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Past Dream Events

Click links to find out info on Previous Dream Events

Ohio Dreamers - motivating high school students to be our future leaders

5 min, 35 sec. version of the highlights. 


The Dream Event - Jan. 26, 2019 was a success!  Thank you to all of the speakers who inspired us to dream big, and shared your stories with us.  I was so amazed at how five of the eight speakers all started out in a completely different area of study, then where they are today.  It comforted not only me, but many of the attendees to know that we as high school students, don't have to know exactly what we want to do for the rest of our lives.  We learned, we can have a goal, but the road to the goal can change, and that is okay.


Although the Dream Event has commenced, I am currently planning next year's event.  It will be October 2021.  

I look forward to posting updates as information comes in.

Below are some photos from the Jan. 26, event.


We received a personal mini concert from Carl Topilow - The Conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra

James Rose - Managing Director from Deloitte Consulting started the event off with a special treat.

If the YouTube Video does not load, please click this link.

The Dream Event 5 Min Video

Objective of The Dream Event - Jan. 26, 2019
Jan. 26, 2019

Experience an event like no other! You will get the stories, knowledge, and tools for your success.


“The Dream Event”, will feature executive guest speakers, gave student attendees the opportunity to listen to leaders, executives, entrepreneurs, and others speak about how they followed their dreams. They will speak of their experiences and how to pave a path and how to follow your own dreams. Students were able to ask questions and learn how the panel members overcame their struggles to achieve their dreams. This engaging conference was meant to motivate and inspire our next generation of leaders to dream big and have the tools to achieve their dreams.



Jodi Berg - CEO of Vita-Mix

Jodi Berg

CEO of Vita-Mix

Dr. Berg is fourth-generation president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Vitamix, a 97-year-young, family-owned, mid-market manufacturer of high-performance blending equipment for the consumer and foodservice commercial markets.

After becoming established as a leader in the hospitality industry, she joined Vitamix in 1997with the directive to lead the company’s overseas expansion. At the time, Vitamix had a presence in a few countries. Vitamix products now are available in more than 130 countries around the world. She was named executive vice president (in 2007), then president (2009) and CEO (2011).

Dr. Berg received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (concentration in Hospitality Management) from Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH) and a Master of Business Administration (concentration in Service Management and Service Marketing) from Washington State University (Pullman, WA).

Dr. Berg’s research on purpose has been published, and in 2016 earned her Ph.D. in management from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.

Amanda Montgomery - VP of Ball Bearings at Timken Ball Bearings

Amanda Montgomery

VP - Human Resources of The Timken Companys

Amanda Montgomery is vice president of human resources and a member of the executive leadership team at The Timken Company.
During her 20 year career at Timken, Amanda has held roles in engineering, project management, and marketing focused on working with customers, employees, and suppliers
around the world.
Amanda serves on the Board of Directors for the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank and is a member of Women’s Impact, an organization providing networking, mentorship and leadership
for professional women in Stark County.
When she’s not busy with those activities or driving her two teenage daughters to their vast array of activities she enjoys running, reading, and traveling.
She holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio Northern University and a master's degree in business administration from Ashland University.
Amanda attended Chardon High School where she played basketball, softball, and tennis. It was during high school that she decided you don’t get to complain about something if you aren’t willing to be part of making it better, an approach she’s carried into her professional and personal life.

James Rose of Deloitte Consulting

James Rose - Managing Director of Deloitte Consulting

Jim serves as the Global Managing Director at Deloitte Consulting.  With more than 20 years of experience, Jim’s career has been accentuated by projects to assist automotive manufacturing companies with innovation, technology and business performance improvement. He specializes in corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, supply chain optimization, and new product development. Jim has a distinguished track record of service to many leading automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) globally. Prior to joining Deloitte, Jim worked as an advanced engineering Director for Tata Technologies, held executive management roles at Carlisle and Company, OEConnection, and IBM where he was Business Unit Executive of Automotive Software.

Carl Topilow

Carl Topilow

Conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra

Following his longtime dream of conducting his own pops orchestra, Carl founded the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. The orchestra, currently in its 23rd season, plays its subscription series in Severance Hall and performs in several other locations throughout Ohio. The Cleveland Pops Orchestra's diverse, innovative and electrifying programs have been critically acclaimed. The orchestra has three CDs, Music to Grow On, an exciting collection of music for children and adults of all ages, Live at the Pops, a stirring compilation of music taken from live performances, and a 20th anniversary CD, which includes a selection of live performances taken from concerts over a span from the past decade.

Carl is Music Director and Conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra, a summer music festival based in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. He has assisted in the training of talented young musicians and conductors for positions in symphonic orchestras in the United States and abroad.

In 2008, Carl was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, based in Sandusky, OH. During Topilow's tenure with the orchestra, the number of subscriptions has increased from 56 to 550. Featured soloists have included pianists Sergei Babayan, Antonio Pompa-Baldi, and Daniil Trifonov, violinists Danielle Belen, Andres Cardenes, Jaime Laredo, Kurt Nikkanen, cellist Sharon Robinson, guitarist Jason Vieaux, trumpeters Michael Sachs and Alan Siebert, and winners of the Sphinx Competition and Cleveland International Piano Competition. 

Carl served as Conductor and Director of the Orchestral Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music for 37 years. 

Carl is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, with a degree in clarinet performance and a masters degree in music education. He has held conducting fellowships with the National Orchestral Association with Leon Barzin and the Aspen Music Festival with under Jorge Mester. Carl began his professional career as Exxon Arts Endowment Conductor of the Denver Symphony Orchestra.

Dan Flowers - President & CEO of Akron Canton Food Bank

Dan Flowers

President & CEO of Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank

Over his 20 years in the non-profit sector, Dan Flowers has developed a small, grassroots community organization into one of the nation’s top performing Foodbank’s. Along the way he has become an expert in organizational culture and built a reputation as a powerful motivational speaker. He is a columnist for Smart Business Magazine and frequent guest on various talk shows and media outlet. He resides in Akron with his wife Holly and their three children. He is an avid reader, runner, bow hunter, video gamer, and martial artist.


High School Dream or Passion: 

If there was one consistent dream or passion that defined my high school years, it was to become a rock star. Literally. I played in metal bands and even studied music in college my first two years. I had a fire to perform and still love to play guitar. Beneath that fire was a deep want to enjoy what I do in life and a commitment to not accept a vocation that I did not love. My resolution toward those ends eventually led me to the Foodbank of Eastern Michigan where my career began and has fueled my journey since.

Rob Heiser - Segmint & Wired Views

Rob Heiser

President an CEO of Segmint and Wired Views

Rob Heiser is the CEO and co-founder of Segmint Inc, an innovative financial technology company based in Akron, Ohio.  Segmint empowers financial institutions and financial technology providers to easily understand and leverage data, interact with customers, and measure results. Rob has been awarded 7 U.S. and international patents for Segmint.

Rob is also the founder of WiredViews Inc., a digital marketing agency with clients in several industries including CPG, Manufacturing and Technology. Previously, he was Chief Technology Officer of SupplierInsight, where he led the application and product development of the first commercially available Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) application serving several fortune 500 companies.

Rob was awarded Crain’s Cleveland 40 under 40 and currently serves on the Advisory Board of Kent State University’s LaunchNET entrepreneurship program. Rob holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management and Information Systems from Kent State University.


Dr. Cynthia Kubu

Cleveland Clinic Neuropsychologist 

Cynthia S. Kubu, PhD, ABPP-CN: Dr. Kubu is a Professor of Medicine in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. She was elected a Fellow in the American Psychological Association in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field. Dr. Kubu completed her doctoral degree at the University of Iowa and joined the staff at the Cleveland Clinic in 2001. She is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist with an international reputation in deep brain stimulation and neuroethics. Dr. Kubu’s research efforts have been funded by the National Institutes of Health and are highly pragmatic and patient-centered. In addition to her research efforts, she serves in multiple leadership roles and is committed to teaching all levels of learners.



Mark Kawada

General Manager

Pier W Restaurant

General Manager Mark Kawada is a veteran of the hospitality industry with more than 25 years of experience. A restaurateur, musician, community activist and craft beer aficionado, Kawada practices a simple management philosophy in the day-to-day operations of the restaurant: Guests are the focal point. “We treat our guests as I would treat a guest in my own home,” says Kawada. His approach is felt throughout the restaurant by everyone from cooks and servers, to bartenders and administrative staff.

Oct. 16, 2019

The Dream Event

October 16, 2019

The objective of The Dream Event - Oct. 16, 2019

Experience an event like no other! You will get the stories, knowledge, and tools for your success.


“The Dream Event”, will feature executive guest speakers, gave student attendees the opportunity to listen to leaders, executives, entrepreneurs, and others speak about how they followed their dreams. They will speak of their experiences and how to pave a path and how to follow your own dreams. Students were able to ask questions and learn how the panel members overcame their struggles to achieve their dreams. This engaging conference was meant to motivate and inspire our next generation of leaders to dream big and have the tools to achieve their dreams.


This Year's speakers:

  • Bryan Palaszewski - Rocket Propulsion Engineer

       with NASA

  • Amy Brady - CIO of KeyBank

  • Tony Ciepiel - CEO of Step2



Bryan Palaszewski

Bryan Palaszewski

Propulsion Engineer NASA

Bryan Palaszewski has worked at the NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field since 1989 and is currently directing research on high-performance propellants and atmospheric entry. 


He has conducted investigations nanometer-scale propellant additives for metalized gelled fuels for space missions.  Recently, he led work related to human Mars entry, descent, and landing (EDL) where supersonic retro-propulsion (rocket deceleration) is planned for the Mars landing.  He is also investigating the mining of outer planet atmospheres for future ambitious space vehicles. 


For six years, he led many studies of advanced space systems for orbital and interplanetary travel at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.  He was the lead propulsion subsystem engineer on the Ocean Topography Experiment (TOPEX), as well as being involved in other flight projects such as the Galileo Mission to Jupiter and the Cassini Mission to Saturn. 


He holds a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the City College of New York.  

Amy Brady_edited.jpg

Amy Brady

CIO of KeyBank

Amy G. Brady is Key’s Chief Information Officer, leading the company’s Technology and Operations organization. In her role, Brady oversees all of Key’s shared services for technology, operations, data, servicing, security, and procurement. Technology and Operations are comprised of more than 5,000 individuals and plays a significant role in Key’s ability to win in the marketplace by enabling the company’s goal to build enduring client relationships through innovative solutions and extraordinary service. Technology and Operations deliver innovative technology to clients, such as mobile and online banking, and world-class operations solutions, including loan, payment and treasury services. Brady also serves on the company’s Executive Council and Executive Leadership Team. 

Brady serves on the boards for the Achievement Centers for Children, Cleveland Leadership Center, Playhouse Square and the Case Western Reserve University Corporate Advisory Board. She is also Chair of the BITS Executive Board. She formerly served on the Executive Board of the Metro Atlanta YMCA.

Tony Ciepiel_edited.jpg

Tony Ciepiel

CEO of Step2

Tony Ciepiel is the CEO of Step2 Discovery.  In his position, Tony leads the combined businesses of The Step2 Company, LLC and Backyard Discovery. Tony was most recently Chief Operating Officer of Vitamix Corporation (“Vitamix”), a privately held, family-owned and operated manufacturer of high-performance blending equipment for home and commercial use.

Step2 and Backyard Discovery companies have some of the most innovative products for home, play and leisure. "The combination of rotomolded products, wood and other substrates provides for endless possibilities for new innovation.” stated Tony Ciepiel. 

As Chief Operating Officer from 2011 to 2018, Mr. Ciepiel was responsible for establishing and realizing Vitamix’s strategic direction and ensuring alignment of all domestic and international operations. During his tenure, Mr. Ciepiel led the teams that developed new products and expanded distribution resulting in over 400% growth in 5 years. His prior roles at Vitamix included Vice President Sales & Marketing and Vice President of Commercial Division. Mr. Ciepiel’s past leadership positions include: President & Chief Operating Officer at The Flood Company and President, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer at Realty One Inc., as well as Executive Vice President, Treasurer, and Chief Financial Officer at Griswold Inc.

Mr. Ciepiel currently serves on the Board of Directors and is an active committee member of IDEAL Industries, Beckett Air, and The Christian Business Men’s Connection of Northeast Ohio. Prior board positions include: Westfield Bank, Southern Title Company, The National Association of Realtors, In His Steps Foundation, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, and United Cerebral Palsy.

Mr. Ciepiel has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from Baldwin Wallace College. Additionally, Mr. Ciepiel is a Certified Public Accountant (C.P.A), earned in 1984, and has been a Licensed Realtor, State of Ohio, since 1999.

Step2 Discovery, headquartered in Streetsboro, Ohio, is one of the largest outdoor home, play and leisure companies in North America, with aspirational brands including Step2 and Backyard Discovery. Step2 Discovery, which holds lead positions in mailboxes, swing sets, playhouses, activity tables, play kitchens and ride-ons, as well as other outdoor home and garden products.

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