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Luncheon Speaker Series: Non-Profit Cultural Institutions

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

From the Rock Hall to the Zoo, Cleveland’s beloved non-profits are what makes our city go 'round. And as our city grows, so do these institutions. September’s luncheon will focus on navigating the renovation and construction process in the Cultural and Non-Profit sector. We will dive into discussion with some of our favorite non-profits in an attempt to understand the evolution of their projects and what drives the decision making process. We will gain insight to the challenges that go along with Cultural and Non-Profit projects ranging from fundraising and voting to maintaining services through completion. You will hear our panel’s personal stories of how their facilities continue to transform and impact Cleveland today. 


Paul Siemborski, Principal  |  DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky

"I've witnessed how a well-designed project can bring people together in new ways, can give a town or city a renewed sense of self, and can revitalize the local economy. If we do our jobs right, we can transform not only buildings, but communities."

Paul is instrumental in shaping the strategy for the expansion of DLR Group|Westlake Reed Leskosky's cultural and performing arts studio headquartered in Cleveland. He is an experienced architect who plays a vital role in building and maintaining relationships, assessing client needs, and initial planning and concept design. He is strongly committed to serving clients by listening to their needs and by understanding their aspirations. Paul shares his creative curiosity and his passion for community through active involvement in a number of organizations including the League of Historic American Theatres, for which he is an Officer of the Board, and as a Board Member for the Cleveland Play House. Paul is also a member of the Theatre Historical Society of America, the Cleveland Restoration Society, the International Council of Fine Arts Deans, the Gesu Parish Council, and the University Heights Planning Commission.


Natalie Leek-Nelson, CEO and President  |  Providence House

Natalie Leek-Nelson has nearly 30 years of experience in non-profit and corporate environments focused in program development, data and outcomes measures, advocacy, marketing, fundraising, and education. 

Since 2001, Ms. Leek-Nelson has been the CEO and President for Providence House, Inc., a non-profit crisis nursery for infants and children focused on keeping kids safe and families together.  During her tenure at Ohio’s first licensed crisis nursery, Natalie has tripled the organization’s service capacity and revenues, engaged broad audiences in support of her agency, and has positioned Providence House as a nationally recognized leader in child abuse prevention, family preservation, and foster care diversion.

Natalie is deeply committed to collaboration and community engagement in both the nonprofit and public sector.  She is a thought leader, educator, and advocate at the state and national level on child welfare issues and policy barriers impacting families in poverty.  She is a regular presenter and lecturer at local and national conferences and universities, and consults with a range of interested parties across the U.S. who strive to adopt the unique program model she has developed at Providence House.

Natalie Leek-Nelson is an influential voice for our community’s most vulnerable citizens and issues, and a collaborative convener in city, state, and national arenas among nonprofit, government, business and civic constituents who seek positive action and systemic change.  

Natalie has received many prestigious awards including; The Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Nonprofit Executive of the Year, Crain’s Cleveland Business Woman of Note, Smart Business News Progressive Woman, and the Community Shares Eleanor Gerson Leadership in Social Justice Award. 

A member of the Cleveland community her whole life, Natalie is currently a resident of Rocky River, married with three teen boys and enjoys work in her art studio, reading, gardening, and home renovation.

Greg Harris, President and CEO  |  Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Greg Harris is in his fifth year as President and CEO of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Museum is 22 years old and has welcomed 12 million visitors and had an economic impact of $2 billion to the region. 

As CEO, Harris has guided the organization through an era of unprecedented  transformation with a focus on innovation and customer engagement.  Under his leadership the Museum has grown attendance dramatically the last three years by executing on a strong strategic plan and focusing on the mission to engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock and roll.

Before joining the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Harris spent 14 great years as a senior executive at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., where he advanced from curating the Hall of Fame broadcast collection to serving as vice president of development. Harris's passion for music made the opportunity to shift from baseball to rock and roll possible.

In the 1980s, he and a partner founded, owned and operated the legendary Philadelphia Record Exchange, a retail store that specializes in selling rare, used and independent records. The store mirrored and amplified his love of rock, R&B, soul, blues, country, folk and other musical genres. He also served as a road manager for a national touring group and played bad guitar in garage bands.

A native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Harris holds a B.A. degree in history from Temple University and a master’s degree from the Cooperstown Graduate Program for History and Museum Studies. 

As CEO, Harris has guided the organization through an era of unprecedented  transformation with a focus on innovation and customer engagement.  Under his leadership the Museum has grown attendance dramatically the last three years by executing on a strong strategic plan and focusing on the mission to engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock and roll.

Sean McDermott, Chief Planning and Design Officer  |  Cleveland Metroparks 

As the Chief Planning and Design Officer, Sean is responsible for long range strategic planning in concert with design and construction of the Metroparks capital improvements throughout the Park District and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  Prior to joining the Metroparks in 2013, Sean managed retail, commercial and multi-family projects nationwide for a Cleveland based real estate developer.

Sean holds a Bachelors of Civil Engineering from the University of Dayton and a Masters of Urban Planning, Design and Development from Cleveland State University, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs.  He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Ohio, a volunteer and past president of LakewoodAlive, a New Village Corporation board member, and a member of the 2015 Cleveland Bridge Builders class. 

Jeremiah Swetel, Chief Operations Officer  |  Cleveland Public Library

Jeremiah Swetel is the COO of the Cleveland Public Library where they are in the process of completing a Facilities Master Plan which will begin implementation in 2019. Jeremiah has also been involved in public sector (non-profit) infrastructure and new building construction projects for over 16 years as well building Operation and Maintenance standardization.

Jeremiah currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Vice Chair of the Ohio Public Facilities Maintenance Association.


Register for Event  

Event Location

City Club
850 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Phone: 2166210082
When: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Event Sponsors

Tec Inc. Engineering & Design
Thompson Hine/PMC

Sponsor the Event

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.