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Cincinnati Ballet announces new members to the Board of Trustees

September 28, 2021

Cincinnati Ballet is pleased to announce the following five additions to the Board of Trustees for the 2021-2022 Season.

Rico Grant is a serial entrepreneur, founder of Paloozanoire, creator of Gallery at Gumbo, Executive Director of SoCap Accelerate based out of Northern Kentucky University, the architect behind Black and Brown Faces art exhibition (previously on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum), and the new regionally-focused rewards program – 17 Under Seventeen. Grant
serves on the Board of Directors of Findlay Market, OTR Chamber, Elements, and now Cincinnati Ballet. He also advises several startups and foundations around the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region. As a proud native of Cincinnati, he states that he will never leave the city because ‘opportunity is here.’ Believing that Cincinnati is under a creative renaissance, he brings his talents to our organization. His mission is to continue to bring ballet and the arts community to the youth of our city through intentional inclusion.

Bruce W. Jeffery is the Vice President of Community Action and Executive Director of Cradle to Career Cincinnati and joins the Cincinnati Ballet this year as a board member. Bruce has been a champion for youth his entire career from impacting lives with the Boys & Girls Club for more than a decade to the YMCA of Greater Louisville. Bruce has held multiple leadership roles, all while ensuring that the community rallies and advocates heavily for the young people of the communities he resides in. Although he spent most of his life in athletics, he sees how dance can bring both worlds together, art and athletics, to affect the communities in a positive way. The Arts are an important part of his life, and Jeffery believes that it empowers youth in the community to grow and develop. With his help, and the new Cincinnati Ballet Margaret and Michael Valentine Center for Dance, Jeffery sees an opportunity to significantly impact the youth of our community. He received his B.S. in Exercise Science from Millikin University. In his free time, Bruce enjoys CrossFit, cheering on his favorite football team, and vacationing with his wife, Brittney, and their two dogs.

Jack Miner is Vice Provost for Enrollment Management at the University of Cincinnati. Under Jack’s leadership, University of Cincinnati has seen record enrollment growth and a continued commitment to diversity and improving student experiences. Jack is a two-time graduate of The Ohio State University where he was one of only two people in the university’s 150-year history to receive the Outstanding Senior, Distinguished Alumni, and Distinguished Staff Award. In 2013, Ohio State launch of the Jack Miner Scholarship for Transgender Students in his honor.  This scholarship, the first of its kind in the nation, was in recognition of Jack’s work in advocacy for that community on a local and national level. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for the Cincinnati Ballet, Jack serves as Secretary for the Board of Directors of the Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center in Worthington, Ohio and as Past-President of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, in Washington, D.C. During the Obama administration, Jack served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education on gender and gender identity. Jack has consulted with state education systems and hundreds of colleges and universities on college access for underrepresented students, gender and gender identity, college affordability, accreditation, records management, recruitment and retention, and management of intercollegiate athletics.

Toilynn O’Neal doesn’t remember a time when art and activism were not a part of her life. From her earliest memories to her work today, her very existence has been defined and shaped by standing up and speaking with the creative voice inside her. Toilynn grew up with her well-respected and well-known artist activist father, Robert O’Neal. She remembers his struggles to change the community and speak through his art. Her father and mother were both strong influences on her life. Inspiring her to have an appreciation for both arts and sciences, she studied both in college. Her unique background allows both her creative side and her analytical side to worth together with government officials, artists, and community leaders to affect change. Toilynn’s unending dedication to the city of Cincinnati drives her passion for community collaboration, diversity, and cultural education for her city. Her extensive list of current volunteer positions includes membership on  the board of the Cincinnati Arts Association, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Museum Center African Cultural Fest Committee, African American Chamber of Commerce, Walnut Hills Area Council, Nrityarpana School of Performing Arts, and on committees for the Freedom Center Martin Luther King Breakfast, University of Cincinnati Diversity Officer Roundtable, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Cincinnati School, Mayor’s Commission of Gender Equality, National African American Museum Association, and Freedom Center / Youth Conference Planning Committee. Currently, Toilynn is the Executive Director of Queen City Foundation, a non-profit organization whose vision is to provide educational opportunities to minority students through independent college preparatory schools. In addition, her latest venture is to secure a permanent location for the Robert O’Neal Multicultural Arts Center (ROMAC) in honor of her late father. As Founding Director of ROMAC, Toilynn works to celebrate, advance, and preserve African American culture and achievement through the arts, history, and education, while also uplifting the rich diversity of artists and cultures of Greater Cincinnati. Her direct, hands-on efforts have helped numerous organizations throughout the city. She was in the forefront of diversity, equity, and inclusion before it was part of our popular vernacular. She sees art as a change agent that heals communities by allowing them to express their emotions and struggles. She is rare treasure in Cincinnati: an artist, an activist, and an educator. Every day, in hundreds of ways, Toilynn O’Neal lives her own mission of promoting diversity through the arts. And every day, in hundreds of minds and hearts, she is heard.

Alandes Powell, Vice President and Business Controls Director at Fifth Third Bank, has worked in the banking and financial services industry for nearly 30 years. Powell was recently named a UC Health 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Special Recognition Award honoree for her leadership in the creation of Cincinnati’s Black Lives Matter mural. She was also named one of the 32 power brokers in the Midwest by Madison 365 and Mayerson Academy Strengths Hero Award. She was recognized, in part, for her service as board chair of the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio and as a past board member for the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky’s Center. She is the cofounder of Black Art Speaks, a non-profit arts collective in Cincinnati, Ohio, and co-author of two books. Powell and her husband Gordon are the proud parents of Damonte, a Cincinnati firefighter, Kendra, a small business owner, and Julian, a recent graduate of Ohio Media School. They enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and helping others reach their potential. Her favorite ballet is Moulin Rouge and she looks forward to another great season at Cincinnati Ballet.

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