Fellows bring a wide range of expertise and distinguished service in public and private sectors

Columbus, Ohio — Leadership Ohio, the state’s premier leadership development program that connects diverse leaders from across Ohio to promote positive change, is pleased to announce the class of 2023. After receiving over 120 nominations, and through a competitive selection process, 35 individuals have been appointed Leadership Ohio Fellows. Over the next eight months, these leaders will engage in in-depth explorations of critical questions, challenges, and opportunities facing Ohio and its people. 

“This is a distinguished group of accomplished individuals from all across the state,” said James W. Murray, president of the board of trustees, Leadership Ohio. “Ohio needs effective and civil leadership in today’s polarized society, and we are excited to welcome this diverse cross-sector cohort to Leadership Ohio today.” 

The Class of 2023 participants come from a variety of industries, including business, healthcare, education, and government. Fellows hail from many corners of the state, and represent a spectrum of ideological viewpoints. This year’s class includes leaders from organizations such as Taft Law, Ohio Department of Transportation, JP Morgan Chase, and Goodwill Ohio, and includes a record eight elected and appointed government officials.

Fellows will engage in a series of intensive sessions that cover topics such as the state judiciary, small town resurgence, and civil discourse while being exposed to an influential network of decision makers. Fellows will also develop Ohio Impact Projects taking direct action on a pressing issue or opportunity to benefit Ohio. Importantly, they will build impactful relationships with other leaders from around the state with goals for lasting change. 

“We are excited to welcome the Class of 2023 to Leadership Ohio,” said Dr. Lisa Duty, executive director of Leadership Ohio. “These distinguished individuals are part of a growing network of change-makers and innovators who are on the leading edge of solutions for a future-driven Ohio.”

Upon graduation, Fellows are inducted into the Leadership Ohio alumni network comprised of accomplished, diverse, talented Ohioans. Leadership Ohio’s alumni reside in Ohio cities big and small, lead major companies and nonprofits, launch small businesses, and serve in government agencies, elected offices, commissions, and Ohio’s boardrooms.

For more information about Leadership Ohio, visit www.leadershipohio.org. Nominations for the Class of 2024 open in Autumn 2023.

Meet the Leadership Ohio Class of 2023

Akron MSA

Frank Favaro (Munroe Falls) Founder, ServeCentric Coaching

Judge David Hamilton (Akron) Administrative/Presiding Judge, Akron Municipal Court

Jacqueline Opal (Akron) Chief People Officer, STV Incorporated

Daniel Sublett, MBA (Wadsworth) President,  J.W. Didado Electric

Canton-Massillon MSA

Joseph French, M.Ed. (Canton) Chief Executive Officer, Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health

Brook Harless (North Canton) Government Affairs Director, Stark Trumbull Area Realtors Association

Sharon Perkins (Uniontown) Director of Opportunity Development, Clean Energy, The Babcock & Wilcox Company

Ryan Schmidt (Massillon) Founder & CEO, SKYCATCHFIRE

Cincinnati MSA

Karl Dostal, CPA, CFP (Cincinnati) Cincinnati Market Leader, Partner, MCM CPAs and Advisors

Joshua Smith (Hamilton) City Manager, City of Hamilton

Cleveland-Elyria MSA

Julianne Bedel (Spencer) Director, Medina County District Library

Robert Girton (Shaker Heights) Partner, Edgewater Capital Partners

Elizabeth P. Maiden (Amherst) Executive Director, Erie County Community Foundation

Chavone Taylor Nash, M.A. (Woodmere Village) Community & Pro Bono Programs Specialist, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association

LaRese Purnell (Hudson) Managing Partner, CLE Consulting Firm

Clifton R. S. Williams III (Chagrin Falls) Director of Public Affairs, Taft Advisors

Columbus MSA

Michelle Blanton (Circleville) University Registrar, Ohio Christian University

Stephanie Bosco, OhioCED (Bexley) Executive Director, Lancaster Port Authority

Darrell Butler, P.E. (Dublin) General Manager, Ohio at Burns & McDonnell

Mary Cannon, M.N.M. (Bexley) Director of AmeriCorps, Ohio Commission on Service and Volunteerism (ServeOhio)

Elizabeth Curtis (Delaware) Regional School Improvement Facilitator for English Language Learners, Educational Service Center of Central Ohio

Chad Downing (Columbus) Principal, Downing Community Advisors

Sara Downs (Dublin) Chief Financial Officer, Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)

Ohilebo Prince Garuba (Columbus) Executive Director, The Ohio Association of Goodwill Industries (OAGI)

Lynanne Gutierrez, Esq. (Columbus) Chief Operating & Policy Officer, Groundwork Ohio

Neethi Johnson, MBA (New Albany) Vice President, Digital at JPMorgan Chase

Taylor Manahan (Bellefontaine) Director, Advanced Mobility, Transportation Research Center Inc.

Frankie Morales (Groveport) AMI & Support Supervisor, AEP

Diana Welling, M.H.P. (Columbus) Department Head & Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer for Resource Protection & Review, State Historic Preservation Office, Ohio History Connection

Dayton MSA

Vanessa Glotfelter, P.E. (Miamisburg) Director of Engineering, Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District

Amy Riegel (Dayton) Executive Director, Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO)

Mansfield MSA

Averee Richardson (Bucyrus) Executive Director, Bucyrus Area Chamber of Commerce & Bucyrus Tourism & Visitors Bureau

Springfield MSA

Jawwad Love (Springfield) Senior Pastor, Covenant United Methodist Church

Toledo MSA

Dennis Kennedy (Whitehouse) Commissioner of Urban Beautification, City of Toledo

Sam Melden (Toledo) Chief Communications & External Affairs Officer, Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA)