Policy Matters Ohio has a talented board of directors made up of business, labor, non-profit, academic and community leaders from all over Ohio. Like our staff, the group includes a healthy mix of men and women, and includes innovative thinkers from black, white, Asian and multi-racial communities.
Dean & Professor
Cleveland State University, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs
Dr. Roland V. Anglin is dean of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. Immediately prior to this position, Anglin was the senior advisor to the chancellor of Rutgers University-Newark and director of the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies. Dr. Anglin began his academic career at Rutgers University in the late 1980s. In 1991, he began work at the Ford Foundation, where he served first as the program officer responsible for community development, and subsequently, the deputy director for community and resource development. In 1999, Dr. Anglin joined the Structured Employment Economic Development Corporation (Seedco), a national community development intermediary, where he served as the senior vice president responsible for building the capacity of community-based housing organizations in 23 cities. After returning to academia in 2000, Dr. Anglin published three books: Promoting Sustainable Local and Community Development, Katrina's Imprint: Race and Vulnerability in America (with colleagues), and Resilience and Opportunity (with colleagues). Anglin received his doctorate from the University of Chicago, a master's degree from Northwestern, and a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College (City University of New York).
Ohio Federation of Teachers
Melissa Cropper was elected President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers in February 2012. Cropper hails from Georgetown in southwest Ohio, east of Cincinnati, where she served as a library media specialist in the Georgetown Exempted Village Schools for 14 years.
She brings a strong history of leadership to OFT having served as president of the Georgetown Federation of Teachers, as a member of the OFT Executive Committee, and as chair of the OFT Retirement Committee. She was also an active leader in the Ohio Appalachian Collaborative, a comprehensive approach for transformational change in rural education.
At the state level, Cropper serves on the Ohio AFL-CIO's Executive Board and chairs its Political Committee. She is Secretary-Treasurer of We Are Ohio, a state coalition of community and labor groups formed to preserve workers' rights, a member of the Board for UHCAN (United Healthcare Action Network), Progress Ohio and Policy Matters Ohio. At the national level, Cropper is an AFT Vice President, a member of the AFT Human Rights and Community Relations committee, and chair of AFT's State Federation President’s Advisory Committee.
As President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Cropper continues to develop collaborative relationships with leaders and organizations across the state to fulfill the OFT mission of advocating for issues that affect not only OFT members but also the children, families and communities that our members serve.
Cropper believes that public employees are the fabric of our communities. OFT members, ranging from teachers to bus drivers to college professors to children services employees, and many others, make a difference in the lives of the children and families they serve every day. As president, her focus is on supporting and empowering OFT members by carrying out their vision and placing an important emphasis on increasing member voice.
Case Western Reserve University
Susan Helper is the chief economist for the U.S. Department of Commerce, on leave from her position as AT&T Professor and chair of the Department of Economics at Case Western Reserve University. Prior to her appointment at Commerce, Susan spent a year as a senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisors, an agency within the U.S. president’s office. Susan’s research has focused on the impact of collaborative relationships between suppliers and customers and management and labor; she has studied how globalization of supply chains affects development and innovation in the US, Mexico, and India. Susan has published in journals such as American Economic Review, Sloan Management Review, and Journal of Economics and Management Strategy. She has a Ph.D. from Harvard University and a BA from Oberlin College. In 2005-06 she was a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Oxford.
Director of Neighborhood Revitalization
City of Shaker Heights
Kamla Lewis has worked for the city of Shaker Heights since 2001. She has also worked for the Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, for the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners, for a city and food bank in California, and for the United Nations, working in Jamaica where she grew up. Kamla serves as co-chair of the First Suburbs Consortium housing committee and as a member of the vacant and abandoned properties action committee. She has a BA from Princeton and a graduate diploma from Cambridge University in England.
Long-time union activist Christopher Mabe is a Corrections Sergeant at the Lorain Correctional Institution. He has served as OCSEA President since 2011. With over 20 years in Ohio’s prison system, Mabe has been a long-time critic of private prisons. He has also been an outspoken opponent of attacks on collective bargaining and led OCSEA in the successful fight to repeal Senate Bill 5. He is an International Vice President of AFSCME International, an Ohio AFL-CIO Executive Board Member as well as the President of We Are Ohio. He also occupies the prestigious labor seat on the Ohio Department of Veterans’ Services Committee. He served as OCSEA’s Vice President from 2007-2011 and is a graduate of the Harvard University Trade Union Program.
Children's Defense Fund - Ohio
Dr. Tracy Nájera is the Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for more than 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all Ohio children.
Dr. Najera’s experience spans public policy and research with Ohio’s Office of Budget & Management, Battelle for Kids, and Education First Consulting. Dr. Nájera holds a master in public administration from the Glenn College of Public Affairs and a doctorate in education administration from the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University.
Tracy resides in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Israel and their two children Riley and Tati.
Ohio Organizing Collaborative
Kirk Noden is veteran community organizer who has successfully built community organizations in Chicago, Birmingham England, and Ohio. Kirk currently directs the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a statewide alliance of 14 labor, community, and faith groups across the state. Kirk also founded the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, a broad based multi issue organization working on issues of racial and economic justice in Northeast Ohio since 2007. Kirk serves as a Community Affiliate of the Center for Working Class Studies at Youngstown State University. In his fourteen years as an organizer, he’s led campaigns on a variety of issues such as living wage, vacant properties, education reform, immigrant rights, and health equity. He’s the grandson of a New Castle steelworker and a Westinghouse factory union steward and was born and raised in Ohio and now lives in the city of Kent, Ohio with his wife Rosi and two boys Roberto and Emiliano.
Communications Workers of America
Jeff Rechenbach is the retired Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Jeff was responsible for managing the finances and physical facilities of 750,000 member CWA. He served on the union’s three-member executive committee and chaired the strategic planning and budget committee, which allocated CWA’s resources and set program goals.
Jeff has been a leader in the union since 1973, when he was elected president of the 2,000 member Local 4309 in Cleveland at age 19. He joined the CWA staff in 1981, and in 1994 became vice president of CWA for District 4 – Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. As vice president, Jeff coordinated all bargaining within the district, which included contracts covering workers in telecommunications, manufacturing, higher education, health care, media, airlines and other sectors. He served as vice president for the Midwest district until his election as CWA executive vice president in 2005 and then Secretary Treasurer in 2008.
Jeff served on Federal Communications Commission Consumer Advisory Council, and on the boards of the United Way of America, the Faith & Politics Institute and the International Labor Rights Fund, which works for humane workplaces around the world and to end child labor, forced labor and other abusive practices. He is currently the chairman of the board of the North Coast Credit Union. Jeff is a native of Cleveland, Ohio.
Center for Reducing Health Disparities, Co-Director
Dr. Ashwini Sehgal is the Duncan Neuhauser Professor of Community Health Improvement and co-director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also professor of medicine, biomedical ethics, and epidemiology and biostatistics at Case Western Reserve University. In addition, he is a nephrologist at MetroHealth Medical Center. Dr. Sehgal is the principal investigator of several grants funded by the National Institutes of Health to understand and address health disparities related to hypertension, kidney disease, and organ transplantation. He has published over 120 journal articles. Dr. Sehgal also developed an innovative course on medical activism for which he received a national teaching award from the American Medical Student Association. From 2006-2012, he was co-medical director of the City of Cleveland Department of Public Health. Dr. Sehgal received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics, summa cum laude, from the University of Rochester, and his M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School. He then completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and a nephrology fellowship while participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of California, San Francisco.
Chief Advancement and Relationships Officer
Teleangé Thomas is Chief Advancement and Relationships Officer with JumpStart Inc., a nationally recognized investing, entrepreneurial support and economic development organization dedicated to unlocking entrepreneurship to transform entire communities. She leads the organization's strategic fundraising initiatives, strengthening partnerships and spearheading JumpStart's involvement in civic initiatives including the Cleveland Innovation Project and the MidTown Innovation District.
Before joining JumpStart, Teleangé was the Director of the Foundation Center Midwest, deepening the organization’s impact in thirteen Midwestern states through comprehensive data, training and insights on the social sector to help non-profit professionals, grant seekers and the philanthropic organizations that fund them be the catalyst for change in their communities.
Prior, Teleangé Thomas served for 7-years as the Program Director, Health for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland; overseeing strategies to reduce health disparities among vulnerable populations through strategic grant-making, systems and policy change.
She has more than 15 –years’ experience as a professional with deep expertise in philanthropy, non-profit management, grant-writing, fundraising, systems change work, community engagement, health, policy, community development, social innovation and equity.
Thomas earned a bachelor’s of business management and entrepreneurial studies from Case Western Reserve University. She is a board of director for Health Policy Institute of Ohio, Green City Growers, The Conservancy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Cleveland Public Library Foundation. She is a Fellow of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a Community Impact Volunteer of the United Way of Greater Cleveland, is a member of Zeta-Phi-Beta Sorority Inc., (Inactive) is published in numerous professional journals and academic publications and has earned a host of awards and honors.
Doug Wang is a member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health; a partner of Cleveland Social Venture Partners and a member of the Rainey Institute and Judson boards. He serves as a trustee of the Shaker Schools Foundation. Doug was previously chairman of the board of the Saint Luke’s Foundation, which supports programs to improve health and well-being in Greater Cleveland.
Doug’s professional background is in banking and finance. In addition to strong credentials in business and the non-profit sector, Doug is an advocate for working families, health care, public education and social services.
Doug retired in 2011 as a Senior Vice President of Northern Trust Bank. He was a founder of Lakepoint Investment Partners, where he served as a portfolio manager and partner for 12 years before the sale of the firm to Northern Trust in 2008. He also held top finance positions at Stein Roe & Farnham, American Asset Management and First Boston Corporation.
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