Meet our 2023-2024 Fellowship

Who they are: These civic leaders are bold and action-oriented, purposeful and persuasive. They span all spectrums of diversity in Cincinnati—from their own personal backgrounds, politics, and beliefs, to their professional and volunteer portfolios. But they share much in common.They are all connected influencers in the business, religious, civic, arts, education, law enforcement, or nonprofit sectors, who educate and inspire change within their own personal and professional networks. They are intellectually curious with track records of motivating others. They are authentic innovators with proven ability to drive transformative change. They are positioned to set the tone for our community, now and into the future.

What will they do: Starting in September 2023, these incredible leaders will engage in nine months of transformative learning, exploring the relationship between extremism, antisemitism, racism, and inclusive democracy, and building skills for effective leadership in a polarized time. They will then leverage their learnings through action projects that enhance their individual work in this area, raise awareness, and catalyze community change.

Terrance Ashanta-Barker is the Chief Legal Officer of The Ashanta-Barker Law Group, LLC. Mr. Ashanta-Barker focuses his practice on a variety of finance and equity, diversity and inclusion, technology and infrastructure, community and economic development, housing and consumer protection transaction and policy advisory matters and generally represents clients within the emerging and publicly traded business and non-profit and municipal corporation sectors. Mr. Ashanta-Barker serves as outside counsel and/or general counsel to a number of large corporations, start-up and growth businesses, local non-profit entities, and state agencies. Prior to TAB Law Group, Mr. Ashanta-Barker practiced law as a senior attorney with Cincinnati-based Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP (“TAFT/”) in the Business & Finance, Emerging Business and Government Practice areas. In 2020, Mr. Ashanta-Barker served as counsel on the Biden-Harris for America Presidential Campaign Voter Protection Legal Team in both Florida and Ohio. In this role, Mr. Ashanta-Barker handled a broad range of voter protection legal issues, including voter harassment and intimidation, provisional ballot challenges, right to vote, and ballot cure matters. Mr. Ashanta-Barker holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, with a minor in business, from Tuskegee University; a Juris Doctorate from the Florida State University College of Law; Executive degree (MBEP) in business from the Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business; and an Executive degree in private equity (venture capital) financing from the University of California Berkeley College of Law. Mr. Ashanta-Barker is admitted to practice law in Florida, Georgia and Ohio and serves on various boards in both Ohio and Florida.

Terrance Ashanta-Barker

CEO and General Counsel, The UrbanWise Company

Caitlin(she/her) was born in South Korea and raised in Kentucky as a transracial adoptee. Her upbringing sparked her passion for helping people define their power, change narratives, and take action. She is the Director of Community Leadership at Design Impact, a nonprofit social innovation firm that uses design to address inequity. Caitlin is also a mentor, neighbor, and millennial auntie. Outside of DI, she serves on the board of the Asian American Cultural Association of Cincinnati and the planning team for Asian Food Fest. She also co-founded AAPI Heritage Month Cincinnati, an initiative to promote and celebrate AAPI Heritage Month across Greater Cincinnati.

Caitlin Jee Hae Behle

Director, Community Leadership, Design Impact

A PhD scientist and engineer by training who served at both NASA and NIST before entering the private sector, Boltz’s expertise lies in design and manufacturing of integrated technology products for industry. As the owner of Marathon Sensors Inc., a Cincinnati-area manufacturer of industrial controls, Boltz and his wife, Yvonne, earned the Ohio Exporter of the Year award for 2007 after establishing their Ohio-manufactured brand as the leader in China. Paralyzed by a reckless driver in 2015, Boltz learned the harsh realities of today’s workplaces for the disabled firsthand. Today Boltz serves as an Application Engineering Manager for Howden, a Chart Industries Company, while he and his wife are building an accessible, farm-based business with an outreach program called that creates independence and community in the kitchen through cooking and gardening classes for people with disabilities and their loved ones. Boltz likes to explain with math that, if you have zero and get any, calculating the increase percentage sets up a division by zero; that’s infinity. “When you witness a person achieve what they deemed impossible, you get to witness them experiencing that infinity, if just for that moment. It’s transformative for student and able-bodied volunteers alike.” – E.S. Boltz

Eric Boltz

Application Engineering Manager, Howden Americas

Harold Brown is the first-ever Nathaniel R. Jones Chief Diversity &Inclusion Officer at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO), a new role created to catalyze, guide and implement DE&I initiatives and practices across the organization. It is also the first endowed administrative position for the CSO. Previously, Harold served as Vice President, Strategy & Policy at Interact for Health and Vice President of Community Strategies at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF). For 16+ years prior to joining GCF, Harold served in a variety of leadership roles at KnowledgeWorks, which involved creating opportunities for investment and partnerships to dramatically improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged youth in cities across the nation. An Oxford, Ohio native and graduate of Harvard University, Harold began his career as a Senior Researcher at WGBH Boston. Upon returning to Ohio, Harold directed Multicultural Enrollment Services at Miami University, where he led the University’s successful efforts to dramatically increase minority student enrollment and retention. A strong believer in the importance of community service, Harold serves on the boards of the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati (Secretary), Mt. St. Joseph University (Vice-Chair), GreenLight Cincinnati, School Board Schools (Chair), and AchievePoint Career Academy. Harold resides in Springdale with his wife, Gwen, and their son Christopher, a junior at The Ohio State University.

Harold Brown

Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

A former board member of the Chinese Chamber, Leo Chan brings a wealth of diverse and international experience in technology management and financial services to the Executive Director role. He has served in multiple Global Fortune 500 companies and multinational corporations, running funds of over 1 billion RMB and investments of over 1 billion USD in mobile telecommunications infrastructure in China and other parts of the world. Chan has served in management and executive roles at major telecom giants including France Telecom, China Unicom, Cincinnati Bell, and Hawaiian Telcom. In 2008, Chan started a partnership with Wall Street elites and built a merchant banking operation in China, where he formed strategic relationships with leading private equity and venture capital firms to establish a series of venture capital funds. Chan instrumentally built public private partnerships to fund technology startups and infrastructure build out in many Asian cities. He also led a supply chain management company that specializes in helping US companies to source from strategic partners. Chan served the community through multiple NGOs such as the Cincinnati Chinese Church, Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and LYC Foundation. He donated millions of PPEs to senior homes, hospitals, local governments, and communities in the Midwest region as well as India during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chan was recognized by the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners who designated May 29, 2021 as the Leo Chan Day in Hamilton County, Ohio. Chan studied International Business at Guangzhou Institute of Foreign Languages, Asia Europe Programme at Sciences-Po de Paris, Intermediate Japanese at Dalian University of Foreign Languages. He earned an MBA degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2001. He currently studies Business Analytics at the Harvard Business School and is expected to graduate in 2024.

Leo Chan

Executive Director, Asia Chamber of Commerce

Elizabeth Chasteen Day, the Organizing Director of ACLU Ohio, believes in the power of people. From a young age she has been organizing her peers and elders to move in the interest of what is right, true, and just. Whether organizing marches for racial justice, organizing fasts and prayer walks for police accountability, or building large teams inside of congregations and communities, Elizabeth stays connected to those who society attempts to forget. Elizabeth brings with her a diverse background in non-profit management, organizational leadership, and community engagement. Elizabeth has spent most of her career building power for everyday people. She has utilized the skills gained through her personal life and professional experience to work on human rights issues such as protecting and expanding reproductive healthcare, enacting legislative reforms in the criminal justice system, protecting the economic health of communities and families, and expanding access to universal pre-K in Ohio. When she is not hosting training and meetings with volunteers and staff, she can be found exploring with her two small children and cooking delicious meals with her husband. She is a graduate of Cincinnati State Technical College with a focus on Business Management and is pursuing her degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati.

Elizabeth Chasteen Day

State Organizing Director, ACLU of Ohio

State Rep. Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) is a third generation Cincinnatian who has dedicated his entire career to empowering, leading and serving the citizens of Cincinnati. He currently represents Ohio’s 26th House District. Rep. Denson attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts to study drama, dance, music theatre and percussion. While studying there, he met a City Councilmember, making him realize the impact a public servant could have on the community. He went on to study Organizational Leadership at the University of Cincinnati. Upon graduating, Rep. Denson began his career with the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency as an educator in Consumer Energy. He then served as Chief of Staff to Councilmember Wendell Young – working to bring fresh foods to, and reduce the infant mortality rate in underserved neighborhoods. After serving in City Hall, Rep. Denson went on to serve as Southwest Ohio Outreach Director for For Ohio’s Future Action Fund, a labor-backed organization that charged him with building a coalition of progressive and inclusive organizations and community leaders to move key issues forward in the region. He is currently the Southwest Ohio Director for the Ohio Environmental Council where he works daily to help protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and public spaces we enjoy. In addition to his work at the OEC, Sedrick is Political Action Chair for Greater Cincinnati National Action Network, Government Affairs Chair for African American Chamber of Commerce. He resides in the community of Bond Hill and has one son, Harper, with partner Melanie.

Sedrick Denson

Ohio State Representative, District 26

Matthew David Gellin is the Executive Artistic Director & CEO of American Legacy Theatre. He has successfully acted and directed across the country, in Europe, and in Asia. Matthew is proud to have served as a USA representative at the UNESCO International Theatre Institute Research Lab in Romania, named as a Promising Artist of the 21st Century by the International Arts and Cultural Exchange, and has published papers on directorial theory in the peer-reviewed journals. Matthew was also an instructor for three years at Purdue University (Research-1 university). His financial background includes serving as USA delegate to the People's Republic of China for Foreign Business Affairs and serving on the Association for Fundraising Professionals Board of Directors as Past-President. Matthew also serves on the fundraising board for the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy USA. He has raised nearly $15MM for the Greater Cincinnati community in the last 5 years in arts, human services, and social services. Now, he looks to lift American theatre back to the top of the world's stage and create a more equitable tomorrow for social change.

Matthew Gellin

Executive Artistic Director, American Legacy Theatre

Monique Gilliam has a long equity, inclusion, and community work history in Cincinnati, Ohio. She currently works as the Organizing Director with Cohear. Cohear is a Community Engagement & Strategy company. Featured in United Way's 2017 Live United Campaign, Monique has become a role model and an inspiration for women experiencing homelessness. She has volunteered at many local shelters and has appeared on local TV, spoken in public venues about her experiences, and advocated for homeless families and non-profits such as Bethany House and Moms Hope. Monique was also selected as one of ten inspirational women with stories to share by the KiCam Project, released in October 2018. When Monique isn’t advocating for others, she’s a mom to her four exceptional children. Her oldest son is a freshman at Central State University studying Computer Science. Her younger three, ranging in grades 4-7, keep her busy with their extracurricular activities which include; Basketball, Squash, and Swimming. Monique has also been featured as a Keynote Speaker to discuss Poverty, Homelessness, Family Stability & Suicide Awareness for the following organizations in the Greater Cincinnati area; United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Bethany House, Moms Hope, Kao Corporation, Ohio First Financial, and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-Cincinnati Chapter.

Monique Gilliam

Organizing Director, Cohear

Elisa Hoffman is a parent, former teacher, and education advocate who has worked for over twenty-five years on issues of educational equity. After graduating magna cum laude from Colgate University, Elisa was a teacher in rural Mississippi and in Washington, DC. She then joined staff at Teach For America where she served in a number of roles on the recruitment team and the human assets team. Elisa’s belief that policy is a key lever for changing systems led her to run for school board, and in November 2013, she won election to a four-year term on the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education. In 2018, Elisa founded School Board School, where she is currently the Executive Director. School Board School brings together aspiring school board members and education advocates, and equips them with the knowledge and network to drive systemic change.

Elisa Hoffman

Founder & Executive Director, School Board School

Aasees Kaur is a community organizer, educator, and a small business owner. She currently serves as the Co-Founder and Partner at CHAATRIK Architecture & Urban Design. In her role, she is determined to further CHAATRIK’s Founder Jaipal Singh’s legacy and vision of beautiful, sleek design in our region. She has extensive experience in navigating the complexities of business, including solidifying partnerships with clients, industry, and the broader public. Aasees plays an integral role on the boards of two innovative non-profit organizations, Riaan Research Initiative, a patient advocacy engaged in cutting-edge scientific research, and EquaSion, focused on the intersectionality of faith and justice. She began her career as a civil rights advocate at the Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh legal advocacy organization in the US, where she worked with community members and our elected representatives around the country on civil rights issues. Aasees has been featured in the New York Times, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and other major outlets. She aspires to create a more beautiful world through inspirational design alongside the brilliant team of designers at CHAATRIK and through her commitment to advancing human and civil rights issues.

Aasees Kaur

Partner, CHAATRIK + Architecture Urban Design

Rev. Abby King-Kaiser became Communications Manager of Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest in 2024. Abby is formerly the Director of the Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice at Xavier University. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), she served as the pastor of a small, urban congregation in Oakland, CA before moving back to her hometown to work at Xavier. Over the years, her roles at Xavier allowed her to work with and learn from students from a wide variety of traditions and backgrounds. She loved creating more spaces on campus where they could intentionally build community across difference. She is looking forward to her work with Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, an organization that responds to local community needs in the Northwest by recruiting, placing, and supporting volunteers who provide value-centered service grounded in the Jesuit Catholic tradition. When she can, she uses art as a tool for dialogue and community building.

Abby King-Kaiser

Communications Manager, Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest

Nazly Mamedova is an experienced immigration attorney who offers legal support to the immigrant communities of the Tri-State area. She speaks Azerbaijani, Crimean Tatar, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Uzbek languages. She is a dedicated advocate for and advisor to her clients, respecting personal, family and business relationships. She is a member of American Immigration Law Association and has served on Mayor Cranley’s Task Force on Immigration. Aside from running her immigration law practice, Nazly focuses on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging by serving on several local boards including Red Cross of Greater Cincinnati and Cincy4Ukraine. Her prior board experience includes Cincinnatus Association and Junior League of Cincinnati. Nazly has a J.D. from Salmon P. Chase College of Law of Northern Kentucky University and a B.A. in International Affairs from Xavier University in Cincinnati.

Nazly Mamedova

Immigration Attorney, Law Office of Nazly Mamedova

Matt Masterson is the Director of Information Integrity at Microsoft Corp. Matt is a former non-resident policy fellow with the Stanford Internet Observatory. He served as Senior Cybersecurity Advisor at the Department of Homeland Security, where he focused on election security issues. He previously served as a Commissioner at the Election Assistance Commission from December 2014 until March 2018, including serving as the Commission’s Chairman in 2017-2018. Prior to that, he held staff positions with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, where he oversaw voting-system certification efforts and helped develop an online voter registration system. Matt holds a law degree from the University of Dayton School of Law and BS and BA degrees from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Matthew Masterson

Director of Information Integrity, Microsoft

Rev. Frank Nation is currently serving as the System Vice President of Mission and Culture at TriHealth, Inc. in Cincinnati Ohio. He has been in health care for over 25 years. He is a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and is a Certified Educator with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. He holds a Bachelors degree, Masters of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Ministry degree. His current role at TriHealth oversees Mission and Values Integration, Ministry Formation, Spiritual Care, Ethics and Community Benefit. He serves on various committees and boards in the community and the health systems. He also serves as part of the Hebrew Union College Clinical Pastoral Education Advisory Committee.

Frank Nation

Vice President Mission and Culture, TriHealth

Kristin Smith Shrimplin is a change-driven leader who focuses on social innovation, collaboration, and impact. Kristin operates from the framework that ideas and innovation lead organizations—not hierarchy. Kristin has more than 20 years of experience as a nonprofit leader with a strong focus on generating systems-based change through nuanced strategies of disruption and collaboration. Most notably, Kristin is proud to serve as CEO of Women Helping Women--an agency that serves nearly 8,000 survivors a year. Kristin also serves on the Board of the Human Services Chamber, the Leadership Council of Nonprofits and the HealthPath Foundation of Ohio. She also serves in a leadership position with the statewide network of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence and is a human rights volunteer in the LGBTQI+ community.

Kristin Shrimplin

CEO and Executive Director, Women Helping Women

Mary Stagaman is a purpose-driven leader focused on building more inclusive organizations and communities. Throughout her long career, Mary has had one foot in the workplace and the other in the community, bridging gaps between silos and sectors, people and place. As a consultant in diversity, equity and inclusion, Mary has worked with ArtsWave, the nation’s largest united arts fund; FC Cincinnati’s bid to host the World Cup; Procter & Gamble’s Take on Race initiative; and more. Prior to founding her own business in 2020, Mary was vice president for inclusion at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber where she was the architect of Diverse by Design, a groundbreaking initiative to attract, develop and retain a diverse pool of talent for the region. Mary also developed Building Cultural Competence, a leadership program focused on increasing skills for working successfully across cultures and communities; Cincinnati Compass, an immigrant welcoming organization; and Green Umbrella, a regional sustainability alliance. While chair of the Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Mary launched “Pulse: A Study on the Status of Women and Girls,” a comprehensive report that was recognized nationally as best-in-class. Mary is a founder, board member and past chair of the Corporation for Findlay Market, one of the oldest public markets in the country and a developer of food entrepreneurs, particularly women of color and immigrants. Mary’s present and past board service includes ArtsWave, Ensemble Theatre, United Way, Women Helping Women, Uptown Consortium and the Health Collaborative. Mary’s professional history also includes a long stint at the University of Cincinnati, rising to UC’s chief marketing officer and the president’s deputy to the community. Her repositioning of the university set the stage for record enrollments and rising reputation, which UC still enjoys today. Mary and her husband, Ron Kull, live in downtown Cincinnati.

Mary Stagaman

Principal, Mary Stagaman LLC

Robert Warfel is a graduate of Butler University and Ohio Northern University College of Law. He initially practiced as an attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio for a few years before joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1997 where he served as a Special Agent and Supervisory Special Agent for over 22 years in Chicago, Washington DC, Islamabad, Pakistan, and numerous domestic and international assignments. Robert was married in 1999 to his wife Arianna and together they are raising 3 young men, the youngest is still in high school. In 2019, he transitioned to his current role as Director of Public Safety for Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Robert Warfel is also an adjunct faculty member for the University of Cincinnati and an instructor for Xavier University’s Public Sector Leadership program. He is an active volunteer within the Cincinnati community involved in coaching youth soccer programs, leading local Scouting BSA programming, and serving on the Dan Beard Council Risk Management Board for Scouting, BSA, and an active mentor for several students in both the collegiate and high school age groups.

Robert Warfel

Director of Public Safety, Xavier University

With 29 years of experience in education, Tim Weber has consistently demonstrated a passion for fostering student success and driving positive change. He began his career as an elementary school teacher. After transitioning to educational administration, he excelled as an assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and is now the superintendent of Wyoming City Schools. Throughout his career, Tim Weber has demonstrated effectiveness in all facets of educational leadership, including curriculum development, instruction, business management, professional development, and human resources. He successfully engaged the Wyoming school community in developing a long-term strategic plan centered on the values of academic excellence, character and integrity, belonging and community, and the whole child. Tim Weber firmly believes in empowering students to become change agents within their communities. His commitment to creating environments that support students in reaching their full academic, social, and emotional potential has been a consistent guiding principle throughout his career.

Tim Weber

Superintendent, Wyoming City Schools