Keynote Speakers

Sean Mann is co-founder and CEO of Detroit City FC, a semi-pro soccer team in Detroit, and founder of the Detroit City Futbol League, an adult neighborhood-based soccer league. Mann believes in the power of sports as a vehicle for community organization. More than a soccer team, DCFC is noted for its rabid fanbase, which rehabbed historic Keyworth Stadium through the largest community investment campaign in Michigan history. Beyond athletics, Mann has had a diverse legislative and hands-on background over the past 12 years. He is a passionate advocate for a wide range of policy areas affecting Michigan, and until recently, was a lobbyist at Michigan Legislative Consultants, the oldest lobbying firm in the state. Previously, Mann worked for the Michigan Municipal League, carrying out statewide campaigns advocating for investment in urban communities and talent retention, as well as vacant-property issues. He has also worked as a policy advisor on economic development and local government issues for the Michigan Speaker of the House. He is a graduate of Kalamazoo College and the University of Bristol, with degrees in history, physics and international relations. While completing his postgraduate degree, he served as a researcher in the United Kingdom's House of Commons for the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Mann is an active resident of southwest Detroit, and serves on the boards of the Michigan History Foundation and the National Premier Soccer League. His work has been featured on National Public Radio, SkySports, FifaTV and in the Guardian, Telegraph, Politiken, Atlantic Cities and USA Today.

Carl Atiya Swanson serves as associate director for Springboard for the Arts, managing projects across program areas while leading development and partnerships. Swanson launched Creative Exchange, a national hub for stories and toolkits for artists and organizations to solve local challenges and create new opportunities. Swanson previously worked at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and founded Crown & Sparrow, a boutique communications consulting firm specializing in working with artists. He is a theater-maker who advocates for mental health and wellness in creativity. Swanson holds a BA in studio art from the University of Southern California and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. 

Evelyn Burnett is VP of economic opportunity for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, an intermediary with a mission of fostering communities of choice and opportunity throughout the city. In this role, Burnett coordinates neighborhood progress/human development efforts to integrate with a regional opportunity agenda. Prior to joining CNP, she served as associate director for program strategies with Admiral Center at Living Cities, project director in the city of Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability and as a 2007-2008 Cleveland Executive (Coro) Fellow. Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Burnett sits on the board of several organizations throughout Northeast Ohio and nationally, including In Our Back Yards (IOBY), Credit Builders Alliance, Dance Cleveland, Walsh University School of Business and CTMDreams. Burnett holds a Bachelor of Arts in business and organizational communications and PR, with a double minor in sales/marketing and dance from The University of Akron (during which time she studied abroad in Ghana, Africa). Burnett also holds a Master’s degree in public administration from The University of Akron.

Mordecai Cargill is the director of strategy, research and impact at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. Cargill provides oversight and analysis for the implementation of the Cleveland Neighborhood Progress 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, focused primarily on three key areas: program design and evaluation, research and thought leadership and partnership and resource development. Since joining CNP in 2014 as manager of fund development, Cargill's responsibilities have included project management for strategic initiatives such as an organizational assessment (2014) and the planning process for the five-year strategic plan (2016). He also contributes to CNP’s emerging policy, advocacy and research body of work and co-leads the organization’s efforts to elevate racial equity and inclusion as a citywide community development priority. Cargill earned his BA in African-American studies from Yale University, with a concentration on Black culture in the 20th century. He was awarded the William Pickens Prize for his senior thesis, entitled “The Black Arts Iconography of John Coltrane.” (Follow Cargill on Twitter and Instagram @MCargill28.)

Breakout Session Facilitators

Tim Vogt lives in Bellevue with his family and serves as coordinator for Starfire Council Disability Services & Community Building in Cincinnati. He spent the first 10 years of his career creating programs for people with disabilities to get to know each other. He spent the next 10 years of his career undoing that work and building a new way of working toward inclusion and integration. Under Vogt’s leadership, Starfire built award-winning segregated day programs and congregated outings for hundreds of people with disabilities. In 2009, Vogt led the staff and board on a learning journey to face the hard truth of Starfire's role in perpetuating social isolation. For the next seven years, Starfire transformed all of the values, structures, mindsets, programs and policies in order to help people with disabilities, their families and their communities tell a better story around creative inclusion and relationships. In 2017, he stepped away from the day-to-day work of running Starfire and has started to explore the possibilities around scale and sustainability of inclusion.

Dr. Tom Merrill is a professor and the Director of the Center for Innovation at Xavier University. He is an Innovation Engineering black belt, a proud alumnus of the Stanford d.School design thinking boot camp and is a Master Facilitator for ExperiencePoint's Design Thinking and Change Management simulations. Internally, the Xavier University Center for Innovation (CFI) works with students, faculty and staff across the three colleges of the university to help bring new ideas to life, adapt to change, develop new products and systems and serve as a conduit to the regional startup ecosystem. Externally, the CFI provides workshops in design thinking and change management to nonprofits and businesses in the greater Cincinnati region, and on behalf of ExperiencePoint, throughout the United States to Fortune 500 companies.

Tamaya Dennard was born and raised in Cincinnati. She is a proud product of Cincinnati Public Schools, more specifically Aiken High School. She attended the Toulouse School of Business in France (École Supérieure de Commerce de Toulouse) and later graduated from the University of Cincinnati – Carl H. Lindner College of Business with a degree in International Business.

Dennard’s innovative thinking around engagement led her to a successful career as a political strategist. Her passion for people, inclusion and social justice made advocacy her occupation. Writing policy and legislation to assist the underserved community and her desire to see more women in politics led her to being a sought-after speaker in high schools and on college campuses throughout the State of Ohio. Dennard has been a featured speaker for Elect Her and the Ohio Diversity Conference Women’s Conference. She is also a TEDx speaker. Dennard is currently working as an innovation specialist with Design Impact, a nonprofit social innovation design firm located here in Cincinnati. In addition to her work with Design Impact, she is working with the University of Cincinnati Women’s Basketball Team on community engagement. In 2014, she was named one of the Forty Under 40 Leaders to Watch in Cincinnati by the Cincinnati Business Courier.


Jeri Tolliver attended the University of Cincinnati and graduated from Thomas More College with honors. Currently, she is co-founder of CinDigital Media and founder of a literacy nonprofit, Booksandbrwngrls.Tolliver is the former program director for 1230AM/WDBZ and has more than 20 years of broadcast experience at some of Cincinnati’s top-rated radio stations. She has produced shows for some of Talkers Magazine's most talented and recognized hosts, including the “SisterSpeak” talk show, where she interviewed celebrated guests including First Ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Passionate about our community, Tolliver has orchestrated numerous community outreach efforts, including Hurricane Katrina and Haiti relief, the annual Buzz Black Book Fair and annual food, toy, coat and back-to-school drives. Every year, Tolliver produces the Radio One St. Jude Radio-Thon which has helped raise $150,000 for children’s research. Tolliver has supported the efforts of The Boys and Girls Club, Glad House, Lighthouse Youth Services, Stop Aids, Hoxworth Blood Center, CPOP and other local organizations. She has served as volunteer, mentor and board member for organizations such as Oyler, Gamble and Roselawn Condon schools and the national Adopt-A-Class program. She has received a number of local and national awards for her charitable efforts.

Nathan Ivey began his career in broadcasting in the mid-1990s at a small public radio station in Cincinnati (WAIF 88.3 FM). During the riots of 2001, he was featured on local television news for his commentary on the causes and solutions of the unrest. Ivey is currently host of the fastest-growing talk show in the Cincinnati area, which airs weekdays starting at 7 a.m., and is co-founder of CinDigital Media (along with Tolliver). Within the first year of hosting a daily talk show, Ivey was named “Best New Talk Radio Voice” and Talkers Magazine named him to its esteemed “Heavy 250” list. He’s been featured on "Newsone Now" and in media outlets such as the Cincinnati Herald, Cincinnati Business Courier, Cincinnati Magazine, Hype Magazine and others. Ivey has been named a YMCA Achiever for his work with after-school programs in the Cincinnati area. He was also named one of the “50 Coolest Cincinnatians” by Citybeat.

IDEALAB: Movement Makers is presented by The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, People’s Liberty, Issue Media Group and Soapbox Media with support from Procter & Gamble, Xavier Center for Innovation, Memorial Hall and media sponsor Movers & Makers.