Coffee, Community and Conversation Forum
By WIN Leadership

     Covenant UMC in Springfield hosted a Coffee, Community and Conversation Forum on a chilly Saturday morning in February.  WIN had been invited to attend by a fellow member of that church. We were greeted with delicious Kahawa House Coffee and a lovely breakfast. 

     Leaders from Clark and surrounding counties spoke, and one theme remained constant:  their desire to serve. Each of these women has served their communities in various ways. They have been educators, served on boards, ran for office, founded organizations and started businesses. They are most notably proud of the mentorship they offer to younger generations. These women are as inspiring as they are humble when speaking of their numerous careers and accomplishments:

•    Krystal Phillips Brown is a long- time educator in Springfield City Schools and is currently serving as a Springfield City Commissioner.

•    Sheila Rice Henry is the first African- American elected as Clark County Clerk of Courts. 

•    Meredith Lawson-Rowe grew up learning how to serve our community through the activism of her mother, Ruth. As she became more involved in local activities she would be approached to run for office. In her journey she became the first woman city council member to represent Ward 4 in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. She currently serves as Reynoldsburg City Council President, and is running for the Ohio Statehouse in District 5.

•    Sylvia Chess may have traveled the furthest distance to serve our nearby communities, but she also has a long history of activism and service. Sylvia is a tough go-getter and she will tell you herself: if she sees a problem she will set out to find a solution. Sylvia became the first African- American woman to own a commercial property in downtown Fairborn and would become the first African- American woman to be elected to the Fairborn City Council.

•    Another person you may have heard about is Desiree Tims, born in Dayton. She had the opportunity to work with our current U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown, and to have a job in former President Barack Obama’s administration. After returning from Washington, she would become president and CEO of Innovation Ohio. Innovation Ohio works to make government easier to understand and encourages voters to engage with our state legislators. Desiree has also won her primary and will go on to compete for the Ohio House seat in District 38. 

     One thing is clear. These women are making a difference and we are anxiously waiting to see what comes next!