Featured Members

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Harriet Kaufman

Harriet Kaufman, WCC’s practically official photographer, came to the Woman’s City Club with a mission.

“I joined WCC in 2002 because I was looking for allies to support the implementation of the Collaborative Agreement,” she said. “Ruth Cronenberg had just agreed to be board chair.  I found a group of people in WCC who would join me to support the Agreement.”

Harriet spearheaded the WCC Collaborative Agreement Action Group. “We created several programs, educational events, etc., to support its implementation,” she said. “The Collaborative Agreement with Federal Court oversight lasted five years.  After that, the tutoring program became our focus as an outgrowth of our effort to change thinking from ‘those people’ causing problems to ‘our kids’ who are our future.  The committee’s name changed to reflect the change of focus.”

(Recently the Collaborative Agreement is being used as an example as   Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, formulate their response to the deaths of young black men at the hands of police officers.)

Harriet has a BA in English from the University of Minnesota and earned an MA in religion at Miami University in Oxford. She and her husband, Ben, moved to Cincinnati in 1967 so he could study at Hebrew Union College.
She was surprised to be honored at the 2013 Feist-Tea but didn’t let that laurel slow down her WCC activity. Her latest effort is Thriving Cincinnati.

“Susan Noonan called me to ask if I’d co-chair a committee with her to figure out a way to honor Louise Spiegel’s values of developing the civic sector in Cincinnati where all voices are heard, and options and choices for young black men are developed,” she said.

When the Thriving Cincinnati effort started, the committee was called the Louise Spiegel Committee. Harriet still uses that title on her  computer for this work. “We joined with the Status of Women Action Group committee for two reasons:  We thought that the groups that were part of the first Expo would be a good place to start for a community conversation to figure out what a Thriving Cincinnati would look like and 2) because the Expo was in need of support.  This blending of committees and  purposes continues to confuse/vex/puzzle people who want clarity and consistency.  I guess the important thing for me is that the Louise Spiegel Committee began as a separate entity — at least in my mind and understanding — and joined the Status of Women only after several months’ work.

Asked what Thriving Cincinnati hopes to accomplish, Harriet said, “I can only tell you what I hope will happen. I cannot predict or direct it, since it will evolve from  participants’ choices.  I hope for two things to happen through Thriving  Cincinnati:  1) that people will understand that all parts of our community must thrive if the community is to thrive; no part can be neglected or left out.  2) that we provide avenues for people to have one-on-one conversations, form relationships and find allies to address pressing issues in our community.”

The latest conversation was the public forum on June 17 on Inclusion in a Changing Economy.
Most meetings of the Thriving Cincinnati subgroup of the Status of Women Action Group have been held at Harriet’s home, where her homemade bread, soup and apple sauce are special treats.

The group members also get to enjoy Harriet’s wood, stone and metal sculptures that she created after taking workshops from Walter Driesback through the Art Academy’s community education program.   -Jo-Ann Huff Albers

Catherine Roma

Most of us know Catherine Roma as founder and past director of MUSE, the Cincinnati Cathy Roma the Cincinnati Women’s Choir, dedicated now for over three decades to musical excellence and social change. Before coming to Cincinnati, Cathy formed the women’s choir Anna Crusis in Philadelphia, the first feminist choir in America. She is considered one of the founding mothers of the women’s choral movement. Since then, Cathy has continued to create choral communities that reach across the barriers of race, religion, class, sexual orientation and age.

She uses music to translate the values of social justice and inclusion into our experience of community.

Some of us have had the privilege to sing under her direction in the Martin Luther King Coalition Chorale, which she co-founded, or with St. John’s Church Choir, or in the World Choir Games. All her three choirs, including her prison choir, won gold medals at the Games.

As professor emerita of music at Wilmington College and now founder and director of the World House Choir in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Cathy has been working to build musical opportunities for men and women who are incarcerated in three area prisons. She founded UMOJA Men’s Chorus at Warren Correctional in 1993, UBUNTU Men’s Chorus at Madison Correctional in 2012 and a new women’s choir HOPE THRU HARMONY at Dayton Correctional in 2014. She also established a Music, Art and Theater Academy that seeks to increase the connections of the inmates to the outside world.

In 2012 Cathy co-authored “The City that Sings,” the choral history of Cincinnati. When she retired from MUSE, the city’s mayor declared a day in her honor. Last year Cathy received the YWCA Gala Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her passion, vision, courage and perseverance. In December 2015, WCC honored Cathy as a woman at its annual Feist-Tea. ~  Nina Tolley and Jeanne Nightingale

Melissa Currence

Woman’s City Club could use 100 more young women like Melissa Currence. She totally gets that part of our mission, that part of our mission is to teach community activism, and she joined WCC to learn from some of the best. Not that Melissa Currence

Melissa was a neophyte when she joined. She had already served as president of the League of Women Voters and was on the League’s state board for two years. (She joined the League at age 18, as early as she could. You have to be a registered voter to join.) Of course, the League also offered her seasoned leaders like our own Alice Schneider (a former president of the WCC as well as the League) and Linda Wihl, former office manager of WCC. It was Linda who recommended WCC to Melissa.

“Linda talked to me about the tutoring that WCC does. I admire that and want to support it. I was also familiar with WCC through the National Speaker Series. I’ve been an admirer of WCC for quite some time.”

Melissa has joined the Membership Committee. Her focus is on getting young women, and men, to join WCC and see the value in the Club.

“When I go to committee meetings, I get shown the ropes by people who know so much. But they also listen to what I have to say. That is important to me.”

Melissa Currence works for the Greater Cincinnati Foundation as interactive media manager.

Liz Shockey

Liz Shockey Joni Baker, chair of the WCC Communications Committee, was delighted when Liz Shockey introduced herself and said she’d like to serve on the communications committee. Little did she expect to become editor of the club’s bimonthlybulletin within a few months.

Liz joined WCC through Act One in 2014. She has served on the WCC board since January 2016. “I volunteered to help edit the Bulletin, not imagining I would become managing editor for this upcoming issue, (May-June 2016),” Liz said. “However, I am excited to highlight WCC programs and news because I am looking forward to improving the reading experience, especially for readers who access the bulletin through email or on their mobile devices.”

A native Cincinnatian, Liz attended Oak Hills High School and also Page School in Washington D.C. for one semester. Shewas a page in the U.S. House of Representatives before they disbanded the program. “That’s a shame,” she said, “because it was a program that allowed high schoolers with no political connections,  just political interest — like me — to get a first-hand look at the legislative process.”

After graduating from Barnard College in2010 with a bachelor of arts in Economics, Liz worked and studied in South Korea and Taiwan for two years. Since moving back to Cincinnati she served as AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service toAmerica) for one year and currently works as a technical writer at Fifth Third Bank.

As an AmeriCorps VISTA, Liz served at CityLink Center, supporting the financial literacy programs and training volunteers there among other things. (According to its website, VISTA provides full-time members to nonprofit, faith-based and other community organizations to create and expand programs that bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty.)

Fitting Bulletin editing into her work and activities schedule will be tricky. Probably the most challenging part is the learning process,” she said, “because it is difficult to estimate the time needed before hand. I enjoy being involved with projects I am passionate about and tend to organize my free time around these priorities. And if nothing else, deadlines are healthy motivators.”

Liz says learning something new or solving a difficult problem gives her the greatest joy.
As an Act Once member, Her club activities have included a Cincinnati Charter Review Task Force meeting, two

meetings with international visitors with the Department of State’s International Visitors Leadership Program (This was hosted by the League of Women Voters, with WCC as a partner), and editing and compiling LWV voter guides.

She sees herself continuing to volunteer, working with people from diverse backgrounds and traveling. For now, her volunteering in the near future is in editing the bulletin.   -Jo-Ann Huff Albers

Carolyn Noe

We are excited to introduce Carolyn Noe as Act One’s most recent member. Carolyn moved to Cincinnati from St. Louis Missouri this past February to work for the University of Cincinnati as a Program Coordinator for LEAF (Leadership, Empowerment, Advancement of  Women in STEM Faculty.)

The LEAF program is an NSF-funded program that provides programming to women in STEM faculty and administrators on campus. She also runs her own non-profit, Super Heroines, Etc. and plans on starting a chapter in Cincinnati at the beginning of next year. Her mission is to empower women to embrace their “inner nerd” (“whatever that might look like for you!”) by providing events and programs for women to build their personal networks and try out new and exciting things.

Born in New York, Carolyn moved to Florida at a young age. She attended Florida State University then went onto graduate school for a degree in Museum Studies at the University of Missouri. After graduate school, she worked for a museum in Oklahoma and then returned to St. Louis to work for the Academy of Science for three years. She was married this May after five years of being in a long-distance relationship, another reason for moving to Cincinnati. She is currently working on a certificate in web development with intentions of eventually moving into a tech career or even starting her own business. Ideally, she would like to do web development and consulting for non-profit organizations.

Being new to the area, she believes that joining Act One and being involved in two civic organizations will help her meet people and make new connections so she can feel part of the Cincinnati community. She is also interested in learning more about local issues and how she can make a difference. Since she enjoys working with middle and high school students and has a lot of experience planning and developing programs, she would love to work with that age group again.  ~ Jeanne Nightingale

Jo-Ann Huff Albers

Jo-Ann Huff Albers, a native of Cain’s Store,    Kentucky, now retired, has lived in Cincinnati most of her life, earning a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting at Miami U. and an M.Ed. at Xavier. Her longest absences were five years to work at Sturgis Journal in Michigan and Chambersburg, Pa.’s Public Opinion (as editor and publisher), Gannett’s USA Today and headquarters (as general news executive); and 20 years in Bowling Green at Western Kentucky University, first as head of the Department of Journalism and then founding director of the WKU School of Journalism & Broadcasting.

Jo-Ann, 79, returned to Cincinnati in August 2007 to be closer to her mother and grandchildren. She is married to Henry “Bud” Albers, has two sons in their 50s, one grandson and three granddaughters.

As women’s clubs editor of The Cincinnati Enquirer for seven years, she covered the Woman’s City Club, attended many of its Friday civic luncheons and said, “If I ever join a women’s club, it will be WCC because it isn’t into busy work. It’s so significant and relative to life in Cincinnati.” She joined in 2008. Her club involvement started when Ruth Cronenburg invited her to be on the Feist-Tea committee. She’s now also on the Status of Women action group and its Thriving Cincinnati subcommittee, hospitality and communications committees, and helps with editing the website. “I’m going to have to learn to say ‘No’,” she said.

Nevertheless, Jo-Ann reads part of The Enquirer on Friday mornings for the radio station operated by the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She was its Radio Volunteer of the Year for 2016. She was also national president of Women in Communications and the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, a 27-year member of ACEJMC (Accrediting Committee) and was named the 2000 Freedom Forum Journalism Administrator of the Year. She’s been active in the Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS) since 1987. We are so honored to have you as member of Woman’s City Club, Jo-Ann.~ Jeanne Nightingale, editor


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