2015–2016 Board of Directors
President: Michelle Vaeth
Michelle J. Vaeth was born in Rochester, NY, and graduated from Webster High School. While in high school, Michelle placed 2nd in the Nation at the 1994 National Forensic League championship, and was named Best Drum Major at the 1991 Fiesta Bowl National Tournament of Bands. She holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Neurobiology & Animal Behavior from Cornell University. Michelle moved to Cincinnati in 1998 to work for Procter & Gamble. She currently serves as Associate Director, Communications for P&G’s Personal Health Care business in North America.
During her tenure at P&G, Michelle’s work to further girls’ education programs in sub-Saharan Africa was honored with the United Nations Association of the United States of America’s Global Leadership Award in 2008. In 2009, she was awarded the first Public Relations Lion at Cannes. In addition, Michelle’s PR work at P&G has been recognized with a CLIO, Sabre, HALO, and numerous PRSA & Big Apple awards.
Michelle joined the Junior League of Cincinnati in 2002 and prior to her current position of President- Elect, she served as Vice-Chair & Chair of the Public Affairs committee, and as Vice-President of Community Projects. She has also served on Nominating, CANDO, & MindPeace. Michelle went sustaining in 2008, and served as Sustainer Advisor to the Pediatric Oral Health Project from 2013-2014.
In addition to the JLC, Michelle has volunteered and served on the boards of numerous non-profits. She has also served on the U.S. State Department/PEPFAR’s Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation Board.
Michelle is married to Pete Thorman, a Cincinnati Firefighter & Xavier University alum, and lives with their two dogs in Columbia Township. They treasure their 10 nieces & nephews spread across Ohio and New York!
President-Elect: Kendall Shaw
Kendall Shaw is a Senior Associate in the Cincinnati office of Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur, LLP, practicing commercial and product liability litigation. After completing her B.A. at Denison University, cum laude, as a Psychology and Communication double major, Kendall received her J.D. from University of Cincinnati College of Law, where she was selected as a Student Articles Editor of the Law Review. She has served as a judicial law clerk to The Honorable James L. Graham, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio.
Kendall enjoys volunteering in the community and was elected President of the Saint Ursula Academy Alumnae Board, and has served as an advisor on the Alumnae Advisory Committee for the Ohio Kappa Chapter of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women at the University of Cincinnati, and as Chair of the Alumnae Advisory Committees for the Ohio Eta and Zeta chapters of Pi Beta Phi at Denison University and Miami University, respectively. A member of the Junior League of Cincinnati since 2009, Kendall has held positions as a New Member Advisor, served on the Board of Directors as its Legal Advisor and as the Vice-Chair and Chair of its Nominating Committee. In 2014, she received the JLC’s Jeanne Boyce Morrison President’s Award. She is a member of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce WE Lead Class 8 and the Secretary of the Cincinnati Bar Association’s non-profit Law Committee.
Secretary: Kate Fortlage
Kate Fortlage began at Formica in April 2014 and is a Senior Manager in the Marketing Department with proven abilities in strategic planning, managing projects and direct reports, driving top-line and bottom-line sales growth, and influencing cross functional managers. Prior to Formica, she was a Brand Manager for KAO USA, where she worked for over 8 years. She received her B.A. from Bowling Green State University in 1999 and her MBA from the University of Dayton in 2005. Born in Toledo, Kate relocated to Cincinnati 10 years ago post her MBA to start her marketing career at KAO. Currently, she manages the residential segment at Formica and is responsible for developing and leading brand strategy, innovation, and marketing plans. Kate joined the Junior League of Dayton in 2000 and transferred to the JLC in 2006. She has served on every JLC Council and has been a leader on all Councils but one (New Member Vice-Chair and Chair, Social Vice-Chair and Chair, Nominating Committee Vice-Chair and Chair). Kate also served on the Board of Directors as Special Projects and led an Ad Hoc committee in creating the JLC strategic plan. She also led the points system initiative last year. Kate has spent the past year serving in an Out of League Placement as a Steering Committee Chair for the All-Star Game.
Legal Advisor: Monica Kohnen
Monica Donath Kohnen is a partner at the law firm of Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP where she practices in the areas of business, real estate, banking and construction. At the firm she has Chaired the Commercial Real Estate Industry Group, Co-Chaired the Banking & Financial Services Industry Group, Chaired the Women’s Professional Development Group and served as the first woman member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. A proud sustainer of the JLC where she credits receiving her board training, some of her community and civic involvement includes service on the Boards of The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Ursuline Academy, Downtown Cincinnati, Inc. and the Cincinnati Sight Restoration Foundation, Inc. She also served as the Treasurer for Portman for Congress Committee and is a member of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Planned Giving Committee. A graduate of The UC College of Law and Duke University, Monica and her husband, Ralph, live in Hyde Park.
At Large Member: Mary Ivers
Mary Ivers started her business career as an entrepreneur, co-founding an INC 500 software company, Software Clearing House. As this company grew over 15 years, Mary learned how to expand an organization on a tight budget and also worked with many of the internal systems for managing clients, databases, mailing campaigns, and websites – all skills that would later prove useful when managing a thriving non-profit. In 1999 Mary started an affiliate of Dress for Success in Cincinnati. Mary also started an Earned Income Venture, called the 4th Street Boutique, a thrift store, to sell excess clothing to generate proceeds for the support of the Dress for Success mission. Mary retired from Dress for Success Cincinnati in 2012 and continues to serve on the Board of Directors.
Mary is an alum and a trustee of Mount St. Joseph University and has been a Commencement speaker and awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree. She is a Cincinnati Enquirer Women of the Year; a Great Rivers Girl Scout Council Woman of Distinction and an Athena Award Finalist. Mary is also member of Leadership Cincinnati Class 12 and Leadership Northern Kentucky. However, Mary’s greatest accomplishment is being a mother of four and the grandmother of seven.
At Large Member: Sara Cooperrider
Sara Cooperrider joined the JLC in 2011 and has made a considerable impact in the past four years. As a new member, in addition to serving on the Kids in the Kitchen Committee, she joined the Program Development Committee, and helped lead what was to ultimately become the RefugeeConnect project since its inception. Sara was appointed to serve on the Board of Directors in 2012-2013, while continuing her role on the Program Development Committee. Sara has her undergraduate degree from Miami University and her law degree and master’s in public health from George Washington University. After working in health policy in Washington, Sara practiced with the law firm of Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur in her hometown of Cincinnati. After two years with the firm, she took a position as Assistant General Counsel at UC Health, where she is employed today. She also currently serves a leadership position on the Cincinnati Bar Association’s Nonprofit Law Committee and enjoys volunteering with ProKids. Sara and her husband, Tony, live in Hyde Park with their daughter.
Sustainer Advisor: Susan Shelton
Susan is the Immediate Past President of the Junior League of Cincinnati, and is the Executive Director for MindPeace, which began as a signature project for the Junior League of Cincinnati. Not only was she the primary founder and developer of this organization, she has helped in leading MindPeace to numerous awards and national recognition. The Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) gave the first ever Award for Collaboration and Ohio’s Best Small Non-Profit to the JLC for MindPeace. A graduate of Vanderbilt University with a BSEE, Susan attended the University of Cincinnati completing her MBA. She worked in high tech industries for 20 years in the areas of research and development, product management, marketing, and strategic planning. She has also been a Board Member of NAMI – Hamilton County, Council on Child Abuse, Junior League of Cincinnati, and Cincinnati Children’s Convalescent Hospital for Children.
2015-2016 Executive Management Team
Treasurer + VP Finance: Taylor Bennett
Taylor is new to the Queen City, having moved here in 2012, and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer at Vectored Nanotechnologies Research. She transferred her Junior League membership from New York where she worked as a management consultant. Since joining the JLC, Taylor has been a member of the Kids in the Kitchen Committee and has chaired the recently reinstated Sponsorship Committee. Taylor has an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business with concentrations in Finance and Entrepreneurship. She also has a BA from Dartmouth College in Economics and Psychological Brain Sciences. Taylor is originally from Miami, FL, and lives in Mt. Lookout with her husband, Ryan.
VP Fund Development: Maggie Wuellner
Maggie Wuellner serves as the Executive Director of the Hamilton County Republican Party and the District Finance Director for Congressman Brad Wenstrup in Ohio’s second district raising approximately $1 million a year for the organizations combined. Maggie completed her B.A. in 2003 from Xavier University with a double major in Spanish and Political Science. While at Xavier, she competed on the Women’s Tennis team and she continues to play today. She is also an avid runner as she has completed 5 marathons. In addition to her involvement in the Junior League, Maggie served as Treasurer and President to the Hyde Park Kindervelt Committee. Maggie and her husband, Mark, reside in Mt. Lookout with their three children: Millie, David and Ford.
VP Membership: Meredith Comin
Meredith is Associate Director of Program Management at Powerhouse Factories, a local agency specializing in a variety of advertising and marketing practices. She received her B.A. in Public Relations with a concentration in Marketing from Auburn University in 2006. A fourth-generation Junior Leaguer, she has been active in the JLC since 2008. Prior to serving as VP of Membership, she was a member of the Nominating Committee, Co-Chair of the Spring Fundraiser CinSation, Chair of the Cookbook Committee and VP of Communications. In the fall of 2010, she and fellow member Kimberly C. Hemmer were responsible for the creation of the JLC’s fall fundraiser, Tour of Kitchens. She has been recognized with the Rising Star Award for her work and dedication to the JLC. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, she now resides in Northern Kentucky.
VP Communications: Jamie Humes
Jamie Humes serves as Vice President of Marketing at Great Traditions Land & Development Co., a residential developer specializing in the design and creation of lifestyle-oriented master planned communities throughout the Greater Cincinnati region. A graduate of Miami University, she received her B.A. in speech communications with a concentration in public relations and marketing. After returning home from Miami University, Humes unexpectedly fell in love with her city and is now a lifelong Cincinnatian. A second generation Junior Leaguer since 2011, she joins the Board as VP of Communications after serving on the CinSation Marketing Committee, ad hoc Program Development Committee, and Perspectives Magazine as committee Vice-Chair and most recently as Chair.
Jamie also maintains an active involvement in numerous professional and community organizations, including Cincinnati Parks (Co-Chair, Ambassadors Advisory Council; former Events Committee Chair), C-Change Alumni LEAD Committee (Class 3 Representative), University of Cincinnati’s Presidential BiCentennial Commission (Marketing + Events Committees), the Sales and Marketing Council of the Homebuilders Association of Cincinnati and The Village at Stetson Square Homeowners Association (Secretary). She is a graduate of both WE Lead (Class 10) and C-Change (Class 3) programs, a former trustee for the Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati (2010-2013) and was named to Venue/Lead Magazine’s inaugural Women of Influence Class in 2013. She currently resides in East Hyde Park.
VP Training & Development: Deanna Sicking
Deanna is a CFP® (Certified Financial Planner) and Senior Wealth Strategy Associate at UBS Financial Services. She received her B. S. in Economics from Miami University and her Masters of Business Administration from Xavier University. She joined the Junior League in 2008 and received the Excellence in Training Award in 2013. During her active years she has served on the Nominating Committee, as Co-Chair and Co-Vice Chair of New Members, a committee member on the Fall JLC Jog 5k and the 90thGala Fundraiser and most recently she was involved with the Pediatric Oral Health/Grin Up! project. Deanna has also served on the Advisory Council for United Way 211 and has been an active volunteer for Bake Me Home. She was born and raised in the Cleveland area and moved to Cincinnati in 2003. She currently resides in Loveland with her husband, Bryan, and daughters Meredith and Natalie.
VP Community Impact: Danielle Deja
Danielle Deja serves as Vice President of Operations at Fidelity Investments, supporting recordkeeping and administration of equity compensation plans. She received her B.A. of Business Administration from the University of Dayton in 2001. She has been an active member of the Junior League of Cincinnati since 2008. Prior to serving as the VP of Community Impact she was a Chair for RefugeeConnect, served as a member on the Nominating Committee, Co-Chair of New Members, a committee member of CandDo, Cinsation and on the Adhoc Program Development committee. She received the Excellence in Training Award in 2012 for her work on the New Member Curriculum and Adhoc Program Development Committee. Danielle was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio and now resides in Anderson Township with her husband, Justin, and sons Lucas and Ben.
Recording Secretary: Sarah Clark
Sarah is a Senior Financial Analyst at Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson Company. Sarah graduated with a major in Business Management from the University of Kentucky, and obtained her MBA from Xavier University. Sarah is an avid Kentucky Wildcats fan, and considers her diehard fan status a hobby along with travel, exploring new restaurants and foods, and being physically active. Since becoming a member of the Junior League in 2010, she has served on the 5K Fundraiser and Pediatric Oral Health committees, as a Member of the Nominating Committee and as the Chair of Leadership Development, where her committee was honored at the annual meeting for committee excellence. In addition to her volunteer work for the Junior League of Cincinnati, Sarah serves on the Board of Pones Inc., has been the chair of the Cincinnati United Way Emerging Leaders, and has held various roles as a Kappa Alpha Theta Alumni. She continues to lead the United Way efforts for the Cincinnati Ethicon Campus, and loves to explore all that Cincinnati has to offer. Sarah resides in Hyde Park with her husband, Harrison, and their spoiled French bulldog, Belle.