2022 Northern Ohio Women in Leadership Symposium
March 16, 2022
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM (ET)
Paragon of Womanhood: Restoration, Reintegration & Reemergence
Jenice Contreras is an established leader in small business and community and economic development. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Hispanic Center for Economic Development (the Center). Under her leadership, Jenice is responsible for the NEO Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Jenice is a driving force around the neighborhood redevelopment efforts in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood in the most densely populated Hispanic enclave in the state of Ohio and Jenice grew up and still works in. Focused on cultural preservation, wealth creation and business development, Jenice represents the organization as project owner + co-developer of CentroVilla25, an adaptive reuse of a vacant 32,500 square foot warehouse and office building. This $10 million project will feature twenty kiosk-style micro-retail spaces, commercial kitchen, business innovation center and co-working space, office space for Latino and neighborhood-serving organizations, outdoor plaza with restaurant, and a community gathering space for arts & culture programming. Prior to her current role as Executive Director, Jenice owned and operated her own public health consulting firm, The Inovar Group and also worked for Collaborative Research, LLC which administers Federal grants through the Health and Resources Services Administration (HRSA). Jenice earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Capital University and an Executive Master of Business Administration from The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business. Jenice serves on the Board for the Center for Community Solutions and is a member of the City of Cleveland’s Planning Commission’s Near West Design Review Committee. In 2017, Jenice completed a fellowship through the Business Alliance for Living Local Economies (BALLE) and in 2019 served as the Faculty Chair for the National League of Cities Equitable Economic Development Fellowship. Most recently, Jenice is part of the steering committee of the Cleveland Innovation Project and is a member of the Cuyahoga County Citizen’s Council on Equity. In 2021 she joined the United Way of Greater Cleveland’s Board of Directors. She received the 2021 SMART 50 and Progressive Woman of the Year awards by Smart Business Magazine. She was featured in the March/April 2020 edition of Phenomenal Woman Magazine and was recognized on Crain’s Cleveland Magazine’s 2019 Woman of Note in Non-Profit. In 2018, Crain’s Cleveland Business Magazine also recognized Jenice as a Notable Woman in Real Estate, was awarded the 2018 YWCA Woman of Achievement and was the 2017 Ohio Latino Affairs Commission’s Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan. She is an advocate in addressing racial diversity and representation of people of color. Jenice was born in Puerto Rico, is bilingual, bicultural and is proud of her heritage. She is a mother of two young adults (Karl & Kyle) and continues to ensure growth in economic and community development for Latinx in Northeast Ohio.
Christine Herrera was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Growing up in a bustling metropolis gave her direct perspective and appreciation, from a young age, of the unique challenges of urban and diverse residents, business owners, and families. During high school, Christine worked as a bookkeeper for small businesses downtown and volunteered for a variety of organizations in the city, including St. Michael’s Hospital and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research. After graduating from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Mathematics and a Master of Accountancy, Christine became a Chartered Accountant and Certified Public Accountant, joining PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Toronto tax practice in 2000. She moved on to become the Canadian tax manager for The J.M. Smucker Co. in 2007, and relocated to Smucker’s corporate headquarters in Orrville, Ohio in 2014. She is currently the Vice President, Tax for Smucker. Christine also serves on the Board and Finance Committee of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland. She lives in Bath, Ohio with her husband, Anthony, and three children, Mia, Marcus, and Adam.
Linda Lanier, LSW, M.Ed., is an Assistant Professor of Counseling at Cuyahoga Community College Metropolitan Campus. She holds a Masters of Community Counseling from Kent State University and a BASW from the University of Akron. She is the founder of Black Diamonds Women’s Initiative, which focuses on the empowerment of African American women and girls. Linda has 35 years of experience in education with leadership roles at the University of Akron, and Kent State University. She is an expert in African American student retention and first- generation student recruitment and enrollment. Her background includes extensive program development which engages community partners in educational spaces. She and her husband Bob Lanier, co-own the Black Pages and the Summit Magazine. She is the recipient of many awards which include Hidden Philanthropist 2021, The Soul of Philanthropy, Progressive Women, SMART Women 2020, Women of Professional Excellence 2019, YWCA, Women of Professional Excellence, Women’s Network-Akron, OH.
Tracy Strobel was appointed executive director of Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL) in July 2019. CCPL has 27 branches that serve 47 communities in Northeast Ohio and a service point inside the county hospital. For ten consecutive years (2009-2018) CCPL has earned the prestigious five-star rating in Library Journal’s Index of Public Library Service; and received the publication’s highest overall score among America’s largest metropolitan library systems for nine consecutive years (2010-2018). Tracy’s career in public libraries began with a focus on technology at Medina County District Library (1996-1999) and Cleveland Public Library (1999-2005), where she developed the nation’s first 24/7 virtual reference service. Prior to becoming executive director, she served as CCPL’s deputy director (2005-2019), leading its 27 branches, Information Technology, Technical Services and Literacy & Learning divisions. Her major accomplishments at CCPL include leading the largest capital improvement program in the Library’s history, which included the replacement of ten branches and the renovation of fourteen branches over a period of seven years. From 2011 to 2013, Tracy served as the U.S. representative to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s International Network of Emerging Library Innovators. She was a member of the Public Library Association (PLA) Board of Directors (2016-2019) and the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy Advisory Committee (2015- 2019). Tracy currently served as chair of the ALA 2020 Census Library Outreach and Education Task Force (2018-2020) and is currently a member of the PLA’s Continuing Education Advisory Committee. In February 2020, Tracy was appointed to the board of The Center for Community Solutions, a nonpartisan think tank focused on solutions to health, social and economic issues. She also serves on the board of Youth Opportunities Unlimited and chairs their Community Collaboration Committee. Tracy earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Kent State University and a Master of Library Science degree from the State University of New York at Albany. She is a graduate of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2015. In her free time, Tracy runs a small horse boarding stable in Richfield, Ohio, where she resides with her husband and two children.
Christi Tomaro was appointed in 2014 as the Chief of the Protective Services Office at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) John H. Glenn Research Center (GRC) at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio. She is responsible for the planning, development, review, execution, and management of the GRC’s security program. Her expertise includes managing a comprehensive security program inclusive of information security, physical security, industrial security, emergency preparedness and continuity, security operations, and program security policy for classified programs of national scope to ensure mission integrity. She leads initiatives and strategies to position the organization as a trusted partner to enable mission success through innovation and adaptability while maintaining a security posture free from compromise and protecting and serving all who work and visit the center. Prior to this position, Ms. Tomaro held a number of positions at GRC, NASA Headquarters, and as a federal contractor for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Christi is a graduate of Tiffin University where she earned a B.A. in organizational management and a M.B.A. She also completed several leadership programs through the Cleveland Federal Executive Board, Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management, and Kent State University. Christi is a sworn NASA federal special agent and a military veteran, having served in the United States Marine Corps. Christi is married with three children. She enjoys fitness and has a newfound interest in exploring the country’s national parks. She currently resides in Medina, Ohio with her family and is an active member of her community.
Clotea was born in Cleveland, Ohio to a single mother who raised her with a passion for education, reading and writing. After becoming a teenage mother at the age of 16, she later pursued a Bachelor of Arts in English from Case Western Reserve University in order to become a Language Arts teacher, which is a calling she still loves today after 25 years. She also received her Master’s degree as a Reading Specialist from Kent State University. As an empowerment coach and the founder and CEO of Lifted in Love, LLC, whose mission is to “Empower women to live their BEST lives NOW!”, Clotea does public speaking engagements in both the religious and secular arenas. In 2018 she was honored with the Lady of Legacy Award for her work with youth, and she established an after school initiative, The Village Vibe, to mentor teen female students in her high school. Other highly sought after workshops that Clotea conducts are on Self Care, Self Love, The Power of Vision and Living an Uncommon Life: Breaking Out of the Box. Being a mom to four amazing children does not stop her from being a part of the Praise Team and Dance ministries and leading small group facilitators at her church. Her goal is to make sure that she leaves the earth having touched and impacted as many lives as possible.
LaToya has been a valuable team member of Fifth Third Bank for 22 years. She is responsible for attracting, acquiring, and advancing top diverse talent through her leadership of a dynamic team of Talent Acquisition Consultants for the Bancorp. LaToya is actively involved in the community with multiple organizations including EL Barrio Job Readiness Program, Dress for Success and Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) LaToya is a true philanthropist and is a founding member of a Giving Circle, “Our Hope, Our Future.” She has been recognized and earned numerous awards for professional development including Kaleidoscope Magazine’s Forty/Forty Club, Cleveland Bridge Builders, Crain’s HR Leader Finalist, Women of Color Foundation’s Stephanie Tubbs Jones Courage Award, CSU Link Distinguished Alumni, The Girl Scouts of N.E. Ohio Women of Distinction, and the NAACP Unsung Hero Community Award. Additionally, LaToya serves on many boards including The United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Bessie’s Angel’s, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing FSS, DNA Rising and Cuyahoga County Workforce. LaToya has also served as a Volunteer Chair for a large traveling exhibit project called, “The Soul of Philanthropy.” She is member of Delta Sigma Theta and Eta Phi Beta Sororities. Additionally, she is an Intimacy/Life Coach and the Founder of Eros Heart, LLC. She has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland State University. She is a lifelong Clevelander along with her husband Brandon and their two children, Bryce and Brielle.
Attendees are asked to be part of the “Your Hour Her Power” Handbag Donation Drive.
This Donation Drive – attendees will donate the amount of what they get paid in an hour to the Dress For Success Cleveland.
$3 Transaction Fee Will Be Added