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Women's Leadership Summit

Women's Leadership

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About


The Women’s Leadership Summit is a 5-session program designed for women to establish and enhance leadership skills. This limited program is offered at no cost to participants; however, participants will be asked for extensive feedback about the program. 

The training will focus on participants identifying:

  • Personal leadership characteristics
  • Exploring best practices of effective leadership
  • Finding success buddies
  • Networking
  • Developing community
  • Finding effective mentors 

Training will be provided by national, regional, and local experts in leadership. The Women's Leadership Summit will also include the Six Geniuses’ and Strength Finder testing as part of the training.  

Limited Availability: 20-30 participants will be selected through an application process.

Expectations


All participants are expected to attend all five sessions: 

  • Friday, February 10 | 8:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • Friday, March 10 | 8:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • Friday, March 24 | 8:00 am to 4:30 pm | Celebrate Women
  • Friday, April 14 | 8:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • Friday, May 19 | 8:00 am to 2:00 pm 

Participants will be awarded a Certificate of Completion from Ohio University Lancaster Women's Leadership Summit.   

Sponsors


Thank you to our sponsors:

WLS

We also appreciate the generous support from:

Carri Brown
Debra Smith

Paid in part by a Regional Higher Education Workforce Development Grant

Would you like to be a sponsor for this event?

Please contact Dr. Pamela Kaylor at dawes@ohio.edu.

Meet the Team


Cathy Bitler
Cathy Bitler

Retired VP of Communication, South Central Power Company

Cathy Bitler earned a BS in Communication with a Radio/TV major at Ohio University in 1980.  Twenty years later, while working full time and, with her husband, rearing a daughter, Cathy returned to OU to earn an MA in Communication.  In each of the classes she took for that Master’s degree, Cathy was the oldest one in the classroom.

Cathy retired in 2018 after working for 30 years at South Central Power Company.  Her leadership roles there included VP of Communication, VP of Member Service, VP of Administration and Director of Economic Development and Public Affairs.

Cathy has a history of leadership in Lancaster and Fairfield County.  Over the years, she has chaired the Lancaster Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce Board, Fairfield County Foundation Board, Lancaster Area Community Improvement Board, United Way Campaign, Heart of Ohio Tech Prep Board, Ohio University Coordinating Council and Fairfield County Revolving Loan Committee.  She served a term as President of Lancaster City Council and a year as President of Lancaster Rotary.   Most recently, she has been active in planning for the Women’s Leadership Summit and Celebrate Women.

Cathy is active in local community theatre serving on the board, as an actor and director with Garret Players.  

Carri Brown
XB

Ph.D., MBA, CFGM, Fairfield County Auditor

After 35+ years of leadership experience in human services, financial management, and county administration, Carri L. Brown was appointed to the position of County Auditor in October 2021.  She has stated it is humbling and rewarding to serve as County Auditor in the office where she began her career in public service and drafted the first annual comprehensive financial report for the county. Her experiences as the Chief Deputy – Finance inspired her to become a Certified Government Financial Manager.

She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration from Ohio University and was named Outstanding Alumna of the Year in 2022. She has a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Organizational Management, and her dissertation was a correlational study on the effect of organizational citizenship behavior on job satisfaction, a topic that she has presented upon multiple times, including in international conferences for professional social workers and governmental finance officers. Carri also holds a certificate of Business Sustainability Strategy from Harvard University. She is a recognized thought leader who ensures quality, innovation, and service commitment across business and government entities.  

In Fairfield County, she was the first woman to serve as Child Support Director and was honored as the State’s Director of the Year in 2005. She served as a Deputy Director for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, leading policy development within an organization of more than 2,000 employees. Under her direction, the agency received Ohio’s first-ever child support demonstration grants. Over the span of her career, she has managed grants of more than $160 million.  

As the first woman to serve as County Administrator, Carri supervised county department heads of multiple government functions, including Job and Family Services, Economic and Workforce Development, Human Resources, Emergency Management, Visitation Center, Dog Adoption & Shelter, Facilities, and Utilities. She managed a county budget of more than $220 million, increasing the carry-over for the $50 M+ general fund budget. Under her leadership, the county completed five major construction projects, all on time and under budget, including a complex $34M construction project for a county jail and Sheriff’s offices. She developed the county’s first strategic plan by surveying 900 county employees, defining themes, creating transformations, gathering input from citizens, and prioritizing each strategic plan element. On two occasions, she simultaneously served as the Job and Family Services Director. She was instrumental in the creation of the county’s first workforce development center.

Fairfield County has been awarded more than 60 state and national awards for programs under her leadership, including programs for county administration, customer service, workforce development, communications, technology, public safety, and civic education. She has served on multiple state and national committees for local government programs, focusing on concepts grounded in servant leadership and stakeholder theory.

In 2019, Carri was honored with the Athena Award for leadership by the Lancaster-Fairfield Chamber of Commerce.  She is engaged in multiple civic groups and boards, including the Fairfield County Visitation Advisory Council, Special Improvement District Board, and Destination Downtown District Board. She is past president of United Way of Fairfield County and has served on Ohio’s Fatherhood Commission, a Multi-County Juvenile Detention Board, the Fairfield County Regional Planning Commission, Ohio University Community Council, and more.

In 2020, Carri led the County and supported the state in projects to communicate about and deal with the pandemic.  She managed more than $8M of local CARES Act funds and supported multiple community groups dealing with the economic effects of the pandemic, including the county’s largest employer, a local hospital.

Carri lives in Lancaster, with her husband, Stephen (Cork), an attorney.  They are blessed with two adult children (Corbin and Catherine) and three grandchildren:  Ava (8), Simon (7), Mia (1) and newborn Ella.

Lianna Capretta
Lianna Capretta

MSEd, Learning, Leadership, and Instructional Design Consultant, Kane Learning

Lianna earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education at Wittenberg University and a masters in curriculum and instruction from Youngstown State University. That would surprise no one who knew Lianna as a child since she played school, after school, and even during the summer! 

Lianna started her professional career as a junior high teacher (she loved the little rascals!). She also worked in physician education for the Ohio State Medical Association and the American Medical Association. She ultimately landed at LBrands, Victoria's Secret, as an entry-level instructional designer supporting store associates. She eventually grew and led the team, building the function in scope and service. Including a short time leading PINK store operations, she enjoyed almost 21 years in retail. In 2018, Lianna jumped out of the ranks to share her knowledge and skills as a private consultant. With Kane Learning, she works with organizations of all sizes, from some of the most globally recognized brands to small local not-for-profits that make our counties better places to live. The thread in all of it is this: Teaching, coaching, leading others to be at their best for those they are in service to.  

Lianna is a proud mom to Jacob (Kent State University 2014), a Columbus Police Office, Mary (University of Dayton) scholar-athlete and intervention specialist in training, and Rocco (junior, Newark Catholic High School), the athlete-entrepreneur of the family! Her husband of 20 years is a Columbus City Fire Fighter. Lianna works from home with her pups, Ollie (retired racing greyhound) and Jenny (little brown rescue). At her core, Lianna loves taking care of others and gets her greatest pride and joy through her family.

M.J. Clark
MJC

M.A., APR, Fellow PRSA, Vice President, Integrated Leadership Systems

As vice president of Integrated Leadership Systems, where she’s worked since 2006, M.J. Clark helps company leaders plan for ownership and management succession and foster more authentic communication in the workplace. She helps executives better manage stress, become more assertive, develop emotional intelligence and fine-tune leadership and management skills.  ILS is based in Columbus, Ohio, and has provided services for hundreds of nationally recognized companies all over North America, including Honda, OSU Medical Center, Nationwide, Nemours Children’s Health, The Ohio State University, and Worthington Industries.

M.J. has a master's degree in organizational communication from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Ohio University.  She is the author of two books: Shut Up and Lead: A Communicator’s Guide to Quiet Leadership and Shut Up and Manage: A Quiet Leader’s Guide to Engaging Others.

Amy Eyman
Eyman

CEO, Fairfield County Foundation

Amy Eyman is the Chief Executive Officer of the Fairfield County Foundation and celebrated 23 years with the Foundation in September 2022.  The Foundation is a public charitable organization with a mission to build a legacy through philanthropy and stewardship for a stronger community.

The Fairfield County Foundation will celebrate 34 years of serving the community in April 2023.  In her role as Chief Executive Officer, Amy manages a team of 5 incredible women and is primarily responsible for development, fundraising, marketing & communications, and community outreach.

Amy is a native of Lancaster, a graduate of Lancaster High School and a proud 1988 graduate of Ohio University, Athens. 

Amy recently completed her 15th year as a member of the Lancaster City Schools Board of Education and serves on the Executive Committee of the Central Region of Ohio School Boards Association.  Amy serves as a Board member of Philanthropy Ohio; is a member of Lancaster Rotary Club; and is the Second Vice Chair on the Board of the Lancaster Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce. Amy is one of 5 women in our community that in 2022 started The Rivet Society, whose mission is to bring strong women together to foster empowerment in themselves and others. Amy and her husband John live in Lancaster and have 2 sons, Andrew and William.

Jennifer Johns Friel
JF

CEO, Mid West Fabricating Company

Jennifer Johns Friel has been the CEO of the Mid West Fabricating Company in Amanda, Ohio, since 2015 and also serves as President of the Dolphinancial Company in Lancaster since 2016.  She was the President of Mid West since 1997 after serving as Vice President and Manager of Market Development.  Professionally, she has been recognized for her work with various organizations.  Notably, she was the first and only female to serve as Chairperson of the Industrial Fastener Institute and served as the Co-Chair for the Work Force Development Task Force, Vice Chairperson and Treasurer, Board Member, and Chaired several other committees for the Industrial Fastener Institute.  She presented the keynote address “Women in Fastener Industry” in the Las Vegas Fastener Show and was the Welcome Speaker “Inaugural Women in Manufacturing Event” in 2011. 

Active in her community, Jennifer serves on the Area 20 Work Force Development Board, the Fairfield County BAC Participant/Member (Amanda Schools), as an Advisory Board Member of Park National Bank FNB Division, a Founding Member and Board Member of AHA! A Hands-On Children’s Museum and was the Campaign Chairperson and Board Chairperson for AHA! Capital Campaign.  In the past, she has served on the board of directors for the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, American Red Cross of Fairfield County, Lancaster-Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce, and New Horizons.  She was the founding member of the QT Vocational Training Program. 

In 1999, Jennifer was awarded the prestigious Athena Award by the Lancaster-Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce. Jennifer is a Cum Laude graduate of the University of Denver with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Beverly E. Jones
BJ

M.B.A, J.D., PCC, Executive Coach & Author, Clearways Consulting

https://www.linkedin.com/in/beverly-jones-coach-author/

Beverly Jones helps leaders promote new productivity and engagement in their teams, and assists professionals to grow and thrive in their careers. Her work often focuses on building resilience, enhancing performance, managing time and energy, improving communications, navigating transitions and difficult situations, and learning to flourish at work and in life.

Among Bev’s clients are entrepreneurs and leaders in companies, universities, and other complex organizations. She also works frequently with federal, state, and local public officials. For example, among her current clients are the Federal Reserve Board, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Smithsonian Institution. Bev is also a Professional Fellow at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service at Ohio University. 

Among Bev’s strengths are sorting out complicated strategic challenges and helping to frame and communicate complex issues. Bev writes and speaks about many issues related to leadership, collaboration, engagement, professional and personal growth, and well-being. Her recent book, “Find Your Happy at Work,” is a handbook for finding more joy, meaning and success in your career. Her podcast on workplace issues, “Jazzed About Work,” is heard on NPR.org and other major portals.

Bev is a former attorney and was a senior executive at Fortune 200 energy company Consolidated Natural Gas (then parent of East Ohio Gas). She began her legal career at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Before law school, Bev was assistant to the president for EEO/affirmative action at Ohio University.

Pamela A. Kaylor
Pam Kaylor

Ph.D., Professor of Instruction, Communication Studies, Ohio University

As a faculty member at Ohio University Lancaster, Dr. Pamela Kaylor teaches courses in two departments: Women’s Studies, and Communication Studies.  Her primary areas of instructional interest include women’s and gender studies, advocacy, qualitative research, intercultural communication, and rhetoric.   

At OHIO Lancaster, Pamela Kaylor serves on the Special Events Committee, and is the Co-Chair of Celebrate Women.  She is a faculty representative for two student groups -- the Allies for Human Rights and the Student Veterans Association.  She has presented speeches, papers, and served on panels at conferences in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and throughout the U.S.  Her dissertation was an analysis of the rhetorical strategies of Dr. Allie Corbin Hixson, a Kentucky Equal Rights Advocate who was later inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame at the Statehouse in Kentucky.  

As a COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) Fellow, Pamela Kaylor received special training from SUNY’s Multi-State Initiative in Cuernavaca, Mexico through a program funded by the U.S. Embassy.  In 2017, Kaylor began to serve on the COIL Fellow Advisory team to recruit, train, and mentor future COIL Fellows, Dr. Kaylor has presented at international conferences and has given presentations at the University Autonoma Chihuahua, where she received numerous awards.  As an ambassador for Ohio University, she traveled to The Netherlands, Germany, Thailand, Vietnam, and Spain to develop partnerships for students at Ohio University Lancaster. 

As a volunteer, Dr. Kaylor has worked on issues relating to gender violence and recovery for more than thirty years.  She organizes several community-university events, including the Celebrate Women conference, Women in Technology and Science Day, Take Back the Night rallies, Social Justice Week, and has served on numerous community committees and boards.  

In her career, she has received recognition. She was presented with the 2019 Regional Higher Education Distinguished Lecturer Award. In 2017, she was selected Professor of the Year and presented the commencement speech. Kaylor was awarded for Distinguished Teacher Service and was selected by student organizations as the Outstanding Instructor.  She has also been awarded the John Houk Memorial Research Grant from Ohio University, the Linda Cochran-Breazeale Fellowship from Murray State University, and was named Outstanding Kentucky Graduate Student and Outstanding Graduate Teaching Associate on different years by the Kentucky Communication Association.    She received a “Women of Murray State” award and was awarded certificates of appreciation by the MSU Speech & Debate Team, the College of Fine Arts, and the MSU Division of Student Affairs.  

Kaylor also has a long history of activism and service to the community in both Kentucky and Ohio.  She has been recognized with a Senate Citation for her work. Before moving to Ohio, she was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel, was named an Ambassador of Good Will for the state of Kentucky and the Department of Tourism, Outstanding Board Member for Playhouse in the Park Community Theatre, earned a Certificate of Merit for Service from the Kentucky Committee for the Employment of the Handicapped, received Service Awards from Land Between the Lakes and Kentucky State Parks Department, and was awarded stock from the Kentucky Department of the Arts.  She received a Senate Citation from the Kentucky State Senate and an Ambassador Award from the city of Murray.  

Pamela Kaylor holds a doctorate degree in Communication and a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from Ohio University, a master’s degree in Organizational Communication and two undergraduate degrees (Sociology and Organizational Communication) from Murray State University.  Her interests also include gardening, where she has earned the Master Gardener certificate from the Ohio State University Extension Office. 

Kaylor resides in Rushville with her partner. They collect classic Oldsmobiles. She has three children and four grandchildren.

Angela Krile
AK

President & CEO, Krile Communications

Angela Krile Is the president and CEO of Krile Communications, a public relations firm located in Sugar Grove. She worked for a public relations company on Capitol square in Columbus for 13 years before starting her business here in Fairfield County12 years ago. She works with a variety of clients from statewide trade associations to local businesses and nonprofit organizations. She is a passionate community servant, putting her skills to work for numerous organizations and non-profit boards. She and her husband Greg, a math teacher at Lancaster high School, live on a farm in Sugar Grove with their two teenage boys, Justin and Blake.

Laurie Lach
Laurie

Director, Regional Campus Development & Alumni Engagement

Community advocate, arts and culture enthusiast, student-centered university advancement professional, cheerleader for women and connector of all people, Laurie Sheridan Lach is a native of Athens, Ohio, and a two-time graduate of Ohio University. Earlier in her career, she served on OHIO’s Schey Sales Centre executive committee and quickly discovered the rewards of helping students learn and grow. From this experience, Laurie was inspired to join Ohio University where she now leads fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the five regional campuses and elevates traditions that uphold OHIO’s strong community connections across the region.

The 2022 recipient of the Jane Johnsen Women of Vision award, Laurie has also received the Ohio University Women’s Center achievement award for Outstanding Community Service in 2020 and was named the Outstanding Administrator for Ohio University in 2018. Laurie was selected for the prestigious HERS Leadership Institute and is a 2018 graduate of the program. She has served on the OHIO Today advisory committee, the Scripps College of Communication, School of Communication Studies alumni council, and was the co-creator of ohiowomen in medicine for the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. Currently, Laurie serves as a member of the Fairfield Medical Center board of directors, executive committee and chair of the quality and safety committee. She is a member of the Lancaster Festival board of directors and is chair of the Covered Bridge Music Series committee. Laurie is also a founding member of the board of directors for inspiHER (pronounced inspire), a leadership foundation for girls in grades 5-8. Laurie, and her husband Jack, reside in Fairfield County and enjoy time with their family – Katie and son-in-law Garrett, Grant, Grace, Kelley, and Sean.

Andora Marshall
Delainey McIlwain
DPNB

Community Relations Coordinator, Park National Bank

Delainey Mcilwain works for Park National Bank where she is the Community Relations Coordinator, serving the Southeast region of Ohio. In her current role, she is able to work with local non-profits and organizations to support Park National Bank’s mission to give back to the communities in which they serve. Delainey started her career at Park National Bank in 2014 as a Teller, while attending Ohio University Lancaster as a full time Communications student. She has held various positions over the years from Teller, Customer Service Rep, Freedom Years Assistant and Freedom Years Director, before assuming her current role. Delainey is a graduate of Ohio University and resides in Lancaster with her husband Brody and fur baby Moose. She is passionate about her community and serving others. Delainey is currently the President of the Visit Fairfield County Board, President of the Friends of the Lancaster Parks Board, the Treasurer of the Destination Downtown Lancaster Board, is a member of Young Professionals of Fairfield County, is an Advisory Committee Member for Ohio University Lancaster Women’s Leadership Summit and is the incoming Co-chair of Women’s Giving Circle. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking and biking on local trails.

Sandra Nessing
Ginny Proctor
Ginny Proctor

IT Manager for Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

Ginny Proctor is an IT Manager for Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), where she is building relationships, collaborating, and leading teams on technical solutions that support the citizens of Ohio. As a leader at ODJFS, Ginny led a technical team during the pandemic, to ensure that the unemployment systems were improved to handle the number of claims that were coming in. She also created the strategy for the Business Relationship Managers at ODJFS, for them to have the knowledge and governance needed to support and be liaisons between IT and the multiple program areas. A lifelong learner, Ginny has an Associate Degree in Computer Science, from Columbus State, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Management from Ohio University. 

 In her spare time, Ginny is passionate about supporting others and uses her collaboration and results-focused approach working with organizations to build strategic and grant writing plans, allowing them to make an influential impact on the world. She recently shared her personal journey, encouraging women to “Just breathe, and approach your journey, one step at a time” in a magazine published by EnVision Proven Success and was the board chair leading EnVision in strategic planning.  

Angela Richcreek
Cheryl Ricketts
Cheryl R

President, Competitive Edge HR, Inc.

Cheryl Ricketts learned about the importance of focus, goals, resilience, and living your values as she worked on the family farm  in Central Ohio.  Those attributes, and the lessons learned from numerous mistakes, have directed her life and her passion for creating change in people and organizations.  Cheryl is the Founder and Lead Coach at Competitive Edge HR, Inc. As a Master Certified Coach, she loves connecting with clients to uncover core issues, creating A-Ha’s, and inspiring the implementation of plans and sustainable habits that propel them forward. 

With over 35 years of experience in HR, Sales, Consulting, and Executive roles for US and International firms, Cheryl has lived through significant, unceasing change and has frequently been a pioneer.  Graduating with a Combined Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Ag Economics in thirteen quarters from The Ohio State University, she began her career in Agribusiness as the first woman Management Trainee for a $1B Regional Cooperative. Promoted to Manager of Employment and Development for the 4,500-employee system, she was one of two women in corporate leadership.  Known for aligning HR with strategic objectives, mentors helped to hone her strategic and collaborative skills.

Before founding Competitive Edge HR, Cheryl was a top sales consultant and sales leader with Franklin Covey. While other Regional VPs worked at headquarters, she engaged her 45-person sales team from the field using innovative technology and leadership approaches. This enabled her team to bridge divergent, pre-merger cultures and produce the highest average revenue per person at the lowest cost.

In addition to coaching and presenting to amazingly talented people, Cheryl provides advisory services to Boards to position them for long-term success.  Clients say, “Cheryl understands the nexus between inclusive problem solving and achieving long-term goals. She takes a comprehensive, inclusive approach to problem solving making her an integral part of a team!”

Cheryl actively supports causes that are important to her and currently serves on Boards for the Fairfield County Ag Society, the Pickerington Education Foundation, and the Pickerington Food Pantry. She is proud to have two amazing adult children and delights in spending time with her grandson, Bryson. 

Join Cheryl as she brings her passion and energy to explore how expanding resilience will impact you and the people in your life.

Chris Shaw
Lisa Skeens
LS

Ph.D., Associate Professor of Social Work, Ohio University

Dr. Lisa Skeens has been a psychotherapist for 25 years and specializes in anxiety and mood disorders, recovery from emotional/verbal abuse, multicultural therapy and guided imagery and narrative therapy techniques. She is also a national trainer and consultant for mental health topics for agencies, educational settings and health care settings. Lisa has conducted research with children and ADHD non-medical interventions, mental health needs of Latino and migrant farmworker populations, evidence based spiritual interventions and pedagogical strategies for college students with disabilities.

Debra Smith
Debra Smith

Retired, Associate Professor in Health

Debra Smith is currently retired from Ohio University Lancaster after 15 years as an Associate Professor in Health.  She has a B.A. in Psychology from Ohio University, a degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s Degree in Education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.  After practicing physical therapy for 26 years, she served as program director for the Physical Therapy Assistant program at Central Ohio Technical College, Assistant CIO and CIO at Central Ohio Technical College/Ohio State University Newark and as a national lecturer on Wrist and Elbow Rehabilitation.

Debra has served on multiple community boards and is currently serving on the Fairfield County Foundation Board.  She is a certified Bridges Out of Poverty instructor and provides Bridges training to multiple organizations.

Bryanna Stigger
Bryanna Stiger

Program Manager for Inclusive Excellence, College of Engineering, The Ohio State University

Bryanna Stigger (she/her/hers) is a Newark, Ohio native. She graduated from Newark High School (NHS) in 2008 and earned her associates degree in business management technology from Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) in 2010. During her time at COTC, she was affiliated with several local organizations including the Newark Rotary Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She was President of Ebony Horizons, a Black leadership association for students at COTC and Ohio State Newark. Bryanna coordinated and participated in COTC’s first-ever Italian Cultural Immersion Program. Because of her extraordinary commitment to the Newark campus and community, Bryanna was honored with several awards including the Multi-Cultural Affairs Faculty/Staff Award, the Kelly Saffle Leadership Award, and Community Service Leader of the Year. In 2020, Bryanna was named as a member of the Newark Advocate’s 20 under 40. Due to her illustrious leadership, out of 15,000 graduates, Bryanna was honorably named one of COTC’s top 50 notable alumni.

Bryanna is actively involved in the Newark community. She currently serves as an ex-offico board member of A Call to College. She has volunteered with Par Excellence Academy, the Salvation Army, and the American Red Cross. Her passion for helping others grew from seeing her mother, Kaye Stigger, Case Manager at Licking County Job and Family Services, advocate for services, support, and resources for Licking County residents over the last 25 years. Bryanna is a member of Bethel Rock House of Prayer where her grandmother, Regina C. Stigger, served as a faithful servant for over four decades. She prides herself on being an advocate and champion for marginalized and oppressed groups.

Bryanna is a trailblazer, advocate, and activist who has served as the Licking County NAACP President since May 2020. During her tenure, she has hosted a variety of inclusive programs and initiatives to support, educate and empower Licking County residents. Bryanna is a dynamic leader who always possesses a positive attitude and inspires us all to be the change we wish to see in the world. In collaboration with the Licking County Foundation, Bryanna established the first ever Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) scholarship in Licking County.

Since graduating from COTC in 2010, Bryanna has successfully completed both her bachelors degree in business administration and masters degree in business psychology from Franklin University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program within the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University and will graduate in May 2023. In her professional career, Bryanna is the Program Manager for Inclusive Excellence in the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University where she manages diversity education programs and professional development workshops to advance the diversity and inclusion mission and vision of the college. Bryanna is also a certified professional life coach, and she is CEO and Founder of her very own coaching and consulting business, Bry Inspired, where she strives to elevate, inspire, and empower individuals to live the life of their dreams.

Due to her outstanding accomplishments Bryanna received the 2021 Black Excellence Award in Educational Studies and this year she received the 2022 EHE Legacy Award from the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Global Engagement at The Ohio State University. Bryanna provided the 2021 COTC commencement address and she most recently provided the NHS commencement address where she was honored with the 2022 Alumni Impact Award. COTC just honored Bryanna with the 2022 "Jay" Barker Community Service Alumni Award for her service and transformational impact in her community.

Candice Thomas-Maddox
Candice Thomas-Maddox

Ed.D., Professor of Communication Studies, Ohio University Lancaster

Candice Thomas-Maddox (Ed.D. - West Virginia University) is 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 in 1994, she has taught a variety of communication courses and co-authored five textbooks.  Candice has received the OU-Lancaster Professor of the Year, the Ohio University RHE Outstanding Professor Award, and the ECA Ecroyd Teaching Award and Teaching Fellows honors in recognition of her contributions in the classroom.  In 2012, she was named recipient of the Pickerington ATHENA Leadership Award. Candice is the former President and Executive Director for both the Eastern Communication Association and the Ohio Communication Association. She serves on OUL’s Celebrate Women conference planning committee and as faculty advisor for Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and Phi Theta Kappa honorary.  Over the past 20 years, she has mentored and served as an advisor to hundreds of female undergraduate and graduate students as they pursued their academic goals. 

Jacqueline Tripp
Jacqueline Tripp

Jacquelyn Tripp sees herself as a “ born leader” with over 25 years of experience raising up women in leadership. She develops leaders with the understanding that she must welcome diversity, cultivate authenticity, celebrate not tolerate differences and leverage their strengths against their weaknesses. Jacquelyn is huge on changing the narratives.  She teaches others to perceive obstacles as opportunities and chaos as the precursor for order.

Jennifer Walters
JW

CEO/Owner, Fairfield Homes, Inc.

Jennifer Walters joined the staff of Fairfield Homes, Inc. in 2008. She was appointed President in August 2015, expanding her talents through the land development, construction, property management, and realty divisions of Fairfield Homes. In its third generation, this family-owned business continues its tradition of excellence under Jennifer’s leadership. Jennifer has an acute sensitivity to Fairfield Homes’ commitment to quality within the organization, the customers served and her community. She also co-owns Gorsuch Construction, Inc., a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise and full-service general contracting and development company serving construction needs throughout Ohio and beyond. 

China Widener
CW

National Technology Sector Leader, Deloitte Consulting

China Widener is the National Technology Sector leader for Deloitte Consulting.  She has 15 years in consulting serving clients for on delivering technology enabled business transformation and operating model optimization to achieve performance outcomes. In addition, she provides executive coaching to senior leaders.  She had been a champion in the DEI space for nearly 30 years – in a range of roles from programmatic civil rights compliance to designing an leading national development programs. She currently serves as senior advisor to several Deloitte Communities including Black and Allies, Asian and Allies and LGBTQIA serves on Deloitte’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council. She also co-chaired the Black Action Council, Equity and Representation sub-committee and is an ardent supporter of Deloitte’s WTM -Women to Watch, Women in Technology and Women in M&A programs.

In her variety of national roles, she has led the development of programming designed to acquire, grow and retain women and diverse practitioners.  She has been featured in a variety of podcasts, magazines and other publications discussing topics ranging from resilience to career growth and value of sister circles and leadership programming for women.

Prior to Deloitte she held roles in County and State Government in Ohio including COO, In-house Counsel and Asst. Prosecuting Attorney.

China received her B.S. Eastern Michigan University, and holds a J.D. from the University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law. She completed Public Sector Government Leader program at Harvard’s Kennedy School.

China resides in Austin, TX where she and her wife raise black angus cattle and in her spare-time she is learning the art of dirt-tract auto racing.

Carrie Woody
Carrie Woody

Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Fairfield County

Carrie is a Lancaster native and graduate of Ohio University’s Lancaster branch.  She has spent half of her professional life in non-profit and the other half working in government. She is a wife, mother of four, and has a passion for helping others.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, running, hiking, leading group exercise classes, and reading.

Lillian Zarzar
Lillian Zarzar

MA, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional)

The average citizen does not value education and freedom to the same level of commitment in which Lillian Zarzar, Founder of The Zarzar Group, bestows and holds close to her heart.

After obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Ohio University, she worked at the United Nations in New York City as a bi-lingual tour guide. Returning to Ohio, she obtained a position with The Ohio State University Lima.  Lillian received her Masters in Speech Communication from Bowling Green, then shifted her sights back to Columbus, and worked for OSU at the Columbus Campus.

An entrepreneur at heart, she decided to launch her own business.

For sixteen years she traveled extensively as an international speaker and presented seminars on 5 Continents and throughout all 50 States.

As a member of the Global Speakers Federation, Lillian earned her Certified Speaking Professional Designation, an elite status shared with a select group of only 10% of speakers throughout the World.

On one of her many adventures, Lillian took a spiritual tour to Egypt. She decided to join a group of her daring colleagues who planned to sneak at midnight to climb the great Pyramid at Giza! Yes, they were caught!

She is thankful for her Adjunct Professor position at Ohio University to serve, inspire, motivate, and challenge her students.  It is not uncommon for Lillian to be asked, “What are you doing here in class with us, when you should be out changing the world?”  Her sincere reply, “I am changing the world…through all of you!