Meet OWIG Member of the Month: Judge Terri Jamison


Judge Terri Jamison

Hometown: Welch, WV
Place of Work: Franklin County Court of Common Pleas - Juvenile Branch of Domestic Relations
Tenure at Current Place of Work: 6.5 years
OWIG Involvement: member for 2.5 years

OWIG decided to switch things up a bit with our member feature this month by highlighting someone who actually serves in elected office. The local judicial branch isn’t always at the forefront of people’s minds, but we hope Judge Jamison’s story provides some insight into the kinds of people who serve there.

Judge Jamison has always been around public service. Growing up, her family made it a big part of their lives, enrolling Terri in Girl Scouts and taking her and her siblings to do service for senior citizens and others less fortunate. “It’s part of who I am,” Terri says, even to this day. She lives by the Marian Wright Edelman quote: “Service is the rent we pay for being.”

But there was another significant force that impacted Terri’s life as a young girl: the beginning of U.S. Supreme Court mandated busing as a result of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Experiencing this firsthand as a school girl who was bussed, Terri learned very early in life the power of the court. Years later as a practicing attorney, when she was able to fully comprehend the reality of her historic experience, she began noticing who actually sat on the judicial bench. She realized there weren’t nearly enough judges who represented people like her. In the courtrooms she worked in, she was often the only person of color and, sometimes, also the only woman. “Diversity is important to the judiciary,” Terri says, especially since she views that branch of government as a venue ‘to give a voice to the unheard.’ “You have the right to be heard even when the law is not favorable to your side of the case. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect as their case is important to them,” she says.

This opportunity to give people the chance to prove themselves is why Judge Jamison so deeply loves what she does. As she describes it: “I have the opportunity to give confidence to the community that they will be treated equitably. I can apply the universal principles of the law to give each individual a well-reasoned ruling.” Despite the foundation of equity that the judicial branch is built on however, Terri does notice that women in her field - as they are in most fields - are held to a different standard than men. She sees women being questioned more with respect to their actions and abilities. And the campaign side has its own set of challenges, according to Judge Jamison; she has found that being a female candidate makes it harder to raise money.

So how does she keep going when the going gets tough? “I am a driven individual,” says Terri. “I write down things that I want to achieve...and I don’t stop until I do what I have in mind to do.” She encourages fellow OWIG members to live by their own personal definition of success, while always respecting those who endured challenges to make things better for today’s people. We know Judge Jamison is that person for many people; a trailblazer herself, Terri was one of the first women to be hired by U.S. Steel as an underground coal miner! Our sincere thanks for everything you do and have done for the Franklin County community, Terri!

Meet OWIG's April Member of the Month: Brie Lushek

Brie recently became Deputy Director of Children’s Initiatives for Governor DeWine, an impressive promotion that her nominator found truly worthy of recognition, especially given Brie is still relatively early on in her career.

Brie Lushek

Hometown: Stillwater, Ohio (Tuscarawas County)
Place of Work: Governor’s Office of Children’s Initiatives
Tenure at Current Place of Work: 2 months
OWIG Involvement: member for 1.5 years, event attendee for 5 years

Growing up the daughter of a single mother in small-town Appalachia, Brie saw firsthand the debilitating cycle of poverty and its subsequent impact on children and communities. “I saw the opiate epidemic taking hold before I even knew the name for it,” she says. This experience was one of the reasons Brie was so motivated to begin working in public policy with the intention of helping to make people’s lives better. In 2013, she was accepted into the LSC Fellowship Program and then spent some time working for a member of the House. One day, her boss gave her a book about people moving up and out of poverty. The message resonated deeply with Brie and connected the dots for her on so many levels with respect to the initiatives she was working on in the Legislature at the time. She remembers this moment as a defining one for her, one that cemented her interest in working on child poverty issues.

After doing poverty research for a couple years at a nonprofit, Brie feels beyond blessed to have landed her dream job continuing what is more action-oriented work on the subject in the Governor’s office. DeWine’s shared passion for children’s issues has allowed her the opportunity to be “surrounded by some of the smartest people I have ever met, who care as much as me and want to make a difference in a way I believe in.” Brie adds: “I love feeling like I am making a difference in some small way in people’s lives.”

Despite her influential position in the state’s highest executive office, Brie has clearly decided she’s not going to settle for the impact she’s already making. She is currently enrolled in classes to earn a MBA, with plans to use the quantitative knowledge she’s gaining to maximize her work in the healthcare sphere. Outside of work and class, she prioritizes the outdoors, spending time camping, hiking, skiing, kayaking and rock climbing with her son Jude, husband Dan, and dog Charlie. Her whole family is incredibly proud of her, especially her mom, who remains an inspiration to Brie.

Meet OWIG Member of the Month: Monica Cerezuella


Monica Cerezuella

OWIG Member of the Month

Hometown: North Canton, OH

Place of Work: COTA, Central Ohio Transit Authority

Tenure at Current Place of Work: 5 months

OWIG Involvement: member for 4 years

Monica’s nominator described her as a longtime role model of hers who is “already killing it” in her semi-new role at COTA. Also lauded for her strong advocacy on behalf of the Latino community, Monica was described as a “strong and proud” Latina who works to build up all women.

Despite the fact that she is still relatively early on in her career, Monica has already experienced government from a variety of angles. From working in the Statehouse in Senate minority leadership offices to jumping to the other side of the coin to do advocacy work with the Women’s Fund, Monica has now found herself at the local level working on the critical issues surrounding public transit. She feels at home at COTA, noting that mobility and transportation play a key role in many of the public policy issues facing our state. “Whether it is workforce development or access to childcare or healthcare, people have to be able to have the ability to move to where they need to go,” she says. She has found a passion in this critical service, and notes that the many forward-thinking initiatives COTA is undertaking - like microtransit and electric fleets - makes it an exciting time to work at the organization.

Monica wasn’t always planning on having a locally-oriented career in public policy though. Post-college, she had been planning to make the typical commute east to DC until a professor encouraged her to consider state and local government. “I soon realized that by working on state and local policies, you have the ability to truly make an impact on people's lives,” Monica says. “I can proudly say that I am happy that I returned back to Ohio to make Columbus my home.” (We are too, as we also might have easily lost her to the state up north where she unfortunately went to college!)

Although Monica has shifted slightly away from intense political work since she left the Statehouse, she still remains heavily involved in the political arena though leadership roles outside the office. She is on the Board of the New Leaders Council Columbus Chapter, which provides leadership development training for young progressives, and is the Chair of the Franklin County Adelante Democrats, a political organization that seeks to give voice to and advance the interests of the democratic Latino community in the area. Her work with Adelante truly aligns with her goal of always uplifting women in professional settings, especially those who have traditionally been left out of the conversation. She finds a lot of value in being able to encourage what is a fast-growing Columbus Latino community to become more involved in politics, and support candidates who understand their issues.

Although it sounds like she does it all, Monica works hard to ensure she’s not falling into the easy pattern many women find themselves in of saying “yes” too often. In her words: “As women, we have the tendency to feel like we need to be everything to everyone. Be intentional with your time. It’s okay to say ‘no.’ In fact, when you do, you’re saying ‘yes’ to something else.”

Meet OWIG Member of the Month: Melissa Wheeler


Melissa Wheeler

OWIG Member of the Month

Hometown: New Riegel, Ohio (Seneca County)

Place of Work: Westfield

Tenure at Current Place of Work: 4 years

OWIG Involvement: member for 14 years (on and off), member of Steering Committee for 4 years

Melissa is a former OWIG officer who decided to forgo her position this year to give others the chance to take on leadership roles. That genuine selflessness and penchant for mentorship is so characteristic of the person Melissa is.

Melissa’s nominator wasted no time in recommending her to be featured as soon as Melissa had resigned her officer position and was eligible to be a Member of the Month. Describing her as someone “everyone should know,” her nominator noted the consistency of her contagious smile at OWIG events and around Cap Square, saying that she is always introducing herself to people and making time to help others make connections.

Those who know Melissa know this is all too true, and furthermore, that she invests a deep, genuine interest in every new interaction. Melissa herself reports that meeting new people is one of her favorite things about her job, which is fortunate given she covers seven states as a Regional Government Relations Manager. She also chairs the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies’ Federal Affairs Committee, the West Virginia Insurance Federation Board and the Indiana Insurance Institute’s Legislative Steering Committee (wow).

Constantly on the road between statehouses, Melissa counts her relationships - which are always there, unmoving, for her - as her biggest professional and personal motivator. In her words: “The opportunity to build and nurture relationships with so many different people is a great fit for me and keeps me motivated even on the long travel days.” Similarly, she has found that taking advantage of mentorship, both as a mentor and mentee, created the experiences that have defined her career the most over her years in the legislative sphere. “The smaller moments usually turn out to be the ones that matter most,” she says. Appropriately then, her advice for fellow OWIG members is to seek out a new face at every OWIG event. Or, better yet in her eyes, connect two members who could mutually benefit from the introduction. She does this herself even in her personal leadership activities, as a Board Member for the Hunger Network of Ohio and as a member of Church Council at All Saints Lutheran Church in Worthington. There are many people out there who have Melissa to thank for a professional stride - we feel lucky to have her as a part of our group!

Women of Influence Luncheon

Join OWIG for it’s February luncheon featuring Women of Influence in Ohio Government.


Thursday, February 14 | Noon-1:30 p.m.

Bricker & Eckler, Columbus, Ohio

OWIG’s Women of Influence Luncheon will highlight women who are making strides in the public sector and influencing public policy and government at the city, county, and state level.

We look forward to hearing from Dawn Tyler Lee, Deputy Chief of Staff to Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, Jody Foltyn, Chief of Staff to the Ohio Treasurer of State, and Kris Long, Deputy County Administrator for the Franklin County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, February 14th from 12:00 to 1:30pm at Bricker and Eckler, LLP. 

This special panel of outstanding public servants will focus on panelists' career journeys and ability to influence decision makers from senior staff and cabinet level positions.

Dawn Tyler Lee

Dawn Tyler Lee currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff of External Affairs to Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. A change agent, strategist, relationship builder, thought partner, problem solver and proven and committed leader in public service, higher education and the nonprofit sector, Dawn Tyler Lee is the highest ranking African-American appointed official in the Ginther Administration. Community relations, diversity and inclusion, community and economic development, education, health and housing – are just some of areas of responsibility.

Dawn's impressive work history which includes Senior Vice President for Community Impact at United Way in Central Ohio, Founding Executive Director of Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT), Assistant Vice President for Government Relations at The Ohio State University, Board Liaison for Columbus City Schools, Columbus City Council Legislative Aide and Housing Policy Director for the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio.

Dawn holds a master’s in urban affairs and public policy from the University of Delaware with a specialization in housing and community development. She lives on the eastside of Columbus with her entrepreneur husband, Robert E. Lee III and their puppy, Chiqui, a rescue from Puerto Rico.

Jody Foltyn

Jody Foltyn currently serves as Chief of Staff to Ohio’s 49th Treasurer of State, Robert Sprague. As Chief of Staff, she is the newly elected Treasurer’s most senior advisor and assists in developing policies related to Ohio’s Treasury and its various programs.

Before entering state service, Jody fostered her expertise in the private sector, serving an integral role at Capitol Strategies Group in Columbus, Ohio. During her nearly 13 years with the government affairs and political consulting firm, she devised and executed comprehensive advocacy efforts before the Ohio General Assembly and executive offices on behalf of the firm’s clients and served in senior leadership positions on a number of state and local candidate and issue campaigns. Throughout 2018, she served as campaign manager and chief strategist for then-State Representative Robert Sprague’s successful run to capture the State Treasurer’s Office.

Jody graduated with Honors from The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She resides in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus with her husband, Patrick, and daughter, Mackenna.

Kris Long

Kris J. Long is Deputy County Administrator for the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. She oversees Public Facilities Management, Human Resources, the Commissioners’ representatives on the Board of Revisions, and the Clerk to the Board of Commissioners, among additional responsibilities. Kris previously worked in the Ohio Senate and in the Governor’s office. She served as Governor Ted Strickland’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislation and Operations, and held the positions of Legislative Director and Executive Assistant for Public Safety and Criminal Justice and the Bureau of Workers Compensation. Prior to joining the Governor’s administration, she was Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel to the Ohio Senate Minority Caucus.

Kris moved to Ohio after working in private practice in Michigan. She has non-profit and management experience, having served on the Ohio State Bar Association Board of Governors and the Ohio Humanities Council, and having previously served as President of the Community Refugee and Immigration Services Board. Ms. Long is a graduate of Hope College in Holland, Michigan, earned her law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law, and is admitted to the Ohio and Michigan Bar.

Networking in the New Year! Join OWIG on January 31.


Registration is open for OWIG's first networking event of 2019.

  • Date: Thursday, January 31

  • Time: 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

  • Location: El Arepazo, 515 S. High St., Columbus, Ohio 43215

  • Cost: Free

Join Ohio Women in Government for its first networking event of 2019 at El Arepazo in the Brewery District. Appetizers will be provided and so will one complimentary drink per member.

All are welcome to attend!

If you'd like to be a 2019 member of OWIG, you're welcome to pay your dues here.

Meet OWIG Member of The Month: Helen Fite

Helen is a newer member of OWIG, having just moved back to Ohio in May after graduating from Furman University. She has already made an impact in the political and government arena since her return, however, through her active and committed work with The Matriots, a nonpartisan political action committee working to elect women at the state and local levels.

Name: Helen Fite

Place of Birth: Columbus, OH

Place of Work: The Matriots PAC

Tenure at Current Place of Work: 4 months

OWIG Involvement: member since May 2018, member of the Steering Committee

In what has been dubbed as “the Year of the Woman,” Helen can honestly say that her work helped make that slogan a reality for the people of Ohio. The Communications and Political Relationship Manager for the Matriots was a part of the team that helped launch an additional 15 Matriots-endorsed female candidates into office this year, a good chunk of the 34 total who were elected across the state. The Matriots has grown its membership over the past year and a half to over 675 men and women, and contributed over $150,000 to candidates.

But the wins this year were not confined to what could be seen at the ballot box. As Helen says, “Victory was in the campaign of every woman who stepped up to lead, in every dollar women contributed to the political process and in every instance our candidates moved the needle in their district and paved the way for women to run, and win, in the future.” The Matriots has a goal of helping women hold 50% of elected seats In Ohio by 2028, and the group believes the groundwork has been set to reach that goal.

Helen earned her current position after proving herself a competent and passionate volunteer for the Matriots, an engagement she began immediately after hearing about their work when she returned to Columbus. Abiding by her guiding principle to “just show up,” Helen showed up for the Matriots. She was invited to travel with founding member Sharon Steele one day to an event in Cleveland, and her colleagues like to joke that once she got in the car she never got out! Previously, Helen had already been working to encourage female leadership as a collegiate development consultant for her sorority, Delta Gamma. But she found a true alignment of passions in joining the Matriots, where she has been able to increase women’s political representation and “build a network of women making waves in politics” while also engaging more people in the political process. The female candidates she works with every day from across the state serve as a daily source of inspiration to Helen, and she continues to be impressed with who they are both as people and candidates.

But if you thought election season would have kept Helen busy enough, you were mistaken! The highly self-motivated young leader is taking the LSAT this week and just finished her first half marathon. As a parting thought, she expresses her extreme gratitude to OWIG and “the kind, inclusive women who make up its membership.” OWIG offered an immediate community for her upon her return to Columbus, and Helen believes that the organization “truly lives up to the ideal of women helping other women.” Let’s keep it up, ladies!

OWIG November Networking

Ohio Women in Government's next networking event will be held 11/15, 5-7pm at Little Palace on South 4th Street, just a short walk from Cap Square.

Street parking is available on 4th Street and surrounding streets.

All are welcome to attend!

Other Opportunities: Ready to Run - Campaign Training for Women

Please consider attending the following training shared with OWIG by the John Glenn College of Public Affairs POWER program:

In Ohio, women are 51% of the population and hold only 22% of elected offices in the state legislature. 

Are you ready to be a leader in your community? Have you considered running for public office or volunteering for a political campaign?  Do you know someone that you think would make a great political candidate?  

We Need More Women in Public Office. 
Research shows that women make government more transparent, inclusive and accessible. Women bring different priorities and experiences to public life, including perspectives that have been largely absent in public policy making. Women change the way government works, and their voices are needed around the country. 

The John Glenn College of Public Affairs will host Ready to Run - Campaign Training for Women on December 6, 2018.  This one-day conference provides training on building, financing, messaging and launching your campaign for elected office. 

If you are not ready to run, but want to be a leader in your community advocating for issues and candidates important to you, we invite you to join us for the Ready to Advocate conference track with sessions on voter engagement, sexual harrassment and volunteer/political board engagement.

We challenge you to attend this conference and jump-start your political career.

Thursday, December 6, 2018 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Fawcett Center, The Ohio State University  
2400 Olentangy River Rd, Columbus, Ohio 43210

For more information on Ready to Run - Campaign Training for Women:
Click here for the event summary

Meet OWIG Member of the Month: Alex Cofield


Alex Cofiled

Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota

Place of Work: City of Columbus, Department of Development, Fiscal Manager

Tenure at Current Place of Work: 12 years

OWIG Involvement: long-time member (exact years unknown); member of the Steering Committee

Alex has been a part of OWIG for at least a decade, lasting through the organization’s hiatus several years ago, and remaining an active member today.

 Alex is a frequent, friendly presence at most OWIG events these days, offering creative suggestions for organizational growth and friendly conversation to new faces around her. A Columbus resident for 24 years, Alex moved to the area initially to pursue graduate school. Never thinking she would end up in the bureaucracy of local government, she aimed for a master’s degree in history with the goal of teaching college. During her years at Ohio State, however, she realized her strengths lay in public administration as opposed to academics. She switched gears to attend what is now the John Glenn School, and has been a happy and devoted public servant ever since!

 Alex has put dedicated effort into crafting her brand over the years at the City as the go-to person for a variety of issue areas under her jurisdiction. Earning much respect from fellow colleagues across the City, this broad expertise is what Alex recommends for others seeking promotion or leadership opportunities as well, as it showcases extensive knowledge of and commitment to an organization. She has also found over her years of service that the “path up the ladder” is not always a straight one. But, without a doubt, hard work, new opportunities, and exposure will get you there.

 In her spare time, Alex serves as a member of the Columbus Dispatch’s Citizens Advisory Board, which meets monthly to provide feedback on coverage and reader service. She also just completed a year-long appointment on Hilliard’s Charter Review Commission. This leading lady is clearly a jill of all trades; as her elevator speech summarizes: “I am not a lawyer, architect, engineer, or CPA, but I do play them all at work!”

Other opportunities: Glenn College Leadership Forum

The Glenn College Leadership Forum will host their annual statewide conference designed for individuals working in the public sector. In breakout sessions and in keynote talks, experts in the public policy arena provide insights into emerging trends in policy, administration and leadership that will enhance your career.

Workshop topics include:

  • Entrepreneurial Leadership—Building Communities through Economic Inclusion

  • Census 2020 and Why it Matters

  • Harassment in the Workplace: What Every Manager Needs to Know to Protect

  • The Invisible Victims of the Opioid Epidemic – Children

  • Crisis Communications 101 for Managers

  • Rebuilding the American Dream: Middle Class Jobs, Incomes and Stability

  • Hyper loop – High Speed or High Hope?


Meet OWIG Member of the Month, Kelly Carey!


Kelly Carey

OWIG Member of the Month

Hometown: Springfield, Ohio
Place of Work: Carpenter Lipps & Leland, Public Policy Team
Tenure at Current Place of Work: 2.5 years
OWIG Involvement: member for 2 years, participant before that; member of the Steering Committee for 1 year

Kelly came into the government affairs field somewhat by accident, during her final year of college when she was offered a position in the office of State Rep. Merle Grace Kearns. Not knowing exactly if it was the right move for her, Kelly told her boss that she would give her one year. Now, many years later, she is still in government affairs, mostly because it is a field in which she can regularly partner with others and be a part of lifting people up. Her career has moved her through all branches of the legislative arena - a state agency, the legislature, the private sector - and she believes each experience provided opportunities for her to improve and grow. Within each of those positions, Kelly’s primary goal as a professional was always to be the person others could come to for assistance, especially in making something better.

In summarizing her career, Kelly is quick to point out that she has always worked with extremely intelligent, selfless, kind and hardworking people. But anyone who knows Kelly knows she gives the same back, and more. Her social media friends have regular evidence that Kelly is an incredibly loving, devoted mother to her son, whose escapades and milestones are a frequent feature on her Facebook profile. But that kind of character aligns well with Kelly’s personal motto: to “be kind and considerate to everyone you meet, because you never know when your paths will cross again.” She adds that OWIG has been a “stellar” place for those kinds of connections, providing a place where women can “learn, lift and work together.”

The Ohio State University Call for Participation: Women in Public and Nonprofit Organizations


Inspired by the courageous women who have come forward to share their experiences of sexual harassment, for example those who have spoken out as part of the #metoo movement, Ohio State University researchers, Drs. Erynn Beaton ( and Megan Lepere-Schloop (, are interested in conducting face-to-face interviews with people identifying as a woman who experienced one or more of the following in a public or nonprofit organization:

  1. helped develop or revise organizational policies, practices, or trainings on sexual harassment,  
  2. supported a female counterpart (e.g. co-worker, volunteer, etc.) after a man made her feel uncomfortable due to sexual harassment,
  3. observed a situation when a man made a female counterpart feel uncomfortable due to sexual harassment,
  4. managed a situation when a woman (e.g. employee, volunteer, etc.) formally reported sexual harassment,
  5. personally experienced sexual harassment. For the purposes of this research project, we define sexual harassment broadly to include any situation in which a man made a woman feel uncomfortable due to unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate comments or behavior, a hostile work environment, or sexual assault. The man in question could include: a supervisor/manager, a co-worker, donor, volunteer, client or constituent, board member, public representative or any other public or nonprofit stakeholder.

Despite the vulnerability of talking about sexual harassment, we hope that sharing your experiences with us will also give you a voice. Given recent and past allegations against public and nonprofit officials, and due to the fact that not many academics have done research in this area, we are committed to developing a scholarly understanding of this topic. We are further committed to using the findings from this research to raise awareness and identify interventions to disrupt sexual harassment in public and nonprofit workplaces that can be taught to current and future managers. We will share a report that includes findings and information regarding recommended interventions with all of our interview participants at the conclusion of the study.

We understand speaking about sexual harassment can be difficult. If you would like to find out more about the researchers or the study before opting in to participate, feel free to reach out to us at the email addresses above. This study has been approved by the university board for responsible and ethical research and we are committed to making you feel comfortable throughout the interview process. We are making every effort to maintain the confidentiality of our participants. We will only ever contact you about this study via the email and phone number you provide. We will work with you to select an interview location and time that makes you feel most comfortable. All interview records and published materials will use pseudonyms to refer to all people and organizations.

 If you would be willing to participate in this study by engaging in a 60-minute interview with one of the researchers, please opt in through the link to a secure form below. We will subsequently contact you to schedule a time and place for the interview.

June Member of the Month


Shadia Jallaq

Place of Birth: Cincinnati, Ohio (grew up in Grove City)

Place of Work: John Glenn College of Public Affairs at OSU

Tenure at Current Place of Work: 9 years

OWIG Involvement: member for 6 years

Coming off her incredibly successful Women Of Power fundraiser and networking reception for Ohio’s future female political leadership, Shadia is certainly a name to watch in Ohio’s women empowerment scene. She leads the newly created Programs for Ohio Women Empowered to Represent (POWER) program at OSU’s Glenn College.

With her career roots in the education field, Shadia has leaned on that passion in recent years to transition into more focused work encouraging leadership and empowerment among women. The turning point came a few years into her tenure at the Glenn College, when the NEW Leadership Program - a bipartisan residential seminar designed to address the underrepresentation of women in politics -  became at risk of being discontinued due to budget cuts. Shadia was devastated at the potential loss for young women, as she understood the life-changing and inspirational impact the program had on attendees. Consequently, she revised the entire budget and ingeniously came up with a way to restructure the program so that it could be run more efficiently. She had taken it upon herself to step out of her narrowly defined role, and thus saved the program.

Since that incredible feat, Shadia’s staunch advocacy for women’s leadership programming has been a characteristic staple of her impact. She constantly reaches out to female students at the Glenn College, encouraging them to apply for that job or internship that they may only meet 5 out of the 7 qualifications for. She tells them to practice what they dislike until it becomes routine enough to tolerate, to embrace their strengths and understand they are not “imposters.” Her advocacy reach at OSU also extends to her colleagues on staff. As the Conference Chair for the Association of Staff Faculty Women at OSU, she helps create professional development opportunities for female professors and staff. Shadia also shares her impact with local schools as a Board Member of the South-Western City Schools Educational Foundation. Serving the community Shadia grew up in, the Foundation provides scholarships and grants to graduating seniors and educators respectively to promote educational advancement.

Fortunately, it’s not likely we’ll stop hearing from Shadia any time soon. She has clearly achieved a sense of confidence in the messages she shares with fellow women - whether that’s telling her 7-year old daughter that she deserves the right to do whatever makes her happy, or touting that tried and true motto that has done so much for women’s advancement over the decades: Education is power.

OWIG Reception with Seventh Son Brewing Ohio Craft Brewers Association

Thank you to all who joined OWIG for our June Networking Event with the Ohio Craft Brewers Association and Seventh Son Brewing. We tried some outstanding brews and learned more about the successes and challenges women face in the craft brewing industry.

Special thanks to Mary MacDonald, Executive Director of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association and Jen Burton of Seventh Son for sharing their stories.

Women to Watch Ohio - 2018

Longtime OWIG Member and Ohio Art's Council's Riffe Gallery Director, Mary Gray, has been working tirelessly to put on a remarkable exhibit featuring Ohio women in the arts. 

WomentToWatch_Web Image 1080x1080_v2.jpg

Women to Watch Ohio – 2018 showcases the work of 10 Ohio women working with metal through sculpture, installation, jewelry, and two-dimensional works. The exhibition is developed in collaboration with the Ohio Advisory Group of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and is curated by Ann Bremner and Matt Distel. 

The exhibition features artists Mary Jo Bole (Columbus), Carol Boram-Hays (Columbus), Carmel Buckley (Cincinnati), Susan Ewing (Oxford),Tracy Featherstone (Hamilton), Llewelynn Fletcher (Cincinnati), Leila Khoury (Cleveland), Kelly Malec-Kosak (Columbus), Marissa Saneholtz(Bowling Green), and Olga Ziemska (Cleveland).

The exhibition references an international Women to Watch exhibition held every two to three years in Washington D.C. at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, with the support of outreach affiliates and museum curators around the world. This is the second Women to Watch Ohio exhibition initiated by the Ohio Advisory Group and the first to encompass mid-Ohio as well as the northeast and southwest regions of the state.

Click here for more information about Women to Watch Ohio - 2018.

Established on March 17, 1989, the Ohio Art Council's Riffe Gallery showcases the work of Ohio's artists and the collections of the state's museums and galleries. Inspiring art, engaging people, creating connections. Where art and people mix. The Riffe Gallery is located at 77 S. High Street, on the first floor of the Vern Riffe Center for the Government and the Arts, across from the Statehouse, in Downtown Columbus.

OWIG Member of the Month: Xenia Palus


Xenia Palus

Xenia consistently offers much of her time and ideas to OWIG as an active member of the Steering Committee. Her vibrant personality is a well-loved staple at all committee meetings

Place of Birth: Western Michigan

Place of Work: Franklin County Clerk of Courts, Communications Director

Tenure at Current Place of Work: 10 years

OWIG Involvement: Member for 2 years, member of the Steering Committee for 2 years

With a rolodex of over 5,000 contacts, many will consider Xenia to be one of the most well-connected women in county government. And to what does she attribute this impressive accomplishment? Two things she holds dear: years of intentional collaboration and focused networking, much of which occurred during the nine years she spent as Membership Director at Experience Columbus. But her honesty was what ultimately allowed her to step into this pivotal role. When she was working for the City of Columbus, Xenia was the only person with the courage to report a payroll inconsistency she observed to the City Auditor. Her commitment to good government resulted in a $1 million returned payment, and brought her lasting respect from the Auditor. From that experience, she adopted an enduring practice of questioning things, and never being afraid to do so, even if just to gain more information.

Xenia also found a core tenet she lives by to this day: “Say what I mean and mean what I say (but NOT be mean saying it).” Those who know Xenia will also affirm that she lives by a true drive to help produce the greater good, as evidenced by her strong commitment to public service. In her words: “To be a public servant and to embrace my role in government is critically important in 2018. If I’m successful, then GOVERNMENT is working and doing its best for those served.”

Outside of work, Xenia serves as Vice President of Shadowbox Live and President of Thurber House, a nonprofit literary arts center. She also enjoys gardening at her home in Northwood Park Historic District, and welcomes any OWIG member to stop by any time for a personal tour and history lesson!