Program Team

NLDP Faculty Team


Scott Allen is an award-winning professor with a passion for working with people of all ages. He teaches courses in leadership, future of work and executive communication. Scott served as a Mulwick Scholar in the Boler College of Business and his primary stream of research focuses on leadership development. Scott has published more than 50 chapter books and peer reviewed journals, including the co-author of The Little Book of Leadership Development: 50 Ways to Bring Out the Leader in Every Employee, Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: A Guide for College Students, Captovation: Online Presentations by Design and the textbook Discovering Leadership: Designing Your Success (2019). He is also the host of two podcasts: The Captovation Podcast and Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders. Scott is the co-founder of Captovation, a services firm dedicated to “Presentation Coaching for the Digital Age.” He is also the co-founder and Board Chair of the Collegiate Leadership Competition. Allen was named an ILA Fellow by the International Leadership Association in 2021.



Dr. Ellen Burts-Cooper is the senior managing partner of Improve Consulting and Training Group, a firm that provides personal and professional development training, coaching and consultation. Improve has been featured in Time Magazine, Black Voices, Smart Business Magazine and Bloomberg Businessweek. Dr. Burts-Cooper is an instructor at Case Western Reserve University in the Weatherhead Executive Education Program and The Institute for Management Studies (IMS). She is also the author of the book Canine Instinct: A Guide to Survival and Advancement in Corporate America. She earned a BS in chemistry from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, AL, her PhD in organic/polymer chemistry from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, her MBA from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business and her Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification from 3M Company.



Mark Chupp, MSW, PhD, is an associate professor at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Science of Case Western Reserve University, where he chairs the concentration in Community Practice for Social Change in the Masters of Social Work Program. With over 30 years of research and practice focused on community building, community development, conflict transformation and citizen participation, Mark began his career in restorative justice, eventually directing the first Victim Offender Reconciliation Program in the U.S. Mark has also served as a consultant with the National Institute of Justice, helping establish victim offender mediation programs across the country. He is an international consultant and trainer in conflict transformation and peace building and has worked in Northern Ireland, Egypt, Israel, Columbia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. Mark directs the Community Innovation Network, a resource for communities and practitioners committed to community change and is the Co-Director of the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University. He co-authored a manual in Spanish on transforming conflict and violence that has been used throughout Latin America. Mark earned a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan with a concentration in community organization and moved to Cleveland in 1997 to pursue his PhD at CWRU while serving for 8 years as Program Director at the Center for Neighborhood Development, Levin College of Urban Affairs at CSU. 


Howard Fencl is vice president of Hennes Communications. Howard specializes in crisis communications, crisis management, issues management, media relations and media training. His crisis experience includes helping clients deal with accusations of criminal behavior, intellectual property disputes, regulatory scrutiny, labor issues, sudden leadership changes, product recalls and other high-stakes reputation issues. Previously, Howard served as assistant news director and executive producer for WKYC-TV, WEWS-TV and WBNS-TV. While at WKYC, Howard was responsible for crafting the news department’s pioneering cross-platform strategic content delivery plan, successfully launching one of the first social media sites for a Gannett-owned television station in 2007. While at that station, he also won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for his role in leading WKYC’s breaking news coverage of the Chardon, Ohio, school shootings in 2012. Howard is immediate past president of the Cleveland Association of Phi Beta Kappa and he served on the boards of the Press Club of Cleveland and Near West Theatre. He is also an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America. 



David Fitz brings 20 years of experience working in strategy and communications with expertise in organizational development, executive positioning, crisis communications, marketing and communications planning and execution, and brand development. Before founding SDP, David served as Press Secretary for a former Cleveland Mayor, in media relations for the Cleveland Clinic, and as the Vice President of Public Affairs for University Circle Inc. David is a graduate of John Carroll University and earned his Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. 





John Grabowski received his BA, MA, and Ph.D. degrees from Case Western Reserve University. His academic interests are in the fields of immigration and migration, public history, public memory, and museum studies. He holds a joint position as the Krieger-Mueller Associate Professor of Applied History at Case Western Reserve and Senior Historian and Vice President for Research and Publications at the Western Reserve Historical Society. He is the editor of the on-line edition of the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History and the Dictionary of Cleveland Biography. His publications include The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, The Dictionary of Cleveland Biography, and Cleveland: A Tradition of Reform, which he co-edited with the late Dr. David D. Van Tassel. He is also the author of Sports in Cleveland: An Illustrated History and Cleveland A to Z: Historical Essentials for Newcomers and Residents in Northeastern Ohio, and has written numerous articles relating to immigration history and to archival issues.



Bruce Hennes is CEO of Hennes Communications, one of the few firms in North America focused exclusively on crisis management and crisis communications. With over 40 years’ experience in communications, Bruce’s past and present clients include NASA-Glenn, Avery Dennison, Lubrizol, Ohio and Kent State Universities, Destination Cleveland, Westfield Insurance, Riverside Companies, Goodyear and scores of government agencies, law firms, nursing homes, nonprofits and other large corporations across the continent. Bruce’s firm is also the exclusive provider of crisis communications services for the Ohio School Boards Association and the 600 school districts they serve as well as the Arizona School Boards Association and their more than 200 school districts. Bruce is on the board of the Ohio Public-Private Partnership, a program of the Ohio Department of Homeland Security and the Ohio Department of Public Safety.  Previously, Bruce served as a neighborhood organizer, as executive director of a large nonprofit and he created the Coventry Village Special Improvement District, the second SID in the State of Ohio.  He is also a longtime member of the board of directors of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and he’s an adjunct professor at Cleveland State University’s College of Urban Affairs. For the last two years, he’s been named by Cleveland Magazine as one of Cleveland’s 500 Most Powerful People.   


Mark Joseph is the Leona Bevis and Marguerite Haynam Professor of Community Development at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. He received his Ph.D. in public policy and was a post-doctoral scholar at the University of Chicago. He was a Harlech Visiting Scholar at Oxford University in England. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University. Mark’s research focus is mixed-income development as a strategy for addressing urban poverty. He is the co-author of the award-winning book Integrating the Inner City: The Promise and Perils of Mixed-Income Public Housing Transformation. He is the founding director of the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities (NIMC), which conducts research and consulting projects in Cleveland and across the U.S. and Canada in cities that have included Austin, Calgary, Cambridge, Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Washington, D.C. His team’s Cleveland projects have included the Woodhill-Buckeye mixed-income transformation, community network-building in Slavic Village and at the Commodore Building in University Circle, effective neighboring projects in Larchmere and Mt. Pleasant, and organizational assessment and racial equity projects with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. The NIMC team also conducted an evaluation of NLDP. Mark served for three years as a member of the Board of Trustees of the George Gund Foundation and as a member of the External Advisory Committee for Chicago grantmaking at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 


Dr. Jennifer Madden is the president of Leverage Point Development. She is a strategist, researcher, teacher, facilitator, and design thinker providing strategic planning, resource development, technical assistance, and capacity building. Dr. Madden holds a Ph.D. from the Weatherhead School of Management, a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management, and a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Economics and American Studies—all from Case Western Reserve University. Her research is on designing effective cross-sector partnerships then leveraging those collaborations to build capacity for effective performance and social innovation. Her book, Inter-Organizational Collaboration by Design in the Routledge Critical Studies in Public Management Series examines how collaborations can overcome barriers to innovate and rejuvenate communities outlining the factors and antecedents that influence successful collaboration. The book proposes a theoretical perspective for collaborators to adopt the language of designers, evidence-based tools, and strategies to enable success. The book outlines her journey from research to action resulting in a “Collaboration Blueprint” that assisted community-based nonprofit organizations to secure over $13.5M in grant funding.   


Erica Merritt, founder of Equius Group, is a skilled coach, gifted facilitator and leadership and organizational development expert. A Gestalt-trained coach, Erica has extensive experience leading, designing and teaching organizational development, leadership program design and diversity management in environments ranging from community rooms to classrooms to board rooms. Erica’s clients include many of Northeast Ohio’s largest and most respected corporations, agencies and institutions. As a trusted consultant and coach, she builds capacity in leaders to grow personally, develop professionally, transform organizations and engage communities. By skillfully creating space to explore challenging and new dialogue, Erica allows for heightened self-awareness and experimentation with new behaviors that lead to powerful breakthroughs. Erica is a valued partner in her client’s growth and success who is equipped with an inclusion mindset and powerful set of expertise. 



Melvin Smith, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Organizational Behavior and Faculty Director of Executive Education at the Case Weatherhead School of Management. He is also Chairman of the Board of the Graduate School Alliance for Education in Coaching (GSAEC). Dr. Smith received his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management from the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business. He also holds a B.S. degree in General Management and Accounting from Purdue University and an MBA in Marketing from Clark-Atlanta University. Dr. Smith’s research and teaching focus on leadership and emotional intelligence in the workplace, as well as the development and use of human and social capital in organizations through executive coaching. He is co-author (with Richard Boyatzis and Ellen Van Oosten) of the book, Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth (Harvard Business Review Press). He has also served as a visiting professor at ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain where he co-taught a senior executive education course on emotionally intelligent leadership. 



Dr. Doan Winkel is an entrepreneur and an educator. At John Carroll University, he serves as the Director of the Edward M. Muldoon Center for Entrepreneurship, the John J. Kahl, Sr. Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship, and the Bill & Sue Donnelly School of Leadership and Social Innovation. Doan recently co-founded, which is an entrepreneurship curriculum currently used at over 100 colleges and universities. At JCU, Doan founded or co-founded the JCU Food Buggy student social venture to address homelessness in Cleveland, the Amazing Glaze student social venture to address childhood food insecurity, the JCU Neighborhood Project to partner JCU students, faculty, staff, and alumni with Ward 6 residents and business owners, and the Dare to Dream Retreat to infuse entrepreneurial confidence into middle school and high school girls. Doan has two main goals for his life: to fix our broken education system by giving students a voice and control; and to motivate younger generations to (re)discover their purpose and create their own careers.