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Announcing the 2017 Leadership Now: Ohio Fellows

By October 18, 2017December 21st, 20172 Comments

Rockwood is proud to announce the 2017 inaugural cohort of the Leadership Now: Ohio Fellowship!

Rockwood has partnered with the Ohio Transformation Fund to offer an eight-month cross-sector fellowship program for 24 social change leaders in Ohio designed to create dramatic shifts in leaders’ capacity to engage their organizations and communities to build networks to drive statewide strategy. Participants will develop leadership practices within a diverse cohort that is committed to building long-term civic capacity, and to driving the vision of systematic change in Ohio.

Please join us in congratulating the 2017-18 Fellows:

Erika Anthony | Vice President of Government Relations and Strategy, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress

Erika, a native New Yorker, is currently the Vice President of Government Relations and Strategy for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. Erika is a co-founder for Cleveland VOTES and Hack Cleveland. She also sits on a few boards in Cleveland. Erika and her husband Brian reside in Cleveland, enjoy travelling, and spending time with family and friends.


Myriesha Barber | Behavioral Specialist, Community Solidarity Response Network of Toledo

Myriesha is a part of the Community Solidarity Response Network of Toledo, which directly advocates for equal justice for all people regardless of color, class, or creed, and actively encourages community engagement. She is passionate about promoting equality and peace for all, and hopes to be directly involved in the changing modes of thought that heavily emphasize caring for others. She also strives to relate to others what it means to be free within yourself, as well as within your own environment. Most importantly, she understands the importance of solidarity in the social change movement and is honored to be a part of this partnership.


Misha Barnes | Executive Director, LEAD Ohio

Misha is the executive director of LEAD Ohio, an organization committed to developing a pipeline of progressive leaders and candidates across Ohio. With experience in strategy development, campaign finance and fundraising, staff and volunteer management, event management, logistics and scheduling, and coalition-building, she has worked on key candidate and issue campaigns across Ohio, developing statewide relationships to effectively advance a progressive agenda. Misha is also leading the Ohio Progressive Collaborative, a new statewide donor collaborative, which aligns individual, institutional, and foundation funders to support core infrastructure work critical to advancing a progressive agenda in the state.


Sarah Braun | Network Action Team Manager, Eastern Ohio Education Partnership

Sarah is a licensed social worker who holds a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Community Health and Sociology from Brown University. Sarah works as the Network Action Team Manager at Eastern Ohio Education Partnership, where her primary role is as a catalyst for cross-sector collective impact across the Mahoning Valley in four focus areas: early childhood education, third grade reading, eighth grade mathematics proficiency, and postsecondary and career readiness. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Social Work Department at Youngstown State University.


Mike Brickner | Senior Policy Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio

Mike is the senior policy director at the ACLU of Ohio. During his tenure at the ACLU, Mike has worked on a variety of critical civil liberties movements. These include coordinating campaigns to expand and protect the right to vote, combating privatization of prisons, and promoting reforms to Ohio’s criminal justice system. Several reports Mike has co-authored have led to considerable change within the criminal justice system on issues ranging from debtors’ prison, pay-to-stay jail fees, sentencing reform, juvenile justice and prisons for profit. Mike also produced the film “Prisons for Profit,” which chronicled the first 18 months that the Lake Erie Correctional Institution was sold to Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest private prison operator. The film screened at the Cleveland International Film Festival, as well as festivals in Chicago, Atlanta, and Long Island. Mike is an Eagle Scout, and earned his master’s degree from Cleveland State University’s Diversity Management Program.


Judith Chavis | Executive Vice President/Public Policy & Special Projects, American Association of Service Coordinators

Judith has more than 25 years of association, legislative, and administrative policy experience related to programs and services for low-income people. At AASC, Judith is responsible for the development and promotion of recommended standards of practice for service coordinators. She provides technical assistance and training on the policies and fundamentals of service coordination. Judith also spearheads the organization’s legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels. Judith holds a master’s degree in public administration from Ohio University and a bachelor’s degree with honors in Political Science/Sociology from The Ohio State University.


Damareo Cooper | Executive Director, Ohio Organizing Collaborative

Damareo is the executive director of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a statewide organization dedicated to improving the lives of everyday Ohioans. He has played an integral role in shaping and developing the OOC’s electoral and community organizing campaigns across the state since 2008. His passion for organizing grew out of the love for the community in which he was raised, and currently lives (Akron, Ohio). Damareo has spent his career working with leaders in communities of color, and developing campaigns to address issues of race and economic inequality in grassroots communities. Over the last decade, he has worked on statewide and local electoral campaigns by training hundreds of low-income grassroots activists. In an effort to integrate community organizing and civic engagement models, he conducted training in traditional organizing, movement building, and running effective civic engagement programs to create a larger community impact.


Erin Davies | Executive Director, Juvenile Justice Coalition

Erin became the executive director of JJC in July 2014. Erin works with all three of Ohio’s branches of government to promote best practices and outcomes for youth in the juvenile courts. She has issued several reports on youth justice issues, and works with youth in JJC’s Voices of the Unheard group to help them share their experiences with policymakers and to integrate youth input into policy decisions.


Deaudra Edgerson | Family Advocate, Headstart & Vice President, Raymond John Wean Emerging Leaders Alumni Association

DeAudra is 1/2 artist, 1/4 geek, 1/4 social activist, and 1/4 philosopher. She graduated from Youngstown State University with a degree in Applied Science and a minor in philosophy, and went on to work with several organizations in Trumbull and Mahoning County. She has been honored to be an asset in a diverse range of leadership opportunities, including President of Bridges out of Poverty Student Union at Youngstown State University and Assistant Director for Trumbull County Take Flight. An advocate who works with low income families, DeAudra knows that she was created to help others, and that helping others is how we change the world. She believes that “nothing will change if we don’t change it”.


Hannah Ferguson | Enrollment Specialist, The Colony Youngstown

A native of Youngstown, Hannah received her bachelor’s degree from Kent State University in 2004, then later her MBA from Keller Graduate School in Orlando, FL where she lived for 6 years. Since moving back to Youngstown in 2013, she has volunteered with many local nonprofit organizations. She is the Vice President of Silence Prevents education and Knowledge (S.P.E.A.K.), as well as the co-founder of The Colony Youngstown. Hannah is a member and recent graduate of the WE Create and Launch Programs at the Youngstown Business Incubator, where she is pursuing opening an Urban Winery in Youngstown. She is a proud owner/mother to a 5-year-old miniature schnauzer Roman.


Hannah Halbert | Researcher, Policy Matters Ohio

Hannah came to Policy Matters from the Equal Justice Foundation and the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. In both places, she represented low-income consumers who had been victimized by predatory lenders of different types. Hannah has both a master’s in nonprofit management, and a law degree from Hamline University. Her undergraduate degree is from Transylvania University. She tweets at @HannahHalbert.


Bennyce Hamilton | Regional Director of Diversity & Multicultural Services, Miami University Regionals

Bennyce is a retired Cincinnati firefighter/paramedic and former language arts teacher. She is currently the Director of Diversity & Multicultural Services for Miami University’s Regional campuses. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Kentucky State University, and her M.Ed. and Ed.D. from the University of Cincinnati. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Bennyce wants to write an article that chronicles her career, from firefighting to higher education administration, and hopes to have it published. She loves to read, sing, and travel. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Prentiss Haney | Executive Director, Ohio Student Association

Prentiss started organizing with Organizing for America, registering students and building campus teams. He joined OSA to continue building student power, playing roles ranging from training coordinator to communication director, where he built up a social media presence and strengthened internal communication structures. He has developed campus teams, trained hundreds of leaders, and led racial justice and higher education campaigns.


Amanda Hoyt | State Campaign Director, Ohio Organizing Collaborative

Amanda recently started as the Campaign Coordinator for the Ohio Organizing Collaborative. Previously she was leading the Ohio Faith in Public Life office, where she brought campaign sophistication and strategic communication to the faith community. Amanda’s own evangelical faith background and political and policy training help guide her in organizing faith leaders. She was the Minority Chief of Staff at the Ohio Senate for three years where she led her legislative team in policy, communications, strategy, and political maneuvering. In 2007, Amanda was asked to manage a billion dollar portfolio for the Ohio Treasurers Office. She successfully invested over $170 million into Ohio’s economy in an 18 month period of time specifically assisting small businesses grow. She received her Bachelor of Arts from The Ohio State University and is a prior service member in the United States Army Reserves, Medical Corp.


Alana Jochum | Executive Director, Equality Ohio

Alana is an attorney and executive director of Equality Ohio, where she has the privilege of advocating for LGBTQ equality statewide. She has been passionately engaged in the fight for LGBTQ equality at the local, state, national, and international levels for more than a decade. She received her B.A. in English and B.S. in Psychology from Baldwin Wallace University. After college, Alana traveled to Mumbai, India to volunteer with the Humsafar Trust, a nongovernmental organization working to advance LGBTQ equality in India. She worked at United Way of Greater Cleveland and continued her LGBTQ volunteer work through the Human Rights Campaign. Alana attended Cleveland Marshall College of Law where she served as Editor in Chief of the Cleveland State Law Review. She became an Associate at Squire Patton Boggs, LLP where she focused her legal practice on complex civil litigation, international law, product liability disputes and other commercial litigation.


Stephen Johnson Grove | Deputy Director for Policy, Ohio Justice & Policy Center

Stephen is Deputy Director for Policy at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center. Since 2005, he has led efforts to remove barriers for people with criminal records and to shrink the prison population, including drafting local and state legislation, and representing over a hundred clients in state and federal court. Stephen lives in Cincinnati with his wife and two daughters.


Jaime Miracle | Deputy Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

Jaime is the deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. Before entering into her current role, she served as field organizer and policy director. She is the chair of the Freedom of Choice Ohio coalition, and has served on the board of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence and the leadership teams of Ohio Voice and America Votes. Prior to moving into the social change movement, she worked as a researcher at the Ohio State University College of Optometry and College of Medicine. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her partner of nearly 17 years.


Kelly Novak | Director of Health Education and Outreach, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio

In her role, Kelly oversees the acquisition, implementation, and successful execution of an array of grant-based education and outreach programs in alignment with Planned Parenthood’s mission and philosophies. She regularly collaborates with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio and other progressive entities to advocate for Planned Parenthood and reproductive health care access. Prior to this role, Kelly completed long-term volunteer projects in Kayamandi, South Africa, and in Brasov, Romania as a writer and editor for The Brasov Visitor. Kelly received her B.A. in Journalism, with a minor in Politics and Government and a concentration in Psychology, cum laude, from Ohio Wesleyan University. She currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio.


Debbie Phillips | Development Director, Rural Action

Debbie is the Development Director of Rural Action, a member-based community development organization in Appalachian Ohio. Prior to this position, she served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for eight years, and as a member of House leadership. Phillips has built a career working for civic engagement, high-quality public education, clean energy, local economies, and strong communities. She lives on a farm with her husband and children.


Khaled Salehi | State Director, America Votes – Ohio

Khaled has a range of experience providing strategic counsel for a wide range of public, private, and nonprofit entities. Khaled has managed political, public affairs, coalition building, and issue campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels. He has provided creative strategies and actionable insights to organizations and campaigns to solve vexing problems or leverage emerging opportunities. Khaled has led America Votes – Ohio since 2009. His focus is on developing strategies to build the progressive infrastructure in Ohio to address engagement challenges and expanding the progressive voting base. He studied Political Science and International Relations at the University of Akron. His diverse education and training includes certificates in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution and Management. A native of Afghanistan, Khaled grew up in northeastern Ohio, and currently resides in Columbus with his wife and daughter.


Kimlee Sureemee | Manager of Policy & Development, Asian Services In Action, Inc.

Kimlee knows first-hand that communities that work together change together. Her priorities focus on the civic engagement among Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) and new American communities across Ohio. She manages the ACE Network, the largest statewide civic engagement network focused on electoral and capacity building in the new American and immigrant community. In addition to her work, she has experience in media & communications and fundraising & major gifts. She has secured donations from big corporations such as Chase Bank, MetroHealth Systems, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and landed coverage in print and broadcast outlets, including NBC, Crain’s, and Akron Beacon Journal. Kimlee holds a degree in International European Affairs from Cleveland State University.


Heather Taylor-Miesle | Executive Director, Ohio Environmental Council

Heather has almost 20 years of experience advocating for greater conservation and public health protections, and working with our nation’s top decision-makers to advance public policy. Prior to joining the OEC, Heather was the leader of the NRDC Action Fund, where she grew the organization from concept to a environmental powerhouse in national politics. She also served as the NRDC’s deputy legislative director, worked with Fortune 500 companies and Native American Tribes to strengthen their sustainability practices, and held key aide positions on Capitol Hill. Heather graduated from Marietta College and earned her master’s of public administration from the University of Southern California.


Nicole Thomas | Director of Community Organizing, New Voices for Reproductive Justice

Nicole is a dynamic speaker, trainer, facilitator, and community engagement consultant. In 2013, Nicole pursued her interest in legislative advocacy as Northeast Coordinator with Equality Ohio, a statewide LGBTQ organization. In 2015, she co-founded Hack Cleveland, a working collective focused on advancing social justice using technology. Additionally, she took on the role of Manager – General Operating Support for Cuyahoga Arts & Culture in Cleveland, OH where she managed a $12.7M grant portfolio. Nicole was a 2015 White House Tech and Innovation Fellow and currently works to advance the complete health and well being of black women, girls ,and femmes as Director of Community Organizing at New Voices for Reproductive Justice.


Antonia Webb | Ohio Political Director, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

Toni was born and raised in central Illinois. She is a graduate of Millikin University and Saint Louis University School of Law. Toni started working in politics during the 2008 presidential campaign, and has continued working on campaigns, elections, and voter engagement ever since. Her career with AFSCME International began in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2010. She has since worked on political and issue campaigns for AFSCME in states all across the Mid-West and East Coast, including Ohio’s SB5/Issue 2 labor campaign, Indiana’s Right-to-Work fight, Wisconsin’s Recall Walker campaign, and dozens of other labor and independent expenditure campaigns. Toni now calls Columbus, Ohio home and is AFSCME International’s political director for the state. She is currently the state director of For Our Future, the progressive Super PAC and 501(c)4 organization dedicated to building progressive infrastructure in the state of Ohio.