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Luncheon Speaker Series: The Women in Industry

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"The Women in Industry" features female leaders who inspire our industry, our region and us and to speak about their journey - how it has impacted their lives and the lives of others.


Jennifer Coleman, Senior Program Officer of the Arts (George Gund Foundation)

Jennifer Coleman is the Foundation's Senior Program Officer of the Arts. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was an architect, and president for her own design firm, Jennifer Coleman Creative LLC, since 2005. Prior to that she practiced architecture with Robert P. Madison International, URS Corporation and Westlake Reed Leskowsky. She also founded, a company that creates and distributes digital audio walking tours of Cleveland.

Among her many civic endeavors, Coleman has served as chair of the Cleveland Landmarks Commission and the Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee. She also has been a member of the board of trustees of many organizations, including the Cleveland Arts Prize, the Cleveland International Film Festival, LAND studio, and the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Coleman has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University.


Melissa Ferchill, Owner/President (MCM Company)

Ms. Ferchill founded MCM Company, Inc. in 1992 as a Certified Female Business Enterprise (FBE), specializing in Development, Project Management and Construction Management Services.

Melissa oversees the daily operations of the business but focuses on marketing and client development. She plays a key role in the pre-construction and development of a project by assisting other MCM Team members in creating an individual approach to each project and to ensure that projects are delivered in a collaborative working environment.

Teresa Metcalf Beasley, Partner (Calfee, Halter & Griswold)

Teresa is experienced in bond transactions and has served as bond, underwriter's, borrower's as well as placement agent counsel, joint economic development zones and joint economic development districts, project labor agreements and diversity plans. She has represented private entities and local and county governmental agencies, including municipalities, port authorities, healthcare entities and library systems on business, financing real estate matters, construction and government relations.

Teresa has been selected as a 2017 YWCA Women of Achievement and in 2016, she was a panelist for the Union Club's Engaging Women's Committee event, "Is Your Financial House in Order? Or Things I Wish I Had Known When...". Teresa was also a panelist in the Professional Development Series presented by Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Tau Boule. She presented at the IGNITE session of the women's mentoring luncheon hosted by the International Economic Development Council's Annual Conference. In December 2016, Teresa was inducted into the Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School Hall of Fame.

Terri Hamilton Brown, Regional Vice President of Development (The Community Builders, Inc.)

Terri's distinguished career includes executive and board positions in banking, housing, community development, economic development, nonprofit community organizations and community foundations. She joined The Community Builders (TCB) in November 2011 as Midwest regional director.

In 1990, Hamilton Brown joined the administration of Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White as deputy community development director, and was later appointed director. Under her leadership, the city of Cleveland worked with private and nonprofit developers to spur a residential construction boom in both the neighborhoods and downtown. Hamilton Brown took over as executive director of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) in 1998 and was responsible for turning around the troubled agency. During her five-year tenure, CMHA increased public housing occupancy rates, passed HUD physical inspections, produced auditable financial records and advanced plans for mixed-income new construction developments through the federal HOPE VI program. She then spent two years as president of University Circle Incorporated (UCI), where she contributed to efforts for the long-awaited UpTown mixed-use development project and collaboration with surrounding community development corporations. Hamilton Brown then joined National City Bank (now PNC) as senior vice president for corporate diversity. She served as the single point of contact for diversity and workforce inclusion programs, policies and procedures. She worked directly with the office of the chair on diversity and inclusion matters and developed community programs and activities to achieve the corporation's diversity goals. After nearly three years at the bank, Hamilton Brown returned to nonprofit service as the lead consultant for the Opportunity Corridor, a transportation and economic development project for which she laid the groundwork while at UCI.

Hamilton Brown earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Chicago and a Master in City Planning degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cindy Leitson, Vice President Capital, Construction, and Supply Management (Cuyahoga Community College)

Cynthia Leitson is responsible for maintaining, improving and repurposing existing facilities and for developing new facilities (leased and owned) and managing capital assets. She oversees services including: facilities and operations maintenance, architectural/engineering, programming and design, bidding, facility construction, facility renovation, infrastructure replacement of furnishings and equipment, site development and landscaping, new signage/wayfinding, college-wide master planning, sustainability, real estate services and asset management.

Throughout her lengthy career, Ms. Leitson has held top level executive positions in strategic management and procurement operations. Ms. Leitson joined Cuyahoga Community College in 2010 as the Executive Director of Supplier Managed Services. During her time with the College, Ms. Leitson has transformed purchasing and supply chain services. Ms. Leitson and her team have automated processes, centralized operations, improved accountability, enhanced reporting, and strengthened supplier relations - saving the College hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Ms. Leitson has also increased customer service levels to internal College consituencies and has collaborated with areas throughout the College to create solutions that meet individual department needs.

The Supplier Managed Services department, on behalf of the College, won the Product Visionary award in 2015. In 2012, Ms. Leitson was presented with the President's Award of Excellence, as Executive Director. In December 2016, the Cleveland Chapter of the AIA and the International Interior Design Association presented the Tri-C team with the Client Commitment to Cleveland Award.

Ms. Leitson's professional and organization involvement include; serving as the Tri-C representative to the Inter-University Council, Greater Cleveland Partnership, Construction Diversity and Inclusion Owner Team Member, Construction Engineering Society, COAA, Cogence, CMAA, The Gathering Place serving as a volunteer, The Temple, Tifereth Israel serving as a member volunteer.

Ms. Leitson holds a B.A. Materials & Logistics, from Michigan State University.

Register for Event  

Event Location

The City Club
850 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114
When: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

What our sponsors are saying...

“SMPS has been a tremendous resource to our company [CBLH]. It has reshaped the way we conduct marketing. All of their programs, seminars, articles and conferences have given us the ability to educate our marketing staff on the changing tactics and strategies facing our industry. Lastly, we have built relationships through all the networking opportunities SMPS offers. It only made sense to support our chapter through sponsorship as they have supported us”.

John Rach, AIA, Director of Marketing
CBLH Design, Inc.

“We are proud once again to support the local SMPS Northeast Ohio Chapter as renewing Annual Sponsor, and have been actively engaged with the SMPS NEO Chapter for over 5 years now. It has been a pleasure to be a part of the SMPS NEO family, as it has brought us closer together with the local A/E/C community and has created new partnerships with fellow SMPS'ers.”

PCS Annual Sponsor

"My membership with SMPS was gifted to me while working at Karpinski Engineering and while I was hesitant to get involved in the operations of the board, I can’t imagine life without SMPS and my fellow committee members. Volunteering has afforded me not only great professional relationships, but great friendships as well. I truly believe our board members are the best around and some of the hardest working individuals I know. In short, I joined SMPS for the educational resources and have stayed for the relationships and interaction with fellow contemporaries and the fun."

Vanessa Aron

"As someone who was new to the industry, I was inspired by the NEO board members and all the hard work and dedication they put in to provide this region with an organization that is educational, entertaining and that puts you face to face with some of the most significant people throughout the A/E/C industry. As Membership & Social Media Chair, if I can give back to others half of what SMPSNEO has given to me; my job will have been a success."

Dave Eyssen
Precision Environmental Co.

"I discovered SMPS while looking at a Properties Magazine (no plug intended) and had a discussion with the owner of my firm, Scott Maloney. He encouraged me to get involved but stressed to really be engaged and take a role in the organization to really get something out of your membership. He was right! It was easy to engage with such a great group of people but really getting involved, being a part of the organization and not just an attendee has really opened up doors and introductions that would not have been possible. Coming from outside of the A/E/C industry prior to working at K2M, SMPS really helped me to understand and grasp this dynamic industry."

Stephanie C.
K2M Design

“The Mentor/Protégé program provided me a third-party resource to help me clarify and realize some of my career goals. By working with a mentor, I was able to identify those areas where I could improve my marketing skills, but also helped me see where my strengths were of benefit to my organization. I highly recommend this one-on-one program!”

Tamara Zupancic
Tec Inc.