Meet our executive team. we strive to bring our community closer by Promoting equity and unity in all of licking county
Bryanna Stigger is a Newark, Ohio native. She graduated from Newark High School in 2008 and earned her Associate’s degree in Business Management from Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). During her time at COTC, she was affiliated with several local organizations including the Newark Rotary Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She was President of Ebony Horizons, a Black leadership organization for students at COTC and Ohio State Newark. She also coordinated and participated in COTC’s first-ever Italian Cultural Immersion Program. She is actively involved both on campus and in the local Newark community. Her passion for helping others grew from seeing her mother, Kaye Stigger, Case Manager at Licking County Job and Family Services, advocate for services, equality and justice for Licking County residents over the last 25 years. Bryanna is a member of Bethel Rock House of Prayer where her grandmother, Regina C. Stigger, served as a faithful church elder for over four decades. She volunteered with Par Excellence Academy, A Call to College, the Salvation Army, and the American Cancer Society. Because of her extraordinary commitment, she was honored with several awards including the Multi-Cultural Affairs Faculty/Staff Award, the Kelly Saffle Leadership Award, and Community Service Leader of the Year. Bryanna went on to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and her Master’s degree in Business Psychology from Franklin University. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Education degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs within the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University.
In her professional career, Bryanna is the MSW Outreach Programs Coordinator in the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University where she recruits students in nearly 20 states within the U.S. (including Puerto Rico) and Canada and serves as Advisor for MWANAFUNI Black Social Work Student Association. In collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, she coordinates programming including the Leadership Initiatives for Women of Color (LIWOC) annual “We Are One” retreat. The mission is to foster the development of women students of color as leaders in the classroom, on The Ohio State University campus, and in their local and/or global communities. Due to her leadership, she was named Academic Key’s 2019 “Who’s Who” in Social Work Education. Bryanna is a member of the Black Doctoral Network (BDN) where she represents the President’s Council. She also serves as a board member at Focus Learning Academy, a dropout prevention high school for at risk youth. She is committed to providing access to quality education for all.
Bryanna is a trailblazer, advocate, and activist for the underserved and underrepresented. She is passionate about amplifying Black voices who have historically been unseen and unheard. Bryanna works diligently to dismantle systemic racism and oppression while increasing cultural awareness and cultural competency. She recognizes the importance of creating initiatives, support services and resources to educate, inform, and empower the community. She strives to achieve equality and eliminate social injustices such as microaggressions, police brutality, lack of access to quality education, pay equity, housing inequity, food insecurity, healthcare disparities and many other discriminatory practices, policies, and ideologies. Bryanna is an industrious, inspirational, and energetic leader with a passion for serving her community and is extremely happy to serve as the Licking County NAACP President.
“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” ― Angela Y. Davis
Vice President I
Carmen M. Lewandowski is a Houston, Texas native who currently resides in the local Licking County area. She feels strong connections with her community by having attending Newark High School currently enrolled as an incoming junior. Ms. Lewandowski has always felt compelled towards a path for justice. She has participated in many events promoting social justice and uses her platforms to spread education and awareness about social justice issues.
On June 19, 2020, Carmen orchestrated a Juneteenth candlelight vigil to bring awareness to injustices against the black community and honor the life of George Floyd who was tragically murdered in May of 2020. Her successful vigil accumulated a crowd of over 100 participants and was covered by the local Newark Advocate. After the success of the Juneteenth demonstration and her passion for social justice, Ms. Lewandowski has no plans of stopping her march towards equity and equality for the black community.
Once she receives her high school diploma, Carmen plans on attending her dream college, Howard University, or attending another prominent HBCU (Historically Black College or University). Carmen is a young activist on the rise and is proud and honored to be one of the Licking County NAACP Vice Presidents.
Vice President II
Jadyn Paige serves as a Vice President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Licking County Chapter. She leads communication efforts, including website design and updates. As a current Honor Roll student-athlete at Heath High School, she participates in volleyball and track, is an active member of Spanish Club, a student council member, participates in the Lead Lighthouse Team, and is a Junior Class representative.
As a lifelong proponent of equity and justice from both a racial and social perspective, Ms. Paige is an activist who works diligently to help strengthen and empower her entire community, with a special interest in growing capacity in youth and young adults. In June of 2020, Ms. Paige hosted a Students Against Racism (STAR) Forum, open to all Licking County middle school and high school students. The event provided students with an opportunity to have safe and meaningful conversations regarding the effects of race and racism within their community, and to listen and learn from their peers. Over 100 people attended the grassroots event, and it was covered by local media like the Newark Advocate as well. As a result of this work, Ms. Paige founded and currently leads a student-populated organization called Generation of Change.
Ms. Paige is passionate about improving the environment in her community and school. She works hard using the platforms she has to educate peers on how to have healthy conversations and get educated on topics regarding race, sexuality, and different cultures. Ms. Paige is a proud alumna of The ROX program, a Columbus-based organization that works to promote the empowerment of women and promotes positive self-images for middle and high school girls.
In her free time, Ms. Paige enjoys being around friends, painting, and taking care of numerous house plants. As a member of the Baha'i Faith, she is passionate about serving others and her community, and loves to spend quality time with loved ones. She is inspired every day by her family and credits their unconditional love and support for many of her successes.
“Dedicate the precious days of your lives to the betterment of the world" ―Bahá'u'lláh
Lindsay J. Harris is a Columbus, Ohio native and graduate of the Ohio State University (OSU) with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and a minor in Sociology. While pursuing her education at the Ohio State University, Ms. Harris tutored at-risk youth in English through an onsite internship program. Ms. Harris also volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and Guardian ad Litem with the Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA) of Franklin County, where she worked independent from Franklin County Social Workers to serve as a voice for abused and neglected children.
Ms. Harris has a professional career with the Department of Defense (DoD) where she has worked in Finance and Accounting, Audit and Process Improvement, Project Management and Information Technology. She holds a certification as a Certified Defense Financial Manager (CDFM) which distinguishes her as an expert in DoD Fiscal Law, Resource Management, Budget and Cost Analysis. She is currently pursuing a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification.
Ms. Harris is also a member of the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) Greater Columbus Chapter where she has served on the Chapter Executive Committee (CEC) as the Accountability Director, Programs Director and Historian. Ms. Harris tracked the Greater Columbus Chapter’s revenues and expenses and prepared annual financial statements for review and approval of the Chapter President and Treasurer. Ms. Harris also planned and organized monthly educational luncheons, webinars and social events for the chapter, and uploaded meeting minutes and historical artifacts to the Chapter website. Due to Ms. Harris’ significant contributions to the chapter, she was selected by the Chapter President to attend two AGA National Professional Development Trainings (PDT) in Boston, Massachusetts in 2018 and New Orleans, Louisiana in 2019 alongside Chapter Officers. As Ms. Harris progressed as a leader within AGA, she was selected by the President to attend the annual National Sectional Leadership Meeting (SLM) in 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland to network and collaborate with various U.S. chapters to obtain the required knowledge, skills and capabilities to run a successful chapter.
Passionate about process improvement and accountability, Ms. Harris continues to drive change outside of her professional career. In 2015, she was introduced to activism while attending a “Black Lives Matter” march and sit-in with the OSU College of Social Work. The following year, she traveled to Flint, Michigan to participate in a weekend water drive during the Flint Water Crisis, delivering bottled water to residents in need. In June 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, Ms. Harris attended various protests in Columbus, Ohio eventually becoming the leader and organizer of weekly “Black Lives Matter” protests downtown in Pataskala, Ohio located in Licking County. Ms. Harris also participated in a 12 mile “See Me” silent march from Reynoldsburg, Ohio to the Statehouse located downtown Columbus, attracting the participation of several observers and passersby.
In her free time, Ms. Harris enjoys swimming laps and enjoying the outdoors with her two miniature dachshunds. Ms. Harris is an animal lover, dog sitter and vegetarian. She also enjoys playing Animal Crossing, Clue, The Sims, and loves to play board games, card games, and RockBand with her fiance.
“We shouldn’t have the mindset that we must succeed at the expense of others. There is more than enough for all of us.” - M. Birdsong
Karess Gilcrease is an Academic Success Coordinator and Instructor for the Office of Retention and Student Success Initiatives at The Ohio State University Newark campus. Karess received her B.A. in Pan African Studies from Kent State University. During her time at Kent State, Karess grew as an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion. She produced a television series and radio show devoted to the afore mentioned topics, as well as higher education, politics, and popular culture. Karess, currently oversees many of the learning communities on The Ohio State campus at Newark, including the Scarlet and Gray Excellence Learning Community for students of color and the Global Citizen’s Learning Community with a focus on global awareness. Karess also co-chairs the Justice for Racial Equality committee on The Ohio State Newark campus and is serving on the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Focus Group coming to campus in Autumn 2020. Karess has a background in higher education, multicultural engagement, and social justice. She has also held positions at Denison University, where she served as the Program Coordinator in the office of Multicultural Student Affairs, and within the I Know I Can program, where she served the students at Columbus City Schools. Karess is dedicated to the mission of creating political, social, educational, and economic equity.
“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” -Audre Lorde