Entrepreneur & Women's Advocate
Amber Runyon found her path to healing by making a pathway for others. She started Eleventh Candle Co. to employ women both in the United States and Ethiopia who’ve been vulnerable to human trafficking, abuse, exploitation and addiction. Amber believes that if we can teach little girls to dream, they’ll be the force that changes the world. But if we can teach broken women to dream like little girls again, it will be a force that this world has yet to see.
Amber is the founder of Eleventh Candle Co, a social enterprise. She is also the founder of Legacy a nonprofit working both globally and locally. She has been featured in many local and national magazines and press. Amber has been a speaker and guest on many podcasts, as well as being a nurse.
Dale King joined the military to get out of his hometown. An economically depressed town in southeastern Ohio, Portsmouth didn’t offer much of a future. Dale never thought his life’s path would bring him back home, but in 2010, that is where he opened his gym. His community had been devastated by opioid addiction, but Dale’s gym became a haven that taught strength and provided a pathway to move past internal pain. Dale’s courage to take a step out on his own path has given others new hope and provided Dale with bountiful opportunities including the founding of a non-profit and a deal on Shark Tank.
Dale is a former Military Intelligence officer who served two tours to Iraq supporting a Special Operations unit. Upon leaving the military, he worked for the Department of Energy. He would eventually quit that job to focus on my entrepreneurial efforts in Portsmouth. Currently, he is the proud owner of PSKC CrossFit, chairman of Team Some Assembly Required, and co-owner of Doc Spartan.
No one thought that Elegra Davis would one day rise to CEO status. As a 14-year-old pregnant teen in poverty, the adults in her life did not see much for her future. She had become a statistic and the odds were not in her favor. But Elegra knew there was more to her story. She believed that all life has meaning to power a future forward. Elegra learned to trust herself and her inner voice and to ignore the naysayers. Her path had many twists but she found her way. Elegra ultimately credits her success as an entrepreneur from the lessons she learned as a teen mother.
Jackie Burns is a real-life Iron Man. While most high school graduates spend the summer packing for college, Jackie underwent a 14-level spinal fusion surgery to correct a rare back disease. She spent her summer re-learning how to move, sit, and walk. Her disease may have knocked her off her planned path, but Jackie says this humbling experience has enriched her life in ways she never imagined.
She is a junior at Bowling Green State University with a double major; a Bachelor of the Arts in Music with an emphasis on Opera Performance and Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies. On campus she leads a Christian Movement called Cru. She is the emcee for campus wide meetings on Thursday nights. Jackie is also involved in the College of Musical Arts Opera Theater Department and will frequently perform in their shows. MUTS is an on campus musical theater organization with a purpose toward engaging the community for professional development and performance experiences.
KaTayna is a street performer in the Short North Arts District of Columbus, OH; an area known as the art and soul of Columbus.
She’ll share with you that “Music is what feelings sound like and binds us all together”. How do you know; one might ask? She can see on the facial expressions of the thousands who pass her as she regularly performs.
Social Justice Advocate
Those deemed “trailblazers” have pain (trauma) stories that often go untold. Do we know what cost these trailblazers paid to create pathways for us? Kim will share how her ancestral history created pathways for her to be a trailblazer and how, as she creates new pathways, has to be increasingly mindful how to move forward toward growth and healing.
She is a trauma-informed social justice advocate and own/operate the consulting firm, KiMISTRY. She recently published a memoir, Browning Pleasantville, and was also recently named the executive director of the newly formed nonprofit King Lincoln Family Services Corporation. Outside of work, she is launching an activism ministry at her church. She is a painter, writer, and does spoken word and visual practitioning. She is a divorced mom of two fantastic daughters.
Electric Vehicle Specialist
Hilliard is the leading the charge in the Columbus region in tackling greenhouse gas emissions. Our town has the highest rate of electric vehicle adoption, which is decreasing oil dependency. Electric Vehicle Specialist Matt Stephens-Rich explains what this means for Hilliard, the Columbus region and the reduction of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Matt started his career in energy policy and alternative fuels at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs in 2012, where he earned an MPA in Energy Policy. While in school, Matt worked at Clean Fuels Ohio, a statewide non-profit focused on petroleum reduction through alternative fuels in transportation. Upon graduation, he stayed on with Clean Fuels Ohio as Projects Manager, working to secure $25+ million in grant funding and deploy hundreds of alternative fuel fleet vehicles. He was honored to be named a Person to Know in Energy by Columbus Business First during this work.
Advocate for Veterans
My journey has not been straight and predictable. It seems that I’m always looking for new experiences and thrive on connecting with people. These relationships have helped me achieve something greater than the sum of it’s individual parts.
2017 Dispatch Media Group “Everyday Hero” Semifinalist, 2016 Ohio State University Robert M. Duncan Alumni Citizenship Award, 2015 AMA Hazel Kolb Award, 2014 Columbus Volunteer Citizen of the Year. Ohio State graduate in English, graduate work at the John Glenn School. He currently works in state government, is a former recording/touring musician, a former motorcycle racer, and currently volunteers with VETMotorsports and serves post 9/11 veterans nation wide.
Rich Isbell knows that art saved his life. A gulf war veteran, Rich struggled to fit in when returning to his civilian life. He felt isolated, depressed and detached from the world he had known prior to enlisting. In his journey to reconnect, Rich returned to the sketchpads that had provided him comfort during his youth. Rich learned new techniques and the freedom to express himself, he was able to reroute around the traumatic moments he once experienced and enjoy life again.
Richard is a 100% service-connected disabled veteran who found a way to rehabilitate himself through the use of the arts. It is a story of navigating obstacles and overcoming adversity in order to be able to support his family and mentor other veterans. Through his message, he inspires other veterans to find their voice; whether it be creating artwork, writing, or through theatre.
Universal Design Advocate
Paths can end for no reason at all, a permanent change that was never thought possible. Rosemarie Rossetti has faced such a moment and found hope and meaning in the situation. She shares the five key lessons she learned following a spinal cord injury and provides hope to others by demonstrating how to be resilient, cope with change, and deal with adversity.
Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. is a full time professional speaker, consultant, and author, internationally known for her motivational programs. She is the President of Rossetti Enterprises Inc. Rossetti has spoken to hundreds of thousands of people who were in her audiences over the 19 years that she has been sharing her story about acquiring a spinal cord injury. Her message is focused on living life with conviction. She shares the five key lessons that she lives by that she learned following her injury. She provides hope to others by demonstrating how to be resilient, cope with change, and deal with adversity.
College Professor & Entrepreneur
There are moments in every person’s life that change the course of their future. For Dr. Scott Grant, it was the simple decision to wear a pair of tennis shoes. As a history teacher, he was a suit and tie guy, but a back injury had him lacing up his Nike Air Max Tempo Lows. The shoes made his pain more tolerable, but it was the reaction that he received from his students that made this tiny decision a life changing moment that changed the course of Scott’s life.
Scott spent five years as a high school teacher, two years as an athletic director, then left and pursued a doctorate in leadership studies. He’s been teaching as a college professor the past five years, and the last two, running Triple Threat Leadership, a company created during his doctoral program that provides Personal Branding & Social Media Education to schools and organizations.
Sometimes a path is symbolic of choice and sometimes a path is just dirt. English Professor Zachary Dilbeck discusses the difference between literal and figurative pathways in literature and how the ability to distinguish between the two can help to navigate real life pathways.
He has been teaching literature and composition at Columbus State Community College since 2012. He earned a PhD in English and the Teaching of English from Idaho State University and completed his doctoral dissertation on Tolkien’s construction of race in Middle-Earth in 2015. He have been nominated multiple times for the Distinguished Teaching Award; He presented a paper titled “The Broken Sword, a Meme: Beowulf, Arthur, and Elendil” at the University of Vermont in 2017; organized and contributed to a faculty panel titled “An Historic Election Deserves an Historic Conversation” at the CSCC Delaware Campus in 2016; and currently teaches a fairy tale driven composition curriculum.