Posts in Features
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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Lily Turner & Anh Tran: Shaking Cincy up Together

We meet at Liberty’s Bar & Bottle, home to many of Lily and Anh’s best ideas. It’s an innocent enough starting point for a simple after-work get-together. But with Lily and Anh, a simple get-together can just as often turn into an unplanned meeting of top-tier movers and shakers planning out the next great idea for the city. I’ve been there, and it happens.

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Easterseals’ Danielle Gentry-Barth: An Awesome Struggle

Danielle Gentry-Barth, a proud Bearcat, told us to meet her in front of Mick and Mack’s at the University of Cincinnati. We settled comfortably in an office borrowed from the philosophy department, and Danielle shared her journey from a master’s degree in history to her position now at Easterseals. She frequently described her work and her life as “awesome!” She fell into fundraising right out of graduate school and has yet to fall out of it. She also told us about the work she does to help others outside of Easterseals. It was clear that helping people is in her nature.

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Easterseals’ Debbie Smith: ‘Don’t tell me no; tell me how.’

Debbie Smith’s motto is: “Don’t tell me no; tell me how.” This bold attitude has brought her to develop innovative programs that elevate Cincinnati youth out of poverty. We met her at Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati in Walnut Hills and sat down in a conference room, where she shared her story with us. She weaved advice into her stories, thoroughly demonstrating her desire to help others in any way possible.

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Tackling Hunger Differently: Meet Chef Suzy DeYoung

Suzy DeYoung is a chef with a deep culinary heritage. After studying French and business at University of Cincinnati and training as a chef in Paris, she ran a successful catering business, La Petite Pierre, with her sister. Today, Suzy runs La Soupe, a nonprofit founded to rescue food from grocery stores, farms, and food purveyors that would otherwise be wasted. La Soupe takes a chef driven approach to turn that food into healthy, nutritious meals, which are then donated to schools and community agencies throughout Cincinnati.


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Nia Baucke: Self-Care and the City

We sat down with Nia Baucke outside Clark Montessori in Hyde Park in March and kept our fingers crossed that it would be one of the rare sunny days of spring. It was a quiet morning as a nearby lacrosse practice was ending and we settled down on a bench to get our conversation started. It quickly became clear that the founder of Cypress Beauty was passionate about that project, but Nia refuses to be defined solely by her work.

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Raised By Women, Chapter 3: Emily Boyd and Lindsay Combs

Lindsay and Emily walk in a few minutes later. I haven’t seen Emily since she’s been pregnant with Macie, a baby girl due in June. With a family like this one, full of powerhouse women, Macie is sure to grow up to be one fierce lady. We sit down and reminisce for a few minutes, and the conversation turns to another fierce lady: Lindsay and Emily’s mom, Dr. Sandra Combs.

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Raised By Women, Chapter 2: Patricia Patterson

The Patterson family is a tribe of women unlike any I’ve ever met. The bond between the six fierce sisters makes it clear to any outsider that to these women, family always has and always will come first. It’s a loud family full of big feelings, big opinions, and big love, and at the head of it all is Patricia Patterson, a matriarch in the truest sense of the word. I met Dr. Sandra Combs at Roebling Point Books & Coffee on a rainy Sunday, laughing at times, tearing up at others, as she talked about the mother that made her family what it is today.


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