THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS - 2017
Thomas Schiltz - President
Tom Schiltz joined The Center board in 2016. He is a Senior Relationship Manager at Key Private Bank. Prior to Key, he was with the Cleveland Clinic Professional Staff Affairs.
Tom has been involved with many non-profit and community organizations including HRC, Gay Games, Junior Achievement, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
He is a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Public Accountant and holds an MBA with a concentration in Economics from Cleveland State University.
Bob Sferra - Vice President, Development & Campaign
Bob Sferra is a culinary arts professional with experience and training in France and New York City. His company, Culinary Occasions, is well-known in the Cleveland community through Bob’s frequent engagements, television appearances and teaching. Bob joined the LGBT Center’s board in 2009 and became President in 2011, where he has been taking the leadership role as the Center implements the results of its strategic planning process.
Chris Esmurdoc - Vice President, Planning & Programs
F. Christopher Esmurdoc, MDiv, MSSA, LISW-S is an experienced social worker and manager. Chris has experience in community social work, work with Veterans, children and families, HIV/AIDS, adoption/foster care, and mental health.
He is adjunct faculty for Youngstown State University in their Social Work Department. He completed his masters degree in Social Work in 2002 at Case Western Reserve University and has achieved advance training in adoption and foster care issues, cognitive behavioral therapy, and cognitive processing therapy techniques.
Chris has been a member of the Center board for 3 years and is the Vice President of Planning. He is the Chair of the Program Committee and recently Chaired the Center’s Strategic Planning process.
Andrew Thomas - Vice President, Special Events
Andrew Thomas is a Senior Investment Performance Officer at PNC Bank, within the Investment Strategy and Services division. He is responsible for the reconciliation and audit of trust account investment returns. Andrew is also on the board for PNC’s LGBT Employee Resource Group, PNC Proud. He currently serves the LGBT Center’s board as 3rd Vice President, Executive Committee Officer, and Special Events Committee Chair. Andrew’s previous board leadership includes the Communications and Training Committees. He joined the Board of Directors in January 2016. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Southern New Hampshire University.
Karen Manning - Treasurer
Fiduciary Officer/V.P. BNY Mellon Wealth Management.
In this role she works directly with clients to address their estate planning, family governance and wealth management needs in collaboration with their trusted advisers. Karen joined the firm in 2010 and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Her previous experience includes serving as a client adviser for FirstMerit Bank, N.A.
Karen received a bachelor's degree from Boston College and a juris doctor from Cleveland Marshall College of Law. She is a former member of the Willoughby City Council where she was the chair of the Finance Committee. Karen currently serves on the Lake Catholic High School Endowment Board and the Lake Health Foundation Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Cleveland, Cleveland Metropolitan, Geauga and Lake County Bar Associations.
Claire Cahoon Curtis - Secretary
Claire Cahoon Curtis is an Attorney with the Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of Ohio, where she represents criminal defendants at the trial level and on appeal. She is one of less than thirty attorneys in the State of Ohio certified as an appellate law specialist. Claire jointed the LGBT Center board in 2016. She previously served on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland.
Bryan Bowser - Past President
Bryan Bowser joined the Center board in 2012. He is Assistant Professor and Program Director for Arts Management and Entrepreneurship at Baldwin Wallace University. Previously he served as Associate Director, External Affairs, for the BW Conservatory of Music where he managed the Community Arts, Summer Music, and Opera Programs in addition to consulting on matters of Conservatory fund raising, marketing, student recruitment and alumni relations. He has a strong record of leadership in the Cleveland arts community and is a passionate advocate for arts education and inclusion. He holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship and BME from Baldwin Wallace.
Carolyn Polanski has over 20 years of experience in the marketing and communication fields. She is currently the director of communications for Avery Dennison, leading the North American marketing communications activities for Materials Group. Carolyn joined the Board in 2016 and is the chair for the communication committee. She will lead the marketing plan for several key Center initiatives in the years to come.
Brian is the IT and Marketing Manager for Conveyer & Caster – Equipment for Industry. In his position, he focuses on building systems that improve efficiency, encourage communication and conversation, and better the customer experience. Outside of work, he’s an avid podcaster, co hosting the CLECast podcast and co-facilitator of Queer Without God.
Holly is a semi-retired lawyer. Before retirement, she worked as an attorney for 25 years at International Management Group, a company involved in sports management. Before that, she lived in Tokyo for four years and worked at law firms involved in international business. Holly also is involved with PFLAG Cleveland and TransFamily East.
Charley works as the Senior Engineer and Data Architect for Kalibrate, Plc where he directs and designs data solutions for some of the world’s largest energy companies to unlock insights and streamline processes within their business.
He currently holds a B.A. in business from Baldwin-Wallace College, an M.B.A. from Cleveland State University and is a graduate degree candidate in Management Information Systems at Harvard University. Charley is also involved in Stonewall Sports Cleveland.
Currently working as VP Marketing for Things Remembered overseeing all aspects of traditional and digital marketing. Especially focused on Cause Marketing and Customer Relationship Marketing. Born and raised in Detroit, Mi but Cleveland has now become home for the last three years.
Thomas Marzella currently serves as the Marketing Communications Director at Sterling Talent Solutions where he directs and oversees a global team leading the content and communications program. Prior to his current role, he worked as a Marketing Manager at IgnitionOne, a leading digital marketing hub, where he specialized in email marketing automation, event/trade show planning and brand development. He is passionate about the technology, LGBT rights and entrepreneurship.
He currently holds a B.S. in Marketing and B.A. in English Literature from Miami University.
Taylor works under three-term Cleveland City Councilmember, and chairperson of the Health and Human Services Committee, Brian J. Cummins, serving the residents of the City of Cleveland. In addition to a focus on neighborhood place making and quality of life issues, Taylor is civic technology advocate and acting convener of the Cleveland Civic Tech and Open Data Collaborative.
Outside of the office, Taylor is the co-founder of Stonewall Sports Cleveland, as well as a member of the Cleveland Shapers, of the World Economic Forum.
LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland
6600 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102