Community Advisory Board

Board Members

Montrie Rucker Adams


Montrie Rucker Adams, APR is president and “Chief Visibility Officer” of Visibility Marketing Inc. Visibility Marketing helps businesses communicate the right messages to key audiences. Through strategic and effective marketing communications and public relations campaigns, companies become “more visible” – thus increasing their public awareness and ultimately impacting the bottom line.

Clients include authors, academic institutions, construction companies, non-profit organizations, and retail establishments.


Adams has contributed to several publications including the Women of Color Devotional Bible,, and Kaleidoscope magazine where she once served as Managing Editor and Editor-In-Chief.

Her civic responsibilities include serving as president of the Board of Directors for Continue Life Inc., a homeless shelter and transitional housing program for expecting and parenting young women, and is on the Board of Directors of East End Neighborhood House.


Adams  is a former board member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and a lifetime member of the National Black MBA Association.


Linda Alexander


For over the past four years, Linda Alexander has been the Executive Director of the Cleveland Council of Independent Schools (CCIS), which consists of 13 unique schools located in Northeast Ohio. Her primary focus is faculty and staff professional development, community outreach and service, diversity and inclusion, and collaboration with a shared purpose to maximize each child's potential. Prior to CCIS, she co-founded and chaired Community Partnerships for Youth, an organization focused on at-risk youth issues.  She has been an independent consultant, analyzing and identifying opportunities for improving organizational effectiveness within public, independent, and charter schools, and has consulted within the business community. She has held positions within the corporate world, including Director of Human Resources, Director of Field Training, Training Manager, and early in her career managed 24 specialty retail stores. 
In 2007, Linda published with Charles Sachs, Parents Working with Schools/Schools Working with Parents within A Guidebook to the NAIS Principles of Good Practice.  She has a BA from Ursuline College, and anticipates finishing her MALS thesis at Ursuline this year.


Current Memberships:
National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS); Independent School Association Network (ISAnet); The Teaching Cleveland Foundation, Board Chair; Fowler Center for Sustainable Value, Weatherhead School of Management, Executive Committee, Educators for Sustainability.
Married to Philip Alexander, CEO of BrandMuscle, Inc. Two grown children:  Philip Alexander, CWRU, MBA candidate; Rachel Alexander, a junior at the University of Vermont. 


Britney A. Bennett


Britney A. Bennett is a 2005 graduate of Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio. After HB, Britney completed a B.A. in English from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. During her summers at Spelman, Britney served as an intern with the City of East Cleveland Economic and Community Development Office, a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Scholar with Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and an intern with the Atlanta Spirit, LLC (Home of the Atlanta Hawks, Thrashers & Philips Arena).


Britney is currently a second-year JD/MBA student at Case Western Reserve University and serves as the student representative on the Federal Bar Association, and is Associate Editor for the Journal of International Law. She is also co-President President of Dynamic Weatherhead Women in Business, a group at Case that provides networking opportunities for women in business both within the Case community and within the greater Cleveland community. She spent her first summer of law school with Jones Day and U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth S. McHargh.


Currently, Britney clerks with Giffen & Kaminski, LLC, a woman-owned law firm housed in Downtown Cleveland. Britney spent her winter break studying bioethics in Costa Rica and will spend Spring 2012 in China.


Susan (Sue) T. Berlin

Degrees:  BA, Pennsylvania State University, Master of Library Science (MLS), Western Reserve University, Educational Media Specialist, CWRU.


Work:  Upper School Librarian, Hawken School; Manager, Adult/Young Adult Materials Selection, Cuyahoga County Public Library (wrote, received and administered federal grants; hired, supervised and evaluated staff; founded and edited library newsletter that developed nationwide distribution), Executive Director, Women’s Community Foundation.


Community Service:  Fundraiser for local, county and statewide political campaigns; planned benefits, identified and contacted donors, supervised volunteer staff; Board of Directors, Women’s Community Foundation; Vice-President, WomenSpace (revitalized and Chair of the Women in Appointed Office Project, an effort to promote qualified women candidates for service on Ohio boards and commissions), Board of Directors, ACLU of Ohio, Board of Directors, Preterm, about to be appointed to the Board of Directors of The Women’s Center at CWRU, Board of Directors, Association of Continuing Education (ACE), CWRU, participant in ACE’s Senior Scholars’ program.

Publications:  Authored several books and articles related to public library service.


Hobbies:  Reading (after all, I’m a librarian!), theatre, film, the study of U.S. History, Senior Scholars’ classes.


Denise K. Davis


Beth Embrescia (Past President)


Katie Emerson


Lin Emmons




Jane Finley (Vice President)


Hilary Garon (President)


Hilary Garon is the current president of the Community Advisory Board. She is a 2006 graduate from Case Law School and a 1999 graduate from Hamilton College.  Hilary is a native Clevelander that has returned to the area, with her husband, to raise her family of two young girls. Hilary has lived overseas in Nepal as part of the Peace Corps and stateside in Washington, DC and Chicago.  Hilary is committed to advancing the equality of women through education, advocacy, and leadership. 




Collette Taddy Hart


Colette Hart is Director of Outreach and Business Centers for the Nance College of Business at Cleveland State University. In her capacity as Director, she is responsible for establishing Centers of Excellence in the College of Business that provide responsive and strategic business educational programs for the Northeast Ohio business community. Colette was instrumental in establishing the Global Business Center and securing over a million dollars in funding to develop interdisciplinary academic, research and outreach programs focused on applied international business education. The Global Business Center is the 2006 recipient of the Ohio Governors Export Award and the 2010 Certificate of Appreciation for Achievement in Trade from the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the 2011 President's E-Award.


Ka-Pi Hoh


Rachel Kirsh


Rachel Kirsh is the Chief Risk & Compliance Officer of Oliver Wyman Group (OWG), a role she assumed in January 2012. She is responsible for overseeing global management of Oliver Wyman Group’s Enterprise Risk Management program which includes identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risks; working with the Management Committee and individual Business Unit leaders to develop risk mitigation plans; handling crisis management planning and execution; providing regular risk reporting and periodic reviews; and leading all risk training and communication efforts. She will also lead all compliance efforts for OWG working closely with the other members of the MMCo Compliance team on developing and implementing policies, procedures, systems and controls that support OWG’s ERM program.


Sue Klarreich




Noha Ryder


Nirvana St. Cyr


Nirvana St. Cyr is a leading voice in the areas of personal and professional development for women. An entrepreneur with years of experience, Nirvana is cutting edge. She is able to implement her MBA credentials with real life solutions to the many challenges women in business face today. Nirvana has the unique ability to motivate, inspire, and elevate ideas from the planning stage to implementation, and ultimately to success. After nearly 20 years in corporate America, Nirvana found that capitalism and entrepreneurship create economic sustenance and build strength, courage and character. It exists for those who seek it. Nirvana is also an adjunct professor of English and Business.


Lisa Weitzman


Victoria (Vikki) Winbush, MSSA, MPH, LISW, PhD


Victoria has over 20 years experience as a diversity consultant and has worked primarily with human services organizations and those delivering health care, mental health, educational services.  She is the Interim Director of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland.  She previously served as the director of the Multi Cultural Training Institute and implemented a cultural competency curriculum geared toward mental health professionals employed in county-funded agencies in Greater Cleveland. 


Dr. Winbush is also a member of the teaching faculty at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland and is an adjunct instructor and research adviser at the Smith College School for Social Work.  She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in clinical social work from Smith College School for Social Work in Northampton, MA.  She also holds a Masters degrees in social work administration from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, and a Master’s of public health administration from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


She is a licensed social worker and enjoys working with adolescents and their families.  Her research interests include identifying the processes used by parents to facilitate mental health treatment for their youth, and better understanding the impact that diversity has on both clinical practice and on organizational change initiatives.


Honorary Members

Caryn Foltz


Lynne Alfred Hanson


Kathryn Karipides


Patricia Kilpatrick


Deb Nash


Susan Troia


Sandra Vodanoff