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News . Feature Stories . CIA welcomes new leaders to Board


November 10, 2023

CIA welcomes new leaders to Board

Top, left to right: Kyla Epstein Schneider, Heather Holmes Dillard and Christopher S. Howse. Bottom, left to right: Angela McDonald-Fisher and John Mueller.

By Michael C. Butz

The Cleveland Institute of Art recently welcomed five members to its Board of Directors. These business and community leaders represent CIA’s 2023 Board cohort. They bring a wealth of professional experience and diverse perspectives—all of which will help guide CIA’s future. Each new member may serve up to three three-year terms.

“I am delighted with our 2023 cohort and excited about the dedication and breadth of knowledge each will bring to CIA,” says Cynthia Prior Gascoigne, chair of the CIA Board of Directors. “They have already begun to demonstrate enthusiasm for their new roles, and I am eager to see how they will help shape the future of our College. We identified several strategic needs, and I am confident that they will address those needs with a fresh, forward-thinking perspective.”

• Kyla Epstein Schneider is a senior leadership development consultant and executive coach for Ratliff & Taylor Leadership Development. She has more than 30 years of experience in adult education; educator training; board, professional and leadership development; and coaching on both local and national levels.

Her specific expertise is coaching individuals and teams, focusing on communication, empowering women, developing fluid teamwork and operations, and leading with vision, courage and gratitude. Her career began in educational settings, where she administered large schools and developed faculty.

Most recently, she has served as principal of Solel Coaching & Consulting LLC, a private practice focused on executive, leadership and advancement coaching. She is also an adjunct faculty member of the Siegal Lifelong Learning program at Case Western Reserve University.

• Heather Holmes Dillard is a creative marketing, public relations, community engagement and event production professional who is Principal at The Raben Group and administrator for the Young Presidents' Organization's Black YPO Network. Previously, she served as executive vice president for engagement and marketing at Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

She has more than 10 years of experience in the marketing, graphic design and corporate event-management industries. Throughout, she has created and implemented project plans, and managed a great team of vendors and client staff who exceed expectations of projects' needs. She has also worked with a diverse group of clients, expanding their reach and engagement efforts in targeted communities.

A partial client list includes United States Black Chambers, Inc.; The Stephanie Tubbs Jones Foundation; Joyner Walker Foundation, Par & Poker Celebrity Challenge at Super Bowl XLII; Cleveland Clinic; and Caesars Entertainment.

• Christopher S. Howse is a technology specialist and entrepreneur who is president of Howse Solutions, Inc., a full-service IT consulting firm. He has more than 25 years of experience leading teams of analysts and developers and helping companies and professionals learn to leverage and love technology.

He founded Howse Solutions in 2009. Through hardware/software sourcing and installation, software/app development, and technology training, he and his team make a positive impact on organizations and companies in the construction, government, health care, commercial, education and retail industries.

He enjoys learning about technological innovations, is an advocate for overcoming the digital divide and bridging the accessibility gap, and promotes diversity, equity and inclusion in all of his projects. He is a community leader with a passion for youth mentorship, workforce development and skills training.

• Angela McDonald-Fisher is an experienced executive and enterprise strategy advisor who's vice president and chief counsel of Global Contracts and Government Compliance at Eaton Corporation. She has spent more than 20 years counseling diverse businesses in numerous industries including aerospace, electrical, automotive and energy.

At Eaton, she used her wealth of experience as a member of the legal senior leadership team and by leading Eaton’s global contracts/commercial and government compliance team, driving key strategic initiatives involving enterprise-wide management of commercial and government contracts, government compliance, M&A transactions and the optimization of related centers of excellence.

Prior to Eaton, she held a number of key leadership positions at various corporations, including Cummins Inc., Rolls-Royce North America, Honeywell Corporation, Ingersoll Rand and the Ports of Indiana.

• John Mueller is retired managing partner of Partners Private Equity, LLC, which focused on acquisitions of established lower middle market businesses in manufacturing, value-added distribution and business services.

Prior to founding PPE, he was CEO of CapitalWorks LLC, a private equity firm specializing in middle market buyout transactions. At CapitalWorks, he was responsible for deal origination, transaction structuring and portfolio management. He played a leadership role in three CapitalWorks funds over a 12-year period.

He previously was the founder and managing partner of Newmarket Partners, a middle market management consulting company specializing in performance improvement, interim management and financial restructuring. He began his career at Chemical Bank (now JP Morgan) in New York, where he was a vice president in the bank’s Multinational and Investment Banking Divisions.

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