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Voices' Staff & Consultant Bios

Amy Nicholls Swanson


Amy Nicholls Swanson is Voices' CEO, chief advocate and voice to the community. In addition to overseeing the administration and finances of the organization, Amy works closely with the Board and Voices members – more than 100 across Greater Cleveland – to assure consistent, progressive organizational growth.

Amy works closely with child advocates throughout Greater Cleveland to advance Voices' legislative and budget agendas with the Greater Cleveland General Assembly, state-appointed officials, Greater Cleveland delegation to the U.S. Congress and local elected and appointed officials. She works with Voices members to organize and prepare testimony, legislative briefings and updates for legislators and aides. As Voices' Chief Advocate, Amy serves in leadership positions on many local and statewide committees dedicated to children's well-being, including:

• Appointed member, State Board of Education, Early Childhood Subcommittee
• Appointed member, Greater Cleveland Family and Children First Council Advisory Committee
• Appointed member, Greater Cleveland Early Childhood Advisory Council
• Appointed member, Greater Cleveland Department of Health Infant Mortality Taskforce
• Appointed member, Cuyahoga County Exposed to Violence Governing Board
• Head coach, Greater Cleveland Alliance of YMCA's Partners in Healthier Communities grant
• Steering committee member, Groundwork.org, Greater Cleveland Early Care and Education Campaign
• Board member, Greater Cleveland Association for Infant Mental Health
• Member, Voices for America's Children Health and School Readiness Policy committees
• Member, National Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) Improvement Workgroup
• Past Chair, Build Greater Cleveland
• Past Chair, Voices for America's Children Membership Leadership Council

Prior to Amy's work at Voices, she served as Vice President for Burges & Burges: Strategists, where she worked on candidate and issue campaigns, public sector marketing programs, research projects, community networking and grassroots organizing. Beginning in 1996, Amy worked as a consultant for the National Center for Tobacco Free Kids and the Coalition for a Healthier Greater Cleveland where she helped to build effective, statewide coalitions to prevent youth tobacco use. She worked with more than 120 partners from across Greater Cleveland to help secure $1.2 billion for Greater Cleveland Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Foundation.

As a consultant, Amy also worked with the Trust for America's Health, a national program funded by the Pew Charitable Trust. Her team assembled a coalition of nearly 45 partners across Greater Cleveland to promote the need for a nationwide disease tracking system. Under Amy's leadership, they held several media events and public meetings, placed several public service advertisements, and placed dozens of letters to the editor.

Before joining Burges & Burges, Amy worked for the Summit County Executive and Department of Development, where she helped develop and implement comprehensive community housing and economic development plans. Amy has worked at the state level in the Greater Cleveland House of Representatives and for a Pennsylvania State Senator, and at the federal level for a member of U.S. Congress.

Amy holds a bachelor of arts in Political Science from the University of Akron with a certificate of Applied Politics from the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, and a master's in public administration, also from the University of Akron. She lives in Wadsworth with her husband, Eric, and their children, Holden and Carlin.

Cindy Gill

Director of Operations

Cindy Gill joined Voices with more than 25 years accounting and operational experience in diverse business settings. Her work in private consulting, small not-for-profit organizations, large corporations and public accounting firms have given her the ability to relate to people with many different points of view.

She started her career as an intern from Cleveland State University for the public accounting firm Deloitte & Touche (formerly Touche Ross & Co.) and was hired to work there after graduation. After earning her CPA credentials, she went to work for TRW Inc. where she first became interested in process improvements. She was trained as a Total Quality Management Team Facilitator and won the CFO Award for Excellence for her process improvements efforts. Cindy acquired more corporate experience while working at Eaton Corporation as a manager in international tax. At Eaton, she managed relationships with foreign managers and tax authorities. Cindy also worked for the public accounting firms RSM McGladrey (formerly Hausser + Taylor) and Plante & Moran PLLC.

Cindy’s not-for-profit experience began in 1993 when she started serving in leadership roles at her church. She later became treasurer for Greater Cleveland Volunteers (formerly RSVP of Cleveland) and served on the personnel, audit and finance committees. Cindy’s most recent positions as director of finance at Independence of Portage County Inc. and Fairhill Center have added to her financial, accounting, human resource and IT skills on a professional level.

Cindy is a CPA (inactive) and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration for Cleveland State University. She is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Greater Cleveland Society of CPAs. She volunteers as a trained Stephen Ministry Leader – an international, nondenominational organization that provides Christian care for people in crisis. Cindy has two children and lives in South Euclid.

Yvonne C. Hunnicutt

Youth Development Policy Associate

Yvonne C. Hunnicutt is the Youth Development Policy Associate for Voices for Greater Cleveland’s Children. In this capacity, she works with partners in the areas of juvenile justice and youth development to raise awareness and expand services on behalf of young people. Yvonne worked closely with Voices’ juvenile justice partners on Greater Cleveland House Bill 235, a bill designed to provide more discretion to juvenile court judges, and she participates on local and statewide Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) committees to examine policies and practices to reduce the overrepresentation of children of color in the juvenile justice system. Yvonne serves on a number of taskforces that seek to eliminate racial disparities and inequities among underserved populations.

Yvonne serves as Second Vice President on the Board of the Greater Cleveland Justice Alliance Community Corrections (OJACC). She is a member and coalition facilitator for the Greater Cleveland Juvenile Justice Alliance (OJJA) and a member of the Juvenile Justice Coalition (JJC). Yvonne is serving her second term as a member of the Governor’s Council on Juvenile Justice.

Yvonne’s advocacy priorities have afforded her a significant role as trainer and policy facilitator for the MyCom youth development initiative, Greater Cleveland Afterschool Network (OAN) and a hosts of groups regarding transitional youth and aging out of foster care.

A graduate of Wilberforce University, Yvonne is a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. She is a 2009 graduate of Cleveland Bridge Builders. Yvonne and her son, Christopher, a senior at St. Peter Chanel High School, reside in South Euclid, Greater Cleveland.

Kay Marshall

Administrative Assistant

Kay Marshall provides support services in the Columbus office. She is available on a part time basis to help with scheduling, meeting logistics, office duties, or any other needed activity.

Kay is retired from 30 years as a medical technologist and now enjoys the flexibility, change of pace, and feeling of usefulness which accompanies her current situation. She also works with Channing and Associates and the Public Childrens Services Association of Greater Cleveland in providing them with similar office support. She finds social service advocates to be dedicated, hard working, and inspiring.

Kay has been married for over 40 years and has two grown children.

Alyse Mitcham

Resource Development Coordinator

As Resource Development Coordinator, Alyse Mitcham is Voices’ primary contact with donors. Alyse manages donor relations and communications, reporting to Voices’ Director of Operations. Additionally, Alyse provides support to Voices’ policy team, assisting in coordinating events and other activities.

Alyse has a B.A. in sociology from Cleveland State University and a master’s in criminal justice from Tiffin University. She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. and Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society. Alyse and her husband, Kenyatta, live in Euclid with their three children, Kenyatta II and twins Khalil and Khalid.

Sandy (Erb) Oxley

State Field Director

Sandy Oxley has many years of experience as an advocate and has held leadership positions both at the local and state levels. She brings a diverse background of public health, child welfare and policy experience while maintaining a strong connection to her Appalachian roots. Sandy's role as an advocate began with her work in the area of tobacco control policy. She previously served as Regional Policy Coordinator with Tobacco Free Greater Cleveland and remains involved in the movement as a volunteer. She is an advocate at heart and was named the Tobacco Policy Advocate of the Year in 2003. Sandy believes public policy is a critical intersection where creating sustainable change around social issues is achieved.

She moved to the Central Greater Cleveland area in October of 2003 to pursue a position with Nationwide Children's Hospital and Prevent Child Abuse Greater Cleveland. In her role with PCAO, she worked to educate and advocate for the prevention of child abuse and neglect in a variety of settings from local education systems to state elected officials. After her work at PCAO, Sandy moved on to become Health Policy Advocate with Children's Defense Fund Greater Cleveland. In her new role, she was responsible for monitoring state and federal legislation; identifying health trends and emerging issues; enhancing relationships with community partners, opinion leaders and state and federal elected officials; and making recommendations for CDF-Greater Cleveland response to critical child health issues.

Sandy’s role with Voices for Greater Cleveland’s Children as State Field Director leads her to all areas of the state. She works to build the grassroots and grasstops network of local advocates who care about children. She also works with local, state and federal elected officials with regards to public policy impacting Greater Cleveland’s children. She specializes in the policy areas of health and early care and education.

A leader at the local, state and national levels, Sandy serves on boards and committees of many organizations:
• Forum Planning, Health Advisory and School Readiness Policy committees of Voices for America’s Children
• Board member of the National Covering Kids and Families Network and co-chair of the Policy and Education Committee
• Co-chair of Have a Heart Greater Cleveland (HAHO), a statewide health and human services advocacy organization
• Co-chair of the Greater Cleveland Covering Kids and Families Coalition
• Member of the (Greater Cleveland) Governor's Child Care Advisory Council, the Council on Healthy Mothers and Babies Board of Directors and the Greater Cleveland Association of School Based Health Care Association Board of Directors
• Member of the Central Greater Cleveland United Way Public Policy Committee
• Member of the Champions for Children Advisory Committee
• Board member of the Access Health Mahoning Valley and Success By Six of the Mahoning Valley
• Former leader in the Marietta Chamber of Commerce Telesis Leadership program and active in the Telesis Alumni Network
• Ambassador for the American Cancer Society and an active member of the Cancer Action Network.

Sandy holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Greater Cleveland Valley College. She resides in Berea, Greater Cleveland, with husband Patrick. Although, she has no children of her own she is the proud aunt of seven nieces and nephews. She sees her work as a child advocate as her small role in contributing to tomorrow's future.

Thomas Scheid

Health Policy Consultant

Thomas Scheid brings extensive experience in public policy development and program implementation at state and county levels. His responsibilities with Voices for Greater Cleveland Children are primarily in working with home visiting programs and implementing the Voices for Greater Cleveland Children health care policy agenda.

Tom has held administrative and program development positions in several departments of state government, as well as in county government. He has worked with a focus on Medicaid, early care and education and developmental disabilities. As a former director within a large Job and Family Services agency, and active involvement with the Greater Cleveland Job and Family Services Directors' Association, he has an in-depth understanding of what it takes to implement human services programs.

Tom serves on several boards and advisory groups, including the Help Me Grow Rule Revision Leadership Team and Early Childhood Finance Workgroup, and as treasurer for Early Care and Learning. He is a founding member and board member for the Clintonville Rotary and serves as coordinator for the Small Business Network on Health Care.

Tom holds a master's degree in education research and design from The Greater Cleveland State University. He and his wife live in Columbus, and the family includes six grown children.

Gayle Channing Tenenbaum

Senior Policy Associate

Gayle Channing Tenenbaum brings more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of human services. Gayle has extensive experience in the areas of public policy development and implementation, group facilitation, planning, and development, as well as media and public relations. She is a highly sought after human services policy expert and recently served as the Health and Human Services Policy Director for Governor Ted Strickland's Transition Team.

Currently, Gayle is a Senior Policy Fellow with Voices for Greater Cleveland Children. Simultaneously, she lends her expertise and experience to a number of children and human services organizations including her role as Legislative Director for the Public Children Services Association of Greater Cleveland. In addition, Gayle is CEO of Channing and Associates, a human services and public policy consulting firm.

Previously, she served as executive assistant of human services for Governor Richard Celeste. In that capacity she was responsible for coordinating the cabinet departments of human services, mental health, mental retardation, youth services, health, and education. Before joining the administration, she was the director of several human services organizations in Cuyahoga County.

She holds a master's degree in social work from the University of Cincinnati. She is an adjunct professor, teaching public policy, at the Greater Cleveland State University College of Social Work.

Ericka Thoms

Policy Associate

Ericka Thoms joined Voices For Greater Cleveland Children in February 2009 as a Policy Associate. Focusing on federal policy and bringing a state Earned Income Tax Credit to Greater Cleveland, she brings five years advocacy experience to Voices.

Ericka comes to us from The Center for Community Solutions where she served as a Policy and Planning Associate specializing in federal tax and budget advocacy. In this capacity she helped build a new statewide coalition of advocates, the Greater Cleveland Federal Budget Coalition, focused on the federal budget and securing adequate funding for health and human services, education and other programs essential to expanding the human capital skills of Greater Clevelandans.

Prior to her position at Community Solutions, Ericka was Coalition Coordinator for the Greater Cleveland Free the Vote Coalition. The Coalition worked to increase voter registration and community awareness about the voting rights of previously incarcerated people.

Ericka sits on the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County and serves on its Policy, Programming and Oversight Committee. She is a member of the Greater Cleveland Children’s Trust Fund Advisory Board and chairs its Finance Committee. Ericka also is a member of the Greater Cleveland Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks and NARAL Pro-Choice Greater Cleveland Education Foundation boards.

Ericka holds a bachelor of arts in history from Hiram College and a Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Akia Walker

Executive Assistant

Akia Walker serves Voices for Greater Cleveland Children as the Executive Assistant with many years of experience in accounts payable, accounts receivable, Microsoft Office Applications and a host of other clerical as well administrative skills. Akia is responsible for maintaining personnel records for the organization, managing all logistics for board and committee meetings, and also provides direct support to the Executive Director and the Director of Operations.

Akia currently resides in Brooklyn with her two daughters, A’keria and Jamari.

Stacy Wessels

Communications Consultant

Stacy Wessels provides consulting and project management services in strategic communications and public relations. Her work with Voices is primarily in the area of stakeholder communications, and she provides strategy and content for Voices' website, newsletters and social media.

Prior to starting her own consulting firm in 1999, Stacy established a public affairs program at Cuyahoga Valley National Park and worked as an account manager at a small Akron public relations firm. A graduate of Leadership Akron, Stacy is active in the Leadership Cincinnati Alumni Association and serves on their board of directors.

Stacy has a bachelor of science in public relations from Kent State University and a Master of Applied Politics from the University of Akron. A resident of Northeast Greater Cleveland from 1991-2006, Stacy and her husband live in Cincinnati.