CLC names new director of Legacy Leaders

Senior Fellow will expand opportunities for “encores”

Dr. Claudia Owens

Dr. Claudia Y. Owens has been named to direct Cleveland Leadership Center’s portfolio of Legacy Leaders initiatives that inspire adults who are 50 and older to engage in community issues.

As CLC’s Senior Fellow, she will expand efforts that tap into a fast-growing talent pool of experienced professionals who are retired, approaching retirement, or transitioning in their careers and seeking meaningful ways to engage with community needs.

“Claudia’s own background in higher education and nonprofit organizations  positions her perfectly to help create opportunities that encourage individuals to utilize their extraordinary skillsets, life expertise, and commitment to the community,” said Marianne Crosley, CLC’s President and CEO. “She will help guide participants in providing service, mentoring, expertise, and connections that expand the ability of organizations and individuals to address social needs and make our community better.”

Legacy Leaders initiatives include those that participants identify or are brought to CLC’s attention by stakeholders seeking support and collaboration to solve problems. Projects have included creating a strategic plan for a newly reorganized nonprofit and mentoring innovative individuals who submit their ideas to CLC’s annual Accelerate: Citizens Make Change civic pitch competition.

Legacy Leaders also implements the multi-generational Advanced Leadership Institute, which brings together those over 50, mid-career professionals, and college students to explore solutions to five issues that have challenged Cleveland for decades: education, health, housing, public safety, and workforce development.

“I look forward to working with Legacy Leaders to further their engagement in civic life and our community, and to support them as they inspire a generation of Mandel Scholars who will lead our community during these unique times of many possibilities,” said Dr. Owens, who started as Senior Fellow July 6, 2022.

Before coming to the Leadership Center, Dr. Owens served on the faculties of the University of Phoenix and Bowling Green State University where she was a graduate program coordinator and instructor. In addition to other positions in higher education, she has held executive positions in marketing and public relations at corporate and nonprofit organizations.

She holds a Doctor of Management in public policy and administration from the University of Maryland University College (now the University of Maryland Global Campus), a Master’s Degree in communication methodology from Cleveland State University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in speech from Northwestern University. She is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma.

She has served on several  Boards of Trustees of nonprofit organizations, is a  general member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a sustainer member of the Junior League, and has been named to Who’s Who in Black Cleveland.

She resides in Warrensville Heights.

Legacy Leaders is made possible by 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 challenges and filling unmet needs. Encore Cleveland is part of a national Encore movement and includes an array of experiences. (See

The Cleveland Foundation’s generous support has sustained CLC’s Legacy Leaders program since it hired the first Senior Fellow in 2018 and launched the program in early 2019.

Legacy Leaders builds on the Leadership Center’s offerings that serve individuals across 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 and offering signature events and customized programming to the entire community fulfills 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.

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
Work: (216) 592-2426, Cell: (216) 408-3874,