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2021 Speakers

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Mr. Mike Bell

Mike is the former Mayor of Toledo 2010-2013, former State Fire Marshall - State of Ohio, former Toledo Fire Chief and first African American, as well as the youngest person ever to lead the department. He has served multiple community-related civic organizations, volunteering his time and serving on such boards as the Boys & Girls Club, Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts of America, and Salvation Army just to mention a few.

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Mr. Mark Mercuio

Mark Mercurio is President and CEO of The Gorilla Glue company, a leading, family-owned producer of  consumer-branded Glues, Tapes, and Personal Care products based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Prior to  becoming CEO in 2019, Mark served as The Gorilla Glue Company’s Chief Marketing Officer where he  oversaw all elements of Marketing and Innovation, including brand management, creative services,  R&D, and new product development. Mark also served as the company’s President of International,  helping make the Gorilla and O’Keeffe’s brands internationally recognized. Prior to joining The Gorilla  Glue Company in 2014, Mark spent ten years at Procter & Gamble in various marketing roles, including  roles in Fabric Care, Surface Care, trade marketing, and lastly in Pet Care, including a short stint with Mars Petcare transitioning the Iams Dog and Cat food business to Mars as part of its divestiture from  P&G. Mark started his career with Accenture as an IT management consultant on various ERP  installations and post-merger systems integrations. He holds an MBA from the University of Virginia’s  Darden Graduate School of Business and a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.  Mark also serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Children’s Home of Cincinnati, a non-profit that strengthens families and communities through comprehensive education and behavioral health  services.

Ambrea Mikolajczyk
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Ambrea is a creative Christian mother of 4 who wears multiple hats which include being a real estate owner and developer, property manager, owner of ARK Restoration & Construction and motivational speaker.  Ambrea recently left corporate America after 15 years as a pharmaceutical sales manager to pursue her passion of restoring old architecture.  Ambrea decided to dedicate her skill set full time to the growth and well-being of the companies she owns, with her husband Kevin.  To date they have renovated several homes and buildings for themselves and clients throughout Toledo and the surrounding areas and own nearly 250 market rate and affordable apartments.  Their most recent purchase is a former vacant Wonder Bread Factory, currently under construction and will be converted into 33 loft apartments. 

Ambrea is obsessed with designing and creating something special from “undesirable properties” in underserved neighborhoods — to restore and beautify buildings that have been forgotten about paying close attention to quality and detail. 

A Toledo native, Ambrea is committed to the success of her hometown.  She attended Start High School and graduated from the University of Toledo with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree where she played Volleyball.  Ambrea is immersed in the community and serves on the boards of The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Toledo Warehouse District Association, and the University of Toledo Alumni Association Board of Trustees.  In 2019, Ambrea was given the prestigious 20 under 40 leadership award for the ongoing work she does in the community.  She is also a member of many organizations who strive to make Toledo a better place.

Ambrea’s mission is to serve the community through development, construction, and motivation.  To encourage others to leave their mark by using the natural gifts they were given.

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Mr. Mike O'Brian

Mike has been the vice president and athletic director at the University of Toledo since 2002. Recognized as one of the leaders among NCAA Division I athletic directors, Mike serves on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, one of the highest profile appointments in college athletics. He has been an instrumental force in initiating some of the most ambitious Athletics construction projects in school history. No fewer than six major projects have been completed during his tenure, most recently the construction of a new soccer field on main campus in 2019. A native of Iowa City, Iowa, Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri Valley College, and has master’s degrees in education from Wisconsin-River Falls and in sports management from Western Illinois. He served as an assistant basketball coach at three different schools from 1982-1986, and held administrative posts at Ball State, Pittsburgh, Lamar and Kansas State. Mike and his wife Michelle reside in Ottawa Hills and have a son, Jack, who is a sophomore at TCU.

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Mr. Matthew Parrish

Matthew Parrish is a progressive business leader with expertise in commercial excellence, product management, cross-functional diversification and talent development. He is recognized as a trusted, decisive leader focused on sustainable growth and creating shareholder value.

Matt joined Knauf Insulation, Inc. in June 2017 as Vice President of Residential and Light Commercial Sales.  He has over 29 years of experience in the building materials industry, primarily in insulation and cement.


His history of cross-functional leadership, with extensive experience in organizational design, integrated systems and driving customer-centric solutions, has led to his record of success in sales leadership while winning with the customers. Matt is known in the industry for his managerial courage, business acumen, innovation and results delivery.


Matt grew up outside of the Kansas City, Missouri area and received his bachelor’s degree from University of Missouri-Columbia. 

Dr. Tracee Perryman

Dr. Perryman brings an extensive amount of expertise in developing innovative programs that yield tangible results to communities and individuals. Dr. Perryman is the CEO and co-founder of Center of Hope Family Services, whose mission is to improve the life outcomes of individuals and families living in urban settings. Under Dr. Perryman’s leadership, she has expanded CHFS to provide an array of evidence-based programs centering around Positive Youth Development and Adult/Family Support. The non-profit now serves 500 clients annually, with 25 employees. Dr. Perryman started with a budget of zero and has built a $1 Million Annual Budget. Dr. Perryman has also demonstrated tangible success for Center of Hope and the community through a social return on investment, conducted in the summer of 2020. Results showed that Center of Hope generates $6.00 in savings for every $1.00 invested.


Highlighted programs include its Ohio Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) – a comprehensive, academic-focused, extended learning opportunity in partnership with Toledo Public Schools. In 2011, Dr. Perryman and Center of Hope were rated statewide as a High-Quality Center and model for tutoring programs. Dr. Perryman and Center of Hope received the 2018 Ohio Department of Education Statewide Summit for Enrichment Education, 21st Century Community Learning Center Award in Student Reading/Literacy Improvement. The Toledo Blade and the Toledo Community Foundation also awarded Center of Hope the 2018 Excellence and Innovation Award for innovative programs. 

Dr. Perryman’s evidence-based parenting education and support programs are utilized by Lucas County Job & Family Services, Juvenile Courts, and Child Support Enforcement. Since 2016, Dr. Perryman and Center of Hope have partnered with Lucas County Juvenile Courts to implement an innovative approach to parent support and advocacy, which is only 1 of 4 in the nation. In September 2019, Dr. Perryman completed the Goldman Sachs Fellowship to learn and implement strategies for creating job growth and economic opportunity within Center of Hope Family Services. Dr. Perryman was 1 of 32 individuals selected out of a pool of 500 applicants. 


Dr. Perryman graduated with honors from the University of Michigan, where she majored in Psychology. Dr. Perryman earned a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Bowling Green State University, where she also taught and supervised education students majoring in Early Childhood Education. Dr. Perryman earned her Ph.D. from the Ohio State University College of Social Work, with a minor in Education in August 2016. Her dissertation focused on the relationships between racial socialization and reduced violence in African American young adults. 


During her tenure at The Ohio State University, Dr. Perryman received the Distinguished Graduate Enrichment Fellowship Award. During her term at Ohio State and after, Dr. Perryman teaches several courses in Lifespan Development, Social Welfare, and Social Work Practice with Diverse Cultural Groups. Dr. Perryman now teaches in The University of Toledo Social Work Program. Dr. Perryman has been an invited lecturer in the Georgetown University Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and the City University of New York.


Dr. Perryman has provided numerous presentations at national conferences in Education, Juvenile Justice, and Mental Health Counseling. Dr. Perryman has represented the State of Ohio through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, speaking at the Goldman Sachs National Capitol Hill Day, and through serving as a Captain for the Goldman Sachs Storm the Hill Initiative. Dr. Perryman has been an invited lecturer in the Georgetown University Center for Juvenile Justice Reform and the City University of New York. Dr Perryman has also been invited by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to provide technical assistance to Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative sites in the areas of improving community and family engagement. 


Dr. Perryman has secured a book deal with Advantage Forbes Publishing. Her book, titled, “Elevating Futures: A Model for Empowering Black Elementary Student Success,” will be released in February 2022. In addition to this book, Dr. Perryman has developed an accompanying core curriculum and a product and service suite. Her products and training solutions help teachers and after-school time staff implement high quality educational enrichment for children of all backgrounds. 

Meg Ressner
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Meg Ressner specializes in leading initiatives that optimize organizational performance.  From Human Resources, Sales, Customer Service, to Supply Chain Operations, she has a proven track record helping both for-profit and nonprofit organizations achieve and exceed their objectives. 


Meg is a recognized change leader with experience in organizational re-design, strategic planning, succession planning, complex project implementations and process re-engineering … all centered around the integration of people, process and technology.


Meg formerly held the position of vice president, Human Resources Enterprise Organizations at Owens Corning. She was a member of the Global HR Executive Team, reporting to the Senior Vice President of Human Resources.  Prior to that, Meg served as vice president of HR for the Composites business, a 1 billion dollar division of Owens Corning.  


Meg earned her undergraduate degree in marketing from the University of Rhode Island in 1981.  


Meg and her husband Dick met in Chicago and relocated with Owens Corning to Toledo in 1989.  They fell hard for Toledo, in part because they knew they could have a real impact here.  Together they support youth initiatives such as the Growing Futures Together project and the Western Golf Association Evans Scholar’s Foundation for young golf caddies.  


Making a difference in the community is important to Meg.  She previously served on the Owens Corning Foundation, the Board of David’s House Compassion, the Arts Commission Board and as Chair of the Women’s Initiative of the United Way.  Through December 2020, she served as President of the ProMedica Metro Foundation Board and as Chair of Avenues for Autism.  She remains active in the autism community as an advocate and participant in the Autism Provider Network of Northwest Ohio and served as the Volunteer Co-Chair for the 2021 Solheim Cup.  

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Mr. James Starks

James Starks was born and raised right here in Toledo. He’s a 2004 graduate of St. Francis de Sales. He then went on to graduate from Capital University in Columbus and holds a Masters in Broadcast Journalism from Kent State University. While in college, James was a member of the football team where he excelled as a two-time All-American at defensive back. In 2008, he signed a free-agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. After an unfortunate injury, he continued to play football overseas in Italy.

James’ passion for journalism started at a young age watching ESPN’s Sports Center with Stuart Scott. It’s no wonder he started his career as a sports anchor before moving to the early hours of morning news. As a sports anchor, he’s covered events like NCAA bowl games, NBA playoffs, and the NFL Draft just to name a few. He’s incredibly excited to return to his hometown. He’s passionate about being actively involved in the community through volunteer work. In his spare time, he likes to hit the gym, cheer on Manchester United and spend time with his family

Mr. Craig Teamer
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Craig L. Teamer currently serves as Manager, Finance & Special Projects for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. Born and raised in the Old West End neighborhood of Toledo, Ohio, Craig is a 1994 alumnus of St. Francis DeSales High School. He received his BBA in Finance from The University of Toledo in 1998 and his Executive MBA from Bowling Green State University in 2004.

Craig has worked in the corporate finance/banking industry for nearly 20 years. Most recently, he worked as a Senior Treasury Analyst for The Andersons, Inc. Previously, he served as an Assistant Vice President at Huntington National Bank in the Special Assets Division. Prior to that, he served as a commercial lender at Fifth Third Bank and KeyBank. He has held various finance positions at Dana Corporation.

Craig was a recipient of the Toledo 20 Under 40 Leadership Award in 2014. His involvement with the African-American Leadership Council of United Way of Greater Toledo (AALC) included serving as Co-Chair of AALC, Co-Chair of the Strategic Partnerships Committee, as a member of the Real Men READ-y Steering Committee, and as a liaison on the Community Impact Cabinet (CIC). His past volunteer activities include serving as a board member of INROADS Northwest Ohio, Leadership Toledo, The University of Toledo Joint Committee – Toledo EXCEL, Springfield Schools Foundation, and The University of Toledo Alumni Association. He has served as Director of Educational Affairs, Treasurer, and Vice President for the Alpha Xi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the United Way of Greater Toledo.

He is married to Stephanie Teamer and together they reside in Holland, Ohio with their three children, Justin, Jalen, and Kendall.

Melissa Voetsch

Melissa Voetsch is doing what she loves to do: telling the stories of people living in Northwest, Ohio.

Melissa has been working in television news in Toledo for over 30 years and is a two-time Emmy Winner for her Investigative Reporting.  She has also received multiple AP Awards and Emmy nominations during this time. Six of those years have been at 13abc where she earned an Emmy for her reporting about the Heroin Epidemic. And Melissa was awarded her second Emmy for her Investigative Reporting about the Toledo City Council Corruption Scandal. She loves being able to shed light on stories that affect people's lives. Please feel free to forward any story ideas you might have to

Outside work, Melissa cherishes time with her three beautiful children -- Madeline, Cole, and Gabrielle -- and the 13abc newshound Mabel, a Miniature Australian Shepherd. She also has the privilege of co-founding a volunteer organization called Agility Angels. They use trained therapy/agility dogs to help children with Autism develop social skills and self-esteem. Melissa also served on the board of trustees of the Great Lakes Collaborative for Autism, where they work to fill service gaps for families living with Autism.

She's proud to say she helped co-found Give Autism the Boot, a yearly collection with area rescue worker organizations that have raised more than a million dollars to date to fund programs serving families and their beautiful children in our area!

Most recently Melissa founded The Phoenix Project which helps women rebuild their lives following drug and alcohol addiction.

Melissa grew up in Buffalo, New York, and graduated from the SI School of Journalism from Syracuse University.

Northwest Ohioans are wonderful people and Melissa considers it an honor to live and work in such a beautiful part of this country!

Mr. Alex Washington

Alex Washington serves as a Managing Director of Wind Point Partners, a middle market private equity firm based in Chicago, IL.   Wind Point has approximately $2.3 billion in assets under management and focuses on majority-control acquisitions of North American companies in the industrial products, consumer products, and business services sectors.  


Alex joined Wind Point in 2002.  He currently serves on the boards of A&R Logistics, Ascensus Specialties, ClockspringNRI, and Kleinfelder Group. Previously, he served on the boards of Argotec, Arr-Maz Custom Chemicals, Dicom Transportation Group, Evans Food Group, Novolex, and Paragon Films. 


Prior to Wind Point, Alex worked as a professional with J.H. Whitney, Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette, and McKinsey & Company.  He received a Bachelor of Arts in finance from Morehouse College (summa cum laude) and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He was a Class VI recipient of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Fellowship in venture capital.


Alex serves as a director of Wintrust Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: WFTC), board member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, life trustee (and past board chairman) of the Chicago Foundation for Education, board member of the Chicago Urban League, and member of both the Chicago Club and the Economic Club of Chicago.

Robin Whitney
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Robin Whitney is Chief Strategic Planning and Real Estate Officer for ProMedica Health System, a not-for-profit mission-based, integrated healthcare organization headquartered in Toledo, Ohio. 

In this capacity, Robin is responsible for all strategy, real estate and construction for the organization, which includes 13 Acute Care Facilities in NW Ohio and SE Michigan and over 300 Post Acute Care Facilities in 27 States.  Robin is also responsible for the efforts related to the Social Determinants of Health, Government Relations, Advocacy and Philanthropy.

Robin received her undergrad from UT in Civil Engineering and is a Professional Engineer in the State of Ohio.  She received her EMBA from BGSU in 2013.

She was previously employed with The Lathrop Company, Dillin Corporation and the City of Toledo prior to joining ProMedica Health System.

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Janet Zale

Janet Zale has been an Oregon Police Officer since 1991. She is currently a Detective with the Oregon Police Detective Bureau focusing on digital forensics and social media investigation.  Detective Zale worked for 10 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Task Force Officer on the FBI’s Northwest Ohio Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force.  She is trained by the High Technology Crime Investigation Association, the National White Collar Crime Center, the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the United States Secret Service Computer Forensic Training Institute.  Detective Zale does community presentations throughout Northwest Ohio to schools and parent groups on Social Media, Sexting, Online Safety and Digital Footprint Awareness. Further, she is on the Advisory Panel for the Center of Education in Targeted Violence and Suicide at the University of Toledo and a former member of the National Information Officer’s Association. Detective Zale was awarded the 2012 Social Media In Law Enforcement, International Social Media Investigator of the Year and was awarded the 2017 YWCA Milestones Woman of the Year in Government.  

Past Speakers
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