An enthusiastic communications professional, Dana specializes in writing and especially loves telling the stories of God’s people on mission, showing His love and transforming lives for His Kingdom.
Prior to joining Building Hope in the City, she worked in public relations with several well-known consumer product brands at one of Cleveland’s largest and best-known advertising and marketing agencies. From there, she entered the business sector at one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric utility companies. Her roles with the Fortune 500 Company ranged from process improvement and change management initiatives to investor relations and financial analytics.
Dana knows the fast-paced nature of both the marketing and corporate environments, which developed her ability to manage multiple projects, think critically and analyze the needs of her audiences. She has 10+ years of professional experience and a bachelor’s degree in mass media from the University of Mount Union.
Dana serves as Communications Manager at BHITC. In her role, she manages print and electronic communications for BHITC’s donors, volunteers and partners as well as the organization’s website.
She entered full-time ministry in 2013 and has been involved within her church, Grace CMA Church, for the past nine years. She and her husband, Cody, live in Lakewood with their son, Caden. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, music, reading and spending time with her family.
Director of Leader and Community Development
A Cleveland-area native, Vatreisha Nyemba brings a powerhouse of experience to BHITC from the public, private and non-profit sectors as the organization’s first-ever Director of Leadership and Community Engagement. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and business management (Kentucky State University), a master’s degree in public administration and nonprofit management (Cleveland State University) and is currently completing a doctorate in Transformational Leadership (Bakke Graduate University).
Prior to joining BHITC, Vatreisha served as Manager of Compliance and Program Development for the Cuyahoga Land Bank, where she managed federal, state and local grant funding for housing renovation. In this role, she assisted stabilization efforts for marginalized populations in the Cleveland area. She also served as a capacity builder for numerous faith-based and social service organizations including Habitat for Humanity, the City Mission, Women of Hope, Women’s Wellness and the Jordan Community Resource Center. Her efforts were formally recognized in a Resolution of Appreciation issued by the City of Cleveland in June 2019.
While at the Land Bank, Vatreisha connected with additional community partners, including BHITC. Over time, she became interested in their courses, whose principles include social enterprise and asset-based community development. She appreciates the organization’s heart for Cleveland, particularly how it seeks to equip and inform its citizens to create positive impact.
Manager, Educational Enrichment and Youth Programming
Lauren Peticca oversees BHITC’s tutoring programs at Halle School of Inquiry – brand new for the 2019-2020 school year – and The Hope Center.
She is a Cleveland native and attended Baldwin Wallace University, where she studied History and Adolescent Youth Adult Education. For six years, she taught and mentored at-risk youth in a variety of school settings, most recently in Berea City Schools.
“I am so excited to be able to come alongside all of the wonderful work that God is doing through Building Hope in the City,” says Lauren. “I pray that God will use me to be a blessing to children and their families and create an environment where the students feel loved and supported.”
She is married to her high school sweetheart, Ryan, who takes many of BHITC’s amazing photos! They live in North Olmsted and serve on the leadership team at Crossroads Church in Brook Park.
A born and raised Clevelander, Sharon loves working for an organization that makes an impact in this great city. Sharon’s career with BHITC began in 2016. She began a Master’s program in Nonprofit Management in 2019, making her recent transition to Development Manager a natural progression. She has managed volunteer relationships, planned events such as the annual Christmas Store and several service events, and served on the Restoring the City gala planning committee for several years. In her leadership position as Development Manager, she oversees donor relationships and grant management.
She and her husband, Steve, live in Lakewood with their three children. They attend Lakewood Congregational Church. She enjoys reading and Cleveland sports. Sharon’s best moments are spent with her family. They enjoy hiking, spending time by the water, and eating their way through the many amazing Lakewood and Cleveland restaurants.
Director, Social Enterprise (HopeWorks LLC)
An innovative business professional with experience in national and international cross-cultural contexts, Jeff enjoys using his systems-oriented thinking to live out the Great Commission in business creation and workforce development.
Jeff’s background includes 10 years in engineering, marketing / sales, business development, and new market development roles for a privately held engineering firm with global reach. While his business acumen has created growth in the for-profit world, he has likewise invested in the development of his local church and urban Cleveland neighborhood. Jeff appreciates his background as he’s now comfortable in settings ranging from Fortune 100 company boardrooms to his neighbor’s front porch.
As the Director of HopeWorks, BHITC’s Social Enterprise endeavor, he is responsible for the launching of for-profit businesses that serve the mission goals of the Kingdom while also increasing sustainability for BHITC. Through these Christ-centered efforts, holistic transformation of urban people can happen through employment, mentoring, workforce development and self-sufficiency. His first task will be the launch of BHITC’s new upscale thrift store, which is scheduled to open Spring 2016.
Jeff also provides leadership, teaching, and mentorship in his local church, MetroAlliance Church. He serves as an elder, teaches Bible studies, and works with other leaders to create strategic plans for Kingdom impact in Cleveland. He has been privileged to be shaped by God’s hand in this local faith community for more than a decade, learning / serving in various roles and enjoys the diversity of countries, languages, cultures, ages, and socioeconomic levels reflected in its members.
In his spare time, Jeff enjoys exploring Cleveland with his wife and three children. He loves sports, weight lifting, being a jungle gym for his kids, reading business literature, and pretending to be an American Ninja Warrior.
A nonprofit ministry professional who co-founded the organization he currently directs, Brian believes he has the best job in the world. He coaches a ridiculously talented and creative staff, enjoys collaborating with other church and organizational leaders to fuel renewal and transformation in urban Cleveland (a town he adores), and believes it a great privilege and opportunity to partner with donors and volunteers to achieve their philanthropic and Kingdom interests.
Brian started in his career in the fast-paced fields of public relations and marketing communications, working for many high-profile agencies and clients. These experiences gave him an affinity for deadlines, multi-tasking, results-driven project planning and execution, and relationship management. He graduated from Kent State University in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.
In the course of his work at Building Hope in the City, Brian led the organization through the completion of The Cleveland Foundation’s Project Access, a three-year capacity-building initiative for emerging nonprofits. In 2009, he was appointed as a member of the Ohio Refugee Advisory Council. He is also a licensed facilitator/trainer of Bridges Out of Poverty by aha! Process.
For the past 10+ years, Brian has also served as a deacon at his church, where he has been highly involved in leadership development, teaching, preaching and training. Brian loves to see people normally divided by culture, race, language and socio-economic class brought together through the Church and community development.
In his spare time, Brian enjoys traveling with his wife, great food/wine, long conversations over a good cup of coffee, running, music, and spending time with family and friends.
Director, Refugee & Immigrant Ministries
A global citizen at heart, Eileen is thrilled to be able to meet the world at her doorstep while maintaining her status of being born and bred in Cleveland, Ohio. There is nowhere else she would rather live!
Her 20+ years in Business and Information Technology at major Fortune 500 companies in Northeast Ohio and her Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix have formed in her a belief in the impact that leadership and teamwork can have in transforming this city. This, coupled with her years as a certified ESOL teacher, her work as a BIA Accredited Representative and conviction that God is up to something good in this great city, give her a broad perspective on the challenges this fast paced culture presents to the refugees and immigrants that grace the streets of Cleveland.
Eileen’s determination to strive for excellence has led her to be recognized as an outstanding leader including being the recipient of the President’s Award for Outstanding Leadership at YRC Freight Inc. in 2007. She continues to apply her experience and perspective to the challenges that face those she meets on a daily basis who are excited to call Cleveland their new home.
In her spare time, Eileen loves to travel, visiting 34 countries on 6 continents and loves to meet people here in Cleveland from the areas of the world in which she has traveled. As a second generation child of immigrant parents, she loves to see the strength that multiple cultures brings to a region believing that we are better together and that each of us is uniquely gifted to shape our city’s future.
Eileen was blessed to be able to present at the National Refugee Conference in Chicago in 2013 and continues to present and teach classes in her local church and through her ministry at Building Hope in the City. Her passion is to see Greater Cleveland and the Church awakened to the plan God has for this city!