Susan Brownknight, CEO of Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled (LADD)

Susan is a nonprofit executive with over 20 years of experience leading and/or working with local, state, and national organizations. She can provide the vision, strategic planning, and effective fundraising to pursue and achieve a just mission that furthers inclusive, vibrant, and sustainable communities. 

Philip Cunningham, Director, Strong Consulting 

As Director of Strong Consulting, Philip leads the strategic direction and program operations for Strong Cincinnati. He provides coaching and supervision for the Strong Team. While working with Mayerson Academy’s Strong Cincinnati Institute, which engages cohorts of local organizations in using strengths-based practices to transform workplace cultures and unleash the potential of people in order to increase performance, he’s shown himself to be a talented facilitator, consultant, strategist, and relationship builder. In addition, Philip also provides consultation on topics such as organizational development, adult learning, leadership development, public and private partnerships, educational product development, design thinking and workforce development. Before joining Mayerson Academy, Philip led marketing and development efforts at McGraw Hill Education/Cengage Learning as the Market Development Team Leader and Marketing Manager. Philip earned his MBA from the University of Toledo.

Mary Delaney, Executive Director and Founder of Community Matters

Mary has worked in the Lower Price Hill community since 2010 as an educator, organizer, and non-profit leader. In 2014, she helped found Community Matters. As a community organizer, she believes in the power and potential of the Lower Price Hill community. Mary leads Community Matters with a focus on investing in the strengths and assets within the community to build a thriving and equitable future. Mary holds a BA in International Affairs from Xavier University, with a focus on international economic development. In addition to her work at Community Matters, Mary currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Leadership Council for Nonprofits, the Ohio CDC Association, and the WCPO Community Advisory Board.

Wes Ernst, Director of Health Care and Non-Profit Entities at BKD

Wes serves a range of clients in the health care and non-profit industries. Specifically, I focus on providing audit and consulting services to health systems, community health centers, foundations, and universities.

Vanessa Freytag, CEO at 4C for Children

The mission of 4C for Children is to educate and support the adults who care for young children and advocate for public support for quality early education and care for all children.  4C was founded in 1972 by a coalition of agencies and funders with the purpose of coordinating, planning, and advocating for quality child care for working families. Early work included planning studies, training, and technical assistance. In the 1980s a strong focus was added—to assist parents in finding and choosing child care and to increase the supply of quality care. Subsequently, 4C has built its services to families along with concentration on improving the quality of early learning and care for all children.

Jessica Haag, CPA, Director, BKD CPAs and Advisors

Jessica has over 13 years of experience providing assurance, accounting, consulting, and compliance services to colleges and universities, foundations, and other not-for-profit organizations. Experience with audits under Uniform Guidance (Single Audit) and Government Auditing Standards (Yellow Book), internal control evaluation and best practices, financial reporting, and accounting standards implementation.

As an Office Champion of BKD's SKY Initiative, I promote the firm’s diversity and inclusion strategies by acting as an inclusion advocate, facilitating live educational events, provide recommendations to the SKY Advisory Council and collaborate with other SKY Champions and the SKY Advisory Council. 

Michael Jones, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Cincinnati

Michael Jones is an Associate Professor, Educator of Economics at the University of Cincinnati. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Notre Dame and his M.B.A. from the University of Cincinnati. Prior to receiving his Ph.D., he worked as a Senior Research Analyst for the Nielsen Company and as a Senior Business Development Manager at Cincinnati Bell. He is currently the Executive Director for the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute and the Academic Director for the MS Applied Economics program at the University of Cincinnati.

Priya Klocek, President & CEO of Consultant on the Go LLC

Priya Dhingra Klocek is a business consultant, executive coach, mentor, and facilitator. She is the President & CEO of Consultant On The Go LLC, a consulting firm that focuses on diagnosing and improving the fundamental human interactions upon which all successful businesses are built.

Joe Moorman, Senior Director of Organizational and Community Development at Mayerson Academy

As Senior Director of Organizational and Community Development, Joe leads Mayerson Academy’s efforts to strengthen workplaces and neighborhoods across Cincinnati and beyond. He has led the development of MA’s Strong Cincinnati Institute, which engages cohorts of local organizations in using strengths-based practices to transform workplace engagement, performance, and wellbeing. He also provides strategic consultation and coaching to individuals and organizations on topics such as professional learning, change management, leadership development, program design, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Prior to joining Mayerson Academy, Joe worked in several roles for Teach For America, including as Senior Managing Director for Teach For America’s Arkansas region, Chief of Staff for Regional Operations, and Founding Executive Director for Teach For America – Delaware. He discovered his passion for education as a 7th and 8th grade English teacher and head basketball coach in Philadelphia. Joe received his undergraduate degree from Xavier University’s Philosophy, Politics and the Public honors program and earned his M.Ed in urban education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jeff O'Neil, President & CEO of Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services

Jeff O’Neil started with GCB in 1991, working the night shift in one of the organization’s intensive residential group homes. He held various positions within the organization, eventually becoming the Director of Care Management and overseeing the launch of GCB’s Primary and Behavioral Healthcare Integration program. He served as the Associate Programs Officer before being appointed President / CEO in 2013. Jeff has spent his entire career in the field of mental health and has always enjoyed worked shoulder-to-shoulder with others who feel a genuine passion for helping this population. Now, he is excited to lead an organization that develops leading-edge services that help people with severe mental illnesses. Jeff has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati, and a Master’s in Education from Xavier University, with a focus in Agency and Community Counseling. He holds an independent clinical licensure (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor). Jeff also served in the Ohio National Guard for six years.

Jane Page Steiner, President & CEO of JPS Nonprofit Strategies

Jane Page-Steiner, president of JPS Nonprofit Strategies is a respected nonprofit consultant and public speaker. She has been a part of the not-for-profit community for more than 28 years. Jane founded JPS Nonprofit Strategies in 2007 because of her passion and commitment to helping nonprofits with organizational and board development. She provides customized training and planning that enables nonprofits to realize their goals. Jane works with nonprofits to quickly and accurately assess organizational needs and create a customized process that builds group consensus on solutions and next steps.

Jane’s years as a consultant and her first-hand experiences as an Executive Director and a board member offer nonprofits the opportunity to work with someone who uniquely understands the culture and challenges of nonprofits.

Jane is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer. She partners with BoardSource to provide trainings and workshops that enable board members and staff to work more efficiently and effectively. She joined this select group of expert trainers after completing a rigorous application and certification process and is now certified to deliver BoardSource’s signature nonprofit governance trainings. Jane is a respected speaker and trainer and regularly presents at national, regional, and local nonprofit conferences.

Barkha Patel, Director of Education and Senior Counsel at Pro Bono Partnership of Ohio

Barkha Patel, Director of Education and Senior Counsel at Pro Bono Partnership of Ohio, focuses on nonprofit-specific legal issues and nonprofit education. Barkha provides direct legal services to nonprofit groups, coordinates and supervises the work of volunteer attorneys, and lectures on legal issues for nonprofits and attorneys.

Prior to joining PBPO, Barkha was an attorney in private practice, returned to graduate business school, and worked for a global performance management company. She is a member of the Cincinnati Bar Association Nonprofit Law Practice Group and a Cincinnati Academy of Leadership for Lawyers (CALL) class graduate.

Jorge Perez, President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati

Jorge Perez is the president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, a leading nonprofit organization that operates 14 branches, one overnight camp, and 80 childhood learning centers across Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. He is the first Latino-American to lead the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati in its 164-year history of offering programs and services that nurture the potential of every adult and child, promoting health and well-being and encouraging social responsibility.

Michele Plessinger, Partner

Michele joined Gilman Partners in 2004 and is the co-leader of our Nonprofit Leadership Practice. Michele enjoys leading nonprofit searches because of the deep relationships she builds with search committees and the impact each hire has on both the organization and the community. In addition to her work with nonprofit organizations, Michele leads executive/C-suite searches as well as senior-level searches in finance and accounting, manufacturing, operations, human resources, and sales/marketing.

Michele came to Gilman Partners with 15 years of HR, recruiting, and labor relations experience in manufacturing, technology, and consulting firms. Early in her career she worked in HR/labor relations with General Motors and then in New York City with healthcare and technology consulting firms. A Deloitte alumna, Michele has extensive expertise in recruiting for the consulting, finance, and accounting industries. She has evaluated the behavioral assessments of thousands of job candidates and currently leads Gilman Partners’ use of the Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment.

Scott Provancher, President & CEO of Ignite Philanthropy

Scott is the founder and CEO of Ignite Philanthropy, a philanthropic consulting firm based in Cincinnati. Ignite Philanthropy works with private donors and non-profit organizations to  leverage their resources and ideas to achieve greater impact in the communities they serve. In 2020, Ignite raised over $55 million for its non-profit clients and distributed more than $6 million in community grant making through its foundation partners.

A recipient of The Association of Fundraising Professionals’ highest international fundraising honor, the Campbell & Company Award for Excellence in Fundraising, Scott has helped to raise over $750 million for organizations and community initiatives throughout his career. Prior to Ignite Philanthropy, Scott served as President of the Arts & Science Council where he led efforts to secure over $100 million in public and private support for Charlotte’s cultural sector. A seasoned non-profit executive, Scott also served as Vice President and Campaign Director for ArtsWave, Executive Director of the Louisville Orchestra and the Rockford Symphony, and held fundraising positions for the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.

Beth Schwartz, President & CEO of Cincinnati Union Bethel

Beth has 18+ years of experience in dynamic organizational settings, including the past 13 years in positions of bottom-line accountability.  She has a demonstrated history of success in creating and implementing comprehensive nonprofit programs.  She is adept at developing multimillion-dollar partnerships with public funders, private donors, and foundations.  She is a hands-on leader who is accessible, relatable, and connected to clients and staff.  She is an effective communicator highly skilled in multiple environments.  She has served as the President and CEO of Cincinnati Union Bethel since November of 2017.  Prior to CUB, Beth served as the CEO of Jewish Family Service from 2006 to 2017.

Beth Short, Charitable Law Section of the Ohio Attorney General's Office

Beth Short handles outreach and education for the Ohio Attorney General's charitable law section and has spent her career working for and with nonprofit organizations. Short's work in the charitable law section focuses on the development of strategies aimed at strengthening the nonprofit sector.

Calista Smith, President, Scale Strategic Solutions

In 2011, Calista Smith began C H Smith & Associates dba Scale Strategic Solutions to transform information into action. 

Smith leads the organization in service to efforts focused on the greater good for communities. In her work with Scale Strategic Solutions, Calista has served as project manager and lead consultant on implementation and program evaluation projects for Interact for Health, Ohio Department of Higher Education, the Ohio Department of Education, Westat, and regional councils of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund. Her work has also included strategic planning services and stakeholder facilitation. She has facilitated strategic planning processes for organizations such as the Institute for Higher Education Policy, GRAD Cincinnati, Civitas Development Group, and Middletown Moving Forward.

Before starting the firm, Calista was supervisor of development at Butler Tech and had previously managed industrial programs for adult workforce education for the career-technical school district. Calista was also as a senior consultant with Haverstick Consulting, facilitating teams in project management methodologies to create business plans and implement technology applications. Calista started her career with KnowledgeWorks Foundation, holding various roles in public relations, program evaluation, development, and grant selection and monitoring.

Calista is a certified project management professional (PMP) with a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and bachelor's degrees in Communications and the Honors Program from Villanova University.

Calista also volunteers as board president of Lydia’s House, Inc., a shelter and permanent stable housing community in the Catholic Worker hospitality tradition, and as chair of the St. Gabriel Consolidated School curriculum committee.

Janice Weiss, Senior Manager of Strengths-Based Initiatives at Mayerson Academy

As Senior Manager Strengths-Based Initiatives, Janice collaborates with organizations and businesses to infuse workplace cultures with a strengths-based mindset, sharing hands-on character-strength tools uniquely designed to inspire authentic employee well-being and everyday associate engagement. She’s a serial entrepreneur who launched a fruit and vegetable-themed cookie company called Yucky Cookies in her third year of law school in Philadelphia. While Janice’s “sweet dreams” eventually crumbled, it allowed her to pivot from law into a marketing career that combined over fifteen years of classic consumer product management in Fortune 100 companies with nine years of employee engagement and internal branding work at Macy’s Inc. Originally from New York, Janice brought her family to Cincinnati almost twenty years ago, falling in love with everything Cincy from the moment they arrived. Driven by her signature strengths of fairness and gratitude, Janice’s personal passion is to fight for social justice and, in the words of Dr. Neal Mayerson, “help tip humanity towards its better nature.”

Jim Yunker, President & CEO of The Yunker Group

As President and CEO of The Yunker Group, Jim Yunker brings to each of the nonprofit organizations he helps the perspectives of a donor, volunteer, fundraising committee member, board chair, staff member, CEO, teacher, parent, and consultant. His ability to appreciate, understand, and help organizations tackle the perceptions and realities of fundraising responsibilities of individuals in all of these roles has earned him kudos from those he has helped over the past 43 years.