Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio LEADERSHIP
Lori McCleese – President
Lori McCleese joined the newly merged Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio as the President in July 2019. With a degree in Personnel and Industrial Relations from the University of Cincinnati, she brings with her many years of experience in banking as well as the nonprofit sector. Prior to her role at JA, Lori served for two years as the Hudson Community Foundation and prior to that six years at the Alzheimer's Association as the Director of Development. Lori has honed her development, fundraising and managerial skills, culminating in her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) certification in 2018 and is currently pursuing her Certificate in Fundraising Management from the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy.
Currently living in Cuyahoga Falls with her two dogs, Miley and Caesar, Lori has two children, one pursuing a degree from the University of Cincinnati and one wrapping up his senior year football season at Hudson High School.
A fun fact about Lori is that learning Spanish is one of her bucket list to-do's!
Denice Schafer – Vice President of Programs
Josh Lehman – Director of Development
Born and raised in the Akron/Canton area, Josh Lehman joined the Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio team in November of 2019. Previously, he spent over four years on the development team for JA of Greater Cleveland and brings with him valuable JA experience as well as a passion for our mission. The basis for Josh's connection to the impact that JA provides comes from a prior career where he spent over four years in the field of personal finance working with clients to build a sense of financial security and save for their future goals. A graduate of the University of Akron College of Business Josh earned his BBA in Marketing Management.
Josh's dedication to community impact developed early as a Northeast Ohio native. Exploring regional activities like trips to the Akron Zoo and countless Cleveland Indians games as a child fostered interests during college when he founded a paintball club and discovered his passion for fundraising. Since 2011, he has developed a background in personal finance, entrepreneurship, and fundraising centered around providing an uplifting and outstanding experience to everyone that he interacts with. "I believe in the power of kindness and being a part of JA of North Central Ohio allows me to interact with the amazing resource that is people of Northeast Ohio. Our corporate and community partners, board members, volunteers, passionate staff and everyone that I have the privilege to interact with give me the opportunity to immeasurably impact the lives of young people in our communities," says Josh.
Interesting fact about Josh? He is all about being outside and all things sports (Go, Tribe!). Still actively involved in paintball, he is a volunteer coach for the University of Akron team and as a national semi-professional player.
Holly Dawson – Senior District Program Manager
Alyssa West – Special Events Manager & JA Company Program Manager
Alyssa West has been a Junior Achievement team member in the Akron/Canton area since 2014. She also worked as a JA intern in the Junior Achievement office of Cincinnati in 2012 as she finished up her Bachelor's Degree in Communication and Certification in Public Relations at the University of Cincinnati. Alyssa grew up in Plain Township and resides there with her husband and two children.
Outside of work Alyssa continues her passion for mentoring through coaching varsity cheerleading and gymnastics at GlenOak High School.
Brittney Wells – Program Manager
Brittney Wells joined Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio as a Program Manager in September of 2019. She's originally from Phoenix, graduating with her Bachelor's in Communication from Arizona State University and her Master's in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University.
Her family decided to pick up and move to Ohio after they had identical twin boys so they could be closer to her husband's family. Other than being a mom, Brittney was a 4th grade teacher for three years in Chandler, Arizona.
Her hobbies include being outdoors, cooking, and going new places.
Logan Clendenin – Program Manager
Diane Pilati – Foundation Relations Manager
Diane Pilati joined Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio in August 2019 as the Foundation Relations Manager and works to secure grant funding throughout the 15 counties served. She has a BSBA in Marketing from the University of Akron, and an MBA from Malone University. Diane resides in Canton with her husband, two children, two dogs and a Guinea pig.
In their spare time, Diane and her family enjoy attending live theater and traveling (especially to Walt Disney World).
Tracy Weatherbee – Finance Manager
Ginnie Adams – Marketing & Operations Support Manager
Clint Durst – Maintenance
"Junior Achievement has given me a sense of what adults go through with budget issues."
"Junior Achievement reinforced concepts for me to remember later in life."
"I thought the experience was amazing. The presentation was unlike anything I've seen."
"I liked how the Junior Achievement volunteer explained his job to us."