Meet the Board & Staff
The CCAC Board has approached its startup, mission, renovation planning, and sustainability planning with a level of diligence typically applied to for-profit corporations. The Prospective Project Review report conducted by the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission states, “From the information given in the Business Plan, the Board of Directors for the CCAC appears to have the expertise of a financially healthy organization” and “appears to contain members with requisite experience in fundraising, construction, legal and financial disciplines, among others.”
The Board’s careful, collaborative approach to planning has propelled CCAC forward continuously since 2004 and is evidenced by its relationships with established arts organizations, strategic partners, and community leaders.
Leslie Mooney – Executive Director
Leslie Mooney joined CCAC in October 2013 as the second executive director in its history. Leslie has several years of experience in non-profit and museum management, having been Director of Development of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center prior to her time at CCAC. After completing her bachelor’s degree in history at Georgetown College, Leslie lived in Temuco, Chile where she taught English. She has held research and education positions at the US Department of Justice and the Boston History & Innovation Collaborative. She received her master’s degree in Public History from Northeastern University, with a focus in non-profit management and women’s history.
Her passion for the arts began at a young age surrounded by a family who was always singing and performing. She was a member of several community productions in and around her hometown of Dixon, Kentucky as a child and received a partial theater scholarship to Georgetown College. Leslie began her career in educational programs and exhibition interpretation and has a personal mission to educate, connect and inspire communities to create a deeper and more fulfilling human experience.
In addition to her love of art and theater is a love of sports, food, and wine. She is an avid fan of FC Cincinnati, the Reds (and Red Sox), the Bengals (and, alas, the New England Patriots). Her husband, Brendan, is a Massachusetts native, chef, and father extraordinaire to their four sons: Graeme, Colin, Quinn, and Eamon. They happily reside in Clifton.
You can reach Leslie at email@example.com.
Emalene Benson – Program Manager
Emalene joined CCAC in July 2013. She holds a bachelor’s degree in arts administration from Bellarmine University as well as a CTEFL from Via Lingua. Emalene has over a decade of arts administration and education experience, previously working for both the Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center in Louisville, KY and the New British Centre in Rome, Italy. A Northside resident, she co-chairs the Northside House Tour and recently joined the board of the Northside Community Council. She channels her creative energy into yarnbombing with the Bombshells of Cincinnati and taking classes with DANCEFIX by HBDC.
You can reach Emalene at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debbie Ollinger Bernloehr – Finance Manager
Debbie joined the CCAC in February, 2016, and manages various financial and development responsibilities. Debbie was born and raised in Cincinnati, but also lived in New York and Chicago while she pursued her Marketing career. She previously worked as a Brand Manager at Quaker Oats and H.J. Heinz, then shifted gears to become an Account Director at LAGA, a package design firm in Cincinnati.
She became a stay-at-home mother when her second child was born, and has been busy with volunteer activities ever since. She currently volunteers with the Cincinnati Zoo, and has previously held leadership positions with the Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Kindervelt and various community groups and school organizations.
She received her undergraduate degree in International Business from Hofstra University in New York, and her MBA from Indiana University. She is the proud mother of three grown children and has been married to her husband, John, for over 25 years.
Debbie has always been interested in working with a non-profit and is thrilled to be part of an organization that is so dynamic, educational and just plain fun. Its focus on the arts and outreach to the community is a treasure for the entire city of Cincinnati.
Yaye Keita – Education Coordinator
Yaye came to this country at the age of 6 as a Liberian-Guinéen refugee of war and has used education as the cornerstone of her life, ensuring she learns as she goes. She recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Community Engagement and is fluent in six languages. She has a passion for cooking and family life, spending her spare time in the kitchen with her husband, where they have a friendly competition over who is the better chef. (Their two children, ages one and three, act as the judges.) She also loves spending time with friends and loved ones at social events like weddings and baby showers within the Malien community. She believes all things are possible in the world through education, patience, and love.
You can reach Yaye at email@example.com.
John Leo Muething – Marketing and Development Manager
John Leo joined CCAC in October 2021 after a lifetime of love for theater and the arts. He completed his Bachelor of Science at the University of Durham in northeast England and received a Professional Fundraising Certificate from Boston University. He has five years of nonprofit experience, previously working at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Ohio Valley Voices, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. His marketing knowledge comes from providing freelance support to organizations like Matinee Musicale in Cincinnati and an Australian science website.
You can reach John Leo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emily Versoza – Gallery Coordinator
Emily Versoza joined the CCAC team in July of 2017. Previously, Emily attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati, graduating in 2013 with a degree in Fine Art and Art History, and dedicated much of the years in between to cultivating her own studio practice. Born and raised in Clifton, Emily is delighted to be able to be a participant (in a more behind the scenes capacity) in the arts community of Cincinnati.
Outside of her duties as Office coordinator, Emily can be found traveling with her husband Joey, compulsively researching future travel, pursuing carbohydrates, or participating in a wide spectrum of visual culture.
You can reach Emily at email@example.com.
CCAC Advisory Council
The Clifton Cultural Arts Center (“CCAC”) Advisory Council is an impartial, objective advisory body separate and distinct from the CCAC legal governing body, the Board of Directors. The Advisory Council serves to advance CCAC’s Mission and Guiding Vision.
Founder, Ross, Sinclaire & Associates
Lead Pastor, Bethel Cincinnati
Senior Program Officer, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (retired)
CEO, ArtsWave (retired)
Associate Director Worldwide Quality Assurance, The Procter & Gamble Company (retired)
Executive Director, Good Samaritan Hospital
Former Mayor, City of Cincinnati
Dean, College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning, University of Cincinnati
President & CEO, Uptown Consortium, Inc.
Mary Jo Vesper
CEO & Chairman, The Procter & Gamble Company (retired)
Senior Associate, GBBN Architects