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Downtown Cincinnati

Welcome to Insider Ohio

It can be hard to adjust to a new city. As a young person just starting out in the professional world, it's hard enough to navigate your professional responsibilities while making the right decisions to advance your career; throw a new city and social scene into the mix and it becomes daunting. But all work and no play makes for dull boys and girls, and having a strong social network is just as important as having a strong professional one. That's why we created Insider Ohio.
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Taylor Burciaga

Maumee, Greater Toledo: Taylor Burciaga

Taylor Burciaga grew up in Toledo and attended Bowling Green State University where she earned a Bachelors degree in interpersonal communication and public relations. Growing up Mexican American, her parents strongly emphasized involvement in their community through volunteering and participating in community activities and events. After college, Taylor returned to the Toledo area where she worked in the nonprofit sector. At that point she was appointed to the Toledo City Council, both the youngest female and the youngest Latino to hold a seat on City Council in Toledo's history. Eventually she decided her passion was to focus on doing good things for the community rather than politicking. 

Maddy Ozvath

German Village, Columbus: Maddy Ozvath

Maddy Ozvath went to Ohio State where she studied strategic communications. After school she moved to German Village, a historic neighborhood in the city of Columbus that is only a mile from downtown and the riverfront but has the vibe of a small town. The houses are all beautiful historic brick homes dating back to the early 1900s, and the streets are all brick-paved. "It really feels like you've been brought back in time," Maddy says. She currently works at the Sycamore in German Village, a newly-opened bar and restaurant that focuses on local, sustainable cuisine. 

Mercy Montgomery

Hamilton, Greater Cincinnati: Mercy Montgomery

Mercy Montgomery is a John C. Engle Local Government Fellow at the City of Hamilton, Ohio. There she does a little of everything: grant writing, community outreach, economic development. It is an 11 month position designated for young professionals who just graduated with a master's degree that gives them a full, well-rounded experience of working for the city and enables them to figure out which areas they enjoy the most and are the most skilled at. The majority tend to stay on an transition into full time positions. This helps drive young professionals to the area and gets them involved. The fellowship also includes housing and Mercy lives right in downtown Hamilton, just a five-minute walk from her office.

Grace Heffernan

Tremont, Cleveland: Grace Heffernan

Grace Heffernan is a project manager with NorTech Economic Development Organization, a flexible electronics, water technologies, and advanced energy economic development organization. She graduated with a degree in political science from Hiram College, then came home to the Cleveland area where she grew up to work for an organization called Entrepreneurs for Sustainability in Tremont.

Sarah Jane Smith

Hyde Park/Mount Lookout, Cincinnati: Sarah Jane Smith

Sarah Jane Smith has lived in Cincinnati for 11 years. She majored in Strategic Communications at Miami University. She now works as a recruiter at Insight Global.

Rickey Ishida

Little Italy, Cleveland: Rickey Ishida

Rickey Ishida is an engineer and designer (and sometime marketer) with MakerGear, LLC. Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Rickey came to Cleveland for the Venture for America program after studying biological engineering at Cornell. He got interested in working with startups while participating in Venture for America, and ended up at MakerGear after seeing a position posted on the Cornell career site. MakerGear make 3D printers for the hobbyist community.

Lauren Wiant

Lakewood, Greater Cleveland: Lauren Wiant

Lauren Wiant grew up on the east side of Cleveland and attended Miami University, where she was an English major with a business and Spanish minor. After school she got into real estate services and property management through a family connection, and is now in charge of marketing, programming and events at Cumberland Development, which oversees projects like the 5th Street Arcades, two historic arcades in the center of downtown Cleveland that were previously underutilized and underprogrammed. 

Jessica Armstrong

Kettering, Greater Dayton: Jessica Armstrong

Jessica Armstrong was born and raised in Dayton. She grew up in the “Crossroads of America”: Vandalia, Ohio. She attended Ohio University where she earned a bachelors in Marketing and Management Information Systems. She moved back to Dayton after living in Washington, DC and was looking for something young and fresh. She is currently working at Standard Register as a Customer Service Manager, a company that has been in Dayton for more than 100 years.

Amanda Jenne

Elyria, Greater Cleveland: Amanda Jenne

Amanda Jenne grew up in Berea then left for Columbus and attended Ohio State University where she graduated with a degree in psychology. She now lives in Elyria and is currently a behavioral health technician and the Cleveland Clinic, and also is the Program Assistant at Engage! Cleveland, an organization that works to attract and retain young professionals to the Cleveland area.

Barry Irwin

Cuyahoga Falls, Greater Akron: Barry Irwin

Barry Irwin is originally from Columbus but moved to the Cleveland suburbs before high school. He attended Kent State for aviation flight technology and management. He stayed in Kent for several years before accepting a position at the Akron Canton Airport as the Operations Supervisor. He now lives in Cuyahoga Falls, and is also the events committee chair for the Young Professionals of Akron.


Perrysburg, Greater Toledo: Eric DeVries

Eric DeVries grew up in Indiana and attended the University of Evansville in southern Indiana where he studied marketing and finance. His wife was from Perrysburg, which is what brought him to the area. He now works as a Sales Advisory Consultant for Wells Fargo.

Short North

Short North, Columbus: Courtney Winnen

Courtney Winnen is the Communications Coordinator for the Short North Alliance. She grew up in Cleveland and came to Columbus to attend Ohio State where she majored in strategic communications with a focus in public relations. She stayed in the area after she graduated, got her feet wet in the business world then started working on special events for a restaurant and bar, which got her more experience in public relations and event planning. She took an internship with the Short North Business Association, which was later absorbed by the Short North Alliance when she transferred into her current position.

The Butler Museum of American Art

Youngstown, Greater Cleveland: Lorilyn Shandor

Lorilyn Shandor was born and raised in Youngstown. She attended Youngstown State University and earned a Bachelor's in Business Administration with concentration in nonprofit business management, then went on to earn her MBA in Marketing from Youngstown also. She is now the Gift Planning and Campaign Director at the OPRS Foundation, in addition to being president of the Mahoning Valley Young Professionals organization.

University of Findlay

Downtown Findlay: Andrew Rahrig

Andrew Rahrig grew up in Westerville in greater Columbus and attended Ohio Northern University for civil engineering. He now works as a real estate representative for Marathon Petroleum in Findlay. He is also a member of the Findlay Young Professionals, which he recommends as a great way to get young people connected to their community, offering both social and business networking opportunities.

Chelsea Koglmeier

Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati: Chelsea Koglmeier

Chelsea Koglmeier grew up in Cincinnati. She studied public policy at Duke University with an emphasis on documentary studies (including film and photography). She spent time living in Philadelphia, North Carolina, and Uganda. She lived on an island, worked on a beach, and helped start a nonprofit in Durham, NC. In all that time she never really returned home for an extended period of time aside from the occasional weekend or holiday. It was that nonprofit in Durham which spurred her return to Cincinnati.

Alex Eichler

Mason, Greater Cincinnati: Alex Eichler

Alex Eichler came to Cincinnati a few years ago after graduating college. She lived in South Carolina most of her life and studied arts administration at the College of Charleston. She now works at the Cincinnati Art Museum as the Corporate & Foundations Manager and lives in Mason.

Eric Smer

Canton, Greater Akron: Eric Smer

Eric Smer was born and raised in Canton and never left. He attended Kent State University for marketing and business management and has traveled everywhere but, he says, he's a "Stark County lifer."

Jennifer Rieman

Dublin, Greater Columbus: Jennifer Rieman

Jennifer Rieman was born in Cleveland but moved to Columbus when she was young. She attended the Miami University of Ohio and moved to Dublin after she graduated. She is now the Assistant Manager of Public Relations at the Ohio Society of CPAs.

Jon Harmon

Downtown Cincinnati: Jon Harmon

Jon Harmon grew up in Orange County and moved to Cincinnati to attend the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and also earned an MBA. "I pretty quickly fell in love and got involved," he says. He now works a Legislative Director at the Office of Councilmember Seelbach, the city's first openly gay council member.

Becky Hixen

Downtown Columbus: Becky Hixen

Becky Hixen grew up in Cleveland and attended Miami University Ohio where she earned a degree in journalism. "When I graduated I had no idea what to do," she says. She had some friends who had moved to Columbus and, while she loved Cleveland, she didn't want to move back home. It was important that she be on her own, so she headed to Columbus and has been there ever since. She is now the Manager of Member Relations for the Ohio Society of CPAs, where she plans events for the organization throughout the state and gets to travel frequently, and is also the Vice President of Operations for the Young Professionals of Columbus.

Taryn Gress

Parma, Greater Cleveland: Taryn Gress

Taryn Gress grew up in Boston and went to college at Wooster in Ohio then graduate school at Case Western, where she got a Masters of Science in Social Administration. She worked at Civic Commons for a year and now works at Case Western as the Project Coordinator on the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities at the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development, which focuses on mixed-income development. She now lives in Parma, a suburb of Cleveland.

Sara McGuire

Bowling Green: Sara McGuire

Sara McGuire grew up in Michigan but moved to Bowling Green where she attended Bowling Green State University for visual communication and graphic design. She is now a graphic designer with Digerati, based in Detroit. She says of being a young professional in Bowling Green, "Literally you're surrounded by everyone your own age all the time. You will not have a problem meeting people. It's very friendly place."

Dayton Skyline at Dusk

Downtown Dayton: Shanon Potts

Shanon Potts is the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Dayton. Born and raised in Ohio, she jokes that she's "always been a Buckeye girl." She was a PR and communications major at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, then attended law school at Capital University. Though an Ohio native, she had never lived in a downtown area before; now she both lives and works downtown and doesn't even need to drive her car to work. "I grew up in a town surrounded by farms," she says. "I thought I'd give downtown urban living a try. It's been the best thing I've ever done."

West Side Market

Ohio City, Cleveland: John Lynch

Though originally born in England, John Lynch's family moved to Cleveland when he was six years old. He studied philosophy at Ohio State University, then moved to Berkley, California after college. At 26 years old he moved back home for what he thought would be only a few months just to recharge his batteries, then found himself having a new appreciation for the city which he'd never had before. He is now the Community Engagement Strategist for Centers for Families and Children, one of the largest nonprofit healthcare providers in Ohio, where he manages a variety of community engagement initiatives.

Downtown Toledo Skyline

Downtown Toledo: Lauren Farnsworth

Lauren Farnsworth was born and raised in Toledo. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a degree in journalism, and now is now the Change Leadership & Communications Specialist at Owens Corning. As a Toledo native, Lauren has a life-long knowledge and familiarity with the city and knows all of the many unique cultural and social opportunities it has to offer.

Angela Presutti

Downtown Akron: Angela Presutti

Angela Presutti is the Young Professionals Network Director of the Greater Akron Chamber. She has lived in the Akron area the majority of her life, earning her undergraduate degree from the University of Akron in communications and her MBA at Walsh University. She has worked in marketing and communications in the healthcare and nonprofit industries for her whole professional life, but when this position at the Chamber became available she was interested in getting more involved with the business community and focusing on economic development. "I describe it as a regional marketing effort of the community," she says.

Bill Yeck Park, Centerville

Centerville, Dayton: Jennifer Reitz

Jennifer Reitz grew up in Lima, about halfway between Toledo and Dayton. She is a speech language pathologist at The Blaine Block Institute for Voice Analysis & Rehabilitation. She earned her Master's of Science at Bowling Green State University and moved to Dayton for her current job. She specializes in voice training and works with singers, actors, and people who do public speaking.

Art in the Square

Highland Square, Akron: Jonathan Morschi

Jonathan Morschi has lived in Akron since he was 15 years old and attended Kent State University, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in science and architecture. He joined the team at Four Points Architectural Services working part time while he was still in college, and still works for them to this day as a designer.

Downtown Cleveland at night

Downtown Cleveland: Ashley Basile Oeken

Ashley Basile Oeken is the Executive Director of Engage! Cleveland, an organization that targets young professionals in the Cleveland area. An Ohio native though not originally from Cleveland, Ashley earned her MBA at Youngstown State University and accepted a two-year fellowship in Cleveland after graduating, when she found she really enjoyed the city and especially the downtown area. The organization she had worked for was small and there weren't a lot of social opportunities for young professionals, so she had to get out and get involved in order to meet other people her age and engage the young professional community.

Jeff Schaaf

West Toledo: Jeff Schaaf

Jeff Schaaf is the Toledo Region Brand Manager for the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. He was born and raised in the Toledo area and earned a business degree from the University of Toledo. He comes from an entrepreneurial family with a small business background, and has also been involved with Epic Toledo which focuses on attracting and retaining young talent in the region and engaging them in the community through social networking and various activities. When the Brand Manager position with the Chamber opened, it seemed a natural fit for him with his combined business and community experience. His job is to share the story and promote the assets of the region to attract and retain businesses.
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