Rachel Ciomcia: Distinguished Young Woman Honoree

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Rachel Ciomcia: Distinguished Young Woman Honoree

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Rachel is grateful for the opportunity to empower other women in her role at the Cleveland Leadership Center where she is the Vice President of Strategic Engagement and Director of Cleveland Bridge Builders.

“I wake up every day and love what I do. I have found a role that is fulfilling and helps me live my passion daily. I feel very fortunate to have this experience,” said Rachel.

Bridge Builders is a ten month program in which emerging civic leaders learn to work collaboratively, build relationships within a diverse group of peers, and hone their leadership skills with the ultimate goal of making positive change in our community. Every year, Rachel leads a group of 60 highly respected and credentialed individuals in their journey to become better civic leaders. She carefully crafts a unique curriculum for each class, and conscientiously monitors how the individuals are progressing in their development.

“Rachel is viewed as that team member who drives for perfection and executes flawlessly; she is the steady star who keeps our organization moving forward. Her colleagues marvel at her ability to be fully present and to execute, particularly with the many demands upon her time,” said Cleveland Leadership Center’s President & CEO, Marianne Crosley.

Rachel leads by example with her dedication to eliminating racism and empowering women, and inspires others to be similarly committed to equality.

“Rachel challenges our own team to fully embrace diversity and to inspire our alumni and program participants to do the same. Hers is the voice that constantly reminds us to be sensitive to emerging leaders of all backgrounds at all levels,” said Crosley.

She infuses discussions about race throughout every class session–sometimes subtly and sometimes boldly–and encourages participants to be sensitive to their own implicit biases. She provides a “safe space” in which these conversations can occur so that participants trust that they can share honestly and grow from the experience.

She empowers women in the Bridge Builder program to become stronger leaders, as well as mentors younger staff members on her team and pushes them to find their voices and their paths. These young women begin at the Cleveland Leadership Center as interns or entry-level staff members, and look to Rachel as the respected voice to teach and guide them. They remain in touch with her as they continue through school or their next job, as they value her counsel.

“Our community has so many strong women leaders and I can play a part in helping them raise their voice in the community,” said Rachel.

When Rachel isn’t at work, she is the Chair of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission Associate Board and a member of the Board of Directors for the MetroHealth Foundation. She loves exploring the city with her family and enjoying its many fantastic breweries. Rachel’s favorite thing about Cleveland is the Clevelanders themselves.

“The people. So many are willing to answer a call and step up to help. We have fiercely passionate people who love this community and are working to make it a better place for all,” said Rachel