Torchbearers Announces Class of 2019

After thoughtful consideration, 40 of greater Akron’s emerging leaders have been selected from an exceptionally competitive field to join Torchbearers in 2019.

Applicants completed a detailed process to be considered for membership, including completion of a written application and an interview with current Torchbearers members. The entire process spanned three months and culminated with a group of diverse candidates from various backgrounds and experiences.

These forty up-and-coming leaders 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.

“The incoming class of 2019 is made up of nearly equal thirds of government, nonprofit, and for-profit industries, ” said Stephen Knittel, co-chair of Torchbearers’ membership committee. “This will be a great class of leaders and we are thrilled to welcome them to our organization.”

“The growing excellence of our applicant pool each year speaks to the talent that can be found in greater Akron, and I am thrilled with the diversity and potential of the class of 2019,” said Torchbearers president, Hillary Stewart. “I have no doubt that this group will quickly get to work growing our community, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish.”

“It is an honor to be selected as a member of Torchbearers Class of 2019,” said new member Arica Leonard, who works as the Marketing & Communications Coordinator for Leadership Akron. “I am excited to expand my scope of leadership through Torchbearers and make a meaningful impact on the Akron community. I have called Akron home for the last seven years and have developed a passion for the area as I’ve seen this community blossom during my time here. I am looking forward to being a part of Akron’s continued success as a member of Torchbearers.”

“It is an honor to be joining such a fantastic group of young professionals,” said another new member, Christopher Guy, who manages a Sherwin Williams store in Portage Lakes. “Community service is the greatest work of my life and has been a passion of mine for many years. I have always called Akron home and am ready to become more engaged in the city. The Akron area has been moving in a positive direction for years and I am excited to be in an organization that is made up of the future leaders of the city.”

The new class will gather for the first time in mid-December, and they will begin their year-long journey of leadership development curriculum beginning in January 2019. Applications for the Class of 2020 will be available in May on our website,

Torchbearers is delighted to announce the following outstanding leaders for the Class of 2019:

Maureen Aebi
Tax Manager, Sikich LLP

Jena Beckett
Emergency Management Specialist, County of Summit

Tifanie Botzer
Manager Global Manufacturing IT, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Dalton Bowling
Corporate Banking Associate, PNC Financial Services

Roneisha Campbell
Assistant Principal 3-5, Canton City School District

Stephen Craig
Assistant Director, Staffing and Training, Kent State University

Adam Curry
Lead Analyst, VMI (Supply Chain), The J.M. Smucker Company

Kirsten Delpinal
Instructional Designer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

Sonja Dittmann
Community Development Administrator, City of Barberton

Tom Dolezal
Analyst IV, FirstEnergy

Tim Faix
Assistant Director of Athletics Development, The University of Akron

Michael Fay
Director of Esports & Head Coach, The University of Akron

Heather Flohr
Graduate Engagement Coordinator, Leadership Akron

Daniel Glass
Associate Attorney, Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, LLC

Maribeth Graham
Regional Account Executive, Zumper Regional

Tristan Griffin
Akron Area Director, Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Christopher Guy
Store Manager, Sherwin Williams

Willie Harper
Care Manager, Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging & Disabilities

Raina Henderson
EMIS Support Specialist, Northeast Ohio Network for Educational Technology

Andrew  Henry
Director Building Services, Recycling, Grounds, Special Services, Parking and Athletic Maintenance, The University of Akron

Katie Jacque
Forensic Scientist, State of Ohio

Colleen Kelly
Executive Assistant, County of Summit

Rachael Kosakowski
Business Growth Developer, Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates

Arica Leonard
Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Leadership Akron

Allyse Love
Marketing Manager, Westfield Bank

Jennifer Martin
Senior Analyst, Bober, Markey, Fedorovich

Lauren Marsh
Administrative Assistant, Akron Fire Department

Rana Matar
Assistant Director, Summit County Clerk of Courts

Dustin Miller
Managing Consultant, Sikich LLP

Heather Morrow
Director of Operations, International Soap Box Derby

Sam Myers
Data Analyst, Area Wide Protective

Sierra Oden
Social Worker II, Akron Children’s Hospital

Evan Pannell
Sales Associate, Pickard Commercial Group

Jessica Prusak
Human Resource Generalist, Goodwill Industries of Akron     

Tiffany Roper
Social Program Analyst, County of Summit

Andrew Rothermel
Wealth & Investment Senior Portfolio Manager, Huntington

Sam Scala
Vice President, Kenmore Construction

Abby Strbjak
Marketing Coordinator, Sikich LLP

Becca Thacker
Claims Specialist, Social Security Administration

Matthew Tweddle
Director of Chaplaincy Services, Akron Children’s Hospital