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Essential to our program

Inspired Coaching

An essential part of being a successful leader involves the ability to be vulnerable with others about where you are headed and how you might get there. Through successful implementation at NLDP, the Mandel Foundation has learned the importance of and value in coaching. As a result, coaching during the program and post-graduation are included in the CDCLP.

CDCLP Coaches




Michael Walton


Coach, Michael Walton, has over 25 years of experience coaching individuals in business, education, social service and grassroots organizations. During his 35-year career as a consultant Michael has been a project manager, lead facilitator, curriculum designer, inside sales associate and business owner. Michael has been one of the most active facilitators of adventure-based experiential education in Northern Ohio, and has demonstrated skill in applying this methodology to a wide range of client groups. He is trained as a coach through the Weatherhead School of Business at Case Western Reserve University and CoachNet Global, and has numerous certifications, including training as a conflict management and mediation trainer by the Kent State Center for Applied Conflict Management. He has worked as a church administrator, an assistant pastor, and a chemical dependency counselor. Michael and his wife Veronica have been leaders in Greater Cleveland’s Urban Agriculture movement since its beginning, and they are strong advocates for food security and healthy lifestyles. Michael values the opportunity to interact with the CDCLP cohort members, as it gives him an opportunity to impact leaders who are making a difference in Greater Cleveland.



Strategy Design Partners

David Fitz


David Fitz is the founding partner of Strategy Design Partners (SDP). David brings 15+ years of experience working in strategy and communications development with expertise in strategy development, organizational and executive positioning, crisis communications, marketing and communications planning, and brand development to name a few. He has worked as press secretary for a former Cleveland Mayor, in media relations for the Cleveland Clinic and as the vice president of public affairs for University Circle Inc. before founding SDP. After earning his bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University, David earned a master’s in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania.



Slavic Village Development

Christopher Alvarado

Slavic Village Development

Christopher is the Executive Director of Slavic Village Development, the community development corporation that serves 22,000 residents living in the neighborhoods of Broadway Slavic Village, a five square mile area southeast of Downtown Cleveland. Slavic Village Development is a forward-thinking, service-driven organization which works with and for its residents, businesses, and institutions to promote civic engagement, community empowerment, and neighborhood investment.

Previously, Christopher was a Strong Cities, Strong Communities Fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. embedded at the City of Cleveland’s Department of Community Development where he designed and implemented projects to turn vacant land held by the City Land bank from liabilities to assets owned and improved by Cleveland’s citizens, businesses, and organizations.

In Christopher’s past capacity with the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, he focused on methodologies for sustainability, determining the economic, environmental, and social impacts of development, and coordinating environmental planning with economic development.



Ohio City Inc.

Tom McNair

Ohio City Incorporated

Tom McNair is the Executive Director of Ohio City Incorporated (OCI), a community development corporation serving Cleveland’s historic, dynamic Ohio City neighborhood. Tom is a passionate advocate for the livability, walkability, and desirability of urban places through creative, inclusive planning, sustainable smart-growth development and mass transit, and holistic placemaking. With over a decade in the field of urban development, Tom is dedicated to advancing the future of Cleveland and the urban core.

After over ten years in the corporate sector, Tom left a rewarding leadership position with Steelcase to follow his personal passion – guiding the development and preservation of sustainable, historic, equitable urban communities. In his current role at OCI, Tom leads a staff of eleven that guides the planning, promotion, and development in Ohio City, a diverse community of over 10,000 residents and over 250 local businesses. Before taking on the executive position, Tom served as OCI’s Director of Economic Development and Planning. In over four years in that role, he recruited and assisted over 70 new businesses as they opened in Ohio City, creating over 700 new jobs and reducing commercial vacancy in the neighborhood’s central business district from nearly 40% to below 2% Under his leadership, Ohio City has experienced a housing boom, with over 1,500 homes recently built or under construction, and over 800 in planning phases for the near term. Tom holds a bachelor degree in Interior Architecture and Design from Ohio University, is a native of Chagrin Falls and currently resides with his wife and two children in Cleveland’s Buckeye neighborhood.



Cuyahoga County Land Bank

Adam Stalder

Cuyahoga County Land Bank

Adam Stalder loves Cleveland, its neighborhoods and its people. His career has been dedicated to connecting neighbors and helping all neighborhood stakeholders realize their visions for their communities. Adam began his career at the Metro West where he assisted businesses and promoted the West 25th Street Corridor. While at Metro West, he developed a strong appreciation for and connection with the Latinx/Puerto Rican community helped develop the La Villa Hispana initiative. After 7 years of service at Metro West, he transitioned to the Detroit Shoreway community where he worked on affordable housing projects and administrative services. In 2020 he was promoted to Executive Director and finalized the merger between Detroit Shoreway and Cudell Improvement, Inc. In 2023, he accepted the position of Director of Community Stabilization at the Cuyahoga County Land Bank. Adam believes that committed Community Development Corporations are true agents for positive change in communities and will continue to work tirelessly to advance CDCs so that they can better serve Cleveland’s people.



Providence House

Natalie Leek

Providence House

Natalie Leek has over 30 years of experience in non-profit and corporate environments focused in business development, program design, data and outcomes measures, advocacy, marketing, fundraising, and education. Since 2001, Ms. Leek has been the CEO and President for Providence House, Inc., a non-profit family preservation crisis nursery for infants and children focused on keeping kids safe and families together.  During her 22-year tenure at Ohio’s first licensed crisis nursery, Natalie has quadrupled 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 prevention. In 2019, she and her Board launched “Giving Hope for the PHuture” – a $21 Million capital campaign to expand the organization to Cleveland’s near east side.

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

Natalie’s passion for the Providence House mission is founded in her experiences as child survivor raised in a family with three generations of single-mom households. She is an influential voice for our most vulnerable citizens and collaborative convener among local, state, and national public and private constituents who seek positive action and systemic change.

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


Blue Donald

Enterprise Community Partners

Ayonna Blue Donald

Enterprise Community Partners

Ayonna Blue Donald is vice president of Ohio market for Enterprise Community Partners. Ayonna leads Enterprise’s work across the state, advancing housing-based programs and creative policy solutions that help Ohioans achieve housing stability and economic mobility. A longtime public servant for the city of Cleveland, Ayonna served as director of the city’s Department of Building and Housing from 2017 to 2021 and most recently served as the chief of Commercial Services and Governmental Affairs for the Department of Port Control. As the director of Cleveland’s Department of Building and Housing, Ayonna oversaw the enforcement of the city’s land use ordinances; eliminated thousands of vacant and abandoned properties throughout the city; reinstated a systematic rental inspection program; established strong relationships with community leaders; and worked hand in hand with the Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition to legislate and implement a lead safe certificate program. Originally from Detroit, Ayonna first made Cleveland home when she earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. She also holds a juris doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law. Ayonna has served as the president of the Greater Cleveland Delta Foundation Life Development Center and was named a Woman of Note by Crain’s Cleveland Business in 2021.


Kent Marquez

Northwest Neighborhoods CDC

Bridget Kent-Marquez 

Northwest Neighborhoods

Bridget Kent-Marquez (she/they) is a fourth generation Clevelander who has spent their adult life fiercely dedicated to supporting the communities they operate in through a variety of mediums. Bridget is currently the Interim Executive Director at Northwest Neighborhoods, a Community Development Organization in Cleveland, Ohio. Formerly the Managing Director at Northwest Neighborhoods, Bridget oversaw the departments of Economic Development, Housing, Special Projects, Community Engagement, and Marketing and Events, serving as the neighborhood services liaison to the Executive Director. Prior to their work with Northwest Neighborhoods, Bridget was the property manager for the Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ and the Lead Street Outreach Worker with St. Paul’s Community Church, both positions that required them to have a high familiarity with the west side neighborhoods of Cleveland and trust with the residents. From living in an intentional community, to developing real estate; Bridget approaches life with a tenacious and adventurous spirit. A proud spouse and parent of two amazing children, they understand the perpetual growing and learning required to embody the best version of oneself. One would be hard pressed to find a plant that Bridget does not appreciate. Bridget seeks to cultivate community, build equity, and find joy in la vida sabrosa!

Throughout the CDCLP experience, participants will benefit from their relationship with a coach who has deep expertise and experience in the CDC sector. The CDCLP will provide consistent and ongoing post-graduate coaching to ensure that the learning from the program continues and has an impact on individual, organizational, and neighborhood needs and aspirations.