CLC expands programming to reach legacy leaders

New fellow will engage transitioning professionals in community needs

Cleveland Leadership Center is expanding its portfolio of offerings that inspire civic leaders with the creation of a program to meaningfully engage adults who are 50 and older in community issues.

Lenora Inez Brown is the Leadership Center’s new Senior Fellow and will work to tap into a fast-growing talent pool of experienced professionals (“legacy leaders”) who are retired, approaching retirement or transitioning in their careers and seeking meaningful ways to contribute in the community.

“Lenora’s work will help legacy leaders sustain or enhance their engagement in civic life, maintain local connections, and inspire a new generation of leaders who want to make change,” said Marianne Crosley, CLC President and CEO. “As our community works to realize a brain gain with young, aspiring leaders, we are confronting a potential brain drain of senior leaders. They constitute a rich community resource that is waiting to be deployed,” Crosley said.

The program is made possible through a grant from the Cleveland Foundation, which in 2013 launched Encore Cleveland to connect and fund a network that would channel the time, energy and talents of experienced Clevelanders into solving community challenges and filling unmet needs. Encore Cleveland is part of a national Encore movement and includes an array of experiences. (See

Almost one third of Cuyahoga County residents will be over 60 by 2030, according to projections by the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University. The Leadership Center’s new programming will give these individuals a reason to remain in our region, where they would be well positioned to advance critical civic initiatives by drawing on professional and life experience.

The work builds on the Center’s portfolio of offerings that serve several generations: Look Up To Cleveland (high school), Campus Cleveland (college), OnBoard Cleveland (early-career) Cleveland Bridge Builders (mid-career), Leadership Cleveland (senior-positional level) and Civic Leadership Institute (adults of all ages). Serving multiple segments helps fulfill the organization’s mission to build a continuum of civic leaders committed to our community’s excellence by serving as a catalyst for civic engagement.

One of the first projects for Brown, who began at the Leadership Center December 10, 2018, will be to advance the work of the Stokes Civic Leadership Institute. Stokes CLI, launched in 2017-18 in partnership with Cuyahoga Community College, was part of a Cleveland-wide commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Carl Stokes’ election as Mayor and the impact he and his brother, Cong. Louis Stokes, had on the community.

During Stokes CLI, 17 Senior Fellows offered guidance and support to 38 rising leaders, resulting in a generation of diverse individuals poised to assume leadership roles in all aspects of the community. The group focused on five critical challenges facing the city — education, workforce readiness, housing, health, and public safety — and developed collaborative skills to address these issues. The next cohort of Stokes CLI will launch in Fall 2018.

In addition, Brown will help connect legacy leaders with mentoring opportunities for high school and college students and young professionals, and with other projects that improve Cleveland such as those presented at the Leadership Center’s annual Accelerate: Citizens Make Change civic pitch competition.

Before coming to CLC, Brown served as Manager of Community Engagement for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and was a project analyst for Northeast Ohio Medical University. As President of the USA Board for Theater for Young Audiences/USA, she led the national service organization’s growth and strategy. She was an Assistant Professor of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at The Theater School at DePaul University in Chicago.

She earned an MBA from the Monte Ahuja College of Business at Cleveland State University, where she received the John Baker award for leadership, business ethics, and career development. She received an MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from Yale University, and Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from Dartmouth College.

Among her current civic activities, she is Circle Neighbors Chair for the Womens Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art, is on the Common Ground Advisory Board of the Cleveland Foundation, and on the Education Advisory Board of the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning. She also serves on the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Advisory Board and sings in the choir at Church of the Resurrection in Solon.

She resides in Solon.

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About the Cleveland Leadership Center (CLC)

The Cleveland Leadership Center’s mission is to build a continuum of civic leaders committed to our community’s excellence by serving as a catalyst for civic engagement. CLC inspires and connects people to transform Cleveland by developing leaders of all age through learning and community engagement opportunities.

 Media contact

Michael E. Bennett, Vice President of External Affairs
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