Torchbearers Welcomes the Class of 2024

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Akron, OH – (January 4, 2024) – Torchbearers is proud to announce that 40 of Greater Akron’s emerging leaders have been selected from an exceptionally competitive field to join Torchbearers in 2024.

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.

“When I joined Torchbearers in 2017, I had no clue what I adventure lies ahead of me and now as I enter a year of leading this organization I know the adventure is the destination,” says current Torchbearers President Zinga Hart. “I am so excited to see how our members explore their own professional terrain while connecting to their inner capacity to shape their city for the future.”

Sierre Oden, 2024 Vice President, is also optimistic about this year’s class. “Good leaders stay curious and these 40 dynamic change makers will continue the Torchbearers tradition of learning and growing through our Leadership & Development curriculum, while keeping our community at the center of their work. I look forward to seeing the impact they leave not only on our organization, but on the Greater Akron community for years to come.”

The new class met for a social event in mid-December and commence their year-long leadership and development cohort program in January. Applications for the Class of 2025 will be available in the spring at

Torchbearers is delighted to announce the following outstanding leaders for the Class of 2024:

Kaitlin Adkins, Frito Lay
Michelle Banis, The University of Akron
Grace Barnard, Akron Municipal Court
Justin Bober, Fawcett Co
Jazzmin Bowman, Summit County Childrens Services
Leesa Bruback, United Way Of Summit Medina County
Shaniah Chilton, FirstEnergy
Maria Ciccolini, Ciccolini & Associates Co. LPA law firm
Hilary DeSaussure, Brennan, Manna & Diamond, LLC
Anthony Didion, State and Federal Communications, Inc.
Olivia Eastly, Akron Community Foundation
Alexandra Eliopoulos, Old Trail School
Vincent Eritano, Signet Jewelers
ShaKeela Gary, KeyCorp
Sharonda Gilbert, Kalibri Labs
Stephen Gross, Buckingham Doolittle & Burroughs
Melissa Hopkins, Covalon Technology Ltd.
Jillian Jewett, Brouse McDowell, LPA
Sekoya Kendrick, Akron Art Museum
Laura Littman, Sikich, LLP
Ryan McCoy, Akron-Summit County Public Library
Erin Milano, Akron Children’s Hospital
Ali Miller, Playhouse Square
Brittany Moore, Restorative Touch and Beauty
Brittany Nader, Kuno Creative
Willa Neale, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Maddie Nicholas, PNC
Erin Patch, Dominion Energy
Ben Pickens, Development Finance Authority of Summit County
Betsy Robb, Bober Markey Fedorovich
Julia Sidwell, Akron Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau
Kayla Sparks Hodge, Akron Children’s Hospital
Karla Straus, ACCESS, Inc.
Sue Tran, Fair Housing Partnership of Greater Pittsburgh
Jessica Travis, Summit County Community Partnership
Samuel Trela, Alpha Technologies
Kelly Unger, CLA
Ciera Walker, Allied Universal Security
Dominique Waters, UNKNWN Akron
James Young, Akron Zoo

For more information on Torchbearers, please visit

Torchbearers is an organization of emerging leaders focused on enhancing the Greater Akron community through leadership development, talent attraction and retention, and community service. Founded in 2003, Torchbearers work to enrich the community by connecting, developing, and engaging leaders in our community and leaders of the future.

In 2009, Leadership Akron and Torchbearers signed an agreement to work more closely together to foster leadership across generations. Today, the membership is over 100 strong and reflects the diversity found across the community. To learn more about Torchbearers, please visit