December 13, 2023

Meet Collaborate Cleveland’s Inaugural Advisory Committee


At the end of 2022, Collaborate Cleveland’s partners voted to focus our work on women and gender justice in Cleveland. This determined what we wanted to do but not how Collaborate Cleveland’s work needed to evolve to align with our new vision. What we did know is that we wanted to be additive to the amazing work happening in our region; build on our organizational strengths; and co-create our strategy, our how, with community change-makers. With these goals in mind, in 2023, we convened an Advisory Committee made up of 15 local women leaders already working to advance women and gender justice in Cleveland.

Collaborate Cleveland’s Inaugural Advisory Committee Members included:

  • Alexandria Johnson Boone, Women of Color Foundation
  • Cynthia Connolly, City Club of Cleveland
  • Ashley Evans, The Presidents Council
  • Helen Forbes Fields, Esq., YWCA of Greater Cleveland
  • Keisha M. González, The Cleveland Foundation
  • Phyllis Seven Harris, LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland
  • Leah D. Hudnall, The Legacy Perspective
  • Kate Ingersoll, Healthy Lakewood Foundation
  • Jazmin Long, Birthing Beautiful Communities
  • Nancy Mendez, Starting Point
  • Shaina Munoz, State Infrastructure Project
  • Bethany Studenic, Enlightened Solutions
  • Renee Timberlake, United Way of Greater Cleveland
  • Kate Warren, City of Cleveland
  • Tessa Xuan, OPAWL – Building AAPI Feminist Leadership

This incredible group of women came together to help guide our transformation. Through many hours of conversation and collaboration, committee members helped us identify opportunities and gaps as well as how Collaborate Cleveland could best support and partner with established and emerging community leaders and organizations. These conversations were deeply thoughtful, led by Diana Rosa and Antunesia Harris from Rosa Consulting, LLC. This collaborative process resulted in an initial strategic outline.

Diana, Antunesia, and Collaborate Cleveland staff shared and discussed this initial outline with nearly 40 community leaders for additional feedback. The committee members incorporated this feedback and made final recommendations for a strategic framework we are further exploring and have begun to implement this year.

Our 2023 Inaugural Advisory Committee grew out of our new focus on women and gender justice. However, in 2022, we convened our first nonprofit advisory committee to bring the voice, input and expertise of nonprofit leaders directly into our strategy and programs. This committee’s members included:

  • Keesha Allen, Home Repair Resource Center
  • Tenisha Gant-Watson, Jordan Community Resource Center
  • Cait Kennedy, unBail 
  • Avery Martens, SURJ Ohio
  • Jonathan Welle, Cleveland Owns

Our journey has been a true collaborative effort over several years. We are grateful for all the insights, ideas, and guidance that have been offered by our Advisory Committees, and too many community members to name. And we look forward to new collaborations and partnerships as we continue to shape our work co-creating a more just and equitable Cleveland for women and all impacted by gender injustice.

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