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 Basile Oeken is an experienced organizational leader with over ten years of experience in the government and nonprofit fields. Her expertise is focused on the next generation and young professionals.
In her role at Engage! Cleveland, 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. She consults with employers and nonprofits to attract, engage and retain the best and brightest talent.
Ashley is very involved in the civic community in Cleveland serving on a variety of committees and Boards. Most notably, Ashley serves on Board of Trustees at the Saint Luke’s Foundation where she serves on the Strong Neighborhood committee and as Chair of the Governance Committee.
Ashley has received many honors and recognition for her work in the Cleveland area including the following:
· Women of Distinction Award, Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio
· Networking Rising Business Star Award, Cleveland Business Connects
· Cleveland Most Interesting People Award, Cleveland Magazine
· 40 under 40 Award, Crain’s Cleveland
· HR Partner Award, ERC and the Cleveland Society of Human Resources Managers (CSHRM)
· Leading Lady, Staffing Solutions Enterprises
· One to Watch, Inside Business Magazine
· 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.
Marketing, Events & Development Manager
Katelyn joined the Engage! Cleveland team as the Marketing, Events & Development Manager in June 2017. Katelyn has dedicated her career to the nonprofit sector, working for various organizations including the Cleveland Museum of Art, Akron Art Museum, and the Artists Archives. In addition to her nonprofit background, she has worked as a wedding and event planner for a local, eco-friendly event planning company. Katelyn has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Kent State University and is currently finishing a Master’s degree in Art History.
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
Dr. Robert Eckardt, Consultant
Steve Gleydura, Editor at Cleveland Magazine
Caroline Guscott, Director of Communications, Cleveland Museum of Art
Scot Lowry, CEO, Fathom
Amy Martin, Senior Partner, Marketing at JumpStart Inc.
Amy McGahan, Senior Vice President, Dix & Eaton
Amanda Mockbee, Assistant Vice President of Private Banking, Dollar Bank, FSB
Earl Pike, Consultant
Peter Poznako, Internal Control Testing Manager, Loan Services at KeyBank, National Association
Neal R. Restivo, Chief Executive Officer, Oatey Co.
Gary Shamis, CEO, Winding River Consulting
Michelle Tomallo, President/Co-Founder, FIT Technologies
Ted Tywang, Director, Legal Affairs, Cleveland Browns
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
Marisa Grill, Key Bank
Stephanie Janowich, The Sherwin Williams Company
Angela Martin, Dix & Eaton
Melinda McNutt, Team NEO
Daniel Norris, Hyland Software
Madalyn Popp, MRI Software
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.