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Our Board

Akron Community Foundation’s 24 board members serve without pay as stewards of our fundholders’ charitable resources.

They’re experienced

Our board members come from diverse backgrounds, including business, law, finance, health care, education and the public sector, which strengthens the community foundation’s committee dialogue. They meet quarterly to review and approve grants, oversee the community foundation’s finances, and develop creative ways of empowering fundholders, nonprofits and charitably inclined citizens in Greater Akron to do good.

The following board members were elected to three-year terms and are permitted to serve up to three terms. We are grateful for their service:

Steve Strayer
Chair
Steve Strayer

Senior Vice President, PNC Bank
Board member since 2009

An expert in banking and financial services, Steve Strayer is a Senior Vice President and a Market Director of PNC Bank's Institutional Asset Management Group and a Managing Director at PNC Capital Advisors. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and has been active on several nonprofit boards, including Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and the St. Hilary Foundation. His professional affiliations include membership in the Financial Planning Society of Northeast Ohio and the Leadership Akron Alumni Association.

Ilene Shapiro
Vice Chair
Ilene Shapiro

Community Investment Chair

Summit County Executive
Board member since 2015

Ilene Shapiro has more than 25 years of experience in business development and local government. Prior to becoming Summit County executive, she served as president of the Summit County Council, where she led the county’s 11-member policy-making body. An accomplished business leader, Ilene is also the head of Shapiro Consulting Firm, which specializes in sales, marketing, business planning and economic development. Ilene is a distinguished community leader and a champion of women in business and philanthropy: She is past president of the Women’s Network, a founding mother of Akron Community Foundation’s Women’s Endowment Fund, and a Northeast Ohio ATHENA Leadership Award winner, among many other distinctions. Ilene is an alumna of both Leadership America and Leadership Akron.

Robert Cooper
Secretary
Robert Cooper

Director, CBRE
Board member since 2013

Robert Cooper is a local entrepreneur who has spent most of his career in real estate. He currently owns CREM Real Estate Properties and works for CBRE Real Estate. Robert received a bachelor’s degree and two graduate degrees from the University of Miami in Florida. He currently serves as a board member for Akron General Partners, Akron Children’s Hospital, Cascade Capital, FirstMerit Bank, Summit County Board of Zoning Appeals, United Way and The University of Akron Research Foundation.

Rick Fedorovich
Treasurer
Rick Fedorovich

Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair
CEO and Managing Partner, Bober Markey Fedorovich
Board member since 2012

Rick Fedorovich is a certified public accountant with more than 30 years of experience in accounting and business advisory services. His professional affiliations include the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants and PKF International. Rick is a longtime community volunteer and currently serves on the boards of BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence, Greater Akron Chamber, Welty Family Foundation, Archbishop Hoban High School, Akron Automobile Club and Akron General Health System. He is also a graduate of Leadership Akron.

Nick Browning
Nick Browning

President/CEO, Akron Region, FirstMerit Bank
Board member since 2009

Nick Browning has more than 25 years of experience in banking and customer relations. As president/CEO of the Akron region of FirstMerit, he is responsible for coordinating the retail, wealth and commercial banking activities. He also serves on the bank’s board of directors and executive committee. Within the community, Nick volunteers on the boards of the Greater Akron Chamber and Leadership Akron.

Tommy Bruno
Tommy Bruno

General Manager, 91.3 The Summit
Board member since 2010

As general manager and executive director of WAPS-FM 91.3 “The Summit”, Tommy Bruno is skilled in developing one-of-a-kind media services, collective fundraising, and strategic marketing. He leads the Akron based non-profit organization responsible for the development, and creative content on the award-wining channels: Summit Flashback, KIDJAM! Radio™ and Rock and Recovery™. Tommy is a graduate of John Carroll University, and is a member of Leadership Akron Class XXVI. He currently serves on the boards of Summit Education Initiative, and Northern Ohio Golf Charities.

Steven Cox
Steven Cox

Immediate Past Chair

Partner, Roetzel & Andress LPA
Board member since 2008

An attorney at Roetzel & Andress, Steven Cox specializes in business and tax matters and estate and succession planning. He was recognized as one of the area’s top lawyers by The Best Lawyers in America® and Akron Life magazine.  Steven has numerous professional affiliations, including the Akron Bar Association, Tax and Estate Planning Council of Akron, and the National Committee on Planned Giving. In the community, Steven is a graduate of Leadership Akron, chairman of the board at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, and an active board member of Embracing Futures and Children’s Family Care.

Samuel DeShazior
Samuel DeShazior

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, City of Akron Department of Planning and Urban Development
Board member since 2012

Sam DeShazior specializes in business development and urban planning. While working for the Greater Akron Chamber, he managed projects ranging from industrial business expansions to international joint ventures. As part of his role as the city’s deputy planning director, Sam travels around the world to bring business investments to northeast Ohio. He is active in the community, currently serving on the boards of Summit Workforce Solutions and the Akron Biomedical Corridor.

Kimberly Haws Falasco
Kimberly Haws Falasco
Director, Branch Manager & Financial Advisor, Baird Private Wealth Management
Board member since 2017

With more than 30 years of experience, Kim Haws Falasco has been helping people to achieve their financial goals through sound financial planning and empowerment since 1991. She joined Baird in 2009 and is especially committed to educating and counseling suddenly single women about the importance of taking control of their finances. Kim is currently the board chair of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, chair elect of CASA and is a board member and fundraising co-chair of Keep Akron Beautiful. Kim is a graduate of the University of Akron and has her bachelor’s degree in personal finance. She holds the FIRNA Series 7, 8, 31, 63 and 65 licenses as well as her insurance licenses for the states of California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
Sarah Friebert, M.D.
Sarah Friebert, M.D.

Director, Pediatric Palliative Care, Akron Children’s Hospital
Board member since 2012

Dr. Sarah Friebert is a nationally recognized expert in pediatric palliative care. She founded and oversees Akron Children’s Hospital’s pediatric palliative care center, which helps families navigate life-threatening illnesses from diagnosis through bereavement. A professor of pediatrics at NEOMED, Dr. Friebert is also the founder of the Ohio Pediatric Palliative and End-of-life Care Network, a statewide coalition representing pediatric hospice and palliative care providers. As a community volunteer, she serves on the professional advisory council of The Gathering Place.

Bennett Gaines
Bennett Gaines

Senior Vice President of Corporate Services and Chief Information Officer, FirstEnergy

Board member since 2016

Bennett Gaines is the senior vice president of corporate services and chief information officer at FirstEnergy, where he has been employed since 2006. Bennett is responsible for the delivery of information technology services, including the corporate IT strategy and governance process, as well as the communications/data network. He is also responsible for corporate security (both physical and cyber), flight operations and supply chain. Prior to FirstEnergy, Bennett was employed in various IT positions in Kentucky, Dallas and the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor of art degree from Baldwin-Wallace College and a master of arts degree from the University of Phoenix.

Marty Hauser
Marty Hauser

Health Care Consultant
Partner, Chandler Group
Board member since 2015

Marty Hauser is a health care consultant and partner at Chandler Group, an executive search firm that specializes in serving health care, technology, nonprofit and financial services organizations. Marty has nearly 35 years of experience in the health care industry, previously serving as the CEO of SummaCare and chief government relations officer of Summa Health System. He is a longtime community volunteer and currently serves on the boards of the University of Akron Foundation, Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, United Way of Summit County, and the American Heart Association. Marty is a graduate of the University of Akron.

Jody Miller Konstand
Jody Miller Konstand

Chair Owner, JMK Media
Board member since 2017

Jody Miller Konstand is a multi-media journalist and chair owner of JMK Media. She is currently a special correspondent for the Akron Beacon Journal. Jody was previously a writer for the West Side Leader as well as a publisher/owner of the Bath Country Journal and has been reporting on Bath Township since the early-1990’s. She has volunteered with several community organizations including, Akron Press Club, Bath Business Association, and Bath Volunteers for Service, Crown Point Ecology Center and the Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center of Akron Children’s Hospital. Jody is a founding donor and champion of the Bath Community Fund. She is a graduate of Bowling Green State University. 
Mark Krohn
Mark Krohn

Community Relations Chair

Founder and Managing Partner, The Law Office of Mark E. Krohn, Esq., LLC
Board member since 2014

Mark Krohn is an attorney, executive, entrepreneur and leader at The Law Office of Mark E. Krohn, Esq., LLC with more than 15 years of experience representing small- to medium-sized businesses in critical strategic initiatives. In addition to being an accomplished attorney, he serves in a variety of visionary and operational roles for three local companies. Mark is passionate about philanthropy and has been recognized for his leadership and community service. He also serves on the boards of the United Way of Summit County, the Akron Rotary Foundation and the First Tee of Greater Akron. 

Doug Kuczynski
Doug Kuczynski

Regional Vice President, Akron and North Central Region, Medical Mutual of Ohio
Board member since 2017

As regional vice president, Doug Kuczynski is responsible for retaining and growing business in a seven-county region of Northeast Ohio. He previously served as vice president of sales for Mutual Health Services, an Akron-based subsidiary of Medical Mutual of Ohio. Doug is a graduate of Leadership Akron Class XXIX. He currently serves on the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity of Summit County and the Greater Akron Chamber. Doug earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from the Ohio State University. 
Rob Malone
Rob Malone

Professional Advisor Council Chair

Partner, Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs LLP
Board member since 2012

Rob Malone is an attorney specializing in business law, taxation, mergers and acquisitions, and trusts and estates. He has been a partner at Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs for 30 years and has been recognized as one of Ohio’s Super Lawyers®. Rob serves on the faculty of the University of Akron’s Master of Taxation program and is a board member for the Greater Akron Chamber and AAA Akron Auto Club.

Jim Pickard
Jim Pickard

President, Pickard Commercial Group
Board member since 2017

With over 30 years in the commercial real estate industry, Jim Pickard has an extensive background that includes office and industrial brokerage, construction and facilities management as well as sales support. He has served as councilman for the Village of Silver Lake and as Board Chairman for Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. He is a past chairman of the AABOR commercial industrial committee and has served on the board of directors for United Disability Services, Community Support Services and various other advisory boards. Jim is a graduate of Leadership Akron Class XI. He earned his bachelor’s degree in logistics/operations management from Michigan State University and an associate degree in accounting from Lansing Community College.
Derrick Ransom
Derrick Ransom

Vice President and Client Advisor, Huntington National Bank
Board member since 2017

As a client advisor, Derrick helps both private and business clients identify, attain and protect their financial goals. He has nearly a decade of experience in the financial services industry with specialization as a registered representative and licensed insurance agent in Northeast Ohio. Derrick is the director of Copley-Fairlawn Youth Football and servces as a board member for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, Info Line and the Fairlawn Community Foundation. Derrick is a seven-year veteran of the NFL, a graduate of Leadership Akron and has been recognized in “Who’s Who in Black Cleveland”. He earned his BA in finance and international business from the University of Cincinnati.

Steven P. Schmidt, Ph.D.
Steven P. Schmidt, Ph.D.
Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Associate Dean of Research, College of Pharmacy, Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED)

Board member since 2016

Since 2015, Dr. Steven Schmidt has been the chair of pharmaceutical sciences and associate dean of research for NEOMED’s college of pharmacy. Prior to his work at the medical school, Dr. Schmidt retired from Summa Health System in 2014 after 33 years in leadership roles for the health system, including vice president of clinical research and innovation and chief operating officer of Summa Foundation. A graduate of Leadership Akron, he has served on many boards in the community, including for the Gay Community Endowment Fund, of which he is one of the founders. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from DePauw University, and his doctorate from Idaho State University.
Katie Smucker
Katie Smucker

Community Volunteer
Board member since 2016

Katie Smucker has called Akron home after living and working in numerous locales from Colorado to Brazil to Canada. She quickly ingrained herself in the community through numerous volunteer and board service opportunities, such as serving on the Women’s Endowment Fund board and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve marketing committee.  Prior to moving to Akron, Katie worked in various marketing and operations roles in South America. She is a graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, and Catholic University Quito Ecuador.
F. William Steere
F. William Steere

Chairman and CEO, Steere Enterprises Inc.
Board member since 2016

Bill Steere is the chairman and CEO of Steere Enterprises, Inc., an international plastics supplier. After working for four years in New York City, Bill returned to Akron to join the family business. He has held a variety of positions with the company and was named president in 1981 and CEO in 1984. Bill is also actively involved in the community and has held a number of leadership positions including board chair of Child Guidance & Family Solutions, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and Cleveland Clinic Akron General. He received a bachelor of science and a master of business administration from The University of Michigan.
Dr. Rachel Talton
Dr. Rachel Talton

Founder & CEO, Synergy Marketing Strategy & Research, Inc.
Founder & CEO, Flourish Leadership, LLC
Board member since 2015

Dr. Rachel Talton has more than 20 years of marketing experience, including founding an award-winning brand strategy and research consultancy, Synergy, in 2002. In addition, she is CEO of Flourish Leadership LLC, the host of Flourish Conferences for Women in Leadership across the country. She has served as adjunct Professor of Marketing at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, and guest lectures at universities around the globe. Dr. Rachel (as she’s often called) has been recognized as a Top 10 Women Business Owner by the National Association of Women Business Owners, has received the Star Award for Professional Leadership, was a Northeast Ohio ATHENA® International Award finalist, Crain’s Cleveland Business Forty under 40 honoree, and a recipient of the 2007 Most Influential Business Leaders in Northeast Ohio Award from the Call & Post Newspaper, among several other awards. She serves on the boards of Positively Cleveland, JumpStart Inc., and Cuyahoga Community College Foundation.

Sylvia Trundle
Sylvia Trundle

Community volunteer
Board member since 2015

Sylvia Trundle retired in July 2017 as captain of the patrol subdivision of the Akron Police Department. She is passionate about empowering victims of domestic violence, one of the Women’s Endowment Fund’s (another board she serves on) core focus areas. Sylvia is the chair of the Summit County Safety Forces Chaplaincy Center and serves on the boards of Greenleaf Family Services, OPEN M, AAA Akron, Oriana House and the United Way. She is a graduate of Leadership Akron and a recipient of the Women’s Network of Northeast Ohio’s “Women of Achievement” award. Sylvia, a certified law enforcement executive, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Police Executive Leadership College.
Mike Zeleznik
Mike Zeleznik

CPA MT ABV AEP®, GDK & Company
Board member since 2014

Mike Zeleznik has more than 30 years of experience as a CPA and licensed life insurance advisor. His expertise is broad and includes business and estate planning, wealth transfer, business succession planning, business valuation, estate and income taxation, and litigation consulting/expert witness matters. In addition to his professional experience, Mike has also volunteered with the Society of Financial Service Professionals, the Regional Prosperity Initiative, the Tax & Estate Planning Council of Akron and the American Heart Association of Akron’s Heart Ball.