indianapolis Housing Agency (IHA).
Jeb Banner is CEO and co-founder of SmallBox, an Indianapolis based marketing company founded in 2006. Jeb is the founder and chair of Musical Family Tree, a nonprofit dedicated to spreading Indiana music, as well as a co-founder and chair of the Speak Easy, an entrepreneurial club located in Indianapolis. Jeb lives on the north side of Indianapolis with his wife Jenny and their three lovely daughters Ramona, Georgia and Sylvia. In his spare time he collects vinyl records, records music and cooks as much as possible.
Chancellor Charles Bantz
In 2003, Charles Bantz became chancellor of IUPUI’s 30,000 student urban public research university. By focusing on Indiana’s economic clusters and student success, the number of bachelor’s degrees granted each year grew from 2,200 to more than 3,600. IUPUI initiated 25 21st-century degree programs. For example, IUPUI launched the world’s first School of Philanthropy and the Fairbanks School of Public Health with philanthropic support during the $1.36 billion IMPACT campaign. External funding for research has grown from $202 million to more than $330 million including significant support for liberal arts as well as medicine, engineering, and science. He champions IUPUI’s community engagement, which has been recognized with the U.S. President’s Award and selection for the Higher Education Honor Roll. His B.S. and M.A. degrees are from the U. of Minnesota and his Ph.D. from Ohio State U. He has published on organizational communication, student success, and television news.
Director of Federal Relations, Florida International University
Washington, District of Columbia
Carlos Becerra represents Florida International University before Congress, advances FIU’s research agenda with federal agencies and manages the university’s presence in the nation’s capital. An FIU alumnus, Carlos brings over 15 years of experience advancing public education in urban cities and leveraging relationships to achieve intergovernmental collaboration in the public sector. At the National League of Cities, Carlos assisted mayors in acquiring federal resources to support youth employment strategies. Previously, he served as Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Miami-Dade School Board, managing policy development, media outreach and served as a liaison with other elected officials. He has extensive experience in grassroots campaigns, having helped manage six local races.
Chief Collaboration Officer, The Collaboratory
Action-oriented thought-leader committed to helping individuals, communities and organizations unleash potential in order to realize new economic, social and creative capital. Extensive experience fostering cross-sector collaboration to drive imagination and innovation.
Director, Emerging Partnerships, Fourth Economy Consulting
Jason is the Director of Emerging Partnerships at Fourth Economy. He works with clients to build meaningful relationships and lasting connections that drive a collaborative approach to economic development. He is an experienced strategic planner, facilitator and business developer, and facilitates focus groups and planning workshops for clients across the country. For nearly a decade, Jason has lead strategic planning retreats, focus groups and consensus building workshops for clients in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors.
VP of Planning & Real Estate, University Circle Inc
Debbie Berry currently serves as Vice President of Planning and Real Estate Development for University Circle Inc. (UCI), the non-profit development, service, and advocacy organization for the University Circle neighborhood. Her responsibilities include managing physical development projects on all UCI owned lands, coordinating development and expansion opportunities being lead by UCIâ€™s 40+ member institutions, and overseeing needed infrastructure and neighborhood improvements. Debbie is directing the effort to transform UCI into an active development corporation that is driving a neighborhood renaissance in University Circle. She is leading multi-million dollar investments at key locations throughout the district, which include UCI’s Bring Back Euclid Avenue Campaign and eight strategic investment projects that will change the face of University Circle with a hotel, new housing, businesses, and wayfinding and streetscape amenities. Debbie is a Registered Professional Engineer in Ohio. She is currently serving as a Vice President of the Cleveland Metroparks Board of Commissioners along with several other civic appointments.
Non-Profit Consultant / Advisor, Community Connectors
Chrisi Bollinger performs empirical research that helps non-profit organizations develop strategic frameworks and measure the outcomes they’re achieving. A Pittsburgh native, Chrisi currently works as a freelance researcher, facilitator, and strategic advisor in Knoxville, Tennessee. For over 25 years, she has worked in the for-profit, non-profit, and government sectors conducting research, analyzing information, and teaching analytical skills to others. She has applied her expertise to a broad range of issues, including community development, education, the environment, and national security. Chrisi earned a BS in Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Public Administration (concentration in Econometrics) from the Harvard Kennedy School.
CEO, United Schools Network
Andrew E. Boy is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at the United Schools Network (USN). In 2006, Andrew began the competitive Building Excellent Schools Fellowship where he received extensive training on charter school founding and leadership, and best practices in urban education. He completed the BES Fellowship and opened his own charter school, Columbus Collegiate Academy (CCA-Main), in 2008, and the school has continually ranked among the top performing middle schools in the state. CCA’s academic results and Columbus’ need for more high-quality educational options for urban students prompted Boy to launch a Charter Management Company, United Schools Network, to deliver more high performing schools in Columbus.
In addition to two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Cincinnati, Boy holds a master’s in educational administration from Xavier University.
Executive Director, Build Institute
Detroit , Michigan
April was a founding team member of D:hive, where she was Director of Small Business Initiatives and helped launch the Build program. She is also the co-creator of a number of small-scale ventures including the award-winning family Hootenanny kids concert series and CD, the critically acclaimed Indonesian pop-up restaurant Komodo Kitchen and the all mom rock band The Mydols- featured on the Cable television series Gene Simmons Family Jewels. She sits on the board of Kiva Detroit and the advisory board for Ponyride. She is also co-owner and investor in Gold Cash Gold, building and restaurant, in Corktown. April is married to Model D Co-founder Brian Boyle and is the mother of three amazing boys; Carter, Gram Henry and Rowen.
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.
Senior Manager, Strategic Initiatives, Center for Houston’s Future
Betsy Broyles Breier, Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Center for Houston’s Future. Betsy joined the Center from Houston A+ Challenge, an education non-profit, where she coordinated the Gulf Coast Pass initiative and other college readiness and access work. Betsy has worked in education policy since 1997, but she’s a real generalist, having built a resume that mirrors an array of the Houston region’s quintessential sectors – petrochemicals, space exploration, the arts, education, the environment. Her broad experience runs from polypropylene sales at Exxon Chemical to PTO president at Lanier Middle School. She’s also the Academy Award-nominated producer of For All Mankind, a feature documentary about NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon.
President / CEO, National Safe Skies Alliance
Scott Broyles is President and Chief Executive Officer for National Safe Skies Alliance, a non-profit corporation that specializes in applied research and testing of aviation security technologies. Scott serves on the Leadership Knoxville Board of Directors, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences-Transportation Research Board. He is also a member of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville Chancellors Associates, a 2009 graduate of Leadership Blount, and 2011 graduate of Leadership Knoxville. Scott holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management from the University of Memphis and a Master’s in Civic Leadership from Lipscomb University.
Project Manager, OneCommunity
Catherine is a Project Manager with 8 years experience in project management in technology, construction, marketing, education and community & economic development. She has managed large-scale, federally-funded, fiber optic network construction projects and has had the opportunity to “”decorate”” that network with high-flyers using high-speed broadband in meaningful ways. She has also created an innovative summer school for youth and an annual city-wide peace celebration. In her current role at OneCommunity, she manages the 100 Gig Project and is the Director of OneCommunity’s IoT initiative, including the Cleveland [R]IoT. She leverages technology to increase permeability among systemic silos through the City as an Operating System initiative. Catherine works with technologists, city leaders, open data advocates, developers, sustainability managers, educators, healthcare professionals, and entrepreneurs to enhance the urban experience.
Director, Sustainable Communities, Fourth Economy Consulting
At Fourth Economy, Chelsea works with national clients to create holistic approaches to regional economic development, and local clients to support non-profit strategic planning. Chelsea serves on the boards of GTECH and Sprout Fund. She has a Master’s in Urban Planning from University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from Penn State.
A Colorado native, Andrew is a Co-Founder of GTECH and a committed practitioner of creative social and environmental responsibility. He has studied and worked in the fields of renewable energy, resource management, public policy and community development for the past 10 years, and continues to earn the title of social entrepreneur. Andrew completed his undergraduate work in Washington DC at American University, and studied oceanography at Woods Hole while on a tall ship Schooner. He has deconstructed buildings in Colorado, installed solar electric systems in South America and participated in a Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs in St. Louis. Andrew completed his Masters in Public Policy and Management at The Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University in 2007 with a concentration on sustainable community development. Co-Founding GTECH in the spring of 2007, Andrew was a recipient of a 2008 Echoing Green Fellowship, and a 2010 Hitachi Foundation Yoshiyama Fellow. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife Julie and enjoys chopping fire wood.
Accelerator, The Collider
Asheville , North Carolina
Robin Cape is the project manager for ABSCI overseeing a portfolio of initiatives including The Collider, a 20,000 square foot climate and innovation center in the heart of downtown Asheville. Her primary focus is on building the ecosystem of relationships and opportunities to maximize collective impact, in both economic and community resiliency.
Robin served 9 years in local political office, on the Woodfin Water Board, and with Asheville City Council, where she was a leader in institutionalizing sustainability into the City’s operations and focus. Robin retired from Preservation Hall Architectural Salvage Company in 2001 and owns and operates a renovated historical commercial building in downtown Weaverville. She has a BA in Literature from the University of NC in Asheville, and is currently in the Climate and Society Certification Program as part of her Masters in Liberal Arts Degree at UNC Asheville.
President, Regional Growth Strategies
Washington, District of Columbia
Pete Carlson is President of Regional Growth Strategies. Over the past decade, he has done in-depth studies and hands-on work in over two-dozen regions, exploring what it takes to grow good jobs, what kind of leadership is needed to guide this work, how to build and sustain the cross-sector partnerships needed to carry out this work, and how to expand opportunity as part of that process. For the past three years, Pete has co-managed the Regional Prosperity Project, a national action learning network of regional leaders experimenting with new approaches to creating jobs and expanding opportunity in ways that are mutually reinforcing.
Chief Planning and Development, Lucas County
As Chief of Planning and Development for Lucas County, Megan Vahey Casiere leads a team that provides an integrated approach to workforce and economic development. The Department of Planning and Development is responsible for developing and implementing the Board of Lucas County Commissioners’ economic development strategy which incorporates workforce services; business retention and expansion; and the development of county property and holdings. Under Megan’s leadership, Lucas County became one of 19 counties in the nation to participate in the ACT Certified Work Ready Communities initiative.
As the first woman to serve as the Director of the Lucas County Workforce Investment Board, Megan works to better align the County’s workforce initiatives and policies with the needs of businesses. Megan earned her Juris Doctor from the University of the District of Columbia and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from The Ohio State University.
President & CEO, Secure Designs, Inc.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Larry has spent his professional career studying human behavior and developing programs to achieve stakeholder objectives. He has a BA in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, completed graduate work in organizational behavior and an MBA from The Kenan Flagler School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a concentration in marketing. He has held marketing positions in corporations: Western Electric Company, General Mills, Tonka Toys and Kayser Roth Corporation and founded and ran his own management consultancy for 11 years. He wrote the original business plan for Secure Designs and managed both the marketing and operations of the company from launch until the present. During this time, SDI has become an Inc. 5000 company for three consecutive years, was selected by CRN as a Fast Growth 100 VAR, and recognized by Forrester Research as one of the top 10 emerging security service providers in the US. With head quarters in Greensboro, NC the company has grown to become the premier provider of Internet security for small – midsize businesses in the US with over 7,000 locations under management in all 50 states and 5 countries providing Fortune 500 Security to the Fortune 5 Million
Relationship Manager, GTECH Strategies
Katherine Chamberlain is passionate about developing the creative potential in people and places to transform Pittsburgh into a thriving community that fosters innovation and promotes economic development. Katherine develops custom partnerships with individuals and corporations to support the work of GTECH through the Social Capital Council. The council provides opportunities for those who don’t necessarily work in the social sector to get involved with community development activities and sustainability projects.
Co-founder, Lee Highway Alliance, Sandra Chesrown, AICP, International Planner
Senior Urban Planner, AICP, & International Consultant;
Co-founder of the Lee Highway Alliance, a strategic
grassroots effort that is re-visioning a 4.6 mile corridor in Arlington VA in partnership with Arlington County.
Partner, R & R Properties
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
I was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I completed my undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee in 1997 and my masters degree from New York University in 2006. I am a partner with R&R Properties, a commercial real estate firm based out of Oak Ridge. I serve on the board at the Childrens Museum of Oak Ridge and the East Tennessee Community Design Center. I enjoy being in the outdoors and keeping up with Tennessee football.
Executive VP, Corporate Giving & Community Relations, Scripps Networks
Jim Clayton serves as executive vice president of corporate giving and community relations at Scripps Networks Interactive. In this role, he directly oversees the philanthropic and corporate social responsibility efforts for the company’s portfolio of lifestyle media brands â€“ HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country. Clayton currently serves on the boards for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) Educational Foundation, Dogwood Arts Festival, and University of Tennessee Alumni. Clayton holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee and is a certified public accountant in Tennessee. In addition, he is a graduate of the 2003 Class of Leadership Knoxville.
Architect and entrepreneur Jennifer Coleman is founder and CEO of CityProwl, a company producing urban walking-tours that can be downloaded from the internet to digital media players for self-led tours. An avid civic volunteer, Jennifer serves on numerous cultural, professional and educational boards, including chair of the Cleveland Landmarks Commission and the Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee. Jennifer was one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People 2013 and a presenter at the 2014 TEDxCLE.
Manager, University Hospitals of Cleveland
Deborah Conti has spent her career in healthcare as both a consultant and a manager helping providers improve access, reduce costs, and increase revenues. She recently became certified as a health coach and is working on projects to improve public health and wellness by reducing the prescribing of pharmaceuticals, improving access to alternative healthcare options, and educating healthcare providers.
Commissioner Carol Contrada
Lucas County Commissioner, Board of Lucas County Commissioners
Carol Contrada has served as Lucas County Commissioner since being elected in January, 2011 and was recently reelected to a second term in November 2014. Commissioner Contrada began her public service in 2004, where she served as Sylvania Township Trustee for two four-year terms as she spearheaded the use of alternative energy sources, including geothermal heating and passive solar in the construction of three new fire stations. Currently, Commissioner Contrada is continuing her work with Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, representing Lucas County on their Executive Committee and Leadership Development Committee. She also serves as the Lucas County representative to the Integrated Justice System, Lucas County Convention Visitors Bureau, Toledo Zoo Board, Northwest Ohio Food Council, and was recently the driving force behind a comprehensive legal study commissioned by Lucas County and a regional effort to identify legal solutions to Lake Erie’s harmful algal blooms.
President and CEO, Cleveland Leadership Center
Marianne Crosley joined The Cleveland Leadership Center in 2010 as Executive Vice President and was named President and Chief Executive Officer six months later. She leads the civic education, leadership development, and civic engagement organization in its execution of numerous programs to build civic leadership capacity. Previously, she served as the first Executive Director of Summer on the Cuyahoga, an economic development initiative that attracts young talent to the region. Crosley graduated from Colgate University, and received her J. D. from The Ohio State University College of Law. She worked in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York and rose to be a supervisor in the Homicide Bureau. Crosley served as Trustee of Colgate University for many years, and chaired both the Legal Affairs Committee and the Committee on Admissions and Student Aid. During a decade of service on the Alumni Council, she held the positions of Chair of the University Relations Committee and Treasurer.
Researcher and Writer, Carnegie Mellon University
Patricia DeMarco, Ph. D. is a Visiting Researcher and Writer at Carnegie Mellon University, Institute for Green Sciences. She holds a doctorate in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. She has spent a thirty -year career in energy and environmental policy and has served in both private and public sector positions, including Commissioner of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. She was the Executive Director of the Rachel Carson Homestead Association and Director of the Rachel Carson Institute at Chatham University. Her book, titled â€œPathways to Our Sustainable Future, funded by The Pittsburgh Foundation, will be published by The University of Pittsburgh Press.
Dean and Director, Lenoir-Rhyne University Asheville, Lenoir-Rhyne University
Asheville, North Carolina
Dr. Michael M. Dempsey is the dean and director of Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville, NC. In this role, he provides visionary leadership and administrative acumen to coordinate and manage all operations and services at the Center, and establishes regional partnerships that support the strategic goals of the University. Lenoir-Rhyne is a private Lutheran university founded in 1891, with a main campus in Hickory, NC. Dempsey has served in nonprofit higher education for 13 years, and, prior to that, he was a journalist based in North Carolina for eight years.
President, The Forbes Funds
Kate Dewey currently leads The Forbes Funds. She brings to the position more than forty years of direct experience with a variety of nonprofit organizations, foundations, public agencies, and corporations at the local, state, and national level. As a supporting organization of The Pittsburgh Foundation and uniquely situated between the foundation and nonprofit communities, The Forbes Funds has more than thirty years of experience building the management capacity and impact of community-based nonprofits individually and collectively.
Director of Programs & Projects, Steeltown Entertainment Project
In June 2014, Kayce returned to Pittsburgh to serve as the Director of Projects and Programs for Steeltown Entertainment Project. For the past 10 years, Kayce traveled the country working in the international Festival and Event industry. She has worked with some of the nation’s largest events including Spoleto Festival USA, Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, Pittsburgh G20 and Sundance Film Festival.
Assistant City Manager, City of Dayton
Shelley Dickstein has served as Assistant City Manager since 2007. She has responsibility for overseeing the City’s economic development functions, providing consistency and continuity to the City’s business retention and expansion efforts and bringing strategic approaches to the City’s economic development agenda.
Vice President of Government Affairs, Tulsa Regional Chamber
Nick is a transplant to Oklahoma, moving to Tulsa from his hometown in Wyoming to attend the University of Tulsa. Nick currently works for the Tulsa Regional Chamber as its Vice President of Government Affairs, which is focused on direct lobbying and advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels. He’s currently focused on the City of Tulsa’s next level of community investment, and how to position the community for future economic prosperity.
President, Studio Graphique & PlaceHolder
An experience junkie who splits her time between the adventurous and the ordinary, Rachel is just as content enjoying a bonfire with family as she is ziplining in Guatemala. Insatiably curious and curiously insatiable, she is humble in her quest for knowledge, yet constantly synthesizing new information. Rachel Downey has built a career on curiosity, uncovering new ways that positive interactions with Place can elevate brand value. Studio Graphique is a creative consulting business specializing in branding, placemaking and wayfinding, maintaining the user experience in the center of their design strategies. Her second business, PlaceHolder, consults with destinations to develop Strategic Place Plans that outline steps to enhancing the people-place connection through enhanced experiences and logically prioritized projects.
President and CEO, Hudson-Webber Foundation
David Egner has led the Hudson-Webber Foundation as its President & CEO since 1997. The Foundation has assets of over $170 million and concentrates its efforts and resources on its mission of improving the quality of life in metropolitan Detroit. Egner led an effort that enhanced the focus of the Hudson-Webber Foundation’s work and giving to include 15×15, a shared vision with large employers and key stakeholders to attract 15,000 young, talented households to Greater Downtown Detroit by 2015. The 15×15 effort has helped revitalize Midtown and Downtown Detroit, which now have 99% occupancy rate. The Foundation’s “place making” efforts have been instrumental in attracting new talent to Detroit. Thanks in part to 15×15, more than 20,000 new jobs have been realized since 2010, with an additional 15,000 projected before the end of 2016.
Community Support Officer & Electorate Officer, Port Stephens Council
Raymond Terrace, New South Wales
Matt Endacott works for a local government in Australia and also a Federal Member of the Australian Parliament. In his hometown of Newcastle, Australia Matt has spearheaded many initiatives to drive business recovery and revitalization in the City’s downtown precinct. He holds a B.Ec. and a BA from Sydney University and received Honours Class I for a thesis on Detroit, Michigan.
Executive Director, Legacy Parks Foundation
Carol brings over 20 years experience in marketing, public relations and event management to the Executive Director position of the Legacy Parks Foundation. Her prior experience includes establishing corporate marketing initiatives for the Scripps Networks as their Director of Marketing and developing marketing and fundraising campaigns for multiple clients while a principal at the Ingram Group and SRW & Associates. She served as the first marketing director for the UT Lady Vols. During her tenure the program set national attendance records in several sports, including basketball. She also served on the Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership’s leadership team as the Vice President of Marketing, and is a 1999 Leadership Knoxville class alumni.
CEO, Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation
Leigh Riley Evans is the Chief Executive Officer for Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation (MFCDC). Leigh has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Purdue University and a MBA from the University of Phoenix. Leigh is a strong believer in asset-based community development and sustainable communities. In her private time she likes to travel with family and attend sporting events. Leigh considers herself a change agent and enjoys fostering collaboration, advocating for youth & social justice and encouraging people to pursue their passion so that lives are enriched with the gifts and talents that all people can offer.
Vice President Public Affairs, Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL)
Greg Fennig, Vice President of Public Affairs, joined IPL in March of 2003. In his current position, Fennig is responsible for overseeing external communications, media relations, advertising, customer programs and community relations. Prior to joining IPL, he served for 10 years as the President of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to engaging diverse communities to create vibrant public places, helping people and nature thrive. Fennig currently serves on the Board of Directors for Visit Indy, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, the Lacy Leadership Association and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the Indianapolis Public Relations Society and the Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis.
Vice President of Development, Heritage Fund-The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County
Amber has over 14 years of business and community development experience. During this time she has managed a wide array of entrepreneurial education and development programs at both a local and national level that have served thousands of entrepreneurs each year. She is the Leadership Bartholomew County facilitator and a co-founder and first Director of the Columbus Young Professionals. Amber currently serves on the Centra Credit Union Board and is a past board member and Chair of the United Way of Bartholomew County Board.
Associate Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, Portland State University
Erin Flynn’s career revolves around designing and executing multi-sector strategies and partnerships that drive urban and regional innovation. She is a strategic thinker and entrepreneurial leader who builds bridges between the public sector, private sector and higher education to design and advance complex, metropolitan agendas. Currently, she serves as Associate Vice President for Strategic Partnerships at Portland State University, Oregon’s largest and only urban-serving university. In this capacity she leads university-wide community engagement and economic development initiatives to deliver on shared regional priorities including economic growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, urban sustainability and cradle-to-career education reform. Over the course of her career, Erin has excelled as a national strategy and policy consultant, a city government official, and a higher education executive. Prior to joining PSU in 2011 she served as Urban Development Director for the City of Portland/Portland Development Commission. Erin currently serves as Chairwoman of the Oregon Business Commission, the state of Oregon’s economic development agency.
Executive Assistant to Commissioner Pete Gerken, Board of Lucas County Commissioners
Brittany Ford is the Executive Assistant to Commissioner Pete Gerken of the Board of Lucas County Commissioners. Brittany is currently working on local policy issues in an administrative, project management, and public relations capacity. As co-lead of the Welcome Toledo-Lucas County Initiative, Brittany works with a collaboration of community partners focused on making Toledo-Lucas County a more welcoming and immigrant-friendly community. Prior to joining the Board of Lucas County Commissioners in 2013, Brittany worked with mental health, education, and community-based organizations serving diverse communities including youth and families experiencing poverty and immigrant and international populations in New York City and Toledo. Brittany has her Master of Arts in International Education with a focus in Family and Community Education from Teachers College at Columbia University.
CEO, Cameroon Football Development Program
Justin Forzano is the founder and chief executive officer of Cameroon Football Development Program (CFDP), an international sport for development organization whose mission is to improve the lives of youth in under-served communities in Africa with the game of soccer. Since 2010, CFDP has engaged thousands of youth in Cameroon in soccer programs which promote leadership, life skills, and health education. CFDP employs 7 local staff and supports 40 volunteer coaches who run programs for over 700 youth in 4 communities in the West African nation. Forzano is a 2014-2015 Pittsburgh Albert Schweitzer Fellow and Curator of the Pittsburgh Hub of the Global Shapers, an initiative of the World Economic Forum.
Councilman, City of Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Councilman Jamal Fox is a former North Carolina Agricultural & Technical Statue University Political Science Adjunct Professor, community advocate, youth mentor, and political leader. On November 2013, he was elected to the Greensboro City Council representing District 2 as the youngest elected ever in Greensboro. Jamal Fox has a clear vision for his community and works diligently to assist his city in meeting the mission set by working to achieve economic wealth and developing opportunities that empower a community. He has also served on the Boards of numerous civic and government organizations including Board of Directors, Guilford County Safer Schools, Guilford County Transportation Board, and Chair of the Minority Affairs Caucus of the Young Democrats of North Carolina to name a few. Fox was born in Fredericksburg, Va. and raised in Greensboro, NC. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Capella University. He is a product of Guilford County Schools where he gives back through guest lectures and motivational talks to k-12 students. Fox’s philosophy is to always believe in yourself, your dreams, and to always strive to make a difference in the lives of others.
President, Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce
Cindy has worked in the community and economic development field for more than 30 years. At the state level, she served as the leader of Indiana’s Film Commission and Main Street Program. In Columbus, Indiana, her adopted hometown, she’s held positions in the community leadership program, education coalition and the convention and visitors bureau. For the last two years,she’s served as the president of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.
President and CEO, Urban Innovation21
Bill Generett, is the inaugural President and CEO of Urban Innovation21, a regional public-private economic development partnership that links successful innovation economy clusters with the needs and assets of inner city communities to produce local, living and sustainable economies. Under Bill’s leadership Urban Innovation21 has been recognized nationally for its work to connect underserved communities and their residents to the greater Pittsburgh region’s most successful innovation ecosystems. Bill is also a partner with the MAPA Group, an international consulting firm. Recently, Bill was appointed by the US Secretary of Commerce to serve as a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
John Gest, Jr.
Managing Director, Northern Ohio Office, Philanthropy Ohio
Philanthropy Ohio is a statewide membership association that provides the network, tools and knowledge to help people engaged in philanthropy become more effective, powerful change agents in their communities. In his role managing the Cleveland-based office, Mr. Gest works to develop and deliver educational and informational programs for the philanthropic community relating to grantmaking core competencies, professional development, funding interest areas and issues of importance to the communities across Northern Ohio. He believes that community-focused funders can help solve problems. To that end, he is passionate about helping philanthropy make change, not grants.
Community Affairs, Wells Fargo
Jane Gilbert is responsible for Wells Fargo’s philanthropic investments and community engagement in South Florida. Ms. Gilbert joined Wells Fargo five years ago after 20 years of working within, leading and consulting to nonprofits and grant-making institutions. Ms. Gilbert holds a B.A. in Environmental Science from Barnard College and a Masters in Public Administration from the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
President, Neighborhood Allies
Presley L. Gillespie is the inaugural president of Neighborhood Allies, a community development intermediary that supports the people, organizations and partnerships committed to creating and maintaining thriving neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Gillespie is a nationally recognized leader in the field of community and economic development and was most recently the founding executive director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC), the first city-wide community development corporation in Youngstown, OH. Presley has served on numerous boards locally and nationally, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Center for Community Progress and the Advisory Board of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership. In 2015 Presley was selected by Mayor William Peduto as a Daniel Rose Fellow with the Rose Center for Public Leadership, a fellowship established to encourage and support excellence in land use decision making by local governments.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Downtown Cincinnati Inc.
David Ginsburg has been part of Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI) since joining the organization at its inception as Vice President of Retail Development in 1994. For the past 20 years, he has been a leading member of the civic team working to achieve DCI’s mission to build downtown Cincinnati as a dynamic metropolitan center valued as the heart of the region. In July 2002, David was appointed Interim President and led the organization through a comprehensive effort to re-focus its services addressing the evolving needs of the city’s dynamic downtown. In December 2002, he was named President and Chief Executive Officer.
David serves on the Board of Directors of the International Downtown Association, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Greater Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau, Partner for Achieving School Success (PASS), and OKI Regional Council of Governments. He is a member of CEOs for Cities and the International Council of Shopping Centers. David also serves on the Cincinnati Police Chief’s Citizens Advisory Board, the steering committee for the Regional Chamber’s Agenda 360, and the Cincinnati New Markets Fund Advisory Board. Recently he authored the forward to Fountain Square and the Genius of Water by Gregory Parker Rogers.
Senior Pastor, Old Stone Church
One of Cleveland’s preeminent preachers, Dr. Giuliano is a speaker, writer, and community leader. He speaks Sunday mornings at the Old Stone Church, Thursday mornings on Power2ools: 2 minute tools for life! during New Day Cleveland on Fox 8 and regularly throughout the region. Dr. Giuliano’s early studies in Urban Planning and Humanities, as well as his graduate work in theology (S.T.M., McGill; D.Min., Vanderbilt), make him a good fit with the mission of the Old Stone Church and its commitment to the dynamic work of the city. Mark is an elected board member of the Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation, the Downtown Cleveland Improvement Corporation and serves on the Mission Council of the Presbytery of the Western Reserve. Mark is also the immediate past-president of the Downtown Cleveland Residents Association (DCRA) and continues to serve on the DCRA Advisory Board.
Executive Director, The Education & Research Consortium of The Western Carolinas
Asheville, North Carolina
Hunter Goosmann is the Executive Director of the nonprofit Education & Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas, Inc (ERC). In this role for over ten years, he is responsible for building, operating, supporting and expanding broadband Internet access across western North Carolina via the ERC middle mile network and data center. Goosmann has worked nationally and internationally in the Telecommunications and Information Technology fields. He has spoken widely about middle-mile networks and the need for the growth of rural broadband access. Additionally, he is a strong community advocate and serves on the Boards of Directors for the North Carolina Technology Association, Meet the Geeks, and is the Board President of the Bob Moog Foundation. He has served on the Boards of Directors of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, the Asheville/Buncombe Economic Development Coalition, the Health Adventure, and the Asheville Symphony.
Director of Communications, Office of Knox County Mayor
Michael Grider is a native East Tennesseean and Director of Communications for Knox County (TN) Government. He is an active community volunteer and avid bicycle commuter who enjoys spending time in Knoxville’s historic neighborhoods and local businesses. Michael serves on the advisory board of the University of Tennessee’s Clarence Brown Theatre, the Leadership Knoxville advisory council, and is a member of two Civitan clubs, one of which he served as charter-president. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and a former broadcast journalist.
Toni L. Griffin
Director, J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City, Spitzer School of Architecture, The City College of New York
New York, New York
Griffin is founding director of the J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City at the Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York, dedicated to the advancement of design practice, education, research and advocacy in ways that build and sustain resilient and just communities, cities and regions. Griffin also maintains an active private practice, Urban Planning and Design for the American City, and recently led the Detroit Future City project, which completed and released Detroit Future City, a comprehensive citywide framework plan for urban transformation.
President, Downtown Dayton Partnership
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 Sandys 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.
President, George Gund Foundation, George Gund Foundation
Cleveland, Ohio, Ohio
Geof is the President of the Board of The George Gund Foundation. He is a retired teacher of History, Law and Economics at Dalton School, New York. Though he lives in New York City, Geof has a strong interest in the City of Cleveland.
President / CEO, Corporation for Findlay Market
Joe graduated from the University of Cincinnati with an Electrical Engineering degree and worked for 9 years as a Strategy Consultant at Accenture. During this time he helped to create and grow Give Back Cincinnati. A serial social entrepreneur, Joe has helped grow or launch several initiates, such as Fall Feast, Paint the Town, Fuel, Lily Pad, ToolBank Cincinnati, UGIVE.ORG and Give Back Beyond. Now the President and CEO for Findlay Market, Ohio’s oldest continuously operating public market. Joe Lives in Newport, KY with his wife Melanie and three children.
Community Relations Manager, P&G
Barbara Hauser is the Ohio Community Relations Manager for Procter & Gamble. In this role, Barbara is responsible for community relations within the Greater Cincinnati area. Prior to this position, she served on P&G’s corporate communications team, where she handled internal and external communications for the Design Function. Barbara’s work in the Cincinnati community precedes her work at P&G, where she previously served as director of marketing for Cincinnati Ballet, director of communications for YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, and as a public relations account manager with the Powers Agency. She continues to serve the community both in her role at P&G and as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce and the founder of a pop-up art gallery called The Red Door Project.
Professor, Center for Houston’s Future
Dr. Jacqueline Hawkins is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological, Health, and Learning Sciences at the University of Houston (UH) and a Center Fellow at the Center for Houston’s Future. She leads degree programs at UH that generate undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral level leaders who have the knowledge and skills to transform education for students in K-12 schools. Dr. Hawkins’ work at UH and in the city of Houston has focused on helping to solve some of the challenges faced by diverse learners in an increasingly more diverse city.
Interim President/CEO, Downtown Greensboro, Inc.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Prior to joining Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) in January, 2015 Cyndy was President & CEO of Junior Achievement of Central North Carolina. In February, 2015 Cyndy was appointed interim CEO of DGI. Established in 1997, DGI’s core purpose is to lead the development of Downtown Greensboro as a prosperous and vibrant urban center, memorable and meaningful for those who choose to live work, play and invest here. The non-profit works in four key areas: Advocacy, Economic Development, Environmental, and Marketing to help businesses and individuals thrive in the downtown Business Improvement District.
Principal , MKSK
Chris is a principal with MKSK, a Columbus-based planning, landscape architecture, and urban design firm. During his fifteen years with MKSK (formerly MSI Design), Chris has managed a wide variety of projects involving regional planning policy, comprehensive plans, downtown plans, focus area planning, community economic development, transportation planning, and public engagement and facilitation. A certified planner with 23 years of experience, Chris holds a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an undergraduate degree from Miami University. He has led the project teams for several award-winning plans including the Southwest Bexley Master Plan, the I-670 Design Enhancement Study, the Big Darby Accord, and the 2010 Downtown Columbus Strategic Plan, and most recently the Long Street Bridge and Cultural Wall. Chris authored the I-70/71 Design Enhancement Manual and has been project manager for the urban design portions of several phases of the Columbus Crossroads project.
Executive Director, Columbus Economic Development Board
Jason Hester brings fifteen years of local and state-level economic development experience to his role as executive director of the Columbus (Indiana) Economic Development Board. Building on the area’s strengths in advanced manufacturing and design, Hester leads the community’s business retention, expansion, and domestic & international attraction efforts. Before joining the Columbus EDB in 2010, Jason served as the central region director for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, where he led business attraction and expansion efforts in the state’s largest region. Over three years, he and his team successfully closed more than 220 competitive projects, calling for $5.1 billion in new capital investment and the creation of 38,000 new jobs.
Stephanie Hicks Thompson
Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Cleveland Foundation
Stephanie Hicks Thompson is responsible for planning and supporting multiple community engagement projects for the Cleveland Foundation. In addition, Stephanie provides communications design and development across multiple foundation teams. With more than 10 years of communications experience, Stephanie previously held the position of external affairs manager for the Cuyahoga Health Access Partnership, where she managed communications, development and operations in the lead-up to the 2013 implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Stephanie earned a bachelor degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, with a dual major in journalism and English and went on to earn her Master of Business Administration from Ohio University. She is actively involved in the community as a member of the Junior League of Cleveland.
Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson
City of Toledo
On the evening of February 1, 2015, Council President Paula Hicks-Hudson was sworn in as Acting Mayor of the City of Toledo. On Tuesday, February 17, 2015 she took the Oath of Office to officially become the Mayor of Toledo making her the second female Mayor of Toledo and etching a place in history as the first African-American female to ever hold the position.
Dean and Professor, Cleveland State University
Edward (Ned) Hill is Dean, Professor and Distinguished Scholar at the Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University; Nonresident Senior Fellow of The Brookings Institution; and Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at the South China University of Technology. Ned writes on economic development and urban public policy and edited Economic Development Quarterly.
Executive Director, PAJC
Karen Hochberg, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee (PAJC), possesses over 20 years of management, marketing, and communications experience. Hochberg served as marketing director for the Oncology Nursing Society where she worked to get nurses noticed in the news, conducted training sessions for nurse leaders around the country on leadership development, storytelling, and marketing. While serving as chief-of-staff for an Allegheny County official, she led the project team that transformed the historic Allegheny County Jail into the new Juvenile and Family Court. Karen has BS in business management from Pepperdine University and Masters in Non-Profit Leadership from Carlow University. She is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh XV. Karen loves Pittsburgh and understands that good things happen when people and organizations work together!
Councilperson Nancy Hoffmann
City of Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Nancy Hoffmann is serving a second term on Greensboro City Council representing District 4. She has been a Managing Director of Reffett Associates, a national executive recruiting practice, since 1998 following a 22-year corporate career in textiles, apparel, and home furnishings.
Senior Program Officer, The Sprout Fund
Mac Howison has been with Sprout since 2004 and serves as its Senior Program Officer for Catalytic Funding. Mac works collaboratively with other program staff to lead Sprout’s grantmaking efforts through catalytic grants, awards, RFPs, sponsorship, and other funding mechanisms. In addition to providing effective management of Sprout’s portfolio of projects, Mac’s door is always open to prospective applicants for draft reviews and ongoing consultation.
Vice-Mayor Marc Hunt
City of Asheville
Asheville, North Carolina
Marc Hunt’s varied career includes founding and leading outdoor adventure outfitting businesses, community development banking, and land conservation. He was first elected to Asheville City Council in 2011 and is chairman of both the Finance and Planning and Economic Development Committees. Originally from Chattanooga, Marc has called Asheville home for 20 years.
Deputy Director, Arts Commission of Greater Toledo
Jennifer has worked in the arts community in Toledo since 1999. She has served as the Deputy Director of the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo since 2009, and previously served as the Business Manager for the Toledo Ballet for seven years. She has also worked as a consultant for several other Toledo area arts and human service organizations. She presently serves on the boards of Scrap4Art and the Ohio Theatre and Events Center.
Co-Founder and Partner, ScaleUp Partners
Dwayne Johnson is a successful technologist, entrepreneur and self-professed social alchemist with over 30 years leadership experience pioneering technology, entrepreneurship, innovation, and cross-discipline collaboration. He is a Founder and Partner at ScaleUp Partners a nationally networked economic development advocacy collaborative offering advisory and consulting services to increasing the quality, diversity and performance of local and regional innovation, workforce and entrepreneurial pipelines.
President, Over-the-Rhine Chamber
As President of the Over-the-Rhine Chamber since July 2012, Johnson leads the organization’s Business Attraction and Retention program, its efforts to increase visitation to Over-the-Rhine through marketing, communications, and OTR Chamber signature events. Johnson most recently served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI), where she worked since 2000 and was steadily promoted through various Marketing, Communications, and Stakeholder Services positions. Prior to DCI, she worked for the Tall Stacks Commission as the Assistant Sponsorship Director for Tall Stacks 99, and spent five years working for the Joseph-Beth Booksellers Group in management and buying roles. Johnson brings to the OTR Chamber more than twelve years of strategic communications and marketing experience with a focus on Cincinnati’s urban core.
Associate Provost & Dean of University Programs, University of North Carolina Asheville
Asheville, North Carolina
Edward Katz, PhD, is Associate Provost and Dean of University Programs, Acting Director of the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program, and Professor of Literature and Language, at UNC Asheville. He earned his MA (1989) and PhD (1992) in English from the University of Rochester, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington (1986) and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Michigan State University (1980). He serves as a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement, where he assists universities and colleges on large-scale initiatives and general education reform. He is a faculty member at the SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) Summer Institutes and serves as co-director of the SENCER Center of Innovation-South, hosted at UNC Asheville.
Nicole Kaufman Glasgow
Interim Vice President of Engagement, Florida International University
Fueled by a passion to build sustainable partnerships to address the pressing social challenges of our time, Nicole leverages 15+ years experience in corporate, foundation and community relations, strategic planning and communications. Serving as Interim Vice President of Engagement for Miami’s public research institution, Florida International University (FIU), Nicole is committed to equity and social justice while creating pathways to social innovation. Prior to her leadership in the Office of Engagement, Nicole served the institution as Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations. In addition to her experience in higher education, Nicole is versed in integrated marketing and communications. Nicole earned a BA in Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caribbean Studies from Rutgers University and an MS in Integrated Communications from FIU. She serves on the South Florida Board for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, The Miami Foundation Our Miami Advisory Board, and the National Coalition for Community Schools Leadership Network.
President/CEO, Leadership Indianapolis
Linda L. Kirby is the founding CEO of Leadership Indianapolis and is focused on strategically and intentionally building a pipeline of diverse community leaders to strengthen the Indianapolis community. Kirby has experience in strategic planning, program development and implementation, retention, fundraising, board development, organizational leadership and more. Kirby is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis and has served on numerous boards and committees.
Project Manager, Economic Development Office, City of Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Jonathan works as a Project Manager for the City of Grand Rapids’ Economic Development Office, focusing on Brownfield redevelopment and business development. He has been involved in many public/private partnerships and has assisted businesses ranging from entrepreneurs starting their business to large corporations with thousands of employees. Jonathan was educated at Calvin College (B.A. Business) and Grand Valley State University (MPA). In his free time, Jonathan is involved in his neighborhood public school, where his children are thriving.
CEO, Design Center Pittsburgh
Chris Koch is CEO of Design Center Pittsburgh, a regional non-profit with a 47-year history of providing community design and planning resources to communities with a focus on equity, livability and sustainability. She is an expert in community development, urban planning and social innovation. Chris was previously a co-founder GTECH Strategies, a non-profit dedicated to sustainable community development. Chris has been awarded an Echoing Green Fellow in global social enterprise, and holds a Masters of Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.
President/CEO, Kolar Design
Kelly Kolar is the President and Chief Creative Officer of Kolar Design. Founding Kolar Design in 1990, Kolar set herself apart as a creative talent, using her love of design and understanding of the human element to transform built environments. The firm creates impactful, branded experience at the intersection of people and place. Kolar is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, where she has served as an adjunct professor as well as immediate Past President of the Alumni Board. She has served on the board of the Society for Experiential Graphic Design (SEGD) and currently serves on the City of Cincinnati Board of Visitors and the Board of Directors for the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati Arts and Technology Center, and Downtown Cincinnati, Inc.
Washington, District of Columbia
Monica Leibovitz is an experienced project director and strategic and operational advisor in urban community development. From 2010 through 2014, she advised the Downtown DC Business Improvement District on various projects. From 2006 through 2009, she launched and subsequently directed the community development program at Cooper University Hospital, the largest private employer and anchor institution in Camden, NJ. Previously, she worked in public policy and politics, including time as Policy Director for Jon Corzine’s gubernatorial campaign in New Jersey (2005) and Research Director for Rep. Richard Gephardt’s presidential campaign (2004), as well as other gubernatorial and Senate campaigns.
Art and Architecture Critic, The Plain Dealer
SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio
A native of New York, Steve Litt has been the art and architecture critic of The Plain Dealer since 1991, covering museum exhibitions, architecture, historic preservation, and city and regional planning. He also writes for Metropolis, ARTnews, Architectural Record and other magazines. Steve holds master’s degrees in journalism and city planning, and was a Michigan Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has been named “”Best Critic in Ohio”” eight times since 2004 by The Cleveland Press Club and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and is a 2010 winner of the Robert Bergman Prize of the Cleveland Arts Prize, awarded to recognize the highest possible expression of arts stewardship.
Executive Director, Zilber Family Foundation
Susan Lloyd leads a consulting firm that designs and evaluates philanthropic programs. She also directs the Zilber Family Foundation in Milwaukee, which supports nonprofits that address basic human needs, increase access to opportunity, and improve the quality of community life. In 2008 the Foundation began a ten-year Initiative to support local leaders and neighborhood revitalization. Previously, Susan directed grant programs at The MacArthur Foundation for 13 years; conducted academic research for six years; and worked in nonprofits for ten years. She holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University, where she also was a fellow on race and urban inequality.
Program Officer, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Kevin Lundy is Program Officer for Community Development for The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. Since 2012, Kevin has provided leadership and support in the following areas: community grants, housing, workforce development and family financial success, community leadership and civic engagement, and small to mid-sized business growth. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kevin served as Data Analyst at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC. Since 2001, Kevin has served as music and technology director at Ward Street Mission, and was recently awarded the Mayor’s Award for Individual Support of the Arts from the High Point Area Arts Council. Kevin graduated with a Master of Public Administration from UNC-Greensboro in 2013 and completed his B.A. in Music Education from UNC-Greensboro in 2008.
CEO of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of East TN
Rosa had a 27 year career with Levi Strauss & Co where she held various management positons the last being the Global Sourcing Manager. Rosa currently serves on several boards: on the Board of Directors for Leadership Knoxville, she serves as the current chair for the Leadership Knoxville Facilitation Committee for which she has been the chair for the past two years; she is the president of the board of WDVX a non-profit radio station; on the board for HoLa Hora Latina Cultural Organization; and on the board of Knox Heritage to name a few. Rosa was appointed the CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of East Tennessee in March of 2014. She is a 1994 graduate of Leadership San Francisco, 2001 graduate of Leadership Knoxville, a 2013 YWCA Tribute to Women Finalist, and a graduate of the East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association Class of 2014.
Executive Director, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art
Shauta Marsh is the executive director of the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art. She generally likes people, animals, nature, the idea of vikings, cheese puffs, Merle Haggard, Gin, creation myths, aliens, comic books, beaches, the mountains, fresh cut grass, weddings, trees, boring meetings, and the color red.
Nathan Martin is the CEO of Deeplocal, an internationally acclaimed innovation studio that is most known for building compelling experiences that link the real and online worlds and provoke conversation. Deeplocal spun out of the world’s leading robotics school, Carnegie Mellon, and has been instrumental in shaping innovation in the ad industry. In less than three years, the organization has received awards that include AdAge Small Agency of the Year Northeast, Communication Arts Best of Interactive, and One Club Best of the Decade.
Co-Director, Face to Face Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Donovan McKnight runs a community engagement nonprofit called Face to Face Greensboro which creates opportunities for meaningful person-to-person engagement. Ethnosh is his latest project which highlights the various immigrant-owned, international food businesses in the community by hosting public tasting events and publishing ethnographic photo essays about the families that own and operate these businesses.
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
CEO, NOA Research, LLC
Rosalinda Mendez is the Founder and CEO of NOA Research, LLC a research, technical and project management consulting firm. Ms. Mendez’s collaborative leadership style and proven ability to garner buy-in from stakeholders and staff make her a valuable asset to any initiative in which she is involved. Ms. Mendez has helped to develop a robust city indicators platform for the Center For Houston’s Future to put the city data at the fingertips of all Houstonians.
Principal, Mongalo-Winston Consulting, LLC
I am an architect, turned planner, turned business owner. My 15 years of practice in the private sector navigating processes between stakeholders, public officials, and community members led me to start a practice focused on the interface between community engagement and design. My focus as a planner evolved through my 12 years with Urban Design Associates managing urban design projects and community engagement in a broad range of contexts, including urban infill, waterfronts, transit-oriented development, mixed-income housing, and many scales in between. I believe in setting up an engagement process appropriate to place and context, and working together with stakeholders and public officials to achieve a common vision. My practice is rooted in transparency, clear communication, and a spirit of collaboration.
Managing Director, Degrees Matter, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Steve Moore is a connector, tinkerer, developer of others, advocate of adult learning, dreamer, ENFP, lover of ideas and interconnectedness, father/husband, music geek, tennis player. By day he is the Director of Adult Student Success at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Steve is leading a team of community collaborators in Greensboro who are working collectively to increase the percentage of adults (age 25 +) who hold high quality credentials/degrees. That project, known as Degrees Matter! â€“ Connecting Lifelong Learning to a Thriving Economy, was chosen by Lumina Foundation as one of 20 pilot charter cities in Lumina’s Community Partnerships for Attainment initiative. He has published and presented on the importance of increasing talent as an economic imperative of cities. He is doing his best work when he is being creative, finding ways to create social innovation and empowering the talents of others.
Vice President, Physical Planning & Real Estate, The Ohio State University
Keith provides university-wide leadership in strategically planning for Ohio State’s physical environment. He champions the One Ohio State Framework, translating the vision and principles into action. In addition to leading the physical planning and real estate operations, he co-chairs the Integrated Physical Planning Liaison Group, builds partnerships within and outside the university, and works closely with Campus Partners (Ohio State’s nonprofit real estate affiliate off campus).
Founder, Forge Columbus
Reese Neader is the founder and CEO of Forge Columbus, a chamber of commerce for community businesses in Columbus. He attended Denison University and majored in political science before joining the Roosevelt Institute in 2009. Serving as policy director, he supported grassroots projects across the country and managed relationships with Congressional offices, national foundations, and the White House. He has given trainings on community development to international organizations including the United Nations and World Bank, and in 2011 was sponsored by the U.S. State Department to travel to Egypt during the Arab Spring to train and mobilize youth opposition leaders. Before moving home to Columbus in 2013, Reese served as Youth Vote Director for President Obama’s re-election campaign in Pennsylvania.
Director, Workforce Initiative, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Ms. Newton is the Director of the Workforce Initiative at the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. Previous nonprofit roles included the Director of the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium, Building Stronger Neighborhoods Liaison, and Advisor to the Greensboro Neighborhood Congress, as well as non-profit consulting. Donna is an honors graduate and a past Distinguished Alumnus of Guilford College. She worked as a medical insurance executive for more than 30 years and left that industry as a Senior Vice President with Jefferson-Pilot Life Insurance Company. She has been involved in her second career with nonprofits for 13 years. During this time Ms. Newton has been a broker of networking and a technical resource for local nonprofit organizations, neighborhood leaders, educational institutions, government entities and faith organizations. Donna has been recognized by the Triad Business Journal with the Women in Business award. She was also honored the 2009 Athena Award presented by the Greensboro Partnership primarily for her board role with the Evergreens Senior Care System, where she led the restructuring that brought 3 new state of the art skilled nursing facilities and a $30 million investment to Guilford County. She has been recognized in the News and Record as a Community Role Model and featured in the News and Record with regard to what she would hope to be The Next Big Thing for Greensboro. Most recently, Donna has been awarded the America Heart Association’s inaugural Heart of the Community Award.
President / CEO Knoxville Area Urban League, Knoxville Area Urban League
Phyllis Young Nichols is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Knoxville Area Urban League. Ms. Nichols joined the Urban League as a curriculum and education specialist in l994 after many years in public education and private business. As chief executive since 2000, she has expanded the Urban League impact to serve over 8,200 individuals and families each year through its 24 programs to provide a skilled and diverse workforce; to increase and retain homeownership; to support economic and small business development, and to advocate and enhance education efforts for students of color. Recognized as a Senior Fellow by the National Urban League, her expertise in Board and Affiliate Development has facilitated her work with the League and other non-profit organizations throughout the country. Her community involvement includes many boards, taskforces and committees including past president of the Executive Women’s Association. Nichols is Chair of the Great Schools Partnership, the public education foundation for Knox County Schools, and current board member of the East TN Foundation, Knoxville Symphony Board and Tennova Metro Board.
Executive Director, Visitor Center, Inc
Karen Niverson is a twenty year tourism professional currently serving as the executive director of the Columbus Indiana Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is charged with developing and promoting the tourism sector of the local economy.
Director of The Heinz Awards, Heinz Family Foundation
Kim O’Dell is the director of the Heinz Awards program, which are administered by the Heinz Family Foundation. The Awards, established in 1993 to honor the memory of the late U.S. Senator John Heinz (PA), recognize extraordinary contributions by individuals across a spectrum of activity – from the arts and the environment to technology and public policy.
An avid cyclist, Kim serves on the board of Bike Pittsburgh, an organization that works to make our streets and communities vibrant, healthy places by making them safe and accessible for everyone to bike and walk. She is also one of the co-founders and is a co-chair of Open Streets PGH, an event that closes the roads to cars so that people can walk, skate, dance, play and be social.
Prior to the Awards, Kim worked for U.S. Senator John Heinz and the Heinz family in Washington, D.C.
Strategic Partnerships Manager, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
Spencer Olinek is the Strategic Partnerships Manager with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). In this capacity he oversees the DEGC’s facilitation of NEIdeas, a small business challenge awarding $500,000 to existing businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park conducted in partnership with the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan. He also manages DEGC’s convening of the Detroit Business Support Network (DBSN) as well as the Network’s steering committee. The DBSN engages more than 45 local and regional partners in an effort to improve business services in Detroit and strengthen organizational collaboration to ensure long-term economic growth in the city. Outside of work he is a D:hive BUILD graduate, Preservation Detroit Advisory Board member, Back Alley Bikes board member, and avid cyclist.
President, The Heinz Endowments
Grant Oliphant is President of The Heinz Endowments. He rejoined the foundation in June 2014, after serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Pittsburgh Foundation for six years. Prior to this, Grant held several senior management posts with Heinz family foundations for two decades, including Vice President for Programs and Planning at the Endowments. He also served as press secretary to the late U.S. Sen. John Heinz from 1988 until the senator’s death in 1991. Grant serves extensively on the boards of local nonprofit and national sector organizations, including the Center for Effective Philanthropy where he is Board Chair. He earned a master’s in organizational development from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and a bachelor’s from Swarthmore College.
District Manager, Duke Energy
Christopher “Chip” Orben works for Duke Energy as a District Manager in the Community and Economic Development department. Chip has been with Duke Energy, formerly Cinergy, since 1986, working the last 10 years in the Business Relations department. Today he is responsible for community, economic development and legislative affairs efforts in Duke Energy’s Columbus, Seymour, North Vernon and Madison districts.
CEO, Fourth Economy Consulting
Rich is a nationally known thought leader in the innovation-based economic development field and has served in diverse roles in the nationâ€™s economic development community. His most recent endeavor, Fourth Economy Consulting, allows him to work with clients throughout the country to develop new economic and community development strategies to support sustainable futures through innovation. Rich is also currently the Executive Director of the University Economic Development Association.
Executive Director, Group Plan Commission
After serving as a senior aide to Senator Patrick Leahy for eight years in Washington, DC, Jeremy Paris returned to the Cleveland area in 2012 to take part in the revitalization of his hometown. Paris now serves as the first Executive Director of the Group Plan Commission (GPC), the coordinating body between the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and civic partners working to reinvigorate Clevelandâ€™s signature downtown public spaces. The GPC’s priority is to complete a series of connected catalytic projects — the transformation of Clevelandâ€™s Public Square and downtown mall and the construction of an iconic pedestrian bridge connecting Cleveland’s downtown civic center to its lakefront. Until returning to Cleveland, Paris served as Chief Counsel for Nominations and Oversight for Chairman Patrick Leahy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Before going to Capitol Hill, Paris was a litigation associate at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLC, in Washington, D.C. after serving as a law clerk to Hon. Deborah K. Chasanow, United States District Court Judge for the District of Maryland. A graduate of Shaker Heights High School, Paris received his B.A. in Political Science from Yale University in 1997 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2001.
Former MPC Executive Director, Community Connectors
Former MPC Executive Director; Principal / Owner, Mauldin Parnell, Inc. (Planning and Engineering Consulting firm); Principal / Owner, Realty Trust Group, Health Care Real Estate firm (Retired 2013); Board Member & Chairman Emeritus, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital; Board Member, Legacy Parks Foundation
BA, MBA, Vanderbilt University; Master of Science, Urban / Regional Planning, UTK
Valerie E Patton
Vice President, Economic Inclusion and Talent Attraction and Executive Director-St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative, St. Louis Regional Chamber
St. Louis, Missouri
Valerie E. Patton serves as Vice President, Economic Inclusion and Executive Director of the Saint Louis Business Diversity Initiative. In this role, she develops strategies, solutions and programs for organizations in the St. Louis region in the area of workforce diversity and inclusion (recruitment, retention and advancement of talented people of color) through training, convening and consulting and regional economic inclusion initiatives. She is the first Executive Director of the Initiative. She is founder of the Initiative Fellows Program (a yearlong leadership development experience) and Gateway Connections (a welcoming orientation for professionals of color.) She was featured in May 2008 Black Enterprise Magazine.
Vice-Chair, CEOs for Cities; President and CEO, Central Indiana Community Foundation
Brian is the President and CEO of the Central Indiana Community Foundation and The Indianapolis Foundation. He is the founder and artistic director of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick, an award-winning 8-mile bicycle and pedestrian pathway that connects to every significant arts, cultural, heritage, sports and entertainment venue in Indianapolis’ dynamic downtown. The Cultural Trail is one of many projects in CICF’s Inspiring Places Leadership Initiative. CICF is a founding sponsor of CEOS for Cities and Brian serves as Vice-Chair of the CEOs for Cities Board of Directors.
Chief of Staff and Manager for Governmental and International Affairs, The Cleveland Foundation
Perez is the corporate secretary of the foundation and director of governance-related matters. As a member of the six-person Executive Committee, she helps set strategic priorities and policies pertaining to all areas of the foundation. She also provides management support to the President/CEO on executive leadership priorities to steer and ensure delivery of foundation objectives in local and national initiatives, including public policy and international affairs.
She is the Executive Vice President of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Senoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc., Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine, and a member of the board of directors of Esperanza. She is also a member of Independent Sector’s board policy committee, Philanthropy Ohio’s board policy committee, and the Advisory Board of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Commission on Economic Inclusion.
Executive Director, Trailnet
St. Louis, Missouri
Ralph is Trailnet’s Executive Director. He uses his skills as an innovator and entrepreneur to advance Trailnet’s mission to make walking and biking a way of life in St. Louis. Prior to his position at Trailnet, Ralph was the CEO and founder of Pfoodman Holdings, a multi-unit food service management company serving education, business/retail, and senior living sectors. He used active living and sustainability as a platform for business development, promoting his companyâ€™s culture by establishing a unique presence in communities.
Founder + President, Small Productions
Eve’s background as an architect, city planner, urban designer, real estate developer, community development strategist, publisher, and instigator gives her a rich understanding of how cities work, how urban neighborhoods can be revitalized and what policies are needed to make change happen.
Amongst her many urban (ad)ventures, Eve has developed numerous buildings in blighted neighborhoods (through no wall productions and we do property management), launched a Pittsburgh e-zine called Pop City, founded and organized a speaker series (cityLIVE!) and a creative school, taught urban design at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture, and launched Downtown Pittsburgh’s first coworking space. Over the last few years she’s participated in a series of Sustainable Design Assessment Teams for the American Institute of Architects in cities as diverse as Downtown Los Angeles and Springfield, Ohio, helping to set a strategic course for housing, economic development and urban design for downtowns in trouble. Most notably, Eve’s real estate development work has all been of the “transformative” nature that Small Change will support. She is skilled at developing creative real estate development and financing scenarios in both the public and private realm.
Assoc. Professor, NC A&T State University
Greensboro, North Carolina
Robert Powell is an Associate Professor in the Architectural Engineering Program at NC A&T State University. He teaches aspects of architectural design and building construction based on many years of professional practice. This has included building design and construction administration as a practicing architect, building contractor, affordable housing developer, and energy consultant. He is also a long term advocate and practitioner of sustainable development consulting with neighborhoods using open participatory design methods to identify effective use of green technologies. Mr. Powell received his undergraduate degree at Stanford University in Architectural Engineering and his Masters in Architecture from M.I.T. He currently serves as a Vice Chair of the Greensboro Community Sustainability Council and on the board of the NC Advanced Energy Corporation.
Director, Public Policy & Economic Development, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce
Stephanie Precht is a registered lobbyist with the State of Ohio, directing the Dayton Area Chamber’s advocacy work, grassroots policy initiatives, public policy programming and economic development outreach. Her focus areas include energy and environmental policy, international trade issues, safety & health training and small business development. Stephanie earned her BA in International Studies from Wright State University and her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Dayton. Stephanie is a graduate of the 2013 Leadership Dayton program, was the recipient of the Dayton Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award in 2011 and was selected as a Business Leads Fellow for the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for a Competitive Workforce in 2010 and 2011.
Professor, University of Toledo
Neil Reid is Professor of Geography and Planning and Director of the Urban Affairs Center at the University of Toledo. He also serves as Executive Director of the North American Regional Science Council and as Vice-Chair of the International Union’s Commission on the Dynamics of Economic Spaces.
Executive VP of Knoxville Chamber, Knoxville Chamber
Rhonda Rice is the Executive Vice President of the Knoxville Chamber, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization, including membership and economic development activities. She also serves as the Executive Administrator for Innovation Valley, the regional economic development initiative managed by the Knoxville Chamber. Rhonda is active in several national associations, including IAMC, CoreNet Global, IEDC, and SEDC, as well as the state of Tennessee Economic Partnership and the Tennessee Economic Development Council. She is currently serving as chairwoman of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and also serves on the boards of the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation, Tech 2020, TVA Resource Stewardship Council, and the Episcopal School of Knoxville.
President, SID Public Services Association
Cleve Ricksecker is executive director of two special improvement districts in downtown Columbus, Capital Crossroads SID and Discovery SID. The SIDs assess property owners the cost of providing a variety of district-wide services, including supplemental safety, cleaning, hospitality, marketing and promotions, and capital improvements.
Program Officer, Bader Philanthropies, Inc.
Working to address employment disparities in Milwaukeeâ€™s low-income communities, Jerry brings a range of expertise in local issues connecting workforce gaps, poverty, and economic opportunity. He manages the $1.5 million in workforce grants annually, while building collaborations with other workforce funders. Jerry holds a master’s degree in The Cultural Foundations of Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as bachelor’s degrees from UWM and Grace Christian College.
Chairman, Urban Design Associates
As chairman for Urban Design Associates (UDA), Rob Robinson is deeply committed to processes that result in a shared vision for the future and practical strategies for implementation. Under his leadership at UDA, the firm has developed a broader national and international practice working with cities to reclaim urban districts and waterfronts, build sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods and create urban design patterns and guidelines that reflect the unique regional and local identities.
Rob is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Congress for the New Urbanism. He serves as an advisor with Interworks, a disaster recovery and management group that assists communities and agencies worldwide with rebuilding. Rob is the principal author of The UDA Handbook, 2nd edition, the UDA Pattern Books as well as numerous papers and publications on urbanism, shelter issues and approaches to housing and housing assistance.
Mayor Madeline Rogero
City of Knoxville
Madeline Rogero was elected the 68th Mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee and took office in December 2011; she is the first woman to hold the office. Mayor Rogero was appointed to President Obamaâ€™s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Smart Growth America Local Leaders Council. She is a former consultant to Capital One and Americaâ€™s Promise, and former executive director of Dolly Partonâ€™s Dollywood Foundation and Knoxvilleâ€™s Promise- The Alliance for Youth. Mayor Rogero is dedicated to promoting a vibrant local economy, strong neighborhoods, a high quality of life, a thriving downtown and a greener Knoxville.
Consultant, Global Cleveland
Currently working in a consulting role, Joy Roller led Global Cleveland, a civic/corporate initiative for over two years. The organization’s goal is to increase the population of Greater Cleveland and strengthen the region’s economy by connecting newcomers (foreign and domestic) to its opportunities, resources and services. Prior to her work at Global Cleveland, Joy served as Executive Director of the Gordon Square Arts District for six years. The arts-based economic development initiative transformed Clevelandâ€™s Detroit Shoreway neighborhood into an arts and entertainment destination. Roller holds a Juris Doctor degree from Cleveland State University’s John Marshall College of Law, a Masters of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and economics from Denison University.
President, University Circle Inc.
Chris Ronayne was named President of University Circle Inc (UCI) in 2005. Ronayne and his staff partner with more than 40 member institutions to oversee the growth and direction of Ohioâ€™s fastest growing employment district, with UCI providing community planning, development, education, marketing, police, and other shared services.
Before joining UCI, Ronayne served the City of Cleveland as the Cityâ€™s Planning Director, Chief Development Officer, and Chief of Staff. He was the chief architect of the Cityâ€™s Waterfront District Plan.
SVP, Communications & Strategic Initiatives, Downtown Cincinnati Inc.
Cincinnati , Ohio
Mindy is the SVP of Communications and Strategic Initiatives for Downtown Cincinnati Inc. She joined the organization in 2007. Prior to DCI, she served as Director of Marketing for the Downtown Center Business Improvement District in Los Angeles and as the Advertising and Promotions Manager for the Downtown Denver Partnership in Denver. Mindy received three Achievement Awards from the International Downtown Association for marketing campaigns. She earned a MBA degree at the University of Cincinnati.
Director, Department of Development, City of Columbus
Steven R. Schoeny leads a team of 170 employees dedicated to improving the economy and neighborhoods of Columbus. The Department of Development has an operating budget of $32.8 million and oversees $44.6 million in Capital Budget Funds. The Department of Development is responsible for housing, code enforcement, economic development, land redevelopment and planning. Schoeny joined the City after serving as a principal with Ice Miller Whiteboard, a consulting group that provides growth and development strategies to corporations, organizations and state and local governments. Schoeny worked as director of the Strategic Business Investment Division of the Ohio Department of Development from 2006 to 2010. Prior to that Schoeny worked for the Ohio Department of Development International Trade Division from 1997 to 2005, Economic Consulting Services Inc. from 1995 to 1997 and the Institute for International Economics from 1994 to 1995.
Executive Director, Cemala Foundation
Greensboro, North Carolina
Susan Shore Schwartz is executive director of The Cemala Foundation, where sheâ€™s served since 2006. She has more than 25 yearsâ€™ experience in citizen-driven strategic planning and leadership and program development for communities. Previous work includes staff and consultant roles with Action Greensboro, Piedmont Triad Partnership, Greensboro Visions, and the Somerset Alliance for the Future (Somerville, New Jersey). She has chaired the boards of Action Greensboro, UNC-Greensboro Board of Visitors, Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, Downtown Greensboro, Greensboro Historical Museum, and the Junior League of Greensboro. She serves or has served on the boards of Greensboro Partnership, Metro YMCA, Triad Stage, NCA&T Board of Visitors, N.C. Center for Nonprofits. Greensboro Childrenâ€™s Museum, and Arbor Acres Methodist Retirement Home. She is a graduate of Leadership Greensboro. She is the recipient of the Salem College 2014 Distinguished Alumna Award, the 2011 O. Henry Award presented by the United Arts Council and the Greensboro Partnership, the 2009 Downtown Greensboro Ed Kitchen Leadership Award, and the 2005 Leadership Greensboro Leadership Medal.
Vice President for Community Investments, Tulsa Area United Way
Dr. Kathy Seibold
Vice President for Community Investments
Tulsa Area United Way
Dr. Kathy Seibold is the vice president of community investments at the Tulsa Area United Way. Kathy maintains working relationships with nonprofit partner agencies and Community Investments volunteers. She supervises the community investments team and works with them to develop operating policies and procedures that result in judicious investments in the community. Kathy is also responsible for the administration of FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Boards for Creek, Tulsa and Wagoner Counties.
Kathy holds a doctorate of Education in Higher Education Leadership from Oklahoma State University and has over 20 years of experience as an educator, administrator and community volunteer. She teaches higher education leadership classes for the OU School of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and cultural awareness and nonprofit leadership classes for the OU College of Liberal Studies.
Before joining TAUW, Kathy was the Vice President for Campus Affairs at The University of Oklahoma-Tulsa. She worked on community and special projects and oversaw the development of Student Affairs, Campus-wide Strategic Planning, Donor Relations, and Community Engagement. Kathy founded a volunteer services center within OU-Tulsa Student Affairs and worked closely with students, faculty, and staff on projects that brought university and community partners together to address the complex challenges facing society. She engaged in cultural exchanges with faculty, students, and staff in nine countries; participated in international volunteer programs in India and Peru; and established the â€œHave a Great Dayâ€ international service scholarship. The scholarship provides funds for high school and undergraduate college students to do volunteer work abroad.
President, United Way of Central Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa
As United Way of Central Iowaâ€™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.
Anna J. Siefken
Pittsburgh 2030 District Director, Green Building Alliance
Anna J. Siefken has more than 20 years of experience fostering internationally-recognized brands in partnership with corporations, non-profits and the government sector. Ms. Siefken currently serves as the Pittsburgh 2030 District Director at Green Building Alliance (GBA), where she leads the largest 2030 District in North America via its two ilndaries in Downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland, PA. Prior to joining GBA, Ms. Siefken was Principal consultant at ICF International outside Washington, DC, where she designed programs and recruited strategic partners to participate in the Energy Star residential products and home improvement programs on behalf of the EPA and DOE. She led engagement and outreach to lighting, appliances, consumer electronics and home improvement product manufacturers as well as the overarching product and brand-related activities at all major U.S.-based retailers. In this capacity, she served as an expert liaison and partnership facilitator between retailers, corporations, utility partners, the federal government and the marketplace. She has managed teams, provided strategic vision, developed marketing and communications platforms, and fostered relationships to drive market transformation in the built environment.
Professor, University of Tennessee
James currently works part-time as the Coordinator of Community Connectors Knoxville. While earning a Masters in Public Administration degree from the University of Tennessee, he started a rock & roll band which got signed to a record label in Nashville, played headlining concerts and festivals all over the United States, and has had original recordings of their songs featured on 10 different major network television shows.
Author, Little Bets
Peter Sims is an award winning, best-selling author and entrepreneur who specializes in disruptive innovation and creativity. His latest book, Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, was recognized by The Wall Street Journal among The Best Advice Around, and by American Express Open Forum as one of the Best Business Books of 2011. He was the coauthor with Bill George of True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, Wall Street Journal and Business Week best-seller.
Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak
President, Board of Lucas County Commissioners
Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak has served County citizens since December 2002. She began her public service career in 1997 as a Toledo City Council Member. Commissioner Wozniak has led efforts to combat the serious foreclosure crisis in Toledo and Lucas County and has consistently fought for alternative energy and green-jobs for Lucas County residents. She founded the Toledo Lucas County Sustainability Commission and lead the effort for a comprehensive, community wide, sustainability plan “”Going Beyond Green.”” Commissioner Wozniak’s office is now spearheading an effort to develop a Drinking Water Protection Plan that brings together all sectors to develop a strategy to protect the integrity of our water supply.
Commissioner Wozniak has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Bowling Green State University and a Master’s Degree from the Ohio State University. She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW).
Co-founder and CEO, WhereBy.Us
Christopher Sopher is the co-founder and CEO of WhereBy.Us, an experiential media company focused on helping curious locals explore and connect with the places they live. The company launched The New Tropic, a Miami media and events brand, in January. The New Tropic publishes a daily newsletter curating local news, creates original local stories, and produces creative events focused on building and serving Miami’s curious locals. Chris previously worked on Knight Foundation’s journalism and media innovation team, and consulted for media organizations on product design and audience research.
Acting Director, Riverlife
Jay joined Riverlife as Chief Financial Officer in March 2010, was appointed Vice President in July 2013 and was named Acting Director in January 2015 Since joining Riverlife, Jay has been responsible for coordinating all facets of business operations and administration, including financial budgeting and reporting, as well as day-to-day management of various capital projects representing over $50 million of investment. In addition to this administrative role, Jay has been responsible for managing and coordinating relationships with private sector stakeholders and staff and elected officials in the public sector at the local, state and federal level to facilitate funding and policy matters which involves identifying funding opportunities, synching public policy initiatives with Riverlife’s mission and leading efforts to lobby elected officials.
Co-Creator at Gridwell
Bryan’s passion in Knoxville revolves around helping communities grow and businesses flourish. His day job is working as a “CoCreator” at GridWell, an organization and social innovation design firm. Bryan is also involved in the entrepreneurial community and is currently helping out with a few local startups as well as developing a downtown co-working space.
Business Developer, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, City of Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Presently serving the City of Grand Rapids in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Advocating for economic opportunities and positive impacts on local small businesses, including racially, ethnically and culturally diverse businesses. Developing City policies and practices that ensure non-discrimination in City acquisitions and procurement. Sharing business development strategies and best practices. Promoting awareness of how to do business with, within, and around the City of Grand Rapids.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development and Corporate Engagement, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro, North Carolina
Bryan Toney is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development and Corporate Engagement at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he also previously served as Director of the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center. Prior to coming to Greensboro in 2011, he served as Founding Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Appalachian State and the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Georgia Tech. He began his career as founder and CEO of Information Management Inc., a high growth technology firm in Atlanta. He has extensive experience in entrepreneurial ecosystem development, working with local, regional and global partners to develop high value opportunities for students, faculty and community members.
Director of Strategic Initiatives , The University of Toledo
Margie Traband is the Director of Strategic Initiatives in the Office of Government Relations at The University of Toledo. Traband earned a bachelor’s of arts from Bowling Green State University and her master’s of business administration in entrepreneurship and technology commercialization from the University of Toledo. She has primary responsibility for local and regional government relation. Traband also manages major university-wide projects such as the successfully submissions of the UT’s application for the APLU CICEP Designation and the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification. Previously, Traband worked in various roles at the university around clean energy initiatives.
Director of Equitable Growth Initiatives, PolicyLink
San Francisco, California
Sarah Treuhaft is director of equitable growth initiatives at PolicyLink, a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity. She leads the organization’s work on demographic change and the economy, collaborating with local and national partners on research and action projects to foster inclusive growth. She manages the development of the National Equity Atlas, a web-based data and policy tool produced in partnership with the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity. Sarah has been interviewed and cited for her research in local and national media outlets including the Washington Post, the National Journal, Next City, and the Sacramento Bee. She holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
Coordinator, Community Connectors Knoxville
James currently works part-time as the Coordinator of Community Connectors Knoxville. While earning a Masters in Public Administration degree from the University of Tennessee, he started a rock & roll band which got signed to a record label in Nashville, played headlining concerts and festivals all over the United States, and has had original recordings of their songs featured on 10 different major network television shows.
Deputy Director, Guilford County Board of Elections
Greensboro, North Carolina
As the Deputy Director of the Guilford County Board of Elections, Tim Tsujii is responsible for managing early voting and supervising the day to day operations of voter registration, campaign finance, and elections administration. He currently serves on the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro’s Board of Directors and is involved with the LeBauer Park task force, grants committee, and civic engagement task force. He also served as co-chair of synerG Young Professionals and worked on various initiatives such as YP Sports, downtown improvement white paper, Bus Benches of Artistics Distinction (BUBBS), and Show of Hands voter engagement concert. Tim was recognized by the Triad Business Journal as one of 2013’s 40 Leaders Under Forty. He is graduate of the George Washington University with a B.A. in political science and a master of public affairs degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
J. Laurens Tullock
President, Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville
J. Laurens Tullock is the President of Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville, a privately funded philanthropic foundation that focuses its funding on research driven strategic priorities that help the Greater Knoxville area reach toward its full potential as a community.
Lucas County Chief of Public Policy and Legislative Affairs, Board of Lucas County Commissioners
Peter Ujvagi is the Chief of Public Policy and Legislative Affairs for the Board of Lucas County Commissioners and has over 40 years of public policy and community organizing experience. For seven years, Peter served as the State Representative from Ohio 47th State House District and fourteen years on Toledo City Council, including four years as Toledo City Council President. In 1979, he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the President’s National Commission on Neighborhoods, serving as Chair on the Committee on Governance, Citizen Participation and Empowerment. Peter was a founding member of the Hungarian American Coalition (1991), founding member of Toledo Sister Cities Committee (1986), and former Field Director for the National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs in Washington, D.C. (1973-1975). He has been married to his wife Betty for over 40 years and they have four children, Andrew, Krisztina, Betsy, and Suzie.
Adjunct Professor-Elon School of Law – State and Local Government, Elon University School of Law
Greensboro, North Carolina
Adjunct Professor of Law- Wake Forest Law School – State and Local Government; Adjunct Professor of Law – Elon School of Law- State and Local Government; Former State Senator; Former Mayor Pro Tem and city Councilman – City of Greensboro; Practicing Attorney – Greensboro
President & CEO, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership
As President and CEO, Mr. Waldrup is responsible for working with the Board of Directors, stakeholders and staff to create and implement a vision that ensures Downtown Pittsburgh remains a vibrant and innovative place to live, work and play. Prior to joining the PDP, Mr. Waldrup worked to support economic development initiatives with the City of New York serving as Assistant Commissioner of District Development for the Department of Small Business Services. Mr. Waldrup also worked in business support and community development with the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and at Charlotte Center City Partners. In the private sector, Jeremy worked as a consultant for the downtown master plans of Schenectady, NY and for his hometown of Asheville, NC. Mr. Waldrup received a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Colorado and a B.A. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Executive Director, Big Car
Jim Walker is a designer, public artist, and writer. He’s founder and executive director of Big Car Collaborative, a 10-year-old nonprofit community creativity organization based in Indianapolis. Big Car’s focus is improving the quality of life of Indianapolis residents through art and cultural collaborations. He also annually organizes TEDxIndianapolis and produces the Indianapolis 48 Hour Film Project; in addition to traveling regularly to other cities to gather information and present to others about his work. In 2013, CEOS for Cities honored Walker as a City Changemaker. And The Arts Council of Indianapolis twice selected Walker as a Creative Renewal fellow, first as a writer and most recently as a visual artist.
Owner, 52nd Street Market
Working with food and food service since the age of 15, Dora’s experiences in the non-profit sector shaped her understanding of social justice and equitable food access. Since then, her desire to positively impact the world has continued to evolve with every new person she meets and each new opportunity that presents itself to her. Most recently, she became one part of a duo that re-opened a vacant corner store in Upper Lawrenceville. Their vision is to grow the business to include an urban farm, production greenhouses and a foundation to support the evolving needs of their neighborhood and beyond. In addition to running her small business, Dora works part-time for the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, a coalition of food systems stakeholders, that’s being incubated by Penn State Extension
Director of Marketing & Outreach, Economic Opportunities through Education
Columbus , Indiana
As the Communications Director for a ten-county regional economic development initiative known as Economic Opportunities through Education (EcO15), Weber works with area EcO15 County Coordinators, Dream It. Do It. High School Champions and student ambassadors, industry leaders, and educational institutions (both secondary and post secondary) in the ten-county region that makes up Indiana Region 9: Bartholomew, Dearborn, Decatur, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley, and Switzerland Counties. The overarching goal of the initiative is to help each person move up at least one level or more in their education, training, or job placement within the region’s strongest economic clusters.
VP of Operations for Community Schools, Great Schools Partnership
Stephanie has been with the Great Schools Partnership since July 2013 and is responsible for implementing community schools in Knox County, Tennessee. Prior to joining Great Schools, she worked in local and regional public health in East Tennessee for fifteen years, with a focus on community development, collaborative health improvement planning, nutrition, physical activity, and health inequities. Stephanie earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from the University of New Hampshire and a dual Masters in Public Health and Nutrition from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She serves as a Major in the United States Army Reserve, and is the Executive Officer of a Medical Support Unit in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Director, Administrative Services, Milwaukee County
County Executive Chris Abele appointed Teig Whaley-Smith to serve as Economic Development Director of Milwaukee County in 2013 and the Director of Administrative Services in 2015. As the County’s Economic Development Director, Teig was responsible for managing the County’s real estate portfolio, creating $6,000,000 in land sales and nearly $25,000,000 in tax base and over 1,400 construction related jobs. As the Director of Administrative Services, Teig is responsible for oversight of the County Budget, Facilities, Procurement, Economic Development, Information Technology and several other divisions. Currently, Teig is spearheading the consolidated facilities planning effort to modernize Milwaukee County’s physical footprint, an exercise that is already projected to save the County more than $25 million.
Mayor Nan Whaley
City of Dayton
Upon assuming the office of Mayor is 2014, Nan chose to focus on jobs, workforce development, education and strengthening neighborhoods. Her career is distinguished by her commitment to public service, civic involvement and interest in local government. First elected to the Dayton City Commission in 2005, Nan has also served on the Montgomery County Board of Elections and as a deputy to Montgomery County Auditor.
President and CEO, Leadership Knoxville
Tammy White is the President / CEO of Leadership Knoxville, having served in this capacity since March of 2009. Prior to joining Leadership Knoxville she served as the Executive Director of Innovation Valley Health Information Network, where she oversaw the stateâ€™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 â€“ 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.
Sr. Project Manager, Portland Development Commission
3.5 years ago I was in search for a new challenge and moved to Portland, Oregon. I instantly fell in love with the city’s small-town feel, its vibrant urban core, walkability – you’ll find me around town extolling the virtues of this place alongside my wife, Mary, and our arthritic 12-year old black lab mix Blixen. My work at the Portland Development Commission is focused on improving the economic condition and quality of life for everyone in Portland. I focus on creating more mutually beneficial public-private partnerships, strengthening the software industry, bringing more efficiency to government and fostering a business climate that allows businesses to form and grow. I’m a public servant who loves my job and the people I get to work with on a daily basis.
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Center for Houston’s Future
John Wilburn joined the Center for Houston’s Future in August 2013 as Director of Strategic Initiatives. His career spans print, broadcast, and online journalism, primarily in Houston. Wilburn spent a decade at the Houston Chronicle, serving five years as managing editor and four years as opinion editor. Before joining the Chronicle he piloted newspapers and magazines in all three of Texas’ big cities: as managing editor of Houston City Magazine, creator and editor of Viva (the Sunday magazine of the San Antonio Light), managing editor of Dallas Life (the Sunday magazine of The Dallas Morning News) and founding editor of the Houston Press. Following his tenure at the Press, Wilburn spent four years as a reporter and producer for Talking With David Frost. Wilburn then enjoyed a five-year sojourn in new media, first as founder and executive producer of Microsoft’s MSN Sidewalk/Houston, then as news and operations manager of KHOU.com, the website of Houston’s CBS television affiliate.
Executive Director, North Market Development Authority
As Executive Director, I lead the historic North Market with a focus on being “best in class” in all we do. Annually more than 1.5 million people visit North Market making it one of the most successful public markets in the country and a significant economic engine and attraction for central Ohio. I strive to preserve the rich history of our market and neighborhood while constantly moving forward to ensure a compelling, authentic and “one-of a-kind” experience.
Director, City of Houston Office of Business Opportunity
Carlecia D. Wright, Director for the City of Houston Office of Business Opportunity, leads the City’s supplier diversity and small business programs. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Columbia College of Chicago and a Master’s Degree from New York University. Carlecia is a 2013 Houston Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree and proud graduate of the Center for Houston’s Future and Leadership Houston.
Consultant, Z Consulting
Kathy is a consultant for Z Consulting, a company she started in January 2014. She provides education and workforce development consulting to help business and community leaders see the potential for improving the educational attainment of their citizens. Prior to starting her own company Kathy was the Vice President of Education and Workforce Development for Greater Louisville Inc. the metro chamber of commerce where she was responsible for connecting the business community with the educational systems Pre-K to PhD. She served as Greater Louisville, Inc. (GLI) key liaison in the community-wide collaborative of increasing educational attainment leading to the signing of the Greater Louisville Education commitment and the formation of 55,000 Degrees.
Vice President, The Forbes Funds
Matt Zieger joined The Forbes Funds in August of 2014 as Executive-in-Residence for Social Innovation. Since moving to Pittsburgh, Matt has led The Forbes Funds efforts to build the capacity of the nonprofit sector through innovative applications of capital, technology, and collaboration. As a component of this work, he has led the design and launch of the region’s first early stage impact investing platform focused on developing advanced technologies to improve the effectiveness of the nonprofit sector. As the former CEO of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Economic Development public private/partnership, Matt has fifteen years of experience bringing together the highest levels of public and private leadership around a common mission of improving our communities.