Torchbearers announces Class of 2018

After thoughtful consideration, 40 of Greater Akron’s emerging leaders have been selected from an exceptionally competitive field to join Torchbearers in 2018.

Applicants endured a detailed process to be considered for membership including a written application as well as an interview by three current members of Torchbearers. The entire process, which was led by the organization’s membership committee, spanned three months and culminated with a group of diverse candidates from various backgrounds and experiences.

These forty up-and-coming young professionals will join approximately 75 other active members in the journey to better themselves personally and professionally as they strive to make meaningful contributions to the Greater Akron community.

“This class has a good balance of non-profit and for-profit fields, with a number of individuals coming from industries that we haven’t had represented in our past,” said Willie Cook, co-chair of Torchbearers’ membership committee. “This will be a good group of leaders, and we’re pleased to welcome them.”

“Each year we are faced with the difficult task of narrowing our applicant pool to only 40 new members,” said Torchbearers president, Michael Wilson. “I hope the new members will get as much out of Torchbearers as I have learned since I joined.”

“I’m honored to join Torchbearers,” said new member Raven Gayheart who works at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank as public relations & communications manager. “I look forward to learning more about myself as a potential leader and change-maker for our community while connecting with other young professionals who are also passionate about our great city.”

“I am both humbled and appreciative of the opportunity to be selected as a member of the 2018 class, said another new member Aja Mixon, who is a judicial assistant for the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. “Paying it forward and community involvement are two of my passions, and I look forward to collaborating with fellow Torchbearers and community partners.”

The new class will gather for the first time in mid-December, and they will begin their year-long of leadership development curriculum beginning in January 2018. Applications for the Class of 2019 will be available in May on our website,

Torchbearers is delighted to announce the following outstanding leaders for the Class of 2018:

Rebecca Ball
AVP, Commercial Banking
Peoples Bank

Elena Bell
Marketing & Group Sales Manager
Akron Zoo

JT Buck
Artistic Director
Coach House Theatre

Dana Cameron
Care Manager
Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities

Andre Campbell
Manager, Bridges Summit County
United Way of Summit County

Eric Chojnacki
Account Executive
Summa Health

Lauren Davis
University Scholars Advisor
Cleveland State University

Louise DiLullo
Director of Development
Humane Society of Summit County

Justin Downing
Staff Attorney
Stark County Public Defender

Stephanie Durachinsky
On-Premise Sales Representative

Raven Gayheart
Public Relations & Communications Manager
Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank

Sarah Genet
Dental Office Manager
AxessPointe Community Health Center

Jonathan Greer
Director, iC.A.R.E. Mentoring
United Way of Summit County

Cassie Hall
Summit Metro Parks

Brian Holb
Pre-Bar Associate
Littler Mendelson

Joseph Horak
Owner & President
Flitzen Factory

Courtney Hough
Manager, Corporate Engagement
United Way of Summit County

Sharon Jendrisak
Learning Solutions Designer
GOJO Industries

Holly Johnston
Attorney-at-Law, Owner
Johnston Legal & Land Services, LLC

Krissy Kodzev
Customer Account Specialist IV
Ohio Edison

Mitchell Kolesar
Associate Attorney
The Law Office of Mark E. Krohn

Tyler Krummel
Wealth Management
EGI Financial, Inc

Kandice Lacy
Detention Mental Health Clinician
Summit County Juvenile Court

Lindsay Leiby
Community Outreach Specialist
Western Reserve Hospital

Nathan Lieb
Tax Supervisor
Bober Markey Fedorovich & Co.

Rachel Logan
General Manager
WL Logan Trucking

Sarah Luisi
Huntington National Bank

Kristina Metcalf
Outpatient Therapist
Child Guidance & Family Solutions

Stephanie Miner
Behavioral Husbandry Manager
Akron Zoo

Aja Mixon
Judicial Assistant
Summit County Court of Common Pleas

Danielle Murphy
Associate Attorney
Green Haines Sgambati Co., L.P.A.

Bryan Oden
Operations Supervisor

Kerry Orton
Safe Mobility Project Coordinator
Akron Children’s Hospital

Lindsey Phillips
Resettlement Manager
World Relief

Alyssa Pinney
Financial Advisor
Morgan Stanley

Justin Stafford
Benefit Recovery Investigator
Summit County Dept. of Job & Family Services

Yvette Thompson
Fadia Young Women’s Program Inc

Breanna Tilton
Continuous Improvement Leader/RPA
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Beth Vild
COO/Director of Programming
The Big Love Network

Michael Wheeler
Accounts Analyst III
City of Akron

Founded in 2003, Torchbearers works to enhance Greater Akron by investing in the development, connection and engagement of our membership comprised of evolving leaders with a passion to impact our community. In 2009, Leadership Akron and Torchbearers signed an agreement to work more closely together to foster leadership across generations as independent and affiliated community partners. Today, the membership includes over 100 active members and more than 300 alumni members who reflect the diversity found across the community. To learn more about Torchbearers, please visit our website,

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