Engage! Cleveland is a resource for Cleveland’s young professionals to connect to the organizations, nonprofits, events, businesses and individuals that will help them become better integrated to the city. Founded in 2012, Engage! Cleveland got its start as a collaboration between the business community and some young professionals who noticed a need for an initiative that would raise Cleveland’s profile as a top destination for YPs to begin and advance their careers.
In March 2016, Engage! Cleveland won the Cleveland Business Connects Magazine’s Connectors Choice Award for Business Networking Organization of the Year (Young Professionals).
Mission Engage! Cleveland serves as a catalyst for Cleveland’s young professional community and brings awareness of the YP community. EC is a hub for all things young professional happening in Cleveland. Our goal is to attract, engage and retain young, diverse talent to Greater Cleveland by connecting young professionals to people, organizations and events. We also provide support and resources to young professional organizations, employers and nonprofit organizations.
Vision By 2020, Cleveland will be a top destination for young professionals to live, work and play. We’ll accomplish this by:
- Serving as the connector between young professionals, young professional organizations and YP initiatives
- Providing services to employers and nonprofits to attract and retain young professionals
- Serving as the convener and coordinator of opportunities to foster engagement of young professionals in the community
What began as an idea in 2010 has since grown into a movement that has captured the attention of Young Professionals all over Cleveland. Take a look at the events and people who have helped shape Engage! Cleveland into what it is today.
- 2010-2011 | Idea for Engage! Cleveland is brainstormed and developed
- May 10, 2012 | Engage! Cleveland becomes a part of Global Cleveland through a memorandum of understanding
- September 2012 | Engage! Cleveland hires its founding Executive Director, Ashley Basile Oeken
- April 2013 | Engage! Cleveland enters into a memorandum of understanding and moves into the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland’s Chamber of Commerce
- February 2014 | Engage! Cleveland’s founding Board of Directors signs its Articles of Incorporation and Code of Regulations to register as a legal not-for-profit entity in the State of Ohio. Initial Directors include: Evan Ishida (Chair), Andrew Bennett (Vice Chair), Kim Pesses (Secretary), Gary Shamis (Treasurer), Julie Hill, Ira Kaplan, Chad Kunkle, SueAnn Naso, Earl Pike, Ryan Robbins, Lauren Rudman, Adrienne Sabo, Matt Sinclair and William Tarter Jr.
- October 1, 2014 | Mary-Scott Cebul, Scot Lowry, Elie Weiss and Andrew Zelman join the Board of Directors
- October 6-11, 2014 | Engage! Cleveland hosts its first Cleveland Young Professionals Week – a week full of events geared at exposing Cleveland YPs to all that Cleveland has to offer
- August 1, 2015 | Engage! Cleveland begins to operate as its own entity hiring its first “official” staff and contractors, and moving into its own space
- August 27, 2015 | Engage! Cleveland hits 10,000 followers on Twitter, showcasing the reach the organization has and the importance of its work
- October 1, 2015 | Ira Kaplan (Chair), Lauren Rudman (Vice Chair), Chad Kunkle (Treasurer) and SueAnn Naso (Secretary) are elected as Engage! Cleveland’s new Officers
- November 23, 2015 | Engage! Cleveland receives its 501c3 designation
- January 2016 | Engage! Cleveland launches a new membership model and creates the Leadership Council
- March 2016 | Engage! Cleveland wins the Cleveland Business Connects Magazine’s Connectors Choice Award for Business Networking Organization of the Year (Young Professionals).
- May 2016 | Engage! Cleveland hires new Program Coordinator, Deena Koludrovich.
- July 2016 | Michael Benz, Amanda Mockbee, Peter Poznako, and Neal R. Restivo join the Board of Directors.
- August 2016 | Engage! Cleveland introduces the first 38 members of the Leadership Council.
- March 2017 | Engage! Cleveland wins the Cleveland Business Connects Magazine’s Connectors Choice Award for Business Networking Organization of the Year (Young Professionals) for the second year in a row.
Ashley Basile Oeken
Ashley is an experienced organizational leader in the Cleveland area with over eight years of experience in the government and nonprofit fields. In her role at Engage, Ashley oversees all aspects of the organization while driving strategic initiatives to increase the impact Engage! Cleveland can have on the community and young professionals.
Ashley is on the Board of Trustees at the Saint Luke’s Foundation where she serves on the Strong Communities committee and as Chair of the Governance Committee. She also serves as a Board Member at the Greater Cleveland Partnership and is an (i)Cleveland committee member.
Ashley has received many honors and recognition, including:
September 2015 | Women of Distinction Award, Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio for her role in promoting women in the workplace
March 2015 | Grand River Valley Ice Wine Royal Court, South River Vineyards, for her role in promoting ice wine throughout the region
February 2015 | Networking Rising Business Star Award, Cleveland Business Connects
January 2015 | Cleveland Most Interesting People Award, Cleveland Magazine
September/October 2014 | Cleveland Business Connects featured Ashley on the cover of their September/October 2014 issue and highlighted her work at Engage! Cleveland as the cover story
September 2014 | 40 under 40 Award, Crain’s Cleveland
September 2014 | Awarded the HR Partner Award from ERC and the Cleveland Society of Human Resources Managers (CSHRM) for her work at Engage! Cleveland
April 2014 | Leading Lady, Staffing Solutions Enterprises
March/April 2013 | One to Watch, Inside Business Magazine
March 2012 | Northeast Ohio’s Top 25 under 35 Movers and Shakers, The Cleveland Professional Twenty-Thirty Club and Inside Business
Ashley holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration from Youngstown State University. Additionally, Ashley is a graduate of the LEADdiversity Class of 2015, PRADCO’s Women in Leadership Class of 2013, Cleveland Bridge Builders Class of 2012, and the Spring 2009 Civic Leadership Institute. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys traveling, cooking and discovering all that Cleveland has to offer.
Our newest addition to Engage! Cleveland, Deena, joined us in May 2016 as the Program Coordinator. Deena joins the Engage! Cleveland team with over 2 years of marketing and communications experience. Deena holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from The University of Toledo.
Deena enjoys reading, traveling and exploring new attractions and restaurants in Cleveland.
Engage! Cleveland’s Board of Directors consists of local leaders (both seasoned and young professionals) who volunteer their time and talents to help Engage! Cleveland serve the local young professional community.
Chair | Ira Kaplan, Executive Chairman and Partner, Benesch Attorneys at Law
Vice Chair | Lauren Rudman, HR Manager, Pentair, North America
Treasurer | Chad Kunkle, Administrator, Cleveland Clinic
Secretary | SueAnn Naso, President, Staffing Solutions Enterprises
Board of Directors
Michael Benz, Executive Advisor, Ciuni & Panichi, Inc.
Mary-Scott Cebul, Consultant
Caroline Guscott, Director of Communications, Cleveland Museum of Art
Julie Hill, Vice President and Relationship Manager, PNC Bank
Scot Lowry, CEO, Fathom
Amy McGahan, Senior Vice President, Dix & Eaton
Amanda Mockbee, Assistant Vice President of Private Banking, Dollar Bank, FSB
Kim Pesses, Vice President, Administration, Carnegie Companies, Inc.
Earl Pike, Consultant
Peter Poznako, Internal Control Testing Manager, Loan Services at KeyBank, National Association
Neal R. Restivo, Chief Executive Officer, Oatey Co.
Adrienne Sabo, Senior Copywriter/Content Curator, Prodigal
Gary Shamis, CEO, Winding River Consulting
Michelle Tomallo, President/Co-Founder, FIT Technologies
Our Leadership Council consists of 32 talented young professional volunteers who represent our Employer Members and the community. The council serves as advocates for the YP community by assisting in the planning and execution of EC programs and events and by promoting a positive YP experience in Cleveland.
Leadership Council Co-Chairs
Co-Chair | Rosalyn Cooper, AmTrust Financial
Co-Chair | Natalie Winer, Natalie Winer Creative Consulting/Cake Bites & Other Delights
Angela Almasy, Dix & Eaton
Brittany Belko, National Tooling and Machining Association
Lina Berzinskas, Staffing Solutions Enterprises
Brittany Costa, Akron Children’s Hospital
Andrew DeFratis, Alzheimer’s Association Greater East Ohio Area Chapter
Hue DeLuca, Asurint
Brittney Fells, Bee Fells Creative LLC
Candace Gesicki, Cleveland Chiropractic and Integrative Health Center
Alyssa Giannirakis, Greater Cleveland Food Bank
Anna Gibson, Lincoln Electric
Sarah Gray, PNC
Marisa Grill, Key Bank
Stephanie Janowich, The Sherwin Williams Company
Katie Mang, Alzheimer’s Association Cleveland Area Chapter
Angela Martin, Dix & Eaton
Melinda McNutt, Team NEO
Daniel Norris, Hyland Software
Madalyn Popp, MRI Software
Yentil Rawlinson, Cleveland Clinic
Derek Restivo, PricewaterhouseCoopers
Andrea Sonntag, Vitamix Corporation
Simone Swanson, The Gathering Place
Lakshmanan Viswanathan, Oatey
Lindsey Walsh, Chagrin Arts
Elizabeth Walton, Deloitte
Andrea Weiser, The Cleveland Hillel Foundation
Laurel Wilder, College Now Greater Cleveland
Kathie Zipp, WTWH Media
“Engage! Cleveland inspired and re-energized my enthusiasm around starting my career in our beloved hometown.”
– Mordecai Cargill, Fund Development Manager, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
“You are all doing a tremendous job at Engage! Cleveland. I look at the posts daily on Facebook, and I have found out about so many opportunities in Cleveland that I never even knew existed!”
– Erin Eurenius, J.D., M.B.A., Tax Associate at McGladrey
“Once again, I am coming to you as THE Cleveland YP organization – you really are my best resource!”
– Nicole Rupersburg, Writer & Blogger
“Growing up in Cleveland, I am used to hearing about the often bemoaned “brain drain,” and I am thrilled to hear that the solution is finally being geared to the needs of young graduates like myself. I am impressed by the way Engage! Cleveland incorporates young voices on so many projects in the city.”
– Annamarie Morino, Allegheny College, Class of 2013, Presidential Fellow, President James A, Mullen, Jr.