Thursday, November 9, 2023
7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
CSU Student Center

Click on the speaker names to view bios.


    Continental breakfast and connections.

  • 8:00 am: OPENING KEYNOTE

    Passion & the Spirit of Leadership

    Maggie Nichols
    CEO, Eureka! Ranch

    In her 25 year career in innovation, Maggie’s worked with all levels of innovators across 100s of companies – from entry level staff to c-suite executives. She’s had a front row seat to collaboration “Moment’s of Truth” – when they went wrong and when they went right.

    She’ll share her account and lessons learned about what it takes to lead with passion and inspire others to work together, even when things feel impossible.


    Preventing burnout: Cultivating compassion with courage
    [ROOM 313/315]

    Kristi Horner
    Founder & Executive Director, Courage to Caregivers

    When you cultivate compassion, it can have a far reaching ripple effect. It starts with you and then extends far beyond your circles at both work and home. Leading with compassion takes courage and has become more essential than ever in order to reduce burnout and retain talent. Understanding that compassion starts with you, your self-compassion, this workshop will guide participants through increasing their self-awareness, and better understanding their emotional intelligence (EQ). Learn to focus on active listening, and creating a safe space for communicating with care. Leaders are asked to balance the care and concern for their teams while maintaining productivity and success measures. It is possible to have both!

    Finding your lane: Leveraging influence & communication
    (Sponsored by  )

    Danita Harris
    News Anchor, WEWS News5

    Today, the sheer speed and amount of information exchange makes it harder than ever to communicate and engage to make an impact. Learn how to align your profession, passion, and purpose, and identify tools to influence in an authentic and honest way across various platforms and social media outlets.

    Active listening

    Devon Climer, MA, CCC-SLP
    Founder, My Communicoach

    Discover how active listening isn’t just about hearing words, but about understanding intentions, emotions, and underlying messages. Explore how this practice can enhance participants’ leadership styles, foster meaningful connections, and guide teams through uncertainty with unwavering clarity.

  • 10:30 am: LIGHTNING ROUND

    Strategy with vision
    (Sponsored by  )

    Emcee: Michael Christoff, AIA, MBA (CBB 2014)
    Co-founder, PechaKucha Night Cleveland

    • Tom Gill (LC 2021, CEF 2010, CLI 2009)
      President, Urban Community School
    • Kelly Manderfield (LC2 2020, LC 2019)
      Chief Marketing Officer, Cleveland Metroparks
    • Dawn Mayes (CBB 2021)
      Director of Design Entrepreneurship & Inclusion, Kent State University
    • Alan Nevel
      SVP & Chief Equity and Community Impact Officer, The MetroHealth System
    • Joyce Pan Huang
      Director of City Planning, City of Cleveland

    Five community leaders who are leading with strategy and vision will share how they are creating positive social change in our community through in-depth planning and purpose-driven community engagement.


    Creative flexibility
    (Sponsored by  )

    Nigamanth Sridhar, Ph.D. (LC2 2020, LC 2019, CLC Board)
    Provost & SVP – Academic Affairs, Cleveland State University

    In today’s complex and chaotic world, it is necessary to embrace change and out of the box thinking to meaningfully tackle challenges. Explore how to infuse your leadership and your teams with adaptability and creativity necessary for your people and your organization to thrive.

    Evidence-based decision making
    [ROOM 313/315]

    Rachel Ciomcia (CBB 2010)
    Executive VP, Cleveland Leadership Center

    The need for data-informed decision making is imperative. Learn how to embed evidence-based practices within your organization to ensure your team’s decisions are based on facts and evidence.

    Communicating and building consensus through change

    Susan Oguche
    EVP & Chief Communication Officer, Cleveland Cavaliers, Rock Entertainment Group and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

    Session description coming soon!

  • 12:30 pm: LUNCH

    Lunch and connections.

  • 1:00 pm: CLOSING KEYNOTE

    Fostering inclusive collaborations

    Robert Solomon (LC 2022)
    VP, Office for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Case Western Reserve University

    Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important and essential values. Learn how inclusive leadership and fostering diversity benefits us as individuals, organizations, and as global citizens, and how you can become a more inclusive leader.

Thank you for being a part of Spark! We hope to see you at the 10th anniversary celebration of Accelerate, Thursday, February 22, 2024. If today “Sparked” an idea to help improve our community in some way, apply to pitch it at Accelerate. Applications are open for the next three weeks, through Friday, December 1, 2023. Get details and calendar reminders >