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Celebrate Women Speakers

15 Years of Celebrating YOU! Speakers

Elizabeth Sayrs, Ph.D., Vice President and Provost, Ohio University

Dr. Elizabeth Sayrs was appointed by President M. Duane Nellis to serve as executive vice president and provost of Ohio University in 2020. She previously served as the dean of University College and vice provost for undergraduate education as well as the interim dean of the College of Fine Arts. In 2018 she also served as interim EVPP for the university. An associate professor of music theory, Dr. Sayrs first joined the Ohio University faculty in 2004. Her research has appeared in articles and reviews in the College Music Symposium, the Journal of Schenkerian Studies, Music Theory Online, and Music Theory Spectrum. Her interactive e-text, MFun: Music Fundamentals was published in 2012, and she recently completed a term as editor of the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy. She received the Ohio University School of Music Distinguished Teaching Award in 2007. Dr. Sayrs has served as chair of the Faculty Senate and as a faculty representative to the university’s Board of Trustees. Dr. Sayrs is a summa cum laude graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts, where she majored in music. She holds a master’s degree in music theory from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York, and a doctoral degree in music theory from Ohio State University. 

Erin Carlson Mast

Erin Carlson Mast has been appointed to lead the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation as CEO starting in January. After graduation from Ohio University, she followed her dream by working at the Smithsonian Institution. Throughout her time at Ohio University as an Honors Tutorial College history major, Mast spent numerous hours volunteering at the Kennedy Museum. As a history major, the Kennedy Museum initially sparked her interest to pursue museums as a career and exposed her early on to volunteer experience. Mast plans to lead the foundation by engaging supporters as much as possible through fundraising and relationship-building, which will promote growth and a larger national impact.

Barbara Ross-Lee

Dr. Ross-Lee is the first African American woman to serve as dean of a United States medical school (Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, 1993 - 2001). She is also the first osteopathic physician to participate in the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship. Dr. Ross-Lee served as a commissioned officer, United States Naval Reserves Medical Corps, achieving the rank of Captain. Ross-Lee is a nationally recognized expert on health policy issues and serves as an advisor on primary care, medical education, minority health, women's health, and rural health care issues on the federal and state levels. She is the Founding Director of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Health Policy Fellowship program, which prepares mid-career osteopathic physicians for leadership roles in health policy. She is also Founding Director of the Training in Policy Studies (TIPS) for post-graduate (resident physicians) osteopathic trainees; Founding Director of the Institute for National Health Policy and Research; and a member of the Executive Committee of the National Osteopathic Medical Association, a medical association of minority osteopathic physicians.  She has lectured widely, and published numerous scholarly articles on a variety of medical and healthcare issues. She has received six honorary degrees and many national awards. Dr. Ross-Lee assumes the position of President-elect of the American Osteopathic Foundation in January, 2021 and President in January, 2022.

Lyndale Reisinger

Lyndale Reisinger graduated from Ohio University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. In 2012, Reisinger finished her master’s degree in Organizational Communication. She currently works for Nationwide Insurance, a Fortune 100 company. With 12 years of experience in various roles, Lyndale now works in the Enterprise Customer Solutions and Enablement (ECSE) department and develops, deploys, and manages enterprise-wide customer and associate experience solutions. Lyndale Reisinger is married to her wonderful husband, Doug Reisinger, who works as a Gahanna Police Officer. They reside in Westerville, Ohio, and have three beautiful children – Ava, Maura, and Logan. 

Mandi Custer

For the past 12 years, Mandi Custer has focused her career on fundraising for higher education.  She tributes her own college years as a time of tremendous personal growth so she loves supporting young people through their own educational journey.  Prior to her roles with Ohio University and Denison University, Custer built a development program from the ground up for a small community art museum, and she worked in corporate philanthropy raising money for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption through Wendy’s International. Her success in the philanthropic sector spans more than 23 years and includes major gift development and solicitation, annual giving strategy and solicitation, comprehensive campaign strategy and development, special event strategy and planning, case statement development, program and volunteer management, fundraising research, and professional major gifts conference presentations.  Custer holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Communication from the Scripps College at Ohio University and a Bachelor’s Degree from DePauw University.  In 2015, she completed a four-part program with Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy and earned a certificate in Fundraising Management.

Angela Krile

Someone once called her a “human suggestion box” – just full of ideas. Angela Krile, President and CEO of Krile Communications, has been full of ideas since she was a child – some amazing, some ridiculous. Today, as a professional, she is able to take a little amazing, a little ridiculous and a whole lot of strategy to develop creative, yet practical communications ideas that get results. After 15 years on cap square in Columbus at a public affairs firm, Angela started Krile Communications here nearly 11 years ago. A native of Sugar Grove and life-long resident of Fairfield County, Ohio.  Angela received her degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Angela and her husband, Greg – a high school math teacher – live on a farm with their two sons.

Nora Stanger

A child of poverty, Nora Stanger grew up in the foothills of Appalachia in Lawrence County, Ohio. She is a graduate of Berea College in Berea, KY with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She earned a Master of Science degree in clinical psychology from Abilene Christian University. Her professional experiences include providing psychological services to people with disabilities, acting as a professional/educational consultant on the culture of Appalachia and the culture of poverty, and encouraging people of poverty to finish high school, plan for and attend higher education, and expand their personal vision to a greater level than ever before realized. Nora is a certified IMAGE Life Coach, assisting teens and adults in pursuing a career path that suits their interests and gifting. She is a motivational speaker and author of Diamonds in the Dew: An Appalachian Experience.  Nora Stanger is the Appalachian Outreach Coordinator for Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH, a division of Student Affairs. She is married to KC, has two grown daughters and lives in Loveland, OH.

Tammy Rapp

Dr. Tammy Rapp is an Associate Professor and the Robert H. Freeman Professor of Management at Ohio University. She holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the University of Connecticut. Her research focus is on the enabling mechanisms that support team effectiveness, with specific interest in team processes, team emergent states, team leadership, and multiple team memberships. Dr. Rapp’s research has been published in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Human Performance, and Small Group Research. Her research has been recognized with multiple awards including the Journal of Management Scholarly Impact Award as well as the Ohio University College of Business Excellence in Intellectual Contribution Award. She serves as Associate Editor for Group and Organization Management, and a Co-Editor of the 2021 Group and Organization Management Conceptual Issue. She is a member of the Academy of Management, American Psychological Association, Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research, and the International Network for the Science of Team Science. Prior to entering academics, Dr. Rapp spent 10 years working in the financial services and mortgage industries.

Jennifer Bennett

Jenn Bennett has over 15 years of experience in fitness and wellbeing. She has received her degrees, with concentration in Exercise Physiology, a BS from Ohio University ’05 and a MS from the University of Tennessee ‘08. Jenn is also a Nationally Board Certified – Health and Wellness Coach. Currently she is the Executive Director of Wellbeing at Ohio University, providing leadership for the employee wellness programming, two facilities in Athens, OH, and recently launch an online platform. With her leadership, her team enhances wellness experiences for members and employees while providing an experiential learning opportunity for students. Her passion is connecting with others and find their inner awesomeness.

Miki Crawford

Dr. Miki Crawford is a first-generation college graduate who has thrived through the opportunities that higher education has afforded her. As faculty at Ohio University Southern Campus, she was able to turn her family history and interests into research projects and became the co-author of Japanese War Brides in America and a co-director for the documentary Giving Voice: The Japanese War Brides. 

MaryKathyrine Tran

MaryKathyrine Tran, Assistant Director of the Ohio University Women’s Center, oversees the Young Women Leaders Program, the ALAANA+ Women’s Leadership Cohort, and the annual International Women’s Art Installation. In conjunction with her duties at the Women’s Center, she teaches two courses: “Building Leadership in Adolescent Girls through Mentorship” and “Introduction to Diversity Studies”.

Kailee Slusser

Kailee Slusser makes her living by helping organizations and businesses tell their unique story in a consistent way. She is a graphic designer, web designer, and user experience professional with aspirations of running her own full-suite branding and marketing agency in the near future. When working with a business, she approaches her work with strategy, research, data, creativity, and the eye of an artist — she is an alumna of the Ohio University Fine Arts graphic design program after all. In her session, she hopes to not only celebrate everyone in the room, but to also help you celebrate yourself consistently as you present yourself in the future.

Jennifer Simon

Jennifer Simon was born and raised outside of Waterford, Ohio in Washington County. She became the program manager for business development at the Appalachian Regional Commission in October 2019. She currently manages fifty grants, coordinating with partners in all 13-Appalachian states. Prior to joining the Appalachian Regional Commission, Jennifer Simon was the Executive Director of Regional Innovation at Ohio University (OHIO). Ms. Simon managed a network of twelve place-based makerspaces and incubators serving entrepreneurs in the Appalachian regions of Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Previously, she directed OHIO’s Innovation Center (IC) providing a supportive environment where entrepreneurs flourish. Several successful companies graduated the program and created jobs in the community. Simon led Athens County Economic Development and Athens Chamber of Commerce, and as Assistant Director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia. She received a BA in political science; an MPA; and an MBA from OHIO. She and her husband, David, live in Washington, DC.

Faith Knutsen

Faith Knutsen is the Director of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership & Public Service, where she is employed since 2008. She directs the Social Enterprise Ecosystem program, bringing venture development services and capital access to social enterprises in rural SE Ohio and contiguous states. She lectures at the University and to community and civic organizations on social enterprise, entrepreneurial ecosystem development, venture development toolkits, and grant writing. Previously, she held an executive administrative role at Sunpower, Inc., an engineering R&D firm. Ms. Knutsen began her professional career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in central Africa and serves as a periodic consultant in African nations. She holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Ohio University. Ms. Knutsen is a member of multiple social enterprise Boards, a playwright for local non-profits, and the parent of two young adults.

M. Geneva Murray

Dr. M. Geneva Murray became the Director of the Women's Center at Ohio University in October 2015 and teaches courses in the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies program and in the Patton College of Education. Through her work at the Women's Center, she oversees several leadership programs, including Women Leading OHIO, an early career faculty and staff development program. She is passionate about mentoring. Her work on leadership for women was recognized in 2017 by the International Leadership Association’s Women and Leadership Affinity Group’s award for Outstanding Practice with Local Impact.

Amanda Barren

Amanda Barren is a reporter and anchor at WSAZ in Huntington/Charleston West Virginia. While at Ohio University in the WOUB Newsroom she watched WSAZ and knew it was a place she wanted to work. Turns out, she's worked there twice. Amanda came back to WSAZ in 2012 after spending two-and-a-half years working at WKYC in Cleveland. She's also worked in Parkersburg and Erie, Pa. Amanda's children have four legs. Her thumb is not green, but she loves all things flowers.

Marci Hedderson-Carroll

Marci Hedderson-Carroll retired after working for the Ohio State Highway Patrol for 30 years. Her career was hi-lighted by her Administrative years and working in the field of Information Technology.  Marci also works for a government funding program, “HIDTA” High Intensity Drug Trafficking for the Ohio and Pittsburgh area.  She has also been practicing yoga on and off since the age of 15, deepening her practice for the past 8 years. Battling some health issues and chronic back pain from traveling for work, Marci made self-care a priority. Her yoga specialization is hot power fusion and she is a E-200 RYT certified Instructor through Corepower Yoga. Marci obtained a 50 RYT for Sequencing & Theming in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and a 50 RYT in "Aireal" yoga.  She also enjoys traveling, biking, hiking, weightlifting and meeting up with friends.

Janice Kobi

Janice Kobi endured many life and health setbacks but she has persisted to recreate herself with a renewed sense of purpose. Believing in herself, Janice was confident in possibilities for her future; to have hope, to keep trying and not give up.  Today, she advocates for animals and the environment taking on political causes and empowering others.  Her message is to “find your niche, if it doesn’t fit, switch.”  Janice grew up in Clermont County Ohio the second of six girls.  Becoming seriously ill in 1995, Janice faced an unknown future.  Today, she continues to research on many subjects and finding answers to her health issues.

Joan C. Browning

Joan C. Browning grew up on a family farm in southern Georgia. The summer she turned 11, she picked a hundred pounds of cotton a day; by the time she left for college at the age of 16, she was picking 200 pounds of cotton a day. Sputnik created opportunities for her to attend Georgia State College for Women, where she worshipped with Wesley Chapel AME church which led the college president, Dr. Robert E. Lee, to force her to leave college. She moved to Atlanta, got a job in the Emory University Library, and found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. At SNCC, she volunteered mostly typing press releases written by Julian Bond. She was one of nine persons on the last Freedom Ride, from Atlanta to Albany, Georgia on December 10, 1961. She was one of four white southern women in the 436 Freedom Riders. Her autobiographical chapter, "Shiloh Witness," is in the collection, Curry, Browning, et al., Deep in Our Hearts: Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement, University of Georgia Press, 2000.

Wendy Anderson

Wendy Anderson attended West Liberty State College and West Virginia Northern Community College.  After being a manager in retail for over 20 years and being a board member for the St. Clairsville Chamber for six years, Anderson assumed the role of Chamber President over the last three years.  In her new role, she relates “I haven’t been happier!”  Very active in the community, Anderson has many causes she’s passionate about and has served in many roles on boards and foundations in her community, including the Board of the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley, The Rotary of St. Clairsville where she is slated to be President in 2023, and the ROAR (Rock Against Rape) committee - Sexual Assault Help Center of Wheeling.  She is currently the VP of the BNI (Business Networking International) Excel Chapter in Wheeling.  Wendy Anderson has 23 people in her immediate family, including 13 grandchildren.

Kimberly Kohli

Dr. Kimberly Kohli, Ph.D., CBC is a Licensed Psychologist at Fairfield Healthcare Professionals where she provides individual psychotherapy and completes bariatric evaluations.  She is a certified bariatric counselor and committed to helping patients navigate the life-changing journey associated with weight loss surgery.  She is a strong advocate for suicide prevention and mental health awareness.  Her goal is to help end the stigma surrounding mental health.  Dr. Kohli’s previous experience includes individuals with Developmental Disabilities, and Avis House, Inc.

Tracey Miller

Tracey Miller M.S. CCC-SLP, GC-C, CTP is a licensed speech-language pathologist and certified grief counselor. She currently serves as Grief Support Manager at FAIRHOPE Hospice & Palliative Care. Tracey developed and implemented FAIRHOPE’s PALS for grieving children program. Tracey is the author of the soon to be published book: Not Working Like It Used To- a coloring book approach for answering questions about a special person’s terminal illness.  Tracey Miller is the 2020 Jane Johnsen Women of Vision Award from Ohio University Lancaster.

Judy Carey Nevin

Twice in her adult life, Judy received a fortune from a fortune cookie that read “You are a lover of words. You will someday write a book.” Judy never expected that fortune to come true, but here she is, on a panel of authors. Judy says her writing process is pretty messy–”I go for a long time without any good ideas, then I’m struck with something that won’t let go, and I stay up way past my bedtime to get it just right.” As you can see when you look at Judy’s books, her sensibilities lean toward texts for the very young, especially preschool.  Before working as a librarian, Judy was an editor at Viking Children’s Books where she specialized in picture books and easy-to-read books. She enjoyed very much bringing books into the world and is very proud of her own books, particularly her latest book, All Kinds of Kindness, which was selected as one of Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of the Month, age 0-2 in July and then as a Best Children’s Book of the Year, age 0-2 for 2020.

Nicole Antoinette Smith

Nicole Antoinette Smith is a full-time assistant professor of instruction at Ohio University in the College of Business, teaching data analytics, information systems, and project management courses. She is also a contributing writer for the Online Master's in Business Analytics Blog at Ohio University. And a part-time instructor at the University of the Virgin Islands Online. Also, she taught graduate-level courses as an Adjunct Professor at DeVry's Keller Graduate School of Management. Nicole Antoinette earned a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems from Missouri State University and a Bachelor of Business Administration with dual majors in Management Information Systems and Marketing while playing basketball on a scholarship at Ohio University. Nicole Antoinette is the founder of the Sports Legends of Cleveland Metropolitan School District, a non-profit to revitalize the middle school and high school sports programs. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicole Antoinette launched two Pilot Programs as the founder of eleV8T™, an end-to-end Workforce Development Training Program to train and staff Ready-to-Work adult learners in an H3 (high-skill, high-wage, high-demand) career. eleV8T™ is not just a training platform to teach adult learners. It is wraparound support with an ongoing career coaching and professional development process to create economic prosperity for individuals, businesses, and communities.

Esther Rodriguez

Esther Rodriguez has a B.A. in Organizational Communication (Summa Cum Laude) from Ohio University, and received a M.A. degree in Communication Studies from The Ohio State University. As a Communications Instructor since 2005, Esther has taught courses in Persuasion, Public Speaking, and Human Communication at Ohio University, The Ohio State University, and Ohio Dominican University. Esther is also a self-published writer, under the pen name Esther M. Soto. Her first work of fiction, Hold My Heart, a time-travel romantic suspense was published in December 2014. Meant To Be, short contemporary romance, was published in 2015 as series companion novel, and Break My Heart, Book 2 of The Heart Series, was released 2016. Esther is currently residing in Florida and teaching Speech Communication at Seminole State College in Sanford, FL.

Anne Ralston

Captain Anne Ralston began her Patrol career in April 1998 as a member of the 131st Academy Class and earned her commission in October of that year. Her first assignment was the Fremont Post, before transferring to the Cambridge Post in 2000. In 2002, she was selected as Post Trooper of the Year and earned the Ace Award for excellence in auto larceny enforcement. In 2004, she was promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to the Marietta Post. During her time as sergeant, she served in the Patrol’s Public Affairs Unit and the Professional Standards Unit. She was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 2011 and served as the commander of the Public Affairs Unit where she was the Patrol’s spokesperson. In 2013, she was promoted to the rank of staff lieutenant and remained in the Public Affairs Unit before transferring to the Cambridge District Headquarters to serve as an assistant district commander. In 2019, she was promoted to the rank of Captain and currently serves as the Cambridge District Commander responsible for overseeing Patrol operations for 12 counties in the east central Ohio region. Captain Ralston earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Youngstown State University in 1996. She completed advance leadership training at Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command in 2009.

Jacki Dickinson

Jacki Dickinson has been a public servant for over 32 years. While in college, she worked as a deputy clerk in the Franklin County Clerk of Court’s Office. In 1994, she started working for the Franklin County Common Pleas Court and held the positions of Pretrial Investigator, Adult Probation Officer, and Intensive Supervision Officer. Dickinson began her employment at the Franklin County Community Based Correctional Facility (CBCF) in 2001 and worked her way up to the lead position in 2018. Using her knowledge of the work being done in community corrections, expertise gained from working in several government agencies, and strong desire to help others, Dickinson became the Executive Director of the 200-bed facility that houses adult felony offenders and provides programming to change the residents’ criminal thinking, thus improve their decision-making for successful re-integration into the community. Dickinson did not initially aspire to be a corrections administrator; however, her allegiance to the work being done at the CBCF, passion to grow others, and persistence fueled by others questioning her ability drove her to the lead role. Now her goal is to mentor others with the same purpose of being the positive change needed in the world today.

Marge Rizalvo

Lt. Marge Rizalvo is a 21-year law enforcement veteran who has worked at The Ohio State University since 2001. Prior to that, Lt. Rizalvo was a reserve officer with the City of Norwalk (OH). Concurrently, she was also an EMT-Advanced working for North Central EMS.  As an OSU patrol officer, Lt. Rizalvo was part of the bike patrol unit, crime scene team, personal protection team, the crisis negotiation team, and served as a Field Training Officer (FTO). Currently, she is the Patrol Lieutenant assigned to day watch. Lt. Rizalvo was born and raised in New Jersey, often visiting family who are still there.  She and her spouse enjoy traveling. They are parents to two dogs and a cat.

Hermoine S. Balph

Hermoine S. Balph worked for Westinghouse Electric Corporation where she retired as an IT Specialist.  Hermoine and her husband, Bill, live half of the year in Pittsburgh and the other half in Ft. Lauderdale.  She is so thankful for online bridge during this COVID isolation.

Marina Ferme

Marina Ferme hails from the California Bay Area.  She is enrolled as a freshman at Miami University where she is majoring in Interactive Media Studies.  She chose this major because it combines her two interests, art and technology.

Theresa Iantosca

Theresa Iantosca worked as a computer programmer, coding in assembler language, for Bell Telephone in Philadelphia.  Theresa and her husband, Jake , a retired ophthalmologist, live in Los Altos, California.  Her career was short as she quit working and had 4 children. She is now struggling to relearn coding in order to help her 9 year old grandson develop a computer game.

Monica Ivey

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Monica graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering. She started working for Westinghouse Electric Company right away as an engineer and then switched over to project management. Monica earned her Project Management Professional (PMP) as well, and is currently responsible for the design, manufacture, testing, and delivery of the safety system for 6 nuclear power plants being constructed in China.  Monica has been fortunate enough to meet her fiancé at Westinghouse and is thankful they have been able to work from home during the pandemic for the past year. She and her fiancé have two boys, 8 & 6, and welcomed a new baby girl in November. 

Newbie Carmela

Since being born in November, Carmela has had extensive second-hand experience with technology (mainly Zoom) while her brothers homeschool during the pandemic. Carmela is also a witness to Mom & Dad working remotely on these computer things and purchasing a majority of Christmas presents online. She also utilizes FaceTime to interact with relatives and friends. Mom and Dad soothe her to sleep with her sound machine and then have the luxury of watching Carmela from anywhere in the house on her video monitor. Carmela notes, "Technology seems pretty cool, I can’t imagine a world without all of it (though my parents claim such a place existed)." 

Christine (Tina) Wolfe

Tina holds a doctor of philosophy degree in Instructional Technology from the Ohio University.  She also holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master of Science degree in computer engineering from the Ohio State University.  Tina, an Associate Professor Emerita, is retired from teaching at Ohio University.  Prior to working in academia, she worked as an industrial engineer at Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp., a database administrator at Interstate Gas Marketing, and as manager of help desk support at State Savings Bank. Tina and her husband have two children and six grandchildren.

Melissa (Lisa) Worms

Lisa graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and has worked in the Information Technology area since 1983, supporting Westinghouse Electric Company throughout her career as an employee and later as a consultant.  She has worked in several areas including: development, SAP (ERP System) module support, and distribution of personal computers. However, Lisa has mainly focused on SAP Project Management and received her PMI PMP (project management certification) in 2005.  Her husband, Patrick, also worked in IT for his career and they have three children. 

Shelley Gavin

Over 20 years of experience in Corporate Wellness, personal training, health promotion & wellness coaching. Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, Health & Wellness Coach, Aquatic Fitness Instructor, AFAA, ACE, Yogafit Certified, and LiveStrong YMCA certified instructor.

Michelle Meese

Dr. Meese has been a staff psychologist at Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington, WV for 18 years, working with individuals with a variety of mental health challenges, including severe chronic mental illness; criminal charges secondary to mental health problems, or behavioral difficulties. She has a passion for helping others improve their mental health and well-being. She just completed her Doctorate of Psychology degree at Marshall University in Huntington, WV.

Cara Dingus Brook

Cara Dingus Brook is Chief Executive Officer and President at The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, a regional foundation with a mission to create opportunities in Appalachian Ohio by supporting and inspiring philanthropy. With Cara’s leadership, the Foundation has significantly grown its reach, impact and assets, developed the nation’s first nonprofit “IPO” and facilitated numerous public-private partnerships creating opportunities in the areas of education, economic development, environmental stewardship and health care. Cara received a BA in English degree from Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College, a MPA degree from the Ohio University’s Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Service, a certificate in Creative Writing and studied at the Center for Creative Leadership. She is a graduate of the Jo Ann Davidson Leadership Institute and The Ohio State University’s Community Scientist Academy.  Cara’s work as a community builder was recently featured by journalist David Brooks in his 2019 book The Second Mountain. She has received numerous awards including the 2019 Visionary Leadership Award from the Appalachian Partnership, Inc. (API), for her instrumental role in helping to found this economic development organization. A two-time cancer survivor, Cara served as the 2018 Honorary Co-Chair of The Komen Foundation’s Southeast Ohio Race for the Cure. She is the recipient of the “Emerging Philanthropist of the Year” award from Philanthropy Ohio, the “Spirit Award” from Ohio University’s College of Arts and Sciences and the “Appalachian New Economy Partnership Award” from The Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs.Cara grew up in southern Ohio and now resides in the Hocking Hills with her husband, Dominick, and young children, Hugh Oliver and Lucia Ann.

Pamela June

Pamela June is Associate Professor of English at OU Eastern. After teaching for three years at her graduate institution and another three years at an HBCU, she joined the OU team, where she teaches and researches American literature, African American literature, and women’s literature.

Pamela Kaylor

As a Professor of Instruction at Ohio University Lancaster, Dr. Pamela Kaylor teaches courses in Communication Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  Her primary areas of instructional interest include women’s and gender studies, advocacy, intercultural communication, and rhetoric. In 2019, Dr. Kaylor and two colleagues received a grant from The Woman’s Fund of Central Ohio to study “The Status of Women in Fairfield and Licking Counties”.  Kaylor holds a doctoral degree in Communication Studies and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from Ohio University, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication from Murray State University.  Her interests also include gardening, traveling, and collecting classic Oldsmobiles.

Candice Thomas Maddox

Dr. Candice Thomas-Maddox (Ed.D. - West Virginia University) is a Professor of Communication Studies at Ohio University-Lancaster where she currently serves as the director of the online master’s degree program in organizational communication.  Since joining the faculty at OHIO, she has taught a variety of communication courses and co-authored five textbooks: Interpersonal Communication: Building Rewarding Relationships; Communicating in Your Personal, Professional, and Public Lives; Family Communication: Relationship Foundations; Quantitative Research Methods for Communication: A Hands-On Approach; and Communicating with Diverse Students.  She has been awarded the OHIO-Lancaster Professor of the Year, the Ohio University RHE Outstanding Professor, and the ECA Ecroyd Teaching Award and Teaching Fellows designation in recognition of her contributions in the classroom.  Thomas-Maddox is the former President and Executive Director for both the Eastern Communication Association and the Ohio Communication Association. For a decade, she served as co-chair for Ohio University Lancaster’s Celebrate Women conference, in addition to serving as faculty advisor for Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and Phi Theta Kappa honorary.   

Chris Shaw

A researcher, educator, writer, and consultant, Christine Shaw earned her Master’s degree in Communication Studies from Ohio University. With three decades of experience in public relations and marketing, coupled with her experience with Compression Planning and strategic project development and grant writing, she brings a holistic approach to the projects with which she is involved.

Virginia Proctor

Virginia (Ginny) Proctor is a nontraditional student in the Bachelor of Science of Applied Management program, at Ohio University.  She achieved her Associates of Computer Science, from Columbus State.  Ginny has over 25 years of experience in the IT field and is currently working as the Business Relationship Manager Office lead, for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.  Ginny has a vision of supporting other women as a strategist and connecting others to help them achieve their vision and goals for their lives.   To achieve her vision, she saw the benefit of obtaining a bachelor’s degree.   She and her husband live in Pataskala, Ohio and have 3 children and 8 grandchildren.   

Cynthia Mendenhall

Committed to creating and living a life of audacious adventure, Cynthia Mendenhall loves to encourage and challenge others to do the same. Once captive to religion and fear, Cynthia now teaches women how to embrace and enjoy true freedom and abundant life.  Cynthia is an entertaining speaker, a Certified Christian Life Coach, hosts women’s spiritual retreats, and has published three books in her Spunkify Series. She lives simply with an untamed succulent, a shiny blue pitcher, and an unlimited amount of spunky hope.  She enjoys long bike rides, sunset floats in her lime green kayak named Earl, and chasing sunrises and sunsets on the beach. Cynthia carries a natural adventuring spirit that leads her to all sorts of interesting adventures; she always takes notes along the way.