Five prominent leaders named chairs

Smith, Whaley, Esler, Robinson, Sullivan take leadership mantles at Union Institute, PBPO, Museum Center, Freedom Center, Lighthouse

People Working Cooperatively also makes board appointments

A Cincinnati-based college, the region’s biggest museums, its volunteer legal organization and one of the largest youth-serving nonprofits have all named new board chairs.

Union Institute & University named Edgar L. Smith Jr., a prominent civic leader who has served on its board of trustees since 2013, as chair of its board through January 2024.

Pro Bono Partnership of Ohio selected Susan Whaley, senior vice president and general counsel for Procter & Gamble’s North American practice groups and sector business units, as its board chair.

The Cincinnati Museum Center named Susan Esler its board chair. Esler has served on the CMC board since 2009 and brings several decades of human resource experience to her role, including roles wiht PepsiCo., Dow Chemical and Ashland Inc., where she retired as chief human resources and communications officer.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center named Kenneth B. Robinson its new board chair. Robinson brings more than 45 years of business and executive leadership experience to the Freedom Center, including 39 years at Procter & Gamble where before retiring in 2016 he was vice president of global diversity and inclusion.

Lighthouse Youth & Family Services named Tamie Sullivan, president of her own communications firm, its new board chair after almost a decade on the organization’s board.

Smith is the founder, chairman and CEO of Cincinnati-based World Pac Paper LLC. He launched his company in 2004 and under his leadership, World Pac Paper, LLC has grown to become an Inc. 500 company and award-winning national distributor of high-quality printing, packaging and specialty papers and packaging solutions.  Smith has over 30 years of solid sales and marketing experience with Fortune 500 companies, lastly as vice president of national sales for Coca-Cola North America. Previously, he worked for R.R. Donnelley & Sons, Co., James River Corporation, Georgia-Pacific Corporation and Smurfit-Stone.

Besides Whaley’s appointment, PBPO also named community volunteer Allison Kropp as vice chair, and Kellan Grant, general counsel for commercial engines and services at GE Aviation, was selected as treasurer. PBPO also named two new board members, Maureen Bickley, vice office member-in-charge at Frost Brown Todd, and Sue Erhart, general counsel at Great American Insurance Group.

At the Museum Center, Esler succeeds U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Jeffery Hopkins, who joined the CMC board in 2012 and was elected chair in 2018, matching former chair Francie Hiltz as the longest serving board chair in the museum’s history. Hopkins will continue to be a leader for the organization serving in the past-chair role and as a trustee of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Also joining CMC’s board are Beverly Grant, Whitney Gaskins and Bill Mulvihill Jr. Grant is the immediate past chair of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s board. She spent over 26 years at Procter & Gamble in key sales and management positions before joining the market research firm IRI as a senior advisor. Mulvihill brings over 18 years of experience in the financial services industry to CMC’s board. He is currently managing director of loan capital markets and head of U.S. Bank’s sports finance group. Dr. Gaskins is currently the assistant dean of inclusive excellence and community engagement in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.

At a recent board meeting, CMC also recognized several board members reaching the end of their board terms, including former chair Ed Diller, Peter Horton, Cynthia Walker Kenny, Marty Mooney, Phillip Long and Mary Zalla.

Joining the Freedom Center board are Dawn Gilmore, Nicole Redus, Carole Williams and Damon Jones, who rejoins the board. Gilmore brings over 23 years of organizational and talent development experience to the board. She is currently senior director of talent acquisition for Kroger and has held various roles in talent acquisition and performance development in her 13 years with the company. Redus is president and CEO of Ascension Wealth Management, which she founded in 2008. In her more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, she has held senior roles at J.P. Morgan Chase and Merrill Lynch. Carole Williams represents Mount St. Joseph University as its “First Lady,” working alongside her husband H. James Williams, the university’s president, as a leader and ambassador. Since moving to Cincinnati in 2016, she has become active in her community as a board member with Bethany House Services, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati. Jones has served as Procter & Gamble’s chief communications officer since April 2020, the latest role in his 25-year career with the company. Previously, he has managed communications for the company’s western Europe, UK, Ireland and Asia operations, as well as the global shave care business unit.

People Working Cooperatively, the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky nonprofit dedicated to providing critical home repairs, energy conservation and accessibility modifications for low-income, elderly and homeowners with disabilities, named Matt Buddenberg as vice chair. Dr. Irene Hamrick joined the organization as a board member. Buddenberg, a preconstruction executive at Messer Construction Co., was first elected to the PWC board in April 2018. Hamrick, a professor of family medicine at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, became chair of the Office of Geriatrics at UC and chief of geriatrics and palliative care at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center in 2019.

Lighthouse also named Bobby Cave to its board in the role of assistant treasurer. He is a CPA and Senior Manager with Deloitte.


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