2017 Speaker Lineup

Keynote: It’s not you, it’s me–Understanding the National Stage

Ruby Harper is the Director of Local Arts Services for Americans for the Arts. Originally from California, where she was a dance instructor in her spare time, Harper worked with local community theatre companies creating choreography for their musical theatre productions earning numerous local, state and regional recognition for her work both on and offstage. She is the Co-chair for the National Coalition on Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response and serves on the Support for Individual Artist Steering Committee for Grantmakers in the Arts. Prior to joining AFTA, Ruby was the Director of Grants and Services at the Greater Columbus Arts Council in Columbus, OH. At the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ruby focused on grantmaking, community development, economic development and tourism, and public art. She has a varied background that includes corporate affairs, marketing, and business administration. She has also served on a number of grant panels for the Ohio Arts Council, Kentucky Arts Council, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Plenary Workshop: So, Now That You Are on a Nonprofit Board

Christie Vargo has nearly 30 years’ experience in nonprofit management from start-ups to large organizations such as Girl Scouts and the National Audubon Society.  Her board experiences include working with boards in her own organizations and serving on boards for the arts, community action, friends organizations, Girl Scouts, and Rotary. In addition, Vargo has been facilitating board development and strategic planning workshops for more than 20 years. As a consultant, Vargo has worked extensively with the United Way of Central Ohio Neighborhood Partnership Center and Leadership Academy facilitating planning sessions with neighborhood organizations. She has had formal facilitation training through Leadership Lorain County and has a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a Master of Public Administration from Cleveland State University.   


Breakout: Building Leaders from Where You Are 

Jamison Pack has more than 20 years of experience in the public sector, beginning with her service as an Americorps member in its inaugural year. Her career has spanned public health, public media, public transportation, and today, public history. As the Ohio History Connection’s Chief Marketing Officer, Pack is a member of the executive team that manages the Ohio History Connection operations, including strategic planning and implementation, budget management, and is interim supervisor of Museum and Library Services and Outreach Services. Within the Marketing division, she provides oversight to the organization’s public image, marketing, communications, facility use, retail, membership and visitor research. Pack was named Board Member of the Year by the Columbus American Marketing Association in 2006, and is a past member of the Public Relations Committee Member for the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, former Board Member for the Columbus Arts Marketing Association and Girl Scout Leader for her daughter’s troop.


Grow Your Fundraising Breakout panelists

Moderator: Christy farnbauch, Ohio Arts Council


Diane Cattran, DC Grants LLC,  has more 10 years’ experience helping non-profit arts organizations write grants and procure support to carry out their programs and achieve impact goals.  Cattran works with a variety of arts organizations in central Ohio and is well versed in matching their needs to the available funding sources in corporate, foundation, and government arenas. She worked at Columbus Symphony, Opera Columbus, and CAPA, most recently as Director of Development for the Symphony and Opera.  Prior to this, Cattran’s 22-year career was at Battelle where she was instrumental in the proposal center, public information programs for U.S. Department of Energy contracts, and their corporate subscription program for workshops, publications, and consulting. She is also an accomplished musician and music educator — her passion for the arts and arts education inspires her work in helping arts organizations thrive.  She holds summa cum laude degrees in English Education and Music Education from Capital and OSU and a Masters in Educational Communications from OSU. 


Mark Cardwell Formerly the Assistant Executive Director of the King Arts Complex, Mark Cardwell is the founder of READY LLC, a social enterprise development consultancy preparing non-profit organizations and social entrepreneurs toward impact investment readiness. Cardwell has 20 + years of experience as an executive level marketing professional including media sales, communications and marketing planning. He has filled professional roles with The American Red Cross, OSU Medical Center and Goodwill Rehabilitation Center. Mark is currently a board member with Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS) serving as the chairperson for the HR Subcommittee. He is also a new board member with the Franklinton Playhouse. A graduate of the Ray Miller Institute for Change and Leadership Mark most recently completed the Wells Foundation course on Impact Investment and Enterprise Development in 2016. 


Julie Harrison is the Development Coordinator at the Wexner Center for the Arts and serves as the 2016-2017 chair of GenWex, the center’s young professional group. With a blur between personal and professional networks, she leverages the collaborative and supportive nature of the Columbus community to advance the arts in Ohio’s capital through partnerships, events and engagement. She received her undergraduate degree in Spanish Language and Literature from The Ohio State University and has continued her education with course work in OSU’s graduate program.


A Better World—Growing In Diversity, inclusion and equity KEYnote speakers

With a background framed by poverty, strong family, and a drive to learn, Daniel A. Houston set goals to be a leader in whatever field he was blessed to till. He stretched his boundaries and became an international trainer, certified John Maxwell leadership coach, organizational development consultant and author. Training participants describe Houston as sensitive with a concise understanding of complex human dynamics such as poverty, racism and prejudice, and benefit from his easy style. He has enjoyed conducting training and leadership coaching across the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, Russia and Japan. The State Universities of New York at Stony Brook and Albany, as well as Northwestern University awarded Houston BA and MA degrees. Continuing his thirst for growth, he received doctoral-level training in management science, group dynamics and organization development from Northwestern University. As an author specializing in leadership and workplace issues, Houston has co-authored A Better World: A Framework for Culture, Diversity & Engagement, with Les Helms and fellow Cause Collab speaker, James A. White Sr.


Author, and Ted Talk International presenter, James A. White is a Senior Master Training Management Consultant and Executive Coach. He is also owner and operator of Performance Consulting Services, a business performance training, development and consulting firm in Columbus, Ohio. With over 25 years of corporate, education, and government experience, White is committed to the training and development of individuals, groups and organizations. James White has inspired people of all races, genders and backgrounds to take the steps necessary to advance to their level of awareness, consciousness, and personal and professional integrity. He truly believes true success, for America can only be achieved through mutually and shared collectiveness—a chain can only be as strong as its weakest link. White wishes to share his experiences of racism in order to stress the message that all races, genders and backgrounds must come together to challenge the status quo.


Keynote: Strategies for Success

Dr. Melanie Corn joined CCAD in March 2016 as the college's fifth President. Corn is the first female President in CCAD’s history and one of only several women currently serving as Presidents of member institutions of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD). At CCAD, Corn is charged with setting the vision and tone for the college, ensuring that educational programs are strategic and relevant, that long-term institutional viability and sustainability are safeguarded and that the dynamic connectivity between the college and its constituencies — alumni, business, civic and community — continues to grow.