About Soapbox

Soapbox features stories of people and initiatives in the Cincinnati region that are changing our community and economic development through equitable transformation.

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Soapbox is published by Issue Media Group, whose publications are supported, in part, by underwriting and partnerships with local businesses, institutions, nonprofits and foundations that support and expand our coverage of community and economic development, social innovation, city building and place making. Learn more about our underwriting policy here.

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A brief overview of the Soapbox crew:

Publisher: Patrice Watson
Patrice embarked on a quest to assist businesses and nonprofits with digital and social media by launching consulting firm Raise Your Share in 2010. Her offline career includes a decade at Cincinnati Magazine as Publisher; radio account management for Clear Channel 700WLW plus 8 professional and college sports networks; audience development for radio and television stations and radio station general sales management. The immediacy of radio plus publishing’s ability to tell stories combined into Soapbox’s weekly online reach and engagement is a serendipitous merger of the media Patrice loves best. She joined Issue Media Group in February 2016 and lives in North Avondale. Follow her on Twitter @patricewatson10.

Soapbox Managing Editor: Jessica Esemplare
Jessica Esemplare is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Shortly after completing her degree in magazine journalism, she began covering local and regional topics at The Cincinnati Herald and, later, as an editor at Ohio Magazine. Her Ohio-based writing has also been featured in U.S. News and World Report. No one is more surprised by this than her family and friends, who watched her reluctantly leave her hometown in New Jersey more than 20 years ago. Much to their surprise (and hers), she has found her village in Pleasant Ridge, where she resides with her husband, two daughters, and a community of awesome neighbors.

Chief Advocate & Instigator: Eric Avner
During the day, Eric oversees community development grantmaking for the Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation as well as People's Liberty. Prior to that, he was associate director of the Cincinnati Business Committee, that venerable group of CEOs representing Cincinnati's 30 largest employers. And prior to that, while guiding Newport's downtown revitalization, he led the effort to create the Purple People Bridge. Most importantly, Eric spent 16 months meeting, discussing, planning and plotting to get Soapbox Media launched back in 2008. Now, when he and his bowtie aren't out instigating for some way to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Eric keeps busy serving on boards for the Cincinnati Development Fund, ArtWorks and People's Liberty. A boomerang Cincinnatian (he lived here in the late '70s, left, and returned to town in 1996), Eric also takes pride in his dual US/Canadian citizenship ... eh. Eric and his wife reside in bucolic Walnut Hills after several years in a downtown loft.


Soapbox is published by Detroit-based Issue Media Group.

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