Jonah Bayer is a music journalist born and raised in Cleveland. He attended Ithaca College where he co-edited the fanzine Law Of Inertia. After graduating and spending the summer working on the Vans Warped Tour, he moved back to Cleveland to be the Music Editor of Alternative Press from 2002 – 2005. Following the breakup of his band The Lovekill in late 2006, Jonah moved to Brooklyn and eventually became the head writer of Steven’s Untitled Rock Show on Fuse. Along with the show’s host Steven Smith, he currently hosts the weekly podcast Going Off Track which recently celebrated its 100th episode. Jonah also collaborates with his sister, Saturday Night Live cast member Vanessa Bayer, on an ongoing project. Their co-created web series, Sound Advice With Janessa Slater, has featured everyone from Drake to fun. Jonah’s writing has appeared online and in print for publications such as SPIN, Penthouse, Thrasher, Revolver, Rock Sound, Guitar World, The AV Club, Noisey, The Plain Dealer, The Believer, Filter, Inked and more. Additionally, he is a regular contributor to The Fire Theft Project, an online publication about creativity. He plays guitar in the screamo supergroup United Nations that tours internationally and will release their second full-length album this summer. In life outside the office and studio, Jonah maintains a daily ashtanga yoga practice and believes that Nicholas Cage is one of the greatest American actors of our time, evidenced by his superb work in the film Adaptation.
If you feel otherwise, you can find Jonah on Twitter @mynameisjonah. He insists that you shouldn’t “pull any punches.”
Brian Michael Bendis is an American comic book writer and former artist. He has won critical acclaim, including five Eisner Awards for both his creator-owned work and his work on various Marvel Comics books.
Starting out with crime and noir comics, Bendis eventually moved to mainstream superhero work. With Bill Jemas and Mark Millar, Bendis was the primary architect of the Ultimate Marvel Universe, launching Ultimate Spider-Man in 2000, on which he continues as writer to the present day. He relaunched the Avengers franchise with New Avengers in 2004, and has also written the Marvel “event” storylines “House of M”, “Secret War”, 2008′s “Secret Invasion” and 2010′s “Siege”.
Though Bendis has cited comic book writers such as Frank Miller and Alan Moore, his own writing influences are less rooted in comics, drawing on the work of David Mamet, Richard Price, and Aaron Sorkin, whose dialogue Bendis feels are “the best in any medium.”
In addition to writing comics, he has also worked in television, video games and film, and taught writing at Portland State University. He will begin teaching at University of Oregon starting in Fall 2013, and his book Words for Pictures will be out in Spring 2014 from Random House.
Exploring the intersection of design, urbanism and innovation, architect and entrepreneur Jennifer Coleman has over 24 years experience in the field of architecture and has managed a diverse array of building projects. Her company, Jennifer Coleman Creative, is dedicated to improving life in the
city through smart design, combining a traditional architectural design and planning practice with community engagement and history gathering. She is also the founder and CEO of CityProwl, a company producing urban audiotours that can be downloaded from the Internet to digital media players for self-led tours. Jennifer was a Project Director at Westlake Reed Leskosky, where she managed a large arrangement of projects including the renovation of the Howard Metzenbaum Federal Courthouse, the American Cancer Society Headquarters and Resource Center and Laurel School’s Butler Campus development. Ms. Coleman is Chair of both the Cleveland Landmarks Commission and
Downtown/Flats District Design Review Committee and was appointed to the Mayor’s 2010 Group Plan Commission. She is a past board member of the Ohio Board of Building Standards and has served as an officer of the Cleveland Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. An avid civic volunteer, she is currently a board member of LANDStudio, the Cleveland Arts Prize, Cleveland International Film Festival and the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. Ms. Coleman holds a bachelor of architecture degree from Cornell University. She is a 2002 American Marshall Memorial Fellow and was featured in both the 1998 Crain’s Cleveland Business 40 under 40 class and Kaleidoscope Magazine’s 40/40 Club of 2002. She was
Inside Business Magazine’s 2003 Business Volunteer of the Year and one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People of 2013. Jennifer lives with her husband, architect August Fluker Jr. and son, Cole, in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood.
After graduating from Bowling Green State University (B.S. in Accounting), Art J. Falco began his career as a CPA. He joined PlayhouseSquare as Finance Director in 1985 and became President and CEO in 1991. During his aegis, PlayhouseSquare has become the nation’s largest performing arts center outside New York, the largest theater restoration project in the world, and one of only a few centers to present Broadway touring productions for two weeks or longer. With fiscal responsibility his paramount goal, Falco has continued the vision of the founding trustees to make PlayhouseSquare as self-supporting as possible. He worked to develop a portfolio of non-theater assets, including a hotel and office buildings, which eventually led to the formation of PlayhouseSquare Real Estate Services. PlayhouseSquare also has become a model for other performing arts centers, which look to PlayhouseSquare as a unique non-profit arts organization which earns a very high portion of its operating budget (the highest in the nation within the performing arts industry) and has become a quasi-area development authority. Under Falco’s stewardship, PlayhouseSquare partnered with WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN ideastream to create the Idea Center – ideastream headquarters and home for PlayhouseSquare’s community engagement and education programs.
In 2008, Falco oversaw the collaboration with Great Lakes Theater to restore the Hanna Theatre. In 2009, a long-held idea of Falco’s finally came to fruition: Cleveland Play House (CPH) became a resident company of PlayhouseSquare. The Allen Theatre was reconfigured as the new home of CPH in partnership with Cleveland State University (CSU). Focusing on the goal of creating a vibrant, 24/7 destination, Falco has brought destination dining and residential living to PlayhouseSquare. As a Broadway League member, Falco is also an official voter for the Tony Awards.
Falco and his wife, Maryann, reside in Shaker Heights, Ohio and are the parents of two daughters.
Andrea started her FABLab career as a founding class freshman in MC2 STEM High School where she gained knowledge and experience in fabricating. While traveling to regional STEM schools as one of the first few student volunteers in 2010, she displayed a passion for FABLab and leadership that granted her a manager position. In 2011, she traveled to Lima, Peru as one of the youngest students to attend MIT’s International FABLab convention. While staying connected to MC2 STEM High School, Andrea is a trainer and technology consultant for Fablab technologies teaching students, teachers and community members how to use a FABLab within a school. After graduating in 2012 from MC2 STEM High school, Andrea continues to represent FABLabs at community events and conferences. Currently Andrea attends Lorain County Community College with a Mechanical Engineering major where she works in the FABLab as a Lab Aid giving tours and offering FABLab support to community members. She plans to transfer to University of Pittsburgh in the fall of 2014 to continue her education.
When Jeffrey McClellan left Lima City Schools to become the Founding Head of MC2 STEM High School in Ohio’s second-largest school district, he committed himself not only to serving one of the nation’s most underserved populations of students, but also to opening the large urban school district’s first innovative, project-based STEM High School.
As Founding Head of MC2STEM High School in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Dr. McClellan has stretched the boundaries of STEM education in the 21st Century. MC2 STEM high school spans the city of Cleveland, with 9th-grade classrooms at the Great Lakes Science Center and 10th graders on GE’s Nela Park Campus, making it the nation’s only high school on the headquarters campus of a Fortune 500 company. 11th and 12th-graders moved this year to their new location on the campus of Cleveland State University. Students at MC2 STEM High School participate in a year round, project based curriculum that is supported by many members of the professional STEM Community of Greater Cleveland. This experience prepares the students for internships within the Greater Cleveland Community and participation in college classes before they graduate from high school. Among other innovative features of the school, MC2 STEM High School is noted as the first High School in the United States to house a M.I.T. FAB Lab. MC2 STEM High School currently houses a Fab Lab at each site and has a Mobile Fab Lab that it uses to support the spread of Fab Lab experiences to other schools and communities around the country.
It’s no wonder that the White House webcast of President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address flashed, “We need more schools like Cleveland’s MC2STEM High School,” as the President talked about the need for 21st Century, innovative learning environments in the nation’s schools.
MC2 STEM High School has been recognized by Edutopia in their series “Schools That Work” and has been named one of America’s Best Urban High Schools by National Center for Urban School Transformation. The replication of components of the MC2 STEM High School model has happened as far away as Egypt where Dr. McClellan works as a member of an international team creating public STEM High Schools in Egypt.
Angelo Merendino is a photographer whose photo-documentary, The Battle We Didn’t Choose – My Wife’s Fight With Breast Cancer, has received worldwide recognition. Intimate, honest, and moving, Angelo’s photographs offer viewers a look inside the day-to-day life of a young couple facing breast cancer together. More than a story about loss, this is a story about love and life. Currently based in Cleveland, Ohio, Angelo is a freelance photographer with Corbis News and Getty Images. Angelo started a blog before his wife Jennifer passed in 2011. He has since maintained the blog which chronicled their life together in Manhattan before her illness and during his time as her caretaker. Currently, he continues to write about his life after this experience and as a 40-year-old widower. Like his photographs, Angelo’s posts are open and raw. With this work, he hopes to encourage conversation about topics that are often kept at arm’s length, provide a more accurate representation of both day-to-day struggles and triumphs with breast cancer, and describe the challenge of rebuilding a life after surviving a traumatic experience.
In late 2013, Angelo fulfilled a promise he made to Jennifer by creating The Love You Share, a non-profit organization. The non-profit will assist women receiving breast cancer treatment by sending a gift card from a local grocery delivery service and reimbursing patients for transportation costs to and from hospital and doctor appointments. The goal of The Love You Share is to make life easier, even if only for a short time, for someone who is fighting for life. Throughout his career, Angelo’s photographs have been exhibited in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Rome, Italy, and, most recently, three of his photographs have been added to the permanent collection of The Akron Art Museum. Online features have appeared on The New Yorker Photo Booth, The Huffington Post and The Guardian. Printed press includes The New York Times, USA Today and Polka.
Alonzo Mitchell III is the visionary, founder, and Managing Partner of Ohio Homecoming, a grassroots movement whose goals are to educate, unite, and organize the positive energies inside and outside of Cleveland to elevate the city to her rightful place among the world’s top towns. Alonzo is a “boomerang professional” — he was born, raised, educated, and cultivated in Cleveland, and later left to work near the nation’s capital. After years of soul searching, he returned to his home, excited to act on his passion for Northeast Ohio. Today, he leverages the skills he earned in the corporate world to create positive change within disenfranchised communities. To date, he has created several projects that are destined to change the way outsiders and Clevelanders view our town on Lake Erie, including: Cleveland’s birthday celebrations, days of service, the resurgence of New Year’s Eve on Public Square, and The Village Project — an innovative approach to Cleveland’s vacant property problem.
Megan Moynahan is the Executive Director of the Institute for Functional Restoration, a non-profit organization based at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, that brings technologies out of research and into real use for people with paralysis. Megan works with teams of world-renowned researchers who are developing an “artificial nervous system”, giving people with paralysis the ability to do what would otherwise be the impossible. In her previous life, Megan enjoyed a 17-year career at the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, where she most recently served as its Associate Director for Technology and Innovation, directing the White House sponsored Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program at FDA, and developing from the ground up the Innovation Pathway program designed to streamline the regulatory process for innovative medical devices.
As a result of a snowboarding accident, Jennifer French became a quadriplegic from a C6-7 incomplete spinal cord injury in 1998. She is an active user of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) systems. In November 1999, she received the Implantable Stand & Transfer System provided by the Cleveland FES Center, MetroHealth Medical Center and Veterans Affairs; the first women to receive such a system.
Residing in St. Petersburg, Florida, Jen volunteers at the local sailing center, serves as Chairperson of the Committee to Advocate for Persons with Impairments for the City of St. Petersburg and is a state trained Peer Mentor for spinal cord injury. French is an 8-time recipient of the Milan-Gruson Award given to the top disabled female skipper. She is a silver medalist representing Team USA at the 2012 Paralympic Games in the sport of sailing and has been awarded 2012 Rolex Yachtwoman of the Year; the first woman with a disability to do so.
Over the course of her MBA career, Ms. French has helped launch successful divisions in such organizations as Bombardier Capital and PC Connection, Inc. As a user of neurotechnology who has reaped its benefits, she is the co-founder of a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, The Society to Increase Mobility, dba Neurotech Network. The organization’s focus is to educate and advocate to and for persons with impairments, their care-givers and health care professionals regarding neurotechnology. Ms. French is the Executive Director. In this role, she currently serves on the Advisory Boards for the FES for Cerebral Palsy project at Stanford University, the Brown University Institute for Brain Science, and the Advanced Platform Technology Center in Cleveland. To raise awareness and advocate for access, Neurotech Network has developed educational resources, published through several peer-reviewed publications, media outlets and presented to disability, medical and science oriented organizations, such as the National Academy of Sciences, the American Physical Therapy Association, ISCoS/American Spinal Injury Association, The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, the American Occupational Therapy Association and NIH/NINDS Neural Interfaces.
Jennifer’s story has been featured in local and national media including Tampa Bay Times, Fox News, Washington Post, CBC, and the Wall Street Journal, to name a few. She most recently released her book, On My Feet Again: My Journey out of the Wheelchair using Neurotechnology. Proceeds benefit Neurotech Network and the Institute for Functional Recovery.
Lisa Peng, seventeen years old, is the daughter of Chinese human rights and pro-democracy activist Mr. Peng Ming who was kidnapped in Burma by Chinese secret police and sentenced to life in prison in 2004. Lisa was born in Beijing and suffered doubly as a second child by being denied official legal recognition. In 2000, her family fled government persecution and was accepted by the United States as UN refugees in 2001.
Lisa is working with the China Aid Association, the State Department, and members of Congress to advocate for the release of her father and other prisoners of conscience. She has testified before the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the EU Parliament, and the Taiwanese Parliament. Lisa shared her father’s story in a Plain Dealer Op-Ed and in an essay published by the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights in the book China, the Book of Living and Dying.
Lisa is currently a senior at Laurel School in Cleveland, Ohio and is president of School Government. She is a national qualifier and District Champion in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and was a featured high school debater at the City Club of Cleveland. Outside of school, Lisa is recognized by the US Figure Skating Association as a Gold Medal figure skater and is the principal keyboardist of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. Lisa has been accepted by Princeton University into the Class of 2018.
JD Samson is the stage name of Jocelyn Samson, an American musician, producer, songwriter and DJ best known as a member of the bands Le Tigre and MEN. Samson grew up in the Cleveland suburb of Pepper Pike, Ohio and attended Orange High School. She came out as a lesbian at age 15 and is well known for her outspoken support of both LGBT and feminist causes. Samson graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2000 with a degree in film.
Baiju R. Shah is CEO of BioMotiv, the therapeutic accelerator aligned with The Harrington Project, a $250 million national drug development initiative. The Project’s mission is to accelerate breakthrough discoveries into medicines. It is advancing a portfolio of discoveries through an innovative model that efficiently aligns capital and collaborations.
Prior to BioMotiv, Mr. Shah was President and CEO and a Founder of BioEnterprise, a partnership of Case Western, Cleveland Clinic, Summa Health, and University Hospitals. BioEnterprise is a business accelerator initiative to support the growth of Cleveland bioscience companies. During Mr. Shah’s tenure, the firm assisted more than 110 companies that collectively attracted $1.3 Billion in new funding.
Shah serves on the Board of Invacare and on the Regional Advisory Board of RBS Citizens. He started his business career at McKinsey & Company.
In the community, Shah is Chair of Global Cleveland and also serves on the Boards of Great Lakes Science Center and Positively Cleveland. He has also served as the founder and Chair of TiE Ohio and Summer on the Cuyahoga.
Shah has been named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and has been recognized as one of Cleveland’s most influential leaders. He received a J.D. from Harvard and his B.A. from Yale.
David Shimotakahara performed with the Atlanta Ballet, Boston Repertory Ballet, Kathryn Posin Dance Company, and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. He was a member of Ohio Ballet under the direction of Heinz Poll from 1983-1998. He also served as Rehearsal Assistant for Ohio Ballet from 1989-1998. In 1998 he founded GroundWorks DanceTheater, for which he is Executive, Artistic Director. Based in Cleveland the company is committed to creating and producing new work in dance. Mr. Shimotakahara has choreographed for opera and theater with the Cleveland Opera, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Cleveland Playhouse and the Dallas Theater Center. He has received 7 Individual Artist Fellowships for Choreography from the Ohio Arts Council between 1996 to 2012. In 1998, he received a McKnight Foundation Fellowship from the Minnesota Dance Alliance to create new work in the Minneapolis, St. Paul communities. Mr. Shimotakahara was awarded the 2000 Cleveland Arts Prize for Dance. In 2002 his work with GroundWorks DanceTheater was voted “One of 25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine. In 2007, he received the OhioDance award for Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of the Dance art form. In both 2010 and 2014 Shimotakahara was awarded a Creative Workforce Fellowship, a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, funded by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.
Originally from Cleveland, Michael Williams is a writer and creative strategist living in New York City. In 2007 he founded the popular men’s style site A Continuous Lean, which looks at the world through the lens of craftsmanship, quality and provenance. This search for heritage has led Michael to become one of the leading advocates for both well-made things and American manufacturing as a whole. In 2009, Michael co-founded The Pop Up Flea, a one-weekend at a time marketplace with carefully selected roster of brands which creates a unique non-traditional shopping experience. Over the past five years of The Pop Up Flea tens of thousands of people have shopped Pop Up Flea events in New York and London. In 2014, an expanded schedule will see Pop Up Flea events in New York, Detroit, London and Tokyo.
In addition to his work with ACL and The Pop Up Flea, Michael is also a founding partner of the communications firm Paul + Williams, as well as the marketing agency Tennis Partners, working with clients like Levi’s, The Red Wing Shoe Co., Patagonia, Amazon, Club Monaco and Google, among others.