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What is sex trafficking? Does it really happen here? What’s being done about it? How can an individual like myself help the cause? Introducing Voices of Freedom, a bi-weekly podcast hosted by Freedom team members Devin and Mandie. We’re here to cover it all, from human trafficking research and laws to personal stories from the community. We will host a variety of guests including sex trafficking survivors, Freedom a la Cart team members, partner organizations, law enforcement officials, ment ...
 
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Freedom a la Cart just celebrated a big birthday. The nonprofit, which helps victims of sex trafficking build job skills and start new chapters in their lives, opened a downtown café in April 2021. This April, I sat down with CEO Paul Haines. She talked about the work of the organization, its goals, and her own unique career path. We also chatted a…
 
Curious to know how Freedom a la Cart started, where the name came from, and what a social enterprise is exactly? Listen to this week's Voices of Freedom episode to learn more about the café and Freedom a la Cart! 🎧 This week we sat down with our CEO, Paula, and our Social Enterprise Director, Carissa, to bring you a bonus episode that is all about…
 
Dianne and Morgan share what it's like being a volunteer with Freedom a la Cart, what impact it has had on their lives, and how you can get involved. We definitely wouldn’t be where we are without these two incredible souls and the rest of our amazing volunteers! 💚 If you are interested in volunteering at Freedom a la Cart please check out our webs…
 
From Columbus Business First, it's Women of Influence, an interview series showcasing some of the most inspiring women in the central Ohio business community. Today, we're talking to Michelle Yeager-Thornton, Co-Owner and Chief Operating Officer of The Champion Companies. Michelle leads operational efforts and day-to-day actions of the company's po…
 
We are so excited to share this week’s Voices of Freedom episode with you! Sophia Fifner shares about her journey with sexual assault, what it's like to help empower women, and the importance of volunteerism. 💪🏾 Join Sophia in her mission to raise awareness of philanthropy here.By Freedom a la Cart
 
This week the Honorable Judge Herbert joined us and we promise friends – it's a must listen! He shared how CATCH Court was developed and why, how men can get more involved in the anti-human trafficking community, and he even spilled the beans on how he felt going to speak at a prison, which may leave you surprised. 😯 Let us know what you think of t…
 
Jennifer Rausch joined us this week for an inside scoop on what its like to be an Attorney within the Human Trafficking Community. Jennifer is the Legal Director within the Human Trafficking Initiative at Ohio Attorney General's Office. In this episode she shares how her career has lead her to her current role within the Human Trafficking Initiativ…
 
Work looks a lot different today than it did three years ago. So, too, does mentoring. Traci Martinez, managing partner at Squire Patton Boggs' Columbus office, shared her thoughts on the evolving nature of mentoring relationships during our recent Mentoring Monday event. She also talked about her own unusual path to a legal career, taking on a new…
 
We know you probably are all aware that the Arnold Classic is coming back to town this week. While this is an exciting event to those participating we want to bring awareness to another important factor of this event. Large sporting events like this one also increase the amount of sex trafficking in our community. To help us share this information …
 
In honor of Black History Month, we wanted to highlight our friends at the Black Women Rise Poetry Collective! In our latest episode of Voices of Freedom, we chatted with Barbara and Dorie, who are both involved with the collective. They shared how the collective got started, how it has impacted their lives, and what their hope is for its future. T…
 
Mary Auch, PNC's regional president for Central Ohio, ascended to her now top local job at the Pittsburgh-based bank following a nearly 30-year career with the organization. That's not necessarily what Mary thought things would look like when she was in high school. Mary shares how she got into banking, as well as PNC’s billion-dollar investment to…
 
In this week's episode, our guest Hollie shares her harrowing story of being a sex trafficking survivor. Despite her story being very traumatic, she vulnerably shares some of those deep traumas with us, including how she has been working through her harsh childhood and what the process of healing is like for her. We hope this episode leaves you wit…
 
Jennifer Rittler sees architecture as designing for the future. But that doesn’t mean the present doesn’t have an impact. Check out the latest episode of our Women of Influence podcast to hear how the pandemic is changing the spaces the Moody Nolan senior associate designs. She also talked with us about the need for diversity in the industry, and h…
 
What better way to kick off 2022 than with a LIVE podcast featuring Nicole Bromley?! We enjoyed hearing Nicole share her journey in the Human Trafficking movement and we loved having audience questions. In this episode, you will hear from Nicole Bromley, sexual abuse survivor, author, professional speaker, share her story and how it has impacted th…
 
This isn't Erandi De Silva's first epidemic. De Silva, co-founder of Grove City's Forge Biologics, grew up in Botswana. She watched as the public health community worked with the government to respond to the AIDS epidemic, and she was inspired. On our latest Women of Influence podcast, De Silva talked about that experience, and how she hopes the Co…
 
Nancy Matijasich wasn't looking for an IT job. She was supposed to meet with someone about a new job in the pharmaceutical industry, but her contact was running late to the job fair where they were supposed to talk. One case of mistaken identity and a different conversation later, a brand-new career path was born. Today Matijasich leads Manifest So…
 
On this week of Voices of Freedom, we had Christina Conrad with the FBI, join us! This episode got deep quickly chatting about cards that you can find in Las Vegas. Curious how to stop sex trafficking? Christina mic drops us with the simplest of answers. Christina also shares with us how she because a Victim Specialist with the FBI and what she doe…
 
Lara DeLeone didn't grow up dreaming of working in banking. It wasn't even where she thought she would end up when she graduated from college. The lifelong lover of the written word made her way from journalism to communications to government to lobbying to, as of this summer, serving as Columbus market president for KeyBank, the eighth-largest ban…
 
This week we had Hannah join us to chat about her work within the Anti-Human Trafficking Movement and mental health. Hannah shares with us about the impact CATCH had on her life, her new ventures with Porchlight & Sanctuary Night, and tips for bettering your mental health! We know this episode is going to leave you motivated for change! We want to …
 
We are so excited for you guys to listen to this week's episode! We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Dana, the Director of the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force! Dana gives a good insight into what she does to help the human trafficking issue here in Central, Ohio. She tells us about her diverse team, what a 'John' is, and more…
 
We are SO excited for you to listen to this week's episode with our fabulous guest, Rose! Rose has worked in our workforce development program for just over 18 months and has truly blown us away by her resilience and dedication to her own future. While at Freedom, Rose has graduated from CATCH Court and Amethyst, got her driver’s license through Fr…
 
Cheryl Stauffer's business had it's best year ever in 2020. But, as with many companies, it looked a little different than the norm. Historically, Stauffer said, commercial clients represented the lion's share of Crimson Design Group's work. But as people settled in to a new normal of spending nearly every hour of every day at their homes, they rea…
 
Our friend Mandi Pierson joined us for this week's episode. We chatted about mental health, seeking help, what a relationship with your counselor may look like, things to do for a better mental health and more. Mandi is a trauma informed co-director and clinician at Porchlight here in Columbus. To reach out to Porchlight about counseling services o…
 
On this week’s episode of Voices of Freedom, we had the opportunity of sitting down and chatting with Gwen, the CATCH Court Program Leader. We talked about everything from Social Justice, mental health days, human trafficking and more. The truth she speaks will leave you with goosebumps! Thank you for joining the conversation! #yourvoicematters…
 
Moving, whether it be to a new house or a new office, is always overwhelming. Add in widespread business shutdowns amid a rapidly spreading pandemic, and you've got a recipe for some serious stress. That's what happened to Vickie Thompson-Sandy, who was wrapping up her first year as CEO of The Buckeye Ranch and readying to shepherd the nonprofit's …
 
In this week's episode we sat down with Vanessa, a survivor of sex trafficking who shares her timeline of how she became a person who was sex trafficked. Vanessa's story is packed full of trauma but she also manages to see the funny moments in between the dark times, we hope you share a few laughs with us as well. Thank you for joining the conversa…
 
There were times, over the past few months, that Luconda Dager didn’t want to get out of bed. Dager is president of Velvet Ice Cream, and the Utica-based company was outsourcing ice cream production to three partners in the Midwest. The shift followed a listeria scare in April, discovered via the company’s routine testing. It’s also part of an effo…
 
Okay guys -- bear with us as we learn to become professional podcasters! In today's episode you will meet Devin & Mandie, Freedom a la Cart team members. We will share who Freedom a la Cart is, what to expect from the Voices of Freedom podcast, and more! Next week's episode we will be interviewing one of the first survivor's in Freedom's workforce …
 
Lori Duncan wasn't exactly sure what to do with her fine arts degree from Ohio State University. So she went rafting. Professionally. Duncan spent her post-college years as a whitewater rafting guide in West Virginia, filling her time during the winter months working in the ski industry. After nearly a decade, she realized it was time to get a "rea…
 
Early on in Robbie Banks' career, she grew used to being in rooms where she was the only woman, the only young person, and often, the only person of color.Banks, the new program director for diversity, equity and inclusion for the Columbus Partnership, is now helping Columbus' private sector build more racial equity inside their organizations. "My …
 
When LC Johnson was thinking of launching her organization Zora's House, she was balancing two competing feelings.On the one hand, she was feeling burned out from years of being an entrepreneur, but being a relatively new resident to the city, she deeply desired to build a community for other Black women and women of color in Columbus. "I was reall…
 
Elizabeth Martinez knows there's more to career growth than just rising through the ranks. "I think sometimes, we when we talk about growth, there is a disservice in the conversation to exclusively focus on vertical growth," Martinez, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio, said during a recent taping of our Women of Influence podcast. "I'…
 
Linda Swearingen didn't spend much time thinking about the fact that she was working with mostly men. She was early in her career, working for a real estate investment trust, and it wasn't that notable to her that out of 40 or so desks on the loan floor, only hers and one other were occupied by women. "Except one day, nobody was there," Swearingen …
 
Lauren Parker is no stranger to imposter syndrome. She questioned herself in her early days as an account executive in the high-stakes world of New York City public relations firms right out of school. Now in her early 30s and a little less than a year into her tenure as CEO of Columbus' FrazierHeiby, she's aware that she might not fit the profile …
 
When Gina Heffner started her career, she was a typical consultant: a "road warrior," traveling all over the country week in and week out. She didn't mind and made it work, aided by the fact that her husband also traveled extensively and the couple didn't have children yet. But after a while, she found her way to Centric Consulting, a firm founded …
 
Karen Hough has built her business around her improv background, but it came in handy in a way she never could have expected amid the challenges of 2020. "We proved to ourselves that we are truly improvisers," said Hough, founder and CEO of ImrovEdge, a Powell-based business that provides business training workshops "with an improv twist." Prior to…
 
Janica Pierce Tucker has a solid job – she's the partner in charge at Taft Stettinius & Hollister's Columbus officer. Her income is steady, her family is healthy. On the whole, things are going pretty well for her. But that doesn't mean she can close her eyes to the racial justice conversations that exploded across the country this summer. "When I …
 
Heather Blair and her team have had plenty of work to keep them busy in 2020. Blair is the leader of JPMorgan's Columbus technology hub, a 5,000-person team that's responsible for creating seamless digital experiences for all the financial giant's customers. Those demands got bigger this spring as the coronavirus pandemic increased customer demand …
 
For a few weeks this year, Jenny Saunders felt a bit like a Disney princess. The lights in FCBank's headquarters are motion-sensitive. At the start of the pandemic, the bank's president was one of the few people working in the office, triggering the lights as she transitioned between rooms amid the largely empty space. Now more of the FCBank team i…
 
Lece Lohr hasn't met much of the leadership team at Columbus-based Highlights for Children Inc. in person. That's because Lohr started her new job as the company's president of consumer business in April, just a few weeks after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic sent most of us home from our offices. "I was completely uncertain of how it would b…
 
Few industries have been battered as much by Covid-19 as the restaurant industry. An estimated 11% of the state’s restaurants have closed for good and the fear is that number could rise if relief from operating restrictions, additional aid or both don’t arrive. Ohio Restaurant Association President and CEO John Barker spoke with Columbus Business F…
 
Rhea Cunningham was preparing herself for a busy fall, with the start of part-time law school adding to her already full calendar of a full-time job and a busy family life. Then, during a routine visit, her doctor asked if she'd noticed some swelling in her neck. It wasn't long before she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. “I never took on the diag…
 
Rhea Cunningham knows how it feels to be the only Black woman in the room. Cunningham is chief financial officer and director of human resources at New Albany-based roofing company Feazel, putting her in a leadership position in an industry that's not known for high levels of diversity. She and her colleagues have spent the summer listening and ref…
 
Jodie Bare started her new job as the Columbus Regional Airport Authority's chief innovation officer in early January. Her focus was simple: find ways to use technology to improve the passenger experience. Half a year later, the world looks very different – especially within a travel industry reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. But…
 
Growing up, Joanna Pinkerton's parents always taught her that she could accomplish anything she set her mind to. "There just was an early emphasis put into my life by my parents that if there's something you want to do ... there's nothing stopping you," said Pinkerton, CEO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority. It was only later in life that Pinker…
 
COTA CEO Joanna Pinkerton is always eager to pick up a new book. In fact, when she joined Columbus Business First's Women of Influence podcast a few weeks ago via Zoom, she said she was in the middle of four. Her interests vary from historical fiction to business books that get at the psychology behind performance, books like Questions are the Answ…
 
Back in 2009, Heather Whaling had a steady job, leading public relations and taking point on social media for a communications agency in Orlando. She'd spent some time learning the ins and outs of social media, and speaking to audiences across the country about what it could do for their business. Confident in what she'd learned, Whaling approached…
 
Heather Whaling gave birth to her son five weeks early in an Akron hospital. She spent the next 13 days with him in the NICU, hours away from her life in Columbus and the firm she had just recently founded, Geben Communication. "It was the most stressful experience of my life," Whaling said. But there were some stressors she didn't need to worry ab…
 
Early in her career, Kim Zavislak thought the best way to succeed was to keep her head down and work hard. But after a little more than a decade with KPMG, Zavislak realized there was something else she needed to do: make her voice heard. "You do have to advocate for yourself," Zavislak said, when asked to offer her best advice for young women ente…
 
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