Cleveland Young Professional Council Takes Shape: Members Hit the Ground Running at Their Retreat

Alliance for the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes face a slew of threats right now. But the next generation of Great Lakes leaders is ready to lead the charge to protect them and the 40 million people who rely on them. The Alliance for the Great Lakes Young Professional Council started so the next generation can organize and usher in innovative, cutting-edge initiatives to protect clean water. And the newest chapter of the Young Professional Council is ready to hit the ground running in Cleveland.

Members of the Cleveland Young Professional CouncilMembers of the Cleveland Young Professional Council get to know each other at their retreat at the Alliance’s Cleveland office.

Selecting the Members

Cleveland Young Professional Council members were selected based on a number of criteria. The Alliance was looking to assemble a diverse and inclusive group of people who were passionate about the Cleveland community, Lake Erie, clean water, and projects that will benefit them.

The Alliance received applications from eager, impressive Great Lakes enthusiasts from around Cleveland. Ultimately, 18 individuals were selected to make up the first-ever Cleveland-area chapter of the Council. They represent a wide range of career fields: from the environmental sciences, to local arts and culture initiatives, to business marketing, to higher education institutions! Check out who they are here:

Karlton Laster

Allison Lukacsy- Love

Rachel Williams

Stephanie Bencin

Anne Roberto

Mary Barnwell

Jason Guyer

Jacob Charles Sinatra

Hunter Scott

Elizabeth Ajadi

Selina Pagan

Carrie Pinney

Brenna Davis

Ethan Goodman

Selby Majewski

Kendrick Chittock

Laura Perme

Stacey Yanetta

The Retreat Agenda

Cleveland Young Professional Council members met on October 20th for a retreat at the Alliance’s Cleveland office. Destinee Henton, the Alliance’s Ohio Outreach Coordinator, organized the meeting and said that she is “thrilled to see the innovative ways that this group will work to support grassroots initiatives in Cleveland and engage in critical conversations to protect our watershed!”

Brenda PriceBrenda Price, the Alliance’s Volunteer and Education Director, guides the group through work planning to shape the mission and work of the council.

Destinee isn’t the only one excited to get to work. She was greeted with the same level of enthusiasm from the 21 Council members attending their first retreat together. One member of the council, Allison Lukacsy-Love, said: “I am so excited to partner with enthusiastic individuals and passionate organizations working collaboratively to protect Lake Erie.”  

At the retreat, members got to know each other and the diverse backgrounds and perspectives they brought to the table. Since this is the inaugural chapter of the Cleveland Young Professional Council, members have the unique opportunity to shape the council by drafting the mission statement to developing the first work plan. Here are a few of the goals they developed at the retreat:

  • Advocate for the preservation of Lake Erie;
  • Collaborate with local partners;
  • And raise funds for grants that they will award to local clean water projects.

What does this look like? The council will fundraise through creative and fun events for the community. They will then reach out to, learn about, and partner with local grassroots organizations with projects to better Lake Erie — and help fund their work with mini-grants. The council’s work will be taking shape over the coming year —  stay tuned to see what this diverse group of Clevelanders will accomplish for Lake Erie and their community.

Our mission at the Alliance for the Great Lakes is to conserve and restore the world's largest freshwater resource using policy, education and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife.