2019 Program Guest Speakers

Midstory’s College Internship Program and High School ThinkLab feature guest speakers through technical workshops, life-skills and soft-skills workshops, and lunch & learns throughout the summer. The lunch & learns and select other workshops are open to public—if you are interested in attending or in participating in next year’s programming, please reach out to [email protected]

Great Lakes Tonics, home of Boochy Mama’s Probiotic Tonic, was formed in January of 2015 by Toledo native Stacy Jurich. Stacy learned how to brew kombucha while residing in a sustainable eco-village in Hawaii in 2010. Her intrigue in fermentation and understanding of the health benefits of kombucha lead her to continue brewing once back in Toledo. After a few more years, she was selling kombucha to friends of friends and decided a business was organically underway.

Her first project in Toledo was co-founding Toledo Choose Local with a group of business owners and community leaders. This non-profit was formed to promote locally owned independent businesses and to educate about the economic importance of choosing local.

Stacy Jurich

Field Trip: Boochy Mama
06.11.19, 1:00pm

Amanda Held

Field Trip: HOOVES
06.14.19, 1:00pm

Toledo born, Amanda Held is a certified stress coach and certified equine specialist, who creates programs and custom workshops using a wide variety of new and unique personal development methods, based on real life experiences, to help people and teams overcome stress, embrace change and achieve success. A lifelong equestrian, Amanda is a veteran with 16 years combined service in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard, who has personally overcome PTSD. She founded HOOVES with a vision to reach out to other veterans and share her healing experience. Since founding her non-profit HOOVES in 2009, she has helped over 250 veterans and their family members with healing from PTSD, grief and reintegration struggles. She has also rescued and rehabilitated over 100 horses, 10 of which were wild mustangs. Amanda currently resides in Grand Rapids, Ohio with her husband Justin, daughter Joelle and son Trenton.

HOOVES is driven by a single goal; to do their part in rescuing horses and enlisting them to help servicemen and women heal, regain control and return to the life they fought to protect. Their decision making process is informed by comprehensive empirical studies and high quality data evaluation. They strive to build productive relationships and make a positive impact with all of their pursuits.

John Dewees is the Supervisor of Digital Services at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. He works in the Local History Department and oversees digitization, archival work and more. He led an archival research session with the Midstory students in preparation for their individual projects and stories throughout the summer.

John Dewees

Field Trip: Toledo Lucas County Public Library
07.05.19 1:00pm - 4:00 pm

Tedd Long

Field Trip #4: Glass City & Regional History Tour
07.09.19, 10:00pm

Tedd Long is the CEO of Managed Care Advisory Group, a revenue recovery consulting firm. He has been a member of many local boards, and is very involved in Toledo’s history and culture. He is also a writer, photographer and local historian who has been studying Maumee valley history since 1988. He is the author of numerous articles and manuscripts, including histories of Toledo-area neighborhoods, industries, and places of worship. He most recently curated an award-winning history exhibit for the ProMedica Headquarters and designed the newly-opened Toledo History Museum located in the Valentine Building. Long hosts an annual regional tour for Leadership Toledo and serves as a step-on guide for Destination Toledo.

The son of an entrepreneur, Mike owned his first business plowing snow when he was in high school and started another company in college. Mike joined the family business, Hart Associates, in 1983. His father and business partner, Tom Hart, died in 1998.

Mike has a strong sense of community. He makes time to serve on the boards of The Trust Company of Toledo, the Catholic Community Foundation of Northwest Ohio, The Toledo Area Sanitary District, Imagination Station’s Science Society and Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. And, he is co-chair of Toledo’s Distinguished Clown Corps, which performs and raises funds to defer the cost of the city’s Downtown Holiday Parade.

He is an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Multimedia, Marketing and Communications category for the Central Great Lakes Region. Mike also has served on the boards of the Press Club of Toledo, The University of Toledo’s Center for Family Business, the Toledo Area Small Business Association (TASBA) and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northwest Ohio plus many more.

Mike is a graduate of Bowling Green State University. He and his wife, Kelly, are the parents of a son, Zachary, and a daughter, Shannon.

Mike Hart

Field Trip: Hart Inc.

Bob Howell

Field Trip: SSOE

Bob Howell began his career with SSOE in 1980. During his tenure, he worked his way up from a draftsman trainee through draftsman, designer, senior designer, and project manager. He was named an associate in 1990.

In 1993, Bob helped “kick start” the firm’s food sector. He was named a principal in 1999, ultimately taking the helm of all Industrial Process Operations in 2004. Under his leadership, the Industrial Operations group grew significantly–adding a number of Fortune 500 and international clients to the company’s roster. Bob moved into an International Operations position in late 2008 to support SSOE’s expansion globally, specifically in Asia, where he assisted in growing our Shanghai office into SSOE’s second largest office at the time and initiated our acquisition of NKS / d-Tech in India. In October 2009, Bob was named Chief Operating Officer, responsible for SSOE’s global operations.

In 2006, Bob was elected to SSOE’s Board of Directors and served as Chairman from December 2007 to December 2012. Due to term limits, Bob relinquished his Board seat in 2013 and became a non-voting Board Advisor. He was re-elected to the Board in December of 2013 and now serves in a permanent capacity during his tenure as CEO. Bob serves on a number of community boards and was recently honored by EY as a finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year award for Michigan and Northwest Ohio.

Betsy has nearly 20 years of experience marketing the architecture, engineering, and construction management industry. In her role, Betsy oversees a lean, focused, and energetic department of B2B marketers responsible for all marketing, communications, and public relations functions. She builds awareness of and shapes SSOE’s brand through various marketing communication channels and also oversees business planning, account management, and the proposal process. Betsy joined SSOE as a student intern in 2000. Graduating from the University of Toledo in 2001, she has served in various positions, rising through the ranks of the marketing department to become Director of Marketing in 2015.

Betsy Hurner

Field Trip: SSOE

Michael Murray

Lunch & Learn
06.18.19, 1:00pm

Michael Murray is a Toledoan born in 1944 and raised in the South Side. He has a background in advertising and marketing and always has an interesting story to share. He is also an artist, using cars as his canvas. He even pinstriped the oldest Ford known to exist and the 20 millionth Ford created. After owning a bench advertising company, he then got into real estate, where he has been extremely successful. He has spent 40 plus years as a Real Estate Agent/Broker and is also a licensed auctioneer. He also owned 2210 Robinwood Avenue, in the Old West End, which used to be the home of John North Willys, owner of the Overland Car Company (which we know today as Jeep). Murray was an active part of the Old West End, and was president of the Old West End Association in 1985.

Jim Witter is the program coordinator and naturalist at Wood County Parks. A Toledo native, he became interested in birds in 2nd grade and wrote in journal entry in 5th grade that stated that he wanted to be a naturalist. He graduated with a degree in biology from the College of Wooster and then completed internships and seasonal work in Pennsylvania and Ohio, with Toledo Metroparks and the Ohio Division of Wildlife before becoming a naturalist at Wood County Parks and moving to the coordinator in 2014.

Jim Witter

Lunch & Learn: The Story of the Swamp
Natural and Cultural History from the Ice Age until Today
07.3.19, 12:00pm

John Burchfield

Lunch & Learn: Dreaming Up and Living Out Your Future
07.8.19, 12:00pm

A native Toledoan, John Burchfield fell in love with wild weather at a young age. The winter weather, severe storms, and temperature swings of northwest Ohio captivated his interest. As a young aspiring meteorologist, John tuned into WTOL for the latest information on the weather. In high school, John toured the WTOL studio and met some of his future co-workers. Inspired by his childhood role models, John built a green screen in his basement and uploaded local weather forecasts to YouTube. In high school, John attended a summer weather camp at Penn State University and constructed a tornado simulation chamber for a science research project. John's childhood experiences in meteorology culminated in four years at Cornell University studying Atmospheric Science. While in college, John served as a fill-in meteorologist for WENY in Elmira, New York and interned at his future workplace, WTOL. When John graduated, he earned his first professional on-air gig as a meteorologist for ABC21 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a neighboring city to Toledo. In June, he started working at his hometown station.

When John isn't sharing weather updates on-air and on social media, he enjoys pursuing his passion of running. Last October, John ran a 50 mile trail ultramarathon to raise money for his late Grandpa Burchfield, who passed away from Parkinson's Disease, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Coming off a stress reaction, John successfully recovered in time to run the Boston Marathon, raising funds for the Wounded Warrior Project. And this October, John will race the Indiana Trail 100, a 100 mile trail ultra at Chain O' Lakes State Park. Running is a hobby John shares with his family, including his mom, dad, and younger brother and sister. John's parents still live in Toledo. John hopes to use his platform for WTOL to keep people safe during inclement weather and inspire change in Toledo.

Keith Instone is a user experience consultant with 30 years of experience, specializing in helping organizations start, grow, and mature their user experience practice through apprenticeship, coaching, and mentoring. He got his start doing research at BGSU, then the web came along in the 90’s. He got into information architecture and then worked on one of the first web-based design systems at IBM. Lately, he has turned his focus on local issues, such as the role of technology design in the Toledo regional economic future.

Keith Instone

Lunch & Learn: Storytelling for User Experience
Planning, Designing, and Evaluating Digital Experiences
07.10.19, 12:00pm

Molly Thompson

Lunch & Learn #3: Square One
A Crash Course in Experiential Entrepreneurship
07.12.19, 12:00pm

From the moment her feet hit the floor in the morning, Molly Thompson is constantly thinking about how to implement big ideas, challenge the status quo, and inspire others. Molly’s DNA is made up of equal parts entrepreneurship, strategy and service.

Molly’s particular brand of entrepreneurship is experiential. Her framework for success includes creating/following a defined process, focusing on what you do best and understanding what value you provide (and for whom), building relationships on quality interactions and taking action (#talkischeap)…and measuring the heck out of everything. She uses and teaches iterative systems thinking tools such as the business model canvas to help startups create and measure their progress.

Molly’s results include founding/co-founding seven companies; investments in three start-ups; and serving on numerous boards. She has raised nearly $3 million and successfully rebuilt previously struggling programs. She has mentored dozens of food, tech, and arts-related startups and created a curriculum for entrepreneurship in urban agriculture at a local college.

Currently, Molly is co-founder of Perrysburg Energy Solutions, a full-service LED lighting company she and her husband started in 2016. Her most successful “startup”? Avery and Jack, 16-year old twins, co-founded with her husband, Scott.

Trained as a historical archaeologist, Erin has worked in cultural resource management since receiving her MA in Anthropology from Western Michigan University in 2010. Toledo Revival started out as an Instagram account and was supposed to eventually become a blog to document the updating and decorating of the 1923 Tudor Revival that Erin and her husband purchased when they relocated to Toledo along with their little girl and cat in the spring of 2015. But before that blog ever launched, the meaning of Toledo Revival started to shift. Enamored with Toledo's incredible historical architecture, Erin began to look for ways to practice and advocate for historic preservation as a tool for redevelopment and revitalization in her adopted city. In January of 2017 with the purchase of the Hotel Royal property she launched Toledo Revival, not as house rehab and design blog, but as a real estate redevelopment and cultural resource management consulting company. In 2018 she co-founded a new non-profit dedicated to historic preservation education and advocacy, Preserve! Toledo.

Erin Claussen

Lunch & Learn: Preserving Toledo
An Introduction to HP in the Glass City
07.16.19, 12:00pm

Dave Zenk


Lunch & Learn
07.24.19, 12:00pm

Dave Zenk is the executive director of Metroparks Toledo, where he has helped secure $40 million in grants, which has allowed Metroparks to grow and develop over 12,000 acres of land. He also oversaw the development of the agencies’ comprehensive plan, developed the “10 parks in 10 years” and “A park within 5 Miles” strategy, and manages park planning, construction, maintenance, land acquisition, and programming, and more.

Zenk holds a masters degree in public administration, specializing in organizational development, from BGSU and a bachelor of science from The Ohio State University. He also completed a one-year program focusing on leadership in Preston, England, and also is a graduate of the National Recreation and Park Association’s director school.

The Toledo Symphony’s Principal Second Violin, Merwin Siu also serves as the Artistic Administrator for the Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts. Alongside his work at the TSO, Merwin enjoys creating festival experiences for Toledo audiences. With his counterpart at the Toledo Museum of Art, Scott Boberg, he has implemented annual music marathons, culminating in this year’s 4(19) Festival. Merwin has made numerous solo appearances with the TSO and regularly performs recitals and chamber music throughout the Midwest.

An enthusiastic teacher, Merwin works with students at the University of Toledo, the Toledo Symphony School of Music, and his private studio. A regular participant on Toledo SymphonyLab, the TSO’s weekly podcast, he also hosts the TSO’s pre-concert conversations.

Merwin holds a Masters in Music from Indiana University and degrees from McGill University. He lives in Ottawa Hills with his wife, Kimberly, and their sons Kai and Matthias.

Merwin Siu

Lunch & Learn:
07.25.19, 12:00pm

Scott Boberg

Lunch & Learn:
07.25.19, 12:00pm

Scott Boberg is the manager of Programs and Audience Engagement at the Toledo Museum of Art.

Vincent Rocha is the owner and director of VCREATIVE, a local marketing and advertising firm. He has worked with clients such as the University of Toledo, the Toledo Police Department, Mercy Health and more.

Chrys Peterson

Lunch & Learn: The Business of YOU
Personal Branding and Professionalism with Chrys Peterson
07.29.19, 12:00pm

For 20 years, Chrys Peterson was the face of WTOL news, anchoring the 5, 6 & 11 PM newscasts. She was inducted into the Associated Press Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2014, and has earned six Emmy Awards and four coveted Edward R. Murrow awards for her storytelling.

In 2014, Chrys retired from television news and started a leadership and communication consulting business. She has a master’s degree in organizational leadership and is proud to use 32 years of TV News and community leadership experience to help ProMedica Health System and other local companies and nonprofits.

Chrys is active in the community, serving on the Lourdes University Board of Trustees and the Toledo Police Foundation board, is president of the Press Club of Toledo, and has served as Honorary Chair for the NW Ohio Komen Race for the Cure for 25 years. She has also been involved with the 20 Under 40 Leadership Awards for 23 years.

Adam Cassi is the Executive Director of Keep Toledo/Lucas County Beautiful (KT/LCB). In this role he partners with the City of Toledo, the Lucas County Solid Waste Management District, and other area organizations to provide adult and youth education programs focusing on proper recycling, litter preventions, and environmental stewardship. Additionally, KT/LCB assists with litter cleanups, administers an adopt a street/road program, and assists with large event trash and recycling logistics.

Adam has his degree in Restoration Ecology from Defiance College, spent a semester studying in Queensland Australia, and interned with the Bureau of Land Management in Wyoming. He has held numerous positions at outdoor education centers, was the Director of Events and Facilities at a local college, and has worked for the Toledo Zoo.

Adam’s career has allowed him the opportunity to facilitate teambuilding and leadership programming for high school and college/university teams, as well as grassroots startups, government entities, and Fortune 500 companies.

Adam Cassi

Lunch & Learn: Trash Talk
Green Living with Adam Cassi 07.31.19, 12:00pm

Jerry Schnepp

Guest Workshop: Design Thinking
06.26.19, 1:00pm

Jerry Schnepp is a technologist, designer and creative problem-solver. He is an Associate Professor of Visual Communication Technology in the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering at Bowling Green State University. He teaches courses in Interactive Media, User Experience and Digital Photography. In addition to teaching, he researches in the areas of accommodations for the Deaf and technological pedagogy. He is also the director of the Collab Lab: a hands-on, creative space for students and faculty to engage in collaborative work. Its goal is to support teams of innovators working together to conceive, create, develop and refine new ideas that leverage the unique talents inherent in the university community.

Jerry has a Ph.D. in Computer Science and a masters in Human-Computer Interactionfrom DePaul University, and a bachelor’s degree in Communication from The University of Illinois.

Anna Toney, a Toledo Native, is the current executive director at Leadership Toledo. Moving back to the area in 2011, Anna was a participant in the Leadership Toledo class where she discovered her passion for the nonprofit world, the NW Ohio region and celebrating all that it has to offer. In 2012, she was hired as the program coordinator for the organization; eventually becoming the program director for Youth Leadership Toledo. At that time, she also began her master’s in organizational leadership at Lourdes University, graduating in 2014. After five years with LT, Anna was hired as only the third executive director in the organization’s 38 year history. Since taking on that role, Anna is taking action to keep the vision of cultivating a community of leaders, both youth and adults, in the Toledo Region. Anna lives in Toledo with her husband and two daughters Emma and Maxine ages 3 and 2.

Anna Toney

Guest Workshop: Value-Driven Leadership
07.1.19, 10:00am

Philipp Levering

Guest Workshop: Value-Driven Leadership
07.1.19, 10:00am

Philipp Levering is a proud lifelong Toledoan. He is a graduate of St. Francis de Sales High School and the University of Toledo with an undergraduate degree in Communication & Broadcast Journalism. Phil began his career as a broadcasting contractor with various outlets, having stories aired locally and nationally, including on ABC Sports and ESPN 2. He is also an “Emmy” Award winner with a co-producer for their work in production and journalism with the University of Toledo in 2010. Phil moved into education with St. John’s Jesuit High School & Academy, serving as a teacher, campus minister, administrator, and head rowing coach for the nationally ranked Titans from 2011-2018. He is “new” to the Leadership Toledo team, having celebrated one year with the company. Phil is empowered by the work to empower and elevate young leaders in our community through LT’s various community-minded programs.

Tiffany Richmond holds a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition from Bowling Green State University. She received her M.A. degree in Literature, Certificate in the Teaching of Writing and B.A. degree in English Literature from The University of Toledo, in 2012 and 2009 respectively. Her research areas include nineteenth century missionary women's rhetoric and appropriation of rhetorical space in Victorian literature. She is deeply interested in the revitalization efforts for the Toledo region and a proud supporter of community initiatives that offer local, holistic approaches to rebuilding this portion of the Rustbelt.

Tiffany Wang

Guest Technical Workshop: Delving into the Archives
An Exploration into the Region’s Past to Re-interpret the Present
07.5.19, 1:30pm

Jake Spencer

Sparr Games

Guest Workshop: Storytelling through Game-Making
07.8.19, 10:00am

A father of three crazy kids, Jake thrives in high pressure positions supervising the activities of creatives. As the writing half of Sparr Games, Jake has been responsible for creating their games before they reach the design stage. His favorite game that he hasn’t helped create is Secret Hitler by the creators of Cards Against Humanity. After graduating from conservatory in New York City, and healing from heart surgeries in Louisville, Kentucky, Jake moved his family back to his hometown of Toledo Ohio where he and his wife raise their children in a life full of collaboration, innovation and playfulness.

I am a native Toledoan who at the age of 18 landed at Malone University with a soccer and track scholarship and a pursuit in nursing. I made trips to Kenya, Africa and had it set in stone to live the rest of my life there. Sometimes life has different plans and I somehow ended up back in the place I tried to flee from: Toledo, Ohio. I earned multiple degrees from the University of Toledo, with the last being a post-masters degree in advanced nursing. I have worked as a pediatric nurse practitioner in both the hospital and outpatient settings. My passion is in preventative care which led me to obtain a certificate from e-Cornell’s Plant Based Nutrition Program. I have a love for my beloved city, Toledo, my true home, and as a part of Midstory, I truly look forward to working with all the interns each summer!

Lauren Uhrman


Guest Workshop: Deception in Food Advertising & Media
07.18.19, 10:00am

Crystal Phelps

Guest Workshop: Now You See Me, Now You Don’t
07.22.19, 9:30am

Crystal Phelps is the Momentum Coordinator for The Arts Commission. Momentum is a three day festival of music and art in downtown Toledo, Ohio, centered on our revitalizing waterfront. In its inaugural year Momentum brought over 17,000 attendees downtown while celebrating Toledo’s creative culture and supported over 100 local artists and musicians while engaging in dynamic programming that was interactive and accessible. Crystal is passionate about empowering our community through networking, collaboration, engagement, and innovative art experiences.

Crystal is an MFA graduate from Maine College of Art and has presented her performative work both nationally and abroad. Outside of the studio she actively trains at Birds Eye View Circus Space and volunteers with environmental and human rights organizations.

Nick Corbin is the creator and owner of Nick Corbin Productions, a multimedia company founded in 2010 that creates commercials, training materials, wedding films and music videos, as well as independent films written, directed and produced by Nick. He is a self-taught narrative and documentary filmmaker and musician and the creator of a documentary series, Reclaiming Spaces, about the revitalization of downtown Toledo, Ohio. He has also shot and edited nearly every Smashing Toledo video since 2014.

Nick has a bachelor’s and master's degree in English Literature, an associate degree in psychology, and a graduate certificate in teaching composition.

Nick Corbin

Technical Workshop: Story is King
06.26.19, 10:00am

Haley Taylor

Technical Workshop: Podcasting
6..27.19, 10:00am @WGTE Studios

Radio Content Producer and On-Air Host Haley Taylor is a graduate of Spring Arbor University in Michigan, where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in Music (piano/voice). While at Spring Arbor, she created and administered a popular podcasting series; produced a radio news feature that won first place in the Michigan Association of Broadcasters College Awards, and was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Haley currently works at WGTE Public Media; coming to the station first as an intern, creating a 13 episode radio series that chronicled her life as a struggling, unemployed recent college grad, and now working full-time hosting 3 different classical music programs and producing the arts and culture radio series, The Rough Draft Diaries. Haley also hosts Morning Edition during the summer months and occasionally works in TV.