Speaker Bios – National Philanthropy Day

Lindsay Marciniak
Senior Vice President
CCS Fundraising

Lindsay has 15 years of experience helping nonprofit organizations acquire the resources they need to fulfill their missions and positively impact our communities – locally, nationally, and globally. Her efforts and leadership have resulted in nearly $1 billion in philanthropic support secured for her clients across all nonprofit sectors. As illustrated by her fundraising record, she is an expert at designing and directing comprehensive campaigns, implementing major gifts programs, leading initiatives to build fundraising capacity, and developing strong relationships with senior leadership, staff, board members, and donors.

As Senior Vice President of CCS Fundraising, Lindsay serves on the firm’s leadership team, identifying innovative and unique ways to serve clients, managing and mentoring staff members across the country, and analyzing industry trends. Lindsay brings to every engagement a big-picture perspective and a hands-on approach.

Lindsay has led marquee projects for the firm and supports her clients to realize some of the largest philanthropic gifts in their histories. She has had the privilege of partnering with more than 20 organizations in Ohio, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cuyahoga Community College, United Way of Greater Cleveland, The Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland, Diocese of Cleveland, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries, Vocational Guidance Services, City Club of Cleveland, Hawken School, and Healthnetwork Foundation. On a national and international level, she is proud of her work with Feeding America, Lions Clubs International Foundation, and Kiwanis International.

Lindsay is a skilled instructor and facilitator. She regularly presents on fundraising topics to clients, board members, and development professionals across the country. Lindsay serves as a guest lecturer at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Nonprofit Executive Programs.
Lindsay earned a Master of Public Affairs with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with honors from John Carroll University in Cleveland. Lindsay in co-located in Chicago and Cleveland.

Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton
President Emeritus
Cuyahoga Community College

Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton served as President of Cuyahoga Community College, the largest and oldest community college in Ohio, since 1992. She retired June 28, 2013 as President and was presented with the title of President Emeritus. During her tenure, the College became a leader in educational innovation, workforce training and economic development. She is recognized as “one of the 50 most influential people in Northeast Ohio.”

A native Kentuckian, she earned bachelors and master’s degrees from Murray State University (Kentucky) and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a graduate of Harvard’s Institute for the Management of Lifelong Education. She holds honorary doctorates from the College of St. Catherine (Minnesota), as well as Youngstown State University, Cleveland State University, The University of Toledo, and Baldwin Wallace College, all of which are located in the State of Ohio.

Dr. Thornton began her higher education career as an English faculty member at Triton College in Illinois. While at Triton College, she had a progression of leadership/administrative positions beginning with Assistant Dean of Liberal Arts, followed by Associate Dean of University Transfer, culminating in the position of Dean of Arts and Sciences. In 1985, she became President of Lakewood Community College in Minnesota and continued in that role until she was named to President of Cuyahoga Community College in January 1992. Among her many leadership activities include working internationally to help develop the community college concept in the Netherlands, China, United Kingdom, Jordan, and Qatar.

In the spring of 2011, Dr. Thornton was appointed co-chair of the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, a national task force convened by the American Association of Community Colleges. The challenges of the 21st Century demand unprecedented vision, ingenuity, courage, and focus from community colleges and their partners in the education, policy, business, and philanthropic arenas. The Commission is charged to set forth a bold vision for the future priorities of these essential institutions, with related recommendation for attaining that vision.

Dr. Thornton serves on many boards, some of which include University Hospitals Health Systems; The Playhouse Square Foundation; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum; Applied Industrial Technologies, Inc.; Republic Powdered Metals, Inc. (RPM, Inc.); Marine Corps University (Quantico); Community College Leadership Advisory Board; and the Gates Foundation Next Generation Learning Challenges Advisory Board.

Among her many awards and honors are the 2014 American Association of Community Colleges’ Community College Leadership Award; the 2014 Diverse Issues in Higher Education Diverse Champions Award; and the 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 2014 Community Service Award for Outstanding Achievement, presented by the Cleveland Orchestra, the City of Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland Partnership.  Dr. Thornton was named one of the Top 25 Women in Higher Education in 2013.

She has also been honored with the 2012 Power Players of Cleveland presented by Smart Business, 2012 Charles Eisenman Award (Jewish Federation of Cleveland), named the 2012 Visionary Leader Award by the Society of Urban Professionals, received the 2011 Ruth Ratner Miller Award, the 2010 American Association of Community College’s Mildred Bulpitt Woman of the Year Award, the Strong Men & Women—Excellence in Leadership, American Council on Education Fellow’s Mentor of the Year Award, Best of the Best African American Female Educators (Phi Delta Kappa), Belle Sherwin Democracy in Action Award, “Spirit of Women” Community Impact Award, The Power 100—Northeast Ohio’s Most Influential People by Inside Business magazine and inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame.

Dr. Thornton is an internationally acclaimed speaker, addressing the leadership of community colleges across the globe on a variety of topics including:  high performance leadership; leading from the middle; coaching of new first-time presidents; closing the educational gap for minorities; infusing creativity and innovation in leadership; new directions when navigating murky waters; and others.

Ira C. Kaplan
Executive Chairman; Executive Committee Member
Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP

Ira focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions as well as public and private debt and equity financings.

Ira represents both publicly and privately held companies at various stages of growth. He has been involved in planning for growth companies, helping to position them for growth and liquidity. Ira also represents private equity, subordinated debt and venture funds as well as portfolio companies of such funds.

Ira is the firm’s Executive Chairman and serves as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Ira served as Managing Partner of the firm from 2008-2014. Prior to that, he served as Associate Managing Partner from 2007-2008. Ira has Co-Chaired the firm’s Corporate & Securities Group and Private Equity Group.

Ira Kaplan has represented both early stage and growth companies at various stages. He has represented biotech companies, including medical device companies and therapeutic companies, from inception through sale, including through various stages of seed, venture and growth capital funding. Ira also has represented mature companies through various stages of growth and capitalization and exit. Those companies include
service providers such as medical and dental management companies, health care IT companies, home health companies and revenue cycle management companies. He has represented both operating companies and funds in their acquisition and financing of platform companies.

Nancy McCann
Philanthropist, Cultural Arts Activist, Pioneer in Women’s Leadership

With an innate strategic and visionary mind, Nancy has become an inspirational leader in the business, civic, educational, cultural and nonprofit communities; admired, emulated and respected by men and women in these closely aligned worlds.

Nancy developed a successful marketing career with Higbee’s and Forest City Enterprises, where she gained a national reputation for truly innovative marketing. Today, Nancy expends her considerable energy enriching the Northeast Ohio community through volunteer leadership in the organizations in which she’s been involved throughout her life.

Named one of “Inside Business” 29 most Influential Women in Business, her innovations are legendary. She created the concept of “retail-tainment” way before the industry adopted the term as its marketing watchword. She brought the Cleveland Orchestra to Public Square for free concerts, an event that’s become a fourth of July tradition for 20 years. She was the first to bring Disney shows to malls. She reincarnated the comedians Abbott and Costello in bigger than life balloon form to move 40 tons of building down Times Square to create a new venue, an event covered by media around the world.

She is President & Treasurer of the John P. Murphy Foundation, supporting the arts and culture community and higher education in Northeast Ohio, and the Kulas Foundation, supporting a passion for music, and a commitment to music therapy research. She is a Board Member of the Musical Arts Association, and Chair of the Fundraising Committee. She serves as a Board Member for Cleveland State University, and led the successful Scholarship Campaign, “Radiance.”