Mérida E. Allen, M.Ed.
Providing students with support, resources and strategies for college and career success, is the dream role for Mérida Allen. Prior to current appointment as Associate Dean of Students and Executive Director of the University of Dayton’s (UD) Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center, she served as Associate Director for Leadership Initiatives, and Director for Multi-Ethnic Education in the Center. At her alma mater, at the University of Toledo, she served for 13 years as Associate Director for TOLEDO EXCEL, a scholarship-incentive program, and the Office of Excellence and Multicultural Student Success.
Merida has worked directly with students and families from their point of access to the university, beyond graduation, providing educational resources, mentoring, leadership development and student success coaching. She has provided leadership in working with campus partners, coordinating dialogue facilitator trainings, workshops, and programs on campus, developing the UD Diversity Peer Educators Program, a cohort of students that impact campus, addressing diversity, equity and inclusion. She has served on numerous committees and work groups such as the Institutional Bias Response Advisory Committee (Chair), Advancing Religious Diversity and Inclusion, and President’s Task Force for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Student Development’s Strategic Planning Co-Curricular Learning 2022 (Co-Chair) and Diversity Action Team and Strategic Planning (Co-Chair). Merida presents and facilitates workshops at UD for students, faculty and staff related to inclusive leadership, dialogue and Intergroup Communication, in efforts to increase understanding across difference, promote identity development, explore concepts of power and privilege, leadership, and provide useful tools for strengthened communication. She convenes a monthly affinity group for Black women on campus, to assist in fostering a sense of belonging for faculty and staff.
A University of Toledo alumna, Merida earned a Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Higher Education Administration and Graduate Certificate in Communication Studies, from The University of Toledo. Now, as doctoral candidate at the University of Dayton, she is currently dissertating about research related to Intergroup Communication and diverse learning environments, in the Educational Leadership Program, concentrating on Higher Education, at UD. She is a recent graduate of Leadership Dayton, serves on the Board of Directors for her alma mater St. Ursula Academy (Toledo, OH) and on the Dayton Public Schools Foundation (Dayton, OH). She was named a Women of UD, and Merida is a 2013 recipient of the Emerging Leader Award by National City Bank and African American Legacy Project of Northwest Ohio and nominee for Toledo’s Top 20 Under 40 Award. Allen formerly served as Board of DIrectors for WGTE TV-Toledo, and United Way’s African American Leadership Council. She was named Faculty Member of the Year by the student organization, Black Action Through Unity (BATU) at UD for the 2017-18 academic year. She is a staff champion, mentor and advisor to numerous students and student organizations such as UD’s BATU, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, and House of UD. Merida is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Sigma Omega Chapter a continues to serve as a mentor, and contributor to building thriving living and learning environments for students and youth.
Dance is her first and lasting love, and over 40 years has dwelled in living out lessons from her formal training in classical ballet, technical jazz, contemporary, modern and advanced urban line dance, maintaining membership in organized groups. Pedagogically, dance allows Merida to educate and empower others to value self-expression and wellbeing, as a form of communication. Merida resides in Tipp City, OH with her partner Jermaine, son, Jordan Eugene, and furbabies Jiji and Jyro.
As a Group Benefits Consultant, my goal is to bring a positive change to every organization and in the lives of their employees by implementing health insurance benefits that are useful, attractive and affordable. We help companies save money and keep and recruit good employees. We provide them with exceptional service and educate their employees on using their benefits.
Brandi Davis-Handy has nearly 20 years of communications, marketing, and stakeholder engagement experience. Since starting her career as a broadcast journalist. Brandi has used the tools of storytelling and narrative to connect audiences moving toward a shared goal. Today, Brandi leads communications and community efforts for AES’ utilities in Indiana and Ohio. Prior to AES, she served as Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Project Lead The Way and has also led communications teams at OneAmerica Financial Partners, Indianapolis Power & Light Company, and the American Cancer Society.
Brandi is an active community leader having served on the boards of the 500 Festival, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, Dress for Success of Indianapolis, Women’s Fund of Central Indiana and Lynx Capital Corporation. She is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series. Brandi is also a founding member of the African American Legacy Fund of Indianapolis which is focused on raising awareness and advocating on issues affecting the African American community.
Brandi has been recognized as a Center for Leadership Development Minority Achiever in Media and Communications in 2018 and was the recipient of the Breakthrough Woman in Leadership Development Award for 2018 from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.
Brandi received her B.A. in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University.
"If you are afraid to fail; then you do not deserve to be successful"
After graduating from Wright State University - Raj Soin College of Business I began my career with U.S. Bank, as a member of the Leadership Development Program and have held progressively responsible leadership positions since 2011.
I have been with U.S. Bank for all 9+ years of my career assisting c-suite executives through financial, operational and people transformations across industries including; Retail, Services, CPG, DTC, Real-Estate, Manufacturing, Utilities, Financial Services/Insurance, Healthcare, Restaurant, and NPO.
I am vehemently dedicated to creating unparalleled experiences for my clients and employees. I pride myself on the commitment to understand my clients, their priorities, goals, and timelines to deliver the right disruptive solution(s). As a leader and engager of people, I take great joy in mentorship, development, and connecting people to their passions.
With an unyielding belief that you are only as strong as the community around you. For that, I sit on multiple advisory Boards and Committees, including Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub, Intercommunity Justice, and Peace Center (IJPC), WordPlay Cincinnati, and Wright State University, Alumni Association. I am also a previous, founding board member of Future Leaders Over-The-Rhine.
Specialties & Technical Areas:
- Finance & Operational Consulting
- Product Strategy / Product Management
- Project Mapping and Management
- Data Analysis
- Process Improvement
- Digital Transformation
- Business Strategy and Operations
- ERP and Custom Solution Evaluation & Implementation
- Working Capital Analysis / Engagement
- New Business Sales Generation
- Sales Strategy and Leadership
- Corporate and Commercial Lending (C&I, D&I, SBA, CRE, Term, Leasing, Equipment, M&A)
- Treasury Management Instruments (including Corporate & Retail Payments)
- Payment Acceptance (FinTech, Acquiring, Gateway, Middleware, Integration, Pricing, Optimization, Security etc.)
Spending time with my family & friends
Orange Theory Fitness #OTF
Personally titled 'Foodie'
Hiking (Getting Outside)
Sports (Basketball, Football, Golf)
Ryan Kutter is Senior Vice President of Henny Penny, where he leads the Global Customer Experience team, including sales, services, marketing, product strategy, and parts sales. He’s passionate about building relationships and ensuring customers around the world enjoy straightforward, memorable, and exceptional experiences before, during, and after a sale.
A long-tenured leader, Ryan began his Henny Penny career as an Industrial Engineer in 1994. Since then, he has held a variety of roles with increasing scope and responsibility, including Marketing Analyst, National Account Manager, and Director of Strategic Accounts. Most recently, Ryan served as VP of Global Customer Experience.
Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from Wright State University. He is active in the community, currently serving on the Dayton History Board of Trustees.
He lives in Englewood, Ohio with his wife, Corry, and their four children.
Mark C. Lyle serves as the 88th Air Base Wing (ABW) Legislative Liaison Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. In this role Mark is the primary legislative advisor to the 88th ABW commander. Mark directly interfaces with members of Congress and their staff members on a regular basis to keep them apprised on installation issues. He monitors, evaluates, and analyzes national legislative activities for the 88th ABW. Mark monitors organizations to ensure appropriate input is provided to respond to congressional inquiries and advises the commander on local legislative issues. He organizes congressional visits with members of Congress and/or their staffers.
Prior to his current position, Mark served as Public Affairs Specialist at Wright-Patterson. Mark was responsible for carrying out a wide range of public affairs assignments to include, various elements of civic outreach and community engagement, media operations, social media, command information, visual information, communication planning, contingency/crisis response, special event planning, environmental, security, policy review, and public affairs resource management in support of the mission and the commander’s priorities.
A native of Xenia, OH Mark is a 30 year retired veteran of the United States Air Force. While serving his county Mark was stationed at F.E. Warren AFB, Cheyenne Wyoming, Incirlik AB, Adana Turkey, Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City Oklahoma, Fort Sam Houston Army Post, San Antonio Texas, Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls Texas and Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio.
Mark has earned a professional Managers Certification from the Community College of the Air Force in Montgomery Alabama. Two Associate degrees; Security Administration and Allied Health Sciences from the Community College of the Air Force. And, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling both from Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio.
Mark’s personal awards include three Meritorious Service Medals, two Air Force Commendation Medals and two Air Force Achievement Medals.
Mark is a graduate of the 2020 Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Dayton Class, 2021 LEADership Wright-Patt Program and 2021 Parity INC. Black Leadership Development Program. He is currently serving as a Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce Board member and is on the Board of Directors for Eastway Behavioral Health Care and has been in this role since 2019.
Mark has been married to his wife Deb for over twenty-one years and they have four children and two grandchildren.
In his spare time, Mark is an avid sports fan who enjoys music, travel and hanging out with family and friends.
From the minute I went into real estate, I knew I wanted to make things easier for my clients. From selling a property to moving into your dream home, I want to make that process as positive and memorable as possible. Too often, moving can become laborious and lengthy, an experience that both sellers and buyers want to avoid. To do this, I look to technology and how it can improve the overall real estate process. That’s why I was the first realtor in the Dayton area to invest in a 3-D tour technology system. This system photographs an entire house and then compiles a 3-D layout of the home that can be uploaded to the Internet and shared with a home’s listing. It allows buyers both local and from afar the chance to ‘walk’ through a home and provides a 360* experience that traditional photos cannot offer. I also utilize electronic document sharing whenever possible. This ensures that documents can be updated, reviewed and signed in real time, without the time lag that paper documents impose. Real estate transactions require a certain amount of work, but my goal is to look at the logistics of each transaction, and provide effective efficiencies wherever possible. As a Dayton native, I have a full understanding of the local area and what each unique community has to offer. Couple that understanding with my formal training and I believe I have both the skills and the organic knowledge of our local area that is needed to be one of the most effective realtors available. A graduate of The Ohio State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Logistics and a Master of Business Administration from Wright State University, I have advanced my knowledge of business and can effectively tailor it to my clients’ buying and selling needs. I understand the market and what Dayton has to offer and look forward to providing my clients with their best real estate experience possible.
Timothy Sakulich, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is Executive Director, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He is the Principal Assistant to the Commander and the Senior Civilian Executive responsible for managing the Air Force's $3 billion science and technology program along with an additional $3 billion of externally funded research and development. He serves a government workforce of approximately 6,500 people in the laboratory's nine component technology directorates, 711th Human Performance Wing, and AFWERX.
Mr. Sakulich began his Air Force career in 1984 as a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. Upon commissioning, he was awarded a scholarship to attend graduate school at North Carolina State University where he received a Master of Science degree in applied mathematics. He has held diverse technical and leadership positions, including those in operations research, logistics, international security cooperation, science and technology and programs and resources. During the course of his active-duty career, Mr. Sakulich served in assignments at base level, an air logistics center, research laboratory, two major command headquarters, a combatant command headquarters, a defense agency and the Joint Staff.
Mr. Sakulich entered federal civilian service in 2010 as Chief of the Strategic Planning and Transformation Office for the Air Force Research Laboratory 711th Human Performance Wing. In 2012, he was selected as the wing’s first civilian Vice Director and promoted to the grade of Senior Scientific and Technical Manager in May 2017. From March 2018 to July 2018, he served as the Acting Director of the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate. In October 2018 he was appointed to the Senior Executive Service.
I am a true Daytonian through and through having lived my entire life in roughly four square miles in Belmont or Beavercreek. I love my community!
I have two boys, Ben who is 11 and Will who is 9, that I simply adore! They are so different but so amazingly sweet! Together we play with our two BIG dogs, who are the biggest babies but would scare the pants off anyone!
One of my most recent hobbies is discovering succulents. I love plants that need little care but look great! I am enjoying finding creative ways to display them inside my patio and house. Let's hope the green thumb keeps going!
Outside of my family, two of my true loves are history and politics. In fact, I graduated from Wright State with a BA in History and a Minor in Political Science. While I enjoy those things, I have been lucky enough to parlay skills into the business world yet I am happy lounging on the couch watching documentaries all day.
Paul Spain is a visionary C-level executive and board member known for transforming manufacturing and distribution companies by instilling a high-performance culture and aligning the leadership team to develop and execute strategies that deliver sustainable revenue and profit growth. His global leadership experience in the industrial market at fortune 500 companies and private equity backed firms makes him a valuable coach to the executive team, balancing investment initiatives with P&L responsibility to achieve the short-term goals and the long-term vision. He has a talent for connecting with individuals and cultivating their strengths to achieve company goals.
Paul is currently the Chief Executive Officer and a board member at PUI Audio. He was recruited into this role in Sept 2019 by the PE owners Champlain Capital. Before the recent move Paul was Chief Operating Officer at All Current Electrical Sales. He was recruited into this role in 2012 to help shape the direction, execute on growth strategies, and work with the PE owners High Road Capital to prepare the business for a successful sale in 2015. Working with the new owners EBSCO, he continued to provide a tangible contribution to the board, developing and executing growth strategies including geographic expansion, key business partnerships, and increased capabilities.
Previously Paul was with Precision Castparts Corp where he helped turnaround two divisions that were under performing, coaching the GM’s on growing the top-line through sales and marketing initiatives, whilst improving the bottom line through operational efficiencies. He also helped prepare one of the divisions for a successful sale in 2012.
He had a variety of roles at Cooper Industries (now Eaton) based in both the UK and USA managing product and market development, restructuring a global sales team, integrating acquisitions, and relocating manufacturing operations. He also spent three years with Emerson utilizing his business acumen to help the power supply division expand outside the computer industry into the telecom market resulting in multiple acquisitions which formed Emerson Network Power.
Paul started his professional career as an Electrical Design Engineer at Pirelli Cable and holds a patent for a high voltage electrical insulation barrier.
Previously Paul has made voluntary contributions on the Advisory Board of the Rutgers University - Design Thinking Program, and on the board at the Rotary Club of Moorestown involved in local and international humanitarian initiatives.