About

Staff

CLEVELAND: Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University // 1717 Euclid Avenue, UR 130 // Cleveland, OH 44115

Lee Fisher, President + CEOLee Fisher, President + CEO
LFisher@ceosforcities.org //

Lee Fisher is president and CEO of CEOs for Cities, and a Senior Fellow with the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Urban Affairs. He has served as Ohio Lt. Governor, Director of the Ohio Department of Development, Chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission, Ohio Attorney General, State Senator, State Representative, and President/CEO of the Center for Families and Children, one of the largest human service nonprofits in the Midwest.

During the time Lee led Ohio’s economic development efforts, Site Selection magazine awarded its highest economic development award, the Governor’s Cup, to Ohio three consecutive years and the Competitiveness Award, which recognized the Ohio Department of Development under Lee’s leadership as the most effective economic development agency in the country.

A graduate of Oberlin College, Lee served on the Oberlin College Board for 12 years. He earned both a law degree and master degree in nonprofit organization from Case Western Reserve University, and received the law school’s first-ever Distinguished Recent Graduate Award.


Melissa Bilancini, Director of Programs and Resource DevelopmentMelissa Bilancini, Director of Programs + Resource Development
MBilancini@ceosforcities.org // 216-687-4704 //

Melissa Bilancini directs grant research and writing, manages office operations, supervises the organization's fellows, and develops and executes programs, including the CEOs for Cities annual Spring City Cluster Workshop and Fall National Meeting.

Before joining CEOs for Cities, Melissa served as policy coordinator with the ACLU of Ohio, where her focus was privacy and technology. A licensed social worker, she has taught part-time in Cleveland State University School of Social Work.

Melissa is vice-president of the board of directors for the NASW Ohio Chapter, a member of the board of The New Agrarian Center, and serves on the City of Cleveland Heights Citizen Advisory Committee. She earned a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University and a master's degree from Case Western Reserve University Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.


Gina Prodan Kelly, Creative DirectorGina Prodan Kelly, Creative Director
GProdan@ceosforcities.org //

Gina Prodan Kelly's career in all things digital turns 15 soon, and it comes complete with years of integrated marketing, user-experience design, data nerdiness and some serious coding. She studied English and computer science at John Carroll University and picked up a master’s degree from the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Rich with social savvy, she’s spent the past decade packaging targeted brand-advocacy programs that maximize engagement and purposeful conversation.

And she lives for these conversations! Gina launched the blog Unmiserable Cleveland in 2010 to help urban-dwellers make the most of their city every day and has been building a not-so-small army of brand advocates changing the way we look at our city, ever since. (Haven’t you heard us rumbling in Cleveland?)

Gina came to CEOs for Cities from CLE tech start-up Tackk, where she joined the church of uber-paced creativity and fell in love with the fact that tech, like urban change, can be done anywhere.


Emily Speerbrecher, Membership CoordinatorEmily Speerbrecher, Membership Coordinator
ESpeerbrecher@ceosforcities.org //

Emily Speerbrecher focuses on increasing the value of CEOs for Cities' memberships and helping you make the most of yours.

She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Cleveland State University in 2012 with a B.A. in nonprofit administration and a minor in environmental studies. Emily is currently pursuing her master’s degree in environmental studies at Cleveland State University, specializing and earning certification in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

As an event coordinator with the Northeast Ohio March of Dimes, Emily assisted with event planning and fundraising. Outside of the office and the classroom, she enjoys reading and crafting, and loves going to yoga classes.


WASHINGTON, D.C.: 1900 K Street NW 3rd Floor // Washington, DC 20006

Noel HarmonDr. Noël Harmon, National Director of the Talent Dividend + Chief Program Officer
NHarmon@ceosforcities.org // 202-496-7255 //

Noël leads the National Talent Dividend, a joint initiative of CEOs for Cities and Living Cities, funded by the Kresge Foundation. The Talent Dividend fosters success among network cities to increase the post-secondary attainment among their residents. In that role she directs the National Talent Dividend Prize competition and the National Talent Dividend Network.

Noël previously served as a senior research analyst at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) where she worked with minority-serving institutions on initiatives such as the Walmart Minority Student Success Initiative, Lumina Foundation Models of Success, TG and National College Access Network Supporting Best Practices in Student Success, and the IHEP Summer Academy.

Noël brings experience as both a practitioner and researcher to the position. Prior to joining IHEP, she worked in student affairs administration at Hofstra University, and the University of Michigan, and was the director of Learning to Lead, at Western Illinois University. She also worked in Athletic Student Services at the University of Iowa in the retention program for under-prepared student athletes and other initiatives targeted at the success of student athletes of color.

Noël has published research and articles on issues of minority student success in college specifically student athletes of color. Her research has also focused on pedagogical approaches to designing and teaching diversity courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Harmon currently holds adjunct teaching positions at The University of Iowa through the department of distance education, and The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Programs in Washington D.C.

Noël holds a B.A. in English and a Ph.D. in student affairs administration and research with a minor in athletic administration from the University of Iowa. She holds an M.A. in student affairs administration from Ball State University. Additionally, Noël has participated in higher education study tours to South Africa and Mexico to examine the global impact of higher education.


CHICAGO: Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago // 1155 East 60th Street Suite 206B // Chicago, IL 60637

Yixian (Jeri) ChenYixian (Jeri) Chen, Graduate Research Fellow
JChen@ceosforcities.org //

Yixian (Jeri) Chen started working as a graduate research assistant at CEOs for Cities in February 2013. She is also a Mayoral Fellow at Office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

She completed her B.B.A. degree in Finance with a 4.0 GPA and graduated from University of Texas of Permian Basin Summa Cum Laude in 2011. Before furthering her education at University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, she worked in the wealth management industry. Her graduate study focuses on public finance and urban policy.

Outside classroom, Jeri enjoys traveling and has been to 12 countries so far.


Senior Consultants

Lisa Fuentes

Lisa Fuentes
Manager of Finance
LFuentes@ceosforcities.org //

Stuart Mendel

Stuart Mendel
Senior Fellow

Jim Rooney

Jim Rooney
Senior Global Advisor

Rebecca Ryan

Rebecca Ryan
Senior Fellow


CLEVELAND

Levin College of Urban Affairs
Cleveland State University
1717 Euclid Ave., UR 130
Cleveland, OH 44115

WASHINGTON, D.C.

1900 K Street NW
3rd Floor
Washington, DC 20006
  

CHICAGO

Harris School of Public Policy
University of Chicago
1155 East 60th St., Suite 206B
Chicago, IL 60637