Posts in Features
Aprina Johnson: Transformation, Highways, and Musical Activism

I met Aprina Johnson outside of a warehouse. “You ready?” she asked. I said yes, although I wasn’t sure. I put my Subaru into drive and followed her sedan through a quick series of back alleys. We parked in a secluded area near an abandoned truck yard, and out of Aprina’s car tumbled four children plus herself. We scuttled across a road and past patches of overgrown weeds and large cement blocks, eventually making it to a highway overpass.

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‘We were the young people’: Rasleen Krupp on Youth, Activism, and Change

At just 18, Rasleen Krupp is already a political activist with an impressive list of accomplishments. She has spoken in front of thousands at Cincinnati’s Women’s March. She organized the walkout at her high school, joining thousands of other schools as they raised their collective voices to memorialize those killed in Parkland and protest for stricter gun control legislation. And she formed The Young Activists Coalition to offer a place for young people to get involved. That coalition organized the March for Our Lives and continues to hold events to educate and give a voice to teens.  

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The Molly Wellmann Mix: Shoes, Booze, Cats, and History

If you spend any time in bars in Cincinnati, you’ve probably heard of Molly Wellmann. The proud Cincinnatian, bartender, business owner, and former punk-rock girl has a wide smile and a lot of tattoos. She currently owns two bars, Japp’s and Myrtle’s Punch House, but she’s been a fixture on the local cocktail scene for roughly a decade.

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Kate Zaidan: On Dean's Mediterranean and Love Over Fear

As the new owner of the specialty food store in Findlay Market, Kate continues the legacy of a business her father, a Lebanese immigrant, started over 30 years ago. With respect for the wisdom and success of her father and the thoughtful confidence to lead the business with new ideas, new products, and new branches of business, Kate combines people, food, culture, and personal principles to create an exceptional niche in the local food world. And while navigating her new role as a young woman business owner, she’s discovering that she just might have a knack for all that leadership stuff, too.  

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‘I am Tyra Patterson.’

When we sat down with Tyra, she projected nothing but rays of positivity and beams of happiness. Outside, torrential rain and wind pounded the city, but it didn’t seem to faze her. I didn’t consider it at the time, but it occurs to me now that it’s synonymous with how she spent her sentence: gloomy circumstances, but an optimistic spirit.

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Stories Behind the Booze: We Olive Cincinnati's Leah Jones

We Olive Cincinnati is destined to be a local neighborhood spot where you can dine, drink, shop, and have a full culinary experience — and that includes enjoying cocktails made with balsamic vinegar. Leah Jones, who owns the shop with her husband Coby, chatted with Women of Cincy about her love for Cincinnati, the We Olive franchise, cocktails, and turning passions and inspirations into careers.

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Know Your Neighbor: Samira Jaweed

We drove out to the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati (I.C.G.C.) to meet with Samira Jaweed, operations manager for Rahma Community Services. We had never visited the I.C.G.C. before. Our excitement grew as the beautiful gold domes appeared in the distance. Despite being just on time for our appointment, after we parked, we paused to admire the beautiful architecture and the gold domes against the blue sky. We would later tour the I.C.G.C. with Samira and encounter many kind people and beautiful spaces, including the mosque. First, we sat with Samira in her office and talked about her journey, her experiences as an immigrant, the I.C.G.C., Pakistan, and the local Muslim community. Her kind smile, warm personality, and fascinating conversation made us happy to have her as a neighbor.

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Amy Vaughan: Above the Noise

I met Amy, managing creative director at Epipheo and city champion for the Cincinnati chapter of Women in Digital, at her office in Longworth Hall. She wasted no time introducing me to her friendly, easygoing team who immediately made me feel at home. It felt right to lounge on the big leather couch in the airy office space and dive deep into what drove Amy to where she is today. It was easy to sense how much her colleagues admired her as they passed by and smiled.

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Heather Britt on DANCEFIX, Ballet, and Breaking the Rules

We sat down with Heather Britt on a hot afternoon in July. Heather Britt is an entrepreneur and artist with a knack for bringing people together. As a professional dancer, dance educator, and choreographer, she connects communities through dance. Nowhere is this better illustrated than through DANCEFIX, a high energy dance workout that is, hands down, my favorite place to sweat away stress. Aptly named, DANCEFIX is known by students as both a drug you crave and a therapy you need.

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On Realism and Healthy Roots: Yelitsa Jean-Charles

I love people who cut to the chase: This is who I am; take it or leave it. Yelitsa Jean-Charles is one such woman. In the few months I’ve known her, I’ve grown to love our short-and-sweet exchanges at Union Hall: two tired-but-happy entrepreneurs with big dreams, high expectations, and serious sweet tooths. We finally got a chance to sit down for an interview, and the artist-turned-entrepreneur was everything I knew she’d be: snarky (her words), unapologetic, honest. Read on to meet the founder of Healthy Roots Dolls, a budding company dedicated to bringing diversity and empowerment straight to the toy aisles of America.

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Toilynn O’Neal: The Magic of Art, Science, Education, and Community

Toilynn O’Neal is fully invested in the city of Cincinnati. She’s worked at St. Ursula Academy in Walnut Hills for the past 20 years and currently serves as their director of diversity. She works for the Cincinnati Visitors Bureau, helping to develop multicultural entertainment for Fountain Square in the summer. She’s the interim executive director of the Queen City Foundation, an organization devoted to helping young people succeed. Toilynn herself benefited from QCF, and she says it’s one of the reasons she is who she is today, doing what she’s doing to elevate young women in Cincinnati and inspire them to become leaders and community change agents.

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Dora Anim: Giving Reimagined

We huddled around a table at Fountain Square amid the usual noise to find out what has driven Dora, chief operating officer at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, to all that she has accomplished. As a vibrant guitarist played and groups of friends chatted nearby, we carried on a lively conversation surrounding our communities and the strategies for addressing those that need more attention. Dora is oftentimes at the center of the community both in her professional role and personal growth experiences, but that doesn’t stop her from taking a step back to the behind the scenes action of it all.

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KellyAnn Nelson: Music Is a Superpower

KellyAnn Nelson believes in empowering people and helping them to access their superpowers through music. She is the founder and artistic director of Young Professionals’ Choral Collective of Cincinnati (YPCC), an open access nonprofit choir. YPCC has a roster of 1,100 young professionals (YPs) who sign up to sing in any or all of the organization’s three arms: 1. Non-auditioned cycles which run 6-8 weeks each; 2. Community singing, which takes place around town upon request, whether at breweries or on the steps of Music Hall; and 3. The auditioned chamber choir. KellyAnn is also the managing artistic director of the Cincinnati Boychoir. Through these dual roles, she is helping to create a community of inclusion in Cincinnati.

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Megan Fischer: Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank

I met Megan Fischer a few years ago, while she was working at an educational publishing company. She was smart and capable and sometimes had pink hair – the kind of person you suspect has interesting things ahead. When Megan started talking about a diaper bank, a term I’d never heard before, I stopped and listened. From her, I learned that diaper banks help provide diapers, a necessity for children that is not covered by any government program like food stamps or WIC. Health clinics and food banks aren’t regular sources of diapers either, so parents in need have no reliable way to get them if they’re short on cash.

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Amy Vann: Give Like a Mother

It was a very cold April morning when we sat down with Amy Vann, founder of Give Like a Mother. The air was crisp, the sun was bright, and the scenery at the Cincinnati Nature Center was absolutely gorgeous. With an inviting energy and a smile that could light up any room, Amy opened up about her childhood, the important role faith plays in her life, and her aspirations for her nonprofit organization. Here is a glimpse of her inspiring story.


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